Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Small little projects that feed my creative soul.

I have been enjoying painting and sewing some small little projects lately. I think the fact that they are manageable and doable right now allows me to fit them in. Sometimes life can get so busy and complicated that by allowing ourselves the luxury of completeing some smaller projects we can continue to create without being overwhelmed. It's okay to just do what we can at that moment in time. It is finding that balance that will keep us moving forward and not running dry.

This is my 25th Anniversary piece for SAQA, shipped and received! 
Here is a new project I am working on for a new workshop. I am enjoying the hand sewing and embroidery stitches, its been awhile!
This is a photo transfer of a watercolor painting I did, then I added more paint, stitching and its done!

Are you struggling to start 2014 creatively? Why don't you just have some fun and create something small!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Another fun Chalkboard project

I wanted to share this before anymore time goes by. I did this over the holidays so I am late in posting but it would be perfect for your Parties and get togetherness this year! For Christmas I made my Grand daughters framed blackboards for their rooms. I then got a small bucket from target and put the command strips on the back and stuck a bucket to the frame for their chalk.
The girls chalkboards all ready for them on Christmas Morning

They loved them! Megan is trying to copy her Name like I wrote it on her chalkboard

I got the chalkboard at Home depo, they carry chalkboard already made up and they are happy to cut it up into any size you like! Do you have an old frame you want to use? Great, just have your chalkboard cut the size you need and you have a cheap new chalk board for your kitchen, kids room etc! So from my granddaughters Christmas gift I had a piece left over and at the last minute on Christmas Day I decided to do a Christmas dinner Menu.

Isn't this fun! Everyone loved it and read it when they came into the kitchen. I am now using it for my Bocce Ball scoreboard! I am using the chalkboard pens available at Micheals and regular chalk for the score. The chalkboard pens do come off with water but are a bit more permanent than plain ole chalk! Let me know what you do with your chalkboards this year!

Friday, January 17, 2014

It all looks perfect from a distance

My little lemon tree looks so pretty from a distance. The leaves are green year round and it is either in bloom while also holding lots of beautiful lemons. I love to paint in my yard which also allows me to really notice things when they go amiss. I see this lemon tree everyday, walking by it several times without really noticing a problem.

I know, so you're thinking big deal, if you've seen one lemon tree you've seen them all right!? Well, as I got closer to draw and paint it, I could see the twisted, discolored leaves. From this closer position I can see the lack of fruit and blooms. I can see the twisted curled leaves and weird growth. I notice it's stress and see that something is terribly wrong. Since I have had this little tree for many years I know it suffers from an internal parasite called leaf miner. Leaf miners wait for their opportunity to attack a tree and then wreak havoc unnoticed unless you're looking for the signs.

This little tree is a lot like us, a lot like me! From a distance we may look fine, attempting to set fruit and bloom as usual. Trying to appear like all is fine but underneath something might be terribly wrong. Unless we are willing to get close enough to see it, it will go undetected. At the same time the tree has to be willing to allow people to get close enough to see the problem which it is working so hard to cover up and deal with alone.

The good news is that it's so treatable with some extra attention my little tree will be well on its way to a full crop of lemons. As the tree grows it gets stronger and the ugly curled up leaves will be replaced by green glossy ones. 
More lemons

Now you have to figure out which one are you, the little lemon tree or the artist painting the tree. Maybe, today you're both. If you are the tree you might need to allow people close enough to see you, exposing some of your weaknesses. If you are the artist you might need to really see the problem and be able to offer some help in the supporting the recovery or solution. The blessing from the experience is that the tree produces more fruit from which the artist, the tree and others gets to enjoy!

We all want to be a Happy Little Lemon Tree!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Being who we are meant to be means embracing a title

I think as artists we are blessed with this unsatisfiable need to create beautiful things from simple supplies. Just some blobs of paint and a piece of paper, maybe just a pencil and a napkin. I can't tell you how many times I have grabbed a napkin to do a quick sketch of something that had to be captured at that moment. We often are not understood and thus the crazy artist stigma.

This crazy behavior reminds me of the time a group of us artists were having dinner at a little restaurant in San Clemente. We had all ordered our meals and we were having a glass of wine and laughing when the sun came into the restaurant through a small window during sunset and lit up a shelf full of colored jars. As if we had choreographed it, we all jumped up at the same moment and ran to the shelf to start taking photos, trying to capture the moment, the light.  Well you can only imagine how we scared everyone in the restaurant including the chef and owner as they watched us all jump out of our chairs without a word and stood in a doorway taking tons of pictures. Within minutes the sun was gone and regained our composure and looked around to see everyone staring at us and we couldn't help but laugh. They had no idea what drove us to do that, they didn't understand that need to capture a moment. They were clueless and so we did look like a bunch of crazy people. I have so many of those crazy "artist" moments when I just have to pull over and take in the scene or capture a moment.

 I know that many of you, my artist friends, find it uncomfortable to call yourself an artist. That you can't even say the word, let alone feel like one. But why my friend?

Do you have that desire to create? Do you love to experiment and play with different types of supplies. Do you see a painting in every sunset and sunrise, in every tree, driving down the street or just sitting in a restaurant? Does it feel like you have all these projects or paintings inside of you and you don't have enough time to do it all?

