Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bye Bye 2013


Art by Laurie Sikorowski
Truth Seeker
2013 is winding up. I can hardly believe it. TIME goes so quickly. Life seems to speed up exponentially each year. Maybe it has to do with the percentage of time spent in proportion to our probably time left here on earth? I don’t know, but it sure makes you want to make each moment count.

I remember when summers felt like forever and now I blink and another Christmas is here and gone. I tend to figure my age counting up from the year I was born because otherwise my guesses would be all over the place. Funny, my mind still thinks I am barely out of my twenties. Friends tell me they feel the same so I bet it is a pretty universal feeling.

We forget we are finite. Beginning, middle, and end. I didn’t plan this post to go in this direction but year’s end tends to bring about REFLECTION. An accounting if you will. What have I done so I’ll know where to go. Who am I? Where am I going? .......................

Such deep questions could take a bit more time to PONDER than I have at the moment but maybe a few basic about-me questions and a few art related ones could be fun to share. I'll try and post a more in-depth artsy set later. So here goes for now: (I will try not to over qualify my answers, just know they change amazingly often and even the simplest could get an annoyingly long explanation if I’m not careful)

What and why do I like to create?
Quick gut answer: What- Anything with Heart! Why- It feeds and fills my Soul. I believe God gives us each unique talents and desires and we have a responsibility to nurture and develop them.

Now a few ramblings and specifics on the matter -I particularly love to DRAW to people -always have. Ever since I can remember, I have been pouring over picture books /catalogues /magazines (basically anything with pictures of people in it) I also made lots and lots of paper dolls. I would imagine all sorts of scenarios for my MAKE-BELIEVE families; great grand adventures and mythologies, multiple generations deep. 

Also my head doesn't keep images of specific people very well which may contribute some to my fascination with FACES. This can be very annoying at restaurants as I can never keep up with who is my waiter/waitress unless I very consciously mentally describe them to myself.  I will sometimes introduce myself multiple times to the same person or unintentionally ignore an acquaintance when walking or driving by.  I've learned to compensate pretty well though.

Another part of why I create I think comes from my INSATIABLE CURIOSITY and desire to seek beauty and meaning in life. Being exposed to new ideas, images and experiences gives me such overwhelming pleasure.  I am as much an admirer of art as an artist. I'll post some specific inspirations and inspiring artists in a later blog (I think it would be worth its own post -I'll try and include some links) 

When you add this propensity to observe faces and my fascination with both the natural and spiritual world with my daydreaming tendencies and ta-da ART just happens. It is just the way I like to share my inner world. It can't imagine life without art.

Now a few fun little questions
(Well I think they are fun to share anyway)

What are my favorite numbers? 
3,7,45, 81, & 265.

What are my favorite colors? 
All! Ok, if I must narrow it down, Candy Apple Red, and Changeable Shades of Pale (think snow at sunset).

What is my favorite type of music? 
This one really changes a lot but today I am feeling Carole King, Fun, Billy Joel, Imagine Dragons and 3rd Day. But I truly can’t pick a genre as I honestly love them all; oldies, new, country, classical, techno, alternative, pop, bluegrass,.... I just love MUSIC and I am in awe of those who imagine and create it as well as those who give it life through instruments or voice. A gift, I sadly lack.

What are some of your favorite activities to do besides making art?
Here are just a few -I like to travel and explore new places. I especially enjoy walking through museums, galleries, and botanical gardens.  I like to try new restaurants and recipes.  I like to rock hop streams and walk in the woods, particularly with a camera in hand.  I like to play games and spend time with family and friends.  I like to plan and design buildings and spaces.  I like to spend intimate quiet times in prayer and joyful exuberant times in praise.  I like to dance and scuba dive (although I don't get to very often). Finally I like a nice long bubble bath with scented candles, music, favorite beverage (coffee, beer, or champagne depending) possibly a good book or maybe even good company.

Last question of the day: What would be the perfect gift -not a big grand one like salvation of the world, curing cancer, winning the lottery, etc -just a selfish little desire?
Mine would be 24 hours in Micheals or other Arts and Crafts Store with free access to everything for me and a few friends. Artful Bliss!

This has gotten a little longer than I intended so I'll wrap up -but I wasn't able to post over Christmas so I'm giving myself a little leeway. I hope everyone has an absolutely wonderful New Year's Eve and a most Artful 2014!

Music for Reflection: Carole King's 1971 Tapestry
(What a Great Album!)

