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Mixed Media Art by Amy Oestreicher (Part 3)

 The works below are the third and final part of a series here on Creative Dreamers featuring the art of Amy Oestreicher. Check out her bio below for more information.

Singing Tree Revisited

Singing Tree

This was the very first painting I ever did.  I was stuck at Yale Hospital for months recovering from a surgery that went horribly wrong.  My mother started buying art supplies from a nearby craft store just to keep me busy, especially since I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything.  I woke up early one morning, and just started to paint what I was feeling sitting on my hospital bed.  My extreme sad n ess was somehow transformed into a colorful scene of exuberance, and has now become my signature piece.  Greeting cards and posters are available on my online storefront and Etsy, in the hopes that my singing tree can also transform someone else’s sorrow into joy.

Lovers and the Snow

Lovers-in-the-Snow

The initial motivation behind this piece was that I had a huge cardboard box lying around and I really wanted to tear it apart.  By gluing the scraps to a canvas, painting over everything,  and adding my two “lovers”, even I was surprised by the fantastical winter sky that emerged.

Mommy Can’t Fix This

Mommy Cant Fix This

This was another piece I created in the hospital, and one of the most requested – however, it’s difficult for me to part with this one because it gave me so much comfort at such a difficult time in my life, and I think it shares a message that everyone can relate to.  I am now selling greeting cards of Mommy Can’t Fix This on my online storefront and Etsy.

I am Myself

I am myself

The pieces I have the most fun creating are the ones that I have no expectations for.  This started by some random shredding and gluing of newsoapers, magazines,  coupons, plastic wrap, gum wrappers, and whatever else I was about to throw out.  Then, I spent hours just painting layers and layers of paint, trying to obscure some of the printed text.  Eventually, this face emerged.

Holding My World

Holding my world

I paint to feel, and also to express my connection to the universe.   A lot of my art has stemmed from the yearning to once again feel part of the world, after a decade of medical isolation and trauma.

Artist bio:
Amy Oestreicher is a 28 year old actress, musician, teacher, composer, dancer, writer, artist, yogi, foodie, and general lover of life. Surviving and thriving through a coma, 27 surgeries and other trauma has inspired Amy to share her story with the world through her passionate desire to create and help others. More information on her  story, as well as her creative ventures can be found at amyoes.com, and  you can visit her Etsy shop as well.

Why a Kid Insulting My Art Was My Greatest Inspiration

By Amy Oestreicher

I call myself an artist because I like making art.

For me, it doesn’t matter where I’ve shown my art, what “techniques” I’m using, or who I’m selling it to.  Art is my aliveness brought to fruition in a way that others can see and hopefully spot their own aliveness in as well.

Sometimes, I consider it a blessing that I have no formal art training.  Not being savvy with technical art terms is an advantage when my lines aren’t perfectly shaped or my colors aren’t seamlessly blended.  My oblivion and unashamed passion help to silence my inner critic.  Whatever I paint, I create from the heart.  I try to focus on the physical sensations of feelings my brush glide across the canvas, drenched in a juicy glob of heavy-bodied paint.  I feel the bristles press against the stretched linen; I see each fiber drag across a mound of cherry apple red.  As I guide my brush up and down my canvas, the repetitive gestures become meditative.  I stop thinking, as I press down on my brush harder.  The canvas then becomes an open channel to my soul, a clear-as-day lens into what can be sensed, but not seen.  And now – here it is:  in iridescent hues, glistening in silky splotches of wet paint.

In my studio, it’s just me and my creations.  It’s the one place in life where I can ignore my inner critic  because I tell myself I am just making a “beautiful mess.”  When I made the decision to start showing my work elsewhere, I accepted that I’d have to grow some thicker skin.  Everyone’s got an opinion.

But kids will be honest about theirs.

