Creating artwork was never my intention. Not with this exhibit. I went to school for fine art and I love to create sculptures and paintings and photographs, but this was all far from my mind as I stood in my driveway heaving clay pots at the asphalt, cursing and crying.
My daughter had just died and I was feeling desperate and destroyed, overwhelmed by the intensity of my emotions. The sound of the clay pot crashing into the driveway and splintering into pieces was satisfying, if only for a moment, and so that became my outlet. Then one day I picked up a few of the broken shards. I felt a connection to them, I was as broken and useless as they were, and I decided to give them another chance. I brought them inside and sculpted them into a mangled heart. I held this jagged little heart and stared at it and wept. It was me. Broken and destroyed but somehow still here.
Seeing how creation could come from destruction was incredibly inspiring to me, and it opened the floodgates. I explored the depths of my soul as I sculpted, collaged, sketched, photographed and wrote. But it was painting that saved me. I sculpted and sketched when I had an idea I wanted to express, but that's not how it was with painting.
I painted because I simply felt incapable of doing anything else. Most of my paintings were created late at night, when my husband was asleep and I was alone with the suffocating silence of my empty house. I would sneak downstairs and sit on the floor of my living room, painting and crying until the sun came up. It was such an incredible release to be able to pour myself all over the canvas. The pain, the anger, the fear, the longing, it was all there in a way I couldn't have expressed in words. Sometimes tiny glimpses of hope and gratitude would appear, which always surprised me.
I could feel the weight of my sadness lifting as I transferred it onto the canvas, and by the time the piece was finished I was able to climb the stairs to bed and actually drift off to sleep. I credit my creativity as the tool that allowed me to navigate my way through the darkness of that first year after Madeline's death, and I still cling to it today- three and a half years later- as I continue to struggle to adjust to life without my daughter.
Stephanie Paige Cole is the author of Still: A Collection of Honest Artwork and Writings From the Heart of a Grieving Mother. She is also the founder of the Sweet Pea Projectand the artist behind the Beauty In The Breakdown exhibition. Her firstborn child, Madeline Jonna Cole, was stillborn one week after her due date in January 2007.
I have always had a very strong love for dogs...but never did I realize how much until my husband and I adopted a beautiful Retriever Mix about 10 years ago. Her name was Abby and she inspired me to start painting dogs.
I didn't have a lot of confidence in my art until then. I had worked for LucasFilm in the San Francisco Bay Area as a Digital Painter before moving to Colorado in 1998. When we got here, I started pursuing my Fine Art career again but felt as if I didn't have a real direction. We didn't have any friends here yet and so I felt a little isolated and unsure of my talent. I was definitely lacking confidence and was feeling pretty depressed.
When Abby came into our lives, things changed. She was a silly, funny, smart girl who looked up at me one day with those big brown eyes and I decided I just had to paint her. I think she sent me doggie brainwaves or something! Anyway, my first painting of her was pretty raw and unpolished...but there was something there that was special and worth pursuing. I kept at it and soon, with a new sense of self, my business was born. Abby had given me real gifts with her companionship...of love and confidence.
So now you know why my business is named, Abby Creek Studios. I just finished a new website (http://www.AbbyCreekStudios.com) so please come for a visit and take a look at my recent dog paintings
(http://www.abbycreekstudios.com/dog-portraits/) and other work. I have a blog (http://AbbyCreek-Art.blogspot.com) as well where you can read about the latest goings on as well as the antics of my new dog, Maisie. She keeps the legacy going...and makes me laugh every day!
My name is Linda O'Neill and I'm the Artist behind Abby Creek Studios (http://www.AbbyCreekStudios.com). I work in three styles of Art; Dog Portraits, Abstracts (http://abbycreekstudios.com/abstracts/) and Still Life (http://www.abbycreekstudios.com/still-life/)...but what touches my heart the most is painting dogs.
These were painted by Alicia Cohen who wanted to honor her father, an avid gardener who grew delicious tomatoes. Painting was her way of dealing with her dad's illness and a way of staying connected to him as his health declined.
I asked Alicia about what she remembered about the first time you picked up the paint brush after 20 years?This is her answer:
"When I first picked up a brush after twenty years I was both nervous and excited. I had always wanted to paint but never made the time because I was afraid I wouldn't be any good. I had signed up for a drawing class first where I got some experience and a bit of confidence before I even bought a set of oil paints.
I became frustrated initially because I could not get the paint to do what I wanted it to. As I learned to use the medium my confidence grew. There were times periodically where I became frustrated but I soon began to realized that this generally occurred when I was about to make some progress and/or I was thinking about my life rather than focusing on my art.
Artwork and story by Alyice Edrich
When I first began blogging, back in 2005, I just wanted to share my thoughts with the world in hopes that something I had to say would change the life of just one person. I had even hoped that by sharing my life, I would somehow feel connected to friends and relatives who were now miles and miles away. And, truth-be-told, I loved discovering that I wasn’t the only one going through certain struggles as I made new friendships with my readers.
