Back at it again…

It has been a long time since I have finished a painting. Life gets busy and it gets hard to spend time in my studio. I let myself make excuses and I find myself believing them. Without a hard deadline, I just get stuck and can’t quite finish a painting.

So, I decided to find a call for entries (because it would have a deadline) and force myself to enter a new painting. I haven’t painted in so long, so in order to meet the criteria of the painting being made in the last three years, it was going to have to be something new. I set this goal several months ago…and then I procrastinated.

I couldn’t decide what to paint, but I had plenty of time and it would come to me. It didn’t. So, with one week until the deadline, I went into my folder of old reference photos and decided to re-do an old favorite.

When I was in school at RMCAD, I painted a close up of my lips coated in black lipstick. At that point in time, I didn’t spend very much time prepping my surface. That painting was actually the turning point for how much time and energy I put into the layers and layers of gesso and sanding. I loved how the painting turned out, but the canvas was kind of bumpy and could have looked so much better. This was my chance for redemption for that painting.

Today was the deadline for submitting artwork to the call for entries. I was up last night finishing my painting, and I filled out the entry this morning. It feels good to have finished an artwork. Now, I need to spend some time finding the next opportunity and set a new goal/deadline.

-M.

Michelle_Booren_The_Quiet_One

The Quiet One – Oil on Canvas – August 2019

 

cropped-black.jpg

Untitled (Black) – Oil on Canvas – August 2013

 

Paper Fashion 2017

Where to start…?

This year my wonderful paper fashion team and I decided to create not one, but TWO looks for the fashion show! I thought we were going to go totally crazy, but it ended up not being much different than any other year (in other words, only slightly crazy). We decided to create a high-fashion, avant-garde look and then use that as inspiration for a ready-to-wear look. I took the lead on the first look and my wonderful brother and sister-in-law lead the ready-to-wear design.

The first look, titled “The Guardian,” was my vision of a guardian angel. I wanted to create something that combined grace and beauty with fierceness and strength. Inspiration for this look began with my memory of seeing the Winged Victory of Samothrace at the Louvre ten years ago. I remember coming up a staircase, turning, being completely taken aback by the sight of this sculpture. Of all of the art that I saw that day, she was the one that has stayed with me all these years. Because of this, I began with research on the goddess of Victoria, which revealed that she was the symbol of victory over death in all endeavors. Images of winged women were seen all over the Roman Empire, and after the Christianization, those figures evolved into Christian angels. This discovery lead to further research on depictions of angels throughout art history. I pulled inspiration from Byzantine mosaics showing large gold circles representing halos, Italian Renaissance paintings which had softer more ethereal portrayals of angels, as well as other images of angels, goddesses, and warriors. This all came together to form my vision of “The Guardian.”

Our second look, “Guarded,” was inspired by the process of professional designers, many of which create extravagant looks that walk the runways, then interpret those ideas in to ready-to-wear garments. The lead designers for “Guarded” utilized textures, colors, and techniques from “The Guardian” to create our team’s second look. This look came together as a perfect out on the town look that had clear inspiration from the other design. The two looks together were everything we envisioned and more.

After all of our hard work and problem solving, “The Guardian” earned the Second Place Overall award!! It was all very exciting, and a great way to wrap up another Paper Fashion Show.

Paper Fashion 2016

As usual, this post is waayyyy over due, but here are some photos of my design from the 2016 Art Directors Club of Denver’s Paper Fashion Show. This design is titled “Under Pressure,” and is inspired by the idea of coal turning into diamonds. It takes immense pressure to turn something as mundane as coal into a diamond. Similarly, as a team of artists and designers, we work under a great deal of pressure to transform paper into fashion.

Top Looks from ADCD’s 12th Annual Paper Fashion Show

Planning Makes Perfect

Planning is and has always been a HUGE part of my art practice. For me, planning is about 50% of my process. This includes the initial brainstorming that sparks the idea, research, sketching, experimenting with materials, mock-ups, and a lot of writing. It may seem strange, but my ‘sketchbooks’ are more writing than sketches. It is just the way I think and process things. I want every piece that I create to have careful consideration behind each and every decision. I am not a fan of making things and then trying to figure out what they mean later…at least not as final pieces. I believe that the greatest artists spend time carefully planning and researching so they can manipulate their media into exactly what they intend to. That is what I strive for, and that is why I plan…excessively.

Entering the final stages of planning for my 2016 Paper Fashion Show design.

planning for my 2016 Paper Fashion Show design

I started the planning process for this year’s Paper Fashion show about a year and a half ago, and yesterday I picked out the swatch-book of paper that I will be using. So, now it is crunch time for planning. I need to come up with a final sketch of my design and select the colors of paper so I can get my order placed and can get started on my design.

 

Paper Fashion 2016

It’s that time of year again…the paper fashion show swatch book pick-up is less than a week away!! This will be my fourth year participating in the show, and my fifth design, and I really think it is going to be the best yet. After taking the last year off to celebrate my brother’s wedding to his beautiful wife (the show was the same weekend), I have had extra time to sketch, experiment, and plan for this year’s design. I want to keep some element of surprise for the final design, but I will be posting updates on our progress over the next few months so check back every now and then!

-M.

By the way, the show is April 22nd in Denver, CO. More info can be found at https://www.adcd.com/

Fantasy Land

Something that they don’t teach you in art school is that when you are in art school, you are living in a fantasy land. That may sound silly, but I mean it. When you are in art school, people are demanding that you make art all the time. You are encouraged, if not forced, to spend the majority of your time on your artwork. Then, when you are done with something, you get to take it to a room full of artists and have them give you feedback. It is a constant cycle of creating work and generating ideas. But, what they don’t tell you is that it is a total fantasy land.

After leaving school, finding time to devote to your artwork is a challenge. There are no assignments, deadlines, critiques, or expectations. It is just you, trying to find some kind of balance between work (the kind that pays the bills), housework (which seems to be constant these days), spending time with family and friends (who am I kidding, I never spend time with friends anymore), trying to work out (I really am trying), finding a minute to relax (I literally mean a minute most days), and lastly…spending time in my studio. Sometimes I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but then I realize that even if I had more they still probably wouldn’t be spent in the studio. My point is, it is really hard to spend time on something that doesn’t seem like it accomplishes anything that is required of an adult. It doesn’t pay the bills (at least not yet), it doesn’t clean my house or cook my meals, and it doesn’t really count as a workout. So it almost makes me feel guilty to spend time working in my studio…which is just crazy.

It has taken me over a year and a half to figure this out, but I have finally realized that it is not wrong to spend time on my artwork. This is what I am meant to do. I have important things to say, and if I don’t say them, who will? It is hard to commit to spending hours and hours on a painting and not even know if I will ever be able to show it…but I can be certain that if I never create it I will definitely never have the chance to show it. So, I am not going to make excuses anymore (or at least try really hard not to), and I am going to commit to spending more time in my studio. I am going to open my Etsy shop, create my zine, start my paintings, and I am going to make something for myself. I always tell people that with what I want to do with my art, I can’t really “find” a job; I have to make one for myself, so that is what I am going to do.

-M.