#29. Island Inspiration (or, when you’re lucky enough to make art in paradise)

Desert-Island-Mount-003

1893 map of Mount Desert Island by Edward Rand (perhaps a distant relation?)

Islands. If you live on one, your life is defined by either “on the island” or “off the island”, and you most likely love your island. If you are lucky enough to have a special one you can escape to from time to time, and be inspired by, well, you’re lucky.

MDI, shorthand for Mount Desert Island, Maine, is technically an island, although it’s attached to the mainland by a causeway. Geographically it’s a land unto itself, and when you drive over that causeway, you are leaving the mainland behind, and you get that sense of “ahhhhh.” Historically, it’s a fascinating tapestry, ancient Abenaki Native American history mixing with 17th and 18th century French and English exploration and settling, and early 19th century establishment of island life. (Way too much to address here.. but if you’re curious, click on the links … Great stuff.)

photo of an old print I have, a schooner sailing in Somes Sound … (my reflection is in the glass)

So much has been written about MDI and so many paintings have been produced here that it’s almost redundant to try to capture it in a little blog post, but I have a few choice things to show and tell. (Over thirty years-worth, actually… but that’s a different story.) My recent penchant for focusing on landscape is directly related to my love for this place, especially Acadia National Park, which is located on Mount Desert.

“Fall Blueberry Bushes, Beech Mountain” 12×12″ mixed media on panel ©2014 Karen Rand Anderson

Naturalists, artists and writers were drawn here in the early/mid 1800’s, including Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church,  inspired by the incredible beauty and rugged terrain, and wealthy seekers of summer idyll followed soon afterward, building lavish “cottages”.  Artists, writers, and nature-lovers (and tons of tourists) are still drawn to the natural beauty here. The magic is palpable on this island…

"Cairn Shadow" 36x36" mixed media on wood panel. © 2014 Karen Rand Anderson

“Cairn Shadow” 36×36″ mixed media on wood panel. © 2014 Karen Rand Anderson

There is an Artist-In-Residence program at Acadia that offers you (as an artist) “the opportunity to pursue {your} particular art form while surrounded by the inspiring landscape of the park.” For more information and to find out the details, click here. (Though I have not been an artist-in-residence at Acadia, I know several artists who have.)

Mount Desert Island (“île des Monts Déserts”, or Island of the Bare Mountains) is a place that instills creative inspiration in anyone who has the opportunity to explore it. Choose your path…

There is so much more that I could share, but I’ll just say– if you ever get the opportunity (apply for a residency!!) come visit. Hike, paint, write, photograph, whatever.  Lucky me

"Gray Day at the Beaver Pond" 12x12" mixed media on panel. ©2014 Karen Rand Anderson

“Grey Day at the Beaver Pond” 12×12″ mixed media on panel. ©2014 Karen Rand Anderson

 all photos of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park by Karen Rand Anderson

#27. How To Be an Inspiration Machine

INSPIRATION… Some mighty useful and charged-up thoughts from Leigh Medeiros at All CreativeLike. Here’s one that sparked me: “Pay attention to your thoughts, then choose to speak and share only the ones that are purposeful and considered. The power of words cannot be underestimated when it comes to inspiration. Being a conscious editor – of our written and spoken words – is key.” A really great post which I wanted to pass along to you!!! (Thanks for your wisdom and continuing inspiration, Leigh!) To see more about Leigh and her amazingness, check out my blog post about her: #5. Getting All CreativeLike

All Creativelike

9391593778_d2b6961ca7_bAh, inspiration. That abstract yet ultra-important thing that activates your heart space and jump starts your creativity.

If you’re anything like me, you make it a regular practice to seek out stories of inspiring people – people who endure challenging things with immense bravery, or who come up with clever solutions to impossible problems, or who entertain us in the most unique, uplifting ways.

When it comes to artmaking, inspiration is most often found in the works and words of others.

It’s the turn of a phrase, the pinpointed observation, the juxtaposition of two colors coming up against one another, or in the brilliantly executed pirouette. Any of these things, and many more, help us get our creative juices flowing, so it’s not a stretch to say that if it weren’t for inspirational people, our lives and creative practices would be very much diminished.

So what does it take to become an inspiration? How do we act in ways that…

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#22. Look/see: The art of Sumo Bunni (and family)

#22. Look/see: The art of Sumo Bunni (and family)

Image

“Alter Ego 1″ 48×36”. acrylic on canvas, 2013.

What is is about the cuteness (or weirdness) of bunnies? According to painter Shari Weschler Rubeck  (aka Sumo Bunni)—“In 2011, the Bunni became my story teller and continues to do so.  He or She is in a mood, communicating a specific experience.  [The Bunnies] are metaphorical messengers who relate to us easily.  They beg for us to look at ourselves and perhaps find humor in the serious.”

bunni in waiting

“Bunni in Waiting” 48×36″ acrylic/airbrush on canvas. 2011

robot swimmer

“Robot Swimmer” 10×8″ watercolor/graphite on Yupo paper. 2012

When I first saw the strange and magical work of Shari and her sculptor husband Christian Rubeck, at Gallery Z in Providence RI, I did a double-take, slowly perusing all the work at least twice over. The room spun with bizarre and wonderful imagery, peppered with off-beat humor. It took me a while to figure out that the pseudonym Sumo Bunni was actually the artist Shari (thank you, Facebook) and now I get it.

hide

“Hide” 22×16″. watercolor/graphite on paper. 2012

"Long Hare" 40x30" acrylic on canvas. 2011

“Long Hare” 40×30″ acrylic on canvas. 2011

Shari’s massive body of work is comprised of several recent series which relate to one another in, well, odd ways. Best to put it in her words: “Life experiences, human psyche, curiosities of animal nature, elements of theatre, dance, backstage goings-on and pun drive my imagery.  Working in series that often materialize simultaneously, my imagery is primarily figural in nature.” She has a background as a dancer, which is apparent in the imagery and narrative in her work, and a BFA in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art. 

"Ram Head" 64x46" acrylic on board. 2012

“Ram Head” 64×46″ acrylic on board. 2012

There were so many of Shari’s paintings and drawings I wanted to post here, it was tough to pare it down to just 8. Or 10 or 12. But to see lots more and and figure out the Sumo Bunni mystery for yourself, visit Shari and Christian’s website, ArtInMind.org (FYI- Along with some other venues, Shari has a show coming up this year at Chez Pascal,  one of Providence East Side’s BEST restaurants.)

"Sharp Intrusion" 43x28" acrylic on canvas. 2013

“Sharp Intrusion” 43×28″ acrylic on canvas. 2013

"Rabbit Robot" 10x8". watercolor/graphite on paper. 2012

“Rabbit Robot” 10×8″. watercolor/graphite on paper. 2012

"Power Trip" 20x14". watercolor/graphite on Yupo paper. 2013

“Power Trip” 20×14″. watercolor/graphite on Yupo paper. 2013

weschler rubek

Weschler/Rubeck show at Gallery Z, showing some of Christian’s sculpture and Shari’s paintings, 2012

sculpture by Christian Rubeck

sculpture by Christian Rubeck

p.s. Shari and Christian have two awesome artist offspring, Skyla, 11 and Desi, 9. (It’s a family art affair, and they recently had a show titled “The Rubeck Four” at Coastal Living Gallery in the quaint village of Wickford, RI.)

Desi Rubeck, "Goose Eye"

Desi Rubeck, “Goose Eye”

Skyla Rubeck, "Bluebirds" and "Wooden Dog".

Skyla Rubeck, “Bluebirds” and “Wooden Dog“.

All images © copyright protected by Shari Weschler Rubeck, 2014