Powering through fear
Hello art lovers!
Sometimes I look at a blank canvas and then decide to go mow the lawn.
That is fear for you. Or is it?
Dealing with the feeling of being frozen in front of a blank canvas, or the artistic medium of your heart, is an experience every artist deals with during the creative process. Known as the "creative block," it is quite daunting when it happens. And it will happen, probably a lot. The feeling of a block can render an artist into a creative funk with great resistance as a result.
It doesn't have to be this way. The primary solution: Face the fear head on and just get moving on your creation, even if it is just a line on the canvas or a dot on the page.
Move through fear
Fear is crippling and stops the flow of creative energy, which is always there even if you lose temporary access. So embrace the block, really lean into it, and don't judge it. In fact, stop judging yourself. Just take a deep breath and remember why you are a creator. Now it can be effective to step outside or take a day away from your work all together to reignite creative inspiration. And sometimes it is just a matter of taking the pressure off. But in the end, it is about allowing the gift of 100% self-acceptance, self-compassion, and self-love that will assist in moving through the stifling suffocation of a creative block.
Return to the creative flow
Forgive the block, own the block, and watch it dissolve. Your inner critic will give you all kinds of negative feedback when you are in the middle of a creative block but just laugh at that critic. Transcend it. You can do it. Just don't follow the negative thoughts. You can see them there – be aware – but then choose to not engage with the ego and the psyche. Instead, go into your heart space. This is where inspiration lives.
Keep it simple
Allow the energy you feel during the creative block to be present without judgement. This is important because it creates a space for a sense of peace to return. Remember, this happens to every artist, and it is normal and expected.
What are the three to five most important things that have to happen in your day? Create a list with these items. Make sure you pen only three to five items. The idea here is to re-establish a sense of control over your day – while also maintaining a sense of balance -- without sparking more stress and creating stronger blocks. These priorities could be as relaxing as stretching a bunch of canvases for a sense of productivity. Reward yourself for any accomplishment.
Meditate or reflect
After I create a daily priority list to wipe out a block, I will meditate on it to see if it is resonating with my intuition and aligned with my life purpose and mission. Meditating alone can release a creative block simply because the inner work sparks a renewal, which usually leads to inspiration. Remember to remain flexible with your lists.
Trim it down
Try trimming the fat off your day or removing nonessential things to do that don't actually serve your mission or keep you on track with your specific artistic goals. I mean, do you really need to check your e-mail every 15 minutes? Or would twice a day work better? There are many ways to eliminate stress and wasting time, which can vampire creative energy and result in those dreaded creative blocks.
Just take one small step
Take any immediate step when you feel inspired action, however small, as it is through this action that your momentum begins to build and your intentions become more clearly defined. This is where you feel freedom in your heart. And this further fuels creative flow. It's like magic when this happens, so just enjoy it! Don't question your movements when they come from this kind of heart space. Don't get in your own way. Instead allow the energy to move you forward. You just have to let go and trust yourself.
Take a moment each day to reflect on your artistic mission and your purpose. Remember to cherish the reasons why you want to create art. These reflections alone will spark a sense of vigor and energy. Connect with your heart each day and know that your work matters because you matter. Create with joy first, and the rest will follow.
Connection inspires my art. And the beauty of the human form exhilarates me. I create large scale oils of bridges and urban landscapes, working heroes, and figurative works using various techniques to mimic the old masters. Color, dramatic perspective, light, and unusual points of view reveal exciting realistic and abstract renderings.
To provide exceptional quality work, infused with a spirit, visual images of excitement the connection between one another, and to be exhibited and purchased through gallery representation and online distribution channels. At the same time I live to serve my talents as communicator, and independent artist. I create balance in work, play, and community. I inspire those I interact with.
How we connect.
I want to share what is a better way to see things better than what we would normally see. Stepping off the side-walk and getting a different perspective of the view how couples play I unleash dynamics of reflected light on subjects' undertones to reveal true natures and subtle imperfections. Removing masks with light captures vulnerability, expression, affection, and glimpses of intimacy.
Inner exploration of the self through erotic art
Hello art enthusiasts!
Dust off your sexy because I want to tap your inner erotica this week. You know it's in there! And it's time to take a fresh look.
It's really no secret that authentic sexual expression inspired from within brings energies of freedom, self-acceptance, sensuality, and joy. But how often do you remember to feel these energies – to remember they are even living within you? Have you stamped your inner sexy down? Or do you celebrate this part of yourself? Triggered erotic energies awaken feelings capable of transforming your daily experience, health, well-being, and the quality of your life. Sounds like a good reason to dust natural instincts off to me!
