“Sacrifice”, a drawing of George Floyd, graphite on paper, by Jessica Libor 2020.
Hello friends, I am excited to let you know that my piece “Prima Donna”, is being exhibited at the Da Vinci Art Alliance for their exhibition “Artist, Reader, Writer II.” This is a very unique exhibition that pairs the artwork of many different artists with a passage from literature of the artist’s choosing. As for “Prima Donna”, I chose a passage from The Phantom of the Opera, as it reminded me of a scene from the story.
If you are interested in collecting this piece please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Artist, Reader, Writer II is a DVAA Members-only exhibition that explores the relationship between the written word and visual art through an exercise of comparison. Each artist submitted two items: an original artwork of their own creation, and a short accompanying text displayed next to their work of art that is not of their own creation. The union formed between the two objects creates a new conceptual relationship, altering the experience of viewing artwork with the addition of written language. The relationships formed through these pairings offer context, juxtapose, balance, obscure, and generate new meaning.
The opening for the exhibition is on Wednesday, January 28th from 6 to 8pm at the Da Vinci Art Alliance, at 704 Catharine Street, Philadelphia. The show is up until February 16th, so it’s a perfect art happening for Valentine’s day! To learn more about the show and gallery, visit here.
The participating artists are as follows: Alessandra Stradella, Angelo Benedetto, Annie Stone, Arlene Solomon, Barbara B. Rosin, Barbara Dirnbach, Catherine Bancroft, David Deakin, Deirdre Doyle, Don Gordon, Eddy Rhenals, Edward W Keer, Eleanor Levie, Ellen Rosenberg, Erika Kuciw, Florence Weisz, Floyd Kelley, Gary Grissom, Gillian Cavoto, Gloria Klaiman, Harriet Hill, Irving Sears, Jennifer Brinton Robkin, Jessica Libor, Jill Cucci Smith, Jim Strickler, Joellyn Ross, Juli Snyder, Kenneth Veith, Kit Donnelly, Lauren J. Sweeney, Leslie K. Brill, Linda Dubin Garfield, Linnie Greenberg, Marilyn Stubblebine, Mario Nascati, Maryanne Buschini, Nancy E Cooke, Ona Kalstein, Patricia Mancini, Penelope Tsaltas Lisk, Phyllis Anderson, Polly Kooperman, Rachael Switalski, Reyna Howkins, Robert Zurer, Rosalind Bloom, Sally K. Eisenberg, Sam Koren, Sandi Neiman Lovitz, Sarah R. Bloom, Selene Nunez Cruz, Susan Cantor-Uccelletti, Susan M. Gordon, Ted Warchal, Tony Anthony, Vicente Ortiz Cortez, Willard Johnson, and William Timmins.
I’m very excited to announce the launch of a podcast, “The Inspired Painter with Jessica Libor”.
If you’re an artist who wants to create an amazing and fulfilling career and life, this podcast is for you! I’ll be sharing inspiration that has worked for me and art-world insights and tips. My goal for this podcast is to help you feel in control of your art career and empowered to be the best artist you can be.
The podcast will be available on Podbean, Apple and Spotify. I hope it brings you value!
With love, light and creativity,
artist advice, artist planning, artist vision, cal newport, contemporary realism, create your best 2020, deep work, goal setting, goal setting creatives, how to be an artist, how to plan your work as an artist, james clear, plan 2020 artist, planning
Hello my beautiful fellow creatives! I am so excited for this year. Are you excited? Isn’t it amazing that the future is in your hands, ready to be written?
I recently saw a post that said, “Your future lays before you like fresh fallen snow, take care the steps you take, for every step will show.” It’s SO true—every little thing we do in our life eventually compounds, and eventually the invisible will show itself, even if it is not obvious at first. The invisible work is so important, especially for us artists!
I am so grateful for everything that I was able to accomplish this year. I had a solo show which was very successful, in a beautiful gallery I was super proud of! I launched my first online course, began teaching as a college art professor, was featured in Beautiful Bizarre and other art publications, had my highest revenue year from my art so far, and fulfilled a lifelong dream of hiking in the redwoods! I made a painting about it too, as you can see below 🙂
“Solace,” oil and metal leaf on panel, by Jessica Libor (me!)
