Victorian Gothic Dreaming: Collab with 521 Gemini Vintage

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Jessica modeling 2019 art museum dark gothic

I am absolutely thrilled to get the chance to work with the vintage shop 521 Gemini Vintage, an absolute treasure trove of delightful relics of another era.  From their amazing store I plucked this violet dream of a dress.  It is dreamy and feminine, reminiscent of the Victorian era of which I am so fond!

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I worked with photographer Kerasan Lamar to create the mood of a turn of the century gothic novel.

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Jane Eyre comes to mind: always one of my favorite classics to read growing up, I must have re-read it a dozen times!  I suppose the gothic drama of it appealed to me, the melodrama that was so sincere.  And the setting of the moors, in a beautiful castle-like manor, was appealing.  A favorite passage, as she addresses Mr. Rochester:

“Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal — as we are!”
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

And, of course, this early feminist sentiment:

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

As I walked over the hills and dales near the Art Museum in Philadelphia, I felt just like Jane Eyre traversing the moors.  I’m hoping this photo shoot captures some of the feeling!

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To find your own magical outfit to transport you into another time and place, visit 521 Gemini Vintage.

The Winter Starlight Art Collection

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Just finished up a calming session of candlelit yoga before heading back to the studio.  Art can be so mental; you’re in your head so much thinking of compositions and colors and textures and ideas…once can’t forget you need a body to do the creative work, so yoga breaks are an essential!  That being said, I’ve been working nonstop on a little mini holiday collection!  It’s very inspired by night time and starlight on snow, winter pines and crescent moons.  I will be releasing it on Black Friday with a timed discount to my email subscribers first before releasing it on social media.  If you’d like to get the first look, click here and you’ll be on the list to get the special discount.

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The  picture above is what my complimentary gift wrapping looks like for the holidays!  All orders that are handmade will arrive looking similar to this package 🙂  I’m obsessed with these wrappings…silver purples and icy blue satins, and shimmering tulle!

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And now a little preview of my handmade ornaments…snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes…silver white winters that melt into springs, these are a few of my favorite things!  The picture above is a sample as well as the video below (it’s fun to see it sparkle!)  It’s been such a delight creating these unique ornaments, each one hand signed and painted by me.  These are part of the Winter Starlight collection!  Join my email list by clicking here to get access when they are released.

 

More from the Winter Starlight collection.  Original one of a kind handmade paintings with accents of 23 karat gold.  Drops exclusively to my email list on Black Friday with a sweet little deal…click here to be included.

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And another gem below, from the Winter Starlight collection…”Blue Pines.”  It was such fun sourcing these vintage frames and dreaming up scenes to fill them with!

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This one is under glass, as it’s watercolor and pastel on paper.  The Winter Starlight collection will be released on Black Friday to my email list and 10% of the sales will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, one of the leading research hospitals in developing life saving cures for children with serious diseases.  If you’d like to see the collection when it drops, click here to be included!

 

Florence Memories

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“Everything about Florence seems to be colored with a mild violet, like diluted wine.” —Henry James, 1869 • I was fortunate enough to spend a summer in Florence a few years ago, studying painting with the @florenceacademyofart . It was the first time I experienced a step by step process of building a painting, and was amazed at the results that could be achieved—paintings that looked like old master works—by following the same steps they used carefully. I was instantly hooked in this ultimate fantasyland of classical painting. That summer seems golden and beautiful, in part because of the overwhelming art that filled the city. This photo is from Florence, Italy, at the Villa Medicea de Lillian… I couldn’t find the photographer, but it is representative of the beautiful structures and paintings that are around every corner in the beautiful city. What is a city that has influenced your art?

Into the coppery halls: the end of autumn

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Into the coppery halls; of beech and intricate oak; to be close to the trees; as they whisper together; let fall their leaves!

—Whim Wood, by Katherine Towers ✨. The first frost has come and winter is almost upon us. Each season brings its own aesthetic I enjoy for its own reasons. The end of autumn feels very mysterious and elusive to me.

What’s your power color?

