Monday, April 29, 2013

Holding onto wonder

"  The success of a creative venture lives in the wondering, not in the outcome.  So long as we have breath, there is the possibility - the inevitability -  that we will create again.  There is no such thing as a make-or-break outcome to creating."   Molly Gordon

Saturday, April 27, 2013

10 Things you should know about me...

  1. I took this photo because I had just had my hair done and it looked AWESOME.  I am un-apologetic.
  2. I have a Master's Degree in English, yet struggle to spell the easiest word.  The other day I tried to spell the word "went" "whent". Seriously???
  3. I was a cheerleader in high school. That explains a lot.
  4. I'm too cheap to get a pedicure, yet am willing to pay hundreds of dollars (which I don't have), on a handbag.  Rationale:  The handbag lasts much longer.
  5. I have much better things to do than cook.  Like sit on my ass and read a book.  My fiance will verify this.  He frequently goes to bed hungry.
  6. I have broken almost every good wineglass I own.  I swear it has nothing to do with the wine...
  7. I consider walking to the mailbox at the end of my driveway a verifiable exercise.  It's walking, isn't it?
  8. It makes me a little crazy when people say, " I should have went." I warned you I'm an English major.
  9. I read so much that I can't remember the plot line of the last book that I read, or that I own the book, which explains all the duplicates on my bookshelf.  They looked interesting at the time.
  10. I don't get social media.  Who cares what I'm doing every moment of time?  I don't.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Having fun with your journal

For many of us, the journalling process feels a little bit stiff, a little too Important.  Often a chore we feel me must do.  Bah, I say.  Make it fun!  Last August, my honey and I purchased our home and began a month long process of intense renovation.  I knew I wouldn't have the time or energy for regular journalling, so I made myself a little calendar, colored in the days with marker, and recorded little snippets of my day.  Simple things like, "Put first coat of paint on the living room", and "New furniture delivered today."  Nothing terribly exciting, but my days were recorded and they are fun and interesting to look back on now.  On the few days that we took off from packing, cleaning and renovating, I recorded our days with photos.  We enjoyed a warm summer day at the pool, a hike up Prospect Mountain, we took our dog to the park.  It's all there, my whole month recorded, a month-at-a-glance.

Another thing I like to do in my journal is record my real life in bits and pieces.  On this page I've recorded things like "What I'm watching", "What I'm cooking", " What I'm reading", and "What I'm making".  You get the picture.  Again, nothing profound, and yet it's another fun way for me to look back and say, "Ah, THAT'S what I did that month."

This page (or spread) was begun on New Year's Day 2013.  I made a grid, colored the sections in with different colored markers, then listed the best memories I had of 2012, wrote about how we spent New Year's Eve, and reserved the rest of the boxes for journalling about the various thoughts and struggles I had throughout the month (January is ALWAYS a tough month for me.  I struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder).  Even though the words on this page aren't all fun and cheery, the colors make me happy and it is interesting for me to read.

So you see, journals don't have to be boring.  They don't have to be profound.  The most important aspect of a journal is that it's YOU.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Journalling, Oh How I Love You!

I have kept a journal almost all of my life, mainly in fits and starts.  A month ago I revisited this practice by taking Susannah Conway's Journal Your Life class.  Now, it's no secret that I am a HUGE Susannah fan -- that girl has a gift for sharing and teaching.  Diving back into a daily writing practice has been both a joy and a challenge, but oh so enriching!  In just a few weeks I have gained clarity about my life's purpose and am journeying down the path I was meant to follow.  I know this all sounds Profound and Grand, but it's all been done in tiny snippets.  A captured moment of my day, a note here, a list there.  It's all in my journal and those little pieces, those snippets, are coming together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  I'm starting to figure stuff out, to plan, to take action.  It's simply amazing.

In addition to our written journals, Susannah has had us keep a Creative Dream Journal (in the green binder to the upper right).  This is our visual journal for our daydreams, night dreams, life dreams (insert anything-you-want-it-to-be-dreams here).  Think vision boards and mind maps, a place to figure stuff out visually when the words just aren't there.  It makes this cut-and-paste girl really happy!

So what about you?  How do you journal?  How do you record all the little snippets of YOUR life?  I'd love to know!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Do you pin?

When I logged onto my computer this morning and was and saw more grim news from Boston on my MSN homepage, I became determined to find a more cheerful way to start my day.  After all, I would much rather look at this :

Than this:

(Please pardon me while I learn the technicalities of blogging.  The photo of the journal page was by Wendy Cook on Pinterest)

And so two hours were passed joyfully as I found funny quotes, inspiring art, and beautiful clothes I will never be thin/young/tall enough to wear.  I feel much better now, and as a public service, I am recommending that you now go Pin!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

To the people of Boston

It has taken me two days to recover from process the horrifying events that took place in Boston on Monday.

