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.

Summer Classes

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Jessica teaching picture

Everyone has creativity within them.  The creative process has two parts: the impulse of inspiration, and problem solving on the paper or canvas.  Tonight’s class at the Main Line Art Center I was able to share with students this process.  First, through a “flow” inducing exercise, students were able to experience what the inspiration and joy of creativity feels like, without worrying about the outcome.  Then, we learned more technical aspects of drawing like line, value and composition; all of the problem solving that is done within the bounds of the canvas or paper!  Here I am with some of the drawings I’ve made in ink, charcoal and graphite.  Drawing is a learnable skill; what makes the best drawings is a marriage of life within the marks and technical proficiency.  Everyone has life within them; you just need to give yourself permission for your hand to let it out on the paper.  And anything technical is just like any other skill, able to be learned!

There are still some spots open in my classes I teach this summer and fall at the Main Line Art Center.  Go to the website to register and see what is open!

I also teach semi-privately in my studio on Mondays from 2-4pm in Philadelphia.  If you’re interested in these sessions that help you privately to reach your artistic goals, please send me an email at jlibor@jessicalibor.com.

July 4th exhibition in New York City

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the reading Constitution show

I am happy to be a part of the group exhibition in NYC presented by Con Artist Collective, a month-long exhibit titled “CONstitution” (hear the play on words?)

I visited the new gallery space to drop off my piece that will be part of the show, “The Reading”, and it’s a beautiful white box space near Little Italy.

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If you’d like to attend the opening, it will be a festive affair on July 4th at 7pm, at the new gallery location at 329 Broome Street.

Constitution show

“The Reading” is oil and 23 karat gold on panel, 16″ x 20″ and available; if you are interested in the piece please contact myself or the gallery.

Happy 4th of July week!

Jessica Libor

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