Saturday, April 23, 2011

Resolutions Revisited

As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  • I intended to be faithful and blog at least once a month, maybe more!
  • I intended to be a whirlwind of creativity, madly clipping and doing collage, painting up a storm and sketching everything I saw.
  • I intended to make time for more find the slivers of the day and fill them with color.
  • I intended... I intended... I intended.
And I guess I did some of it. Well, not the blogging part, which apparently I'm pretty miserable at!

I participated in a tag exchange. Mine is the fish.

I spent an art-filled, snowy weekend in Mineral Point, Wisconsin staying in a historic home with my sisters and Pam. Here's an example of the exquisite corpse books we all worked on.

I made a lot of postcards to mail off to people I've only met virtually through the IUOMA (International Union of Mail Artists).

I redecorated my bedroom, painting the walls with exactly the color of periwinkle I'd been longing for, and finally adding the vintage chandelier. Well, I didn't do the painting, Pam did between cooking meals for her blog!

I went to Taos for a luxurious week of art - making a sketchbook then doing my best to fill it with paintings and sketches. All thanks to one of my fav people, Jill K. Berry.

I've even sketched a bit as part of the Sketchbook Challenge. I haven't kept up with every monthly challenge, but there's still time, right?

I suppose I haven't been the slacker I sometimes imagine myself to be. And I have the good fortune to work in a creative job with creative people surrounding me. I did help to launch a new magazine these past months - I guess that counts especially since I get paid to do it!

And it's only April, right?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Jump on a Resolution

I don't take enough time to create - just for me. I work too many hours then come home tired and hungry and the night slips away before I can make it upstairs to my studio space.

Mornings aren't much better. I get up and start working or checking email or fall into various other technological distractions.

Journal page from last summer.

I also don't take enough time to read. Except on a recent vacation where I read 2 entire books and got halfway through a third. That book, along with another I haven't finished, are waiting patiently for me to finish them.

I learned an important time management lesson from Pam - to understand that it isn't that we don't have enough time, we just don't prioritize the things that are important to us... then we say 'I don't have enough time for ______', which simply isn't true. We spent the time on other things.

Art challenge box from last summer.

I'm going to choose to take more time for art this year. In that spirit, I've already scheduled a week of art in March in lovely Taos, New Mexico and will be following along with The Sketchbook Challenge. I've also become a member of the International Union of Mail-Artists.

Sketch in progress from fall drawing class.

In other words, like seeing my personal trainer, I've made a commitment to other people and invested some money in something I think is important - so I just get off my preoccupied butt and do it!

2011 is the year of living creatively for me. Wherever that leads. And from what I understand, I may have to polish my interpretive dance techniques. What have I gotten myself into?!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Part 1: What a difference a year makes

Has it really been a year? A year! A lot has happened in that year. Maybe that's why this blog has been languishing like an unfinished sewing project tucked in a closet.

My sister moved back to Wisconsin after living most of her life in Texas and then Arkansas. She raised a family, made friends, but always felt a bit like a fish out of water. It's good to have her 'home' and back in touch with her Yankee leanings.
My mom, Peggy died in October. I still miss her everyday.
The last conversation I had with her was to tell her I was going to Switzerland in November. She told me how she had always wanted to travel there because her grandfather was from Bern. She was really happy for me & Pam.
So part of her came with. I scattered some of her ashes off the Spreuerbrücke bridge in Lucerne and left a prayer card at the chapel inside. She would have loved Switzerland and I wish I had known she wanted to go there sooner. Much sooner.

The holidays rolled by, we welcomed a new year and winter descended upon Wisconsin. Sunshine was time to visit a place that always soothes my soul - the Sonoran desert. It's good for what ails you.

And work was busy - crazy busy - and every ounce of my creativity was directed there - instead of the now dusty art supplies languishing in my studio.

To be continued...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

It's good to finish something! - Part two

Ah, the piano hinge book. I love this book. The Tyvek paper has the sexiest hand feel and the hinge construction, while persnickety, was fairly straightforward once you understood how it all fit together.

I had no idea how I would finish this since - and you'll pardon the pun - the landscapes we did were so alien.

So it sat on my studio table until I was inspired by an article I read in a science magazine about Saturn's moons and in particular, Enceladus.

