Saturday, December 10, 2016

Fridamania

What is it about Frida Kahlo that resonates so? 

Frida Kahlo Quote

She was passionate, determined, and vulnerable! She managed to live a brief but amazingly bittersweet beautiful imperfect life while often in intense physical pain. A grand romance, a driving cause, a tragic turn.

I love seeing all the interpretations she has inspired. Could she be the most painted woman of this century, particularly by women artists? I would not be surprised. She holds some sort of fascination within our imaginations. 


She represents overcoming as well as succumbing. In her, we see many of our own fears and longings. It is no wonder that different diverse groups find an affinity to her art. Sure we have mythologized Frida's admittedly flawed life but because she shared her inner life so honestly, we feel that in some way we are intimate with her. That we know her. 


This represents just a few wonderful portraits from amazing artists I've found primarily through Pinterest. I've not yet painted my own portrait of Frida but I just know that I will. The pull is just too strong.

Frida Self Portrait
Frida Self Portrait

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Getting My Sketching On!

Hi sweet little neglected bloglet!  I'm b a a a c k !

Laurie Sikorowski Art

Honestly it has been awhile and lots of odds and ends have been going on.  Let's see, on the arts side, I am doing Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way". I started an on-line group, "Exploring The Artist's Way" to go through it with (can you say accountability)  There is about 60 participants, of course realistically I'm sure much fewer will stick with it.  It has been interesting.

The Artist's Way

The primary activities are morning pages (a 3 page long brain drain each morning) and a weekly artist's date (a solo creative outing) and weekly writing tasks to go with the readings.  It has been more time intensive than I anticipated.  I'm not sure how much I've gotten out of it yet but I plan on following through as much as a tangible show of will power as creativity unblocking.

Laurie Sikorowski Art

I've also been in a major reading and sketching mode. Figured I'd share a few here. Not even Art Journal drawing, more random doodles on whatever I can get my hand on. I really should keep true drawing paper with me as usually I'm drawing on grid or lined paper but of course the advantage is it makes me stay loose and not precious which is really nice.

Laurie Sikorowski Art

Finally, the most exciting general life thing is that I just got home from Nashville for Thanksgiving! Such a wonderful time with family! It is what I miss the most about living so far away (yes, even more than my bath tub) My girls will be down in Key West for Christmas so even more wonderfulness to come. There is nothing in this world that I care for more than my kids.  I am so proud of the amazing young women my daughters have become.  Yet seeing them bloom and fly, reminds me just how fast time is zooming by and how important it is to make each moment count.  Goodness, it feels like they were my messy little munchkins only a few years ago.

Thanksgiving 2016

On the topic of time rushing past -sometimes when I see myself, I am surprised, I expect to see a face maybe 20 years younger.  I don't think you ever actually think of yourself as older (well except maybe when the aches and pains kick in) What a mixed blessing aging is.  I do think that I've finally started becoming comfortable with myself, well at least most days anyway. My next goal is to try to become more comfortable in my actual skin - my body issues are so big. Literally as well as figuratively. besides wanting to become physically smaller, I want to let it matter less.  Not judge myself so harshly.  Well, that will be an on going task but hopefully this time I'll make it stick!

Laurie Sikorowski

I'm going to try and be more regular in my posting so I'll be checking back in soon.  Of course, if you like you can catch me on Facebook as Artfulbitsandbytes and Instagram as as artfulbitsandbytes_laurieanne  -I tend to be a bit more active on these venues and would love to connect with you there.

Music for November:
Thanksgiving Song - Mary Chapin Carpenter

(Oh Yes, we went roller skating in Nashville & it was not quite as easy as I remembered but still just as fun -hence the following roller disco youtube links, lol!)

So Electric - Lifelike
Moves - Tahuna Breaks
Get Lucky - Daft Punk

Ciao Bella! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Karissa

Hi Ya'll! I just wanted to update with progress and final photos of the custom piece I mentioned in my last post. This will be a quickie. First the background, lots of yummy color and texture!

Laurie Sikorowski - Mixed Media Background
 
Next, I start ghosting out my girl and horse. (First time painting a horse -totally enjoyed the challenge!) I honestly could have kept it close to this and been happy but I felt for this particular painting defining more features was appropriate.
 
Laurie Sikorowski - Mixed Media Painting
 
So more paint: butterfly, feathers & flowers! Then the words: sparkle & shine as well as lots of literal sparkle courtesy of my glittery gel pen and glow-in the dark paint for the stars. Finally some turquoise ribbon collaged on. This photo makes the face texture appear exaggerated which doesn't really happen in real life. It is on a nice thick panel board so the image continues on through the sides. Somewhere I have a much better final photo but for now this is pretty close. If I find it I'll add it if I can in the comments.

