Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's all about the texture baby!

I love the texture of this boarded up window. The contrast between it and the stone wall is amazing. Add to that, the beautiful teal color of the corrugated covering and you have a picture that Michael and I just had to have. Was the little old lady sitting in the window while we took pictures, or did she arrive later? Anything is possible! She looks very cozy "hovering" there in the corner!

Must the show go on?

Again, though I am thoroughly grateful for having a job, I can feel the pull of September getting stronger and stronger! Next week I have meetings to attend and then a workshop to plan. I feel as though the summer just started and it is already coming to its inevitable conclusion. I was able to engage in lots of creative fun, however, played in my garden, snuggled with the dogs, and slept in most days! What a blessing! I certainly can't complain. I will miss these carefree days though!

As soon as my husband has a chance to photograph my new projects, I will post the fruits of my labors. I will also post the ATC swap pictures that I am participating in (see, I told you I was having fun!). Must the show go on? I think so. If not for the show, I wouldn't be able to enjoy all that I've been given this summer. Maestro! Let the show begin!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The explosion!

Evidence of the explosion! Unfortunately, this is my kitchen table. It functions as a studio when my baby boy is home from college for the summer.

I wanted to show everyone why I haven't blogged more consistently in the last week. My muse has finally arrived and I have been in a creative frenzy the past few days. It's to the point where I have so many different projects going that I'm beginning to annoy myself! One idea leads to another, one search for a rubber stamp leads me to other pieces of ephemera that I had forgotten I had, and rummaging through my stash of substrates leads me to a piece of metal I had left in the garage. I'm excited to have this run hit before I go back to work. I was beginning to worry! Hopefully I will have lots of new things to share soon. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Finding beauty....

My husband and I have strange taste when it comes to finding beauty. Though we appreciate beautiful architecture, it's the run down ramshackle building that makes us pull off the road and break out the camera. There is just something so charming about a small cabin (that is most likely uninhabitable) with weathered wood, door hanging off its hinges, moss covered roof, and rambling wildflowers that tugs at our heartstrings. We have a whole series of photos taken of little places like this. I keep thinking I will incorporate them into a project one day, but in the meantime we keep accumulating photos and admiring their unapologetic charm.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bits and Pieces

I spent the day preparing a variety of substrates for future projects. I find that if I have multiple surfaces prepared, I am more likely to accomplish something when my muse strikes. It sometimes takes so long to prepare an adequate surface, that I've lost the spark or the energy to complete whatever vision brought me to the table. I prepare my surfaces by covering them with a coat of gesso and then collage them with a variety of found papers. Once the papers have been smoothed down and allowed to dry, I do a light coating of dry paintbrush technique, again with the gesso. I go very lightly at this stage as I'm not sure what other colors I may want to add at a later date. The final step is to apply background stamps.
I like to let my substrates dry for a few days. Next I lay everything on the table and wait for inspiration. I literally can see the substrates from my perch in the family room and look over periodically throughout the evening imposing different visions on top of the surfaces. Sometimes my ideas hit hard and I complete a piece all at once. Other times the process comes in bits and pieces.
That's it! That's how the magic happens......

Friday, July 17, 2009

Stepping up to the challenge

Sometimes, people make assumptions about what artists can do. If one is the least bit creative, the assumption is that the sky's the limit as to our abilities! A young couple I know were married last weekend. When I asked if they needed help with anything, they immediately asked me to make signs for their outdoor wedding. The wedding took place at a historical farm and they wanted a rustic feel to the signs designed to lead guests in the right direction. And by the way, could you make it something that we could later hang in our garden? I was honored to be asked and humbled at the thought that they assumed I was up to the task! However....
I really stressed over the signs because they did not fall within my realm of artistic endeavors, and therefore beyond my comfort level. I find that when a challenge such as this is presented to me, I'm forced to think outside of my admitted strangely shaped box. I have to stretch myself and then become vulnerable to the reactions of others. In short, it's a very healthy exercise for me as an artist. I'm grateful for the challenge and I think the signs turned out pretty cool!
It was a beautiful wedding and all of the guests arrived without incidence in part due to my stressed out creativity!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We need more fun...

People need to be nicer to each other. That's all I'm going to say about that.

I love the commercial for Dave and Busters that talks about people bringing their fun with them. The "fun" is identified as smaller people totally consumed with the concept of having a good time. The ad reminds us that we often leave our "fun" behind when heading out for the day. I think we forget how to enjoy life.

Sometimes I'm so tired I feel as though I tackle each day in the same way that I might push myself through a difficult task or a particularly painful exercise (which is pretty much any exercise I try to do). You know the approach? Grit your teeth and power your way through it? At the end of the day, there's a sigh of relief that it's over. Then I lay in bed at night thinking, "what was that?" Where was the fulfillment, the passion, the joie de vie? Oops! must have left my fun home again.
All of the cliches fit; Stop to smell the roses, make the most of each moment, life is short, don't sweat the small stuff, life is a journey not a destination. So true, but so tough to remember because, as John Lennon said, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans" or to quote Forest Gump, "shit happens"!
Sooo, starting tomorrow, my plan is to have fun as I go about my day. What will really happen, is anyone's guess!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

He fears the flight......