Tree-Proposal-Amy-Oestreicher1

Amy’s piece “Tree Proposal” 

This summer, I took my easel outside for a refreshing day of plain air painting.  My art was featured in the windows of a shop in the downtown area, and this was the day where we were supposed to engage and interact with the customers.

One thing I noticed was how children really gravitated towards my work.  There is a childlike, innocent quality to my art, an oblivion from not knowing what is “proper” technique.  I picked up a paintbrush for the first time when I was stuck in the hospital for months after a disastrous surgery.  My mother brought fabric, glue, paints and markers to my small hospital cubicle, and I made art for the first time.  Suddenly, I found a way to express emotions that were too painful, complicated and overwhelming for words.  I used everything – even toilet paper from the hospital bathroom.  I painted my trees that I missed, I created my inside and outside worlds, full of their joy and pain, tears and hearts, lightning bolts and flowers.  This art was my therapy, like the “me-books” we used to make in grade school.

So there I was with my easel, painting outside my storefront with my art proudly on display.  I chose to work on a collage using old paints, newspapers, and whatever I grabbed on my way out.  As an artist, I love being a scavenger. I really don’t care what ends up sticking on my collages – cardboard, old lids, plastic wrap, napkins – once it’s covered with paint, it can all look beautiful! For me, it’s about the process.

In the middle of my “process”, one child came up to me and stayed peering over my easel for a lengthy period.  As we know, kids are fearless, free and oh so honest.  (You don’t wanna know the things that came out of my mouth as a kid!!!)

This child skimmed over my work for a few seconds longer and then declared, I could do that! That’s just newspaper and scribbles!” The mother was clearly embarrassed, but I was thrilled.  Yes – this is exactly what I want people to come away with after seeing my art. If you call me an “artist”, then you are as well. Anyone can create. It just takes the guts to put yourself out there. That kid gave me the best possible compliment. So, I hope whoever sees my art walks away with the confidence that YES! They can do that too!

I love that children can make those impulsive, honest comments.  Once we lose the ability to speak those thoughts out loud, it’s more difficult to hear those truths within us.  That child realized he was capable of creating anything in that moment.  In that afternoon, crowds of passersbys looked over at my art, and because I was the “artist” – I was doing something that they “could not”.  Mind made up – been there, tried that, failed, over and done.

Would you have been ashamed to tell me my “mixed media artwork” was just newspaper and scribbles?

The truth is, if adults could be as brutally honest as that child, they would also be able to consciously acknowledge this truth for themselves – they CAN create if they just silence their inner critic.  It’s easier said than done, but maybe we just have to start with that honest child in us.

If you think you’ve already “grown up” remember, it’s never too late to “grow down.”

Yellow-Sky-Open-Heart

Amy’s piece “Yellow Sky Open Heart”

Let’s all think like children for a bit and recklessly create what we’ve never seen, but have sensed, wanted, or just felt like.  Don’t know what to start with?  Start with newspaper.  And scribble on it.  Let’s keep revisiting our childhood memories, the feeling that anything was possible with a newspaper, silly putty, a slinky or a cardboard box.

Think about the last interaction or moment in your life that meant something to you.  How simple was it?  Maybe your special someone ripped out an article from today’s paper that he knew you’d like.  Maybe he doodled on your daily planner, wishing you the best day ever.  Because thoughts that are true, inspiring and from the heart are usually the simplest ones – straight out of an art project that a kid could do.

So the next time you see art in a gallery, an advertisement, a tee-shirt believe that you are capable of creating art.

When you read that I learned art recovering from surgery, walk away knowing that you are powerful enough to conquer any odds in your life with a bit of creative thinking and working with what you’ve got – even if it’s just newspaper.

When you read or hear of loss, pain, anger, frustration, joy, gratitude, fear, uncertainty, love and life, I hope you connect with that experience on a primal, intuitive level, and are even inspired to share YOUR story with someone else.  Even if it’s a blank page for now.  Or a blank canvas, whatever works.Dancing on Shattered Glass Amy Oestreicher

Thank you art, thank you children, thank you detours.

amy-with-artwork-BLOOM

Amy with her art piece “Bloom”

With every blotchy “mistake” on your “canvas”, be empowered with the confidence to be innovative and think of a way to integrate the mistake into an even better design.