 
 
Well, that is my share for today! Serendipitously, the young lady is up for a reward for her horsemanship. How awesome is that -I had no idea at the conceptual stage. It is now with its new owner and she loves it (Yay! Yay! Yay!)
 
Laurie Sikorowski - Mixed Media Painting
 
Here is my sketch that I shared in the previous post so you can see how she evolved. Pretty Fun, huh?
 
 


Friday, August 5, 2016

Just A Blogg'n on this Fine Fine Day!!

Hello Sweet Sunshine!  Hello Beautiful Day!


Wow! What a wonderful morning -lazy and long, my very favorite kind! I've got a bacon and rolls cooking so it smells divine in my little townhouse. Very homey and comforting. Goodness, don't smells just take you places. I remember camping with my family while growing up; breakfast cooked outside on a small Coleman camp stove -mmmmm! Why is it that eating outside makes food taste so much better? What fabulous family times: the good- laughter, games, such silliness & the well umm -yet anther Confederate battlefield, shivering our butts off (Dad's shaving cream freezing on his face), even a fox hunt through our camping site, yeah, my dad kind of believed wherever you stopped could be a perfectly fine place to pitch a tent (like within a step or two of an unmarked cliff which we didn't notice till the next morning or the edge of a school playground waking to the sound of a mass of kids walking to school) Oh but goodness, it all makes me SMILE now!


I've got some serious family-needing fever going on lately as well as an intense itch to travel! Time is just flying by. The year is swiftly flowing like sands through an hourglass (get the cheesy tv reference -lol) but it is so true. I've got a longing to flip that sucker back over. Two years since Mom unexpectedly joined Dad in Heaven. It is still surreal. I catch myself wanting to call and share. I miss that unconditional love! I hope my girls know that is how I feel for them. That BIG MOTHER LOVE -it is one of those things you can't adequately put in to words; it has to be felt to be fully understood!


Ok, now to a little artsy stuff before I close & I am SUPER EXCITED about it! I've just started a commissioned piece for the mom of a lovely young lady with down syndrome. My challenge is keeping it cute and whimsical without either minimizing or over emphasizing the characteristics of the down syndrome. She appears to be a remarkable girl who is patriotic, loves country music, rides horses, and has a special affinity for Texas. Her sparkly personality really jumps out of her photos and I so want to produce a piece of art that captures her essence and of course brings joy to her and her mom. I've gotten my initial sketch approved and am now working on the background. It'll be yummy with lots of texture and happy colors. (finding unique color combinations and coming upon fabulously saturated colors makes my heart beat faster -even just imagining them lifts my spirits, crazy, huh?) I've included a horse in the composition. This is going to be fun as I've never tried a whimsical horse before. May take a few practice pages in the art journal before starting the actual one.

Well, I'd better get going. Busy day ahead with lots to do! (Oh and to throw an totally unrelated item in the mix -I'm volunteering in Fairyland for the Midsummer's Night Dream event tomorrow night. How appropriate!!! I actually convinced my younger brother I had an identical twin fairy sister when I was little, heck, I almost convinced myself! Mom would have gotten a kick out of this)

Ok, going for real now! Have an amazingly artful day! Adios! Hasta Luego!

Laurie Sikorowski
Me, chillaxing to a little jazzy morning music mix
after my shower while waiting for my clothes to dry!
Post''n just 'cause I can -LOL!

MUSIC FOR TODAY!

Morning Mix:
(David Lewis Luong is a member of the 'Music for Good' charity program on Reverbnation. For every song you buy from David's Reverbnation site (http://www.reverbnation.com/lewisluong), 50% of the money you spend on his songs will be donated to a charity organisation -almost an hour of music )
Breakfast Jazz by David Lewis Luong

Evening Mix:
(Beautiful quite long instrumental playlist of various artists -almost 4 hours of music)
Epic Fantasy Mix


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

sALt wATeR

The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea!

Laurie Sikorowski - Salt Water Mermaid Art Journal Page Detail
Detail from my Art Journal Page "Salt Water" -follow the italic captions for progress comments!
It is sort of set up so you can read my writing on the painting's progress separately from my regular post
(or at the same time) -I hope this makes sense. Well, enjoy y'all!

