Art with Cause

Copyright notice: All original photographs, images, designs and text appearing in Art with Cause Blog are the property of J.Murray and are protected under United States and international copyright laws. The images may not be reproduced, copied, stored, or manipulated without the written permission from the Artist: Jessica J. Murray. No images are within Public Domain. Use of any image as the basis for another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas - Happy Holidays - Joyous New Years and I hope everyone has as much fun as I do! Be Safe.

Well, just finished that bottle off - 
I guess I have nothing left to bribe Santa with! 
Merry Christmas from the Naughty List!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Silly Nonsense

What kind of silly, crazy, over-thinking, can I spout out today and say something profound, while not actually saying anything at all?! hmmmm

It is very nice to be distracted by comfortable, intelligent, conversation... it is nice.

I guess I need to make time to create... I haven't made time at all this week!!! AND I still haven’t pulled out my holiday decorations and created some Christmas magic!!!

But I totally let myself be.

I am just gunna go smile myself to sleep. No creating tonight.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Joy of painting

Channeling my inner Bob Ross...

But it is wonderful to see people surprise themselves as they paint for the first time (or one of the first major attempts at learning to paint).  The happiness, self gratification, self exploration, and looks of amazement are inspirational to say the least.

Last night we worked on the same still life as the last time. A happy little still life, with happy little leaves and things... what a wonderful time!

I am still doing my own self exploration in my work. Working on a series of rather strange self portraits. I figured using myself as the subject would be a great place to start with. I am using the images I am previously discussed in this blog and exploring what it is that I actually am trying to say.
I will post picture soon, I am sure. Right now, it is back to my easel for me, while I am still inspired by my students!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Día de los Muertos

Day of the Dead.

It is Mexico's equivalent to the American Memorial Day.
Except American's put out cheap plastic flowers in a plastic cone or arranged like a flag in the cemeteries of their loved ones - then post sweet and seemingly deep sentiments on facebook about remembering - then picnic, party, and generally celebrate a day off of work - leaving out the deep soulful connection to their ancestor. (Speaking of the mass populous and not the few who actually pull out pics of their dearly departed and have a moment.)

The Mexican celebration is much more focused on ancestors, remembering and honoring their dearly departed, and celebrating the life that they have now because of their roots.  This deeper connection to remembering is misunderstood and even a bit frightening to people who spend their whole lives self absorbed and once removed from anything uncomfortable and dead.

I have a few acquaintances who do not seem to understand that Día de los Muertos is memorial day for another culture and can be celebrated without compromise to a set of "values" they hold onto. Yet on Sunday morning they celebrate the dead with rather gruesome symbols of broken body and blood which they consume.  I wonder what  the difference is between remembering the death of Christ and remembering the death of a loved one - except that we would not remember our loved ones by consuming a symbol of them.  But painting their dead body/skull or decorating a sugar skull in their honor is somehow misunderstood. Maybe it is because it falls so close to Halloween?
(But don't get me started on that one!!! Halloween, aka All Hollows Eve, actually came out of Christianity. Yet it is the Christians who no longer want to acknowledge it. Wishing to separate them selves and by extension also separating themselves from All Hollows Day, aka All Holy Day - which is sort of celebrated in Mexico as Día de los Muertos - a holy day to remember.)

Regardless of undue controversy, it is this deeper remembering that I am longing for.

Like without realizing it was the 11th year anniversary of my Grandmother's passing, that I created a portrait of her. I just had to paint her - not sure why. Creativity can be a slave driver when an idea comes into my head. So I made it in a patchwork quilt style because she quilted. I gave it a cheesy lace trim, because she put that trim around many of her quilts. Then I showed my aunt, who then told me - "It was this week, 11 years ago..."
"Grandma's Quilt" 36x43 Mixed Media
Although I may have Americanized the process, since I painted her with her flesh still in place as if she was still alive and not yet past. But the soulful memory was there; like the memory of her wrapping me in one of her quilts - the quilts she stitched together  in love... not as much "in love" (although there was as much love in her creative works as there is in any artist's creative works) ...but they were, more so, stitched together because of that very same compelling force that makes me create. I do not know if she gave it any thought: why she was so compelled to create - but everyday she did something creative. Such a heroic inspiration! And such an amazing story of love, sacrifice, duty, loyalty, care-giving and creativity! A story too personal to tell in words on the internet. (I know, I share so much, yet this is something I want to hold close to me.)

