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.......