Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Whimsy Girls

Life is too short to do the same thing all the time. Recently, I embarked on a series of paintings called Whimsy Girls. It kind of happened by accident, but I'm running with it and hope to create many of these girls. Some have no arms and no faces, much to the confusion of my son and husband. Think Venus de Milo and every woman.  I wanted my audience to imagine themselves in these creations. I also wanted something fun, whimsical and maybe a bit odd.  Here are some of the images. Prints and originals are available in my etsy store.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Tapping into the Creative

I've been a professional artist since 2004.  One of the things I've learned over the years is the importance of tapping into the Creative. It is very easy to become complaisant and avoid taking risks. Every artist does it. Somewhere along the line, you find something that works and you stick with it. Problem is, eventually that becomes stagnant, causing you to fall into a cycle of self-loathing and blank canvas.  I can't tell you how many times (early on) that I got caught up in this cycle.  I would crank out pieces that would sell and then eventually the well would dry up. When things would get quiet, I was certain my muse had taken a hike and I had lost the ability to tap into the creative.  Nothing could be further from the truth. It was those times that I was recharging my proverbial muse battery.  It is in the quiet spaces that we eventually see the biggest breakthroughs.  Those are the times that need embracing. Over the last few years, my art has changed dramatically. I went from primarily illustrative works in the fantasy genre (nothing wrong with that) to mixed media and abstract acrylic. Huge leap into the unknown and huge leap of faith on my part. Some have accepted this change and others have not. I've had others tell me they like my illustrative works better. I've had some approach me to illustrate books and are very surprised when I say, I don't do that kind of art anymore. I always add that I may go back to it at some point in time, if the muse allows me to.  I think it was Neil Young that said, "I don't work for anyone but the muse."  And, I have to agree.  I've definitely let many opportunities slip right though my fingers, both consciously and unconsciously, simply because, I wasn't inspired.  I knew I wouldn't grow if I took that gig, so I left it alone and moved on to what I wanted to do. So, where am I going with this?

Recently, I began exploring abstract art.  I've been dabbling at it with my mixed media pieces, but haven't jumped in until recently.  I had hit a wall, where I felt totally burnt out. I was trying too hard to control the form that somewhere along the line, I was loosing the message. So, I decided that I would just paint. I often paint to music, as it helps me connect to energies within the melody.  This time, I would not use brushes, but my fingers, a pallet knife and other materials.  The result was truly mind blowing and opened up my world. In one week, I created 8 works of art! I couldn't believe how incredible it felt to just create without any thing in mind. When I stepped back from each piece, I began to see the messages coming though loud and clear. It wasn't about what I thought I was seeing, but how the paintings made me feel.  What a breakthrough. I almost didn't want to name the pieces for fear the titles would influence the audience. So, now when I create an abstract, I want to know how you feel, not what you think you are seeing. Because, how you feel is so much more important. If what I paint uncovers something deep within you, then I have done my job.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Opinions. Everyone has one.

Recently, I had a fellow artist comment on a piece of work that I created.  I welcome comments.  I’m always surprised when people take the time to comment on my work, so positive or negative, comments are always welcome.  In this instance, the artist did not like the piece. This is fine. Art is subjective and abstract art in particular is very subjective.  Most people either like it or hate it. There is rarely an in between feeling toward abstract art. At least, this is what I have found.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

My Skin (c) 2016 Trisha Leigh Shufelt

To be honest, I’m not actually fond of this piece. I’ve rather crudely nicknamed it, The Golden Turd. 

However, it was not the opinion of the piece that bothered me, it was the interpretation this fellow artist had of the process by which I create, and their projection of how I should create. 

For those who are unaware of how I create art, let me give you a brief breakdown.  When I create abstract art, I often choose a piece of music and tune into the energy it evokes though the music and lyrics.  Sometimes, I have a particular piece of music in mind, but often it is random. While on rotation, the piece will produce colors and visuals in my mind, which I interpret and put onto canvas.  This process actually has a name and is called, Synesthesia.  There are several forms. I won’t bore you with them. You can look it up for yourself.  Many creative types possess this ability.  I’ll be honest; I didn’t know what it was that I was doing actually had a name until recently.  For this particular piece, I had chosen a song called, My Skin, by Natalie Merchant, I had heard on Pandora for the first time that very day.  I thought the melody was stirring, emotional, beautiful, and the lyrics were evocative. My crude interpretation of my own art has nothing to do with Ms. Merchants lyrics, which I feel are brilliant.

