Studio, Art, Work and Play

3-minute video of my studio, art, work and play. The work included in this slide show is mostly from 2016.

Artwork- primarily The Art of Words Series 
Music – Yiruma – River Flows In You

Abstract Art 101 A1/2

Abstract ArtLet me preface this lesson by disclosing I’m not an art historian; I’m just a writer and painter. I mainly paint non-objective abstracts (that means they don’t look like anything recognizable) and I’ve noticed a considerable number of people are baffled by abstract art. Some people don’t know what they’re “supposed” to think about it.

Now, this could turn into an art history lesson – but I’ll do my best to spare you. I’m not an art history teacher and have no desire to overwhelm or confuse you. My main objective is to engage your curiosity and get you to perhaps look a bit longer, think a bit more openly and try to see art with your heart.

While abstract art has been around for centuries, the formal movement sprung from the movements of Romanticism, Impressionism and Expressionism. Basically, the Church was the largest art collector of the day and they began to tighten the purse strings. Artists had to appeal more to private collectors and also got that itch, as they always do, to express themselves. So, rather than work within the confines of the church and society, these crazy artists began to colour outside the lines. They were scoffed at and considered renegades – in today’s terms – we would call them “fresh” and they would be highly desirable. So, I guess you could say, they peaked early, or they were before their time.

We all have our preferences for the types of art we like, but consider, when it comes to abstract art, you might be over looking some interesting, exceptional art under the guise of “not getting it.” Abstract art appreciation does not reflect your level of sophistication – but it does reflect your level of experience. In other words, you might have to look at a LOT of abstract art to recognize a good piece – but like wine – if you like it, that’s good enough. Appreciating abstract art is about pleasuring your eyes. (click to tweet)
There are many types of abstract art, but let’s break it down into two camps:

ABSTRACT ART AND NON-OBJECTIVE ABSTRACT ART
Regular abstract art will have recognizable elements in it. You might see figures, or trees, or a landscape…but you see things your eye recognizes from the real world. The artist works with these objects and “abstracts” them so you can still recognize them, but they really work them over and make them their own.

Non-objective abstract art does not include any representational elements. You don’t see any obvious person, dog or anything. You might see shapes that remind you of such things – like when you look at clouds in the sky or the shapes on the ceiling of the gynecologist’s office – too much? Anyhou, non-objective work relies highly on color, line, shape, size, space, texture and value – the elements of design.
So, how should we approach such art?

When I look at abstract art, I approach it without expectation. I pay attention to how the art makes me feel. I let the colour, the composition and the texture move me. Sometimes, a piece will pique my curiosity. A good abstract will pull the viewer in and make them want to study it further. It may remind us of an experience, a place or a time in our lives. Abstract art is to the eye what music is to the ear. (click to Tweet)

If you expect a non-objective abstract painting to tell you its meaning, you’ll be disappointed. The painting will mean something different to each person – or it may not strike you with any meaning at all. It’s intensely personal. It’s JUST. FOR. YOU. Non-representational abstract work does not so much tell a story to us; it reminds us of our own stories, so you can’t be wrong. There’s so much freedom and permission in that!

I realize I’m going a bit long on this post, so let’s get straight to the exercise. With a true, non-objective painting, you should be able to turn it any direction. I sometimes don’t sign my work until it’s purchased for that very reason. I know the collector will have a preference and since the work speaks to them, they should decide which “side is up,” so to speak.

So, here’s a piece from my studio. I apologize that it’s not professionally photographed, so you might not see all the nuances of the work. It’s 100% non-objective. I call it, “You’ve Got Some Nerve.” I’m going to post this painting in all four directions. You decide the way it should hang. Below the pictures are some references of famous non-objective artists. I hope you’ve enjoyed Abstract Art 101 A ½ .

How would you hang this painting?

Abstract art

“You’ve Got Some Nerve” 2016 Michelle Andres

Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird? – Pablo Picasso

Some resources for you:
Wassily Kandinsky
Robert Motherwell
Helen Frankenthaler
Jackson Pollack
Paul Klee
Famous Abstract Painters
Books about abstract art

Enjoy Exploring New Things,

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30 Paintings in 30 Days

This January I took Leslie Saeta’s “30 Paintings in 30 Days” Challenge.  You may know, I write a blog every Friday called “The Art of The Well Lived Life.” I decided this challenge might be just the thing to prod me to create illustrations based on my blog posts. I’m thinking there’s a book in there, somewhere. After 11 days, I tired of perusing past posts to find appropriate blogs and following with an illustration that represented them. I had collected several of them and the energy behind my project was waning…but I still wanted to finish 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

Art Challenge 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Collage of Illustrations for “The Art of The Well Lived Life” Blog

I decided if I wanted to be successful with the challenge, I’d better find a project that engaged me. I have a show in June using words and collage…so I chose to start a series called “Sisters” of women’s faces with collage backgrounds. Here’s a peek at a few of of them.

30 paintings in 30 days art challenge

Collage of “Sisters” series for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

I’m having a great time creating a painting a day. I find it really pushes my need to work on something to the point of perfection. These are all small works and the idea I need to do one per day is more of a “warm up” exercise to get my daily studio practice going than trying to create masterpieces, but I do think some of them are very sweet. I’m also learning and exploring some new ideas and techniques.