REALLY, what could be better than finding a deeper self-acceptance that comes from nurturing a personal connection with your own sexual essence? We are all sexual creatures. But we sometimes repress our natural desires and resulting expression. Yet these very desires fuel inspiration and creativity to unimaginable levels. These desires give us amazing energy to be and do – to simply breathe and feel alive!
I am excited that two of my erotic art pieces will be displayed at the Seattle Erotic Art Festival running April 22-24. This fascinating three-day event takes place in the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall and includes a curated selection of the finest erotic art in the world. This will be my second time displaying art at the event. I sold one naughty piece last year. Expect live shows and music. And many sexy people attend dressed to impress with sensual energy in tow. This magnetic erotic energy encourages heightened creativity, art purchases, and sparked conversations that ignite personal and cultural evolution. This event alone could change your view of art and turn you into a connoisseur. http://www.seattleerotic.org/
Freedom of being – of inner sensuality -- is what I try and capture in my erotic art. I want to inspire a release of inhibition of the self. I want to spark dormant passion and show the intense connection this energy gives to us. When I am working on erotic depictions, I strive to bring out the subject's inner way of being, sexual essence, and energetic light. I mimic the old masters style using dark shadows and highlights with a contemporary approach. Connection through snuggling, an embrace, cuddling, kissing, laughing, singing, or just pausing for a cup of coffee are among ways to encourage freedom of expression. For me, my art is a true exploration of my inner self. Passion and erotica – exploring your sexuality – is healing to your being. Achieving peace and acceptance of your natural sexual energies allow release and give comfort in a world filled with uneasiness while enhancing the natural unfolding of your life. Erotic art images also reflect our dreams and aspirations in the face of our rapidly changing and uncertain future. The rawness of such beauty in erotic art reveals how we deal with the passing of each day while quietly exposing moments of our vulnerability.
A little history
Some people think erotic art in America is part of a new genre. It isn't. Among the oldest surviving examples of erotic depictions are Paleolithic cave paintings and carvings. According to historical literature on the subject, recently discovered cave art in England is thought to be more than 12,000 years old and includes symbols that might be stylized versions of female anatomy. Other historical depictions include sculpture and photographs – along with dramatic arts, music, and writings – that show scenes of a sexual nature throughout time. Ancient Greeks painted sexual scenes on their ceramics. Many of these Greek renderings are famous for being some of the earliest portrayals of same-sex relations. There are also numerous sexually explicit paintings on the walls of ruined Roman buildings in Pompeii. In fact, Picasso brought back the basic guts of erotica since the days of Pompeii. There are numerous examples of erotica and sensual images that have been created by nearly every ancient and modern civilization. It is fascinating to dive into past origins of erotica and the influence of passion in our lives.
While some circles might still resist the genre of erotic art, during the last few centuries, society continues to broaden its view to the value erotic art brings to our experience and lives. Erotic art is indeed thriving today. Many erotic art shows are happening around the United States. A few examples include Nude Nite in Tampa and Orlando Florida, an annual celebration of the naked form, The Dirty Show in Detroit, Michigan, now one of the largest erotic art exhibitions in the world. I recently discovered the 6th Annual Creative Nude Art Festival, Art Undressed, in Miami, Florida, happening in May. This one looks quite good. These exhibitions all unveil high-level portrayals of erotic art that will stimulate and inspire your senses and imagination.
Art is the embodiment of the great spiritual core around which any society is built. It is not pornography – far from it. Pornography is not tame and pure like erotic art. Porn is abrasive and delivered harshly depicting male aggression and domination toward women. There are a few rare exceptions, however, when pornography could be appealing if it is created with humor and erotically delivered. Erotic art, by comparison, continually explores the natural essence of our sexuality. Erotic art of our time is how future generations will come to know and see glimpses of our inner experience in today's cultural landscape. More importantly, erotic art might help us to know and understand ourselves on a deeper and more intimate level.
Judging quality paintings
"Do a large piece of smokestacks, Chris," said David Passalacqua, one of my favorite teachers during my senior year at Parson's School of Design. What? I thought. I just looked at him feeling a bit awkward. I didn't really like the feeling, and I wasn't sure why he said that. I looked at my work in progress. I had a decent, albeit slightly boring, illustration going. I wasn't ready to give up on my illustration. I looked at David. He was an excellent teacher – so extroverted. David's friendly eyes had an uncanny ability to bore a hole into your soul just by looking at you with the surety he had for the mastery of his craft and literally yank the guts of your creative instincts to the fore. That is what happened to me when I looked at him. He simply kicked my ass – as he was known to do with students – using a mischievous smile and an electric energy spilling from his deep knowledge of illustrative art. He made it his mission to challenge students to higher levels. "OK," I said to him calmly while my energy surged through my body. Something central changed that day for me. My journey as a painter became a passionate adventure -- a mission to capture the unimaginable.
