Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow day....

Mother Nature certainly knows how to distract me and everyone else, with a big ole white fluffy surprise! White and fluffy...as in SNOW...yep I said snow. We've heaps of it piled up, accumulating up to 12-15 inches here in my county, and Depending where you are, some have as much as 24 + inches. And the ringer...? We're supposed to get 3-5 more inches tomorrow! Living in the mountains makes for tricky maneuvering on snowy and icy road conditions, so most of us...stay home!

With lots of time on my hands, and trying diligently not to fall back in to a grief and being depressed, I have been hanging out in my art room. This room makes me happy and productive...I've organized the studio, swept the floor and hung a few special pieces that will have to be pried out of my dead hands one day, back up on to the walls, so that I can feel connected to them again. Meanwhile alternating my audio entertainment between NPR's "ask me another", "wait wait don't tell me" and some "netflix".  

I dove in to my oils, always a pleasure, and began some work on a couple older pieces.  I needed to see if I could revive them. Playing in oils is so addicting....I miss them. I began work on my second lamp project. I am trying my hand at up-cycling on a couple of them and am pretty pleased with their result/progress. 

Throughout,  I've been working on a pouch project for my one of my girls. She's going out of the country in a few months and hates to carry purses/bags. So, I have come up with a "pouch", made from canvas and large enough to stick the necessities in, to and feed a belt through. A sort of cooler, boho style take on the fanny pack. She is very pleased so I am pleased. I just need to finish some details!

Piece One...WIP this one needs a lot of work!

Piece Two-This one was damaged in by fire,
After I finish painting the piece I will remove it from the stretcher bars and see try to reframe
this is a delicate project both because of the damage and because of the emotional attachment

My art desk.
I found a couple yard sale frames a while back,
but just discovered that one of them fits my first ever mixed media piece
I was very happy and excited about this!

Close up of lamp project #2

Lamp Project #1
I love it!

The Pouch
Yep, it is as crocked as you see in this photo
I can come up with the ideas, but I can NOT sew
Oh well...
Now, lets see, what is next.....


Saturday, January 31, 2015


We all approach pain/loss/death in a different manner. It is true that an artists mind is wired differently, in that their brains allow them to think more metaphorically, which is what allows them to be more creative. The precuneus region is where this takes place,it is involved in a range of functions but basically linked to creativity, visual imagery. 
The art below is the reason I am sharing this info, and, the art is the cause of this creation. We have suffered a recent loss of a very beloved pet. I am not sure if I made the worst mistake of my life by being present at the end of his life, or the best. Right now, it feels like the worst. A practical part of my mind knows it was time to release him from his suffering, but the creative side of my mind is in a maelstrom of pain and recall (over and over) of the actual process. I shared the science behind how an artist's brain works, to help explain my struggle. 
Honestly, I am not surprised by the response I have already received, it comes from a very personal and pain filled experience which lends it a lot of power. It is, however, very important to me that you understand the work. It is not a habit of mine to explain my art as you already know. This is hopefully a step forward in my grief process. I also want you to understand the kind of power our minds, inner psyche and imagination can achieve when we get out of the way.  
24 x 30 inch canvas
Title: Grieving
Mixed Media
©Valerie Dowdy Art 

Explanations & Meanings:
Some homework for you on symbolism and the meanings when applied to art. There obvious references and some maybe which might not be as clear. I will answer questions in regards to their use in this piece. 

Pink--tenderness, acceptance, calm
yellow--hope, joy, happiness, optimism, heaven 
brown--earth, home, endurance
orange--energy, balance, demanding attention

spirals--life/death; spiritual/physical; 
tree--tree of life
light--sun, spirituality
vine--growth, connection, survival, determination
windows/doors--separation from outside/inside
blocked or shuttered windows/doors--represent the eyes, privacy, violence, escape
homes/house-- are usually considered feminine in symbolism
mountains--obstacles to overcome; higher spiritual values; unwillingness to confront inner struggles, usually considered masculine 
ledges--resting place
standing without movement--is denial of our own power and responsibility, inability to focus, move forward or follow our heart
black bird--death, discovery, healing, inner self
open book--a subject which is thoroughly understood
open book turned upside down--the opposite?

