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Artist Rebecca Crowell shares experiences and thoughts from three decades of painting, teaching and traveling, as well as her conversations with other artists. She is joined by her co-host, producer, and son, Ross Ticknor, who brings an entrepreneurial Millennial perspective. The conversations are broad and eclectic, focused on ideas, information and anecdotes that other artists may find helpful in their work and careers. A new episode is uploaded every Saturday!

The Messy Studio with Rebecca Crowell Rebecca Crowell

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Artist Rebecca Crowell shares experiences and thoughts from three decades of painting, teaching and traveling, as well as her conversations with other artists. She is joined by her co-host, producer, and son, Ross Ticknor, who brings an entrepreneurial Millennial perspective. The conversations are broad and eclectic, focused on ideas, information and anecdotes that other artists may find helpful in their work and careers. A new episode is uploaded every Saturday!

    Episode 132: The Power Of Beauty

    Episode 132: The Power Of Beauty

    We often say “That’s beautiful” in response to a work of art, but the word beautiful can have many meanings. Most of us recognize it as a heartfelt compliment when it is said about our own work, but we may wonder what specifically prompted the viewer to use the word. And while we may strive for beauty in our work we may have not thought much about what that means. Today we look at what deeper ideas or responses the words “beauty” and “beautiful” can hold.


    "Beautiful" has a strong impact coming from a viewer of your work, but what the person is actually saying or responding to is usually ambiguous unless they go on to clarify. Perception of beauty is subjective and could be prompted by any of various aspects of the work as well as its total impact. And of course, what one person finds beautiful in your work might strike another person as unappealing.


    Beauty is powerful and unique in its capacity to satisfy both the eye and the mind, and often the emotions as well. It may be defined as the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction, arising from our senses , thoughts, or emotions, and encompassing depth and meaning. While "pretty" when applied to art is often thought of as superficial, pleasing the eye only, or relying heavily on sentiment, beauty is a wider concept that can address more difficult aspects of the human condition. These may not not beautiful in themselves, but the artist can express compassion, understanding and humanity in ways that are powerful. Beauty can contain wildness, mourning, anger, and pain. It can be dark and moody as well as uplifting and transcendant. In this sense, beauty and truth are connected; both can express any sincere emotion or response.


    What does this mean for an artist? What is your own truth, your own beauty? Is it simple, complex, somber or bright, geometric or organic? How can you explore what you find beautiful in ways that will draw your audience in, give them something to think or wonder about, or respond to in unexpected ways? Are you willing to push past the pleasing aspects of "pretty" into work that challenges rather than only pleases the eye?


    This episode is sponsored by Multimedia Artboard. Use promo code "MESSY" at checkout for 30% off!
    https://multimediaartboard.com/


    For more from The Messy Studio:
    www.messystudiopodcast.com
    www.facebook.com/messystudiopodcast


    For more from Rebecca Crowell:
    www.rebeccacrowell.com
    www.squeegeepress.com


    The Messy Studio Podcast is a CORE Publication MGMT production.

    • 29 Min.
    Episode 131: The Power of Intention

    Episode 131: The Power of Intention

    A key aspect of establishing your personal voice is figuring out what is most important to you in your work. What do you want to communicate to other people? What responses do you hope to evoke? The process of defining these intentions can be challenging, involving some basic but important questions, and may take some time to process and refine. But clear intentions are a powerful tool. Today we will look at the process of clarifying your intentions and the advantages for doing so.


    Intentions both describe and create our experiences. They express who you are, your core selfas well as the desire to continue with your ongoing concerns. Writing intentions down can be a powerful exercise, helping you to establish and integrate what you most want into your practice. The act of writing can set these concepts in motion even below conscious awareness.


    How can you arrive at a list of intentions? This requires some introspection, including deeply observing your own work, that of others you admire, and asking yourself how you would like viewers of your work to respond. The process may take a while; some ideas may come to you imediately, in an obvious way, while others require contemplation. Intentions should be broad and not feel limiting--opening up ideas and new directions over time. It's also fine to have some that are closer to goals than actualities, because intentions are for the long haul. Shorter term goals and intentions can also be developed as an aside for specific projects, but the core list should be something that provides guidance, and allows for flexibility and new ideas over time.