You see, Boston is a city that is near and dear to my heart.  I attended college near Boston, and my friends and I would take the train in on weekends to hang out and shop.  I have family there. We visit often.  My daughter hopes to attend college there soon.  It has, in many ways, been our family's' home away from home for years.

The bombings on Monday have rocked our world.  The moment I heard, via text from my local news station, that something catastrophic was unfolding at the Boston Marathon, I called my sister who lives in the city.  She had been on her laptop, tracking friends who were running the race.  She learned of the horror via a banner flashing across her computer screen. When she answered the phone, she could hardly speak.  Despite the shock that left her unable to complete full sentences, she was able to let me know she was safe  Her husband, who ran the Marathon almost every year of his adult life up until a few years ago, was at The Boston Running Club, waiting for their friends to come in after finishing the race.  He too was safe.  But so many were not -- women, children, visitors from places far and wide, will never feel safe again.

What has struck me about all the horrifying news I have seen and read since Monday, is the kindness, the generosity  the SELFLESSNESS, of the people of Boston.  Amid chaos, first responders, police, citizens and other runners, ran to help those in need of medical attention.  They ran TOWARD the chaos, not away from it.  Later, people who lived nearby welcomed strangers into their homes, offering clothing, shelter, food and phones.  Business offered shelter and free food to the displaced.  In short, the same New Englanders who have a reputation for being reserved, cool and sometimes a little snooty, opened their hearts to the injured, the shocked, and the lost.

From the bottom of MY heart, I say thank you, THANK YOU Bostonians, for showing the world who you really are.  You are kind, you are caring, you show your true colors when it counts.  You have shown the world that humanity still exists, in a world that is becoming increasingly inhumane.  You give us hope.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cute project alert!

For several years now, as my art has been developing, I have fought against Cute.  If you want to be taken seriously as an Artiste, you can't do cute, right?  Well, the minute I stumbled upon Megan Suarez's Whimsy Girls Workshop, I just had to join.  Her art is just to darn adorable!  This painting was inspired by the class:

For the painting, I found the coolest paper from My Graffico and printed it onto cardstock.

Since I have an inkjet printer I had to take the papers outside and spray them with a couple of coats of workable fixative so they wouldn't smear when I laid them down with gel medium.

The next day (to allow drying time), I collaged both the papers onto a gallery profile canvas, colored the girls skin with copics, and stuck her on. I painted her hair and added more paint to the background and, voila!, a pretty Whimsy Girl!  I sealed the collage with another coat of gel medium and sprinkled on some glitter,'cause you know, every cute girl needs some glitter.  What a fun project!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Let's start at the beginning...

I cringe a little bit every time I hear someone say "I'm not creative."  We are ALL creative in our own way.  My sister, for example, can throw together the best meal you have ever tasted and present it beautifully without cracking a cookbook.  She can also wrap presents worthy of a Neiman Marcus window at Christmas.  My honey took a debilitating back injury in midlife and transformed himself into a strong, healthy (and hunky) bodybuilder by changing his diet and joining the gym. To me, these two people are supremely creative in ways that I could never be (read: I'm too lazy).  I, too, believed I didn't have a creative bone in my body until I was in my mid-30's.  So how did I do it?  How did I find that ever-elusive quality in myself?  Let me tell you...

I remember vividly being in art class in Junior High and HATING it.  I couldn't draw a straight line with a ruler, much less draw anything that looked recognizable.  I swear, the only reason I passed the class (barely) was out of professional courtesy to my mother, who was also a teacher in my school.  I decided then and there that I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew long as it wasn't an artist.

Fast forward twenty years:  I was the mother of two children under the age of 3 and caught up in the daily frenzy of motherhood and running a household. In the rare (and I do mean RARE) moments when both children were napping, I needed something to do that would calm my nerves and didn't require too much concentration.  Someone invited me to a Creative Memories party, back when scrapbooking was easy and only required you to cut your photos into cute shapes and slap some stickers on the page.  I thought, "I can do that." So I did. Then another friend invited me to a Stampin' Up party (we were big on parties back then. Any excuse to drink wine and shirk our responsibilities for a couple of hours.).  Stamp an image on paper and color it in? I could do that. And so it went.

Eventually I ran out of parties to go to and money to buy more pre-made stuff.  By then I knew that I enjoyed making things and had a little bit of confidence that I could do it.  I started playing around.  Discovered art journalling. Then altered books. Then mixed media painting.  It was at that point that I realized that I LOVED art, and that what I made counted as art even it would never (and I do mean NEVER), hang in a museum.  It was art because I said so and I'm standing by that decision. I highly recommend you do too.