This is the deeper remembering - the connection with your ancestors - the soul food that sparks creativity...

This is my longing!

And taking a moment to think of her... I am inspired to dig deep and spill the creative flow inside me... you will find me at my canvas.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I love teaching painting classes!!!

Painting class examples - not great quality photos but you get an idea of what the paintings look like.

Floral painting class was a two hour class working from a silk Lily.

Still life class was a two hour class working from a pumpkin, apple, grapes, berries, fall leaves and a chair (Although I didn't seem to incorporate the chair into mine).

The second and third Wednesday of every month is a class! Come join the fun - learn to paint, fine tune your painting skills and/or socialize while painting! Always a wonderfully inspirational night!

Next month's classes are 'frozen sea-scape/water scene' and 'fall still life'.  Hope to see you there!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Images of me

In search of my visual voice...
I have been looking around at the objects and images I keep around me...
things that inspire me and ground me...
and I wonder if those images and objects have symbolic meaning that could help me find my voice?

CROWS/RAVENS – well we have already discussed this as a symbol (Click Here)

BEADS – this symbol can indicate a tendency to please others and put their needs in front of your own. They can also symbolize pleasure, calmness and joy.

WIND-CHIMES – symbolize harmony and tranquility.

WINGS - suggest new found freedom, an escape from a difficult situation, or a desire for a freer way of life. Wings can also symbolize a need for protection.

FEATHERS - signifies a life of ease, comfort, warmth and of financial gains. It may describe lightheartedness and enjoyment for life. It is a symbol of expressing a tender side and a desire to be close to someone.

BALLERINA – as a symbol a ballerina suggests moving through the obstacles of life effortlessly and unrestricted. It is also a symbol of innocence, frailty, and vulnerability.

ANGELS - symbolize goodness, purity, protection, comfort and consolation.

CLOWNS - symbolizes absurdity, light-heartedness, a childish side to your own character, and/or signifies uninhibited nature.

DOLLS – usually symbolize childhood innocence and light-hearted fun.

TREES - symbolize new hopes, growth, desires, knowledge, and life. It also implies strength, protection and stability.

SKULLS AND BONES - a skull represents the intellect or secrets of the mind, keeping certain things hidden. Bones as a symbol represent the discovery of personal, family, or cultural secrets and symbolic of underlying strengths.

FISH - signifies insights from your subconscious mind.

ROCKS - symbolizes strength, permanence, stability, integrity and stubbornness, as conveyed in the common phrase "as solid as a rock". Rocks can be a symbol of commitment to a relationship or a person who is very dedicated or committed.

SEASHELLS - signifies an inner desire to be sheltered, nourished and protected. It also indicates someone who is closing themselves off emotionally, keeping their feelings inside.

EYES - represent enlightenment, knowledge, comprehension, understanding, and intellectual awareness. The left eye is symbolic of the moon, while the right eye represents the sun.

GUITAR - represents passion and emotion. It also relates to sexual connotations and may signal an erotic or sensual desire.

BLACK BEAR - represents independence, strength, death and renewal, and/or resurrection. Bears are symbolic of the cycle of life, introspection and thinking. However, the symbol can be a pun on "bare", therefore representing nakedness and vulnerability.

TIGER - represents power and ability to exert it in various situations. Also, the tiger represents female sexuality, aggression, and seduction.

WOLF - symbolizes survival, beauty, solitude, mystery, self-confidence and pride.

OLIVE GREEN - the color symbolizes natural wisdom and Zen, and the color green signifies a positive change, good health, growth, fertility, healing, hope, vigor, vitality, peace, and serenity.

BROWN - denotes worldliness, practicality, physical comfort, and it also represents the ground and earth.

GRAY – denotes a desire to feel emotionally distant, isolated, or detached; a fear of being hurt. Alternatively, the color gray symbolizes your individualism.

PINK - represents love, joy, sweetness, happiness, affection and kindness.

WATER - symbolic of spirituality, knowledge, healing and refreshment

CAMERA – as a symbol it may indicate a need to focus on a particular situation or a visual person who likes to look at everything or a voyeur.

