Wednesday, August 1, 2012

First Solo Art Exhibit...Check!

What a weekend! It sure was hot, and I sure was busy, but it was fun! 

Last Friday was the finally the time for my solo exhibit for the DeLand 4th Friday Art Walk! Mother nature decided I had to work extra hard for it, so it was inching toward 100°F around time for the festivities with no rain in sight. Thank goodness for wonderful friends and family, too, or I would have never gotten things set up in time!

My adopted family, Deanna and Mary, came all the way from Savannah to help set up for the show. I hope they know that meant the world to me, too. And, my adorable husband gave 110% getting things just right once we got everything set up. If you came by, you probably met him on the street, shaking hands and handing out cards like a mad man. (Thanks, baby!)

Thank you to everyone who stopped by for a visit. I appreciate you coming out in the heat to share my work. I really enjoyed talking techniques and answering questions about my process. I didn't know what to expect for my first solo exhibit, but in all I think I greeted about 50 people!

For those of you who weren't able to make it, here are the new pieces I debuted at the show!
Wander is a 4x12 inch mixed media on canvas. It's one of my favorite quotes! It never fails to motive and inspire me. Leave it to Tolkien to inspire, right? I enjoyed this a lot,

I Want to Ride My Bicycle was inspired by a local contest. I didn't make the deadline to enter, but I still loved my finished piece! The journaling is the lyrics of the chorus to the famous Queen song!

Happier  is sort of self explanatory. Who doesn't love a french fry? I loved this little quote when I saw it on Pinterest, and I just had to put it on canvas!

And, last but not least, Sacred Centers was inspired by my yoga practice and spiritual path. I've really felt the creativity flowing since discovering chakra meditation. This piece is what I imagine my creativity looking like from my soul's perspective.

Thanks again for all the support, and to everyone who came out for the 4th Friday Art Walk! I hope this is just the first of many shows! If you're interested in purchasing prints of my work (originals aren't available just yet so I can get prints made of everything) please visit my shop, Mixed Media Art by Melissa Sherbon!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wearable Art Rocks!
I think everyone loves some sort of art. I love all kinds, but even I tend toward aesthetically pleasing every day objects. I'm practical, so sue me! Take bangle bracelets for instance. I love their look. The ornate metals ones, the carved wooden ones...even the trendy plastic ones work with some outfits. I'm more inclined to the wooden carved ones. It's just my inner Bohemian. But you know what? Sometimes all a girl can find are the plastic ones. And sometimes, that's what an idea needs.

I love unique jewelry. I love shopping for it, but I also love making it myself when I just can't find that special piece. So, when I was paint shopping at our local Michael's and came across an entire bin of $1 plastic bangle bracelets, my mind when into overdrive! The 80s are back in force, so most of the bracelets were crazy neon colors, but that didn't matter. I wasn't about to leave them alone and naked. They needed a little personality!

If you know me even a little bit, you know I have a paper fetish. Tissue paper, scrapbook paper, newspaper, vintage book pages...I love them all! This love goes beyond a mild appreciation. I almost always feel completed to cover things with them. Mod Podge is this girl's best friend! So I immediately thought back to a gift I made my sister a few years ago for Christmas.
Thanks to my lovely sister for her modeling talents!
I knew how much my sister loved a bangle, so I decided it'd be a good idea to make one. I went to the Dollar Tree and bought two or three student dictionaries and I was set! I covered her bracelet with words and definitions that described her; a Self Portrait Bracelet of sorts. It's been a few years, so I can't remember most of the really unique words, but I know beautiful, smart, athletic, and outgoing made the list.

I always wished I had made one for myself after giving that to her. So, when I saw that bin of bangles, I dove right in! Three bracelets came home with me, and two have been reborn.
My self portrait bangle! And my new, yummy periwinkle fingernail polish, too!
The first one was my very own Self Portrait bracelet. It's harder for me to pick out self descriptive words than it is to pick out descriptive words for my loved ones, let me tell you. Yeah, I tend to be a little hard on myself sometimes, but this was an exercise is self affirmation. I picked words I thought people should see so they could learn a little bit about me when they read it. You can see artisan, yoga, beach, and fragile. I also included mermaid, artist, woman, peculiar, tender, loving, kind, grateful, wild, shy, divine, awesome, free, and effervescent to name a few more. I wanted to have something that reminded me that sometimes, even if I'm hard on myself, my loved ones see these words in me and that's what counts. It's a pick-my-up every time I wear it!

