28 December 2009
27 December 2009
26 December 2009
Carmen writes with lots of "inky drippy goodness" on her paintings and I love it! But when I tried it, I didn't like it as well on my painting. In the second one, I left the canvas flat while I wrote to minimize the drips. I love the look of writing with a dip pen -- I'll definitely be working with my dip pens to "perfect" this technique!
This painting is still very much in Carmen's style, but I felt a bit more free as I worked on it. It was inspired by an Untitled painting of Carmen's (Sorry, I couldn't get a direct link to it). I had more fun with this one than I did with the previous two, so I think I may be edging more into my own style here. I'll definitely be working on more paintings like this one.
24 December 2009
I signed up for this newsletter last week and received my first copy. I'm so glad I did, because the pictured book (The Craft of Planning Your Art Business) is on sale! I'll definitely be picking it up, as that's part of my Grand Plan for 2010!
18 December 2009
It's time to stop focusing on where I'm at, and look toward where I'm going. 2010 promises to be a big year for me. Not because I'm doing anything that other people would consider grand, but because I plan on living more of my True Life. It's not something that I plan to just start doing on January 1st; it's something that I'm easing my way into. Tonight I'm cleaning up my studio a bit, so that I can begin to make art again. John and I are talking about developing some kind of mutual writing project (that's a tough one, because we do very different kinds of writing.). I'm carving time out of each day to spend doing the things I truly love, to spend time with those I love.
For the past couple of years, I've had fun with an exercise I call My Grand Plan. I divide my life into eight areas (Career, Family, Financial, Spiritual, Health, Social, Intellectual, Home) and come up with a document that expresses my dreams for each area. For a few days, I work on it earnestly; I struggle to express my desires in the most concrete form possible. I polish my sentences. I dig deep to figure out what it is that I really want with my life. It's a great exercise that gives me vision and guidance for the rest of the year. Usually I do this some time between January and April. I did my 2010 Grand Plan in October this year. It was exciting to see what things changed and what remained the same. And it was interesting to see how many desires on my 2009 Grand Plan had been attained, seemingly without me even trying.
This year, I did two other exercises to get me focused for 2010. Paraphrasing a set of questions sent to me by a life coach (sorry, Amy! You're last name escapes me right now, and I'm not at the computer where I could easily find the information), I set about determining what really needed to happen in 2010 for it to be considered a successful year. I need to revisit that document before I start talking specifically about my focus for 2010, so I'll share that in another blog post.
The second additional exercise -- which I am still working on -- is something I call What? Why? What? What do I want? Why do I want it? What is keeping me from having it? The idea is two-fold. By thinking about why I want something, I'm able to sometimes see that the true, underlying desire can be met in some other way. The other idea is that by examining what is keeping me from having what I want, obstacles that can be addressed can be identified. Those obstacles can then be worked on, or worked around. Patterns of thought have emerged that were quite interesting. For example, even though I don't feel particularly old most of the time, it seems that I feel too old to accomplish certain goals. I am too old to be a child prodigy, but certainly I'm not too old to do something I love on a regular basis just because I love it! And who knows where that can lead!
How are you feeling about 2010? I hope you are as excited about it as I am!
28 November 2009
I went to the emergency room three weeks ago with chest pains and pain in my left arm. Since I've had a previous heart attack (October, 2000), complaints like this are taken very seriously. After a week and a million tests, they determined that it was ... nothing. Well, actually, they didn't determine that it was nothing, but they didn't determine what it was. I had an angiogram; my heart and stent look great. My EKG and EEG both came back normal. There was a slight abnormality in my nuclear stress test, but all other tests after that came back negative. So, all is well.
