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Making Art With Children    Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Making Art with Children

Flowers in a Vase by Samantha age 6 Oil Pastel, Acrylic on Paper

The non-profit arts center where I work takes a long break over the holiday season.  It almost seems like too long a break sometimes even though I love having the time to finish up my holiday wares, put in time at my co-op's annual holiday sale and refocus my goals for my own work for the upcoming year.

Van Gogh Inspired Winter Trees by Caleb 2nd Grade Oil Pastel and Acrylic on Paper

 I really miss working with the kids and was so glad to finally get back to classes this week.  This semester I have two Kindergarten through grade 2 classes running, my favorite age.  They are so open, ready and free about creating at this age and can't wait to start working on whatever I throw at them. 

Winter Trees, Inspired by Van Gogh by Elio, Kindergarten, Oil Pastel and Acrylic on Paper

Monday's class was more then half full of exuberant boys but thankfully ones who LOVE making art.  It was hard to get them to focus after a full day at school but they all managed to pull off wonderful Van Gogh inspired winter tree paintings.  We talked a bit about Van Gogh and his process, his use of impasto and his textural mark making.  We mimicked this with staccato marks in Oil Pastel and followed up by using watered down acrylic paint to finish our work..AMAZING See more in the gallery of children's art work on this site.

Flowers in a Vase by Eve, Kindergarten, Oil Pastel and Acrylic Paint

Tuesday's class was comprised of 5 young ladies of the same age group, all in grades kindergarten through 2nd grade. They created gorgeous still life paintings of flowers in a vase.  First they drew very lightly with pencil and then with oil pastel to create dynamic marks.  We finished up with expressive watercolor.  I told the girls to be creative with colors and they were!  I love these so much.

Claire age 8 Flowers in a Vase, Oil Pastel and Acrylic on Paper

I am always blown away by the creativity and sensitivity of the work my young students create.  It amazes me and I love watching them work and engage in the process drawing and painting. We can learn so much by watching the effortless way that kids immerse themselves in art making. They don't spend time agonizing over which colors to use or if they made the wrong mark and miraculously everything works. I love children's art for it's innocence and unintentional sophistocation.

 

New Year New Beginnings    Monday, January 9, 2017

New Year New Beginnings

Mind Mapping Journal Paper, Ink on Paper, Watercolor 2017 

I guess I'm not really the typical New Years Resolution type person - I live my life in a much more organic kind of way normally but sometimes I really try to focus my goals and get type A-ish about stuff and the New Year always seems like a good time to do some serious goal setting. 

I started thinking about goals for my art journey and business and want I wanted to acomplish this year.  I will say that last year was a hard one because my father was extremely ill and passed from cancer and dementia.  Understandably it was a set back and I was kind to myself and felt lucky to be able to be flexible enough with my work that I could spend the time with my family over those months. 

Rilke Quote - Pen and Ink on Paper, Marcy LaBella 2017

As I began to think about the different things I wanted to do and the goals I have set for myself it's become clear that I really need to be specific about things if I want them to happen. I want to do more writing, so I have outlines and ideas for several articles to submit and the publication guidelines for publications I am submitting to.  I went over my classes and added new ones to offer, re-wrote discriptions and added some new adult workshops. I completely overhauled my Etsy Shop that has been lying dormant for a few years.  It has been so easy to just lie back and sell through galleries that I haven't been pushing my online sales but I really need to get back in the game.  I am narrowing my focus within the mediums I work with, clay, mixed media paint and jewelry and setting my studio, web and writing schedule to keep on track.

Image taken from my 2017 Vision Board and DIgitally Altered

I am compiling images, empowering words, drawings, and the like to create a large 2017 Vision Board.  This will be an ongoing project for my studio wall and I plan to keep it going all year - adding to it and keeping it going and alive with ideas.  I did this Ink and Watercolor piece inspired by project presented by the very talented Misty Mawn in her workshop Make/Do/Art. I recently signed up for this class and am enjoying it very much.  I love her classes and she has wonderful projects and content.  I thoroughly enjoyed her class Art Entwined which is also still available. Find Make/Do/Art here.

