Thursday, December 27, 2012

It Just Keeps Getting Better

December morning
"The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work."
~ Emile Zola

2012 has been an incredible year full of new art shows, new work, new collectors, unicorns, and rainbows. I've traveled around the country to 22 shows and this weekend ends with my 23rd - YAY!

As I look back I'm humbled by all of the support from my patrons and in awe of the many new art collectors who are now following my work. In many ways there has been tremendous growth for me personally as an artist - - and I'm grateful for it.

The journey continues in 2013:  you can view my schedule here. (New shows will be added once they are confirmed.)

Wishing you all the very best for the new year!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Art for Christmas

Wow, time flies! I'm back from a break and now busy with commissions. It's truly amazing how the universe fills in when you think you have a "gap".

Christmas is just around the corner. I know you've got folks on your list that you want to get something special for, but what?  Drum-roll please. . . .how about art for Christmas?

It just so happens that I not only have my own artwork available for purchase, but I know a lot of super awesome other artists whose work you may also enjoy. Please LIKE my Facebook page for the scoop as I introduce some of these talented folks to you over the next 12 days.

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Get Up, Get Out, Show Up

"An inconvenience is an unrecognized opportunity" ~Confucious

In recent weeks I've had to follow my own advice (see previous post). Shows have been up and shows have been down. I've gotten into some great shows for next year, but rejected from others that have long been part of my "thang". Suffice it to say that not everything goes as planned!

Over time I've learned that there's always another opportunity around the corner. Often the new opportunity is much better than what I had originally planned.

Just keep showing up. There's so much to be thankful for in this life.

Monday, November 12, 2012

4 Ways for Artists to Pull Out of a Slump

Artists are sensitive types. We are emotional creatures who want to change the world through our art. Many of us are prone to riding on the proverbial emotional rollercoaster:   we're up, we're down, we're worried, our work (in our eyes) is suddenly not so good. If you've had a recent show or experience that didn't go the way you planned, here are 4 ways to pick yourself up and move ahead:

  1. Watch a sad movie or read a sad book. The truth is, perception is reality. There are always other people going through worse things than you are right now! (Seth Godin nails it on this one). If you goose-egged an art show, don't despair. It's over, and now it's time to move on. The great news is that you're still in one piece, you still have your art, and there will be another opportunity ahead.
  2. Give something away. This could be an actual item (such as a gift), your time, or even a compliment. Ideas for how to do this? Read the book "29 Gifts" by Cami Walker. Karma is real:  what goes around, comes around. Give something and the universe will give you something in return. Try it!
  3. Have tunnel vision. Focus on you and only you. There is danger in looking around at what other artists are doing and how they're doing. Comparing apples to oranges never works! Block out large chunks of studio time and get to work. Put on your favorite music, brew your favorite tea. As an artist, there is only one you:  that's who you need to nurture and focus on. Your best work will emerge from there.
  4. Leave the compound. Removing yourself from the studio or office is imperative. Take a walk, take the dog for a walk, or ride your bike. Just get out for awhile. You'll be amazed at what 20 minutes of fresh air can do for your psyche.
Ultimately each of us decides what to hold on to and what to let go of. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

4 Art Resources I Can't Live Without

Over the years I have found many great resources on creativity, marketing, and the business side of art. Whether you're an established professional or just beginning your journey, here are 4 art resources I can't live without:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Secret to How I Paint

Many people ask me how I paint my abstracted landscapes. What tools do I use?  What references? What photos?  Do I paint plein aire? The short answer to these questions is that I paint from my head – from my imagination. I don’t use photos, references, or attempt to paint a particular location. For me, all of that would be laborious and not really fun (and that’s why I have a camera:).

I begin my mornings with mindfulness meditation – sometimes 5 minutes, sometimes close to or over an hour. Taking slow deliberate breaths, I focus only on the breath, while also feeling the edges of my body and my connection to the earth. This ritual settles me and brings my awareness to the present. Eventually I hear and feel only my breath, no longer deliberate or paced, but natural. There is a natural rise and fall of my body around the breath. After getting to this point, I go to my studio and approach the proverbial blank canvas. My primary goal is to come to the canvas “empty” – with no expectations – where anything is possible. Being "open" is the secret to my painting process.

