Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Christmas Vacation


Banana Foster at Brennan's Restaurant in New Orleans
Christmas 2015
What I did on my Christmas Vacation...
OK, I know it is a cliche elementary school writing assignment title, right? This could alternately be called my Post-Christmas Prattle -But Wow! Eleven days vacation -you would think I'd have time to do everything I needed/wanted to do. You'd be wrong.  Not so.  Oh very not so, but it was a great trip.

Chris Roberts-Antieau Fabric Creations Collage
Chris Roberts-Antieau's Fabric Creations
First leg, New Orleans - need I say more! How inspiring!  Music - we found a really cool jazzy swing sort of band in the Frenchman district. Libation - um, a bit too much one night.  I've a new favorite drink though, the Perfect Storm with ginger beer.  Yum!  Feasting - Flaming Bananas Foster table side at Brennan's, such fun!  Then there was the people watching, architecture gawking, and gallery hopping!

Lots of Christmas Shopping was done since I couldn't bring much on the plane from Key West.  Along Royal Street, I was able to pick up a small sculpture by Cathy Rose at the Lucky Rose Gallery for my brother David, an adorable bust of a little boy in a striped top sticking out his tongue. Also believe it or not, I picked up some fun little gifts at the French Quarter Post Office. Who'd of thought.  Oh, and I am totally lusting for one of Chris Roberts-Antieau's fabric creations from the Phantom Limb series.  Of course, I want the most expensive one hanging in the gallery.  Simply Exquisite! Not in the budget this year but one day (soon?)

New Orleans Christmas
New Orleans Christmas 2015
Next it was on to Fairhope and my glorious bathtub. Oh sweet bathroom -airy and light, room to twirl, twist, and truly spread out! The new shower was all done with lots of jets and sprays. Awesome indeed, but dear tub, you are what I've missed and are still my delight (I'm already going through withdrawal)

Well my Fairhope days passed quickly, mostly visiting friends and family.  We did a pre-Christmas Christmas -actually several; one with my brothers, one with my cousins, then an early Santa with my girls and Pete.


I even got in a quick trip to Mississippi to see my Mam-maw. She is 98 years young and her mind is still amazingly sharp.  Unfortunately her sight, hearing and sense of touch are not so good.  (You can imagine how frustrating this must be)  Mam-maw thoroughly enjoyed the visit and the car ride allowed for interesting discussions with Robby, David, and Megan who also came along.

Christmas 2015

I didn't get as much done at the 404 Oak Avenue House as I'd hoped.  We have it listed on vrbo.com  If you ever want to come stay a while in Fairhope, please check it out.  The location is great (and you too could bath in bliss, LOL)

I bought blow dryers, a couple pillows, printer paper, end table, iron & iron board, etc - niceties for the house.  Then laid tile out for the outdoor kitchen countertop mosaic.  I didn't have time to grout it but Pete can do that in the next couple weeks.  I couldn't believe I had just the right amount of tile saved up in the shed  The colors were an ideal blend of mottled earthy hues with golden, red and green accents, perfectly picking up the colors of the house exterior.  The tiles are all upcycled (don't you just love that word) from discontinued lines and previous project samples that the WAV office was purging.  Truly serendipitous!

Key West Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
I wasn't sure if going to Fairhope would trigger a nostalgic homesickness but while I loved being back (especially seeing friends & family) I wasn't sad.  Still somewhat "between" sensation but not in a bad way.  More like both Fairhope and Key West feel like home.  I'm curious how my life will play out. An adventure, for sure!  As they say in New Orleans, Laissez les bons temps roulez!

Quick add: Christmas Eve back in Key West, I did the Christmas Eve candlelight service at the Big Pine Key Vineyard Church then Christmas Morning service at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Key West.  Both were wonderful in their own way. The Vineyard has as my brother would say "Jesus Rock" while St. Paul's building is gorgeous, very historic and traditional with impressive vaulted stained wood ceilings and intricate stained glass windows. 

Totally had a laid back Christmas day, read the "Precious One", an interesting bit of chic lit told through alternating POVs on my back porch then sipped a piƱa colada over looking Duval Street before catching the fun play, "Fools" by Neil Simon at the Red Barn Theater.  (Reminded me of my Dad back in his Laurel Little Theater days) Naturally I missed my family but all in all, still a very nice way to celebrate JESUS's birthday!  

Double Music for Today: 
The Voice winner, Jordan Smith's version of "Great is Thy Faithfulness" & "Set Fire to the Rain"

&
Pentatonix's version of "Little Drummer Boy" & "Mary did you know"









Sunday, November 29, 2015

Post Thanksgiving

I am home after a wonderful trip up to Nashville to be with family and friends for Thanksgiving. I was looking forward to it with mixed anticipation. Yet another family member gone. I knew it would be particularly hard on my brother David and Patrick's friend Karen but it felt good to be among the group.  



