Tuesday, 2 December 2008

What brings you joy?

A few weeks ago I drove up to Big Sur, CA to take some personal time and work on a new series of paintings I'm calling Patchwork Paper ( photos of works in process will be revealed next week!). During the drive I listened to a new book entitled A Thousand Names for Joy by Byron Katie. This book took me into an entirely different way of seeing myself and reality. I recommend it highly.

So, here's my question for you for today...what brings you joy?

I was thinking of this question myself this morning as I dropped my daughter Ruthie off at kindergarten and set myself up to make little artist gift cards at a local cafe. Making cards brings me so much joy, as well as making art. Lately Ruth has made friends with my friend Kathy's dog Zeus - it brings me such joy to watch them run around togher, down the lane through the autumn leaves...wonderful.

Some other thigns that bring me joy:

  • writing in my journal

  • taking long walks in nature

  • ocean swimming

  • thinking about new paintings

  • connecting with friends

  • working on a project
  • reading a good book

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Patchwork Paper....new paintings in process!

Here are some fun snaps of a series of collage paintings in process. The series is called Patchwork Paper. Each collage 'painting' is 23 x 30" on 150 pound paper and is a compilation of painted and textured papers put together in a patchwork pattern.

I paint and cut all the different papers and then organize the pieces to create the final piece.

This body of work has been created in various places - at a 24 hr paint-a-thon that occured in Santa Barbara in October, up at Esalen in Big Sur, and at home in my studio....

and, if you're wondering, the rocks are simply used to hold the paper in place before I begin to glue them down! (plus the rocks look nice!)

You can come and see the paintings in person this thursday December 4th at the DRAWN OUT group show, 125 E. Carrillo, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 5-8 PM

I start by painting the variuos papers - tissue paper, rice paper, hand made papers from tibet. I have been collecting these papers for years as I find them at art and specialty stores. Some of the papers were gifted to me.

Laying all the papers out to figure out what will work together.

During the process I write myself post-it-notes to remember what piece goes where. The pieces interlap so when I am in the glueing proces it takes all my focus and attention to remember what pieces goes where! The final piece is never the same as the initial.

After choosing the papers I begin by putting them on the 23 x 30 " paper and start working out the pattern.

A close up of the pink and gold patchwork piece.

A close up of the deep red papers.

Near the end when I have glued on all the papers, I lay down a plastic kitchen garbage bag (these seem to work best) and then cover it with heavy books to flatten the collage down.

Stay posted for the final art pieces which will be posted on my blog and website when they are finished and then professionally photographed. All works are for sale. Unframed $800 USD and framed $1200. Feel free to call to view paintings (805) 403-9879. Serious inquiries onlyl please. Thank you.

24 hr -paint - a - thon & ART SHOW in Santa Barbara

On Saturday October 25th a group of Santa Barbara artists, including myself and my friend Lyza Fontana got together to paint for 24 hrs! The show was organized by Ethan Turpin -

Here are some picts from the event.

Some beautiful caligraphy writings were created on paper tags by Ulrike Kerber.

Ethan worked on a large scrolll with words and pencil drawings

Here we all are working

Julie did very realistic sketches of mosquitos and wonderful little abstract sribbles on papers.

Jonny Troyna working on his pencil drawings

The group art pieces we all added to during the day/night.

Saul Grey-Hilderbrand  is working on a 150 ft long scroll!

Lyza Loo (nickname for my wonderful friend Lyza Fontana) is working on her wonderful mixed media paintings on canvas. Love her work. Kind of reminds me of Kelly Rae Roberts's work.

Lyza Fontana in her groove making art. Go girl!

and I did not take any pictures of myself, except the Patchwork Paper collage painting series in process which will be my next blog post!

All the art will be shown:

at " DRAWN OUT" an exhibition of the 24 hr ARt Slam" thursday Dec 4th 5-8 PM

VIVA Design Studio Gallery
Located behind 'Labor ready'
125 E. CArRILLO ST.Santa Barbara.ca.93101

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

On bravery

You are the taste in very lip,
the intention of every religion,
you swing.

Your great heart out of the ground
and put your shapes in the air.
Half crazy is not early enough for you!
The sacred letter alif
turns into a circle, the rim of a wineglass.

This madness rises
out of love, and weeping.

We must not be afriad of
what anyone will say:



Tuesday, 18 November 2008

My Kid Could Paint That

Just finished watching the documentary My Kid Could Paint That about Marla Olmstead the contemporarty abstract painter, established age 4.

This movie brought up so much emotion I found myself crying during parts of it. Her work is real, her process liberating, and the scene where the art teacher cannot speaks because emotion is welling up inside her, quite honestly, is the reason I teach adults --- to let them re- experience that childlike wonder and freedom of creativity. Beacuse we all have that in us at and if we are honest we all long to go back to that place of childlike innocence, pushing paint around, finger painting, stayhing in our PJ's all day.

The reasons Marla paints are the reasons I paint - for the moment, to play with paint, and to connect with something greater than myself that is part of all of us, that as humans we have lost with our thinking and analyzing and fretting and resisting and labelling and judging, and wish we could return to.

Cheers to you Marla, sweet artist, and to your fantastic and loving parents who did the best possible thing they could at every step of the way. Your work is exquisite and I hope above all you are able to keep the fun and bliss in your creating alive, always. Love to all of you.

Pick your word

If you got the chance to read Eat. Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert you'll remember the scene when Elizabeth is in Rome and discussing with her friends how places & people often have a name, one name, that encapsulates the feeling or the essence of them.

My word is 'Create'

What's yours?

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Inspiration from sidewalks

When I was in San Francisco this summer I came across some framed paintings hanging in a store by artist John Smiddy. It was at The Big Pagoda Company downtown on Sutter street SF.