BOOKS - symbolize knowledge, intellect, information and wisdom.

At first look at the list, things seem pretty random and unconnected. But once I added a description of each of them as a symbol, I think I have surrounded myself with images/objects that seem to describe me well. Possibly. What do you think?

Now to figure out how this turns into my visual voice. 

I took the photos - it is a sculpture I created... Speaking of wings and shells... :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Painting Class

Wednesday night at 6-8pm!!! Water-Scape Painting class!!! At Micheal's Store in Amsterdam, NY!!! Two day class continued on Wednesday August 22 at 6-8pm. Due to printing error at the store, this class has been poorly promoted. Please tell your friends and sign up at the store register (they will give you a supply list for the class)!!!  Contact me if you need more details or less expensive options for supplies!!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Summer Arts Festival

Summer Arts Festival put on by the Friends of the Visual and Performing Arts (FOVAPA)
The Community Art Project from Last Year
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As you know, I lead the small sculpture workshop:
 The rain made the crowd smaller than hoped...
And not everyone wanted their photo taken or their sculpture photographed...
and not everyone stuck to the rules of "Human or Animal Form"...
 I had three ladies there at the start of the class and two helpers.
As the rain let up, this lil darling joined us:
 Then we had another person join us...
  who clearly expressed through his art that he'd rather be someplace else:

(How did I NOT get a photo of the Statue of Liberty made by one of the attendees?! 
It was awesome!)

After my workshop, I explored the festival to see what else what happening. 

This Year's Community Art Project (I added a cap or two)...
 Fun music!

Food, other workshops, silent auction, art on display, weaving, children activities, more performances, a random horse hanging out between the buildings, balloons, signs, more food, water (thank God for the water - it was SO HOT AND HUMID!)...

So much going on that I didn't photograph and I just hung out and enjoyed. 

The best part was seeing so many of my creative friends and acquaintances, in a creative environment, being creative.  Interaction with people is always the best part!!
And meeting so many new people, who I look forward to "hanging out" with again!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Let's look at things differently...

I stand on my head...
Maybe it is the blood rushing to my head? Maybe it is my usual environment turned upside down?

In my painting class I have been turning the paintings of my student's upside down occasionally, to give them a fresh look at it - a trick I learned in art school...

I also say "walk away"... meaning get away from your work, look at something else and then look back at your work from a distance, to get a fresh perspective...

There is always a point when you need to see (insert almost anything) from a different point of view, a different perspective, and re-evaluate things. 

Sometimes in life when the fresh perspective is needed and we fail to seek it, life forces it on you!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In art school, some students and teachers have noticed a little thing referred to as "The 3rd Year _itch" (yes I omitted a B in hopes to keep this blog a bit on the pg side).

By that 3rd year of school, students have learned the foundation, all the "rules", the ways they can be broken and the the oximoronically occurrence that happens when you do break them: you aren't actually breaking them and are still bound by the "rules".

At this point the students have been inside the proverbial "box", outside the box looking in, outside the box looking the other way, deconstructed the box and made it into a sculpture, reconstructed the box and made it into an ashtray, and created a deconstructive structural analysis that prove that the actual existence of said box, causes the said box to NOT exist because of the mere fact that it does exist without existence, concluding that the sky is never actually blue but it is a small paint drop of every color.

All of this foundation knowledge pushes some art students to the point of almost giving up. (If a student in this situation does not take a look from a new vantage point, they will give up and everyone is going to let them. The faculty all know, that at that point in your artistic journey, if you don't know to take a fresh look a do some searching of your own, then you don't have what it takes.)

"What is the point? - I am in bondage to rules that don't exist, everyone is pretentious and superficial, it seems like everything has been done before, what is the point?!!!"
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sometime during the late 1800 early 1900, the entire known world of art needed a fresh perspective. Suffered from the 3rd year bit_h (changed it up for you)

A very frustrated Marcel Duchamp, was part of a growing group of artist, who were suffering from this strong need to see things differently.  He was part of the first group of artist that discovered that because the proverbial box exists, it therefore does not. (or more accurately: because art exists, it does not; and because it does not, it therefore does!)  He personally felt the art world had become a pretentious joke and he was going to exploit it.