I say it each year but I am so very blessed to have such a wonderful family. I can't imagine them not being there and it is funny, we don't necessarily talk or get together as often as other families but I know should something truly be needed by any one of us, another would step in. What a glorious diverse and eclectic mix of personalities, we are! My greatest thanksgiving is this and even if it should be all taken away tomorrow, I would still consider myself one of the luckiest girls to have lived just because is was.


Ah and now for the challenge of keeping a spirit of gratitude for the rest of the year - to take nothing for granted, to see everything through the lens of Eucharisto, thanksgiving to God for ALL things. I am rereading Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts" and have started a new list of blessings -I whole heartedly recommend this book.  There is something in the counting that makes God's nearness all the more tangible. “The practice of giving thanks...eucharisteo...this is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes. We don't have to change what we see. Only the way we see.” 



What a joy to live noticing all that is present and abundant, from the tiniest to the grandest. What a blessing to live open to possibilities, acknowledging the gift of life and being grateful for the hard things as well as the easy. Living a grateful life means letting the values of respect, responsibility, and generosity flow though us. It means being a conduit for blessing others, whether through large weighty gestures such as mission trips and volunteering or small tokens such a smile at the stressed grocery clerk or grumpy car driver (as he takes the right of way). Even the seemingly insignificant acts can bring encouragement and actually make a difference. Let us change the world one small smile at a time :)

Recent gift listings:
6. Bumped to First Class on the way to Nashville
7. Making the second part of the flight after a delay with only minutes to spare
8. Thanksgiving Feast!
9. Music making in the living room
10. Visualizing Autumn & Matt's wedding
11. David sharing the Warehouse-y art space in Nashville
12. Remembering Mom at the Garden & Brew Supply Shop
13. The Spirit Bags from the Grandchildren (really my kids and the nieces and nephew but I think of them as Mom & Dad's grandchildren when they gather together to bless us like this ?!?)
14. Roasted Broccoli with lemon aioli
15. Bumped yet again to First Class on the way home (I am not a "special" or "frequent" flier -so crazy)
16. Finding a taxi driver who takes credit cards because I forgot and had no cash at all)
17. Comfy bed when I am so very tired
18. The clear blue color of the noon sky, neither too light nor too dark

Today's Prayer:
"I bless this day in the fullness of good it already contains, in the many occasions it offers to listen deeply, to be of service to others, to express gratitude moment by moment and to keep my mind so filled with love, beauty and joy that no negativity can find even the tiniest crack in which to set foot. I bless this day in the infinite opportunities it gives me to love: to love and bless every human I meet, every beast or bird I pass by, every plant I behold, for all are but the manifold expressions of the infinite Life that undergirds all. Truly, I bless this day for the wonderful adventure it can become as I walk through it with the eyes of wonder rather than boredom, use every opportunity to express peace rather than irritation, and chose love over fear. Thank you, Life, for this day." - Pierre Padervand

Thanksgiving Ice Family 2015


Music: 

Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen - Good Time



Saturday, November 14, 2015

# S E L F I E

(Finding Your Inner Selfie)

Laurie Sikorowski Artist

Oh the ubiquitous selfie, so popular with the pretty young things! Are selfies the height of ego centric self indulgent narcissism or an empowering form of creative self expression? What strongly differing opinions you'll get depending who you ask. My thought is couldn't the selfie actually be a bit a both -as well as something more and at times even less? Time for a little selfie exploration.

Laurie Anne Sikorowski -Selfie Art

Self portraiture has been around since the earliest times but it was in the early Renaissance, around the mid 15th century with the advent of better cheaper mirrors as well as the beginning of a new man-centered worldview that artists began to really include themselves in their paintings. And it hasn't stopped -artists continue to paint portraits of themselves regularly.  I dare say, not an artist comes out of art school, college, or high school art class (possibly even kindergarten) without creating at least one self portrait!

Art - Self Portraits

Then came the invention of the camera and a new way to represent one's self opened up.  In 1839, it is believed that Robert Cornelius took the first ever selfie! Not an easy task as he had to take off the lens cap run sit perfectly still for about five minutes then run back and put the cap back on. How much easier it all is now -just fast forward to the age of the digital camera. No more wasting film to get that perfect shot. We can view the image as soon as it is snapped and then snap away until we have just what we want. All of a sudden everyone is an amateur photographer.  Flip forward to the rise of the smartphone, always right there in your pocket with instant internet connectivity.  It is so easy to point, shoot, edit, post -almost immediate sharing! It feeds our need for instant satisfaction (just blame the microwave) No wonder we have become a world selfie obsessed.
First Selfie
Robert Cornelius 1839
The selfie as defined by the Oxford dictionary is "A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media." In fact "Selfie" became the international word of the year in 2013. Hey Guys did you notice that was only two years ago.  Oh how quickly it has infiltrated our culture. 

