I have recently discovered and am admiring the art of Francoise Gilot. She is a remarkable and powerful artist who came out of the 20th century European modernist tradition.
I love this piece, "Out of the Burning Ashes". I love her use of color, the unusual design, the way the artist has rendered the archetypal mythic symbol through her individual and very unique point of view.
I recently finished reading the book, Matisse and Picasso: A Friendship in Art, written by Francoise Gilot....full article
Drawing of an orchid, capturing a moment in time, sweet moments.full article
I recently brought a collection of paintings to the delightful store Urban Digs in Greenville, SC. Treat yourself with a visit to this store and find something lovely for your home and pick up some orginal local fine art. At Urban Digs you'll find unique gifts, home decor, original art, and many other special things to make your life more beautiful.
Urban Digs is located at 215 Wade Hampton Blvd. in Greenville, SC.
The human form is a beautiful subject. Drawing the human figure from life is a form of meditation for me. I follow the lines, look for shadows, notice light, and whatever was happening in the day leaves, and I am in the moment. No matter how many times I come back to the same subject, I find something, a new way to render what I see, a new understanding, a new glimpse into capturing a fleeting moment. I hold on and see what I can do, what can I find this time. I walk to the easel with my box of charcoals, some pastels, maybe some paint, and I investigate again the beauty of the human form. I seek to find a timeless line, a gesture, a glimpse into the still breathing presence before me. I am always captivated. The moment of needing to do it all at once, the pressure, the...full article
I just finished watching the film "Painters Painting" about the New York School Abstract Expressionist artists. Immediately following the film I began to work on mixed media projects in my sketchbook. I am thinking about what these artists have done for contemporary art and how they are influencing me now. It's about freedom, making your mark, saying what you've got to say, just "letting it rip".full article
I have been studying the work of Picasso lately. There is never a dull moment when looking at Picasso's work. I revisit the same paintings over and over again and they always hold my interest, captivate me in a new way. And there is always more work to discover. As I do, I never cease to be amazed. I always find something new that hits a chord within me.
I suppose that's what great art does. Makes you come back time and time again to discover something as if were the first time. Always wondering, always growing, always seeing fresh and anew. And I am reminded of why I am making art, what I seek to achieve, why I keep searching, what I want.
Picasso declared after painting Guernica upon the end of the Second World War, "No, painting...full article
What is inspiration?
A lightning bulb flash. A deep bit of inner truth. An emotional expression. Beauty. Love. Tenderness.
Does an artist feel all of this every time they are in the studio?
I'd say that's not always the case. It's not always sexy. It's not always glamorous. It's not always juicy.
And I don't think any artist ever goes skipping to the studio first thing in the morning.
I'd say it's good ol' fashioned hard work.
That's what it is.
Believing that inspiration will lead the way will only hold you back. But I'll tell you that the inspiration comes. It comes when you least expect it. Like love, like all fine things. It comes when you're ready. It comes when you deserve it.... full article
The definition of courage is doing something with the risk of failure. Being an artist takes courage. You have to be on that edge where you don't really know what you're doing or how your going to do it, but you've got an instinct and it's strong and you're willing to go for it.
When you're right on the cusp of "this might fail", that's when you're on the cusp of being a true aritst, that's when you're on the cusp of innovating.
I know that edge can be absolutely terrifying, but it's also thrilling. That's where creativity thrives. And to me, there is no better feeing than having an idea, a hunch, and to see it begin to come to life, to see it surprise you. Maybe something happens that you had no idea would happen, maybe it's better, maybe it's more exciting.
I am on...full article
There is nothing I love more than a wonderful wild hot mess. I am getting into some mixed media creativity in my sketchbook. The sketchbook is a place to explore, play, see what happens. This is where ideas come from. It's part of the process. Working in a sketchbook is a great way to capture a moment and create seeds for future pieces. I am having fun with this assortment of materials.full article
There are many things that go into the creative process. I used to think that my studio practice solely included the time I spent with brush to the canvas, but I see there are steps that lead up to this point of execution, and then there are steps to conclude it. There are rituals, habits, there is a way of life. I have come to realize, that the artistic process is a holistic lifestyle. It's not clocking in and clocking out. It's not so simple or easy. It's a lifestyle. It's who you are. You do it until the day you die.
There are several things that I have realized are critical to my artistic process. The most vital I have found is writing. I make a habit of writing in a personal journal, by hand, every day when I enter the studio. It's a ritual. I don't think about it....full article
I think when making art it is important to be clear on why you are doing what you are doing. There are a million reasons to sit down and paint something, and just as many directions to take. I think by understanding who you are and what you are doing and why, you can do more, you have more space to explore, to try new things and develop work in ways that are mature, vital and purposeful.
