Entries from: February 2008


February 29th, 2008, Comments (5)

I nearly forgot that today is Leap Day! Hehe, I just wrote Leah Day. Close, but not quite! Anyways, I always think that Leap Years are kind of special and this year it feels like a reminder to leap and go for it now!! Inspire Me Thursday has a theme of "Leap" this year. I think I'll do something with that.

In the meantime, here's what I was up to today. I stopped by the coffeehouse where I just put up some art. I took some quick pictures to put in my art blog, but here's one of them. I'll update this with a link to the art blog when I get that up. In this pic, you can see Blue Mermaid and Mind as Ocean.

While I was at the coffee house, I stayed for a sandwich and read some more of A New Earth. There was an interesting part in the book talking about ego and shyness. Tolle writes, "The fear is that the attention may take the form of disapproval or criticism, that is to say, something that diminishes the sense of self rather than enhances it. Shyness often goes with a self-concept that is predominately negative, the belief of being inadequate." Perhaps by seeing my hesitations about putting myself out there as my ego, I can let go of those fears and go for it more. I know logically not to take things personally, that my work won't be for everyone and that's o.k. But I do have fears of rejection that I'd like to not necessarily get rid of, but move forward anyways (like that book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.)

In regards to the book, so far it's interesting. It's not new concepts, but sometimes I need to hear things many times for it to sink in. I'm not sure exactly how I feel about it honestly, but I'm intrigued and I'm going to keep reading. Plus, I'm very curious about Oprah's online class!

While I was eating my sandwich at the coffeehouse, a mom and her young boy sat down next to me. The boy was wearing a crown he had made in celebration of the hundredth day of school. His mom put it on her head and he exclaimed, "Mom! You are the King of Silliness!" It was too cute. This kid had energy galore. His mom said on the way out, "I hope we weren't too loud!" But I didn't mind and I told her how cute her son is.

This weekend and next, along with the weeknight overnights in between, I'll be keeping an eye on the teenager I used to nanny for along with their dogs and the house while her parents are away. It's a nice house, but I always miss the hubster and kitties while I'm away.

I also realized that I forgot to make a post for leaving links regarding the Creative Every Day Challenge. Sorry about that! I'll make Monday's post for two weeks.  Hope everyone has a wonderfully creative weekend!

Art Cards and Artful Arranging

February 28th, 2008, Comments (15)

Above is a set of 6 art cards, each is 4"x6", that I'll be sending off to the very patient recipients of the giveaway I did back in early December in honor of my 200th post on this blog. Eeks! I'm not sure why it took so long. I wasn't sure what I wanted to give away and probably doing a giveaway right before Christmas wasn't a great idea. But, bottom line, I figured out what I wanted to do and had some fun being playful with them. I collaged the cards last month then put them under some heavy books to get them extra flat. I then got caught up prepping for some art shows and didn't take them out again until this week.

Yesterday, I looked at each piece individually and let my intuition guide me as to what to paint. In one of them, I'd already used a part of a print of a painting and then I collaged some definitions (for the words light and guide) on top of that. So I didn't do much to that one except to embellish it with paint and some sparkly bits. I rarely add sparkly doo-dads to my art, but since I was experimenting I took out a little box of sparkly goodies I got in a swap last year and played with adding three dimensional items to each piece. In the peacock one, I added sparkly sequins to its tail; in the all red one, I added a piece of an old watch; to the dancing figure, I added a sparkly flower to the end of her necklace; and to the pale girl, I added a small metal piece that says "Artist" on it to complete the sentence "You Are An Artist." These were so much fun to do! I finished them up today and they're drying now and I'll send them off to their owners soon.

It's good to play. Everyone needs more play in their life. For the base of these cards I used old postcards. They're wonderfully sturdy and make a great (and free) base for collaging or painting. You could put gesso on the cards and paint or draw onto it or collage over the whole surface. You could make your own art flashcards with reminders to do things like: Play!, Be Creative Every Day, or "What are You going to do with Your one Wild and Precious Life?"

I've been expressing my creativity by moving art around the house the past couple days. I put a lot of it up at a local coffee house on Monday, which meant that I had some empty space on my own walls and so I shifted things around. I had put a couple pieces up on the wall in my studio and noticed that I had a bird theme going, so with a combination of my art and art of others I made a great little arrangement. I'm totally digging it!

