Playing to win or playing not to lose?

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Are you playing to win or playing not to lose?

I heard these words this week and it made me think. I don’t like to view the art world as competitive— in fact, I think the only person you compete with is really yourself in this life.

But, it’s interesting to think of how the mindset of “playing not to lose” looks like rather than “playing to win.”

In a small example, perhaps I’ll do a small painting rather than a large one, to minimize cost loss in case it’s not bought for a long time. In that way I’m not playing to win (or, to really actually use my vision in the size which would make it look best). Or maybe when applying for a grant I don’t spend too much time on it because if I DO spend too much time on it and I don’t get it, I would have lost that time. In that way I am playing not to lose (time) rather than playing to win (believing I have a shot and giving it my best).

I can tell when I’m playing to win because there’s a sense of leaning in and commitment. What do you guys think about this concept? Have you ever “played to win” or “played not to lose?” How does it feel for you?

Happiness and the artist

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Jessica Libor in her studio, captured by Kerasan Lamar Photography

Let’s talk about joy and happiness and how it relates to creativity and the artistic life.  Often times the artist is always portrayed as tortured, struggling, incapable of a balanced life and swinging from one extreme to the next: wild inspiration to extreme depression and bouts of blocked creativity.  Don’t fall for this image!  While artists often have a more sensitive temperament that leads to our creative expression, we can pay attention to ways to keep our own mental health positive, which will ultimately lead to better quality of life and output.  Many long term artists that I have studied lead very happy lives that included artistic fulfillment, personal happiness and comfortable living.  These artists who seem to have long and rewarding careers (artists never retire, am I right?) have a balance of life that keeps them engaged and happy.  Examples: John Singer Sargent, Beatrix Potter, Georgia O’Keefe, Elisabeth Vigee Lebrun, Cecilia Beaux and many more.  So what are some things you do to keep yourself happy and grounded on the roller coaster ride of being an artist?  For me, a run or walk outside works wonders.  Also, writing out my thoughts, and listening to uplifting audiobooks or music.  Being grateful for the blessings I currently have in my life always lifts my spirits too.  And, listening to my feelings, sleeping when I need to, seeing friends when I need to, and keeping the frame of mind that life needs to be lived.  Then we can paint about it!  Thoughts?

Stay joyfully creative!

–Jessica

Work exhibited with Pamoza International

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“Wonder,” oil on canvas, 48″ x 72″, by Jessica Libor

I’m so honored for my work to be exhibited at Pamoza International’s Gala tonight!  Pamoza International is a wonderful organization doing humanitarian work in Africa.  My piece, “Wonder,” will be on display as a limited edition print of 50 at their gala tonight, and 50% of all sales will be donated to the organization.  Any online sales made today of this print will also be part of the donation.  To purchase yours, click here.  Thank you so much for your support of this wonderful organization and also of independent artists!

Interview with Kari-Lise Alexander

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“When you bite the one you love,” oil,  12″ x 16″, 2018 by Kari-Lise Alexander

I first discovered Kari-Lise Alexander’s work this year and was immediately captivated by the sense of storytelling and surreal beauty that she captures in her paintings.  Her paintings of figures in gardens and natural surroundings, interacting with the plants, insects, animals, and sky, are magnetic in how they draw you into the scene and create a mystery.  Kari-Lise was kind enough to tell me a little more about her inspiration and process.
Thank you, Kari-Lise for sharing your thoughts!  Please enjoy our conversation below.
Jessica:  How would you describe your art?

 

Kari-Lise: My work is rooted in the exploration of identity and the natural world. I focus on capturing the fauna and flora found around my home in the Pacific Northwest. Combining that love for the natural world with a focus on the female form I strive to create realistic interwoven pieces with a surreal bent that often reflects a deep internal monolog.

 

Jessica: What was your journey like in becoming an artist?

 

Kari-Lise: About 10 years ago I decided to pick up a paintbrush after several years of not doing art. I had to start over from scratch. It’s been a long journey. Many ups and downs but I’ve worked hard and never gave up.

 

Jessica: What influences your artistic aesthetic?

 

Kari-Lise: I’m influenced by many things and I make it a point to surround myself with those things. Many, if not all of my pieces feature flowers. I’m a passionate gardener and take any moment not in the studio to be out in my garden. I’m also influenced by my friends and fellow artists. Having a good and trusted group of artists that support each other is vital help you grow artistically.

 

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“Picking the perfect poison,”oil,  12″ x 16”, by Kari-Lise Alexander

Jessica: What kind of challenges have you faced and overcome as an artist, internal or external?

