Creativity Talks: Jodi Paloni, Collaging Art and Life

I was connected with Jodi Paloni when I was searching for editorial expertise on a memoir I was writing. “You’ll love working with Jodi,” said our connection. “She is into the natural world, and relationships, and loss like you are.”

The more I worked with and learned about Jodi, the more I did, indeed, love working with her. She is a poet, a writer of a lauded book of fiction, a coach and a yoga practitioner. And, I discovered, a terrific collage artist.

I wanted to know how she came to making collages. Was the experience of writing similar to the experience of making a collage? Did she see a difference in the kinds of stories she writes and the kinds of stories her collages tell? And so much more…

Continue reading “Creativity Talks: Jodi Paloni, Collaging Art and Life”

Creativity Talks: Annie Thomas, At Home on the Range

D763EA48-0A0D-4FCF-AA9B-62ED8F7E4B69_1_201_aI met Annie Hosefros—now Annie Thomas—in the‘90s when we both worked at a small software firm in Northern California. Annie was in Marketing and wore cowboy boots. She was a buoyant, fun and funny colleague, adept at making lovely handmade books for friends, and hand-drawn cards for her friends.

She went to Montana to experience life and work on a friend of a friend’s ranch in the Boulder River valley for a summer, liked it, quit her software job in California, and moved the Montana in the summer of 1999 

Long story, short: Annie now lives outside McLeod, Montana with her husband, Tom. She has lived in Montana for over 20 years now–a feat for anyone moving to rural Montana from big cities with all their diversions and cultural activities.

I wanted to talk to her about the art of making a home–especially in the wilds where the nearest store in 30 minutes away, and about her many creative pursuits and how she keeps them going… Continue reading “Creativity Talks: Annie Thomas, At Home on the Range”

Creativity Talks: The Art and Energy of Self-taught Painter, Matt Sesow

dogfish.sesowIn 2009, I heard about Matt Sesow, a D.C. artist who was described to me as “a modern-day Picasso.” I was skeptical (I tend to be skeptical about most things just-met dates tell me). But when I looked at Sesow’s website, I felt as though my fingers had just been stuck into an electric outlet: the paintings’ energy pulsated, jumped and vibrated. His colors burned.
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Creativity Talks: Vicki Teague-Cooper

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Photo by Karen Kuehn

I met Vicki Teague-Cooper in the 1980s, and bought one of her encaustic paintings while photographing her in her Santa Fe studio. She has been making and showing her art for about 35 years.

Primarily a painter, her work has included oil paintings, encaustic paintings, drawings, watercolors installation art, and monoprints. Continue reading “Creativity Talks: Vicki Teague-Cooper”

Thinking, But “Not Feeling It” at the Bill Traylor Show

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Sometimes I’m grabbed by the heart when I look at art. In those times, I don’t look for “meaning” in the painting, I don’t do anything but feel: pleasure, love, excitement, sometimes a physicality that is like melting or merging with shapes or color or line. It’s like falling in love.

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul,
and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
— Henry Ward Beecher

Continue reading “Thinking, But “Not Feeling It” at the Bill Traylor Show”

Forget the Name of What You Are Seeing

5-waterlilies-claude-monet.I’m not wild about Monet’s art. But I am wild about what he had to say about seeing, producing, creating. He, an art master of great renown, expressed so perfectly that with which I have been unsuccessfully flailing about. Namely, the importance of SEEING. Not just looking at things, not just naming them and moving on, but slowing down, actually removing yourself from thinking, and seeing what you are looking at. Continue reading “Forget the Name of What You Are Seeing”

Communion; The Art of Observation

A recent experience attending an exhibit of “Outliers,” self-taught artists, reminded me how the act of observation, of really seeing, is a form of communion. Communion, meaning: the “sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.” Like the Christian religious ritual, really seeing is a profound, deeply meaningful experience. Continue reading “Communion; The Art of Observation”

Miss Chanler Makes a Visit

Only after looking closely at the pallid women on their sofas would one think they must be ill. One of them wears black–not a good color for her. She has interlaced her long fingers together, perhaps to steady her nerves. Her gaze is steady but untrusting, almost a little fearful. The other woman is less interesting, less defined, one dimensional. Something seems very off about her; her forehead is too short, perhaps. Her lips are pressed tightly shut. She looks angry. Maybe she resents being stared at?

One might be spurred to ask how did Miss Elizabeth Reynolds Chanler and her doppelganger come to be perched rather tentatively in my basement? How, indeed… Continue reading “Miss Chanler Makes a Visit”

5 (Lame) Reasons to Hold Back from Creating Things

You could be Vincent Van Gogh, or Adel, or Steven Speilberg–or you could be me, or you could be you–but I’ll bet any one of these “you’s” has been stopped cold by that voice inside your head that tears you down when you try to express yourself. Continue reading “5 (Lame) Reasons to Hold Back from Creating Things”

Why Make Things When You Could Buy Them?

In this “Digital Age” where we have no patience for things that take time, and where we can easily find whatever we might want on a computer, it may seem Amish, quaint, and/or silly to be encouraged to make something with your own two hands. Why should we make things? Continue reading “Why Make Things When You Could Buy Them?”