Live ‘out loud’…

These three little words have consumed my mind of late. What does it mean to live ‘out loud’? For me, I believe it involves living one’s true self and shining as you do it.

Now previously and still, I am a firm believer that each of us has a particular path that our life’s journey happens on. Many other people’s paths will interchange with ours for a little while or a long while. Someone’s path may run parallel with ours while others run perpendicular. Some paths we come across may bring us gifts and others we may leave something behind from our path in order to help someone else out. Sometimes we abandon our path all together because life asks something more from us. Regardless of where we stand today, the path of who we are is still there waiting for us to simply recall where it is. The funny thing is when you relocate it, you most often didn’t even know you were off it.

When I moved to Arizona I was excited about my envisioned path to artistic stardom! I was going to come here to the great Southwest, try to summon my beloved Georgia O’Keeffe, and sit in my studio to create a fascinating body of work that would go to galleries and get gobbled up by new collectors. I had done everything I needed to do to prepare for this big artistic moment! I had come out to the desert for years gathering resources of cactus blooms and funky agave portraits. My brightly colored artwork was going to make a big splash here and finally I was going to artistically belong.

“the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” – Robert Burns

The only thing that occurred in my big vision is that I moved to Arizona. I have a job doing financial work for a company I love but never even knew existed. Every artist grieves when they have to get a ‘real job’ because it always seems a step further away from our dreams. I try and get into my studio once a week to keep these creative juices from drying up. For some time, I must admit I was existing in the shadows of embarrassment that I was no longer who I wanted to be, but instead was being who I needed to be. I was emotionally drained of who I thought I wanted to be because to try and be an artist who doesn’t make artwork is about the most heartbreaking thing for me to go through.

One of my survival tools to endure this great change is that I try to practice appreciating the details of my experiences. This practice allows me to be still and absorb all that is around me. In the stillness of being, that’s when the good stuff happens. Have you ever walked into a coffee shop that, upon entering, feeds your soul and makes you feel like you have spent a lifetime there already; or met someone that unknowingly reconnects the bonds of who you are with their gentle words or a soul seeing glance, or opened yourself to the colors of a radiant sunset allowing your brain and soul to reconnect in the silence? It’s important to pay attention to these lightning rod moments, for they lead us back to our true paths.

Through this newfound stillness, I have recently been fortunate enough to recognize unique moments when something or someone becomes the key to opening my awareness or becomes the bridge that helps me get back to my true path. I have recently experienced this bridge which has reconnected me with an amazing version of myself that was put away a lifetime ago. Through this connection, I have been able to refamiliarize myself with my young soul that was bold, fearless, light in spirit, and full of curiosity. Thanks to this bridge, I have a sense of belonging that I have not had in the past 21 months here and even longer in life along with the sense that I am back on my true path. I am still tenderly and slowly walking on my path, not having felt it for a long while, and discovering more about myself every day.

For me personally, my path is where the small things lie. My path is not a quick one, instead it is one of discovery and learning. My path is listening to the small details that surround us in nature, acknowledging the vibrations from the things we often don’t see, and sharing my passionate appreciation of it all. On my path; colors are richer, breezes feel sharper, birds fly faster, and I want to dance slower. I have also noticed on my path I walk a little taller, smile a little easier, and hug a little harder. It’s as if all these great parts of me were strewn along the path when I walked off it, but I am grateful to reconnect with them.

I believe in this reflection, for me, living life “out loud” is celebrating every nuance that surrounds me in a moment and realizing how I was meant to be right here, right now.

E-commerce -vs- Local Shopping

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Today I did something I have never wanted to do. I like to buy all my art supplies at local businesses…like Dick Blick or Utrecht to support these business who also serve art students. I do this because I remember needing something right away right away in school to work on a piece and I was always so grateful to be able to run to Utrect or Dick Blick or even Michael’s to pick it up. The stores would be gloriously stocked with anything you could ever want and most often you’d buy something cool while gathering a necessity. If Utrect or Blick stores were too far and it was an ART EMERGENCY (they exist!!), I would go to Michaels. Today I needed a tube of Windsor & Newton Quinacridone paint for a commissioned painting.  When I perused online, Utrect/Blick was going to cost me $30 for a small tube! Crazy high cost! So…I check Michaels and learned that they had it cheaper, however they don’t carry professional grade supplies in all their stores any longer.  If I purchased it online I would have to pay $10 to get it relatively quickly…like within 10 days. So…while I fidgeted in my seat (because of my desire to support local) I checked out Amazon…ding! Not only did I get it cheaper, but they will ship it free to receive it by tomorrow. I feel like I may have just sold a piece of my soul to the online devil and I feel really bad to do this…but businesses and e-commerce, I hope, will figure out a better solution. Some places, like Home Depot, will let you snag something online from their store and pick it up down the street relatively quickly and I wish more stores would do that. Perhaps someday I will be able to seek out smaller art supply stores that may be of assistance. Sigh….I am just happy to be able to get my paint by tomorrow.

