The Second Step. Choose a Niche.

Now that I’ve decided to move ahead with the fine art part of my art career, I’m told that I need to choose a niche.  Well.  I don’t have to.  Only if I want to be successful.

At first I was horrified.  How can I choose?  I love being able to paint whatever comes to my mind, wherever inspiration strikes!   But then I looked at my recent works and it’s pretty obvious where my inspiration tends to come from.   Travel and transportation.   Most of my paintings of the last year revolve around that theme quite naturally already.

So there’s not much to think about, is there?

I mean, it doesn’t even terrify me.  I love everything to do with planes, trains, automobiles and boats–maybe even a tractor or motorcycle or two.  They take me wherever my wanderlust dreams up.     So why not?

On to step 3…

Field of Dreams by artist Holly Connors, 2018 24 x 30 Mixed Media on Canvas

(click on the photo to enlarge)  The first of our Revol-YOU-tion series is up!   I asked what you would do if you weren’t afraid, and you have responded.  Here is the first in honor of a man who dreamed his whole life of flying, and now he’s finally doing it.

Do you see all the steps he had to complete?  Do you see the fears that bubble up clouding his vision?  Zoom in to see all the hidden details of this saga.   Nothing is included by chance.  It’s all part of the tale.

Field of Dreams is a mixed media collage piece.  Acrylic paint, acrylic ink, art papers assembled on a 24 x 30 stretched canvas.   This piece sold before posting.

The next 50 years

In December I will be 50.  FIFTY!

Finally!

I know. It’s odd that I would be looking forward to aging, but I’ve looked forward to fifty for a long time.  To me, it’s the age where I get to shift from doing all the things I needed to do for everyone else to doing things that I want to do just for me.

And for me, the biggest of those is to take my art career more seriously.  Remember last week when I asked what you would do if you weren’t afraid?  For me, that would be to step further into the world of fine art.   As in gallery representation.  (The very idea invigorates and terrifies me!)

I’ll always do art classes of one sort or another, simply because I love to do them. And I’m sure I’ll always take commissions.  But this coming year you will see a huge shift of focus to my personal artistic creations and my learning how to, I guess you could say, officially stick my toe into the fine art world.

I’ve never been to school for art.  I really don’t know the ins and outs of how to begin to enter that world, but I’m going to learn and do.  One way or another.

I’ll consider it my birthday gift to myself.   :::::blows party horn::::

If anyone out there has any gallery connections, I’d appreciate an introduction.  Thank you, in advance.   I appreciate you all so very much!

Window Art Party At Holly’s

Arrive anytime between 1 pm and 2 pm!!

Come create your next masterpiece! No experience required. We’ll guide you step-by-step.

Bring a friend! We’ll help you design and create a window art piece that you love.

Nautical, floral, botanical, gems, and more! So many options to choose from. There’s something to delight everyone. No experience required.

Prices start at $40 and go up from there (we will post a sample chart in the comments), and depend on the size frame you choose. Cash, Debit, and Credit accepted.

Dress for a mess!

RSVP REQUIRED so that we can be sure to have enough materials on hand.

See all details here: http://bluehasti.com/window-art-classes-home-parties/

What would you do if you weren’t so afraid?

The day I hung this painting in my husband’s grandmother’s room at the nursing home and watched her light up with delight, I understood, for the first time, that art can truly have an effect on people’s lives.  And I knew that I didn’t want to just paint scenes.  I wanted to paint scenes that evoke emotions–that mean something.

Sure, there’s a great market out there for pretty pictures that blend well with the sofas in your living rooms, but that’s not what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  I want to make a difference for people.

In September I am going to begin a series of paintings that aim to do that.   The series is going to focus on people being authentic.  People living their truth.   I want to encourage people to get in touch with their true selves and to live the very best lives they can live.

It will be called the Revol-YOU-tion series, and I’m asking for your help.   Would you please send the answers to these questions to me in the comments here or on Facebook or by inbox or email, if you want to keep the answers private.

What do you wish you could do, if only you weren’t so afraid?

What makes you feel alive?

What’s your dream?

Don’t censor.  Let me figure out if I can find a way to paint it.  It would mean a great deal to me.   I want to get to the raw truth and help carve pathways, open new ideas for accomplishment, or maybe even just give gentle encouragement wherever I can.   And if it’s your dream, it’s likely someone else’s too.   You helping me might actually help another as well.  Double duty good deed.  🙂

What makes me feel alive?  This.  So thank you.

 

Who Decides What’s Beautiful?

photos by: Kataram Studios

I had the pleasure of bringing Blue Hasti Art to a wedding expo yesterday.   I love days like that where I get to meet a bunch of people and listen to their stories.   I love talking with the other vendors and hearing their hopes and dreams.  And mostly I love to people watch.

