Entries Tagged as: Travel

What’s Up? The Sky.

August 5th, 2008, Comments (8)

I've been having some issues with my internet connection and haven't been at home much over the past few days, but I am alive! I'm helping out with some teenager-supervising/dog-watching/house-sitting at my old job which has been fun. I got to catch up with both the kids I used to care for as a nanny. One is nearly a senior in college and the other is about the be a freshman in college. Eep! When I met them they were just 10 and 13. Catching up with the two of them has been fun and I enjoy the doggy company too. I wouldn't want to go back, but these short bursts are nice on occasion. I've been all sorts of busy, making plans for our honeymoon, which is next month, oh my! We were given a travel agent gift certificate as a wedding gift and trying to use it over the last two months has been a nightmare. Normally, we'd just do our own travel planning and in the end, we had so much trouble with the agent not getting back to us, that after two months of back and forth, we complained and ended up just going through them for booking our hotel on one of the islands (which I did all the research for myself.) Oy. It sounded like a nice idea, having someone help us pick out the best location and activities for our needs, but it ended up being a major hassle. So, yeah, we'll never do that again.

Now that the headache of dealing with the travel agents is mostly over, we get to focus on the fun stuff, like taking a tour of the areas where LOST (the t.v. show) is filmed. We're both super excited about that. I was trying to find out which of the two companies that offer a tour would be better and came upon this youtube video (above), "top ten signs you're obsessed with LOST."  The first one made me laugh so loud that my cat, Sadie jumped in the air.

Stopping home today, I was pleased to see several copies of the summer issue of Calyx, a journal of women's art and literature, which has 3 pieces of my art in it (two of which are above, Dreaming of the Seven Sisters and Lighthouse, and the third, not shown, is Memory Cycles.) The journal is lovely and I'm so happy to be a part of it. I've been pouring over some of the poems and enjoying them. It's interesting, what I like (and sometimes dislike, if I'm feeling fidgety) about poetry is the way that it requires you to be in the present moment. You can't skim over a poem, at least not if you want to get anything out of it. The way regular prose is written, we can zoom over the words because the structure and language is predictable. We usually know what's coming. With a poem, the turns of phrase are unexpected, the tempo is musical, you need to slow down and take it in, in order to understand what the author is trying to get across. Sometimes, if done well, a poem can express things that are very difficult to say any other way. Much like artwork.

In other news, the latest issue of the fantabulous Mankind Mag is now available (for free to view or download or for a small fee to purchase a paper copy). It's a great issue, all about...hair! Which reminds me, I need a haircut. But really, do check it out. I loved reading excerpts from Erin's "autohairography" and if at some point in your past you ever curled your bangs, I bet you will too. Oh, and I've got a little ad in there featuring my favorite whale art!

Wishing you a tubular Tueday! O dear, the hair issue, totally brought back all my goofy expressions from the 80's/early 90's. I used to begin all my cleverly folded notes (in square, triangle or rectangle shape) with the title of this post. Oh the memories. Heh.

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!

Circling Birds

April 27th, 2008, Comments (12)

This weekend was a whirlwind tour to NYC to see the hubster's family for Greek Easter. It's an important holiday for them (the hubster's dad was born and raised in Greece), so we made the trip out and participated in the fun traditions (tsougrisma : egg cracking game) and ate some traditional Greek food (lamb roasted over a charcoal fire, Easter bread that has dyed red hard-boiled eggs on top, and Easter biscuits.) We had a great time, but it was a quick visit and now we're back home.

I meant to post this before I left, but ran out of time. I'm working on a couple more drawings with white ink on black paper with the little circles. A couple people have mentioned how the bigger circles that make up the leaves look a bit like bicycle wheels, which I thought was kind of cool as I seem to have some circle/cycle/bicycle themes going on in much of my art lately. Funny how symbols will pop up like that without you even realizing it. This one has two birds and I'm calling it "Two Branches."

Speaking of birds, when we got home, we found a bird wing and a bunch of feathers on our living room rug. Our porch door was open a crack so the cats could enjoy the fresh air. Either a bird was brought in from the porch or it flew into our apartment, which would be a huge mistake for any bird and a wildly good time for the four cats who rarely get to hunt something that's actually living. The hubster was totally grossed out, but I grew up with my cats bringing me mouse guts and such, so I wasn't too disturbed. The only thing we're wondering about is where the rest of the bird is. Hopefully it was eaten and isn't tucked away for us to find later. That could get stinky.

With these black and white drawings, it take some time to make up the trunk with all the tiny circles, but it's also a meditative kind of process. It's relaxing, soothing, and gives the mind space to roam. Good ideas often come in this space. All repetitive things can become like that, things like weeding, sewing, knitting, cutting vedgies for a soup, etc... Have you ever had that experience? 

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!

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. :-)

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!

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!

Traveling Adventures

April 2nd, 2008, Comments (17)

Whew! Yesterday was a long day! Long, pleasant flight. From the airport I rented a car, drove into Seattle, found the ferry, rode a ferry to Bainbridge Island (that's the view from my car on the ferry above and a shot from the ferry below), and drove another hour from there to Port Townsend. The drive is totally breathtaking coming into town along the water and the main drag is jam-packed with adorable little shops of all kinds.

I didn't get an on campus room at Artfest (they were sold out), so I found a cute little place in town. It wasn't expensive, they gave a discount to Artfest folks, and it was within walking distance to town. The downside was I had to lug my suitcase up the stairs. And this was no small suitcase. I can literally fit myself into this thing and it was heavy with art supplies, but I dragged it up there and found my adorable room. I'm sitting in it now after having some lunch. I pulled a wicker chair up to the window where you can see the water. So pretty!!

Yesterday I walked all over town. I was already exhausted and kind of zombie-like, but it was a nice day and I wanted to enjoy it. There were so many cute stores to check out. I just browsed, only picking up some food and toothpaste. I didn't want to go spending too much on my first day!

Seems like this town was made for me. I saw numerous bookstores and three art supply stores! Three! This morning I got to sleep in, but with the time change I could sleep late and it was still so early when I woke up! Hee! I love that. I had pre-ordered a canvas for a class (that was just not going to fit in my suitcase) at the Akamai art supply store that offered a discount (and a free bag) to Artfest attendees. What a gorgeous store this place was. I felt all teary for a moment when I walked in and saw the gorgeous (and plentiful) art goodies and the store's cat, Winny. The store had a cat! Be still my heart. It's always good to get a kitty fix when I'm away from my own fuzzes.

The place was hopping with Artfest folks who seemed to be traveling in groups. I introduced myself to a couple people at the counter, but I didn't meet anyone that I knew from the online world or anyone taking the same classes as I am. I'm sure I'll meet a lot of people tonight because I'll be at the Fort for dinner and then the kick-off meeting. I made this cute "Night Owl" painting (above) before I left and I've been playing with more atc's. And now, I'm off to wander about some more. Toodaloo!

Leavin’ On a Jet Plane

April 1st, 2008, Comments (8)

I'm sitting in the airport this morning all sleepy-eyed and ready for a day of traveling adventure. I'm on my way to Seattle and then I'll be headed out to Port Townsend for Artfest!! Eek, I'm excited and nervous and looking forward to this fun and creative getaway.

I'll have my laptop and be in touch by email, but I won't be on the computer as much until I get home in a week. I hope that your week is a creative one!!