I had one of those life altering moments a few weeks ago. Three words-The Red Shoes.
This movie has been on my too-watch list for awhile, but I never got around to seeing it. Well, I finally watched it and I was blown away. In a nutshell the story revolves around the “love” triangle of the 3 main characters-Vicky the ballerina, Boris the ballet impresario, and Julian the music composer and eventually Vicky’s betrothed. The story is also about the choice between the love for another person and the love for one’s art, in this case Vicky’s love for her dancing. Eventually Vicky must choose. I put love in quotation marks because this triangle isn’t about the obvious love you’re thinking of. Or is it? And that’s part of the genius of this film-it’s like a dream world and you’re never quite sure where the characters stand in relation to each other. And by the way, at least watch this film just for the Technicolor which is amazing and also adds to the otherworldly feeling.
My favorite scenes are the backstage/rehearsal scenes where the dancers practice, stagehands work on sets, and musicians tune their instruments. I want to live in that backstage. Of course I don’t believe for a second every backstage is as emotional as the one is this movie but still, I want to be in that nurturing, artistic environment.
Honestly, I can’t completely explain the effect The Red Shoes has on me, I just want to keep typing the words “it’s effing amazing” over and over, but I will say that this film makes me want to be the best artist I can be. And probably all of the paintings I do in the future will be inspired in some way by The Red Shoes. Like the painting below, Torment, which is directly inspired by Vicky’s inner turmoil.
Seriously, I recommend everyone whether you’re an artist or not to watch this film. It’s that effing amazing.
I drew this on my iPod the other day and immediately loved it, maybe because it looked like someone else drew it. That’s always a bonus in my mind. ;) The website for this app has an online gallery where you can upload your drawing and display it to the world so I did and immediately regretted it when I saw it amongst the other drawings. Compared to everyone else’s drawings mine looked so simple, easy, and amateurish even. Yet when I looked at it by itself again, I re-fell in love. It’s just so cool!
In the book Art and Fear which I’m still reading (I don’t like reading so it takes me forever to finish a book) the authors talk about this idea of having a “magic” required to make art and if you see an artist who has a coherent and purposeful range of pieces while your art is all over the place, that artist has the magic and you don’t. But as the authors’ state: “Whatever they have is something needed to do their work-it wouldn’t help you in your work even if you had it. Their magic is theirs. You don’t lack it. You don’t need it. It has nothing to do with you. Period.”
This describes my problem with the drawing. On it’s own, it rocks. Compared to others in the gallery, it lost it’s magic. So I have to stop comparing. Hahaha, like that will happen but I can learn to accept my art is not like other people’s art and leave it at that.
How do you get over the comparison problem?
I love old movies, especially silents and films made in the 1930’s. I rarely watch anything “recent”, although I do want to see “The King’s Speech” because it looks amazing and well-acted. Also, Colin Firth=yummy.
I would have been in my glory in the 30’s with those fabulous clothes, art deco designs, and handsome men in fedoras and suits with suspenders. Yes, I have a thing for suspenders. And fedoras. And cufflinks. Basically any man that looks like Cary Grant works for me.
This collage was inspired by the smokey, film noir classic “Gilda” starring Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford. My barcode collages (like this one) are simple linear pieces and I usually don’t have a plan when I’m picking the papers out-I just go with what I’m feeling at the time. And this time I was feeling like a femme fatale.
Lapo Elkann, grandson of Gianni Agnelli, is quite the dandy. I love Lapo because he's so unique and does his own thing. But his outfits-I mean look at what he's wearing. Love him!
Seriously, who else could pull this off? The second outfit really inspired the painting below, I love the fuchsia/raspberry pinks paired with dark blue and a touch of mint green. Of course I had to name this painting after it's namesake, I'd love Lapo to see this. Hmmm.......
