Explanation of the title, Blue Bulbous


When finishing a piece I have struggled with two things consistently, the title and whether or not to sign it. I just noticed I used the word “struggled” as in, in I used to. And so it is because I am no longer going back and forth with either of those subjects. If you know me or have read my blog, I tend to obsess over such decisions which sometimes get me further away from resolution instead of helping.
Well thanks to various blogs I've found on both subjects, I will never have doubts again. In regards to titles, I decided to start explaining my titles as part of the creative process. A new piece never starts and ends on the canvas. There is so much more that happens before and sometimes after that is part of what led me to create the piece exactly as it has turned out. Just like every decision that you’ve made in your life has created the moment you’re in right now, the same with everything that led me to sharing a new piece with you.
With Blue Bulbous it started off as a pen and ink sketch that had no title. When I was making it, I did not intend it to be a flower or have petals it just turned into that as I added more and more to the first shape I dotted out. When I’m sketching I’m usually thinking more of the composition and how the different elements interact with each other without a goal to work towards.  It’s like an experiment to see what my technique will create when I start with certain shapes. The element of not knowing what the final result will be is one of my biggest motivators. I just love a surprise!
At the beginning of September when I found out that I was going to participate in a fundraiser, I started looking at my sketches to start on a new piece. A few stood out, some new ones and a couple of old ones. I knew I had to get started soon and instead of obsessing over which one to pick for days on end, I thought I’d ask the opinion of my cousin Maggie. She is not artist but is one of my biggest fans and I always appreciate her honesty in any matter.  So, I directed her to the Sketches page (in the Gallery page) to see if one stood out. After making comments on several and really looking at them, she got to one and said, “Ooh, look at that bulbous looking one”, or something very close to that. I immediately knew which one she was talking about when she said “bulbous”. So I had to use that word in the title. Thank you Maggie!

99% done with Tepoz



Just a quick update to post my latest piece. I'll be starting a new one soon. This one is for my brother Mike. He's going to use it as the cover art for his upcoming CD. I can't wait to see my artwork on something with my brother's music on it. Our art together. I can't believe it's taken this long to happen.

Last I heard he's going to title the CD Tepoztlan. Tepoztlan is a little town in Mexico where he's lived and I've dreamed of living. It's a magical place, nestled in the mountains. You can take a hike up one of the mountains called "El Tepozteco" and at the top there's a pyramid. It's an amazing view from up there.

Finally ... a new painting!

After the move, the unpacking, the re-arranging and everything else that gets so out of whack when trying to settle into a new place....I finally started a new painting! It took much longer than I wanted but I'm on track now. This one is relatively small (3'x3') so it shouldn't take too long to finish. Although this piece is not part of the series I'm working towards showing soon, I still had to squeeze it in as this will serve as as the image for a music CD that my brother will be making soon. I'm very excited about his CD and feel honored to be able to participate visually. Love ya chingos Mike!

More details to come about the CD but for now just wanted to post the recent images.



The first one is the sketch and then my first hour or so of work on canvas. More to come soon!!!!

Something else that has made me very happy!

After many battles with WordPress and trying on about 20 different theme outfits...I'm finally done with my website! For the most part anyway. I still can't figure out how to make more than one slide show appear on the "Work in Progress" page but other than that I'm pretty happy. The best part of course is that I don't have to wait for someone else to make updates and changes. Whew!

www.mmelgar.com

Why I paint, the way I paint

Someone asked not too long ago why I paint "only like this". Also something to the effect of "why do they all look the same"? And my favorite, "Why don't you paint landscapes or things that more people would like?". Questions like this pop-up every once in a while and in the moment I give a short answer to avoid ending up on a favorite TV show of mine, "Snapped". So, I thought I'd get my thoughts together and 'splain myself so that next time this comes up...I'll count to ten...OK 100...and then direct them here. I know people ask these kind of questions just out of curiosity and there's no harm intended. So this is for anyone who's ever wondered the same thing about my art...and perhaps other artists work.

First, a little about the technique itself. It's just how I doodle. Anytime I find myself listening to something, like a lecture in high school, a phone conversation (back when I could stay on the phone for any length of time), some training seminar, etc. I tend to doodle if I can. My painting technique really is just doodling with paint.