Never miss an opportunity to teach…

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Sometimes while heading off on one field trip, I buzz by something that catches my eye. Often, I continue driving on my way as I contemplate whether or not I missed something that I will regret later.

Last week I was driving down Bell Road in the Woodridge area of Phoenix and I passed these large fabulous grey-green colored tree canopies that had the most crazy pink/peach clouds of fluff in them. It was hard to make out the tree blossoms at 45mph. As I continued on my way west, those distinct colors gnawed at me. Quickly I made a u-turn and headed back…knowing I would hate myself if I didn’t go back.

I quickly parked my car at a curbside, grabbed my camera, and skipped my way along the sidewalk of the very busy street. As I approached the tree my eyes widened in disbelief. I had never seen anything like these flower clusters raining down in pendulous bunches. I only had time to snap a few images and make sure to record the location for follow-up when I had the appropriate amount of time to dedicate to this horticultural goddess!

I counted the minutes for the next two days until my schedule opened enough for the time to get back to her. I ran back with a full camera battery and plenty of memory card space. During my time away, I also had done some research to initially discover it was a Eucalyptus tree. Days later I discovered it was now called a Red Gum – Corymbia ficifolia (formerly Eucalyptus ficifolia) to be specific. And there are actually FOUR trees in the parkway along Bell Road!

I pointed my eager camera up into the canopy and began snapping from every possible angle! Just then a very tall young guy came walking up. Have you ever realized when someone sees you looking up they tend to also look up? Anyway, this guy starts looking up and asks me if I am making art. I holster my camera and begin to rattle off all that I have recently learned about this tree and how rare it is to see them here in the desert in bloom. As I continued on, my new buddy’s wide open eyes now resemble mine and he actually seems a wee bit taller. In our conversation he shares that he grew up right around the corner and has passed these trees almost every day for years. In all that time, he admits, he never noticed these ping pong ball sized blooms nor has he paid attention to these trees. He thanked me for teaching him something new! I noticed a little skip in his step when he walked away and it reminded me how great it feels to discover and learn!

A large part of my art is to show and share things that most of us would just pass by and never really see. Some of the things I interpret and paint…and others I chronicle in photos. Receiving the confirmation from a stranger is the best feeling of all.

Posted while on a creative adventure!

The same difference + why blogs are good for the authors…

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Well, we moved…hmmm…moved seems too inadequate a word to describe relocating yourself and all your life’s belongings to the other side of the country that no longer resembles anything from before.  I guess that’s what happens when you take a Midwest girl and plunk her down in the desert.  It has been 63 profound days in Scottsdale, Arizona, yet feels like a year away from home. How long do you suppose before a new place becomes “home”? Thankfully, my past reflections can help me determine that answer.

When I first created this blog, I never had any clue how important it would be…to myself. As a kid (or adult) I never journaled or had a diary…I had a great memory instead. But what I never realized about those memories, is how affected they can be by emotional location (where your emotions are at the time of remembering). For that, this blog has become an invaluable tool to myself. I can look back and feel just where my emotional location was at various moments in my life over these past years.

We’ve done this before; relocated back in 2010 from the Chicago area to the Milwaukee area for only 15 months. While I was less than 2 hours from home, it still felt a world away. On a dark emotional day (perhaps homesick) I wrote a blog post comparing being an artist to “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Kundera.  In reading that post again…this is the message that I try to carry with me wherever I am…

Being an artist is also about sharing a particular view of the world.  I believe we look at common things with an uncommon eye.  We feel emotional impulses from objects, ideas, inspirations.  I don’t believe that just because we happen to have a job as a counselor, waitress, customer service rep, or assistant that we lose our ability to see and feel the world as we artists do. 

