Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Decorate your Walls; Decorate Your Soul: 6 Reasons to Invest in Original Art

On Golden Waves
24" x 28"
Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas

#1 Because it moves you and makes you feel
Some art just resonates with us. It moves us. It stirs our soul and evokes an emotion, a memory, an intangible thought – and we want to capture that feeling and feel it again and again. If you find art that you truly love, that makes you feel happy and inspired, buy it and bring it home with you, and you will return to that place every time you look at your painting. 
"The City of Blinding Lights"
24" x 36" x 1.5"
Oil and Mixed on Canvas

#2 – To mark the milestones

Some people like to collect art to mark the milestones in their lives.   For example, many couples like to invest in a piece of original art on their honeymoon, as a reminder of their wedding and the special bond that they have, and then purchase a piece each year on their anniversary. Others like to purchase new pieces when they move to a new home, or to celebrate the birth of a child and thus began a legacy of sharing the love of art with your children. Paintings also make the most memorable wedding gifts...you may not remember who sent you those crystal goblets but you will always know who sent you the painting. 

#3 -Art reduces stress

We are surrounded by to-do lists, chores, errands, and tons of advertising messages. Taking a moment or two to look at artwork gives us a visual vacation. It is refreshing. It can lift your mood. Owning and displaying art can enrich your life and reduces stress. It can take you back in time as you recall the memory or occasion you purchased it, or move your forward as a little mental escape.
24" x 24" x 1.5"
Oil and Mixed on Canvas

#4 – Art personalizes your space

The walls in your home are the walls of your own private gallery. You are both curator and artist. Choose art that is an extension of you. Original art is the ultimate conversation piece. It always gets noticed by your guests. Artwork is a signature way to personalize your home, office, or whatever other space you want to enhance. The art you select reflects your personality, style, and taste. It is a great way to make a space feel comfortable, to make it your own.
Original art avoids a cookie-cutter look. It brings warmth and life to a building and makes it a home. If you like quality – granite countertops and high-end fixtures and appliances – then I encourage you to invest in original art, rather than reproductions. Original art will enhance the quality of your home.
"Stay in This Moment"
10" x 10" x 1.5"
Acrylic and Mixed

#5– Original art is unique
There is nothing like an original piece of art. You are the only one in the world who possesses it.  With an original piece of art, you get the complete visual experience created by the artist. Sure, you can get a print instead, but the print lacks so much of the original. There is a richness to an original piece that just can’t be matched – or even come close! You get to see every brush stroke, all the nuances of color and depth. 

Self Symmetry
14" x 22"
(2 Canvases, 11" x 14" each)

#6 – You ensure that art continues to be made

Wouldn’t the world be a sad place without art?  If there were no art to add beauty and decoration to our lives? It is disappearing at an alarming rate in our children's schools, and as parents it is up to us to foster a love of creativity in future generations. 
Believe me, Artists are not creating art to get rich. There is something in us that drives us to create. When you purchase an original painting, you are voting with your wallet and helping to ensure that the Artist can continue making art!  

What other reasons to invest in original art can you think of?

I’d love to hear them! And thanks for stopping by!
24" x 24"
Acrylic and Mixed on Canvas

All of the paintings featured are by me and available if you are looking for some original art of your own.  Email inquiries to utopiapkwyarts@yahoo.com.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Painting, "Look at Your Feet; You are Standing in the Sky"

Look at Your Feet; You are Standing in the Sky
24" x 36" x 1.5"
Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas

Some works come easily and flow through me almost as if I have nothing to do with them but act as the vessel. Not so with this one. I fought and fought with this painting.  

It started off as the one in the middle with all the reds at the top. Initially, it was my favorite in that whole bunch I was working on at the time. I loved it that day when I took the pic below sooo much and thought it was nearly finished...but then things took a downward turn. I kept messing it up. I was trying too hard with it; my expectations were so high from the very beginning that every time I touched it I was disappointed. 

Each time I would go out to the studio I would try and try to make it something better,  more significant. Then for the past week I moved it to a dark area in the studio and have literally been hiding from it.

In a parallel universe, the same sort of thing was going on in my yoga practice. One of my favorite things in the world to do besides love on my babies and paint is to practice yoga. Thanks to this journey into getting to know myself better, as well as wonderful community of friends and teachers at Exhale, my daily practice has become a well that I draw endless amounts of strength, energy and inspiration from

The elusive handstand is something I attempt nearly every class. When the kids and I are horsing around in the playroom, we often do our handstand hops. (My five-year-old is pretty fantastic, BTW.) I am far from getting it, but every day I try.   As my teacher Brooke says, "You will never improve at a posture if you don't at least attempt it. it is in the trying that you grow."  Sometimes I can't even get my hips over my shoulders, sometimes I get it and hang on for a second, sometimes I fall.

This morning in class I tried. And lo and behold I caught some air. I could tell I did something differently because this attempt felt effortless. For what felt like an eternity (but was probably more like 8 seconds), I hung out in my handstand.  I could feel the love and support of my teacher from across the room. For some crazy reason, my mind wandered to my art sketchbook from Senior Year in high school, and this particular sketch I had done that had always seemed sort of random but all of a sudden made perfect sense: 

(That is the picture from my actual sketchbook, done in 1997.)  

The words, "Look at Your Feet; You are Standing in the Sky" clicked into realization. And then just as my mind wandered, I fell--very ungracefully, but luckily didn't get hurt--out of my handstand. The moment passed and class moved on, but for me a fundamental shift had occurred.

