Friday, February 26, 2010

Checking In!!

One of the watercolor sketches from 
An Imaginary Visit to the Beach Class 
currently going on now!

No, I have not retired from blogging nor the blogosphere! I just have too much going on and too many projects to mind at the moment! However, all is well in my world. I appreciate all the emails I've received lately to make sure that I'm still alive and that no woe has befallen me!

I want to take a moment to introduce a new bloggin' buddy to y'all! I hope you'll stop by and say hello to Martha of Marthann's Musings! Martha has recently retired from teaching elementary school and is quite the accomplished quilter and artist! She live in Liberty, Missouri and is in the process of creating her new life, exploring new avenues and different art forms, and having quite the adventure! I do hope you'll stop by and say hello!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Few Stolen Moments

Chris and I slipped away to spend a few hours at the beach yesterday, hoping the winds would blow away some of the dust and cobwebs from our too busy lives......

We watched this guy for a while, just flyin' along.....

.....when suddenly, he (nearly) stops in mid-air.....

.....and makes a sharp turn.....straight down!


Splash down!!!

This was all that could be seen of the pelican after the splashdown....

And then he was off - in search of another meal!

We watched the Brown Pelican dive several more times, but he was too far away for any of the photos to come out clearly. It was a beautiful day - the first warm one in over two weeks. A very welcome change. The clouds you see in the top photos are a front that was moving in late yesterday afternoon - to bring us more rain. I was able to get in a little bit of sketching, but the day was mostly about enjoying time away and time together.

Monday, February 15, 2010

You Make It Look So Easy!

To those of you who paint with such freedom and abandon, with paint drips, splatters, mingling and backruns, you are my heroes!

This watercolor postcard was painted from life. I decided I wanted to just paint - no lead, no drawing, just me and my brush and the paint. I let the colors run. I let the water fall. I let it run and mingle.

Not sure this is a successful sketch, but it is a success in that I managed to stay out of the way and let the paint be the boss.

Maybe after a few 100 tries, I'll have a more successful end product. Until then, I think I'll just enjoy the process.

Thursday, February 11, 2010



Once again, Ms. Susie is on the ball and has a tutorial on additional pages for Blogger just like Word Press does! Yippee Skippee!!!!

Go check out Susie's great tutorial on how to do this!

(Click the underlined red link above.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Right Out of Nowhere


Fear is such an insidious creature, lying in wait for us, ambushing us when we least expect it. It can start with something simple–a project not going well, followed by a negative thought or three, and then it pounces! It has us in its claws and moves in for a slow, torturous, stripping-away of our self confidence, our faith in ourselves, and our talents. Fear feeds on our self doubts, on our feeble faith, and our insecurities. We unwittingly provide the feast.

The torture can last minutes to hours to days to a lifetime. It can reduce us to seeing ourselves as the really creative, highly-talented, starving, shuffling bag lady pushing a (decorated) shopping cart!

And we do it to ourselves. Because we let it. We let fear nibble at our souls.  

Yesterday, I slide down the slippery slope and into the jaws of fear. I embraced it and allowed it strip away the outer layers of my self confidence. I lost most of the day worrying myself into a downward spiral that proved to be pointless, fruitless and frustrating. 

I don't think I'm alone in this behavior as a quick perusal of blog posts tells me many of my fellow creatives are also dealing with fear. Even though the fears have different names, come from different areas of our lives, its harmful effects are toxic to our creativity as well as the rest of our lives. We doubt ourselves, our abilities and even our calling. 

So how do we stop the fear and the erosion of our beliefs and confidence? 

Call fear by its name. The thing I've found most effective is to turn and face the fear. To examine it under a microscope. Dissect it! Discover its origins. Learn its rightful name. Often, fear masquerades as "reason" and "logic," and will wear any mask that will allow it to accomplish its task.  

Focus on the reason, not the fear. Once I have identified the fear, I ignore it and focus on the underlying reason for it. Fear of success, fear of failing, fear of not being good enough, of being too successful, of looking like an idiot, of being a starving, bag lady with a shopping cart. All because I didn't say "enough! Be gone!"

And what have I let fear stop me from doing? What creative wonders have ceased to be because I was too busy being afraid?

Put down the telescope. Ever notice how fear is so BIG and SCARY in our minds? Could it be that we looking at it with a telescope that makes it look BIG and SCARY rather than examining it with a magnifying glass to dissect it? I'm big time guilty of this one! I've got some big hulking scary bad boys lurking around. And they're much worse through the telescope.

But oddly enough, when I put down the telescope, and drag them (by the scruff of their necks, kicking and screaming) out into the light of day (because they know they're much scarier lurking in the dark corners of my mind), they're not so scary. They may still be real, but I find that by changing my perspective they become……manageable. 

Call for backup. We've all been there. We know the deal. We're intelligent, grown-up, highly functioning creatives. And we all have to slay the dragons from time to time. Calling or emailing someone I trust to help me do battle becomes necessary when I just don't seem to be able to do it by myself. (I find it's usually better if this co-dragon slayer is not a spouse or family member. Not always, but usually.) 