I've decided to change doctors from my beloved Dr. Hoenshell to someone more local. I say "more local" rather than just "local" because there are no doctors out where we live. My new doctor, Dr. Naresh Ganesh, is only 40 minutes away, rather than 90 minutes away! He was the doctor who saw me on rounds when I was in the hospital, so I decided to stick with him. I like him a lot, although some of his office practices are a bit infuriating. The first time I saw him, I had a 1:15 PM appointment (Tuesday before Thanksgiving, mind you). I was taken back to the examining room at about 3:45 PM. I saw the doctor at 4:50 PM. I left the office at 5:50 PM. Now, I've got things to do, and no one warned me he was always late like this. One reason is probably that he was taking his own vital signs, instead of having a nurse do it. And he does see patients on rounds at the hospital, remember, something fewer primary care physicians are doing all the time.
As I said, I really like the doctor, so I'm going to tolerate his tardiness. He took all the time with me that I needed him to, listened to my concerns and talked with me. And, he touched me while we talked. Nothing inappropriate, just gentle and caring. It helped me feel heard. I liked that.
Now that I'm home, I'm slowly regaining my strength. I spent a week in the hospital on bed rest, so I lost a lot of my mobility. Until today, I felt as though I'd never recover; today, however, I'm starting to feel like my old self. Good! It's about damn time!
06 November 2009
As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I just purchased a new piece of art work. It's called "Cave Lady", and is painted by an artist named Micheal Noon. I purchased it from the Redlands Art Association. I fell in love with it from across the room and was pleased to see that was very affordable. It's 24" x 48" and very purple!
I also bought fabric with which to re-cover my dining room chairs. This is the fabric. I've never re-covered chairs before, but I've seen them do it on television! Besides, there's bound to be plenty of instructions on the internet! Any tips?
Now, I'm off to unpack the art supplies that I shipped to Arkansas for my vacation. They finally made it back home yesterday (Thanks Karen!) but I was out of town for the day. I'm eager to get back to art!
05 November 2009
I also bought fabric with which to re-cover my dining room chairs. I'll share that with you tomorrow, too. For now, though, I'm going to go rest, read, and maybe watch some television. It's been a long day for me!
04 November 2009
This time will be different because I am different. I am no longer content to be numbed out. Molly Wizenberg writes in A Handmade Life: “My father woke up each morning wanting that day.” When I read that sentence for the first time, I froze for a moment and knew that I would have to write about that sentiment – even if only for my own benefit – because it’s the kind of thing I’d like someone to say about me when I die: She woke up each morning wanting that day. Wouldn’t that be great on a headstone?
Far too often, however, I have approached each new day with a sense of trepidation, reservation, or even resignation, rather than with a sense of enthusiasm, anticipation, or joy. I live a gray life, and have for most of my 45 years. Oh, there have been moments of wild excitement and genuine grief, but mostly I’ve just been coasting along. The days and weeks have become months and years, and I’ve somehow managed to not be a part of my own life.
This is not the first time I’ve recognized this aspect of myself, but I’ve never before done anything about it. I’ve never, quite frankly, known what to do; I’m not exactly sure where this comes from. Usually, I blame it on the medication that I take to stabilize my bipolar mind, and I do think that’s part of the problem. But I also think resting on that answer is taking the easy way out. It’s a little too pat, a little too convenient. Other people take medication for mood stabilization and still manage to live authentic lives.
I’ve recognized this aspect of myself before, but I’ve never confronted it. I’ve always let the fear of what my life may become keep me from making any real change. I’ve always let the fear of who I may become keep me from really looking at who I am. I think, however, I’m at a point where I can no longer set myself aside as I go through life.
I’m looking at where I am, and life is good. But I want more. I’m hungry for joy and authenticity. I’m even hungry for pain and tears, if that’s what is there. I want to be truly present in my life, and experience it wholly. Too much time goes by between my glimpses of delight -- and there is much in my life to delight in.
This time will be different because I am different. I am no longer content to sit on the sidelines of my own journey. I am no longer content to let the fear in my life outweigh the joy in my life. I am no longer content to feel numb and un-alive.
