August 30, 2008

By Hand

(on my writing desk)

When I was a kid... oh boy, here we go... we didn't have a computer until I was in high school and it was hooked up to a small television and I vaguely remember our first video game system Atari. Technology was like politics or show business, just somewhere else - like in a different state. It wasn't until I was a junior in college that I used a word processor to write my first paper. Most everything I did was by hand and in large part still is - except for this blog. (However, I do list my topic ideas for this blog by hand in a notebook.) So in the spirit of writing by hand the rest of this post will be written in my handwriting...

August 25, 2008

You can make it but it doesn't mean she'll like it

I finally finished this knitted daisy pacifier clip from Susan B. Anderson's book Itty-bitty Nursery this weekend and wanted to try it out. Currently Kennedy Jane prefers her fingers and can actually get her entire fist in her mouth on some days. We are hoping that she will still be able to do this when she's an adult as we're sure she'll be a hit at any party (or on David Lettermen) when she shows off this trick. With Becca's help we tried to get pictures of the little daisy. Of course we wanted the pacifier in her mouth but she didn't find the shape or taste very good. In fact, she teared up. And in the interest of not having a crying baby we just set the daisy on her belly. Here she is being more cooperative. And we're back to the fingers - but thanks little Kennedy for being so cooperative and making your auntie happy. Don't worry, I'll have many more silly handmade things for you in the future to pose with. I'm sure she'll run and hide when I come to the house with a granny square vest - ha ha ha. Okay, so back to my day job - lots of painting this week. Stay tuned - I got lots to show you and hopefully inspire you with. And, I'm sooo glad the kids are back in school - yay for school!!!!

August 20, 2008

One act of thanksgiving made when things go wrong
is worth a thousand when things go well.
- John of the Cross

This is all I can manage today - the quote says it all - I love certain quotes because they hit the head on the "life" nail. This is my act of thanksgiving.

August 16, 2008

Etsy Treasury

Etsy is such a fun online place for creatives. Since re-opening my shop in May, I've really had fun meeting other watercolor artists and seeing the amazingly fabulous art - from knitting and clothing to - whatever you can imagine. Just this morning I was included in a Etsy Treasury that will go until Monday the 18th. It's a place where another Etsy member pulls together some of their favorites as an advertisement for the weekend. I'm so honored to be picked and placed on a treasury. You can look at it here.


Recently I found this quote.

We don't see things as they are.
We see things as we are.
Anais Nin

I painted some orange geraniums around it and pinned it to the bulletin board over my computer. I really need to remember this because so many of my so called bad or "lemony" days start in my head. Look at the case of my cat's "hurt" paw in this past post. Even in painting, I often am hardest on my work when I'm hardest on myself. Seeing has so many layers. As we travel through life we learn that our vision can change and will. And as an artist I know that if I sit still long enough and see what I'm painting. I can see layers of color and light that I've never noticed before. Last year when I was teaching a friend to watercolor paint, I emphasized to her how important it was to look at the subject matter and notice, see. There are various shades of color in something that looks solid. Shadows are like that too. Colors reflect on to each other, and when you see dark shadows they aren't necessarily black, but full of dark color. My girlfriend told me that after that lesson, she saw things around her differently because she was paying attention.
Like I've been saying from the beginning, painting can teach us so much more than how to put a pretty picture on paper.

August 14, 2008

Books or Fresh Flowers?

Like most people during these rough economic times, funds are tight and I'm having to decide between two of my favorite things to buy - fresh flowers OR books. Lately books have been winning. Over the last few months I've been buying books that just plain make me happy. And, all of them have pictures. In fact as I was sitting down with my newest book from ABE and AMAZON. I realized that when I get a new book this is how I enjoy the moment. It's a wonderful ceremony that usually happens around 4 pm in the afternoon.
  • Prepare hot sweet drink - chai tea, coffee or hot chocolate
  • Music - lately it's been the soundtrack from Pride and Prejudice which is gorgeous!
  • Get comfortable on my lovely couch
  • Open the book and look at the pictures first. In fact, I do that with everything I "read". I think pictures say great deal about a book and I tend to remember a book more from its pictures than its words.
  • Then if time allows, I go back through and read what I find most interesting first. There is no pressure to go through these books in one sitting. I usually don't. They sit on my coffee table waiting for me on another afternoon. That's the beauty of good "picture" books. For me, these books are great inspiration even if they aren't about watercolor or art in general.
Here are few of my top favs for the summer:
Simply Sewing with a French Twist by Celine Dupuy I bought this book solely based on the beautiful color and the title contained "French" so how could I pass it up. I was not disappointed. By the way when I sit on my couch and go through this sewing book I have a French playlist on my iTunes which accompanies this book perfectly - think Edith Piaf's Sous le ciel de Paris . I'm taken away to another part of the world where simplicity and elegance are so different. The pictures are perfect and oh so French. I even love looking at the instructions which are drawn out. Eventually I'll make something from this book, but if I never do it won't really matter.

