On the blog...

March 26, 2015

"art, yoga and laruga glaser"

one of my 2015 new years goals was to really commit myself to a yoga practice. i've practiced yoga on and off since i was a little girl. when i was in middle school i used to set my alarm at 6am during the summer to do raquel welch's yoga video tape, which i've learned is actually the bikram sequence. it was an hour and a half and i would try to do it before my sisters would wake up and take over the tv. once school would start again, i'd let it go. so i've always loved yoga and its possibilities, but i've never dedicated myself enough to it to stay on a committed schedule. 

now practicing it again,i see so many similarities in its practice as i do in my time painting. the same things are needed for your true self to be at its best potential. non-judgement. release. focus. acceptance. 

it's no coincidence when i have a really great yoga practice in the morning, i usually paint something i'm really happy with. 

isn't this video amazing! i pretend i look like this every morning, but i'd hate to see what i really look like! this is laruga glaser.  her blog posts speak about yoga, but they are so applicable to painting and other parts of your life. its worth a peek. do any of you practice yoga?

these are two great quotes she posted on her blog:

"Work. Keep digging your well.
Don't think about getting off from work. 
Water is there somewhere.
Submit to daily practice. 
Your loyalty to that
Is a ring at the door. 
Keep knocking, and the joy inside
Will eventually open a window
and look out to see who's there."

"You should not be practicing to have a 'good' practice, but instead to keep steadiness within yourself. Practice happily regardless of whether it is 'good' or not. Sometimes some postures will not be possible, but when you accept the good and the bad and everything becomes equal for you, that is yoga."

- R. Sharath Jois

March 17, 2015

Artwork for Hope Shining Blue Denim Day Event 2015

36" x 36"
acrylic on infrastructure canvas (denim)
for the second time i was invited to be one of the participating artist for Hope Shining Blue. It's an event that helps support survivors of abuse. myself and four other artists were asked to donate a painting that will be put up for auction. the only requirement was we had to include denim somehow, so i had steve stretch mine in denim. remember this piece i made last year?

this is what i wrote about this painting:
"When we have been burdened with a difficult or tragic event in our lives, the response can sometimes be to curl up inside of ourselves and live in our shell.
This reaction only denies the world of the gifts our spirits have to offer. The crow, being a spiritual bird, reminds us to awaken to our authentic self. 
It reminds us to rekindle and develop our own insight and soar with it; to listen to the call our soul is prompting us to." 
have a look at what the other artists made for the event here. oh yeah, and feel free to bid while you're there :)

March 10, 2015

"large photo transfer workshop"

over the weekend i taught my biggest class to date. for two days i got to teach 14 artists how to do a large photo transfer. to say it was a wild workshop would not quite give it the props it deserves. i haven't laughed that hard in so long. 

we even had the fire department visit when someone got locked in the bathroom! it was so wild! the firemen sure had fun with all the attention they got from 14 women!

have a look at what they did:

there was a lot of rubbing. and rubbing. and then some more rubbing. those poor women. they all well deserve a manicure after this. we even had a couple of bloody fingers at some point in the workshop! 

but then the fun stuff began and everyone began putting their own creative twist to their pieces.

the best part was when we were able to line everyones artwork up and stand back to appreciate all of their hard work. it was rewarding to see how they worked through the challenges of a transfer this large and make it work. 

everyone needed about one more day to work on their pieces but here is a work in progress look for some of them.

as the one teaching the workshop, it was just fascinating to see how what everyone came up with and how everyone was so supportive of each other and encouraging. art really does bring people together and it also gives us an outlet to express ourselves without words. even though we all used the same image, each piece has such a different voice and wants to speak its own unique story. 

this was such a great experience and i can't wait to do it again with a new group of artists! but i can't promise firemen next time. sorry ladies!

please email me if you would like to sign up for the next class. date TBD: ritamariagallery@gmail.com

March 4, 2015

"infrastructure canvas by steven kaishian

i get a lot of questions about what materials i use and i apologize because this post is long overdue. for those of you wondering about what type of surface i use to paint on, this post is just for you! for the last year (maybe more) i've been spoiled with infrastructure canvas. i mean it. really. i'm spoiled with these. after using these boards i find it so difficult to paint on anything else. what i like is i have the sturdiness of a board but just enough of a small give like a regular stretched canvas. and they are light weight no matter how big they are! that is a great feature for those of you that like to paint large. they also come already pre-gesso'd which is an extra bonus.

you can check out his website here. i'm lucky because his business is in the same building as my studio, but he does deliver for those of you who don't live nearby. take a look at his website. all of his prices are listed so there isn't any guessing and he also does custom sizes.

this weekend i'm teaching a 2-day workshop in my studio so i ordered boards for each of the class participants. steven kaishian, the creator of these boards, was nice enough to take pictures of his process and give explanantions.

"Infrastructure Canvas stretcher waiting for foam inserts that will eventually go to Rita Maria's art students."

"Rita's students stretcher frames have had foam added which is adhesively bonded to the frame."

"Each stretcher is sanded flush with the frame for a smooth flat rigid surface prior to stretching the canvas."

"Canvas can be stacked without stretching and deforming it."

February 25, 2015

"starting anew"

today was a good day. i woke up ready to conquer whatever came my way. someone in my parking spot? no sweat. really bad hair day? (can you say static!) oh well. doing 40 days of clean eating and all i can smell outside is a grilled burger? its okay. really really behind on my paintings? i got this. 

i was not going to let my bad last week take away todays potential. i started and nearly finished a painting today. my eyes need to rest from it so i can see it fresh tomorrow. i'll share it with you once i know it's done.

some days are bad and that's ok. creativity can't be forced. when it's just not flowing, you just have to give yourself permission to shift your focus. i finally realized this after three days of just crappy painting. i decided what i had would be good "under painting" and started to clean. cleaning always makes me feel better. i guess because i feel productive.

instead of coming in to work the next day, i spent it with my family. i needed it. i needed to be with them and just laugh. we ate and ate, watched really boring movies and cuddled with the babies. (my nieces and nephew that i am obsessed with!) that was it. it was what i needed to release my stress and get me ready for this week.

sometimes trying harder isn't the answer, but letting go can bring you the peace you need to start anew.

February 10, 2015

"sacred moments"

my heart skips a little beat at the thought of adding an unexpected color on top of the layers i've already spent hours on. part excitement, part anxiety. will i wreck it? or maybe it'll take it to that next level i need it to be at so i can fall in love with it. i smother my brush in the mixture of mustard and light yellow, hold my breath and whole heartedly glide the paint over the canvas. my eyes get bright and a smile forms. the painting starts to come alive.

i can now start to picture what has been waiting to emerge from the unconnected chaos that was happening underneath. now i'm in tune with the paintings soul and i don't want to lose the connection so i keep focused and quiet. no noise. no interruptions. i know all too well when messages are being communicated between a painting and my hand, i have to stay attentive and not take it for granted. it wont always be there. i can lose it and not know when it'll come back. its important to stay in the flow; stay in touch.

its what tells me to go lighter there. scrape here a bit. that needs a splash. its keeping an ear on this intuition that tells me i need to make this dark blue area larger so that in the end it's all balanced. if i let myself get distracted i might lose the line of communication.  it's about protecting that space and time that allows gifts of magic to happen.

these are sacred moments and i know how important it is to make time for them, protect them and also, to be patient with them. that way, when it happens, it's like i'm not even trying. it just happens.