Anticipating the Future

I had a crazy day yesterday driving all over shuttling kids to events and back.  The Portland National College Fair was the big event of the day and I am so proud of my oldest daughter because she was better prepared and better composed than most of her friends, including those who are Seniors.  We bounced happily from one of her choices to another crossing schools off our list one by one and finding surprises along the way.  None of these schools are in our current state and half of the choices are nearly as far away as you can go.  I’ve always known Miranda would leave the nest and fly far – that’s just her spirit.  What surprised me is that she is far more focused than I imagined and her mission is all about the program, not simply to get away from home.  The fact that Tampa FL and Pittsburgh PA are two of the locations is happenstance.

I recalled my own junior year of high school being full of disappointment and squelched dreams because my father experienced a long lasting period of unemployment and my parents decided that my only option would be the local junior college.  Looking back, I should have applied anyway; but, I was a good girl who listened to my parents and trusted they had all the knowledge (at least where finances were concerned).  My parenting reflects my rebellion as I constantly encourage my children to explore and believe that anything is possible.  How amazingly grateful I am that my daughters can choose to approach life wide-eyed and fearless now instead of waiting until they’re over 40!

My best friend Jessica and I were talking earlier this week about our aspirations in the art world and she expressed to me that she is thinking about being a full-time artist, to which I replied, “No, it’s happening! It’s definitely happening!”  I’m done with thinking about potential possibility.  I am ready.  I am an artist and I’m going to make art for a living!  So what that I am divorced, over 40, and every other excuse the old tapes play in my head when I am feeling doubtful or scared!  I’ve learned, and am continuing to learn that the magic isn’t out there in the future, it is right now.  I’ve learned that taking one step every single day is the only way to make a dream come to reality and I’m honestly not looking at time, though I have goals written down because that’s good to do, I am looking at today.  I’m writing this article right now because it’s the step I can take in this moment to move myself closer to being a full-time artist and teacher.

I’m also writing this article because I pledged to myself and my dream that I would write every Sunday morning about what happened in the studio this week.

I did a paint over early in the week entitled, “Bliss.”  It was a fun piece to do and I honestly had no idea what the result was going to be.  I started with fluorescent oil pastels in my journal and then gessoed over them using a stencil.

IMG_0009This resulted in an extremely bright page but the rays weren’t as prominent as I IMG_0010wanted so I painted over the whole thing with blue acrylic paint and then, while it was still a little damp, I placed the stencil in different positions/directions from where it was the first time and picked up the paint through the stencil with a baby wipe.  The result was much closer to what I had originally intended.  I love the way that the colors peek through.

My next step isn’t documented by photo, but I drew 3 hearts down the left side with a fluorescent oil pastel and decided I needed a face.  I am still learning how to draw expression and I found an image in my stash which captured exactly the feeling I wanted to evoke.  I got to work.  I painted with acrylics and gesso and I activated my neocolor II crayons.  I embellished and the end result is surprisingly WAY different that where I initially started.  I love it.

IMG_0012

Isn’t she beautiful!  Isn’t she blissful?  This is exactly representative about how I feel about my present and my anticipated future.

The rest of the week was really busy and the weather shifted more to our typical fall so I did a lot of reading and resting in addition to working 40 hours at my current job.  But I managed to take and post a bunch of closeup photos whenever happiness appeared in my world.  Here they all are in case you didn’t see them on Facebook.

I wish you a fantastically creative artsy fearless week!

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Week One – Swatches

So I’m taking another wonderful class from artist Kelly Kilmer called “Swatches: Little Paper Books.”  The idea is to work small, to use bits of things, to work with recycled materials and explore doing things differently than you have done bookbefore.  I’m loving the class and the challenge faced with working small.  I’ve worked small in the past – created scads of Artist Trading Cards, but with my journals, I’ve always worked pretty large.  My typical journals are 8 1/2 x 11 pages.  So working in this little 5 x 5 inch book is quite different for me.  You will see I’ve come up with a few creative solutions so far.  As always, I’m learning alot.  I cannot say enough great things about Kelly’s classes.

In making my book, I decided to use a recycled street newspaper that is published here in Portland – The Mercury.  I picked it up one day because I liked the cover image and I have been saving it for a while.  I realized that I could cut the paper apart retaining only the top left corner and this would give me the headlines for all the pages with which to play with.  I bound the pages together by hand using Kelly’s instructions.  Here’s the resulting book.

I haven’t decided how I’m going to alter the cover yet;  I think I’m saving that for last.  Other things I decided to do is have curious tabs here and there and also try and have a paint swatch used on every page in some way.  The following are the pages I’ve completed within the last seven days – the first week of class.

Day1_Left  Day1_Right   Day2

day3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

day4Day5_Closed

Day6  Day7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now some of the pages have special details worth mentioning.  The first is that the page for day 2 includes a transparency cover that may be lifted up so you can more clearly read the journaling beneath.

Day2_Detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

And day 4 is a set of doors which opens to reveal the rest of the page.

Day5_Open

 

 

 

 

All the pages are individuals with the exception of day 1 – took a whole spread.  I’ve tried to keep the adjacent pages color themed similar so that visually the spreads look good except that they are for completely separate prompts.  Here are the spreads for the first seven days.

