Naked We Stand

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oil painting of man standing in water by Cheyenne MacMasters 2014

Pluto Risen
by Cheyenne MacMasters

 

Being female, I suppose it is natural that my art brings out the male animus, while men are often enthralled with their female anima spirit. Just a thought.  I am still in the emerging state of becoming the artist I didn’t feel worthy of being. Seems to be the theme that comes forth onto my canvas. You’ll see it in my paintings EmergingBorder Crossing, Of the Nefertiti, and most recently, Pluto Rising. It’s like writing down your dreams, you begin to see a pattern, a story-line that knits your life together. And, like dreams, we are often exposed naked to the world.

It isn’t easy to present ourselves to scrutiny. Before we get out the door we have to pass our own critical analysis that challenges and denies our readiness to be seen in public. There is a stage of development in every one of my paintings, that I call failure. It comes fairly quickly: first the prepping of canvas, then the sketch of paint, and then the failure.  After that, it’s a game of perseverance, wondering if I’m going to achieve anything but the exercise of learning to paint. Then, in the midst of that feeling of defeat, the Muses have begun to shape a reality at the tip of my brush. Painting becomes an archeological dig to bring forth the image that is beginning to emerge into being. I can feel the Muses nudging my brush into action as they swirl around me. We dance, we grin, we breathe a sigh of delight, “Congratulations, it’s a painting.”

12″x24″ oil painting by Cheyenne MacMasters

Available from Csambri Studios

Name Your Influence

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Pluto Rising by Cheyenne MacMasters

Pluto Rising
by Cheyenne MacMasters

I’ve been taking an e-course: “Starving” to Successful, written and taught by Jason Horejs of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona.  “Upgrade your materials” “produce more” “have an identifiable style” all this is what I’m hungry to know. The course has given me the tools and confidence to reach out and receive grants from several sources.  You can’t imagine how grounded I feel to be given funding for upgrading my materials and the trust to work on a project that will bring me into international waters. I highly recommend Horejs’ book and e-course for providing a path through the maze that leads from your studio into the world.

So far, the emphasis has been on the fundamentals of our craft, but now, the assignment is to write our biographies and make a statement as to what our art is about. The artist must translate into words what the heck they’ve been doing, and why they are so captivated by what they are doing.  You can read my new painter’s biography on my About page.

What influences shape an artist? Mixing colors as a child? Encountering Monet’s brushstrokes in person? Sensing the Muses guiding one’s attention? I used to dream of Pluto, a shadow figure sitting in an underground pool in a dark cavern. An intensely powerful presence whom I felt before I saw.  As calm as a sheathed knife. I felt quite brave in his presence, or was it the need to be brave?

For no particular reason, I remembered the other day that  I have Pluto rising in my astrological chart. And then it occurred to me, that’s the perfect name for my current painting. Ah ha…. Yet why, so many years later, has Pluto risen out of the pool? Late risers, those nether planets. Yet, has the sleeping hero, hidden away for centuries in his cave, really been all about bringing ourselves to light?

 

12″x24″ oil painting, “Pluto Rising” by Cheyenne MacMasters

available from Csambri Studios

Do You Title or Remain Un?

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Tango Happens by Cheyenne MacMasters

Tango Happens
by Cheyenne MacMasters

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy the adventure of discovering a title for my work. Harder to do with a basically abstract painting, but then that makes it all the more sweet when you have the “ah ha!” moment. I could have called this “Two light beams” since that was my original inspiration. Or, I could have called it “Dare to Enter” since I’m attracted to the doorway concept. But, while I was putting the finishing strokes on the canvas, tango music began playing with that seductive intensity that takes you into a foreign realm and I saw the duet of courtship in front of me. Tango happens. Now it’s not just an image, but a feeling as well.

 

16″x20″ oil painting by Cheyenne MacMasters

available from Csambri Studios

Have You Seen Your Muse?

