29 September 2008

Look What I bought Today!

It's not a very good picture, but then I don't have a very good digital camera! I stopped in to Collective Journey to see if they had their new alcohol inks display in yet; I have a 15% off coupon and want to use it on something worthwhile! I bought two little bags of Triple Chocolate Toffee (by Marich Confectionery -- they are my current chocolate addiction!), and didn't use my coupon, of course! As I was walking out the door, I saw a clear paint bucket full of small sized alphabet stamps from Studio G. I expected them to be $3.99 or so, but they were $1.00 a set! So, I bought one of every set they had -- 11, total! Then I came home and looked for them on the internet and found an eBay auction for the previous series (they came in a pink box; the current series is in a green box), so I purchased four more! I love alphabet stamps, and these are the perfect size for ATCs and inchies. I haven't gotten into inchies yet, but this may lead me there ...

Another ATC Workshop!

After that last long post, I just want to quickly announce that there will be another ATC workshop at the Redlands Art Association gallery! 

Saturday, October 4, from 9AM to 1PM will be our last chance to get together to work on ATCs before the big show. I know some of you have all your cards made -- and then some! -- but many of you do not. Come join us for a chance to work with my supplies and finish preparing for the ATC show-in-a-show that will be held October 11-18.

The fee is $20. Call the gallery (909-792-8435) or stop by to register. If you have any questions, just let me know.

Thoughts On Personal Awareness

I don’t know if it’s a sign of growth or maturity, but I find myself in a most unusual place. My Featured Artist Show opens in less than a week and I still have several things to do: frames to paint, a nameplate to make, tags to fill out, an article to submit to the Redlands Daily Facts and a biography to submit to the Redlands Art Association, a cloth for a small table to buy, a guestbook to pick out. The unusual thing is that I find myself completely at peace about the things I have yet to do. I’m not putting things off until the last minute, nor am I staying up all night to get them done right away. I’m working on my tasks at a bit at a time, spacing them out. This is highly unusual for me! Usually, I’d be either avoiding all that there is to do, or I’d be a maniac about getting it done. Or both, alternately. Instead, I’m working steadily and enjoying myself.

That’s one way I think I’ve grown – I’m enjoying myself in the process of being a featured artist! There was a time when the extra work it involves would have just been an extra pressure, and the event itself would have been something to dread. I’m very process oriented in my art, and it’s been one of my goals to be more process oriented about my life. To enjoy the journey as much – if not more than – the destination. Until recently, it’s been easier said than done. I have goals and dreams and am eager to see them come to fruition. When I’m in that mindset, it’s easy to just focus on the dream and manifesting its outcome. It’s harder for me to remember to be mindful of the small steps I’m taking and to appreciate them. It easy to look ahead, to the accomplishment and fulfillment of my goals, and to forget to look at NOW – the only time there really is.

I was recently talking to a friend of mine and I mentioned that I don’t feel very involved in my own life right now; things are happening rather quickly, and they seem to be happening to me, rather than for me. I assume that this lack of involvement in my own life stems from having all but abandoned my daily practices. It’s been several weeks since I’ve done anything deliberately to participatory. It feels as though I’ve just been along for the ride, reacting to what is put before me.

Until a few days ago, that is. Last week, I started The Artist’s Way workshop at the Redlands Art Association. I’ve been doing my morning pages faithfully and contemplating what I should do for my first artist’s date. Somehow, just the simple act of writing my pages each day (three pages, longhand, first thing in the morning) is putting me back in touch with my Self. In some small way, I feel control over my life again. Not white-knuckle control, thank God, but the kind of control that comes with simply being present. The morning pages make me aware. This stream-of-consciousness writing puts me in touch with my Inner Self and helps me to be more aware of what is going on in my head and in my life. I expected it to take longer than this before I saw benefits, but I’m grateful that I’m seeing them now.

I’ve spent much of my life just reacting to what was put before me, often very dramatically! It feels so comforting and joyous to be participating again in a deliberate fashion. I know that I’m happiest when I’m actively involved in guiding my life, and when I am taking time to enjoy what I’m doing – and doing what I enjoy.

