Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm Moving!

Hi All,
I am moving my blog. It will be co-joined with my website at www.latifahshay.com.

It is new and rusty, but I am starting to post over there, so I thought you should know.

I have lots of plans for this new site. There is also lots of back-end learning for me to do. I trust that the end results will be fantabulous and well worth the effort and the wait!

Hope to see you-all there!
xo Latifah

Friday, September 25, 2009

Final Pictures of the 60 x 48" Commission

Well, I finished the commission piece... and they LOVE it!! I'm thrilled.

This first photo shows the overall finished piece. Subsequent photos are close-ups and include notes on what I saw in the artwork. I included some of my client's comments as well.

I did not share my insights with my client, I let them see through their own eyes. I am amazed at what they saw.

Wild Red Poppies (aka Heaven and Earth - as titled by client)
signed, dated 09
acrylic, pencil, magazine, newspaper and fabric collage on linen
61.5 x 49.5 in, framed
SOLD $1800

Detail #1>
My Observations: The old oak tree, the tree of life and knowledge. It's arms around the people, protecting them and showing them love. This is a mystical doorway to god.
Client Observations: "This is Heaven."

Detail #2>

My Observations: A little boy kneels in the grass looking and discovering. Playful and exuberant, he delights in his discoveries. Butterflies (beneath him, and hidden to right): symbol of hope, freedom, transformation and growth.
Client Observations: She has a nephew that has passed away, "this is him", she said. Also when she sees a butterfly she imagines him sending it down to earth.

Detail #3>
My Observations: An angel, bowed to her heart. Around her, the dark red splotches are the wild red poppies - lush!

Detail #4>
My Observations: Girl singing with joy. Happiness bursting from her heart. Delicate pond of lily pads and flowers. A town, bridge, moon and shooting stars.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Latifah Shay - 'A Colorful Soul'

Warfordsburg, Pa., artist Latifah Shay will exhibit "A Colorful Soul' at The Muse this month, but whose soul she's referencing depends on the painting.

The longtime artist and graphic designer turned her interest to abstract acrylic pieces recently and said she feels her paintings are revelatory.

"I feel I connect with myself very deeply when I do art," she said. "I feel like things are revealed.

" For example, she worked on a group of paintings when she was pregnant and "could tell one of the images was the soul of the baby," she said.

Turns out, she gave birth to triplets - minor technicality.

Circles recur in her pieces but aren't related to anything specific, she said. "They're more of a movement or expression. ... Usually I just move with what I feel. ... Afterwards, I connect with the art. I'm usually suprised."

She will attend the opening reception from 5 to 9 p.m. at The Muse and give demonstrations of her techniques working with small collages and paintings.

Throughout her life, she went through artistic spurts, she said, when she'd produce several pieces over a short period of time, then stop for a while.

"I never knew why," she said.

There were no artists in her family.

She studied architecture at Texas A&M University but found herself wanting a more creative outlet. She went on to study graphic design and became a designer specializing in web design and flash animation.

She continued to return to her personal paintings, though, realizing they were what gave her satisfaction.

She began working with mostly that and showed her work for the first time a year ago.

Art "was something that had always been inside me," she said. "After having my children, I wanted to do something for myself. ... I'm happy to be here."

by Lauren LaRocca
The Frederick News-Post (MD)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Thank you Lauren for the interview.
I would just like to comment and correct something that was said in the first paragraph: actually "A Colorful Soul" refers to me and my soul.
Thank you

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Art :: Three Collage Minis

Lightning bolt of delight strikes my heart
Happiness abounds
Daydreamy with joy
Happiness, poppies and floating dreams

signed, dated 09 (on back)
acrylic, magazine collage and transfer on pressboard
5.75 x 7.75 in, framed

The heart connecting
Love given
Friends - supporting & caring
Feeling bad
Watching, dreaming

The Heart Connecting
signed, dated 09 (on back)
acrylic, magazine collage and transfer, pencil on pressboard
5.75 x 7.75 in, framed

