Entries from: April 2008

Creating Space

April 17th, 2008, Comments (7)

I just took all these purty pictures of the ranunculus flowers in my office and my camera batteries died, so I'll have to share them another time. I just love those flowers though. I got a bunch of them and bunch of yellow tulips. Very spring-tastic. Been drawing away in my art journal, I think I'll go for the canvas or panel soon. Perhaps this weekend. My little brother (we're 16 years apart, so he's only 15 years old!) will be staying with me from Sunday through Friday, so it should be an interesting week. My mom says he's really loved his art classes this year, so perhaps we'll do some art-making together!

In cleaning and clearing my studio space which is also my office and storage space here (we have slim to no closet space), I decided something had to be done about my wedding dress which has stayed in it's bag, folded on a shelf that it doesn't quite fit on (so the cats won't get to it) since my wedding in October. I have no place to store it and I actually thought I'd be selling it from the start. I know some people hang on to their dress in the hopes that a future daughter or family member will wear it or just as an heirloom, but I know from seeing my mom's wedding dress (from her second wedding) that the tastes of mothers and daughters are often quite different!

As much as I'd love to wear my wedding gown around for kicks (I mean, I've never felt so pretty as I did in that dress!), I can't really wear it anywhere else. Plus taking it out would only cover it in cat hair within three seconds. So, I'm going to sell it online. I need to get it cleaned and pressed and then hopefully send it out into the world to a bride who will love it as much as I did. At first when I made the decision to sell it, I felt a little sad, but I know it's the right move.

Andrea asked what I looked like today and you can see the fanciest I've ever looked in some wedding shots (and my super cool wedding cake) that I posted here. And eventually I'll put up some more current (and ordinary) pictures of me sometime soon. It feels good to let go of things that are mentally and literally taking up space. Ahh. 

A Studio in Progress

April 16th, 2008, Comments (6)

The last couple days the spring cleaning bug hit my studio. Wee! I decided to get rid of some of my old crappy plastic drawer units, in which I stored paint and all manner of odds and ends, that were falling apart and replace them with sturdier pieces. The hubster had a small bookshelf that he was throwing out and I found an ikea rolling cart (above) that I've had my eye on on craigslist for half the price (and I so love it!).

Granted, I still have *a lot* of work to do for this space to come together, but it's already feeling more open and inspiring. I rearranged the furniture, so my desk is closer to the window and the center of the room is more open. Ahh, a change as simple as that can make such a difference. I'm totally enjoying my space again. Above you can see part of my bookshelf (which was all organized until I started moving things around again, but it's getting there), my desk, and my inspiration area (it's crept off the inspiration board onto the wall.) Below you can see my mega scanner and the where the light comes in.

The hubster and I are in a bit of weird limbo as to when we'll buy a house, so it's been hard to know how much we wanted to fix up a space that wasn't ours. But I think we've both been feeling that our space, while not our own, can be fixed up a bit to make it a more pleasant place to live. Just a little shift in thinking made a big difference there.

Oh, and I wanted to mention that I everyone at Artfest was super nice! I didn't want anyone to get the wrong impression from my post. My ugly feelings were all my own doing...it stemmed from all those insecurities that can pop up in large groups and such that can throw you for a massive loop. Plus, I just hadn't prepared myself for the intensity of the experience, the sense of overwhelm, and the exhaustion I'd feel. But, on a good note, I did come home full to the brim with inspiration and now that I'm getting my energy back, I can start to put that into practice. Speaking of retreats, this one with Kelly Rae Roberts and Mati Rose in Italy sounds amazing!

Abundance and Envelope Houses

April 15th, 2008, Comments (11)

Drinking in some abundance today...feeling grateful for warm spring air, cats in ridiculous sleeping positions, clown fish dancing in their anemones, the hubster cleaning off the porch, so we can make use of it again, a lovely art lesson with a family on Saturday, enjoying my creations from Artfest, a clean fridge, freshly washed pillow cases, new markers and the smooth way they move across paper, a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie, bills paid, poetry on an envelope, laughter, wrapping my arm around the hubster late at night, finding a cat toy under the covers, quiet understanding, an invitation, a thunder and lightning storm, a couple good Red Sox games, socks with whales on them, silly text messages, Numi tea.

A big congratulations to Marilyn whose poetry is being published in Patti Digh's book, Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally which is available for pre-order from Amazon now!! All the artists who submitted work to Patti's project are also having their work published in the book! So cool! I submitted some work and I'm not sure which piece was chosen. However, you can see some of the art that was created around the essays that Patti wrote, here. I'm so thrilled to be a part of this project. Thank you, Patti!