Using an ochre-colored gesso, I prime the surface. I love this – the yellow feels happy and promising to me. Once during a gallery show opening I met a Shaman. She seemed to float into the room. We chatted for a few minutes and she told me that I was glowing. “What do you mean?” I asked. She said my aura was yellow – “bright like the sun filling the room”. (My husband was completely puzzled by my aura being read as yellow.  The Shaman explained to him - - “Don’t be surprised. On a bad day she can go to purple sometimes. . .”  My husband replied “that makes much more sense.”:)  I’ve never forgotten that encounter and wonder if that’s why I’ve always started my paintings with a yellow base. 
The next 3-5 layers of paint are swatches of color and texture – blotchy and unknown, this underpainting process is where I begin to see what will happen and where I am going. Within the blotches and strokes of color, I get a feeling:  often of expansiveness.  The expansiveness often becomes a big sky, or flowing water, pouring over layers of sienna, sage, or blue. Color choices are derived from the underpainting and the next days and weeks are spent applying additional layers.  I enjoy using dry brush, hands, and large palette knives. I also work wet-into-wet which simply means that the layer of paint on the canvas is still wet as you apply additional paint. In some instances this leads to dripping if the canvas is vertical at the time (I alternate between painting on a flat worktable and painting with the canvas on an easel or hung on my studio wall). In my early years of painting I would quickly wipe these drips and kind of freak out when they happened (the “oh no” reflex). I now view them as part of the process and meant to be. My belief is that allowing what happens in the studio to happen (and not to control or prevent it) is an authentic expression of self – of me on the canvas.

Reliance on my gut tells me when a painting is complete. My husband serves as the litmus test:  when I am finished with a painting, I ask him to take a look. He pulls the canvas outside into the light where it can be clearly seen - - and often verbalizes what he feels from this first look. The majority of my paintings are named from his reaction.

Over the next several days the painting sits alone. I need to leave it before I am sure. Once I view it again I can tell immediately if I’m done.

Friday, October 19, 2012

You're Invited!!

My fall art show schedule is made just for you:  sunny skies, cool breezes, and great art!  Please join me:

October 20-21     Brookhaven Arts Festival, Atlanta, GA

November 3-4     Chastain Park Arts Festival, Atlanta, GA

November 9-11     Telfair Art Fair, Savannah, GA

November 17-18    San Marco Art Festival, Jacksonville, FL

December 1-2      Cat Tesla Studio Sale, Little Tree Art Studios, Avondale Estates, GA

December 29-30   Coconut Point Fine Art Show, Estero, FL

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Work Vortex: A View From the Studio

A day at the office.

Works in progress.

New "Outside of the Box" paintings.

"Indigo", acrylic + oil glazes on 48"x48" canvas,
©2012 Cat Tesla

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New from the Studio

"Blue Wind I", acrylic+oil glazes, 24"x24"
©2012 Cat Tesla

"Blue Wind II", acrylic+oil glazes, 24"x24"
©2012 Cat Tesla

"Blue Wind III", acrylic+oil glazes, 24"x24"
©2012 Cat Tesla

Friday, June 15, 2012

Seeking Balance

"Glimmer I", mixed meda, 40"x30", ©2012 Cat Tesla
I was dreaming of a train ride when my husband nudged me awake on the way to an art show in Indianapolis. The next thing I knew the song "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" from the 1960's movie of the same name played in my mind over and over. The song was stuck in my head. I couldn't get it to stop! 

Thankfully I remembered a tip from a friend to sing the theme song from the hit sitcom "Green Acres" anytime you need to rid yourself of a song stuck in your head. Once I got to the line "Darling I love you, but give me Park Avenue. . .", my head cleared. Balance was restored. (Try it sometime - it really works!)

I find that many times our lives are about finding a balance. Balancing the serious with humor, the work with the play, the difficulties with the ease. As an artist I like to play with symmetrical and asymmetrical balance. Symmetrical balance is just what it sounds like:  both sides of the artwork look very similar and may even be mirror images, while asymmetrical balance often has something different on the left and right sides of the painting but the visual weight is the same. You can see examples of both in my "Outside of the Box" mixed media series.

I'm happy to be back in the studio after a busy spring show schedule. I hope you'll be sure to balance out your obligations with plenty of rest and happy times with family and friends. Here's to a great summer!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I'm schizophrenic and so am I

Cat's garden in May
Yes, life is a bit crazy these days. Thankfully I'm not mentally ill, though some days it sure seems like I could be. Trying to remember all the "to-do's" with a busy show schedule, commissions, and the regular family stuff like birthdays, holidays, etc., is overwhelming at times. Plus the garden is exploding (in a very good way) and so are patches of weeds (in a very bad way), and I'd like to get my hands back in the dirt soon to deal with both.

I just finished my third of six art shows in seven weeks. So many artists do this with ease but I feel like I'm just figuring it all out and getting my rhythm. Of course I love the challenge and have had the privilege of meeting some amazing artists and wonderful new collectors! I am indeed blessed.