My thoughts on TEARS, LOVE, & LIVING with progress pics of my latest art journal page.
I spent a wonderful afternoon overlooking the water at the marina on Marathon Key with my travel set of watercolors, pencil, white paint and black pen simply allowing myself to get lost in the moment. My Artful Bliss -no agenda, no timeframe, no pressure!
Laurie's Sketchbook
Here is a page from my sketchbook that I did probably a month or so ago. I've had this one semi-submerged
girl in the back of my mind for quite awhile (even before I drew her in my sketchbook)
There is so much symbolism and emotion that I feel it can convey.
So on Friday morning, I had a work meeting down the Keys and I decided that I would pack a little travel art bag
so that after my meeting I could find a quaint bar or cafe along the water and art journal till my heart's content!
And that, my friends is exactly what I did.

You know, It's funny how often tears show up in my artwork -well more often in sketches than final pieces but still I find it odd because I tend to be a very cheerful person.  In fact, I don't recall crying much at all when I as a child. I was quite stoic. I think I've become more of a softie lately though as age and experience have simultaneously broken me down and wised me up. You see, tears to me represent letting go which in turn means not being in control. Now that's tough as I REALLY like being in control! I mean, I know I'm not actually in control -It's just an illusion. You see, I'm blessed to have a faith were I can trust that my sovereign God ultimately has got it all together and he has all the omnis covered (omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, ...) so I don't need to worry about anything no matter how small or how huge. But knowing and acting on that knowing are two very different things! 
WIP Painting by the water
First I sketched in pencil, then I began using a couple water color crayons and my water colors to paint.
I ended up not really using the crayons much as I prefer them when blended with acrylic paint (which I didn't bring)
I found that when using them with only water, they were a bit too grainy for my tastes.

It can be hard to understand the twists and turns of life from this side of eternity -sort of like standing too close to impressionistic painting. It just looks like a lot of multicolored dots. It takes that distance and perspective to see the complete picture and how each spot of color works into the whole. It can be so easy while in the midst of the black dot to think it's all dark even though its just one speck of your life. I believe that's what makes age and experience such great teachers. For once we've gone through the rainbow (& eventually most of us will spend a little time in all the different hues), we can begin to see others (maybe going through a blue or purple period) with kinder eyes. For without having been there, we may intellectually understand where they're coming from but we can't "feel" it. I love this part of getting older. Honestly, I do!
WIP Laurie Anne Smith Sikorowski Art Journal Page Watercolor Girl
Next I paint the rest of my girl as well as the sky and water. It has been quite a while since I've played
with my watercolors. It was fun changing it up a bit! I also had a couple of copic markers (a blue, pinkish red, and yellow)
 that I also used to amp up the brightness. They are pretty cool -you add some marks then use your water saturated
 brush over them to spread, just like water color. They are intense though, so you have to be careful and
make sure you don't let them dry before you start to swoosh the color around. I  really like the
mood I was able to create this way and if I didn't already have a direction I wanted to take my page, I would have
enjoyed continuing on in this soft, less illustrative, more painterly way.
(Where's Waldo moment -find the little seagull, I caught in the picture as he nose dived down to catch his lunch)
My thinking has always been the core of my identity/my personality. Emotions on the other hand can throw me for a loop! I've never fully understood them properly (yeah, as if there's anything proper about emotions - LOL! They are such messy critters) Outwardly, I tend to remain calm like a glassy lake but below the still surface, storms can brew and I'll have no idea why or for what. It is hard to sort them out, more like an internal whirlpool sucking everything in. Now for those deep, bone-deep emotions like love -oh, I feel them so intensely! I think that's why when life throws a curve ball and dreams are shattered it hurts so much. It's why it is easier to create a protective armor of disassociation than risk the pain of feeling too much, but man that is no way to live. Passion can't fully emerge when bound by fear.
Tears can help dissolve this prickly coating, we have  (or atleast me for sure) built up cocoon-like around our hearts. The tears can wash away the thick layer of debris which clouds our vision so we can see clearly again. I often go to Saturday night church because it has an extended music time at the end. It is less scripted and more impromptu. I find it a meaningful time for both prayers and tears. Beautiful tears, the quiet soft ones that slowly run down my cheeks taking away the sadness and bitterness and making way for joy in that heartbreaking rush of awe at the every day miracles and countless blessings that the dust of the daily grind too often obscures. 

WIP Laurie Anne Smith Sikorowski Art Journal Page Salt Water
Now the scary part, adding blue to my girl's lower face and dripping blue from one eye!
Notice the addition off a cold beer to help me chill and relax -lol!
Seriously, I had a slight panic attack! I just had to take the leap as once I started the blue there was no going back.
When painting I almost always get to a point where a bit of fear comes over me and
I am sure that I am fixing to simply ruin it all. I've learned that this is the time to simply go for it
because if I stop then and come back later, I will inevitably find myself in full blown artist's block.

