Entries from: December 2006

The Weather Outside is Frightful

December 23rd, 2006, Comments (11)

Frightful, but not in a wintery way. Ah well.

I'm leaving for my dad's shortly and after that to my mom's, so I'll be out of touch for the next few days. I hope you all have a wonderful, wonderful holiday.

If you have a moment, stop by Laura's and give her some love. Laura lost both her parents this month. I can't imagine the pain she must be experiencing. I think she could use any thoughts, prayers, hugs and love sent her way. And along those lines, hug and love those special to you today. Life is so short and so precious. It's amazing how easy it is to forget this over and over again.

*hugs and love* to each and every one of you who stop by here on occasion. You make my life a brighter place.

Drawing in the Margins, Coloring Outside the Lines

December 21st, 2006, Comments (5)

Here's another idea about how to bring creativity into your everyday life: Draw in the margins!

I get ideas when I read. When I own a book, I will often draw in the margins of the pages, filling them with whatever is going through my mind (doodles, sketches of art ideas, poems, thoughts about what I just read, things to remember, etc...) I used to think of books as something so precious that you should never soil them with writing. But once I got started, I really came to love it. And it's fun to look back over my notes later on. I may not make a piece of art from every drawing in the books I mark up, but by getting them down on the page, I give these ideas the opportunity to come to life, whereas I might forget them soon after otherwise. It's also a great way to make the book my own. Getting the ideas down as I read also allows me to concentrate more fully on what I'm reading instead of floating off into my head.

So try this: When you're next reading a newspaper, a magazine, an essay, or a book (that you own!) keep a pen or pencil in your hand and get that inspiration down in the margins. It's not a formal place for art-making, but it's a great way to infuse creativity into your everyday life.

I think another way to get your creative juices flowing, no matter where you are is to change your perception of what an art surface is. So, yes, a book or newspaper is a great start, but where else can you go?

I was thinking about Self Portrait Tuesday last night and the theme which is "red." I went into the bathroom and pulled out my collection of lipsticks. I don't wear lipstick (I do up my eyes, when I wear make-up), but I have a bunch of lipsticks, ones my mom gave me mostly and some I've purchased to try and not liked; a bunch of them are from as far back as high school. Yikes! I found the most red one I have and put it on and laughed a little. I look weird in lipstick I think. As I pondered my rosy lips, I was suddenly inspired to go further. I took the lipstick and began to draw in swirls and curls on my face. I used every lipstick I had, orange and bronze, peach and maroon, and then some eyeliner and eye shadow. It was loads of fun. I took some crazy pics after.




Face as canvas, sure, why not? I would love to do body painting on a person sometime. When the fiansor got home later, I showed him the pics and he got a  kick out of them. He said he liked them because it looked like I got into character. Later, it made me think a bit of war paint, a more feminine version of it.

I was planning to submit this birdhouse ornament to last week's Inspire Me Thursday and now it's late, oh well. I usually paint or collage ornaments every year and I did this one last night. You can get the little paper mache ornaments at craft stores, I painted this one with gesso and drew on it with colored pencils.


Can you tell I had some fun last night? Yep, I also got my period and felt ten times better. Perhaps that's why I was drawn to explore the red theme. Oddly enough the day I got my very first period, at the late blooming age of 14, I was wearing an all red jumper thing, I was dressed head to toe in red. Just another example of the subconscious busting through in colorful ways. I love that.

Dark Days, Glowy Nights

December 19th, 2006, Comments (7)

Last night was an evening of contrasts. I got home and cozied up with the kitties on the couch, knowing I had a few hours to myself, I flipped around the tv and saw, Pride and Prejudice was on (with Keira Knightley or however you spell her name.) I saw this movie almost a year ago (seems like a lifetime ago) while visiting my mom for Christmas. She was still living in Texas at the time, so I was there for about a week. One afternoon we went to the movies and saw this film and it was very good, although a little awkward. I don't know, I don't really like seeing romantic films with a parent. It feels funny to me. So, this time, home alone, I was able to really enjoy it, I was able to laugh heartily and cry too. This is probably why part of me really needs alone time, because I feel no urges to hold back what I'm feeling. I can be myself. I wish I could say I was one of those people who is outrageously authentic, no-holds-barred, what you see is what you get. It's not that I will go out of my way to be someone completely different, it's just that I'm very adaptable. I can squish and mold myself to the mood and feel of a crowd or personality. I am skilled at allowing others to feel comfortable being themselves without judgement.  Part of this is just that it takes me awhile to absorb information and figure out how I'm feeling and part of it is habit. It's a great skill to have around strong personalities. At the same time, I think I'm so much better at speaking my mind and standing up for myself than ever before. School has helped tremendously with that.  Sometimes I don't know if I'm even entirely myself with myself. I find I can even hide things from my own consciousness, which is bothersome. For example, I didn't quite let myself feel how fed up I was with my job until something broke in me and I decided to leave and then all the feelings came rushing in. I feel grateful that the fiansor is someone I feel so open and comfortable with. And he's pretty good at seeing when something is lying under the surface, something I might not have even uncovered myself yet. Art is good for uncovering these things too. It helps me to let my guard down and let those quiet whispers echo up from the depths.

