Friday, October 20, 2017

The Only Thing Constant Is Change

Hello My Darling Artlings,
I'm Sharing Big Life Changes Yet Again!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Hurricane Irma - Art by Laurie Anne Smith Sikorowski
My Little Hurricane Girl doodled in my art journal while Irma made landfall

It is me, Laurie Anne Smith Sikorowski (Haha, being all fancy and formal-like with my whole name incase you are new to my beloved but often neglected art blurred with lots of randomn life things blog) Well let me see how to start - first a job hunt, then not one but two hurricanes. Angsty Irma, the bully, pretty much affecting all of Florida (and beyond). Nasty timing as I needed to be out of my Key West townhouse by the end of September and the mandatory evacuation made that a strategic nightmare. On the positive, it did push me on to Nashville where I interviewed (a day late, oops, seriously who does this) and seemed to land my dream job! Yay!!! 

Oh, you know those reoccurring gremlins that plague me in my art, yes, the ones that I post about ad nauseam, guess what, they are just as active with my architectural practice. Well, maybe not quite on the doing architecture, I’m pretty secure on that part, but all the people stuff -that’s so so scary. Being seen as likable and competent is surprisingly important to me and self-confidence does not come naturally -but I do feel that I am making progress in this department.

I actually found (once I’d done massive prepping) I enjoyed the interview process. The prepping made me really look at what do I want in a career, as well as who am I, and what are my strengths and weaknesses. A snapshot of what I discovered is that I am a problem solver at heart. I like for my mind to be engaged figuring out some particularly intricate puzzle. I also thrive on building and deepening relationships. Not the let's go to the party and simple start talking to people I don’t know (umm.. like no way) but finding commonality and working together towards a common goal type relationships. And finally, I am inspired by beauty. I want to be surrounded by it and a part of its creation. My definition of beauty is broad and encompasses more that the visually pleasing; it is something deeper that can include a sense of appropriateness or even decay. It is an intangible something, more a feeling. It is easier to know where it is not than to describe what it is (although almost any thing, person, or place can have beauty if you are willing to go deep -but that is a thought ripe for a much longer exploration in later post) 

Adrift - Hurricane Art Journal Page by Laurie Anne Smith Sikorowski
"Adrift" -an art journal page expressing my sense of ununcertainty as I am between homes

Needless to say, September was an emotional rollercoaster. The high of truly sensing God’s hand in my journey and profound feelings of gratitude for the opening and shutting of doors. (I feel so taken care of) I picture myself as a seedling being carefully transplanted where I get just the right amount of sunshine and shade. I am dutifully watered and carefully pruned. I am blessed! What a wonderful time to feel so supported by precious friends and family.

BUT still I struggle with the dreadful imposter syndrome. You know where you are afraid that you are putting on an illusion of being more than who you are and if someone gets to know you better they won't think you are as amazing as you have projected. My insecurities are oozing out again, darn it! Crazy life shake ups tend to bring up the best and the worst of what usually lies dormant inside of us. Change is hard and oh how I like my comfort zone. The unknown is scary. My nature likes the calm and my life is totally not even close to calm at the moment. 

Which brings me to hurricane number two, Nate. How ironic I run from a storm right into another. Luckily Nate was much less destructive. I actually had college friends staying at the house for Nate’s arrival. No, it wasn’t intentional but ended up being fun. Nine of us crazies, playing games and watching the weather channel as the colorful mass scuttled across the tv screen.

Now, I’m heading to Nashville once again. This time to find a new place to call home. All the typical moving fears are out in full force; will I find friends, will I fit in, will I do well at my new job, and so on and so on, but also that excitement and thrill of a new beginning. I got this! Exhilaration and a soaring sense of endless possibilities! Breathe, just breathe!

Sheepish -Art  by Laurie Anne Smith Sikorowski
Sheepish Detail

I thought I’d have a lot of free time to create but so far it hasn’t happened. A couple small canvases before the storms and a few jounal pages with the meager supplies I kept in my small suitcase (yes, the one, I've been living out of for about a month now) Hopefully as I get settled (& my art supplies are unpacked), I’ll be able to do some painting before my new job begins. My fingers are itching for the smooth glide of paint on paper!


Music for today: (I had to go country since I'm about to be Nashville bound)
SaveSave

Saturday, July 1, 2017

An Artful Summary of My Year So Far

Hi! Hola! Nameste! Bonjour! Jambo! Ciao!
Laurie Smith Sikorowski Zen Art Girl

While I've been quite quiet on my blog, it doesn't mean I haven't been playing around in paints. It has been a busy art filled year. Facebook & Instagram have been my posting spots of choice lately. They are so quick & easy. Please follow me on those platformse for more impromptu updates:
https://www.facebook.com/Artfulbitsandbytes/
https://www.instagram.com/artfulbitsandbytes_laurieanne/

Well, let see what I've been doing lately, I've not done any art shows or festivals simply because the logistics of travel and set up (especially with a little 2 seater convertible) haven't been ideal. I do miss them though. I am hoping by this Fall to go to a few galleries and see if I can maybe get some art out there in that way. I may have mentioned this previously but, oh lazy me, hasn't actually done it yet. Wish me luck! I'm kind of nervous about doing this which is probably why I've put it off so long.

So This is going to be mostly a visual thumb through of some artsy highlights month by month:

Laurie Smith Sikorowski Key West Girl
Laurie Smith Sikorowski Art JoyIn January, I painted this girl holding a hen & yes, she has a story. On my way to church (a good 45 minutes from my house), my bug went up in smoke and these two sweet Latino men in an old pickup came to my rescue. I had to carry this big rooster in my lap as they drove on to church. Of course, I just had to incorporate this in to my artwork.

In February, I got back to a large half done canvas I've had for a long time. Well it is still not finished but one more layer added and lots of joy playing large after working on a lot of little paintings.
Delray Beach Art Retreat

Delray Beach Art Retreat Art JournalDelray Beach Art Retreat Art Journal Teesha Moore
In March, the first of two awesome art retreats. This one at Delray Beach with Dyan Reavely and Teesha Moore as the instructors. I made lots of trading cards and had a great time. I also got a great roomie and wonderful new art friend, Tina in the process.
Art Friends

In April,  the second art retreat was with the fabulous art gang that I first met at Artiest Rising last year. This was a very different kind of retreat, more "here is all my supplies, have at it" sort of thing. I had a blast. Lots of supplies, I can live without like pumice medium and tar medium but also a few new must haves, like this liquid paint squeeze pen thingy and making my own stamps.
Mixed Media Art Journal Spread

In May and June,  I mostly worked in some of my art journals. I still haven't quite finished any of them and am getting a bit impatient. with myself.  I'm playing around with some more abstract less figurative works. Lots of ideas, just got to get them down on paper!
Mixed Media Art Journal Texture Page

And now it is the first of July so who knows where the artful winds will blow! I'll try and pop in a little more often! I'm all twitchy to share a how-to artsy video soon. XOXO

Music for Today's Post: An eclectic trio, lol!
Little River Band - Reminiscing
Harry Styles - Sign of the Times
Ray Charles - Hit The Road Jack

Art Journaler Art Dork Extraordinaire Laurie
Me - Art Dork Extraordinaire 




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: