While we are scrambling through some years constantly asking questions, there are other years that find answers, and many times the answers were there all along. It really depends on how clearly you can see your picture and how willing you are to make edits.
I frequently write about how my paintings go through rattling challenges right along side of me. A while back I became exhausted and bored with my painting method. Over the past two years, I searched for a painting process that was truly enjoyable. I spent a lot of time more dedicated to the process than the result, experimenting with a range of techniques, tools, materials and surfaces. It was a long period of questions, wondering what else may be up my paint covered sleeve.
I recognize that I am moving away from a question year and beginning a year that answers. I have seen my work change within the process. I can look back and see when I began to abandon a technique that had been working for me. I veered off wanting to know if I could paint without it…daring myself to be vulnerable and paint something I had never been bold enough to call a finished painting. What I left behind was the heavy impasto application I used for so long. That had been the ‘final touch’ that made my paintings complete. I got tired of it and felt like it was even a crutch. I spent two years ignoring my palette knife, and it ended up being the tool that brought my paintings into a new light. It was always there, sitting on my palette while I did back flips trying to avoid it. (some people call that stubborn. smirk)
A question year is spent disassembling, scattering and rearranging the pieces into a confusing picture. When the picture looks blurry, the obvious has a way of blending in. An answer year is when we gather the useful pieces, reassembling them into a new picture. The new picture is clear and focused. It's more dynamic and layered with substance, and the truth becomes obvious again. Every answer year gives our picture more and more strength thanks to the uprooting questions we asked ourselves.
In life, there are years that ask and years that answer, but nothing changes unless you hear the question and decide to react.
I have known that deep in my heart, being a mother and creating art were becoming innately intertwined, but God had a very intentional way of teaching me about the relationship that was building between my two biggest passions. Getting older has taught me that there is so much this life has to offer, but it starts with knowing the truth about who you are.
My daughter has been sick for 6 weeks with 11 of those days spent in the hospital. It began with salmonella (from who knows what), and in the beginning, it was a very mild case. After the first week she seemed recovered, but 3 days later she began complaining about her elbow hurting and then spiked a fever. She was in so much pain and refused to use her right arm. That's when my heart started pounding. It wasn't for another two weeks when we found out that the salmonella bacteria invaded her bloodstream, settled into her elbow and eventually became osteomyelitis (a bone infection) with a septic elbow. I can't imagine how bad she felt all over for that whole period of time. I knew throughout this slow developing infection that something was very wrong, and I was fearful of the very thing that it became, but neither the joint aspiration or repeated blood work indicated any infection. So once it finally became clear that there actually was infection, it was bad, and she was admitted to the hospital. She began IV antibiotics immediately and had two separate surgeries to clean the infected elbow.
A couple posts back, I wrote about having the sense I was approaching something pivotal with my art. Now, here I am reflecting from the other side of an experience that has left me surprisingly revitalized, artistically speaking. To make a relative comparison, I've located my artistic pulse that I've been searching for. I knew I was close and how it would make me feel, but I just couldn't put my finger on it. The work I am creating now is engaging in a way that makes me want to create more and more. The newest paintings in my studio are climbing the walls! This is fun ...like really fun. So, why is painting just now so satisfying?
If you've ever read this blog, you can tell I am a thinker, an analyzer. Most decisions are made with deep consideration. Even when it's unrelated to art, I will explore every perspective and possibility (sometimes confusing the hell out of myself). Mainly, I think like this because I want to understand who I am and what I do and why I do it. I am not one to wing it and hope for the best. My over-analytical mind is part of what led us to discover Lelia's infection before it got terribly worse (I can't even think about it....inhale...exhale). After this experience with our daughter, I can now grasp something enlightening.
I have two strong needs; to be the best mother I can be for my children and give all I have to becoming the artist I know I have the potential to be. I have dedication to both, and that is overwhelming and conflicting at times. I admit that I get caught in between and feel like I am suppose to be good at one or the other. It is without question that I will be with my children when they need me. Not just for the ability to drop everything and spend 10 nights* in the hospital, but I want to be the one who picks them up from school and puts them to bed at night. I also want to be professionally significant and successful and give opportunities to my family.
Here is what God has revealed to me through our experience; not only did He give me those two strong desires, but He equipped me with the ability to fulfill them both. He never intended for me to choose where to place my best self. And so, after not painting or even considering painting for this many weeks, He allows me to pick up my brush with more vitality than ever. I have been given a gift which makes my days feel well-rounded and complete. Being their mother has taught me how to create paintings with my heart, and that gives me a true sense of satisfaction. What I have come to understand is that my love of motherhood and art are so intertwined in my foundation that one simply enhances the other. With relief and gratitude, I realize that it is not necessary to decide where my focus belongs because these loves of mine work together and coexist beautifully and always will.
Also, Lelia is doing great! She has been put on oral antibiotics for another two weeks and has joyfully gone back to school this week! ...meanwhile, Sonny panics when "yah-yah" leaves for school and grins ear to ear when we pick her up! (insert heart emoji here)
*My mother and mother-in-law deserve recognition in this post. They each spent an invaluable amount of time and effort to make this time as smooth as possible for us all. They each spent a night with Lelia while I went home to be with Robert and Sonny, take a shower and attempt some sleep. Love and thanks x100, Babs and Bet! (Another heart emoji goes here)
"When I paint from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head almost nothing." -Marc Chagall
We go through the motions everyday moving between moments in time. This series of paintings, Minutes, emphasizes the weight in each minute. The lines and shapes in these paintings form a pod or capsule around portions that are particularly interesting to me. The clean lines and glossy, crisp white paint contrast powerful color to create an intensity that, for me, represent decisiveness. There is no uncertainty about where this line begins and ends.
The minimalism of these paintings is taken from a need to be more clear and intentional. Without unnecessary distractions, we are focused on the significance of only a few areas. The importance of concentrating on what really matters is heightened, and anything that doesn't bring focus or contribute to that area is whited out. Color is used meticulously, and with the knowledge that the fewer times each color is represented, the more powerful that color appears.
It is easy to find ourselves spending too many minutes on things that do not deserve our limited time and energy. It is natural to want to please and impress other people, but it is so liberating to decide not to. How can it be so easy to forget to do what makes us happy? What I am asking myself is; what do I want to put in these precious minutes?... and what needs to go?
My 2016 series, High Hopes, is a collection of paintings created out of a state of optimism. When you get the feeling that you are in the midst of a before and after episode, the future feels bright. Not that I have psychic abilities... I somehow do feel like I am in the threshold about to embark on a new journey. It may be that I am finally working in a much bigger, more professional studio or that I can see my children growing into these small people full of character. Isn't it great to know you can make anything out of your life you want to? It makes me feel content to think about being on the brink of tomorrow.
I remain in a constant desire to continue searching. I find myself looking for other possibilities, opportunities and more options. Without change, artists would sink into a hole of boredom. I know that I am someone who is continually striving for something else, and not always something better, more like an alternative. Slowing down to absorb and appreciate where I am is something I have to remind myself to do. But, my paintings always allow me to push into the next realm. I am allowed to revisit my artist self from last year if I get too far from home with my artistic trials. It is easy to get carried away....;)
GROW, any way you can, in order to FULFILL your heart.
|Heart Race 48x48|
My biggest fear? Regret. The paranoia of one day saying: "I had a chance, but it's too late, and I lost it." All of my life's worries come back to fear of missing my opportunity, especially with my art.
Here is my new hashtag to go with some of the paintings I post: #liveloosely
If you see it and wonder "what in the world?";
#liveloosely will be with the paintings that are pushing me to think, grow, overcome, learn, move on, adapt, improvise.... anything but settle with what is easy and comfortable. Because I have learned that taking a chance is more fulfilling than not. And, not being adaptive and loose is denying myself the experience of what could have been.
|Pulse A 24x18|
|Pulse B 24x18|
|Vital Signs 48x48|
|Whole Hearted 48x48|
|Heart Beat 48x36|
|Certainty 48x48 (Anne Irwin Fine Art)|
Lose control. Embrace imperfections. Live in the moment. Time is fleeting and nothing is permanent. I am adapting to the situation rather than trying to change the circumstance. Go with your instincts, and take action. Just find a way, and make it happen.
|Head Above Water 48x48 (Lyons Share Gallery)|
|Initiative 48x36 (Anne Irwin Fine Art)|
|Set in Motion A 60x36 (Blue Print Store)|
|Set in Motion B 60x36 (Blue Print Store)|
|Make Way 48x36|
That practice is something we do throughout our lives. I do it when it's time to organize a messy closet by creating a chaotic disaster so it can be put back together the right way. (My studio is the only place I can handle said unorganized messes.)