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Color is powerful, especially to us creatives. Color can determine your mood, and has been proven to effect the way that we feel. I’ve always been drawn to purple and lavender colors. I love this current time of year because it’s socially acceptable to let your personality really shine with unusual costume choices. I was able to break out my lavender wig this week, and it was so much fun! It definitely let out a different part of my personality, something more playful and more creative. Just seeing myself embody this color made me feel differently! So what about you? What’s your power color? Here’s an interesting list of colors, and what some experts think they represent. Red: ambition energy, confidence, bold, passionate. Pink: sensitive, intuitive, loving, caring, respect. Purple: fantasy, creativity, distinguished, modesty, deep. Black: strength, power, professional, accurate. Orange: freedom, social, warmth, motivation, impulsive. Yellow: optimism, energetic, fun, logical, attentive. Gray: balance, neutral, timeless, practical, solid. Green: growth, nature, equilibrium, positivity, stable. Navy: responsible, integrity, trust, peace, order. Blue: ambition, perspective, aware, open. Let me know your power color and what you associate with it in the comments, I’m curious to hear!

Self Care Enhances Creativity

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I don’t know about you guys, but I often feel like I am rushing around every day, trying to check off a list of things to do and never seem to have quite enough time. It gets to the end of the day, and I always wish that I had more time to get the needed things done. The to do list actually never ends. There’s always more that we could be accomplishing and that we could be striving for in life. I took some time out this week and allowed myself to just relax for an afternoon. I allowed myself the luxury of a bubble bath. I read a few articles that were interesting to me and generally enjoyed doing nothing for a few hours! I honestly can’t remember the last time that I did this. At the end of that time, I realized that I was in such a relaxed and creative state of mind. I felt more playful, more optimistic, and so excited to dive back into the paintings and the projects that I’m currently working on. The time away made those things feel interesting and dynamic again. Also, we must remember that we are not machines! We are organic human beings who need rest I need variety in our lives. We can’t be healthy if all we do is work and all we do is put stress on our self to constantly be accomplishing things. Life is about more than that. Also, what is the point of accomplishing all these things if you can’t even enjoy life? So, I highly recommend taking some time to just relax and guilt free do nothing for a few hours once in a while. You might be surprised how positively it affects you, when you are so much more excited to be present in your artwork, and in your life!

Nature’s Daughters: Upcoming Solo Exhibition

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Fields of Gold Detail, oil on panel, 11x14, by Jessica Libor 2019

Fields of Gold (detail) oil on panel, by Jessica Libor 2019

I am so excited to announce my solo exhibition hosted by the Da Vinci Art Alliance on September 4th, 2019.

See my new pieces in my solo exhibition “Nature’s Daughters,” on view for one night only at the Da Vinci Art Alliance on Wednesday, September 4th from 5-8pm. Celebrate women with my art and also with networking expert Jennifer Lynn Robinson. Men are also welcome to attend!  More details below:
“I want to show the glamour of nature. Whenever I am outdoors in the wild, I feel the most free. I don’t think I am alone in this experience. What I wanted to do was show this feeling visually. I want people to be swept away in a gorgeous fantasy of the absolute magic that nature weaves sometimes. I painted women because it felt like a natural expression of nature—like the earth, the feminine can have many sides to it, can bring forth new life, and often express their beauty by decorating themselves…something I am interested in drawing a correlation with.” -Jessica
Jessica Libor graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2014 and has been painting, curating and writing since. Find out more at www.jessicalibor.com.
At 7 PM, Jessica will say a few words about the artwork, and Jennifer Lynn Robinson, Esquire of Purposeful Networking will provide her 5 best tips for women to network more strategically. You will also be able to ask Jennifer your networking questions one on one. Find out more at https://www.purposefulnetworking.com/.

There will be light bites and drinks provided. This event is free for all and open to the public! Registration is encouraged by clicking here.

 

Astonish yourself: an interview with artist Alessandra Maria

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Alessandra Maria

I met Alessandra a few years ago in New York City at an opening at Arcadia Gallery, before they relocated to California. I remember connecting about art and the passion needed to be an artist, and talking about the process of making work.  When she showed me her work I was struck by her clear vision and stunning imagery.  There is something very mystical and monumental about her work.  It takes me to another time and place, feels like another dimension not of this world: like a curtain pulled back to reveal a complex, many-layered, precious representation of a moment or story.

