Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


3 Comments

2011 Word of the Year Review: Thoughts on Being Big

Last year I chose the word “Big” to guide me through 2011. You can read how I chose that particular word here.

I had to re-read the post as a reminder of what lead me to choose the word. Ironically, I didn’t mention the one thing that I thought was the driving force behind this word choice. That would’ve been developing my business plan in 2010 and diving into teaching polymer clay mixed media workshops. I remember having grand thoughts of teaching several workshops in 2011.

The Year Begins

January 2011 was a BIG month in terms of events that marketed my art. I get where my head was at back then. I was also embarking on a new series of artwork that was manifested by my health issues. I did have BIG ideas.

So did Mother Nature. Winter in Massachusetts was BIG in 2011. So big that it took a toll on our roof which led to ice dams, leaking, and water damage. That meant moving in and out of my studio several times throughout the year because of damage and then repairs. These were BIG challenges I had not envisioned. I had to cancel my spring workshop given the state of the studio.

I progressed on my new series of artwork, Glimmer of Hope for a little while (here, here, and here.) Then I think I got too close to the work. Using a health issue to create art is nothing new. However, it can also bring up lots of dirt and emotions. The deeper I went, the less I wanted to see. So I stopped creating these sculptural pieces.

At the end of March I had surgery. Another BIG event that corrected the BIG problem. I left behind the sculptural pieces and started experimenting with encaustic medium and creating abstract pieces like this. Two BIG changes here for me to work with a new medium and play with shapes.

The next couple of months I flopped around. Not a lot of blogging. Still experimenting with art.

A Mid-Year Wake Up

With June fast approaching and a trip to La Cascade in France on the horizon, I decided, with some encouragement, to commit to a new series of artwork that would be inspired by our trip.

Before we even left the country I notified my customers and collectors of my plans to create this new series. I had no idea how many pieces would be made or what exactly the pieces would look like. I only knew I was going to make a new series using ATC encaustic boards as my substrate.

Now this was being BIG. When we returned I chose the date for my open studio where I would debut the new series. Then I worked backwards determining how many pieces I would make and how many pieces I could create per week, when I had to send out postcards and e-newsletters with updates on my progress. This was an entirely new experience for me.

On September 25, I debuted Snapshots & Memories from Languedoc-Roussillon. The series had 15 pieces in it; 3 of which have since sold. You can see the entire series in this video on my YouTube Channel.

I finally felt like I was having the BIG year I originally envisioned.

More Big-ness

Coming off the success of the Languedoc-Roussillon series, I decided to return to sculpting and created my next series of artwork called Ornimals: Animal sculpted ornaments that capture the humor & joy of life expressed by our pets.

With this series I made an active decision to focus only on animals. This was a BIG challenge for me because my artwork has been a bit scattershot over the past couple of years. However the focus on one topic, animals, has paid off. The Ornimals made their debut at a holiday art/craft show in October. By the end of the holiday show season, I had sold 23 Ornimals.

When I decided to create the Ornimals, I also decided to donate a portion of my total sales to Baypath Humane Society of Hopkinton. At the end of December I made that donation in the amount of $65.00. It was a great feeling.

In writing these words, I see the year was, indeed, a BIG year on many fronts. Perhaps it wasn’t the BIG I intended, however, it still turned out fine. I survived challenges that were out of my control. And I survived the challenges that I gave myself. I’ve also realized that although I choose a word to guide me each year, I don’t always stop to think about the word throughout the year. After the way 2011 started, I’d pretty much given up on having a BIG year. What I didn’t really consider is that the intention of the word can change. So I didn’t have a trumpets blaring and confetti falling BIG kind of year. But I did have a glittery, hand clapping BIG kind of year.

And I’m fine with that.


2 Comments

The Video: Snapshots & Memories from Languedoc-Roussillon

Well, it only took three complete video shoots plus a few short missteps and installing the newest version of  iMovie. However, I am happy to announce that I can now finally share with you the video version of my latest series of artwork, Snapshots & Memories from Languedoc-Roussillon.