Now, about abstract art. Abstract art is what I choose due to its freedom from any expectation and therefore leaving very little room for judgment or comparison to what it "should" look like. It simply ends up looking the way I felt it should look at the time I was creating it. There's no pressure to meet some standard or no stress added because it doesn't look like something else. Also, I find so much beauty in the world we live in and appreciate every little piece of creation I've been exposed to that to try and re-create it somehow seems completely pointless. To me it does. There is simply no way anything I could make, could come close to the beauty in a sunset, or the colors in a ranunculus, the detail in a butterfly wing, etc. I just get no pleasure in trying to imitate nature. I get my inspiration from nature of course, but I do not try to copy or represent it.

And the biggest reason I paint the way I paint...it's whats inside of me, in my soul, my heart, my head, I'm not sure...but inside of me and only me. I think every one of has something unique in them that if you're lucky to figure out what it is and how to express it...then you should let it out. Creating something truly unique and beautiful takes a certain kind of letting go of our ego and who we think we are and just letting ourselves be used as a tool to create something unique. Any great dancer, poet, writer, actor does just that...they are letting something out of them, to show you whats inside. And I'm not saying that because of that my work is necessarily beautiful or great...its simply who I am. And just like anyone else, some people will like me, some will not, some might hate me and others even love me. Same goes for my art.

So it's because of this that I do not paint to please anyone but myself. It's the only way I can stay true to who I am and how I feel. If by doing this some people like or even love my work, then I'll feel honored and lucky to have any kind of effect on anyone. If by being myself in life and in the way I express myself in my paintings, I make someone smile or feel anything positive, then I too will smile and feel positive. I am however my worst critique and judge and strive always to improve and perfect both my work and life. I know we aren't here to be perfect though, but at least learn and find ways to grow.

So with that I hope that you understand me and my work a little more. If you're a fan of my work and keep up with my progress, you'll in a way be joining not only my artistic journey but also my personal one.

Here's the latest progress on my triptych. I've decided to only show one of the panels going forward. I'll show all three panels at my next show. Hope to see you there!

Things that make me happy

I don't want to list the obvious things like love and friends and get all gushy. So instead I'd rather share with you the things that have nothing to do with anyone else. They are things that I enjoy with myself, private moments of joy, gratitude and sometimes speechless awe and amazement. In those moments its hard to put words to the feelings that come through me. Sometimes its quiet and calm, and sometimes I feel like I could burst with excitement and joy and thrill.

Recently it was a very loud bird. I was inside and I could hear what I thought was several birds, all shouting their respective calls. There was something quite urgent about the calls, like someone calling their children in to come in and eat dinner. It sounded like they were all pretty close by and as I'm always curious to actually see which bird is making which call (took me years to figure out a cardinal's call), I figured I'd go out in the back yard and hope to not scare them away. I could tell the sound was coming from the crape myrtle in the corner and I got closer and closer, trying to be quiet (all while looking down in the grass for the snake I saw the other day), to catch a glimpse of the birds before they flew away. Well I kept hearing the different calls and finally zoomed in a one little bird. I was directly under him, looking at him move his little beak as he changed tone, pitch and melody for each call. I must have heard him make at least 5 or 6 different sounds. All very different. And I'm pretty sure he saw me. He didn't fly away though, he just kept at it. I didn't want to push it so I only stayed close by for a couple of minutes, he seemed to be on a mission and I didn't want to interfere. So I went back inside and kept listening, seeing in my head what he looked like. I smiled all over my body, inside and out. I felt so lucky, privileged and just damn special to have seen him.

I don't know what it is about hearing a bird and finding the one making the sound that makes me feel so happy. I also don't know what it is about this particular house we live in that I also hear birds at night. I've yet to have it confirmed by someone that isn't just saying "I believe YOU are hearing birds baby". It doesn't happen all the time and it's almost always sometime between midnight at 1 in the morning, when it does happen. It doesn't happen for very long. Oh but when it does, talk about going to sleep with a smile!

I'll write in the next post about my encounter with a snake in the back yard. It was awesome! I have to figure out what the heck I did with the one picture I did manage to take.

Something else that's making me happy lately. The progress on my painting! It's coming along splendidly. I can't wait to show this new series this year!

What do you hoard?

