Why people like art

Why do people like art? The answers are many, varied, and often, intensely personal.

In this week’s article, I’m exploring why people like art. Please keep reading to discover my thoughts on the subject. If you’d rather watch and listen, feel free to jump to the video at the end.

Detail view of Celtic, part of my Hot Cross series
Image credit: Hilary Clark

Do you like art…?

A couple months back, I posed a series of questions on my Instagram (@hilaryclark13) as a sort of research project. One of those questions was “Do you like art? Why or why not?” The people who chose to respond all liked art but their reasons varied. All were as individual as the person.

One person was an art student when in school. She was initially inspired by architecture when creating her own work, drawn in by the aesthetics, feeling, look, design, and color. She remains connected to work with natural elements and architectural inspiration. However, she has a stronger connection to another art form, one she was introduced to by her mother: graphic art. Their shared love of graphic art, particularly that of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, created an additional bond between mother and daughter. She loves art that makes her think, feel, and offers a sense of freedom.

© 1892, Toulouse-Lautrec, “Ambassadeurs”
Image credit: Wikipedia

Another shared she likes art because it takes her mind in new directions. She sees an artwork and it triggers thoughts and emotions that allow her to expand her own vision of the world.

A third person sees art as a basic need, one that fuels her body and mind with inspiration and emotion. She’s drawn to all venues that share art – film, music, theater, museums, dance, and more.

A fourth likes art that speaks to her soul. She’s drawn to art that touches something inside her, evokes emotion and is the catalyst to connect her to memories and past experiences.

And a fifth shared she has a Masters of Art in Art History. Her connection and love of art is created by how much she can learn about a culture based on the art people create.

Art as transformation…

No one replied to my question with a “no, I don’t like art”. I think that’s because all of us like or love art in some form. We’re all drawn to the beauty, the message, the boldness, the subtlety, the colors, shapes, lines that make up artwork in all its media.

Like the person who sees art as a basic need, I believe art is available for us to offer us an opportunity to transform. To transform our vision. To transform our minds. To transform our hearts.

Art as a transformative vehicle opens us up to see the world in a new way. Each person sees something different in the art he or she views. And this individual perception allows each of us to imagine our own reality as part of the artwork itself.

My art…

I create feelings out of fiber – bright, bold, abstract textured fiber paintings. The act of creation allows me the opportunity to change the way I perceive my own reality. Through art making, I develop a connection to the feeling I’m creating.

We get stuck when we attach so strongly to a feeling we think that’s all there is. My work lets me feel the feeling and then step back to observe the feeling. Through observation, I can learn what the feeling is trying to teach me. And through the learning, I can transform my reality.

All art forms offer this opportunity. The art that draws you to it is trying to teach you something. And I think, maybe, just maybe, that’s why we love art.

Exit through the gift shop…

People love art for many varied and intensely personal reasons. It may be for a connection to a loved one. It may be for the opportunity to expand one’s vision. It may be because art feeds the heart and mind like food feeds the body. It may be for the emotion art evokes or it may be for what one can learn from art.

You may like art for one of the reasons above, or you may like art for a reason you hold deep in your heart. Liking art is personal, as individual as you are, and that’s a fantastic thing.

If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!

What I’ve been working on recently

It’s time for a progress update from the Studio! I took a little break from creating feelings out of fiber to try my hand at a few different artworks.

Please keep reading for news from the design table and the sewing machine. If you’re rather watch and listen, jump to the video at the end.

© Hilary Clark, “Fish Tails”, Fiber, 12” x 12”
Image Credit: Hilary Clark

Fish Tails…

This past month, I did something I don’t ordinarily do. I worked on two different projects at the same time. This turned out to be good for my production rate, but it made my mild OCD a little twitchy. 🙂

I almost always work on one project at a time, usually the next in my Feelings series. However, in mid-July, I accepted a challenge to make a wearable art face mask for these COVID times. I ended up creating ten – the Queen of the collection and her Ladies of the Court. You can read about this Jewels of the Pandemic series here. One has sold; the others remain available in my Etsy shop.

In keeping with my focus on smaller work (the masks have a lot of design detail in a small space!), I also created a 12” x 12” artwork I’ve named “Fish Tails”. This piece was created as a submission for the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) Florida Fresh Fish Exhibit, which will be on display at the SAQA Global Conference in April 2021. The Conference will be held virtually as no one really knows where the world will stand in terms of COVID. As we get closer, I’ll share information in this space about how to view the Fresh Fish exhibition.

