Brightfire Woman ™

Create. Believe. Become.

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Paint Better

Today I worked out park acceptance and lease with the mobile home park where my mother lived for 20 years. I will begin settling in October 1st or so.  There are not words to express the relief and joy at having finally brought things to an ending and a new beginning. And then I came home and drank way too much coffee, Good things excite me to damn near mania, anyway. I am bouncing off the walls.

My head is so full of ideas whirling around the wind off it could cause lift off!  Add to that my son helped me upload to my laptop photos that have been on it for like two years and It had beautiful family photos with my parents who passed in the last year. I just sat and let them all play as a slide show. I did not know how to do it. (Hey, I am honest.) It was so good to see their faces.

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Dottie Hampton, my mom

I stopped by and checked on the home, when I paid the rent and was happy and instantly content. When the door swung open I could still smell my mother’s perfume.

I don’t know where a person is suppose to be with their grief, this amount of time, after a loved one’s passing.  Or how a person is suppose to carry themselves when they lose both parents, 2 months apart, at 90 and 89. I will be 59 this year and I just became an orphan. They were both absolutely the world to me from the moment I opened my eyes. I have been just getting out of bed each day and doing the best I can. But now I get to reassemble their belongs together with mine in the family home.

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Gilbert Hampton, my dad

My parents sent me to art school.  The first thing I ever cast was a bronze bust of my father’s head, that he sat 200 hours for, while he healed from cancer surgery in 1975. I had a private room in Watterson Towers at ISU and I was 18. My mother and I both loved writing poetry and photographing. She was so supportive. They hung everything I painted, although some of it was pretty dreadful.  They would not let me remove it from the walls. My father told me if I didn’t like it — paint better.

My work has evolved figurative but also very abstract. I had even before buying my first oils, decided I wanted to work on portraiture and drawing. So it makes so much sense to me that before my memory fades that I capture the essence of being there in those moments with them.

And my gut tells me, that when the series is done, it will say something to me that I need to hear to heal. I will just let the work guide me to it. I may even be bad at the start but I will post anyway and own it. And paint better.

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Beginning to Wonder

Michael Labowicz – Keanu Star

I am beginning to wonder if the movie the Matrix, (yes, with Keanu Reeves) was much deeper than I thought. After years of social networking I feel the internet is all about publicly living a better life as a better person and an activist, of sorts, while my vertebras fuse from hunkering over a lap top posting: liking, following, commenting, playing games while ad after ad assails my brain.

I am directly wired and addicted to constant mental over stimulation. The results are not that I think more, but less. Social networking is activist, or rebel or mommy or grieving lonely person or political person…in a can.  We don’t have to think, we will know our meme when we see it.

We are fed daily more of what we already believe about ourselves and others, rather it is true or not, or harmful to our selves or others to believe that way. It is all pro and anti without middle ground or need for conversation. Social networking has become the vehicle to passing social propaganda. We either buy into it and repost or we become desensitized to seeing it.

So, when I think about making a new life, I wonder… can I have a better life? Can I be a better person? Or is that just part of the illusion?

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Chiaroscuro and Fuseli

Well, late night surfing the public domain images for inspiration and found this.  There is just something about it, that made me look at it for a long time. The contrast appeals to me and the way that the drapes of gown and throws take on an abstract form. I like that the gargoyle pulls you into direct eye contact.

So I, of course, had to read up on the artist. I think it is important for an artist take time to just drink from the cup. Especially during times when you are unable to work for whatever reason. It keeps you making discoveries and improving your eye.

John Henry Fuseli The Nightmare

John Henry Fuseli The Nightmare

“Henry Fuseli (German: Johann Heinrich Füssli) (7 February 1741 – 17 April 1825) was a Swiss painter, draughtsman and writer on art who spent much of his life in Britain. Many of his works, such as The Nightmare deal with supernatural subject-matter. He painted works for John Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery, and created his own “Milton Gallery”. He held the posts of Professor of Painting and Keeper at the Royal Academy. His style had a considerable influence on many younger British artists, including William Blake.”

And I found his technique… I think I want to try it. It is called chiaroscuro and it might help me get more of the 3-d feel I am after. With my photography background of high contrast work, I think I would really enjoy the process.

 “Chiaroscuro (English pronunciation: /kiˌɑːrəˈskjʊər/; Italian: [ˌkjaroˈskuːro]; Italian for light-dark) in art is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition. It is also a technical term used by artists and art historians for the use of contrasts of light to achieve a sense of volume in modelling three-dimensional objects and figures.[1] Similar effects in cinema and photography also are called chiaroscuro.  The more technical use of the term chiaroscuro is the effect of light modelling in painting, drawing, or printmaking, where three-dimensional volume is suggested by the value gradation of colour and the analytical division of light and shadow shapes—often called “shading“…
“The Nightmare simultaneously offers both the image of a dream—by indicating the effect of the nightmare on the woman—and a dream image—in symbolically portraying the sleeping vision.[2] It depicts a sleeping woman draped over the end of a bed with her head hanging down, exposing her long neck. She is surmounted by an incubus that peers out at the viewer. The sleeper seems lifeless, and, lying on her back, she takes a position believed to encourage nightmares.[3] Her brilliant coloration is set against the darker reds, yellows, and ochres of the background; Fuseli used a chiaroscuro effect to create strong contrasts between light and shade. The interior is contemporary and fashionable, and contains a small table on which rests a mirror, phial, and book. The room is hung with red velvet curtains which drape behind the bed. Emerging from a parting in the curtain is the head of a horse with bold, featureless eyes.

He painted three versions and this is his most famous work.

If anyone out there is using chiaroscuro in their work, please leave  a comment and/or post a photo of your work.  Let me know if you have an artist in mind I should check out or a good book for me.


