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!

Advertisements

Being in the Moment

I’ll admit, it takes a while to be able to sit down at a blank page and just create in the moment.  I’m not talking about planning out what you’re going to do, but rather opening your journal to a blank page and grabbing the first color that jumps out at you and scribbling or squirting it on the page and BAM! you’re off!

This last week was a bit hectic, not so much because I was running all over the place, but because it’s Fall and it’s dark, and immune systems are suppressed, and oh yeah – I still work 40 hours a week at a real job before I can head to the studio.  Additionally, my friend Barbara Kennedy and I launched a Beach Retreat weekend which offers 4 amazing classes in wire wrapping, wire weaving, and beading.  You can read about that here if you want.

So I kept meaning to get into the studio all week, I’d walk out there and sigh, but I didn’t actually get out there to relax until Friday night.  And when I did finally get out to my desk and I looked at the page, I didn’t think at all (why think?  I had been doing more than my share of that all week!).  I went for it!

First I started glueing down the insides of a bill I had received earlier that week – the security envelope the bill came in had a super cool pattern I had never seen before in a bill and I saved it.  So I ripped and tore strips and stuck them down with Matte Medium and after about the 5th strip, I noticed to my dismay that the ink was running – so the cool black and white pattern was quickly becoming grey and turning the page grey with it.  Ick!  Not what I had in mind!  So I grabbed a tube of paint – teal! and put a few dots on the page and dry brushed the teal around.  That’s better!  Nice and bright!  I reached for one of my rubber stamps with a swirl pattern.  I wonder what will happen if I put paint on just one side and stamp with it, I thought?  Using Zinc White, I put the swirls around all the sides.  Hmmm, that looks okay, but not exactly what I was going for – too subtile.  So I grabbed a stencil I’ve been waiting to use and some red Dylusions ink spray and squirted it. Ahhhh contrast and vivid color.  I cut out a beautiful yellow flower and glued it up top – no idea why, it wanted to be there.  I cut out a face, intending originally to collage around it, and glued that down.  I added red on the sides with an oil pastel.  I sat back in my chair.

Is it finished?  What else does it need?  I love how the numbers are floating out of her head looking as though they’re being absorbed by the serene yellow flower above – yellow is my favorite color.  I think it’s done, I mutter.  Showed it to my daughter, Miranda and said the same thing, to which she wisely commented, “then it is done!”  And I thought – YES!  It is done.

image1

Before I left the studio Friday night, I glued down a piece of pattered pager and some text on another page.  I just really liked this piece of paper, I didn’t think anything more about it than that.  And last night I felt there should be a face on the page and so I drew it.  I’m still practicing 3/4 view and I am happy to say that I got the nose almost right and the right eye almost right…LOL….but when I finished, I thought – my goodness, I am really into red and blue, because here’s what transpired and I swear it was without any thought:

image2 image3 image6

This piece was sketched out with a blue stabilo all pencil, activated, and then I shaded with my prismacolor pencils, added the white accents on the eyes with water-based Sharpie paint pen and also added a touch of zinc white to her face, which i rubbed off to reveal her rosy cheeks.  The flowers around here are some old dye cuts I have been hoarding and the quote is from a discarded tea bag – I save all of the ones that I like.

I think it’s pretty interesting that I stuck within the same color palette on both pages and did so without thinking.  I’ll have to meditate upon what blue and red mean to me.  I remember when I was in the 3rd grade, I had a dress that I loved which had been gifted to me by my Aunt after a trip she made to France.  It had tiny stripes of red and blue – and it made my eyes hurt to stare at it – I remember thinking that the lines vibrated.  I also remember being very puzzled why it worked that way.  That’s the only thing that ever pops into my mind when I think of red and blue together aside from color theory discourse about using complements and primary colors.

I definitely think in the first piece I was releasing all of the pent up thoughts in my head so I could enter into my sacred art space.  Give being in the moment a try – I’m positive with practice you’re bound to have a serendipitous result like me!

P.S.  I’ve been taking all of my favorite odd containers into the studio that I have held onto but never use and putting them to use finally!  This cup was from my childhood – unfortunately the plate broke back then.  It was my favorite.  It features Little Miss Muffet.

image4

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.

Overwhelmed

Today I used the opportunity to journal about my frustrations with a situation at work.  Our task was to use the template provided and then focus on layering and using different lettering.  I didn’t really do much with my handwriting, but I mixed the upper and lower case letters of the word “overwhelmed” and I think this went well with the subject.  I also stamped the orange dots using bubble wrap after I journaled, but before I stamped.  The rest of the page is layered paper, washi tape, and the music transparency.  The last item I think added a little bit of “chaos” to the spread.  Feeling overwhelmed is like being a caged bird.  Your song isn’t as sweet.

Prompt 3

Using a Neutral Palette

This piece was created as part of a series which focuses on using a limited palette.  The only rules are to create a piece that uses only the selected colors and no others.  The palette for this piece is neutral colors.

I’ve been saving some vintage images I purchased from my favorite supply and inspiration source – Art Chix Studio.  After selecting the image, the piece came together rather rapidly.  I collaged the background with vintage papers and foreign text for texture – and noticed after the fact that “memoires” was at the top – hence this became another focal point and the title of the piece.  I added the screen as well for a worn look and simply stapled it onto the piece.  I think it gives it a country feel.   I finished the piece by lightly rubbing gesso here and there with my finger across the screen and around all the sides.  Lastly I embellished it with silver feather-like doodles and a few rhinestone centered paper flowers.

One word of caution, gesso and walnut ink end up making pink when mixed together.  The light touches of pink were unintentional, but I think they ended up being a happy mistake because they add a little bit of warmth to the piece.

Who says that pink can’t be a neutral color?  It goes with nearly everything, doesn’t it?

Lovin’ Orange and Turquoise

This 4×4 canvas piece is my debut back into swapping after a year hiatus.  The swap is from my favorite group “The Swapping Artist.”  Our task – create an original piece of art using only Orange, Turquoise, Yellow, or Green.  Given that it’s February, I decided to go with a “love” theme.  I’ve been doodling a good deal lately, so I created the background with Sharpie on a gessoed canvas, then I painted it using Twinking H2Os on top of acrylic paint.  I used the same kind of paint on the dominos and the detail work is also done with a Sharpie.  Lastly I added the letters to spell “Love”.  Concerned with protecting the Twinkling H2Os from chipping, I sealed the whole thing with Krylon crystal clear sealer.  I will caution – Krylon doesn’t play well with Sharpie.  Thus, some of my details blurred more than I intended.  This might be the effect you want, but I was a bit surprised since I was going for a crisp look.  Overall, though, I’m happy with the piece.

My hiatus?  I bought my first home.  It’s a goal I’ve had since my divorce 8 years ago.  I wanted to have a home of my own and be done with apartment living by 40.  Magically, I achieved this a year ahead of schedule.  I have lots of room now and finally feel at home.