Downtown Party Night! Saturday, November 26th, 5 - 11pm!

Posted on | Monday, October 31, 2011 | No Comments

November 26, Downtown Party Night and also a little more CELEBRATION! of small.

CELEBRATE! small. Located in the special exhibit room featuring artwork by the artists of Athens Arts all for sale!

Visit this special night for:
• FREE drawing for Kelly Barton original!
• FREE drawing for workshop of your choice 2012!
• Silent auction of community paintings created at the 2011 Strawberry Festival - two paintings available!
• Refreshments!
• Watch artists at work! 

Come and check out all the unique and local gifties available at Athens Arts during Downtown Party Night. Our doors will be open late - come visit!

Buy Art.
Buy Local.

Motivation Part 2 - Alice Harpel

Posted on | Tuesday, October 25, 2011 | No Comments

Last week I listed several ideas on the topic of motivation for artists, keeping in mind that motivation involves a challenge, a process, and a feeling of progress. This week I will share more on the process and a feeling of progress. 

Process Cont.:
Work on projects to achieve quick results. Paint miniature paintings. Commit to a 6 x 8 painting to finish in 1 hour. You will be impressed at the progress you can make. You will be amazed at what this does for motivation when you see quick results. Also, because oil has a slower drying time, artists can lose their motivation for the subject. However, if you paint 80% of your painting with acrylic (for quick drying) and then paint oil over the entire painting, you will see quick results. As long as the entire canvas is covered with oil, it is considered to be an oil painting, not mixed media. However, if only parts are painted in oil leaving other areas of the image in acrylic, then the painting is considered mixed media. Finally, one can add “liquin” to oils for quick drying. Of course, there are “fast drying” oils available. I find the quick drying oils do not have the same flow as traditional oils. However, I do use a fast drying white since white dries so slowly. 
Visit an art supply store for new materials. 
Paint one painting per month based on a monthly theme. By the end of the year, you will have sufficient work to print an art calendar. 
Display “motivational quotes” in your studio. 
Use mind mapping as a visual aide for creating new ideas or as an organizing tool. While lists are great, since we are visual artists, I find mind mapping works for me.
Check YouTube for motivation for artists. 
Interpret your work in another medium. 
Selling some artwork is a great motivator to create more. There are numerous good selling sites on the internet for free or small fees. But keep in mind, that you often have to be the one to bring in clients through social media channels, etc.
Ask others for painting ideas though groups, online blogs, Facebook etc.
Post your goal(s), commit on line.
Have a go through ritual such as cleaning brushes.
Give yourself time to reflect.
For my small art (6 x 6), I use colloquial or famous quotes as ideas for paintings. Rather than paint and then title the work, I often come up with a title and paint based on the title. This is one of my best motivators for ideas. Also, one could use song titles, novels, lines of poetry, Bible verses, etc. 

Feeling of Progress:
Use a reward system such as a trip to the art store
Think about how you will feel when you accomplish your goal
Work hard to get results. One builds on motivation by getting results. The more results you get, the more you will be motivated to get more.
For a feeling of progress, we must continually read about art and continuously be looking somewhere else for ideas (i.e. We need to read about art, artists, art techniques, art processes and events that get into our very heart and soul. 

To the readers of this blog, please share what you do to be motivate yourself to create new art. We would love to hear from you. 

Alice Harpel is a studio artist at Athens of Indiana Arts Studios & Gallery
Stop in to see her work on the upper level of the gallery.

Motivation Part 1 - Alice Harpel

Posted on | Thursday, October 20, 2011 | No Comments

Being an artist is not like a regular 9-5 job. How many times have you gone to your studio or work space and sat there with a blank stare? This aspect of our work becomes a challenge when it comes to finding the motivation to trying to create new art on a regular basis. 

For this blog, rather than talk about my process of painting or my techniques for painting, I am focusing on what gets me motivated to paint on those days when nothing seems to come to mind or at those times when I feel less than enthusiastic about what I am creating. The ideas presented in this article are some of my ideas but many, if not most, are thoughts that I have read on other artists’ blogs, on, etc.

Needed for motivation: a challenge, a process, and a feeling of progress. 

