Tuesday, December 8, 2009

There is art in everything...

I love glass ornaments. The old fashion, molded, hand painted kind. For awhile they were hard to find but now I see them everywhere. One of our Christmas traditions is to purchase a glass ornament that represents something about each person's life for that year. I still have all of mine from my childhood. My favorite is the lady with the violin. I got that one when I was 4 or 5 and was learning to play the violin. There is something about the shine, the delicacy of the glass, the sound they make when they brush against the needles of the tree, that just means Christmas like nothing else.

Last week I went through my mom's Chrismas decorations that had been left up in the attic. Something I wasn't ready to do, until this year. She has been physically gone for 17 years, but she lives on every day in my heart. I miss her so, especially at Christmas, which was her favorite holiday. Going through those boxes was more than I could handle, until this year. For some reason I felt ready this time...and what treasures I found! Lovely old glass ball ornaments and lots of felt! My mom was the queen of felt! She made her own tree skirt out of felt. She decorated the decoys all over our house with felt hats and scarves, they looked as if they belonged on a Charles Dickens pond! Our advent calendar...made out of felt of course. I had forgotten about the felt. So many memories. It also made me think about where I get my need to create, my ability to look at something and and see many uses for it, my eye for design...I definitely owe her my gratitude for showing me how to think outside of the box, that there is art in everything and that everything we do with a loving heart is art. She was never published, never had an art show with her name on it...but she was an artist in so many ways. She decorated our lives with drawings on lunch bags, dapper felt hats on geese, and daily laughter. I think I will include some felt in my next mixed media piece and my swan decoy is currently wearing her felt hat and scarf...it's good to carry on traditions!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

It'a been too long

I'm actually embarrassed by the amount of time that has passed since my last post. Everyday life has taken over and there is little time for the creative pursuits. I continue to work on my soul journal when I have snipets of time, but I haven't worked on my else lately. A couple of weeks ago I did get up early on a Saturday and got a piece done an framed. That is the most I have accomplished. Now that soccer is done for the season I may be able to have some time to do some art!

Since I haven't had much time to go anywhere to experience any new art, I have been depending on the internet for my art fixes! This site it awesome, not only for drawing but for the sketches done by other artists. I really like one artist Julie in the Wild. She does some spectaclar drawings especially of birds. The site is really nice because you see how the artist drew the pictures from start to finish. For someone like me who doesn't have a lot of experience with drawing it's like a lesson in every piece! Check it out at http://sketch.odopod.com/.

This one is a lot of fun! It makes symmetrical lines for the ones you draw. Becareful it can be addictive! http://www.myoats.com. Check out some of the art work done by other people, it's truly incredible.

I was able to enroll in two classes this year at Art and Soul and I'm really looking forward to it! Hope to see some of you there!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Exuburant Chaos of Art Journaling

Art and Soul has been awesome again this year. My classes have been wonderful. I'll have to write whole other post just to talk about them all! I just have to talk about the journal gathering hosted by the wonderful Diana Trout in this post.

Diana sent an email out several weeks before the retreat and invited anyone who journals to meet her to talk and share ideas about art journals. Maria the owner of collage, another wonderful person, offered the Make and Take space for meeting. I immediately wrote back and said I would be there. Now, I have to say this was not without trepidation. This would mean taking my art journal with me and showing it to other people! Scary!

So I sat down at a table of 12 strangers, with the exception of Takeabreak :), and began to talk and share ideas. Diana demonstrated a bubble blowing technique using ink and bubble liquid. Everyone got to share (except for the straws ;) and try the technique. We shared journals and looked for ideas within each others pages. Everyone was very supportive and complementary of my journal. But I have to say I was blown away by everyones journals! Diana even passed hers around for us to see. Wow, here were the original pages I had only seen pictured in publications! Very exciting!

We shared sources for supplies, ideas for how to journal with time constraints, we each journaled a page using a prompt we picked out of a basket, and talked about making space in our homes for a studio. Diana gave us some quotes to use with our journals. People who were in classes stopped by to visit and share. A gentleman shared with us a site his fiance, Sarah Whitmore, has called Soul Journaling. At one point someone asked if anyone had trades and everyone started pulling out trades and started swapping. It was loud, chaotic and so much fun! It reminded me of a Thanksgiving dinner with family all around the table passing stuff back and forth, everyone talking and having a good time.

Before I knew it everyone was packing up to leave. The table of 12 strangers had become a table of 12 new friends and I hated for the evening to end. I felt energized and full of new ideas for journaling. Once again I had taken a chance to step to the edge of my comfort zone with positive results. I hope that I will be able to stay in touch with these new friends because the connections with other artists are so important to me.