Let every very “insult” from a kid empower you with the satisfaction that you have possibly inspired a future creator.

Let every “detour” prompt an unexpected interaction with a new opportunity, a new person in your life, and a new direction.

Here’s to navigating our beautiful detours with a brush in hand, and our inner child as the lantern that guides us home.

What doesn’t kill us makes us awesome.

Read Amy’s blog on the artwalk and see more pictures and videos.

 

Creativity for the Non-Creative Thinker

So, you like art but you don’t consider yourself a a creative person? No problem. Give these two fun websites a try, save a copy of your work via download or screenshot and ta-da – instant artist.

Silk

Weave Silk

weavesilk.com

Into Time

Into Time

intotime.com

 

 

Mixed Media Art by Amy Oestreicher

The works below are a start of a series here on Creative Dreamers that will feature the art of Amy Oestreicher. Check out her bio below for more information.

Dancing Girl

 Dancing Girl

I love being a scavenger, collecting bits of fabrics, scraps of materials, and v seeing what I can create.  My dancing girl was created from an eclectic mix of whatever I could find!

Tree Thoughts

Tree Thoughts

This was another hospital creation, and an exercise on resourcefulness.  I used toilet paper from the hospital bathroom for texture, some old magazines and fabrics, just to recreate my trees, which give me so much comfort even now.

Bloom

Bloom

I used many different fabrics here to create the polarities I felt when trying to figure out who I was after being suddenly displaced from my “former ” life.  Every surgery seemed to separate a piece of me, and I expressed this with odds and ends of fabric.

Artist bio:

Amy Oestreicher is a 28 year old actress, musician, teacher, composer, dancer, writer, artist, yogi, foodie, and general lover of life. Surviving and thriving through a coma, 27 surgeries and other trauma has inspired Amy to share her story with the world through her passionate desire to create and help others. Piecing her life together after her initial dreams of performing musical theatre took on a beautiful detour into broader horizons. Amy has written, directed and starred in a one woman musical about her life, Gutless & Grateful, has flourished as a mixed media and acrylic artist, with her art in multiple galleries and mounting dozens of solo art shows, and continues to share her story through her art, music, theatre and writings. More information on her unique story, as well as her creative ventures can be found at amyoes.com, and visit her blog for her newest art, music and inspirational musings.

Intrusion – A Poem

By Amy Oestreicher

Whether I am the trespasser, alien
The outcast, the tortoise turned on its side
I can see the stream from here
And I long to dance with the source.

Can I fish for you, blue glimpse?
A glimpse of the word as it was intended to be?
The realism thrills me

In a world of
Perfec
t:
geometricshapes,painted signs,brightredautomobiles,

my hollow shell overflows with relief.
For I have now caught the world in coy disarray, in bashful asymmetry.
(I’m sorry I disturbed you – I had thought you were done changing)

But fair lilies in the stream, let me flatter you:

You are such unperturbed beauty; a beautiful mess
Some divine energy had a penchant for modern art.

This trail I stumble down begs to recount to me, pleads, “Can I tell you a story?”
Of What? What – some kind of archetypal tale to us with its paw prints, bird calls, freaks and daddy long legs crawling under rocks like blue crabs
Moist air
Shadowed filth
rocking trees comforting one another in this dark forest community.
Blue forest glimpse – you are my catch and my soul is your bait.
Here is my glimpse of the world as it was intended to be
Realism thrills me as the wind now thrills your branches.

In a world of perfect geometric shapes, of painted signs, of bright red automobiles…
I’ve wandered, lonely and seeking a friend, and I ask, can I belong?
Crumble-crumble-crumble
I venture down and down further, and down.
I am a lone pebble, but unstranded, moving with the stream of wind that caresses the branches above me.

