Entries from: July 2008


July 31st, 2008, Comments (7)

Busy, busy day. Lots of to and fro. Feeling sleepy and frustrated, but I'm taking my butt to yoga. Another new class!

It's about time for some links to help spark your creativity, yes? Yes! O.k.

  • This sparked my interest when I got an email about it today. I haven't had time to fully check it out, but from what I see, I'm excited! Apple and ITunes have a program called iTunes U which allows schools and universities to put lectures and such on iTunes, most of which I assume is private for their students, but on iTunes, the public can view loads of free lectures (some video, some just audio) in every subject imaginable. Oh, the possibilities!
  • Loads of crafty goodness to peruse over at CraftStylish. Be careful, you might get lost for hours there.
  • Ooo-la-la! The ever so talented, Jess Gonacha shared a link to this fabulous book, Over & Over by Mike Perry, which is all about hand drawn patterns. I drooled looking at the pics online. Gross. I need a napkin pronto.
  • Patti Digh of the 37 Days blog, has her book coming out in less than 37 days! She wants to know about what you'd do if you only had 37 days left to live. How would you live your life? Learn more about the premise behind Patti's blog here. The writing in her blog is fantastic and it's what led to her book, Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally, which you can pre-order her book here.
  • A super adorable way to re-cycle: make a gift card bracelet!
  • Post-it notes aren't just for to-do lists. This is the best use of them I've seen in awhile. :-)
  • Online yoga? Yep, there's some here, here, and here.
  • Eep, I'm so excited for this!!!

Creativity, Courage, and Play

July 30th, 2008, Comments (10)

"Creativity takes courage." -Matisse

I came upon the above quote today and it resonated. It does take courage to be creative. Sometimes it takes courage just to move. But it seems like once you get beyond that first step, it becomes effortless. At least for awhile, until you have to cross that courage threshold again and again and again. Pure playfulness helps me get over that threshold. And the journal swap I'm participating in has been a fun way to play. There is the small fear that other people will be seeing and later owning these journals and I don't want to disappoint, but mostly I can let that go. It's a swap and meant to be fun, so I'm getting playful with it. Yesterday I punched circles in one of the pages. Working along with the see-through quality of the pages, I made this page truly see-through in parts! Hehe. I didn't really think of it at the time I was doing it, but they also go along nicely with the rabbit in the narrative I'm creating because they're like little rabbit holes!

And here's what's on the other side of those holes. The second page isn't done yet.

While doing playful work in a journal is good fun, it's also good to play BIG sometimes! Today I used a large sheet of paper and just started painting on it with a painting knife. As forms appeared, I went with what I saw. No clue where it's going yet, but it's fun to mush the paint around and see where it takes me. And if it ends up as a big sheet of mud, well, that's o.k. too. Got lots to do this afternoon, so I'm off!

p.s. That's my kitty, Emma, above, who decided to take a moment from her nap in the sunny spot on the porch to come sit next to my foot. My toes are still very sparkly from my 2nd pedicure of all time that I got a couple weeks ago. I'm amazed it lasted so long!

Symbols and Synchronicity

July 29th, 2008, Comments (22)

I really love the way this piece came together. I worked on it a long time, letting it linger, changing and re-changing, layering and building, letting it grow and hide and reappear as I worked. I had the hubster come in and give me some constructive criticism at one point. He was cautious, not wanting to hurt my feelings. Sometimes, I can be very sensitive. But for whatever reason, I felt really open and non-defensive with it and I really wanted to hear what he had to say. I feel like I've come to a stopping point with it and since it is such a gorgeous day today, I was able to snap some pictures with natural light. It's 20"x20" with acrylic on canvas.


Sometimes things appear in paintings that you don't intend. I'm used to this with collage as I try to create collaged images intuitively, being open to happy accidents and such. But it only recently started happening in paint. While I was working, I noticed a large number 3 had appeared. I flushed out the bottom a tiny bit, but mostly it was already there. Three is a number that pops up a lot for me (as do 7 and 17), so I left it in there, even though I'm not sure exactly what it means.

I dreamed this image before I painted it. In the dream, Ophelia was walking into the water and she had a tattoo on her back that represented rebirth and renewal. I knew that she was entering into the water as a ritual (not as suicide) and that part of the tattoo was a large circle. I tried to recall more about the tattoo, but couldn't see it, so I drew sketch after sketch after sketch of it. At some point, I had to stop sketching and just begin and I'm glad I did because some of it worked itself out right on the canvas. The bees are a symbol that has been popping up lately first in my own artwork, in fun bee-spotting exchanges with Karen, and then in things I've been reading. I'd completely forgotten until it came up in a book I was reading about dreams, that my middle name, Melissa, means honey bee. I looked up the origins of the word and found that in ancient Greece, bee goddesses or priestesses were called Melissas and had the gift of prophecy. Homer wrote of the bee goddesses which I thought was fascinating considering my recent painting of Penelope. Bees and honey were symbols of the cycle of life as well as rebirth, so I decided to include them in the tattoo.

