Entries from: October 2008

AAA: Animals, Art, and AEDM

October 31st, 2008, Comments (13)

Happy Halloween! I saw these tampon ghosts on the whip-up blog and cracked up. Ew, I just thought about putting ketchup on them, like they were bloody ghosts. Ha! Gross!

Um, so, anyways, I'm not one to dress up my pets, but it can be rather funny to see animals in costume. South Park's latest two-part episode made fun of the movie Cloverfield. The plot involved Peruvian flute bands and the monsters they protected the world from. It was all pretty silly, but what absolutely killed me was that the "monsters" were live-action guinea pigs that were made to look enormous. They were SO cute! The plot continues and other monsters arrive, such as giant bees...which turn out to be guinea pigs in bumble bee costumes. I was laughing so hard watching it that I nearly cried. Here's a link to a pic of "the most horrible monster of all," the guinea pirate.

Speaking of ridiculously cute, I can't help but share some kitty pics today. I realize I've been sharing a lot of cat pics and videos lately. No particular reason, just feeling the kitty love. So, this is my oldest cat, Sadie who is a wonder-snuggler, monster-purrer, super love bug. Sadie, like many cats, loves bags. She enjoyed making a nest in this one, above. And here's my big boy, Tabbers, who teaches me how to be completely and totally relaxed. In this pic, he's sleeping on our new Angela Adams duvet cover that the hubster and I are totally loving right now.

O.k. enough of this kitty business. I'm working on two sketchbook swap projects at once at the moment. For the first one, I recently did some ink blots (with acrylic paint) that I planned to create something from. Here are the first two ink blots. What do you see in them? I've already done something with one and I'll share that later.

Sketchbookswapgoldpurple      Sketchbookswapredblue

For the second swap, I'm doing something in a journal for the "Do Not Leave Unattended" sketchbook project. I created this drawing which I'll be putting into the journal. I'd been doodling octopuses and then imagining them as umbrellas.

The paper I drew on was from a late 19th century journal where it appears that quotes and poetry where written in German. I love the look of the script.

Art Every Day Month (AEDM) begins tomorrow and I'm so excited about it! I've put the AEDM participants up in the sidebar to the right (just above the CED participants), so if you've joined in, please double check that I have you up there. I may have left you off the list entirely by accident, so just let me know if you should be up there or if you've decided to join in, let me know that too by commenting or emailing me (my email link is in the top left sidebar.) Also, feel free to join in the AEDM flickr group to share pictures of your creations!

I'm working away on a painting. The purple painting from this week has completely transformed and continues to do so. Perhaps I'll share it with you tomorrow. In the meantime, have a safe evening. And I'll be seeing you tomorrow for the start of AEDM! Hooray!

Cat Tales

October 30th, 2008, Comments (6)

Today was a good day. I felt so bright and cheery. I got a bunch of errands done (sigh of relief), had some nice chats on the phone, did some organizing (!!), and painting. Ahhh...

I've got pictures to share tomorrow of some fun drawings I've been working on, but I had to share these cute kitty stories before then. I'm watching my cat Tabbers make a nest on the couch as I type this while Sadie is snoring away behind me. I may be a crazy cat lady, but I truly love all animals. When I was a nanny, the family I worked for had two dogs and I loved spending time with them during the day and then coming home to my kitties at night. I was definitely covered in pet hair 24/7!

O.k., I'm a total goofball, but when I saw this last night on CNN, I cracked up. It's a video of a shelter where, along with a radio station, they're holding a "Kitty Caucus" where litter boxes are being used to tally votes for McCain and Obama. The kitties are too cute. I hope some of them get seen and adopted!

And then today, I saw this video of a sweet Australian dog named Leo, who helps firemen save a litter of kittens from a fire. Oh, so sweet! At the end of the video he gives the kittens a good lick. :-)

I hope these videos brighten your day a bit!

Feeling Colorful

October 29th, 2008, Comments (16)

I saw this rainbow yesterday and it totally made my afternoon. I thought, "lucky day! a rainbow!" And even before I saw the rainbow, I felt more colorful yesterday than I have in awhile. I played in a sketchbook that came as part of a sketchbook swap, I drank cocoa and did yoga (not simultaneously), I babysat my bff's little girl and played silly games, and cooked a yummy dinner. The rainbow seemed to symbolize a little shift in me and I so appreciated this timely wink from the universe. I love sharing links and even though I just shared a bunch yesterday, I have more to share today, so here we go:

  • I was thrilled to be interviewed by Christine Valters Paintner of Abbey of the Arts about my artwork and spirituality. The interview, along with some of my art, is up on her site today! Thanks so much for the interview, Christine!
  • I'm such a big fan of Patti Digh's writing and this post is a great example of why. It's literally full of magic and inspiration! If you enjoy it, be sure to check out Patti's latest book release, Life is a Verb!
  • Artist and author, Christine Mason Miller is selling some lovely new miniature originals and she's also offering some great giveaways. Check out this post for details.
  • Hanna has shared an ultra cool, handmade, letter stamp set on her blog. Love it! I want to make one for myself! You can see the pics of her process here and here.
  • Here's a fun way to make your own photoshop brushes courtesy of the One Good Bumble Bee blog.

And now I'm off to ship out some artwork and do some errands (cat litter and vedgies and seltzer, oh my!)

Inspiration Share

October 28th, 2008, Comments (12)

  • So proud of Jenn for her first t.v. appearance talking about life coaching. Yay, Jenn! You can see it here. Also, be sure to check out the project Jenn is participating in  called "Kiss the Paper," which presents the illustrations of two sisters creating a response to a prompt from Jenn.
  • Modish has some great articles up about internet marketing for crafty entrepreneurs. I enjoyed this one and this one.
  • Over at Queen of Arts, Kim has a tutorial and info about the colorful rocks she's painting and leaving out for strangers to find. They're gorgeous and I love the way she's spreading the love!!
  • I just came upon the blog, Creativity Prompt which is all about sharing fun tutorials and creative sparks! There are a lot of journal tutorials there that make great use of re-cycled materials. I'd been thinking I'd do more creative prompts for next year's Creative Every Day challenge, so it was great to find this site full of creative ideas!
  • Sharon of the Authentic Art Visions blog has a great podcast about contemporary art in D.C. and beyond. She interviews people in the art world and discusses issues such as framing, art collecting, and decorating trends. You can find the podcast, the AAV Artcast here or through iTunes.
  • Melissa of Wild Wondrous Wanderings has a new litter of kittens (squirmy wormers) at home. So adorable! Warms my kitty-lovin' heart!
  • Loved this post by Brandi at the Wishstudio blogzine about how you are always an artist.
  • This morning, I woke up to a window full of bright, bright orange. I thought it was the sun in my morning fogginess, but it was a tree bursting with autumn leaves. The dark wood behind it and rain sparkled leaves made such a gorgeous picture that it made me smile.
  • Sweet, snuggly kitties.


Creative Every Day: October 27th – November 2nd, 2008

October 27th, 2008, Comments (14)

CED2008 participants! Feel free to leave a comment here with a link to post(s) about your creative activities during the week of 10/27/08 - 11/2/08.

Happy creating!

What I Saw

October 26th, 2008, Comments (5)

This is the next stage in the painting I shared here after I did some more work with it on Friday. I SO loved hearing what you guys saw in the first strokes of this painting. That sort of thing fascinates me. It's fun to see where our imaginations can take us. I also loved hearing what you did with the intuitive art exercise!! So you can now see what I was seeing in the brushstrokes. I saw a woman with her hand to her heart, singing. And in the salt-made patterns, I saw what looked like the patterns of butterflies. She's not done yet, but I like the direction she's going in.

In this moment, I'm wearing pony tails in my hair and comfy clothes. I'm sitting in a pile of blankets and the hubster is next to me on his laptop checking his fantasy football stats. There's a sleepy kitty with us, the fish tank is lit up and alive with life, and there are street lights glowing through the windows. I'm cozy and full. There's laundry in the dryer. I feel like I'm fighting a cold. Generally, I'm quite happy and relaxed, this weekend was ultra relaxing. I'm looking forward to doing a little art supply shopping in preparation for AEDM. I don't need much, but I'm going to pick up a few fun accessories to play with. Wee! I hope your weekend was full of creative goodness!


October 23rd, 2008, Comments (29)

I've read a few posts lately regarding blogging, being authentic, being vulnerable. What came up for me is how human we all are. We all have these big hearts that get hurt, that open up and shut down, that want connection and are afraid of rejection. We are all so very beautiful and real and creative and lovely.

I've felt jealous, left out, separate. And I've also felt loved, connected, and joy-filled. I've felt these ways in the blogging world and outside of it. I don't think it's particularly unique to blogging. Blogging certainly brings it's own particular bliss and challenges. Fortunately, for me, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

In the past, I've made the mistake of thinking that those I see as "successful" or "popular" aren't experiencing that vulnerability, that feeling of being left out, or conflicting feelings about blogging. But it's all relative isn't it? Silly me. I want to show you that I'm smiling, but that can be hard to do with just words on a screen or even the symbol. :-) I want to say in a silly voice, "Duh! We're all human!" But sometimes it can be hard to get that across.