What grabbed me from his artist statement was;

" As my art practice has intensified, images I wouldn't normally have noticed -- the grime on the sidewalk, graffiti, rocks, puddles, trash and deteriorating posters, have become beautiful. "

I couldn't agree more. In fact, even before reading this I took this photo of the sidewalk while walking around downtown SF because it made me think of a painting I want to create.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008



Gratitude for every time water comes out of the tap, for my health, my husband's health, my daughter's excellent health. Gratitude for my art studio for all the magic moments painting when time slips away and I enter pure blissful state.Gratitude for Byron Katie, Pema Chodron. Gratitude for facebook and finding old wonderful long lost friends. Gratitude for Iceland and the bike trip and all that I learned and experienced. Gratitude for Peter. For Sabrina. For the new website coming and all the help Matt's giving me. Gratitude my parents are still here and well and so dear to RUthie. Gratitude for Waldorf School. For artibizcoach.com and all that I've learned and am now applying. Gratitude for writing, painting, journalling, collaging. Gratitude for all the students who have passed through my studio and felt inspired and energized and painted and made stuff and asked great questions. Gratitude for life, for my arms, heart, legs, fitness, eyes, brain...Gratitude for books, the internet, other artists. Gratitude for freedom of expression. Gratitude for a sense of purpose and inspiration, daily.

Monday, 27 October 2008

More wonderful San Fran artists...Part II

This summer my husband and I had the opportunity to travel through San Francisco and Marin County. I came across an open studio brochure at a local art store in Mill Valley and cut out the art work images and names of these artists into my journal. Here we are just back from a hike at Muir Beach near Muir Woods....beautiful area.

Check them out , more great SF artists and be inspired!

Francis Snyder - In the summer brochure I was really drawn to her acrylic painting 'Secret life of plants' .

Suzie Buchholz - Great website homepage, love how one painting becomes another... Her work is a feast of colour. Take a look at the gallery.

Jeanne Scholz - Love her piece entiteld 'the road note taken' in watercolor, acrylic and mixed media.

Joan Hauck - Joan works in encaustic, mixed media, and fiber -- I hope to see her work in person one day. Love her piece called 'The Reds'.

Isabel Wyatt - Especially like her 'silk road' series, they look like they were very liberating to paint.

Georgette L Osserman - Especially love her section called 'oils' which has some wonderful abstract pieces.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Some wonderful San Francisco Arists

This summer my husband and I had the opportunity to travel through San Francisco and Marin County. I came across an open studio brochure at a local art store in Mill Valley and cut out the art work images and names of these artists into my journal. What can I say, it's just so fun to collage in little painting images. In doing so I pretty much converted our hotel rooms into art studios!

Check them out , these great SF artists and be inspired!

Louise Forbush - Uses mixed media, collage on wood and gold leaf. Absolutely LOVE the paper collage piece on the front of her website

Elaine Gentile- On her website I really enjoyed the abstracts, My favourite was the
Movement in Green 30x30" oil. Elaine also has a video on utube.

Monika Steiner - Love her 'Blue Shadows' piece!

Jeff Dodson - no website was listed by his collage works, especially "I still just want to be a millionare" are fun to see and reminicent of Sabrina's journal art.

Sandra Schoenberg - Her piece entitled ' Quiet integrity' captured my eye.

Helen Steele - I am really drawn to her work in wax, especially the blue pieces which seem almost electric blue.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Letters to....

Many years ago my friend Matthew Martenyi gifted me a copy of the book Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Let me go back a moment here to tell you that Matthew is a great friend and about 10 years ago we sailed togher on his boat, Pooh Bear, from San Francisco to La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. I was crew and he was the captain. This trip was precursed by a trip of which I sailed from Vancovuer to San Francisco with captain Bob and the story of this was published in Traveler's Tales Books Sand in my Bra, Funny Women Write for the Road. Anyways, Matthew and I have stayed great friends since and he was here a few weeks ago reading my daughter Ruthie (5) book after book and took her out for pancakes to Sambo's...It was very sweet.

So, back to the Letters to a young Poet book. If you follow my blog or know me personally you will know that I am not a great reader. I like pictures! The bar has been set high in my family on thsi arena as my Dad will never be found without a book or a magazine nearby and my husband reads at least a book a day. Hence, if I read a novel every few months, well that be my quota. So, I had not cracked this lovely book Matthew had gifted me until now.

Until i was reading through one of Sabrina Ward Harrison book/journals - now that's my idea of book! It's an utter visual feast of mixed media art, collage, banana peel stickers and whatever else is lying around, wrapped into wonderful thoughtful prose and questions. Something that caught my eye in one of her books was ripped out and collaged in pages - slightly obscured by paint and collage items, making it all the more fun to try and read - the wonderful Letters to a young poet. My intest was re-kindled and I have the book here by my side and thought I would share a piece with you if you'd made it this long through my babbling!

On re-discovering ones own old art works, writings, school projects...

" I know that it is important and full of new experience to come upon a work of one's own again written in a strange hand. Read the lines as though they were someone else's, and you will feel deep wtihin you how much they are your own."

PS Letters to a Young ARtist by Julia Cameron is divine! ( I actually did read this one!!!)

Monday, 6 October 2008

Expanding our beliefs about what's possible

A while back, OK, I admit it's been well over a year, Rick Stitch fellow artist, teacher, & mentor of mine here in Santa Barbara, loaned me the book Portraits - Talking with Artist at the MET, The modern, The louvre and elsewhere by Michael Kimmelman. It's been on my shelf for a while and then it moved to my folder entitled " Blogs" so I finally cracked it open and while perusing the book I came to the understanding of why reading about other artists can be so beneficial:

Reading -or talking to, or watching movies -about others can expand our beliefs about what is possible for our own life.

I remember visiting another art mentor and teacher Adolfo Girala several years back when he was still living in west LA. ( Adolfo has since moved to London, England to further persue is art career). and I recall him casually mentioning he had made $250K the last year. That comment alone expanded my concept of what is possible financially for working artist. My beliefs expanded. I just received a group/touch base letter he sent out before leaving for London and he said he was doing even better. Congrats Adolfo! I hope to see you in London.

After Rimi Yang exhibited her large and captivating oil and wax work at Artamo gallery (as I write this, pls note - sadly- she is no longer represented there) I had a conversation with her via email to discover taht she was asked to be an artist in Residence in NewFoundLand Canada. Again, another possibility I'd never thought of - you can actually go to a nice place with artist studios where they will feed and fund you and you get to share and teach your passion with others. How cool is that? You can bet I've found a few residency positions in which I intend to apply to.

