Tag Archives: Flyingredhead

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Loss and Laughter

I’m drawn to sad songs. I call them Canteloupe dog songs. You know, melancholies or ‘Melon Collies.” I explain this on stage between songs and it usually gets a groan, but it’s still true. I love a sad song — and yet in my visual art I’m compelled to create whimsy and humor.

Why the dichotomy?

First I want to think about sadness and loss for a minute. I think since we’ve all suffered loss, there’s a feeling that people will understand and identify with ones expression of sadness. For one who is young, the losses may be minor but the feelings are stronger, possibly because that feeling is so new. The older one is, the greater the losses, but also the greater the understanding that life piles on the losses over time. So we sing to that–our voices rise in harmonic sadness, noble in the acceptance of what is now gone from us. I don’t welcome the losses. Yet we sing to the truth of what we’ve lost and how that feels.

In one of my new favorite songs, John Gorka writes, “It’s tough before the aftermath, waiting for the sky to rain.” To me this is so true — it’s when you realize that there will be an aftermath that shock sets in, and you may be waiting for rain – for the tears to come along and then the rain that washes the pain and sorrow away. While waiting for the rain, your chin curls down into your chest, drawing into itself like a pill bug, protecting the soft inner core with your spine – the only hard shell you have on your body besides fingernails. You live with the loss, and then time and acceptance come in and feel like sheep’s wool on a cold Northwest winter day. This is when life starts to open up again – it goes back and forth. Open a little, then close up. Smile then sadness, comfort and forgetting.

ThoughtfulAnd now let’s think about the whimsy and humor in the art I make. Well, I suppose that’s the yin/yang of life. I think the humor comes directly out of the sadness.

These actors. I know exactly where they come from, and I’m excited to see where they are going. More often funny than sad, they usually have names with some humor or word play. For example, there were the twins: Illuminaughty and Illuminice. I don’t have fully formed stories for each, but that’s OK, they are meant to carry meaning to the One who takes them home. Each person who claims an actor can cast them in a play of their own making. The meaning comes as the play unfolds.

Both art and music may be a way of working through some issue, and BOTH are good for that. Or it may simply be to make a smile in my day. A painting or a song are often a reminder of someone dear – someone who used to laugh with us, or someone who still laughs with us.

I have a friend who finds deep meaning in the most common of things. She finds spiritual solace or guidance in the simplest things. She also makes her cat speak as if she’s a human and she says the most ridiculous things. I don’t do this with my cats, but I think I do with my actors. And what could be more fun?

Acrylic Painting

Two Studio Tours in September

1st Ever
Arts North! Studio Tour

Lynette Hensley, the Flying Redhead

Saturday/Sunday September 12 & 13 Please stop by studio 10 and come see the new work I’ve put together for your entertainment, and to take home with you if it strikes your fancy. (What is a “fancy” anyhoo?)

I will be at my own Flying Redhead home studio along with Robin Westbrook, faboolous jewelry maker.
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Hours are 10 AM to 5 PM both days. Studio 10 is located at 3009 NE 135th St, Seattle 98125.

The tour map is available on the website along with info about all the other fine artists and studios on the tour! 11 studios, 37 artists!

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Then the following week — (what was I thinking?!! It’s ok, it’ll be two weekends in a row – FUN!!)

10th Annual

Edmonds Art Studio Tour

Saturday/Sunday September 19 & 20. Please stop by studio 14 and say hi! I will be at  fabulous print artist Mona Smiley Fairbanks’ home studio along with Robin Westbrook once again. It’s more fun when you get to spend the weekend with peeps you like!

I’m bringing new work, many smaller sized pieces, and matted studies all for viewing and purchase, as well as some new 3D figures I’ve been having a great time making. It’s all fun, and I’d love to see you!

Parking should be easy enough in both locations, and there will be signs pointing the way. Please download a map of the Edmonds tour here and be sure to check out the other artists on the tour website — there are some fascinating folks!

Hours are 10 AM to 5 PM both days. Studio 14 is located at 8622 202nd St SW, Edmonds 98026.

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Art Walk Edmonds Preview at ART Spot
There will be a little preview of the tour at ART Spot on Thursday September 17 from 5-8PM for the Art Walk Edmonds – AWE. I’ll be there with one of my sculptures along with many of the other artists on the tour. It’s the only time we see each others work!

Oh Oh Oh!
One of the fun things we did last year and this year was artist interviews — here’s a link to mine wherein I answer “What does it mean to be human?” along with other intriguing questions.

Lynette Hensley

Pinterest board

Morgue File

What is a morgue file?