I've been trying to figure out why I'm fascinated by these damn shows about hoarders. The first one I started watching is on A&E and now TLC has one too! First I was a little embarrassed to admit that I was fascinated by these shows because I thought it was just the typical rubber-necker syndrome that I was guilty of. Turns out its much more than that. I started paying attention to my thoughts as I watch the show,  more than anything I felt how much I either identified with the hoarder or at times judged them. We all do it to some degree I'm sure, I can admit it.

Amongst the several recurring themes that play in my head is the imperfections we all learn to live with. We learn to live with not only our own imperfections but with the ones of our loved ones. Some of us have bigger imperfections than others or I should say, more obvious ones. With these people who hoard for example, their imperfection has an immediate physical consequence for everyone to see. Some of us are lucky to have imperfections that we can hide. It comes down to something we cannot control no matter how much we try or want to. Some of us can't control our spending, some drinking or other vices. Some can't control their need to control. It's about compulsions, obsessions, cravings we can't ignore.

In one way or another though, I think many of us hoard something. How's your email inbox looking? How's your closet? What about needless numbers in your phone? And yes, these kind of "collections" don't take over your house nor will you find a dead cat under them, but....they tend to get neglected and neglected and suddenly....it piles up! I have learned over the years to discard things as I no longer needed them, or more importantly no longer needed to lug boxes of crap from one place to another. Being that I've moved constantly, I've learned that it is so much easier when you have less crap. And as the years pile up, I seem to need to be more and more orderly in my life. Maybe it takes a while to learn that more stuff does not mean more happiness or success.

Speaking of obsessions...here's some pics of my latest ones! My latest painting and a baby blanket for Miles. I figured a scarf for a baby was not such a good idea!

What the hell?????

Hmm. Where to begin. Talk about falling off the bloggin' wagon! Or is it on the wagon? I always forget how that saying goes. ANYway...yes, I've been a total blogger slacker! I go through phases of a new thing/obsession and I never really know how long it will last. Not that I'm done with my bloggin' phase, it just interfered with other new things that are happening. Excuses? No, simply reasons for which I slacked on my writing. Also, it seems that from one day to the next, I simply do not have enough time to do everything I want to in one day.

Since my birthday I've picked up 3 new things that consume my time. First, the fulfillment of a life-long dream that I've had since I can remember. You know how little girls wish for a pony? Well, this little girl always wished for a piano. Being that my parents had gypsy stuck up their butts, and we moved constantly, it was never quite practical. Well this past Xmas, Santa brought us a digital piano and I started my lessons a week after my birthday. It's been a slow process to learn music. It's odd that my two brothers and my son know so much about music and I knew nothing. I didn't know how to read a single note! Well, I'm learning all that and its so cool to be learning something so completely foreign to me. Strange also that I could not imagine my life without music and it's taken me this long to learn it completely. My teacher says I'm learning very quickly, although I'm pretty sure she says that to all her students, that are all children by the way!

Around the same time I read a fellow bloggers post about knitting with her family. It made me find some yarn and start to crochet again. I'm not experienced at all and learned how to crochet a very long time ago. I learned only a few stitches (if thats even what they're called) but thought just practicing the little I know would get me past the craving. Well, I'm still doing it!. Funny thing is I haven't learned anything new because I like doing the same thing over and over. And uh...well I have a crapload of scarves now! I've actually started what will be a blanket by next winter. We'll see!

And the third time suck activity is that I signed up to be a volunteer at the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston. Granted I've only actually worked at one event so far, its added to my responsibilities. Tomorrow I'll be at the Bayou City Arts Festival at Memorial Park doing "artist relief" at the booths. I should admit that I have a bit of a hidden agenda with this volunteer assignment. I've been toying with the idea of doing this kind of show so I'm going to check it out for that purpose. I just don't know if my pieces would work with this kind of show being that all the work is displayed in booths. I'd have to make smaller pieces or get my stuff reproduced on prints. So that will be a major decision because it would take some financial commitment to go about the print process. We'll see on that too. My next post will probably be about the show.

One thing that I have not slacked on, although maybe slowed down as far as the actual painting goes, is my art. I got a new tablet thing that is my latest art related obsession. It's soooooo freakin' cool! I have to practice on it a lot more so that my strokes are more uniform but so far I really love it.