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Of the Nefertiti by Cheyenne MacMasters

Of the Nefertiti
by Cheyenne MacMasters

 

Have you seen your Muse? Perhaps in a glance from a stranger, or when you look at the clock and see a favorite number. Your Muse is there offering enticements, baiting the hook, letting you know you have a friend, if only you would recognize what you see.

I once saw the Muses dancing in my dreams. Robust and vigorous, these are Greeks filled with passion, not simpering wall flowers. Now when I invoke the Muses of inspiration and painting before picking up the brush each day, asking to be graced with their enthusiasm and exhilaration, I inhale ardent intent when I draw in my breath after saying “Amen” and then exhale into the task at hand. This must be the state of grace we all enter into when giving ourselves up to the fervor of creation.

 

20″x16″ oil painting by Cheyenne MacMasters

available from Csambri Studios

Border Crossing

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Border Crossing copyright (c)2014CheyenneMacMasters

Border Crossing
by Cheyenne MacMasters

Sometimes, when starting a new painting and seeing how it is not at all as one envisioned, one has to give up and proceed with innocent eyes. On my last post, Evolution of a Face, you can see exactly how clumsy my initial drawing looked on the canvas. So many borders to cross along the way to creating a painting.  Lack of skill and wishful thinking among the barriers we erect against progress. I never thought I could achieve the illusion of a figure on canvas. “Wow, it looks like a toe!” I exclaimed to my drawing teacher in amazement at my efforts. So, for years I stayed on the comfort side of the border, the side more imaginary in its assumptions than the illusions of painting. We all have borders to keep us secure in our known worlds, safely not advancing. What borders are you thinking of crossing?

 

20″x16″ oil painting by Cheyenne MacMasters

available from Csambri Studios

Evolution of a Face

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Evolution of a Face
first sketch

first sketch

I’ve been working on a painting, which I had hoped to show you in this post, but it’s not quite done. So, I thought it might be interesting to let you see how the face has evolved from its initial sketch onto canvas.

2nd stage of face by Cheyenne MacMasters

2nd stage of face

This second stage has lost its features, yet still seems fuller than the first rough draft.

3rd stage by Cheyenne MacMasters

3rd stage

It is ironic to me that even though this figure is a silhouette, I still have to add all the features. It’s a face now, but not of anyone I know. I’ve discovered that photographing each stage of the painting lets you see exactly where you need to remedy misplaced muscles and bones. The photograph reveals what the glistening canvas disguises.

4th stage by Cheyenne MacMasters

4th stage

Looking more like a face lost in thought.

Face of "BorderCrossing" oil painting by Cheyenne MacMasters

Face of “Emerged” oil painting
by Cheyenne MacMasters

This is the face that has now Emerged in my painting. Not merely thoughtful, but curious as well. I am always surprised by what the Muse on my brush tip will bring forth if I let her play long enough upon the canvas.

I hope to bring you the full painting in my next post.

Enter

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Enter by Cheyenne MacMasters

Enter
by Cheyenne MacMasters

There’s a game out here

You can play if you want

You have to want

You know

Who knew it would be such a thrill to enter the game.

To try out one’s strokes and put them into play.

 Refreshing to step up to bat.

So crystal clear that I don’t even need colors,

just the dance of black and white.

 

20″x16″ oil painting  by Cheyenne MacMasters

available from Csambri Studios

Fog

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2SkySampler_(c)CheyenneMacMasters2013

Sky Sampler
by Cheyenne MacMasters

My Muse is a being of fog and mist. How can a brush recreate such an ephemeral phenomenon? Perhaps it is the feeling as well as the rendering the Muse is seeking. One has in mind the image to portray, and then there is the actual painting that manifests. When in doubt, strike boldly, the sky is roiling. The electrical poles are stalwart, delivering lines of energy despite inclement weather. But what about the mists that came to ground? Perhaps we’ll see that scene next week.

 

16″x20″ oil painting  by Cheyenne MacMasters

available from Csambri Studios