Fuel the Fire. With fear. Sometimes the fear is real, and there is genuine cause for concern. I use fear to fuel the fire deep down in my soul. To help me move past the place of fear, to overcome the concerns, to light the path to a better place, to become stronger. So that next time, I can turn and quietly close the door to this unwelcome visitor and continue with my creative endeavors.

How do you fight fear and slay your personal dragons?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Christmas Has Left The Building!!

Woohoo!! Finally! Christmas has finally been packed away and safely deposited back into the attic for the next 10 months. Yes, I know it's February. We had a running debate for several weeks about just leaving it up as fast as January flew through here!

It never fails, though, that something, an ornament, a pillow, or a piece of greenery, will hide out in the wide open until we get everything put away, and then say "hey, what about me?!"

So a few years back, I decided I would keep one ornament out. I would deliberately not put something away in an effort to stop this nonsense. It hasn't worked. Instead of one, I just have two things out. But that's okay 'cause he's cute, he's happy, he doesn't ask for anything, and he doesn't give me a hard time about anything. (Secretly, I think he's just delighted not to be stuffed back in a box for 11 months!)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Art Hearts for Haiti - the Web Site is Now UP!!!

The Art Hearts web site is now up with all of the art submitted!! It can be found here. It is currently publishing to my Mobile Me account. It will eventually publish to Art Hearts For I've been having some technical difficulties with my software. Once that is resolved, I will change the address to the correct one. 

All of the hearts are in random order on the web site. I recommend watching the slideshow as that really shows the art off well! I named the hearts by the artist's first initial and last name - if I had it. If the artist  submitted more than one item there is a number sequence of 1, 2, 3, etc. Please go and take a look at the art and let me know if I have missed anyone's heart, misspelled a name, if you would like to change your name or something else. 

You can click the email link on the side bar of the blog or there are links on the web site. More info coming very soon!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Stealth Sketch Kit

Below is an image of my “stealth” sketching kit. This is what travels with me wherever I may go. I have found that when I least expect it, I either have time or exciting subject matter to paint, and you know what they say about not planning and planning to fail! Gotta be prepared!!

If you look at the lower left corner of the image, you'll see my business card. That will give you a sense of scale for everything else in the photo. It all fits into the teal green bag. The palette is a lip gloss/make-up palette about the size of a credit card. It's approximately 3/16" thick.

Once empty, I cleaned the lipstick residue out with a Q-Tip and a LOT of soap and very hot water. I also had to use a degreaser. After it dried, I taped the top edges with masking tape and sprayed the top with white enamel gloss paint. Several coats later, I had a white mixing area where the mirror used to be. (Note: I did not remove the mirror. I painted it and the surrounding frame.)

I then put the colors that I use most frequently into the palette: azo yellow, indian yellow, scarlet pyrrol, quin. red, magenta, dioxazine purple, ultramarine blue, raw sienna, burnt umber, and sap green. These pigments are all from M. Graham. There is an eleventh color in the lower left corner. That is shadow violet by Daniel Smith. The small sketchbook is a moleskine. It will be my last as the paper is NOT my favorite to work on and life is waaaaaay too short to paint on lousy paper.

If you are inclined to make a palette similar to this one, check out your own make up drawer or the local dollar store. They often have lip and eye shadow palettes that are perfect for this type of retrofit. If you can, use or purchase a powdered eye shadow palette vs. the lipstick palette. The eye shadow is much easier to remove than the lipstick/gloss, and the lip palettes are a bear to get clean! You really want to make sure you get that glass out as it has oils and/or petroleum in it.

Make sure to use gloss enamel paint and use several coats. If your palette becomes stained or scratched, just repaint it. I have found that the size of the palette and sketchbook lend themselves nicely to painting people in food courts or mass transit systems without others being aware of what you're doing. So, toss the stealth palette, a sketchbook and a waterbrush in your pocket and you go sketch!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Art Hearts for Haiti - You ROCK!!!

The call went out and you've responded in a HUGE way - we have finished up with
115 hearts*!!!

Once again, let me say to each of you Thank YOU - you humble me with your generosity of time and your willingness to get involved. The blogosphere is made up of just the nicest folks in the world!

Now we move into Phase II - which is get the gallery launched. This should happen on Tuesday. I'll take today to get the hearts up and organized. Once the gallery is launched, I will start working on the collaged art with all the hearts. 

*If you've sent in a heart and have not received an email back from me, please email me again, as we've had a couple of instances where I did not receive the hearts.   

Again thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

Switching gears for just a moment (but still related to Haiti's rescue):

I received an email late last week about another Art Heart Initiative going on.....two pint-sized philanthropists have sent out a call to their local schools asking students and parents (and now the internet) to make hearts and mail them to a post office box. Their goal is 1000 hearts! These two young ladies, Emma and Kate, along with mom, Linda, will be scanning the hearts, posting it on their web site and then sending it to the children in Haiti. Their web site can be found here with more information.

Please check it out and if you have time, send them a heart or two for their initiative!