JOURNAL

A Day in The Life

In my last post I promised you a look into my process while in France; here we go!  (select any image to enlarge)

I wake up about 6am when I have art projects going. It’s easy to get up that early; the bedroom windows face the rising sun, and those windows are wide open almost all of the time (no bug screens necessary here!!!).

rene_waking view5.jpg

My well-loved planner and a favorite spot :)

and another view

Bonjour!

My dog Dexter climbs up the stairs while I am descending; he gets extra snooze time with my husband Harvey while I get quiet time, which is very important to my creative process.

Stretch, drink tea, plan my day using my paper-based journal, a beloved vintage Franklin Planner. 

I try to stay away from turning on the iPhone or computer, so that my head stays clear.

. . .

Begin work. Again, I try to stay away from the computer and start working on my art right away. If there is a silk stretched and ready to be painted, that’s what I do first. And/or mix colors, because that process is long; when I create a color, I put the new color on a test grid, and then I need to wait until the dye is completely dry to really see what the color is! That often leads to a new adjustment of the color, another drying spell, etc etc - you get the picture.

 

Today's visitor, la vache, is the domesticated pet of a neighbor; when not at home with her, it is often seen wandering the village

Navigate to the studio. To get there, I walk out my front door, turn right and go up the stone steps into the studio. I think it was these very same outdoor steps that made me fall in love with this house immediately when I first saw it.

The steps to my studio.

Outside my studio window with Ganesh.

After at least an hour of creative work, I eat breakfast with Harvey and we go on a walk with Dexter all together. Here we have the option of walking down the Roman road (really!), a footpath that goes through forest and tree-lined fields with cows and hay, or “around the block” (I’ve always been fascinated that the French language has no word for block). This route goes toward a lake and past more fields with mama cows and baby cows and hawks and sparrows, past a castle, then returning to our house. Yet another route is down the road to Léon le Franc - what is now a tractor path that used to be a major foot thoroughfare to the village 2.5 km away - and we love how descriptive the names around here can be!

This is at the corner of my village; if I turn left I am following the Roman road. The woman who lives in the house you see here takes care of the little plot of land on the corner; the poppies are so beautiful here and seeing them always make me happy.

"around the block"

Dexter

Back home, drink tea, and back to the studio. I have work organized and lined up, both on my table and in my head. I try to make between 15 - 20 new pieces of art for each solo exhibit I hang, and that's what I'm working on now. I design, wax, and paint about 3 silks at a time, so as one is drying I can apply the resist to another, etc etc. When I am working on a large (6 ft long) silk, the banner material will take up my entire work table, so I concentrate on one of those at a time. Also, because the smaller works need to be delivered to the framer, and he needs time to measure, prepare, and cut the frame molding (called “baguettes” - the same word as the typically French loaf of bread!), I create the small works first.

Testing the dyes in my studio to capture the very colors I'm looking for.

Beginning the resist process using wax to draw with.

Here I am standing at the door to my studio looking out. That's my yard in the background.

I hold the artwork outside the door so I can see what the colors look like in the daylight and in the sun.

the set-up

In a very un-French way, we eat lunch about 2pm. The French lunch break is 12-2, and all the stores and businesses close during that time — very wise! After lunch I often sit in the yard and soak up some sunshine while doing hand-sewing or reading and remind myself how lucky I am to be here. And then drink a cup of coffee and move back into the studio.

A large part of the process is patience. And coffee. This is a new artwork for my next exhibition in August, inspired by the town of Aubusson. I look forward to sharing more about this soon... 

Break in routine. The outdoor Felletin Market happens every Friday morning, and it is very lively and a great place for socializing. We buy our vegetables, meat, and olives there, and on Saturdays the Aubusson Market is available; our cheese, bread and fruit come from this market. On Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, the Ressourcerie -- the Habitat-for-Humanity-type second-hand shop, is open and this is where we buy almost everything that we need for our house. We visit there once or twice a week.

Once a week, usually on Friday, I set up the steamer for setting the dyes on the art that I have made that week. The silk steams for 1 hour, but the whole process of preparing and washing and ironing afterwards takes about 4 hours total. I have learned not to leave the steaming until the last minute!

For working on the computer, I try to take it in chunks later in the day, setting a timer so I won’t get lost in the fog of the Internet and social media. The internet is unbelievably speedy here! I answer emails, write blog posts, do photoshop work, and check in with family and friends. And search for new places to exhibit my art.