YOu may not be an artist in the tradional sense, but truly I belive we are all artists - creating our lives in our way. Therefore my question to you is, how has talking to others in your field, reading books, or seeing movies expanded your horizon of beliefs and possibilies?

Please do let me know here in comments....

Saturday, 4 October 2008

New work - Emerging or Pure Abstraction

This is a newer painting, with no name as of yet, that I finished and had photographed recently and quite honestly I can't decide if it belongs with the Emerging Series or the newer Pure Abstraction series...
Emerging Series?
30 x 40"Mixed Media, Acrylics, Sand, on canvas
1 1/2 " painted edges, ready to hang
(C) Deb Chaney 2008 $3500 USD

This painting was created to enhance Career and Lifepath.
Using Feng Shui priciples this piece would further enhance your career and life path by placing it near the entrace of your home or office space.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Inspiration from Sabrina Ward Harrison

Had a wonderful weekend with Sabrina Ward Harrison " Spilling" in Los Angeles.

We journalled, we asked, we shared, we painted and we began to make our own little hand made books. It was fun and relaxing. We all loved taking mid day naps during the workshop! Very cool.

Here is Alyson with a piece of the hand made mobile that Sabrina signed in ink on gesso.

I did not want to wash my hands, the paint stayed on for days....(what's new)

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Art and Poetry

Your emotions flow in
and out like the tide.
You have the courage to feel them
and no longer stuff them inside.
The seeds of your wisdom
come from your soul.
You started out tiny
but you've always been whole.
It's time for you to remember
who you really are.
You come from the ONE
and can shine like a star.
Check with your heart
to find why you are here
and accomplish your mission
despite any fear.
Your journey may lead you
on a winding course.
Know whatever you need
will come from THE SOURCE.

Poem by Jeanette Emory, a fellow artist I met at a workshop in LA.
See more of Jeanette's art and poetry at: http://risingblue.com/jemart

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

New Work - Emerging Series

These two paintings belong together to hang side by side
and were created in the intention of 'love and relationships' :

Star Crossed Lovers
Emerging Series
Messy is Life Series
© Deb Chaney 2008
Mixed media, acrylics on canvas -20 x 16" ,dyptic
Edges are painted, ready to hang

This painting was created with the intention to support love relationships. $850 USDMasterCard/Visa accepted Ph.(805) 403-9870

Star Crossed Lovers
Emerging Series Messy is Life Series
© Deb Chaney 2008 Mixed media, acrylics on canvas - 20 x 16",dyptic
Edges are painted, ready to hang

This painting was created with the intention to support love relationships. $850 USDMasterCard/Visa accepted Ph.(805) 403-9870

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Painting and Meditation

My friend Eddie, the propreitor of Yoga Soup here in Santa Barbara, loaned me the most delightful art book: Light Coming Through: The Paintings of Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel. Thank you !

Eddie humbly told me that Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel is one of his spiritual teachers. In the forward of this beautiful glossy book full of abstract art and a few essays, this buddhist equates painting with meditation . I could not agree more that painting and meditation are something of the same thing. I have said before that when I paint time stops and 'me' disappears. I feel I am simply responding to spirit as I allow the ideas to flow through me. This book truly encapsulates this essense of being when painting.

Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel’s training in the arts began at an early age with the practice of calligraphy, music, ritual dance and other traditional Tibetan arts. After his introduction to Western culture, he became increasingly interested in modern art, particularly abstract painting and the work of Picasso and Kandinsky. He began painting under the guidance of his teacher, Yahne Le Toumelin in the mid 1990’s.

Ms. Le Toumelin, who is based in *Dordogne, France, teaches a unique style of oil mixed with glue, applied with special palettes. Kongtrul values abstract painting as a complement to his meditative discipline. His training in abstract painting evolves directly from his training and experience in meditation.

A life of retreat reflects in the work, and in turn, the work speaks of the value and importance of a life dedicated to cultivating wisdom. As he notes, meditation and art share the same creative source.

*After following this link I now want to go and visit Dordogne!! The casttles and the caves call the adventurous spirit within me!!!

See more of Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel’s work at:
http://www.tibethouse.org/Art/Past_Exhibitions.html (scroll down)

Purchase the book at:
Mangla Shri Bhuti Store

Monday, 28 July 2008

New Work - Emerging Series

Yoga Soup
Emerging Series
24 x 30"Mixed Media, Acrylics on canvas
1 1/2 " painted edges, ready to hang
(C) Deb Chaney 2008
$ 1400 USD
This painting was created to enhance Health and Vitality .
Using Feng Shui priciples you would greatly enhance your inner well being
by placing this piece in the center in your
home or office space.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Art News - Artist Directory pick

I love to look at the paintings posted in the Artist Directory section at the back of the Art News Magazine. This month my favourite contemporary abstract painters were:

John Szabo I especially liked the piece he showed in the magazine "Red Squares", as well as his "Imagination"series on view this July 2008 at www.marionmeyergallery.com. Seems as though he's using ink and resin, I have never tried this. Also really like his "White windows" paintings, shown on his home page. Congrats on your success John!

Ian macLeod Loved the piece in art News entitled "Composition #112"...always loved drips because they are so fun to do and add a wonderful sense of movment to the piece. Wow! just checked out his homepage and the slideshow is amazing!!!! This work is a MUST SEE! Really cool.

Linda Fanucci absolutely LOVE her cityscape pieces. Also take a look at her studio tour. It looks like she has a made an old Victorian style house into a gallery - very swanky. Her bio is worth a read as she has a musical background and came into paiting later after raising her family. Terrific art, great story.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Patsy Flemming

I received a postcard yesturday from my friend, fellow artist, and unofficial artist mentor , Patsy Flemming. She is having a show at Foundry Gallery in Washington, DC . If you live in that area and enjoy contemporary abstract art work, go see it. Her work is powerful, exhilirating, beautiful, & awesome.