Dynamic city vibe
Aspen, cold and sunny
Edgy graffiti
Through the snow
Falling laughter

Laughter in Snow
signed, dated 09
acrylic, magazine collage on pressboard
5.75 x 7.75 in, framed

To Purchase Artwork: Contact Latifah Shay @ 707-327-8125 or artist@latifahshay.com

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Words of Wisdom

"When I was an undergraduate art student, I was lucky enough to study with internationally acclaimed artist Terry Allen. I loved the class and worshipped the teacher, but I didn't always get my assignments in on time. One day a student asked Terry how you know if you are really an artist. Terry turned to face him and said, "An artist can't stop himself. He really has no choice about it." What an answer! I was mortified. I definitely was not an artist by Terry's definition. Even though I wanted to be an artist more than anything, I wasn't exactly clamoring to be in the studio. To be honest, I spent more time running away from making art than actually making it. Then one evening, after chastising myself for wasting yet another day, I finally understood what Terry meant. What he was really talking about was obsession. It didn't matter whether I was actually making art or not, because if I wasn't making art, I was torturing myself about not making art. I couldn't stop myself. I didn't have a choice about it. So my choice wasn't whether or not to be an artist, but whether to be an artist who worked or one who didn't.
-Cay Lang, Taking the Leap

I came across this quote on the blog Underpaintings: Words of Wisdom, by Matthew D. Innis. (Thank you Matthew for posting this!!)

The last few lines of this really struck home...
This is me. Whether or not I am painting or pursuing my life as a working artist, my need for art is ever-present. I have spent most of my life in a state of longing to create and jealous of those who do. I want to live my life in acceptance and in pursuit of what I know to be true about myself: I need to paint. I am an artist and I long to embody and move with this truth on a daily basis.

¹ Cay Lang, Taking the leap: Building a Career as a Visual Artist (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1998), p XV.

Art Details from: the Everpresent, 08, acrylic and pencil on canvas, 20 x 24 in, unframed, SOLD

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

60x48 Commission: Terms of Agreement

Canvas Specifications:
  • stretched canvas - 60” high x 48“ wide (x 2” deep approx)
  • frame strips (approx) .75“ wide x 2.5” deep
  • framed art (approx) 61.5“ high x 49.5” wide x 2.5“ deep, stained dark walnut
  • acrylic on linen
Color Palette:
  • Harvest Colors: golds, oranges, reds, cream, white, green for accent, other accent colors
  • Question: what do you mean by Gold - metallic gold, rich golden yellows, the color of wheat with the sun rising against it, something else? Please circle or make notes...
Art Description:
Artwork to consist of many layers of information created at different scales. Some things will be readily noticeable from afar, other details revealed as the viewer steps closer. Layers of detail work together to create an overall impression. Details of art to include people. Artwork to be generally consistent in style and content with Latifah Shay’s previous works (as displayed at Tryst and posted on www.latifahshay.com).

Mrs. Client Likes:
  • Mercy for the detail, the bold simplicity, likes the person
  • Trusting to Tell , The Importance of Courage and Global Soul for the layering & depth of detail, for the people
  • Something to Say, The Raven for the colors
Mrs. Client Dislikes:
  • Confidence, the Everpresent, Growing Hope and Movement of Light because they are “too much”
  • “No purples, no browns, no pastel”
Mr. Client Likes:
  • Art that is composed of many layers of detail working together to create an overall image
  • Art as background image to their life
  • "Harvest Colors"
Mr. Client Dislikes:
  • Art that has one overwhelming image or shape such as Delicate Intensity
General Schedule:
  • Plan on having artwork to show you by mid-August
  • Plan on having artwork completed in full by end of September
  • I said I would do up to 3 paintings. Mr. Client said “don’t think 3 pieces is necessary.” I feel confident of this and am excited to paint for you. However, if what I present to you doesn’t excite you the way you would like, I would like to talk about it, painting up to 2 more pieces. My intention is to deliver artwork of the highest quality and caliber and to provide you with art that you can appreciate and enjoy for many years to come.
Delivery / Pick-Up:
  • Mr. & Mrs. Client anticipate picking up art from my studio in rural, PA
  • If shipping is necessary, cost of shipping, handling and insurance will be additional
Terms of Payment:
  • $XXXX - agreed upon price
  • > $XXX - 30% non-refundable deposit - PAID
  • > $XXX - due middle of August
  • > $XXX - due upon completion of artwork
  • Mr. Client said that if necessary, they would pay more; they want to be reasonable, but don’t want me compromise on the artwork for lack of time, money, resources, etc.
  • > I appreciate your generosity deeply in this regard. At this time I do not anticipate needing additional payment. Thank you.
Contact Info:
Please print this document... sign & date it, note what gold means to you, snail-mail me a copy.
Thank you very much. I am excited and grateful for this opportunity - can’t wait to paint!
  • client signature & date / artist signature & date

