Sunday, August 30, 2009

Before and After Shots? by Lenall Siebenaler

With an art studio there is never an after shot-- after is just what happens the next day. I thought I'd post shots of my current garage studio. This is what is right now. I bet you wouldn't call me anal? Detail oriented? Linear? Nope.
In my studio I live in creative havoc. I honestly have a method to my madness and I can find most things that I am looking for. Sometimes it might take a little longer than others though. This attitude does not move out of the studio into my home though. I like to live in a neat and fairly organized house (although full.)

I plan to go in there today and will sit down at my chair and finish the danglie project I have been working on. Before I do so, I will have to clean up a bit, don't you think? What is it about us creatives? Is picking up our first stage of warm up? If I left the space neat as a pin would it invite me back sooner? For me, I don't think so. As I mentioned in my last post, I always end a play session with things ready to be picked up and with a thought to where I am going. If I cleaned, all the elements would need to be picked out again, discovered, combined, etc.

This works for me. Although, sometimes I'd love to have fairies come in and put the things I don't need away so at least you can find the double 5 ft tables.... Kinda like I love to come home after my housekeeper has cleaned my house.

I am posting pictures. Don't be embarassed for me. I'm not. It is what is right now. When I get in there who knows what will be. Maybe it will improve, maybe it won't. For those of you who are familiar with my work, doesn't my studio remind you of it a bit???? LOL

By the way, I really admire you creatives who can live and work in a pristine environment where everything has it's place and purpose. (I really do.)

Lenall Siebenaler

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's as easy as 123...456789... By Lenall Siebenaler

Do you ever have the feeling that you really want to be in your studio making art, but for some reason, week after week, you just can’t get there?
Does it seem that you constantly make excuses for yourself as to why you aren’t in there? Do the excuses sound lame even to you? I have to …”weed the garden, go to the store, watch TV, vacuum, empty the dishwasher, I’m too tired to do anything…”

Have you ever started to read a book, disinterestedly picking it up for short intervals through the course of a week, two weeks, and then all of a sudden you get to a point where it starts to draw you in ---and then you can’t put it down? You can’t stop reading and you’re staying up till all hours until it is finished? Then after being all consumed, it takes awhile to even start a new book and the process starts all over again.

It’s kinda like that with a painting for me.
Earnest Hemingway once said, “I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day. ” This makes a lot of sense to me? How about you?

I currently have about 10 or more painting starts sitting in my studio waiting for me. Some of them actually look rather promising. Others are going nowhere fast. I did five of them one night in one energetic sitting. About two weeks later, I returned to two of them, but haven’t touched them since.
What’s going on here?
Is it really just a lack of time? We are pulled many different directions everyday. Do we just need to make art a priority?
Is it lack of discipline? They say that if you make a habit out of doing art every day that you can’t help but be more prolific and that your skills will improve.
Is it lack of focus or commitment? Our minds are full of the days doings, our stress levels is high. It’s hard to get in the zone when you know you only have an hour to play. We don’t want to be so disciplined that we have to actually schedule an hour each day. Perhaps trying it might not be such a bad idea though. It only takes 21 days to make a habit.
Is it lack of confidence? We don’t know what to do next so we don’t do anything. Are we afraid of failing, messing it up? Is it fear of ruining them? It’s only paper after all. They’re not that precious.
What can we do to help us get over this BLOCK? I’d love to hear from all of you as to how you get through these dry periods. I’m sure you have some great ideas.

Here are some of my thoughts:

1. Schedule time each day to so some art. Write it down and keep your appointment with yourself! Even if it is just a 10-15 minute drawing of something in the studio. Try to do it in the studio or where you normally do your work.

2. Don’t allow yourself to make excuses. Commit to yourself—this is important to you. Make it a priority. Stop watching TV or surfing the net and get in there!

3. Leave out everything you are using on your work space so that all you have to do is grab the brush, pastels, pencils, ink and paint and pick up where you left off.

