she finds the light

even in the uncertainty and chaos, she finds the light.

i'm working on some posts to share with you how i'm finding my light.  until then, enjoy your weekend!

i found this piece (and many others)  while i was doing a massive clean out of my studio.  i'll be listing prints of these lost treasures in my shop one at a time.  

MATS bootcamp nautical wall art

tammie bennett's tatooed whale

i took lilla rogers' make art that sells bootcamp, and while i didn't participate as fully as i had planned, i had fun with this particular assignment.  

we were to create a piece of wall art using a nautical theme.  i have been loving whales for a little while now and i knew i either wanted to have whale or mermaid imagery in my piece.  

i first created the piece below using acrylic on cork for a little added texture. then i created the piece above in illustrator after scanning in my sketches.

tammie bennett's northern whale

i think it's pretty funny how both pieces have the same basic idea of a whale diving deeper, but they are quite different at the same time. 

these were a lot of fun to create.  i've added them to my shop because i had a couple requests to do so after posting them on instagram or facebook.  

feeding my soul

i've been feeding my soul lately.  

tambennett is an artist mixed media

the months leading up to SURTEX were filled with making technical repeats and lots of digital art.  and lots of logistics and planning and marketing.  i didn't do much drawing-for-fun or painting.  (i did keep my sketch-a-day streak alive, don't worry!) i was talking with lesley grainger at the show (i was so blessed to have her as a neighbor) and we were both saying how we couldn't wait to get home and create art with our hands, getting messy with paints.

so i've been mixing up my media.  putting on some music and losing myself in just creating without a thought to who will want to buy it, or where i should try to sell it.  it's been amazing for my innards, i tell you.  

tam bennett energy works mixed media

soul food #2 :: i got so excited to get lilla's mini assignment in her make art that sells boot camp. nautical!  i have so many nautical sketches in my books and so many ideas in my head that i feel like i might explode....or at least start leaking out of my ears.  

tam bennett make art that sells nautical sketches

soul food #3 :: we got puppies!!!  if you follow me on instagram, you'll definitely get your cute puppy fix, although i am trying so hard not to flood my feed with puppy pictures!  it's amazing how quickly they became part of our family and how much we already love them.

(speaking of instagram, i'm halfway through my daily thankful sketch project, #365tinythanks.  i sketch a tiny thing i'm thankful for each day and post it on instagram.  can you believe we are already halfway through 2014??)

soul food #4 :: reconnecting. i lost touch a little bit with my online artsy friends and the happy happy art collective gals, and i'm so glad to be back connecting!  it feels so good to be involved and supported (and it feels good to be supportive of my buddies too!)

although i didn't create the mixed media pieces above with the intention of selling them or submitting them to companies, i was quite struck by something margo tantau said during the MATS meetup.  she said to show the world what you create in your play time.  what do you create for fun?  THAT is the work people want to see.  THAT is the work that can show art directors your range.  this proved to be true that very day at the show when i was speaking with an art director in my booth who liked my work.  but then i showed her a few pieces of my mixed media that i decided to bring at the last minute and she gasped.  "i am more interested in THAT.  send me THAT."  

so as part of my 50 asks, i'm sending one of my mixed media pieces out into the world today. speaking of my 50 asks, i've already sent 2.  today will be my third.

i leave you with two questions today.  if you are joining me on my 50 asks, have you done any yet?  and two, how have you fed your soul today? 

week 4 in lilla's make art that sells class

tammie bennett's mixed media piece jumpokay week 4 in lilla rogers' make art that sells is wall art.  this is one of the markets i am really interested in.  each week lilla gives a mini assignment on monday which we will then use to create our main assignment given on wednesday.  (such a brilliant way to work!)

this week she assigned different color combinations for each astrological sign.  i'm a pisces and i got pink + purple.  yay!  and gag!  i have enough hot pink art supplies to fill a store, but purple.....not so much.  quick side note about purple :: i really really don't like purple.  but i will confess to being the president of the purple lover's club that i created in fourth grade.  i put up a poster in the lobby of our medical resident housing asking for members.  no one showed up.

wednesday's assignment was to do an abstract collage type piece.  we had to include at least one word and at least one floral image.  it had to be a square and she wanted us to use some traditional elements such as paint as opposed to a strictly digital piece.  i was super pumped.  and also scared because i haven't painted or done collage in months.  for me, painting and collage has a way of getting rusty and unfamiliar without regular practice.  heck, i find painting really hard on some days even when i've been doing it daily.

i set out to just. create. marks. on several canvases.  i work best doing 3-5 works at a time.  i can paint on one while the other is drying.  and many times i have a sudden flood of images in my head and they don't all work together on one piece so i spread the wealth among my canvases.

i am going to a memorial service for my dear uncle this weekend, so i knew i needed to post my assignment on thursday rather than sunday.  therefore, i  worked on small canvases  (8x8) this week so i could finish them in time.  i did start a few larger pieces that i will finish when i return.

i went through many ugly stages.  (some of my canvases are still in the ugly stage waiting for me to paint through the ugly).  i went through stages where i loved the piece but knew it wasn't done yet and felt afraid to mess it up.  so i'd put the piece aside until i got the courage to add more marks.  i kept telling myself "you can always paint over it. nothing is permanent." i went through stages where i told myself that urban outfitters or anthropologie would never buy these pieces.  so i painted them until i knew i would buy them.

but completely outweighing those fears was my utter joy.  i painted for over seven hours yesterday.  (thank you chris for taking the kids and giving me some art time).  i wanted to paint for seven more but i was starting to get a little loopy.  there were a few points where i would find myself singing at the top of my voice to a song, fingers (and pants) covered in paint, and feeling like i was lighter than air.

why, oh why, have i let my painting habit slack off? sometimes i talk myself out of it by focusing on how long it will take to clean up the mess afterwards. or i'll remind myself that i like to work uninterrupted which is close to impossible when you have 3 kids at home for the summer. but the feeling i get when i'm creating a mixed media piece is so amazing.  it's something i can not let myself forget.

tammie bennett's mixed media art piece shebegan

a note about the two pieces in this post :: the first one i love so much it makes my heart throw up.  i love it and i'm putting it on my wall.  but for the purposes of lilla's assignment, i felt it didn't "pop" enough.  lilla makes a good point when she says art directors / buyers may only see a thumbnail of your work and it has to pop and standout.  of course you want your art to standout from the wall and i'm not sure the first one does that.  so i created the second one.  which i love, but not as much as the first one.  it brings me to that age old question artists everywhere have faced.  do i make something i love even if it may not be the most commercially viable, or do i make things i know will sell.  i really do think you can find a balance in there somewhere.  if you make something you really love, there will be place for it somewhere.  as lilla says, "people buy your joy."  for an interesting experiment i posted both images on the class' facebook wall asking which people thought i should post.  so far, the results show people like the first one.

p.s. i learned so much about how to let loose and have fun in my mixed media pieces from sarah ahearn. she does amazing mixed media pieces and teaches a fantastic class.  if you ever have a chance to take her class, do it!