Happy New Year!

This year I am striving to have the most creative year I’ve ever had.  I know, lots of people say that, but I am going on record to say that I’m determined to make more art, teach more classes, and work harder than I have ever worked before to make creativity a top priority in my life.  It sustains my soul.  I get grumpy if I don’t get to work on art projects for several days in a row.

Bright and early this morning I finished a journal that I started at Thanksgiving during a Gratitude Journal class that I co-taught with my closest friend, Jessica Hartwell.

The journal was created by spray painting large water color sheets with stencils.  Then the sheet were cut down into size and bound together. Jessica and I swapped a few pages, so my journal has a mix of colors.

All of the stars on the pages inspired me to do a motivational journal rather than a gratitude journal and once the cover was complete, I added the title “Magical Me.” (Yes, totally a Harry Potter reference in case you’re wondering).

Here is a flip through of the final product.  If you like it, please leave a comment below and let me know which page is your favorite and why.

 

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.

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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!

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.

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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:

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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.

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Finally….A studio!

Yesterday, I worked for the first time ever in my new studio! It’s not quite finished, but it’s finished enough to move in and start creating! For the last 4 years I have had several stations throughout my house for each of my on going creative pursuits – beading and wire weaving, mixed media art and art journaling, and sewing. I’ve made progress here and there, sometimes great progress, but I continually felt fragmented. I couldn’t easily switch from one thing to another…..but now, I can. And guess what – all the tables and desks fit and there are plenty of plugs too for lots of light (another thing that I have struggled to rectify). So I know it looks a little plain, but give it time. I’ll be posting more regularly now, I’m sure.

My first piece of work featured a quote I came across yesterday morning in the book I am currently reading called “The Motivation Manifesto” by Brendon Burchard. It so perfectly encapsulated my feelings about this point in my life and in my hopes for my studio:

Through the active expression of our genuine nature, and the steady efforts to master our minds and move our lives forward, we can finally, after all this time, experience the freedom and joy we deserve in life

I’ve worked long and hard for this. I’m ready for freedom and joy bigger and brighter that my mind and heart have ever imagined. I can’t wait to share it all with you!

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.

Listening

I’ve got two prompts left from my class with Kelly.  This has been quite the journey.  It’s freed me to journal faster.  It’s helped me explore tough questions that I haven’t thought about before or perhaps because they’re topics I’ve avoided consciously or unconsciously.  This particular page is about so much more than what I chose to write about.  Visually it conveys extra layers to what is running through my mind.  I don’t think of myself as a caged bird, but I do think that sometimes over thinking causes me to create imaginary cages, aka self-imposed limits.  I’m trying to be as awake and aware as possible in all areas of my life and what this means is that sometimes I come across things that are unexpected or not so pleasant.  I have immense joy in my life right now and even that is punctuated by a tinge of sorrow for things that have been lost or didn’t go as planned.  I think it’s human to look backward every once in a while.  It only becomes unhealthy when we dwell on that which we cannot change.  Looking backwards teaches us perspective about what we’ve learned.  My life lessons have been pretty big, perhaps not as big as some, but I’ve definitely been through much more in my life that is significant than I mention to anyone.  I keep it to myself.  It is a conversation I have inside.  I am listening to my soul.