For example, Sunday night, I found myself wanting to paint. Not necessarily to create a piece of art, but to just paint. I enjoy the feeling of the brush in my hand and I enjoy watching something transform. I was able to give in to my desire without pressuring myself to turn out some kind of masterpiece. I painted one of the frames that my father-in-law and I built for my artwork. To some, this may sound like a second-place solution, but it made me happy. I got to play with color, enjoy the process and mark something off my to-do list. Because of my new-found engagement with my Self, I was able to feel what I really wanted to do. Some days, the desire to make art is strong and it cannot – will not! – be denied. But that’s not what I was feeling Sunday night; I just wanted to work with my supplies and experience something blossoming. My frame has gone from plain pine and birch to a gorgeous, translucent Yellow Ochre that compliments its intended art work beautifully. I did create, and because I’m aware of my Self right now, I was able to find fulfillment of my desires.

Being aware is such an important lesson for me – a lesson I’ve had to visit more than once. Hopefully this time, some of it will take!

28 September 2008

I'm Famous!

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that a local reporter was going to interview me for an article in the paper about my upcoming Featured Artist Show. The interview process was wonderful -- exciting and comfortable -- and the article is out in today's Press Enterprise. Aside of the fact that I look goofy in the picture, the article is really great. It was much longer than I expected; it goes into more detail than I thought that it would.

Off to have a doughnut to celebrate!

27 September 2008

New Banner!

A few weeks ago, I downloaded an evaluation copy of Photoshop in order to prepare the invitations for my Featured Artist Show. I've not really used it for much since then. I just got a wild hair and decided to try my hand at a blog banner. It's not perfect, but I think it's prettier than the default banner that comes with a blogger layout. I'll have to pay more attention to blog banners and see what else I might come up with. I wanted to include a few of my favorite vintage photos or ATCs, but 800x200 doesn't give you much space in which to work -- and I'm annoyed by those blog banners that take up half the screen (even though they can be fun to look at).

25 September 2008

ATC Show and Swap Coming Up! -- National & International Players Wanted!

Just a quick reminder that there is an ATC show-in-a-show at the Redlands Art Association in October. There is a one page prospectus with all the details (downloadable from RAA)

Here's the deal, in a nutshell: Up to 10 cards per entry. Entry fee is $10. Cash (if you're local), Check, or Money Order (US funds) only. You must be the artist of all cards submitted. Cards can be either ATCs or ACEOs. All ATCs must be available for swap. ACEOs must have their price on the sleeve (20% commission on all sales to RAA). Because of the way the show will be displayed, all cards MUST fit into a protective sleeve. Embellishment is great -- just make sure it still fits in a sleeve.All mediums are welcome. In fact, we'd love a variety of mediums on display.

We'd like to have players from all over the world, so if you are in a non-US country and are interested in participating, just leave me a comment with your email address or email me. I'll get back to you with information on mailing to the US. Basically, I'll take care of the return postage so you don't have to worry with those nasty international postage coupons in exchange for goodies -- ephemera from your country (especially if your country has a language other than English as its national language!), papers, stuff like that. I don't require a great bag of goodies, but I thought that goodies would be easier than trying to mess with return postage. This is how I handle the international players when I've hosted swaps, and it's always worked out well.

The show is October 13-October 18 at the Redlands Art Association. There will be a reception and a swap on October 18. Any artist who is not present will have a proxy-swapper appointed for them.

Check out the prospectus, leave a comment, or email me for more information. We'd love to display your ATCs in our Gallery!

Spore Creature Creator!

While we were out having a snack, John downloaded the Spore Creature Creator for me. Spore is a relatively new game from Maxis (the Sims people!) that allows you to create creatures and then populate the Galaxy with them. It's kind of a Civ or Destiny type game, only it's played with these creatures that you create. I don't have the game -- just the Creature Creator -- but this is too much fun!

A Niggling Idea ...

I'm not sure how I ran across this website -- fate, maybe? But somehow I did, and it's stuck with me. 

Based on the Eleanor Roosevelt quote "Do one thing every day that scares you", Jessie has put together a wonderful project and challenge -- the "Be Brave" project. Jessie decided to live this quote for a month, everyday doing one thing that scared her. She claims that it has changed her life. I believe it! So much of what we aren't doing with our lives is fear-based. We afraid of how we are going to look/sound to others. We're afraid of trying something new; we're afraid of the unknown. It's easy for our lives to become "same ol' same ol'" as we live within our comfort zones, only doing those things that somehow feel good to us.