According to Sam Laird in Mashable, Jennifer Lee uploaded her photograph on January 16, 2011 then on January 27, 2011, the first day Instagram introduced hashtags, added #selfie and ta-da a cultural phenomenon was created. Now selfies are post by the millions; Instagram, Tumbler, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook,...

So back to the beginning, why do we post selfies? Vanity or empowerment or something else? External validation?  Cry for attention and affection?  Tool for branding and self-promotion? (Isn't is crazy how everything is about branding and social identity? I see it in advertisements, articles, podcasts, blogs, virtually everywhere)

Laurie Sikorowski -Being Silly As A Clown :)

Here is a scary thought -what if selfies actually create this unattainable image of of who we think we should be.  As humans we are naturally competitive and could seeing all these amazing selfies by our peers threaten an already shaky self image?  Could the posting of our self curated portraits (ew.. I look fat in this one "delete", yuck.. those wrinkles (or pimples depending on your age) are amplified in that one "delete") hamper our enthusiasm for face-to-face interaction because what if we can't measure up to this self generated illusion of perfection?  Could we be building an imaginary world only big enough enough for ourself, where we pretend connection but without sharing our vulnerability and truth, an isolated island of one. Cue music now -One is the loneliest number… & fade out
Hipster Barbie Selfie Parody
Socalitybarbie (Ultimate Hipster Selfie Parody)
To keep from staying in that sad dark place (come on, you knew I wasn't going to leave you in the selfie abyss) we must make an effort to balance our time and energies. We must make sure that we don’t let our self worth be influenced by Facebook likes or snide Instagram comments. (For me, this is where my faith comes in and reminds me I am of ultimate value and nothing I do or what anyone says will ever change that)

We need to be present and engaged in our physical domain.  This brings to mind sweet thoughts of my mom. She was such a very “right now” kind of person.  One that I strive to emulate in this aspect as I tend to live too much in my head. Think of your life as a garden and the flowers are the relationships you cultivate.  This takes care and attention.  You must water and weed your garden so that it will thrive and be as beautiful as it possibly can be! (A tangent, I know but when Mom memories come up, I just got to go with it)

Continuing on this positive path, could the selfie be, instead of a tool of isolation and self absorption, a tool of self exploration, a way to explain and share sides of yourself you may feel too inhibited or self conscience to do in person?

Laurie Sikorowski - Creating An Art Show Banner

I will sometimes purposely take a selfie purely to make it my social media avatar (even though I actually prefer a piece of my artwork as my "image" usually) Why? I use this as a statement to myself -Laurie, you are perfect in your imperfectness. You are not ashamed of yourself. This is who you are and it is good enough. You do not fear letting people know who you are even though your appearance has always been a sensitive aspect of your personhood.  You will not wait until you meet that image in your head before you "live". You may never meet all your goals -realistically you just aren't, but it doesn't mean you stop trying and you will love yourself and own who you are in the process!!!! (Just Sharing My Internal Affirmations Here -Pause... Now Dear Reader Do the Same. Repeat After Me -You Are Amazing The Way Your Are!  You Are Freaking Awesome!!!!  Whenever You Allow Someone Else To Slip in Doubt As To Your Incredible Value, Think Of All The Gifts You Have Been Blessed With And Repeat the Above -Daily If Needed Until You Begin To Believe It)

Selfies can be a way of identifying with a particular community.  I am in a “Wear Your Joy” group and I feel this is very true there.  It is a safe non-competitive place to share selfies with a sisterhood of sorts -all on a journey of self discovery and personal style.  It has a very feminine sensibility.  I personally have more trouble connecting in all women environments and here I can work at being more feeling, less analytical, and sharing validation without critique -a part of myself I hope to grow.

Sharing Your Fashion Journey with Joy
(Thank you ladies for letting me use pictures of your posts)
Another way selfies can be viewed are as frozen memories -a tangible item documenting what we are in that very specific instant.  I mentioned to my brother, David, that I really like the memory pop ups -you know the “a year ago today…” things that Facebook is doing now. (he agreed but not without mumbling something about conspiracies and world domination under his breath -maybe I exaggerate but just slightly) There is something nice about the fact that old photos that you’d forgotten come back around as it seems like everything is so immediate and then instantly discarded for the next new thing.

Also are not our social media postings a device somewhat related to the old oral storytelling traditions?  Could social media posting & blogging have become the scrapbooking of the past? (Not that I don’t still love scrapbooking mind you) Do you not wonder what is next? Such a sci-fi world we live in!