I take another long walk with the dog towards the end of the day, and never plan on accomplishing anything after dinner - the process is long and the good French wine slows me down. If we are having my favorite (anything “bubbly”/champagne-style) I totally write off the whole evening because I tend to just want to sit in the yard while sipping bubbly with Harvey and Dexter and stare at the sky, the beautiful setting sun, the stars that appear, and the rising moon.

Bed about 11.

 
 

- René Shoemaker, Juchefaux, St Maixant. June 30, 2018

Does it even need a caption? Arc en ciel.

The house that is attached to our friend Madeleine's house in a nearby village. It is so beautiful! We were eating dinner in her yard and drinking champagne to celebrate my birthday when I captured this view...

Our sunset.

Look at that moon!

The moon with planet on my Mother's Birthday which was June 21st.



 

PS - A friend in America just commented: “You are so prolific in France!” Yes, I am making the artwork - but now how do I SELL it?!?! - this is the mystery I am seeking to unravel. Send me your ideas and advice, please! And check out my shop, let me know what you'd like to see there...

 

Art After the 2016 Election

Full disclosure: I voted for Hillary Clinton. I believed, from the bottom of my heart, that she was the best person for the job, and that what she genuinely wanted to do was take care of us—all of us.

The day after the election, I couldn’t imagine that the world would continue to turn, and that our normal everyday lives would go on.

But they have. And I think now that what I need to do is to help bring peace and positive energy into this world. I believe the way I can do that best is to continue making artwork that brings more light and beauty into our shared environment. So that is what I will do.

And on that note, I’m happy to announce that just in time for the holidays, a new collection of my hand-dyed, colorful silk scarves are now available at Aurum Studios in downtown Athens!

 

 

& HOT OFF THE PRESSES!

A new t-shirt is available at the Jittery Joe’s in 5 Points. This design depicts my favorite cup on my favorite table at my favorite Athens coffee shop. Stop in and get one for everyone on your list or order online HERE.

I am excited to be participating for the first time this year in the Handmade Hollyday Artist Market on Dec. 11th, hosted by Athens’ Treehouse Kid & Craft Store at the Starlite Showroom (750 W. Broad Street in Athens). I’ll be there with lots of René Shoemaker goodies: original silk art and linoleum prints, fine art reproductions of my most popular work, photographs, silk scarves, and t-shirts. 
 

Finally, if you want to bring color, beauty, and light into the world with your own hands while creating a special work of art for yourself or someone you love, I invite you to join me at my next silk-painting class on Saturday, Dec. 10th at the KA Artist Shop, 127 N. Jackson Street in Athens. I am offering two classes that day; come to one or join us for both to create two silk scarves or paintings! To register or for more information, visit https://kaartist.com/products/silk-painting-with-rene-shoemaker

 

With much love,

 

-René

 

A Sense of Place: Musings & Reflections on the Completion of a Museum Exhibition

 

Discovering the Chattahoochee Valley

Silk Paintings by René Shoemaker
August 23, 2015 - July 2016
 

My exhibit at the Columbus Museum is no longer on display; 

the closing reception has come and gone.

 

The silk paintings are rolled on cores, wrapped securely and labeled with tags.

 

They have come home.

 

As I drove back from Columbus with the art laid carefully on the back seat, I had many mixed emotions; thoughts swirled in my head; I vacillated between happiness and sadness.

 

I am so very, very proud that this exhibit happened. 

That Kristen Miller Zohn met me, liked my work, and proposed an exhibition.

 

That she had a vision, that we communicated well, and we created a body of work that was born by sharing ideas and feedback.

 

That my artistic vision resonated with others; that my mission in my art was welcomed by the public.

 

That I was invited to teach, to lecture, to be interviewed by the media and educators. That so many people were interested in what I had to say about my art, and about my life.

 

That children used my art as inspiration to create their own visions of Columbus.

 

I am a different person now.

I am more confident, I am strong, I am ready to take on the world.

 

My future as an artist is still unknown. What exactly is the career path for an artist?

But I know that my vision can be executed, and that I can reap the benefits of sharing my art.

 

Thank you to all those who have supported me and continue to support me.

 To those that believe in me, and always have. 

To my family and friends.

And to all those that know me through my art alone.

 

I have arrived.

 

 

 

 

Express Yourself

Nags Head, N.C. - One source of inspiration!

Nags Head, N.C. - One source of inspiration!

Discovering Your Own Creativity

I am intrigued by the many different ways people express their creativity. Whether it be cooking, writing, woodworking, poetry, metalwork, housekeeping, landscaping - the list goes on and on, and is truly unending. There are as many forms of creativity as there are individuals!