Rilke Quote - Digitally Altered

I am enjoying the process of getting back to daily drawing and love the process of taking simple contour drawings in pencil over to ink and coloring them simply with just watercolor - or digitally altering them with photo apps.  This is something I've been playing with for sometime and I've been toying with adding some prints and cards with drawings and quotes I really like into a line of contemporary female portrait drawings with quotes that are uplifting or those that make you think.

So I guess even a typical Type B, creative person needs a little goal setting and focus occasionally.  I have learned from my  online coach/mentor/goddess Leonie Dawson that setting goals, writing them down and defining the steps you need to do to acomplish them is the way to success - we will see!  

Namaste,

Marcy

Holidays * Winter * The Wheel Turns * Starlight Starbright    Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Winter Bird Series - Acrylic Mixed Media 12"x12" 2016

Marcy LaBella

 

Winter is fast approaching and with it come the holidays and for most artists and crafters the busiest time of the year.  With the end of fall classes it was time to say goodbye to my students until January just as they were still excitedly discussing superhero costumes and halloween candy and looking forward to Santa's upcoming visit.

In the mean time I been involved in frantic art making, working on my jewelry, pottery and painting a new series of paintings for a winter collection of blank greeting cards.  I always think I will have everything ready NEXT year and I won't be rushing but I am always coming up with something fabulous at the last minute and want to make lots of THAT for this years sale.  This year I decided to make a simple hammered hoop pendants with sari silk tassels and organic stone bead necklaces, which I knotted on waxed linen which I love.  I did them in both patinaed copper and in sterling silver.  I thought I would make one or two but after I made the first one I was amazed at how much I loved the way they looked even for their simplicity.  I ended up making lots...glad that I did I am almost sold out at both of my galleries.  I plan on making more for gifts and some to put in my etsy shop which I plan to re-open ASAP after the holiday. For now I am going to post select items on Instagram so find me there at https://www.instagram.com/bellamarcella1212/  

A  Small Slice of the 2016 Wesleyan Potters Sale

The sale at my co-op Wesleyan Potters is in full swingand as always getting it all in place is a huge undertaking of many people working hard towards a common goal.  We take our entire studio apart and turn it into a beautiful gallery once a year and it takes the work of the entire membership to pull it off.  This years theme is Starlight Winter Bright and the sale is really beautiful with lots of gorgeous art from our members and outside artists. 

Two new Outside Artists to our sale this year.  Lexi Axon a fabulous artist, painter, teacher and printmaker and Toni Schiano's home raised Llama wool are both fine additions to our sale.

I am very happy to say the artists I invited this year seem to be doing well and I just love seeing the work displayed.    You can visit through December 11th at Wesleyan Potters, 350 South Main Street, Middletown, CT. We also have a large extended gallery shop through December 24th. Please call 860-347-5925 if you are in Connecticut and want to stop or visit us online anytime to find out more about our classes and programs here www.wesleyanpotters.com/

Watercolor and Pastel  - A favorite painting by one of my kindergarten students.  It captures the feel of winter with its cool colors and the crystalized salt used on the painting  almost looks like frost...LOVE

 

A Gift to Myself - Garden Girl by Misty Mawn    Saturday, July 30, 2016

Garden Girl

A Painting by Misty Mawn

My painting is here! My summer has not been too great, my Dad passed away a few short weeks ago, after a battle with cancer and dementia leaving me feeling exhausted and depleated.  It's hard to see a family member so ill and struggling with such devestating illness.  A short while ago there was a Facebook auction put on by Stephanie Gagos featuring the work of one of my very favorite artists Misty Mawn.  Her work is so inspiring to me, full of soulful imagery and emotion.  I have taken her online workshops and love her book Unfurling.  She is a fabulous teacher and artist who is passionate about sharing her wealth of knowledge with others. She gives so much in her classes, she is a wealth of information. I can't say enough about her wonderful online courses which everyone should try. Her latest one is Make/Do/Art.

Even the Outside of the Package Looks like a Beautiful Present!

What a Surprise a Handpainted Card with a lovely thank you note inside!

AND a beautiful postcard under it, oh my...

And the PAINTING itself...Garden Girl  Oh so Beautiful !

