Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rainy Day in the Country

Oh, it's raining. When I work up the day was gray and cool. I hopped outside before the rain arrived to take some photos and let out my beasty demons. Then, back inside.... to work on my "illuminated" books and put some chicken soup in the slow cooker while the rain falls outside.

I've had a lot of thoughts lately. Thoughts on authenticity, fears, trusting the universe, acceptance and all these things jumble around in my head until I don't know which end is up.

Overall, it's been a huge and terrifying year. A year of changes, a year of endings and beginnings. And on top of it all....fears...fears of losing it all, fears of what these changes will bring, how I will change. My pregnancy is reaching it's end and this ending brings new beginnings.

I want to be open and accepting. I want to live fearlessly and confident, sharing the talents and gifts I've been given, offering these gifts for the good of myself, others and my community.

Working on my recent "illuminated" books have offered some respite. The idea of illuminated books, bringing in the light comforts me. Shutting out the world, listening to music, and methodically cutting and removing layers of text to add images and patterns. Creating art, something sacred out of something that would have been discarded, thrown out and forgotten. This process gives me a sense of completion, a sense of accomplishment and that everything will be alright, because someone is watching out for me.....just like I'm watching out for these old books and giving them new life.

So, how do you cope with overwhelming thoughts, feelings and fears? Do you burrow away into your work, write, etc?  And what do you think of my "illuminated" books?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mixed Media Altered Book

Here's what I found on my desk this morning....well, what I've been working on. I love illuminated manuscripts so this is my version of that. I take a book, saw it down, cut it out and paint it. I'm loving the results! So, much fun, I become completely absorbed in the making. (Much to my husband's chagrin because I never hear the phone when it rings.)

I'm reaching a realization.....of sorts. Maybe it's coming from the changes I'm experiencing and will soon be experiencing with upcoming childbirth....

Well, my realization is more like a letting go....letting go of my old self and making room for the new one to grow....letting go of the assumption that the art I create has to follow a form...I just like to make stuff....letting go of fear and worry and the need to "fit" in....I'm letting myself "go with the flow" and accept things I can't change and accept myself....and I find a sort of peace with this...peace of spirit and mind....and this peace brings a freedom in creation and trust...

Anyways.....the last pic is a new altered book that I'm listing on Etsy.

It's getting chilly here....stay warm.

Friday, September 9, 2011

On my desk this morning...

Here's a look at what greeted me this morning. I try to get in there daily to "work". Today had all kinds of pleasant interruptions, my mom and nephew came over. Other not so nice interruptions include a cough and head cold that's kept me down the past couple of days and a baby who has decided that my belly is an inflatable jumper. It's pretty hard to use a X-acto knife when your belly moves of its own accord. But I've made some progress. I've been really enjoying the altered book/mixed media thing I've been doing lately. The new work is showing up in my shop....POP over if you care to have a look.

Well, tomorrow's Saturday. If all works out, I'll be heading in The Magic City (Birmingham, AL) for their annual ArtWalk. Hope your weekends great!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

New Mixed Media/Altered Book

Here is an altered/mixed media book I recently completed. The pages were made from the leftover cut out bits from the altered books from this post. The text pages were folded and glued then folded as pages. Then they were altered in some way, painted, stamped, collaged with found text, etc. Once the pages were done I sewed them altogether inside a pale blue leather scrap bound with a long stitch and weaving. There is a ribbon sewn into the ribbon to tie the book closed and I used some copper and glass findings to embellish the front. Voila! Mixed Media/altered book! I ran into a few problems while making this book but nothing that couldn't be overcome.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mournings and Musings

One part of my life is ending and another is beginning. I'm starting a new life with a new LIFE and a new house and so many other new things that it's all overwhelming at times. I have to let myself mourn a little to that which is ending so that my heart is open to receive the new blessings that will enter. It's hard. I lay awake at night (some due to the pregnancy and some due to the thoughts and dreams and hopes that the future will bring) and try to let things go. At the same time I'm desperate have my books and art supplies unpacked so that I can get to work. I feel pulled in so many ways creative and otherwise.

These images here are the last things I was able to finish before having all of my things packed. I long for my "studio" space at the new house and hope and dream that what I create there will allow me to have a life at home to raise my son. I see so many possibilities and wonder which ones will open doors for me to create this type of life. I'm full (literally and figuratively and creatively and all the other -lys you can think of). I try not to get discouraged when things fall apart but it's said that things fall apart so that others can fall together. I try to keep this in mind.

I suppose in the end things happen as they must and we must learn to let things happen as it will.....

The steampunk altered book is available HERE.