For me, being authentic is the primary intention. Art is a way for me to be who I am. It is as close as I have ever come to being myself. When I am working, I feel better, I come alive and I come to understand myself. When I make a painting that resonates with me, it feels good, it lingers, I feel myself expand. Time ceases to exist when I am working. It doesn't matter if it takes 15 minutes to...full article
I recently read "Letters to a Young Poet", by Rainer Maria Rilke. It is a gem of a book full of rich advice for the young aspiring artist. In these ten letters Rilke speaks to a young poet who longs to be an artist. He is inspired by Rilke and...full article
Pocket Buddha has been my studio mate for quite some time. He reminds me to, "Keep it simple. Keep it light. Keep it fun."full article
I absolutely love this Albert York painting, "Three Red Tulips in A Landscape with Horse and Rider." I have been looking at Albert York a lot lately, and I feel there is a genuineness in his paintings that I appreciate. This piece is weird and elegant and simple and timelessly beautiful. I get the feeling that the artist was very deliberate with every brushstroke, with every color, with the placement of the forms. His intention was to say as much he could with as few elements as possible, and I believe he pulled this off very...full article
I recently went on a trip to Boston, MA to visit art galleries and museums. I spent many hours in the Museum of Fine Arts and above are images of a few highlights from my journey.
I gravitated towards a small aquamarine sculpture of Guanyin with child. Guanyin is the Boddhisattva associated with compassion. I found it beautiful that someone would take a piece of fine natural material and work to carve and shape a timeless image of a mother and child. To me this symbolized the creative process, the birth of your truth, your essence, the miracle of love and what is possibile within each of us.
A sculpture of Ganesh resonated with me. I read that he is a god of good fortune and auspicious beginnings. I felt a sense of possibility within the human landscape when I stood in...full article
Creativity is a muscle. Desire is innate. Creativity is something you cultivate, work at, strengthen. Desire is the hunger, the need, the "I'm not myself if I don't do this thing". You know it if you've got it. You know what you want. You know when it's real.
Creativity, like spirituality, is a muscle. I think they're the same thing, to be creative is to be spiritual. We are human beings. We work. We sweat, we bleed, we cry. It's not an escape, not real creativity, not real spirituality. It's getting right to the center of the dirt, the difficulty of life, the challenge, and doing and trying and winning, not because it's perfect or right, but because you worked, you transformed a thing, you felt it. This time you worked. You really showed up and you know it.
We can...full article
It was a gray rainy Monday late afternoon in Charleston, SC. I was feeling a sense of, "Well... I really should be doing something inspired, but I'm not sure what." I decided to pick up a broom and sweep my floor. I felt something would come to me as I'm sweeping, and I'll find some clarity on the next task at hand. Then I sat at my comptuer and wrote the 14 Principles of Intuitive Painting.
Here you have it. Some principles to live by, some things to remind myself as I walk up to the black canvas. Like the North Star, we go in this direction. We may not ever get there, but we always have the bright light guiding us when we need to get on track and focus on our purpose.
1. It is only through the unknown that we can understand the true...full article
I am teaching an Introduction to Abstract Expressionism Painting Workshop Saturday, February 2 and 9, from 9 AM - 12 PM, at the Lambert Gray Gallery, 54 Broad St., 2nd Floor. The workshop is open to all experience levels and will be an overview of abstract concepts and processes.
What makes an abstract painting work? How do I integrate these concepts into my studio practice? How do I open myself to new creative veins while maintaining the integrity of my personal style and vision? How do I expand my knowledge of art and grow as an artist?
This one-day painting workshop will be an introduction to abstract expressionist painting. Artists of this style will be introduced while a brief lecture and presentation will be given on abstract expressionism painting in art history. ...full article
I make a painting to create beauty, to enter a beautiful place, to somehow transcend thoughts about a thing and just be... something beautiful. That's the conversation I want to have with the viewer, a wordless conversation, a mysterious dialogue that somehow hits home. I'm not sure what that is. If a painting is "about" something, if there is a motif, it serves as a point of departure, and I realize what it is about when I'm close to being finished or much later.
