Tuesday, December 30, 2008

hip to be square

I love movies. I like almost all kinds of movies. I admit to skipping movies that are overly violent or that depict violence against women. Other than that, I really enjoy the departure from reality.
My husband and friends rarely agree with me about the quality of a movie. Typically, we will all go to see something, I will laugh, cry and generally respond to every emotional pull built into the movie and as soon as the lights go up, my companions will announce the inadequacies of what we had just seen. I always feel somehow naive or inadequate that I somehow missed how poor the movie was. It got to the point where I began to develop stomach aches near the end of each movie knowing that my opinion would be gently belittled and that I would once again feel silly for having liked it.

Something happened to me this week though. I was sitting through a very long, very wonderful movie with my husband and son when the stomache ache began. Half way through the movie, I sat up straight and thought to myself, "I'm okay with liking this even if no one else does. It's bringing me a sense of peace and I'm keeping it!" When the lights came back on and I had braced myself to be okay with everyone's opinion, my husband said, "That was an awesome movie!" I didn't get to take a stand but I have to admit that it felt good to have him agree with me so heartily! I'm sure another opportunity will present itself, and when it does, I'm ready for it.

Nothing is ever said maliciously or out of meanness, I just exist on a different plane from my more sophisticated friends and husband. It's the same plane that allows me to find enjoyment in playing with paper and paints, become mesmerized by picking gel medium off of my fingers, and to find beauty in old rusted worn out objects.

Movies take me through a journey. I don't have to understand every line, I don't need every scene to make total sense or be grounded in reality, I'm even okay with timelines that are a little skewed. It's similar to my lack of planning when I work on an assemblage piece. Rather than setting out with a logical, predetermined plan, I like to just sit back and enjoy the journey.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Collaboration update

A few weeks ago I wrote about a collaborative project my husband and I were about to take on. Michael is a photographer, among other things, and I collage. We wanted to make a calendar this year for our friends and family that combined our efforts. I wasn't sure about the whole collaboration thing, because we don't always see eye to eye on things. Even in college, when I would type his term papers for him we would argue about semantics. Arguing is the foundation of our relationship!

Back to the calendar. I could see the finished project in my head and I knew that I would need Michael's extensive talent as a photographer and Photo Shop whiz to bring it to life. The final result was worth the effort, and we really didn't argue all that much. My vision was to use his contemporary color photos of nature as the backdrop for my collection of antique images. I wanted to depict people from the past looking out of a window into the future. We worked together this summer to find windows in northern Michigan that would fit well into our project. We then chose the nature images in Michael's collection that would work with the windows and finally matched everything up with my antique photos.

The theme of our final project was, "Windows on the past, memories of the present, hope for the future". I adopted "Hope" as my overall theme this Christmas for all of my holiday projects. I feel that hope is what the residents of Michigan need right now in these difficult economic times and hope is what our president elect Barack Obama represents. Without it, I'm not sure what will happen to Michigan. It was fitting therefore to use pictures of our beautiful State to bring across my holiday message.

I will post images from the calendar from time to time and am going to start with December. My oldest son turns 25 today and this page is dedicated to him!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

gifting at its finest

My family knows me so well! They are completely supportive of my creative side and never question the things that I find exciting.

My boys are athletes, one coaches football and wrestling, the other is president of his college powerlifting club. Their interests outside of school have very little to do with the world of mixed media assemblage and collage. And yet, it is just as natural for them to pick up odd pieces of metal, rusty tools, and bits of interesting ephemera that they come across in their daily lives. They don't look for these things for themselves, but rather because they know that their mom will do something interesting with them.

My husband, a film maker and photographer, is equally supportive of my endeavors. He also looks for interesting items that I might incorporate into my pieces and goes out of his way to promote my work.