I’m really pleased with my little fish. My drawing skills remain about second grade level when it comes to drawing anything that ought to look like something real. There’s a reason I create abstract art – my drawing skills are cartoonish and childlike. It’s just not a skill I’ve cultivated. So when my fish outline came out looking like an actual fish shape, I was pretty fucking happy. Still am.

This little fishy is super colorful and created using fused raw edge applique and machine stitching, incorporating the dense textured stitch lines I prefer.

For fun, I used a pre-printed undersea fabric I found in my stash as the facing for this piece. “Fish Tails” is a fish, through and through. You can read this piece’s accompanying poem here.

© Hilary Clark, “Fish Tails” – detail view, Fiber, 12” x 12”
Image Credit: Hilary Clark
© Hilary Clark, “Fish Tails” – back, Fiber, 12” x 12”
Image Credit: Hilary Clark

Abstract geometrics…

While I can’t really draw anything that looks like anything – if you ask me to draw a tree, it’s going to look like a second grader drew it, all lollipop or Christmas like – I can draw geometric shapes. A ruler and a compass help me with this. I never discount the importance of using tools.

A few months ago, I started creating abstract geometric drawings, using gel pens and markers on paper. I quickly found my voice in those abstract compositions made up of geometric shapes, line, and arrows. I’m entertained by these – I hated geometry class in high school.

I create a new drawing a couple times a week and share them on my Instagram (@hilaryclark13 if you want to follow along). They cross post over to Facebook too. I’m playing with ideas for what I want to do with these; I think I’m going to be uploading my favorites to my Fine Art America shop (opening soon!!) and offer them as prints as well as designs on items like throw pillows, phone cases, coffee mugs, and more.

I’m also experimenting with turning these little drawings into acrylic paintings. I’ve never practiced painting as an art form before, or at least not since I gave up finger painting as a kid. I’m finding it a fun way to spend a small portion of my Sunday afternoon. As my painting skills improve, and I find my voice with the paint, I’m sure I’ll shift from creating little 8” x 6” paintings to larger canvas’. Until then, I’m enjoying playing with paint. These are the three I’ve created so far, all taken from one of the pen and marker drawings.

© Hilary Clark, Abstract Geometrics, Acrylic on canvas, 8” x 6”
Image credit: Hilary Clark

(Feeling) Enlightened…

I’ve begun the latest in my Feelings series. I’m creating Enlightened, which incorporates a yellow canvas. Yellow = light in my mind. As this piece is still in its infancy, the only progress photo I have to share is the canvas.

Canvas for (Feeling) Enlightened
Image Credit: Hilary Clark

The design for Enlightened will use primarily fuchsia, red, and purple. I’m sure blue, green, and even some orange will make their way into this piece. Abstract, curving shapes will dominate the space, representing the Knowing we experience as we evolve towards enlightenment.

Exit through the gift shop…

I’ve been busy over the last month, creating wearable art face masks, a vibrant fish, drawing and painting, and beginning the work on my latest Feeling. It’s been a good month in the Studio and I’m grateful to share my work with you.

If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!

How you can buy my art

In this week’s article, I’m not sharing work in progress status or new art I’ve just finished. Instead, I’m sharing the various methods available to you so you can buy my art. Because you know you’ve thought about it! 😉

Seriously, though, I’m in the business of making, marketing, and selling my art, so a discussion about the ways to purchase ought to be included once in awhile. Today’s the day.

Please keep reading to learn about the various options available to purchase my art. If you’re rather watch and listen, jump to the video at the end.

Detail view of Queen Amethyst, one of the Jewels of the Pandemic wearable art face masks
Image credit: Hilary Clark

Feelings out of fiber…

If you’ve been following along for any length of time, you know I primarily create feelings out of fiber in the form of bright, bold, abstract textured fiber paintings. I do occasionally make other pieces that aren’t feelings. I made a series of crosses in the past. I’ve made some stand-alone pieces. And recently, I made a series of wearable art face masks I’m calling the Jewels of the Pandemic. All of these art works can be seen in my Gallery on my website and in a variety of other locations.

So let’s talk about what those other locations are, okay?

