Tuesday, January 27, 2009

First Journal Completed

I finished one of the journals I've been working on. I haven't painted facial features in ages, so this was a bit of a stretch for me. I prefer painting on canvas (especially more details), but I was happy with how it turned out. I experimented some with molding paste (on the skirt) and that was great fun! I loved incorporating texture into the piece. Now I want to take this further and start a much larger work on canvas.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Crazy Saturday

Journal cover--Work in Progress

It's been a crazy sort of day. I woke up feeling like I had hit a brick wall. Actually I got up for a little bit and then went back for bed. The fact that the temperature outside was well below zero really didn't help matters. But it was sunny outside, so after a slow breakfast, a diet coke and doing my ritual check of things on the computer, I decided to head over to the studio. I can't stand missing a sunny day at the studio (which is always warm!).

As usual, I put some music on (Norah Jones to start with) and started working. Before long, my daughter (who lives in the same apartment building) called to ask why there was no water. We shortly found out that several pipes had burst in the building. While this thankfully did no damage to either of our apartments, we have spent the day without water. It still is uncertain whether they will be able to turn on the water tonight. Drats.

But I managed to enjoy a productive day at the studio. I worked on some journal covers that I started several weeks ago and I like how they progressed today. I hope to finish them up tomorrow. Well, maybe.

This evening I've been busy listing on Etsy some "valentines" I made. On the one hand, I feel productive. On the other hand, with each new item I list without a sale I feel it's a total time-suck. And very discouraging.

That's it for the night. I'm ready to curl up and read the next chapter of Twelve Steps. Right after I walk over to the studio to use the bathroom!

One of my new Etsy listings...click on pic to go to listing

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Week 2: The 12 Secrets of highly creative women

My Studio

Secret 2: Honoring Your Inspirations

Even in the dead of winter, time often seems to go by too quickly--specially when you have a task at hand. Our assignment this week was, in a sense, to "to honor our inspirations"...to take notice of what it is in our life that makes us feel alive, that lights that flame of inspiration, that put a little spring in our step and makes us feel passionate about life...in essence, that moves us to create beautiful things.

I've been kicking this around in my head all week, trying to pay attention to what those things are for me. I think I have a good idea of what those things are for me. This is a hard exercise for me to do in the dead of winter...because it is a time of year when I just want to crawl into a cave and sleep till there is a spring thaw. Really, I crave being alone (I guess that can start my list). But, this is probably a really good time of year to remind myself of what things make me feel alive...so here goes:

  • Color: intense, vibrant, deep, rich, bright, dark, purple, fuscia, sage, orange, black...color makes me feel alive. Color speaks to me. I feel it in my bones. When I start painting and start mixing colors...well, that is bliss for me.

  • The Sun. Probably is coming to mind so quickly, because it is the dead of winter and I am missing sunshine. I am dreaming of living in a sunnier, warmer climate one day.

  • Museums. On a bad day, a visit to a museum, especially favorites such as the Mpls Institute of Arts, can remind me that there is beauty in the world.

  • Music. I have to have music playing when I'm painting. There are some paintings that I think should be titled after the song that was playing while I was creating it. BeeGees. Earth, Wind & Fire. David Sanborn. James Taylor. Andrea Bocelli. Old school Motown. I like to dance alittle while I'm creating.

  • Family. Relationships mean everything.

  • Baking. I love creating by baking. I have favorites that I love to "gift" family and friends with.

  • Baseball. Especially Twins baseball. When I step into the stadium, I feel that state of bliss. I have a whole other blog devoted to baseball (badly neglected these days, but spring training begins soon!)

  • Chocolate. Especially dark chocolate.

  • Diet coke.

  • My studio. I love, LOVE being there.

  • Given the time and energy (which seemed to be lacking this year), decorating for the Christmas holidays. (I still have to to put those decorations away)

  • Traditions. Romance. I am a sentimental fool.

  • Nature.

  • Long soaks in the tub. I am definitely more of a bath (vs. shower) person.

  • Helping others. I know I said I crave being alone...but I'm also the sort that is "fed" by helping others...hence, the social worker in me.

I'm sure as soon as I finish this list, I will remember things I've missed. But this is a good start. These are the things I turn to when I feel depleted, when I'm searching for a little inspiration.

What's on your list?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Vintage valentines & more

"Hello" mixed media piece 6x8 stretched canvas

I've been busy working on various pieces...definitely multi-tasking, moving between different projects. I'm working on a few pieces using vintage valentines. This one is placed on a 6x8 stretched canvas. First I painted the background a rich red that I accented with a bit of gold that I rubbed/wiped off the top. I placed the vintage valentine on top...sort of at it angle. This is definitely a vintage valentine...the edges are a little worn, but I think that just adds to the appeal. I added a ruby heart pendant to the woman's dress...placed where her necklace would have fallen. Finally, I used some gel medium to place some gold ribbon along the top and left edges.

