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Art by Albano Gioia
Looking for the strength
This post's featured artist is Gioia Albano originally from Italy, now living in France. 
A fellow #twitterartexhibit follower, she saw my tweet about the Muse News feature and is the first artist to use the online form. (Which works splendidly.)

In her own words -
"I was born in Milan on the 20th of june 1973.
I'm born as an artist, even if my life wasn't always that straight about it, I had to fight above all with my own self to get ready enough and go back to paint again. 
So a part my early works I can say that I started again "seriously" since 2007. 
Today I live in the south of France with my husband and three children. It's actually not that easy find time to do all, so I'm quite often working at night!
I always loved to paint women, I just love that. They're me, you, life...they are beautiful and there is so much to find out.
Sometimes They exist just in my imagination, sometimes inspired by a particular topic, or by a person that I actually met.
As time goes on thanks to my personal experience I start painting different aspects of maternity, particularly the nurturing aspects of motherhood including breastfeeding, sleeping, carrying babies and so on.
These are also my choices as a mum, I love to think that they'll help building people that can be more close to their hearth and make this world a better place.
You can also find flowers and trees. 
Sometimes the human body and face and natural subjects are so linked together that they look like one.
I think that nature reminds me to calm down in the every day life and reminds me to build my roots wherever I live.
I do impasto technique which I cherish because it reminds me in the gesture and in the thick colour how much I can be strong and how much paintings can be as well."

Be sure to visit her colourful and inspiring store at Etsy. (I'm already saving my pennies to purchase some of her beautiful art...)
Here's a list of her recent exhibitions.

What inspires you?

"This 2012 has been a difficult year until now, I'm struggling with my life, I touched depression and I'm actually working to sort things out which is good but not that easy. Kind of rebuilding things that were built in a not ok way many years ago. 
Being a parent brings you to deal with your inner child and with similar sorts of things, so we are tempted to escape or we can feel overwhelmed , then we have to stay strong like a tree in the storm!"

What do you do when your muse goes AWOL?

"Well, I just keep painting, usually she's not too far away..."

Paintings by Gioia Albona


Thanks so much for being the first to use the submission form Gioia, I'm very grateful to have been introduced to your wonderful artwork. I hope that readers of this post are too. (I'm sure they will be.)

 

Carriellen Angell is an artist in New Jersey.  Growing up, her favorite pastimes involved art, reading and dancing.  She pursued training in art whenever possible and majored in art in college before changing her major to psychology.  For many years life and work got in the way of her artistic pursuits, but she has now returned to what she loves and has vowed to never set it aside again. (A bit like me :)
Now over to Carriellen;

The inspiration...
I wasn't inspired with anything in particular for this piece, other than having done another painting recently with a similar theme and not feeling quite done with it.  I generally paint from the imagination so usually my paintings are pretty spontaneous and inspired by my mood at the moment, more than anything else.  I was going for a sort of cool evening feel in this one, probably because this oppressive heat has got me frustrated beyond belief!

When my inspiration and painting ideas are at a low ebb I take to the Internet.  I love to look at what other artists are up to, I look at art collections in museum sites, I look at classical works and modern works, I read about art theory and look at instructional videos, and I look at a lot of nature sites like sea creatures, astronomy pictures and microscopic images.  Usually doing that for a while gives me some painting ideas to explore.

Thanks for the opportunity to participate!
Carriellen Angell
 
Kate England is an artist, iPhoneographer and designer. 
In 1997 she started Marmalade Moon as a journal, sketchbook, and expression for her digital, creative romance. 
In 2001 Kate opened a tiny design studio in Fredhäll, the Beverly Hills of Stockholm, from where she provides a  design services for clients all over the world.
When she got her first iPhone in 2008, (just like me) she discovered iPhone photography. 
She began exploring the iPhone and iPad as a revolutionary canvas for creative expression and a new exciting way of adding a creative layer to daily life.
Kate is half English, half Swedish and currently lives in Stockholm, Sweden.
Now over to Kate...

The inspiration for this image?
"One of my favorite iPhoneography projects is to capture reflections. When you start looking at what is reflected, you can discover surreal layers to reality and it becomes the photo montage that makes itself."
 
And when the muse is quiet?
"When the muse has left me, I try to look outside my regular fields of inspiration and disconnect from my computer. A trip to a museum, a different route to work, nature, a new art or photo app, getting messy and runny with paint, or explore a field that I don't have a connection to, such as fishing tackle, traffic signs or embroidery. Visiting thrift stores is one way to get imagination in motion, and of course iPhoneography is such an easy way to keep the eye sharp and exploring. I also find it important to make space for spontaneity and joyful play… seeing what happens with the picture, rather than trying to control it too much." 
Kate england
Kate England
Marmalade Moon 

Kate runs creative courses at Marmalade Moon, and the current one is free. Alert readers will remember me mentioning it in my news blog.
Here's some more information (did I say it was free to join?)

