December 25, 2008
December 11, 2008
The importance of friendship and relationships are things I’ve been thinking about more lately, and these comic strips struck a chord when I saw them in my e-mail recently (click photo to enlarge):
I know they’re related to Thanksgiving, but I thought they were particularly fitting now, since we’re in the midst of the Christmas holiday season and friendship is totally in keeping with the holiday spirit… It’s difficult sometimes, when the hustle and bustle of “the daily grind” gets in the way, to focus on the good things instead of the guy who just cut me off in traffic, but I do try to be positive most of the time. Someone suggested recently to fit “gratitude” into my daily life: every day, think of three things you’re grateful for- no matter how small they are, or how bad of a day you’re having, they’re there, if you think about it.
So, lately, I’ve been thinking about how grateful I am for the gift of friendship…
I’m grateful to have found an extended network of artists and creative people (both on the internet through the wonderful world of blogging, and in the "real" world by attending Art Unraveled the past two years) and to continue expanding those relationships. Over the course of the summer, I’ve become part of a group of artists who meet once a month to work on projects, teach and learn new techniques, and socialize. Early on there were times that I couldn’t attend, but I now make every effort to fit it into my schedule because I’ve realized how important this creative community camaraderie and companionship (how's that for alliteration?!?) is to my “inner artist”.
Plus, it’s just plain fun to hang around with a group of like-minded people! People who get just as excited as I do about vintage photos of strangers, a beat-up old textbook, or a “new-to-you” back issue of an art magazine, because we have a different mindset about the “untapped possibility” inherent in these things that other people sometimes can’t quite grasp.
I’m also fortunate that Tom understands how much this aspect of my personality means to me, and that he does what he can to accommodate it. He's even gone so far as to arrange his out-of-town business travel to be home when these meetings are scheduled (if at all possible) so I can be away from home and the dogs in the evening. (Having dogs is just like having kids, you know, when it comes to scheduling things- the only difference with dogs is they never ask to borrow the car keys!)
Tom and I have been through a lot in the (almost) five years we’ve known each other (including moving across the country, and the passing on of my two beloved kitties) but that’s a post for another time, because there’s way too much to say about the last five years for this post- for now, I’ll just say that I’m continually grateful that I share my life with my best and closest friend.
So, if you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with me!! And think about what you’re grateful for today, or maybe call up an old (or new) friend and let them know how important their friendship is to you.
December 03, 2008
November 29, 2008
okay, so this is a Thanksgiving weekend post, not a Thanksgiving Day post, but I'm still just as thankful...
for my family- for my Thomas (I can't put it into words without sounding sappy, so I won't even try); for the furry companions we share our lives with, both canine and feline; for my family members all across the midwest (even though we don't get together very often any more); for my friends, both new and old... companionship of all sorts makes this journey through life sooo much more interesting!(Bisbee is sacked out on the couch next to Tom... she's the funniest dog ever!) Sedona, patiently waiting for me to take her picture, so she could get up... I never knew I was a "dog person" before we got her; I'd only ever thought I was a cat person, but dogs are so much more sociable than cats... one's not better than the other, it's just different. Plus it's just a riot, watching Sedona and Bisbee play together (there's no way I could get pictures of that, though, so you'll just have to trust that it's hilarious)!
I'm thankful that I have a creative personality, and an outlet for all the ideas that float around in my head... every once in a while I talk to people who have pursuits that aren't creative/artistic at all, and they give me a weird look when I tell them that I like to spend my time painting, cutting, and pasting. I can't imagine NOT being like this!!
(I'm also thankful that both our employers gave us a 4-day weekend, and that we don't have to get up early tomorrow!)
November 27, 2008
Why, yes, homework (or better yet, fieldwork- I don't like the word homework, it sounds too much like school). Anyway, this all started at Art Unraveled, when through a sort of complicated course of events, I won a gift certificate. It was for four free sessions with Reva Solomon, who gave the keynote speech at AU this year- she's a writer and professional life coach based in Los Angeles. She works with all sorts of professional and creative people, has written plays, books, and has worked in television for many years.
