- Be extremely cautious with your personal information
- Stick with the payment methods you know and trust
- Never, never accept an overpayment
- Talk about it with someone you personally know and trust. A second pair of eyes and ears can help you spot problems!
Thursday, April 7, 2022
Saturday, September 25, 2021
|"Sheltering Girl," 2020. Acrylic, tissue paper, mulberry paper, sheet music, modeling paste, ink, and glue on canvas, 24"x36". Inspired by "Field of Sunflowers" by Christine Sarjan Cohen, 1996. |
|Detail from my collage, showing my tiny rabbits|
at the bottom of the painting. On a collage this
big, these little guys are just an inch or so tall!
|This was taken after gluing down the first few couple layers|
of paper. Recognize the pieces I cut from the art print?
|Continuing to build up layers of paint and paper...|
|The brainstorm Post-its I made while at work...|
Saturday, September 18, 2021
|Check out this bad boy and his funny, glittery wings!|
Saturday, May 22, 2021
After about a year off blogging, ya girl is back! Last year was probably the craziest year ever. I know, I don't even need to go into all that, it was a crazy year for everyone. But seriously. I'll share more later but let me just give you the cliff notes:
|Nick and me dancing at our|
Things were looking good, I was a few months away from paying off student loans, hoping to move into my own place by the end of the year, and working on an October deadline to publish a poetry novel.
By December I was engaged, had a new sister and a new nephew, had spent April and most of May off work for quarantine, I was finally getting ready to move into an apartment, I'd paid off my loans and completed my book, and was still enjoying my best mental health (aside from the stress of planning a wedding during a deadly pandemic!).
With everything going on last year, adopting a sister and dating during a pandemic and whatnot, something had to give... so this site drew the short straw.
Now I'm happily married, happily vaccinated, and ready to come back to See Cailey Color!
It seems right to begin with a painting that, like this blog, also sat dormant for a year:
|Wheat and Sunflowers, May 2021. Acrylic and gold ink on canvas, 14"x18".|
|Early in the process...|
Like I said, I planned to go to Ukraine for a week at the end of June last year.
I got my passport, our group purchased plane tickets and started learning about the culture, everything was on track for us to travel...
Of course you already know that didn’t happen. Covid-19 threw a major wrench in everyone's plans.
When I began making arrangements for the trip, I did some research on the country, planning to make a painting inspired by what I learned. Wheat and sunflower oil are two of Ukraine's largest exports, and the area we were going to is very agricultural.
I've always loved sunflowers and the color yellow... Toss in a shameless obsession with Vincent Van Gogh, and this painting just had to happen!
So I spent hours googling images of sunflower fields and wheat fields, considering my composition and colors, and thinking about techniques.
|Check out that empty foreground, waiting for inspiration!|
Anyway, coronavirus reared its ugly head, the trip was cancelled, plane tickets refunded, and my painting slipped to the sidelines. It was almost finished except for a strip of foreground that I just couldn’t get right.
The painting sat in a stack of unfinished work for a long time. I was seriously stuck on that foreground. I loved what I'd done with it thus far, especially with the sunflower field, but I just couldn't work it out.
Finally, just few weeks ago I decided I wanted to finish the painting. Feeling determined but still not exactly inspired, I made a big mistake by attempting to add a large pine tree to the foreground, with the trunk stretching up the right side and branches arching across the top, neatly framing the sunflower and wheat fields.
|I didn't even want to show you this picture but I felt |
obligated to share my shame...
I hated it with the first brushstrokes, but I just kept painting and painting, like a mad woman.
By the time I finally put down my brush, I was stuck with this very ugly tree marring the whole right side of the canvas. It was awful. I hated it.
I mean, look at it! That's like.... the worst thing I've ever painted. I hate it.
Finally I put down my brush, but the damage was done and I wanted to cry. I felt like it was ruined. I was so mad at myself.
I hated the thought of trying to go back over it and fix everything. The sunflowers would never be the same. The big puffy clouds and deep blue sky could never be fixed. I even considered cutting the unmarred rectangle from the middle of the canvas to use in a collage.
But I didn't do anything drastic (the first thing I did right that night!). The next day, I painted back over the tree. Everything would be fine.
It strikes me that this painting is a lot like life. Sometimes, you ignore your conscience and do the wrong thing. You know it’s wrong and stupid, you know it’s ruining everything, but you do it anyway, all the while your gut is screaming at you for being so stupid and stubborn.
It's true that the sky and the sunflower field will never be the same. And I’ll always know that underneath the yellow and blue paint, there’s an ugly tree that should never have happened.
Overall, however, the painting is actually more beautiful because it's finally finished!