Melba, who has a brand-spankin-new blog, asked me this morning about whether or not I made any conscious changes to my blog since I started selling my art. Yes and no. I don't think the overall feel of my blog changed. I still share my process, my ups and downs. There are times I'm more open and other times I'm more closed. I'm like that in my real life and on my blog. There is a push-pull of what's private and what's not for me sometimes. And I think that anyone who blogs experiences that. 

There are some things I don't share anymore. At one point, under another name, I blogged about a deeply personal and private situation I was going through. I needed to get it out and the support I received was so helpful, it was like therapy. But as that situation closed. I healed, and I wanted to move on to a place where I used my real name. So I shut that space down and started over. I still blog about things that some people may think too private to share in an open forum. I'll blog about my experiences with depression, for example, because I think that it might be helpful to others and it's helpful to for me to write it out. And then there are other things that I don't blog about online and they're things that I wouldn't talk about with just anyone in my face-to-face life either. I don't think it's about being inauthentic in this case, it's just what makes sense for me. I don't like to blog about my family because I don't think it's fair to them. And I would never want them to find and misinterpret my writing. So, I keep that separate. I find that I still have plenty to talk about anyways. My main interests online are connecting with others, inspiring creativity, and sharing my artwork. I share my vulnerabilities and insecurities along the way because that's part of the journey of being a creative person. And often when we share these parts of our journey, we find we are far from alone. 

There are some gray areas in there. I haven't discussed much regarding politics on my blog. Mainly, I don't want to alienate anyone because while this is a personal blog, it's also a place where I encourage others to be creative through challenges like AEDM and CED2008 and I want everyone to feel safe and welcome to join in. I don't want anyone to feel judged because their beliefs are different than mine. I've wondered recently, if that was the truth, if I was just anxious about being liked or sparking a debate that I didn't want to hold here. I think my intentions were good, but I'm re-thinking my position on how I go about it.

One of the things that came up in some other blog posts and comments was about the act of commenting on blogs, how some comments are too sickly sweet and how some people are more lurkers unless they have something substantial to say. I think many of us have wondered about the commenting practices of ourselves and others. We may wonder: What's the best way to respond to a comment? Do you write a response in the comments? What if they don't come back to see it? Do you email them? Does every comment need a response? Do you need to visit every person who has commented on your blog? Does it really matter? Who the heck knows! There are no rules. We make them up as we go. I don't have a very consistent way of responding to comments. For a time, I responded to every one. Sometimes a comment doesn't really need a response. Sometimes, it depends on my mood. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and get terribly behind and even when I really do want to respond, I just have to let it go and move on. I never want to hurt anyone's feelings. It may happen. We put ourselves out there. We may hurt someone. We may get hurt. We try our best. I try to remember that when my feelings get hurt. We're all trying our best.

I was just listening to a Craftcast podcast where Alison Lee was talking about riding horses and how she had to sit up, put her shoulders back, and open up her chest, which opens her heart. She noted how we should be this way not just on a horse, but in our everyday lives as much as we can, even though sometimes we may not be able to; sometimes we may be more hunched over, protecting our hearts. It was such a lovely synchronicity to hear this as I was thinking all this over and beginning this post. In the end, that is what I want to do here on this blog and in my day-to-day life. I want to open my heart as much I can, as often as I can. Some days I may not be able to and that's o.k., but I can keep reminding myself to put my shoulders back and open up again and again.

That was a bit long and rambling! It always cracks me up when people apologize for a long comment. I love to read long comments! I'm not always in the mood to make long comments, but I always love to read them, so no apologizing necessary! :-)   I'll leave you with a picture of my cat, Tabbers, who is a master-napper and has a huge kitty heart.

What Do You See?

October 22nd, 2008, Comments (16)

About a week ago, I participated in a call with coaches of creative artists, chatting about Art Every Day Month. At the end I led the call in an intuitive art exercise meant to help get you going if you're feeling stuck creatively. In case you didn't get the chance to listen in, here's the exercise I shared:

  1. You'll need a writing utensil (pen, pencil, marker, crayon, etc...) and piece of paper. I used a page in a sketchbook, but you could use something in any size available.
  2. Put pen to paper and close your eyes.
  3. For at least 15 seconds, scribble, let your hand move across the page freely doing whatever it pleases (but try to avoid drawing on yourself.) You can do this to music if you'd like.
  4. Open your eyes and look at what you have there. Do you see a face, a figure, an imaginary monster, a house, a fish? One person on the call saw symbols.
  5. Whatever you see, use your pen (or whatever tool you'd like) to begin to bring it out.
  6. You can continue to develop this drawing into something more or use it as the starting point for a journaling or writing exercise. Sometimes this kind of scribble inspires a future piece of artwork and sometimes it's just play. Often times it gives me a little glimpse into where my mind is at.

