Every Work of Art has a Story.

Every Story is an Inspiration.

Entries in Art (4)


Animanity in Art

Come explore the state of being animal, what I call Animanity, at the latest showing of my art work. This Tuesday night, June 16th, at the Common Grounds Cafe, on Boonsboro Road in Lynchburg, Virginia, there will be an artist's reception and a viewing of my latest collection of Animanity paintings. Each painting is displayed along with the stories that have inspired and informed my work, stories that I hope will help others consider the world from a different perspective. As an example, I'm posting the story behind the painting that first brought this series together in my mind.

The A'la la.

Hawaiian Crows are extinct in the wild. This particular young male, named Nalu, lives at the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center on the Big Island of Hawaii, where I worked as an intern. He is part of a partially successful captive breed and release program that has, so far, saved the species from total extinction. Though the program has successfully bred and raised captive A'lalas, they have been unable to reduce enough of the introduced diseases, and species on the islands, and have yet to clean up enough environmental toxins for the released birds to survive. 100% of those released either died quickly of illness, or predation, or were recaptured and placed back into captivity.

Of the twenty six intelligent, gregarious and amazing A'lalas I met at Keauhou, Nalu was my favorite, largely because this painting captures exactly what he did the moment we met. He came right over and stuck his face in mine, giving me a thorough inspection. And once he decided he liked the look of me, he proceeded to follow me everywhere attempting to "help" me do my job. Nalu deserves a home free from a cage, where he can hunt and explore the O'hia forests as he would have before the human species was introduced to his home.

















Mother's Beliefs

There she is, my mother with my father as they were leaving for their honeymoon, with a world full of promise and a belief in a bright future. This is my favorite photo of that day, and I'm pretty sure I've gotten my hands on all of them over the years, being the romantic that I am. I begged my relatives for all their copies and have gotten most of them for my collection. But, this one is the best.

My parents divorced years ago, and we are one of those extended families now, where everyone remains friends and the steps might very well be at a family event with both my parents laughing and having a good time together. I could look at this image and focus on hopes and dreams that were lost. Instead, I see that life doesn't always go as you expect, and still it comes out okay, perhaps even richer in the end.

On Mother's Day, of all days, I find myself feeling lucky because I have a Mom who is my biggest supporter. I know that many don't have Moms like mine, and so I try not to take it for granted. Sometimes, I do. I'm human. We get on each other's nerves. We fight sometimes. Yet, she still thinks I am the greatest thing to come along ever. Her belief in me is truly astounding.

Let me give you an example. Upon my graduation from Goddard with my masters in Interdisciplinary Arts with a focus on Environmental Studies, my mother began to ask about my future plans. On the drive home from Vermont, she announced with all seriousness that she had gotten Al Gore's address and mailing information, so that I could write to him. She expected me to share with him my ideas on how to use art to teach people about climate change. She said this with such sincerity that I knew she honestly believed Al would be grateful to hear from me. Surely, he would make me his new right hand girl in charge of something.

When I informed her that I wanted to be a writer, and that the one person I would love to learn from the most would be Barbara Kingsolver, my mother made damn sure I met Barbara in person and was able to have a long chat with her about writing fiction. To this day, she is awaiting my Kingsolveresque novel of quiet brilliance to be published. She believes in me that much. Without question. Without end. So, thanks Mom for your belief. It lifts me up, and I love you for it!


The Power of Deconstruction: Giving the Muses Time to Think

I've been desconstructing my art these past few weeks. I didn't realize I was doing this at first. I was just deep in my thoughts. This is slowly becoming an accepted part of my creative process. My muses and I have agreed to disagree on it. I would rather we just create happily all the time. They need periods of introspection. They seem to be rather cyclical. Of course, I am fully aware that my muses and I are not separate entities. It's just a nice way of saying different parts of my psyche. Anyway, there are periods where I am churning out more art than I ever dreamed possible. And then, just as suddenly, there are the periods of thought.

They are no less important, these periods. In fact, I would say they are the most important part of the creative process. But, it's taken me some time to recognize that the thinking is just as important as the doing and not just something to place in the category of one more example of my procrastination. No, there actually does have to be some directed thought processes, some contemplation of the actual art projects, and sometimes even some serious deconstruction of things.

Organic Deconstruction #1 by Amanda Corlies SandosSo, what got me thinking about all this process of the process junk you ask? Well, a very overt act of deconstruction happened and I found myself mulling over what I was doing and what it all meant. I was in my studio, feeling very frustrated, once again, over the lack of doing, creating, producing. I get into these, "I'm not being productive," modes where I feel bad about my lack of productivity. And this makes me want to create something even less, and, well, you get the idea. It's a vicious circle. So, in this frustrated state, I pulled out some of my abstract paintings, the ones that I had stopped creating in various stages because they just weren't working. Two of them, in particular, were pissing me off. I guess browns were just the thing to push my buttons. Who knows. So, I took scissors to them. But, as I was cutting these funky shapes, I found myself rebuilding the two paintings that didn't work, putting them back together, and coming up with a collage that rocks. The photos really don't do it justice.

Organic Deconstruction #2 by Amanda Corlies SandosSuddenly, I was productive again. Suddenly, I had something worth looking at from the ruins of two paintings that were making me want to rip my hair out because I couldn't figure out how to fix them. So, high on the success of the first, I took four more failed paintings and turned them into a second, larger collage. I'm calling them Organic Deconstruction #1 and #2. I'm sure there will be more where these came from.

Anyway, I started thinking about this kind of deconstruction process in my writing, as well. And I realized I do this all the time. A story gets to a certain point, and I begin to tear it down. Sometimes only a little, and other times I shred it. But, always, I put it back together into something much stronger than I started out with. And this takes periods of thought. So, now to the part where I allow my muses their time to think without nagging at them to get busy and be more productive. When I have that nailed, I'll get back to you.


The Point of No Return

The big day has arrived and my two woman art show opens this evening at The Soul Cafe at 6. This point always feels a bit like the point of no return to me. All the work is done, and my babies are hung and looking their best, all shiney on the walls. The promotional materials are in order. The drumming group that's performing, of which I am also a member, is...winging it. But that's okay. It's what we do and we always manage to pull that off.  So, really I should be able to stop worrying right? BWAHAHAHA. Fat chance. While I try not to be nervous, here are a few more images of my "Marginalized" animal portraits from this parcitular show. But, before I run off to the opening, don't forget to head over to The Ravens Crossing today for Sharon & Alex's story. Freaky stuff is happening in Hazel's store room. You don't want to miss it. Have a fantastic Friday!

The Watering Hole, Pastel by Amanda Corlies SandosOn the Wing, Watercolor by Amanda Corlies SandosThe Bee Eater, Pastel by Amanda Corlies Sandos