Monday, December 16, 2013

ACEO Addiction

I just finished posting several of my ACEOs on Etsy.  These little "snapshots" are such fun to draw.  I can explore ideas or poses relatively quickly and without my usual mess.  Thus allowing me to continue to procrastinate the final bit of paper organization in my studio.  Here is a peek of a series of girls in black and white.
Laurie Smith Sikorowski
And below a few that I've taken in to Photoshop and colorized bits.  I declare I get such glee playing with hues, saturation, contrast, inverts, etc.  Pushing the little sliders around is simply addictive.  It reminds me of watching a sunset -the sky goes from light to color after color then dark.  Mesmerizing.  I can entertain myself for hours.
Laurie Smith Sikorowski
I know I have a tendency to overdo the color's intensity sometimes. Yes, I can border on the glaring. My carefully arranged sophisticated palette I so struggle to maintain (LOL) disintegrates in to the mind of a five year old. HAPPY HOT PINKS, VIVID BLUES, and oh my even the occasional NEON GREEN. All the joys of flipping up the top on the 96 mega pack of Crayola crayons back in Kindergarten. Remember the one with the built-in sharpener. Certainly my variations are not all "correct" or even arful but I do hope they make you smile :)

Have a very happy day!
Music to Enjoy: Cyndi Lauper's - Girls Just Want to Have Fun



Thursday, December 12, 2013

Earth Mother

Womanhood ArtworkJust a quick little post to share a sketch I did his week. 

It is funny as I get older I am much better able to appreciate the wonder of womanhood. Women in particularly I think mellow and bloom as they age. Each stage of life is amazing. Youth has its obvious attributes but I am finding that the subtler ones like perspective and confidence which tend to come a little later are also just as satisfying -at least until I catch a reflective glimpse of myself as I walk through town and then Oh my that perspective can slip a bit. 

But mostly I am good with it all, brambles, thorns, and berries.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Abundance and Gratefulness

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Autumn Art
Nature's Blessings: Autumn Grace

What a wonderful day! A day when we in the United States celebrate all our blessings. A time to be grateful for the abundance of blessings we enjoy. It is also a time for family. Minor disagreements and personality quirks are put aside and we reconnect. It matters not whether your family is of blood, decision, or circumstance.

Do not be alone today. Loneliness is a choice.  (I am not naturally social so I understand it is not always easy -but so necessary and from such a small seed of effort, blessings will bloom. I promise.) Choose to cultivate joy. Cherish relationships and mend rifts. I keep the quote "It is better to be kind than to be right." on my desktop and try to remember it when I so want to put in the last word.

Today you just might need to broaden your usual definition of family and let it include those who may need you most. Help serve at a homeless shelter, visit a nursing home, take a treat to someone who has to work today. You know, if we trace our family tree far enough back, you'll find we are all related and humanity is not a bad family to belong to. Sure there a few black blots but there are also some amazing moments as well.

My personal blessing are countless (seriously countless -too many to count, we are talking infinity and beyond) but I thought I'd list just a few of the biggies. Just so you don't think I am too Pollyanna (which I have been told I can be -annoyingly so I am occasionally told) I do get in funks (remember the computer post) and have to fight the dull gray of melancholy. I sometimes get anxious and even when I know -I really KNOW how incredibly blessed I am I fight discontentment and impatience. 

So here we go with a highly abbreviated list:

I am thankful for my Dad. That he is here with us this Thanksgiving -it has been a tough and exhausting few months and I am so grateful that Dad is still fighting and continue to pray for healing.

I am thankful for my Mom. What a strong woman she is. An inspiration and best friend.

I am thankful for my daughters, Autumn Rose and Carey Anne. Sometimes my heart hurts because the love I have for them is almost too big for it to hold. I am so proud of them and so honored to be their Mom.

I am thankful to live in a country that even with all its issues is still one of, if not the greatest in the world. I am truly blessed to have been born here where there is such privilege and freedom. May I never become jaded or take the responsibility which comes from such an undeserved blessing lightly.

I am thankful for my beautiful home, secure job, and healthy body. I may complain but I am grateful.

I am thankful for my crazy wonderful diverse loving and beloved extended family. I can't wait for many of them to grace my home for this upcoming feast.

Finally and most importantly, I am thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ. I am grateful for a God who sent his son to pay for my sins and the deposit of the Holy Spirit which guides me daily with a desire to know, glorify, mirror his holiness.

Have an incredible Thanksgiving. Eat lots, love lots and live abundantly!

Greeting from just a few of the clan last Thanksgiving.






Sunday, November 17, 2013

So Much & So Many


Oh little blog, I know you are intended to be all about art, but my life is such a mix that I feel you will be to. 

Banner Bird


I once tried to separate my notebooks in to tidy compartmentalized groups, needless to say it didn't work. Now they are a delightful mix -mostly sketches and prayers but also to-do lists, budgets, floor plans, recipes, important numbers, descriptions of future possible projects, and anything else that I am compelled to download from my brain (sometimes bordering on the indecipherable as I've grabbed a pen in the dark at 2am) My notebooks are sometimes lined, sometimes gridded, and sometimes plain. Homemade, bought, found and gifted. There is no chronological order in my notebooks /journals /sketchbooks. I don't actually start them on the first page, more often than not it is somewhere in the middle. At times, I write upside down or sideways and occasionally on top of previous notes with a writing instrument of another color. There are arrows and stars. Names of blogs I want to visit and medias I want to try out. They are not neat, words are crossed out and there are more mis-spellings that I care to admit. And of course there are Drawings, lots and lots of Drawings.

