Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – Why Share Creative Work? by Amanda Reilly Sayer


Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the final post from Amanda Reilly Sayer and because Amanda has only begun blogging recently, the posts are from 2019. There is plenty to share in poetry, prose and wonderful artwork. I am sure you are going to enjoy. This was Amanda’s first post on her blog in January 2019, and I thought it a great reminder to everyone who is creative about the importance of sharing your work.

Why Share Creative Work? by Amanda Reilly Sayer

It’s a funny time to ask, having already created a blog to share my evolving artistic endeavors. Yet the question has nagged at me anew since my very recent foray into blogging. Although it’s possibly a tangential inquiry, I also wonder how sharing is connected to the creative process. All might agree that art is a form of expression. Does that mean, almost by definition, that creative output should be shared? Is this perhaps a variant of the age-old query: “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

If we don’t share the things we create do they really exist? To what degree does the act of sharing, and the response generated, change the work? If we do something and no one is there to like it on our chosen social media outlet, did it really happen?

The last question is a joke, really, but I do think one’s relationship with social media and the intentions behind sharing through the varied online options are worth examining. What if no one likes a post? Does that mean it wasn’t worth making? Should one aim for popularity or post the pieces that are most personally meaningful?

Why create?

Maybe we first need to understand what drives us to create something in the first place. Why make another painting? Why share a photo? Why write a blog post or poem or story? Are the motivations highly variable? Or is there a universal drive at work?

To articulate my personal answers about the reasons for creativity is more difficult than I had expected. And maybe that’s the obvious reason we make art – to express things that are challenging to characterize or explain in linear form. Asking why we create things may ultimately be akin to asking why we exist or why we breathe. I understand some folks make things for utility or monetary gain. But isn’t there something more?

For me, creative expression feels like my soul’s urging, something to fill the corners of my being, a way to expand an otherwise partially inflated balloon. As such, my sense of wellbeing is directly proportional to how much creative energy I generate and adequately express. Sometimes I make excuses – I’m so busy; My technique is too primitive; My thoughts are disorganized; I’m not good enough. And every time I say no to myself in these ways, I feel my energy wither. The possibilities for myself shrink, the balloon deflates, and I become fatigued from holding myself against the beautiful current that might guide me to a better place.

Creative by nature?

We are all creators, aren’t we? Sifters and shifters of energy in different forms? Not everyone paints or writes, but we all make something new by virtue of our presence and choices about how we express. And don’t we all look for ways to be ourselves most fully? Don’t we all feel best when we allow ourselves to be swept up by a wave of creative energy, in whatever form that takes?

So why not share? Whether imperfect or still in development, why not let others see what we’re like in full expression? Because when we do – when we offer ourselves in fullness, even in the early stages of our chosen craft – maybe that is when making art becomes an act of love.

© Amanda Reilly Sayer

 

About Amanda Reilly Sayer

My creative expression is fairly diverse, but I think there is a consistent thread which ultimately examines and encourages personal and artistic growth. The engagement with different art forms keeps me interested and in evolution. I hope my efforts will be meaningful for you too.

At least sometimes, I think we progress by stepping back and looking through different lenses. The contrast between different forms helps me do that, ever challenging me to see beyond the known. Watercolor encourages me to think about layers and transparency, which makes for some interesting effects when applied to acrylic paintings. Photography helps me focus on composition and light. Poetry trains me to be succinct and thoughtful about word choice.

There is always a risk of doing too much, of diluting quality. I may yet specialize. But for now, I’ll continue to aim for progression in process, to work towards ever better results. I hope you’ll join me!

Connect to Amanda

Website: https://amandaart.poetry.blog/about-me-2/
Artwork: https://amandaart.poetry.blog/painting-gallery/

Thank you to Amanda for allowing me to share the posts from her archives and I hope you will head over and explore for yourself.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – #Poetry -Snow Day by Amanda Reilly Sayer


Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the third post from Amanda Reilly Sayer and because Amanda has only begun blogging recently, the posts are from 2019. There is plenty to share in poetry, prose and wonderful artwork. I am sure you are going to enjoy. This week I have selected a poem to share with you…

Snow Day by Amanda Reilly Sayer

New snowfall through starless night
Laden trees with cotton tufts
Now, luminous tendrils
Against the dawn sky