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Slow Transitions

Daily life is still pounding me. Transition is slow going, you will have that when other people are a factor.  I am looking into ways to add additional storage into my mobile home.  I have been studying all the tiny houses for ideas and watched a slew of lady organizer’s videos. I need more room for surfaces to work at. I have to admit I have learned a lot.

It is hard with a disorganized mind to have an organized space. It is even harder for me to live and create in disorder and chaos. I hate a pile of things in a hallway, that stay right there because no space was created to put them away. I think that must be key to hoarders. On the TV show Hoarders you always see piles of shopping bags with stuff still in the wrapper. They have no place prepared to go with it. To me, creating a place for everything is grueling and a definite must do first.

The biggie for me is all the mediums, sealants and solvents of my new oils. I need ventilation. I need surfaces protected from spills and damage. I need an area that is not taken down daily to multi-task. Oils take time to dry and I am not using an accelerators to speed up that process.  I also need computer space and drawing space in a main area away from wet oils and spills.

And most of all I need a chance to get saner.

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Hungry to Paint

It is driving me nuts that I don’t have my tower computer. It is out for repairs. It holds all my art programs and all the digital art I have made in since 08. I am now using a new lap top, that has nothing. So today I have defiled it with two new works in progress.

Besides desperate acts by a woman hungry to paint, you are looking at works created combining Kindle HD apps: Kalidoscope Drawing Pad, Sketch Guru -Handy Sketch Pad and Sketchbook Pro.

I am on this concept of making art the way I see things in my mind as 3 dimensional. It is an aspect of my dyslexia… that I rather enjoy. That walking around in what I imagine as form. They are not self portraits, but portraits of self.

The photos are pictures taken on my Kindle as a record of my mood swings.

When I get my tower up and going again, then the fun will begin. These will be completely reworked and if something good enough comes out I  may use them as a sketch for traditional oil paintings or attempt a transfer to canvas and go from there.

I just know I want to include the qualities of digital art into a traditional oil painting.  I chose oils for their translucency and radiance in layering.


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Brave and Bold

Fresh starts are emotional. You have to let go of what was, to have room for what will be. I will be downsizing not only in what I have in the home I have lived in for 24 years, but in all the things in my mother’s home of 20 years, too. And I have to work in studio and work areas and storage that previously existed in neither of our homes.

My mother and i are a lot a like, so there is a great deal that is sentimental to me in both homes. I have my art set-up and her sewing stuff and all our camera stuff.

It is spiritually mind boggling this weighing of attachment/detachment. We all have this mental list of beliefs that fall under, ” If I had I would.”  Well I am about to have…will I? It is usually time, money, space. Some call them excuses, others call them reasons, but whatever you call them they are wove from the beliefs we hold about ourselves. They are personalized to our value systems and tangled in our self-esteem.

It is also very challenging in what currently feels like utter chaos, to try to create the order and organization.  I know I need multiple work surfaces that multi purpose.

I have to admit I have always struggled back and forth between wanting to be bold and brave and wanting my home to look like I imagine normal peoples’ homes to be like.  Having kids does that.

But I don’t have kids. I have grown children… that turned out passionate and creative. I have grandchildren that sculpt and paint and write. So I have concluded, they don’t struggle with it, so why should I?  Probably growing up raised by a 50’s wife and mother. Function is more important to me. And closeness to water. And lighting. And ventilation.

I have a bad habit of  doing everything in my bedroom, because privacy and solitude is important to clear thinking for me. I won’t have to do that, I will be able to privacy and solitude through out my home. I have a need for everything to have a place, because if not, I spend hours daily looking for things I can’t find. Short term memory is the first thing to go when I am stressed or depressed.

In essence I am creating a haven of healing and peace.  All the things I have come to know I need to function well enough to live alone with mental illness.

If you can relate to this or have any tips leave a comment. Tell me how you came to find a happy balance. How do you organize your interests in your home? Is your workspaces for your interests separate room(s) or main area?

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Not in Kansas Anymore

Life sweeps a person away. I began a gear up return to posting and a big wave of life came in and swept me away. I had a neurologist tell me I couldn’t drive for almost 2 years.  That makes going and doing art events a no go, and just about everything else. I lost both my parents this year and the grief has been overwhelming. I have spent the last 6 months with attorneys fighting to keep my mother’s home and that is about to wind down.

So in the next couple months I will be moving out solo and have the space to set up a studio for the first time in about 6 years. I have been working digitally since 2008, but that is just not quite the same feel or desire. You can plan and think you know when it is time to do something, but the reality is it will happen when it is best for you. And I can drive now and the grief has lessened. Seems the perfect point of healing to begin in a new yet familiar place.

I have not been alone since I gave birth. I lived in the same home, i raised my children in, for 24 years. I am family oriented and all my socialization has been with them and their friends for a very long time. I have kept my websites and social networks in place, it is all simmering on back burners.  I did not intend to stay gone this long from living, but the reality is that is just how long it took.

i won’t be rushing. I have waited a life time for this moment. I am going to enjoy it. Savor and relish in forgotten freedoms.  To tell you the truth I have waited so long, to live as an artist, I stopped expecting it would happen.  In fact I think I had made peace with not being a great artist or even a good one. But now I am thinking heck I could live another 35 years, why not spend it doing what I enjoy doing?  Besides I know all these amazing local artists who keep inviting me to events, so there should be plenty of support and inspiration.

I can’t even tell you what my work will look like. I am sure it will have a strong digital influence. I know I will be working in oils for my first time, as the materials have been bought and I am committed to learning something new. I think I will be doing a lot of combining and layering, that were not in my paintings before. Beyond that we will just have to see.

“Toto, I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore.”

In the Midst of Creation

In the Midst of Creation By Brightfire Woman August 2015