The top piece is my painting, Flying South and below that from left to right is an adorable painting from Amy Ruppel, a gorgeous teacup painting (the teacup has two birds on it) from my dear friend Jessie, and another of my paintings, The Key to These Roots. It can be wonderfully inspiring to switch things up now and again. Changing the color of your bed sheets, putting fresh flowers around the house, changing the arrangement of family photos on the wall, re-arranging your furniture, changing the items on display on your mantle, or putting a bunch of bright oranges in a blue bowl out on the kitchen counter are all small ways to create inspiring sparks. Finding everyday ways to bring creativity into your life is a beautiful thing. Happy creating!

Cat Naps and Creative Fun

February 27th, 2008, Comments (6)

Yes, another picture of Tabbers sleeping upside down. This time on a sweater. It's just so cute though, I had to share. :-) Tabs, or as I've been calling him lately, Mr. Whiskers, thinks his main job in life is see how many places and ridiculous positions he can sleep in in a twenty four hour period. Yesterday, I saw him taking power naps in bed, on the couch, on top of a bag, on a sweater, on the bathroom rug, on top of the kitty tree, on top of the kitty castle, in a plastic tub, in two different boxes, in my lap, and in several doorways. He's a busy guy!

I'm feeling loads better today and got a lot done this morning. Last night, I made some new to and from labels for shipping out art and today I printed them out and put them to work on some prints getting shipped out. Above is the to label. I blocked out my address, so that's why there's a blue stripe in the middle. And below, a couple of my larger prints waiting to be packed up. Those two are Lighthouse and Dark Tree.

I'm really enjoying A New Earth. It ties in to a lot of things I've read and oddly enough, there are some similar messages in The Now Habit which focuses on conquering procrastination. Author of The Now Habit, Neil Fiore actually has a blog (who doesn't these days?) with links to some of his work, such as the website about his book, Awaken Your Strongest Self. There are some audio links included there that talk about separating your sense of self from your ego which is what A New Earth has been focused on in the first few chapters. Interesting stuff.

Work in Progress

February 26th, 2008, Comments (8)

I'm feeling like a serious work in progress today. I mean, we're always a work in progress are we not? But today I had to face where I'm fighting reality. I've read Byron Katie call it "trying to make a cat bark." I've struggled with depression for most of my life and yet I fight this constantly. I don't accept it. I miss taking my medication and feel awful for days. It's silly.  I've come off medication in a safe way before, but I end up needing to go back to it. It's time for me to stop forgetting my medication. If I want to stop taking it, I have to address that and do it with the help of a doctor. And if I'm going to accept the chemical imbalance, then I need to stop worrying about what other people think, and start loving myself the way that I am. The winter is a tough season anyway and I'm looking forward to sunnier days.

This morning I was feeling the blues, but with a few adjustments, I found some energy in the afternoon and got back to work on a painting and did some printing for art that needs to get out to buyers. Here's a peek into my studio and some of the things I'm working on.

Feeling Bookish

February 25th, 2008, Comments (14)

A New Earth

I got an email from someone working on marketing the online class that Oprah is running about Eckhart Tolle's latest book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. It looks pretty interesting and a lot of bloggers have been talking about the book, so today I picked up a copy. I've read the first chapter and so far I'm enjoying it. I also signed up for the class and I'm quite curious about how it will be! The class starts up in the beginning of March, so we'll see how much I can read before then. I loved The Power of Now, another book by the same author.

Have you read A New Earth? I'd be curious to hear what you think of it. I know some bloggers, such as Melba and Kate, have started blogs to discuss this book, so I think there will be a lot of talk going on about it within the blogosphere. 

I've also been seeing a book meme making the rounds again in which you go to page 123 and share the 6th, 7th, and 8th sentences on that page. So, from A New Earth, here are the sentences:

The ego doesn't know that the more you include others, the more smoothly things flow and the more easily things come to you. When you give little or no help to others or put obstacles in their path, the universe - in the form of people and circumstances - gives little or no help to you because you have cut yourself off from the whole. The ego's unconscious core feeling of "not enough" causes it to react to someone else's success as if that success had taken something away from "me."

I've also been reading another book called The Now Habit which is all about overcoming procrastination. So far I'm really enjoying what the book has to say about the underlying causes of procrastination and I'll share more about that soon.

