Monday, March 25, 2013

Mythic March Monday Makings IV

The month is winding down, and what a month it has been!  We have one more week to the official Mythic March, although hopefully those of you who are participating have found new fervor, started new projects, etc. that will extend beyond the original deadline.

This week I wanted to share with you two different resources for inspiring you to get off your bum and create.  Both have worked equally well for me this past week, in rather different ways.

First is this article from The Onion.  And yes, if you know anything about The Onion, you'll know it's rather farcical and tongue-in-cheek.  I started reading this article and thinking "oh gosh, hahaha, yes...that's just the problem I've had this entire month (and beyond) with motivating myself to create."  You remember earlier this month I was venting about how difficult it was to get off the ground on my projects because of long exhausting hours at the place where I work, which just had a grand reopening?  Yeah. 

So this article, titled "Find the Thing You're Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights and Weekends For the Rest of Your Life" is perfect.  You start out saying "ha yeah, that's me" and then by the end you realize "Hey, wait a minute...I don't WANT that to be me..."

Any time you're exhausted after work and just want to rest rather than do a bit more on that poem/painting/sculpture/story, read this article and hopefully it will jar you up and moving.

Second, a more traditionally inspiring resource, Terri Windling's blog, Myth and Moor, where she has had a few wonderful posts recently regarding artistic inspiration and motivation.  I find these two posts especially potent for inspiring, personally:

Art stands on the shoulders of craft

Mist and forgiveness

I must say, as much as I am moved by the incredible quotes Terri finds (such a resource!) I was socked in the gut by the words of the first commenter on the second link.  He said:

In the past I often found myself putting off projects until such time as I might be able to achieve the best creation that I can.. which of course is always tomorrow. I didn't have a name for it at the time but I realize now that what turned me into a master of unfinished projects and almost kept me from pursuing art was my lack of self forgiveness

Yes.  Oh gosh yes.  This is me.  To a tee. 

So let me ask you to do something.  If your projects this month didn't come out as you hoped...if they never even really got off the ground...practice what is preached in the above two links.  Step 1: Forgive yourself and then Step 2: Work again at your craft.  

This past week I worked on my craft by finally completing the second of three phases of a massive art project in my house: I completed the last sketch of the Twelve Dancing Princesses on my walls.  Now I only have step three left (the most intimidating):  actually painting them on the walls.  For more images, click here.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Mythic March Monday Makings III

Today I thought it'd be fun to show you some of the things people have been creating so far for Mythic March.  Because omg, *pretty*

Ali English has been doing multiple and writing.  Here are a couple of of her results, more at her blog post.

Once, garbed in hope and youthful dreams,
naïve in velvet and silk, and lace at my cuffs,
I dared your forests, the rose and bramble that
barred my path, walled you in, or so I thought.
I did my fools dance to twig snap and birdsong,
moon struck, moon guided,
my once vaunted finery torn, as I slowly
became woods creature adorned with blood and sap,
time and the weary miles already travelled,
the colours that marked me a stranger in a strange land
left on tree branches and thorns,
bargained away to the witch in her cave,
or given to the stranger by the wayside,
and I have pitched gladly down rabbit holes,
chased ravens, and
sung with blackbirds, wild and crazy.
My velvets have become moss and myth, treeish,
and I’m slowly speaking the language of plants,
reading spells in the owl’s flight, and
I’m starting to understand the passage of time,
here, on my own.

These lessons have I learned -
how to see the jewel in a toad’s eye, and
leap with the salmon.
How to dance with foxes and sing their song while
still hearing my own.
The taste of tears like rain in all its seasons,
and callouses on my hands and feet.
The mark of corvids by my eyes,
gained by long weeks of scouring these woods for you.
And when, at long last, I
arrived at your sleeping palace, no longer a prince, but instead
huntsman, seer, wizard,
those arched, mythic gates opened wide, and
you greeted me – wide awake, sunrise in your eyes – and said
‘At last, here is a fit mate
for the Queen of the Perilous Wood.’
And I realised that you were never asleep at all, never lost,
never in need of rescue.
It was always I.