Us? What am I saying? I'm trying to be more in touch with my life and my thoughts. The reality is -- so much of the way I live my life right now is fear based. I am afraid of how I am going to look/sound to others, so I often don't speak up in a crowd. I am afraid of trying something new; I am afraid of the unknown. My life isn't exactly in a rut, but it's very comforting. I recently adopted the practice of not doing anything that didn't feel good. I think there's room for balance. Doing one scary thing a day sounds like a way to push beyond the growing list of things-to-do that feels like the list of never-to-be-accomplished. 

So, what scares me that I'm not doing? I've got phone calls to be returned, mail that is unopened. I don't write as much as I'd like to, because I'm afraid that it's going to sound like crap. I'm timid in my art, approaching new techniques as something scary. Rather than approaching a canvas with an artist's abandon, I want a complete list of instructions and step-by-step photographs. Originality scares me; my visual journal scares me. The life that I want to live -- big, loud and open -- scares me. I want to live well, as I mentioned in a previous post -- purposefully and consciously.  I live with generalized anxieties, so some days, everything scares me! 

Kal Barteski has, as a headline on her blog, "MY LIFE IS JUST THE WAY I MADE IT: GOOD." How awesome is that? Judging by her blog picture, she's a young woman -- in her 20s, I'd say -- but she's already got that so much together. I certainly believe that our lives are just the way we make them, and that scares me some days. Knowledge is supposed to be a powerful thing, but the realization that my life is what I make intimidates me a bit, because it puts all the responsibility on me. No longer, am I allowed to be a victim of circumstance. It's all on me.

Things are happening really quickly in my life right now -- and for the next few weeks, I'll be terribly busy with company, my Featured Artist Show, the ATC show-in-a-show at the Redlands Art Association. I'm just not sure that I'm ready to take on another practice (is that fear talking?) -- especially one with the power to shake up my life like this one can. But this one, doing something everyday that scares me, is kind of nagging at me. I'm going to try to put it off until the first of the year. Maybe my word for 2009 will be "fearless".

The Artist's Way

I first came across The Artist's Way (by Julia Cameron) years ago. Before I was married, I gave a copy of the book to my at-the-time boyfriend since he is a blocked writer. Over the years, I have struggled with The Artist's Way, because I want to do it right, but have never managed to keep my commitment to the 12-week program. I'd always start out with a bang, and then my interest -- my time commitment -- would decline as the program got harder. I've tried the program several times, one time making it to Week Eight before life stepped in the way of those damn Morning Pages! I don't think I have ever consistently worked through the entire book, even though I've finished it. 

Over the summer, at the suggestion of someone at The Boundless Living Challenge, I picked up the book and a notebook, and began the Morning Pages again. I can really tell a difference in my attitude when I'm doing the Pages, so I don't know why I resist them so much. My life is much more centered and grounded when I'm working the program, and I seem to participate more fully in my own life. It doesn't happen to me, but rather with me. I'm involved and aware. I've been a journaler all my life, and the Morning Pages have a different feel to me than journaling does. Maybe it's because I do them first thing in the morning; maybe it's because of the stream-of-consciousness nature of the Pages ... Whatever it is, I find the Morning Pages to be invaluable to my well-being.

So, I begin my commitment again! I spent a couple of hours Wednesday evening in the company of other people who were discovering The Artist's Way. It was a delightful time. I've committed to a 12-week course based on Cameron's book. I'm hoping that the classroom situation will keep me on track long enough to make the program a habit. Not just the Morning Pages, but the Artist Dates, as well. I really want to embrace this program, and I'm hoping the support of others will help me.

If you've been reading my blog, you know I'm not really blocked. Right now is the most exciting time in my life, art-wise. I've got a Featured Artist Show coming up and I'm creating up a storm! Mostly, the art is done, but I still feel the creative force in my Soul. I want to stay up all night and get lost in the process of creating. I want to play with my supplies and learn new techniques. I'm happier, creatively, than I've ever been. 