I've been working on another "Subway Stories" piece and hopefully I'll have time to take a picture tomorrow. I've got to prep and hang some art at a local coffee shop tomorrow, so it'll be a busy day! Hope your weekend was a lovely and creative one!

Creative Math

February 23rd, 2008, Comments (9)

Yesterday's creativity was all about math. Yes, math can be creative! People don't put math and art together too often, but they were my best subjects in school. Go figure. Now, while I liked and understood math, I never much enjoyed finances. I think I was brought up to be slightly scared of money, fear of having it and fear of losing it and I picked up a habit of avoiding looking at it altogether. I got myself into some pretty nasty debt in my mid-twenties by doing that. Well, I had to take a hard look at it eventually and I managed to get myself out of that debt.

Now that I'm working for myself, I've been finding it hard to look at my finances again. I'm not bringing in as much money as I did when I was working full time and although I'm doing fine, I have been avoiding looking at the numbers and where I stand. So, yesterday I took some time to work on my excel spreadsheets, adding up my income and expenses. I'm not finished yet, but already I feel loads better in knowing exactly what's going in and out, how much the fees are in different venues I sell with, and how much I'm bringing in each month.

As I get more comfortable with excel, I'll be able to make my spreadsheets more fun and interesting to look at. Hey, there's no need for math to be intimidating or ugly! Awhile back I started using a program called Flick! to keep track of my inventory, mainly with art I sent to galleries, so I know what's where and what it's status is. I chose Flick because it's compatible with Mac computers and I like the way it looks. So far so good.

How do you make the nitty-gritty of your financial and organizational tasks more creative?

Thanks by the way for the well wishes. I'm feeling better every day. The cough still lingers, but my energy is returning. The hubster is making a delicious dinner for us and we're cozying up and watching the first season of 24. It's so fun to watch a whole season back to back! Hope you're all having a lovely and creative weekend!

A Meme

February 21st, 2008, Comments (5)

I'm afraid I'm still feeling sick. I've got a bone shaking cough that won't let go and keeps me up at night. Yucko. So I'm feeling a little low energy, but I'm still being creative! I've been sketching away ideas in my sketchbook which is always fun and I'm sure my energy will return soon. In the meantime, Regina of the rgr designs blog tagged me for this meme, so here it is!

Here are the rules:
1. When tagged place the name of the person and URL on your blog
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Write 7 things about yourself
4. Name 7 of your favorite weblogs
5. Send an email letting those bloggers know they have been tagged!

Seven things about me:
1. I loved my wedding, every minute of it. But I still haven't picked out the pictures for the album yet. Gotta get to that!
2. I have extremely vivid dreams. The other night I had one dream in which I could feel and smell my surroundings. It was so real!
3. I can't sleep without white noise in the room.
4. I'm working on my first book about...what else...creativity!
5. I love seeing my art go to new homes. But I also miss it sometimes.
6. I enjoy exploring new cities by foot. The hubster and I explored Seattle, Boulder, and Montreal this way, with no plans and it was so much fun.
7. I think we'd probably live in the Pacific Northwest if it weren't for all our family living on the east coast.

O.k. I'm going to bow out of tagging seven other blogs because I'm all pooped out. But if you want to give it a go, feel free!

Retreat That Can’t Be Beat

February 21st, 2008, Comments (1)

Yesterday I learned about an amazing art retreat that's happening in September in New Hampshire. I was bursting with excitement as I read about the wonderful group of teachers and super fun classes to choose from and then was so bummed when I saw the dates coincide with the weekend of a family wedding on the other side of the country. Poop! But I want to make sure all of you know all about it. It sounds like it will be incredibly inspiring and loads of fun to anyone lucky enough to attend. So, do check it out!

This wonderful retreat put together by Elizabeth of Bluepoppy is called SAW or Squam Art Workshops. It will take place over five days in a gorgeous spot in central New Hampshire with classes from amazing teachers like Andrea Scher, Judy Wise, Lisa Occhipninti, Susan Schwake, Nina Bagley, Penelope Dullaghan, Misty Mawn and others. Plus, Grace Bonney of design*sponge will be giving an opening talk on the first night. I mean, wow people. It sounds like an absolutely amazing experience. Do go peruse the website. I'd be there in a heartbeat if I didn't have to be at this wedding. And congrats to Elizabeth for putting together such an amazing program!!