 

Kari-Lise: You’re always going to face one obstacle or another. It doesn’t matter how far you move up in the art world there is always challenges, rejection, and hurdles to overcome. The most important part is staying the course and being true to your own work. Doors will open, it’s just a matter of when and often they’re ones you weren’t expecting.

 

Jessica: What drives you to paint?

 

Kari-Lise: I ask myself this question often and I actually don’t know. It’s something that I have to do. It’s unexplainable to me. If I take a break from painting it soon happens that I start feeling the pull back to the easel. I find myself irritable, feeling a bit crazy and I just have to get back to creating.

 

Jessica: What are a few of your favorite supplies and materials to use?

 

Kari-Lise: My favorite paints are from Daniel Smith, Gamblin and Williamsburg. I love painting on panel, but have been branching out to canvas when working on large pieces. One of my favorite things I use in the studio is an oyster shell for my mediums when painting. They’re free (just ask your local seafood restaurant) and biodegradable!

 

Jessica:  Do you have other hobbies or interest that are parallel to your artistic practice?

 

Kari-Lise: All of my interest revolves around my art. My garden is an example of that, it’s where I grow the flowers I paint. I also throw extremely elaborate tea parties once a year for a group of creatives from all fields. The tea parties are surreal, and it feels like one of my pieces coming to life! I also own a business with fellow artist Redd Walitzki called Moth and Myth. This business was born out of Redd’s love for moths and I came on board with the same passion for Lepidopteras.

 

Jessica: What is your painting schedule like?  Do you have any tips for artists on creating a studio practice?

 

It varies. If I’m preparing for a big show I will paint 5-6 days a week for 10-12 hours a day. If it’s just a normal painting schedule I paint 7 hours, 5 days a week. I think the main thing for creating a studio practice is constancy. That might be the time of day your working, how long your working for or something as simple as if you light a candle every time you sit down to work. If you’re able to create constancy it’s easier to work and focus on what you’re doing.

 

Jessica: How do you know when a painting is finished?

 

Kari-Lise: When I go through it close-up and nothing sticks out as incomplete. Then I stand back and if I feel the same way from looking at it afar I know it’s done!

 

Jessica: What are some long term goals or projects you are excited about?

 

Kari-Lise: I’m actually starting a long term series call Venerate. Venerate will be a series of large-scale portraits of women working in the arts today. The focus is to highlight each of them emphasizing the role of women in shaping the future of art. A loud declaration that our work will not be minimized or ignored as our predecessors. These portraits will also work as an homage, each inspired by the past works of women artists from history. By looking at both the future and the past, Venerate will seek to encompass the value of women in the arts throughout time. The goal of this project is to celebrate the women artists working today and to educate the viewer about the amazing women whose roles in art history have been diminished, undervalued, or forgotten.

 

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Kari-Lise Alexander at a recent exhibition

Jessica:  So amazing! What are some other artist’s work that inspires you?

 

Kari-Lise: I’m really inspired by all the women artists who have come before. They faced overwhelming obstacles, such as lack of education, sexism, absence of opportunities, etc.. Many of those through the centuries beat the odds and were able to have amazing careers! Some of my favorites are (there are far too many to list) Elisabeth Vigee Lebrun, Violet Oakley, Cecilia Beaux, Leonor Fini, and some many more!

 

Jessica:   What do you hope your work says to the viewer?

 

Kari-Lise: I want the observer to come to their own conclusions about my work. Everyone has there own story and when you look at a piece of art it reflects your own experiences in some way.

 

Jessica: Tell us your most inspiring place you’ve ever been.

 

Kari-Lise: I’ve been many places in the US and internationally and I think the place that inspired me the most was seeing Georgia O’ Keeffe’s home in Abiquiu, New Mexico. I never understood O’keeffe’s work until I went to her home and saw first hand the trees she painted, her courtyard she made several pieces about and the lifestyle she cultivated for herself in a very remote place. To understand an artist’s motivations and to put yourself in their shoes is a truly remarkable thing.
You can see more of Kari-Lise Alexander’s work at https://kari-lise.com/

 

Scanned by Bellevue Fine Art Reproduction, LLC.

“Guardner,” oil, 24″ x 24″, by Kari-Lise Alexander

The Gardener

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The Gardener by Jessica Libor

“The Gardener,” oil on panel, 11″ x 14″, by Jessica Libor

This piece I finished today!  “The Gardener,” oil on panel, 11″ x 14″.  This portrait painted from life shows a woman surveying her handiwork over the landscape; there is pride and satisfaction in tending the vast gardens, but also a weariness with battling the endless cycles of nature.  The romantic grisaille landscape provides a soft contrast to the strength of her features.  This piece is being submitted today to the 14th Annual International Arc Salon.  Wish me luck!

