Monday, June 27, 2011

Contrasts in art and life inspires your creativity.

It was a weekend of contrasts. But, I love contrasts. Putting black against white, brilliant sunsets against the night sky or solitude against huge crowds, it’s what makes life, well, alive. It’s the contrast of opposites, I think, that attract, define and give art and life balance.

Once again, this year, I had screening sculptures in the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts Open Show. Coming back to the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts feels like coming home. It felt cozy and welcoming in the tent.

Seeing other friends and artists.

Taking in all the enormous variety of paintings, sculptures, and fiber art.

Wandering through the park, listening to music and eating ice cream. It’s an annual community celebration of art and music that’s been going on for over 40 years. As a young, nerdy high school student at Lake Oswego High, I participated in the student show getting an honorable mention for my small, weird, hand-built clay cup. Not something I thought much of at the time.

But looking back, I can see that it did encourage that awkward, frightened teenager to try a few art classes. Those first classes in watercolor, clay and design led me to more classes in drawing, painting, fiber art, sculpture and lately, more clay. Now, I show my work in galleries, juried shows and exhibits across the Northwest, teach workshops to children and adults, and do art residencies. In fact, I’ve been taking, teaching or learning about art ever since that first high school art class. (Maybe that nice high school teacher knew something I didn’t at the time?)

This year, I got the chance to do a demonstration at the Festival on Sunday, showing how I sculpt in window screening and copper.

I shared how I start a new copper or screening piece, using my fingers and tools from clay, metal and my kitchen and explained how I color the metal with heat and chemical patinas. The people who watched asked great questions and others who strolled by stopped for help problem solving their own artistic dilemmas.

Today, I’m sitting in my office chair working on my laptop to the sound of my doggy snoring. While yesterday, I had a group watching me create to the sounds of children swinging on the playground and crowds chatting on their way in and out of the festival. Now that’s a black and white contrast. But like I said, I love contrasts. And it was delight to see so many people, so much wonderful art and share my passion for what I do with others. I left with new energy and ideas and hope that I inspired others to give art a chance in their life like I did all those years ago.

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