Christmas provided even greater evidence of how well my guys understand my "artful yearnings". My oldest son combed antique stores to find things that he knew I would want to use in my assemblages. He came home with cabinet cards, old watches, antique keys, old tools, very old copies of Post magazine, a fabulous old tool chest, and an amazing old trunk that was used for ocean traveling long ago (complete with original tags and labels!). All of it was wrapped and placed under the tree with the same respect that would have been shown for the classic jewelry, perfume, or clothing that might be given to moms with more acceptable tastes!

My younger son gave me a fabulous book called Collage Journeys by Jane Davies and a calendar published by **Amber Lotus called Collage: Artplay for Your Creative Spirit. He also bought me a nice big jar of gel medium matte! (elixir of the Gods in my playbook!)

My husband added a king sized jar of gesso, a gift certificate to *Hollanders of Ann Arbor (where I take art classes), a myriad of supplies from Archivers for book binding, an antique metal (!) cigar box, and old dolls for me to disassemble!

Are they great or what??!! My boys really know me...gifting at its finest :)

*the store mentioned above, Hollanders is a wonderful paper store in Ann Arbor. They offer a wide variety of paper and book binding supplies as well as classes by experts in the field of paper arts. Look for them at www.hollanders.com.
**AmberLotus Publishing is a member of Green Press Initiative. They are committed to enironmental stewardship and publish their calendars on 100% recycled paper. Look for more information at www.amberlotus.com

Friday, December 26, 2008

Exactly what I had wished for.....

What a wonderful Christmas! It was exactly what I had hoped for! My house seemed exceptionally small yesterday as it filled up with people, kids, three dogs, Christmas gifts, and more food than we could possibly go through. It was wonderful. My dinner was overcooked, the kids dominated the family room with their Xbox exploits, candles were knocked over, drinks spilled, and everywhere you turned, a dog was underfoot. I couldn't have been happier!

I felt a real peace going into this week. I think this was partially due to the fact that for the first time ever, I felt totally prepared this year. It helped to have a broken foot and five weeks of mandated medical leave. Though I couldn't get around very well, the miracle of internet shopping allowed me to get my shopping done. In addition, the forced exile gave me lots of time to play with my art, make my own wrapping materials, create Christmas cards, make gifts, and even make some new decorations.

One of the outcomes of this creative explosion is pictured above. The piece is called "The Second Chance Evangelical Heavenly Choir". I love this grouping! They held center stage on my holiday table. Composed of well worn doll parts and a variety of ephemera, wire, and cheesecloth, they remind me of the type of angel I might be given the opportunity; a bit ragged around the edges, happy to be here, and dressed in comfortable worn clothing.

Sighhhh...what a wonderful day it was!! Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

all that glitters

My work tends to lean towards vintage, neutral colors, sepia tones, and worn images. This is true for most of the year. Around the holidays, however, I'm all about the glitter! I love the vintage glass German glitter available through Stampington.com and the diamond dust I purchase through Michael's.

I use glitter on everything. Vintage ornaments, Christmas cards, holiday decorations all come to life with glitter. It becomes embedded in my carpet, my hair, and in the crevices of my desk. I don't dare look too closely at my Thanksgiving pie crusts as I fear there may be some glitter that found it's way in there too....... Glitter mimics the best part of snow, the pristine, sparkly, icy beauty of it early in the morning just before people muck it up with cars and salt and clunky boot prints.

Ellen DeGeneres has taken a public stand against glitter. She hates the way it gets into everything and has even asked Barack Obama to pass a law banning it! ( I think he may have one or two things to tend to before tackling the glitter initiative though.) I'm a big Ellen fan and may just sympathize with her from January through October. When it comes to November and December though, bring it on! I sincerely hope President Obama doesn't pursue Ellen's request. I would feel quite bereft without glitter at this time of year.

Come January, it's back to more subdued art work. For now though, let the glitter sparkle!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Finding your muse through your stomach........

Staying home has its advantages. I've become addicted to Food Network (www.foodnetwork.com). I love to watch other people cook! I'm not much of a cook myself, though I can throw a decent Thanksgiving meal together. It's not that I can't, I just don't enjoy it. But watching others cook, now that's fun!

