Tuesday, 28 July 2009

The artist I admire the most

IBHF (inspired by helen frakenthaler)
(c) deb chaney 2008
mixed media, sand, acrylics on canvas
original available , inquire debchaney@live.com

Helen Frakenthaler known for creating the technique of staining raw canvas, a pioneer in the color field painting movment, former wife to Robert Motherwell and a key player in the abstract exrpessionist movement is bar none the artist I admire the most.

Helen Frankenthaler was born in New York City on December 28, 1928, daughter to justice of the New York Supreme Court. She attended the exclusive Brearley School in Manhattan and the Dalton School where her art teacher was Rufino Tamayo.

More than any other known established artist, Ms. Frakenthaler's art rocks my world. I love so many of her pieces. I love her style. I love her work beacause its bold and confident and bursting with color. I love that very seldom you see brush marks...this intrigues me and something I aim to emulate in much of my work.

In an interview pubished in the new york times, she says about her painting process : ''With any picture, on paper or on canvas, the main idea is: does it work? Is it beautiful?'' Which resonates with me and answers questions about my own work and process. Honestly, I hadn't come out and said it so clealry and sycinctly, but this is what is going on for me also when I paint: is the piece working? is it beautiful?

I also think its very cool that in a time when most of her contemporaries were men - Clement Greenberg Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock - She, a Woman, was making strides, making great art.

TOday, yup last time I checked Helen's very well alive and painting in NY, she paints very similarly to me in that she paints in acrylics, painting laying flat and on waist high table tops. Cool.

Here here are some links to some of her work that I adore... Enjoy!

Helen Frankenthaler, Grand Tour, 1983, acrylics on canvas 97 x 124 inches (Can't find it online but this image can be found on page 123 in abstract painting concepts and technique by vicky perry)

Helen Frankenthaler, Seeing the Moon on a hot summer day, 1987, private collection.

Helen Frankenthaler, Southern Exposure, 37 x 34 in, Lincoln Center Institute

Helen Frankenthaler, The Bay, 1963 Acrylic on Canvas
Helen Frankenthaler, Nadar Rising.
Helen Frankenthaler, After Mountains and Sea , New York : Guggenheim Museum 1956-1959.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Awe-some new book to support Creative Mortals

My friend, mentor, teacher and fellow creative Jill Badonsky just released her awe-some new book:  The AWE-MANAC: A Daily Dose of Wonder.

I had a few questions for her about what's inside the book and her own creative
 process in writing it you may enjoy this tidbit from our conversation...

Deb - How did you choose the events that ended up in the Awe-servances part of 
The Awe-manac:
Jill - Good question. The creative prompts in The Awe-manac are designed from the events or celebrations that happened on those days in history. So the events had to actually audition for their potential for creative thinking, inspiration or humor. Also, I researched favorite celebrities and historical figures (and a few personal friends) and added them as well. Lastly, if a quote really inspired me, I tried to find the birth-date of the person who wrote it so I could include it.

Deb - Which "Anti-aging Potion" do you recommend for people to use to truly "stay young."
Well, all of them will give you a frame of mind of loving life more which is a sure antidote to aging, but the FOOOF potion is all about how thinking like a child can lighten you up. Stress is a leading cause of premature aging so lightening up can help that. Also, the Inner Awe-lixir reminds us that there's a whole world inside of us that can act as a refuge and a place of rejuvenation and inspiration.

Deb - Lots of things in this book make me laugh out-loud (which of course is a very good thing!).  Did you spend a lot of time laughing while you created this?
Jill - I had a blast writing this book. I laughed out loud quite a bit because it seemed like I was channeling someone very funny. To create laughter, to me is one of life's greatest gifts and making funny associations and inventing prompts is one of my very favorite pastimes. To get myself in the mood to be funny I would watch Ellen, John Stewart and Stephen Colbert beforehand, as well as read Paula Poundstone's book. So they were my Muses and helped keep me in a festively funny mood.

Deb - I love the fact that you can open this book on any given day of the year and begin!  Each day is a session in creativity unto itself.  How do you envision people using this book? 