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Why do I paint???

I have always wanted to be an artist: to paint, to draw, to create... to bring what I see and feel to life in color and dimension. My spirit soars and travels while I create, opening the doors to freedom within. And as much as I long to visually express myself, I long to be free.

I realize as I write this, that it is not so much that I want to paint; it's that IT needs to move through me. It's like I have this raging river of creativity flowing within. I can dam it up or let it run free.

I have so many different emotional responses to color and to art. (Are they separate?) Art walk in Portland Oregon one night... I saw enough pieces that hit my heart just right, that I became euphoric. It's like being enchanted, and falling into a state of love where I believe that anything is possible. Just the other night, my friend had on this perfect shimmery sea foam color. Next to her dark eyes and hair, it was stunning; my heart was so happy.

Color and art connect me to love. It connects me to the deepest parts of myself. This helps me understand why I need it so much.
Details from: Caring, 08, acrylic and pencil on unstretched canvas, 17 x 17 in, framed, SOLD

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

60x48 Commission: Color Palette Review

"Dear Commission Client,

Please review this rough painting. This sketch is to be considered solely in terms of colors and balance of colors. (This is not meant to suggest any particular shapes, details or other imagery to be used in the final artwork.)

How does this color palette feel to you? Is this what you were imagining for Harvest Colors?

How do you feel about the balance of colors in this sketch?

I have added a shade of dark brown to our originally described palette. Using the espresso hue will increase the range of contrast, bringing greater depth to the painting. It would be used only for small areas of detail.

So far I haven't liked the green hues that I have tried with this palette. I hope to get a better sense of what shade to use or if the green works at all once I'm working with the full-size canvas.

If you don't mind, I would like you to send the rough painting back after making your comments. I will need it for color reference as I work on the full-size piece. I am happy to give it back to you at the end of the project if you like.

Please email me with your comments.

Thank you very much. I look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely, Latifah Shay"

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Art: Love's Daydream

Love's Daydream; 16x20; acrylic, pencil on canvas; framed; $350

The enchantment of a dream. The power of love.
Tendrils of love delicately growing around me,
holding and supporting me, helping me to grow.
A beacon from my heart, showing me the way to go.
Opening my heart to the truth, offering me a drink
from Divine Wisdom - my cup runneth over.

Flowers floating along like daydreams.
A mother's pregnant belly, live moving downstream and out.
Shelter from the storm, a place inside my heart.
A sandpiper on the beach, waves washing upon the sand.

I didn't know what I was going to create when I started this painting. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. I could feel the deep yellow color in my heart. Once that was dry I just started drawing on the canvas in pencil. I had a marvelous time drawing. I came by drawing naturally, very early on. It felt so good to just draw. I haven't drawn before with the sole purpose of setting up a painting. Usually I just paint. Once the drawing was done however, I knew it was going to take some time to fill it in.
I filled in the white dots first, I could feel that much. I tried to work on the flowers next, and I did fill them in roughly, but I didn't like what I was doing. I left the flowers and went on to work with the swirly shapes. I loved the look of the blue-green over the marigold color, I found it exciting. I just kept going, kept on filling in the shapes. The painting began to have a balance of positive and negative, shape and detail. I painted the flowers at the very end, and they look just right.