One of the things that always stands out to me is how our over- active brains tell us stories.   For example, going to a wedding expo, one tends to envision that you will encounter lots of young, pretty, slender brides in perfect flowing gowns and lots and lots of roses everywhere.    Reality, however, is that the room is filled with ordinary people.   They look like you and me.

There are brides and grooms of every age, background, orientation, size, and shape.  There are vendors who look relaxed and some who look frazzled.  There are indeed gowns and roses, but fewer than you’d imagine.  It’s just a room full of life.  Everyday life.

So where do those faulty visions that we dream up come from? Where do any of our faulty ideas come from?  Hollywood.   Our brains hook onto what we see in movies and on television and we somehow make it “fact” that we should all conform to those same criteria.  Then, to make it worse, we think that “everyone else” does fit and we don’t.  And then we get insecure. We tell ourselves scary stories.

I think the same thing happens with art.   Many people who are wonderfully creative talk themselves out of creating because they think that “everyone else is good” and they are not.   Truth be told we all are good.  Because THERE IS NO STANDARD to compare your own creations to.  All creation is good!

See.  You don’t believe me.  Right now you are arguing with me in your head.  Who put those ideas there?  Who says what is beautiful and what is not?  Who set that standard for you? Who told you to judge your creativity against someone else?  Who put himself/herself in the position of God and told you what to think?  And why do you believe them?  Please don’t tell me it’s because other people do???  really???

I recently had a similar conversation with a young lady in her early 20s who was berating herself for having gained some weight.  I asked her to Google “Plus Size Model” and look at the women who pop up on the screen and tell me if they are beautiful or not.  She had to agree that the women on the screen were indeed beautiful.  Nothing about their size changed that.  It is just a thought in her head–a standard set by strangers–that made her believe that bigger thighs automatically disqualify you from being pretty.  But it’s not true.

My very long-winded point to this post is to guard your thoughts.  Be very careful what you tell yourself because you might just believe it.   Talk to yourself like a treasured friend.  And for the love of all that is holy, go do your art.  Express yourself however your soul wants to express.  Sing.  Dance.  Paint.  Draw.  Decorate.  Cook. Build. Sculpt. Make us laugh if that’s your thing.  Just go do it.

And have a wonderful day.

Painting as an Escape

The world scares me. That’s the plain and simple truth. It’s gotten too fast.  Too busy.  Too overwhelming.   So I paint as a means of escape.  And I tend to paint things that make me feel like time has reversed and gone back to a period that was more predictable.   My hope is that my paintings will make you feel more peaceful, more grounded, and more serene as they do for me.

Remember when we were growing up?  Simple delights?  Simple life scenes—before the internet and iPads.  Those are the scenes I look to portray.   I think that’s partly why I love to travel to other countries that are not quite so developed yet.   I like the simplicity of their living.  I crave it in today’s world.   But we can’t find it here in the US.  Not near where I live anyway.

It’s taken me a long time to settle into a certain theme of painting.   I had been trying to cater to this crazy world.  I was trying to paint what would sell.   What I hadn’t realized is that an artist’s work has to come from a place of authenticity in order to ooze soul.   I feel like it’s taken 25 years of painting to finally come into my own.   In July I finally just let it go.

I decided that I was going to challenge myself in multiple ways, and just let the paint fall where it  wanted.  I brought in new mediums to create with.  I gave myself strict time limits for each piece in order to prevent overthinking.   And I committed to painting subjects that resonate with me.

I’m delighted with the results.   So much so that I’ve been telling other artists who seem a bit stuck to try the same thing.   What about you?   Are you stuck somewhere in your world?  Do you need to shake things up a bit?  Or maybe dial things back?  Try it.

One thing I know for sure is that self-acceptance, authentic living, and silencing the world for a little while every day can lead to beautiful things.    I highly recommend that you give it a go.

Okay… back to website redesign.   Watch for good stuff coming in the next few days.

A Brief, Un-invited Diversion from Painting

I have this muscle in my back that likes to spasm every few years.   Apparently I was due and it’s keeping me sidelined from completing my final painting of the 12 Mixed Media in July.   All in not lost, however.  I am able to do some much needed updates to my website while I rest, ice, and stretch.

I’ve spent the past 4 years focused on doing art parties and not so much on painting my own art, but now I am seeking balance between the two, so it’s time to adjust the website to reflect my current work.

I’m excited.  My goal is to build a body of work that I can take into exhibitions and galleries and begin to enjoy the other side of an artist’s life.  It’s a lot of work, but absolutely a labor of love.   As always, I am honored to have you along for my journey.  Thank you.