I envision that they will open the book on any given day and have a session in creativity unto itself. I hope people don't think they need to do all the prompts everyday, but just sample and even just daydream what they would do with the prompt as well as during every opportunity possible find a few minutes to jot down some ideas and on occasion just pour their hearts out. My wish is that some of the thoughts and inspirations make each day more special and wake people up to the fact that the shift we need to make in this economic downturn can be positive when we take small moments and make them special, creative, or humorous.

Jill Badonsky is an artist, writer, playwright, yoga teacher, nationally recognized workshop leader, creativity consultant and founder of Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching.  Jill also writes a monthly column for Creativity Portal, and is chief editor of the monthly The Muse Flash.  Jill's services operate out of  The Muse is In, a company dedicated to helping individuals and organizations unblock their creative potential. She is author of The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard):10 Guides to Creative Inspiration for Artists, Poets, Lovers and Other Mortals Wanting to Live a Dazzling Existence   and  The Awe-manac: A Daily Dose of Wonder.


Looking for a unique and personal gift?  Tote bagsMugsApronsPrints & Greeting Cards.All with Deb's original artwork. The Little Inspiration Book, Sand in my Bra Written/co-written by Deb.

Original ART  available to view and purchase

...in Beverly Hills  paintings at SWITCH Boutique 

...in Santa Barbara at Java Station Coffee House

...in Los Angeles at Via Roma Boutique.

Deb Chaney Contemporary Abstract Artist PO Box 3931 Santa Barbara, CA 93130 805-570-1582 debchaney@live.com http://debchaney.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Creating with interruptions

If you are living in the modern world and attempting to create art of any kind – music, painting, pottery, writing, etc .- you are faced with interruptions. My opinion, one of the most interrupted people in the world are mothers.

 Its like there is this unwritten code that once you’ve given birth your body, life, breasts, time, solitude, and mind space now belong now to that which came from you and surrounding people who call themselves ‘family’ and take every ounce unless you set firm boundaries and decree otherwise. Yeah, Ok, some of my personal shite is coming up here but we’re all connected so I know I’m not alone here. Hello, I am an artist, I 

have ideas and passions and these require time so I can dwell on them, research them, expand them, create them, edit them, and bring them into the world just as I did you. You are born now, let me birth others.

 “mama, I need….”  ( seriously as I write this maybe 4 – 5 interuptions with request, demands, questions….)

Don't be fooled by how cute she is. Here is she is, my girl Ruthie, thinking about her next move to distract and interupt me. (:o)Look at that, she even has the gull to sit on my studio painting table and plan her next move!

 So, how do we stay on track, keep the momentum going, gestate and birth our creative creations, even despite and within the interruptions?

 I do a few things that work for me, but really I’m just dying to hear from you. So if you are super successful and have a private office/studio and a nanny taking care of your shopping, laundry, dinner, and kids you can refrain from commenting. Sit back, grin, remember the good old times when things were otherwise, but please don’t’ torture us folks here on the other side. I’m speaking to those of us who are on our way but not quite there yet and still mainly doing all of the above on our own plus making an effort to carve out some time for our own creative pursuits.

 “ Hey Deb, will you….” (ever notice how every one wants something exactly the minute you begin to get really into your project)

 For one, to stay focused and so I don’t forget, I post a sticky note right above where I am working. It’s got two words on it.

  1. Focus
  2. On writing this blog (what you are working on)

That way, every time  “ mama!mama!...” I can answer it, and remember what the heck I was doing. Really, I know mothers would understand this but really all parents in general.

This one I don’t recommend but quite frankly I become like a caged animal and that would be in simple speak pretty nasty to be around because as Jill Badonsky puts in her book 9 Modern Day Muses and a Body guard, we mortals get cranky when we don’t create. So I either piss everyone off or scare them away but honestly I hate getting to this point and I had a ‘friend’ recommend a hypnosis program for anger management which I’m gladly looking into.

 I’m also wishing the next man I date realizes that when I'm crabby its more than likely because I haven’t painted and that he puts a paint brush in my hand and takes my kid for a drive.  Thank you God in advance.