Seeing Patsy's portfolio at last year at Kanuga Watercolor retreat in North Carolina where we met triggered and inspired me to paint the 18 Raw Expression pieces I began painting there.

Her hand written note asked me if I was coming to her show. My reponses? Well, send me a ticket and a accomadations and I'm there!

The inscription also asked me if I was still painting (hello !!!!?????)

Goodness, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or be offended! My only answer is: nearly every day. C'est ma r'aison d'etre!

How would I start to tell you about Patsy? other then she is a fabulous woman and an amazing collage artist and painter.

Cheers to Patsy,

Love you woman,

Thank you for the card and the note.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Let Go Let God

I got this email in my inbox today...

To: � � � � � � YOU
Date: � � � � � �TODAY
From: � � � � � GOD
Subject: � � � YOURSELF
Reference: � LIFE

This is God. Today I will be handling All of your problems for you. do Not need your help. So, have a nice day. I love you. P.S. And, remember... If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do Not attempt to resolve it yourself! Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. I will get to it in MY TIME. �All situations will be resolved, but in My time, not yours.
Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it by worrying about it. �Instead, focus on all the wonderful things that are present in your life now.�
Should you decide to send this to a friend; Thank you. You may have touched their life in ways you will never know!Now, you have a nice day.

Here what I am currently putting in my SFGTD box:
  1. updating www.debchaney.com and getting it back online.
  2. inventory of current art work
  3. making a flyer for a home art show Labor Day weekend & applying for SB Open STudio tours that same weekend
  4. organizing a home art show
  5. Applying for any show or gallery or any venue to sell my work
  6. Updating my database
  7. Printing the flyer for the Tuesday evening open studio drop ins
  8. Promoting the Tuesday evening open studio drop ins
  9. create peace and harmony in my household
  10. put my daughter to bed at 8:30 pm or before

I'm going to go make cinamon toast and let GOD take care of the details.


Monday, 9 June 2008

Beautiful imperfections

Last Saturday we celebrated my daughter's 5th birthday. Lots of people came, it was by far one of the best birthday party's we've ever thrown. There must have been well over 20 kids under the age of 6.

After nearly everyone had left my beloved friend April Cooper stayed behind with her son Trey. She was walking into the house, helping clean up, when we noticed a plastic parachute attached to her right sandle. Remnant toy from the pinata event.

"Oh just leave it" she said

"It's the little beautiful imperfect things like this that I love so much".

After that we went into my studio and danced full on to 80's music and James Asher. All the tension from preparing and hosting and organizing leaving us behind.

I'm going to remember that parachute floating up the steps forever and honoring the art all around us, every day. The beautiful imperfect moments.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Sometimes I wish he would just shut up
Messy is Life Series
© Deb Chaney 2008
Mixed media, acrylics on unmounted canvas 9" x 12" unframed
This painting was created with the intention to support health and vitality.
$125 USDMasterCard/Visa accepted
Ph.(805) 403-9870 deb@debchaney.com

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

What’s been stopping me lately…

It’s Wednesday and today I check in via email with my creativity coach, Jill Badonsky. Just give her a sense of what movement or non movement I am making in the direction of what we talked about last week.

What Jill and I talked about last week is that people are asking about purchasing my art work. Specifically two of my friends by the name of Megan, one of whom just moved into a new apartment and would love a piece to decorate her place, and my friend and acupuncturist Stacy who has a birthday coming up and would like to see what’s available for a gift to herself, and my dentist – Dr. Thomas Blake – who is redecorating his office. These are only recent requests!

If you are in anyway a proponent for my success you will cringe and perhaps shudder when you hear my of late standard reply;

“ummmm…..cool. Ok, well, my website is not up to date – I’m re-doing it, I don’t have an organized inventory of what’s available, I don’t have a display venue, uhhhh…I don’t have any brochures….” That’s the outer voice.

The inner voice, which until lately was whispering so quietly I couldn’t hear it, was saying;

“I’m scared. I’m scared to make sales. I’m afraid to show my work to others.”

I was not really aware of how deep these inner feelings ran until I mentioned to Jill that the simple display portfolio I had created for the grant proposal I had just written might be a really easy way to showcase my work to people who are asking.

When I say simple, I mean a Word Document with a few images .jpg of my paintings dropped into it. Really that simple.

I also realized something huge about how I have been handling this little inner voice of fear. I had not been handling it. I have succumbed to the creative killer called: PERFECTIONISM!!!

Holy shit, I never realized how much I use perfectionism to stop myself moving forward in my creative projects and in the business of bringing my art into the world and selling it.

Straight out of the * KMZ Coaching Manual, here I am described:

Negative feelings, thoughts, and beliefs that may be associated with perfectionism:

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of making mistakes
  • Fear of disapproval
  • All-none-thinking
  • Overemphasis on “shoulds”
  • Believing that other are easily successful.

After reading this, I went into minor ego-gets-obliterated shock.

“Oh-my-God that’s me”

No wonder all my work is sitting in my back storage area of my studio. No wonder I don’t have a brochure that’s let alone a “good enough” never mind a really nice one. No wonder there are about 10 completed paintings in my studio I have not had photographed because I was waiting to make them a little more perfect. No wonder I am what feels like eternally (note the all-or -nothing thinking) paused in the creation process of the new website. No wonder I have not made any art sales in a while! It’s all starting to make sense.

So…my commitment to myself, to you, to Jill is to put together a not so perfect inelegant “brochure” of all the beautiful and vivacious work that has been hiding in my studio for much too long and cannot wait to be hanging on your wall by next Wednesday May 7th.

(Setting manageable obtainable deadlines also tends to kill perfectionism – cause oh shitttt I gotta get it done!!!!)

If you’d like to see my new work, please email me your full name and Email with “pls send new work brochure” To deb@debchaney.com.