I've noticed that there is a commonality between great chefs and artists. Both endeavors require creativity. Chefs creatively throw ingredients together, dream about combining flavors, and experiment with rare and exotic foods. Artists pull various elements together, dream about composition, and experiment with new and sometimes strange materials!

Beyond the obvious comparisons between cooking and artistry, I have found artistic inspiration for a Christmas project in the graphics for one of my favorite cooking shows. Jamie at Home is a favorite of ours. My husband and I watch it together whenever it's on. It's our "Food Network Date"! Not only is Jamie Oliver adorable, but we love his recipes and enjoy his sense of humor. The bonus, however, is that the graphics designer for his show does a wonderful job of portraying his recipes and funny little tips. The pieces are done a in journalistic, shabby, collage style that I just love. I've decided to capture the feeling of Jamie's graphics in a project I am pulling together for the holidays. More to come!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Necessity is the mother of....

Wow, it's been almost exactly one month since my last entry. A great deal has happened since then. Where to start? I have fallen down twice this month. The second fall was five days after the first! Results: Torn rotator cuff, bruised leg, and broken foot which required surgery.... I am now grounded until January though I plan to talk the doc into letting me go back to work sooner.

The up side is that I have had some unexpected creative time to work on some holiday projects. If it doesn't require standing, I can do it! I do tire easily though so some of the artful decisions I've made this season have been based on what I feel I can accomplish without exhausting myself. Not usually a "techy", I have had to depend upon technology a lot this past two weeks. All of the usual holiday running I do has been curtailed by my broken foot! I've done most of my Christmas shopping on the web. I've even ordered most of my art supplies for the gifts I'm making, on the web.

In addition, I decided to make three Christmas card prototypes and then print my cards from those images. This is a huge change for me! I always make each card by hand and then foolishly decorate the envelopes! My husband was a big help with printing the cards and they turned out pretty great. As always happens, once I used this medium for my art, I started to think about other things I could do utilizing the computer for more than scanning images or making copies.

Michael and I are also working hard on those calendars that I wrote about way back in October...BEFORE I BROKE MY FOOT!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Creative Partnerships

My husband is an amazing photographer. He
has already been published in Life Images magazine (Stampington and Company) and has created a couple of books using his own images. We have recently explored the idea of collaborating on some projects. I would like to create a calendar for my friends as a Christmas gift. Michael's photos alone would make a beautiful calendar, but I would like to combine my work with his. I have yet to come up with an exact plan, but am eager to start playing around with the idea. I thought maybe I would collage an image and then layer it onto a photo. I might want to do a transfer technique with the photos. I'm picturing the whole thing done on watercolor paper with each page 8x8 in size. There seem to be endless possibilities. If only I had a bottomless pit of time at my disposal!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Anton Art Center

When I created this piece, I never thought of it as "Blood Curdling"! But, the Anton Art Center (www.theartcenter.org) sent out a bulletin asking for entries into their new exhibit which is titled "Blood Bath City" . My husband (always looking for ways to promote my work) decided to enter what I had titled, "Good vs Evil: A Juxtaposition". He and my boys have always called it "bulletman" :) Whatever you'd like to call it, the people at the art center liked it and it is currently on exhibit there. It's always exciting to have my work on exhibit. Thank you Michael, for forcing the issue!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tired of Being Perfect

The expression on this little girl's face is priceless. I can just hear her thinking, "go ahead, lavish me with adoration!" She is resigned to the idea of being perfect. What a burden to bear! Most of us can only hope to do our best on any given day.
This little collage consists of layers of ephemera sewn to a vintage image which is then attached to stretched canvas.
Just looking at her makes me smile :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Laundry Days