My last ramble for today but I think it is a good one (goodness this is getting long with quite a liberal dose of stream of conscience meanderings, isn’t it?)  Could the SELFIE be a sign of self reliance? I mean, isn’t it easier than ever to take our own photo? Selfie sticks (no, I don’t have one -yet) camera timers, flippable cameras -you can actually see yourself as you are taking the picture, so obvious but its only become standard in the past few years, whatever resolution you want, moving pictures, and its only going to get better.  
What a cool thing for us solo travelers and live aloners!  We are going out there and being awesome and doing amazing things -all by ourselves!  We are confident in our independence  and don’t always have to be in a group to seek out adventures.  Now instead of only having a photograph of the mountain of that life changing mountaintop experience, we can include ourselves in the scene.  What would have only been a pretty postcard picture is now something so much more personal. It reminds us that we did it!  _ _ _ _ _ _ WAS HERE!

Hmmm… Maybe I should be taking MORE selfies!!!

Well, I’m wrapping up and I didn’t even get to the concept of creating self portraiture through mediums other than photography.  Guess it’ll have to just simmer until the next post!

So now, YOU (yes, you) go out there and find interesting places to explore, alluring activities to try, and fascinating  people to meet & DON’T FORGET THE SELFIE!

Music: Sharing two selections today since this post took me two days to write :)
Five for Fighting with "100 Years"
Christina Aguilera with "Beautiful"

Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween!

What a Boo-tiful Day!
Its the day before Halloween and I am frantically printing out the last of a fun wholesale order of lots of different variations of my Brave Adventure Girl (love these prints) along with a few other images. I've just got to sign and package them up and get to the post office. But of course while in photoshop creating a special request brunette version of holding tight to home, I had to play with one of my scanned ACEOs and make it holiday appropriate!
Laurie Sikorowski Halloween Vampire ACEO

So here is my Mini Red Face Vampire ACEO, "Goulia"
Going with the treat part of trick or treat ('cause goodness you certainly don't want to smell my feet) Feel free to download.  (For other images and art I post, you may pin or link but otherwise don't take or use without credit and permission -Thank you)
 I hope you enjoy this little freebie!



Friday, October 9, 2015

*** S T A R D U S T ***

Wow!
What a gorgeous day! First little hint of Fall (this I write as I am lounging by the pool in my swimsuit - this is Key West after all) But man oh man, there is a pleasant little breeze -perfect! So happy just to be outside in the sunshine without sweating like crazy. Each delicious sunbeam feels like a gentle kiss from God!


Photo Tutorial for Painting a Mixed Media Angel


Today I thought I'd show a bit of the process of my latest art journal page based on the Lifebook lesson, "Magic, Vulnerability, & Courage" (& yes, I am behind -oh well) I was particularly led to share this one because: first, it is very personal as I used it as a way to honor my youngest brother's passing and second, as you'll see, part of the way through, there is a major oops. I think that it is helpful to see how folks recover from painting disasters -and as a very messy painter, I have my fair share, usually of the split something or other variety but occasionally it is a "yuck"  I just don't like how this is going type. In fact, I actually have a couple of painted canvases right now that I plan on either totally painting over or more likely adjusting to something hopefully I find more interesting, beautiful, or meaningful.

Ok, back from my slight tangent to this particular journal page. I actually stayed closer to the lesson than usual. It just "fit." Ever since Patrick's funeral, I'd been visualizing a piece with wings and balloons drifting across an abstract-y sky. Well, this one didn't end up with balloons, but it is close to what I had in mind.

Drawing a Whimsical Male / Boy

First there is the sketch -a unique challenge as I wanted it to both have an essence of Patrick but not be an actual portrait. I wanted to keep it whimsical and soft, similar to my girls. I started with an oval then gave it a more angular jawline, shorter thicker neck, heavier bow and eyebrows, and a more prominent "Patrick" nose and fuller mouth. (The lesson had a nice simple overview of the more obvious differences in male and female features) I also journaled on sentiments and thoughts that I knew would be covered up as I continued.

Then some watercolor crayons. I'm pretty random with what colors I select, but basically in the gold, brown, and peach range. I blend mostly with water, then continue with additional colors (usually some blue, green, and yellow, maybe purple and pink to add an unexpected depth to the skin) mixed with some white acrylic, sort of modeling up the face with highlights and shadows. I also use a little charcoal, and sketch & wash pencils for additional detail and shading.

How to Create a Mixed Media Background for a Male Angel Art Journal Page

Next I start on the background with scraps of patterned papers and book pages adhered with matte medium. Let me tell you, matte medium is the bomb for gluing art stuff to paper or canvas! Then I scribble with more watercolor crayons and water based markers. It looks a little garish and all over the place at this point but that is totally expected. Next comes the brayer with white gesso. This tones the background down but still allows some texture from the papers to peek through.