Although these things only take one sentence to write, they actually took months, and really years of action, to come to fruition.
For instance, my solo art exhibition took hundreds of hours to prepare. In the very un-glamorous privacy of my studio, I spent many late nights working away at details.
Each decision to work on my painting instead of go out with friends or watch Netflix, compounded the results of my exhibition. This is just one example of how I got the results I did this year.
The online course took months of writing, filming and preparation before it launched. Likewise, I would not have been able to get a job as a college art professor had I not gone through years of schooling and getting my Master of Fine Arts at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Although the hard work can seem grueling while you’re in it, eventually you WILL see the results of your efforts (or non-efforts!). And I don’t want you to think that I am bragging when I tell you this: it’s always an uphill battle for me to continually challenge myself and work on my long-term goals.
One book that really changed that this year was the book Deep Work by James Clear. This was actually a suggestion of Alessandra Maria, an artist I really respect who I actually interviewed on the blog earlier in the year. In Deep Work, the author talks about how distracted we are as a society, and generally as humans. He talks about the value of committing deeply to a task for a set amount of time, and entering the state of flow. When we get into deep work, that is when the really inspired artwork comes to fruition.
Below, one of my pieces from this year, “Fields of Gold,” oil and gold leaf on panel.
This year I initiated methods of working that were blocks of time dedicated only to my artmaking. I wasn’t allowed to look at my phone or computer, get a cup of tea, or call or text anyone.
I simply blocked off two hour sections of time and created intensely. And you know what? It was HARD. I struggled with it! Just like when you’re running an extra mile and your body protests because it isn’t used to it, my brain wasn’t used to such dedication (I know, it’s kind of embarrassing!)
I had the urge to go for a walk, check my email, text a friend, or otherwise distract myself from the pain of focus. Just like doing a math problem, my brain has to work extra hard when creating a realistic piece of art—getting the right values, colors and proportions. I could feel my brain stretching as I focused for these chunks of time.
Below, a brain-stretching artwork I finished, “The Butterflies,” oil and 23 karat gold leaf on panel.
Even though it was hard, the results I got this year were far and away beyond what I had gotten in previous years. I created some of my favorite pieces. I remember one particular day, I blocked off a few hours to create. I got into such a state of flow that I did not realize that 6 hours had passed. I did not stop until the piece was complete. I was shocked that I was able to finish a large, technically detailed piece in just 6 hours. It’s probably my favorite piece this year! And it’s a physical piece of evidence of what you can do when you compress time and get into that focused state of flow. You are able to accomplish far more than you could imagine!
Below, “Darling,” the piece I finished in 6 hours of super intense focus!
So as we step into the new year, ask yourself what you want to experience in your art career in the next 360 days, and even in the next decade, which is 3,600 days! Here are a few ideas with how to break that down. I have three steps for you that I believe will be helpful in casting your vision as you move into a new era of your artistic career.
I realize that when you’re trying to achieve new goals, old habits can be hard to overcome. That is because the brain is wired to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and be as efficient as possible. This is great when we are in the wilderness, avoiding wild animals and the cold (pain), looking for fruits and berries and somewhere soft and safe to lie down (seeking pleasure), and looking for the shortest way to get there (being as efficient as possible).
These hardwired instincts are actually really good because they have kept us alive as the human race for centuries. However, in the modern world, we have to be aware of our instincts and how they can hold us back. You see, in the modern world, and more particularly as a modern artist, avoiding pain could look like procrastinating on a project because of the effort it takes.
Seeking pleasure could look like watching Netflix to escape your reality or snacking on things that aren’t optimal for our health because of the short term pleasure.
And, seeking the most efficient way possible could look like trying to get success before you’ve put in the work and made artwork you’re actually proud of. You see, we are no longer running from bears and foraging for berries to survive (well, most of us, anyway!) but those instincts are still there.