I know my thoughts are anything but linear -more scattered and tangent (no surprise), kind of like how you go to Google a simple tuna casserole recipe and hour later you are engrossed in an article about DNA enzymes. True story! But now what was I trying to say? -thoughts about tears, aging, living with my whole heart as well as my head or something to that effect. I think Brene Brown sums up so much of what has been swimming around in my head lately in her quote below. (Isn't it amazing how when you are thinking about something, inevitably the perfect song or quote or picture magically pops in to your life?)

WIP Laurie Anne Smith Sikorowski Art Journal Page Salt Water
I added more blue watercolor to darken and white to highlight the tears
and then outlined in back sharpie paint pen above the waterline and painted in the
hair lines, fish, lighthouse, and waves below. I used gauche paint for the white.
"I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:
I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt –has to go.
Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever.
Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.''

WIP Laurie Anne Smith Sikorowski Art Journal Page Mermaid
I scanned and up the intensity of the blue so I could print and
journal in white once I was back at my little art studio. Once done, I cut away the white edge.

Pretty good stuff, huh? Now the hard part; taking the advise and acting on it! We can do it! I know we can! Curl up, have a good cry and get ready for great things, for they are a'coming!
 
 Song for Today: (I just love this one)

Laurie Anne Smith Sikorowski Art Journal Page Salt Water Quote
A few more words, lines to the sky, details to the fish and ta-da, here is a
photo of my completed art journal page!

And incase your in the mood for more, here is an additional Trio of Songs to enjoy: 



Saturday, June 25, 2016

Melody

I just listed several 6x9 prints of my original acrylic mixed media mini-paintings in my Etsy store (after much procrastination) including this one of Melody, a sweet girl with flowing patchwork hair and a wistful look in her eyes. She is happiest when surrounded by music. It is her comfort and passion -& yes, I tend to describe my art girls as if they are real, but honestly as I am painting them they really do take on their very own personalities.
Melody -Art by Laurie Sikorowski
Sometimes my girls paint quick (ok, not often but sometimes) Melody like most took awhile for me to get just right. At times, I have a hard time painting over my backgrounds because I put a great deal of effort into them but when only a little peaks out, it can actually have more impact. The background is what influenced the direction this little painting took. It reminded me of well worn cotton fabric and old time patchwork quilts. (I love LOVE patchwork quilts by the way) So from the patchwork idea came the inspiration of Dolly Parton's 'Coat of Many Colors" and music in general. Also while Melody and Dolly may not have very similar outward appearances, I hope she captures an inkling of Dolly's beautiful sparkling spirit.

Switching gears, I wanted to take a moment to note that music is often an influence on my artwork. It has a way of making me feel everything a little bit more intensely. It can take me to faraway lands or deep inside myself. Music is for me, real life magic. If I could have one (or two depending on how you take it) special gifts it would be to have the ability to sing beautifully and play a musical instrument but as it is I can only peck an out of tune piano hymn and screech a bit of "joyful" noise! Lol! But man can I ever appreciate the musical talent in others! I am a total fangirl of all kinds of music -seriously from heavy metal to contemporary christian to classical to country to everything in-between!

Progress Pics of the Mixed Media Art -Melody

Inspirational Quote: 
"Music is what feelings sound like." ~Author Unknown

Music for today:
"Coat Of Many Colors"
by Dolly Parton

Back through the years
I go wonderin' once again
Back to the seasons of my youth
I recall a box of rags that someone gave us
And how my momma put the rags to use
There were rags of many colors
Every piece was small
And I didn't have a coat
And it was way down in the fall
Momma sewed the rags together
Sewin' every piece with love
She made my coat of many colors
That I was so proud of
As she sewed, she told a story
From the bible, she had read
About a coat of many colors
Joseph wore and then she said
Perhaps this coat will bring you
Good luck and happiness
And I just couldn't wait to wear it
And momma blessed it with a kiss

My coat of many colors
That my momma made for me
Made only from rags
But I wore it so proudly
Although we had no money
I was rich as I could be
In my coat of many colors
My momma made for me

So with patches on my britches
Holes in both my shoes
In my coat of many colors
I hurried off to school
Just to find the others laughing
And making fun of me
In my coat of many colors
My momma made for me

And oh I couldn't understand it
For I felt I was rich
And I told them of the love
My momma sewed in every stitch
And I told 'em all the story
Momma told me while she sewed
And how my coat of many colors
Was worth more than all their clothes

But they didn't understand it
And I tried to make them see
That one is only poor
Only if they choose to be
Now I know we had no money
But I was rich as I could be
In my coat of many colors
My momma made for me
Made just for me

Monday, May 16, 2016

W E D D I N G B E L L S

This past weekend, my amazing daughter, Autumn married Matt Brasher in a beautiful outdoor ceremony at my brother David's house in Nashville!  What a joyful occasion!!!

