Monday, September 5, 2016

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - On the Importance of Dreams and Becoming an Artist

Art Defying Boundaries

"Each person is a book or medley of
 and each story choreographed in time 
is as unique as the actors and their lives."

    Have you ever wondered:  How does one end up as (or become) an Artist? What characteristics or traits and what events in their lives have led them to their creative journey? What makes an artist tick? How are they wired? How do they think? What motivates them and keeps them going...? 

     After being asked those questions hundreds of time, I thought it was the moment to share a few insights into how and why I turned to art, became an artist, and have made art all my life. For me, it was a series of choices...or perhaps I really had no choice at all. Regardless, I would not change a thing or any step in my art journey. I have an innate need to create, to think, to question and ponder, and to explore and experiment. I love traveling and reading and writing. Most recently, a trip to Ireland unlocked new interests...and could even result in a new landscape series in time. Everything in life is food for thought and material to incorporate into my work. Even my insomnia contributes to it and is testament to my active and analytic mind.

      I am a 'people person' and I love learning about people, their lives, and their backgrounds. Their stories fascinate, move, and inspire me. Connecting with people - even passing strangers in a grocery store line - teaches me about them and about life itself...and leads me to contemplate life and motivations, relationships and emotions, and most of all: the ties that bind one to another. 

      What defines or helps shape our style of relationship-building begins when we are children. Everything revolves around those formative years, our social network and support (or not) systems. While growing up, we shape our mind, hearts, and souls; our needs are defined...and so is our will. My life inspired me to push myself beyond my roots and fears and limitations. I bet your life has done the same for you.

French Classes led me to the International Club in High School, which led me to make my Can-Can costume and dance onstage at the Club's big event. Who knew??... I don't think my Mother ever recovered...

     Following is a short version of my story of how I became an Artist: 

Her Dreams Become Her

      A creative, independent streak was hard-wired into me from birth, as I emerged first from the womb shared with my twin brother. Struggling for an identity separate from the twin mystique and “twins should not be separated” philosophy of the day, I sought freedom from potential limitations of a co-dependent reality (I was always referred to as half of a unit), and rejected predetermined sets of boundaries or rules. The search for originality and a distinctive identity sharpened my mind, honed my innate inquisitiveness, and forged an intuitive soul that fiercely guards and nourishes my art and my creative identity. 

     I believe that each painting or creation has its own story to tell and reflects the personal vision, emotions, history, and culture of its creator. I work on several paintings in a series simultaneously – both for practical and philosophical reasons: it allows me to explore multiple creative threads, and it also allows my paintings to mature, cure, or dry. I use line, color, and shape placement or composition to create iconic or allegorical reflections of relationship complexities, dimensions, and inter-dependencies to resurrect feelings of transcendence, mystery, and hope. 

     When we are young, we often dream. Therein lies hope and possibility... In dreaming (daydreams and more), I formed my goals and set my course. Dreams are and always have been very important to me: they inspire and they guide me, they alert me, they help me solve problems, and they make me think. In that dream state, we are connected to energy that is beyond our conscious thought. In dreams, I find my muse... 

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Grace" - Clay Bas-Relief

Because pictures are worth a thousand words, here is a short video. 
 I hope you will enjoy this short video biographical sketch of where dreams
 and a lifetime of work has taken me so far... I am excited about where I might go next...

Thank you for stopping in. 
I appreciate your support and I hope to hear from you soon. Please
let me know if my story speaks to your own or inspires you in some way.

Yours in Art,

© 2016 - Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR)
 All images and content remain the property of the Artist. All rights reserved.


Saturday, August 6, 2016

What is all the Fuss About "Painting in a Series?"

 Why Create a Series?

     As Artists, each of us is unique in our art and how we pursue and reveal our vision. I would not try to change you or anyone…, but offer only suggestions or ideas for you to consider and add to your repertoire – or discard. One thing that I have done throughout my art career is to create works in a series. Sometimes, I have several series in progress at the same time, overlapping, connecting…, but separate. I pursue different themes or threads of an idea. I believe this process has kept me intrigued and helped me evolve into a better artist over time.