The motif serves as a construct from which to explore beauty and color, form and mystery, notes of...full article
Every Sunday night at Redux Contemporary Art Center I administer a figure drawing session. I always enjoy the class and find that it is helping me grow as an artist. I feel this is a great way to practice drawing skills, unwind with other artists, and make new friends. No matter where you are with your studio practice or what your artistic goals are, drawing from life, especially the human figure, is always a challenge bringing you back to the fundamental skill of learning to see. It could also potentially open you up creatively in new and exciting ways.
Come join us! Every Sunday, from 5-7 pm, at Redux. All experience levels are welcome and bring any drawing or painting materials that suite your interest.
Looking for the perfect gift for someone who has always wanted to study art? I'm now offering gift certificates for private art lessons! I can work one on one with individuals or in small groups of up to 3 people from my studio at the Lambert Gray Gallery. I'll direct the lessons to suite each individual's interests and goals. I'll teach basic drawing and painting skills while also guiding students toward the exploration and devolopment of a personal vision.
I enjoy working with students of all ages, experience levels and interests. I'll introduce a variety of techniques, styles and approaches to students until they find what works best for them.
We can take a serious approach to the study of art, learning a specific skill, completing a specific project, working in a style of...full article
So what in the world are you going to paint? With so many possiblities, so many ideas, so many choices, what are you going to do?
If I've learned anything, you do one thing then another, and you have no idea what's going to happen. So get over thinking about it, get over the details and start painting.
One minute a day painting will teach you infinitely more than all the hours spent thinking about painting. Pick up a brush and start painting, one minute, you'll learn more in that one minute, than you would in all the hours thinking.
I've learned, that you have no idea what's going to happen. Your results will be like nothing you expected. You'll go in a direction, you'll make paintings you had no idea you would make. That's how it happens.
The point of art making, is to...full article
"Just keep playing and let the muse back into the fold. Gently now. No searching. No working. No trying. Just let the spirit come back in and don't be greedy. Be ready."
-- Neil Young
Neil Young says it just right.full article
There’s no right or wrong way to make art. There are various degrees of intention, focus and experience. Essentially, it’s how you do what you do and how often that matters.
So if you’re afraid of making a mistake, well you needn’t be because there’s no such thing. Or maybe reframe the way you view mistakes. Get excited about making mistakes.
Art making is an experience, and if you explore you’re bound to figure something out, find some bit of joy, some marvel of your own.
Just jump in. You’re going to grow one way or another, and that’s the reason why you’re doing this. It’s an exploration.
Imagine your most genuine self at the beginning of an adventure. If you launch from this place you’re bound to find delight.
What are your goals with making art? How about...full article
Alberto Giacometti was noted for saying, "If I don't get better soon, I'll have to find another line of work." He said this most of his life. He is one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century and one of my personal favorites. Why would one of the greatest artists of our time say this? He was full of doubt and made great work. He is not Giacometti because he cared about success or fame or wanted to be known as one of the greatest artists of all time. No, he's Giacometti because was so full of doubt that he worked like crazy around the clock for most of his life consistently feeling like he couldn't quite get it, he couldn’t quite get out what was in his head, what he felt, the way he saw things, and thought if he didn't get better soon, he better go do something else....full article
It doesn't matter so much what you have to say, what's more important is how you say it.
Content is like a surprise, "Oh good news, I figured out what this is about." And this usually happens at the end, sometimes long after you've finished the work.
Style can't be taught, it's the magic inside of you. It's the spark that makes you tick. It's the fireworks in your gut, the explosions, the love, the power, the moment it all comes together.
Just because it's visually interesting, it feels right to you, and you want to, is reason enough and plenty validation to do the work. It's enough to make it matter and keep you going to completion.
What's vital is how you say what you're saying. It's about you're own personal mark. It's about letting the world know you were here,...full article
I believe being artist is about asking good questions. It's a lifestyle, in asking questions.
The minute you have an answer is the minute you're done. It's about curiousity and digging into the unknown.
And you don't get breaks. It's an around the clock job in asking questions. Every minute, every second, it doesn't end.
You are informed by everything in your life, every moment, every situation. You're constantly trying to see better, to find something, to understand what it's all about.
It's not about making a product, it's about living a question. It's about walking right into the mystery of faith and staying there, making something somehow someone connects to.
The stronger the work, the stronger the question. That's just the way it is. The more unknown you have,...full article
These images follow me. These ideas, I hold onto them. I wait for the right time to feed them, to give them life. It is the thing that sustains me. I understand that my only responsibility as an artist is to follow my intuition, to follow my gut. That means showing up, which is a tough job if you’re used to running away, which a lot of people are.