-Ali English

Gypsy Thornton has been trying to do an artwork a day, and has shared a couple of gorgeous examples:

Lisa Stock, my original partner-in-crime for the idea of Mythic March, has been collecting original artworks from various artists and using them as a starting point for short films. 

Annie Walker has been inspired musically, and the results can be heard in her SoundCloud.  She is adding to the cloud as she creates new compositions.

David Shane Odom shared pictures of the Odom family tapping their maple trees, and asked if this counted.  I say absolutely.

Jenny Davies-Reazor is working on designing new pendants:

Grace of Silver Swan has been painting spring flowers and is still working on a gorgeous mythic tree:

And I...well my next goal is to finish the last two princess sketches for my dining room walls, but I didn't quite get that done this week.  I DID have Tom take a reference shot for the final princess though!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Your Home's Hidden Collections

A few weeks ago, I read a little fun blog post posted by Broadway and Thresher in which he asked the question "what are the hidden collections in your home?"  I t hought this was an excellent question.  All of us have things we collect...for me it's obvious that my home has many Pre-Raphaelite artworks, and no small number of Windling Trees.  But what about the collections that develop without our even noticing it?

Since I'm so house obsessed, I was stumped on what a "secret collection" of mine might be.  Finally this morning as I sat in my living room and looked around, I realized "boy I sure do have an awful lot of patterns in here, don't I?"

I thought it would be fun to walk through the house and catalog some of these patterns, to see how they all combine and blend together.  Here's the result...the quilt of my home.

So what are some of the hidden collections of your home?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mythic March Monday Makings II: The Comedy of Creating

So as I think I mentioned before, my Mythic March seems to be morphing from one long project into a series of shorter ones.  The project goal for this past week was to create a costume piece for an upcoming photo shoot I'm doing at the Ohio State Reformatory

Here are a couple of my inspiration pictures for a hint:

I had a plan, I had a base for the structure.  I had a tagging gun borrowed from a friend, and I had an old 1970s copy of an Emily Dickinson poetry book withdrawn from the library for a quarter.  I had a thoroughly mythic plan to slowly work on the skirt..patiently....ruminating on each poem on each page as I went.  Then I tried using the tagger.  And used up a whole line of tags trying to punch two of them through the paper and the skirt base.  And threw it on the floor along with the book pages, using a choice word or three, none of which appeared in the Emily Dickinson poems.

I'm here to talk to you today about when the process gets messy.

Because oh my, it will.  Sometimes a project will pop into your head, and you'll go out and buy the materials, sketch up the designs, sit down at the keyboard to type, or lift the paintbrush to canvas, and everything will flow like the hand of the muse is directing your every move.

Sometimes....not so much. 

But I'm here to tell you, that's normal.  Do not give up on the project just because it gets dirty, sloppy, frustrating, or seems to be fighting against you.  That is not fate, the universe, or your muse telling you it's not supposed to happen.  Sometimes the most beautiful of results can only be reached through slogging through the cruddiest of mudpiles.

Let me give you an example....I sometimes will do modeling for fine art photographers.  My favorite sorts of pictures are narrative and a bit romantic or fantastical in nature.  And some of the most ethereal images we've wound up with have been achieved through the most hilarious behind-the-scenes footage you could ever imagine.  And that's by no means exclusive to my experience.  I can practically guarantee you that a good half or more of the graceful and magical images you see and admire on your internet journeys were only created after the model and photographer walked through muddy swamps while batting away mosquitoes, got covered with sweat and powdery asbestos-laden paint and dust in abandoned buildings, were covered with poison ivy, etc. 

My point is...the resulting image may be lovely, but it can take a lot of blood sweat and tears to get there.

One of my favorite examples is this image by Amy Parrish of Atelier.  It's one of my favorite pictures I've done.  But can you see where I'm supported by that root system?  No?  That's because I wasn't...I was balancing precariously on the very edge of flexible roots, and literally five seconds after this picture was taken, I splashed with a thud into the water below me, getting slime and twigs in my hair, and I don't even want to know what else.  We laughed, I walked back to her house with the wet skirt making squelching noises against my legs, and I took a long shower. 