She woke up each morning wanting that day. I’m not sure how to get to the place where that sentence describes my journey, but I intend to find out! It is my dominant intention to live a jubilant, joy-filled, exciting, authentic life.
Any ideas on what I do next?
03 November 2009
What have you been thinking about?
02 November 2009
Tammy and I went to the Homecoming football game my first Friday there. We sat in the cold and the wind, and watched the undefeated Mountain Home Bombers lose their first game of the season. Neither of us had been to a high school football game since we graduated. Cold as we were, we had a good time. Seeing the band march at half-time was a very emotional -- but very exciting -- experience for me. I love marching bands, but had a horrible experience in band when I was that age. It pained me, but I quit band after my sophmore year to pursue other interests -- and save my sanity.
Mom and I cooked together, talked food, and watched The Foot Network. Food is one of my strongest connections to my mother; not having a daughter of my own to cook with is one of my great disappointments. Most days I don't feel that loss, but when I'm with my mother, measuring and stirring, it's hard not to feel the emptiness of a tradition ended. Luckily, there was lots of good restaurant food, too, to take my mind off of it!
There was also a good book on my nightstand to distract and cheer me. My sister brought her copy of A Handmade Life by Molly Wizenberg for my mother to read, and I nabbed it. Molly (creator of the blog Organette) is a delightful writer, personal and conversational. Each chapter is a vignette in her life, followed by a recipe or two mentioned in the story. It was particularly poignant for me to read about her father's illness and death, as I still occasionally struggle with the loss of my own father, not too many years ago. It was both exciting and nostalgic to read of her long-distance romance with (and later marriage to) someone she met because of her blog, as I met my own husband over the internet. I enjoyed the book so much that I put it on my Amazon wishlist; I definitely plan to own this book!
The last week of vacation, I was joined by my husband, John. Even though he spent quite a bit of time falling in love with the area before we were married, he's not spent very much time there since then. In fact, this was only his third trip to Mountain Home since we married, almost 11 years ago. I enjoyed showing him the changes since his last visit and visiting old haunts with him. It was a sweet interlude for us.
Vacation was nice, but today was nicer.
Even though I had several things that I could have done today, I did only three things that I absolutely needed to do: I made two phone calls and cooked dinner for my husband (which is really more of a "want to" than a "need to"). The rest of the day was spent ingratiating myself to The Kitties Three, reading, surfing the internet, and writing. I treated today as kind of a transition day between vacation time and the calls of my everyday life. There is plenty of time, tomorrow, for listening to the answering machine messages, dusting, and unpacking. It was good to be back in my own home and lounging on my own bed.
As much as I love my mother's house -- the house I grew up in -- it's not the house I share with my husband and my fur-babies. As much as I enjoy seeing my mother, Tammy, andn Mountain Home, the day-to-dayness of it isn't the life I've built in California -- and I love this life. I'm always torn when I leave Mountain Home, because I'm not sure, quite frankly, how much time I have with my mother, with my brother and sister, with my friends there. I want to stay forever, and I want to return to my own home and the life I've developed in it.
Vacation was nice, but today was nicer.
01 November 2009
13 October 2009
I'm way behind on all my projects, between getting ready to travel and having a disrupted schedule. I shipped (FedEX, actually) some art supplies to Arkansas so that I will have an opportunity to catch up. I'm still readingn The Joy Diet by Martha Beck, although I haven't posted about it recently. I'm enjoying the book. I'm struggling with the processes because of my disrupted schedule.
I'm used to having my days to myself, so that it's easy to do my meditation and other processes without scrutiny or explanations, but now I'm sharing the house with someone else. I also have a tendancy to sleep more at my mother's house for some reason. In fact, I had a hard time getting out of bed today, even though I had plenty of time to sleep. It was a dreary day, which always makes me want to stay cuddled in bed -- preferably with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate.