June 2020 came and went and I still haven’t been to Ukraine. I have no idea if there’s a landscape like this anywhere in the country. There probably isn’t! I just know two of their main industries and enjoy using a paint knife. It’s hardly even about Ukraine anymore, but about mistakes and a hope for redemption.
|Vincent van Gogh, Wheatfield with Crows, oil on canvas, 1890. |
I've always loved this one. Can you tell it was big inspiration for my painting?
I still want to go to Ukraine someday and see what it actually looks like. But I’ll need to change the last name on my passport!
Thursday, June 11, 2020
Dear Bus Artist,
The summer before I started ninth grade, my youth group did a "stay-cation"-style mission trip.
In other words, we camped out in the back yard of one of our youth leaders and did various service projects around the city.
We did things like painting and playing with kids at the Salvation Army youth center, working at an urban garden, and working with other local ministries. Each day, we took the city bus to a different work site.
For me, this was an eye-opening experience on many levels.
I had no idea the need, or the important work being done, in my own city!
Here I was, a timid, awkward freshman girl, hopping aboard a bus each morning and evening with a group of 20 other high school students. Have I mentioned I'd never ridden a bus before?
I was terrified of sitting next to a stranger, terrified of getting lost or missing my stop (yes, I was in a group; no, that did little to calm my fears), terrified that I'd make the wrong move and be mugged in the street.
At the time, I didn't realize these fears had a name: anxiety. As an adult, very aware of myself and my mental state, I can look back and point out all sorts of symptoms I had. As a young teen, I had no idea. I thought I was just a typical, if shy, person.
Of course I also had the normal teen girl fears, like not wanting to look stupid in front of my crush... Anyway, moving on.
By the end of the week, I was exhausted, probably stank from not showering enough, and was only slightly less terrified of the bus.
That Friday afternoon, we all piled on the bus and to my dismay, I was the odd one out. I was forced to sit beside a stranger (horror of horrors!).
This is where you come in, Bus Artist. The strange I sat beside was you.
As a child I had an unexplained fear of men, particularly old men. Well, all old people. And strangers. And sick people, and people who smoked, and people with facial hair (my dad was clean-shaven). Or people who were loud and rambunctious. I had a long list of fears!
In light of all that, I hope you weren't offended by my silence or my unwillingness to even let our clothing brush, though we shared a seat on a bus. I was a dumb kid, and you were an older man with a 5 o'clock shadow and the lingering scent of cigarettes.
But from the first moment, I noticed your clipboard and thick stack of paper. As we rode along on our jerky, stop-and-go way, I was intrigued to find that you were drawing on this makeshift sketchbook. I didn't want to pry, but I couldn't resist watching.
You sketched our fellow bus-passengers without a word. One, two, three pages, filled and flipped over the clipboard.
I would have never said spoken if you hadn't spoken first. I would have sat in silence the entire way, sneaking peeks at your sketches.
I'm so glad you spoke up!
You asked if I liked art. My response, still nervous, was less than enthusiastic. I admitted I liked to draw sometimes.
I wish I'd had the guts to speak freely, to tell you I'd been wondering about pursuing a career as an artist. I'd always loved art, poring over drawing books trying to absorb every word of instruction. I'd moved on from Crayola markers and crayons to "fancy pencils," charcoal, and ink-washes. I specialized in horses, copying all my favorite pictures in my horse books. Yes, I liked art!
You spent the rest of our bus ride showing me how you did gesture drawings. We talked about shading, and the direction of the light. Several times, you told me to get the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. I tucked that title away in my mind.
You asked if I drank or smoked, which I, being a sheltered homeschool kid, was somewhat shocked by. I answered "no" truthfully. You smiled and said that was good, and not to try those things. You said drinking and smoking could ruin someone's life. I wondered, but I didn't ask whose life they'd ruined--yours or that of someone you loved. I've wondered ever since... and I've prayed. Whatever your story, I wish life had been a little kinder to you.
As soon as I got home, I borrowed Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain at the library. You were right, it's a pretty insightful book!
I'll admit, I largely forgot about our little encounter until a few years later when I stumbled upon that book in a used book sale.
I opened the book, a hardcover, unlike the paperback library copy I'd borrowed years earlier. The spine was stiff from sitting unopened on someone's shelf.
Turning the pages, it all came tumbling back to me.
Your gruff but kind words, you rough clothing, calloused hands cradling your scrap-paper sketchpad. Your sketches, so expressive and full of movement. The way you explained drawing perspective, shadows, and keeping in mind the direction of a light source.
I was wildly glad that long-forgotten drawing book popped back into my life so unexpectedly, at a time when I happened to be feeling pretty frustrated and uninspired in the creative department.
I don't know if I thanked you for talking about drawing with me. I don't remember our exact conversation, if I said anything when we reached my bus stop. You removed the sketches you'd made during our ride from your clipboard and handed them to me. They are the drawings in this letter.
We parted knowing almost nothing about each other, except that we shared a love of art.