So, the contrast I mentioned, right...when the fiansor got home, all pooped from working late, he put on football. Pride and Prejudice to football is quite a switch, but I didn't mind. We snuggled under a big blue blanket and chatted and laughed, ate dinner and discussed our days.

Last week was a really long one, each day stretched out long and longer. I have been experiencing what I think is a long week of pms-ing, but perhaps it's just the shortest days of the year messing with my system. I've felt alternating waves of sadness and irritation followed by lots of sadness. Sadness about nothing in particular, just this heavyness like a load of wet laundry is sitting on my chest, my head is full of sludge and my eyes are filled with sand. Sounds like a wave of depression. But I have hope that it will break soon, whenever my stupid period decides to show up. Gar.

Sometimes I get embarrassed about feeling low. I saw my best friend on Friday night. And I was all chipper and cheerful for part of the evening, even though it was a little forced on my part, but by the end of the night I'd run out of steam, I was exhausted and she said I looked tired and asked me how my depression was and I blamed my current state on pms, but I guess this would be the longest pms ever, so maybe not. I don't like to appear weak. When my mom asks me if I'm down, I always tell her I'm just tired, which I suppose is true, but I don't want her or anyone else to worry. Just makes me more agitated if I know someone is worrying about me. Blah. I like to appear on top of things. I let down my guard at times with friends. I tell a friend recently that I'm feeling low, but it doesn't make me feel better. Just makes me feel lame. I'm aware that being hard on myself isn't helpful. But being aware of it is a start. Writing it out is something. Learning to ask for what I need has been an ongoing struggle. I get all embarrassed about that too. My mom has asked me several times this year to ask for what I need and my answer has been, I just want everyone to be happy. This week though, I did ask for some attention from the fiansor, who has been super busy at work. And it was lovely to get what I needed.

I had a technique assessment in school on Sunday. Got my first 100 which was sweet. The teacher wrote that I have a compassionate presence. I think I do. It's easier to turn that light on others. I wonder if it might be brighter if I was able to turn it on myself a bit more.

Oy. I'm feeling all tender and in my head this afternoon. Things are generally very good, just needed to get that out. Breathing in and breathing out. Christmas shopping is done. I went to a fabulous crafty show with Melba on Saturday, but only managed to get a treat for myself! (It was great to meet Melba and I even got to meet the real Santa Claus! hehe) But I got all the last of the shopping done this morning and only some wrapping and crafty stuffs left to do. Not bad. And even though I wasn't sure I was going to put up my tree (a little fiberoptic glowing goofy tree) this year, I put it up Saturday night with some of my favorite ornaments, including one from the sweet Kathryn and it looks gorgeous. :-)

5 Things

December 15th, 2006, Comments (9)

I've been focused inward this week as I've been and will be more social this week than I might normally. I saw a Damien Rice concert on Monday (awesome), I'm out tonight and tomorrow, class Wednesday and Sunday, so my spare time has been spent quietly resting and preparing for the holidays.

Since I've been tagged twice for this meme, I better get to it! The idea is to write 5 things you don't know about me and then tag 5 others. I struggled with this as I can't keep a secret and over the last several years, I have revealed a lot! So, here's what I came up with :

5 Things You Might Not Know About Me

1. I'm very sensitive to repeating sounds. So for example, if the same word is said over and over or if I'm in a car and the directional signal is click-click-clicking away, it can drive me batty. It sets something off in my brain and makes me shiver as if nails were being scratched down a chalk board.

2. On a college trip to Venice (part of a class for credit), I got up early every morning and went for a run. The streets of Venice were so clean, it was sort of surreal. It was probably my favorite part of the trip, running by myself in the morning fog, crossing little bridges, and coming upon such beautiful buildings around every corner.