Speaking of a good book -- I just finished reading Julie & Julia by Julie Powell. I loved the movie, so my sister lent me the book. I loved it! In fact, I'm inspired to do some kind of cooking project. I'm not all that interested in "mastering the art of French cooking" but I am interested in working with my cooking skills.
I am definitely a recipe/technique cook -- much like my skills in art! I really enjoy tackling a new recipe or technique, messing with it until I perfect my skill; then I may never make that dish again! I remember when my parents grew eggplant in their garden that I decided to master the flavorful Greek dish, Moussakka. I made it two or three times that year, each time getting it a little more "right". When I perfected it -- and it was YUMMY! -- my dad even said, "This is really good. I guess we'll never have it again!" That's been years ago, and I haven't made a Moussakka since then.
Since I love to cook, and I'm very much a recipe cook, I'm considering choosing a cookbook and cooking my way through it, just as Julie Powell did with Mastering The Art of French Cooking. I don't think I'd set a strict year deadline, or endeavor to cook each recipe in order. I'm considering either the Barefoot Contessa's Back to Basics, or a Southern Living Annual. My mother also has a couple of cookbooks that I really enjoy, so may look at those, too.
01 October 2009
I'm funny when it comes to color. In my closet are mostly the cool colors that I look best in -- pinks, blues, purples. And, in fact, purple is my favorite single color and pink, orange and yellow is my current favorite color combination. When it comes to flowers, I tend to lean toward the warm, vibrant colors of autumn. I love the mums that brighten our gardens this time of year. I love fall leaves, with their reds and goldens. Really, I just love color, and at any given time, just about any color can speak to me. There are very few ugly colors!
So, how to narrow down a universe of color into four to six bottles of paint? And, how to do this without spending a fortune buying new paint?
I finally decided to limit myself to paints on hand -- after all, I'm bound to like the colors I already own, right? I looked at my bottles; I took them out of their clear plastic shoe box and started lining them up and arranging them. I wasn't completely satisfied with the process, so I decided to make my own paint chips! I cut a few sheets of 110 lb. acrylic paper into squares and proceeded to cover each square with a single color.
I started moving the remaining several squares around, noticing how certain colors looked next to each other. I consulted the Golden's Transparency Chart. I finally ended up with the six colors that will make up my personal palette during the workshop.
They are all Golden products (although I do own a few Liquitex paints). The colors of my personal palette are: Nickel Azo Yellow, Transparent Red Iron Oxide, Alizarin Crimsom Hue, Permanent Violet Dark, Turquois (Phthalo) and Cobalt Turquois.
I can't wait to start painting!
29 September 2009
This is my first attempt at paper-cloth. I haven't painted it or applied any surface effects. I'm saving that for the workshop itself, which begins October 4. I'm having so much fun making my paper-cloth in preparation of the workshop -- I can't imagine how much fun the workshop itself will be!
This piece is almost dry. I really love it. It has more tissue paper and book text than the first one had. so there is less muslin showing through. I think I prefer the fuller looker. I may add layers to the first one ... Or just wait until it's painted to decide how much I like it.
If you want to play along, pick up a copy Stitch Alchemy by Kelli Perkins and join the yahoo group, mmartfriends. The more the merrier!
I love to stay up late and be creative. There's something about 2AM that really gets my juices flowing. Well, it's not quite 2AM, but I've been busy playing with making my own paper-cloth. I'm working through Kelly Perkins' book, Stitch Alchemy, with the yahoo group, mmartfriends. October 04 begins the official book study, but Belinda (the facilitator) has encouraged us to make the paper-cloth before the study begins so that we'll be ready to play with Perkins' techniques right away.
First, I got my supplies all together. To the left, there is a piece of freezer paper taped to my desk with a rectangle of plan, cheap, thin muslin laid out on it. On and around the laptop (my desk just isn't big enough!), there are piles of tissue papers, torn into strip and squares. There are also bits of book text, taken from Dickens' David Cooperfield. There is glue-water mixture in the frosting can in front of the computer. The glue is diluted at not quite a 1:2 ratio. On the computer screen, you see Pandora -- the only constant supply in my artistic arsenal.