Looking back, I wish I'd asked your story! I wish I'd asked you what you did for a living, what lead you to sketch your fellow bus-riders, or when you first started drawing. I wish I'd asked you if you knew Jesus.
When I got off the bus with my friends, clutching the stack of pencil gesture drawings, I started crying. Weeping. I felt as if I had seen a glimpse of God, and in the most unexpected place: a 50-year-old artist riding a bus. I cried because I could suddenly see how much God loved you, and how much God loved me.
That was in 2009.
Today, eleven years after that bus ride, I wonder where you've ended up.
What's happened in your life since that Friday afternoon? Do you still ride that bus route? Do you still carry your makeshift sketchpad of scrap paper?
Thank you, sir, for speaking first. Thank you for the book recommendation, it's a great book!
Thank you for reminding me that every person is a story, a poem, a sketch of dreams, mistakes, and memories.
Thank you for reminding me that art exists to bring people together. I pray that I may grow to become the one who speaks first, myself, and touches the heart of a young person.
The Teenage Girl on the Bus
Sunday, March 29, 2020
|Work-in-progress collage (untitled)|
I was happy, my depression was creeping steadily backward, my anxiety was the lowest since I don't even know when. My few anxious days each had specific causes, easy to address and move on. I refocused my relationship with God, I was spending more time with people I care about, I had a lot of new and exciting things happening, I was happy and healthy and doing so, so well. The happiest I've been in a long time.
I'm not all that concerned about getting sick (although maybe I should be? We can debate that later). My feelings about the illness itself are more of resignation than fear. I'm washing my hands, taking care of myself and my family, staying home. If I get sick, I get sick, there's nothing more I can do about it. All I can do is pray it would be a mild case. If any of my loved ones get sick, my prayer remains the same. My prayer remains the same for everyone across the world.
What's really caused me anxiety is the social upheaval and uncertainty over the future.
I felt guilty when I wasn't able to work from home, I feel guilty when I go to the grocery store, I feel guilty for cracking coronavirus jokes—but I need to make money, I need to eat, and I need to laugh in order to cope.
Now I'm off work until April 6th at the earliest, so at least I don't have to feel guilty about going to the office. Instead I just get to think about how long my paid time off will last, compared to how long this pandemic could run... fun thoughts, amiright? And as someone whose mental health thrives on routine, these ever-changing, uncertain times are rough.
|Work-in-progress collage (untitled)|
This past week has been a different story! I'm still anxious and I dread the turmoil and loss in the coming weeks and months, but I've felt enough peace to paint, and that is truly a precious gift to me.
I've continued working on this collage I started long before COVID-19 was a pandemic. Today I'm doing something I wouldn't normally do on this site... Today I've shared only work-in-progress photos, because the collage isn't finished yet.
I'm hoping to complete it sometime this week, and then I'll edit and publish my other blog post draft sharing the inspiration behind the piece. That is also when I will reveal the title of this piece. I've chosen a title I think we all will be able to connect with...
For now, I hope you enjoy these progress shots. Just as this bunnies and flowers collage is unfinished, remember that this pandemic is not the new normal, this is not the end. This is temporary, and in time the term "social distancing" will become a memory.
Until then, this collage has become my prayer. I pray you remain healthy, safe, and happy. I pray illness, stress, financial struggle, loneliness, and boredom stay far away from you. I pray these bright sunflowers and blue bunnies can brighten your day a little. I pray you enjoy baking sourdough bread, sewing masks for hospitals, binge-watching Netflix, or whatever you're doing while quarantined. I pray you learn new things about the world, yourself, and your loved ones during this time. I pray that we all learn to value our relationships more, and learn to treat others with an extra dose of kindness... especially those workers who are so often mistreated, but are truly essential to keeping our society going.
I pray you remain healthy and safe.
Saturday, February 1, 2020
|Franz Marc, Blaues Pferd I (Blue Horse I ), 1911|
Don't worry, we're almost through this old batch about last year's Silhouette Girl and the Moonhorse project. I just couldn't allow myself to trash all this content, even if it's old. I really love sharing my inspiration with you. Please stay with me just a little longer?
I'm still embarrassed, but I take great comfort in the fact that you're still here, reading all this. I appreciate the support, more than you know!
I promise, new content will come soon. I've got some really exciting things headed your way... more art, more poetry, more everything. In the meantime...
Franz Marc rocks.
Not sure who he is? No worries! I'm going to talking about him today so if you're curious, keep reading. If you're not curious, well... I really hope you keep reading anyway?
|Laurel Burch, "Indigo Mares"|
Growing up, I tended to prefer realism. As my appreciation for expressionism has grown, so has my enjoyment of Marc and his colorful cubist critters.
Nevertheless, there's a connection which didn't occur to me until I opened this old blog draft. I was preparing a basic piece on Marc and his animals, but I realized that Marc and I seem to have something in common... And we're not alone.