 Bring! Bring! ( this  is supposed to be a telephone)

 Ok that reminds me. We have some control here. We can turn off the phone, shut down the computer, turn off skype, click off facebook, shut the door, put up a sign, nicely tell everyone we will be busy for the next hour. Mommy time. Get out the body guard (read 9 Modern Day Muses and a Body guard) Let me know if that works for you, or for that matter what works for you.

So what about you? How are you making time for your creative pursuits in amoungst the noise and distractions of life?


Looking for a unique and personal gift?  Tote bagsMugsApronsPrints & Greeting Cards.All with Deb's original artwork. The Little Inspiration Book, Sand in my Bra Written/co-written by Deb.

Original ART  available to view and purchase

...in Beverly Hills  paintings at SWITCH Boutique 

...in Santa Barbara at Java Station Coffee House

...in Los Angeles at Via Roma Boutique.

Deb Chaney Contemporary Abstract Artist PO Box 3931 Santa Barbara, CA 93130 805-570-1582 debchaney@live.com http://debchaney.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Making Art in the Midst of Life

My friend John, who is a writer, told me last time we were hanging out that his 

dream was to work & save up some money, and then go somewhere and rent a little cabin and write.  It’s a great dream and know
ing him he’ll probably do it. The only part of it that makes me a little uneasy is the concept that the writing will be put off until that time. Fundamentally any art – writing, painting, pottery, running, singing 

needs to be done regularly, daily, and with some kind of consistently even in the midst of life.

 There is a good chapter in Eric Maisel’s book Coaching the Artist Within  entitled Creating in the Middle of Things in which Eric talks exactly about how we must learn to do our art even in the middle of our every day lives. To quote from this chapter;

 “ Unless you are impervious to the facts of existence – and no one is – you must learn how to create in the middle of things.  You must learn how to create when wares are raging and when your hormones are raging.  You must learn how to create even if you hate your country’s policies or your own painting style.  You must learn how to create even if you are embroiled in a bad marriage or living alone and lonely.  You must learn how to create even if you work eight hours a day at a silly job or, sometimes worse, find yourself at home with time on your hands.”

 I whole heartedly agree. We can’t be waiting for the perfect time, mood, or place. The time is now to make our art. It will never be perfect even when we have millions in the bank and are sitting cozy and comfy in our little retreat cabin. The time and place is now, in the midst of our lives, just as they are!

 Currently I have just moved with my daughter (now 6 years old) – third move in the last eight months, this was the biggest move from Southern California to Washington State. Thank God my Dad came down and helped us drive the UHAUL the 1500 + miles. That on top of being in the middle of a divorce, unpacking, re-doing my website, finishing my 08 taxes, filing for UI, editing a short video about my techniques and latest Pure Abstraction work, that on top of making daily meals and dishes and laundry and the other day to day of life. So there is a full life here but still room for art in the midsts of it. Always room for art, for the joy that it brings its worth the discipline to go and do it.

Boxes may be left unpacked, dirty dishes in the sink, but I’m still doing some art – however small. The photo in this blog is one my friend Lyza caught me when she brought by some boxes for us. One of my art tables folded up, ready to be packed, made the perfect little painting area and I started hand painting some journal covers the day before we packed the UHAUL the next day and drove up north….

 SO WHAT, I’m going to do some art anyways!

Looking for a unique and personal gift? Check out this one of a kind Breakthrough re-usable tote bag. MugsApronsPrints & Greeting Cards. Need a little inspiration? The Little Inspiration Book, ideas to empower women by DEB & Sand in my Bra, funny women write from the road.

Deb Chaney's original art can be viewed and purchased at the following locations...
in Beverly Hills Raw Expression paintings at SWITCH Boutique238 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212-3805, (310) 860-1650  
in Santa Barbara at Java Station Coffee House4447 Hollister Ave, Santa Barbara, CA 93110-1734, (805) 681-0202 
in Los Angeles Patchwork Paper - framed originals - at Via Roma Boutique17215 Ventura Boulevard, Encino,Ca, 91316 (818) 386 - 0736

Deb Chaney Contemporary Abstract Artist PO Box 3931 Santa Barbara, CA 93130
P. 805-570-1582  E. debchaney@live.com W. debchaney.blogspot.com W. cafepress.com/debchaney