What Is An Artist

Art created by Lilibeth André, Photo by Thu-Hang Do

Art created by Lilibeth André, Photo by Thu-Hang Do

As The Batignolles Group used to meet at the Cafe Guerbois to discuss art, politics, and life, I have the pleasure of having impromptu discussions with my resident artist and musician son. A gem we managed to polish was the definition of an artist.

The discussion began with politics as is typically the case. We moved on to discuss that innate need the artist has to be artistic and expressive to be fulfilled. This discussion is what led me to further polish my concept of what an artist is.

The way I see it, an artist is made up of two key parts.

First of all, he is a master craftsman. It is someone who has invested many hours, funds, and effort to learn, practice and master a craft. As a master craftsman he is an expert in a language. This can be the language of writing, painting, music, dancing or a number of languages that require discipline in order to achieve oneness with the language. It becomes second nature to the master.

Tall boot shopping

Lilibeth André seeing with a different lens.

The second part is to be an innovator. This is someone who produces creative thought. An inventor, someone who sees beyond what is today. He sees through a different lens and typically questions methods and processes. He is something of a big picture, far-sighted individual that can cut down to minuscule components at the blink of an eye.

So what is an artist?

An artist is one who has the ability to perceive new thought and emotion, and expresses it through a sensorial language that interprets to the rest of the world something that had not been seen, felt, heard or thought of before. An artist is a receptor and a transmitter, and as such, must do what is in his nature in order to find fulfillment and happiness.

What can we do as a society?

Support the arts, the individuals that expand and enrich our understanding of thought and the senses. It is through art that we re-humanize our understanding and live a more complete life.

 

My writings are defined by the old gender terminology of man to encompass both males and females unless I am specifically referring to a male or female individual.

Fall Art Calendar – Final Stretch

Three events to wrap up the year for the holiday season.

  1. Alpine Artwalk. November 18 & 19, 2016
  2. Guiton St. Artists Fall Open Studio Event. December 3, 2016
  3. Author Visit-A Book Event for Girls and Moms. December 10, 2016

studio-110316-100

 

thinking-girls-2016

These three activities wrap up the event year after which I will sojourn to write and paint in my typical winter hibernation habit. We’ll see what the new year brews for us.

 

Why We Need to Exercise Responsible Parenting In Our Creative Process

At the easel, painting a live portrait, First Saturday Arts Market a few years ago.

At the easel, painting a live portrait, First Saturday Arts Market a few years ago.

Responsible parenting is the magical ability to teach and impart self-managing skills to our children in a gradual and masterful way that fits their learning abilities and level of maturity. You will note that my definition does not assume anyone is an expert as there is a degree of immeasurable wiggle-room and ongoing opportunity for improvement. Perhaps that is why they say you become more of a master with grand-parenting.

If grand-parenting gives us room for improvement because we can stand back and look at our “creation” and learn from our mistakes then perhaps we can use this example in the practice of our creative works as well.

So how do we impart self-managing skills to our creations?

A key element that I find missing from many creative processes when it comes to the production phase is the consideration of what it takes to power your production, maintain it, and the plan for its obsolescence or posterity. In other words, the consideration of its full life cycle.

When we consider the full life cycle of a product we are giving it life skills for self-management. We are making a sustainable product.

What is a sustainable product? This definition is like the one for “organic” products. What is truly organic and what is acceptably “organic”. It depends on who is measuring. Our job is to consider every aspect of the product from its reason for being to its design, use, and end of life. Is the product necessary? What purpose will it serve? Does it enrich, communicate, serve? Is it unique, is it an improvement, is it a copy of something else?

Mitch model

Mitch posing for his Character Sketch at the First Saturday Arts Market.

Over the last few decades, we are again paying more attention to the aesthetics of a product but we are forgetting about its production and operation. We need to maintain the balance of quality control in all aspect of the creation’s life-cycle. Just as we look for the optimum design, the right raw material, the most effective and efficient production process to deliver maximum operation capacity, we also need to consider how it will be maintained and how it will ride off into the sunset…because if we don’t, then someone else will have to pick up the slack of our lack of planning and incur costs that we ultimately should be accountable for as master creators. Ineffective design fails to consider these elements in the rush to get the product out to market before its time.