Enter Laurel Burch!
In one fell 16-page swoop starring a blue horse, I managed to accidentally echo both Franz Marc and Laurel Burch.
I would be mad if they both weren't so great!
|Detail, "Meeting," Silhouette Girl and the Moonhorse.|
Watercolor, gouache, ink, and mulberry paper on paper
cloth. March 2019.
Between the two of them, Marc and Burch managed to capture animals in entirely new ways, using vibrant colors, shapes, and patterns. They both favored cats and horses and created dynamic compositions with them.
They also both felt strongly about the meaning of art and the feelings they could evoke with their paintings.
"Today we are searching for things in nature that are hidden behind the veil of appearance... We look for and paint this inner, spiritual side of nature."
- Franz Marc
Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky, and some of their avant-garde friends formed an organization called Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) in 1911.
This group was deeply interested in spiritual meaning within art. Their mission was to get away from the long-standing art traditions and returning to a raw, primal, spiritually meaningful art. They were deeply invested in symbolism and spiritual representation in art. Kind of a kooky bunch in my opinion, but we all have different beliefs. I won't fault them for being a little kooky.
|Cover of Der Blaue Reiter. Design by Wassily |
The start of WWI brought an end to The Blue Rider organization and publication. Franz Marc was drafted into the German cavalry and killed in battle in 1916.
However, Marc and Kandinsky sparked something that lasted far longer. Der Blaue Reiter led the way for the Abstract Expressionists, 20th century "modern artists" like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko.
"My paintings are the most intimate portrayals of all that is precious to me, my greatest joy is to offer them in forms that enhance and brighten the lives of kindred spirits all around the globe."
- Laurel Burch
Like Franz Marc, Laurel Burch felt strongly about the meaning in her art. She used color and form as tools for spreading joy, building her career on that mission. Whereas Marc and Kandinsky were focused on the spiritual and mystical, Burch's focus was on the mythical and fantastical, creating images of cats, butterflies, horses, and other animals in sparkling jewel tones and geometric designs, ignoring fashion trends and instead drawing influences from folk art and her imagination.
Laurel Burch started out as a young single mother making jewelry to sell in shops in San Francisco, but quickly outgrew her humble beginning. She made jewelry, painted, and experimented with many art and craft techniques.
|Laurel Burch with one her numerous cat paintings|
Like Marc and the artists of Der Blaue Reiter, Laurel Burch's influence went beyond simply painting. Burch was something of a pioneer— she was one of the first Americans to partner with Chinese manufacturers, in the early 70s when China was generally considered a closed market. Burch stood up for the integrity of her work, politely but firmly insisting that every product reproduce her images exactly, with no change or interpretation.
Burch's colorful, fun-loving art and her mind for business led to a worldwide market, expanding to license numerous companies to create products using her original artwork. She made her art accessible to all, with everyday products like jewelry, accessories, and clothing, sold at inexpensive prices. Laurel Burch, Inc. virtually exploded in the 80s and 90s, and is still known and loved today, especially among cat-lovers.
Am I breaking some rule by comparing Franz Marc and Laurel Burch?
Did an art critic somewhere in New York, London, or Paris just start inexplicably crying?
I really don't know, and that's the thing about the art world. I've barely dipped my toe in with a few art shows and that awesome RAW: Columbus experience, but from the outside I see so many unspoken, unwritten rules. So many "shoulds."
As a child I fell in love with Norman Rockwell's paintings, and as a teen I discovered that many artists and critics claim he was "only an illustrator" or "only a cover designer." Apparently he didn't count as a a "real artist"...whatever that means.
|Detail, "The Dance," from Silhouette Girl and the |
Moonhorse. Watercolor, gouache, ink, and mulberry
paper on paper cloth. March 2019.
For a long time I grudgingly believed that pretentious, long-held, harmful idea that if an artist is not devoted to making it in the fine art world of galleries and agents, cocktail dresses and auctions, they don't belong. Grudgingly, because I don't like the idea of being boxed into that role.
Finally I found my mistake, and suddenly I felt free to have an Etsy shop and design on Redbubble, and still call myself a serious artist.
I had spent so long wanting to "be an artist" as if that were a dream job to work toward, not realizing that I was an artist simply because I made art!
I now believe the purpose of art is to build bridges and bring people together, not divide them. Art is meant to open the eyes of those who cause hurt, and to heal those who are hurting.
Whether the artist is Franz Marc, Laurel Burch, Norman Rockwell, Leonard da Vinci, whoever - our art exists to try to bridge the gaps between all of us.
I believe that when two people who are otherwise opposite—upbringing, nationality, age, religion, class, education, values—become lost in the same painting, feeling the same emotions, longing for the same things, utterly eclipsed by a single painting, song, book, or movie... that is why we make art.