And the painting is available here :)
When I started my art career, I decided to keep an inspiration book or as I usually call it “these pictures were too awesome to get rid of” book. And it’s funny now to sometimes look back and see what I thought was too awesome to get rid of. Since I started collecting photos in a new scrapbook I decided once a month I’ll share pages from the old one with you and try to explain why I chose what I chose. Now as I said some of the photos were chosen because they were too cool, like the Dita Von Teese photo and the Kate Moss photo (who else could make a very dull gray color combo look so chic) so I won’t really talk about them but instead focus on the pics that I might reference for my art.
The top left picture is of a textile sketch that really caught my eye because of the geometric shapes and colors, which reminded me of Studio 54 for some reason. I don’t know why but I get a groovy, disco feel and long to hang out with Cher and Bianca Jagger, which is a feeling I rarely get. ;) But I thought the sketch was really cool and would have liked to see the finished fabric that it was based on.
I’ll say this many times but Grey Gardens is one of my favorite movies and Little Edie is a hero to me so anything related to her or the film will find its way into my book. The cuff and brooch shown here is part of Eva Beale’s Grey Gardens Collection where she locates pieces of jewelry that are inspired by Little Edie. The brooch is very art deco and the shape is something I draw over and over again but have yet to make it work in a painting.
And now to the bottom left where there’s a tiny photo of a painting of a woman’s face titled “Who needs blood when you've got lipstick?” and it was done by Kate Moss using lipstick-very cool. It also features the blood stains of her former lover Pete Doherty-very uncool. But I love this painting for so many reasons that I’ll overlook the blood (and probably drug) stains. Aesthetically it works very well. Second, it was done with lipstick, which I know isn’t an original idea but I never thought to use lipstick in my paintings! And third, it was done by Kate Moss, who I love. I’ve posted a better pic of her painting below, courtesy of the telegraph website.
Next month I’ll come at you with a cd cover, a jacket, and Princess Margaret. How’s that for a combo!
I couldn’t really think of anything to blog about this week but I need to stick to my one-post-a-week-schedule or this blog will fade quickly! So I thought I’d share this comment I heard on the Bad at Sports podcast from 2/2/11. Kim Anno, a painter, photographer, and video artist, was discussing abstraction when she made the following, and amazing, comment:
"When somebody says, “Oh my kid could do that”, that what their saying is that “my kid has this unfettered impulse to make something and your work reminds me of that impulse” and that’s a compliment. People use it pejoratively, but in a certain sense it’s a compliment. To feel connected every human being or to a group of human beings, when they look at a visceral work of art is something really moving, and it doesn’t mean that you have all the intellectual stuff behind it. Sometimes you can and sometimes you don’t. And I make that enough for me when I’m making a painting."
This blew me away because I even think a kid could do what I do sometimes so to hear her talk about having the “unfettered impulse” of a child was inspiring and uplifting to me. So fellow artists, when someone says their kid could do what you do remember to take it as a compliment!
Have a great weekend everyone!
I remember hearing somewhere that a “self-taught” artist (i.e. no formal training) shouldn’t make excuses for being self-taught-if you’re an artist, you’re an artist. In fact some would argue it’s a positive thing that these people are untouched by academic theories and biases. I will say however that as a self-taught artist I often feel lost in the art world. How do I get my art out there? What style do I fall under? Am I looking at the right websites? How do I find exhibition opportunities? And of course the biggie in my life- Why does my art suck so badly?
Looking at these questions, I realize I have a lot of fear I need to deal with. I can’t tell you how envious I am of artists who have no fear and put themselves out there warts and all. It must be a liberating and awesome feeling. I’d like to know that feeling. So I bought this book, Art and Fear, in the hopes that it helps me learn to deal with what’s holding me back in my art career. I’ll report back with my thoughts when I’ve finished reading.
But now I want to know how you deal with your fear. Do you have a mantra or have you read a helpful book? What gets you past the voice in your head that stops you from moving forward?
Art House Co-Op is based in Brooklyn, NY and focuses on creating “massive, international art projects that tie thousands of artists together”. I’ve participated in 3 of their projects and enjoyed all of them but this particular one, the Sketchbook Project, was definitely the most difficult.