February 19th, 2008, Comments (24)

Still feeling a bit under the weather, but here's something fun! Last year, I was asked if a piece of my art could be in a magazine called Presence. The magazine is for spiritual directors and the piece of art, Betwixt and Between, has a spiritual theme to it. I just got a bunch of copies of the magazine in the mail and it looks fantastic! I set it up to take a picture and of course, Tabbers got very curious. One of my goals this year was to have some of my art in magazines, so now I've got one and I'm looking for others to submit to. I get all nervous about submitting artwork places and in the case of this magazine, I was approached without submitting anything. I want to get over this fear and just start submitting without fear.

Today I submitted art to another magazine and heard back from a store that is interested in taking on some of my art on consignment. Putting yourself out there won't always bring the response you want, but you can't get any response without putting yourself out there.

How do you handle fear of failure or rejection? Where are you taking risks? How are you putting yourself out there?

Inspiration to Generation

February 18th, 2008, Comments (13)

Oh, how lovely it is to feel like a human being again today (instead of the flu-ridden zombie I've been.) I'm not all better, but I'm no longer feverish and achey and miserable. Being able to get up and do things without collapsing in exhaustion after 10 minutes is so nice. Ahhh, health. This cough is still a pain in my bum, but it will pass soon.

I've been missing posting and visiting all of you CED-ers. I'm trying not to feel overwhelmed by things that need catching up on as I'm not 100% yet and I don't want to wear myself out. I am feeling incredibly grateful for my wonderful hubster who as soon as he felt better (he had the flu before me) was the best caretaker ever. After getting home from work and all weekend he brought me tea with honey, homemade soup, tylenols, tissues, and hugs and did the dishes too. My hero.

I managed to stay creative while feeling ill by sketching in my sketchbook. I had some fun ideas which may become future paintings. As I posted earlier, I also carved up and tried out a bird stamp. I don't always know where my inspiration comes from, but I happen to know exactly where the idea for the bird stamp came from, so I thought it would be fun to share the progression from idea to end product. I think we all have ideas thoughout our day or we see little inspirations that we may or may not do something with. Sometimes, we don't get the idea down on paper and we forget, sometimes we are afraid to try out our idea, and sometimes we push our ideas away thinking they're silly. But following a bit of inspiration and moving from idea to action is a wonderful thing. As much as you can, try bringing your ideas to life. They're what make you who you are and the world will be missing out if you ignore them.

So, the initial idea for the stamp began when I was working on some "Subway Stories" paintings. I was doing something simple that didn't require a lot of thought, like putting gesso on a panel or sealing collage papers. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a book across the room. In that split second, I saw what looked like a stylized bird printed on the spine of that book. Then my eyes re-focused and I saw that it wasn't a bird, but just the leaf pattern you see below.


I immediately grabbed my sketchbook and drew a quickie sketch of the bird image I saw. And while waiting for some other things to dry, I drew the bird in pencil on a blue piece of paper.


I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the bird at this point, but I liked the idea of a strong graphic image. A couple days later, I was thinking about it and I thought it would make a cool stamp. And then I remembered that I had a small carving block that I'd bought months ago thinking I'd like to make my own stamps sometime. I drew over the sketch with fresh pencil and put it face down on the carving block and rubbed the back which transferred the design (much to my delight). I thought I had a carving tool among my art supplies, but couldn't find one anywhere. So I looked for an alternative tool and I found an old clay tool that would do the job. I wouldn't necessarily recommend using this tool as it wasn't easy, but if you're stuck at home sick and you don't want to wait, then hey, it worked! The top of the tool broke off the handle while I worked (as it wasn't made for this sort of activity), so I included the top of the tool along with the carving block in the picture below.


Sorry, it's a little blurry. Anyways, it was fun to carve. And then, I've posted this picture already, but this is where I tried out the stamp in my sketchbook:


So, there you go. A small example of a flash of inspiration and where it took me. Ideas are often more complicated and hard to explain, but this one was pretty straight forward.

I'll be hanging up some artwork at a coffee shop in a week, so I've got lots of prep work to do and I've got some other things to share, but that's enough from me for today.

Happy creating!