Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Artist Tribe at Gwen Lafleur Studios

I have some very exciting news! I have been selected to be a member of Gwen Lafluer's Creative Team. 

I love Gwen's art. It is full of luscious detail. When I saw the call for creative team members I discovered her shop - full of texture and color from many parts of the world. It spoke to me so I sent in my application. I am humbled and honored to be part of this team of talented women. You can see the whole announcement by clicking on the photo above.

I am very excited to have the opportunity of creating new works featuring these products, being inspired by the team and sharing this joy with you. I will be posting here on the blog, on my new Facebook page (Lynda Shoup Mixed Media Artist), Instagram and on Pinterest. I hope you will join me.

Feedback and Then What?

Shoup, Lynda Diane. Work in Progress. 2017, Private Collection of the Artist.

Last week I sent my artist's statement out for feedback. It was a moment of vulnerability for me. I think it is for everyone, at least the first few times they do it. There is so much that goes into our work. I don't know about you, but it certainly worried me whether my statement would reflect that.

I did receive thoughtful and interesting feedback. It was clear that the two people I shared my statement with both took great care in giving the feedback. They both showed that they had given it more than a cursory glance. I am very humbled and grateful.

Once we receive feedback it is hard to know how to process it. My plan is to sit down with my statement, both of the sets of feedback and a red pen. There will be caffeine involved (though I dare say you may think me boring that it will be tea and not coffee.) These two dear people have spent their time thinking about my writing. I will certainly give them the same respect. Why haven't I done it yet? Well, like I said, I plan to give it the level of attention it deserves. Perhaps in the process, I will understand what I am trying to do more fully.

So next Wednesday I plan to post the final post in this series, at least for a while. I will post more about writing about art as there is subject or need, but for my ramblings on this topic seem to be fulfilled. If you read more, please leave me a comment with the topic you would like to read more about. Has this series been interesting or helpful to you? Is there anything else you would like to read about? Want to just say hi? The comments section below is waiting for you. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Test - Sharing Your Writing

Shoup, Lynda Diane. Work in Progress. 2017, Private Collection of the Artist.

So you write that artist statement, that biographical material, the descriptions of your pieces, or whatever it may be. At some point, you have to stop writing and put it to the test. This isn't easy. 

We're a little too close to our work. Too close to the process, never mind the product. So sometimes we can't be objective. 

Or, like me, we worry. We overthink every sentence. Wonder if we can really claim what we have written. 

Am I right? 

In writing my own artist statement I fell into danger of being always in the state of becoming and never arriving. 

It is time. 

The advice I have read over and over is have other people read your statement and judge give feedback. As a school library teacher, we called this "peer review". 

There are several things that can happen. Your reviewer can affirm you. Your reviewer can ask for clarification. Your reviewer can see something they didn't before. Your reviewer can also tell you if your statement doesn't match what they experience looking at your work. It's all good. 

So this week, I have put my statement out into the world and await feedback. It's a vulnerable state to be in. It's also exciting because it means forward motion. 

Shoup, Lynda Diane. The Path of Enlightenment. 2017, Private Collection of the Artist.
I'll let you know how it goes. 

Have you written about your art? How do you feel about that finished product? Did you ask for feedback before finalizing your statement? Let me know in the comments. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Mono Print Origami Boxes

If you love mono-printing, and what's not to love, you may face a dilemma about what to do with all that luscious paper you made. You can use it in your art journals, on canvas, to make cards and so on. You know this, but perhaps, like me, you see more potential. 

Enter mono-prints as origami paper. Origami can be done will a variety of papers, not simply the ones you buy in packs. The two main things about the paper you use for origami are: 

1. It needs to be able to take a sharp crease. 
2. It needs to be able to hold up to a lot of creasing. 

While it is very popular to print on deli paper or tissue paper, these are not an ideal paper for origami. They just don't hold up to the folding. Something the weight of copy paper is actually best. 

While origami can be done with many different shapes of paper, the most common shape used is the square. To accomplish the square, I used my Fiskar's paper cutter. My paper with 5" wide, so I cut it to be a 5" square. 

I wanted to make the most of the color on the page, so I auditioned the best section I could get and shaved off each side to get the most interesting square. 

Here I have a stack of interesting squares. 

I am not going to give step by step directions for folding the box. I always use the style from Tomoko Fuse's book Origami Boxes. Full disclosure, I worked for Japan Publications Trading Company in the 1990s as a copy editor and translator. I have a fondness for this particular book because of the wonderful projects, but also because they actually paid me to fold all the boxes to see if the directions were understandable! 

If you are interested in the book, it is available through Amazon. A quick search of my state's library catalog shows that this book and many other of her books are available through interlibrary loan. Any book showing how to make origami boxes will work for you. Some of them use just two pieces - one each for top and bottom. Some require six or eight or even ten papers! 

Once I folded each of the six papers required for this style box, I sorted them into top and bottom. Find the best combination of colors. 

Connect the pieces. Here is what the pieces look like from above. 

This view shows how lovely the inside of the boxes is. 

Put the pieces together. This is a view of how the top and bottom coordinate. 

