Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Christmas Card: Joy-Filled Art Making

The Joy Fiasco 2012: Making Christmas Cards

For about 10 years now I've been making my own Christmas cards.  It is always filled with a certain amount of anxiety: what will the subject be, will I get a decent painting in time, where will I get it printed, how might I get it printed more efficiently, and ultimately - will I be able to get the cards out in time for Christmas.  And so, last year I got into my head that I could just paint 80 Christmas cards instead of running to the printer.  I did several small pieces before I finally settled on the theme "Joy."  Are you laughing yet?

I decided to post the images on Facebook as they came out in a series, and was delighted that so many friends liked them and commented on how they enjoyed seeing these little messages everyday.  

Soon I realized that when it came to actually sending out the cards I would have to decide who got which card, and I'd be deciding until long after Christmas which "Joy" painting was most appropriate for any one of my 80 recipients.  I stopped seriously trying to produce 80 cards at about image 14 or so.  I took 4 or 5 images to a local printer and eventually settled on one for production.

The image above was not selected to be last year's card. Although it was one of my favorites, it didn't work quite as well as I wanted for the format of the card. So, I put it on a coffee mug on Zazzle.   

"Joy" has some of my favorite elements in it - the look of being old, hanging around for generations and being dis-covered, and renewed.  Always here - past and present.  

Monday, December 23, 2013

iPoinsettia: Digital Art

iPoinsettia, Digital Painting by Jim Carpenter

The Christmas Card 

I created this card while on the deck of a ship while on a transatlantic crossing in November 2010. I had owned my iPad for about 3 months and took it on the trip with me to see how I might "Paint" without having to carry along art supplies. When I sat down to do this painting the sun was shining on the water, and I was very comfortable in the deck chair looking out at the ocean, and fully aware of the feeling of gratitude flowing through me.  

It didn't take long for me to become totally absorbed in what I was doing. I was learning the Art Studio app on the run so there was no chance of becoming bored or distracted.  I had only my finger to guide me and there was a lot of experimentation going on.  Nothing new there, right? I mean, it's always an experiment when I paint, never "knowing" what is going to happen - just armed with a lot of hunches.  

Four hours later when I finally looked up from the iPad, the view had changed drastically; the sun had gone in and the fog had rolled out, and I had my iPainting completed.  It was a relief, really, to have the Christmas card done in November.  There's a first time for everything.  

And I had found a new way to make art while on vacation: just bring along my trusty iPad.  It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "finger painting."