My notebooks are a micro version of my heart and head. The good, the bad, and the uninspired.


I really started started sketching and journalling about the time my marriage was falling apart. I needed a place of release and retreat. I do have one journal which is primarily writing and actually written in sequence day 1 to day 365. It is bright red and from the first year that my husband moved out. It was such a painful time and I didn't want to contaminate the rest of my notebooks. I still keep a mostly writing diary at my bedside table (along with at least one of my other journals) but its not used that much any more. It is just not as necessary as it was during that time. Funny -I still remember the first line I wrote in it. "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." (Yes, I know this is plagiarized -but it is ok in a personal journal. Sometimes other people just happen upon the perfect words first)  That line is still so true. Each day is hard and frustrating but each day is also wonderful and amazing. It just depends on what color glasses I've put on that morning.

That first year alone (well, as alone as you ever are with two teenage daughters) taught me so much. That my God loves me more than my mind can even wrap around. That I am capable. That just because my dreams were shattered doesn't mean I can't find new ones. It was hard to let go of the illusions. I am a sucker for fairytales and they typically end .....happily ever after. I had to redefine my happily ever after. (not that I've really figured it out but I'm getting there.) I also rediscovered my art and my passion for creating.

I am still rediscovering what makes me happy, what I want, who I am, and who I want to be. It is a process and I am enjoying the journey. I will live with abandon!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

After the Festival

Wow, I am exhausted. The Peter Anderson Festival was really fun although Saturday I was so braindead from trying to get everything ready the previous night that I can barely remember anything. Saturday night I rested so Sunday I was a little more alert. I met a lot of super nice folks. I think that was a real highlight.

Setup was much easier than I expected. The tent worked perfectly. I hadn't realized that there would be traffic on both sides which meant I had to do a bit of adjusting on my layout (during my completely braindead phase, ouch) so the flow I had thought through days ago just went out the window. I'd definitely make a few changes if I do another double sided show so that the art pieces next to one another made a little more sense. I have such diverse styles from graphic to grundgy and from whimsical to abstract to surreal. There is an undercurrent of similarity but how you see the pieces does affect the overall impression. Always room for improvement.

I am completely enamored with Ocean Springs. It has such a great downtown, full of a very cool energy. Being around art and artists just makes me feel good.... joyful and buoyant even through the fog of sleep deprivation.

A few snippets which stood out -art trading with Erica (Gosh, I adore her art and will post a pic and link when I have unpacked my stuff) So much fun and she knows all about the latest mixed media supplies. Erica Girl - we will definitely have to get together for an artsy playdate.

Next, the art journalers that came by the tent. Yeah, what wonderful women! I love to journal (ok, most of mine are more picture than words but still) It feeds my soul and helps me process my emotions. My art journals are my playground and a safe place to experiment. It is where I try new techniques, release pent up anxieties and explore difficult feelings. They are also where I can be silly or trivial without my inner critic lashing out. I've seen other people's art journals on line but it was exciting to meet other crazy journalers in person. I swear there is a bizarre bond there. You journalers really make me smile. I would love to see your art journals one day :)


Next I thought I'd share a bit about the making my banner. Yes, this is yet another rambly post -& guess what -it is probably not the last. I've been meaning share as I was going along but for some reason I have have trouble getting my words and pictures on the same computer at the same time. Anyway back to the banner. I thought it turned out really quite nice. Reminded me how much I want to get into fiber creations and art quilts one day (once I've taught myself how to sew) I started with scrap fabric, mostly my Mom's from scraps from aprons and curtains and such but also my old jeans, shirt, even my Dad's undies then supplemented with some printed cotton on sale from Handcock Fabrics in Daphne. The bird background is actually an old stained shower curtain, I drew on -It was the only large piece I could find around the house. (Thank goodness I tend to be a packrat)


The banner idea was subliminally inspired by amish bird and heart designs. I say subliminally because I had already sketched out my birds and was playing around with what to use as the center image when I first thought of the amish designs that I had seen a few years ago while visiting my brother Patrick  in Pennsylvania. Then I noticed that the blanket my father was wrapped up in also had a two birds with a center heart on it. Funny even though you think you are being all original and everything... coming up with something new, ha, its been done before. Once you've done it, then all of a sudden you see similarities all around. (I know I've posted on this before but it still amazes me)

Bird Banner

And back to the banner again... I'd love to add painted outlines to the birds and flying heart -make it pop off the background more and blend with the pendant letters better. Time just didn't allow for this show but I think I will finish it up before the next one. I'd love to get all fancy too -adding some stitching and embelllishments. We will see.