The next book I bought because of her decor, funkiness and great fabrics Amy Butler's MidWest Modern has 224 pages of amazing pictures. I was unsure about buying this book at first, simply because her style is not similar to mine. But again, no regrets. As with every Amy Butler book, I've found that her attention to detail, her style and passion ooze from every page and I'm inspired to trust my own instincts be it in painting, decorating or just plain being. For some reason, I like listening to the Gipsy Kings when going through this book.

Just a few weeks ago I was going through my old Victoria magazines - (ones I had saved from the early 90s). I ran across a feature about a Midwest watercolor artist Alice Schille. She never married, but dedicated her life to being an artist, teaching and traveling. This is a rarity for a woman in the early 1900's. So I went to my favorite online bookseller Abe Books and searched for an old art book of hers. A note here about Abe Books - I find this an excellent website for used books and older books. Often I pay more for shipping than I do for the actual book. This is great for someone who is watching their cash flow. The only thing is that the books sometimes take a little longer to get to you. If you aren't in a hurry, this is a great place to shop. I find lots of the older art books on line and haven't been disappointed

August 13, 2008

Another Etsy Shop

I've recently been having fun doing some quick little watercolors on old hymns. I love painting on old papers and hope this is the first of many fun "side" projects. I like doing these while I'm taking a break in front of the TV. Check out my new Etsy shop and tell me what you think. I've also decided to try out Ebay - though I'm not as familiar with this arena for selling original art. Still, I have to give things a try and see what happens. You can't really fail if you don't try. So check my eBay store out as well. I'm always welcome to any suggestions.

August 11, 2008

The Book Wall

I have 20 more days to finish my GerAmyUm book. For inspiration and so I don't forget that yes, I am making progress, though at times it feels like very little progress, I strung up some wire across a wall and using clothes pins I attached each completed or semi-completed illustration. I don't know if this is right or wrong but it works for me. And I need any trick that works for me. Because this past weekend didn't work for me so well.

I miss the beach and so I decided to decorate my bathroom using a beach theme of soft breezes, sea shells, gentle shades of blue- green, the color of sky and water .... ahhh ... that's what I was going for. So I thought I would paint the top half of my little bitty bathroom above the chair rail a gentle blue. It's not gentle blue, it's, "WOW, that's blue!" And considering there's not another blue thing in my apartment that really smacks you upside the head. And when I look in the mirror the blue really accents the shadows under my eyes and makes me look pretty zombie like. It's not good. So for the week I will have to bear this color and next Saturday I plan to correct it. I just am so frustrated. How cold I be so off on color! Yoiks. Stay tuned for next weeks corrections.

August 8, 2008

Card Party

Last night was SOOO much fun! A bunch of us girls got together to eat and make cards - as in greeting cards. My friend Krissy, who is an amazing creative woman and who can make, fix, sew and decorate just about anything, led us in the art of card making. Now, I know the whole creative memories - stamps, papers and decorative bling bling is huge right now, but I hate to say it - I've avoided it. I mean I can't take on another art/craft. Knitting, sewing, painting, embroidery is enough. So I purposely have avoided those colorful fun aisles at the craft stores. So last night was a fun play time for me. Thanks Krissy for being so generous with your supplies and time!!!
Here are my creations. The sad thing is I don't know if I could ever send them to anyone. I just love looking at them. For now they're set up on a shelf like pieces of art work.

August 2, 2008

Exactly Where You are Supposed to Be

I've had some very interesting discussions with friends this week. (How truly blessed I am to have such an amazing, creative and funny circle of friends.) Anyway, apart from our usual complaining about not having what we want in man, job or life in general and just feeling exhausted from always trying to get to that better place - wherever that may be, (I feel sure it's somewhere in Paris for me - hee hee) my friend Bobbi asked but really stated,

"What if we are exactly where we are supposed to be?"

Wham! That really blew me away. I guess I always feel like I'm having to play catch up. I need to finish this, do that, be here so I can go there. Her comment gave me a moment of freedom and it was wonderful to think I am exactly where I'm supposed to be, simply because here I am. And really, when you can just be satisfied with being exactly where you are for a moment or half a moment, it's so wonderful, maybe even peaceful. I've been cherishing these moments of peace. I've enjoyed some fun side projects that I've really enjoyed with no grand purpose other than to paint. Yes, I'm still working hard on the GerAmyUm book illustrations. But while trying to keep cool in this heat and I've enjoyed working on these little bits of art. (You can see them in my Etsy shop too.)

Along the subject of contentment and being where you're at, I found these questions in a book by Paula D'Arcy (Seeking with All My Heart) that pushed my thinking as well. Hope they bring some fresh light to your thoughts of life as well.

Have I ever fully accepted life on its terms, living in balance with the laws that govern nature, giving in to those forces and rhythms, rather than struggling against them?

Can I see the crises in my life as anything other than errors or disruptions? Anything other than proof that something is amiss or wrong?

... is your life about so much more than these events you are experiencing?


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