Right in line with including peculiar on my Self Portrait Bracelet, another strange thing I like to do is collect fortunes from fortune cookies. This is a nice thing to collect since you have to eat Chinese food to get them. Some perk, huh? Being gluten free hasn't stopped my collecting either. I just take the fortune and leave the cookie! 

Well, the down side is seeing how often in your life you eat Chinese food. I have a bucket (it's small!) full of fortune slips. My husband's jaw actually dropped when I brought it out of hiding. I had another bracelet plan. I rummaged through my many many fortunes and took my absolute favorites out for this project. 
I love fortune cookie slips!
Most of them are inspirational or thought provoking. Then there's the comic relief favorite: "Beware of cookies bearing fortunes." I love that one! This bracelet has 20 fortunes on the outside and 12 on the inside. It's my little reminder to always be mindful and live in the moment!

I'm still thinking about what I should do with the other blank bangle. I'm feeling colorful about it though. We'll see what happens!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

DeLand 4th Friday Art Walk: Three Days to Go!

Love my supplies!
Wow! I can't believe the time has flown by so fast! It seems like yesterday when I was asked to participate as an exhibiting artist in the DeLand 4th Friday Art Walk...but it's been five weeks! The good news? I've gotten a lot of work done in those few short weeks and there will be five never-before-seen pieces to display! There's nothing like a looming deadline to get the juices flowing, is there?

excerpt of Wander, mixed media on canvas
Deadlines aren't my only inspiration, of course. I like finding inspiration in anything and everything. Some of my favorite muses are quotes. I follow a bevy of inspirational quote pages on Facebook, so I always have something passing through to read and get me thinking. I even keep a notebook close by to jot down my favorites!

One of my all time favorite quotes comes to us courtesy of J.R.R. Tolkien: Not all who wander are lost. I love to wander, so it's always encouraging to be reminded that sometimes, the detours I take might be a better path than the one I was following in the first place. In honor of this wonderful quote, I had to put it on canvas! Here's a sneak peek before Friday's exhibit. You'll have to come out to DeLand Friday evening to see the rest for now. Don't worry, if you aren't able to make it, I'll be posting pictures from the show as soon as I can. I promise!

I also get inspiration from contests. I was so excited about one local art contest, then I didn't get things finished in time to enter...but that doesn't mean I can't share the piece with you! A local art gallery in New Smyrna Beach held the contest. The theme was Bicycles and I had a blast coming up with this piece. OK, I'll give you a sneak peek...

excerpt of I Want to Ride My Bicycle, mixed media on canvas

Another wonderfully addictive source for inspiration is Pinterest. LORD, the hours I have spent pinning! It's shameful and there should really be a 12 step program... Yeah, it's that addictive.

Anyway, Happier is a piece inspired by a quote floating around on Pinterest: "Today, I will be happier than a bird with a french fry." Every time I hear or read that line, my heart smiles! Who hasn't been lucky enough to see a little bird discover a french fry he gets to have all to himself? It's the definition on happy!
excerpts of Happier, mixed media on canvas
My yoga practice also greatly inspires me, so there will me a few pieces on display any yogis in the crowd might appreciate. Sacred Centers is one of them...
excerpt of Sacred Centers, mixed media on vintage book page
These are just some of the pieces I'll have on display this weekend at the 4th Friday Art Walk in DeLand! I hope this has whet your appetite a little. By the way, I'm not the only artist, either! Make sure you plan to visit DeLand if you are in the Daytona Beach or Orlando areas this weekend because DeLand truly loves their Artist Community! My work will be on exhibit from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Got Knots on New York Avenue. (Get more info about the event here!) Come by and visit, sign up to win a free massage from the amazing Got Knots, then hit the Artist Alley for loads more awesome art and culture. You'll be glad you did!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

An Art Adventure in DeLand, Florida!

