Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What I have been up to..

Well, mostly what I have been up to is gardening and playing catch-up, like I mentioned in my last post.

But I did squeeze in some bits and bobs of stuff when I could.

I finished my Arte Journal entry, "Who Do I Think I Am?" and it is COMPLETELY different than my vision of it when I started. Can't even tell you where it came from. But here it is:

And I have done another layer on my wood angel. Made her hair red, but scraped away some of it and then you can still see the blonde underneath.

I submitted this to the critique of my class, and Suzi's suggestion was to add some depth to the lines where her wings meet the background and a little where her hair meets her wings. I also thought I might add a little more texture to the middle of her wings, but I will have to see what I think after I add the darker colour to it.

Today I will be starting my Elizabeth on wood for the Piety & Passion class. I have several 3/4 sketches to choose from. I just need to pick one, attach her and get going! 

If I have time to pick up a couple of new paint colours, I will do the next step on this angel too. I don't have a lot of colours at home, I tend to buy them as I need them.

And last but not least, my new Susan Tuttle book came in just yesterday, "Digital Expressions: Creating Digital Art with Adobe Photoshop Elements", and I have barely had time to look! 

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love to take photographs. My goal is to fill our home with our photos, some just the way they are, and some altered and played with... 

At this point in time, we have so little on the walls. But of what we do have up, my favourite is my 3D fabric photo that I made in a class with Heather Thomas. It is hung up close to my computer desk and makes me happy every time I see it! (Some of you have already seen this, it was taken on our trip to Portugal last year)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The definition of art

Well, last week we all got back to our normal routine and I had a number of things to catch up on, having been on that two-week hiatus looking after my sweet husband.

When I was thinking about what to blog about here, at first I felt bad that I didn't have photos of more completed works to show. Then I replayed my week in my mind and had to write this post to remind myself, and maybe others out there, that even what we might consider menial chores in our lives, can be considered art if we carry them out with our best intentions and lots of love.

This is a dictionary definition of art: Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way to affect the senses or emotions. 
Do you see what I mean? Art surrounds us. There is art everywhere, in everything we see, in everything we do.

So I enjoy my work around our home, instead of dreading it or putting it off. I love our home to be clean, to smell and look good, to be welcoming to our loved ones. I love our gardens to be full of beautiful things to look at and delicious things to eat. I love our dinner plates to hold colourful meals filled with textures and delightful aromas and flavours. Thankfully Rich is feeling better and enjoying food again!

For the whole week, I kept busy with many things: house cleaning, cooking, hardening off luscious little seedlings for the garden, some reorganizing and sorting for spring, etc.

One of my reorganization jobs was my studio. Just recently, my daughters have expressed an interest in creating some things with me and it got me thinking about the space and set up in my studio. It housed everything I needed, but was strictly functional, not pretty or inspiring, and not well laid out at all- there was too much wasted space.

Armed with graph paper, I drew the floor plan and all of the furniture, and came up with a new layout for the room, one which would allow much more space and light around my work table. I packed a few boxes (well labeled for later!) of things I am not using right now, and stored them on shelves in the basement.

I prettied up the windows, stapled a little skirt around the work table, ordered a set of three stools (I had previously swiped one from the kitchen), and organized supplies so that everything is easily within reach.

When the chairs arrive, hopefully next week, I will take a couple of photos. Thankfully I don't have to wait any longer to go back in there and play!

Today I spent the entire day fighting the lovely Colorado clay soil, readying my garden for plants and seeds. It was windy but hot and sunny and just a glorious day to be outside! Even though I have been just aching to get into my studio and draw, I was very pleased to get so much work done in my garden.

Tomorrow I will take a couple of photos of my angel on wood- I have added a couple more layers- and will submit it to Suzi's Angel class. I haven't submitted anything in a while. And I will take a photo of my latest journal entry for you to see- I haven't a clue where it came from, but boy, was it a lot of fun to make as it took on its own direction! And who knows, I may be able to carve out some time with my favourite pencil...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

On a roll!

I took advantage of the peace and quiet of today to work on some things in my beloved studio. Having my husband home for the last few days recuperating from surgery has meant a modified schedule for me- and LOTS of time to spend in my studio. I don't even know where all this energy and all of these ideas come from- I am just bubbling over with creative juices!

Now that I am doing a lot of mixed media, I like to have two or three things to work on simultaneously- while the gel medium dries on one project, I can paint another, and while the paint dries, I can move on to something else.

Of course with an art quilt in the works and my trusty sketchbook, there is always something to pick up at a moment's notice. 

It is a bit astonishing to me: since January, I have actually completed a number of things instead of just dreaming about them! lol

First thing I did today was embellish the cover of my Moleskine sketch book. I sanded it yesterday to get it ready to hold tight to whatever I decided to slap on it this morning!

I painted, collaged, distressed, glued, glittered, and wrote on it. I am really happy with how it came out- and a little surprised too, as I had no plan at all when I started.

Next I did the next stage of my fairy. I had attached her to the backing and coloured her with my Prismacolors.

Today I did some painting and dripping, collaged some words and phrases into the background and did her wings. I really like her wings- I cut some white organza into little pieces and collaged them on with gel medium. Using little pieces instead of one big one gives her some texture and interest. She is not finished, but getting there...

Lastly, I made a copy of a recent sketch and attached it to my wood with matte medium. After it dried a bit, I sketched in the rest of her hair and her wings. Then took out my wood burning tool and added the feathers that will make up her wings. I haven't done any big things like this with the wood burner before. It was a little hot after a while and my hand got tired by the time I was finished, but I have to say, it was fun. And I like that I will be able to work the paint into the grooved pattern. Not sure exactly what the next step is.

Well, I guess it should be her face. Since I used a copy of my drawing, the ink ran when I attached it to the wood, so she looks all grey- but she won't stay that way, she will be all peachy and pure-looking when I get through with her! lol

Stay tuned for updated photos as I get stuff done!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sidetracked... but lesson learned

I have been making things for as long as I can remember. Creating things or making them nicer has always been a passion of mine, as well as a wonderful stress reliever. Not to mention it was one way I could give gifts to those I cared about, even on a very tight budget.

I am chair of a couple of committees for the Columbine HS Band Boosters and one of them is the Banquet committee. Every year we give the graduating Seniors a little gift. Last year one of the senior's mothers donated the gifts and took care of it all- very cool!

This year I was not so lucky and was left to figure out what to do. You understand we have a TINY budget for this, right? lol

So, I resigned myself to giving up precious studio time to decorate inexpensive photo frames. Thankfully I have fully embraced the shabby chic way of doing things, or I would NEVER have been able to pull it off.

After hours of sanding, painting and re-painting, collaging, sealing, and reassembling, they are finally finished. All THIRTY of the darn things. No two are exactly alike, but they are enough alike that one photo gives you the general idea.

I won't be at the banquet so I won't see anyone's reaction. I hope the kids like them- but honestly, I don't want to hear about it if they don't!

This band project really sidetracked me and kept me from doing what I wanted to be doing. But I will have you know, I have learned my lesson.

I have always helped out with things, I have always said yes, I have always offered my services. I have always felt that if I didn't step up to the plate, no one would. I guess I could get into a long psychological analysis of myself, trying to figure out why...

But I won't. I just know better now. Doing art, surrounding myself with creative, generous people, and exploring my boundaries has taught me that thinking of my time and myself as worthwhile is necessary, not selfish.

I think volunteer work is important to a well-rounded life and I intend to always give some of my time to something or other. But I also now know how valuable  my time is and that it is perfectly acceptable for me to choose what I want to do rather than getting railroaded or feeling guilty about it. It is also perfectly acceptable for me to say no without explanations.

I have chosen to keep a board position for next year and have given up all of my committees, without a worry about who will do it next- because someone will just have to do it. And it does not have to be me! lol