“Snow Day!” cheers rang through the house
As kids, alert in their still warm pajamas
Danced with anticipated snow forts
And other forbidden weekday play

All whilst their parents, bent over for boot lacing
Felt their backs groan, remembering
The last storm, which wasn’t the last
Not nearly the last, after all

If they noticed anything
Beyond their full shovels
The rhythmic, industrious scraping
It wasn’t apparent to anyone

Until the laughter of their children
Rattled the glass panes
And impelled them notice
Breath-stained windows, mindful nudges

Look up and see!
The vast sky of carefree days
Your perception
Malleable as wet snow

Witness the very moment
When fading midnight embers
That blue-lit, sparkling tree line
Those inky nighttime remnants

Become the new day

©Amanda Reilly Sayer

About Amanda Reilly Sayer

My creative expression is fairly diverse, but I think there is a consistent thread which ultimately examines and encourages personal and artistic growth. The engagement with different art forms keeps me interested and in evolution. I hope my efforts will be meaningful for you too.

At least sometimes, I think we progress by stepping back and looking through different lenses. The contrast between different forms helps me do that, ever challenging me to see beyond the known. Watercolor encourages me to think about layers and transparency, which makes for some interesting effects when applied to acrylic paintings. Photography helps me focus on composition and light. Poetry trains me to be succinct and thoughtful about word choice.

There is always a risk of doing too much, of diluting quality. I may yet specialize. But for now, I’ll continue to aim for progression in process, to work towards ever better results. I hope you’ll join me!

Connect to Amanda

Website: https://amandaart.poetry.blog/about-me-2/
Artwork: https://amandaart.poetry.blog/painting-gallery/

Thank you to Amanda for allowing me to share the posts from her archives and I hope you will head over and explore for yourself.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – #Painting #Art- A shifting definition of good work by Amanda Reilly Sayer


Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the second post from Amanda Reilly Sayer and because Amanda has only begun blogging recently, the posts are from 2019. There is plenty to share in poetry, prose and wonderful artwork. I am sure you are going to enjoy. This week Amanda shares her move into working with acrylics for her art.

A shifting definition of good work by Amanda Reilly Sayer

Learning to paint with acrylics

My acrylic painting journey began at one of those wine and paint nights, something my husband thought would be fun for us to do as a couple. He was right! After a manageable set of instructions, each of us was encouraged to make a version of the model painting using the blobs of black and primary colors provided. There was no talk of color mixing, no real technique offered besides a caution about order: start from the top with blue fading into red/yellow sunset, next add the blue ocean, end with the black rocks and sailboat silhouette between them. Everyone happily managed their own interpretations, smiles and laughter abundant throughout. Maybe that was the wine! I remember being struck by the individual differences in outcome despite the uniform instructions and materials.

PaintNite 2014 (first acrylic painting)

This PaintNite scene, though not one I wanted to hang at home, found a place in a windowless office I used for part of my work week. It brightened the space and inspired peaceful thoughts, or so I was told by one of my adolescent patients who otherwise did not radiate calm. Despite this decided value, I knew the painting wasn’t particularly ‘good,’ something I mistakenly thought was a byproduct of the medium, not just my lack of skill. Still, I picked up some canvases and acrylic paints on sale at a local craft store. I imagined I’d host a PaintNite with friends or make paintings with my young nephews, ideas that would sit untouched in the corner of my basement, alongside those canvases and acrylic paints.

Years later…

Several years passed, dotted with intermittent watercolor painting, my preferred medium only by habit and lack of experience with any other. Then, my husband, catalyst and longtime supporter of my artistic efforts, gifted me a portable plein air easel. He apparently imagined me on the French countryside, complete with beret and smock, his imagined representation of an artist. And what a lovely way to be envisioned! But he didn’t know that type of easel, which doesn’t adjust to fully horizontal, isn’t ideal for watercolor painting. Although I skipped the beret and smock, I decided to honor the gift by bringing canvas and paints up from the basement, to give acrylics another try on my new easel.

You might wonder whether I thought to research acrylic painting techniques before I began, something that seems obviously wise now. Naively, I thought I knew all there was to know about applying acrylic paint, having had the introductory lesson at PaintNite. I know, I know – hindsight is humbling! In my defense, my art education stopped in middle school. I thought ‘good’ painting was done with either watercolor or oils, a medium off-limits to an amateur, the brush cleaning alone beyond my capacity. It hadn’t occurred to me that acrylic painting, like so many deceptively simple things, can also be complex and render beautiful scenes.