He took an old urinal, painted the name "R. Mutt" on it, treated it and displayed it as a valuable marble sculpture from the Roman era. He wanted to prove the art world was ignorant and they would accept it as art. He thought that when he exposed the truth, that he just signed a piece of trash, that the art world would wake-up and be embarrassed.

But it forced a new perspective on the art world, it caused everyone to question all that they thought they knew, and that maybe there was more out there.  Even today, I know people who look at it and say: That is Art?! Marcel Duchamp made many works that each made the viewer question all that they thought they knew about art, causing a revelation through new perspectives forced upon the viewers.

That is a very abbreviated, slightly altered (completely inaccurate yet, accurate in every way) rendition of the story, which is not just a story, but maybe it happened.

Either way, it is Marcel Duchamp (or maybe R. Mutt's) birthday (July 28, 1887)! Happy birthday!! and thank you for a new perspective and the valuable lesson: that every now and then we need to look at things differently.

Maybe a piss-pot is art by the mere fact that it isn't art
...or maybe it isn't art by the mere fact that it is art. 

And thank you all the artists who paid attention and began to explore other avenues giving birth to many other movements in the art world.
And thank you to all the industrial designers that paid attention so that today's piss-pots are much more esthetically pleasing. 

Here is a fun link to other designs of the urinal
You decide if they are art!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Do something creative!

What a wonderful class last night! Such a variety of wonderful and creative works!! I always enjoy the creative exchange that happens in a class!!!

Here is something a friend of mine shared with me, that he was given from his teacher while he was a student:
"Rule 2: (General Duties as a Student) Pull everything out of your teacher. Pull everything out of your fellow students."
"Rule 3: (General Duties as a Teacher) Pull everything out of your students."
"Rule 4: Consider everything an experiment."

"Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make."

It is most important to have fun! And to DO something creative. Doing is much more important than outcomes.  Quality outcomes will follow, eventually.  So do something creative today.

No matter how you feel... you can work out those feeling through a creative act: paint, write, sing, make music, take photos, and/or dance!!

Here is a little inspirational music to get you going:

I am listening to this album while I paint tonight!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sunset on the Lake

I am teaching a learn to paint seascapes class tomorrow... The point is to teach water scenery according to the lesson plan.

Since we are a stones throw from the Adirondacks, I did an Adirondack lake (I do prefer to paint what I see- not paint from a photo, and I couldn't get to the ocean, so...)

The most difficult thing is that the class is only two hours long and I can't complete a painting in two hours! So two and a half hours later I have a very hurried look to my foreground! Always my own worse critic.

Can't wait to spend some time exchanging creative energy with a group of people who have the desire to paint!!! The last class was SO inspirational!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Magic Happening

There is magic happening here... painting, drawing, getting crazy up in my studio!!!

Have a little help from a Magic Hat sampler case - Blind Faith -  Elder Betty! - and Pistil.
Elder Betty is my favorite so far!!!

Can't post the work I have done, since it is for my solo show - but after three weeks I am DONE with this one.  I am not completely satisfied with it. But I am my worse critic. It is better than it was yesterday, which is better then it was the day before... and at this moment I feel like I am at the edge of overworking it. There is no UNDO button (God knows that if there was, I would have used it with a certain matter of the heart!) so I must be careful to stop before it IS overworked.

So I am calling it done and will revisit it in a month or so...
Now onto the next masterpiece.

ugh... I need a clean surface to prep the paper on... So I guess I clean, just to slowly pull it all back out again by the end of the next one.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Fourth without Fireworks...

"No swimming past this point" Turn around and swim on the beach! 
Water isn't for swimming in!

Water is:
For balls to float in!
For boats to sail in!

Guess I'll just swim in the sand.

How the heck did I find such a quiet peaceful place on a lake 
in the Adirondack Park on the Fourth of July??

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I spy an old friend at the end of a sunny day

So I went to see an old friend last night in a loud and crowded place... to watch his band perform...
He says: "I like your website, your a pretty good photographer, have a good eye!"
I can't remember if I said 'thank you' or not, I was a bit confused... I must have looked like a dope or a deer in headlights... (Did he mistake me for my sister?? SHE is the photographer. I am an artist, a painter/mixed medium artist - and recently terrorizing you all with attempts at poetry.) But with so many people talking at once, the conversation jumped around, and there wasn't a momentary break for me to jump back in... 