I'm at a "stand back" point now. Not sure what, if anything, I want to add to the piece. (Suggestions/feedback welcome!) I am thinking about adding to the ribbon the words "Call me" or something like that (I keep hearing the blondie song in my head!..."call me, call me anytime, call me"). I did have a thought that it would be a fun piece to customize for someone, by putting their phone number on the piece (for the valentine they're pursuing!) I do sort of want to keep it simple...so as not to "overwhelm" the beauty of the valentine or the richness of the red. But then again, it could be fun to play around with it a little.

I also finished a few new pieces of jewelry for my etsy shop. Please check them out (click on the pic to see the listing)!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Secret 1: Acknowledging Your Creative Self

"Rebirth" acrylic on canvas 16x20

"There cannot be too many glorious women."--Marianne Williamson

Such a wonderful quote to open the book with. I think I'll read that quote each time I open the book...as a reminder that the world is full of so many glorious women just waiting to share their gifts with the world.

Hey world, make room for one more glorious woman!

The first chapter of "The Twelve Secrets of Highly Creative Women" focuses on the first secret: Acknowledging Your Creative Self.

I think we all find our ways to our creative selves by taking different paths. And every now and then, we need to re-connect with our creative self.

I remember when I was just 8-9 years looking at a poster print of a Renoir painting and thinking "I want to do that. I want to paint beautiful things and share that with the world." I wanted to be an artist. I already enjoyed being creative and took pride in school art projects, but I was not the sort of bold girl that would announce that sort of BIG dream to the world. In fact, I announced it to no one.

But over the years, I took all the art classes that I could. I went off to college and initially was a journalism major (writing being another love), but soon I found myself in an art class, and then another, and another...until I was a studio arts major. Still I didn't plan on trying to support myself as an artist.

Over the years I always found ways to be creative. My children's earliest memories include "making art" alongside me, as well as exploring different art museums.

Now that my "children" (ages 24 and 22) are grown and I have a supportive husband, I am able to devote more time and energy to making art. For the first time in my life, I have a studio space dedicated to my artwork. Having that space allows me to do more artwork (I don't have to constantly put my work away), it has also given me "permission" to take my work more seriously. I'm not sure why and I know it's a mental game, but somehow working in the studio makes me feel more professional. (I don't think it should be that way, but it has helped me take myself more seriously. And I also feel I need to "justify" the space by using it).

So I have been painting, creating in my studio for about 2 years. I have opened up my studio during public "art crawls" 3 times now. It's been a process of creating more and also sharing my work more. I have found "marketing" to be nearly as time consuming as making art.

I'm at that point in my life when I feel closer to that little girl's dream than I've ever been. And that is part of why I am participating in this blogger book club. Reading the book will challenge me to think creatively about my art and what my goals/dreams are, and how to accomplish those dreams.

I am ready for the next secret.

My first book club--online no less!

About a week ago I was reading Kelly Rae Roberts' blog and found a mention of a new book club blogging group about to start up...I followed the link to find out more and before I knew it, I had signed up! The title--The Twelve Secrets of Highly Creative Women--sounded intriguing and certainly appropriate for the start of a new year with resolutions still ringing in my ears (if not yet on paper). It felt like one of those opportunities that just lands in your lap at the right time...without you even looking.
This year I want to challenge myself as an artist to Dream Big, to set lofty goals and take the risks necessary to achieve them. I want to put myself out there even more.
This group will give me an avenue to explore some of those issues while also meeting up (in cyperspace) with other creative women.
Only problem: I couldn't find the book! Until tonight, that is. So I'm now set to begin.
About once a week, I will be writing about a new chapter in the book...my thoughts, inspirations, questions that are prompted by reading that week's chapter, listening to the online interview with an artist, and also from reading the blog entries of other participants. I don't think you will need to read the book with me (or the other blogs) to follow this journey, but if you are interested in following along (or joining)--just click on the link on the right sidebar (or the picture above).
I look forward to starting this new venture.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Like a Phoenix Rising

"Like a Phoenix Rising"

"Rebirth VI"


"Birch Trees"

Thought I would post a few new pics of finished paintings. Here's a few thoughts to go with the pics.

I just finished "Like a Phoenix Rising" today. I had put her aside since last October...I had tried to finish her before the fall art crawl, but it didn't happened. I hung her on the wall with a note saying "Work in Progress". Today I was ready to finish her. I pulled her off the wall and went to work. I finished work on the rising figure. I hesitated to post the photo, because it just doesn't feel like an "accurate" image. The figure was completed by adding the gold spiral design to her body. The design is so much more subtle than the photo suggests. I can't stand it when I can't get good photos. I guess that's something I'll be working on in 2009.