I raced home, filled with energy and adrenaline. Luckily I had time in the studio today, and instead of running away from the painting I had grown to detest, I embraced it full-on, and added the layers of white and cream. Then I scraped away.  Then I added more layers of blues and turquoise, then I scraped away.  Vertical lines appeared, a virtual linear portrait of me in class this morning. 

Triumphant, the painting emerged.

So I will try again tomorrow, and again the day after that to do handstand. And I may get it but I probably won't. And my body will continue to be a vessel, a conduit, of energy and life and creativity. And I will remember that every day is a journey. And the journey itself is home.

Monday, June 20, 2011

New Painting, " I Can Hear You Singing to me in My Sleep"

I Can Hear You Singing to Me in My Sleep
11" x 14"
Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas

All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there. You are so weak. Give up to grace. The ocean takes care of each wave until it gets to shore. - Rumi

There is something about this one that really captures my state of mind at the moment. A definite longing for the sea has come over me as Dallas descends into the lazy hazy days of summer.  My whole life has drawn me to the ocean, something at once that is at once calm and tranquil, tumultuous, vast and knowing, mysterious and deep.  Something that is a part of myself that I have yet to find...thinking of the sea reminds me that every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Newly Commissioned Painting, "Plant Your Own Garden and Decorate Your Soul""

"Plant Your Own Garden and Decorate Your Own Soul"
16" x 20"
Acrylic and Mixed on Canvas
Tegeler Collection

I worked on this painting for a Collector, who also happens to be a dear friend, to be given as a gift to her niece on her 5th birthday. 

I thought of her the whole time and how much she is loved by her Aunt and wanted to convey that love as well as the wonderment of seeing the beauty of life through a child's eyes. 

The best compliment I could have received is hearing how much the child enjoyed running her hands over the rich texture and told her mom in a whisper, "I really like it, Mama."

"There are always flowers for those who want to see them."
-  Henri Matisse

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Painting, "All Around Them, the Universe Began to Unfold"

24" x 28" x 1.5"
Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas
Original is available 
Giclee prints available for online purchase here.

I am so fascinated with the symbolism of the lotus flower. The roots of a lotus are in the mud, the stem grows up through the water, and the heavily scented flower lies pristinely above the water, basking in the sunlight. This pattern of growth signifies the progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience, and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment.

Though there are other water plants that bloom above the water, it is only the lotus which, owing to the strength of its stem, regularly rises eight to twelve inches above the surface.

According to the Lalitavistara, "the spirit of the best of men is spotless, like the lotus in the muddy water which does not adhere to it."

The secret is in the allowing and the understanding and with that, the letting go.

Perhaps today, right now, is finally the time just to let it all go, and let it all be.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Newly Commissioned Painting, "Come Boldly to the Throne of Grace"

"Come Boldly to the Throne of Grace" 
36" x 36" x 1.5"
Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas
Wallace Collection

I came across the following scripture verse yesterday 
and it stuck with me:
"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace. That we may find mercy and grace in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)" 
What a great reminder. I knew it belonged to a painting, but only when this one was complete did I see how the two fit together.  To come boldly, fearlessly, to something new and surrender to it offers the opportunity to find the grace within.

This client had a specific color scheme and style in mind and then let me run with it. Here is what emerged. I love working on commissions and allowing someone's vision to speak through my own. This union never fails to lead to something beautiful.

There colors were a bit of a departure for me, and already they have found their way into several other paintings I am simultaneously working on in the studio. I love how each painting influences the next and leads to progress and growth in this little artistic journey I'm on.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Painting, Let me Come and be Still in Your Silence

24" x 48"
Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas

"The trees in the storm don't try to stand up straight and tall and erect. They allow themselves to bend and be blown with the wind. They understand the power of letting go. Those trees and those branches that try too hard to stand up strong and straight are the ones that break." ~Julia Butterfly Hill

Try as I might, no matter what I am working on, I always return to my tree paintings. Their symbolism, the strength and frailty and giving they portray, is synonymous with how I see myself.  


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Stella Gets Her Groove Back, or Thank God for Summer School

Feeling so inspired today...2 commissions and 4 new paintings rolling in the studio.

"I think people don't place a high enough value on how much they are nurtured by doing whatever it is that totally absorbs them" 
Jean Bolen

I tend to work in spurts, frantically creating every second I can steal away into the studio for weeks at a time, followed by  a bit of  a drought.  To roll with that analogy, these past few weeks have been like the Sahara Desert. During this downtime, I believe some part of my brain is subconsciously letting the creative energy sort of pool for a bit and slowly reprogramming, recollecting. 

Luckily these dry spells are actually a good opportunity to catch up on bookkeeping, updating the website, client meeting, etc...all of the business of being an Artist that most people forget about. Taking care of business (or "TCB" as we call it around here) is actually a welcome change of gears for me because it keeps me from feeling like my career is idling and the bonus is that often leads to more progress, jobs, etc.

It is amazing to me each time when these droughts strike that inevitably the muse returns...because when I am in one of my little creative breaks I often wonder how I am ever going to muster the inspiration up to paint again. To me, creativity is not something that can be "used up". It is an infinite well that we can always tap into.  Even though the well may lie dormant for a while, it is never dry.  I love how each new work I paint leads me to the next...this little journey I am on is quite an amazing ride when I stop back and take a look.

I'm sure it's no coincidence that all three of my kids, ages 4 and under, will now be out of the house (and out of my studio) two days a week for summer school.  It has been fun having them home every day for the past few weeks as it has given us a lot of leisure time to play with friends, plan fun excursions, but I am a big proponent that breaks are good for everyone.

Stella got her groove back!

Gina Marie Dunn, Utopia Pkwy. Art Studio's Fan Box


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