The phrase, "We are all stardust," kept flowing through my head. I know in actual context, it was used from an atheist point of view but I find it a beautiful thought in a dust to dust sort of way. We truly are stardust, a part of this magnificent universe. The physical part of us is for ever recycling.

Now the wings begin -a double set, both angel and butterfly. I sketch them out and fill them in with white acrylic and smidgens of more watercolor crayons. Then back to the background, unfortunately as I am painting, I spill a blended wash of Payne's Grey and purple all across my angel's face. I don't notice initially and then I can't find a paper towel. Urgg!!! Too late, much of the face is stained and I was really happy with how it was looking. This is the time, you just wanted to throw in the towel. So much time invest :(

How to Fix a Portrait Mistake

There is no way to easily fix this. It takes several layers of white paint to cover the stain. Now he looks like he is the lovechild of no nose Voldemort and vampire Edward. Not a good look. It is basically a start over from the bottom of the eyes to the bottom of the chin. Watercolor crayons again. Relatively random colors then blending into the rest of the face. You really can't do just this area so I have to add color washes over all the skin portions to make it cohesive. Redrawing the nose and mouth. For some reason, getting the mouth right the second time, is definitely harder.  Finally, I am satisfied. I want to do a happy dance!

This page is taking longer than I thought it would but now on to more of the fun parts. Adding details to the wings,  I like the idea of something growing, swirling, with leaves. Then I add a little star, moon, and heart to his face. Next a quote, I consider several options but decide "...let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets." Perfectly Patrick!

Stardust Mixed Media Painting - Let There Be No Excuses, No Explanations, No Regrets
S T A R D U S T
by Laurie Anne Sikorowski
More colors and details to the background, another star, triangles, +s, a scalloppy border. I play around with different items in the "sky" using tracing paper to try optional placements and shapes. The balloons just don't feel right so I settle on a honeycomb pattern. It reminds me a little of something "computer" but its gotten a bit busy so I add one more wash of fluid acrylic to blend them in to the background. All done. I'm pretty proud of how it turned out.

Well, there you go!!! I hope you've enjoyed this little glimpse into my world!
If you'd like to see other post's with progress painting examples, here are a few links to some of my older posts:
"The Making of Friendship"  "Holding Tight to Home"  "Simple Things"

Have an artful day & I hope I'll contact with you again later!
Blessings,
Laurie Anne :)

Music for Today (just couldn't stop with one):
Nat King Cole's version of "Stardust"
Babyface with Stevie Wonder's version of "Gone too soon"
Tegan and Sarah's "Where does the good go" 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Studio & Art Update

Welcome to my little art blog! (with lots of life and other bits thrown in)

It has been a bit of a long time since my last post as I am still getting settled both physically and emotionally from my move to Key West, Florida. It is definitely taken longer than anticipated, for sure! The studio is almost done (just a more couple boxes and  a bit of "pretty-ing" up) Oh and I still need a comfy chair -my little stool is good for an hour or two then it gets mighty hard.


Art Studio Tour

Since my townhouse is so small, I've got art everywhere. Its bright, happy, and whimsical. My big house was more earthy and cozy; this one is lighter and more modern. A mix of whatever extra furniture that made it down with Ikea infills. I'll do a house tour in an upcoming post (I intend to be more consistent again with my blogging -I've got some fun new ideas to implement)

Laurie's Mixed Media Acrylic Painting of a Whimsical Bluebird and Blueberries in a Striped VaseNow for an update on some of what I've been doing artwise... I'm starting a couple movie themed ATCs for a swap, finishing up my Grandma Blueberry painting (the companion piece with gold leafing to a little sailboat paint that I sold -they are now both up on the new owner's wall, yea!) and I completed the hospital fundraiser coloring page.

I really enjoyed creating the coloring page. Hey, it is themed doodling -what's not to love, right? I knew I wanted to incorporate a girl (sort of my signature) as well as flowers (so much fun to color) and immediately my mom came to mind.
Sketching on an Adult Coloring Book Page

She loved making things pretty! From setting out napkins, to decorating for every holiday (yes, she is the reason I have an entire storage unit of Christmas stuff !?!) to having a patio filled with gorgeous potted plants. She would make a ritual of going out in the morning and watering, weeding, and tidying up the plants. And such a collection... whatever lovely blooming thing that caught her or dad's eye made its way into a pot or bed, the more the merrier!