I was hesitant about it at first, but we just had our fourth session, and I've gotten sooo much out of them!! I've been exploring how my creativity fits into all aspects of my life and personality, and am starting to work on what "direction" I want to go from here... do I want to teach classes? get published? sell at shows?? I have no firm ideas yet, but I'm okay with that- part of what I've realized is that a creative life isn't only about the results, but it's also about the journey you take to get there. And speaking of creative journeys, I started some journal pages last night that need some paint, I think... it's nice not having to worry about getting up tomorrow morning; I can work on them as late as I want!
November 24, 2008
November 23, 2008
November 19, 2008
November 18, 2008
This was the scene in our house last week as I scrambled to finish my pages for the Art Unraveled Technique chunky book swap. I was very ambitious in my page design, so it took more time than I thought (of course, like everything). I made 30 pages total, 4 x 4 inches, but they were painted on both sides (all slightly different abstract designs), and each page also had an ATC-sized (2.5 x 3.5 inches) mini-book containing 10 pages, decorated with art related quotes and other ephemera.
So, the last night before the mailing deadline, the dining room table looked like Hurricane Paper had hit, and it was definitely a Category 5! Every space was covered, and most of it was more than one layer... I was looking for my collected postage stamps, or the cigar bands, and would have to lift up four or piles of paper, scraps, and dyed paper towels before I'd find them. I work best when I can see my supplies (unfortunately, though, working this way means everything ends up piled around my work space).But I got them finished, and packaged for shipping, as you can see below. (I would have liked to do more decorating in the mini-books, but I had to draw the line somewhere.) The return pages have already been sent out,; I got mine already (since the hostess is in the Phoenix area) and they're great!! All the pages are inspired by techniques learned in various classes, and they range from funky fabric bead decorations to etched metal and aged patinas. The swap hostess even made wonderful decorated covers for us, so all we have to do is bind the book together, in any fashion we choose.I don't want to show them just yet, though; I want to wait a little longer to give the mail a chance to catch up to farther-away participants! (so, you'll have to wait, but I promise to show them soon...)
November 14, 2008
November 03, 2008
October 31, 2008
October 30, 2008
go read this blog post. very profound.
...now excuse me while I go back to the cacophony of my daily life: cell phone in my pocket, all sorts of mechanical noises, people talking about all sorts of topics at the same time, 2 radios blaring at once on different stations, and computers everywhere beeping and clicking away.
But this afternoon, when I get home, I am taking the dogs out for a walk. While the repair man fixes our TV. (... gotta start small, I guess. lol!)
October 28, 2008
October 26, 2008
Most weekends are pretty tame around our house; we usually just hang around the house and relax, recovering from the week's stresses and recharging for the week ahead. (Of course, there's no sleeping in, because the dogs' stomach alarm clocks go off, even if ours don't... usually they get their breakfast then get put back in their crates, so we can sleep for a little while longer, till the cats start jumping on us.)
Yesterday I did have to go in to work (up at 3:15 am, at work by 5 am, out by 11:00 am... not that bad, except for getting up early). On my way home from work, I braved the Saturday crowd at the grocery store- not by choice, believe me, but I hadn't done a major shopping trip in a while. When I got home, we relaxed in front of a movie (the new Hulk movie; it was pretty good). After the movie, I worked for a while on my AU technique pages for the swap... I still have some painting to do, then it will be mostly assembly.
We had set up the telescope for some stargazing last night, but never got around to it, unfortunately. I went to bed around 10:30; shortly after that, Tom said "did you hear something??" because he thought he heard someone throwing a rock at the window. Nope, I didn't hear anything- I was sound asleep. But this morning, I found out what did make that noise: Turns out someone bashed one of our coachlights, probably with a baseball bat!! WTF?!? Turns out this is considered "Criminal Damage" actually, not vandalism... I found that out when I called the police to report it. Two officers came over to take the report, not that it will do much good, but... The day got muuuuch better after that, though- I spent a wonderful few hours of catching up and conversation with my friend Doreen over Champagne brunch at The Buttes resort in Tempe. This pic is a view off the patio at the Top of the Rock restaurant. The Buttes always has wonderful landscaping and flowers; every view is spectacular! I met Doreen over 15 years ago (!! Wow, it doesn't seem that long ago- where does the time go, anyway??) when I first started working at Abbott Laboratories in Chicago... she moved to Atlanta around the time we moved to Phoenix, so we've kept in touch via e-mail or phone calls since then. I was totally surprised when she called me on Friday night and said she was on I-10 about 100 miles west of Phoenix!! Turns out, she's spending a couple weeks in California for work, and decided to drive to Arizona for the weekend. (Next time, make it a longer trip, okay??)