3. I hate, hate, hate being tickled. I don't remember it, but my younger sister told me that once she tickled me and I slapped her across the face. Heh.

4. One summer while at a day camp, I walked out into the hall and walked in between a scary old man who was chasing a boy while squeezing an empty soda can in his hand. It scared the crap out of me and I ran into the girl's locker room. When I told my mom about it, I had to talk to the campus security cops (it was at a college). They asked me to describe what he looked like (um, old?) and what he was wearing. I couldn't remember for the life of me what he was wearing, so I told them he was wearing a tux and top hat. Oy.

5. I can't remember jokes. People tell me great jokes and a minute later, I will have forgotten them. The fiansor says I'm the worst joke teller ever because I often start a joke, screw it up or forget the punchline all together.

Ok, so who shall I tag. Well, this is only if you want to and if I don't tag you, feel free to do it anyways. Really. I do that. You're it Melba (who I get to meet tomorrow, when we go here!), tall asian dude (haha!, now you'll have to blog! just kiddin, only if you want to!), Staz, Jessie, and Karen.


December 9th, 2006, Comments (12)

Oo, I made some art this weekend and it was so much fun! I started this first piece Friday  night, worked on it again this morning, went to take my dad to lunch for his birthday and then this evening finished it up. I originally had this idea when I saw last weeks IF topic "might." The week was a long one and I didn't get it done in time for IF, but I decided to do it anyways. I got the idea from my memories of wishing on stars. When I was in high school, we got a dog and as the oldest I was in charge of taking her out for the last time before bed and then at 5:30 in the morning when I got up for school. At night, particularly in the dead of winter, it was rough standing outside waiting for her to do her business. I sometimes passed the time by singing, dancing or daydreaming. But one thing I did consistently was wish on the first star I saw. You know the rhyme, right? Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight. And the funny thing was, most of my wishes came true when I wished for specific things (yeah, winning the lottery never happened, since I was too young to buy tickets anyways). So, here I worked with gesso and rice paper put down haphazardly first and then painted over with acrylic and drawn with ink all on paper. It's about 16"x21". Here's a close-up:

When I finished I saw that I had big squirts of paint on my pallette and I didn't want to waste them, so I found an older collaged piece on board that I didn't like and painted over it in big swatches. When I finished, something suggested a face and so I started there, with a face and then I thought she looked like a Greek goddess. Her hair blended into the sky and I thought of constellations. So, then I made the night sky and turned shapes that suggested planets into planets with rings and I named her "Andromeda." It's about 12"x16".

It felt great to get this art in, knowing I won't have time with school tomorrow. Blah. Am I done with it yet? No. But I think I'll be leaving school a bit early tomorrow to go to an art opening, cause guess what?? My two pieces were accepted for the show I submitted them to! Woot! It's a group show with the theme of water at the Post Road Art Center. Feels great to be showing some work again, which I'll be going at again with more oomph when school ends in February. Feels good.

And hey, the two pieces above are two very different examples of inspiration. I often do what I did with the second piece, which is just to start and see what images start to appear and go with it. It's great fun. You just have to allow it to be a failure-free experience. In other words, you give yourself permission at the start to make crappy art. Makes all the experimenting much easier and more fun (for me at least!) Try it out!

Invite Inspiration

December 6th, 2006, Comments (12)

Bring Love, mixed media. Inspiration came while taking a bath and doing a visualization meditation.

I get ideas for art in odd places. Yeah, sure, sometimes when I sit down with a sketchbook and other times I don't wait for the ideas I just start working and the ideas come. But quite often, the ideas come when my talky-talky mind is in another place. Sometimes this takes place when I'm doing what Julia Cameron calls an "artist's brain activity" which would be something like pulling weeds or folding laundry or going for a run, something repetitive that entertains your logical side and allows your creative mind to wander. I have found that great activities for me in this sense are driving (although maybe it shouldn't be!), showering, weeding, cleaning, and picking at my toenails. heh. I love how this works. Recently, Minnie wrote about how she felt more productive while having the t.v. on and asked if it was wrong or bad to have a distraction like that. In my humble opinion, it's totally fine. Whatever works. I have done this for a long time, setting up my art making tools on the floor while some random show is on that I'm not watching. I used to feel kind of bad about this too until in massage school of all places we did a multi-day workshop on learning styles. Dawna Markova wrote about this theory in her book Open Mind (and on an unrelated note, she also wrote a great poem called, "I will not die an unlived life") and this website lays out more of the details of Markova's work if you're interested.)

