Confessions of an Artist

 In Guest Blogs

Ann Grasso Pattern Art introduces guest blogger Julie Anderson.

My son chose wisely. This by way of alerting you to the connection I have with Julie, my daughter-in-law. However, I did not ask Julie to contribute based on family. I asked her because of creativity, ability to see patterns – particularly in nature – and her constant pursuit of artistic improvement both in technique and visual meaning.

And now the page is hers.


“Objective painting is not good painting unless it is good in the abstract sense. A hill or tree cannot make a good painting just because it is a hill or tree. It is lines and colors put together so that they may say something.” Georgia O’Keeffe

 

Since I was a young child, I clearly remember my interest in art, specifically trying to create realistic images of things using pencils and paints. I always knew I would have my artistic skills in my back pocket, but I had many other interests as well. After whole-heartedly pursuing biology in my undergraduate years, I found that science suited me quite well in addition to art.

Today I am a practicing ceramic artist with a scientific past. Because the ceramic medium requires a good deal of science, it is easy to get hung up on the technical. I still frequently find myself drawn towards realism and precisely designed forms. While there are benefits to these habits, they can also leave the viewer bored or coming to quick conclusions about the creation. I do enjoy precision in my work, but skillful realism does not necessarily equal good art. After years of honing my carving and shaping skills, I now find myself resisting the urge to simply illustrate the obvious. Instead, I allow surrealism, abstraction and complex ideas to come into play.

In order for me to embrace both loose and creative thinking, I have to allow ideas to seep in slowly. Only then do new ideas and mutated forms present themselves to my conscious mind.

I begin my process by gathering a number of images from Pinterest, Google Images or my own reference photos collected over many years.

Julie Anderson

Depending on the complexity of the project, I will sometimes start with a sketch.

Julie Anderson, Ann Grasso Pattern Art, guest blogger

However, once I begin the carving process, I try not to adhere too tightly to my plan. This is where I have to intentionally let go of my controlling rational mind. As the hours of carving quickly pass, the design takes on its own personality.

Julie Anderson, Ann Grasso Pattern Art, guest blogger

I use carved patterns in many different ways, but most of them end up as part of the Migrations series.

Julie Anderson, Ann Grasso Pattern Art, guest blogger

 

Julie Anderson, Ann Grasso Pattern Art, guest blogger

These sculptural wall pieces are abstractions from nature, a generalization of how living things move in groups. One can see the carved realism and detail on the surface of the individual pieces, while the entire composition suggests a dance of nature. My intention is to draw the viewer in with the overall form and then to invite curiosity and questions about my work with the ambiguity of the forms contrasted with realism or surrealism on the surface of each piece.

To see more of Julie’s work, please visit: https://www.julieandersonceramics.com.

Showing 12 comments
  • Jennifer
    Reply

    Loved the thoughts on abstracting. In my younger years, I always admired realistic artists understanding how much effort it took to get something to look so real… but when I started collecting art, I was attracted to more impressionist and eventually more abstract art. You’ve given me food for thought…

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      Ann Grasso
      Reply

      Willingness to change ones’ point of view is a mark of strength, I believe. Thanks for sharing your “path.”

    • Julie Anderson
      Reply

      I’m so glad to hear it has sparked some thought for you. When I was younger I didn’t have much appreciation for abstraction, but that has grown over the years for me too, both as an artist and an art-buyer.

  • Jeanne Hewell-Chambers
    Reply

    Such beautiful work, and such a lovely, well-articulated description of the give-and-take of the brain’s role in creativity.

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      Ann Grasso
      Reply

      A delightful comment Jeanne, thank you.

    • Julie Anderson
      Reply

      Thank you for your kind words, Jeanne.

  • Mary R
    Reply

    I appreciate your words, “but skillful realism does not necessarily equal good art,” and “can also leave the viewer bored or coming to quick conclusions.” I, like many people I imagine, grew up thinking that it was the kids who could draw things that really looked like things who were the artists and the rest of us were not. This left us not pursuing art in any fashion. I realized decades later that, while these traits are innate in some, it can also be learned, so my measure as a child was incorrect. And even if never learned we each have our own art to create.
    I enjoyed immensely visiting your website and looking at your work—your realism combined with a great imaginative flair—especially your Waves and Hardware series. Such spectacular components and compositions! Thank you for allowing us a peek into your process.

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      Ann Grasso
      Reply

      I am sure that Julie will appreciate your thoughts and your looking further at her website. Thank you for commenting.

    • Julie Anderson
      Reply

      I completely agree with you about the childhood perception of being an artist, Mary. As a teacher of ceramics for both kids and adults, I see that sort of thing all the time. It is important for people to understand this notion that art is much more than making a drawing of a squirrel look like a squirrel. There are far bigger ideas to pursue that involve true creativity and individual expression.

      Thank you for taking the time to look at my work. I am happy to hear you enjoyed it.

  • Louise
    Reply

    When paths cross, new connections are made … through happenstance, had a reconnection with Ann, leading me to Julie’s work. I am smitten by your talent and your work. I’m finding this connection to be art itself, does this make sense?

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      Ann Grasso
      Reply

      In several weeks, we will be advancing a new Wednesday opportunity called Connections and Collaborations. We will advance our interactions. Pattern Art is not just drawing, it is, as you have shared, the art of connecting.

    • Julie Anderson
      Reply

      Maybe art just makes the world smaller and less overwhelming for us – creating connections that help us realize how much we all have in common. Thank you for your thoughtful comment and taking the time to look at my website, Louise.

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