These are the lyrics by Natalie Merchant~
Take a look at my body, look at my hands
There's so much here that I don't understand
Your face saving promises, whisper like prayers
And I don't need them
'Cause I've been treated so wrong, I've been treated so long
As if I'm becoming untouchable
Well, contempt loves the silence, it thrives in the dark
The fine winding tendrils that strangle the heart
They say that promises sweeten the blow
But I don't need them, no I don't need them
I've been treated so wrong, I've been treated so long
As if I'm becoming untouchable
I'm a slow dying flower in the frost killing hour
Sweet turning sour and untouchable
Oh, I need
The darkness
The sweetness
The sadness
The weakness
Oh, I need this
Need a lullaby
A kiss goodnight
Angel, sweet love of my life
Oh, I need this
I'm a slow dying flower, frost killing hour
The sweet turning sour and untouchable
Do you remember the way that you touched me before
All the trembling sweetness, I loved and adored
Your face saving promises, whispered like prayers
I don't need them
I need the darkness
The sweetness
The sadness
The weakness
Oh, I need this
I need a lullaby
A kiss goodnight
Angel, sweet love of my life
Oh, I need this
Well, is it dark enough
Can you see me?
Do you want me?
Can you reach me?
Or I'm leaving
Then you shut your mouth
And hold your breath
You kiss me now
You catch your death
Oh, I mean this
Oh, I mean this

As, I listened to the song on the first go around, I immediately was struck by the color red. Love, pain, fear, anger, and the root of survival.  Yes, black and darkness came to mind. I then could see a cocoon and then gold.  Healing scars with gold~a Japanese pottery technique. After, several more rotations, the piece was born. Can I relate to the lyrics? Yes.  I think many of us can or have related to this experience at one time or another. 

While the other artist expressed a general overall dislike for the piece, it was more than the dislike that struck me.  What they truly did not like were the lyrics I had chosen, and that by listening to this song on rotation, I was allowing myself to become stuck in the darkness.  While I appreciate their concern for my well-being, and assured them that the process by which I paint did not spiral me into the abyss, I found this advice rather unsettling.  Normally, I would just dismiss this, but something inside of me felt this was not a moment where I should remain silent.  First, art is about creation. It is about interpretation of emotions. It is sometimes therapy.   Sometimes, it is just about releasing energy and making a magical mess in the process.  Just as life is a balance of dark and light, so is art.  Sometimes, I create very soft and ethereal pieces. Other times, I create hard and dark pieces.  I explained to the artist, not everything I do is sunshine and rainbows.  While it may be a reflection of my mood, it may also be a reflection of what I am tuning into, i.e., the music.  I never become trapped within my creations. Instead, I create, I release. I let go.  I create some more. I create many things. So, that is the process. 

Now, for me, the nerve that was struck by this fellow artist’s comments went very deep. This wasn’t about whether or not the person liked my art. No, this was a critique about how I create and perhaps. what I should create. The fact that it came from a fellow artist was even more bothersome.  It is a fascinating and yet, disturbing trend that I am seeing more and more. Actors, musicians and artists seem to be taking the brunt of it.  Don’t talk politics; just entertain us.  While this was clearly not about politics, it was about the way in which I communicated my sense of self though my art. When you try to silence my process, you are trying to silence me. Art is self expression. Art should shake you up and get you thinking.  In the process, it may get you thinking about the very things that you need to work on within yourself.  It may make you uncomfortable. If it strikes a nerve, it is because something needs healing and integrating within the self.  And yes, this struck a nerve. Therefore, I am working on the healing of that within myself.   WE seem to be living in a time where the lack of control in the world around us, forces us to want to control how others think, feel and behave.  It is often masked by concern, fear, or for the so called greater good.  My suggestion is to self-check before you express your opinion. Where is it truly coming from? To quote my Reiki teacher, “Checky. Checky.”