Rose and Carey SmithI really miss her. I made her crazy sometimes; she'd worry (my brain worked so differently from hers) but I knew I was unconditionally loved. And talk about a cheerleader, she believed I could do anything even when I doubted. She and dad both were so proud of all their kids. They could give opinions, mind you. And we didn't always agree on everything but I am so blessed to have had them as my parents. What cherished memories!

Anyway back to the coloring page, after completing the image, square to fit the hospital's requirement, I decided to add a fitting quote in honor of Mom and also format the art for an 11x17 page. "She was never so joyful and content as when puttering about her garden." Oh, so true! (The images in my mind of Mom with her curly hose watering various containers tucked under the large shade canopy while I sit on the glider chatting with a cup of coffee is so vivid.)


Adult Coloring Page -Garden Girl Quote

Now as a send-out-the-love happy for anyone who happens to be reading along this far,  I've separated out the bottom portion of my drawing and switched out the wording as a sharable Black & White image so feel free to save it and use as you will. It is my gift to you!  (Any other images and art I post, please do pin but otherwise don't take or use without credit or permission -Thank you)

The Earth Laughs In Flowers Quote Printable Illustrated Art

Please enjoy! Have an amazingly artful day and I hope you'll come back soon! 
Blessings -Laurie Anne

Music for to today: Marian Hill, a new favorite of mine!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Packaging Love :)

Hi!  I hope you are having an AWESOME AMAZING ARTFUL kind of day  :)

Creative Packaging

In this post, I am highlighting some of the protective packaging envelopes I CREATE for my etsy art prints.  My materials are quite simple: cardboard or similar material, cardstock and sometimes old book pages, tape, and either back and white ink or white colored pencil.

The part I like about creating the protective envelopes is not the constructing of the thing itself, it is the drawing/decorating part.  You see, I just love to doodle and doodling on the wrapping when I send a bit of may art out into the world makes me very HAPPY! (Sometimes I like the doodles as much as my prints)  There have even been a couple times that I've gotten so caught up on creating my packaging that I've ended up missing my post office deadline and had to go back to mail items out the next day.

Little Birdie Doodles

How much and what goes on to the package depends on how much a rush I am in and what my mood is at the moment.  Also, I say a short prayer over each one -WISHING that my art will bring a touch of JOY and light into the recipient's life.  I really want to put a little something of my PERSONALITY into each package that goes out.  It may only be a little birdie over my signature or it could be a pretty elaborate cityscape. Each time someone orders, it will be at least slightly different (I know if I was shipping out hundreds this wouldn't be possible, but for now it is quite do-able)

Creative Shipping
(This is the most typical example of what I usually do)

Part of the fun, is that it is only the packaging, so nothing is too precious or perfect.  It is sort of like a quick peck on the check or a WILDFLOWER tucked behind the ear.  My way of sending a glittering of gratitude out into the universe.  ENJOY!



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My Goodness...

Goodness, I am so ready to write about some art instead of the craziness of my life -but alas not yet. First- I am so glad I got to make the trip to Baltimore to visit Patrick along with my other brothers, Robby and David because only a week after I got back (this past Monday, June 15th) I got the call from David that Patrick was not doing well (starting to have the same sort of expressions Dad had that last day or so before he passed away) I had tickets to come up on Thursday but made a mad dash to the airport to catch the first available flight. Unfortunately, Patrick died a couple hours before I got there. David did put Patrick on speaker phone so I had a chance to say a few last words, let him know I love him and give my good-bye before he died. I also got a chance for closure before they took his body away. As I stood there with David, Robby, Stephen, Karen, Krisha, and my girls, I swear it seemed his mouth would slightly curl into a smile and his chest rise as if taking shallow breaths of air while we, in typical Smith fashion, recalled stories through tears and laughter. Yes, I know it was my mind playing games but it felt so real. 

By the next morning, niece Megan had made it to Nashville and by that evening niece Emily arrived. It was so surreal. Too much, too fast. Dad, Mom, and now my youngest brother, Patrick. Barely over a year. Really God, really.

Then on such a diminished scale, the move, the new job (which I have only actually gotten to work four days) the unpacking (or not), the car in the shop, the process of getting the big house ready to rent, …. Overwhelming!  Deep breath, Laurie, it is going to be alright. Well, eventually it will be anyway.

Planning Patrick’s services was harder than planning my parents. Patrick was such an individual. Sarcastic, witty, loyal, rigidly moral, but with an amazing love for family. We eventually decided on three events, all in Fairhope, the first on Friday night was a wake at the bar “Plow”, then a short quiet dignified service graveside (we each played a flower which I guess is now a family tradition) then a large open to all picnic down at the bay. We wrote on balloons and released them over the water. (I’m sure Patrick was looking down and cringing but it was really moving) We also came up with a quote for his tombstone, “No Excuses, No Explanations, No Regrets” Quite fitting!