From reading Marilyn and Patti's blogs, I know that it is National Poetry month, so I was thinking about poetry today and a line came to my head about envelopes being shaped like houses. I was looking for something to write it down on, when I realized, "Duh, I should write it on an envelope!" I had a stash of my neighbor's unused wedding invitation envelopes that I'd been saving for use in art and I pulled one out and wrote out a poem in white ink. Inspire Me Thursday's theme this week just happens to be "envelopes." I've used little envelopes before in art and I love them, but it was fun to use an envelope in this way. I've got some more envelope ideas floating around in my head, so perhaps I'll do something with those too. And here's the poem I wrote on the envelope above:

shaped like houses
holding letters
and tucked away secrets.
hidden corners
and longing
make the floor boards creek.

to seal this letter,
this chapter,
this page
of your life
you must bring
the whole roof down.
destroy the illusion.

you let go here.

your message arrives.
your messy wishes,
whispered words.

and just when
you've forgotten
or made yourself forget,
you receive a reply
in the license plate in front of you,
in the billboard on your commute home,
in the page you open to,
in the envelope
shaped like a house
with the roof torn down.

The Not So Pretty Underbelly

April 14th, 2008, Comments (9)

Art journal page from when I got home. Girl in boat looks over the edge at all the layers concealed in the depths.

I haven't completely processed my time at Artfest, but I'm beginning to digest the good, the bad, and the ugly and I feel like I've learned quite a bit about myself in the process. I was hesitant to talk about any of the ugly stuff because well, everything you hear about Artfest is so sunshiney and I didn't want to be a wet blanket or sound whiney. But I was inspired today by this post (from Sera Beak which was all about wanting to be liked) and this post from Michelle (about the icky side of Artfest), to just be honest about the totality of my experience. And for the record, it wasn't anything about Artfest in particular that made parts of it difficult for me. Ha, it sounds like I'm breaking up with someone. It isn't you, it's me! But it's true, the difficulties were my own doing.

Spread from my art journal.

One thing I realized pretty quick, is that I don't do well in crowds. I knew this about myself already and yet I wasn't quite prepared for the whirlwind that was part of this retreat (stimulation overload!) I have a way of getting wide-eyed and withdrawn in situations like this. Now, if anyone talked to me, I would chat back. That's the funny thing about introverts, I can perform and talk up a storm, but then later I pay the price by being mentally and physically drained.

Page inspired by the shapes created by the bleed through of markers from the previous page. At the bottom is written, "learning to swim with whales."

I was very glad to have the chance to meet and chat with Bridget a couple times (a super cool girl and fellow introvert), and I made a brief introduction with Liz and Kelly Rae (both super sweet), but in general I had trouble making any solid connections. Some have related the feeling to high school and it did feel somewhat like that, maybe more like junior high...being in this crowd of peers and wanting to be liked, feeling alone in a crowd of people who all seem to know each other. Perhaps if I'd braved having roommates in one of the dorms, I'd have felt more connected. But at the same time, I appreciated having a quiet and separate space off campus to decompress and stretch out. At any rate, I never quite found my footing and ended up feeling like a more quiet, serious version of myself...

Art journal page from after Artfest.

So, what have I learned?

  • Well, I still care too much about what others think of me and I still seek approval. (Poo!)
  • I'm a brave solo adventurer.
  • Travel plus big groups can be especially exhausting.
  • It's lovely to see things with fresh eyes.
  • Exploring new cities and towns on foot is exhilarating.
  • Simple kindnesses can make someone's day.
  • And in the future, I'd probably enjoy a longer and smaller art retreat where I have more time to find my feet and sink in.

Those first bits are something I'm slowly, but steadily working on as I walk my path as a human being. And this all tied in quite well with A New Earth and occasionally, I was able to recognize my ego chattering away and get present, but it was no easy task.

Oh, and by the way, the mandala has grown on me a bit. I was surprised when the hubster really liked it. He liked all the details drawn in on top of everything. So, I'm glad I went through the trouble to cart it home and I think I've found a good spot for it.

At the end of my trip I used my rental car to drive from Port Townsend, Washington to Portland, Oregon...a 4 hour drive that was a bit long, but very pretty...but that's a story for another day.

p.s. I'm behind on email, so if you're waiting for an answer, I'm not ignoring you. I'm just slow. :-)

Creative Every Day 2008: April 14th – April 20th

April 14th, 2008, Comments (11)

CED2008 participants! Feel free to leave a comment here with a link to post(s) about your creative activities during the week of 4/14/08 -4/20/08.