Next is to organize my studio (again) You should see the mess! Fabric, paper, paints everywhere. Varnish my art blocks. Get more artwork on to my etsy store. Apply for a few shows. Then take a breath. Ahhhhhhh.......

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Happy Place


I am trying to get everything together for the Peter Anderson Arts and Crafts Festival in Ocean Springs first part of November. I still have lots to do and with Dad in the hospital, jury duty, work ...ie life, it is a bit overwhelming. The biggest item I have left is to purchase a tent. I’ve been waiting on payday but I’m a touch nervous on timing. I could just let it all go (except obviously the tent) as I have lots of paintings to offer but I really want it to feel abundant and cohesive with something to purchase at lots of price points. I want it to grab your attention then entice you to come in and fall in love with a special piece.

I am wrestling with insecurities when it comes to being an artist but you know right now I really like my art. Sometimes I get too much inside my own head - Is it too kitschy and crafty? Is it ok to sell fun little ornaments and cards as well as more serious canvases?

I want to evolve and experiment but to also have my own style which is uniquely me. Individual and distinctive. I want it to come organically and not be contrived or forced. I want painting to be fun and joyful because if it isn’t then why bother. Really. There are so many useful things I should be doing. It is my guilty pleasure. Yes, sometimes I do at times feel guilty about the time I spend in my studio. But it is my escape... my dream world... my playground. The outside world with all its pressures and expectations just disappear. I am happy. My art is my happy place.

There is this strange paradox. I create for myself but desire the validation of others wanting my work. I feel like a mom taking her daughter to kindergarten (or maybe Jr. High -even scarier) for the first time. So hoping the other children will like her and befriend her. So hoping she’ll find her niche and be accepted.

Well, we will see. Go little artwork, get out there. Have wings. You can do it.
So with fingers crossed and paint in my hair, I say Farewell for now :)

(Prayers for my beloved Dad, Carey would be greatly appreciated: Pray that the doctors would figure out what is the root to his problems, that is would be treatable/curable, that the doctors would come up with a plan for treatment, and that he would be healed. Thanks)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Being Brave

This is a red version of my brave redhead warrior princess. At least that is how I see her. I created this collage and acrylic painting when I was bordering on panic with so much to do and so many decisions to make in my life. I wanted to represent the inner calm that comes when I release control and let God take over. There comes this peace that no matter what the winds of the world throw at you, it is ok. 

I have always loved the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote,"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lie within us." It sort of summed up what I was trying to portray with this image. Being brave doesn't always mean taking heroic measures, sometimes it means standing steady, waiting patiently, or simply persevering.


Today's Music: Brave by Sara Bareilles
5x7 Print for Sale on Etsy: Red Storm

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cleaning Day

Yesterday was a day for preparation. My initial plans were to finish up the risers on the porch. This has been an ongoing mosaic project. Little did I know how long it would take me to complete. (If I did I'm not sure I would have started)

Hurricane TileMost folks, at least the smart ones, start off slow and build up to more ambitious projects. Oh, not I. Having never done a tile mosaic, I decided to do the round family room porch. And just to make it more challenging, I decided I would use all recycled tile and other found objects. My my... first, since many of the tiles are from discontinued sample books, they had to be soaked and scrubbed to get the paper backing and glue off. Each individual teeny tiny glass tile. One by One. Then all the larger tiles broken and puzzled together. I really enjoyed it, it was just more time consuming and body aching (definitely body aching) than I anticipated.

Anyway, now the main floor is finally complete and all I have left are the risers which I plan to do in black rock and glass buttons. I thought I'd do that yesterday but -isn't there always a but -the tiles had been tucked (OK, basically thrown) into the rear shed and when I went to get what I needed that darn shed started haunting me.

Clean me, it whispered. Organize me, it shouted. You don't love me, it cried. The guilt got to me.

Out came all the stuff I had randomly crammed in and everything was laid out on the lawn. Luckily, it was an absolutely beautiful day. Sunny, slightly breezy, warm but not to humid. Just perfect for a fall cleaning. Everything got dusted or at a minimum shook or brushed off. I bought three new shelving units to go with the one I had. I also bought a few new cheapy baskets to replace the ones that were starting to crack and crumble. I resorted some of my tiles -the ones which were still in the cleaning buckets. (I have the outdoor kitchen counter to mosaic, but I'm not starting till I finish a few other projects) Best of all, everything is within reach and I no longer have to take out the mower to get to the tiles or stumble over tools to get to the potting soil or move all my paints to access the weed eater.

Now finally, I am ready to go be creative and get my art on. Yeah! Peace, Love, and Organization! Have an Awesome Day!