But as fun as it was to share my life with others, the blog didn’t seem to serve any real purpose. And though I loved the healing aspect of the written word and the camaraderie I made amongst other bloggers, I needed more in my "real life".
We had moved to an area that wasn't very friendly when it came to outsiders and I found myself spiraling into a deep depression. I desperately wanted to feel connected with somebody—to get outside of my own head and I wanted to take some of the pressure off my husband and kids to "entertain" me. But try as I might, I just couldn't make any in-person friendships.
Then I discovered art blogs.
When I discovered art blogs it was as though a whole new world had opened up to me and I was hooked! I enjoyed the visual stimulation I got from the new project posts. I found inspiration in the personal struggles as well as the accomplishments of the artists. For some reason, connecting with other artists, albeit online, was healing.
Soon, I found myself reminiscing about the old days—the days when I, too, created art.
It is early Friday in
Five days later, Dad is still alive; his pacemaker keeps on pacing. The five of us kids and Mom try to pace ourselves. In life and in death, Dad had a hard time giving up.
Each of us handles the stress of a death of a parent or loved one differently. For me, sitting at my sister’s home and hand sewing on the binding of a quilt gave me peace.
My sister and I had shared the making of this quilt to give to our nephew and his bride . . . the wedding just over a week away. Calm comes over me as I thread the needle, feel the fabric with my fingers, and rhythmically stitch the binding. . . but I see in my mind, my Dad dying the wasting-away- kind-of- death he feared, just like when he was a Prisoner of War under the Japanese in WWII. Tears fall on the wedding quilt.
In the past eight years, my husband lost his job of 23 years, gained and lost four more jobs, is unemployed presently, and had a massive heart attack at age 46; we became empty nest; my father died; my mother has slipped into vascular dementia; my sister has colon cancer; my mother-in-law has breast cancer, chronic lymphatic leukemia and had a hemorrhagic stroke. I come from a family of medicine, and understand it well, but, is this enough stress yet?
When my world is falling down around me, I head to my sewing area. Smell the unique scent of fabric. Feel the soft, rough, smooth textures. Put some fabrics together on the design wall. Hear the whir of sewing machine. Calmness comes over me. Now I can sort the feelings, deal with some, put some away for later. Some would call it therapy. I call it quilting, the art of healing.
Written by Jeannie M. Bush
Founded in 1999, Quilting From My Heart created quilted treasures with personalized story labels that will touch your heart.
I can't imagine living without art in my life.
I surround myself with it daily. Whether it is spending time painting, drawing, sewing, making jewellery, taking photos, drawing with my son or browsing through beautiful blogs on the internet... art plays a part in every day of my life.
And while I love to create art myself, I love to own pieces created by others. My home not only houses lots of my own work, but also many pieces, by many artists from around the world. Even if it is something as small as a little jewellery pendant. Every piece of art made with skilled and caring hands, is special to me.
The world of art has been brought into everyone's homes in an incredibly accessible way, through creative blogging, magazines, and books. I'm so inspired to create when I read these blogs, magazines and books. They make me want to pull out my supplies, or go shopping to get supplies to use in a new form of art. Once that creative urge hits, it's so overpowering and there's no way that I can ignore it.
I love that these forms of media can have this effect, especially when I think I am becoming stale and not moving forward in my work. They inspire me, and give me new things to try out. Once I have tried something new, I do one of two things. I either take it further, or find that it gave me enough of a break from the "stale stuff", that I have become refreshed and ready to work on what I felt was not moving along.
Living with art makes me see the beauty or potential in things. Noticing not only that the rose bush is beautiful, but looking right into the head of a flower, noticing the minute details, the perfection, the perfect imperfection.... or noticing the way paint is chipping off an old tin box, but resisting the urge to sand and restore it because the paint has faded to a shade that could never be replicated without time and weather.
I live with art, and see the beauty in life, in places that are expected, and unexpected. I love that art, and artists, have taught me to do that.www.natashaburns.blogspot.com www.natashaburns.com
Photography is part of me and has been ever since I can remember. In my experience, I have loved the sound of a shutter, the smell of dark room chemicals and now the immediate gratification of digital photography. When I was at Savannah College of Art and Design twenty years ago, being a fine art photographer was my dream.
My diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in 2006 made me realize that life can change in a heartbeat and dreams cannot be put on hold until the timing is perfect. I launched my first photography collection in the Fall of 2007 and The RIDE Project in the Fall of 2009. I am living the dream!
The ride project is my commitment to donate $1,000,000 to the Myelin Repair Foundation through photography sales of limited edition prints focusing on things that move. This mission to help Cure MS through my art has given me energy and inspired me to thing big. I know I need to stay healthy through a clean diet, exercise and low stress lifestyle so when the Cure for MS is available, I am ready for it!
At http://www.therideproject.com, you will also find my blog and helpful resources to MS patients and their families and to everyone who wants to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Attached are three low res images and links are below.