In this video you’ll learn about my inspiration for the series and hear a little more about the individual pieces. All of the artwork in this series is for sale. If you’re interested in purchasing a piece, please leave a comment and I’ll contact you.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel and receive updates when new videos are posted.

Enjoy!


7 Comments

Introducing Snapshots & Memories From Languedoc-Roussillon, A New Series of Artwork

Over the past several weeks, I have been working on a new series of artwork, Snapshots and Memories from Languedoc-Roussillon. This series of artwork was inspired by a trip to an area of France known as the Languedoc-Rousillon region. The Languedoc-Roussillon region is a loosely formed triangle that includes such towns as Albi, Revel, and Toulouse. It is an area steeped in history, with many castles and ruins from the time of the Cathars. It is a magical place.

This series currently features 15 collectible pieces. All of these pieces are created using encaustic medium. Many feature the fusion of polymer-encaustic. That is, the combining of encaustic medium and polymer clay. All of the pieces feature my printmaking or my original photographs. Each image is fused to a board the size of a playing card (2.5″W x 3.5″L). The playing card size board is then mounted onto wood.

Some of the images are presented individually on the wood boards. Other images were combined in double and triple formats. Several of the pieces are additionally embellished with items I purchased at the local Vide Grenier (flea market) during my time in France. All of the artwork is ready to hang.

Arched Shutter_Revel

Chez Castre

Hear No Evil

Le Tournesol_The Sunflower (1)

Le Tournesol_The Sunflower (2)

Shutters de Montolieu

The Key

Weathered Door_Revel

Gnarly Dog_Gnarly Tree

Shutters de Soreze

Weathered Brass Knockers

Doors of Intrigue

France In Blue

Keys of Three

Rest



1 Comment

Carcassone Part 2: Gargoyles, Angels, & a Sundae

Last week I posted Part One of our trip to Carcassone. To read Part One click here.

Carcassone has many of the things I love about medieval villages: sculpture, religious artifacts, and gargoyles. This post is less about the story of Carcassone and more about the interior images of Carcassone.

These two large concrete heads greet visitors inside where you pick up the audio guide.

I loved this bas-relief sculpture of monks. At first I thought it represented the Seven Deadly Sins…but then realized there are only six characters. Maybe they left off one of them.

This anteroom may have once been a private chapel or prayer room. I was drawn to the large sculpture of the crucifixion.

Crucifixion Sculpture Front Side

Right Front Side

Crucifixion in Center of Sculpture

Back of Crucifixion Sculpture

Mary

Angel

Gargoyles

Gargoyles are my favorite exterior sculptures on European churches. It is always fun to look for the ugliest, the cutest, or the strangest creature. These gargoyles can be found on the exterior of the church on the grounds of the walled village.

Hear No Evil

Look Up

Can you spot the laughing head in the image below?

This guy definitely gets my vote for smallest and cutest gargoyle.

The Cemetery

Outside of the walled fortress was a lovely cemetery. It wasn’t particularly old but it did have some great sculptures. Most of the cemeteries I’ve seen in France have family crypts. All above ground. They remind me a bit of the cemeteries in New Orleans.

Okay, I know cemeteries are supposed to be places of quiet reflection. Yet, when I saw the image below, I couldn’t help but chuckle and think the angel was commanding the person to “Rise, Darn It.”

Finally, no visit to a lovely medieval village is complete without an ice cream break. Even the deserts are presented creatively.

Until my next post.

A bientot.


9 Comments

Medieval Village: Carcassone, Part 1

One of the most popular tourist attractions in the Midi-Pyrenees region of France must be the medieval fortress of Carcassone. Carcassone is a double-walled, nearly impregnable fortress, founded by the Visigoths in the Golden Age. First signs of settlement in this area date back to 3500 B.C.

