Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's been a long time!

I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted to this blog! The year has flown by as it usually does. Once school starts the momentum just keeps building and before I know it, Christmas is here. Sad but not surprising that I have barely touched my art stuff in all this time. I get caught up in the trappings of working and life in general. Soccer season is over and Futsal hasn't started. Christmas shopping is done and gifts are wrapped. So guess what I did yesterday. I went to my sunroom studio, cranked the radio and three hours later I had a collage done and was covered in paint...I think I felt my spirit expand or atleast take it's first really deep breath in a long while. I've been doing some thinking lately about what to do next. I've looked into going back to school to take some classes and work towards my degree in art, who knows. I'm very excited that I got to enroll early in Art and Soul and got all my classes I wanted. Glenny is the best! I am so excited and can't wait for it to be here. As fast as the time is flying it will be here very soon!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

And the Art Goes On

I registered for Art and Soul this week. Oh my gosh I could have spent twice as much as I did and taken twice as many classes. As it is I feel guilty for spending that kind of money on myself. At the same time I can't imagine not going to the retreat. It feels like the only time I get to me my true self. I was excited because I was invited to rigister early and was able to get into both of the all day classes I really wanted to take. I'm so excited and counting the days!

A really good read, Taking Flight Inspiration and Techniques to give your Creative spirit wings by Kelly Rae Roberts. I picked it up at Barnes and Noble one day last week. I love this book. It really speaks to my artistic soul. She writes about the journey to finding your creative self. A while back I came up with the winged S as a way to sign my art. It symbolizes me finding my wings and taking flight to find the artist within. So when I saw the title of the book and the many wings in all the pictures I knew this book and I would connect...and I was right. Some of the things she speaks about I have experienced already and some made me think differently than I had before. Mixed in with the advice are some really cool techniques for mixed media art. I've already tried a few, great stuff! I also love her artwork you can see it at and at her etsy shop.

I discovered a group in Flickr called Collage Images. You have to join but once you do, you can download all kinds of ephemera. You can search the pool of pictures posted by the group. Great stuff!

So here is my latest ATC for the exchange. It's called Pumpkin Pi? I drew the pumpkins and vine with watercolor pencils. Then I scanned them into my computer and resized them. I created a background of the number pi to the 10th or so decimal, copy/pasted it over and over to fill the page. I then selected all the texted and changed it to a very pale gray. I ran the paper through again and printed the pumpkins on top. I used a maroon Sharpie to write in Pumpkin Pi? and inked the edges with an orange ink pad. I think they came out pretty good.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Camp memories

My brother came by last week. We had a great chat about the camp we both went to as kids. The same camp my mom had attended as a teenager. I had missed a reunion and wanted to hear about all the folks I hadn't seen in so long. I realized as we were talking how important some of those memories were to me. I also realized my experiences were far different from his. He stayed on much longer than I did and moved into the mysterious realm of "counselor". I started when I was very young and my mom was camp nurse. I never had the experiences with the romances, parties and subculture of young adult friendships. Later when I sat down in my studio to work, instead of painting or some other project, I really felt like writing. I let the memories flow and as they started to manifest on paper, things long forgotten started to bubble to the surface. Here is what I wrote that night:

Camp Nimrod for Girls

White skorts, white shirts, white sandals, the strong smell of bug spray, the itch of grass on the back of my legs, the geode that was rumored to be a fallen star and a Sunday evening sunset….Vespars.

Dust, sweat, the smell of hay and horses, the creak of leather, the soft felt on my hat, a small white pony who owned my six year old heart~Paulette, the evil eye pendant on my neck, jodphers, boots and the Goshen show….riding lessons

A steep path down, clinging to the rail, tripping over roots, the smell of earth meeting crystal clear water, the clink of buddy tags hitting the board, the bang~clang~sway~dip walking down the floating docks, that first cold heavenly rush as you hit the water, the smooth curve of river rocks under your feet…the Cow Pasture River

A medicinal smell that can’t be described (perhaps a mixture of rubbing alcohol, just opened bandaids and cough syrup), metal cabinets filled with mysterious vials and cotton balls, orange Methialate drawings on scraped shins and knees, wasps nests in the closet on the back porch, and my home base…the infirmary

The slam of a wooden door, big green adirondack chairs on the porch, sitting on the railing, snacks and ice cold glass bottle sodas in the back room, an Eagle painted on a wooden plaque, grown ups laughing and talking…the office.