Phoenix is a work dear to my heart. She tells the story of a woman overcoming pain and misery to become a wiser, stronger woman. She is spirited, full of grace, and ready to take on life.

"Rebirth" is another painting that doesn't photograph well (o.k. I know it isn't the painting, it's the photographer...or could I blame the camera?). Really, she looks brilliant against the pink walls of my studio.

"Iris" may soon be hanging above my couch. Unless someone wants to buy her.
"Birch Trees" is still hanging in a coffee shop waiting for someone to buy her.

There you have it. On Monday the registration for the St. Paul Art Crawl is due. I think I will be entering "Iris" and "Birch Trees". No expectations.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Date Night

After a rough week at work, I wasn't up for doing much during my weekly "date night" with the hubby. Fortunately, he's as happy as I am with a simple dinner out followed by a leisurely visit to a bookstore.

Tonight I left with two treasures...the new issue of Cloth Paper Scissors and a special one-time edition of Somerset in Love. This is the kind of reading I do these days. I love spending a little time looking through these type of magazines while under the covers...especially on cold winter nights like we're experiencing right now.

I love valentines and I'm sure the Somerset special edition will stimulate my creativity for months long after February is past. And how could I not buy the Cloth Paper Scissors? Not only do I love the magazine, but fellow blogger Jodi Ohl of Sweet Repeats has one of her projects featured in it. How cool is that? (something I would like to do in 2009!) You can also find Jodi's work for sale in her Etsy shop. Check it out!

So I'm ready to call it a night...I have some reading to do!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

An evening at the studio

I promised myself a trip to the studio tonight, so after a long day at work and a quick dinner, I headed on over. I wasn't sure what I would accomplish, because I came home so tired. But I decided it was worth pushing myself a little to see how it felt.

I started by working a little on my valentines in progress, but soon put those aside for another day. I prefer painting in natural light (which is part of why I don't spend much time at the studio in the evening).

So I started work on yet another project. A few weeks ago, just after Christmas, I bought a couple of blank journals. I picked them out with the intention of using them for a little art experimentation. I started the project by laying down a patchwork of paper.

That was it for tonight, but I'll continue working on the journal another day.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Back to the 9-5

Click on the picture to check out the Etsy listing!

It's been lovely having these last few weeks off. In the last few days I've really enjoyed the groove of heading over to the studio and doing some work. The past few days I've been holding my very own Valentine's painting party! It's been great fun. I also listed a few items on Etsy: the necklace above and packs of the cards I make that feature my artwork. Check it out!

Unfortunately, tomorrow I head back to the 9-5 gig. It will once again be a juggling act to find the time to get to the studio. I can come up with some grand scheme to get there every day, but I know that will not happen. I just have to promise myself to do the best I can. And I know I will, because I love it so.

I'll try to get pics up soon of my latest work. In the meantime, please check out the treasury I created on Etsy. A number of the Etsians I featured have just a few sales (like myself)...whenever I can feature beautiful work of newbies, I will...Believe me, I know how hard it is to get things going. So here's the link:


Friday, January 2, 2009

A very good day!

It was a marvelously productive day...in so many ways. I headed over to the studio in the morning and worked on a number of pieces, including the piece above. I should be able to finish it tomorrow. This collage is on a 6x8 stretched canvas. It includes a vintage photo of my great-grandfather! I love how the whole thing came together...Yesterday I painted the canvas a sort of olive/sage green color...inspired by the paper I then laid down. I then added the image. Today I "aged" the look by adding a mix of burnt umber/green around the edges. I added the gold highlights around the paper and edge of the canvas.
I thought the birthday boy needed a birthday crown! Now I just plan to add the words "Time flies...when you're having fun". Once I have completed that I will take final pics...that will hopefully show the colors better! The background is more an antique green and the gold is much more subtle. Still, I had a great time creating this guy. I think he will be my first mixed media piece in my Etsy shop. What do you think?
Then I headed home to throw a roast and some root veggies (carrots, parsnips, and rutabega) in the oven to slow cook. While that was cooking, I went shopping...for new glasses! Picked out two pairs (there was a sale!)...can't wait to get them. My prescription will be quite a bit stronger...I might actually be able to read/bead without taking my glasses off (my current specs are hopeless). A quick stop at Joann's completed the trip.
Since dinner I've been working on uploading photos. Updated pics for some of my Etsy listings and finally listed a new item--a necklace I completed at least a month ago! I hope you'll stop by to check it out!