What brings you joy?

A few weeks ago I drove up to Big Sur, CA to take some personal time and work on a new series of paintings I'm calling Patchwork Paper ( photos of works in process will be revealed next week!). During the drive I listened to a new book entitled A Thousand Names for Joy by Byron Katie. This book took me into an entirely different way of seeing myself and reality. I recommend it highly.

So, here's my question for you for today...what brings you joy?

I was thinking of this question myself this morning as I dropped my daughter Ruthie off at kindergarten and set myself up to make little artist gift cards at a local cafe. Making cards brings me so much joy, as well as making art. Lately Ruth has made friends with my friend Kathy's dog Zeus - it brings me such joy to watch them run around togher, down the lane through the autumn leaves...wonderful.

Some other thigns that bring me joy:

  • writing in my journal

  • taking long walks in nature

  • ocean swimming

  • thinking about new paintings

  • connecting with friends

  • working on a project
  • reading a good book

Patchwork Paper....new paintings in process!

Here are some fun snaps of a series of collage paintings in process. The series is called Patchwork Paper. Each collage 'painting' is 23 x 30" on 150 pound paper and is a compilation of painted and textured papers put together in a patchwork pattern.

I paint and cut all the different papers and then organize the pieces to create the final piece.

This body of work has been created in various places - at a 24 hr paint-a-thon that occured in Santa Barbara in October, up at Esalen in Big Sur, and at home in my studio....

and, if you're wondering, the rocks are simply used to hold the paper in place before I begin to glue them down! (plus the rocks look nice!)

You can come and see the paintings in person this thursday December 4th at the DRAWN OUT group show, 125 E. Carrillo, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 5-8 PM

I start by painting the variuos papers - tissue paper, rice paper, hand made papers from tibet. I have been collecting these papers for years as I find them at art and specialty stores. Some of the papers were gifted to me.

Laying all the papers out to figure out what will work together.

During the process I write myself post-it-notes to remember what piece goes where. The pieces interlap so when I am in the glueing proces it takes all my focus and attention to remember what pieces goes where! The final piece is never the same as the initial.

After choosing the papers I begin by putting them on the 23 x 30 " paper and start working out the pattern.

A close up of the pink and gold patchwork piece.

A close up of the deep red papers.

Near the end when I have glued on all the papers, I lay down a plastic kitchen garbage bag (these seem to work best) and then cover it with heavy books to flatten the collage down.

Stay posted for the final art pieces which will be posted on my blog and website when they are finished and then professionally photographed. All works are for sale. Unframed $800 USD and framed $1200. Feel free to call to view paintings (805) 403-9879. Serious inquiries onlyl please. Thank you.

24 hr -paint - a - thon & ART SHOW in Santa Barbara

On Saturday October 25th a group of Santa Barbara artists, including myself and my friend Lyza Fontana got together to paint for 24 hrs! The show was organized by Ethan Turpin -

Here are some picts from the event.

Some beautiful caligraphy writings were created on paper tags by Ulrike Kerber.

Ethan worked on a large scrolll with words and pencil drawings

Here we all are working

Julie did very realistic sketches of mosquitos and wonderful little abstract sribbles on papers.

Jonny Troyna working on his pencil drawings

The group art pieces we all added to during the day/night.

Saul Grey-Hilderbrand  is working on a 150 ft long scroll!

Lyza Loo (nickname for my wonderful friend Lyza Fontana) is working on her wonderful mixed media paintings on canvas. Love her work. Kind of reminds me of Kelly Rae Roberts's work.

Lyza Fontana in her groove making art. Go girl!

and I did not take any pictures of myself, except the Patchwork Paper collage painting series in process which will be my next blog post!

All the art will be shown:

at " DRAWN OUT" an exhibition of the 24 hr ARt Slam" thursday Dec 4th 5-8 PM

VIVA Design Studio Gallery
Located behind 'Labor ready'
125 E. CArRILLO ST.Santa Barbara.ca.93101

My Kid Could Paint That

Just finished watching the documentary My Kid Could Paint That about Marla Olmstead the contemporarty abstract painter, established age 4.

This movie brought up so much emotion I found myself crying during parts of it. Her work is real, her process liberating, and the scene where the art teacher cannot speaks because emotion is welling up inside her, quite honestly, is the reason I teach adults --- to let them re- experience that childlike wonder and freedom of creativity. Beacuse we all have that in us at and if we are honest we all long to go back to that place of childlike innocence, pushing paint around, finger painting, stayhing in our PJ's all day.