Plain muslin with the diluted glue spread all over it. Doesn't look like much now, does it?
First layer of tissue paper pieces laid down on the muslin, with the glue-water patted into the tissue pieces. Then came the layer of book text pieces and another layer of decorative tissues. After each layer, I patted the diluted glue over the pieces that were being added. I also added squares of a beautiful, lacy, white Japanese rice paper. It looks as though it got lost in the layers. We shall see ...
I laid the plain white tissue paper over the entire cloth -- layering it and making sure the entire piece is covered. To keep from tearing the tissue when I glued it down, I spritzed it with a fine mist of water and then let that set for a minute or so. That seemed to help the tissue settle onto the page.
Now, it just has to dry overnight. I'm a bit concerned that my paper-cloth will be too thin to really be useful, since in some places there is only the final white tissue paper layer on top of the muslin. It was fun and easy, so I can make more tomorrow night, making whatever adjustments are necessary.
26 September 2009
25 September 2009
24 September 2009
22 September 2009
19 September 2009
18 September 2009
17 September 2009
I got a nice sized box from Dick Blick on Friday, then went out of town for the week-end! I took my new supplies with me, but didn't use many of them. I worked on bookbinding most of the time.
16 September 2009
09 September 2009
Over the past couple of days, I've gotten some new art supplies. Lucky me, I have more coming! I thought I'd share with you what's come so far.
First of all, underneath all the other goodies are a couple of pieces of book board. On top of that are six sheets of Neenah paper (perfect for use with Copic Markers), a pack of Claudine Hellmuth's sticky back canvas and 15 sheets of textured card stock.
The top layer of goodies includes two rolls of aluminum tape, some plastic shot glasses, a roll of 2-inch black book cloth tape, two Copic Markers (B97 "Night Blue" and BG32 "Aqua Mint"), a paper piercer, a bone folder, waxed linen thread, binding needles, and a pair of pliers that can be used to snip the shanks off of buttons.
These goodies came from What A Bargain, Collective Journey, Paper Source, Interweave Store, and Articus Studio. I'm expecting more goodies (from DickBlick) tomorrow!
I had a really wonderful day yesterday!
08 September 2009
05 September 2009
04 September 2009
It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?
Some of you have held steadfast, checking back often to see if I’ve posted anything new. Some of you have even contacted me to make sure that all is well with me and mine. I want you to know that I greatly appreciate both.
I could blame my absence on the business of moving into a new home. I could add that once I got out of the habit of posting, it was easier not to post. Of course, both are true.
But the reality is that I’ve been ill. I spent some time in the hospital and then spent months recovering. The illness drained me emotionally and physically, and left me – literally – unable to post, unable to reach out to those people who care about me. I have avoided my friends and family. For months, I didn’t return emails or phone calls, text messages or Facebook entries. I haven’t tweeted. I haven’t made art. In fact, days – no, literally weeks – have gone by without my even opening the studio door. I haven’t dared to dream or hope about the future.
But, as I told someone a few days ago, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I can see it! Things are getting better; I am getting better. I have more energy and am healthier, both physically and emotionally. Tuesday, I went into the studio and worked for the afternoon and evening: sorting and straightening, unpacking and organizing. Wednesday, I continued with my studio project and even started playing with art. Thursday, I hardly left the room! I’m working through tutorials from Somerset Life and Cloth Paper Scissors (by Chrysti Hydeck and Belinda Spiwak, respectively) because the idea of making original art seems daunting at this point – but at least I’m doing something. My hands are dirty and my studio smells like paint. It’s been wonderful. I’m excited again.
I’ve also signed up for an online bookbinding class taught by Julie Pritchard and a class on Copic Markers at Collective Journey in
I think I’m back in the groove.