     One of my series of watermedia on paper from about 2006 onward, called “New Directions,” grew out of my desire to explore a neutral palette and the blacks, browns, and greys that I had long ignored. In the end, I painted about 100 paintings that to this day, I consider “keepers.” Some paintings from that series follow:

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Smoke and Mirrors" - Watermedia (30 x 22 inches)

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Smoke and Mirrors" - Watermedia (22 x 30 inches)

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "By Chance" - Watermedia (11 x 22 inches)

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Odyssey" - Watermedia (30 x 22 inches)

     Not everything I create falls into a series, and there are pieces that I refer to as “outliers.” They come to the surface when it is their time, and I welcome them. Overall, though, I tend to create works in a series because it keeps me focused, demanding more of me and pushing me in different ways with each piece. By working on a series, verses onesies and twosies, we can “go deep” as artists. Deep into a subject, idea, theme, or mood …or even deeper into a certain aspect of design. Do you want to concentrate on line or pattern in one series, atmosphere and tone in another, and lost and found edges in still another? Commit to it and proceed…

     At one point, just to be sure I could still paint landscapes—but this time using acrylics on canvas for the first time—I painted a mini-series “Songs of the Seasons.” One example follows:
Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Rumba in the Rough" - Acrylic (12 x 9 inches)

     Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with painting a portrait today, a landscape yesterday, and a still life tomorrow. I am merely suggesting we consider “going deep” as a type of independent study program. Perhaps you might choose one special focus series a year, even as you continue to work on a myriad of diverse paintings, or commissions, or murals, etc.  
     By going deep into a series, however, as I have done with figures and my “Relationship” series over the last several years, Artists delve into technical challenges and artistic complexities, and we push past frustration and solve problems – thereby gaining experience that we otherwise might have missed. What is nice about working in series is that I still get to “do it all.” In one series, I focus on alienation and the solitary. I can do this with color or lost & found edges. In another series, I focus on exclusion or anger and betrayal, using line and calligraphy (words) to support my idea and vision. I do not want to be typecast as any one kind of painter, so I work on non-objective work even while focusing on a figurative series. I am never bored – because I have at least two different series developing at any one time. I don’t know if that means I have some attention problems, but I do crave some variety, so that is how I work. How do you like to work and how do you work best...?

     Artists that today we consider to be Masters worked in a series. Links to videos of work by three of my favorites follow:

Pablo Picasso

  1. Seven Women – Seven Works / PICASSO: 

  2. Pablo Picasso's Portraits of Women:

  3. Picasso's Women - Picasso et Les Femmes:

Wilhelm de Kooning

  1. Abstract Expressionism:

  2. Women Figures (Focus on Mouth):

Richard Diebenkorn

 1. Link to Diebenkorn's Figures:

 2. Diebenkorn - On approaching a blank canvas:

 3. Seated woman:

Consider this

      What pushes your emotions or what have you always wanted to paint…? Create this series just for you – especially if you fear that your family won’t like it or that it won’t “sell.” Avoid criticism (for now) and second-guessing, and simply don’t show the paintings to anyone. …Then, after you have painted about twenty or more, look them over and see what you think. Be proud of sticking with it and of how much you have pushed yourself and your art. Consider how much your skills have deepened. 

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Saturday Afternoon with Zelda" - Acrylic (25 x 30 inches)

   If you would like to see more, you can find paintings from a few of my series on my Website or click on the links, below:

      Try it... See where your own Muse takes you!  
I think you owe it to yourself as an artist to find out... don't you?  

     As you pursue your series, please feel free to drop me a line from time to time and let me know how your art exploration is going at:

Take your art to the next level and give painting in a series a try. 

Yours in Art,

 See you next time... Thanks for your time.

© 2016 - Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR)
 All images and content remain the property of the Artist. All rights reserved.

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