Learn to laugh at the process. Learn to accept that sometimes you will get the chance to meditate peacefully on each Victorian poem as you sweetly clip together a new ensemble, and sometimes you will end up fitfully poking straight pins through paper (and your finger, as often as not) as you half-watch an episode of Merlin and battle against exhaustion from a long day of work.  It just happens that way.  And in the end, unless you confess the whole silly story in a blog post to everyone you can be your little secret, and you can just let the results speak for themselves.

So what have you been working on?  Are you battling with your projects, or are they coming naturally and flowingly? 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mythic March Monday Makings

So we've reached the first Monday of Mythic March, and I thought perhaps Mondays, the first day of the week after we've hopefully had weekend time to work on projects, would be a good time to check up each week on how we're doing on our projects.

Okay, me first.

I've failed.

Yeah.  So we're four days into the month already, and I have to confess to you guys, I'm just not feeling the author spirit.  The grand reopening of the library where I work was yesterday, sneak preview day was Friday, and by the time both of those events were over, I was drained dryer and more tender than a used dishrag.  The idea of starting a short story or novel just was put by the wayside every night, and I felt increasingly guilty for not being creative when I was the one who had led the battle charge toward the idea of Mythic March just a few days ago.

But beyond that, I was also feeling very emotional and mildly mopey, and couldn't quite put a finger on why.

Until late last night, I opened up a new app on my iPad for digital painting and doodled out the above first digital painting I've ever attempted and in ways it rather about an hour.

I felt so much better afterward...not quite as guilty for not starting on my story, but beyond that I felt invigorated and renewed by the actual act of creation.  I know not everyone feels this almost addictive need to engage in the act of creation in order to feel renewed and joyful, but I'm sure some of you out there at least can relate. 

And then I realized...this is another reason why Mythic March is so important.  Not only because those people out there who have never, or rarely, attempted an artistic endeavor need to see firsthand that their voices are important, but also so that those of us who might be, in some ways, intrinsically artistically minded people who who have lost our way can be reminded of just how we can benefit from the act of creation. 

I saw this on a microcosmic scale when my mood plummeted after a few days of not creating, and then lifted significantly after just doing a simple doodle painting on my iPad.  Imagine what an hour or less of creating could do for you!

So that's my less-than-aesthetically stellar update: what have you been up to?  What are you creating?  Please feel free to post links to your progress from Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, or any other site you prefer.  And I will be linking this blog post to a thread on Facebook as well.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Mythic March Begins

Forest Sleep by Swanbones

Welcome to Mythic March.  Did you think I had forgotten?  I definitely have not.

The goal of this month is to CREATE.  Originally inspired by National Novel Writing Month, an event that encourages people to write the novel they always meant to every November, my friend Lisa Stock and I decided to try doing something similar in March, only with a twist. 

My goal will be to write 30,000 words, and I might make that goal or I might not.  But the point is, I'm going to try to CREATE this month...consciously set aside time each day to engage in the act of creation.  And beyond that, my goal is to create in the genre of myth and celebrate the community of Mythic Arts we so adore.

Because yes, we all enjoy/adore/idolize the works of the Frouds, Neil Gaiman, Charles de Lint, Terri Windling, Alan list could go on for paragraphs.  But we all have something to share.  The very act of creation is magic...gathering together materials or immaterial thoughts and transforming them into something new and unexpected. 

The Alchemist by Rima Staines

Even a simple act, like pressing fingers into clay or cutting out images to combine them into a collage, can invigorate our lives and those around us.  Like a random act of kindness, a random act of creation can cause ripples of response in the world around us, making us see the world through keener eyes, and pass on this way of seeing to others.

So please, join me.  Put pen to paper.   Put keys to keyboards.  Put charcoal to paper, put needle to fabric.  Press your hand and your heart to bring two or more objects together in a random act of imagination. 

If your words stumble, or your picture doesn't live up to your mind's eye, don't give up.  Remember that creation is a journey, and like any journey the actual destination makes up a very small part of the process.

I'll be here.  We'll all be in this together.  And I want to know all about what you're doing.  I'll check in from time to time, and I'd love to see and hear you share what you are doing as well.

Virginia Lee