So why the need to "unblock" since that's the stated purpose of The Artist's Way? I don't really need to "unblock" -- what I need to do is learn to live in this moment more often. I know that somedays will be more creative than others, but I yearn to be a person who shows up with her Muse daily. I've read about people who create everyday, and I'm envious of them. I know that if you are painting everyday, for example, some of your stuff is going to be inspired -- and some of it is going to be crap. But imagine how much I miss, by not even showing up on a regular basis? How many opportunities have I had to be creative that I've let slide right by me, because I'm simply not used to meeting my Muse on a regular basis.  How much good work have I missed, simply because I haven't made that commitment, to be creative every day?

So, that's where I am with my creativity and the need to do something about it. I want to live my best life -- and for me, that means commiting to living a more creative life. I want to draw, paint, collage, or something visually artistic every day. I'm a long way from meeting that goal, I know. Hell, I'm a long way from even making -- and being prepared to keep! -- that commitment. I'm hoping that Cameron, with her ideas for 'spiritual recovery' will be of some assistance to me. That much, I'm ready to commit to!

22 September 2008

Stamp Pads Made From Fabric Paint!

I just found this in my internet travels and thought I'd pass it on ... It's a great idea! I'm going to have to try it soon. The tutorial uses fabric paint or silkscreening ink, but it works with regular acrylic paints. The word on the street is that if you are using Golden Fluid Acrylics, you don't need to add the salt, as they are thin enough -- but heavy-bodied acrylics work just fine.


Through a discussion on the SuziBlu Ning site, I discovered Wordle. It's a little widget where you put in a block of text or link to a blog post and you get the most fun little mixed-up soup of words! Above is the Wordle for the my blog. Isn't this fun???

21 September 2008

New Digital Collage Sheets

Saturday night, I was in much too much pain to be comfortable in bed. So, I did what any good ATC artist would do -- I bought new digital collage sheets from Etsy and made ATCs. Actually, I spent Saturday night shopping and making a few ATCs; I made the rest of them today. They went really fast, once I got the images that I wanted to use.

The first new ATC is the Edgar Allen Poe card -- Poe with butterfly wings. That image came from a Halloween collage sheet that I bought from Keeper of the Nest. She is a new seller (in fact, I was her very first customer) and she's very helpful. I also bought a butterflies and moths collage sheet from her that I haven't yet been inspired to use. But I will be; it's just beautiful. 

The images for the second set of ATCs -- the clowns -- came from SuppliesToGo. Excellent customer service. I got them so early this morning that I think she does not ever sleep! I also bought a digital collage sheet with vintage wedding photographs, but haven't used it yet. I'm eager to use them, too!

The third set of ATCs was made with images from a free collage sheet from Kelly Burton. She used to occasionally give free digital collage sheets on her personal blog. Now that she's got collagevisions, I don't know if she still does that or not. This sheet had several pictures of a house and the one sky shot of the lonely tree branch. I loved the tree branch so decided to use it on this simple ATC. These are the two ATCs that I made during my painful Saturday night.

The next ATCs came from one of collagevisions digital collage sheets. She's having a big sale (Buy One Get One) until September 30. These ATCs aren't really Halloweeny -- even though I used focal images from one of the Halloween sheets -- but rather are "celebrating" witchcraft, a topic I remain fascinated with.

Finally, all the little girls are also from collagevisions -- my "get one free". I love this little girl, in all her variations. 

So now, if I've counted right, I have 58 completed ATCs, and that's exactly what I need for the upcoming Show-in-a-Show at the Redlands Art Gallery, the curtain of ATCs at my Featured Artist Show, and a trade that just came up (someone saw my TMTA -- Handwriting ATCs and wants to do a three-for-three trade. Lucky me! She's got some beautiful work!). I could take a break, but I have all these new images to play with!

20 September 2008

New Books!

Today, I went shopping and bought some new books while I was out buying a few new art/craft supplies (like the much needed Crop-o-dile Big Bite!). First of all, I bought the latest issue of Quilting Arts. I'm not a quilter, but this magazine is always full of amazing eyecandy and the current issue has an article on natural dye techniques (according to the cover; I haven't even cracked the cover of the magazine) that I thought might be interesting. 