09 April 2009
02 April 2009
31 March 2009
20 March 2009
I've mentioned several times that John and I will be moving soon. Well, Wednesday I went to Silver Lakes to look for a rental house. First, I drove around the area, looking at real estate signs and getting a feel for neighborhoods. I stopped and looked a few housed more closely and made a few phone calls, to no good end. I saw several lovely homes, but nothing that called to me. After I bored of that, I drove to Professional Realty, an agency that had advertised in the local paper as dealing with rentals. Butch, the agent I dealt with, gave me a map and a list of rentals; he suggested that I drive around and look at the outside of the houses I was interested in. Once I had it narrowed down to three or four, we'd go look at the inside of the houses.
13 March 2009
Chapter Ten contains one of my favorite “secrets” so far in The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women book blog discussion group. I hope this entire “gateway” is as exciting and stimulating as this secret is.
“When we are in touch with true abundance, it permeates the fabric of our lives.” – Gail McMeekin
Just today, I needed reminding that abundance is not only financial, and McMeekin did it early on in the chapter. As we save money for first and last month’s rent for a new home, it is tempting to fall back into scarcity thinking, but Source has reminded me – through the Next Chapter book discussion – of a myriad of ways that I am blessed and that abundance is flowing into my life. My dentist has suggested that the partial that I’ve had trouble with from day one be replaced (at no cost) rather than repaired. My father-in-law has been generous and accommodating with his car. My husband got off work almost two hours early. I spent most of the day with one of my dearest friends, enjoying her company as I do few others. One of my cats has been particularly affectionate today. I had to make an unexpected run to the nearby grocery store and truly enjoyed my interaction with the friendly cashier. My late night snack of sugar cookies and chocolate milk tasted exquisite.
It is easy to see abundance as only relating to our finances, but one can be abundant (or scarce) in any area of one’s life. Some people would see my list of blessings – if they saw it at all – as a coincidence, or just life running its course, but I choose to see it as evidence that I’m living a life infused with abundance. With John’s long commute, I have so little time with him these days; having him off work two hours early definitely provided us with a relative abundance of quality time together! Spending the day with Sandra – having lunch, shopping, and just hanging out – is further abundance in my relationships. Every item on my list is evidence of the plenty in my life.
“Every day I do what I want to, which comes from self-knowledge and commitment. I have a vision of what’s important to me and how to accomplish that. I want to live my authenticity with grace and beauty.” – Cathleen Rountree
I’m just now coming to the place in my life where it is important to me to really and truly live my life the way I want to. I’m developing the self-knowledge and commitment that Rountree is referring to, and it isn’t always easy. I struggle constantly with the concept of inspired action versus developing discipline and making a commitment to myself. I want to live with a certain amount of discipline – creating every day, for example – and yet, I know from experience how important it is to let the actions I take be inspired. I sense that there is a fine line to be walked between these two, and I’m not yet sure of where that line is.
Taking creativity for an example again: Elizabeth Gilbert, in her TED lecture, talks about the importance of showing up and doing your work on a regular basis. That really resonates with me. I think there is something to be gained from showing up, playing with your tools, and doing your work. I know people who say they can’t work unless they are inspired, but Gilbert – and I – would argue that it’s easier to be inspired when you’re doing the work. It’s easier for an idea to find you, if you’re sitting down with your tools – whether they are paint, fabric, beads, or words – and working them with regularly. My limited experience (and Gilbert’s more vast experience) seems to bear this out. But, I don’t always feel inspired to show up and do the work, even though I passionately believe in it. So, you can see my problem here … And yet, I’m convinced that this issue has something to do with living my life as I truly want to.
I long to live the life that Rountree refers to, the life in which she does what she wants to, and lives her “authenticity with grace and beauty”. I’m still figuring out what “living my authenticity” means! I try always to be true to myself, while being considerate of others, but as I’m just now paying enough attention to myself, getting to know myself, it isn’t always easy to be true to myself. “True to myself” changes!
