Sunday, June 8, 2014

Variations Of A Blank Slate

Artists of any stripe start off with the same thing...a blank slate. Music sheet, page of paper (or computer) canvas or anything that you can paint on. Mankind has been doodling and recording the world around him at least since modern man, estimated to be 50,000 years old, went into those caves in France and just about every year since.

One of the discoveries has been that while I can paint a variety of things on a canvas, but still not with the freedom and spontaneity I do with my crafts.  This very fact has been pointed out more than once.

I am always one for a deal so I decided to buy four beautifully made wooden "to-do" boxes. Once I got them, I couldn't decide what to do with them. It was an evolving process with this first creation using my new fondness for Rosemaling. Reds are very, very popular in Rosemaling and so that was the color I used. However, many of the colors I also used were more colorful and domineering.

Then on a binge of California themed birdhouses, I created another to-do box using what I thought was wonderfully fun and colorful.

Using Hiroshige waves and California palms, this letterbox or to-do is as different from the original as could be. The colors reflect a far different mood and motif. You couldn't get any further from the original design. And yet, it is still "the same box." I know an artist shouldn't get too emotional about their creations, but, well, there are creations that still make one happy. Will I sell it? Of course. Its listed in my Etsy store.

Rose To Do Box
Then, when I came back from the Society of Decorative Painters Convention in San Diego, I spotted the other two boxes glaring at me on my work bench. After several classes, I decided to use them up and see just what I could do with them. And to sweeten the pot, I added hooks to make them far more usable. After all, these are "to-do" boxes. Why not make them even more useful. These things are built for the centuries. The hooks will be an added bonus. Now mail, keys, and who knows what else can be added to make the box even more useful. Any one of these would be a wonderful and colorful addition to someones home.

What I wanted to show here and talk about is that blank canvases can be used in so many ways. A visit to a museum is proof of that. Though it might be hard to do, a trip to Egypt is another stunning vision of what blank canvases can be. To see the tombs, temple after temple, Abu Simbel.

To stand in front of a Van Gogh is to bring so many emotions to mind. If you go to NYC be sure to hunt down his "Starry, Starry Night." The second most important painting in the world, you can read a wide range of emotions in both the painting and yourself. Its that powerful.

Not everything we create will be that powerful. Look around you. How many objects surround you that bring good memories. Is it art? Maybe. Is it something you love? I would have to guess yes. That is why I crete. I want to create things my customers love. That is usually the motivation behind every creation.

Please visit for crafts, birdhouses and photography and for fine art.

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