4. Make sure you don’t allow your work surface to become a dumping space. Keep it clear. You don’t want to feel claustrophobic. If you have to clean up or organize each time you’ll never get to the art itself. You can always just keep reorganizing… A mess can also stop you from even beginning.

5. Make the tools you use regularly accessible. Know where they are and put them away in the same spot each time. There’s nothing worse than not being able to find something when you need it. Consider enlisting the help of a professional organizer if you aren’t satisfied with your space.

6. Ensure your space is a place where you are comfortable and that you enjoy being there. Surround yourself with things you love and things that inspire you. Paint the walls your favorite colors and play music that excites or relaxes you.

7. Be like Hemingway and stop at a point where you know what you’re going to do next. That way when you finally get there, you won’t waste anytime getting down to business.

8. If you get to a point where you don’t know what to do next—set the piece up in a place where you pass by it regularly. Look at it, and ask yourself “What if?” Try using clear acetate and experiment painting over areas that are not working.

9. Get a second opinion. Call a friend, join a critique group, ask your husband or wife, or take a regular class where others can help you. Take only those suggestions you like!

Now that I’ve figured out what I need to do to help me get back in there and make it happen-- I just need to do it!

Wish me luck!


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cloth, Paper, Scissors article

I'm really excited to have my article on using prompts to spark design ideas in the upcoming Sept/Oct issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors. They did a beautiful job with photography and layout, so I'm very pleased with the results.

Here are several of the pieces in the article:

You can read some about the process of using prompts here, and there is more detail in the article.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book Review

Stitch Alchemy, combining fabric + paper for mixed media art, by Kelli Perkins . ISBN 978-1-59668-113-2 from Interweave 135 pages.
This book is like having a box of the best candies ever, it is rich with colors, textures and so many ideas you don’t know where to start.

She lays out each technique with a photo and next to it is a recipe card block with instructions and tips.

All the toys we love to play with and messy wonderful COLOR!!!
Did I mention color, before you ever start reading the book it is just a delight to look at.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Art Festival In The Forest

Please join Portland Art Collective member Laurie Weiss at Art Festival In The Forest Aug 15-16, 10:00am- 5:00pm at Mary S. Young Park (Hwy43 in West Linn, OR)

There will be-- 70+ Juried artists in many media
Picnic Food and Beverages
For more information:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lake Oswego's Millenium Plaza Park Art Show

Take advantage of the wonderful weather this weekend! Jennifer Campbell is participating in this Sunday's art show (August 16th) in Lake Oswego's Millenium Plaza Park from 10-3. Come see her new creations - recycled art jewelry, assemblage clocks and more!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Two drawings

Good Pig

Views of a pill bottle

These are drawings done from an exercise in a weekend class that I took. The exercise is to take an object and draw it twenty times and frame each drawing. There are not quite 2o on the pig but that's that.

Portland Art Collective Journal

We've kept a Portland Art Collective Journal for several years. Each member adds her art to the book. The journal has been sitting on my desk for two months and I finally finished adding a couple pages to it.

The spread combines my garden sketches, hand dyed paper, stencils and free motion stitching. It says, "Come sit in my garden. Let's listen to the bees, smell the roses, see the color and feel the quiet peacefulness."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Nature Gathered - All 12 Canvases! Done and Hung

Thank you to Jan Harris and Traci Lynn Huskamp for organizing the Nature Gathered Challenge. Starting last July, we created an 8 by 8 in canvas with a different theme each month. Because of the economic times, I needed to redesign my website and build my private practice. With so little time, I considered giving up art all together. But thanks to this challenge, I squeezed in a few hours here and there to devote to art.

To see the originals and about 85 others, visit the artisits reception Friday August 7 from 7 - 9:00 PM at th Sixth Street Gallery in Vancouver's historic downtown area. (105 W Sixth Street, Vancouver WA 98660,, 360-693-7340).

The canvases will be on display and for sale from August 1 - 30, 2009.

Learn more about the challenge and see all the art at

Thanks Jan for keeping us going and organizing the show (And congrats on your work published in Somerset Studio!)