In each crumble, I breathe in the equalizing power of nature, of burgeoning love that transcends the limitations of being 5’3 when the trees are so tall.

The air sings and swells with a knowing comfort, a tune I have heard my whole life, as constant as the seasons

and now, I look up at the dense ceiling of trees and whisper, “Thanks.”
before even realizing that I had said it.

And now the dance begins! The dance that I can join too!
And the violins play, and there are brass, and winds, and chords, and reeds, and strings, and shrubs, pebbles, rocks, debris and slugs – sound and color and light!
Trees start to rock back and forth
dance with my awe,
They reply, “Yes.” Yes!

I am the lone pebble tymbling and tumbling, being shaped and molded by the ground beneath me, as it has beneath centiures and centures of lava and strata
And then I stop for I am stopped

A large oak tree firmly itself from the others.

I whispered to it, “Tree, sway for me…sway for me please…” it didn’t budge.

I’m lowered from my floating enchantment.

My soul-bait is anchored once again, as a fervent wind dodges
Corner to corner
Boomerang from trunk to trunk
Wind so dynamic it flickers like fire.

Wind so hasty it drenches flimsier trees with its own leaking madness.

All limbs of the forest shake madly now
All limbs of my body petrified with wonderment.

We are all shaking madly! dizzy and startled by the whippings of the delirious wind

Nature restores its internal pulse
The wind’s wrath quickly wearies
Settles
Smaller gusts
Internal pulsing
Regulation
Even nature must sleep
Internal pulsing
prompts a limb of the stubborn oak tree to coyly bob up and down.
And the world was finally in sync.

I thank this forest sanctuary one more time before I leave.
I am a most welcome trespasser, and my shell is filled with burgeoning blue light

Goodnight, forest.

And all I could think about was how wonderful it would be to hold someone’s hand, staring at the trees together, in simultaneous awe, no words in our breath but all winds in our souls.

from your trunk

 

“From Your Trunk”  – Artwork also by Amy Oestreicher

Amy Oestreicher is a 28 year old actress, musician, teacher, composer, dancer, writer, artist, yogi, foodie, and general lover of life.  Surviving and thriving through a coma, 27 surgeries and other trauma has inspired Amy to share her story with the world through her passionate desire to create and help others.  Piecing her life together after her initial dreams of performing musical theatre took on a beautiful detour into broader horizons.  Amy has written, directed and starred in a one woman musical about her life, Gutless & Grateful, has flourished as a mixed media and acrylic artist, with her art in multiple galleries and mounting dozens of solo art shows, and continues to share her story through her art, music, theatre and writings.  More information on her unique story, as well as her creative ventures can be found at amyoes.com, and visit her blog http://www.allspiceandacrylics.blogspot.com/ for her newest art, music and inspirational musings.

The artistic tool that is duct tape

It’s a pretty simple fact that duct tape is possibly one of the greatest inventions every created. You can use it for just about anything from covering sharp edges or a damaged file cabinet to keeping water out of the bottom of a boat (Check out the episode of the show Myth Busters) and of course, taping ducts.

But in recent years, it has become a frequent tool of creative minded people. Some have even made entire wardrobes out of it.

Check out some of the cool things people have done with duct tape. Enjoy!

By the way, each image is linked to the source for more info.

Duct_Tape_Zebra_by_kingkybo

20140114_lionvest

duct-tape-crafts

A few of my favorite local artists

As a Pittsburgh photographer, I can also really appreciate the amazing local artists that reside in our community. Some are rather notable while others may be a bit obscure but many are very talented. Here are a few of my own personal favorites. All images come from each artists respective website or Facebook Page.

Johno Prascak

Johno Prascak artist

Nevin Robinson

Nevin Robinson Pittsburgh

Lex Covato

Abraham Lincoln Tattooed

Natiq Jalil

As I Walk Away

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