Be the Bear: Strong, Powerful, Beautiful

It all started with her rein (rain? reign?) of blonde hair. From there I could 'see' the bear, but was it brown, or white? Definitely white: Power, Strength, Mystery, Northern. The blues in the bear accent it's far Northern habitat and that same blue wanted to live in the sky - a star? A form. That could indeed be a star. But she needed heat and warmth and passion. Hot pinks radiated from her and a sun was born - psychedelic, swirly, strong, like her. Again, opposites unite; warms (reds) and cools (blues) as we are both, all of us, and so much more.

David Hockney: A Rake's Progress

David Hockney: The Biography, 1937-1975 by Christopher Simon SykesI've been reading a lot lately especially artist biographies and I like to pick out my favorite bits esp. those spoken by the artist her/himself. In this case it's David Hockney. Enjoy! My Favorite Bits from David Hockney: The Biography, 1937-1975 by Christopher Simon Sykes

Hockney confessed that he was so frustrated by what he was doing that it sometimes seemed pointless to go on. "He (Ron Kitaj) told me," Hockney remembers, "that I should look upon painting as a means of exploring all the things that most interested me, and that I should paint pictures that reflected this. This was the best advice he ever gave me." Kitaj probed his interests, discovering them to be poltics, literature, relationships, vegetarianism, and encouraged him to consider using these as subject matter for paintings. "I thought it's quite right; that's what I'm complaining about, I'm not doing anything that's from me. So that was the way I broke it. I began to paint those subjects." (p. 69)


Lawn Sprinkler, 1966 colored crayon on paper, 14 x 17 in. © David Hockney

What distinguished this particular show (in 1961) was that Grabowski invited each of the participants to write a personal statement for the catalogue on the theme of "the strange possibilities of inspiration." Hockney wrote: "I paint what I like when I like, and where I like, with occasional nostalgic journeys. When asked to write on 'the strange possibilities of inspiration' it did occur to me that my own sources of inspiration were wide -- but acceptable. In fact, I am sure my own sources are classic, or even epic themes. Landscapes of foreign lands, beautiful people, love, propaganda, and major incidents (of my own life). These seem to me to be reasonably traditional." It was a philosophy he has adhered to all his working life. (p. 116)

"Los Angeles is the only place in the world," he says, "where the buildings actually make you smile when you drive around."...So, rather than his own ideas or things he'd seen in a book, Hockney began to paint the things he saw around him....Other characteristics of acrylic, such as its regular consistency, allowing it to be applied thinly while retaining its full brilliance of colour, go a long way to explaining the changes in Hockney's painting style during this period. His paintings became flatter and much more about image and colour than about texture. "When you use simple and bold colours," he later wrote, "acrylic is a fine medium; the colours are very intense and they stay intense..." (p. 145)

A Bigger Splash, 1967, acrylic on canvas, 96x96 in. © David Hockney

A Bigger Splash, 1967, acrylic on canvas, 96x96 in. © David Hockney

As for the Japanese boys (in Kyoto) "they are as exquisite as the Zen gardens. I have done a few drawings and taken eight hundred photographs...and really have been turned on so much that if I never left Powis Terrace for five years I've enough in my head to keep me going." (p. 264)Though money took away the stress of having to churn out work in order to survive, it had never been that important to him, other than as a means of paying for materials, giving him freedom to travel anywhere and allowing him to go to a restaurant without worrying about how he was going to pay the bill. He called himself "restaurant rich." "if you're an artist," he wrote, "the one thing you can do when you get money is use it to do what you want in art. That's the only good thing you can ever do for yourself. As an artist, what do you need to live on? As long as you've got a studio and a place to work in, all you're going to do is paint pictures all day long." (p. 273)

(Stephen) Spender compared Hockney and his contemporaries to the irreverent and antisocial tradition of art that emerged after the Industrial Revolution, as exemplified by the Pre-Raphaelites, such as Samuel Palmer and, particularly, William Blake, an artist who "remained outside the main tradition all his life, mocking at the religious and artistic institutions of his time, and producing his own totally original poetry and art." (p. 315)

Interview with Susan Rodio, Fantasy Artist from OZ

Rainbow Mystic Fairy by Susan Rodio Susan Rodio will be my featured guest in the Creative Soul Circle Q&A Group for the month of June, 2011. Sign up is here and it's free to participate (for women only).

1. What aspect of creating your art or craft do you find the most enjoyable?

My favourite aspect of creating an artwork is coming up with the idea, the initial drawing onto canvas and then at the end the finishing touches and final details. 2. What originally got you started creating your art or craft?

I was always interested in drawing and initially copying what I saw, trying to replicate images in books and what I saw in reality to paper. I realized quite young that I had a good eye for that, so I kept going with it. I started drawing when I was around age five. I would sit and draw for hours, spending more time indoors than my siblings.

3. Who has inspired you the most creatively, and why?

I honestly can not say that one person has inspired me with my art because inspiration comes from so many different sources for me. But the person who allows me to keep the flow of creativity happening is my partner Anthony, for he fully supports me and my creativity which allows me to feel that I can do it without feeling judged. 4. How did you decide what medium to work in?

I actually really love oil paints even though I work in acrylics, I decided on acrylics as my studio space was quite small and I didn't feel that I had the luxury to indulge in oils as I find them a lot messier to use and then clean up after. The beauty of acrylics is that they dry very fast which helps a lot when layering paint which I do a lot of in my work.

Earth Sprites by Susan Rodio

5. What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art or craft?

I aim to convey something other than the ordinary or mundane experience of life, I want to convey a passionate and inspired connection to realms other than the physical realm that we engage in day to day.

6. If you had to choose a fruit or vegetable to describe yourself, what would you choose and why?

Hmm that is a hard question, maybe an avocado, slightly tough on the outside but soft and mushy on the inside. 7. If you had to choose one other medium in which to display your creativity, what would that be and why?

I would say oils because they are my first love as far as art mediums are concerned and they convey luminosity and light and shadow much more beautifully than acrylics in my experience. 8. What advice do you have for others who are just starting to develop creatively?

I would say enjoy it and study other artists and art history too, as I think there is a lot to be learned from the work and lives of many brilliant artists from the past.

9. What role does spirituality play in your creative life, if any?

It plays a huge part for me. I could not imagine living my life without feeling or being aware of a connection to something other than the material sphere of life. My connection to the spiritual realms comes through my art.  Through my artwork I take time to connect to spirit and to see what needs to come through. It is through my connection to something on a higher plane that comes through most of the time to inspire me.

Susan RodioSusan's Bio Website Etsy Shop Blog

I am a traditional painter from Australia. My paintings are inspired by many things especially Nature, Spirit, Folklore, Symbolism, Dreams, Astrology & Mythology. My works are painted by hand with high quality acrylic paint and are on either stretched canvas or canvas panel.

Most of my works include images of Fairies, Mermaids, Goddesses, Angels, Magic and Nature. These images come directly from the heart and soul and art for me is a need to express through my creativity beauty, magic, connectedness and feminine power and mystery.