While striving to create the unimaginable with realistic and abstract art, I still had to face the reality of competitive judgement and juried shows. I wanted to be a part of these things, of course, but it does conjure feelings of vulnerability, and well, a subtle fear of the unknown. I knew I had to be courageous to put my soul on canvas – to present my art – to discover if my work could inspire and move other people in some way. I want people to see something more than just what is before them and to feel what I do – a beauty and a great spaciousness that holds the mysterious connection living within us, and among each other, within our landscapes, and inside our communities.
Facing the judgement beast
I've been fortunate during my career to be on both sides of the judging coin. I've been a show curator, a panelist for a local event, and I've also been a Regional Artist Culture Council (RACC) for project grants. There are so many competitions. And you can expect to get rejected at least 90 percent of the time. Don't let it stop you from entering competitions though. Think of competitions as a fabulous opportunity to network and immerse yourself in the art world. Welcome rejections. You will develop a competitive strength and a dedication to total authenticity. You will stand behind your art with confidence and stay steadfast on your artistic path. You will take artistic risks and follow your intuition. You will find yourself excited and free to create. Just follow your heart and believe in your art. The audience will come. It happens.
Noteworthy elements judges seek
Edward Jonas, the vice chair, for the Portrait Society of America once told me that the standards for judging works of art will include originality, theme, uniqueness in the concept and design, technical proficiency within the potential of the chosen medium, aesthetic sophistication, and fundamental skill development. Always remember: Your artwork has an impact in general or as part of a whole. This means regardless of the competition you enter, your work needs to stand on its own as a complete and outstanding work of art.
On top of the above realities, judging is also ideally approached without subjective or stylistic prejudice under the mantle of holding an honest and fair assessment of artistic works. This, of course, begs the following "judgy" questions:
March Exhibits promise to Excite and Inspire
Spring feels like it is starting to happen with the warmer weather making a welcome appearance. I love the way the outside air feels on my face while listening to the whispering sounds from birds and other animals that signal longer days, new growth, and a sense of freshness. The warm air is inspiring me to take artistic and intuitive risks to achieve higher levels as a painter. I am feeling passionate about the essence of human connection – the human spirit – and what it means to reveal hidden aspects of our being that radiate truth, vulnerability, and openness. This kind of vulnerability and revealing of the self is courageous, as it encourages us to lift our masks and allow ourselves to be fully present and seen. I strive to spark this contemplation of inner essence, connection, and reflection for viewers of my art.
Four shows below will exhibit my work along with other passionate artists in March. Come enjoy these shows – sample award-winning art -- and ignite your sense of connection!
Au Naturel: The Nude in the 21st Century, an international juried competition hosted annually by the Clatsop Community College Royal Nebeker Art Gallery located at 1799 Lexington Avenue in Astoria, Oregon, is running now through March 10. I am honored to have a piece in the show titled Sleeping Venus Waking Up that earned a second place award. I am presently creating portraiture and figurative works using red and blue flood lights. The techniques I use provide unusual dynamics of how light reflects on figures. I find it fascinating how this lighting brings out each subject's emotional undertones, allowing their natures to rise to the surface. My technique mimics the old masters, shifting the style to a contemporary ambience through careful and expressive brushstrokes. Please visit http://www.aunaturelart.com/ for more details.
Flesh: Revealing A Passion for Paint
35 Artists, over 35 works
Opening Reception February 27th from 6PM-8PM (3014 NE Ainsworth, Portland, OR)
I am displaying paintings depicting bridges, working heroes, big portraits, and a few figurative works Friday, March 4 at Boomerang located at 808 Main Street in Vancouver, Washington, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. This show was organized by Artist Tom Relth of Above & Below Art Gallery and Artistic Services in Vancouver.
Realty Trust, located at 600 A Avenue in Lake Oswego, Oregon, will feature my art on Thursday, March 10 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Please visit https://www.facebook.com/realtytrustgroup/?fref=ts
Christopher B Mooney
REALLY I want to inspire you about the intricacies of the art world, its forms, and people. And I want to share the fascinating -- and somewhat mysterious -- aspects of my journey as an artist.