The Challenge: 
  • We, as artists, must always add new work to our collections. As artists, we must be ready to leave our comfort zones because we can become bored if we create only what  makes us comfortable.  
  • Do not indulge in self-limiting painting. Do not make excuses for yourself as to why you cannot do a particular painting etc.
  • Never quit when you are frustrated - “success” is just around the corner. 
  • Make yourself accountable by making a commitment to enter a new art competition. Deadlines for art festivals/competitions may cause us to paint something different and at a faster, more productive rate. Indiana has many opportunities, not to mention the many online competitions listed on the internet. 
The Process:
  • The process should be easy, simple and without thinking, such as how we might set up our studios or work spaces. 
  • We should pay attention to those around us. Avoid negative people or people who only see art one way. Don’t let others outside your world give your paralysis. That will surely stifle creativity. Give yourself permission to not listen to those people.
  • Spending time in your studio will increase your productivity. Organizing your studio or workspace can be motivating. 
  • Set up your supplies for the next day. It will be easier to begin a project.
  • Do set goals--short, intermediate, and long term goals. This way you will know when you arrive. But just set one goal, not too many at a time. 
  • Put yourself in a frame of mind to create by “dressing” the part. Put on your favorite painting clothes.
  • Join a support group like a local art group. Search for Indianapolis or Lafayette to join other groups. You might try something different like a marketing group. 
  • Invite your neighborhood to your studio. People love to see where you work.
  • Take a workshop or class. And it can be on a topic that is related to art such as social media marketing, framing, etc. View free online videos such as those “snippets” on 
  • Host an “art exchange”. Bring work in a “brown bag or wrapper” and exchange with fellow artist.
  • Dare to dream big dreams. 
  • Create an art idea journal/notebook or bulletin board of ideas. Keep an art diary of things that inspire you. This becomes your “treasure chest” of ideas.
  • When is your “prime time” for creating?  Pay attention to your energy level. When do you paint your best? 
  • Reframe your art, maybe leaning to a more contemporary look. Give your art a new angle which can lead to a whole new series for your collection. 
  • Check the progression of the artists that you admire. Check their blogs. 
Check back for Part 2 of Motivation where process is continued as well as a feeling of progress. 

Alice Harpel is a studio artist at Athens of Indiana Arts Studios & Gallery
Stop in to see her work on the upper level of the gallery.

October Featured Artist: Mike Abney

Posted on | Monday, October 3, 2011 | No Comments

Wood turner Mike Abney showing in the special exhibit room for the entire month of October. 

Artist reception is Friday, 
October 14, 6-8pm.

Wood Turning

Many who know Mike Abney are aware of his talent for turning wood.  His knowledge of the medium with which he creates comes from a life long working experience of cutting timber.  He literally knows wood inside and out.  Mike sees the beauty of the grains and burls and exposes them to view in wonderful forms and shapes as he works his lathe.
What isn’t as well known about this artisan in wood, is that he has been challenged his entire life by dyslexia and was unable to read until the changing moment in his life when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior.  As a result, new opportunities were opened to him.  He still rejoices remembering the first Bible verse he was able to read: 
Preserve me, O God; for in you I put my trust.  Psalm 16:1
Mike’s opportunity to start turning wood came with the lathe which was given to him by a fellow church member and with  his knowledge that the knots he formerly cut off timber logs, were hiding beautiful, gnarled grains.  He has also relied on homemade tools to be able to create some of his unusual forms.  One of which was made with a 12-gauge shotgun barrel  filled with buckshot mounted on a 22 rifle barrel.  This he uses to hold and guide the wood as it is being turned.

The Abneys’ home gallery is filled with pieces made from woods as varied as apricot, eucalyptus, curly maple, sycamore and beech.  He has worked with exotic woods such as Tree of Paradise or unusual like Osage Orange.  Mike likes to use wood that he has seasoned himself.  He often uses knots, burls, spalted woods and crotch pieces to create his unique forms.

Mike has displayed his work at many of Indiana’s festivals and juried art shows.  His “Termite Vase” was selected as part of the permanent art collection at Ivy Technical College in Lafayette.  In 2004, Mike was awarded Crawfordsville Art League’s Merit Award and in 2009, the Athens Award during Crawfordsville Art League’s  Downtown Art Exhibit.  His lathe-turned pieces can be found in homes and business throughout the United States.  World wide, his creations have traveled to England, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Tibet and Ukraine.  Mike enjoys sharing information about his work and welcomes personalized commissions upon request.  

For all of his accomplishments and more, Mike gives all the glory to the Lord.