I told the folks on the call that I'd post a picture of the scribble I did along with everyone else, so here it is:

In my scribble, I saw girl, perhaps wearing a crown, with her hands dug into her pockets.

Last night, I had an urge to paint and pulled out a canvas, some supplies and worked in big strokes of purple fluid acrylic along with a sprinkling of salt that made great patterns in the paint. I stopped there to let it dry and worked on other things. Out of the corner of my eye, I realized I was seeing something in the painting. It's fun to paint like this, with no plan, just beginning and see what it leads to. I had to leave it be as it was time for bed, so I snapped a quickie pic to share.

I'll tell you what I saw in it later on. But I'm curious, what do you see?

Clean and Clear

October 21st, 2008, Comments (5)

Phew! Just did a major clean and clear of the refrigerator and cleaned up the kitchen. It was a quite a job, but I'm glad it's done! And while I'm feeling a bit more clear, there are some things I've been meaning to share:

  • Recently, I noticed that my blog posts were not updating in Bloglines (which is where I attempt to keep up with loads of fabulous blogs.) I did a whole lot of trouble shooting with no luck and then all of the sudden, after about a month, it started working again. I don't know what changed, but I'm sorry for the mix-up. I found that there's a new feed through feedburner which you can subscribe to here. When the other feeds weren't being picked up by Bloglines, that one was working.
  • Denise Linn, author of Soul Coaching has a regular radio program on Hay House Radio. I listened to one today about not taking things personally (there's a link to it if you scroll down the page.) I remember reading about this same topic in The Four Agreements. And it made an impact on me. It relates also to the book I just finished, Loving What Is by Byron Katie. I've been reading Katie's book slowly, trying to digest and take it in. The ideas in it are simple in many ways, but not in others. Very powerful either way and I'll need to continue to process what I read and practice it too.
  • Speaking of coaching, I've been thinking about hiring a life coach for awhile. I know some fabulous women coaches through blogging and I know some people who have benefited from the process. If you have any recommendations or suggestions for me, let me know! 
  • Just for fun: I love I Can Has Cheezburger and all their hilarious cat photos. Browsing their site recently, I noticed that they teamed up with a curator to create a show of LOL Cat artwork! The opening is this Thursday in San Francisco and you can read more about it here and see a sneak preview of the art here.
  • I received a lovely surprise from the incredibly sweet and talented, Jennifer Lee. She sent me a gorgeous card (from my favorite animal artist, Jessie at Stray Dog Arts) and a lovely glass heart from Heart is Hot, a goodwill business that is all about sharing the love, fostering connections, and following your heart. You can also share your stories of connection and track the hearts you purchase, receive, or pass on through their website. So very cool. Thank you Jenn! I feel the love and look forward to sharing it with someone special!

Back from the Big Apple

October 20th, 2008, Comments (9)

We had a great weekend in NYC, visiting the hubster's family and then heading into the city to surprise my brother for his 29th birthday. I snapped this picture on the way into town with my iphone. Didn't quite work, but you'll have to trust me when I say that the city was looking spectacular all lit up. That green smudge up top is not a U.F.O., but the empire state building. Somewhere in the outskirts we saw a building that had "Vote Obama" in gigantic lit up letters taking up one entire side.That was cool.

After a weekend full of travel and socializing I was seriously exhausted when we got home last night and today felt like a day of introvert-style recovery. This evening I followed my urge to draw by sketching out faces I saw on television, in magazines and online for fun. Here's one of them (above.)

I used a new journal (decorated with kitty faces) to draw faces in. I plan to use this journal while reading Denise Linn's Soul Coaching which I'll be doing along with Jamie's online book group. If you're interested in joining in, you can check out all the details here. I think the book will be helpful as I do Art Every Day Month next month and I'm looking forward to both challenges!

Speaking of AEDM, I'm enjoying visiting the blogs of some of the folks who signed up to participate and wanted to share some of the fabulous things I found!

I'm off to relax and then catch some z's. Hope you had a wonderfully creative weekend!