First Dance
First Dance
Here is a very quick wedding recap with a few photos (just phone snapshots -I can't wait to see the real one's from the photographers) Be prepared, you know I'm going to be sharing more.

First off, this was a major DIY deal but everything came together perfectly! I flew up Wednesday afternoon and until Saturday morning, it was non-stop, From etching the mason jars to the making the games, photobooth, tablescapes, painting signs, cards, globe, arranging the flowers, hanging the lights,... Autumn and Matt even built the tables themselves! (I didn't take many pics but take my word, WOW -just wow! All the family pitched in. Thoughts of Mom, Dad, and Patrick weren't far from my mind. (It was Mom's birthday) Oh, she would have really loved all this.

Wedding Preparations

Friday afternoon was the rehearsal and then rehearsal dinner. Mexican -super spicy & yummy! Matt and Autumn's friends were so adorable coming in from literally all over the globe. As for me, exhaustion was definitely setting in. We continued working on Do-It-Yourself projects until past midnight.

Rehearsal Dinner
The "girls" stayed at a precious bungalow airbnb Friday night. Autumn had the next day totally planned out. First hair (& Autumn's make-up) then nails then late lunch then girl photos then the wedding. Whew, non-stop! I was so impressed at how calm Autumn remained!!! She looked exquisite -like an elegant fairy princess!


Autumn and Carey Pre-Wedding Pampering
Autumn Rose and Carey Anne pausing after a bit of pre-wedding pampering
Finally, the WEDDING!!! The ceremony was so beautiful! The bridesmaids were in long dresses of grey tones, the groomsmen in vests and bow ties (handmade by Autumn of course) The bouquets were gorgeous in whites, creams, lavender, and soft peaches (created by my brother Patrick's friend, Karen) The flower girl was adorable throwing and picking up rose petals. Pete and I accompanied Autumn down the aisle while an acoustic version of "Here comes the sun" played. (OMG which just came on the radio right now! Goosebumps, all up my arms) A good friend of theirs officiated. They emotionally recited heartfelt vows. They looked so happy!!!!

Mr. & Mrs. Brasher
Photographer's Picture of Autumn and Matt, the new Mr. & Mrs. Brasher!
The reception was fabulous. For the social hour, live music played while photos of the bridal party were taken. Lots of games were played (Peter made an pretty amazing large scale set of Jenga) Pictures taken (I did a pretty kickass photo booth), Popcorn with lots of tasty sprinkle and drizzle options was devoured, and fancy waters, lemonade, wine, and cold beer was sipped. The food was honestly some of the very best I've had at any type event -a buffet of Bar-b-q brisket & chicken, corn pudding, greens, and scalloped sweet potatoes catered from Bacon & Caviar. Yum! Seriously my mouth is watering right now as I type. We added a great big salad -no one went hungry that is for sure! Then DANCING! I love it when everyone dances and man oh man oh boy did they -young & old alike! A DJ manned the music and the dance floor stayed packed. Like -who knew my nephew had such impressive dance moves!


Then there was the late night milk and cookies. (Yes, David, the little milk bottles  were precious!) Oh and an unexpected hit with my amazing (slightly umm... unusual) friends -the Fire Pit! Yea, kind of cleaned out all the combustibles with reach including the remaining popcorn.



What a wonderful wedding -and now my baby girl is all married! I am so proud of the lovely young woman she has become. I wish her and Matt the most Magical of Marriages -full of Adventure, Laughter, and Love!

Today's Song:
"Hear Comes The Sun" -George Harrison & Paul Simon

Extra Music Just Because:
"Have I told You Lately That I Love You" -Rod Stewart
"Ring of Fire: -Johnny Cash
"Come Away With Me" -Norah Jones
"Hooked On A Feeling" -Blue Swede

And a Few Love Quotes:
“There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.” – Martin Luther
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it be rather a moving sea between the shores of your souls.” – Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
“There is no remedy for love but to love more.” – Henry David Thoreau
“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.” – Plato
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” -Henry Ford
"The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart." -Helen Keller
"Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That's relativity." -Albert Einstein
"9 Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. 10 If one falls, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he’s in trouble.11 Also, on a cold night, two under the same blanket gain warmth from each other, but how can one be warm alone?" -Ecclesiates 4:9-11
 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails..”  - I Corinthians 13: 4-8

Autumn Rose Sikorowski Brasher - Wedding Day 2016