    Intentions provide many benefits in a practical sense. As a framework for statements about your work, they enable you to write and speak clearly. They also help with self-critique and to stay on track in pursuing ideas. They can refresh your sense of what you want when you are blocked creatively, and aid in your self-esteem and identity as an artist by giving you a sense of control over your art practice.


    We hope this episode will help you create your own list of intentions or--if you already have one--reaffirm its importance in your art practice.


    This episode is sponsored by Multimedia Artboard. Use promo code "MESSY" at checkout for 30% off!
    https://multimediaartboard.com/


    For more from The Messy Studio:
    www.messystudiopodcast.com
    www.facebook.com/messystudiopodcast


    For more from Rebecca Crowell:
    www.rebeccacrowell.com
    www.squeegeepress.com


    The Messy Studio Podcast is a CORE Publication MGMT production.

    • 28 Min.
    Episode 130: Being Authentic

    Episode 130: Being Authentic

    This is a topic that we have considered covering for a while. It dovetails nicely with past episodes addressing what inspires and motivates our work. But it seems especially relevant now given the worldwide pandemic and recent social unrest, which have many artists thinking deeply about the meaning and honesty of their work.


    Being authentic in your work means being true to yourself, and unafraid in your creative explorations. During this time when we are experiencing massive changes all around us, examining how authentic we are being in our work can lead to new insights and growth. The more challenges we are facing in life, the more important it becomes to bring our whole selves into our work. This results in better work and a better mental state.


    It sounds simple, but understanding our true desires can be difficult and confusing, and forces us to be vulnerable. Being authentic in our work may require us to explore aspects of ourselves that would otherwise remain hidden. At the same time, it's good to acknowledge your natural inclinations as strengths. Work with these impulses rather than against them, but try to recognize when they are holding you back.


    This doesn’t happen overnight. Like all processes in our work authenticity takes time and an open mind to develop. You may find yourself wanting to explore work that is a complete deviation from what you have done in the past. Going in new directions involves experimentation that doesn’t always work, and can be frustrating. Sometimes, these are important impulses to follow, and other times they are the result of an urge to please others or emulate what we like about another afrtist's work.


    Our lives are dynamic and our work needs to change as we do. Being authentic is an ongoing challenge to bring out what is true and sincere. It means being very honest with yourself about who you are, and what motivates, inspires, and influences you.


    For more from The Messy Studio:
    www.messystudiopodcast.com
    www.facebook.com/messystudiopodcast


    For more from Rebecca Crowell:
    www.rebeccacrowell.com
    www.squeegeepress.com

    • 38 Min.
    Episode 129: Considering Scale

    Episode 129: Considering Scale

    Scale is an aspect of visual design that is perhaps the easiest to overlook. This is because there is a default mode that generally works—that is, medium sized works of art, and imagery that fits in expected ways within those boundaries. But challenging habitual ways of using scale can be an exciting path. As viewers, we notice immediately when someone steps outside the expected and calls attention to scale. Today we have some thoughts about using scale in dynamic ways.


    When considering scale, it's good to consider both the unique aspects of small, medium and large work and whether the scale of your own work is a good fit for your ideas and imagery. Each scale involves you as the creator and your viewer in different ways. How would you like the viewer to be involved in your work--up close or from a distance, or both? How important is boldness or delicacy, and at what scale are those best expressed with your way of working?


    There are also practical considerations for each scale. From small work--usually inexpensive to create and easy to store and ship, but often requiring framing--to large work which can be cumbersome, expensive to create, and hard to store and ship. However, larger work also has a higher price point and more impressive presence for the viewer. Finding solutions to practical issues is not impossible though, and this too can be an excercise in creativity.


    Many artists use a medium scale for both practical and conceptual reasons. But this size presents its own challenges for the viewer, because on its own it draws no special attention to itself. We are surrounded by objects of similar sizes in our homes and though this makes medium scale fit into most environments, it also may make a painting simply part of the decor rather than something that is set apart and special.