Back in the day, no one called me "Jess" (always "J" or "Jessica"... why 20 plus er, a couple, years later they suddenly call me "Jess"? I just don't know. Sounds so foreign, like they are talking to someone else. I just don't connect with it.) But my old friend introduced me to people as Jess, so I knew he was talking about me and my website and not my sister. So...

THANK YOU! What a nice compliment. 

Me a good photographer.       ...?...

I am just lucky sometimes. Sunny days and still objects - THEN I am a good photographer... and even then it is the camera (which needs a tune-up).  Very unlucky when it is important.   Moving children inside the school? That, I still can't figure out and missed so many moments I would have loved to freeze in time through a camera lens.  Important dinners for my friend, I screwed that up royally and feel SO bad!!!

So, readers, thank you for joining me while I learn about photography and take lots of crummy pics and post them, and ramble about them...  I will probably never consider myself a photographer or get used to hearing it much like I have never gotten used to hearing myself called Jess. 

(BTW - buy my paintings - or prints of my paintings - ok, I'll sell a few of my photos as well - click on the slideshow at the right hand side of the top of this page to go to a magical place where buying my art is easy and affordable!!!)
**it has been a few post since I shamelessly plugged myself, lol**

After saying all that.. yesterday before my evening adventure... it was an "I spy" beautiful day... with the sun shining and a gentle breeze (so things are nice and still)... So this 'not-a-photographer' went on an "I Spy" adventure...

I did my daily exercise routine outside... 

Squats and toe touches turned into weeding...
(lemon thyme)

Lunges and free weights with my arms turned into push mower...

Mint turned into Sun-Tea and Mojitos by the neighbor's pool...

Herbs collected themselves into a meal...
(silver thyme)

And I am sure we ate, drank and lazed about, by the pool, for long enough that it counteracted any exercise I had hoped to achieve...

Sun burned, feeling well, enjoying life, enjoying neighbors, old friends, new friends... 

the more I drink the happier my posts become! lol

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Not quite done yet...

I was working up an example for the painting class for tomorrow... But I am not quite done!  
If I cannot finish a painting in 2 hours, then how the heck does the company I am working for think that beginners and others can finish a painting in two hours?!?!

It doesn't help that I am NOT in the mood to paint flowers. I guess you can sorta tell by what I have so far. Not exactly happy sunshiny flowers! Oh well. But, it is not about the finished work, it is about learning something new, having an experience, and enjoying the process!

As I always say (and you can quote me):
"Art work isn't made for museums, 
it is made because the artist has learned the magic of the process!"

(which might be why I am not enjoying this and the outcome is less than my normal - I am focused on getting a finished product done to show the class.  I am not focused on the process.)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Eye Spy - with my Camera's Eye

 After discussing the cons of having a fine art degree with a pharmaceutical historian, who also has a fine arts degree and speaks french.... I spent some time peeping at a Tom...
 A handsome Tom, who posed nicely for me!
 Porky was all to willing to pose as well, first hiding behind that weed by his head.
When I asked him to move so I could see his cute lil face, he moved just enough that his eye was no longer behind it.
 Porky asked me to run over to the weaver to see if his blanket was finished. The day was cool and drizzly, a blanket would be perfect!
I became distracted by these magical doors... 
Oh what could be inside?
Sparkly spinning lights, sweet music, and hand crafted sculptures???
 I jumped on a traditional horse... Up and down, round and round...
I was surprised at how fast it actually went around!
 A ram pulling a shell shaped carriage...
A rooster that does not crow at dawn...
 A majestic swan, whose glimmering eye spied me...
 It all made me so thirsty! 
But maybe not that brave.
 Over to the tavern - that closed before I got there!
There is no night life in this town!!!
 But we had fun anyway...
So much fun I could write a book about it!!!
Does this town have a printer?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Eye Spy Adventure

 If you are going to a memorial day parade:

Stand when the flags pass you!

Clap for the military personnel and vets!

Take off your damn hat in respect!

Teach your children to as well!

And take lots of photos!
If you are in the parade:
Don't make faces at the people watching!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I hope you all had a safe and wonderful Memorial Day weekend!
 Cheers! To the budding of a Beautiful Summer!

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