Can't wait to frame her...

I was already wearing matching colors when it arrived.

Namaste,

Marcy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Art With Children    Friday, July 22, 2016

Making Art with Children

Sgraffito Tiles 

 

Grace age 5

 

Every summer I teach week long camps for kids at Guilford Art Center in the shoreline town of Guilford, CT.  The kids that come to the center in the summer are from all over the country because sometimes they are visiting grandparents, or come to Guilford because their families might own a beach house, or because they are on vacation and they can drive to our facility from a town that is just too far away during the school year.  

Sophia age 7

I am always amazed at how the kids are so shy in the first part of the first day, but after we go outside for a brief break time and rejuvinating snack and playtime - they come in full of laughter and with new friendships just formed. By the last day there are hugs, playdates to make and promises to keep in touch.

Miles age 5

Children are so open to experiencing new ideas, friends, concepts and dive right into art processes without any fear of failure which make them sentive intuitive artists.  I teach adults as well and they are often so full of fear that you will never see in kids. Young children don't worry about ruining their art, using the wrong color, making the wrong line or any of the things that paralize the adults I work with.  They are completely in the moment and engaged in the activity and process of making. I try to bring that attitude forward into my own work and remember to leave room for surprises.

Alyssa age 7

This week in my clay camp for  K - 2 grade we did many wonderful projects.  The pictures I am sharing here are of Sgraffito Tiles.  I demonstrated quickly by using a big brush using bright underglaze colors on pre-rolled terra cotta clay tiles. We talked about the term Sgraftitto which comes to us from the Italian word, Graffiare (to scratch).  After brushing on the colors loosely, I defined the shapes in my picture with a pointed clay tool.  These are only a few of the fabulous tiles we made this week. LOVE!

 

It's a Gift    Saturday, July 9, 2016

Finding Peace Mixed Media 16"x20" on canvas Marcy LaBella 2016

How many times as artists have we heard that creativity or artistic talent is a gift? Honestly I"ve heard it many times through the years and it was only when I got to college that I realized that you could actually LEARN to draw and SEE. This astounded me as I always believed you either had it or you didn’t.  I was immediately was blown away by this idea that art and creative ability was something that was not only something some people had a natural aptitude for, but that it was also something that could be learned and accessed by anyone with an interest who wanted to spend the time to learn it  and practice.  I immediately wanted to be able to help others to unlock this ability and find joy in creativity.

  

Crown and Rose 12"x12" Mixed Media on Canvas Marcy LaBella

Over the years I took my natural ability and worked very hard to further develop my skills in drawing, painting, ceramics and metals.

 

What I have found over the years is that the true gift in creativity is not the ability to create but what the process of creating gives back to the artist. 

Pink Blossoms in a Vase 2016 Marcy LaBella

12"x12" Mixed Media on Canvas

During difficult and stressful times I always have my work to turn to, it gives me a place to put my focus, relieves stress and anxiety and gives me a place to channel energy and process all manner of issues that arise in the course of being human. That is the true gift to all creative people, the place to process the stuff of life through their art form, and not the ability itself.  If you never sell a piece of work, if you sing and no one hears, if you dance and no one sees, write something that no one reads but yourself – do it anyway – you will reap the rewards 1000 times over – allowing yourself to be creative is a gift to yourself.

Namaste,

Marcy

 

 

 

30 Day Portrait Challenge    Saturday, July 9, 2016

 

I am participating in a 30 day portrait challenge -  which I thought would be really fun.  I found it on Instagram and joined late so of course now I have to paint like a fiend to catch up.  

Still I have wanted to make a commitment to painting something every single day instead of my regular drawing something every day and I can already feel that it does make a difference.  I am excited that one of my paintings popped into the top viewed in just a couple of days since joining - squee!  I am enouraged.  

Mostly I like the disipline of the different prompts and want to thank Galia Alena and Annie Hamman for creating and posting the challenge.  Here is a link to the prompts if you want to join the fun.

 https://christellesartfactory.wordpress.com/soulful-faces/

You can find Galia Alena here:

http://www.galiaalena.com/circling-with-the-goddesses/ 

More of my #30faces30daysprompts images....