Saturday, September 14, 2013

I Just Want to Create .....Now

It was so hard to concentrate at work Friday. I actually wrote this at lunch on Friday but am just getting to post today (this no computer is no fun!) All I wanted to do is draw and paint and play. It doesn't help that it was beautiful outside, actually it is much too hot, but from the window at my nicely air conditioned desk, it looked glorious -Blue Skies and Puffy White Clouds.

Everything was calling to me; the semi-leafless branches framing the view of the post office (mail art anyone), the imagined roar of the ocean's waves (ok, it may have been the off and on hum of the mechanical units in the attic right above my workstation), even the fruity taste of the gum I was chewing begged me to paint some tropical Carmen Miranda portrait.

Oh, the longing was probably good for me. You know the old saying (I guess it is a saying because if it isn't it should be) The harder it is to get something the more you want it. An aside -Certainly this was true in the early years of my adolescent love life. Why did the aloof bad boys seem so appealing? Maybe I should explore this is a multi-sides diorama. I told you the art bug was biting hard -didn't say it had any discernment. I could just imagine the smell of the intoxicating aroma of fixative. Hum... maybe that's part of the whole art addiction issue. Just kidding of course.

Girly GirlsBut I certainly hope this desire holds. The feeling is kind of like when you first fall in love. The object of your affection is all you can think about. My art muse has been like that today.

Ok -This is me really today (Saturday) Luckily I am still inflected. The art bug is still a'itching. While, I wasn't able to devote the entire day to art - previous obligations, ladies luncheon, and such -I was able to play around some this evening, mostly small pencil sketches and a few postcards. It was fun. I hope I can take a few and develop them into larger works. If only I had more time!

Music for My Muse: Blurred Lines

Friday, September 13, 2013

Do You See


Have you ever noticed how much of what we see is dependent on what we want to see? All we have to do is truly open our eyes.

Hide and Go Seek
When you are looking for hearts, you end up seeing them everywhere and in everything; leaves, shadows, clouds, tree bark, and so on. Then when you are looking for something else you see it everywhere and the hearts disappear. I’ve been known to look at a clock, struck by its design then someone ask what time it is and I have no idea. I was looking right at the timepiece but the time was not what I was seeing.

 I get bored very quickly when walking but I can never get bored looking, watching, observing.  This is a trait I share with my Dad. He can sit and watch people, planes, plants, pretty much anything for hours.  My mom is the doer. Her energy level amazes me, even now that she has had to slow down because of physical problems she can still get more done in a day than I can in a week.

 Now back to the seeing … Often I will walk (as I did last night) the little path to the left of the big pier. Sometimes I really don’t want to –it is too hot, I’m tired, etc. but I know I really should.  9 times out of 10 though, once I get started I become completely absorbed in everything around me. I have walked this same loop so many times but there is always something new or the same thing I see in a whole new way.

Braingasm -Fresh ideas come rushing in. What if I tried this or drew that. The tangents lead me deep and deeper in to thought. Sometimes it is not my physical eyes that only open. It is the ones inside my head and the ones inside my heart.

 I find this particular location is especially magical. All places can be inspiring but have you ever noticed that certain areas just have that extra energy –well, to the left of the big pier is it for me.

God speaks and when I listen carefully and quietly enough I hear. It helps take the dark edges off and bring contentment and peace in focus. Awe is the word that rings in my head.

So in closing, may you have an awesome day. Open your eyes, your mind, your heart and truly see what an amazing world we live in.

The Soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts. –Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Life is Art...

      I painted today. A picture from a picture. Was it art? Is it art? A picture from a picture. A still life. Mugs from the House of Humble. It has a beautiful ring to it doesn't it? Oh mine is an interpretation to be sure. But still... I saw more than the picture itself. I looked at the photo and I saw a story. Or maybe I saw less. I don't know. But I saw. Obviously some else saw first. Maybe even composed the whole thing. They gave the arrangement meaning first. There was definitely an intent. Did I copy? I doubt someone would even know that it was inspired from the same thing. It is not the same. But is it art? Imitation is the highest form of flattery ...or so they say. Isn't everything a copy in some way though. Only God can truly create an "original."
      I saw it differently though. I saw it through my eyes. I threw everything I have seen before in to it. I infused it with my memories, my dreams, my fears. The House of Humble. Cups, mugs, a mix, not a set. Humble. Ordinary, made special. Pretentious to say but a metaphor for life. My life. The life I wish to be content with. Humble. Mismatched, cluttered, purposeful, haphazard yet planned.
      I saw lanterns, the beautiful multicolored ones like from a fairytale, lit as a memorial for a life cut too short... or maybe simply complete. Up and away they went over Mobile Bay. A group of young boys caught a catfish, laughing in the water as the lanterns drifted above them. Fish leapt and leapt and leapt.
      The sunset was amazing. Pink air. Cotton Candy air. Making everyone soft and dream-like. Rays of light in distinct beams with grey clouds shifting from car to duck to clown while we watched. Pink fire rippled across the waves. Dancing. Grace over a meal. Fingers touching. Home.
      A wedding reception is going on across the street from my house. I see all the happy people smiling, waving sparklers and honking horns. Each one standing there has something going on inside their head we can't see. But for now there are smiles, tears of joy, flashes from the photographer capturing the moment... to be savored years later. remembered differently perhaps. A picture from a picture. The House of Humble. Gratitude and resentment.
      Life is Art. A picture is more than a picture. Life is precious and fragile and heartbreaking.
Coffee Mugs by a Brick Wall
Today life was art.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Rusty Red Truck

