Jolie Guillebeau

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

993: Bright

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013
Only seven left! Thanks for being here with me for this.


Merry and bright.

Hope your holidays are awesome. (See you tomorrow!)

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992: Bloom

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013
And now we’re down to eight. Thanks for being here with me for this.

Today is Christmas Eve, and I hope you’re busy with family and all sorts of merriment. So I’m going to keep this short.

Over the past four years, this project has allowed me to bloom in ways I never expected. And that’s the best gift of all. The gift of myself.

Hope your holidays are awesome. (See you tomorrow!)

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991: Allow

Monday, December 23rd, 2013
Helloooo! I’ve missed you!

I’m back from a glorious vacation filled with bright blue skies and deep blue seas and fluffy white clouds. As you can see, it influenced my painting today. But the big news is that there are only nine paintings left! Thanks for being here with me for this.


One of the hardest parts of painting for me is allowing the work to progress. It doesn’t matter what medium I use, or what I’m working on, I find myself occasionally stuck.

Sometimes I’ll create something early in the work that looks amazing. Maybe it’s the quality of a line in the charcoal sketch of an oil painting, or maybe it’s the way two colors blend in the early stage of a watercolor, but something will happen on a canvas that makes my heart flutter.

And then I have a hard time letting it go. Because eventually, in order to make the painting better, I have to cover the thing that I love. I can’t leave a white space and a patch of charcoal, or just a single thin layer of color. Part of the magic of my work is building the different stages in to one whole and complete piece.

That’s what happened yesterday. The first layer of encaustic is certain to be buried under dozens of other layers of wax, but it was so beautiful. The wax feathered out so prettily and created these delicate lines that sang to me.

I hesitated for a long time about painting on top of it. I didn’t want to let it go, but I had to trust that something better was going to happen as the work developed.

Once I committed to allowing the work to take shape, I realized that the feeling I was experiencing over the painting is similar to the way I feel about this project. It’s a beautiful project, and so many parts of it work for me.

But it’s still early, and I have to allow the work to develop. So I’m going to let this layer go in a couple of weeks and start adding more work to this foundation.

I’m going to allow myself to progress.

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Friday, December 13th, 2013

This week has been full of naps, sunscreen and goal setting.

Can one of you remind me that I should take vacations more often?

I’ve also been playing a bit with a new medium. I’ve lovedPaper by 53 for a while now, but the digital brush I bought atMuse Art and Design has made it even more fun. I’ve still been “painting” everyday, but this method doesn’t take up any space in my carry-on.

And anything that helps with light packing makes me happy.

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This week has been full of naps, sunscreen and goal setting.

Can one of you remind me that I should take vacations more often?

I’ve also been playing a bit with a new medium. I’ve lovedPaper by 53 for a while now, but the digital brush I bought atMuse Art and Design has made it even more fun. I’ve still been “painting” everyday, but this method doesn’t take up any space in my carry-on.

And anything that helps with light packing makes me happy.

990: Weight

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

First, a few housekeeping notes and a little bit of random.

One, ten paintings to go! Whoa.

Two, a reminder that today’s painting will the last for a couple of weeks. I’m taking a vacation! I’m planning to send out a note or two while I’m away, because I think I’ll miss you too much otherwise, and we’ll return to the normal painting schedule on Monday, December 23.

Three, something exciting is happening in the Spring. In between working on the huge installation I’m creating forTEDxCUPortland, I’ll also be making magic happen with a new event! The team that creates WDS is embarking on a new trail! It’s called Pioneer Nation, and it’s going to be awesome. Read about it here. I’d love to see you there!


And now– the painting!

Pigment is one of the most interesting things about creating art to me. The chemistry involved in creating color is fascinating. And the way different colors interact with one another is mesmerizing. One of my students was experimenting with watercolor yesterday and kept getting frustrated by the way the yellow crept into other colors.

Once I explained the differences in weights of the pigments, she totally got it and started having fun. So when I went out to paint later, I decided to try the same experiments in wax.

With several layers, some of the pigments sink into the wax just like ink does. The trick is timing. The wax has to be just hot enough, but if you leave the flame on too long, the pigments sink in to the wax and become dull.

I learned that if I see the colors begin to move, then I have to remove the torch immediately– otherwise it gets too hot and begins to sink. It required a bit of patience before I got it right, but once I figured it out, I had just as much fun as my student did with her watercolor.
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989: Momentum

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

At the end of every TaeKwonDo lesson, we face our instructor and recite the five tenets. They are: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit.

Every time I recite them I can’t help but think about how glad I am that the five tenets aren’t things like jumping, kicking, board-breaking or even knowing my left foot from my right. Because those are the parts of TaeKwonDo that are hard for me.

But this week, I was watching a beginner learn some of the basic moves while I waited to start my lesson, and I realized that those moves come naturally to me now as a blue belt. Of course, I’m learning jumping techniques and they’re really hard for me, but the black belts assure me it will come naturally soon, too.

That’s the marvelous thing about progress. Gradually, with tiny bits of momentum, you can make big changes.

Though I doubt I’ll ever learn my left from my right.

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988: Puddles

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Sometimes it’s fun to make a mess without worrying about the consequences. Like puddle-jumping. Yes, your shoes get muddy and your pants usually need to go straight into the washer, but you were probably already soaked, so you might as well have some fun with it.

Sometimes that’s what painting is like. The canvas is filled with color and it’s looking a little messy, so instead of freaking out and running for safety, I decide to puddle jump. Maybe I add a color that wouldn’t normally belong, or take a risk that I wouldn’t normally take.

Just like puddle jumping, that’s when it gets fun.

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987: Magic Hour

Friday, November 29th, 2013

You know that time of day when the light seems to glow? Just before the sun sets and the day ends? I love that moment. Everything is golden, but only for a moment.

I think that’s where we are with this project. It’s almost the end, but not quite. I still have a few more paintings before the sun fully sets, but we’re definitely nearing twilight.

It’s Magic Hour.

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986: Bright

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
It’s officially and properly here.

I have some friends that put up their tree on November 1, but I still hold off on holiday decorating until the day after Thanksgiving.

This year Chris and I will be away for most of December, so we’re waiting to get our tree until we return. But I still hung my wreath on the door this weekend.

It’s bright and merry. Just like this time of year.

That isn’t always the case. Some years December is bleak and cold– and then I feel guilty that it’s not as merry and bright as it should be.

Eventually I left that little bit of guilt behind and somehow since then December has been full of happy. Maybe it’s because I ignore the idea that my feelings need to conform to expectations. If you’re less than thrilled about this holiday for whatever reason, just know that I understand completely.

However, I’m hoping your holiday is full of merry and bright. No matter what you expect.

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985: Gray

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

All month I’ve read Facebook statuses about gratitude and Thanksgiving.

This week, there have also been a lot of posts about shouldsand shouldn’ts. With stores opening earlier every year in the U.S. after the holiday, everyone has an opinion.

“You shouldn’t shop on Thanksgiving!”
“You should boycott stores that open early!”
“You should consider people who are alone on the holiday or hourly workers who miss those wages!”

The world is full of shoulds and shouldn’ts. The thing is, it’s very rarely so simple. Even in the case of stores open or not, there are many variations of gray and so many different perspectives.

What’s best for you may not be what’s best for someone else. And I guess I’m hoping we can focus more on gratitude and leave the judgment out of the holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for you.

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