The Creative Jumpstart is a free course to boost your creativity and build creative momentum. It's a Club Marmalade Moon project, and you can get access to it by joining the club. 
Simplicity & Ease
  • To make it easy to succeed, the course comes in 7 tiny, to-the-point, practical and bite-sized chunks.
  • In this course we'll work on a practical project that you can complete with pen and paper. Optionally document your creative process with a camera (any old camera will do, an iPhone works great).
  • This will be a time for you to spark your unique creativity and begin weaving creativity into your days.



 
Patricia Allingham Carlson Artwork
The Lady and the Luna Moth. It was done with watercolor and rice paper collage. "The lady gazes through the tower window to the sea; as magic builds in the air around her, a luna moth arrives on the wind."

Pat's response -
1. The inspiration for this piece was the suggested image of a woman's face, specifically the right eye, which appeared in the randomly created collage surface. The eye had depth and beauty, and demanded a face to go with it. I drew in the face, painted it and disliked it. It was put aside for months, then I brought it out and added more color. Immediately it looked better, and felt like a princess in a tower. As a lover of fantasy and fairy tales, I painted in jewels, and swirls added magic to her transformation.  I decided on a luna moth, a favorite of mine,  for her companion.
 
2. When I have run into a wall with a painting, I sometimes cover the mess with rice paper and new paint. I apply it randomly and look to the muse to give me some luck!
When it is dry I turn it in four directions and squint at the work, gaze at it across the room occasionally, and wait for an image to suggest itself.
Some of my paintings have three or more layers as I keep covering till I "see" an image to work with.  
I am fortunate in this way; it usually does happen, and when it does I grab a pencil or bit of white conte crayon and sketch in the image. The closer I stay to the suggested shapes, the better the painting turns out. I imagine that is my muses way of telling me to listen to her!  

Pat documented the whoie creative process of this piece in an album 

Patricia has pursued a lifelong in art.She is a graduate with high distinction from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education. While showing her work in juried shows in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, Patricia has also been involved in teaching adults and children in her home studio since 1980. Her work is primarily done with
watercolor, collage, and mixed media. Her interests in nature and its spirit are a strong influence in her work. 
Many thanks for taking the time to share with us Pat, i appreciate it.

 
Sharing some of their personal muse relationship this week is Juli Ryan.
When you've seen some of her work you'll instantly recognise her colourful expressive style. Be sure to click the links to visit her website and follow her on the social network of your choosing...
Without further ado, here are here answers to the two muse questions -

1) My inspiration was my own childhood and my daughter's.  My mother had mental illness and so does my daughter.
For many, the journey of childhood can end abruptly because of a tragedy or other life-altering experience. 
We find ourselves being more like grown-ups. This painting is dedicated to those of us who've had that experience. For as it is sad, it also makes us who we are today. It can give us strength, kindness and resilience as we carve out who we are as adults.

2) What do I do when i have a creative block?  I like to browse art on the internet.  Nothing inspires me more than seeing great works of art!


Here's a little bit more information about Juli, in her words and taken from her website -

"During my junior year I got married and had a daughter.  I put my life on hold so I could enjoy those first years with her.  Then I discovered something I would never have guessed...I wanted to continue to be a stay-at-home mom.  Never saw it coming!  I had two more children, sons, and my family was complete.  I loved being a mom.  And still do!  But my kids grew up and didn't need me all the time anymore.   I had to find my own life again....so I started to paint and I was  hooked!   After several years of painting and selling on Ebay, my dream came true.   My art is in galleries!  Gallery 405 in Springfield, MO is the first.  I am now showing my art in the Art OnThe Levee Gallery In Newport Kentucky, too."

Juli also has an art blog - click here!
Thanks for sharing Juli, I know other people will find this as interesting as I do. Good luck with everything, may your muse always be with you.

 
The wonderful mimulux.
Fish Kritters - Art by mimulux
'FishKritters' art by mimulux

Here are her answers to the two questions;
  1. this painting - as most of my art - just happened. i rarely have an idea that i will "bring to paper".. usually i just dabble and doodle.. prepare a background.. and see what happens. i "play by ear" .. so to say :) this goes for trad art.. for digital art.. and to a certain extent also for my photography.. 
  2. if my muse goes quiet.. i give him-her-it .. a rest.. she-he-it probably needs it :) i know it will come back.. what i do when my muse is absent.. i listen to music.. i read.. i am with my animals.. i talk to friends.. i do some photo shootings.. and eventually.. the muse is back.... triggered by something i saw, heard, smelled.. anything really :) and we get down to work again :)

more info about mimulux, in her own words.

i am a dark artist, dark as in .. the dark sides of life
i have encountered them and like to bring these experiences into my work. i like to be subtle, using symbols, moods, textures, light.. i want to  make my viewers curious to focus on my art.

nevertheless, i see myself as being an optimistic person, loving life and living. i am entirely self-taught – apart from art classes i had at school. i have lived in many countries, on 3 continents, have been influenced by different cultures and they in turn influence my art.

i use different styles, mix them wildly, also use different genres but…
always come back to dark art.