Legend has it that in 760 Pepin the Short took southern France from the Saracens. Except Carcassone which he could not breach. Pepin assumed the people of Carcassone would eventually starve and surrender. However, Dame Carcas had another plan. She fattened up their last pig and had it thrown over the city’s ramparts.

Pepin and his army believed that if the inhabitants could waste such an animal, they must be well-stocked and ready to fight for a long time. Eventually Pepin and his army retreated. Dame Carcas rang all the bells in the city in celebration. She had saved the city from invasion. And hence the name “Carcas sone” was born: Dame “Carcas rings” the bells.

In 1853 Carcassone was restored under the guidance of architect Eugene Viollet le Duc. It attracts millions of visitors each year. We visited mid-week and the crowds weren’t too bad inside the walled city. Outside, however, on the cobblestone streets, it felt a little bit like Disneyland. Lots of souvenir shops with kitschy gifts. If you can get beyond that aspect, Carcassone is a curious place to visit.

In part one of this post, I’ll share mostly exterior shots.

As you enter Carcassone, you’re greeted by this rather large sculpture of Dame Carcas.

Horse carriage tour. Love the hats. Very chic.

Carcassone on approach

Love this sign near the ticket window. I’m sure this is a necessary reminder on really busy days.

Inner walls and covered walkway

As we walked through parts of the fortress, Eric looked up and noticed these dead birds. Netting had been suspended in various areas to keep the birds from flying down off the rafters. Apparently some of the birds fell or got stuck in the netting and were left to die. Feeling medieval yet?

View of the city from the fortress

Narrow window view

I hear strains of J. Geils when I see the shot below.

“Hey Reputah, Hey Reputah the Beautah, flip me down your hair and let me climb up to the ladder of your love….”

Just what is a whoober-goober anyways?

Can you name the J. Geils song I’m referring to?

Until my next post,

A bientot.


3 Comments

Sights Around Albi, France

During Dayle’s workshop, one of the field trips we take is to Albi. Albi is in southern France in the Tarn department. Its history can be traced all the way back to Bronze Age (3000-600 BC.) I didn’t see any remnants from that time period. We typically visit Albi to see the Toulouse Lautrec Museum and the St. Cecile Cathedral.

This was my second visit to Albi. Instead of taking many pictures of the Cathedral, as I did last time, I tried to focus my attention on the textures and colors. I hope you enjoy these images of Albi.

Can you believe the color of the blue sky?

And a few images from St. Cecile Cathedral

To learn more about St. Cecilia, click here

To learn more about the St. Cecile Cathedral in Albi, click here

Until my next post,

A bientot


Leave a comment

Skeleton Key Artist Trading Card

I am working on a new series of artwork, Snapshots and Memories from Languedoc-Rousillion. This series of small artworks is inspired by my recent trip to France. You can read about the first two prototype ATCs I created in this earlier blog post.

This last prototype is inspired by skeleton keys.

This piece started out with a different key in the center of the ATC. I chose a print I made during Dayle’s workshop. However, when I added the oil paint to color the encaustic wax, the original image was essentially lost under the paint. The print wasn’t bold enough to compete with the additional color.

So I tried another idea. I sketched over the print of another key with a 1.0 micron pen and applied that image over the original skeleton key.

Skeleton Key ATC

This improved version features encaustic wax colored with phthalo blue oil paint, verdigris and tapestry embossing powders, incising, a polymer clay keyhole, and polymer clay embellishments.

Now I’m ready to dive into the heart of this new series of artwork.

Snapshots and Memories from Languedoc-Rousillion

This new series of artwork will be made available first to those who receive my monthly e-newsletter. The ATCs will be presented in single, double, and triple format, mounted on wood and ready to hang.

If you are interested in learning more about this series, please subscribe to my newsletter via this form my website Amy A. Crawley Fine Art

Until my next post,

A bientot

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 333 other followers