Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Women Rule.....

I do a monthly swap with someone I met through my Blog .  We either exchange ATC cards, small canvases, assemblages, or whatever strikes our fancy for that time in our lives.  It's been a wonderful experience and every new swap brings another challenge to my studio. 

The current challenge (chosen by my partner) was to create a crown that represents the person it is being sent to.  I wanted to make something that spoke to the dynamic, successful person my partner is.  She holds a position of great responsibility in her job and is looked upon as a leader in her company.  On top of that, she is a very creative soul who loves to travel and spend time with her husband.  Women Rule is meant to reflect those qualities I have found in Veronica. artbyveronica.blogspot.com

One of the problems I have with my art is that I tend to try to translate everything in a very literal sense.  It's hard for me to let go of reality and just follow the muse. So, in my mind, a crown should be made of metal.  I gathered my rusty found metal pieces and began the process of trying to attach things to one another.  I don't have welding in my tool kit and my soldering is very limited. 
Having scrapped two crowns before settling on the one I am sending out, I decided to try my hand at using epoxy.  This is something I had always shied away from.  The process of having to mix two things seemed a little intimidating to me.  Guess what?  I love the epoxy!  It worked beautifully and it wasn't hard at all.  If you haven't tried it, don't wait.  It works :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Newest assignment.....

A friend has asked me to create a guest sign-in vehicle for her upcoming wedding.  She doesn't want a book necessarily, but is looking for something unique.  I have heard of things such as painted tree branches, and keepsake boxes where people leave notes for the bride and groom.  I really don't know what else is out there. 

I'll be doing some research today to see what others have used.  I would love to give her something special that will have lasting qualities unlike some of the things my husband and I used when we got married.  There were the matching champagne flutes with our names and wedding ate on them, the tarnished (now) knife specially designed to cut wedding cakes but little else, the requisite garter with baby blue ribbon, and the ridiculously tight white cloth wedding shoes that I've never worn again. 

Of course, we were married a little over 100 years ago, so things may have changed a bit!  If you have any new ideas or have seen any unique items at recent weddings, please let me know.  In the meantime, Google is my friend........

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Change is good!

I woke up this morning with a new revelation.  I am happy.  Did you hear me?  I AM HAPPY!  How often have I been able to say that over the years?  Don't get me wrong, I have been extremely happy raising my family, spending time with my friends, building a life with my husband.  That's more of a "universal" happiness I guess.  On a daily basis, however, how often can one get up in the morning and say, "I'm happy!"?  During my 32 years of teaching I generally woke up feeling #1 tired, #2 tired, #3 leery of what the day would bring, #4 rushed, anxious, and overwhelmed with having to get out of the door on time, #5 worried, #6 tired, tired, tired......

I'm talking about a personal, one day at a time, "happy". I know you may be thinking, "yeah, that's easy for you to say, you're retired"  It's true that I don't have to face the daily grind at this point.  That helps.  But that's not to say that there aren't concerns associated with being retired.  For one thing, I have no money!  Retirement comes with some pretty hefty financial sacrifices.  There are certainly worries associated with that. And loneliness, I know that I will wake up some mornings in the Fall and wonder what my former colleagues are up to and whether or not I'll ever have any one to talk to again that doesn't have four legs and a tail.....

I have to say, in spite of those things, there is something purely wonderful about waking up with your own company, planning your own time, appreciating your own garden, dancing to Ellen De generous with your own canine pal, and just plain enjoying the day.  We don't often get a chance to do that while working full time.  Well, I did that working thing for a long time.  I paid my dues, earned my retirement and have to say that today I feel truly blessed.  Blessed, and happy...........

Friday, August 20, 2010

The advantages of getting organized..

One thing I have discovered about having an organized studio (finally!) is that I am utilizing materials in my work that I haven't used in a long time.  Things that were stashed here and there, up and down tended to be forgotten and I ended up using the materials I could see in front of me.  You see, my previous studio (the kitchen table) could only hold so many things while still allowing room for my husband to eat his dinner.  As a result, I would keep a big bucket of vintage papers and ephemera, a huge bottle of gesso, a (I wish they came in huge bottles) small jar of gel medium, and a bucket of rusted metal. 

The rusted metal (being in plain sight) continuously prompted my husband to remind me that I haven't had a tetanus shot in decades and the gesso tended to splatter the nice new red kitchen chairs I have. Canvases were stored in the garage along with towers of old boxes and even more rusted metal.  My black kitchen sink was continually splattered with white gesso and the tile counter top has Diamond Glaze on it that will NEVER come off.

