Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On the concept Beauty

Conversation and Reaction
Materials: Pink Paislee Hometown Summer borders,  Studio Calico Design/Create stamps, Maya Road Lightbulb stamps, American Crafts Zing in black, Prima chicken wire background stamp, Bazzill paper- white. Studio Calico crickets card that came in the kit (LOVE that print!)

Last night I had a great conversation with my Aunt Cuca. She's recently discovered scrapbooking. (YAY! New partner in crime!)  To encourage a raging habit I sent her a box of "things I love but will not use"- i.e- pretty paper. She was so happy! One thing I did not send was most of my flower and butterfly stash. I'm hoarding those even though I’ve changed my style.

I've actually started scrapping differently to use them up. Here's a sneaky sneak of a page I made for ARTastic Challenges. I was honored to be their July 2011 guest designer and let me tell you I agonized over this page:

ARTastic Challenge Blog July Guest Designer sneak.
ARTastic uses paintings as inspiration for scrapbook pages- you can be literal and lift the whole design or concentrate on specific elements such as the color palette. There are lots of RAK opportunities- swing by and check them out.
My Aunt went bananas over the flowers and ribbon I sent. We got into a convo about what we like and I swear I felt like I was talking another language. I told her I like grids and fonts and woodgrain- she was like- well everyone's light shines different. Amen to THAT sister!

But WHY give away my flower stash? Am I CRAZY??? I don't use the large 3D flowers anymore because they are too precious, too widely used, too... MUCH! (And on a practical note, 3D pages take up crazy amounts of storage space.) My idea of "beauty" has shifted. 
The Child's Bath (The Bath) by Mary Cassatt, 1893, oil on canvas, Art Institute of Chicago 
It's like this painting. Beautiful and something I would have aspired to a year ago. Lately I have tended to admire work that makes me think and see the world differently.  Cassatt was a ground breaker. She made the personal public by focusing on intimate family moments before it was considered ok for women to do that. She was a female painter in an era where only men were considered artists- women were mere hobbyists. Hmm... that's still the case! The  “high art” versus “hobby/craft” value system is especially apparent in the scrapbooking community. Say “I am a Scrapbooker” here in Brooklyn (ironic Hipster central) and watch the smirks. “Oh NO girl! You sit for hours playing with PAPER?  For fun? There are babies in your "art"????”

And so begins the struggle for someone like me. I love complicated, brainy or modern art. But I also love beauty for beauty's sake and traditional ideas of representation. So how do I be "me" in a field where traditional is the ideal? Where, if it isn't a baby or a cute pet or a positive feeling, it's a hard to grab attention? 
Well get ready for the uphill battle. 
Hey- I'm loosing you- here's a CUTE DOG to get you to read some more :)
 The scrapbook community is one that values the positive because the focus is on preserving memories- who wants to preserve the memory of their commuting to work frustrations? Who wants to spend hours trying to figure out what a page “means”?

The balance needs to be struck between the beautiful and the real.  Between the traditional and the cutting edge. After all- adding a bunch of beautiful Prima flowers to a page will not make an unfocused design suddenly come to life.  The opposite is also true- if the subject matter is not cute or beautiful then you have to spruce up those design skills because the work will depend on the eye loving what the heart rejects.   

One of my all time favorite shots of Miss Thang.
You can't see her face and  she's slightly off center-
a photo who's meaning can change according to mood.

I had an experience recently where someone lifted one of my Xoxo Girl designs and posted on their blog that my page "was not her style- let's leave it at that". I was so conflicted! I was flattered because the effort showed that there was something worth exploring in my page but what did "let's leave it at that" mean? I'd like to know!  
True Xoxo Girls April Challenge page
One of the biggest blocks I'm facing right now is lack of critical feedback. I know most of it is the "if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all" ethic. Plus everyone is updating their blogs or their galleries and making and photographing their work- these are BUSY people! So the page needs to speak and speak LOUDLY in seconds. But without going to art school or having graphic designer friends it's very hard to learn about design. Everyone can teach you a new technique but that DOESN'T mean it will be used effectively.
I see some major improvements. Her design has focal points and symmetry- the color palette is more cohesive. I have photos on my page but they are tiny and get lost in the over all mess- hers are easier to see. Considering this is a scrapbook project- her page did it’s job- mine was an experiment. So my "take away" (that's corporate lingo for what I learned) is this: Keep looking. Take notes. Notice- what do those pages or projects or paintings have in common that you like? And most of all- DO NOT look for outside approval. Happiness needs to come from within and if it's flowers and butterflies or graffiti and grid lines that does it for you- it's up to YOU to develop your eye and your artistic voice.
Love this photo too.  It's in a page for my July True Xoxo Girls challenge page.
Have you uploaded your scraplifted creation yet? You have plenty of time so swing on by!

MuChoS SmOoChEs!


  1. Ohhh I love the "busy busy bee". The big bee and all the small photos....so cool!!!

  2. I love the design layout. Also great picture of the young lady in the hat!

  3. Hear hear on the critical feedback, design learning and being your own voice comments x

  4. Wow, lots of thought-provoking "meat" in your post. I want to think about it all and maybe come back to leave a deeper comment. But I get where you are coming from. Beauty comes in many forms. The sentiment bordering your top LO about designing and creating art is so, so spot on. Love it!


Ok peeps lets CHAT! You tell me what you REALLY think and I PROMISE to keep it open minded here.