 

prompt - drawing

prompt - repurposed

 

 

 

Art Inspires Art - Working Collaboratively    Saturday, June 4, 2016

Art Inspires Art

Marcia Eager my Wesleyan Potters co-op buddy and I installing a small installation. 

Russel Library - Middletown, CT

4 Artists Metal and Clay Through August 2016

Art accountability buddies and peer networking groups can be a way to keep your art practice moving forward.  Meeting with other artists and creative friends regularly to share recent work, talk about where you are in your creative biz and hearing about the creative practice of others can help you stay inspired, motivated and on track. Working side by side in the studio can become a catalyst for creativity.  The energy of the creative environment seems to expand ideas for all parties involved.

Marcia Eager, Cheryl Tuttle and Myself Bowlapalooza 2014

We co-chaired a spring fundraiser for many years at our co-op this was our last year!

Even so when it comes down to it the work is always yours to do, you need to get into the studio and work. Even if your studio is a desk top or cleared off corner of the kitchen table – optimally you should try to make something every day.  Anything and everything creative counts – drawing, sketching, doodling, or even working in a second creative medium; it all works and builds your creative muscle. I often have my young drawing and painting students switch off and 3D projects such as clay sculpture, fiber arts and metal or wire sculptures because it expands how we see as artists. When we return to the flat surfaces of paper or canvas we do so with a new and expanded ability to render.

My Exploratory Art kids participate in a collabrative public art project on the grounds of the Guilford Art Center to raise awareness about endangered butterflies.

As a teaching artist I am connected to two wonderful non-profit art centers and have lots of artistic and creative friends.  I also belong to a long standing juried women’s art organization where I can network and meet with other women artists.

In my days as a young artist I had a standing art date with my dear friend Mary.  Each Monday we met and painted for the entire day.  This standing art accountability date was very important to both of us as we were both beginning in our craft and working day jobs. Today I have a core group of women who I like to create with – we meet at our co-op and work in clay and metals and gather at our homes to make mixed media art.  We bounce ideas and teach each other new techniques, concepts and processes. I believe that this is beneficial and helps us grow as individual artists.

Wisdom Shared Lois Eldrich and Lori Lapin Wesleyan Potters Co-Operative

I try to bring the spirit of collaborative art into the classroom with even my youngest students. This week I introduced the idea of conceptual art and temporary art installations to my Kindergarten through Second grade kiddos at the Guilford art center.  It being spring we talked about butterflies and the Monarch in particular once being very common in our area having dwindling numbers due to the lack of the #1 food source the milk weed pod because of spraying and reduced open wild spaces.  We talked about artists creating temporary art in public spaces that brings awareness to issues and ideas that are important to the community and to society as a way to voice an opinion.  We had messy paint-y fun creating butterfly silhouettes on the lawn in white paint.  They will eventually fade away with the trimming of the grass – as will our butterflies if nothing is done to reverse the damage to their habitat. Even the youngest children can grasp the concepts and benefit from participation in community and art collaboration – and have a really good time doing it!

Day 1 - Self Portraiture As Medicine with Catherine Just    Saturday, May 28, 2016

 Self Portraiture As Medicine

Join in at www.catherinejust.com/self-portraiture-as-medicine

Day 1 Prompt - Turn May28, 2016

Day 2 (re)Lease May 29, 2016

Day 3 (re) Vive May 29, 2016

 

 

 

Stalked    Thursday, May 19, 2016

Stalked

Free 2016 Mixed Media on Canvas 16"x20" Marcy LaBella

Ok – so I usually keep this blog to lighter topics – art and community, creativity, making art with children and things I am truly passionate about.  Today because of a post I saw on Facebook I am going to talk about something that I rarely discuss – I have a stalker. Not a joke, a real life, 30 plus year stalker.   My stalker is blocked on Facebook, but occasionally someone will reference IT by name – I refuse to give it a human pronoun at this point, and today it infuriated me. Last year I had a similar reaction – a nice picture of a group of us – a young, happy crowd posing for a group shot in a hip night club where we all used to hang out – Happy Times?  No – there IT was…two rows behind me – IT the stalker.

