In 2012, I won “a big blue ribbon that said “Artist’s Choice” on a painting for our boardwalk along the Coquille River that I painted for The Year of The Dragon. One day as I was walking downtown, a woman I had never met before came up to me and said, “Oh, you are the artist who won the blue ribbon…” and I was taken aback for a minute. Someone defined me as an artist. I had never put that label on myself before; I had never assumed an identity as an artist.
I look back over my life, and I have been an artist for decades! In my early 20’s, I sewed up a storm, creating everything from lingerie to formals, baby clothes to a three-piece Pendleton plaid man’s suit. In my late 20’s, I started painting in acrylics and oils. Years later, I sewed a massive amount of clown clothes, sewing yards and yards of ruffles by zigzagging over dental floss.
In my 60’s, I started creating mosaics and have at least 116 pieces to date, most of them stepping stones. But I also covered many other objects in mosaic patterns: a lazy Susan, a Kleenex holder, vases, trivets, etc.
My latest obsession is painting rocks—well over 200 to date. I can’t take a walk without my eyes grazing for the perfect rock for my next project.
Photography… now that obsession goes way back decades ago, and it consumes much more time than I would like to admit. Photo albums, collages, framed photos, photos just taped on my furniture and walls… is this a form of art, or is it merely a visual cacophony that knows no bounds and is beyond an art form now?
Professionally, I have created well over a hundred book covers and promotional materials for each book. Plus I designed a web page for each one. As a graphic artist, my creativity has found a vehicle that is beyond play and is something I do for our authors in our business, Robert D. Reed Publishers.
Yes, I am an artist. I paint paintings and I paint rocks. I create mosaics. I sew. I am a graphic designer. I am a photographer and create photo books and collages.
One time I was asked in a workshop to name my three top values. They are LOVE, CREATIVITY, and FUN. Sometimes I jest that if I had a middle name other than Lyvonne, it would be Creative. I am Cleone Creative Reed.
Why have I had such a hard time labeling myself an artist, assuming the identity of artist? I think it is because I have so many friends who are artists and they MAKE MONEY with their art, selling their paintings, jewelry, etc. in art galleries whereas I have only sold one thing that I can think of… a greeting card that was political satire to a few friends—not anything in an art gallery. I have participated in countless community art shows, making photo collages primarily, but I do not make any money with my creations.
Maybe because my values are LOVE, CREAVITITY, and FUN instead of LOVE, CREATIVITY, and MONEY, I am destined to just have FUN as an artist and never make any MONEY as an artist. What more can I say? I LOVE to CREATE and I LOVE to have FUN, so I am just a creative fun-loving artist.