The reasons Marla paints are the reasons I paint - for the moment, to play with paint, and to connect with something greater than myself that is part of all of us, that as humans we have lost with our thinking and analyzing and fretting and resisting and labelling and judging, and wish we could return to.

Cheers to you Marla, sweet artist, and to your fantastic and loving parents who did the best possible thing they could at every step of the way. Your work is exquisite and I hope above all you are able to keep the fun and bliss in your creating alive, always. Love to all of you.

Inspiration from sidewalks

When I was in San Francisco this summer I came across some framed paintings hanging in a store by artist John Smiddy. It was at The Big Pagoda Company downtown on Sutter street SF.

What grabbed me from his artist statement was;

" As my art practice has intensified, images I wouldn't normally have noticed -- the grime on the sidewalk, graffiti, rocks, puddles, trash and deteriorating posters, have become beautiful. "

I couldn't agree more. In fact, even before reading this I took this photo of the sidewalk while walking around downtown SF because it made me think of a painting I want to create.



Gratitude for every time water comes out of the tap, for my health, my husband's health, my daughter's excellent health. Gratitude for my art studio for all the magic moments painting when time slips away and I enter pure blissful state.Gratitude for Byron Katie, Pema Chodron. Gratitude for facebook and finding old wonderful long lost friends. Gratitude for Iceland and the bike trip and all that I learned and experienced. Gratitude for Peter. For Sabrina. For the new website coming and all the help Matt's giving me. Gratitude my parents are still here and well and so dear to RUthie. Gratitude for Waldorf School. For artibizcoach.com and all that I've learned and am now applying. Gratitude for writing, painting, journalling, collaging. Gratitude for all the students who have passed through my studio and felt inspired and energized and painted and made stuff and asked great questions. Gratitude for life, for my arms, heart, legs, fitness, eyes, brain...Gratitude for books, the internet, other artists. Gratitude for freedom of expression. Gratitude for a sense of purpose and inspiration, daily.

More wonderful San Fran artists...Part II

This summer my husband and I had the opportunity to travel through San Francisco and Marin County. I came across an open studio brochure at a local art store in Mill Valley and cut out the art work images and names of these artists into my journal. Here we are just back from a hike at Muir Beach near Muir Woods....beautiful area.

Check them out , more great SF artists and be inspired!

Francis Snyder - In the summer brochure I was really drawn to her acrylic painting 'Secret life of plants' .

Suzie Buchholz - Great website homepage, love how one painting becomes another... Her work is a feast of colour. Take a look at the gallery.

Jeanne Scholz - Love her piece entiteld 'the road note taken' in watercolor, acrylic and mixed media.

Joan Hauck - Joan works in encaustic, mixed media, and fiber -- I hope to see her work in person one day. Love her piece called 'The Reds'.

Isabel Wyatt - Especially like her 'silk road' series, they look like they were very liberating to paint.

Georgette L Osserman - Especially love her section called 'oils' which has some wonderful abstract pieces.

Some wonderful San Francisco Arists

This summer my husband and I had the opportunity to travel through San Francisco and Marin County. I came across an open studio brochure at a local art store in Mill Valley and cut out the art work images and names of these artists into my journal. What can I say, it's just so fun to collage in little painting images. In doing so I pretty much converted our hotel rooms into art studios!

Check them out , these great SF artists and be inspired!

Louise Forbush - Uses mixed media, collage on wood and gold leaf. Absolutely LOVE the paper collage piece on the front of her website

Elaine Gentile- On her website I really enjoyed the abstracts, My favourite was the
Movement in Green 30x30" oil. Elaine also has a video on utube.

Monika Steiner - Love her 'Blue Shadows' piece!

Jeff Dodson - no website was listed by his collage works, especially "I still just want to be a millionare" are fun to see and reminicent of Sabrina's journal art.

Sandra Schoenberg - Her piece entitled ' Quiet integrity' captured my eye.

Helen Steele - I am really drawn to her work in wax, especially the blue pieces which seem almost electric blue.

Letters to....

Many years ago my friend Matthew Martenyi gifted me a copy of the book Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Let me go back a moment here to tell you that Matthew is a great friend and about 10 years ago we sailed togher on his boat, Pooh Bear, from San Francisco to La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. I was crew and he was the captain. This trip was precursed by a trip of which I sailed from Vancovuer to San Francisco with captain Bob and the story of this was published in Traveler's Tales Books Sand in my Bra, Funny Women Write for the Road. Anyways, Matthew and I have stayed great friends since and he was here a few weeks ago reading my daughter Ruthie (5) book after book and took her out for pancakes to Sambo's...It was very sweet.