I love this collage because of its simplicity. The clothesline is a hunk of old copper wire I found in an alley, the quilts are cut from images in a graphics magazine, and the chimney on the house is a rusty old nail. The chimney reminds me of something that you might find in "Whoville"! (Dr. Seuss) I used a flattened penny from Niagra Falls for the house decor and actual used popsicle sticks for the fence. This collage came together in one sitting (a rare event in my experience). It's just so sunny and carefree. I keep it in full view in the family room for those nights when Michigan winters have gray skies that seem to last forever.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

pride and arrogance

I have breakfast with my father every Sunday. This practice began right after my mother died. Dad and I had a pretty rocky relationship for about 51 years. I'm 52. My husband once asked me why I bother to continue to see my dad and take care of his needs. I often wonder myself. But, I never questioned that it was what I would do.

As a teenager, I fantasized about walking away from him and never looking back. As an adult, I realize that we do what needs to be done. What kind of an example would I be setting for my children if I left him alone to fend for himself?

Family, right or wrong, is what's important in life. Family sticks together. A friend is fond of saying, "blood is thicker than stupidity". I love that saying! I have to admit, that adult or not, sometimes that saying goes through my mind when eating my Sunday eggs with Dad! The piece included here, is of my Dad as a child. His stance is so full of pride and arrogance, it's at once amusing and foretelling of the future....

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Souls Taking Flight

I began this project a year ago. As with many things, it started with one mini shrine and blossomed into many. The shrines were displayed at one of my favorite stores
for a time and I've promised to do a workshop on them at some point.
My mom's struggle with cancer led me to think about the transience of life. We spend years building lives, homes, families...etc. when we die- does it all disappear or do our souls simply take flight?
Each shrine contains a picture of a family member whose soul has already taken flight. The shrine above represents my Grandma Maria. Her soul took flight in 1961.
PS Found is a wonderful store located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The owner stocks Found with lots of yummy vintage ephemera, objects, fabrics, and findings. She also carries original works of art, whimsical decor items, and handmade jewelry. For the past two years, Found has sponsored a workshop led by Sally Jean of soldering fame. It's a favorite place!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Boys, Boys, Boys

I love boys!! As a young wife, I dreamed of having a baby girl. I thought it would be wonderful to have a daughter to dress up, to shop with, to spend time with. Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans? God saw fit to give me two boys and I couldn't feel more blessed. As I watched my boys become teenagers I found myself profoundly grateful not to have teenage girls to contend with, to worry about, to fret over.
It isn't that boys don't have their moments, but there is something special about mother/ son relationships. I'm sure the mothers of girls would say the same thing. All I know is that I love having boys. The piece displayed here is such a perfect representation of how my Joel has always approached life! He is so full of exuberance! My Trevor is more cautious, but such a joy.
My boys often find their way into my work. They inspire me in so many ways. Trevor makes me want to be a better person; to take the high road in everything I do. Joel makes me want to express a love of life in my art the way he does in anything he takes on. Michael (my husband) challenges me to expand my "artistic" comfort zone.
I spent a rare afternoon today with all three of my boys (my husband is my third "boy") and it filled my soul with such contentment. It was a great day.
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

pretty packages.......

I love to read. My interests are eclectic but I do admit to being partial to fiction. I like the departure from reality, the ability to explore other worlds with only an active imagination packed in my suitcase. The trick is to always remember that fiction does not mirror life. Matters of the heart are always wrapped up in pretty packages in well written fiction. Tragedies and heartache are handled in a finite manner. The heroine goes to Scotland to grieve over a lost love. After a three week journey (accompanied by the requisite new found hunk) the grief is magically cast aside and life is good again.

In reality, most businesses and employers will allow workers a finite number of days off to address issues of death and loss. The expectation is that upon return, the worker is ready to move on. When I lost my mother, my employer was very generous in giving me time to "grieve". I took two weeks off of work and spent all of that time trying deal with my emotions. While it's true that the time off gave me an opportunity to catch my breath and get a grip on reality, I know now that the grief did not have a finite edge to it. It is now a year later and I spent this morning crying as though the loss had taken place yesterday. It lessens for greater periods of time but it can sneak up on me with a fierceness that lets me know it's never far away.