Without expectations, or skill, I set up the easel and started putting paint on canvas, intending to make a rock breakwater, something I’d struggled to master with watercolor paints. No surprise, the rocks were not a success in this painting either. But to my delight, I discovered that with acrylic painting even a dark mistake could be painted over with a lighter color, not really an option with watercolor.

New Medium, July 2018 (2nd acrylic painting)

The final result looked closer to what I considered a ‘good’ painting might look like. It wasn’t great, I knew, but it was better than I’d expected it could be and motivated me to keep playing with this new medium.

So much more to learn…

Since then I’ve made several acrylic paintings of varying quality and have recently decided to learn more about technique and application. There is a lot to learn! It’s tempting to see all the paintings I’ve made to this point as not ‘good’ through the lens of increased knowledge and experience. For example, initially more focused on color and composition, I didn’t realize visible brush strokes might add to, or detract from, a painting. Poor paint coverage is also a thing, which doesn’t affect the gestalt but really makes for a poor quality painting on the close up. This final painting (pictured at the top), my third of the medium, exemplifies both kinds of mistakes.

My definition of a ‘good’ painting has shifted, and will, I suspect, continue to evolve. Still, there is something about this painting, even with the noted imperfections, that keeps me from painting over it. Even that PaintNite painting was beloved by at least one person and was therefore valuable, if primitive in other ways. These paintings remind me that while we can evolve in technique and knowledge, we can also appreciate and honor where we’ve been. We can define ‘good’ broadly.

In other news, although I’ve thus far managed to talk my husband out of the need for an artist’s costume, he occasionally still wonders aloud, “Wouldn’t you like a beret?” Maybe someday I’ll decide that would be a ‘good’ look for me.

©Amanda Reilly Sayer 2019

About Amanda Reilly Sayer

My creative expression is fairly diverse, but I think there is a consistent thread which ultimately examines and encourages personal and artistic growth. The engagement with different art forms keeps me interested and in evolution. I hope my efforts will be meaningful for you too.

At least sometimes, I think we progress by stepping back and looking through different lenses. The contrast between different forms helps me do that, ever challenging me to see beyond the known. Watercolor encourages me to think about layers and transparency, which makes for some interesting effects when applied to acrylic paintings. Photography helps me focus on composition and light. Poetry trains me to be succinct and thoughtful about word choice.

There is always a risk of doing too much, of diluting quality. I may yet specialize. But for now, I’ll continue to aim for progression in process, to work towards ever better results. I hope you’ll join me!

Connect to Amanda

Website: https://amandaart.poetry.blog/about-me-2/
Artwork:
https://amandaart.poetry.blog/painting-gallery/

Thank you to Amanda for allowing me to share the posts from her archives and I hope you will head over and explore for yourself.. Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck #ShortStory – Empty Promises by Amanda Reilly Sayer


Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the first post from Amanda Reilly Sayer and because Amanda has only begun blogging recently, the posts are from 2019. There is plenty to share in poetry, prose and wonderful artwork. I am sure you are going to enjoy. This first post is in response to Diana Wallace Peach’s speculative fiction monthly challenge, and this was a great prompt.

Empty Promises by Amanda Reilly Sayer

The following tale is my response to this month’s speculative fiction writing prompt posted by D. Wallace Peach. Link to her original post here.

Pixabay Image by Brigitte Werner

My quest for self improvement began with good intentions. But you know what they say about that. And they – whoever they are – were right, at least in my case.

The beginning was unremarkable, certainly not a decision with any associated labor. I saw the ad for the Promise, a new innovation in body art, and suddenly understood the answer to a question I hadn’t consciously asked. I’d been unhappy, but resigned. Until I saw myself in the Promise, the promise of how I could be.

Maybe it will sound strange to you. But when I saw the picture – the photo of who I could be – I filled with a previously unfamiliar sensation. My usually hollow emotional chambers near burst with the possibility of that golden body, the gleaming key to my betterment. After even a small taste of that feeling – that fullness – I would have paid any price for more. I was hooked from the start.