Doreen and me on the patio outside the restaurant... I have issues with having my picture taken -I usually don't smile, or I shut my eyes- so we were lucky this turned out on the first try! (Our server was nice enough to take this for us- just part of the wonderful service you always get at Top of the Rock.) it was wonderful to sit and talk, and catch up on the last few years, althought it wasn't near enought time, since she had to head back to the Los Angeles area right after brunch. This picture is for Doreen: a view of Camelback mountain, with Mummy mountain to the left (although I will always think it looks like the camel's head, stretched out like he's taking a nap) and Papago Park on the right. (Doreen said she never reads blogs, though, so in order for her to see this picture, she will have to start with mine!!) Overall it wasn't one of those usual relaxing weekends, but it was a nice one, nonetheless.
October 23, 2008
- One of my very favorite bloggers, Posie Gets Cozy, visited Vancouver, B.C. recently... I have wanted to visit this public garden (fifty-five acres of gardens created out of an exhausted limestone quarry) for years, ever since I saw pictures of it in The Golden Age of American Gardens . This is of my favorite gardening/history books, actually- the historic photographs and hand-colored slides that are included are incredible.
- Also, I stopped at Barnes & Noble yesterday, just to troll thru the crafting section... I need to get this book!!! I don't often feel that strongly about buying books, but this one looks amazing: check out the contents page; the scrapbook page shown at the top of it is from 1927! We tend to forget that "art journaling" and "scrapbooking" (the way we do it today) are modern trends, but they're not.
- One more for you: I have heard of this blog, 37 days, many times before, but never really read any of it. I happened to stumble across this post: Voice your hops and drems a couple days ago, and it sort of smacked me right between the eyes. (Read this post to get the history behind the idea of 37 days.) She also has a new book out: Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally (which they did NOT have at Barnes & Noble yesterday when I was there, unfortunately... nor do they have any plans to get it what's up with that, anyway??)
- Now that I've posted three times in two days, you probably won't hear from me for a week or two, given my past track record... I really need to finish up my Art Unraveled Chunky book pages, so I plan on devoting time this weekend to working on them. Of course, I get sidetracked easily, so I may work on some other things, too.
October 22, 2008
- This page is made with a lot of layering- the first layer was torn strips of scrapbook paper (light green, tan, and a burgundy stripe, if I recall correctly). I left it that way for a couple weeks, till I decided what to do next with it.
- The second layer ended up being acrylic paint, applied during the class I took with Kelly Kilmer... I think I was trying to use up my paint before lunchtime, and started painting lots of pages by randomly layering color and scrubbing them with paper towels to expose some of the layers underneath. (Plus, I decided I didn't really like the torn scrapbook paper by itself, anyway, and wanted to cover it up.)
- The third layer was stamping with StazOn jet black ink around the edges- a few random-looking pattern stamps including an abstract floral pattern, a criss-cross pattern, small black stripes, and a small circle pattern.
- Fourth layer: magazine image (she's from a Gap ad, I think- I looked thru all three of the magazines in my collaging stash to find an image that fit with my page idea; if I hadn't found her, this page would probably have turned out really different). I glued her down with gel medium, not being careful with the gel at all; after all, this page is about how messy life can get, right?? I also smudged her with some of the black StazOn, and different colors of watercolor crayons. The watercolor crayon also picked up some of the texture from the dried gel medium, which I think is pretty cool. (oh- I made the stop sign from SB paper to cover up some text from the magazine page that I didn't want to show... necessity is the mother of invention, after all.)
- The last layer(s) were created with pens- writing, and many, many scribbles with paint pens and souffle pens to also emphasize the "messy-ness" aspect. Plus, the scribbling was actually really fun to do!! Whenever I had a couple free minutes, but not enough time to work on anything more involved, I just added some scribbles to these pages- I highly recommend scribbling as a form of art therapy!
I have finally realized that I will never be one of those bloggers who posts once a week, or once a day... I have good intentions, but life seems to get in the way of following thru... so, I post when I have the inspiration, and the time- thank you to the people who read and comment, in spite of my posting erratic-ness!! (is that a word?? not sure...)