Can you believe my MamMaw, at 98 years old was able to make it? Oh how hard for her to have lost so many recently. I know she wonders why not her instead. Somethings are just beyond my comprehension and understanding. One day, we will see the whole picture, but for now, it looks like a jumble of colored threads. Rhymeless and chaotic.

Flitting back to the present, it is Sunday afternoon and I am on a plane back to Key West. I’m tired and dirty and achy. I spent the morning, starting really really early, fixing things at the Fairhope house then staging the rooms along with David and Stephen’s help. It is hard to release control and not be able to see the final result. I definitely have some trust issues (some not unjustified, I’m afraid) One more time -ok Laurie, just breathe.

I am more than read to paint. I may have to live out of a suitcase for a few days longer so that I can unpack a studio box or two and create. I’ve got that hair on edge prickliness that I tend to get when I haven’t been able to get my fingers into any paint. My emotions need that release that only comes from artistic doings. I’ve got quite a few images to put down on paper. There is this a male angel with a faraway look in his eyes along side colored balloons drifting amongst the background that is swimming around in the streams of my mind. Hopefully he’ll come to life in my next post.

Well for now, I’ll leave you with music from Simon and Garfunkel.

RIP: Patrick Charles Smith
I LOVE YOU ALWAYS!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Whirlwind



What a whirlwind. Right now I'm on a plane heading from Fairhope to Baltimore to see my youngest brother (after a scary turn where we thought his lung cancer had invaded his brain) then the return flight will be to Key West, my new home. Ok, the packing isn't quite complete (affirming the fears of Peter and other family and friends) so I'll need to take a flight back near the end of June to do some final bits as well as getting the house ready to rent but I'm really doing it. Ah... change. I'm both freaked out yet remarkably calm.
Card by Curly Girl Designs

This is some major downsizing. Basically I will almost be reducing my footprint by 75%. No baby steps here. 25 + years of accumulation plus I still hadn't gone through all the items from Mom and Dad's house. It hasn't even been a year yet since Mom died so everything has a memory. I've tried to disassociate and select a few special mementos instead of holding too tightly to every single thing. I've been marginally successful. Once I move there will be another purging, particularly of clothing. The unexpected time crunch means clothes are simply being bagged up without evaluation (Thank you so much Peter) and driven down.


I bought and read the book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up -The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" by Marie Kondo.  I plan to implement her process as I need to cull half my clothes (at a minimum) There are items two sizes to small and some well over a decade beyond stylish along with some of my mom's old clothes (perfect for a 70 year old but really Laurie, come on), jeans so ripped and torn that no amount of patching will ever put them back together (held on to mostly with the idea of a cool beach quilt to be created in the future) you see, I have a tendency to see potential in everything. And sure with enough time and creativity all my imagined projects could happen BUT really when it been 8 years or more and nothing except additional accumulation has happened, what are the odds I am going to actually do these projects. When I had the room to store extra stuff, it was ok to let things ride, but now I'm afraid not.

It is a perfect time to redefine my clothing to reflect who I am in a more conscience manner.  How fun could that be?  Sort of similar to what I'll be doing in my new little townhouse.  I'm thinking bright clean and happy!  A fresh palette for a fresh start. Turquoise, Red, Coral, Lime.  A modern mash-up of Tropical Boho!

Well I am about to land so until later -Look for the Lovely and Enjoy the Artful Life!

Music: A Little Buffet Fun
Jimmy Buffet -Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Change is in the Air!

I am Super Excited about all the Changes which will be Happening in my Life very Soon!

Laurie Sikorowski Mixed Media #Artwork

I've been prepping myself for new beginnings since the first of the year.  2014 seems to have been about loss and letting go, but 2015 is all about transformation and purposefully embracing life.  It is time for act three!  I don't know yet exactly how it is going to play out but it is going to take bravery and stepping out of my comfort zone -my safe little cocoon if you will.  

Actually, I like the metaphor of emerging from a cocoon.  It brings to mind the little story of the butterfly who even though he'd promised to come back to his caterpillar friend and explain what being a butterfly was like, he couldn't as there were no words and he knew that once his friend had experienced the change for himself, he would totally understand why.

I'm ready for this remarkable experience. This shedding of the old and taking on the new.  Maybe I'm merely hyped on hyperbole -but I'm letting my fragile dreams bubble and rise like the effervescent pop of just poured soda.  It is new and magical.  We shouldn't always harness our enthusiasm for life by maybes.

Dreamboat Art

If something is possible, it is possible.  It is not a half full or half empty thing (although I am usually a half full kind of gal) it is more of a "if there is an 80% chance of rain that means there is a 20% chance of sunshine" or even if it is stormy, is it a "I'll wear polkadot puddle jumpers and bring a bright red umbrella so I can dance in the rain" kind of think.  