*KMZ Kaizen Muse Coaching Program founded by Jill Badonsky, re-printed -------with -ummmm----permission? From Jill?------

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

New Work - Messy is Life Series

What are we all so fucking afraid of?
Messy is Life Series
© Deb Chaney 2008
Mixed media, acrylics on unmounted canvas 9" x 12" unframed
This painting was created with the intention to support health and vitality.
$125 USDMasterCard/Visa acceptedPh.(805) 403-9870 deb@debchaney.com

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Creative Procrastination

Today's intention was to edit the grant application I'm working on. I knew I had to do a little something, in particular because today is my coaching check in day. Whereby I email my coach what I've done since last week.

So what had I done? Not much. In an effort to report some progress, I made a few edits then I sidesteped away from the computer into my studio and made this piece of art on my current art career FOCUS, as discussed in my blog about being In Creative Process.

Anyways, sometimes its fun to procrastinate and make art about what I was "supposed" to be doing. Here's to enjoying the moment, making art, and relishing not doing what I set out to.

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us. "
- Joseph Campbell

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

In Creative Process

Currently I am receiving creative coaching from Jill Badonsky, creative coach and founder of the kaizen muse creativity coaching program. My intentions are five fold to receive support during the creation process of the following;

  1. Editing/revising my 2008 fine art marketing plan
  2. Reading and applying ‘Attracting Perfect Customers’ to the marketing plan
  3. Inventory of all my art work
  4. Pricing the different bodies of work
  5. Creating a new website

What I am learning in this process is that creating anything is an organic process that evolves on its own time and, really has very little to do with ‘me’. ‘Me’ being the ego. The ‘me’ wants to schedule, force, create on demand, finish it by the deadline and have it all done – yesterday – and perfectly, of course.

The concept of "having it all done" is an illusion with anything we are creating. Everything is evolving, changing, growing at it’s own pace. Nothing is permanent. All this creations are projections and illusions of myself and where I am at now.

I’m realizing that I need to step back and let this creative force work through ‘me’. That my job here is to be present, set my intentions, and come from a place of love and trust in the process of being with my dreams as they manifest. This isn’t about ‘me’ doing, more about ‘me’ letting the doing happen. Watching, observing, and participating with awareness and love.

Something we talk about in creative process are side trips that we sometimes make when we’ve set out to do one thing, and end up doing another. The list above is in, what I had decided was priority order. I’d discussed this with Jill and we’d decided I’d finish up the revision of my marketing plan first. Enter side trip number one.

Turns out the information that I’d gathered and researched to write the marketing plan fits perfectly into a grant application I’d had filed away and was interested in applying to. Now finishing that grant application has become the #1 of 6 items we’re working on in this coaching.

I remain in creative process and learning to let go and trust the flow of things.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Artist Statement

After taking Alyson Stanfield's 'Promote your Art' online class and purchasing her book The Relatively Pain-Free Artist Statement , I have been working on my artist statement. It's been a work in progress for several months now and I thought I'd share with you the current up to date version.

Here are the main points I used to keep me focused while I put it together. Truthfully I didn't just sit down and write it all at once. I kept notes in my journal over time and it came together piece by piece over the months. Anyways, here are the basics:

Notes on writing an Artist statement

  1. It's about you current direction of art work
  2. Written in first person, I…
  3. Helps define a body of work.
  4. Explains your painting style and subjects or themes.
  5. Tells a bit about your approach or philosophy

April 2008 Deb Chaney - Artist Statement

I create large contemporary abstract paintings rich in texture with many layers which may include mixed media, acrylics, liquid metals, iridescent powders, earth elements such as sand, and paper collage. Using the ancient principles of Feng Shui, each painting is created with the intention to contribute balance and vitality to your living spaces and may be used to enhance a specific area of your life.

My creative process involves listening to the piece in progress and allowing it to guide me to its next step. Sometimes I am adding layer upon layer and removing parts of each layer. I have no exact plan as to what the finished piece will become. I let each layer guide me and trust the finished image will emerge. I paint with large sky flow brushes, palette knives, sea sponges, sturdy workshop rags, and even my fingers and sleeves. In mid process I have often thought I would eat the paint if that was what the painting required. The process of creating paintings challenges, invigorates and inspires me. Often what motivates me to jump out of bed in the morning is a thought as to I what next layer I need to add – or take away - on a piece I am currently working on. I practice daily, relish the process, and am grateful to live and work in passion.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Messy is Life Series - new work

Messy is Life Series© Deb Chaney 2008
Mixed media, acrylics on unmounted canvas 9" x 12" unframed
This painting was created with the intention to support health and vitality.

$125 USDMasterCard/Visa acceptedPh.
(805) 403-9870 deb@debchaney.com

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Transfer Technique

We had a very successful Saturday workshop the first Saturday in March! Thank you Patty for driving all the way up from Santa Monica! I taught layering using acrylics, basic abstract composition, collage, incorporating words into the painting and principles that support creativity.

After the workshop I realized that we didn’t get time to finish our transfer techniques so here it is from the top…

Transfer technique is a great way to incorporate an imperfect photographic or other image into your abstract piece to add intrigue.

Step 1. Choose a photocopy of an image you like. Using a palette knife, apply Golden soft gel gloss to the image. Next glue this face down onto your painting substrate. (I’m using Frederix primed canvas pad in this demo) Remember to put the soft gel on the image – not the back. Using a phonebook helps with mess, just flip the page for a fresh working surface.

Step 2. It may enhance the image to further flatten it by placing a piece of paper towel over it and using a brayer. Let it dry overnight.

Step 3. Peel back as much as you can dry (sometimes it peels off nicely leaving the image behind)

Step 4. Using a water spritzer soak the paper image glued to your painting substrate entirely.

Step 5. Let the water soak in for a few minutes or so then peal away the paper pulp with a spoon. The image is revealed underneath.

Step 6. You can paint over the transfer using liquid acrylic transparent colours. In this demo I am using Quinacradone Nicko Azo Gold. You may also want to create further transparency by adding Gloss Medium to the paint.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Tea for two with Intention

Buddha says that through our thoughts and then our words and our deeds we create our worlds. I see this as truth in my life.

A habit I’ve had for a while when I pour the hot water to brew myself a cup of tea is to say silently “may I be well, may I be happy, may I be free” and infuse these thoughts into my warm drink.