I did finish the last piece that's mostly purple and below is just a detail of the finished piece. You'll have to come to my next show to see the whole thing. Also I've included some sketches I've done on the tablet. This sketch will be my next painting which I hope to start this weekend.

So...I'm back!





I'm doing it!

Look Ma, I'm doing it! But with hands of course. I've been pretty good this week at making progress everyday. Here you can see the progress I've made on the painting along with a new sketch I've been working on in between. The really fun part is about to begin on the painting. I can't wait!


Everyday? Yes...EVERYDAY!!!

Inspired by some fellow artists I found on Twitter, I've decided to commit to making some kind of progress with my artwork every single day. They started something called draw365, where they've committed to draw something everyday and post it. I don't always draw per se, and it's something I don't do everyday either. Depends on where I'm at with a painting and what mood I'm in. But I can definitely relate to the need to commit to making some kind of progress every single day. It's so easy to get caught up in the every day necessities and neglect our art. It's actually been my biggest struggle. Discipline and consistency is what I've always lacked.

So my commitment is this. Make progress EVERY day. Whether it be an hour on my current painting, an hour sketching, taking pictures, etc. Any kind of time spent on my goal of getting out of the rat race and entering the world of profitable art, will be the goal. I'll take pictures everyday but not post everyday. I'll probably post updates that include pics of several days.

And yes, if I don't clean as I meant to, cook as I intended, exercise, etc. everyday...oh well...my men will understand I'm sure.

This is my progress on current painting today January 5 at 5:08 p.m. Almost done with second layer. Until I add about 2 more layers of color, the progress wont be too exciting. Once I start adding the accent colors and shading...that's when the fun really begins. So...please stay tuned!


Eureka!

Well sort of. What's it called when someone else gives you an idea or suggestion but it still leads you to a "eureka" moment? Well I have no idea but anyway...my wonderful friend Art, came up with this.  I will now be sharing my work in progress so you can see the paintings I'm working on. I will photograph each layer or big part of the progression. But to still give you some element of surprise when you see the actual pieces at my next show, I won't show the very last part of the finished piece. Unfortunately I don't have too many pictures of some of my newer pieces so this will be going forward with the one I just started last week.

So, here's the first 5 parts of the my current piece. Tada!




New sketches!

Here's a few new sketches. The new painting is in progress. I'm very excited!

Let me know which one you like! Hopefully I've made it a little easier for you. All you have to do is click on a little button to your right! Update - Voting closed. Sketch number 2 got the most votes. Thank you to all who voted!



The Chase



Chasing sleep
Chasing lights
Chasing shapes
Chasing life

Chasing dreams
Chasing love
Chasing fun
Chasing joy

Chasing right
Chasing truth
Chasing strength
Chasing good

Chasing quiet
Chasing calm
Chasing peace
Chasing sleep


This is dedicated to my fellow blogger, companion in the insomniac world, Diane.

Stuck in green


Please imagine that sound of a suction cup plopping off something. You know, the cute sound something makes when it's stuck to something and it comes off. Wish I knew how to spell that sound. Anyway...that's the sound I made today, not literally of course. The thing is I was stuck and didn't know it. Although it's obvious now (hindsight yes) that something was holding me back from actually starting my next piece.

Wouldn't you know it, it's another thing I obsess about. I have some unwritten RIDICULOUS rule that I'm not allowed to start a painting without finishing the current one. The last painting I had started back in September I think, was 90% done or done. I wasn't sure. And that's the thing, I wasn't 100% satisfied with it yet but I wasn't sure what else was missing. And then that stupid ass saying about knowing when to stop before you ruin something kept creeping up. So I left it alone for a while. Well, turns out it wasn't finished. Also turns out a decision I had made about the painting when I started is what was keeping me from knowing what was missing. It needed another color!!!! Big freakin' duh huh? Well I had decided that other than the background color of brown/beige it would only have green, in whatever shade/tone I needed. Again, a stupid rule I decided for the current series I'm working on. Have only one color represented in each piece. Well, as my painting has now clearly proven to me, rules and art simply don't lead to creativity. Rules stifle, rules inhibit, rules suffocate. Rules get you stuck! There always has to be flexibility and freedom. Guidelines are good to have some kind uniformity but don't necessarily produce the best work.