Paintings are pouring out of me in the studio. Though a lot of people get their best ideas in the shower, mine occur during the long drives to shows around the country. In between shows my yoga classes are  keeping me grounded and keeping me sane. Throw in 10-minute-sessions-of-meditation and a hunk-of-dark-chocolate-with-hazelnuts here and there and I can get through just about anything.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Top 3 Reasons I Haven't Blogged in a Month

Cat next to her artwork at Z-Gallerie
Reason #1:  I sold 40 paintings in 2 art shows and completed a large commission in between.
Reason #2:  I was out of the country for a week visiting family.
Reason #3:  2 words:  stomach flu.

It's all good when you're not throwing up. My mind is in overdrive and I can't paint fast enough. The high from having 2 A-MAZING art shows in a row has fueled the fire in the studio.

There's also the regular everyday stuff happening in my life like looking in the mirror to find I'm breaking out with small zits like a teenager. Or that my dog made a "mistake" again in the dining room. And let's not forget about forgetting about the boiling water on the stove for a cup of tea until you smell the coating of the pot burning and you spend the next 3 hours trying to get rid of the smell and you can't

So, YAY! As my step-daughter would say:  life is pretty RAD right now.

Friday, March 16, 2012

What makes YOU tick?

"Still Moment", acrylic+oil glazes on 36"x36" gallery wrap canvas
©2012 Cat Tesla
I've always been interested in how people tick. What makes them do the things they do, and how is it that they are who they are? People who reinvent themselves I find particularly fascinating. They shed the old - whatever wasn't working or didn't feel right - and create a new path, embracing the fresh and the unknown.  Then there are others who exude confidence. They have a positive aura that flows out of them - you can feel it. They're on top of their game.

The past month has been busy for me with some great shows in southern Florida and Tennessee. Commissions have also been rolling in. One thing I know about myself is that I thrive on ideas and visions - - I'm constantly doing little sketches and thumbnails for new paintings. Ironically, this can get in the way of the immediate work at hand!  To that end, I've been working on mindfulness. As Pema Chodrin says 
"Cultivating mind’s inherent capacity to stay put is called mindfulness training. Mindfulness is like the rope that keeps the wild elephant from destroying everything in sight. The rope of mindfulness bring us back to our immediate experience: to our breath, to our walking, to the book in our hands."

Meditation has opened up a door for me in so many ways. It has helped me stay in the present moment and to really feel what's happening NOW. It lead me to something so simple during recent art shows:  I had a whole new appreciation for other artist's work and their journey. One artist - Kathy Wolfe - a photographer from Atlanta -  is changing gears, going for a softer, lighter vibe. Her photography is both artful from a design standpoint and also just plain beautiful. You want to reach out and touch the petals of the flowers in her work - you know they'll feel like velvet. Check out her new "Flora" works under "Porfolio" on her website. You can see that she's shedding layers and revealing something fresh and new. Stunning!

Ohio-based father and son Gary and Luke Stretar are on top of their game. Painting rural America in oils (Gary) and rural industrial objects (Luke), their work is skilled and refined. The light in their paintings is soft and just oh-so-right. There's something mysterious that holds you there - you find yourself lingering when you see their work.

Have you ever thought about what makes YOU tick?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New from the Studio

"Longing", acrylic on 48"x48" gallery wrap canvas

"Landscape Study", acrylic on 14"x18" gallery wrap canvas

"Breaking Free", acrylic on 48"x48" gallery wrap canvas

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Full of Love on Valentine's Day

I've got a heart full of love today - thanks to everyone who came (in the freezing cold) to the RAD Studio Tour! It was great to meet so many new collectors. I love my new studio!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Countdown to Open Studio: 2 days!

Please join me Saturday February 11 from 12-6pm at my new studio! I'll have new work fresh off the easel and great art gifts for your Valentine. And don't forget:  you'll get a free art print with your purchase!

Here are some close-ups of the paintings I'll have available.
See you soon!
Little Tree Art Studios
2834 Franklin St, Suite 103
Avondale Estates, GA

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Does this painting make me look fat?

Cat's studio:  works in progress
Sometimes it can be difficult buying art. Which one should you get? How to choose? Often people are concerned with not only how the art will look, but also how it will make them look. Will their significant other approve? What will their friends say at the next dinner party?

We are all wired with instincts - tastes - likes and dislikes. Go with your gut and go with what makes your heart sing! If you love something - show it off! Be an original. Your friends and family will admire you for it.

And no, that painting doesn't make you look fat. It makes you look fabulous!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Trinity School Spotlight on Art February 6-11

Velvet Blossoms I, m/m on 40"x30" canvas
©2012 Cat Tesla

Velvet Blossoms II, m/m on 40"x30" canvas
©2012 Cat Tesla
The Trinity School in Atlanta has their annual "Spotlight on Art" show and sale February 6-11, 2012. Fresh off the easel, "Velvet Blossoms I & II" are a couple of the paintings I'll have at this year's show. Hope to see you there!