HilaryClarkStudios, an Etsy shop…

I’ve opened an Etsy shop, named HilaryClarkStudios. Swing by! Check it out!

To date, all art work from my Feelings series is available in the shop, as are several of the crosses from my Hot Cross series. And all of the Jewels of the Pandemic wearable art masks are listed too.

Discover Hilary Clark on Artwork Archive…

My art is also on display through Artwork Archive on my Artist Profile page. If you visit and follow the Discover link in their menu, you can enter my name, Hilary Clark, and you’ll be whisked to my profile, where my portfolio is available for viewing. Art work that would love a home includes a link to purchase.

I keep my full inventory on this site and have the wonderful option to stage private art showings. I can share private Gallery rooms, which provides you with the opportunity to view my work by series collection or view my whole body of work.

Artwork Archive has a different feel to it than Etsy. This offers a Gallery experience so you can feel you have the entire space to yourself to fully appreciate the art work on offer.

Commission your own unique art work…

If you love the art I create but there isn’t an existing piece that speaks to you, let’s talk about commissioning your own unique art work. To do this, you can get in touch with me via my website, via email, or through a DM. Let me know you want to talk about hiring me for a commissioned art piece. We’ll schedule an appointment to sit down and talk about what it is you’re looking for to see if we can create a beautiful piece of art together.

Our conversation would be exploratory, with no obligation. It would just be a conversation to see if there’s something I could make that would suit your vision. If you’re interested in commissioning me to create an art work uniquely your own, remember I make abstract art. If you’re looking for representational art, I’m probably not your artist. Bright, bold, abstract art – that’s what I do.

Coming soon…

I’ll be offering another option soon through Fine Art America. This shop location is another gallery option, focused on print-on-demand prints. My intent is to offer prints of my textured fiber paintings, as well as prints of my abstract geometric pen and ink drawings. Fine Art America allows me to offer home furnishing accessories featuring my work, so the opportunity to buy a throw pillow with an image of one of my Feelings on it is coming soon!

Once I’ve opened my shop at Fine Art America, I’ll be sure to announce that news in a future weekly article, and on all my other channels.

We could just keep it simple…

The shop options are always available. However, if you’ve fallen in love with one of the art works I’ve shared here through my articles, on my website, or via social media, and you want to keep it super simple, just get in touch to let me know you’d like to buy the piece. We can set up a virtual showing via Zoom and I’ll email you photos so you can see it up close and personal. Buying a piece of my art doesn’t have to be complicated. If there’s a piece you absolutely must own, let’s get it into your hands and into your house as easily as possible.

Exit through the gift shop…

To recap all of the possible ways you can buy my art, you can visit me on:

Etsy – HilaryClarkStudios
Artwork Archive – Hilary Clark
Schedule an appointment to discuss commissioning your own unique art piece
Contact me via the contact page on my website
Email me directly

And coming soon to Fine Art America!

If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!

Showcase Piece: Inquisitive

In today’s article, I’m showcasing another piece from my portfolio – Inquisitive, the second piece made as part of my Feelings series.

Please keep reading to learn more about why I chose the colors and shapes I did to make this textured fiber painting. If you’re rather watch and listen, jump to the video at the end.

(c) Hilary Clark, “Inquisitive”, Fiber, 18″ x 23″
Image credit: Hilary Clark

Inquisitive was an experiment…

Inquisitive is one of the smaller pieces in the Feelings series, measuring 18” x 23”. There are two eyelet hangers stitched on the back, allowing it to hang on the wall with the use of a couple of small nails.

This piece doesn’t have the same dense stitching as the first in the series, or many that followed. I was experimenting with how much stitching I wanted to include and this piece, with its more representational shapes, seemed to call for a wider stitch pattern.

Why I chose yellow…

I chose yellow for the canvas because this color symbolizes curiosity and inquisitiveness to me. I tend to think and feel in color so when I’m choosing the canvas color for one of my textured fiber painted feelings, I go inside and ask my intuition what color best represents the feeling. When I did that for Inquisitive, yellow’s what rose out of my subconscious.

As with all of the Feelings series, the canvas is made up of different shades of the canvas color. I create a tissue paper pattern following the full outline of the piece, then divide that pattern into individual segments along abstract, flowing curves. Each segment uses a different shade of yellow in this piece, mostly solids, but occasionally I’ll use patterned fabric as I did here.