I probably collected this idea from reading The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto and David A. Thayne and watching What the Bleep where I learned the (huge) impact of words on water and how it can shape its chemical structure.

Sometimes I write love, peace, or joy and other positive and powerful words on my water bottle.

Anyways, the other day my daughter Ruthie Firefly (4 ½) requested I make her special blueberry tea. It’s Trader Joe’s green tea with natural blueberry essence and I make it with honey and milk. She loves it.

When I pour the water to brew her tea I say to her tea “may you be well, may you be happy, may you go to bed on time”

May we all be conscious that our thoughts and words create in this world.

May my child go to bed on time so I can go and paint!

Monday, 17 March 2008

Creating with Intention

Currently I am in process of re-vamping my website. The process is much like painting – working in layers, adding, removing, re-working it. I am learning a lot and getting clear about my art and its message in the process. Hopefully the designers are not going too insane with the re-takes and adjustments I have been posting on the project site!

My art is about bringing balance and vitality to its owner’s living and working spaces. Currently I'm placing the following words on the homepage:

"Contemporary Abstract Art Created with the Intention to add Vitality and Balance into your work and living spaces."

I’d like to say this more cohesively on the home page. The “living and working spaces” feels heavy. The sentence seems long and bulky to me. How do I say that more succinctly I wonder?

I'd love your thoughts on refining this phrase. Thank you.
In process...

Friday, 14 March 2008

New Work - Messy is Life Series

What is Freedom?
Messy is Life Series
© Deb Chaney 2008
Mixed media, acrylics on unmounted canvas9" x 12" unframed
This painting was created with the intention to support health and vitality.$125 USDMasterCard/Visa acceptedPh.
(805) 403-9870 deb@debchaney.com

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Creating art for ourselves

I had a wonderful little lunch date with my friend and fellow artist Gina last week. Gina is a pottery maker extraordinaire whom I met last year at a local fair where she was selling her work.

Over sushi, seaweed salad, and green tea we talked about many different art, health, personal growth and spiritually related topics. What stayed with me the most was our conversation about creating art for ourselves.

For a while now the two of us have been completely disinterested in producing with the intention of selling but rather more inspired to make things for ourselves. Gina was telling me how she hadn’t been at her pottery kiln for weeks now (or was it months?) and had no interest in continuing to sell her work at fairs and other venues. I could totally relate.

When I was participating weekly at the Santa Barbara Art Walk I found those entire days displaying and selling my work absolutely exhausting and draining.

After describing her disinterest in making any pottery lately she then alluded to a small piece she did make for her house. How she went to her studio and made it immediately with joy. It was possible for her to delight in the making of this small piece for herself.

I can so relate to this! It’s as though at a deep level we need to fill our own cups first and give ourselves permission to create for ourselves first before putting our work into the world whether just to show it or sell it. I went home after our talk and thought about that second painting I’d like to create for my bathroom.

Bathrooms are generally in terms of Feng Shui where a lot of our energy is drained away from our home – literally energy down the drain. To slow down the drain we can decorate with light and uplifting colors and art.

Up until now I’d put two temporary paintings in our bathroom – both with lots of blue – the worst colors for the bathroom which encourage more water and hence drainage! So I decided to make some art for myself that was uplifting and bright using layers of bright oranges, yellows, golds and whites. They turned out beautifully and completely uplift the energy in the bathroom.

When I get a new digital camera (the last one broke) I will post a photo of these two new pieces.

Here’s to making art for ourselves first! Thank you Gina.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

New Work - Messy is Life Series

Aglow with Happy Excitement
Messy is Life Series
© Deb Chaney 2008
Mixed media, acrylics on unmounted canvas
9" x 12" unframed
This painting was created with the intention to support health and vitality.
$125 USDMasterCard/Visa accepted
Ph. (805) 403-9870 deb@debchaney.com

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Meditation and Painting

Lately I’ve been meditating a lot. For the New Year I set a goal to meditate each morning and evening before and after sleep. Then, last week, my husband and I joined an eight week vipassana meditation class. And finally, at the Kenpo Karate school I joined in January, we meditate before and after all lessons and group classes. So this meditation thing has been on my mind…

I think the reason I love meditation is because it’s a time where I don’t have to do anything. Everything stops, including my mind (hopefully) – that’s the goal anyhow. No more dishes, to do lists, worries, goals, thoughts. Nothing matters except focusing on the moment and my body. It’s a given time for silence, rest, and just being instead of doing! It’s like a mini vacation without having to go anywhere.

It’s funny because my mind frets quite a bit the day before the two hour class on Thursday nights. Am I going to be able to sit still? Will I get bored? Why am I doing this again? I’ve already relaxed today and I’ve got so much to do so can’t we just skip this class? Ah the voices…

Then we get to the meditation class and I sit and I start to really enjoy the process of listening to my breathe and observing my thoughts and then letting them go. I really get into it. I feel very relaxed and peaceful.

Then the fear and the voices come right back up. Of course. This is normal the teacher tells us.

This process of meditation is so much like painting.

Sometimes I fret so much before getting to the studio. Will the paintings work out? Do I want to sell them? Why am I doing this? What if they all flop? What about the housework? I don’t feel like painting today….

If I chose to listen and follow the thoughts I might never paint, or meditate for that matter.

My husband knows when I have not been painting. I get seriously bitchy. “ Do you need some studio time?” He asks me, not gingerly, almost pushing me out of thee house towards my studio. Lack of creative time starts to show, not in a good way.

Then I get to the studio and I let myself know that five minutes is enough and we’re just here to have fun. No obligation. Just look around, turn on the stereo. Relax. And then a painting catches my eye and I think of the next layer I’d like to add to it and I reach for a brush and some water and then I look up at the clock and it’s been two hours.

Meditation and painting are very similar birds if you ask me. You hear the voices telling you “don’t do it! Stop! Let’s not!, listen to this…and on and on… etc” and you acknowledge them, maybe even visualize then bubble up away and pop into oblivion, and then carry on.

New Work - Are you ready yet? Messy is life series

Are you ready yet?