One of the key elements today when it comes to sustainability of a functional product is how it will be powered. If this is an after thought then we will be incurring potential retrofitting costs to the owner when finding the most effective, efficient, and environmentally responsible source of energy. Operation, maintenance and planned obsolescence are critical to sustainable design.

So when considering birthing your next purposeful design, be mindful of what will go into it, how it will go into it, how it will operate, how it will be powered, how it will be maintained, how it will seize to exist, and how it will reintegrate as raw material for other creations.

Now if we could only write the ultimate parenting guide with that!

Back Room = Art Sale

Lilibth Andre's Back Room, East Wall 1

Lilibth Andre’s Back Room, East Wall 1

If you’ve been to my studio you have seen my back room. This is where I hold paintings that are between events and their new home. The bulk of my available inventory is in this room. Here’s the deal, I’ve been asked to vacate this room so from now until the end of the month, everything in the Back Room is 50% off.

If you’ve had an original ANDRE in mind, now is the time to take it home. I will be there this Saturday, September 24, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and you are welcome to come and see what is available in original art. You will find:

Oils, acrylics, colored pencils, and drawings.

Landscapes, portraits, figures, still lifes, and florals.

Sizes range from 4×6 to 36×48.

Lilibeth Andre's Back Room, Large canvases 1

Lilibeth Andre’s Back Room, Large canvases 1

Most of these pieces are framed or gallery wrapped, and ready to hang in a new home.

If the date and time don’t work for you, please let me know so that we can find a time that is convenient. If you are outside of Houston and have a particular piece in mind, contact me to make special arrangements. Need a payment plan? We can talk.

Here’s the map to the studio. Let me know if you plan to come.

Thank you for your help.

 

Reminiscing About NOLA

The French Quarter collection includes these seven 16x12 oil paintings on canvas board, and the 8x6 balcony piece, all currently available at the artist's studio.

The French Quarter collection includes these seven 16×12 oil paintings on canvas board, and the 8×6 balcony piece, all currently available at the artist’s studio.

In the years after Katrina I was able to finally make it to New Orleans for the first time. I stayed in the French Quarter and it was delightful and at the same time it felt so familiar. I realized the familiarity came from the architecture. You see, the French Quarter was originally French but after the great fires of 1788 (damaging 78% of the buildings) and 1794, as well as the hurricanes and storms of the 1800’s, damage was replaced by architecture with more of a Spanish influence.

My hometown of Cuernavaca in Mexico was first part of the Aztec empire but then it housed Hernan Cortes, Spanish conquistador, and Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico so the urban design and architecture is clearly a mix of Spanish and French influence. This influence is what I recognized while strolling down the streets of the French Quarter. I may not have been the first Mexican to notice the resemblance. Perhaps Benito Juarez, one of Mexico’s former presidents also saw the similarities while living in New Orleans.

Each 16x12 original oil painting is framed in 2.5 (approx) inch solid wood frames with silver finish.

Each 16×12 original oil painting is framed in 2.5 (approx) inch solid wood frames with silver finish.

During my visits I enjoyed walking down the cobblestone streets and sidewalks of St. Peter Street, Decatur, Royal Street, and into the store front shops built into the old homes. Homes with interior courtyards and many rooms. Balconies decorated with wrought iron works and blooming plants adding color to a colorful quarter of the city. What stories can be found waiting to be discovered!

The lush Jackson Square on the wide banks of the Mississippi River, frames the St. Louis Cathedral, one of the oldest cathedrals in the country. The triple steeple building is glazed by the sun’s warm tones reflecting light on its walls.

There is also the pirate lore that of Jean Lafitte left behind. One can almost hear the echos of footsteps and brawny laughter while walking down the cobblestones of Pirates Alley.

So inspired by the vibrancy of the historic square, I set out on several mornings, with easel and paint box in tow, to capture the quiet streets of the French Quarter. Propping my easel as close as I could to the buildings on Royal Street, between the palm reader, the antique shop, and the old heavy wooden gate that saw many carriages ride through it, I started to paint. The same for other soon to become familiar streets. Each one an opportunity to capture the colors of of the French Quarter. I enjoyed the still hours of the day with only a few passers-by on their way to work, by foot or by bike, showing vague signs of life in the still dormant village. And in the heat of the day, I would find a quiet bench in a shady courtyard to rest and enjoy the sights and sounds of NOLA.