I saw Diana at Vendor Night and thanked her again for a wonderful evening. I asked her to please do another gathering next year! So just 360 some days to go until the next Art and Soul!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Salvage Trip

How great is it to have a friend who loves architectural salvage as much as I do and is willing to load up the water bottles and wet ones, hit the road and find some salvage? It's pretty awesome! So this past Thursday we took off for Richmond with directions in hand to seek out and find Caravati's Salvage warehouse http://www.caravatis.com/index.html. After some circling around and misturns we finally found it!

We couldn't believe how huge it was and how much really awesome stuff we found. We love to walk around and come up with stuff that things could be used for in our homes or just in general. I love looking at the old doors and windows but my favorite is usually the ironworks. There were no disappointments in any of these areas at this place...wow! This is the window section, or at least part of it.

I was just blown away by the sheer size of the place and the amount of salvage. I went in search of some cabinet doors for a class I'm taking at Art and Soul at the end of the month. I found a few that were the right size and type that I was looking for and set them aside. Then rounded a corner and found a dream come true wooden three section cabinet. I had glass front barrister doors in three sections a the top with three drawers at the bottom. It was painted this aged out lavender color that was almost gray. It was a weak moment for me...when my brain starting vacillating back and forth between college tuition or cabinet...of course my childs education comes first but boy it was hard to walk away. It was priced at $2400, but they could give it to me for $2000 since it had been there awhile. So then I wanted to know if it stayed there for another 6 months would they consider $1000? The guy chuckled...but I'll be calling to check! I opened one of the drawers and found all sorts of Miller and Roads papers. The cabinet had come from the Miller and Roads in downtown Richmond! A huge part of my childhood, with the annual trip to Richmond at Christmas to see the "real" Santa. So not only a great cabinet but one with childhood memories attached, hard to resist. It was really one of those pieces I dream of having in a studio some day. Ah well.

We also walked out in the courtyard area and I took some pictures of some of the salvage out there. I love the way the paint peels and crackles when left outside. House facades, carriage doors, a great claw foot tub with a spectacular rust spot...I'm weird about this stuff!

We ended up making a side trip to an awesome art warehouse called Art Works. It's a renovated warehouse where artists live and work. The front portion is working studio and gallery spaces that you can roam through and check out the artists working and see the art work they have for sale. Great find. I would like to go back again, and since it's just a couple blocks over from Caravati's I could go visit my cabinet!

Kathy and I took one other side trip to the biggest Habitat Restore I've ever seen. We found some more cabinet doors here, success! We had a great time exploring parts of Richmond I had never seen. I will definitely make this trip again...I always wonder why I don't go more often since it's only an hour away!

Friday, April 10, 2009

On Creativity

This may seem like a strange post. But as an educator I have seen some changes in our educational system that really worry me. High stakes testing the biggest among them. I think these tests have created a system where thinking for yourself and thinking outside the box is not seen as important. Put these two things together and we will end up with a nation of adults who can't think their way OUT of a box! Scary. Creativity should be honored, prized, encouraged and "taught" in every classroom in America. Sadly, in many school systems (thankfully not my own) the classes that teach the arts (commonly known as resource classes) are often the first to go when budgets are cut. How sad this makes me feel. I love this video of Sir Ken Robinson, not only is it funny, but profound and thought provoking. Because creativity has always been a big part of my life and education is the way I pay the bills, I have always made connections between the two. So that is why, strange and out of place as it may seem, I wanted to include this video clip on my blog. And by the way, go to the TED site and watch other videos that interest you, the greatest minds in our society speak at TED...it truly is amazing!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Great class

I took a class this past Saturday at the PFAC on creativity. I met four wonderful women and had a great time. We did exercises in relaxation, improv, movement and creative work. I learned some really good techniques for getting my mind ready for creative endeavors. One of the things that really struck a cord with me was a list of behaviors that help us through the creative process.

  1. Being present and really paying attention
  2. Personalizing
  3. Imaging
  4. Serious play
  5. Collaborative Inquiry
  6. Crafting

That last one really hit me hard. I am good at coming up with the ideas but I rarely find my way to the actual work that has to be done. Crafting is the part where you sit down and bring your ideas, your art into fruition. You actual practice your craft, whethers it's oils, pastels, water colors, mixed media...whatever. I have a shed full of architectual salvage that will attest to the fact that I don't craft as much as I imagine. I have all these great ideas for what to repurpose those pieces into and never get to the part where I actually work on the ideas. Bad habit. I need to follow through on my ideas and if they fail accept the experience as a learning one.