Unlike works of fiction, our emotions can't be wrapped up in pretty packages to be placed on a shelf and forgotten as we move on to the next event. Our experiences are instead interwoven and help to shape our future relationships. Not a gaily wrapped box, but a tapestry, incomplete until our own time is ended. (I love the album "Tapestry" by Carole King!)

Sunday, August 17, 2008


August 17, 2008

I always feel vulnerable when I read about or hear about someone experiencing a tragedy such as the one I wrote about yesterday. Having faced a couple of tough losses myself this past year, I deeply empathize with others who find themselves in similar situations. I know it sounds trite, but those feelings of vulnerability do make me appreciate the people I have left in my life.

I have a little brother. We have had some issues over the years and lost valuable time in our relationship. The loss of my mother brought us back together and we are now trying to build a friendship as adults.

I love my little brother and I want to remain in touch with him. I want to get to know my two nephews and I want to remember that there is no way of telling how much time we have left together. My baby brother turned 50 this week and I am throwing him a surprise party today. I hope he likes it and I hope it helps him to reflect on our relationship in the same way it has me. Happy Birthday Johnny!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


August 16, 2008
We've had a tragedy strike our community this week. One of our high school students was struck by a car as he pulled out of 7-11. A previous heart condition caused the impact of his airbag to stop his heart and he died immediately. Our boys know the family and the older son. There is a shrine in front of the 7-11. It's the kind that seem to pop up in our community whenever a loved one is lost. This one has posters made by high school friends, flowers, duck decoys, religious symbols, and even a Slurpee Big Gulp. His friends and family members used symbolic gestures to express themselves through their grief and horror over this sudden loss. It's what artists do when completing a project.
Unless a work is commissioned, art tends to come from somewhere inside. A place where thoughts and feelings are lying in wait needing to be expressed in some way. Artists use whatever medium they work in, poets use words, grieving family members use symbols of love. I have two boys of my own. I can't even begin to imagine. The piece pictured here is called "He's a Star". Isn't that how we all feel about our children?
I pray for Mikey's family. I fervently hope they are able to find some refuge in the coming months. Though I can't imagine how they will.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Warring factions....

August 15,2008

While we're on the subject of my inner workings, I feel the need to list some contrary elements of my personality. As might be evident by now, I love to work with art materials, paint, glue, found objects, ink etc. The world of collage is as much a part of who I am as is teaching, parenting, gardening and all of the other things that reach into my soul and define my life. Collage and mixed media are also a very messy medium! Every scrap of paper, rusty metal, button etc. is potential fodder for future creativity. I sometimes think I spend as much time trying to organize my materials as I do creating with them!
The reason I spend so much time organizing is because I am also afflicted with a desperate need for orderliness in my life! This does not mesh well with collage. My life is a constant struggle between wanting to clean up my work space and needing to create. I seldom experience jealousy yet I feel true envy over some of the studios displayed in art magazines such as the one soon to be published by Stampington & Co. called "Where Women Create"(www.stampington.com). Though, with my luck, I would most likely feel a need to keep my studio space organized too (if I had one)!
Some day, I hope to have my own studio space. In the meantime, I will continue to wage battle against myself and hope that my creative side comes out on top at least more than half of the time!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Family Ties

August 14, 2008

"Thanks Mom" That was the response I received from my youngest today following a discussion about all of the genetic "quirks" he feels he inherited from me! He likes to blame his clumsiness, forgetfullness, and daily confusion on my genetic contribution to his existence.

I have had similar discussions with my mom over the years. My husband likes to call my blunders "corrylations" (my mom's name was Corry). Isn't he clever? He's probably on to something, but I also like to think that I inherited my creativity, independence, respect for learning, and sense of humor from mom. I'm not sure I ever told her that. It was more fun to tease her about the oddball traits.