My family was quite used to this arrangement and seldom complained about living with the table clutter and chemically enhanced sink.  The result of this , however, was that all of my projects contained a combination of these items and very few other mediums.  On the one hand, I was forced to always think of new and different ways to combine my limited palette.  It stretched me in ways that may not have otherwise happened.  On the other hand, many of my carefully (and sometimes not so carefully) purchased art supplies never made it out of their shrink wrap cocoons.

Enter newly organized and assembled studio!  I'm revisiting old friends and discovering new ones that came home but were never utilized.  Whether this is an improvement to my artistic endeavors, only time will tellOne thing is certain though, I have no need for purchasing more supplies.  I said, "no need", not "no desire".  Two very different concepts...........

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What's old is new?

I received a phone call today asking me to create some Santas for a fund raiser in Wisconsin.  The fund raiser is to support women and children in need.  The Santas being requested are something that I made years ago when I use to do the craft show circuit.  The Santas consist of fabric, found objects and used mink coats.  The mink part creeps me out a little because I have always been active in animal rights issues.  But, the reality is that the coats already exist and this way they are becoming something useful rather than entering a landfill. 

I really thought the Santas were behind me, but this is for a good cause and my fledgling business really can't be fussy at this point can it?  Who knows, maybe I can put a new altered twist on it, maybe some vintage text.... or rusted metal...hmmmmm

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Life is Like a Bag of Carrots.........

Yes, I would rather life be like a box of chocolates, but recent conversations with my doctor have eliminated that possibility.  I could also say that life is like a box of sugarfree chocolates, but having just read Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman/Kim Barnouin and becoming aware of the evils of aspartame, (apparently it has been linked to everything from arthritis to cancer) even that small compromise has been stolen from my life menu.  Diet pop!  Guess what it's flavored with?  Yup Aspartame. 

I know it's important to get healthy, but what is a Baby Boomer supposed to do?  Maybe back in the Little House on the Prairie days, a nice juicy (worm filled) apple fresh from the orchard (that Pa planted with his own two gorgeous hands) was a special treat.  But I was raised in the self-indulgent days of pesticides, preservatives, and every kind of salty, sweet snack man could think of inventing ( I say "man" because a woman would know better than to put addictive, worm free chemicals in our snacks). 

I'm talking about the fast food generation.  Who can think about high school without remembering trips to MacDonalds and Burger King after  football games? I admit, having just lost fifty pounds, it feels good to be healthier.  But maintaining that life style is daunting.  I find my post retirement days filled with a constant battle between my conscience telling me to go make art and my bored stomach telling me to go get a Diet Coke or a nicely "preserved" bag of 100 calorie cookies.  Sometimes my stomach wins and out come the diet snacks and sometimes my conscience wins and I grab a bag of chemically peeled "fresh" baby carrots......what's a boomer to do?  Skinny Bitch

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's too pretty!

The studio is done!  I just can't seem to make myself work in it!  I have done my bills up here, watched endless episodes of the Closer, and organized every iota of craft product that I own.  I have not yet created anything.  And speaking of craft items/ art supplies.....There is nothing like a good effort towards organizing art supplies to make one aware of just how many there are!!  Could I possibly have purchased any more STUFF over the years?  Good grief!  I could begin creating today and (with the exception of gel medium and gesso) continue to do so for the next twenty years without buying another supply! So that's where my teaching income went....................................
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo  My husband read this book on our trip to Florida and really loved it!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hooray! The Studio is up and operational!

I'm so excited!  In an effort to divert my attention from the fact that my little birdie has left the nest, I spent the past four days turning his room into my art studio.  I never thought it would possible to have a room dedicated completely to my art things, but it actually happened. 

Mixed blessing...I always hoped that Trevor would choose to attend a Med School in Michigan, but the dear child was traumatized by our horrendous winter last year and decided to apply to a school in Ft. Lauderdale.  I hate the distance, but I love having a room! 

I know, four days and it's done?  Yes!!  I was like an obsessed woman!  I shopped, tugged, hauled, packed, sorted (egads!  I have wayyyy too many art supplies), and organized.  I worked to the point of exhaustion and ended up tripping over one of the dogs.  Four hours in the emergency room to have my gigantic knee based hematoma xrayed, not broken! and then forced myself to rest.  The good news is that I didn't cry over my baby nearly as much as I normally would (that will come Sunday when we say goodbye again at the Florida airport) and I have a studio!  Now I have to nag my husband to take pictures so that I can post them here. More to come after Florida!