Leslie Saeta hosts these challenges twice a year. You can also post your pictures on her website – something I had a challenge doing, so I’m not posting daily. I’m posting on social media and here. I hope you enjoy them and stay tuned for more updates! By the way, I’m continuing to work in my studio, so be sure to check the galleries on my website for new abstract paintings.

DIY Studio Table for Under $200

I recently moved into a new studio space, so I needed a good work table. My home studio has a table, but I wanted the new space to sport a “pretty” one, because pretty is important, you know? Following is the step by step process to turn a couple saw horses, a door and some repurposed pallets into an awesome studio table.

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Here is a shot of the new space, Studio #1.

First, I purchased a door for $30. (You can see the drought in California is real).I decided to use some old pallets to dress up my work table. Then, I created the layout on top of the flat space. The length and colour I wanted the “planks” to be. You can’t really see the pattern of the layout in this photo – but it was penciled in.

Cutting the pieces

I enlisted my husband to cut the planks to size. In this tutorial it looks like he did all the work. 😉

Lay out the pattern

And then we made sure they fit into the pattern on the table.

Stain the door

I stained the table because I knew the joints would have gaps. I chose a colour that would complement the stains for the planks. The stain is light and the marked pattern shows through.

Stain the planks of wood

Each piece was marked so I knew where it would fit into the pattern on the table. Then, I stained the planks different colours.

The Final Lay Out

Finally, they were affixed to the door with wood glue (and some other mosaic glue), but wood glue will work.

Get the base

Next, I got two adjustable work bases from Ikea. Each base was $40. I took the bases from the boxes, but kept them with their original package so they’d fit together nicely.

Stain the bases

I stained the pieces of wood different colours.

Stain Base pieces and keep them in order

Remember to keep them with their original neighbors and hardware. Then, Husband assembled them.

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Finally, I had a glass top made to keep the work surface smooth. The price of the glass can vary, so shop around. Because there were differences in the height of the planks, I needed spacers. If I were to do this again, I’d make sure depth of the wood from the pallets was the all the same.

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I’ve been enjoying this table. It can be covered with paper while painting. The adjustable height bases are perfect for customizing a comfortable working height and when it’s time to entertain and display work in the studio – it’s pretty!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my tutorial. Feel free to share with friends!

Fearlessly Make Stuff!

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living with the muse

Living with the Muse makes for an interesting life. I’m grateful mine is never far away. I’m grateful she forgives me for my occasional awkwardness, thoughtlessness, overlooking the obvious and the rare creative slump. To show my appreciation for her undying support, I clean the studio when we embark upon a new idea together. Recently, my studio table looked like this….

Working Art Studio Inviting the MuseThis clears my mind and makes my Muse happy. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t want to hang with me in a chaotic space. In a clear space, I can hear her voice and I create some room to get to work.

Then, we begin to dance. And, of course, I step on her feet and the record skips and we slip on the water on the floor a bit….

Dancing with the Muse

But, it’s all good, because we’re dancing – you know?

So, I’ve been in the studio dancing and painting and thinking and creating. Soon, I’ll have something new to show you. The series is titled “Love Songs” and they began as studies on paper which are aptly called “Love Notes.” Here’s a peek at part of one of them – with a quote from one of my favourite painters, Pablo Picasso…

Love Song Pablo PicassoSo, look for some “Love Songs” debuting in November. They’ll be accompanied by “Love Notes,” of course! And remember, dancing can be messy, but it’s always beautiful, and freeing and best done to a nice Love Song!

Dance with Abandon!

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It's Still Happy Hour!

"IT'S STILL HAPPY HOUR" 36x36 ON CANVAS  © 2015 MICHELLE ANDRES

“IT’S STILL HAPPY HOUR” 36×36 ON CANVAS © 2015 MICHELLE ANDRES

I’m pleased to announce, “It’s Still Happy Hour” has been accepted into the 60th Annual Open International “Bold Expressions” exhibit. This work is currently being shown at Sacramento Fine Arts Center at 5330 B. Gibbons St., Carmichael, CA. It’s a beautiful, colourful, bold show juried by Margot Schulzke. The reception is Saturday, October 10th from 5:30 – 8:30 and the exhibit closes Saturday, October 24th. I hope you can catch the show at 5330 B Gibbons St. in Carmichael, CA. and see this fun, lively piece.

Midsummer Thoughts - July 2015

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RANCHO DE TAOS – THE CHURCH GEORGIA O’KEEFFE PAINTED

Spring was a time of amazing productivity and recognition of my work. I enjoyed a solo show, a group show, a museum exhibit at the Crocker Museum, a local magazine cover art feature and a nice commission. I also attended an Intensive Study Seminar in Taos, New Mexico that has transformed the way I think of myself as an artist as well as influenced the direction of my work.

I returned to work invigorated and inspired. I was confronted with some realities of life – friends failing health and unsettling current events. Turning inward to explore life’s trials, I painted “The One’s We Love.” After this painting I was free to explore other concepts of “lighter heart.”

The People We Love

“THE ONES WE LOVE” 36X36 MIXED MEDIA ©2015 MICHELLE ANDRES

We take life as it comes, its sweet springtime offerings and the trials and losses that, for me, presented themselves in the heat of mid-summer. Choosing what to focus upon, what to honor, what to release…that is up to us.

With Gratitude – 

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