The flame that is also a tree, developed in sketches and on the canvas itself. I like how the roots mirror the bare branches of the trees in the background. Trees have been a common symbol in my artwork since I was a teenager, believe it or not. I saw them in a spiritual sense, as symbols of rebirth and the cycle of life. In the water, I also painted a scarab beetle, although it is mostly covered in layers of paint. I felt that I had to include it after the weirdest synchronicity occurred a couple weeks ago. You may remember the ridiculous (and funny) story about the large beetle in my bathroom. If not, go read it for a laugh. Anyways, the weird part was , I had just picked up a book, in the bathroom (yes, I read in the bathroom) called "Synchronicity" by Carl Jung, right before I saw the giant beetle and ran out to get the hubster, sans pants. I left the book open to the page, but didn't get back to it til the next day. Well, the next day, I open it up to read the story about when one of Jung's patients dreamt about a scarab beetle and just then they heard a tapping noise at the window. Jung opened it and in flew a large beetle (the equivalent of a scarab beetle in that area.) I literally laughed out loud when I read it thinking of my own personal scarab visitation. Turns out, scarab beetles were also a symbol of rebirth in the ancient cultures of Egypt and Greece. They're also considered a symbol of positive change, self-generation, and creativity. Very cool.

Phew, that was a mouth-full! I hope that was somewhat interesting to read about. It's a bit hard to explain the thrill of the journey and the little synchronicities that lead up to the finished piece, but I figured I'd give it a try anyways.

The yoga class this morning went well. The teacher was very sweet and gentle. Hoping to attend another class tomorrow! The hubster and I are going to a Red Sox game tonight. I hope the weather stays as lovely as it's been all day!

Sneak Peek

July 28th, 2008, Comments (18)

A sneak peek at my painting of Ophelia. Hopefully I'll be able to get a good picture tomorrow when the sun is out. In my version of her story, Ophelia isn't planning to kill herself. Instead, she is entering into the water as a personal ritual of renewal and rebirth. The tattoos on her back also symbolize this.

I'll write more about this later on. Still feeling zonked out.

Last week I returned to yoga and found a new class to join. It was a brave act for me! Man oh man was I sore the next day, but I also felt good, so tomorrow I'll try another class and hopefully find a few classes each week that I'll enjoy attending. I'm not a naturally flexible person, so I need to find teachers who are gentle and won't try to force my body into poses. We shall see!

Creative Every Day: July 28th – August 3rd, 2008

July 28th, 2008, Comments (6)

CED2008 participants! Feel free to leave a comment here with a link to post(s) about your creative activities during the week of 7/28/08 - 8/3/08.

Happy creating!

Where ya been?

July 27th, 2008, Comments (5)

This is the illusive Sasha, who is currently stalking a grasshopper. She and the other meows were very happy to see us return from a weekend away. We drove to upstate NY for a wedding yesterday. The hotel was cute, the people were friendly, but the city we stopped in was in rough shape.

The drive up was beautiful though and we had a good time on the drive and at the wedding. Tonight, I'm zonked.

I received a sketchbook in the mail today as part of a swap and I started drawing in it tonight while relaxing and watching some baseball. The pages are thin and a bit see-through, so I've started making a story that's building on the layered look of the drawings showing through. Fun stuff! Hope you had a wonderfully creative weekend!

New Toy

July 24th, 2008, Comments (10)

Even though I had to wait a ridiculously long time in line, it was so worth it to be able to pick up my b-day gift from the hubster. In fact, I'm posting on it right now! I'm impressed so far with the new iPhone.

I've been working diligently on the painting of Ophelia, which has been keeping me quite busy. I'll post new pics of it soon.

It's thunderstorm city here in Massachusetts. Hope you're staying dry!

Stormy Weather and Some Links

July 21st, 2008, Comments (18)

I made this drawing in ink on paper last week. The image came intuitively in my sketchbook and then I re-created her here. The piece is called "Speaking with Rabbits."

My moods have matched the weather lately: a bit cloudy, a bit stormy. But overall, it's good. I have to say that Byron Katie's book, Loving What Is (although I'm reading it in very slow bursts) has been helpful in re-framing my thoughts.