My favorite activity of the day was making soul cards. I liked the fact that you are only given so much time to get each phase done. I found I was able to jump into the process because I didn't need the idea up front. You first just gather images at random, things that stick out in a positive or negative way. Then you trim them and lay them out to view them. I found my were ending up in loose categories of sorts. Then you choose the images you want to use and you have a certain amount of time to get them collaged together on your 5x8 card. When your done you look at what you have created and you give it a statement starting with "I am". It was incredible how the images came together and formed a statement without any preconcieved idea.

My statement for this was "I am the action that causes change." I really liked this activity and plan to make more cards. I think the process would work well with my art journal too.

The instructor for the class was awesome. She is the Creative Director for Alternatives Inc. , Linda Hansen. She is teaching another class during the Spring sessions on collage and I plan on taking it. Great experience, great day, I really felt I grew as an artist!
Okay, real quick this is a proud mom moment I can't help but include. A piece of my daughters art was chosen for a Newport News art show. The show features art from all the area schools. Here is her piece...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Meghan's Art

This is from a series of picture that my daughter Meghan did when she was little. I love them!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What to swap?

As Art and Soul approaches I'm starting to feel a bit anxious about the fact that I have not made anything to swap. I'm back the same place again...questioning if I'm good enough, will my work be worthy of a swap. I've been on the forum for the retreat several times and felt overwhelmed when I saw posts discussing bad swap experiences...can I face that kind of rejection when my artist soul is still so tender? I'm not sure, but I do plan to test it out. I have an idea for charms to make and swap, I had to place an order online to get some of the parts, so hopefully they will arrive soon. I also need to make my small collages for the soldering class and I need to send my photos to the instructor for the door class. It's getting close and I am getting excited! I can't wait to shop at collage....though secretly I'm scared Michaels will find out what I said about them...and never let me shop there again...they are all I have!

So onward to practicing my art. My latest project came about as a complete surprise. I read an article in CPS awhile back about mixed media on silver spoons. I've had my eye out for some spoons and hadn't had the luck to find any so far...until I went to work this past week where a teacher was selling some old things in the teachers lounge. Guess what I found?! Spoons and a few other utensils...all silver! Oh my goodness I was so excited, I never have that kind luck finding something. So I got a whole hand full of silver utensils and a cool crock bowl that I will use for my water when I'm painting. I dug out that magazine and my alcohol inks and went to town on those spoons. I even broke out the Dremel which I haven't used in a while. I think the spoons came out great and I gave the first ones I made to the teacher who sold them to me. She was thrilled, which did a lot to boost my confidence in what I do. I will be making several more sets of them, possibly to give away or maybe even to sell! (Am I that brave?)

I have also made a notebook for my friend Chris which I collaged with a Hattera/OuterBanks theme. She loved it. Which made me happy. She is one of muses that supports me in what I do. I love making stuff for my friends to use and enjoying.

So I guess I've made some progress. I'm attending an all day work shop at the PFAC on creativity. I'm looking forward to the class, which is being taught by someone I have wanted to meet since last years Art and Soul. She runs the Monart studio in Hampton. Anyhow, I think I will enjoy the class and perhaps it will help me to erase some of this self doubt I've felt lately.

Last thing...found this cool site where the artist makes bracelets from old gift cards, especially from Starbucks (yum). I should get it in a couple of days, can't wait to show it to my Starbucks addicted friends at Yates. Here is her Etsy shop link...sorry you can't get a bracelet just like mine...it was the last one! www.jupita.etsy.com

Sunday, February 22, 2009


This weekend has been girls weekend in Nags Head. Loads of laughs and lots of shopping. I finally was able to catch the Art Council in Manteo open. I added another piece to my Art O Mat collection. The Art O Mat is a refurbished cigarette machine that depenses art instead of cigarettes. They are located all over the place. The link for the website is included in my list of favorite sites on this blog.

I was inspired by the work I saw at the Art Council. They have a very nice collection of pieces there, including some assemblage work which you don't normally see. Of course I couldn't escape without opening my wallet. I bought two lovely glass pieces by a bead artist. I got a necklace and a pair of earrings. The art of making those glass beads is really amazing. It is something I would like to try but it looks so hard to do. I just don't get how they keep if from turning into a ugly blob of glass. Here is the artists website. Her work is great. http://www.janepulley.com/.

I brought my art journal with me to work on if the mood struck (and of course it did). I completed just one page and doodled on a second page. It really is fun to work in an art journal because it will never be published. It's a great place for me to work on my need for perfection and to try to let it go and just let it be.

So here we are early on Sunday morning, with rain drops dripping from the sky, and the beach is still a beautiful place. I'm looking out the back door of the cottage where there is a small view of the ocean wondering what treasures I might find on the shore if I were to take a walk on the wet sand. But then again there is something to be said about the mystery of possibilities...and inside it's dry, the coffee is hot and the realities of daily life are just around the corner...I think I'll just stay put.