Anyway, this post is to tide me over till (hopefully) this evening, when I can write a proper post, show you pictures of my latest art journal pages and also some random pictures I just found on the computer... oh, and I have been organizing my crafting space, too, and want to talk about that, too!
I worked on my computer cropping pictures while the TV repairman visited us yesterday afternoon; I hung out in the master bedroom with the dogs to keep them semi-quiet while he was workinig on the TV in the family room. (fyi, the TV still isn't fixed- the screws for the replacement part wouldn't fit into our TV for some strange reason, so he will have to come back again.)
Back to the reason for this particular post- I find random blogs and quotes when I surf, and want to remember them for later... plus, you might find something interesting, too!!
http://victualling.wordpress.com/ blog about restaurant history
“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” William James
“You cannot escape the dust in Arizona. We don't have dirt here. We have dust that is not moving right at the moment.” http://www.mydapperdog.com/blog/
http://a-little-birdie.blogspot.com/ Tricia Scott’s blog: drawing, painting, life… wonderful photography, must visit again soon….interesting blog links!
http://robruhn.blogspot.com/ Ro Bruhn: Australian blogger- beading, painting, etc. also wonderful photography… more interesting blog links!
http://www.teeshascircus.blogspot.com/ Teesha Moore’s blog. (Circus is an appropriate way to describe her journaling style- her pages are chock-full of color and pattern.)
http://myhandboundbooks.blogspot.com/ Interesting-looking blog about handmade books (obviously, right??)
October 13, 2008
October 11, 2008
(edited a few minor spelling errors- thanks to my BF, who pointed them out to me! It still surprises me sometimes that he- or anyone else, really- reads my blog... does anyone else feel this way sometimes??)
It went from being summer in Arizona (regular daytime high temps of 105F +) to fall (it's only supposed to be in the high 70s today...) in the blink of an eye! It was nice to finally see the end of the summer oven-like temps, though... waiting for the end of summer here is similar to waiting for spring back in the midwest- you're sick of the "same-ness" of the days, and can't wait for a change. At least here it's sunny most of the time instead of cloudy and gray, but to me, even sun gets boring after a while. Pretty soon, I'll be complaining that it's too cold!
(Anything under 70 F is cold to me; yes, I know I'm now officially a wimp when it comes to cold temperatures.) Hard to believe I used to live where you had to scrape frost off the windshield and let the car warm up for 15-20 minutes before it was even warm enough to sit down on the seat! I'll take hot over cold any day, now... you can always crank up the A/C, but I remember times when it took me two hours to shovel my driveway, and it seemed like I'd never be warm again!
And how did I go from being "afraid" of art journaling, worried about what kind of journal to buy, afraid of the white, blank page, to someone who now has 6 different books for journaling in, and two altered books waiting to be started?? That also happened in the blink of an eye, it seems- last summer was my first time at Art Unraveled, where I took my very first class with Kelly Kilmer... (I was so nervous- all those artsy people, who seemed to know soooo much more than I did!!) Since then, I've purchased and/or made all 6 of those journals, and I will be making another one in November, when Kelly's back in town to teach another class! (reminder to self: call Frenzy Stamper and sign up for that class.)
I work on pages and projects for a while, then realize I haven't taken pictures of any of them along the way... I also tend to get pages half-done, then they sit for a while till I get more inspiration, but I'm finally okay with that. I have finally (mostly, anyway) realized that art journaling, for me anyway, is as much about the art-making process than the words, if not more. And, I'm not so worried (most of the time) about whether the art on the page "goes" with the topic I want to write about. (Some of my pages are like that, but not all of them.)
It's hard to explain art journaling to someone who's never heard of it before; does anyone have a good explanation for non-artsy people that's easy for them to understand?? A couple of people have asked me about my doodling/artwork, and it's not easy to answer. So far, my standard answer is, "art journaling is sort of a cross between a diary and a sketch book" but I don't really like that explanation....
