24 February 2010

Podcast Published!

The introductory episode of the Mixed Grill Favorites Podcast has just been published! Check out the show blog to listen and comment!


23 February 2010

New Art

I didn't sleep well last night (okay, I didn't sleep at all!) so I spent my time listening to loud music, finishing up a couple of paintings, and writing. It was time well spent.

I started this piece over the week-end, while painting with my friend, Sandra. She took this picture while I was working. It's better than the picture I took this morning.

 I also started this piece over the week-end, and finished it in the middle of the night. I used Speedball Block Printing Ink for the word, and it worked amazingly well. I think I have a new favorite product! Next art supply order will definitely include some other colors.

And here's a piece I started last Monday at my painting group. It doesn't feel finished, but I'm not sure what to do to it next. I'm sure it will come to me as I continue to sit with it. It's not really this shiny.

I haven't forgotten about the color wheel art journal quilt I started a couple of weeks ago, I've just set it aside. The 41st annual Multi Media Mini Show is coming up soon at the Redlands Art Association Gallery and I've been working on/planning pieces for it. Its'a juried show, so there's no guarantee that what I enter will be accepted.

Yesterday, I started something completely out of my current skill set, which is always fun. I'm kind of stuck until I get to Home Depot and get some wood panel to work on -- and the necessary prep materials from Dick Blick. The wood panel may become a reality today (Actually, I'll need my father-in-law's help getting the panel cut to the right size. That will happen on Thursday.), but the prep materials won't be here for a couple of days. I need some vellum, too, which I'll get on Thursday from Collective Journey as there isn't a scrapbook supply store in Victorville or Barstow that I know of. Then, I need to go to Office Depot or some place that I can make photocopies on my own paper.

Curious? Stay tuned!

Becoming An Artist

I haven’t always been the artist that I am today – not that I’m that great or confident as an artist now!

Like most kids, I grew up with crayons in one hand and a coloring book in the other. My mother has often said that I would draw and color on anything that didn’t wiggle away from me. In fact, for several years she had a painting hanging behind the couch that had several blue crayon marks mimicking the movement of the river. Evidently, I was interested in making art even then!

Even so, there was something standing between me and my destiny to create… my other brother!

Richard had an artistic talent that was absolutely amazing. He could draw anything with an exactness that was enviable. Compared to him, I had no talent or natural inclination. As you might expect, he got most (all) of the attention and nurturance in this area. He was even given private art lessons until he reached the age that art wasn’t “cool” anymore. My native abilities – whatever they might have been – were not particularly encouraged. No one discouraged me or told me that my art was sub par, but no one specifically encouraged me to draw or paint either.

Somehow, my little child-self interpreted the lack of affirmation as a statement about my lack of talent. By the time I was in the fourth grade – how old was I? Nine? Ten? – I was already self-conscious about art. By the time I was 14, I tearfully begged my way out of art class completely.

I was eventually encouraged to find a craft that suited me, however; I think that saved me, creatively. I can remember being in my 20s and going to the local craft store with my mother each Saturday, when the store gave free demonstrations to encouraged their customers to try new things.  I tried my hand at sculpting friendly plastic lapel pins and decorating wicker baskets with cut-out fabric flowers. I covered my own window shades and stenciled flowers in my bedroom. I tried my hand at bead embroidery and I learned to crochet, cross-stitch, and tie near-perfect Colonial knots for candlewicking.

My mother and the craft store employees weren’t the only ones encouraging me. When I wanted shelves in my bedroom closet, my dad taught me how to use his table saw and helped me design exactly what suited me. He trusted me with his power tools, giving me confidence to work with my hands.

All of that encouragement to my creativity helped me eventually find my way back to art. When the time came that I needed a visual way of expressing myself – I’ve written all my life – I started out making, then designing, jewelry. From there, I dabbled in textile work. I eventually combined fabric with paper and then paper with paint.

I’d like to say that I’ve come full circle, but I’m still intimidated by a pencil and a blank piece of paper. I’ve made a couple of decent drawings over the years – good enough to keep encouraging me – but I simply don’t enjoy the process. I have to wonder, though, how much of it is truly a lack of enjoyment and how much of it is my long-seated lack of confidence?

It took a long time – and a lot of encouragement from people I respected – before I could call myself an artist, but now I do. I make art regularly. I’ve learned that what makes me an artist is not the quality of my creations, but rather my need to create. I’m very processed oriented, and not surprisingly, a Jill-of-all-trades.

And my brother? He’s a boilermaker who does contract work with oil refineries. I’m not even sure if he doodles while he’s on the phone  …

15 February 2010

Big Announcement!

I know I've been teasing you with posts, tweets, and Facebook updates about a big announcement coming to my blog. The time has finally come!

Beginning Wednesday, 24 February, I will be hosting the Mixed Grill Favorites Podcast! Each week I will talk with a different creative person in hopes of learning more about their art, their processes, and their creative lifestyle. The first interview episode -- with Kristy Christopherson -- will be posted on Wednesday, 03 March.