Now ask yourself do you feel inadequate, untalented and not worthy of the title "Artist". Do you think people will judge you and you are not good enough? Well then congratulations, POOF, you are an Artist! You need to sign all your work and appreciate your talent now and use it more often. One of the biggest artist stumbling blocks is not practicing your talent! Go forth my artists friends and create! If you haven't viewed the little video on the right side of my blog you should take a few minutes to do so, it is well worth it!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

A brand New Year, but first a look at the craziness of November and December

I love the beginning of the Year, it is a time to reflect on the things I accomplished last year and to set goals and make plans for this year. I haven't shared much this last few months as I have been deeply committed to finishing up some projects along with spending time with my family.

Last year I worked on revamping my artist look, redefining myself and my different looks as well as getting organized.  I took a few online classes, attended some seminars and that really helped me with the business side of my art, the uglier side of business that many artists, including myself try to avoid like money, expenses etc. I first took a class with Jennifer Lee called "The Right Brain Business Plan" the book is available on Amazon but its also as a online class. Great insights and help in tackling some of those business issues. Then to help conquer the "beast of STUFF", I took a great class with Alyson Stanfield on How to Organize my Art Biz, a step by step that really made my demons more manageable, like the monster piles of paperwork and piles of other things in my office that I don't know what to do with. I hope it will help to keep me better organized so I can be a better artist. The link is an affiliate link but I wouldn't recommend anything unless I truly believed in it. I am still working on completing many of the organization things I learned through out my studio, my closets etc. Its hard work but well worth the rewards. Check this out....
From this to...
I know, impressed right!? I have more just like this but I will share later. I started this in November and worked on a new class every few days. It was great but tough during the holidays, I added some organizational apps on my phone too. Its all part of the new me! 

Before Thanksgiving arrived I made time to finish the new baby's room and mural! Barely made it since they were doing a C section the day after Thanksgiving. I did manage to find time to cook Thanksgiving dinner for 16 people and the next day welcome our newest grand baby to the family. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Jennifer holding Bryce
I took some time to be with Melissa and the baby as Matt dealt with Blake being sick and then him getting sick. It was nice since I was so tired and needed the rest, holding the baby was very relaxing!

 Before the craziness of Christmas was in full swing I had a Art quilt show in Poway to attend, I had two of my art quilts accepted into this amazing show. It was a beautiful exhibit and I was able to connect with some very talented women! 

Then, in a flash it seemed like it was time for Christmas! Did it seem like that extra week we usually have between Thanksgiving and Christmas makes that much of a difference? It did this year, I couldn't believe how fast Christmas seemed to come. I managed to get a bit of baking done,snowballs and peanut brittle are a must have for when my mom arrives. Its her favorite and I love to have it ready for her, she always notices it!  I also received my Twelve Days of Christmas ornaments that hit the shelves for sale this year! I was able to get a few sets from the manufacturer and gave them to my kids for their family tree. I also got the ornament from the Riverside Art Museum that I gave them also, it was my year for ornaments.

Snowballs, a family tradition in our house!

One of my ornaments from my Twelve Days of Christmas design

My mom and sister came down from northern California to spend the holidays with everyone. It was wonderful to see them and to have a few weeks to just be with my mom! I would try to paint in the mornings but really I just spent most of my time with her, shopping, baking, visiting. She is such a blessing to our family and I love her so much! Here she is opening the gift the girls made at the ceramic shop for her and they are so excited to see her reaction.

Mom even got an iphone and finally gave up her flip phone. It is proving to be a challenge and we ended up doing lessons throughout our days together. Then my sister arrived and we all had some wonderful time together, visiting and baking and eating! After mom left to stay at my brothers, my sister and I sat outside in the sunshine one morning and I gave her an art lesson as we had our morning coffee. She loved it and took home her little masterpiece after first making it the wallpaper on her phone!

She was painting berries off of one of my trees.
Christmas Day was full of family and it was close to perfect. I managed to finish the painting for my niece and she loved it!  She is so beautiful and tall everyone thinks she should be a model and she is my moms shadow. She just sticks to her like glue!

I know you are thinking wow, how does she do it all. I am sure if you were to sit down and write down all the things you have done over the last few months you would shock yourself. You will now better understand my need to be very organized and structured. My time is so valuable and limited since I am a full time caregiver on top of it! Phew, enough already. Well with all that was going on I still found some time to work on my new website!! I am happy to see it become a  more professional looking site. After all is said and done it appears that I did manage to still have an artsy Christmas, full of blessings and creative energy. 

My new website for my patterns only is ready to launch and I will be working on my new art website soon, its all very exciting! I will be teaching more this year coming up with all new workshops and letting go of some other things as I make room for these new projects. I have been busy designing, creating and making art for some deadlines that are coming up but I can't share the details yet, its a secret!

I am so excited with all the changes and things that are happening, many blessing to all of you! I so appreciate your visits, the time you take to stop by and comment. To look at my art and read my thoughts. I hope that 2014 will be even better! More posts, more art, more insights and tutorials.
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