Hello! Here is a quick peek at a project I just finished yesterday.

I have had this image in my head of these two girls atop an old ford truck for quite a while now so it was nice to finally decide to try and capture it with paints. This is the final piece snapped with my phone. (I'll post a nice finished image as soon as I can -computer issues still) But you are able to see some of the texture with this photo. I really love layering on the paper scraps and such but often it doesn't show much in the final scanned image like it does in person. The surface texture works particularly well with the scruffy rusty feel on the truck.
Rusty Red Ford
 

Below is a progress photo from my phone as well -the light is a little better as the sun hadn't gone down yet (An aside: I really need better light in my studio. It has absolutely wonderful northern light from a large window during the day but no overhead lighting at all for late nights or dark days) You can see in this progress photo some of the collage scraps like the racecar tissue paper and ticket stubs from the Barber Motorcycle Museum. Ok, one more tangent thought, the museum, OMG, so awesome. All the motorcycles and racecars but if that is not your thing, the building is spectacular. It is in Birmingham Alabama and is so worth a trip. Sorry, I am being totally ADD today so now back to the art.
 
I had so much fun painting the truck that I think I'd like to do a few more "old vehicle" paintings. Maybe more up close without people, maybe a cow or two (I have a thing for cows -it is their big expressive eyes)  There is plenty of reference material here in Baldwin County. It always amazes me how many abandoned cars, tractors, and trucks you can find rusting out in fields as you drive along some of the old highways.

Well, That's it for now. Adios Amigos!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Darn Computer :(

My Excuse...

Apparently my computer can't find its hard drive which wonderful folks means I can't get on the internet, I can't get to any of my photoshop art that I didn't back up, I can't get to my art scans that I had saved on the computer, I can't access my recent photos. I am screwed!

I am also irritated at myself for not backing up, for not having that fun money laying around for a brand new computer, for well... I am just plain irritated!

Its been almost two weeks and I've got to figure out what to do. Peter is allowing me to use his laptop tonight, mostly because I had to do computer stuff for my daughter at college but I'm using the opportunity to do a few other things as well. BUT -its a windows computer and I (& I truly hate to admit this) am an Apple Girl. I'm actually pretty good around computers but his is set up so I can't do anything. No quick keys are the same, no right click, browser completely different. I had to work around just to open up a folder and move PDFs (which are much more unfriendly on windows) Urgggg!

I promise not to vent often (well at least that is my intention) but give me some slack OK. This is traumatic! If I am a little lax in the posting department it is not for want of trying. Hopefully by next week (fingers & toes crossed) I can get my computer back up. Maybe if I'm really lucky I won't have lost everything and if I'm really really lucky and the stars align just right, I'll be able to access all my computer stuff. Say a quick prayer and wish upon a star, but for now I'll work off a little stress painting and dreaming of new projects :)

So Long for Now!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

GLoRiOUs IMPeRFeCTioN


Don’t you just love the quirky and gnarled? The battered, the wrinkled, the messy? Things embedded with memory and depth. Oh, I do.

Zetti style collage
PlayBoy & Other You
The character lines gently etched into the face of a life fully lived... the twisted trunks of the massive oaks lined along the coastline having survived the constant battering of the gulf winds and the occasional hurricane blast... the patina of a neglected barn with peeling paint, weathered wood, and dissolving tin... the streetlight layered with lost notices, band promotions, and long past estate sales all torn, rain washed, and smudge with a glaze of graffiti... the faded grace of an abandon plantation, column capital toppled almost encapsulated with kudzu and morning glory, crumbling bits of stone slowly eroding back to earth.

Photograph from a day in the life of Laurie
Texture from Life
Don’t get me wrong, I also adore the clean, the sparse, and the new. Philip Johnson’s glass house... crisp freshly laundered Porthault bed linens... a brand new totally hot (if a bit pretentious) sports car... a baby’s just powdered silky smooth belly... saturated pure red paint straight from the tube.

It is the middle that is less lovable. The first scratch on your brand new bike... the first scuff on your leather sofa... the first brown droop on a bouquet of flowers... the first chip on your favorite mug... the first ugly age spot... the first fight with a new lover.