So, back to the Letters to a young Poet book. If you follow my blog or know me personally you will know that I am not a great reader. I like pictures! The bar has been set high in my family on thsi arena as my Dad will never be found without a book or a magazine nearby and my husband reads at least a book a day. Hence, if I read a novel every few months, well that be my quota. So, I had not cracked this lovely book Matthew had gifted me until now.

Until i was reading through one of Sabrina Ward Harrison book/journals - now that's my idea of book! It's an utter visual feast of mixed media art, collage, banana peel stickers and whatever else is lying around, wrapped into wonderful thoughtful prose and questions. Something that caught my eye in one of her books was ripped out and collaged in pages - slightly obscured by paint and collage items, making it all the more fun to try and read - the wonderful Letters to a young poet. My intest was re-kindled and I have the book here by my side and thought I would share a piece with you if you'd made it this long through my babbling!

On re-discovering ones own old art works, writings, school projects...

" I know that it is important and full of new experience to come upon a work of one's own again written in a strange hand. Read the lines as though they were someone else's, and you will feel deep wtihin you how much they are your own."

PS Letters to a Young ARtist by Julia Cameron is divine! ( I actually did read this one!!!)

Expanding our beliefs about what's possible

A while back, OK, I admit it's been well over a year, Rick Stitch fellow artist, teacher, & mentor of mine here in Santa Barbara, loaned me the book Portraits - Talking with Artist at the MET, The modern, The louvre and elsewhere by Michael Kimmelman. It's been on my shelf for a while and then it moved to my folder entitled " Blogs" so I finally cracked it open and while perusing the book I came to the understanding of why reading about other artists can be so beneficial:

Reading -or talking to, or watching movies -about others can expand our beliefs about what is possible for our own life.

I remember visiting another art mentor and teacher Adolfo Girala several years back when he was still living in west LA. ( Adolfo has since moved to London, England to further persue is art career). and I recall him casually mentioning he had made $250K the last year. That comment alone expanded my concept of what is possible financially for working artist. My beliefs expanded. I just received a group/touch base letter he sent out before leaving for London and he said he was doing even better. Congrats Adolfo! I hope to see you in London.

After Rimi Yang exhibited her large and captivating oil and wax work at Artamo gallery (as I write this, pls note - sadly- she is no longer represented there) I had a conversation with her via email to discover taht she was asked to be an artist in Residence in NewFoundLand Canada. Again, another possibility I'd never thought of - you can actually go to a nice place with artist studios where they will feed and fund you and you get to share and teach your passion with others. How cool is that? You can bet I've found a few residency positions in which I intend to apply to.

YOu may not be an artist in the tradional sense, but truly I belive we are all artists - creating our lives in our way. Therefore my question to you is, how has talking to others in your field, reading books, or seeing movies expanded your horizon of beliefs and possibilies?

Please do let me know here in comments....

New work - Emerging or Pure Abstraction

This is a newer painting, with no name as of yet, that I finished and had photographed recently and quite honestly I can't decide if it belongs with the Emerging Series or the newer Pure Abstraction series...
Emerging Series?
30 x 40"Mixed Media, Acrylics, Sand, on canvas
1 1/2 " painted edges, ready to hang
(C) Deb Chaney 2008 $3500 USD

This painting was created to enhance Career and Lifepath.
Using Feng Shui priciples this piece would further enhance your career and life path by placing it near the entrace of your home or office space.

Inspiration from Sabrina Ward Harrison

Had a wonderful weekend with Sabrina Ward Harrison " Spilling" in Los Angeles.

We journalled, we asked, we shared, we painted and we began to make our own little hand made books. It was fun and relaxing. We all loved taking mid day naps during the workshop! Very cool.

Here is Alyson with a piece of the hand made mobile that Sabrina signed in ink on gesso.

I did not want to wash my hands, the paint stayed on for days....(what's new)

Art and Poetry

Your emotions flow in
and out like the tide.
You have the courage to feel them
and no longer stuff them inside.
The seeds of your wisdom
come from your soul.
You started out tiny
but you've always been whole.
It's time for you to remember
who you really are.
You come from the ONE
and can shine like a star.
Check with your heart
to find why you are here
and accomplish your mission
despite any fear.
Your journey may lead you
on a winding course.
Know whatever you need
will come from THE SOURCE.