I worked on this painting intensely. I spent 40 hours on it. I said to myself 5 days in a row, "I'm going to finish this tonight". Three layers of paint per color and lots of detail and edges. It was worth it. I love it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

NEW Feeling My Way; 16x20; acrylic and pencil on canvas; framed; $300.

For over 2 years now I have painted (etc.) almost exclusively abstracts. Artwork that has come from a deep desire and need to move through me. For the energy of the art to pour through me, to be released, with a piece of art being born in the process. Aside from last week's work, the only character to surface was the girl in the Mercy collage (April 2008).

Much of the work I did in 2002 had characters (children) in them. Most of them representing me in some way. I have included 2 examples here: Innocence Lost (left) and Ill Communication (right) (yes, referencing the Beastie Boys song).

Both the painting from today and the one from last week had people in them. With, of course, some degree of abstraction or stylization - I don't want to give up the abstract completely!

I am curious about the return of the figure as well as the again prominent use of drawing in my work. I have been feeling the need for color pop and contrast. For the Tryst show I was exploring tone-on-tone; enjoying the relationship, the kinship of the colors. I think I got that out of my system for a while. I am feeling energized and satisfied by painting with vivid color in very illustrative forms. Additionally, I see my emotions coming through these last two paintings in a more figuratively representational way. I feel good about this, happy and excited.

You may or may not know that I have 4-yr old triplets; two girls and one boy. We go to the library weekly and we read together daily. I love looking at the illustrations and reading the blurb about the artist. I am currently attracted to the illustration style of artist David Shannon. I was definitely aware of being opening to his style as I was painting today.

It feels so good to be trying something new and yet familiar at the same time.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Clean Brush is a Happy Brush

I found myself cleaning my studio yesterday. What I really wanted to do was to paint. However, my brushes needed some attention before I could get down to business. Let me say up front that I have neglected my brushes for approximately 6 weeks. This has been the period of time since I completed works for a show I had in Washington D.C. Tsk, tsk, poor brushes, no one to play with them. I had been feeling guilty about the apparent neglect for some time, but I haven’t been able to tear myself away from my intensive marketing studies. (More on that later.) No longer able to avoid the need of my brushes, I stuck my nose in the first bucket. Phew! That is a nasty smell. What could that be from?? Well, it seems as though keeping brushes wet while they are being used seems to work out fine. Unfortunately, soaking in acrylic-water for untold days doesn’t bode too well. The funk was coming from a large round decorative brush that I have had for only a short time. Alas, no attachment. Good thing, because after 5 washes and all night to dry, it still had an offensive odor. Without hesitation I launched the sour-bristled brush into my near-full bucket of trash. Gratefully and fortunately, the rest of my brush collection survived in good condition. I learned my lesson: a clean brush is a happy brush. Good to know.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Unity Music Festival

Lindsay Mac on her cello. Artwork by Latifah Shay.

Unity Music Festival

This past Saturday I attended the Unity Music Festival in Warfordsburg PA. This event is only in it’s second year, still in it’s infancy. Organized and promoted pretty much single-handedly by Camela Widad Kramer, the show served up an impressive array of musicians. My favorite was the Cello Fourtet; headbanging by way of the cello. They rocked. My other favorite new-to-me artist via the UMF is Lindsay Mac. This very feisty and funky girl played the cello as well, albeit like a guitar. Camela Widad Kramer is a singer-songwriter. She is a burgeoning musician, one with soul and guts. Find her music and give it a good listen. You won’t be sorry. For two years in a row my art has been used as the mainstage backdrop. Last year I painted a piece especially for the festival: a series of 4 panels, totaling 6x14’ painted on unstretched canvas. This year I used a 66x80” piece that I created in 2007, titled Perfection Spinning. This piece has been a long-time favorite of mine, still in my collection, deserving to be aired at every opportunity.