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New studio for the Millers

Debbie and I made a bold move this week. We converted our family room into a 100% full-use art studio for two. We relocated the TV, couch and retro knick-nacks to the little-used “formal” living room and filled the central family room with art tables, easels, rolling carts and all the art supplies we need to create. Our TV hadn’t moved in twenty years — just gotten wider and flatter as technology changed. But it was always the main feature of our living space. By moving it out and committing the prime household space to our art, we are reclaiming some of our heart. We are declaring that the desire to create is more significant in our lives than the desire to watch what others have created. It feels like we’ve gotten a new home — one where our creative adventures take the main stage.

Here’s the new studio.

New Studio for the Miller's
New Studio for the Miller’s
RWO ~ Ronda Wollard Originals

My 50 by 50 Challenge

I’m not fifty yet. But I’m close. Just shy of a year away. I started to think, what do I want to do to celebrate this milestone? A trip, a gift, a midlife crisis… none of these “standards” seemed that compelling. But how about a body of work? A collection of intentional artwork. A visual journey that honors my hands, my heart and my passion. Now that sounded interesting to me! So starting now, I am challenging myself to create 50 pieces of finished art by the time I turn fifty.

So here begins the first step of a journey. One I hope is filled with wonder, challenge, story, self discovery and messy hands.

(p.s. in case you want to celebrate the official start of my “last year of my 40’s,” my birthday is July 15th. Maybe you’ll take the 50 pieces of art challenge with me, even if this isn’t one of your “biggie” birthdays.)

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Happy community

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This painting makes me laugh. It fills me with joy. Who are these little guys? What are they doing? Where are they going? I didn’t paint this canvas knowing the answers to these questions, but the characters make me wonder. I love how they seem to want to be together when the world around them seems busy and complex. I love how they all look similar but are still unique individuals. Isn’t that community? I know that is what I want — to be connected to others and still be true to myself.

This painting was one of two 3′ X 3′ canvases I created at Donna Downey’s “Paint Like an Artist” workshop in June 2015. If you haven’t had the chance to experience her teaching and hospitality, give yourself a treat! She guided us through an intuitive process that was so freeing and fun.

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First layer of paint
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Added more colors
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Started to see and pull out some buildings
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Tested placement of the little guys on the canvas.
The finished piece
The finished piece
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When I catch you, I’ll…

When I catch You, I'll...

Even though I was really happy when I this canvas, the painting seems sad to me. Or at least the main character on the left seems sad. He has sad eyes. Is he down on his luck? Rain seems to be pouring down on him. Who is grabbing at him? What does he want? Are those prison stripes? Is he wearing a fez or did someone dump a bowl on his head?

There is a story going on in this painting. A narrative that is screaming to come out, but it needs you — the viewer — to be told. I haven’t painted a distinct plot line, but I have created story elements. I invite you to find your own story in this work. What narrative do you see? What elements pop out at you? What emotions are stirred? How would you tell this story?

I created this 3′ X 3′ piece at one of Donna Downey’s studio workshops, and she fell in love with a “character” in this story that she names “Paco.” Can you see him in the bottom center of the canvas, under the arch of houses?

Filling in the background with color.
Filling in the background with color
Adding layers of color
Adding layers of color and chaos
Dividing up the image.
Dividing up the canvas with bold strokes of ink
Starting to find images.
Starting to find and isolate areas of action as the final images were emerging
The final painting
The final painting
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Cup of Inspiration
Donna Downey 2015 Artist Gang #3

I love waking up my creativity by using some “old friend” art supplies in new ways. This easy, fun project was one of my Donna Downey Artist Gang offerings (June 2, 2015). I explored making a mask and creating background, midground and foreground texture with inspirational stamps. The result: a bold reminder of what stirs my creativity and helps get my day started right!

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Final piece of art
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Notes and color samples

Click “Read More” to get more info and links to products in Donna Downey’s online shop.

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On a Roll with Mindy Lacefield

I meet Mindy Lacefield at a class she taught at Donna Downey’s Studio in May 2014. Mindy is such an inspiration to me. The way she approaches art is refreshing and inspiring. My wife, Debbie, calls her style whimsical, primitive, intuitive. I call it “pure Mindy.”

This year I was honored when she asked me to create a short video for her “Permission to Play” class.  I created a creativity game you can play with your friends or use to boost yourself out of the creative doldrums. Sign up for her class to see my segment and all the other fun projects she and her collaborators have created.

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P.S. I’m not saying that my friends are squirrelly or anything…

 

Here are a few pages from the art journal I created at Mindy’s workshop last spring.

First page spread.
First page spread
Another page spread
And yet another page spread