The “why” behind the design…

Once the canvas is created, I overlay the design elements on top. For Inquisitive, I chose question marks because to be inquisitive is to question. They symbolize the curious aspect of being inquisitive as you seek answers.

In addition to the slightly wider stitching, roughly ½” between each stitch line as opposed to my usual ¼” to ⅛” distance, this piece also uses more defined, real shapes with the question marks and the eyes overlaying each mark. I was still exploring how I wanted to best create feelings out of fiber and this piece, when compared with the rest of the series, is a bit of a departure. However, it is still an abstract with bright, bold colors and so it fits into the series in that way.

There’s always a poem…

The majority of my work includes a poem on the back. Each poem is inspired by the textured fiber painting and so each piece includes a copy of its poem fused to the backing as the label. I thought I’d share Inquisitive’s poem with you.

(Feeling) Inquisitive

What is the meaning of
life? Is it purpose,children,
love,or just living?

Why is the sky
blue, the grass green,
my hair turning grey? Are
these childish questions?

Who is God? Have you
met Him? On the other hand, is it 
Her? Is it both? What does 
God looks like?

When will the world
end? Have you wondered?
Do you care?

How do we know when
chicken is cooked or 
black currants are
ripe? Will you ask Google?

Where do the rabbits in my
backyard make their
nest? Are they happy?

I wonder…are you as
inquisitive as I am?

Exit through the gift shop…

If you’re interested in owning Inquisitive, it can be purchased for $750 through my Etsy shop, HilaryClarkStudios. Or reach out to me directly and we can make arrangements to get this piece into your home.

If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!

Jewels of the Pandemic: Wearable Art Face Masks

Over the last few months, three different friends have suggested I make face masks as they’re needed during this 2020 pandemic. Each of these friends also suggested I make them as pieces of art, rather than as utilitarian masks. It wasn’t until the third time this was suggested that I connected to the idea.

So I made one. And I enjoyed it so much, I’m making more.

Please keep reading to learn more. If you’re rather watch and listen, jump to the video at the end.

Jewels of the Pandemic: Wearable Art Face Mask No. 1 ~ $250
Available for purchase in my Etsy Shop.

Mask No. 1 details…

The vast majority of the art I create is raw edged fused appliqué with dense machine stitching to “paint” each of the design elements. I applied this same technique to the face mask and created this beautiful gem.

The lining is grey felt, which is comfortable on the face and fully breathable. Because the felt is thicker than a single layer of cotton, it also provides a bit more fabric to filter out the toxins floating through the air **. The external side of the mask is made of a layer of cotton fabric as the base color, then overlaid with collaged design elements. While some of the design elements do overlap, they don’t impede breathing.

Embellished with purple ribbon, it ties behind the neck and head to hold it securely in place when you’re in any environment that requires facial covering.

The mask can be washed on the delicate or hand wash cycle in your machine (or by hand in the sink), hung to dry, and worn again and again. Over time, the raw edged design elements may fray. This is natural; any frayed threads can be trimmed with small scissors.

It’s priced at $250 due to the level of detail involved in making this beautiful work of art. If you’d like to own it, you can buy it directly from my Etsy shop ~ HilaryClarkStudios.

Jewels of the Pandemic…

I’ve had lots of interest in this piece, and I enjoyed making it, so I’m currently making ten (10) more, each with its own base color. I’m using red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, lavendar, black, and white.

This small collection of jewels will be available for $150 each as the design will be simpler. All will be uploaded into my Etsy shop when they’re complete, except for the purple one, which is already spoken for.

Exit through the gift shop…

The Jewels of the Pandemic collection is wearable art. Before you freak out over the price, I’d like you to consider something: The beautiful face you were born with is hidden behind whatever mask you’re wearing. The mask is now the face you’re showing the world.

So why not wear the most beautiful face covering possible?

Your face mask is an accessory. Just because your face is covered doesn’t mean you can’t dress yourself up and wear something gorgeous as you greet the world.

You deserve it.

If you’d love to own one of the Jewels of the Pandemic masks, drop a comment below or get in touch as soon as possible. I’m happy to reserve your favorite color for you.

(** Remember, please, the Jewels of the Pandemic masks are for personal use only and are not medical grade.)

If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!