A few weeks ago during one of my art shows, I had an experience I've had many times before---but this time it set me off on a train of thought (resulting in a new podcast!). A festival visitor walked into my booth and took a few moments to look at my work on display. She smiled as she took in the images, colors, textures and stories in my works. After some time, she walked over to me and shook her head, asking "have you ever thought about being an illustrator for children's books? I would love to do something like this, but I don't have a creative bone in my body?" I smiled and thanked her for her kind comments. Minutes, hours, and days after the festival, I found myself stuck on this particular conversation. What had let her, and many other people I've met, to the conclusion that they had NO creativity whatsoever? What is creativity? Is it something that is solely reserved for people who CREATE ART, or is it more than that?
After a few weeks of pondering this idea, I decided that it was the perfect topic for a new podcast! So, I give you my fourth podcast adventure! I hope you enjoy listening, and if this topic strikes a chord with you, please leave me a comment! I'd love to hear your thoughts :)
Have a wonder-filled week!
This past week I stumbled upon this excellent quote by Virgil Thomson:
"Try a thing you haven't done 3 times. Once to get over the fear of doing it. Twice to learn how to do it; and a third time to figure out whether you like it or not."
True to this quote, I am now posting my THIRD podcast, and I must say that I am decidedly enjoying the process. In this week's episode, having just finished having a booth at the Cheyenne Arts Festival, I talk about some of my encounters during the show. Shows like this offer artists the unique opportunity to interact with patrons AS they are viewing the artist's work--an opportunity not afforded by more lengthier gallery exhibits! I absolutely love hearing people explain the meanings and connections they draw from my work. I also talk about the connection between artists and their work and an observation of a moment when that connection wasn't quite right.
So, I hope you enjoy my musings from the festival! Have a WONDER-filled rest of your week!
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a conference, during which one of the keynote speakers mentioned the idea of "Surprise & Delight" moments. I don't know about you, but there always seem to be a few ideas that really stick with me after attending a conference or workshop, and this was definitely one of them! So, without giving too much away, I decided that for my second podcast adventure, I would talk out some of my thoughts about "Surprise & Delight" moments--both finding and making them! So, without further adieu, I give you...my second podcast episode--still very much in it's beginning stages, but a little easier this second time around!
May your week be filled with little moments of surprise and delight!
A few weeks ago, I happened upon a lovely friend's facebook post, where she was introducing her very first podcast attempt! As I read her post and began listening to her podcast, I began feeling incredibly nervous. My palms began to sweat. Not because I was nervous FOR her (she did GREAT!), but because I had also been wrestling with the idea of creating a podcast since about this time LAST YEAR, and the thought truly terrified me. Why? Because podcasts expose weaknesses. Podcasts require a type of openness that paintings don't require--a LOUD, spur-of-the-moment type of openness. And, unless you have your podcast totally scripted, they allow the speaker to make mistakes.
After listening to the podcast, I began to more seriously consider the idea...and the root of my fear. The truth is that creating a podcast IS a lot like creating a work of art. In the beginning, there will always be at least some level of fear of judgement and/or failure...and with time, it'll dissipate. But in order to reach that point in time, it is necessary to take that initial step into the unknown.
So, after taking a deep breath, I took my first step... and guess what? I LOVED it! Sure it's not perfect, but neither am I, and I am okay with that. Full of rookie "mistakes" and recorded in one take, I hope you enjoy my first podcast attempt--and if you don't, that's okay too. :)
Thanks for listening!
In my experiences teaching art to elementary students, I've seen my fair share of rainbows. Kids LOVE painting, drawing, and coloring rainbows! And, let's be honest, there is just something about that combination of color and shape that is irresistible!
During one particularly rainbow-crazed week (they come in spurts), I began thinking more about rainbows and my own art making practices; When was the last time I had made a rainbow? After considering this for some time, I realized that I hadn't drawn, painted, sculpted, or collaged a rainbow since I was 9 or 10 years old. WOW. Why was that? I still don't really know the answer...maybe it seemed too "little kid" for my middle and high school self to handle? Maybe I lost interest? Regardless of the reason, I decided that it was high time to paint a rainbow--resulting in the finished painting pictured above!
Guess what? Those little artists I teach are onto something! Painting rainbows is incredible fun--and easy to do! If you haven't painted or colored a rainbow in a few years (or more), I highly recommend it! Get any piece of paper you can find and any sort of colors (crayons, markers, paints, etc) and just take 5 minutes out of your day to make a rainbow! I guarantee you that it will lift your spirits and give that little kid inside of you a chance to play! :)
Have a wonderful weekend!
So, let me start by saying that one of my big goals for 2016 is to incorporate more video/digital technology into my art marketing. That being said, towards the end of January/beginning of February, I was given the opportunity to work with an incredible videographer, Nid Collins, AND talk with Micah Schweizer on Wyoming Public Radio! Having never really talked about my artwork on video or radio, I was excited, but not really sure what to expect.
Although I often think and write about my process and work as an artist, the act of speaking about artwork is an entirely different form of reflection--and one that I believe is important for the creative health of the artist. Both of these opportunities gave me a chance to pause and reflect on why I create--what is the real SIGNIFICANCE of my work. If you are interested in listening to my radio interview, it can be accessed HERE.