And for the creative types, don’t let your voice be silenced by the key stroke or opinions of others. Keep creating thought provoking material. Keep using your voice. Never let anyone’s opinion silence you, or dictate what, or how you create art.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Bold Brush

Hi there,

I hope everyone is doing well. I have been busy between art shows and haven't had much creative energy. I almost thought my muse had taken a permanent vacation. Much to my surprise, she came back in full force this past week and I have been painting like a mad woman. The above image, entitled Remember Me is one of my latest mixed media works. I've entered it into FASO's Bold Brush Art Contest for the month of October. Only a couple days left to vote on it. Your vote won't necessarily get me into the winner's circle, as the final judgement belongs to an artist judge, but it does help get my work noticed, and for that, I am truly grateful. So, if you have time before the 31st, consider voting for this piece. It is simple and easy. Just click the link and then verify your vote though your email.

I've always wanted to do a piece featuring a cross. I'm not religious, but I am a highly spiritual individual, and I love symbolism of any kind. I wanted something that sharply contrasted and stood out. I chose deep reds and oranges (sort of a Southwestern mix) as the backdrop. For me, this comes from the root chakra, and our sense of security. The cross itself is a deep shade of turquoise (one of my favorite colors) and very symbolic of the throat chakra, which is our need to be heard. I wanted it to be off center, because I felt that this was more profound of hidden meanings and messages. It almost looks like water.

Recently, I sat down with a friend and we spoke in length about my artwork, use of color and positon of images on canvas. It was truly enlightening. If you drew a cross through the center of the page, the left half would be the past and the right half would be the future. The top half is our conscious mind and the bottom half is our subconscious mind (what we are working on below the surface. Hmmmm. I've got a lot going on here in this one.

I'm excited about the direction of my abstract pieces and recently had another friend share my art page with the comment, if you like soulful abstracts. This meant so much to me. I love abstract art, but often hear people say, "I don't get it" or "It just looks like paint pushed around the canvas. Anyone can do that." This is not necessarily said about my work, thank goodness, but I have heard it on many occasions about the genre of art.

Again, if you have a moment, consider voting for my art. It is likely a vote you will feel good about, which is sometimes hard to imagine during this election year. And, if you have a moment, stop by my website to view some of my new abstract pieces.

Lots of love!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Crazy Train

I feel like I've been on a crazy train.  I can't believe I haven't blogged anything since April.  From April to now, I've been wrapped up in several projects, shows and frankly, too much distraction.  I have a show tomorrow and one at the end of the month. After that, it is some much needed down time. I've even deactivated my personal page on FB.  Too much political garbage in my feed and I just need to take a break from it all.  I feel that unplugging will do me a great deal of good and hopefully open up the flood gates of creativity that seemed to have bogged up lately.  I am keeping my art page open, and do plan to re-open the personal page, but I'm not sure when.

Since April, I revamped my website and joined FASO.  It is a much more professional platform for artists. I've also been diving more into mixed media, abstract art and find this process very satisfying. I've been crafty, making various pieces, which explore a more spiritual side of myself and incorporate natural elements, such as shells and crystals (see pics below).  I repainted my studio and took care of some personal issues. Life is clipping along at a fast pace.  I'm also catching up on some Netflix shows that I've been wanting to see. I began exploring Soul Collage as a way to open up some inner dialogue. If you have any facilitators in your area, I highly recommend it. I also recently turned 47 and until that day was convinced I was only turning 46.  Somewhere between cancer and 47, I lost a year. People say that happens.  I now know what they mean. Despite the lost year, I'm feeling a renewed sense of health and strength. I don't know what direction I will be heading in 2017, but I'm trusting in the Universe. I know it won't let me down.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


Hi everyone.  I just finished up a new mixed media piece that I wanted to share with you.  This one is called Kaleidoscope (for obvious reasons).  I love the vibrancy of color in this one.  Below the pictures is a link to a short video about the piece.  The other link is to my etsy store where it is available for purchase.

Monday, April 4, 2016

More Art You Can Touch

Sorry, I haven't been on here more, but I have been so busy creating art.  Guess that is a good thing. I've created two new mixed media pieces from the Art You Can Touch Series.  One is a 7x14 size and the other is a whopping 12 x36!!! Both were a great deal of fun to make.  I've also attached a link to a video if you wish to see a little more about the pieces.  Hope you like them.