These images sustain me. They confirm my life. Without them, I can’t say who I would be or why. My very existence would be futile, like scrambling to make something happen, a dollar short, a minute too late.
The only thing that I can possibly understand is taking the risk to be honest, to be present, to make the decision to act in integrity.
Artists understand that if they are not doing this they are wasting their time, they are...full article
I love a big wild mess. Recently, I worked with the kids at the Mount Pleasant Montessori school making Venetian masks. We took a trip to Venice and made our carnival creations. What fun!full article
I've got a blank slate. I'm pondering the possiblities. The studio is ready for new work.full article
Recently I was interviewed by Jennifer Ervin of Redux Contemporary Art Center. We discussed my process as an artist, my current exhibition of works on view at the office of the Coastal Community Foundation, my figurative drawing classes, a little about me, and my favorite phrase, "Let's start a revolution!"
Let's start a revolution, baby.
Check out the inverview! And big thanks to Redux and everyone there. Much love!!!!
Let's talk about beauty. Let's talk about what makes you come alive. Let's talk about the heart beating inside of you.
What is your heart's desire? What is joy? What is beauty?
Let's talk about beauty. Let's investigate what this means. Let's create a new space for which you are safe to explore the possibilities. Let's go one step further into a personal territory that only you know, only you have access to, only you can understand.
To me, beauty is beginner's mind, simplicity, elegance, freedom. Beauty is riding a horse and feeling the rush of wind on your face. It is the joy of discipline, the surge of emotion, the unexpected wave of passion.
Beauty can also be strange, painful and disturbing. It holds a lesson, a gem, a story, deep within a resevoir that may...full article
I'm going to risk everything. There comes a point in anyone's life, where you have to make a decision. Sometimes it takes a lot to see that decision clearly, to see the crossroads, to see the dynamic point of change, recognition and desire.
Move beyond fear, move beyond words... what will it take?full article
I recently installed an exhibition of paintings and drawings at the main office of the Coastal Community Foundation located on 635 Rutledge Ave., Suite 201. The work will be on view until April 20.
The mission of the Coastal Community Foundation is to foster philanthropy for the lasting good of the community. They are committed to taking the broadest perspective of community, as seen through their extensive nonprofit involvement and initiatives. Ranging from arts or health-related organizations to education programming, conserving the environment, strengthening neighborhoods and satisfying human needs, they are connected to the full spectrum of charitable and nonprofit organizations.
Established in 1974, Coastal Community Foundation is a public grant making foundation fostering...full article
It's Dec. 30 and 2012 is two days away. It's a moment of reflection. What happened last year? What worked? What didn't? What do I want to keep doing? What do I want to quit?
I'm setting an intention for the new year. That is skill-buiding and experimentation. I seek to be strong and ready for the inspiring moment.full article
Outside of Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston, SC where I have my studio, is a mural that says multiple times, Before I Die I want to__________ (fill in the blank).
Before I die I want to....
become a master draftsman/painter, travel the world, read a lot of books, write a lot of books, live in a tree
What do you want to do before you die?full article
Today I was thinking about inspiration. I said to someone, "I'm inspired". Then later I questioned what this meant.
You see, I don't believe in inspiration. The muse is oh so real, but it's not that easy. It doesn't just come when you're sitting around. It's not something you wait for.
It comes when you're mixing paint. You're caught up in the moment. You're trying, you're editing, you're piecing things together.
It comes when you breathe deeply, and keep going.
It comes when you focus, and hold on.
It comes when you're moving.
It comes after you've gotten over the terror of having no idea what's going to happen.
It comes, and you know when it does.
So I guess you could say, I don't believe in inspiration. What I believe in is work and time and effort.
I have been studying the etchings of Lucien Frued and what I find remarkable about his work is his honest mark. This inspired me to write the following piece.
An Artist and An Honest Mark
The point is that we are always trying to be honest.
What is important is not elegance or finesse.
What is important is honesty.
When I draw, I think of making on honest line, an honest mark. I am capable of elegance. I am capable of finesse and by all means I believe in beauty for the sake of beauty, love for the sake of love, art for the sake of art. When the sun is shining let it shine, but when it all is done and said, and I think of meaning and why I’m here, it comes down to being honest.
Honesty is the record of my life, it is the mark that tells of the fact that I was...full article
“Without a talent nurtured and perfected, the finest instrument would stand silent.”
There is nothing more sad than wasted talent. Artists have intense souls. When not used it can be devastatingly sad. You know it if you've got it in you. But often times you haven't had the opportunity.
If I ruled the world everyone would have paintbrushes and books.