But, a more significant comparison is to the events in our lives. Without our will, sometimes things get shaken up for us. That in-between moment is scary and unfamiliar, and you are suddenly a victim in a messy spot. At that ugly point, it becomes clear what was withholding us all along and so we add, change and eliminate parts in order to pull back together again.... with more substance and strength than before.
In my paintings, that built-up second layer allows me to unearth areas to show parts of the previous painting. The layers and experiences give the final result dimension and visual strength.
check out the list of other exhibiting artists! http://anneirwinfineart.com/event-calendar/
#sarahottspaintings #atlanta #anneirwinfineart #miamicircle #atlantaart
It's a new year and I decided I was ready to explore new concepts with my paintings. The shock of being a first time parent is no longer my biggest influence. I guess I got the hang of it, after all! (not...)
I am really excited about my new series of paintings. I feel like I will be able to work long and hard with these concepts. I am always pushing myself and my work to grow and change. Taking a good hard look at what is on my heart and my mind helps me to make work that is genuine. I like to be able to explain what I am painting. The majority of the population is naive to abstract painting. I will always have an answer to that (annoying) question....
"So what is it, anyway?"
And I'll say: "Oh, I'm glad you asked....but you will wish you hadn't!" :)
Here are the first of many paintings from "The Big Picture" and my artist's statement for this series.
|The Big Picture A 48x48|
|The Big Picture B 48x48|
|Grand Scheme A 48x48|
|Grand Scheme B 48x48|
|Inclusive A 40x40|
|Inclusive B 40x40|
|By and Large 48x48|
|Unabridged 30x24 on paper|
The Big Picture, artist's statement
I have taught myself to view each life event as an essential chapter that leads to the next. The paintings in “The Big Picture” series illustrate the highs and lows in the story of life. Hardships are inevitable, and the stress of an ordinary day can make it hard to remain enthusiastic. However, if we examine our past, it is easy to see that the grim moments make the greatest joys seem brighter. It even seems that we could not fully experience one without the other.
In this series, I want to achieve a finished painting that does not look perfected or overworked. Instead, I want the painting to seem raw. There are areas that expose the process and stages that the painting has gone through. Various shapes, textures and colors are carefully layered and selectively washed or wiped away. The uncovered gestural lines provoke visual energy and vivacity. I am recognizing ways to paint with less apprehension, while honesty and confidence remain important objectives for creating fresh, distinctive work.
When looking at a painting that represents a lifetime, there are occasional areas of dark tones, neutral colors in passive spaces, and pleasing hues in areas that draw the eye. The result displays how the dark, dull and vibrant moments will collaborate to create a big picture worth admiring.
I also have a pretty little gift card that will slip into a stocking just fine~ so start dropping hints ladies....
|Core of Motion I - before|
|Core of Motion I - after|
|Core of Motion II- before|
|*Core of Motion II*- after|
|Robert and me at the reception in NY. Fun night!!|
A reminder about the opening reception this week in New York:
The Kaleidoscope of the Mind at Agora Gallery in Chelsea.
Opening Reception: Thursday, November 7, 2013, 6-8 pm
Exhibit on display: October 29 - November 19, 2013
|Revel in Space I 48x30|
|Revel in Space II 48x30|
|Space to Breathe II 36x36|
|Shown in this image are two paintings I exhibited at Agora Gallery in NY last year. They are hanging in this lovely New York apartment. Thank you to the Races for your thoughtful comments. I am thrilled you are enjoying your paintings!|
|There I am, on the back cover, up there in the corner in yellow.|
|Dancing A 6x6|
|Dancing B 6x6|
|Dancing C 6x6|
|Singing A 8x8|
|Singing B 8x8|
|Singing II 12x12|
|Twirling A 12x12|
|Twirling B 12x12|
|www.sarahotts.com now with online shopping!! #sarahottspaintings #hadleybiniondesigns|