Posts Tagged ‘challenge’

more for the challenge

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Artist Cheryl Sterling who creates extraordinary quilts gives a refreshingly honest and candid response to the challenge:

“I’m not the best at explaining myself so to help me along I’m going to do this essay question style. Here I go.”

Do you find that the statement “You can tell a lot about a person by the art that they make” is true?

“Sometimes. I think you can tell a lot about a person from who and what they surround themselves with. When people walk into my house they know it’s MY house and I think that’s cool.”

Does this exercise give you some clarity or ability to see your creations differently?

“Sure. I have been semi-secretly angry that most everything I create is for someone else. I slave over a piece and the minute it’s finished it’s out the door and I can’t say I’m not glad to see it go. I don’t own any of my best work. The last quilt I made for myself was my wedding quilt three and a half years ago. I don’t want to even think about how long it’s been since I have gotten to keep a portrait I’ve made. When I look at my past works I feel very detached from them, almost as if someone else did them. I think they are cool and pleasant to look at but I don’t feel it says anything but “damn she quilts some nifty stuff”. It says nothing about me.”

Do you know someone who’s art clearly reflects who they are?

“I might have a better answer for this question if I knew more of the artists I admire in person. I’m a hermit. I admire from afar so I can’t be sure.”

Is the work you did ten years ago different? have you matured artistically or just improved your skills? Is there a difference?

“I’m not the same but unfortunately I feel like my art has not changed much my skills are just more polished. I feel like 5-6 years ago I stumbled upon a cool technique and I have been standing in a stagnant pool of it ever since. Blah. I’m good with my hands and given enough time and practice I can do just about anything crafty fairly well. Technical skill and artistic maturity do not always go hand in hand.”

Is the content or the media the same?

“The problem is the content is whatever my client wants it to be. I have been wanting to evolve but my obligations have been holding me hostage to the same style over and over again.”

“Now for the ugly underbelly:
Most of the work I have done since I have been a full time artsy fart has been commissioned work and I don’t think I want to do it anymore. I had an opportunity to be featured on a local Chicago TV show and at first I was excited but then the reality set in that if people saw that segment they may call me and want to commission a piece. They canceled the first taping because the cameraman didn’t show but when they called to reschedule I never called back. Very telling I’d say. I have been just sitting on my re-designed (pretty darn snazzy) website for almost a year because I have not been able to answer the question-
“Do you even want any more commission work?”
The short answer is no. The medium answer is hell no. The conundrum is commission work has been my bread and butter for years and if I don’t want to do it anymore what do I want to do? Do I have anything to say? I’m still figuring it out.

Being a full time artist is definitely not for the faint of heart. I quit my job to do this. I’m not making much money doing it but for the most part I am happy I chose this path. The difficulty comes when I have to make what I want to do or how I spend my time make sense to my husband the engineer. This is a man that is loving and supportive but likes life best when you can make a spreadsheet to explain things. I can’t explain my urge to get up in the middle of the night and roll around in my fabric. I can’t explain the burning need I feel to just play with my stuff and see what comes out. We finally had several tear filled (on my part) family discussions on the matter and have come out on the other end a lot better off.

I canceled my last big commission because it was not going well at all and I could not bear the thought of starting over. He was very understanding and let me off the hook. The moment I heard back from that client it was like a boulder had been lifted off of my shoulders. I could do anything I wanted. ANYTHING I WANTED. So I made a cocktail hat and looked for volunteering opportunities.”


Prize package

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Original challenge here

The challenge prize package is juicy.

original painting on gallery wrapped canvas with one and a half inch sides “Mr. Handy” about 10 x 10 I think.
giclee on wood block from original artwork, “Maggie the Magnificent”
print of “Her Horns were showing”
scrabble tile necklace
glass charm
glass magnet


First response to the Introspective challenge

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Stacy answers the challenge posted yesterday, this way:

“I do find that statement to be true in many cases. i think a lot of the reason i make my art is not to sell it, but rather to show parts of myself to people that i don’t know how to show in any other fashion. i’m not a great conversationalist, i’m not the life of the party, i’m pretty shy & it’s hard for me to just meet new people… but if i paint about something and then someone else comes along and sees something in my painting that resonates with them, it’s the basis for a new friendship, or at the very least a (hopefully) engaging conversation.

i think that sometimes lately, i feel unsure in the middle of my paintings – like i know where i want to start, but i don’t know where i want it to finish (& i used to.) i feel like something is sort of changing inside me too, in the way i view things & interpret things & decide to paint them to share my interpretations with others. it’s a little tricky, like learning something fresh that i thought i’d already learned, so there’s a lot of failure involved… but i think there’s also some maturing along the way. my work is VERY different now than it was ten years ago, and i’d say ten years ago the things i painted did not reflect who i was at all. i think i’ve grown more comfortable with my work and i now allow it to express more intimate details about myself than i did in the past. ten years ago, it was about “who will think i’m great for this?” and now it’s “something’s burning me inside and i have to get it out.” ten years ago it was about “i wonder if i could sell this” and now, judging by the piles of art in my house that i don’t even bother to try to sell, it’s more about “now i’ll have a way to remember that moment, frozen in time.”

i definitely feel there’s a difference between artistically maturing vs improving skills, and they are not necessarily dependent on or related to each other. anyone can be taught to improve skills – if you practice anything enough, you’re sure to get better at it, whether it’s riding a bike, drawing a straight line, or mixing a perfect color match to some object that you’re trying to paint. but maturity in art can only reflect maturity as a person, i feel. i’m sure many disagree.

i could go on about this for awhile (i said it’s something i’ve been thinking about a lot lately!) but i’m not sure i have the right words yet to say what i’m thinking, so…”


“more on the art reflecting the person behind it:

if i looked at my own work as a stranger i’d think

spontaneous / rough / moody / unsure / deep

i’d think this person is trying to see both sides of things, or doesn’t know how to see only one side.

but there is also a lighter side of me that i’m not really able to paint about. when i feel that way, i’m laughing or gardening or spending time with my son or listening to music or playing tetris

& the painting is just to get the bad things out so they don’t eat me alive, so i don’t fester

so the painting is maybe just one side of me, now that i think about this more.

which makes me wonder – how can i capture the lighter side of things?”

Lemons Nesting

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

These are my pieces for Jen Worden’s citrus Collage challenge, and it was a challenge. I decided to use sliced dehydrated citrus as the basis for my pieces. I wanted at first to incorporate them into an art doll but I just could not pull it off, the citrus slices were just too disparate. I then tried making a mobile, but it looked silly since it would have worked fine with the type of stuff I don’t have such as twigs, twine, drift wood or natural ephemera. I finally decided upon coupling the slices with a yellow color scheme and rather then a flat collage, a dimensional collage and that is how the nests came about.