Well, I don't rule the world. But I do rule my world. And I have a lot of paintbrushes and a lot of books.
If I could teach the world anything, it would be to find yourself in your imagination. Rather than teaching our children the pressures of success, how about teaching them the joys of our imagination?
It's a sensitive subject. As we humans, are sensitive creatures. One thing someone says to us when we are young can shape...full article
1. Ownership: You own your process. You have clear intention. You know what you want.
2. Persistance/Consistant Work: You do it a lot, then you do it more. You don't give up. You push through all challenges.
3. Shipping: You put it on the line. You seek an audience. You get it out.
These are the 3 things that make up great art. If you have skill, wonderful, you'll do all of the above more clearly and with strength. If you have time, lovely, you really have no excuse. If you have resources, the more the better, you are well on your way. But if you don't have the right combination of the 3 things above, you will not make great art, and that's the bottom line.
Steve Jobs said, "Real artists ship". He's right. Real artists ship. What he means is,...
What people aren't going to see are the details. What people are going to see is the soul of the piece. Why worry about details, when they don't matter? Why waste your time? Get into your guts and paint like you've got soul. Be bold and big and real.
Worrying about the details will cause you so much anxiety that you create failure. Failure is not really giving yourself the chance to explore anything. Failure is giving up too soon. Failure is sabotaging the brilliant work that you do when you are actually working from your guts with the fear that it's "not done". Failure is not ever beginning because you don't have time or the right materials or you're skills aren't sharp enough or whatever excuse your mind makes up. Failure is doing your laundry when you could be painting,...full article
I have been thinking about what an image is. The word "iconography" comes to mind. I love this word. I like the idea of being an "iconographer", and I think it's a very important job. I think an image is a powerful way to understand who we are and what we feel. An image is a portal into a space in which one can always go. An image is timeless. I think artists are very valuable and talent should never be overlooked.
An image is a window into the soul. My concern is to illuminate through process and media, the radiance, vision and spiritual power of what is within. I make images to stir a dialogue of energy that transmutes through the body. It is not for entertainment. It is to awaken a deep and powerful call of my spirit. I use metaphors to begin the process. I create...full article
My next art exhibit is called, "Fly". I am working with the lovely fashion designer, Rachel Gordan, at her shop, ONE at 478 King St. As I create new work for this show, my thoughts are along the lines of, "letting go and trusting the inner voice". Here is a piece I wrote, as I work through the creative struggles in the search for resolution, and somehow, in the search for myself.
You create a lot and then you edit. You create a lot you don't like and then you get to the good stuff. That's just the way it is. The more you let go of preconceived notion the better your work will be. Sure it's scary but isn't that why we came to this planet earth in this human form? Because we like the thrill. We like the ride. We like the struggle.
When you are really struggling, that's...full article
This quote was written by one of my favorite artists of all time, and I agree.
I think good art comes fast. The stroke of a wrist, the gesture, the impulse, as if by sweet surprise. It's not...
Self-cultivation is being alone and getting to know who you are. It is just as important as the act of creative production. You can’t have results unless you have a process. Processing, cultivation and dreaming time for all creative people, and we are all creative people, is essential.
What is it that you do? How can you change your life so you can allow yourself this space? Let’s take a moment to reflect.
Make a prayer to allow yourself this time, this stolen gift. Take a moment to put a blessing for this space in your life on an altar of self-cultivation.
Can you make your own altar? What would it be like? What are your sketchbooks like? What are your journals like? What are your hard drives like? What are your notebooks, bookshelves, draws, boxes and closets like? I would go...full article
Art is a need of the soul. It is not fun. There is a difference between need and fun. Passion is a vehichle from which one executes this need. It is not the need. I am passionate about a lot of things. I am passionate about art, but being passionate is not the need. Art is not "my passion". It is a need. Discipline is also a vehicle, as is dedication. But they are not the need. Art as "passion", art as "discipline" is different from art as "need". Need is "myself", a way to be who I am. There is a distinction.
Essentially, it is an expression of the "higher self", whatever your understanding of that is.
When I tell people that I'm an artist and they say, "that sounds like fun", I...full article
Hi I'm Fotini
Welcome to my blog!
I am a painter currently based in Greenville, South Carolina. Through my work, I seek to communicate an internal narrative using traditional painting processes.
Here you will find information about what I am working on, recollections of my process, things that inspire me. I am asking questions about art, writing letters to myself, reflecting, learning, growing, discovering. Thank you for joining and supporting the adventure.