It is the pain of imperfection, the passing of what will never be again. It’s accepting change and the fleetingness of our earthly existence. (Ok, I’m reading too much into this, but I am in an introspective mood so I’ve got a little melodrama going on, but you get the idea)

It is about letting go of the unobtainable and enjoying the messiness of life. It’s picking up the broken seashells instead of holding out for the unblemished ones. It’s seeing past perfection and valuing the less obvious. Freeing your mind of absolutes and marveling in the amazing variations abounding all around.

Artwork Mashup
Artwork Mashup
It almost seems trite to pull my musing back to art but the trite can also be true. Perfection can become boring. Asymmetry tends to hold our attention longer. Our eyes are drawn back to the unique and different. It is why I love creating collaged backgrounds and paintings started over old text. There is something underneath -even if it barely shows in the final piece. It is the beauty of journalling then gessoing over it and purposely skewing the proportions of a character. It imparts soul and secrets. It gives backstory that I think a viewer picks up, even if only subliminally.

It is a lot like life. Who doesn’t want a smooth carefree breezy Disney style reality -but it’s the struggles that truly mold us. It’s when we overcome adversity or handicap that we grow. We tend to shine brightest in the dark.
A cup of Tea and a Good Book
Good Morning PJ Girl
"A woman is like a tea bag, you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." - Eleanor Roosevelt 

I believe that God never puts anything in our life without reason. We can opt to disregard its purpose but we are blessed and able to bless others so much more if we don’t.  

What hardships have you faced that you can now take and use -even if it’s just a greater capacity for compassion and empathy? 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

How about a Byte: Eyelandia


I've been posting mostly BITS so here is BYTE. I have a series of related photoshop and video installations I am working on and thought I'd share one of them. It is a part of my Eyelandia Series titled "Eye C U". It is done purely by manipulating layers and adjustments, cutting splices then adding inverted words.

The eyes truly are the windows to the soul and I find them endlessly fascinating. 

Graphic Eye and Text Print

Here's looking at you!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Putting on the Mask

My last blogging entry was regarding authenticity and what I feel it means to be real. This one is about making the artwork that spawned that post. 
First, I'll begin with my inspiration. As I've mentioned previously, I have lots of sketch/notebooks (yes LOTS of sketch/notebooks) which when ever the light bulb in my head blinks, I immediately pick up. Sometimes it is a quote or just a word, other times it is a full blown drawing down to the last detail but usually it something in-between. (This keeps the stress down since I know that if I have a day when the creative muscle is not cooperating, all I have to do is pick up any one of them and Ta-da I have my Mojo ready and waiting)

Well, this particular inspiration is a combination of a sketch I did over a splatter of purple paint, a beautiful b/w photo of some roses, a rather bland painting of a girl I had done over an old paperback page for valentine's day but wan't quite happy with and a rerun I caught of HGTV's Secrets of a Stylist. The first three inspiration images you can see right above. The tv show which actually triggered the sketchbook drawing had a lovely bedroom make-over for an actress named April (she is the best friend on Drop Dead Diva) The colors in the room were in shades of lavender, gray and white with a bright orange pillow pop.
I still had one of the collaged boards I created while doing the previous friendship painting so I was ready to go. If you ever don't feel up to painting but still want to spend art time, I highly recommend getting some backgrounds going that way when you do want to paint, you are already one step ahead and no intimidating white canvas creeping you out. I draw up some flowers, cut them out and add them to the board then start painting messily. I begin with mostly purples and grays. Next I scan the Valentine girl page (I never know when I might want to come back to her and let's face it, I am a natural documenter and scan pretty much everything -now finding it on the computer later, that is a different story) then cut the girl and hearts out of the original paperback page. I position the face on the board and use matte media to "glue" it down. I add more purples to her hair and decide to put the hearts away for a later project. 
The painting is getting a little muted and dull. So I roll on some orange polkadots, still not loving it so I pull in some blue. That, while going away from my initial color concept, starts to add some much needed life. Now I see it going more in a New Orleans Courtyard sort of direction. I cut out a bird shape from some old sheet music and paint the details with fluid acrylics. Then add some stamping in black of music notes, graphic flowers, and butterflies. I use purple, black and blue watercolor crayons to outline the girl and the bird. I paint over much of my girl's face to blend it in. I deepen the darks and lighten the lights but the background is really competing with the figures so I add glaze of Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold (a burnt rust color) fluid acrylic to settle it back down. Most of the original collage is completely covered up but paintings are like that -they have a life of their own.
Next, I have to decide what my birdcage is going to look like. Thanks goodness for Google. There are hundreds of birdcage images. I just absorb for a while. Then I take my roll of bumwad (trash paper, tracing paper, whatever you want to call it) and sketch over my painting to figure out how big, how detailed and exactly at what location I want to put the cage. I'm actually happy with my first option. Often at this point, I will completely change my mind and decide to add a fish instead of a bird or a building instead of a flower, or a key instead of a heart, ..... but today I stay with my original plan.
After painting on the birdcage, I scan in the image. I told you I am a scan fanatic -love me some scans. I decide take my image in to photoshop and up the saturation then print out a larger version. I actually use this print to complete the art piece. I'll probably come back to the original in the future and modify it differently, who knows.
I need a mask for my lady but the scrap of gridded acetate I planned on using competes with the more decorative lines of the birdcage. I wish I had some black lace then brrr ring ... It's my Mom on the phone. Would she like to go with me to the fabric store -no, it is late but she just might have something in her sewing basket that could do. Yeah. No late night fabric run to the next town. I drive over to my Mom and Dad's house, bringing my print to try out the lace. The lace is really big and heavy but if I cut just a small section of the center of a scallop it will work. Bedtime. Next morning I glue on the lace and add jewels to the corners. Another scan. I want to add my words but my computer fonts are too perfect and my rubber stamp letters are too small. What to do? There is an old newspaper besides me, the joys of a messy art room, so I stamp the words the way I want them, blow them up on the copier, grunge them up with an ink pad and a little paint. Re-blacken the letters that blur too much, glue them on, then outline with black and blue watercolor crayons. A few more jewels on the birdcage, iridescent paint on lips, bird's breast, and under the lace at the eyes. Voila ...all done.