Messy is Life Series

© Deb Chaney 2008

Mixed media, collage, & acrylics on unmounted canvas

9" x 12" unframed

This painting was created with the intention to support health and vitality.

$125 USDMasterCard/Visa accepted

Ph. (805) 403-9870 deb@debchaney.com

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Do you want to paint Tuesday nights?

I’ve had a lot of inquiries with regards to the week long Lana Grow March 2008 Energizing and Experimental watermedia workshop here in Santa Barbara, however many of you work during the day and are looking for something in the evenings…

Tuesday evening was a specific request. So….

I am teaching a Tuesday evening abstract painting class with a focus painting techniques, play and experimentation, and principles that support creativity.

You will learn:

  • Basic abstract painting – color and composition
  • Layering liquid acrylics
  • Using mixed media to create depth and texture – gels, mediums, molding paste, others
  • Embedding objects and adding cool stuff to your paintings
  • Incorporating words and images into paintings
  • Preparing and using collage papers in your painting
  • Split ink technique

Each class will have a theme to support and deepen your creativity and nurturing yourself in art.

The class will be 8 weeks, Tuesday nights, beginning February 12th from 6-8 pm. This would be February 12, 19th, 26th, March 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th and April 1st ( no fooling!).

There is room for four students only, currently with possibly only two spaces left, and will be held at Deb’s home studio ‘Heaven on Earth’ in Santa Barbara. The cost is $249. You will receive a detailed class curriculum and materials list upon registration. Students are responsible for painting equipment and supplies. Visa and Mastercard as well as personal checks are accepted.

To register call or email Deb Chaney (805) 403-9870 deb@debchaney.com

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Overcoming Overwhelm - Deb's Top 10 stress busters

After taking on a lot of goals this year, and with corporate and personal taxes coming up (I do the book keeping for our family business), and with my new schedule of driving my daughter to and from school, karate, and making dinners, lunches and breakfasts, plus my husband’s Saturday family clean the house dates (not very romantic but kind of fun and much better than doing all the cleaning by myself) - overwhelm has momentarily crept in and taken a hold of my sanity.

Lucky for me I get in the studio first thing – even if it’s just for 10 minutes. But when I leave my magic “heaven on earth” studio space, life creeps in…..

Then I remembered this list I created a while back…. Ok, you read on, I’m going out for a walk.

Oh and John Michael, if you're reading, for goodness sakes, don't do all of these at once - you're likely to get overwhelmed. Just pick one!!!

Here’s my top 10 list of getting past overwhelm:

  1. Get out of the house/office/studio! Take a break, breathe (funny how we often forget to fully do this!) and drink some water. Change the scenery.
  2. Get into your body and out of your head – often feeling arises because we are thinking about all the things we have to do. We are totally in our heads. Get out of overwhelm by getting into your body. Try:
    Deep Breathing
    Do yoga, QiGong
  3. Play some music and dance! If you have are-bounder or trampoline jumping is a great way to release tension.
  4. Delegate some of the things on your to- do list.
  5. Re-evaluate – do you really need to do everything on this list?
  6. Increase your tolerance for mess and disorder -The house does not need to be in perfect order for you to do 10 minutes of your painting project. Just go do it anyways! Dishes be dammed!
  7. Try a Natural Remedy such as Rescue remedy or Bach Flower essences can help shift us energetically to get us out of the frantic state.
  8. Use Eric Maisels’ CENTERing sequence - it's an excellent way to bring you back to the present moment and out of overwhelm.

    Breathe in while saying the first part and breathe out while saying the second part.

    (I am completely) (stopping)
    (I expect) ( nothing)
    *(I am joyfully) (writing this article about overwhelm) [*note this is your current work]
    (I trust) (my resources)
    (I embrace) (this moment)
    (I return) (with strength)

    (I have obtained)(Permission to quote this from Eric Maisel)

    This concept comes from Coaching the Artist Within, Eric Maisel, pHD
  9. Ask yourself better questions. Sometimes overwhelm is a state of mind because we are asking ourselves questions that encourage the negative state of overwhelm. We could ask ourselves better questions such as;

    How can I simplify things here?
    What could I eliminate from my to do list right now?
    What is the purpose of all my busy ness?
    What is my desired outcome for all these things I am trying to get done here? (Because may I don’t need to do them all to achieve the desried outcome)
    How could I make this process more fun?
    How could I nurture myself in this process?
  10. Re-frame it. Jill Badonsky, author of the 9 Modern Day Muses and founder of Kaizen Muse Creativity Coaching encourages us to re-phrase our to-do's in playful and positive phrases such as “I get to… (write this blog )…!”

Just pick the one that seems easy and the most fun.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

New Work - I just wanna play

I just Wanna Play
Messy is Life Series © Deb Chaney 2008
Mixed media, collage, & acrylics on unmounted canvas
9" x 12" unframed

This painting was created with the intention to support health and vitality.

$125 USD
MasterCard/Visa accepted
Ph. (805) 403-9870 deb@debchaney.com

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Two hours or ten minutes?

I've been setting my alarm for 5 am every morning for the last for weeks in order to get in some painting before starting the morning (the goal). No kidding. Hey, I know of another artist who gets up this early regualrly to paint, can’t I? Apparently not.

Funny thing is for the last two weeks every morning the alarm goes off and I bury down deeper in the blankets and procrastinate and then finally get up to leave about ten minutes maybe half hour if - I’m lucky - for painting. Every day those weeks I didn’t get up and then all day long I basically mentally beat myself with a stick. Why couldn't I get up earlier? Why was I wasting those precious morning hours sleeping?

In an effort to motivate myself, I even wrote a list of reasons why I could get up do this.

  • Nobody would bother me this early
  • Two hours of uninterrupted painting time!!!
  • For the great habit I would form

    (I lost the rest of the list)

When that didn’t work I decide to allocate the first bit of the studio solely for doing fun explorative pieces on canvas pad – not touching the larger Pure Abstraction body of work which is my goal for this year.

This was a fun idea but it didn’t get me up at 5 am and yesterday I ended up playing all morning and not getting to any of my “serious” pieces. Hmmmm...