Making the most of all the open doors and being grateful of the closed ones.  For without the closed doors, I might have missed the chance to open this very one which will lead to all sorts of amazing adventures.  Doors that if I'd gotten to before now, I wouldn't have been able to step through.  Timing is everything.  I truly believe that all our experiences are planned out to make us ready for what is ahead.  

Eve and the Apple

I remember when I taught children's Sunday School -one of my very favorite lessons was to go over with each child just how very special and unique they truly were and how God could use only them for what purposes he had personally selected for their life. There are no coincidences.  What we could construe as handicaps or setbacks were only tools and opportunities in the hands of our great God.  In my own life, if I didn't struggle with my weight, I wouldn't be able to empathize as easily with those battling with addiction, whether alcohol, drugs, sex, or anything else that has a seemingly supernatural grasp on one's actions.  This is just one example, but there are so many where God has taken my failings or thorns and used them for a positive purpose.  Then there are the talents and blessings of which we are each so uniquely gifted and just how important it is to nurture and share them.  I think this little Sunday School lesson resonates so deeply because as I was teaching it to the kids, I was also reminding myself of these deep truths and I personally needed to hear it again and again.  How awesome is it that we are so intensely loved and valued and have been given such great purpose and responsibility. (Oh yeah, also I made all sorts of cool artsy crafts and games to go along with the class)

Laurie Anne Smith Sikorowski

Well, this is what I am thinking and feeling right now.  I can't wait to share more of my journey as it unfolds!  Ok, God, I'm ready for you to lead me into that place you have been preparing me for.  Take my hand and let's go!  What a Beautiful Ride it will be!!!

Quote for today:
"We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we've established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile." -Earl Nightingale

Music for today: Echosmith's "Bright"

#MixedMediaArt #NewBeginnings #Artist



Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ponderings and Observations

Painting Detail, "Outside the Gilded Cage"
Detail from my Painting "Outside the Gilded Cage"
It is late Friday afternoon. "Good Friday" actually.  The light is starting to golden, making everything glisten and soften.  A gentle breeze dances across the sea oats and you can catch a subtle perfumed whiff of wisteria mixed in with the slightly salty scent of the bay.

The birds are loud and constant in their chattering, especially the seagulls as they try to out do one another.  There are all sorts of dogs, little, big, prissy, curious, aloof, prancing along the path along with kids, some in strollers, some on bikes, many running just outside their parent's reach giggling and swirling.  A wedding party rehearses.  A well dressed family poses for a portrait.  A couple lays out a picnic. A pair of elderly men sit quietly on a bench staring into the horizon. A tan tattooed young man throws a net from the pier.  A group of fit 30 somethings jog up and down the stairs in cute little shorts and brightly colored tanks.  A trio of teens gather cells phones in hand.  I could go on and on.... Vignettes of life are everywhere.

I feel like I am a part of an ever-changing painting.  It reminds me of the musical "Sunday in Park with George"  inspired by the painting by Georges Seurat. I feel like an observer, a sponge. I am a part of it all yet not.  Everything needs to be tasted and tested.  I wonder what the next moment will look like.  My eyes feel like a camera... click, click, click... capturing the subtle differences second by second.  Each insignificant alone but together a story.  It is the very ordinary particulars which make art -paintings, movies, poems, music universal, don't you think?  Generalities don't touch us like specifics.
Acrylic Mixed Media Painting
"Outside the Gilded Cage"
It takes the deeply personal to connect and evoke emotion.  The vague overalls fail to spark passion or awe or fear.  Cancer, hunger, war is bad - true enough statements but until it is narrowed down to an individual, we can ignore their implications. Why are certain commercials so successful?  Why do certain songs transport us? I am hearing the voices of Jennifer Nettles, Carly Simon, Alana Morissette in my head.  Music paints pictures as vividly as brushes.  I think that why I like to include a YouTube link with my posts.  They give a glimpse into my mood at that instant. Our preferences and desires are tiny imperfect reflections of who we are -a single tile in the mosaic of our being. And don't we all want somewhere deep inside to be understood?  Even if we say we don't.  Even if we are scared to completely expose ourselves, we give out clues hoping, even if we don't realize it at the time, they will be noticed.

I want to try and read those around me more accurately.  Try and give encouragement to my fellow earthwalkers.  We live here connected by our humanity and frailty on this precious blue ball.  We all need love.  We all need grace.  We all need connection.  I want to make a difference.  I want to share and give.  I desire to desire less selfishly.  To love more wholly and more holy -even when I don't really want to at that particular moment!

Music: Alana Morissette's Ironic

This photo I took from the bench I am seated at as I write up this post.  What a beautiful evening!