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Mini Art, Big Dreamscapes

Introducing "Shelfies"

In between a host of Fall art events, painting a new larger floral artwork, the 2024 calendar launch, and new tree monotype experiments (more on that in 2024), I finally got around to making something with a box of small wood blocks and off-cuts that I've collected over the couple of years. It's been fun to work at a different scale, and one that forces me to just dive in and create, to stay loose.

On a side note, this process gave me a flashback... Do you remember Elf on the Shelf, I'm talking the OG Elf on the Shelf?

Perhaps this dates me but I don't care. In my childhood, these slightly odd little plastic and polyester pixie-like creatures appeared suddenly before Christmas and well, spied on us kids to tell Santa if you were naughty or nice. Seriously, I think it's time for better shelf decor!

So back in the present... my little minis are far less creepy, and while these are great holiday decor, they can also stick around for desk distraction anytime. I did learn that there is a term for these, of course there is: "Shelfies!" Corny? Perhaps, but at least I have something to call them besides "wood block landscapes", but that also works...

Over the summer, I created landscapes based on what I saw before me outside. For these shelfies though, I opted to work more intuitively. The palette might be determined by what paint was left at the end of a studio session, maybe add a little oil stick or marker, or a little touch of golden paint pen. Does a bit of grain imply a mountain? Do the colors on my palette suggest water or trees; night or day? In this little imaginary place, am I looking up at stars or a crescent moon, is a cloud drifting by?

I have a little cube painting on my desk, and I have to say it's a bit addictive. The tactile experience of touching something both natural and human made is a pleasant break from the keyboard when I’m doing office work. I can explore a whole new artwork with a simple turn; bam, a whole new vista.

Did I get carried away in making these? Did I get distracted by shelfies and not get back to other, bigger, things? Hmmm, I guess that’s the upside of being self-employed, the boss lets me get away with it. But these moments of experiment, intuition, flow… they offer a mental break and new ideas. So I think it all worked out. What do you think?

I’ll have the first set of Landscape Shelfies at my studio open house this weekend, so stop by and grab one, or multiples to mix, stack, or gift. I’ll try to put some up in the shop starting next week, or just get in touch if you’d like one. Happy Holidays!

P.S. Teresa Stern Arts studio will be closed December 16th through January 1st. Stay tuned for new art and classes in 2024!

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