For those science geeks out there, here's the brief summary I came up with for the back flap:

Saturn's rings just may hold the mystery of life in the outer regions of our solar system, and some the tiniest voyagers capture the imagination.

Enceladus, one of Saturn's smallest moons at only 300 miles in diameter is a shimmering jewel reflecting almost all of the sunlight that hits it. And it's an active beauty with geysers and plumes erupting. Asrtobiologists believe these are caused by liquid water below the surface.

Along with geologic activity and the presence of water, it is believed that life forms may be present. Not oxygen supported life, but the types of organisms, or extremophiles, that may thrive on energy sources like radioactive decay - similar to life forms that have been found deep inside our planet.

It's good to finish something! - Part one

A couple of weekends ago, I had the good fortune to join my two sisters and Pam when we participated in a bookmaking and painting workshop at Whispering Woodlands. Led by one of my favorite teachers, Jill Berry. I knew not only would it be packed with activity, I'd come away inspired to create new things as well as finish what we started during the class!

Here's the first thing we made... a dream book box.
The construction and painting were finished during the class, but the the little story came later, after I got home.
It's more of a made up fable.
During the class, I just painted what came to mind, figuring the story would come later.

And it did.

Long ago the sun refused to behave. It liked to glow in hues of orange and pink and purple.

At night it really acted up, glowing bright and blue - mostly to spite the moon but mostly because it could!

But one day a large snake came along and charmed the sun and ever since the unruly sun kept its blues very well contained.

To be continued...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Journal

A while back, my 2 sisters, Pam and I started a traveling art journal. Each of us would do a page or two and then mail or pass it along to the next person on the list.

Here is the box complete with instructions and a 'goodie bag' we're always adding to and taking from.
The page on the left is by my sister Ruth (Corky), the one on the right, by me. Very coordinated if I do say so myself!
Here's one of my first entries.
And one from Pam.
Here are two pages from my sister Carol. For some odd reason, we've all been compelled to create circus-themed art. Hmm...
Here's one of my latest. My attempt at the more abstract.
And one more from my sister Corky.
We still have a lot of pages to finish. And now with my sister moving back to our neck of the woods, it should go much faster!

I highly recommend trying a traveling journal with your friends. It's fun to wrap it up, add goodies to the package and send it on its way. And it's even more fun to crack the box open and see what treasures are inside!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Valley Ridge Art Studio Bliss

What could be lovelier than a weekend spent in the rolling hills of western Wisconsin creating art in a beautiful space with creative people?

I had such an opportunity last weekend when I went to Valley Ridge Art Studio for an amazing workshop taught by the super smart and talented Jill K. Berry called Personal Geographies: Mapping Your Life.

And map we did! Here's an example of the body map we did with layers of vellum telling the story our body holds - with words & symbols.
Then it was on to mapping our brains. I managed to censor most of my darkest thoughts, but that pesky fear of falling had to have it's way!
And then onto a cheerier subject - a map of my basic needs!
Everyone really loved this folded map. We all mapped a place we were familiar with. I chose Wilson Park circa 1977 and even included the pine trees aka the 'make-out woods'.
We created a happy mess. Here's Kathy's artfully arranged work station and glimpse of her amazing mind map loaded with Egyptian imagery.
This is a simple strip map of my journey to Valley Ridge. I decided on a more metaphorical route and took some time after the class finishing this. Here's a hint - don't work on items that require good spelling when you're tired. Can you find the typo? I didn't find it until I was done. Completely. Neat, eh?
This was the largest type of map we did - a timeline. This is a brief history of my life. I didn't bring a lot of personal images to use, so I went for symbolism. It's not what I intended, but I felt like I needed to jump in and just try it and let go of the result.
And finally, the finale... a well-crafted atlas holder to carry our maps home. I had to snag some of Jill's hand-painted paper to use on the cover as a remembrance of this wonderful class.

What did I learn? A whole lot of cartographic history. Jill is a storehouse of knowledge and freely shared stories of stolen maps and history gone wrong with the class. I also learned that my drawing skills are very very rusty. I need to practice! I learned that to enjoy the process and let go of the outcome. I also learned that I can push a car up an icy hill. But that's a story for another day!

Thank you Kathy, Jill and all the wonderful women in the workshop. You made it memorable and spectacular!