My friend Hope Hilton teaches classes on creativity at the KAArtist shop in downtown Athens, Ga, where I am teaching a silk painting class in April. Her classes have titles like Creativity Takes Courage and Creative Journaling. Creativity can be what gets us up in the morning; it can be what sees us through our tough times, illuminating the joy in everyday experiences that might otherwise slide right by without our taking notice. Creativity for me is a never-ending source of ideas, inspiration, and fun, and Hope’s classes are amazing because she helps everyone unveil their own sources of creativity!

I am excited to join Hope in this endeavor by offering my silk painting class at KAArtist on Saturday, April 9th from 1-4 p.m. There we can work together to explore color and line and silk and beauty, and you can see what other creative opportunities Kristen Ashley (of KAArtist!) has cooked up for us.

During our time in class, we will see how others have approached painting on silk and discuss how your unique approach to life - and creativity - will help you create a stunning silk painting of your own. 

Why is expressing yourself important? I believe we all have an inner vision to share with the rest of the world. We can begin to discover that vision by expressing it through our own unique talents. Come explore with me to discover how you can share those talents!

What is your favorite creative outlet? Hit 'reply' and let me know. Let’s begin a discussion on what makes your heart sing.

 

SIGN UP TODAY!

Silk Painting with René Shoemaker
KA Artist Shop
127 N. Jackson St.
 Athens, GA
1.706.850.1224

***

Peggy was very happy with her new silk painting!  Columbus State University 2015

Peggy was very happy with her new silk painting! Columbus State University 2015

René Art is now on exhibit:
Discovering the Chattahoochee Valley:
Silk paintings by René Shoemaker

The Columbus Museum, Columbus, Ga through July 2016

 

Paris - Wooden Steps

image In our building in Paris the top turn of the wooden stairway was so beautifully worn, so beautifully hand made, so varnished by so many feet over so many years, that I was struck by the glistening patina every time I walked the 4 floors to our apartment.

The design of the steps were pieced together and created an almost abstract design that I felt compelled to document and share with you.

[New art exhibit going up at Aurum in downtown Athens, Ga for the month of February. I am sharing the space with the fabulous textile artist Suzanne Gernandt of North Carolina. Reception: Thursday, Feb 6, 6-8 pm]

illustration:

Steps . Rue Campagne Premiere . Paris . 14th - hand painted silk broadcloth - by Rene Shoemaker - 2013

Visions of France

image When we left Paris, we began driving southeast in the car we had outfitted with a mattress and cooking supplies. I was so happy to be on the road again after the month in the city - breathing fresh air, seeing space, blue skies and fields. Spent the night at Troyes, in the Aube Department. That night we had sheep bahhing us to sleep. We definitely were not in the city anymore!

[New art exhibit going up at Aurum in downtown Athens, Ga for the month of February! I am sharing the space with the fabulous textile artist Suzanne Gernandt of North Carolina. Reception: Thursday, Feb 6, 6-8 pm]

illustration:

On the Road Again - hand painted silk twill - by Rene Shoemaker - 2013

Beauty Everyday & Rene's Studio

Beauty Everyday is a beautiful blog highlighting the best design, food and nature of the South. I’ve been watching what these three very talented ladies have been doing for their hometown of Athens, Ga for quite a few years - they seek out the beauty around us and share it freely. I admire their work and am honored to have my living and studio space highlighted by the talented photographer Rinne Allen. To see more:

Coffee Cups - really.

  image  
                                                                                      Issoire, France
    Let us share a cup of coffee together to celebrate the beginning of autumn! Today was our first day of coolness here, and I love when the temperatures start to drop, as the cool air gives me the energy to start creating again.
    During this past summer, I traveled for a few months in France and some of the neighboring countries. While there, I spent quite a bit of time observing - though sketches, photography, and note taking - while conducting research for upcoming art exhibitions scheduled through 2013-2014. There are two themes emerging for these exhibits so far, and I wanted to share some representative images with you so you can travel down this path of creativity with me. I’ll keep this blog - and “coffeecupress” on Instagram (please note, there is only one ‘p’ in the Instagram name) updated with images as I work on these projects. This photo represents the beginning of Theme #1: Coffee, coffee cups, tea, and other beverages.
Stay in touch to see how these photographs and sketches turn into finished art work. I’m looking forward to working hard in the studio and sharing the results with you!

Delight and Wonder

"…the artist appeals to that part of our being which is not dependent on wisdom, to that in us which is a gift and not an acquisition- and, therefore, more permanently enduring. He speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder, to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives: to our sense of pity, and beauty, and pain…"

…Thank you to my friend Terry C. for sharing this Joseph Conrad quotation with us this week.