McMeekin offers several Challenges in this chapter, my favorite being the first one, “Your Personal Abundance”. I had so much fun picturing, and then writing about, my ideal life. Since we’re getting ready to move, and will be making several changes in our lifestyle, this was a particularly meaningful exercise; some of what I wrote about will surely come to pass as John and I create a new life for ourselves in our new home.
What are some of the ways that abundance and plenty are showing up in your life? How does “living your authenticity” look? What would your ideal life look life?
01 March 2009
The eighth secret in Gail McMeekin’s The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women is “Selecting Empowering Partnerships and Alliances”. This was a difficult chapter for me because at this point in my creative journey, I don’t seek/desire a partnership or collaboration, outside of the support systems we talked about in the last secret.
I definitely want encouraging and empowering people around me, but the truth is that I don’t work well with others. I never have. In fact, a teacher noted as much on an early report card! I listen to the beat of my own drum, work by my own time-table, and have my own methods of organization. It’s not that I don’t enjoy working with others; it’s just that I don’t do it very well.
Having said all of that, I’d love to have a support team! I currently have three separate – but intertwined – dreams, so my support team would require people with a variety of characteristics:
- Working mixed-media artist
- Highly creative and open
- Challenging, yet encouraging
- Background in teaching
- Connections at teaching venues
- Someone who can read/critique/edit/make suggestions
- Someone who understands the publishing process
- Someone who understands the self-publishing process.
As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’m moving in a month to six weeks, so I’m not going to do much to form a support team right now. But when I get settled into my new dwelling, I’m going to make this a priority!
28 February 2009
Sandra working on one of the background techniques.
Kristy before the workshop started. Luckily, she was still smiling when it was all over!
This is actually a 10x10 canvas, so it's a little more square than this shows. I scanned this in, and my scanner bed is 8 1/2 x 14, so it doesn't show all the yellow on the right. When I'm done with the canvas, I'll take a photo of it to get the whole thing in.
Class today was too much fun! We learned three image transfer techniques, a couple of background techniques and painted deli paper. We broke for lunch for about half an hour (we got take out from Gourmet Pizza down the street). Everyone did really awesome -- but really different -- work. It was exciting to watch people who are new to mixed-media collage put together their first piece. Kristy did a great job.
25 February 2009
After not checking our mail for a couple of days, I was treated to a real treasure in my post office box when I opened it this afternoon. A review copy of Kathy Cano-Murillo's Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing: Fabu-Low-Sew Projects for the Everyday Crafter was sitting there, waiting for me. I haven't started reading it yet, but I have glanced through it. The book is beautiful and I can't wait to dig into it. Of course, I'll let you know what I think of it!
21 February 2009
For several weeks now, I’ve been participating in The Next Chapter, a book discussion blog group, hosted by the amazing Jamie Ridler. We are reading 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin. This week’s secret has to do with Consulting With Guides.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what to write about this secret. McMeekin has the reader take a history of Your Creative Heritage. That was so difficult for me. While I didn’t grow up in a creative prison, I wasn’t raised in the most nurturing environment, either. Like most parents, mine did the best they could with what they had. And what they had included one son who is immensely talented at realistic drawing and a special needs daughter who died at 12-years old. My mother and father didn’t have the time or energy to be creative themselves or to nurture creativity in their children. Well, that’s not altogether true. My aforementioned older brother got private art lessons for awhile, until he decided that art wasn’t cool anymore. But as the sister closest in age to the special needs child, I often got lost in the shuffle. I have no idea if I had any natural talent as a child. My mother has since told me that I loved to draw and color – and that I would color on anything that didn’t wriggle away. In fact, as a young child, I “enhanced” the print that hung in the living room behind the couch with crayon (my first “mixed-media” piece!).That piece hung there for years.