The French Quarter collection is also available in authorized reproductions of wall art, home decor, lifestyle pieces, phone cases and greeting cards. For information on the original oil paintings, please contact me.

Interview with Artist Layne Johnson

I recently had the opportunity to attend a private showing of Layne Johnson’s paintings. It was a happy reunion and I was so excited with his work that I wanted to share it with you, from the creator’s perspective, so Layne granted me an interview.

Q: In the time I have known you, how many years, 15, more? You have been a successful and sought out illustrator for children’s literature. Over the last few years however, you have transitioned into fine art. Tell me about this metamorphosis.

Artists Lilibeth Andre and Layne Johnson with samples of Layne's portraits.

Artists Lilibeth Andre and Layne Johnson with samples of Layne’s portraits.

A: Yes, I believe I’ve known you Lilibeth for at least 15 years. Wow. Regarding the transition back to fine art, it’s been interesting in many ways. It was slow going at first. Part of some of the delay was moving and building a new home. Plus I worked on other projects I always wanted to do but never had the time or space to do them. Building ponds, a large raised bed garden and now raising chickens has been fun, but a lot of work. However, back to the transition . . . after moving and settling into my dream studio, I had to decide what direction to go artistically. I believed I could handle many subjects – figurative, portraits, landscape, etc. But I needed to focus. One big challenge was just getting back into the “groove.” I hadn’t painted in 9 months! Another was building up a new body of work. The portfolio of children’s art, while beautiful, was not the direction I would be going. Exaggerated colors and distorted compositions would not work for the representational art I wanted to pursue now. The truth was that I had a few paintings that were “ready” but I actually had some that I had started years ago, that when looking at them with fresh eyes, saw they needed my attention. One positive was that after doing so many paintings for children’s books, my sensibilities and skills had surged forward making me a much better artist. So I grabbed some of the old work and repainted them. With great success I think. But as of now I’m creating totally new work that I’m excited about. Right now, I focusing on landscapes, and working in a series. But portraits will always be in the mix for me. I do enjoy capturing a person’s image in paint, in effect their “essence.”

There are now new and different opportunities to explore via the internet, so we’ll be delving into that to see what works and what doesn’t. One last thing I’m enjoying is the liberty to paint what I want and not being tied to a book project for months on end. The average book took about six months to complete, but some of the last ones took far longer. I have fond memories of that career, but don’t miss it. I loved what I was doing and achieved honors and success. It’s just after doing it for so long and seeing thousands of kids in school visits, I was ready for a change. Ready to explore my old love – ready to paint art that moves and inspires me. And hopefully others, too!

Q: Clearly you enjoy what you do. What is your medium and your favorite tools of the trade?

A: My medium is oils! Though I’ve worked in just about everything else. For many years I painted in acrylics. I’ve also used watercolor, gouache, ink, dyes, and even egg tempera. I dabbled in intaglio, silkscreen and lithography as well. But the freedom that oils gives me plus the fond memory association I have with the smell of linseed oil makes oil painting my favorite medium. With that said, I use the usual assortment of brushes, though some old damaged ones are favorites for certain textures and effects. I often use Liquin as a mixing medium that aids in drying time.

Q:  When did you realize you were an artist?  Who was your first supporter and/or mentor?

Artist Layne Johnson talks about his art at a recent private reception.

Artist Layne Johnson talks about his art at a recent private reception.

A: As for as realizing I’m an artist, it was probably around 13 when I started to really paint. I had great feedback from family and friends, but when I started selling art I realized that THAT is what I wanted to do. I’ve had several mentors but my first was Mrs. Clara Skinner. She taught painting classes and I eagerly attended and learned a great deal from her. I have fond memories of her and probably without her I would not have become an artist. My son either, as he followed my path and now has a Master’s degree in art. He works digitally.

Tomorrow I will attend a memorial for Mrs. Skinner. She was a patient, kind, and an encouraging friend and will be sorely missed by many. (6/15/16)

Q: This is a combined question: Where would you like to be with your art in 5 years? How would you like people to remember your work?