Poem by Jeanette Emory, a fellow artist I met at a workshop in LA.
See more of Jeanette's art and poetry at: http://risingblue.com/jemart

New Work - Emerging Series

These two paintings belong together to hang side by side
and were created in the intention of 'love and relationships' :

Star Crossed Lovers
Emerging Series
Messy is Life Series
© Deb Chaney 2008
Mixed media, acrylics on canvas -20 x 16" ,dyptic
Edges are painted, ready to hang

This painting was created with the intention to support love relationships. $850 USDMasterCard/Visa accepted Ph.(805) 403-9870

Star Crossed Lovers
Emerging Series Messy is Life Series
© Deb Chaney 2008 Mixed media, acrylics on canvas - 20 x 16",dyptic
Edges are painted, ready to hang

This painting was created with the intention to support love relationships. $850 USDMasterCard/Visa accepted Ph.(805) 403-9870

Painting and Meditation

My friend Eddie, the propreitor of Yoga Soup here in Santa Barbara, loaned me the most delightful art book: Light Coming Through: The Paintings of Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel. Thank you !

Eddie humbly told me that Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel is one of his spiritual teachers. In the forward of this beautiful glossy book full of abstract art and a few essays, this buddhist equates painting with meditation . I could not agree more that painting and meditation are something of the same thing. I have said before that when I paint time stops and 'me' disappears. I feel I am simply responding to spirit as I allow the ideas to flow through me. This book truly encapsulates this essense of being when painting.

Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel’s training in the arts began at an early age with the practice of calligraphy, music, ritual dance and other traditional Tibetan arts. After his introduction to Western culture, he became increasingly interested in modern art, particularly abstract painting and the work of Picasso and Kandinsky. He began painting under the guidance of his teacher, Yahne Le Toumelin in the mid 1990’s.

Ms. Le Toumelin, who is based in *Dordogne, France, teaches a unique style of oil mixed with glue, applied with special palettes. Kongtrul values abstract painting as a complement to his meditative discipline. His training in abstract painting evolves directly from his training and experience in meditation.

A life of retreat reflects in the work, and in turn, the work speaks of the value and importance of a life dedicated to cultivating wisdom. As he notes, meditation and art share the same creative source.

*After following this link I now want to go and visit Dordogne!! The casttles and the caves call the adventurous spirit within me!!!

See more of Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel’s work at:
http://www.tibethouse.org/Art/Past_Exhibitions.html (scroll down)

Purchase the book at:
Mangla Shri Bhuti Store

Art News - Artist Directory pick

I love to look at the paintings posted in the Artist Directory section at the back of the Art News Magazine. This month my favourite contemporary abstract painters were:

John Szabo I especially liked the piece he showed in the magazine "Red Squares", as well as his "Imagination"series on view this July 2008 at www.marionmeyergallery.com. Seems as though he's using ink and resin, I have never tried this. Also really like his "White windows" paintings, shown on his home page. Congrats on your success John!

Ian macLeod Loved the piece in art News entitled "Composition #112"...always loved drips because they are so fun to do and add a wonderful sense of movment to the piece. Wow! just checked out his homepage and the slideshow is amazing!!!! This work is a MUST SEE! Really cool.

Linda Fanucci absolutely LOVE her cityscape pieces. Also take a look at her studio tour. It looks like she has a made an old Victorian style house into a gallery - very swanky. Her bio is worth a read as she has a musical background and came into paiting later after raising her family. Terrific art, great story.

Patsy Flemming

I received a postcard yesturday from my friend, fellow artist, and unofficial artist mentor , Patsy Flemming. She is having a show at Foundry Gallery in Washington, DC . If you live in that area and enjoy contemporary abstract art work, go see it. Her work is powerful, exhilirating, beautiful, & awesome.

Seeing Patsy's portfolio at last year at Kanuga Watercolor retreat in North Carolina where we met triggered and inspired me to paint the 18 Raw Expression pieces I began painting there.

Her hand written note asked me if I was coming to her show. My reponses? Well, send me a ticket and a accomadations and I'm there!

The inscription also asked me if I was still painting (hello !!!!?????)

Goodness, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or be offended! My only answer is: nearly every day. C'est ma r'aison d'etre!

How would I start to tell you about Patsy? other then she is a fabulous woman and an amazing collage artist and painter.

Cheers to Patsy,

Love you woman,

Thank you for the card and the note.