As I got older – and children left the nest – my mother took more time out for herself. I remember trips to the craft store every Saturday, and then a week playing with whatever technique had been demonstrated that day. She sewed beautifully, and began to get more creative with both that and her cooking. I was just along for the ride. No particular interest was paid to whatever I might have been good at, and no one thought to inquire about what I might have especially enjoyed. I had no concept of process, or getting lost in my creative endeavors.
For years, I let my creative efforts lie fallow or in the void. But when I was ready to explore my creativity, the Universe sent me people who encouraged me, taught me, and guided me. Just at the time my creative energies were starting to stir, I was sent a highly creative friend, and Diane has encouraged me so much and shared several of her own techniques with me. I currently have a real, honest-to-Source mentor, who encourages me, while also telling me just how it is. She lifts me up, teaches me and supports me. We don’t create the same kind of art, so I’ve never felt any envy about her process or her product, even though she’s a highly creative artist. Sandy also got me involved in our local art association, supported me through a Featured Artist Show, to the point of hanging the show for me! I’m also blessed with an amazing artist friend who is also encouraging and supportive. We relate more as contemporaries, not as a mentor/mentoree. We often make art together, and we delight in the other’s success. Then, of course, there is my husband, my best-friend, and my family - all whom are terrifically supportive and encouraging. I also belong to a group that meets once-a-month to share and make art together.
I’ll be moving in the next month-to-six weeks. I wonder what kind of community and support system I’ll find in my new home. I’m hoping that I’ll find (or be able to create) an artist group that meets once-a-week. That would be delightful.
What kind of guides do you have? I hope you have wonderful encouragement in your creative life!
18 February 2009
17 February 2009
This week's dicsucssion in The Next Chapter online book blog is secret #6 of Gail McMeekin’s 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women is about “Conquering Saboteurs”. I’m really fortunate that I’m in a place right now where I’m not spending a lot of time with my gremlins and personal saboteurs. I wish I could say that this was a permanent phenomenon, but I’m fully aware that this is part of a cycle, like so many other cycles in my life.
Because I’m not currently being visited too much by the gremlins and saboteurs, I was able to enter my first juried art show over the week-end. None of my three pieces were accepted, but I truly feel okay about that. There was one juror, so the show is a reflection of one man’s opinion. My art didn’t resonate with him; that’s fine because there are plenty of people whom I respect that my art does resonate with.
Unlike Andrea Scher, I’m not currently being visited by voices that talk to me about my work or my worthiness – but I have been, and won’t be surprised if they come back. She makes a great point that the voices quiet down sometimes and get louder at other times; the best we can do is manage them. One saboteur that is currently making its presence known for me is Disorganization, one I know well. I do my arting and crafting at the dining room table, where we rarely eat. However, as the largest flat surface when I first walk in the house, it’s also a repository for mail, packages, and papers that don’t seem to have any other home. As you can imagine, my work space is in total disarray. But that’s okay, because it goes along with my supplies, which are also in total chaos. We are moving soon, so it’s difficult for me to find the energy to do much toward reorganizing my supplies. See how the gremlin of Disorganization has got me in its clutches?
McMeekin writes early in the chapter that, “For creative women, self-sabotage poses a serious risk to the completion of work. To become a woman who expresses her creativity, as opposed to a woman who just dreams about it, mastering these nasty gremlins becomes an essential competence.” This quote reminds me that it’s imperative that I make time and energy to organize my supplies (besides, won’t organized supplies be easy to pack?) and clean off my table/work surface. Not simply because my home would look better and be more comfortable, but because it’s important for the sake of my art!
I have a loose goal of developing the discipline of engaging in my art everyday. I have colorful calendar that helps me chart my progress, with too many blanks as of late. The gremlin of Disorganization is effectively keeping me from my goal!
Hmmm, I guess the saboteurs are more active in my life right now than I thought they were!