I had a big day Friday! My husband and I were lucky enough to participate in the West Volusia County Explorers program. Basically, you let the tourism office know you are interested, and they call you up and set up the Where, When, and What you will be exploring. Wouldn't you know it, we were fortunate enough to be heading to the Museum of Florida Art, right here in DeLand! Picasso, Girl before a Mirror c. 1932
Though we moved to DeLand back in November, we had yet to visit the museum. It's awesome, so if you are in the area it's a must visit. It might be small compared to other places, but there's still some beautiful and intriguing art to be seen. On exhibit was the original piece, Iconoclass by New Smyrna Beach artist Harold Garde. The piece is an imposing  8' x 24' acrylic mural on Masonite and covered much of the far wall in the first downstairs gallery. The style reminded me some what of one of my favorite Picasso paintings, Girl Before a Mirror. As we learned from the film playing, the mural was adapted to be part of the brand new sign the museum just added to their facade. Turns out a lot of people didn't notice the museum and thought it was part of the Stetson University campus. The sign is beautiful, so now the world driving by should know there's art waiting inside! The museum asks that you not take pictures, so you'll just have to stop by and see the mural in person to appreciate it.

I really enjoyed the other gallery's offerings as well. I'd never heard of Strappo before, so I assumed it was the artist's name. Not so! According to the Museum of Florida Art, Strappo is a combination of painting and printmaking utilizing the plastic nature of acrylic paint to produce a monotype. Harold Garde was also the main artist in this exhibit, in addition to other local artists in a juried exhibit using the same technique. First, the artist paints in layers on the surface of clean glass, then the dry layers are pulled away from the glass as one piece. It was pretty cool to watch the film as Garde demonstrated his process. I'm a fool for watching other artists work. You always learn something new! Now I've added Strappo to my list of things to try.

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the Museum of Florida Art. I couldn't believe we hadn't gone for a visit sooner! After our art date, the hubby and I decided to take a little stroll in downtown DeLand. Right across from the tourism office is the Volusia County Courthouse and Chess Park.
DeLand has a lot of beautiful old architecture to enjoy! This is the view of the courthouse from Chess Park.
Beautiful Chess Park in Historic Downtown DeLand, Florida.
 There wasn't any chess playing going on during our visit due to the off and on rain showers, but it was a beautiful spot to enjoy a short stroll with my sweetheart. And they had public bathrooms. That helps.
The beautiful wall fountain of Chess Park in DeLand, FL.
The showers chased us back to the car, but I'm glad we explored another little corner of our new hometown.  There's a great art community and loads to do and see here in DeLand.  I'm pretty glad we landed here!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

On Following Your Bliss...

It's been a long time since I could say I was truly following my bliss. I think we all have that problem, especially as adults. We tend to lose our wild abandon and courage to follow our dreams as we grow; that's definitely something I have been guilty of doing for a while now. Well, no more! Change is afoot here in my little Florida apartment. I decided to jump and trust that my wings would show up. Since today is really the first part of that jump, I can't say I see my wings yet...but I think I feel them unfolding!

Best. Feeling. Ever.
Today was the first day in nearly a year that I got out my canvas and papers and got paint under my finger nails. It was pure bliss! There's nothing quite like splashing color, tearing paper, and doodling designs. It'd been so long, I was afraid I'd feel weird or not be able to get to what I felt needed to spill out onto the table. Turns out, creating is kind of like riding a bike. It might feel wobbly at first, but once you have it, you can't ever really lose it.
"Bliss" has meant a lot of different things to me in my life, but I now know that pure bliss is being right where you are supposed to be, present and experiencing your path in the moment. My path was wooded and overgrown for a while, but I reached a fork in the road and took Robert Frost's words to heart. I took the road less traveled. I followed my heart, and my art. I dug deep and found the courage to open a shop, but more importantly, to open up and truly find myself again through creating.

Pumpkin loves helping me paint!

I am blessed beyond belief to have a wonderfully supportive cheerleader in my husband, Rob. We talked for months and months about which road for me to choose, but in the end he supported my decision to walk away from my part time job to follow my art...where ever it may lead. That choice, coupled with his unfailing faith in me, has made me feel light as a feather today. I wish I could share that feeling with the whole planet! Unfortunately, I don't know how to do that quite yet. I did at least share it with my trusted muse a bit today, since Rob was at work. My babies (I have three!) are never far and always love seeing what I'm up to.
I felt super inspired today. My whole body was vibrating; I just I couldn't stop smiling. I guess that feeling came out! I'm excited about my new journey. I'm making a promise to myself to follow my own unique bliss and to trust myself, my path...and my brand new wings.