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Posts tagged ‘abstract’

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.


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.”


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 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.


Accidental Art – Beauty via Photoshop

A few days back…

I was experimenting with the idea of creating a number of digital photography backdrops in Photoshop. While I plan on selling these customized backdrop files ($5 each or 3 for $10), I had been looking to bring out a specific satin looking effect. Eventually, I was able to do just that. But before finally succeeding, I had to go through quite a bit of trial and error. And while that can be frustrating, it can also be an opportunity, a chance to create what I like to call accidental art.

I decided to share the two pieces I chose to save in this post for your enjoyment.

I hope you like them.

Title: Art

digital graphic artwork

Title: Color

colorful digital art piece

Week four abstract shots photo contest winner

The fourth and final week of the Creative Dreamers Photography Contest encouraged photographic artists to think outside the box and venture into the truly artistic.

This last week, the theme of “Abstract shots” resulted in one particular image that stood above the rest.

Without further ado, I give you the winning entry for the week of July 1-7:

Golden Gate Bridge” – submitted by Elizabeth Weaver or BONEGIRLPIX.

Congrats on the free publicity for the win and your own personal edition of the “Making Beautiful Photography” e-book of photography tips by Jason Greiner.

Keep your eyes peeled for our next contest which will be all about video.

Let’s try this – one more time

So, the first week of our photography contest here at Creative Dreamers was a bust, the second week, we received a lot of entries by some very talented photographers. But this past week made the trend something like that of a heart monitor with spikes of ups and downs. Yes, we had a dud of a week in terms of submissions for the “People and portraits” category.

With all that being said, there is only one week left, one week to show off your skills and win a prize and promotion for doing so. Starting tomorrow (July1) through July 7, the theme will be “Abstract shots.”

Once again, you can send submissions to my e-mail (as indicted in several prior posts) and will retain full rights and intellectual property of your images.

Good luck and we hope to see some great images coming in for our final contest week.

Abstract photos from cell phone cameras

Even with all the strides in technology we’ve made over the years, probably any true student of the art of photography will tell you that cell phone cameras can never complete with the real thing.

That being said, even those of us who consider ourselves serious shutterbugs enjoy taking a quick and easy snap shot on our phone or other mobile device once in a while.

And all in all, there is one thing that these cameras can do to produce art on some level. They are an excellent tool to works with abstracts.

Below are two recent examples I took with my Android powered Samsung Replenish. I’ve always been a fan of playing with the balance between light and shadow and noticed this scene one day while leaving my home. I had the phone so I figured, what the heck.

Hope you enjoy them.



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