I've mentioned that I got a new Dover book -- the Leonardo da Vinci Treasury. I've been curious about it for a long time, and when I saw it in Barnes & Noble, I was hooked. It has 206 royalty-free designs, including several color plates. It has several drawings and sketches by da Vinci, including a fair number of anatomy drawings. It comes with a CD-ROM. It's a very interesting book. I've already used it for an ATC. 

The other new book is The New Book of Image Transfer by Debba Haupert. It comes with an image bank, and what looks like lots of different image transfer techniques. I love image transfers, even though I only know a few techniques. I'm eager to learn a few new ways of doing things. The book got really mixed reviews on Amazon, but I'm willing to make up my own mind.

I've also got a couple of more books coming in the mail from Amazon. I recently ordered another Dover book -- the Old-Time Anatomical Illustrations CD-ROM and Book -- and Taking Flight: Inspiration and Techniques to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings by Kelly Rae Roberts. I looked at this book today in B&N and it looks wonderful. Part technique book and part creative healing workbook. I'm really looking forward to getting it!

And, I have a large batch of photos, postcards, and paper ephemera coming from eBay. That should be shipped out Monday, but it's coming Media Mail, so I'm not holding my breath on getting it any time soon. Sometimes those Media Mail shipments surprise me and come awfully fast, but sometimes they tend to lag. Oh well, it will be a surprise when I get it!

Looking forward to all my goodies!

Inspiration Is The Most Sincere Form Of Flattery!

I saw this ATC over at Creative Solace and loved it so much I decided to try my hand at making one. Of course, mine has a totally different feel. I have no idea what Heather used as the background in her ATC, but I'm happy with mine. Mine is random book text with a small piece of alcohol inked acetate over it. The woman's face that I used as a focal image is from my new Dover book -- Leonardo da Vinci Treasury CD-ROM and Book. I just got it today and I've already used it! The flourish stamps are from Basic Grey. Butterfly stamp from PSX; brads from Making Memories. 

ATC Wednesday -- Eyes

The theme this week at ATC Wednesday is "Eyes" ... I had no inspiration, so decided to go with something kind of silly. The background is alcohol inks on acetate, adhered to a piece of colored cardstock. The Mona Lisa stamp is Tim Holtz, Stampendous line. The eye stamp is from Hampton Art; the bling are Gemstones from Hero Arts. I have no idea who the brads are by ...

I may have to make another one of these with just the Mona Lisa stamp -- I'm loving the way the acetate background looks on the colored cardstcok!

16 September 2008

Exciting News! I'll Be Famous!

Earlier this evening I got a call from a reporter aquaintance of mine who wants to interview me about my upcoming Featured Artist Showfor the Press Enterprise! That saves me TONS of work in publicity. We'll be meeting at the Redlands Art Association Gallery tomorrow afternoon for the interview and to take picutres. Guess I'd ought to get enough sleep tonight if there are going to be pictures! LOL!

I'm so excited!  Thanks Penny!

Image Giveaway!

Kristin Hubick, of Retro Cafe Art Gallery, is giving away a digital collage sheet. Her stuff looks awfully nice. Hop on over there and take a look-see!

Think Monday -- Think ATC (Handwriting)

I had made these two ATCs before I checked the TMTA blog. Lucky me that the theme was handwriting -- and it didn't have to be yours; it could be a stamp! Later this week, I'll try to make an ATC that features handwriting more prominently. These are kind of vague, I know.

Forgive the simplicity. I'm having to make several ATCs for the upcoming Show-in-a-Show at the Redlands Art Association and my Featured Artist Show. My Show will be during the ATC Show-in-a-Show, so I want to display several of my ATCs in my Featured Artist area. Once I get enough, I'll take time to make some with more depth and complexity. First, I want to make sure I have enough for the display idea I have in mind!

14 September 2008

My Second ATC Workshop!

My second ATC Workshop, at Redlands Art Association, was yesterday (Saturday) morning/afternoon from 9am to 2pm. We ended up going an extra hour because we were having so much fun and the room was available! There were only three students, so it was very intimate, but it was every bit as motivating and inspiring as the larger workshop I led in August. I had a camera there, but for some reason, I'm having trouble getting the pictures off the Smart Media Card. I'm going to try again later in the week from my FIL's computer. We think maybe trying it from the computer that has the camera software on it may make it work. I hope so, because I took pictures of all the workshop participants and their ATCs. There was some really great work, just like at the last workshop.

