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Another Month, Another Creative Mess!

by Niki Hilsabeck in Recent Posts
Newsletter 5/14/16
What are your creative rituals?  Do you exercise, or put on music before you work?  What about when the work is finished?  How do you process what you’ve completed?
Back when I painted on more of a schedule, my artwork piled up quickly in the kitchen.  I developed sort of a monthly ritual, during which I would take all the pieces off their boards, date and sign them, and package them up for storage.  
Although I still don’t paint as often as I’d like, I’ve been teaching more, which means I spend more time creating samples for class.  Creating samples puts me in a better frame of mind to paint, so as the sample artwork begins to take up space, so do more new original paintings!
Below is a sample of the collected work from the last month:
 As you can see, I’ve been busy!  I’ll go in clockwise order and explain what all these pieces are.
 Top left:  Lying flat are a couple of paper collages, one made by my daughter as a school project, and one made by me as a sample for next week’s class at the Fallbrook School of the Arts (our focus will be Ancient Greece).  Next to the flat pieces, there are a couple of pastel landscapes– I’ve been enjoying the scratchy effect of soft pastel on drawing or white pastel paper, especially when blocking in those dramatic clouds!
Top Right:  A couple of newly-finished studies tucked back on the easel, one a pastel sketch of my rotten cat sitting with her back to me on the counter.  The other is a water-brushed pastel sketch of bare trees on a winter day.  I had originally put that one aside, having started it as a demo for an art workshop on cool color schemes.  I finally took it back out and added a bit of warm color to it as a finishing touch.
“Winter Trees” 8.5 x 10 inch pastel on paper 
Middle: “Lemon Corner” (on the left) and my favorite piece of the last month: “Oceanside Clouds,” a larger pastel painting on drawing paper.  
Bottom Right: Family Art Workshop demo pieces, for our “mood collage” session.  I tried to show four different composition styles, and realized after creating the pieces that I’d painted the four stages of a migraine, which I was still recovering from while working on these pieces.  Can you guess which piece is the “aura” phase?
(There is a random flower painting in the back behind the collages– an old palette knife piece from 2010.  I keep it out to remind me that I used to stay up late at night and throw paint around with my palette knife, hoping to be inspired to do so again some night when I have the energy).
Bottom left: Demo pieces from my first session of my new class at the Fallbrook School of the Arts: Around the World in Paper Collage/ Mythological Creatures in Collage!  I learned a few hours before class that I would be combining the two subjects together.  Since I’d already planned to make an island collage with the younger students, I decided to have the older students make “Menehune” as their mythological creatures.  
Hidden behind the pieces in the middle (which had a couple of finished pieces behind them) I found a pastel painting of Live Oak Park trees I’d started a month ago, so I’ll be putting that back on the front burner for this next month. 
It seems I just get enough space cleared to feel creative, and then I fill it all up again with new projects.  I’m wondering if this is hereditary, as no sooner do my children see a clear counter or table, do they feel the need to fill it up with their own creative mess!
We’ll be working on wildlife art for the next Family Art Workshop–teaching children and parents (or grandparents) together in the same class has been an energizing experience! If you have the option to take an art class with family members, it definitely provides a different spin on the traditional art class experience, and gives you a chance to interact with each other in a unique way!

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