Below is the short documentary film, produced by This is Laramie. A HUGE thank you to both Micah Schweizer and Nid Collins for the opportunities!
Stories are everywhere. Some are more obvious than others---printed right in front of your face (or on the pages of a book). Others are more elusive--hiding in the spaces between words, tucked away in the shadows, or slumbering deep within a work of art. As readers, explorers, and patrons of the world, it is our task to uncover those hidden stories and give them a voice!
I am often asked how I come up with the ideas for my paintings. In truth, most of the time the ideas find me. For example, just last weekend, I was getting ready to head off to set up a booth for "The Laramie Art & Music Thing." I had decided I wanted to work on a painting live at the event. So, as I was packing up my painting supplies I happened to walk by a picture that I had purchased long ago of two birds sitting on a branch. I paused just long enough to realize that there was a story hidden deep within those birds that was just waiting to be told. Soon after this epiphany, I headed off to the festival and soon after began painting a glimpse of the story I had seen...
Below is the resulting painting. May you in turn be inspired by this image to begin a story of your own!
As 2015 draws to a close, it's common to spend a little time reflecting on the past year--what were the highlights/lowlights, and what you hope to change in 2016. After reflecting on the past year, many of us will be making resolutions for the year to come--plans to better our lives in some way (more exercise, weight-loss/improve health, reading x number of books in a year, painting x number of paintings in a year, etc).
A few weeks ago, I finished a painting titled "Divergent" (pictured below). Divergent can be defined as: "tending to be different or develop in different directions." As you begin to think about your resolutions for the coming year, I encourage you to think about your own divergence, and the divergence in those around you. Rather than hiding those things that make you different, take some time to embrace them and appreciate all of the incredibly beautiful differences around you!
Have a very merry Christmas, and here's to a bright 2016!
This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Colorado Art Education Association's annual conference in Breckenridge, Colorado. While there, I was randomly drawn to be one of 20 conference attendees to participate in a workshop facilitated by Mondo Guerra (Project Runway). Although I have never been all that interested in fashion design or textiles, I was excited at the prospect of learning something totally new!
During the workshop, we were challenged to make a "Mood Board" based on a personal story told to us by our partner sitting at the same table. My partner began the conversation by stating, "Well, I am always walking on the edge of chaos." "What do you mean?" I asked. "Well, I have had three near death experiences in my life, so I always feel like I'm just on the edge of chaos--not falling completely into it, but just teetering on the edge." As she went onto explain her near-death experiences, I found myself conjuring up the image of her walking on a tightrope, with chaos below.
After our conversations, we were free to choose our materials. As I was looking for supplies, I found a long, thin piece of poster board--perfect for a long tightrope picture! As I looked for a rope, I happened upon a piece of red ribbon that had a few knots in it. This seemed like the perfect symbol of her life line, and her three near death experiences! After finding the perfect tightrope, I needed chaos. My partner had told me that one of her near death experiences had occurred while she was living in New York City, so I thought the image of a city with colorful yarn and mark-making would be the perfect representation of chaos. Here is an image of Mondo and I, standing with my finished work of art:
Although my finished project was not necessarily a "mood board," it served an incredibly useful purpose in that it reminded me that art is so much more than a personal experience. It is about conversations, empathy, storytelling, and healing. Creating this work wasn't about me making up my own story. It was about hearing someone else's story--truly HEARING, and then reacting empathetically through my artwork. This finished work of art was then given back to the owner of the story as reflection of my understanding of her story, and as a reminder to keep her chin up, and keep walking forward towards bigger and better things.
How many untold stories are living around us everyday, waiting to be HEARD and retold?
Take a moment every once in a while to truly listen to those around you--forget about yourself, your stories, calm the buzz in your head, and just LISTEN. You never know where their stories may take you!
Have you ever experienced a moment that you can't really classify as anything other than "magical?" A couple summers ago I went on a 90-mile backpacking trip. One night I woke up in the middle of the night and could see a bright light shining through my tent. When I stepped outside of my tent, I looked up and saw the most incredible night sky I have ever seen--so many bright colors all swirled together with twinkling stars. I remember feeling goosebumps as I took it all in.
Last fall I experienced another magical moment as I was sitting in a cozy cabin, sipping on my tea. A few sips in, I began to notice a herd of deer gathering around the cabin. At first they were nibbling at trees and grazing, then they began to bed down around the cabin, and several fell asleep. I remember one deer that was out cold, sprawled out in the dirt. It was a pure, peacefully magical moment.
I find that most interactions with animals in the natural world feel magical to me-- a fleeting moment shared in the peaceful solitude of the wild. That type of magic is something that I frequently desire to capture in my paintings--those fleeting magical moments between man and the natural environment.
Below is one of my most recent paintings, capturing a fleeting moment of peaceful magic.
Have a wonderfully magical week!
Welcome to the whimsical world of Tara Pappas' mixed media art! Thank you for stopping by to view samples of my work and read a little about my adventures as an artist. I am always looking for new ways to connect and grow as an artist, so would love to hear from you if you have any questions or interests in a particular piece. I hope that my work brings you inspiration and joy!
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