The wonderful smell of food, a letter home to get in on Sunday (and being a little confused why I had to do it when my mom was next door in the infirmary?!), long tables, surrounded by friends, laughter, a quick finger to the side of the nose or you run around the table pig, a napkin to tell the tale of a girl who could not pay the rent…daily meals in the nest

The walk from the rec hall with beams of flash lights swinging across the path, gathering at the flag pole, singing “Green trees around me….hearts beating true as Camp Nimrod says good night to you” arms crossed swaying, looking up from the circle of campers to see the circle of trees swaying as well, taps, jumping in your bunk ~no covers~ too hot, waking in the middle of the night curled in a ball freezing in the damp air…bedtime on a mountain

A complete and utter hush and stillness just before Revelry blasted out, the smell of toothpaste messages written on screens, the rush to get ready, the run to the flag pole to see whose underwear would be on display…the start of a another great day

Camping out at Pots Springs, floating candles down the river, being afraid of small snappish black and brown dogs, plastic lace braided lanyards, name tags sewn on all my clothing, an old trunk painted lavender, and memories of never wanting summer to end…Camp Nimrod for Girls
When I was done I realized how fortunate I was to have such memories, how many amazing people had influenced my life at an early age...and I felt that familiar ache for a mother I miss so dearly, the one who allowed me the freedom to run off and be a camper but was always there if I needed a quick hug or some methialate on a scraped knee. As far as I'm concerned I had the best of both worlds.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My First Swap and other stuff

I participated in my first online ATC swap! So exciting! I love the cards I got back. The theme was water. It's so interesting to see all the different ways that people interpret a theme and the different look of the cards. I'm planning on participating in this month's swap too. The theme is fire, so of course my first idea was fireballs my favorite candy. Then I did some cards on hot flashes...not looking forward to those in my not too distant future. I have been coming home everyday and working atleast 15 to 30 minutes on cards. The ones for the swap are finished and I've worked on a few others as well. I've learned to be brave and experiment, but not to be too attached to the ones I'm working on...cause some experiments go badly. You won't know if you don't try! My new stamps from Stampotique came this week so I've had fun experimenting with those. The stamps they have are very different, like vintage pictures and things.

Another first and something to check off my list of things I wanted to try...I took an old piece of linoleum, flipped it over, primed it and painted it as a floor cloth. I had so much fun and it turned out really good. I put it out in the mud room in front of my washer and it! I can sweep right over it, no rugs to wash, it's just lovely. So now I'm thinking of all the shapes I can cut out and paint and give as gifts. Fun for me and cheap to make. Oh la la that's a good combination.

So what next? Good grief I have so many unfinished projects and untried things, I could do this as a full time wouldn't that be nice :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Focus on the positive

It has been a truly strange month for me. I won't go into all the negative details but it seems to be one thing after another. So I decided that on my blog I will only focus on the positive... so here are some positive things that have happened to me since my last post. I had an article published in Today's Creative HomeArts magazine. I even got paid for it! Very exciting in my little world. I have two newly renovated bathrooms in my house and some awesome built-in cabinets in my dining room. Love the new look, not so much the process, it was worth every minute of renovations. I had so much fun choosing fixtures, lights, and paint. Still not done with the accessories but I'm savoring the experience of decorating these two rooms. I have made several ATCs using new techniques I learned online and in some great books I recently bought. One new technique was really cool and completely on accident, I thought I was using water on tissue paper and it was rubbing alcohol instead. Came out great though. I even did a collage journal for my trip to the beach last week. Oh and my daughter and I went to this great art store in Manteo NC. I went to do fused glass and did a mosaic and made silver jewelry with silver clay instead. Two really great experiences and time spent with my twelve year old. We plan to go again. Here is the website to check out, if you are headed that way.

I'm rereading a book I read awhile ago called The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard) by Jill Badonsky, M. Ed. Great read, really gets me thinking. What I find really interesting is that I enjoyed it before but this time the meaning is really hitting me and I feel I'm getting so much more out of it. I think some of my recent experiences have affected me more deeply than I thought. I am empowering myself and feel more comfortable calling myself an artist. There is art in every expression and though I may not paint like DaVinci, my ideas and expressions are just as valid. I find it easier each day to let go of my hesitations. I feel that I am finally on the journey that will lead me to myself.

So although July has been Murphy's Law incarnated...I still feel good about where I am.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hummingbird Serendipity

This is one of those strange serendipitous moments that seem to happen to me often.

First part of the story:
I know it's hard to believe but I have never seen a real hummingbird. I know they are all over my neighborhood and there were many in my yard when I was younger. But I was just never fast enough I guess to get my eye on them before they flitted off. I have wanted to see one for so long! I even went out a few years ago and bought a hummingbird feeder...nothing. Not a single bird was ever spotted by me, anyhow. Well, this past Wednesday I was standing at my kitchen sink and guess what I saw right beside my Hybiscus tree! My first hummingbird! And then to make it even better it flew right in front of the kitchen window and hovered for several seconds then flew over to the sliding glass door hovered a few more seconds then flew off. It was SO cool.
Second part of the story:
Today I go to one of my favorite blogs called Inspire Me Thursday The inspiration this week? The hummingbird, of course! So there is no way I can not do this, right? I read the blog and am chicken to submit stuff. The signs are aligned...I must challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone once more, something good always happens when I do. More on this post later.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Journey to Art and Soul

Earlier this month I went to an AWESOME conference of artists called the Art and Soul Retreat. It was held in Hampton which is the town next to mine! I was so excited to find something like this so close to home. I signed up for three classes. I made collages, soldered houses and made a bracelet with beads, shells and beach glass. Oh my gosh I was in heaven and I had so much fun!
Vendor night was over the top. The coolest most unusual stuff, things you don't see everyday and art supplies that I normally have to order onlne. I can't wait to go again.