Alessandra is currently working on large scale pieces to be on display at Gallery Fledermaus in January 2019.  Graduating from Pratt in 2012, she now works in Boston and describes her work as an exploration of personal iconography.  I hope you enjoy the interview below and gain insight into Alessandra’s practice, inspiration, and words of advice for artists everywhere.

 

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Alessandra Maria

 

What are you excited about in your practice right now?

It’s a secret!  Wish I could tell you, but suffice to say I’m working on some larger scale projects.

 

When did  you become interested in becoming a practicing artist?

When I was in college I majored in graphic design, and later realized that  I hated it.  After switching to Illustration, I further realized that I wanted to be 100% self-directed in terms of what I make and why.  It was at that time that I realized I wanted to be an artist.

 

Describe an experience of other artist’s work you have seen that has influenced your artistic path.

When I was in college, I encountered Klimt for the first time in person at the Neue.  It completely changed by life and gave me a fervent desire to make something that gave me the same feeling.  It’s hard to describe, but I felt like a new world had been opened up to me.

 

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Alessandra Maria

 

How did you develop your unique style of work?  Was there an experimenting phase before you made the kind of work we see you making now?

It was simple, but not easy.  I had an image in my head that  I needed to make, and had to learn how to use my media properly in order to create it.  I always fall a little bit short, but with each piece I manage to get closer and closer.

 

How do you organize your daily studio time?  Around how many hours per week do you work on your art?

I used to just work as much as possible, and it was incredibly disorganized and less effective than it could have been.  My email inbox was always a mess, my studio was in disarray, and I would often work for 14 hours straight and just collapse at home in a heap of exhaustion.  There was always something more to do.  I’ve always been into self-help books and organization strategies, so in recent months I’ve been troube shooting and researching to streamline my process; in particular, I’ve modeled my work habits off a book called Deep Work.

My current schedule involves 4 to 5 “blocks” of 1.5 hours of work a day.  I leave my cell phone in my car, I don’t have internet in my studio, and I work in complete silence – this ensures I am completely focused on what’s at hand.  It’s mentally exhausting, so between each block, I will take a small walk for about 20 minutes.  ON Mondays (today, when I am writing this), I answer all my emails and get to inbox 0, and organize my projects for the week.

It’s crazy.  I am working less actual hours, but the quality of those hours is so much greater that  I don’t need to do more.  Because I have to concentrate so hard during the 6 to 7.5 hours a day, I often am incapable of doing meaningful work beyond that.

 

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Alessandra Maria

 

Do you have a favorite space/studio you like to work in?

My studio right now is my favorite I’ve ever had.  It has more space than I know what to do with, and tall ceilings with plenty of light.  I love being there everyday.

 

What would be some advice you would give artists who are not yet full-time professional artists, but would like to be?  What are some of the most important steps they can take?

To me, there’s three components that are crucial to success: quality, production, and mindset.

Regarding quality, a quote from one of my teachers in college, Chang Park, hits the nail on the head.  “Never compromise your aesthetic.”

For production, this is going to sound a bit harsh, but it’s crucial, and maybe the most important of all three: stop *** procrastinating.  I’m often amazed by how many students fail to make their work because they haven’t “had time” to go to the art store and just buy the tool they need (sometimes for weeks, which often turns into months and then years), how many put off learning to work with a media but will get to it “someday”.  I’m not saying this in a judgmental way, I struggled with it too.  But it was so massively instrumental to my own success to learn to quash that urge to put things off.

I don’t believe discipline is something someone just “has or doesn’t have”; learning to be action-focused and never procrastinate is a skill, I think, and one that has to be practiced and fostered.  For anyone who wants more information, read the book “Willpower.”

Lastly, for mindset: be humble.  Don’t get caught up in the “tortured artist” stereotype; self-aggrandizement just serves to make you less capable of seeing your work objectively, which means you can’t improve it in a meaningful way.  A sense of humility with your own work is massively important.

 

What do you think the role of artists are in society?

To tell the truth.  It’s broad, but that to me is the most encompassing definition that covers the myriad forms of practice and expression out there.