Life is a Masquerade, My Friend. 
Won't You Join Me in My Masquerade?

Don't leave quite yet, there is just a bit more. One of the last little things I like to do is play around with my artwork in Photoshop. Such a deviant little time sucker it is. Well, below are a few of my variations.
First is an Oxblood rendition. I think it has a more mysterious nighttime feel. The middle one is over bright and intense. I think it has a youthful kick. The last is blend of purple and tangerine. I think it is the most cheerful and light-hearted. Some or all will soon be available in my Etsy Store so drop on by.
I hope you've enjoyed this peek inside my process and will come again -bye for now :)
Music to go along with the Art: Masquerade

Saturday, July 13, 2013

What Is Authenticity?

Most people would say to be authentic is a positive attribute, but what does it mean. To be Real (yes the disco song is playing in my head right now) to be True, to be Transparent, to be Honest. Why do I aspire to be Authentic? What does Authenticity have to do with my Art?

"Life is A Masquerade"
My Latest Embellished Bit of Artwork

I think to be authentic is to be wholly one's self. There is this deep need inside all of us, to be known and understood. This can be crazy hard since I have no idea who I really am, not to mention it changes constantly. So often who we are is tied up in our roles (mother, daughter, architect, artist, teacher, ...) and sadly our possessions and status. We also take to heart the characteristics that others have put on us (the smart one, the rational one, the fat one, ...) These are just cloaks, bits of clothing we put on or simply forget to take off, not our essence.

The only "true me" and absolute part of my core being is that I am a child of God, undeserving but unconditionally loved. This is my foundation even when everything else is whirling like autumn leaves in a wind gust, or a shell fragment in the crashing surf. This is more than a mere role or personality but the unchanging center of ME. 

We (& by this I mean me but I think it is pretty universal) have been hurt by sharing too much with the world so we build up an armor (strange how closely armor resembles the word amore). It can become almost impenetrable. We put on a face of what we think others will like or accept while keeping our most vulnerable self tucked tightly within. We think we are keeping ourselves safe but in reality we are closing ourselves off from truly experiencing life -an authentic life.

When we feel, feel deeply, we really live. The highs are higher and yes, the lows can be lower but WOW, it is authentic. I am only now learning to feel. It is wonderful. It is why I create.

I am trying to become more open. Let people see me more. I know that I can only be relatable (knowable) if I let the proverbial warts show. It is scary. I am afraid of being judged, being seen as boring, strange, awkward (all of which are probably at least a little bit true) Imagine the Wizard of Oz, I can't help but wanting to be the fancy face in the smoke, mysterious, bigger than life, significant.

But I am embracing all of me, even the crazy bits: black, white, purple, polka dotted, and plain. (Channelling the song by Meredith Brooks at the moment) I am all these things and more. Guess what, not everybody is going to like me (ouch) but it is ok. It is also ok to change, grow, and evolve. I am not who I was yesterday nor am I who I will be tomorrow.

Some masks are fine (even necessary) for a season but we need to know when we have them on and not be controlled or confined by them. So then ... Cheers to Authenticity. May you always be real.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July

I am so excited that my amazing daughters are home for the Fourth of July -Yeah! There will be lots of friends and family for a eating extravaganza then fireworks down by the bay (Hopefully the weather will cooperate) The image below is a detail shot of a quite large vertical piece. It represents all the incredible opportunities and freedoms our wonderful nation affords. I am blessed to be an American!