This is what I wrote as a thank you to Glenny, the organizer of the event. I was really excited when she wrote back and asked if she could art it up and share it with others! This stepping out of your comfort zone stuff has some pretty awesome payoffs.

Here are the things I discovered:

Kindness, friendship, connections, and community
Diamond glaze (can you buy it by the gallon?)
I am compelled to create & there are others that feel that way too
Cardboard cones with ribbons and stuff glued to them sounds really weird but look really cool.
Soldering isn’t so scary! And when Sally Jean (and Mr. Sally Jean) are teaching you how to solder, it’s just too awesome for words!
Wings on stamps (and perhaps a set of my own)
Collage with Traci Bautista is fast and fun.
Liquid water color spray stains your hands for at least three days (and your wedding band makes a nice stencil on those stained hands).
People can and do live their own authentic, artistic lives and for three days I did too.
I love brightly colored hair (I’m thinking aqua may just cover my gray better than the brown dye does….)
Having hands covered in paint and glue makes people wonder what the hell you’ve been doing.
I definitely want that tattoo I’ve been thinking about.
I would gladly trade all my 40% Michael’s coupons to have a store like Collage in my town.
Making yourself step out of your comfort zone to try new things leads to wonderful experiences.
I’m jealous of people who get to be creative for a living.
How to drill a shell and beach glass…oh & etch copper…and bead it all together for an awesome bracelet my friends covet.
Being able to say something like “So do you make ATCs?” and not have people say “What’s that?” is priceless.
Sharing is good (Okay original credit for that one goes to my mom, but it never hurts to reinforce those lessons)
There are other people on this planet that feel the way I do about Sharpie markers and have them in all the colors too.
No matter what anyone says to the contrary I am an artist…if for no other reason than my heart tells me so.
Oh and one more thing….going back to work is hell after a weekend in art heaven!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Little Dab'll Do Ya!

I am a dabbler. I like to dabble in lots of different creative things. The boxes stacked in my mudroom, furniture in my garden shed, the few things in my garage, and many things in my corner of the sunroom attest to the fact that I have my finger in WAY too many pies! But I just can't stop. Besides it's fun so why would I stop. But I can honestly say that I have learned so many skills from all these forays into different arts, crafts and hobbies that have served me well in life.

One of my favorite dabbles was fusing glass with my friends Ann and Kathy. I don't know that it was the glass fusing so much as the chance to share a creative time with some dear friends. I had seen fused glass online and HAD to try it, so before I sunk myself $500 in debt with no place to put the kiln, I took a class. In the lobby of the studio there were these awesome pieces of art. Tiles, bowls, abstract forms all layered with beautiful colors and textures in glass cases. I couldn't wait to make my own. We picked out these pieces of colored glass and stacked them like Jenga tiles while the instructor tried her best to help us understand what the heck we were doing. The end product for me was anticlimatic. Kathy and Ann ended up with lovely pendants, while mine looked rather ugly. The color combinations were uninspired and one even had a strange blob on the end of it...sort of like a weird appendage. The outcome was a couple of hours spent with friends making some really ugly art. And all that with a savings of $435 dollars! Yeah I spent $65 on the class to find out it wasn't for me. I would try it again someday..maybe make a tile or a bowl. Check out this beautiful stuff and if you Google fused glass you'll get 1,180,000 hits to cruise through in your spare time.

Oh and then this past winter my friend Chris caught the soap making bug, so nothing to do but buy a bunch of stuff online, drive to her house (with Kathy and Ann in tow) and make soap all day long. The outcome to this was much more positive, having made soap before I had a better idea of what I was doing. We ended up with lots of soaps to give as gifts, a bunch to donate to a charity craft fair and we had tons of laughter. In searching for supplies we found some really good resources. I found a great site for fragrances called Natures Garden.( Any company that has a fragrance called Monkey Farts is okay with me! Great site for containers on the cheap,
And for molds in all shapes and sizes, Google soap molds for 648,ooo hits or visit one of my favorites, Melt and pour is the easiest method for some good clean fun!

Of course the soap making lead me to the idea of candle making, so I purchased a kit. Well, that one never made it out of the bag. I guess I'm saving it for a rainy day, I'm sure I'll put a call in to my friends to see if they are up for something new!

Blog = Conversation with Self

Trying to think of something profound I have to share with the world...okay I got nothing. When I try to think of something to write about in my first ever blog, a rush of ideas flood my brain. But since I can't write about all of them at once I need to choose just one...okay nothing again. I think the problem is that this is supposed to be a journal online kind of thing, but I'm starting in the middle (of my life) and there is so much that came before. What I would really like to do is just share the things I see that inspire me. The ideas I see that I think are cool, online and off. And perhaps connect with some Kindred Spirits (gotta love Anne of Green Gables). So what if I ramble from one idea or thought to the next? No one will probably read this thing but me. What is that saying "Every journey begins with just one step" so I guess every blog begins with just one word. So I'm guessing my blog will be a sort of modge podge of rambling reflections about everything and nothing, which is pretty much how my thoughts run anyhow.