During our free consultation, my body artist – BA – left no doubt about the prospect of a better life. The results were guaranteed if the program was followed as prescribed. My decision to proceed was cemented by the described ease, the transformation by an artistic hand, the assured certainty I’d never known from my self-directed choices.

After my initial sessions with my BA and her team, I felt great. The body sculpting was painless and easy as advertised, a combination of well-numbed injections and muscle stimulation. All while I rested on the softest leather chair I’d ever touched. From the the water packaged in slim glass bottles to the sound system that could intuit music preferences, everything was top of the line, sleek, sexy. The perfect mirror for what I was becoming.

The effortlessness it took to achieve my new body was almost too good to be true, but the results spoke for themselves. People immediately looked at me differently. I felt desired and physically attractive for the first time in my life.

Please understand, I only wanted what anyone does. To feel better. To be better. You can understand that, can’t you? I wasn’t a greedy or vain person. Not then.

I might not have needed the additional embellishments – the gold plated forearm, the decorative filigree – but I didn’t know enough to say no. Well, that’s not completely true. I didn’t want to say no. Eventually, I always wanted more.

When the old feelings of self-hatred and emptiness returned, I felt confused, then cheated. Until I called my BA to schedule another procedure. That always helped, at least a little, before it stopped helping at all.

Ultimately, I stopped feeling even momentarily whole no matter what we did to my body. Very possibly, I felt more empty and alone than before I’d started my quest. No matter how I appeared on the outside, the aching hollow inside always returned, magnifying the pain of my unhealed wounds. The loud echo mocked me.

Because here’s one thing I discovered too late: No matter how good an external change feels at first, it doesn’t last if there are no internal changes to match.

I guess didn’t realize being admired wouldn’t feel the same as being loved. I’d thought once people started looking at me, they would really see me, want to know me. But they only seemed interested in the parts of me that weren’t real and I’d lost track of what was.

When I shared my dysphoria with the BA, she seemed unconcerned. Rather, she was pleased to offer me an experimental procedure she called a mood and personality upgrade. There was talk of a brain implant with external mood dial, something I barely understood and would have never considered at the outset. But by then, I would have agreed to anything, anything to feel better.

At what point had my good intentions crossed an invisible line to the point of no return? Many things seem obvious in hindsight, but even now I can’t say when I knew I was in trouble. There were signs along the way, warnings I suppose. But I dismissed them. When my friends and family expressed concern, I decided they were jealous, if not narrow minded.

In the midst of my quest, I only saw the gold possibilities of a body that had previously eluded me, a shell to protect me from the cruelty of rejection and self-loathing I had endured in the past. How could I have known the reality would never quite match the promise of possibility? That the key wasn’t in the armor, but in healing the wounds beneath.

I suppose I understand that now, even if it’s too late to peel back the grotesque mask I traded for my humanity, the failed brain implant. And let’s face it: knowing is different than doing. Just this morning, I noticed my shirtless belly roll over the top my boxers and caught myself itching for another upgrade. I can make no promises to either one of us. I’ve broken too many already. The craving for more hasn’t left me, despite all the unfulfilled promises and new insights.

My story is a cautionary tale. Perhaps you’ll listen, though I’ll understand if you don’t. I didn’t listen to the people who tried to warn me. Still, if I can help even one of you reading this, maybe there is still hope. Maybe one of you will be spared my fate, then help me find my way back.

©Amanda Reilly Sayer 2019

About Amanda Reilly Sayer

My creative expression is fairly diverse, but I think there is a consistent thread which ultimately examines and encourages personal and artistic growth. The engagement with different art forms keeps me interested and in evolution. I hope my efforts will be meaningful for you too.

At least sometimes, I think we progress by stepping back and looking through different lenses. The contrast between different forms helps me do that, ever challenging me to see beyond the known. Watercolor encourages me to think about layers and transparency, which makes for some interesting effects when applied to acrylic paintings. Photography helps me focus on composition and light. Poetry trains me to be succinct and thoughtful about word choice.

There is always a risk of doing too much, of diluting quality. I may yet specialize. But for now, I’ll continue to aim for progression in process, to work towards ever better results. I hope you’ll join me!

Connect to Amanda

Website: https://amandaart.poetry.blog/about-me-2/
Artwork: https://amandaart.poetry.blog/painting-gallery/

Thank you to Amanda for allowing me to share the posts from her archives and I hope you will head over and explore for yourself.. Sally.