They say that the #blackbird calls to us from the #gateway between two worlds, pointing out the path to a more #spiritual or #self #awareness. Time comes in life when it is important to concentrate on the outside world and responsibilities, but there also comes a time when you must listen to the painful song of #loss in your #soul. 

Searching for peace....

#RIP #scruffy #cairnterrier 
Lover of pet rocks

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ego Art.....yes or no?

Perhaps some of you Huff Post fans may have already seen and read this particular piece on the Generation Y movement in art? 

The article I am referring to and a synopsis of the authors opinion. 
The Ego-Centric Art World is Killing Art 
by JJ Charlesworth of ArtNet News

"Those that are from a generation that still thinks art should be about something other than me, here, right now, and that art should be, say, about consumerism, or about the history of Germany, or even just about how massive huge chunks of Cor-Ten steel look when you stick them in a desert. In other words, about stuff you have to think about, maybe discuss, argue over with others, disagree about—something, which isn't entirely about yourself are being forced to make way for the Generation Y's culture. 
The Generation Y culture is here and it believes in the privileges of self-expression over anything else. During 2014, a lot of celebrities (mostly Americans) are expressing themselves through the medium of art. They are based on the same veneration of individual self-realization through self-expression in which it's the process, not the product, that matters. Everyone, just “being themselves" and claiming to be art. It's also why art shows are becoming experiences, feeling an experience, being in the now, is the new aesthetic of Generation Y. 
Between Miley and Marina, 2014 began to reveal the future of art: the artist and the audience, holding hands between infinity mirrors, one hand free to squeeze off a selfie." 

I read the article a few days ag and have been digesting it now for a few days. I am not a Generation Y (obviously), but I do have children who are, and I recognize evidence of this movement of selfies, self-expression, and so on as the newest shift in art culture by their peers."
But, Do I agree with Mr. Charlesworth's opinion that "in 2014 seemed to be the year in which the obsession with self expression of the individual started to take center stage, or that it points to the apparently unstoppable merging of art in a new form of celebrity culture, one in which individual self-expression has become an obsession above all other considerations?"
I began a little google searching and quickly ran upon the label or term "Ego Art" coined by artist, Timothy John Cody in 2011, his definition is, as either the elaboration or the realization of The egos power over our lives. It seeks to damn culture, consumerism, materialism and Desire, with an edification and exaltation of the Self, Holistic oneness. Ego Art is in a way, a rejection of the Ego, and an empowerment of Self. By understanding the confining nature of the ego, one can overcome and realize it in their everyday lives.

Another hmmm...I do not know if the newer trend of mostly American "celebrity" artists who have begun to create are, in fact, narcissistic egomaniacs and that they are truly lost in themselves or whether they are just like everyone these days, searching via the means to which they are provided to find the answers to the same questions that every generation before them has? 

By this, I mean, perhaps Generaton Y is not so far afield as everyone imagines? This selfie fixation and emersion in to the self followed by shared experience, were in fact ideas conceived and encouraged by its previous generation were they not? And, if in fact, they prove to be nothing more than self centered shits who really don't give a damn about anyone or any cause that does not directly affect themselves, only time will tell.

It just seems to me that with every previous generation before, the ideas of anything new are most always received negatively and somewhat close minded...and if Generation Y comes out on the other side of the "Ego Art" movement with a better understanding of themselves, the world we live in and how to embrace and improve it all, then,are we not all the better for it in the end? I am not so convinced they are all that much different than their predecessors. 


•Taoism is a philosophical and religious system built on a holistic view of reality. It unifies all existence with principles that cut across both the seen and unseen dimensions.
The Huffington Post 
Art Net News