And if we plan from our pre-frontal cortex, which is the smart part of our brain that allows us to plan, rationalize, and create, then we can overcome these basic instincts while still appreciating them and thanking them for keeping us alive! We can transcend our most basic state by identifying our goals and dreams and working to achieve them.
And what is art all about if not a transcendence beyond ourselves?
Another thing I like to think about as an artist is your duty. If you have decided to be an artist, then you have a duty to express your vision to the world. The world needs to see your creations and will be a better place because of it. It is your sacred duty to fulfill that job that only you can do.
One last thought is to create a vision board that includes images of your top 3 artistic goals for the year. That may include an image of the gallery you hope to show at, the kind of artwork you’d like to make, places you’d like to visit, and images and words that reflect who you’d like to be as you accomplish your top 5 goals. This can be helpful to keep motivation going as you do the hard work of the day to day grind of working on your goals! Especially as visual artists, we can be stimulated by visuals, and this can help us get in the mood to focus and remember why we are doing it in the first place.
Ok, I hope that this has been super helpful to you as you turn over the next decade and choose how you’d like to spend your next year! It’s my heart for you that you achieve your wildest dreams as an artist, and live a happy and fulfilled life along the way. I know that this is going to be your best year yet!
Lastly, I have a gift for you that I think will be extremely useful to you as you plan out your year. I’ve created a free Artistic Visioncasting worksheet, and mini-course, with everything you need to plan out your goals and dreams. There’s questions to prompt you, so you can break down your goals in an organized way. I created it specifically for this blog post so that you can get the most out of it! Just click the link below to download it.
Now go forth and create!
With light, love, and creativity,
art, artist, artistic fashion, creative art, creative fashion, fashion, jessica libor, kerasan lamar photography, malenas vintage boutique, philadelphia blogger, philadelphia fashion blogger, philadelphia inspiration, philadelphia style blogger, philly blogger, philly style, rodin, rodin museum
Rodin is my favorite sculptor. Ever since I saw his work at his home museum in Paris, I was in love with his work. In Philadelphia, we have a small but gorgeous museum of his work, that I love! In a collaboration with Ms. Malena’s Vintage Boutique and Kerasan Lamar Photography, who photographed all the images with me in them, we decided on this location to tell the story of the amazingly detailed turn of the century jacket and robe. I loved the combination of these pieces and the backdrop of the beautiful and elegant sculptures and architecture. To see more of Malena’s Vintage Boutique, check it out here! I am such a fan of this shop, and have many of my dresses in my personal collection from her. I highly recommend! And now, to feel this elegant every day…
art, artist, contemporary realism, gold leaf artist, gristle gallery, jessica libor, new york artist, new york contemporary realism, oil painter philly, painter, Philadelphia artist, philadelphia painter, romantic artwork, romantic realism, trading card show
I am thrilled to announce that three small pieces of mine are showing at Gristle Gallery in New York.
These pieces are all inspired by myths and fairy tales. Each scene is 2.5″ x 3.5″ and is oil on arches paper mounted on cardboard, with accents of real 23 karat gold leaf. The first is “Forbidden Love,” a romantic interlude between a mermaid and fisherman.
The second is “Odette,” a stylized painting of the story made famous by the ballet, “Swan Lake.” Each day Odette turns into a swan.
The third is “Forest Royalty,” inspired by the rulers of the forest in some alternate universe.
Each piece is $100 and can be acquired by contacting Gristle Gallery at email@example.com .
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!
I worked with photographer Kerasan Lamar to create the mood of a turn of the century gothic novel.
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!”
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.”
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!
To find your own magical outfit to transport you into another time and place, visit 521 Gemini Vintage.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
I am so excited to announce my solo exhibition hosted by the Da Vinci Art Alliance on September 4th, 2019.
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.
alessandra maria, alessandra maria artist, art, art techniques, artist, artist interview, artist mindset, contemporary artist, contemporary realism, deep work, drawing, fine art, gilding, gold leaf art, jessica libor, painting, success mindset, willpower
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.