How bout some fun links to brighten up your Monday (or Tuesday which it nearly is by the time I'm getting around to posting this)! O.k., here we go,

  • Check out this super cool coiled paper basket tutorial from esprit cabane that I found at Nathalie Brault's blog. esprit cabane is a French ezine all about crafty and green living and it's been translated into English already!
  • Violet of Violet Ink shared a link to BG Patterns, a site where you play with making patterns. She used it to make her fabulous new banner!
  • Hanna has a great post about her favorite pens for mixed-media. I love reading about other artist's experiences with their art tools!
  • A quote from Aine Livia's blog: The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift. -Albert Einstein
  • Decor*8 has organized a totally dreamy give-a-way of inspiration packs, put together with all sorts of ephemera for art-making that was shipped to her from all over the world. I donated some stuff and man, I would love to win!
  • Super sweet artist, Wyanne is now offering a selection of classes online. She's teaching classes on discovering your marketable style, how to take it to the next level as an artist, marketing your art, and art play.
  • Shayla shares some fun artwork using straws as a tool (I've done this before and it IS fun!) and she also shares a link to an artist who uses this tool to make spooky daily monsters.

Creative Every Day: July 21st – July 27th, 2008

July 21st, 2008, Comments (10)

CED2008 participants! Feel free to leave a comment here with a link to post(s) about your creative activities during the week of 7/21/08 -7/27/08.

Happy creating!


July 20th, 2008, Comments (5)

So hot. And I'm feeling meme-ish. Got this one from the super talented, Carla.

What time did you get up this morning?
woke up at about 9:30, stayed in bed longer though to pet the kitties and enjoy the only room with air-conditioning

Diamonds or pearls?
diamonds i suppose. I like hand-made jewelry best

What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Sex and the City, with my mom. It was fun.

What is your favorite TV show?
LOST, Project Runway

What do you usually have for breakfast?
balance bar (yogurt peanut)

What is your middle name?

What food do you dislike?

What kind of car do you drive?
08 Honda Civic. (love it!)

Favorite sandwich?
Grilled cheese and tomato

What characteristic(s) do you despise?
Outspoken meanness

Favorite item of clothing?
kitty socks

If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
Going to Hawaii in Sept. yay! Other than that, I'd love to visit Amsterdam, Australia, Berlin, so many places

Are you an organized person?

Where would you like to retire to?
Maybe California or Pacific Northwest? Although, I could be perfectly happy staying in the Northeast.

What was your most recent memorable birthday?
Just had one this week so it's freshest in my memory. It was the perfect laid-back day full of things I love, like my favorite restaurant with the super sweet hubster and favorite pastimes: walking, visiting a book store & library(!), an m&m cookie from my favorite bakery, purchasing a little tube of paint, working on a painting, and reading an entire book. :-)

What are you going to do when you finish this?
brush my teeth and go to bed

When is your next birthday?
July 17, another year away

Morning person or night person?
I'm a bit of a night owl, but I do like mornings too when I haven't stayed up too late. hehe.

What is your shoe size?

4 kitties: Sadie, Emma, Sasha, and Tabbers. All such loves.

Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us?
Hmm, not that I can think of.

What did you want to be when you were little?
A children's book writer & illustrator

How are you today?

What is your favorite flower?
hydrangeas are a current fave, also love magnolias, ranunculus, and lilacs

What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to?
September 14th, when we'll get to Hawaii for our honeymoon!

What are you listening to?
Lots of podcasts and the soundtrack to Once

Do you wish on stars?
Of course!

If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Ocean blue

How is the weather right now?
Hot and humid

Last person you spoke to on the phone?
the hubster

Favorite soft drink?

Favorite restaurant?
Best meal I ever had was at the Four Seasons in Boston on our mini-moon. Seriously, everything was outrageously good.

Hair color?
Brown with some highlights

What was your favorite toy as a child?
My dollhouse. My grandpa made it and my mom helped me decorate it.

Summer or winter?
Summer definitely

Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate definitely

Coffee or tea?

When was the last time you cried?
A couple weeks ago when my cat, Sadie was very sick

What is under your bed?
Some dust bunnies and rubbermade containers with winter clothes in them.

What did you do last night?
Went to an art opening (see previous post)

What are you afraid of?

Salty or sweet?
Usually sweet

How many keys on your key ring?

How many years at your current job?
A bit more than a year

Favorite day of the week?

Do you make friends easily?
Sort of. I make acquaintances easily. True friendships take longer.