I used to keep a collection of images, a mini library of cuttings and photos to inspire and inform my costume design work. Standard practice for artists and designers, many fellow designers had impressive collections depending on their interests the projects they had worked on, and the space they had available for storage. When I was costume designing it was not unusual to need to research multiple time periods, locations, economic classes, cultures, and art styles, and of course this was before computers were used to store images and files. My hard copy collection consisted of interesting clothes, bodies in poses useful for rendering costumed characters for dances and plays, makeup ideas, hairstyles, undergarments, clothing for everyone from kings to clergy, and soldiers to peasants. I had sections for colors, fashion periods, hairstyles, weaponry, accessories, poses, animals, art styles, architecture, furniture. Really, anything of interest. As you can imagine, it could easily get out of hand.

Thank goodness for Pinterest, Evernote and Dropbox now.

Pinterest board

How I use a morgue file now

Now I have a morgue file for painting inspirations in Pinterest and Evernote. I use Pinterest mostly for the visual inspirations, and Evernote for the writing and notes. It’s not that different from my old morgue file, except for the storage space. Here I collect poses, faces, hands, compositions, painting styles, color schemes, concept ideas. In Pinterest I’ve kept some of my boards secret, others are shared. I refuse to steal, but I do participate in the time honored artist practice of responding to the work of other artists whether it’s borrowing a method of applying paint or trying on a composition that worked for someone else. There are trends, after all, and I always offer my own personal spin, colorway, palette, and hand to the project. I find inspiration in other artists, and images, and refer to them from time to time as I’m doing my own work. It’s a natural extension of being a theater designer!

Popplies and Peoplies

NEAT Seattle Studio Tour December 5-7, 2014

Next big show coming up is NEAT Seattle, a studio tour. I will be a guest of Sandy Spear, and Priscilla Peterson will also be with us. Sandy makes glass beads, and jewelry from the beads, and Priscilla makes wearable art clothing. Looking forward to sharing the tour weekend with these two lovely women! December 5-7, 2014

Headstones by Lynette Hensley Headstones

I will bring more of my new 3D figures “The Actors,” the “Headstones,” some smaller paintings and collages and matted prints for gift giving. Great time of the year for purchasing totally unique gifts!

Link to Studio Tour Site

 

Edmonds Art Studio Tour

9th annual Edmonds Art Studio Tour. This free self-guided tour is a once a year opportunity to visit 23 private studios displaying the work of 42 local artists in the scenic Edmonds area. You can purchase finished work, see new art being created, or just visit and ask questions. Everyone is welcome!

I will be in studio 11, Mona Fairbanks home studio. More info and a map on the website.
http://edmondsartstudiotour.com/

Play it Again

Where music and art come together

Attending the Wintergrass Bluegrass festival 2014 yesterday brought a few new musicians into my attention. When I like a band it’s usually for a few reasons, 1. fun to watch, inspiring to listen to; 2. I would like to do some of their songs; 3. I would love to make art while listening to their music.
How do the art and music puzzle pieces fit together? As an artist and a musician I spend time actively doing both, and it seems that when I concentrate on one, the other suffers. Or maybe I will turn that about and say that there is a season for each — there is time to move forward with art, and a time to learn new music. I think they are not exclusive, they both feed the same creative mind and build up each other.
Some people say they can see sounds and hear color.  Few of us are synesthetic, but for most, music and art convey emotion, say ideas, and can bring us along into a mood or story. One band yesterday (Milk Carton Kids) sang a single line that sticks with me, “Our young hearts grow old.” One line offers a powerful and lyrical image and brings it to the people witnessing the words along with the tune. It brings a hush. And how does that bring us into the art studio? Sometimes silence is preferred as it turns the creative switch over to the on position. Sometimes singing along greases the inventive cog. Sometimes wordless music is the thing, sparseness is appreciated and one can find visual creativity in the quiet chinks in the music. Sometimes a wall of sound will release an inner monster to overcome.  Most often a quiet mood works best in my studio.
Music quiets the brain of other concerns, focuses on the work at hand. Musicians might prefer that listeners listen intently, but here’s where familiarity can cause inattention – allowing focus on other creative pursuits. Still the music is appreciated as time flies by.
Where does your attention go in the creative mess? “There are no worries, you can clean up later,” is part of my self talk. Let’s see what happens…make mistakes…lay down the paint on canvas…what you do is not wrong.  Are you using a brush without rinsing? Well good, not rinsing makes some beautiful mother colors to tone paintings and make beautiful shadows. Not following a pattern in music can cause something called fusion – often enough it’s a happy surprise. How do you get a mother color in music? Find an unusual transition between major chords with a minor 9th/added 11th or something even better to surprise us. What does a harmonic look like in painting? I wonder.
Art for me is mostly a solo pursuit. When working solitarily, it’s important to have good self talk. Music can help. Be kind to yourself. Exhibit a little kindness. State your intention, colors, a feeling, a brief description. Be curious about the outcome rather than attached to it. Play some music in your studio and practice joy.
New musical discoveries:  Väsen, Chris Thile and Mike Marshall, the Milk Carton Kids.