Maybe someday my boys will think to credit me with at least a small part of their strength of character. Let's hope they do it sooner though rather than later....with the poor memory genes my mom passed on to me, I may just forget they've done it if they wait too much longer!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Revisiting old techniques...

August 12, 2008
I've been in a creative rut recently. It always happens this way. When I have ample time on my hands to create, I find myself with few ideas. The creative juices start to flow as soon as my life becomes crazy, hectic, and daily schedules are stretched to their limits. I may have broken the pattern today though.
While sitting in a colleague's office, I glanced over at a collage I had given her for Christmas. The piece involved a vintage photo, acrylic paints, ephemera, handmade paper, and fabric. I had been experimenting with sewing material to watercolor paper that had been collaged with layers of paint and various papers (similar to the piece in picture above). After that piece and the one above, I moved on to other more familiar techniques and found myself eventually landing in my current rut.
Today, during what seemed like an endless meeting with questionable outcomes, I found inspiration in an old piece. The good news? I still have a little bit of time left before life gets out of control again! That's progress!

Monday, August 11, 2008

it finally happened.......

August 11, 2008
I couldn't have been more surprised than when I woke up the other morning craving a cup of iced coffee! I have always been a tea drinker and thought the taste of coffee was wretched. My mom used to tell me that I would start to drink coffee once I grew up. (she also assured me that I would become a Republican once I grew up.)
One morning in early June, my friend Carol mentioned having become addicted to iced coffee. She said it had helped her to give up diet pop. Well, that is something I have long struggled with so I decided to give the coffee a try.
What do you know? After 52 years, I have finally developed a taste for coffee! I guess you were right mom. However, come November, I am absolutely, positively, without reservation going to be voting for Democrats! (still struggling with the diet pop!)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

there are days............

August 9, 2008

There are days for celebrating, days for contemplating, days for ruminating, and days for just being lazy! I think they're all great. This is a day for personal reflection on all of my blessings. The greatest blessings being my family and friends. The sun is shining, the temp is in the seventies, and Friday was payday!! Isn't life grand??

Thursday, August 7, 2008

mother nature

August 7, 2008

I love thunder storms! I have such a deep respect for nature in all of her moods and fancies. No matter how advanced we think we are, nature is always there to remind us that she is in charge! I feel connected to her in a deeply spiritual way. Living in an area where winter is the norm and warm weather is a fleeting three month blessing, makes me want to be outside as much as possible in the summer. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the sort to engage in outdoor sports. And, winter is my least favorite season. I just enjoy "being" with nature whenever I can. Having gone through a crisis of faith since my mother's death has increased my appreciation for mother nature. But in the end, Nature, God, isn't it all the same thing?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

fresh starts

August 6, 2008

I've been a teacher for 30 years. Prior to that, I was a student for 17 years. I've never thought of a year in chronological terms! Years go from September to June. Events end in June and new events begin in September. That is the rhythm and cycle of my inner clock. I wouldn't know what to do if things didn't change in September. Sure, I've worked odd jobs during the summer but the sameness of going to the same job doing the same thing 12 months out of the year is a concept I cannot comprehend. I love my school cycles and I love the regular expectation of change and new beginnings.........

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

hope denied

August 5, 2008

At some point during your loved one's illness, you realize that hope is a fleeting thing and that your family's journey is heading towards an inevitable conclusion. Cancer can feel like being enclosed in a small dark box from which there is no escape. It consumes your every thought, every minute of every day. Your spirit is weighed down by chains of despair. Without realizing it, I made this piece mid journey with no thought of how it would evolve. When done, my family told me that it was the darkest piece I had ever made. That made perfect sense to me as I couldn't conceive of any light for a very long time after losing my mom.......

Sunday, August 3, 2008

New Possibilities.........