Happy creating!

Imaginary Monsters

April 13th, 2008, Comments (14)

My last class at Artfest was with Theo Ellsworth and it was so much fun! Ellsworth had such a wonderfully weird way about him. He told us about some of the things he does to pass the time using his imagination, such as having a third arm which can reach out to the horizon and pet the sun or the mountains, or could reach around the world and put its hand on your own back. My favorite imagination tip that he shared was one he used in places like a boring party or a long line. In these situations he would imagine the room filling with water (the humans become amphibians) and schools of fish would be swimming between people. He said that this would somehow make him feel more connected to every one there. I totally loved his ideas and I wished I'd had them at the beginning of Artfest just to try out in such an unusual environment.

The class was about communicating with your inner critic and involved one of my favorite activities...doodling. We were given sheets of paper shaped like a head to work on. On the first page we drew with our eyes closed to a long song thinking about our inner critic. And then we opened our eyes, looked at our doodles, and pulled out the images we saw there. The hubster particularly loved this page. He said it showed the crazy inner-workings of the mind and he could understand it. The big blue areas were made with a Chartpak marker. I had thought they were Copic markers (I had a couple of those too), but later I looked back and saw that they were Chartpak. I loved the way the ink flowed out with these markers. It was paint-like and luscious.

This next page was about taking your inner child out to play and we were to draw with our non-dominant hand only to help us get in touch with that part of ourselves. It was definitely interesting to draw with my left hand. All attempts at control were pointless, but I enjoyed it. I ended up creating all sorts of creatures in the tree and the girl reminds me a bit of a Red Riding Hood or Alice type of figure.

On the third page we drew in a way I never had before....we drew with both hands at the same time! I thought it would be a lot harder than it was. We were making a mirror image with each hand. Sometimes my left hand would lag a little behind, but it all worked out. One of the shapes on both sides looked like a bird. Again, we'd find images to work with in this drawing with the focus being on your inner voice.

On this page we were given free reign to draw intuitively with the focus being on the inner monster within and how it turns our "garbage" into beautiful things. I was thinking a bit about my experiences with depression and anxiety and how I've used those experiences to help me create my art. Through making art out of my sadness, I often feel better. Through making art, I can create a sense of hope.

In the last page we were told to integrate all these pages/parts of ourselves into a self-portrait that combines our inner and outer worlds. I did this one intuitively as well, letting the pen move. The swirly lines around the eyes turned into birds without my even realizing it! There were all sorts of little ties between these pieces, the birds (which I was later visited by after class and led to the beach), and red yarn which first made an appearance in a visualization which inspired "Bring Love." The red yarn in these drawings wound around tree branches, in and out of bird nests and carried in bird beaks. Mermaids and whales were also in many of the drawings. All in all, it was a very interesting, relaxing, and illuminating class for me. I especially liked learning some new ways to play with my imagination and hearing from another quirky artist who wasn't afraid to share the way his mind worked. I loved this quote that he shared at the beginning of class:

"For every imaginary problem, there is an imaginary solution." -Theo Ellsworth

Feeling Loopy

April 11th, 2008, Comments (7)

Still recovering from the travel...feeling a bit zombie-ish the past few days. I spent today working on my art website newsletter and trying to catch up on some emails. Here's a drawing that I did on the plane ride home. I let my pen make some loopy swirls and curls and then I looked at the doodle to find images in it and brought them out. I saw a sea horse creature first and then the mermaid and then some seashells. It was a fun and relaxing way to pass the time on the plane. I actually really enjoy plane rides as they allow this certain enforced period of sitting still and doing quiet activities like reading, journaling, and drawing. The food could be better, but other than that I don't mind it one bit.

I have my second art lesson with a family tomorrow afternoon. We'll be doing some more mixed media work and I'm going to show them the basics of drawing faces. Should be fun. I need to summon up some more energy. The longer days and warmer weather of spring are helping. In the meantime, I hope your weekend is a wonderfully creative one!


April 8th, 2008, Comments (19)

Oh, I'm tired! But I wanted to quickly check in to say I'm still alive and just haven't been at the computer that much with all the traveling and exploring I've been doing. I'm heading back home early in the morning and I'm ready. I miss the hubster and my snuggly meowzers.

It's been such a busy time, that I really need some time to process everything before I reflect on it too much. It was a wonderful trip, a creative adventure, and it was great fun while also being difficult at times.