Notice how each side looks different. 

I like to rotate them to find the most pleasing combinations.

View from the bottom.

Finished box. It is lovely simply as decoration. I love to use these boxes as gift wrap. 

If you try this, I would love to see what you make. Leave a comment and a link so I can visit your creations. 

What do you do with your mono-prints? 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Connection Between the Work and the Words

Shoup, Lynda Diane. Work in Progress. 2017, Private Collection of the Artist.

One of the concepts that struck me when reading about writing an Artist’s Statement is the discrepancy between what the artist wants to achieve and the actual artwork itself. I have seen the opinion voiced that a statement that promises the world paired with art that doesn’t deliver is one of the most disappointing statement fails. 

So, what to do about that? 

Clearly we all want to achieve great things. Some of us may be able to articulate those lofty ideals. What about that work, though?

On a personal level, after letting my statement ferment for a few weeks, I revisited my writing. I’m not too proud to admit that I didn’t like what I saw. Time to tear it apart and revamp, rework and possibly start over from step one. 

While the writing needs tweaking, it’s not just the writing. The connection between the work and the words needs to be stronger, more compatible. Does my internal dialog translate to a visual state? 

Below is a list of questions I’m asking myself as I explore the connections.

How have you found the work of writing your artist statement? 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bloglovin' Blog Claiming Shenanigans

A little envelope I made for a friend. 

To claim your blog on Bloglovin' you have to paste a little piece of code like this one:

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

That's not much of a post, so if you don't mind. scroll on down and see something more interesting. 

Using Literary Genres in Thematic Writing about Art

This piece was done as part of a biographical study. The image is based on a detail found in a painting of Marie de Rabutin-Chantal the Marquise de Sevigne.

Another way to approach writing about your art is to address the themes you deal with. Frankly, this aspect is more difficult for me. This is where I have trouble setting limits.  

Scanning instagram I see that there are people who make art about social issues, family, humor, lampooning, and meta art making - making art about art. 

I’m going to borrow the genres of literature as a springboard for thinking about themes. Think about the genre and how it may apply to you. It may not apply to your body of work, but feel free to use it when writing descriptions for individual pieces. 


Adventure - this genre features people who, willingly or not, face extreme physical challenges that often are life or death deciding. Does your art inspire daring?

Fable - a tale which ends in a moral often involving talking animals. Does your art tell a story that is meant to impart a message? Is there a way in which you use the fable model in your artwork?

Fairy tale - Fairytales and folklore are close cousins. Fairytales are based in Europe, have royalty, a magical creature or thing, a problem and a magical solution. Many have a happy ending. Does this describe your art? Your take on life? What you want to portray to the world? 

Fantasy - The genre of fantasy covers anything from unicorns to talking bears. Imagine how this might apply to your work. Whimsical is a word that works well along with this genre. 

Folklore - This type of tale is one that is a traditional tale, passed down by word of mouth, and is commonly known among people. 

Historical fiction - deals with events of the past. It is storytelling that uses the framework of a particular historical period to inform the whole. Love vintage? Telling stories with vintage materials? Could this be your genre? 

Horror - Too scary for me, but perhaps you like being terrified and having your hair stand on end.  Does your work deal with the seedy, horrific or pathological? I hope not, but if so this might be your genre. Or you might just be creating political satire. 

Humor - Everything from joke books to hilarious memoir this genre sees the light side to events. Quirky, erudite, clever or restrained this genre brings a smile to your face. Does your artwork do that? Do you do satire? Play on words? See the funny side of things? Does the irony of a situation make you burst into giggles? This might be a genre for you. 

Mystery - this can be crime and grit or Agatha Christie, but it could also encompass the unsolved mysteries of the world or the things that seem out of our control. 

Poetry - uses rhyming, text structure, or other constructs to create an emotional response to the world. Does that sound familiar to you? 

Realistic fiction - This is the genre that could be things that have happened, but they haven’t. They were made up. I’ll bet a lot of us could use this genre to describe at least some of our work. 

Romance - need I say more?

Science fiction - this genre uses applies possible scientific theory to storytelling. This seems like a genre rife for collage artists, among others. 

Sports stories - Does your work revolve around sports? This might be for you. 

Tall Tale - These tales often start with a grain of truth, but the story takes on a life of it’s own. The fisherman who catches a 6 inch fish that turns into a 3 foot long devil of a fish with horns. Does your work stretch the boundaries of reality? This might be a hint for you. 


Biography/Autobiography/ Memoir - a recounting of the events of a person’s life experience. While most art can be said to be biographical to some extent, some falls clearly in the realm of memoir. Make use of the construct when talking about your art. 

Drama - all the world’s a stage. This genre is all about what to do on that stage. Standing front and center. Claim it.

Essay - is meant to put forth an opinion and sway the reader to adopt this point of view. Perhaps your artwork is a visual essay. 

What do you think? Can any of these genres help you frame your artwork? Can they inspire vocabulary to use when describing your work? 

If you feel that this is helpful and would like to see a post with lists of words typically associated with these genres leave a comment to let me know.