Hopefully I’ll be back to painting in a day or two.  Give it about that long then take a minute to check out the website updates.  Let me know what you think!

#’s 7 – 11, Getting better as I go.

I’ve been busily working away in my studio, and I did a little more experimenting.   I’m still painting much too tightly, so I did two paintings where I had just 1 – 2 hours to paint.   They were a lesson in painting just what I had to paint to get the message across.

#7 is Newport, RI — what I could see from an internet photo anyway.  (It may or may not be accurate–all the better.  I wasn’t going for accuracy.)

This one was stressful to paint.  Partly because I limited myself to just a few colors, so I was forced to NOT mimic exactly what I could see.  Partly because I was so limited on time.

I used a lot of paper that you can no longer see.   One fun thing I did was print out info on Newport RI and include that as part of the media used.   I did something similar previously in the fishing boats painting from Galilee.   I think it’s a nice touch to give clues about the origin of the scene.

I also used newsprint, acrylic ink, and acrylic paint. It came out okay.  I imagine that if I did it with no time limit I could do something really beautiful with this scene.

 

Next up, #8 was an even bigger challenge.   I looked at a photo of a downtown cafe in CT and then put the photo away and gave myself one hour to recreate the FEEL of what I saw.   This is what I came up with.

Again, I was very limited on colors.   I used a lot of art paper for the umbrellas and trees.  I used newsprint for the building.  Acrylic paint and acrylic ink.

Overall I was very pleased with the result since I was indeed able to capture the feel I was looking for.  I also did ok with most of the dimensional work.   I did miss the mark on the upper windows.  I wasn’t even thinking when I rushed to get those in at the end.  I think they have character though.  Even if I could fix it, I wouldn’t.

On to #9.  This is where I decided to attempt to put together some of the skills I’ve learned so far in July an do one “for real” and not just for learning.   I was nervous!  This painting requires some degree of technical painting, but the goal was to do it as loosely as possible while still maintaining the image.

I am delighted with how it came out.   I love the texture that the art paper background gave at the top.  The newsprint at the bottom tickled me pink.  The train is painted in acrylic as is the steam.  And I kept it loose in comparison to my usual desire to overdo it.

But those trestles.  Ohhhh those trestles.   Those are made by dragging a card dipped in paint and it nearly killed me to leave all the imperfections.  In the end I absolutely LOVED them.   I definitely feel like my July experiment is paying off.  On to #10….

I painted #10 on the 16th anniversary of my father’s passing, so I wanted something I could dedicate to him.   One of my favorite early memories of dad is riding in the back of his pickup truck.  I couldn’t tell you what year, make or model it was, but I think it was green. 🙂

I decided to paint a 1951 Ford F-1 because I loved how low it was to the ground and the rounded edges.  Two things I swear I remember about Dad’s truck.   Of course, by now that truck would be rusty, so that made it into the painting as well.

1950s headlines make up the landscape in the background and the barn walls.   Art paper gives the texture on the ground.  Magazine torn paper strips make up the leaves.   And the license plates came from a mixed media paper pad that I had hanging around.   Fun! Fun! Fun!

Yesterday brought on #11.  This one was for my other guy that I love dearly.    He recently started flight school so I wanted to do something for him to encourage his journey into aviation.

Airplanes are hard!!  On the ground they didn’t seem very enticing to paint.   So in the air it went, but how to do mixed media??  Maps!  I have no idea what a flight plan map looks like, but that’s what I was thinking.   These maps are vintage as I think that plane is.  It’s a biplane (Don’t ask me… I just like how they look.)  I pulled up a few dozen photos of biplanes and went to work.

This one has newsprint, art paper, maps, acrylic paint, and acrylic ink.   He loved it, and so do I.

Not sure what #12 will be.  I’ve had some requests for animals.  Maybe an under the sea.  Not sure yet.  But one to go and  5 days to do it.

Stay tuned!

#6 Scallop Boats

#6–Entitled “The Old Wharf”  is finished. (click on the photo to enlarge.)  It’s a mixed media, collage, on canvas.  20 x 30″.    This one contains newsprint, cardboard,  magazine paper, acrylic ink, and acrylic paint.

It’s a 1930 scallop boat wharf located in Rhode Island, inspired by an old postcard.  My favorite part is the seagulls.  Any time I’ve ever gone to a seaport  I’ve always been taken by the flocks of gulls that make such a racket. Can’t you just hear them?

I also love the bits of collage in the water.  And I am humored that the magazine clippings used to make the red boat are actually bits of a lobster photo.   So much fun to create!

Enjoy it.  Watch for #7 coming soon!

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