So while the "green" painting held me back, I could have started and finished at least one if not two paintings by now. So, lesson learned...hopefully!

Here's the sketch that is about to be my next completed "green" piece.


Twist, twist, twist...glue!



So here are the first 3 I've made. My goal is to make at least10, ideally 12. Once I'm done I'll probably add some glitter to make 'em sparkle!

Can I stay focused?




I'm almost finished with the new canvas and although in the first round of votes I got a pretty good response, I thought I'd put these out just in case! Let me know which ones you like out of these and then we'll see. If you have any color suggestions, requests or ideas, please let me know.

Once I do start on the new piece I'll be taking pictures of the process and sharing so you can see how it happens. If I get stuck along the way with color choices, shading etc. I may ask for your help with that too!

Although the holidays will soon try to get in the way of my progress, I'm hoping I can stay focused. I have been a tad obsessed in the past few days with making paper snowflake ornaments. They're awesome!

Enjoy!!!!

The Art of Preparing a Meal

So its one of the things that has given me quiet moments of joy and satisfaction. I remember back when I was making a lot less money, struggling on my own to make ends meet, trying to get the latest video game for Alex and still having to figure out every day, what the hell where we going to have for dinner. Some days I'd get lucky and Mom would have something for us. Some days I'd leave work way late, get through traffic and then have to settle for some fast food crap. But some days, many really, I would have the time to make us dinner. Dinner was never elaborate or fancy, it was what we liked. I remember while we sat and ate, how proud I would feel that my son and I were eating a meal that I had prepared. Even if it was just pork chops with a side of mac and cheese, he loved it! I felt mostly grateful and blessed that I could provide for us, even it was just a simple meal. I felt honored and privileged to have a life that allowed me to make dinner happen for us.


So these days, although my situation is different, I still enjoy it all the same. And more than enjoy it, I feel lucky. On the days I make dinner for the four of us now, it makes me very happy to see them finish their home cooked meal. Knowing that I made it with love, knowing that its good for them because it's not fast food, knowing that their bodies will be better for it.

So all of you who cook for your loved ones, do it with pride, do it with joy and know that you are doing something good. For those of you who had food served to them, thank the person who has prepared a meal for you. 

Provecho!

No aggression or pressure this time...ok just a little!











I never was good at sales. I rock at customer service but hate "selling". I guess it comes from my heritage. Mexicans (especially women) are very much into serving, taking care of people or just being accommodating. In many ways and especially for the people close in my life, I am here to serve! And yes, sometimes I take on more than I can handle without going nuts but...crazy is fun!

So this time no contest, no prizes. Just tell me which one you like, if you like, if you feel like it. It is interesting to see ya'll pick the one I didn't think you would. I am excited about making my next piece because it will be created because some of you DID tell me what you liked.

This whole sharing thing and having other people help me pick the next sketch is very cool. This time if you have color ideas or preferences they are welcome too.

Thanks everyone for participating and being with me on my journey!

Obsessed!

I obsess about being productive. I obsess about things I need to buy. I obsess about finishing/starting a painting. I obsess about my progress as an artist. I obsess about my gray hair.

I've been obsessing and obsessing my entire life I'm sure. Oddly enough though, I just realized it! Whats most amazing is that its my obsessive personality that has given me my art. How or why else would I be able to fill entire pages with nothing but dashes? Why is it that I get an image/design in my head and can't let it go until I see what it will look like once I've sketched in my obsessive style? Because I'm obsessed with my technique, style, visual/artistic addiction! So, it is thanks to my obsessiveness that I can create what I do. The day I stop obsessing, I'll stop creating. Doubt that could happen because it is who I am. And even though we are mostly made up of the sum of our experiences, what we do, what we think and how we process those experiences ultimately makes who we are. So now that I know one more little thing about myself, what do I do with it? Hopefully I will choose to obsess about positive things. Obsess about things that will benefit me. Too many times I obsess about things that hurt or can otherwise distract me from current goals. Not smart.
So, for now, I'll stop obsessing about obsessing and focus thoughts on all the good in my life.

Here's an example of how from one thought, after some mild obsession...I end up driving myself nuts!

I had no idea that I was illustrating my obsessive mind, when making this. What a nice surprise!