Anyway, on to the pictures... the pics below are from/of all but one of my current books; for more, check out my Flickr page (as soon as I get them posted, that is- hopefully later this evening or tomorrow). Now I know why I put off the photo/posting part of it- it's time consuming to take photos, edit and crop them, and then get them onto Flickr with all the tags, titles, etc. But it will get done!! (eventually)
This is the first "book" I bought to do art journaling in- it's one of those black and white composition books that you can get at any WalMart, etc. around back to school time for less than a dollar. It contains wide-ruled notebook paper, which isn't the greatest for painting on, but I started with it so I wouldn't "ruin" a "real" sketchbook if I didn't know what I was doing. (which seems kinda funny, now, because art journaling is doing whatever you want- there aren't really any rules!) I painted the front with my favorite mix of blues, green, pink, and purple, and the other favorite, stamping with bubble wrap. The arrow is a stencil from a 12x12 stencil sheet (technically for scrapbooking, I think), accented with gold leafing pen. Gold leafing pen also accents the zig-zag strip at the bottom (another of my favorite colors, a barn red.) The ribbon along the left edge was glued on to cover up the crappy painting job I did along the edge of the binding. (I can't take credit for that; I saw it somewhere on Flickr... but it works, doesn't it?)This is my newest art store purchase, a 9 x 12 sketchbook containing 93 lb heavy weight sketch paper... much better for painting on; it doesn't wrinkle when its painted like the ruled composition book paper does! I remember back when I took that first class at AU with Kelly; I was so intimidated by that 10 x 14 piece of paper she gave us to work on- it seemed soooo enormous to me, I thought I'd never be able to work on anything that big! She said we could use a different size if we wanted; I think I folded and tore that 10 x 14 paper into at least quarter-sheets (remember, I started out rubber-stamping cards and making ATCs, so I was used to working 4.25 x 5.5 inches, or smaller). I recently purchased this sketchbook because the composition book pages were starting to feel too small to me! Decorating the cover is going to wait till I get inspired, but you can see some of the inside pages here (soon).
The above spread is from one of two "graffiti books" I made in a class with Kelly Kilmer last fall... painted, stenciled, monoprinted, and written on paper backgrounds that were cut up to become the book pages. The book pages were folded and stitched into two pamphlet-style books. (pics of both books I made in this class are here.) The class was a lot of fun, but for some reason, I was intimidated to actually use the book for anything. I think it was because there was already so much work on the backgrounds that I couldn't bring myself to cover them up with anything! (it sounds silly, I know, but that's what I thought.) So, this past weekend, I actually started working in it during another Kelly Kilmer class called What's Next??? where we worked in our own books. Now that I've broken the ice with this book, I have a theme in mind for it, and am ready to do the rest of the pages!
This is one spread out of the Avante Garde book I made at this year's Art Unraveled. I don't think I've posted pics of this book here yet, but I will soon... We made covers and a spine for the book from matboard, put together the cover, and filled the book with "found" papers- magazine pages, envelopes, receipts, text pages out of other books, anything you wanted to use. (again, this class was taught by Kelly Kilmer. I know, it sounds like I take a lot of classes with her, but I really haven't- I've only taken 4 so far; one of the other students in last weekend's class has taken 19 classes with Kelly, and I think that was only in the last couple years!!) This page is eventually going to be about the Beijing summer olympics... the dragon was out of an in-flight travel magazine; I found it in February, and it's perfect for this page, I think!
(a sort of related note: I find it really hard to throw anything away now; I always have an internal dialogue in my head when I go thru the mail: "would this be useful for anything art-related somewhere down the line??" You'd probably be amazed at some of the things I save... I'd probably keep more, except for the fact that I have limited space for crafting supplies. Perhaps my "paper and supply addiction" would be a good topic for a blog post??)
This page spread is out of the miniature avante-garde book made during the AU class; it's finished size is 3 x 6 inches, I think. It's a bit harder (for me, at least) to work on pages this small, but I've made a start- I covered a couple of the pages with random scraps of paper- magazine and catalog pages, vintage book text, scrapbooking paper, etc. and it will either be painted, or left as is... who knows??
After next month, I'll have another book to add to my collection, and I really do want to start working on the altered book project I have in my head... it's translating the ideas from my head to a finished project that I have a difficult time with, but perhaps that's a limitation that every creative person has?? (people sometimes say that if they won the lottery they'd get bored if they didn't work, but I don't think I'd have that problem for a loooong time, that's for sure- I have lots of ideas waiting to be worked on!!)