August 3, 2008

I have insomnia. It started when my mom became ill and I have yet to beat it. In addition to a lack of sleep, mom's illness has lead to a lack of faith on my part. A Catholic my whole life, I found myself struggling with the same questions that plague people going through similar tough times. As a result, I spent last night reading a new book that spoke to my questions about religion and filled the time normally spent staring at the ceiling. The book I read is called The Shack, written by William P. Young. The author takes a very different look at questions of faith, the holy trinity, redemption, and forgiveness. It isn't "preachy" and it doesn't try to sway the reader in one direction or the other (I tend to resist that sort of coercion). It didn't solve my problems, but it did give me lots of things to think about. I would certainly recommend it to those open-minded enough to consider alternate ways of looking at things. The book got me thinking and the insomnia led to my recent artist's block opening up a crack and revealing a couple of new ideas I'm trying this weekend. All in all, a fairly productive night! Though I admit to being super exhausted now!

Friday, August 1, 2008

August 1, 2008
When a loved one is first diagnosed with cancer, your emotions run the gamut from absolute despair to determination filled with hope. You listen for stories of people who have beaten the odds and you convince your self that your loved one will do the same. I wanted my mom to fight. I begged her to go through with the treatments because she was so healthy in every other aspect than with the damn cancer. I convinced mom to have hope. Neither one of us realized just how advanced the disease was and the treatment was a nightmare for mom. I'm left with feelings of guilt for having asked her to suffer through them. Who knows how much longer she may have had if we had left things up to nature rather than relying on hope..........................

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I am still trying to understand the posting process. My goal is to have images embedded in my post. Being computer challenged, it hasn't worked out that way thus far. But I will keep trying!
July 31, 2008
I'm home for the summer. A major perk of my "self-reliant" career is that I get some time off in the summer. It is truly a blessing. I spent last summer watching my mother die of lung cancer caused by second hand smoke. It was definitely the worst time of my life. She was literally buried the day that I returned to work. Straight from the cemetery to my office. It was a tough year to say the least. As a result, I was really looking forward to this time off. My favorite part, sleeping in! After that, working with my art supplies, cooking for my family, watching Ellen, and gardening. I go back next week. For now though, I'm home for the summer!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lack of planning...

July 30, 2008
My approach to art (unless working on a commisioned piece) includes a total lack of planning. I tend to pile my materials on the kitchen table and see what develops from there. Sometimes I have an idea of where I want to go, but most often that early plan takes a very different turn before the piece is completed. I used to feel bad about that. I envy the "true" artists who talk about the deep meaningful premise on which their pieces have been created.

It's this lacking on my part that causes me to hiccup a little bit when attempting to call myself an artist. My brother says that I express my inner feelings quite clearly through my art. I don't think he realizes that it's a subconscious occurance. I don't even know what it is I'm trying to express until the process is over!

At other times, my creations are simply a fanciful juxtaposition of wonderful old stuff.......
This angel is exactly that. I saw the shrine stacked inside the vintage jello mold on my table and thought, "wow! I like the way that looks!" and things just progressed from there.......

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

in the beginning

My goal for this summer was to set up my own blog. This is my attempt to do so. I know that I will eventually change the way my site looks and that I'll make it my own but for now, I'm just happy to have made a start. The name I've chosen for my blog (a daunting task when the computer screen is suddenly asking you to make such a big decision before the site times out!) is Its My Life.

As a kid, I always knew I would be an artist someday. I loved anything to do with creativity. My mom, on the other hand, had different ideas. Living in a bad marriage, she wanted to be sure that I had a career which provided independence and security for her daughter. She didn't want me to ever be dependent on a man. So, I became a teacher.

I'm a good teacher and my mother's goals were fulfilled. I'm self-reliant and secure in my career. I still "play" with art, pour over every art magazine I can get my hands on, and have had some success with selling my "stuff". I've even managed to get published!

As everyone who has ever tried knows, combing art with a full-time career can be challenging but well worth the effort. I love what I do, but sometimes I wish that I had had more control over my own life in the beginning...........................