One of the women wants to do this every month! I told her if she could get the people together, I'd do it. I was totally serious. I'd lug all my stuff to the gallery once a month if she can guarantee me at least three people in attendance. Why? Because I love doing it, leading the workshops. And because I love the art form and am excited about introducing more people to ATCs. And because I learn as much -- if not more than! -- I teach. After I came home and rested, I've made five ATCs -- SO FAR! I'm sure there are more in me! Yes, I know it's 1:37 AM on Sunday morning. But my husband is out of town, and I've nothing else to do. I'm inspired and motivated, so why not play? Besides, I need to make "several" ATCs for my Featured Artist Show which is coming up, just three weeks from yesterday (Saturday)! EEK! That's a whole other post!

ATC Wednesday -- Childhood

For ATC Wednesday -- a relatively new challenge blog that I found one night when I was blog hoping -- the theme this week is "Childhood". I produced this series after I got come from leading my second ATC workshop this afternoon at the Redlands Art Association. I was inspired by Patty Day's background technique. I took pictures this time, but I'm having trouble getting them off my Smart Media card. Maybe there will be pictures later on in the week ... All images are from Lisa's Altered Art.

08 September 2008

ATC Wednesday -- Black & White

I just found another ATC challenge site! This one is called ATC Wednesday, and the theme this week is Black & White. I already had a series started called "Men in Black", so I finished up one of the cards quickly and will submit it. The image is from a larger photograph of five men standing in a row; it was given to me by my friend Jill. Since it's a new challenge, it's fairly small, but I'm sure it will grow.

Think Monday -- Think ATC (Dancing)

The theme this week for Think Monday -- Think ATC is Dancing. It's been a very popular theme, too! And not only have there been lots of entries, but they are mostly very lovely. I didn't have any rubber stamps in the dance genre, so I stuck to collage. I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with!

The image on my card is from Lisa's Altered Art -- love her stuff and her service! Background is alcohol inks on glossy card stock, and a piece of old sheet music.

02 September 2008

Think Monday -- Think ATC (Architecture)

For some reason, it occurred to me to swing by the Think Monday - Think ATC Challenge site and see what the theme is for this week. It's "architecture". I've never played in this challenge before, because it seems whenever I think of it, it's either too late in the week, or I don't have enough elements to meet the theme. This is the only stamp I have remotely related to architecture, and in fact, it's part of a much larger stamp, so I almost didn't think about it! There are some really amazing ATCs created around the theme. If you like ATCs, why not go check them out!

01 September 2008

ATC Class News

It seems as though there may be a repeat of the ATC class I taught last week-end! One of the participants called me saying that she had a really good time and wondered if I'd be willing to lead the workshop again if she could get the students together. She talked to my answering machine, and when I called back, I talked to hers, so we haven't worked out any details, but I said "Yes! Of course!" I'm really excited about the idea! I had so much fun leading it the first time -- and all the attendees said they had such a great time! -- that I'm eager to do it again! And the more people who take the workshop, the more people there will be to participate in the gallery show in October, so it's win-win-win.

This time, maybe I'll remember to take a camera so that I can share the lovely art being made at the workshop! If you live locally and are interested in taking the workshop, just email me at art@lantier.org and I'll send you the information once it's finalized.

Collage Play With Crowabout Week #5

Here is my Week #5 offering for the Collage Play With Crowabout Challenge. I meant for the journaling to go all the way to the bottom, but I was having pen issues. The background is water soluble oil pastels and nothing really wanted to write on it; I finally just gave up. I have one more pen to try, now that I think about it ...

I am enjoying this collage group so much! So far, I've managed to participate in each week's challenge. In fact, I find myself looking forward to Saturday mornings, so I can get the new collage elements and start to "work". I try not to peak at the other member's offerings while I'm working, but I'm so excited about what is being produced that sometimes I can't help it. Everyone is producing such good work. I'm really amazed by the caliber of art being produced and I'm humbled to be a part of the group.