 It started out harmlessly with a guy who was kind of a square peg who hung out on the fringes of the very cool and eclectic music scene that was a big part of my youth.  His band was not one of the cool ones, his friends were few and he was not in with the in crowd.  Our scene was not a mean one though, and everyone was welcome, no one was shunned or treated like an outcast.  We were all quirky, different and everyone –even the very strange were accepted. When does a harmless crush cross over the line, take the corner, become stalking?

Photo by Wendy Horowitz

At first it was just awkward; I was dating someone and then someone else which he knew at the time.  I was not interested anyway. He repeatedly called my family home and soon everyone was instructed to tell IT I was not at home no matter what – IT was constantly calling and wanting to talk about nothing. IT wrote an embarrassing song with my name as the title and wondered why I ran out of the bar in horror when IT’s band played it.  It did not end there, even after a few years and the scene having kind of split up a bit. I was living on my own at the time and I remember changing some musical gear and placing an ad in the local musician’s paper to sell an amplifier with just my first name and phone number – mistake…the calls started again and messages started to be left regularly on my machine.  I moved around a bit back then and then my phone number changed and IT lost my trail.  I got married and changed my last name - great – anonymity or you would think.   Nope, fast forward a few years later and I got a phone call at the business that I owned with a friend.  IT was now living out of state, working for a credit card company, the one where I had my business account. Yes IT recognized my name (Maiden must have been listed on the account) when IT was working and used my confidential information to look me up at work. I told It I was married and not to contact me again. It sent me IT’s latest CD instead.  At the time my husband wanted to call the police or the FBI because of the security violation.  I remembered a harmless, overweight and socially awkward young man and brushed it off, a mistake I regret today.

Fast forward again to the 2000’s and IT’s back in the area.  Just in time for the reunions of our music scene, Facebook groups popping up and social media.  IT sent 3 friend requests back when you could do that on Facebook and I ignored them all.  On the last one I told IT I wanted no contact – because IT had violated my privacy and had used my personal credit card information to contact me which was a federal offence.  IT stopped sending the requests but that did not stop IT from going to the local events and trying to initiate conversation or pretending to need to walk by my table or area multiple times a night.  IT was repeatedly told to leave me alone by my male friends. At this point I began to tell at least the people who were local that IT was a stalker. One thing I noticed that had changed was that now IT drinks when before IT was always sober.

 I know the “incident” that pushed it over the edge was 3 years ago because it just came up on my Facebook “memories”.  My friend and I went to see the Darkness in New Haven.  IT was there.  It kept walking by as IT does, close by, and pretending not to be doing it intentionally.  We weren’t worried about IT because we were with my friend's brother and his friend and they are if I must say so – pretty badass.  We were completely engrossed in the show and all of a sudden I looked up and IT was coming towards us. I was horrified and waved my hands and backed up and it kept coming closer and closer and IT grabbed my hand as I tried to move away.  My friend who is really tiny was infuriated and screamed at IT to “let go” and to “get away” My friend tells this story in way that makes it sound very humorous but at the time it was not because It is huge and we are not.  We did not know but her brother was worried about IT bothering us so he had told the bouncer to keep an eye on us when he went to the other side of the bar. I am so grateful he did because the guy was looking out for us and saw the whole thing.  He ran over and pulled IT away and IT got thrown out before the Darkness even came out.   We later heard that IT was very angry and pacing up and down the street in front of the club not wanting to leave.

So when I see people mentioning IT online it kills me that IT slides through and in and slithers around and no one knows.

I know IT is out there but I still go out and I am still present and I am living my life and doing what I love every day.  I am done with this – I am taking the power back from IT. To those of you who are being stalked or have been I say this. There will always be those people who want a piece of you if you shine brighter than they do,  those who are jealous of you because of your light, because you are smarter, prettier, more talented, funnier, the reason does not matter, there is no good reason. They need to be called out; they are the ones who need to be hiding in shame and exposed.  

STALKED

I’m not hiding I’m free

empowered

though IT slides in

and through

and slithers around

and no one knows

It lurks and watches and

is hiding in sight

and no one knows

It stalks

exposed It loses power and slithers to

Its corner of shame deflated

 

 

 

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