    Giving thought to the scale of your work is an important aspect of aligning form and content. Have you fallen into the habit of always working on the same scale? What new ideas or ways of expression might result from pushing the scale at which you work, going either smaller or larger?


    Lisa Pressman's Videos:
    https://www.lisapressman.net/teaching-videos/


    For more from The Messy Studio:
    www.messystudiopodcast.com
    www.facebook.com/messystudiopodcast


    For more from Rebecca Crowell:
    www.rebeccacrowell.com
    www.squeegeepress.com

    • 36 Min.
    Episode 128: Composition: It's Complicated

    Episode 128: Composition: It's Complicated

    We touched on today’s topic in our last episode when we went briefly over through some important design elements. Basically we were talking about composition—how to arrange the visual elements on a 2-d surface so that they “work.” This is complex because each aspect of a composition affects others in subtle or not so subtle ways. Even a small change often necessitates revision in other parts of the work. In this way, composition can be thought of a problem-solving, whether it is figured out in advance or during the process.


    It is important to not settle too quickly on your composition. Poor composition is perceived by viewers right away, causing a feeling of confusion, imbalance, and a sense that the artist has lacked intention. As the entry point for your viewer's attention, a good sense of organization and structure is essential. Although it is often a only minor addition or change that brings the work together, finding that last decisive move may require a lot of patience.


    While intuition plays a role in finding good composition—an arrangement simply “looks right”—for strong and consistent work we also need a more intellectual understanding. Having a flexible and developed visual vocabulary and an awareness of design principles are important for creating and evaluating your compositions. Being willing to edit, or remove unnecessary aspects of your work, is vital. Feedback from another person is often helpful too, since we can lose sight of the big picture while immersed in the details.


    Composition is so challenging that many artists settle into one approach that works and stay there for years. It can be hard to step away from something you have developed. But remember that compositions convey meaning, and if you don’t allow them to change over time, your meaning becomes overstated.


    For more from The Messy Studio:
    www.messystudiopodcast.com
    www.facebook.com/messystudiopodcast


    For more from Rebecca Crowell:
    www.rebeccacrowell.com
    www.squeegeepress.com

    • 36 Min.
    Episode 127: Visual Language

    Episode 127: Visual Language

    Learning to use the visual elements and design principles in your work is often compared to acquiring vocabulary and then being able to use those words to communicate. It also means being able understand better what other artists have to say in their work. This understanding is basic and contributes to your growth for your whole artistic life. It also grows in tandem with intuitive responses and understanding. Yet many artists do not progress much beyond a limited vocabulary, used in only a few repeated combinations. Today we will give a perspective on the benefits of growing your visual vocabulary.


    It’s hard to progress as an artist without a good understanding of the basic concepts of the visual elements and design principles. Although learning about the visual elements and design prinicples can seem academic, a working knowledge of these widens your range of ideas, helps you to evaluate your work as you go, and helps establish personal voice and direction. Basic concepts are vital at any stage, and even very experienced artists benefit from revisiting them often along with changes in your work.


    So many aspects of art involve balancing different approaches, and it's important to note that intuition plays as much a role in manipulating elements of our work as does more objective knowledge. Knowledge itself is not inhibiting. It leads to understanding that is implanted in your creative approaches, a basis that once solid you can step away from more easily. Explore what works for you, starting with your natural inclinations toward particular elements and compositions. It is an exciting journey involving an infinite number of combinations and interactions,


    As a beginner, you can learn about the visual elements (line, color, value, shape, and texture) and the design principles (which describe ways of combining the visual elements into compositions) in many ways. You can find resources online, in books, and in workshops or classes. But practice and exploration in the studio are essential. Working not only with the elements and prinicples that appeal to you strongly but also those that are more difficult offers a lifetime of creative challenge and oppotunity.


    For more from The Messy Studio:
    www.messystudiopodcast.com
    www.facebook.com/messystudiopodcast


    For more from Rebecca Crowell:
    www.rebeccacrowell.com
    www.squeegeepress.com


    The Messy Studio is a CORE Publication MGMT production.

    • 33 Min.

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