Maybe I need to call Nancy and ask how she does it!!!

Oh dear.

This morning the alarm didn't go off. I heard our neighbor’s car as he left for work and it seemed to be getting light out. Usually it’s dark when the alarm goes off. So I got out of bed, curious to see what time it was. 6:30 am!! But instead of the usual panic I tidied some things around the house, made my daughter’s lunch and then headed to the studio for the 10 minutes before seven when I wake her up and start the process of getting her ready for school.

And, honestly, it was the best 10 minutes ever!

Maybe ten minutes is enough. Less is more. I keep saying that to my friend Meg who is craving to get back into her creativity…”Just a few minutes in the morning is enough.” Yet here I was being a hypocrite and aiming high for two hours!!!

Cheers to ten minutes of painting time in the morning!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

New work in the Pure Abstraction series

Pure Abstraction Series

© Deb Chaney 2007
36” x 36” Mixed Media, Acrylics on Canvas

Collection of the Artist

Feng Shui Recommendation: Spiritual growth, self cultivation, and knowledge.

Prints will be made available at http://www.cafepress.com/debchaney/3492432

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Celebrate small successes

Last blog I talked about bridging , this being one studio technique/habit you can use to set yourself up to work on your painting regularly. If you went ahead and tried this, or took any small step towards any of your 2008 goals, it’s important to celebrate your success.

Why celebrate? Giving yourself a small reward for the step you just took in the direction of your goal is important because we are training our brains and our beings to form new habits and the reward is a positive re-enforcement to keep us going.

Let’s face it, if you go and paint for 5 minutes today you may not have someone patting you on your back saying; “Way to go!” or “Your painting is fantastic” or “ I’m sooo glad you took some time out to pursue your creative dream”. You may not have a lot of initial support around you, so it’s important that you became your own cheering squad. Therefore, giving ourselves positive feedback for this small step we took towards our goal will help us feel good about what we did so that we will do it again and form a new habit.

In the long run we hope that the doing the thing itself (in this case painting) is the reward in itself. I can say for me that being in creative process is reward in itself. However, even though I am totally passionate about my art and paint often ---sometimes there are things that come up – procrastination, resistance, life busy stuff, etc – that keep me away from the studio and my art and hence this is why, in the course of this blog, I am presenting you tricks and habits I've learned that I use to overcome this blocks.

Hence, the key is to reward yourself when you do *it, especially when you are starting out and forming this new habit!

*it= paint, take 5 minutes to write your book, make a small step towards one of your goals.

Here are some small ways that I reward myself for taking small steps towards my 2008 goals:

  • Jump up and down and say YES! YES! YES! I rock!
  • Light an aromatherapy candle
  • Soak my feet in a foot tub with salt
  • Read a chapter of a novel (just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love and Shantaram – both were excellent)
  • Walk up the street to the local stream and wooded area and sit on the bench by the stream
  • Jump around the rocks on the stream
  • Make a hot chai tea with honey and half&half
  • Dance to music
  • Eat a piece of chocolate. Current favourite – Dove Chocolate !
  • Collage in my journal – glue in …quotes from tea bags, pictures of art, inspiring words of messages, postcards, nature scenes.
  • Add images to my art image journal
  • Read one of my artist magazine and cut out images and stick them into my journal (in December I subscribed to Art News, American Artist, and Modern Painters . So far I like Art News the best for images of abstract art.)

And these are some big ways that I reward myself for taking small steps towards (yes, I still did intend to say small step, however sometimes it's good to mix it up a bit and give yourself a jack pot. ) my goals:

  • Walk by the beach
  • Get a cup of Yerba Matte at Lazy Acres Market (they m ake the best!)
  • Get a massage
  • Get a smoothie
  • Get a Raiki treatement
  • Get a sandwich at Lazy Acres Market – such a treat!
  • Go to the gym and hot tub or sauna
  • Get some new stickers for m y journal
  • Buy a new journal or book (When I finish my marketing plan, I’m looking at treating
  • myself to a new image journal from this Leather Journal online store)
  • Get a hair cut
  • Manicure/Pedicure

I’d love to hear how you reward yourself for the small steps you are taking towards making your creative dreams become real life daily habit and ritual.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Setting Yourself up for Success - Bridging

Happy New Year 2008! Did you make some goals for the new year? Set some intentions? Whether you’ve decided to paint every day or once a week or try something creative like write a book– I’d like to share a studio habit that I use regularly to supports me in taking small steps and staying in creative process.

The trick is called bridging and can be used to get you back into the flow of your project after you’ve been away from it. In essence bridging is a word for having everything you need ready to go to get started on your project. The idea is that you are forming a bridge from the last time you worked on this project to now – when you intend to get started again. The bridge is making it easier for you to get started and continue working. Instead of forging through the river to get to the other side – finding all your supplies, setting up, figuring out what you need – you’ve already got it ready to go. You just walk over your “bridge” and start working.

It helps if you can have a designated place in your home permanently set up for your project.

In this photo (below) everything I need to start painting is set up and ready to go for the current Pure Abstraction series of paintings I'm working on this year. Brushes, water, soak sponge, palette, water spritzer, paints, gloss medium, paper towels, and the painting in process are all on my worktable ready for me to start work.

Sometimes, as well as the having the supplies I need set up for my next step, I also leave a note next to my painting reminding me where I want to go with the piece. The note might say something like “next layer with gloss medium, use titanium white and cobalt teal. Think about iridescent pigments.” As part of creating lasting success it’s important to give yourself small rewards to train your brain to keep doing this new habit that will support you in achieving your goal.’

So, if you’ve gone ahead and set up your project and done your bridging, go ahead and do something nice for yourself to celebrate. Later this week I’m going to share with you some ways I celebrate when I start a new habit and why it’s so important to recognize our progress.

Here’s to your creative success in 2008! Much love, Deb

P.S. As of today there are 18 spaces left for Lana Grow’s March 2008 workshop. Full details for the Energizing and Experimental Mixed Media abstract painting workshop, follow the link.