Day1_Spread

Day2-3_Spread

Day4-5_spread

Day6-7_Spread

 

 

 

 

So far, the only combination/page I’m not completely happy with is day 7.  I am not too fond with the green along the bottom.  I’m thinking of a way to fix that.

Stop and Smell the Roses

StopandSmellI realized last night when I was creating this page that the theme was emerging from an inner desire to be able to just stop. A lot has been going on in my life, all good things, but these things have been eating into the time I spend with my journal. I realized last night that my journal creates a place of pause for me, a haven where I can stop, look, and listen to my heart and soul.

Fall has always been a favorite season of mine since I was a child, but the longer I live in the Pacific Northwest, the more I love Spring! I love the bright vivid chartreuse green leaves emerging from the skeletal trees dominating the landscape all Winter. I love the bursts of color from the early spring bulbs – crocus, daffodils, and soon tulips. I adore the abundance of cherry blossoms, especially the trees that have double blossoms and look like puff balls. I am energized by Spring and restored by it. I think I’m just a bit frustrated by everything (ie. life) moving so fast. I need more time to focus on what is beautiful around me. Art is one of the ways I do that. Working in my garden is another. There are so many opportunities to live and breathe and be. I am full of gratitude and it’s abundant.

Serenity

SerenityLayers!  Layers!  This page was fun to put together.  I used inspiration for the background from one of Kelly’s pages.  I love the torn look and the contrast with the calmness of the woman’s face.

I put down the shiny blue background paper first and then layered the flowers on top of that on the left and across the top.  Then I glued down the image of the resting woman and added flowers at her head and neck.  I watercolored her lips pink and added pink and yellow to the paper flowers which were originally white.  Once everything was dry, I added a piece of plastic – a repurposed sheet protector across the entire image and then stamped the swirls with StazOn.  I stamped “serenity” as well with the black permanent ink.  Lastly, I journaled.

This page speaks to all the changes that are happening around me and my desire to remain calm and centered through the whole process.

Love Me

LoveMeSo I said that I’m going to use the ideas in the Journey Within class to push myself and I’ve decided this means I need to really layer my pages.  In reviewing my pages from the last class, I can see that I was working with using paper and imagery together.  Now I’m going to work on having at least 3 layers on every page and also utilizing transparencies more.  I’ve used them twice now and so I think it’s a good start.

The journaling on this page falls into the background – I’ve covered it up too.  I’m having fun with journaling and then partially hiding it with different inks and layers.  It’s not that I’m saying anything I don’t want people to read – it’s more about making the imagery convey what I’m saying in words.  This page is about the joy I’m experiencing in love.

The cool technique I tried with this page that I haven’t done before is taking a page of rub ons and rather than using them precisely, rubbing off each letter or element as it was meant to be used, I scraped across the page of rub ons leaving abstract bits of color and elements randomly on the journal page.  I was so thrilled to get this idea because I have several pages of rub ons that I really don’t ever see myself using because the topics are too “scrapbooky.”  The page of rub ons that I used was originally meant for a 4th of July scrapbook layout.  It worked perfect since the 4th is a celebration and the colors of the rub ons coordinated well with my palette for this page.  If you have funky supplies lying around that you have no idea how you’re going to use them, take a different look at them.  Find a new way to use them up.

Journey Within

Journey_coverI started on the Journey Within class with Kelly Kilmer last night.  This class is going to challenge me because it seems less directed than the last one, but I’m very excited to see what comes out of my work and the ideas presented by the instructor.  I worked on the title page and the first journal page.  I think they turned out pretty well, but I can tell that I’ve hit a spot where I need to push myself to go farther.  The title page feels to me like it needs more work, but I’m pretty satisfied with the first journal page.  Let’s see what you think:

journey_page1

Perpetually Pensive

Prompt 31Well this journal page marks the last prompt from the Marvel Class with Kelly Kilmer.  Can you tell I was procrastinating the end of the class?  I simply didn’t want it to end.  The good news is that I will be starting on another online guided class with Kelly called Journey Within.  I find her prompts very thought-provoking and I am really loving how quick and easy putting together a page is by replacing paint with paper.  This particular page I constructed in the span of about 20 minutes tops.

For color, I went with the floral on the brown paper as my inspiration and chose the rest of the papers based upon that.  Everything else is in neutrals and I found the image of the couple in my stash – perfectly matched my thought process in my journaling and perfectly color coordinated with the page.

As far as the journaling topic goes, I wrote about my feelings in the moment yesterday as I relaxed with my boyfriend after a very busy Saturday.  On the one hand, I was very happy and centered, “feeling pretty” the journaling begins, “just like the song.”  On the other, I was pensive about the fact that the weekend was coming to an end and my boyfriend and I had to return to our responsibilities and separate households.  We’ve discussed living together, but with children involved, it’s not as easy as it would be if children were not involved.  We have to take things slower than we both would like to and this means that there are lots of opportunities to think about everything.  I don’t know about you, but in a new relationship, thinking is one of the last things I would like to find myself doing.  Less thinking and more feeling.  Feeling is where I want to be.  So the image of the girl laying on her man’s chest, looking a bit restless represents me in this moment perfectly.  I am a bit restless with my thoughts lately.  I have no doubts about my relationship or where things are going and it’s so incredible to have complete faith in my love for another and his love for me.  But I cannot help imagining what it will all look and feel like when the waiting is over, and that’s the perpetually pensive topic occupying my mind.