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Spring Dreaming

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Jessica Libor

What are you looking forward to in the Spring? I am looking forward to turning over a new leaf in my work, making some work that is more fine and delicate, and traveling. I went for a run this week and was encouraged to see the very first signs of Spring on the forest floor.

I am planning a trip to California in April with a painter friend and we are going to paint our way up the coast! I’m excited about feeling the freedom and beauty of the sun and salty air. I’m also very excited about coming together with the Actors Lab Philly and Era Contemporary in creating a group show in May, “The Art of Performance.” Tell me what you are excited about for when the weather begins to turn a bit warmer?

Photo credit: Kerasan Lamar Photography for the portrait image, Jessica Libor for the nature image.

Call to artists: The Art of Performance

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“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts…” —As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII, by William Shakespeare.

For the last 2 years, I have been privileged to work with some amazing artists in creating beautiful exhibitions hosted by dynamic companies and supporters of the arts.  For this exhibition, The Art of Performance, we have our most dynamic idea yet.  I am thrilled to curate this exhibition and cannot wait to see it come together.

A ballet dancer flits across the stage, while backstage, each performer waits for her cue.  At a theater, the actors run lines in their dressing rooms and prepare their costumes.  A storyteller in Australia passes down the stories of his ancestors around the fire.  On a film set, the directors and crew work together to capture the nuances of the actors’ emotions and create a story.  There is not one of us who has not been touched by the performing arts; whether by being part of it, or enjoying the stories and experiences that they produce.

The Art of Performance is an event that celebrates both the visual arts, and the performing arts.  We will have a curated art exhibition of paintings that relate to the performing arts, and also a special 35 minute performance by actors from the Actor’s Lab drawing from material that deals with themes of visual arts. To find out more about the Actor’s Lab, click here.  In this unique exchange we honor and give vibrance to both art forms.

There will be light refreshments for guests, and the event is free and open to the public!

The Art of Performance art exhibition will be held at the Actor’s Lab at 110 West Lancaster Ave, #150, Wayne, PA 19087 on Saturday, May 4, 2019 from 6 to 9pm.  The performance by Actor’s Lab students will begin at 8pm.  For the curated art exhibition, all artwork that deals with the performing arts such as dance, theater, film, spoken word, miming, or more, will be considered.      All work must be in 2 dimensional media, within the dimensions of 30″ in any direction and properly framed or presented.  Entry fee for submitting up to 3 paintings is $20.  Submission of work is not guarantee of showing.

Curator for this exhibition is gallery director (me), Jessica Libor.  Jessica received her MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Arts in 2014 and has been painting, exhibiting and curating since then.

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Jessica Libor

Deadline to submit your work digitally: March 16

Work chosen by juror Jessica Libor: March 16–29

Included artists sent an email regarding work: March 30–31

All physical work must be received by: April 20

EXHIBITION DATE: Saturday, May 4th.  This is a one night exhibition, and artists may take any unsold work with them at 9pm the night of the exhibition.  If you are unable to attend, you can pick up the work or have it shipped.

HOW TO SUBMIT: to submit your work, please follow the full submission guidelines at https://eracontemporary.com/calltoartists/

Wedding Painting

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It was an honor to paint this commission wedding portrait for a recent project. The finished piece is oil on canvas, 11″ x 14″. I started the piece before the wedding, and painted the bulk of it during the couple’s wedding reception at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. It was wonderful speaking to guests about my process and being a part of the couple’s wedding day! I feel honored to have added a joyous experience to the occasion by immortalizing the moment in a painting.

If you are interested in commissioning a painting, please email me at jlibor@jessicalibor.com for all the details.

A painting of an actress

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One of my favorite paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection! Doesn’t she seem to have a lovely spark about her, like she lived an interesting life? He painter captured it well, because the lady in the painting was an actress of the time. Painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence in 1790, the work depicts the Irish actress Elizabeth Farren. She made her London first performance as Kate Hardcastle in “She Stoops to Conquer” on stage. She continued to act and later married the 12th Earl of Derby. What I love about this painting is her mischievous, very alive expression, and the gorgeous melting of the white fabric texture with the landscape.

The December collection of painting studies

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My December collection of painting studies has been released! These artworks will be up and available until January 15, 2019. Many are water and snow inspired, impasto landscapes in oil. To view the full collection please visit http://www.jessicalibor.com/shop/