Our baby hawks are flying around the yard now. There are two of them. One seems more timid than the other. While the male plays on our grass, hops along the fence, and splashes in our fountain the female sits quietly on a tree limb above watching her brother take on the world.

The hawk baby actions remind me so much of human children. There are shy children, who watch from the sidelines, taking in all of the information generated by those more adventuresome and there are those who burst on the scene with no more thought of caution than of heeding their parents' warnings to be safe.

I'm always amazed at the way children feel free to just let out a bellow or a scream in public without any reservations! Wouldn't it feel great to just let it rip whenever you're that happy or sad or mad or frustrated or awed or just full of life? If you could go back in time, would you be the more reserved female sitting on the branch, or the rambunctious male jumping in with both feet? I know which one I would most likely be, and I know which one I would love to be...not always the same thing :)

PS when you get a chance, check out my web friend's blog:
we are currently engaging in an ATC swap and she is very talented!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Whispered secrets

My neighbors have known each other since early high school. They married young and have raised three beautiful children. They have the kind of relationship that makes others sit back and think about whispered secrets. They know each other's thoughts, moods, and dreams. They communicate by looking at each other and often have disjointed conversations that seem meaningless to outsiders in a position to witness it. It's a true friendship in every sense of the word. They epitomize the concept of "I've got your back".

My husband and I often have to beat each other over the head to convey the meaning of our conversations! We are both going deaf and the idea of whispered secrets is laughable at best. As age sets in, we've become so easily distracted that it could be several minutes before we realize that the other has been speaking! We have separate interests, we have shared interests. We argue more than not. We make each other laugh, we make each other crazy. We may not always know each other's thoughts, and we definitely don't have the ability to communicate silently! but...we always have each other's back...and that's just as good as having whispered secrets.......just louder :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

He was as alone as alone can be.....

The breeze is blowing, the sunshine is warm , the laundry is blowing in the wind, and the insects are making lazy circles over the sluggishly gurgling fountain. It's another lazy summer day in Michigan.
We have a family of hawks that took up residence in our trees four years ago. Every spring they return to build a nest and lay eggs. They typically have two babies each year. The babies make lots of noise and cavort around our yard.
I've started calling the section of my garden beneath the hawk nest , "the hawk garden". I've come to realize that the endless sticks dropped onto my plants from the nest are beyond my ability to control. I therefore have given that piece of the garden over to the hawks. More than likely it belonged to them long before our neighborhood was developed anyway.
My empty bird feeders are also a concession to the hawk family. While I understand their predatory nature, I refuse to draw their prey to my yard by feeding the poor unsuspecting cardinals, blue jays, finches, and wrens that used to populate my trees. The hawks seem content to locate their own food.
My feeders look lonely standing in the shade. Lonely sentinels wondering what their true purpose in life might be.....

Monday, July 6, 2009

One of those days.....

It's 9:38 AM and thus far my television won't work, my treadmill won't work, I've written four blog entries (and rejected four blog entries), I've accidentally deleted my image four times, I'm completely blocked on the project I have to complete by Saturday, my laptop keeps skipping around thereby displacing my text , and my hip hurts.
While up north, my mind was teeming with creative ideas, right now, I'm drawing a blank. Does that ever happen to you? I'm so frustrated!
Ever have one of those days?
On the other hand, the sun is shining, I have the house to myself, a beautiful breeze is blowing , and life is generally good. As far as my hip is concerned, that's why God created Aleve!
I can't wait to see what the rest of the day holds!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

When you fail to prepare.....

Hormonal imbalance, that's what I have been chalking all of my screw-ups to this summer. Forgetting to pay the auto insurance bill, stranding my husband in Troy because I forgot to pick him up, leaving my glass of diet pop in my art armoire, even forgetting to dry off after my shower this morning before putting on my nightgown!

Generally, when we plan a vacation, I spend a great deal of time putting together my traveling art kit. I knew we would be deep in the woods of the Upper Peninsula and that I would have a lovely large pine table to work on for six days! For some reason though, I didn't pack until the morning we were leaving and then I did a really poor job of it. I grabbed a few of those Ziplock bags I always have laying around with ephemera stuffed in them from previous projects, four bottles of acrylic paint, gel medium, scissors, and two ink pads. When I reached our borrowed cabin, and set about the task of enjoying some art time I realized I hadn't brought a single substrate. There was no paper, no canvas, no paintbrushes, there were no images, and I forgot the plastic tablecloth I use to protect our friend's table.

Now the town of Big Bay sports an old jail converted into an Outfitter, a tavern called Lumberjack Saloon, an inn named Thunderbay, and a tiny gas station/convenience store. As we entered the convenience store to pick up our supply of milk and the necessary vacation goodies, I spotted a young lady unpacking a case of soup. Cardboard box!! I asked her for he box and I knew I had plenty of substrate. The purchase of a Glamour magazine provided me with images and a small pack of children's paintbrushes covered me for the paint. My husband brought two large garbage bags for our trash and that became the cover for our friend's beautiful table.

My bags of ephemera contained some fun surprises and allowed me to create some cute collages. There was a certain satisfaction in being able to pull off some creativity with what I had on hand. My husband is always asking me if I never bought another art supply, would I still be able to create for years to come. The answer is yes, but what would be the kick in that? Purchasing supplies is half the fun! Besides, you never know what you'll need, it's always best to be prepared...........(at least, that's what I've heard)