Yes, we live this particular life only once.  However, we do live for a lifetime in which we create a lifetime of artwork.  For some that may be 10,000 pieces of artwork and for others it may mean 3.  The important thing to remember is to be kind to yourself while surviving your life, embrace your artistic self in all that do (art and non-art related), and do something creative each day even if it’s cooking something different or taking a photograph with your smart phone.

There is an unbearable lightness or likeness of being an artist, but the defining moment is how you choose to allow it to define you.

So, these days while the sun is shining upon my face here in the desert and I am feeling unrooted, I look back at this and find a way to be kinder to myself and remember that artwork is created over a lifetime and in many different ways.  I also find in these reflections a confirmation of my subject matter and what flowers continue to teach me. For example, cacti (when removed from their connected “siblings”) must harden off a bit before you can put them back into the ground to grow. So, here I am rediscovering my new home, and in that I look forward to growing!

As a side note:  I am so grateful to be living close to and sharing time with my parents again; it has been 20 years since they had left the Midwest. My hubby, Dan, and I have been enjoying getting to know Scottsdale and finding our new studio location! I am equally grateful for my amazing friends who have reached out to me with their love and positive rays of sunshine. When I am feeling “unrooted” I tend to close up, but those who have reached a hand to me….you have made these 63 days profound and I thank you.

 

 

What is a “giclee” print?

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It recently dawned on me that there is a practice that I partake in that seems second nature to me, but perhaps people don’t have a clear cut idea about.

Whenever I finish a piece of artwork, it is my hope that someone will love it as much as I loved creating it and they will purchase it, take it home (or work), and enjoy the way it enhances their atmosphere! When someone does purchase a piece of my artwork, I am left with a memory of creating that work. The memory of how the images were a struggle to get…just right.  Or the challenge I overcame of colors that at first seemed like a great idea but later….had to be completely changed. But…just memories.

The solution to just having those memories?  Giclee prints! After starting my professional career, I discovered the wonderful world of digital scanning for printing. Now my artwork can be printed from a postage stamp to a billboard – all without losing one brushstroke detail or color quality.

Whenever people visit my studio, I often direct them to the prints of current and previous artwork that has sold. Sometimes they are not aware of exactly what giclee prints are or why they can seem pricey. So, I began to write up something to explain to my patrons about giclee prints and thought I should do the same on this blog. Afterall, that was the sole purpose of the blog to begin with!

What is a Giclee print?

If you have ever seen the term “Giclee” print and thought it seemed expensive for a copy of an artwork, you’re right! But there is a good reason for that. I will try to explain.

Giclee (pronounced zhee-klay) is a French term meaning “spray of liquid”. It demonstrates an evolution of printmaking technology that benefits artists who don’t necessarily wish to mass produce their artwork, but would like to sell copies or archive an image of their artwork.

The original artwork is captured via a high resolution scan and then printed with archival quality inks onto surfaces such as canvas or high quality papers. The giclee printing process provides more optimum details from the artwork and color accuracy than other mediums of reproduction.

Giclee prints are typically created using professional 8-color to 12-color ink jet printers. They can also be referred to as Iris prints.

Once an image is digitally scanned by a professional artwork printer, it can often be printed smaller or much larger and on various surfaces to customize for clients. Digital scanning also allows for better archival filing as the digital images will not deteriorate as negatives and film usually do.

Numerous examples of giclee prints can be found in museums such as the Metropolitan Museum or MOMA. Recent auctions of giclee prints have fetched $10,800 for Annie Liebovitz or $9,600 for Chuck Close.

When you purchase a giclee print of artwork, you are purchasing the artist’s hiring of a reputable digital printer, the materials on which it is printed, and the matting/framing of the giclee print as well. Giclee prints should be matted with acid free matboard to be sure the entire piece maintains its archival quality.

Hope that helps explain things!

A day at CBG.

I originally went to see this…which had not bloomed (sigh…)

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…but was in luck because everything else WAS!  It was a day to gather inspiration! Now to get busy painting!

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and always a showoff….

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Happy August!  -Catie

Posted while on a creative adventure!

Meditative

I am starting to feature a Photo-of-the-Day on my blog! Today’s is….

Medatative. It features one of the best qualities of Aruba….their sunsets.

The things I photograph are more than about content…they more often focus on color combinations or something odd that made me laugh. I hope you enjoy them!

You can also see them on Twitter @catarzina or on Insta @ artbycatarzina or FB http://www.facebook.com/artbycatarzina.

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