Ok, so I want to share more pics from Artfest before too much time passes. Here's the stamp that I mentioned that I carved in a class with Anne Bagby. The class was supposed to be more about printing with paper, but she had a relaxed attitude towards how we approached it, so I spent the entire day on this stamp that I'd fallen in love with. Above is a pic of the stamp itself (it's about 6"x8", I believe). And below, I did my first proof back in my hotel room. I've since cleaned the stamp up some more, but I haven't re-printed it yet. I'll try again when I get home. I'm digging the design which was inspired by an Art Nouveau print. I'd love to have a pillow printed in fabric with this design or a bag maybe or a chair or a skirt. Heh.

My last class on Saturday was so much fun! It was a class with Theo Ellsworth that was all about imaginative and intuitive doodling and drawing. I'll share pics and some more info about what I did in that class soon. Needless to say, this class was right up my alley and was such a relaxing way to end my experience at Artfest. This class was held in a small building by the water. Here's the lovely view where I parked my car in the morning.

So purty! All those clouds sort of mirrored my head state this last week. A lot on my mind. My dreams were full of scary nightmares. Eek! But the lovely thing about the clouds is that they'd always part and the sun would come out.

After drawing all day, I came out of class and by my car there was a crow cawing at me from the tip top of a tree. I laughed because I'd just been drawing black birds in class (I've had loads of synchronicity going on this week!!) I pulled out my camera to take a picture, but just as I got the camera out, he flew down to the beach. So, I followed his lead.

My crow friend was soon joined by his partner and they had a fine time picking at seaweed. I stuck around and snapped some pics of them. They didn't seem to mind. They looked so stunning on the sandy beach with the waves crashing behind them. I think this has inspired a future painting.

Now I've got to finish packing up all my stuff! See you on the opposite coast!

Creative Everyday Day 2008: April 7th – April 13th

April 7th, 2008, Comments (9)

CED2008 participants! Feel free to leave a comment here with a link to post(s) about your creative activities during the week of 4/7/08 -4/13/08.

Happy creating!

More ArtFesty Adventures

April 4th, 2008, Comments (17)


I snapped a picture of this car in the parking lot. Hehe.

Artfest is a whirlwind. I'm trying to take it all in and enjoy it. It is pretty exhausting though. After the first class yesterday I was so tired that I went back to my room right afterwards and collapsed.

My first class on Thursday was about making mandalas with Anahata Katkin. I was so excited about it. It was a lot of fun, but it was so fast and furious. Normally, I like to work quickly, but this was a bit too fast for me. It was a lot to pack into one day and by the end of the day I was rushing to finish and then I wasn't too happy with the end product. However, I thought the work that people did was fabulous! Everyone had such a different take on the mandala theme and they looked so cool up against the wall at the end of the day. I think if I hadn't gotten myself all tied into a knot trying to finish the piece, I would have felt better about it. At the end of the class, here's how it looked:

This is on a 24"x24" canvas with paper collage, acrylic paint and gold leaf. After class, I headed back to the hotel, rested for a bit, and then I started working on the mandala again. I got it to a place that I'm more satisfied with (below), but I'm still not crazy about it. I wouldn't mind trying another one though, something with different colors. All the pink in this one makes me feel a little ill. Weird eh? I don't know what it is. It's pretty. It just doesn't feel like me. Ah well. Can't win em all!

Today was much more relaxed. I was in a printed paper class with Anne Bagby. She was kind of all over the place, but she was a real character, very funny, and she shared loads of techniques and tips that were fabulous. Plus, I appreciated her loose running of the class today because I had decided to do what felt best and not worry about it. So, I spent the entire class carving this intricate stamp which is I love and I saw the demos for all these really cool ways to print with stamps and stencils and I'll do those later on absolutely. It was nice to just focus on something and take my time. I'd never cut on the soft rubber mats and oh, it was lovely. As my classmate said, "like butta!" I'll share pics of that later on. I had some really sweet table-mates in class and I saw them all at the vendor night (which was nutty and I was in and out of there pretty quick.)

And now I'm back in my cozy room relaxing and recharging for tomorrow's class which I think will be fantastic. I had such a great chat with the hubster last night. He was so excited for me and the adventure I'm on. He knew it would give me a boost. Travel is such a fabulous thing. All of the sudden all your senses are turned on high alert. Everything is new and different and more alive. Of course, you can do this at home with a little awareness, but it's fun and exciting to explore new places. I've always enjoyed going places alone too. Fortunately the hubster understand this and we can both do this from time to time. Hooray for getaways!