A: In 5 years I’d like to be continuing in the direction I’m going, including having my art in galleries, and also selling prints. I’d also like to travel more and plein air paint. Commissioned portraits would also be in the mix. I’ve had several inquiries recently about teaching classes or retreats. I’m not sure how good of a teacher I’d be, but my wife says I’d be great.

I want people to connect with my work emotionally. I want a painting to move people in a way no photograph can. I want people to identify my work with a sense of place – and embrace the light as I do!

Ultimately, I want collectors, not just clients.

Q: How can people find your work and follow your art career?

A: At the moment the easiest way to follow me is through social media.

I’m on Instagram and Facebook: @LayneJohnsonStudio. I’m finishing up my new website and am eager to connect with people there. I’ve many things to say on my blog and need to get busy on that. So in a few months, I’d say following my blog and joining my list will be the best ways to connect with me.

 

Art For Everyone

Jacqueline enjoys learning about Zentagle from Judith Shamp among my original art. That's a nice feeling.

Jacqueline enjoys learning about Zentagle from Judith Shamp among my original art. That’s a nice feeling.

An afternoon of live music, fresh original art, and Zentangle.

After a long week of rain in Houston we were graced with a beautiful day of sunshine and enjoyable weather.

It was the day of art sharing at various levels. For the afternoon and straight through the evening, we celebrated art and friends at the Guiton St. Artists’ 2016 Spring Open Studios & Art Sale. The spring event was a great chance to enjoy the company of art friends and lovers.

Our open studios events give me the opportunity to share my art and the process of creating it. It is also an opportunity to visit with my artists neighbor and see what they’ve been up to as well. We all keep different schedules so we normally don’t coincide. That’s the beauty of being an artist, we create at our own rhythm and pace.

Live music by Jim Dannemiller (aka Jimmy Dan), at Guiton St. Artists Studios for our group open studios and art sale.

Live music by Jim Dannemiller (aka Jimmy Dan), at Guiton St. Artists Studios for our group open studios and art sale.

The evening began with the music of Jim Dannemiller (aka Jimmy Dan) playing live for the resident artists and guests. Special music speaking of Van Gogh and Mexico was part of Jim’s select repertoire for the event. His soft music filled the building and was enjoyed in the studios by friends admiring fresh new art. This was Jim’s second visit to Guition Street and we hope he will join us again in the future.

Besides Jim’s original music I also had a guest artist demonstrating Zentangle. There was so much interest and curiosity that we are planning an upcoming workshop. My friend Judith Shamp did the demonstration to introduce this method of meditative art expression she has been practicing for a good while.

During open studios I also have the opportunity to catch up with friends and collectors. I introduce new acquaintances to my work and bring everyone up to speed on my current challenges and objectives. It is an opportunity to open up and talk about my creative process.

My studio is a venue where you can find samples of my creative work. Paintings, illustrations, reproductions and copies of my books fill the space. This year I wanted to present more of my process as an artist. I featured samples of my portrait lab work at The Markos Group, a group I’ve been painting with for over 15 years; samples of my French Quarter paintings created on the streets of the vieux carre were on display to remember and recognize the 10th anniversary of Katrina; I included samples of my Big Bend landscapes first introduced last fall to show available works; and wet paint on canvases recently completed from my trip to Guatemala this last February where I did plein air sketches on the streets of Antigua and other villages.

It is always exciting to receive new visitors who enjoy the evening and vow to return for the next celebration.

It is always exciting to receive new visitors who enjoy the evening and vow to return for the next celebration.

Overall, Open Studios is a fun time to host many people at the studio in a six hour stretch of time. Visitors can meet the resident artists opening up their doors and hear their story and learn about their art in their creative space. By the end of the day, some of us head on to dinner to begin to wind down for the evening and prepare for the next round of creative work at the easel, canvases and paper that will find their way to galleries, exhibits, and new homes.

Until the next studio visit!

 

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    © Lilibeth André and Art by Lilibeth André, 2009-2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this text, images or content without express and written permission Lilibeth André is strictly prohibited. For permission to license, exhibit or purchase any of the artwork, email info@lilibethandre.com. Links to this site may be made with full and clear accreditation to Lilibeth André and Art by Lilibeth André.