 

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Alessandra Maria

 

What is one mindset artists can adopt that will help them succeed?

Imagine with me for a moment that you walk into a gallery, and in front of you is the most astonishing, amazing, jaw-dropping work you’ve ever seen.  The sort of work that makes you want to sit in the gallery for hours and just be with it.  Really try to imagine this – I do this exercise frequently.

Now, go make that work.  Make work that’s 100% for yourself.

 

Learn more about Alessandra Maria and see her work at www.alessandramaria.com.

5 Keys to Presenting Your Art

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Hello readers, it’s Jessica here.  Through serendipity, I recently came in contact with Elevate Growth Consulting Group.  Elevate is a branding and marketing company that helps businesses grow.  I thought it would be helpful for artists to hear from a professional marketing company how exactly to present their art as a brand and business.  Therefore, we decided to write a guest post for each other’s blogs–you can check out my post for Elevate by clicking here.  Keep reading below to hear Elevate’s co-founder Siera Smith’s keys for presenting your art:

“Art is a vital part of marketing. Creative work drives visual communication of the messages businesses want to portray. They bring a marketing campaign to life, across websites, flyers, social media ads, emails, and more.

Just like art is a vital part of marketing, marketing should also be a vital part to how you display your art.

You’re awesome at what you do. Let your creativity shine. Let us show you 5 keys to presenting your art.

1. Create a Personal Brand

People don’t just buy products and use the services, they buy into a company — its vision, mission, purpose. Make your brand personal to you, because, well, your company is you. Don’t make it like other companies or artists; find something unique about your brand and exploit it. Let people fall in love with you and what you stand for.

2. Tell a Story Behind Your Work

People relate to stories. Storytelling often comes easy to artists, but it takes more than just a picture or paint on a canvas. Dig deep and bring emotion. Art is supposed to evoke reactions and in creating a story, that becomes possible. Stories make your art more than just a product, they make it into a feeling, a memory, a relationship. Your work should evoke emotions that move people. If you can evoke a feeling in people while they are looking at your work, they are going to remember it.

3. Network Your Brand

Networking is everything. It is a great way to build your brand and get your name out there. Networking with other businesses, dealers, and buyers is an effective way to get your artwork known by high-influence people. Go to other galleries and street art shows; go anywhere where you can network your brand and have people learn and remember your name. The more people who know your brand, the better chances you afford yourself.

4. Have an Online Gallery

Having an online gallery affords you the potential to expand your market footprint. People all over the country — or even the world — can look at your art and make a purchase with a few clicks. In addition, online galleries are like a sneak peek preview into your artwork. They entice people to come to your gallery. Shopify is the unofficial market-leading platform to set up a gallery and sell online. You can manage design, inventory, pricing, payments, emails, shipping, and more all from one platform.

5. Have an Instagram

Creating an Instagram for your artwork can open a world of possibilities. Instagram is known for lending itself to visuals, which naturally lends itself to showcasing art. Creating an Instagram can drive traffic to your online and offline gallery through links and location statuses. It is a great way to promote your work to an expansive audience in a time and budget efficient way.

You have amazing work, made from your mind and crafted with your hands. Use these tips to get your work in front of more people’s eyes.”

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Siera Smith is Co-Founder and Partner at Elevate Growth Consulting Group, of Bridgeport, PA, where she creates growth roadmaps and connects people to the capital needed to get there.

Daily Sketch Works

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The Brave Adventuress, ink, watercolor and 23 karat gold leaf on paper, by Jessica Libor 2019

Dear readers, during the month of May I did a creative exercise; daily sketch works!  Every day for 30 days, I created a new piece of art.  During this period I experimented with soft tones in inks, watercolors, and gilding.  Originally, I had planned to do a daily piece for 90 days.  However, I found that the time and creative juices that it took to create a daily piece was being sapped away from the creative energy I needed to create my larger pieces for my solo show coming up.  So, I capped it at 30 days–but will certainly look forward to doing this again!

Below are a few of my favorite pieces from this time.  If you are interested in any of these pieces or would like a link to the full available collection, please email me at jlibor@jessicalibor.com.