Always in the process, here is a little something in a series I am working on. This is not nearly finished and is dressed up here with an instagram filter, but you get the idea. I’ve had a title suggestion or two. So far in the lead (and at the very least winning this post’s title), from a loyal viewer of my art, D’artanian, is “Bird’s Eye View.” Hit me up if you have any others for consideration! The work is comprised of watercolor, pencil and charcoal thus far… but who know what else may hit the paper! Enjoy!
Want to see a little late night productivity? I popped an old movie in that I have seen one million times (the kind where you don’t really have to watch it because you already know every scene) and grabbed my cup of tea (perhaps a little less inspiring than something starting with a man’s name, ie: Jack, Jose or Jim… but oh well) and got down to business until about two in the morning. Here’s where I am with it. I can’t wait for you to see what it will become… hopefully!
*That is always an artist’s risk: to take something you already like a lot and add that other idea you had for it, knowing full well it may completely ruin the piece altogether… but hoping that instead, it seriously makes the work.
Sometimes when I watch the old Christmas movies where the set and plot are simple and wonderful and the story is not constructed around a glitched text that causes the hero to miss his love at Christmas, I wish we could go back in time during the holidays. Real live sleigh rides, bundled-up caroling, drinking wassail (who even knows what wassail is anymore!?) around a fire where actual logs are burning… it sounds so dreamy. Even though I might get sick of it within a few days, I still want to try.
It got me thinking about homemade things, namely Christmas decor. Here are a few to sample. Maybe this year you should try something homemade too? It’s kind of fun to go ‘back in time’ and use your creativity with a bit of a Christmas facilitation to help!
Little Rudolf I made in 2nd grade. We have to glue new antlers on every year, but it’s worth it!
Years ago, my sister made and sold these candy canes, turned reindeer, turned Christmas ornaments/party favors. They are still so fun and easy to make!
Got to love all the uses for a light bulb! It’s amazing what plastic googly eyes can do!
Recently a few friends and I took a spontaneous adventure to New York City. I had always wanted to see it all dressed up for the holidays and when a friend needed a ride to JFK, it was the perfect opportunity. We didn’t have much time, but in NYC, you can do A LOT in 14 hours! The High Line (a new personal favorite), Brunching in Soho, a quick trip to the photo booth at the cozy Warby Parker store, the Rockefeller tree (and 1 million people!), relaxing to warm drinks on a Bison hide in the Ace Hotel catch-all lobby, decorated shop windows and holiday markets wrapped up with a dusky stroll in Central Park made for some pretty inspiring notions.
I found myself saying “Why does New York corner the market on all the cool and creative stuff?!” Of course, DC is opening up to this and Seattle’s Gas Works Park and the bridge guarding Ogre are points for their stellar stock; while Philly’s house of bottles and hidden Bat Cave entrance nicely contrast the wisdom of the Liberty Bell. But I think New York’s eccentricities are so consolidated that you are confronted with a new thought and spark of creative prerogative at every intersection.
I want DC to feel like that. Perhaps not in the same grungy garage-band way Seattle does it, but with our own personality. Amidst the marble and remarkable Roman styling, we should find ways to add more of our own (often squelched) creative flair. Reusing old decrepit structures, adding more sculpture and installation art to parks and public transit, continuing to expand our art fairs and events like Nuit Blanche and Figment DC; these things are important for our city and how we interact with them is important for our inner-person. We can have spiritual experiences everywhere we go- inspired by a single leaf in the air or a statue of immense proportion climbing out of the beach reminding us of the pain and struggle of rebirth. So let’s help DC out… go get your art on.
Amy Braden (Amyhughesbraden.com) is a Washington DC area artist who, lucky for me, I happen to personally know! Last night this local celebrity opened her solo show “Eat the Youth! & send me a pic…” at Founders Art Gallery in Arlington accompanied by wine, cheese and a bazillion admirers. It’s not hard to see why so many people came out to experience what Amy reflects on as, “a barrage of recycled imagery, borrowed content, intentional and inadvertent collaboration, and a working definition of collage that examines the mortality of ownership… and the increasing publicity of personal life.” Her use of color and theme challenged my view of what it means to be alive, especially in the context of the world around you. I was so inspired, it was all I could do not to run home in the middle of the opening and begin working on projects myself.
This city is full of fun, free ways to be inspired. You can see Amy’s new works on display until December 14th here in Arlington. Keep a look out on her website for upcoming shows- she can barely keep up with her demand! Check out some of my favorites: Similar Noses #1 and Similar Noses #2 below. (But don’t take an iPhone photo’s word for it- they must be seen in person!)
I will be adding some of my recent work to an updated gallery on my website in the next few days, but I’d like to give you a glimpse of a few drawings a little early. I love how these two ‘talk to each other’ as a set. Each piece in Man to Man measures 5×7 and is comprised of watercolor, pencil and charcoal.
Be sure to peruse my website (lisashirk.com) for more new works as you begin your holiday planning- it’s a great way to give something one-of-a-kind! Ask me about my “friends and family” discounts if you are interested.
Last week I had the privilege of watching Cinderella fall for her Prince though the Mariinsky Ballet at the Kennedy Center. One of the only New Year’s Resolutions I have actually kept is experiencing one ‘professional’ performing arts event per quarter this year. It has proved to be one of my best resolutions and enlightened me to the importance of such soul-invigorating experiences. I feel so alive when I hear an entire orchestra of dozens of people playing instruments made up of hundreds of parts; listening to it all come together right before my ears into a poetic story that once was made of black dots and squiggles on a funny lined paper. Not to mention the dancing that has been meticulously choreographed yet somehow still exudes a beautiful freedom in its movement. Needless to say, I loved the ballet. Below is a peek at a piece inspired by the glass-slipper cinder-girl and her royal audience.