I wish I could re-cap it for you in some way that was clear, but basically there are three learning channels: visual, kinetic and auditory; and we use all three, each of us in different ways and in different orders. The first channel is on your conscious level, second is subconscious, and third unconscious. So for me, I'm a visual learner first, I need to see things written down or in picture format and even better to write down what I'm hearing in order to absorb it. My third learning channel is auditory, so if I'm in a lecture and can't take notes, I will absorb very little, in fact my mind wanders like crazy if I have nothing to do but listen. So even if I'm not taking notes, just letting my hand move across the paper with doodles allows me to stay in the moment and listen. I think it's quite clear that schools are not very good at teaching to all the learning styles and one thing the massage school was aiming to do was to present the material in multiple ways so that everyone could grasp the information. At least they tried.

So, back to the learning channels. Knowing this and learning more about these channels, I realized that the sound of the t.v. acts as a distraction to the talky-talky side of my brain and allows the more intuitive, creative side of my brain work more freely. In a completely quiet space I tend to think too much and the art often gets stiff. It's great to know where and when inspiration comes for you. Next time you get an idea, take note of where you are and what you're doing.

Another place I get a lot of ideas are in bed, right before I fall asleep...often after I've turned out the light! The idea for the piece I used a part of for my banner above came like this. I keep pens and paper and if I'm prepared a journal/sketchbook on my nightstand. That way, I can flip on my lamp and scribble out my idea before I forget it (and I will forget it if I don't write it down!) In her great book, Taking the Leap, Cay Lang suggests trying this out: "Every night before you go to bed, write or sketch three ideas for your art in your journal." She suggests that you don't make a big production out of it, but just to spend a few minutes getting some ideas on paper. Some will never see the light of day. That's ok, you never know what you might set in motion.

So try it out, if the idea inspires you. Or just try being more aware of when inspiration floats into your line of sight and then cultivate it, open the door, invite it in, celebrate those moments because they're part of what makes you unique and they're part of the vision only you can bring forth.

The idea isn't to make art. It's to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.
-Robert Henri


December 5th, 2006, Comments (8)

Or work in progress. That's what I'm working with here as I work out some of the kinks...So, don't be surprised if you see some wonky things going on in the next week or so here, hopefully, it'll all settle down very soon.

So the name...originally I wanted just "Everyday Creative" but that domain name was taken. When I originally started Art Every Day Month, I called it AEM, thinking that Everyday was one word, well it is, but it refers to everyday as in ordinary, not daily (which would be two separate words: every day.) Ahem, well, I never claimed to be great with the grammar, etc...But then again, I sort of liked my "mistake" because I wanted AEM to be open to any sort of creativity, from painting to cooking to poetry to knitting and so on. I wanted it to be about infusing creativity into everyday life.  I wanted to bring that creativity down to earth, so anyone felt comfortable joining in and anything could be art. I wanted to encourage play and fun because art doesn't have to be scary even though I understand all too well how it has been made to be so for many. So, this blog is about being creative every day and also being an everyday creative, a person who finds creative moments everywhere, every day. That is a big goal in my life as I embark on this new adventure. It doesn't mean that I'll be posting every day. I don't want to put that pressure on myself. I would burn out I think. But I will post regularly about my own attempts to infuse creativity into my life, along with my art, my experiments, my doodles and "mistakes." I'll be posting inspirations, gratitudes, and tutorials. And of course there will be AEM in November and AEWM (Art Every Week Month) in May, plus some other surprises along the way. Oh, and I'm having issues with my photo albums, so those will come later. Grr.

I checked out a potential art studio space last night. It had some things going for it, including it's fantastic street number. Hehe. But I'm unsure. So, I'll think about it a bit and keep looking too. After looking at this office space, I checked out a recommended show which was fabulous, such a variety of work, really inspiring. Equally inspiring was the night sky, the wildly bright sunset and the round-faced moon. It gave me an art idea that perhaps I'll get started on tonight.

The most instructive experiences are those of everyday life

Inspire Me Thursday!

December 4th, 2006, Comments (7)

Did a one line drawing as inspired by Inspire Me Thursday. Started drawing the dog on the floor, the continued into letters, then journaled a bit in the middle. It was fun!

Testing, Testing, 123

December 4th, 2006, Comments (6)

Just testing. Welcome to my new digs! Pull up a sofa, have a cup of cocoa, and make yourself at home.