Other upcoming guests include Belinda Spiwak, Andrea Schroeder, Carmen Torbus and Richard Freund. I'm so excited that these amazing artists have agreed to be a part of my new venture!

The podcast will have its own website, but show notes will also be posted on this blog. There will even be a listener comment line! You will be welcome to call in with your comments, questions, suggestions and ideas. The phone number is 214-615-6505 ext 4283.

12 February 2010

My Word For 2010

A few years ago I discovered blogger Christine Kane. She was writing about a different way to approach the New Year and all the destined-to-be-broken resolutions that often accompany it. I haven’t made resolutions in years – maybe decades! – but I can’t help but look at a birthday as a time to start new things, to reevaluate my goals and desires, and to contemplate those things I’d like to change.

The first year that I read Christine’s essay, I chose a word – GRATITUDE. Last year, I didn’t even think of the process, although I like the idea. This year, I ran across Christine’s blog again and have been thinking about my word for 2010 for several weeks now.

The first word that came to mind was EMERGE, inspired by an essay by Karen Wallace, who actually chose it as her word for 2009. EMERGE felt good and right as I sat with it. This coming year, I hope to more fully EMERGE into my own life and out of the shadows I’ve been living in for so long. I have big plans for expressing myself more vividly in my life.

I don’t want to change so much as I want to be fully present in my life. For the most part, I’m pretty happy with my life and who I am. I have a great marriage, a good family, some really wonderful friends – and of course, The Kitties Two, who bring so much joy into my life.

Although I briefly considered other words (THRIVE and AUTHENTICITY) I am most comfortable with the idea that what I want is to EMERGE. I sometimes feel as though it's all right there, just waiting for me to show up.

This year, I will.

What’s your word for 2010?

11 February 2010

Happy Birthday To Me!

Thanks to my hubby, two of my best girl friends (Tammy and Sandra -- neither of who have a web presence), and bunches of Facebook friends, I had a really great birthday today. There was lots of laughter and love in the air today; those days are always my favorites! I got a few really cool prezzies, too!

Since my birthday comes so soon after the holidays, it always seems like New Years to me. This is the time that I take stock and make plans. This is when I look back over what I've accomplished in the past year and set goals for the upcoming one.

Instead of making resolutions, a lot of people choose a word for the year. I did that a couple of years ago, and it felt much better than making a list of things to accomplish -- goals that I never manage to realize. I've chosen my word for 2010; I'll share it with you tomorrow!

09 February 2010

Big Announcement Coming Soon!

I hinted in an earlier post that I had a project in the works that would impact Mixed Grill Favorites. I'm still not ready to talk about the details, but I will be making an official announcement about this mystery project on Monday, 15 February, 2010 -- less than a week away! Come back then to get the scoop!

06 February 2010

Project Continued

I got my watercolors in the mail yesterday! I hurried home and spread out all my supplies on my desk, then choked! As I mentioned in my last post, I'm not really all that familiar with watercolors, so I froze when it came time to get started. It took me several minutes before I found the nerve to start.Oh, I knew that you take the paint and add water to make juicy color, but when it came to mixing colors, I had no idea what colors were good for that (I know from working with acrylic paints that not all reds, for example, mix the same) -- or even how to begin mixing. Well, I still don't know much about working with watercolors, but I know a little more now. I think I'll be able to approach my new paints with a tad less fear, a bit more confidence.

I do have to confess, though -- I didn't mix all the colors. I did use a few out of the tube, because I just couldn't get the color I was looking for!

Here are the color swatches I've made so far. I still have a few more to make, then it's off to the next step -- journaling on the swatches. That may take a few days, because I'm not thrilled with my own handwriting. I know I'll put this step off!

05 February 2010

New Project!

I've been reading the magazine Cloth Paper Scissors since it first came out, however many years ago. I've learned a lot and been inspired more times than I can count. The January/February issue is just as exciting as past issues have been. In fact, just a few nights ago I had trouble falling asleep because my mind was so busy with possibilities! I should have gotten up and gone to the studio, as many of my night thoughts were lost with the dawning of a new day.

One of the most exciting projects was Diana Trout's article about making a mixed-media "color wheel journal quilt". The idea is to paint rectangles with colors that correspond to those on a color wheel. Add some journaling and some other painted squares to coordinate with the background swatches, then sew it all together. Simple and delightful to look at. It's featured on the cover of the magazine; here's a peak at it.

So, I bought a big sheet of watercolor paper a couple of days ago and ordered some inexpensive watercolors off of eBay (I have some watercolors, but it seems I don't have good mixing colors). Today, I cut the paper into 4" x 6" rectangles. That's all I can do until I get my paints. They should be here Saturday or Monday, I believe. I don't normally paint with watercolors, so this will be an interesting project for me, process wise.

I'll let you know how it progresses. Wish me luck!