For one, I procrastinated to practically the last minute before the book was due. Procrastination is a big problem with me and yet I always do it. Did I really need to organize my cd’s? No, but I took an afternoon (and part of an evening because I have OCD) to do that instead of drawing. The other reason it was so difficult is because I don’t really keep a sketchbook. I have an idea, paint it directly on the wood, and if it works, I share it with everyone. If it doesn’t, I get out the gesso and start over.
So to have this sketchbook’s blank pages staring at me was unnerving. Thankfully, my theme was lines and grids so I felt a little more comfortable once I picked up my ruler. After awhile though I ran out if ideas and still had a good chunk of the book to fill. I remember the project leaders saying if the book is not completed, it was okay and to send the book anyway. But sending an uncompleted sketchbook would admit defeat and I would not be defeated. (As well as having OCD I’m also incredibly competitive). So I picked up my sharpies, thought for a few minutes, put them down and turned on Turner Classic Movies. Hey, I’m not missing Charlie Chaplin!
The next day I got serious and started coming up with ideas and by the end of the process, I realized the importance of a sketchbook. If I drew something but wasn’t totally sure about it, I could try again on the next page and maybe come up with something very cool and unexpected. Moral of the story is I will definitely keep a sketchbook from now on.
Here are a couple of pages. You can also check out some more of my sketches on flickr.
So I guess I should introduce myself to you all before I get too far into this blog. I’m Rachel Troutman and I recycled scrap wood into new and bold geometric abstract paintings and collages. But I’ll share more about my art in future posts so for now I’ll let you into my world-but don’t get to excited because my world mostly revolves around my cats.
In a nutshell (because you really don’t want to hear my whole life story and I’d rather forget some things) I was born and raised in Central PA amid some of the most beautiful mountainous regions in the world. I swear the mountains here have a look all of their own. If you read my bio, you’ll know that I graduated from SRU in 2002 with a degree in Sport Management. Looking back now I don’t regret picking the major I did because at the time it’s what I wanted and I did learn a lot both professionally and personally from my professors (Hi Dr. Ammon!) but sometimes when that student loan bill shows up….
Fast forward to 2008 when I picked up my paint brushes I had only occasionally used over the years and seriously started painting on a piece of scrap wood from my dad’s work. I had a blast and I knew I wanted to keep painting. I don’t know if it was the feeling of having something to say or just wanting to be “artistic” but I felt I just had to keep painting.
Gradually over time I became more confident and decided to sell my work. It was and still is a big deal for me to do this for a couple of reasons. One, I’m self-taught and feel like I’m on my own as far as learning to be an artist and learning about my field. And the second reason is because like many creative people, on a scale of 1-10, my confidence level is usually at .05%. It’s very difficult to share something you’ve created with strangers and even friends because each painting /collage is like a baby to me.
And speaking of babies, I have 3 kids of the furry variety-Lulu, Hoppi, and Edie. Lulu is the oldest but she’s definitely my baby-mostly because I raised her from a 2 week old kitten into the spoiled diva she is now. Hoppi is a special needs cat-he appeared on our doorstep about 3 months old and missing his back left leg. Edie is the youngest. Even though she’s 2 years old she’s still a complete kitten. Do Maine Coons mature slowly or something?
So that’s me. I hope you learned something because I did, writing this wasn’t so painful! Future posts will be more about my art and business so check back often. If you want to see my babies, visit their flickr set.
I love Vanity Fair magazine and when I saw this photo in the September 2010 issue, I was intrigued:
She is Countess Jacqueline de Ribes and she was born in 1929 on Bastille Day. She's a french socialite, once described by Yves Saint Laurent as an "ivory unicorn", and has been a muse, fashion icon, and one-time fashion designer. The following picture (and really all of the pictures) really inspired me-
so I came up with this geometric painting:
And guess what? It's available in my shop. :)