Here's some things keeping me inspired in these days of waiting and longing:
Check out the gorgeous images in the bookbinding catagory.

This sums me up nicely.

And I've become addicted to Pinterest.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Passel of Babies....

Here's a batch of babies I've been hard at work on. I'm participating in a Etsy team show tomorrow in Huntsville (see previous post for link) and these are some new items I'll have available. Whatever is left after the show will go live in my Etsy shop until a new owners comes to claim them. I've really enjoyed making these to the point of going overboard with them. I have about 4 more to finish, hopefully in time for Saturday.

I grew up with my mom making dolls and generally being crafty around the house...I get a lot of my craftiness/artiness from her. Her father was also an artist and my dad's mother is an artist, so I suppose I can't help being an arty/crafty person myself. I get it from all sides. And I suppose, my little one will probably be artsy too....what with me as a mother and a father who writes and builds instruments. I guess I'll see soon enough!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Goodbye, "City" life....

So, yeah I know....city life in Alabama compares to living in the sticks for most other folks but having grown up on a little 4 acre plot of land I was desperate to get back to it....especially when we found out I was pregnant. So, after searching and searching we discovered this little spot out in the "country". House, Barn and 3 arces to set it all on to call our own. Of course, there is much work to done...bathroom renovations, new flooring in living room, new paint, new carpet....this list goes on...but compared to our Mill Village "cottage" where we currently live...so worth it. We'll have plenty of room for our growing tribe of animals (a new kitten recently fell out of a tree and into our lives...making our critter count 2 cats and 6 dogs) and a studio space for me! And a place for Jacob to build his instruments and other various carpentry pursuits.

So, a big year this one...first baby, new house, etc and so forth...

On the crafty side of things, I'll be doing a Etsy team show this weekend in Huntsville. Click here to go to the blog page and for more info!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

It's been awhile....

Well...my poor little blog has been ignored. But I must say it's been a summer of a lifetime. I've not announced it here....but I'm 5 months pregnant and between that and buying a house to have room for our newest addition it's been very busy lately. I have had time to work on my Etsy listings...the two pieces you see here are available.

I think I've finally found a way to use my tin milagros that I've been making which I talk about in this older post. Adhering them to wood allows the tin ornament to be enjoyed without the pesky edges being a danger. And I really like the way the tin shines off the wood. Maybe I'll get a chance to have a tutorial/painting progress thing of sorts for this type of work.

What do you think of these?
I plan on making different "milagros"...maybe some goddess/myth ones....wheels are still churning here....

Monday, June 20, 2011

Progress of a Painting

Here's another progress of a painting I recently finished. I forgot to take pictures as I got caught up in painting but you can see the gist of the progress here. This painting is available as a print in the ol' Etsy shop.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Mini Folk Art Available

This new series of folk paintings are done on wood using acrylic.

The first three paintings will be available in the shop today. The last painting will be available as a print soon.

Other good news! My work is now offered for sale in a gallery in Talladega!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Another Donation Piece

Here's another donation piece. I don't know what's gotten into me to create these three dimensional weird things. Maybe a need to create "sustenance"...something more tactile than a painting.

Maybe it's knowing that these creations are going to be leaving the house soon. I hang my pictures around the house more as a way to store them than anything else and creating something that needs to be stored in a more secure or...."displayed" in a more "safe" way isn't practical for me.

Maybe that's way I never tried other art forms, paintings are generally easy to do and store, but larger more demanding pieces like sculpture or pottery or any of the myriad art forms demanding space are harder for me simply because I lack the space and funds. Not that I wouldn't try them I would but if you've ever done anything creative you know there's always a set-up costs, supply costs, storage costs......costs, costs, costs. Painting seemed easier and cheaper.

But I do like to experiment and these past two "sculpted paintings" cost nothing to make. I already had everything I needed.

So, there you go....

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Donation Piece for Tornado Benefit

On April 27th Alabama was hit by several tornadoes resulting in the deaths of hundreds and the destruction of whole towns and neighborhoods. The outpouring of love and assistance has truly been amazing.
I've decided that the way I can help (being at the moment physically unable to do much grunt work) is to share and pass along info through internet means, pray for the victims and create art to donate to a local gallery that is having a benefit auction for the victims. This gallery also held an auction to benefit the Gulf Coast Oil spill which I also donated work for.

This piece is something completely new and different for me. It's mixed media with a anatomical heart cut from board and applied to painted canvas. Then I wove copper wire through and around the heart suggesting the rays of traditional sacred hearts. I really enjoyed making this getting to work with my hands to create a more sculptural piece was very pleasing and calming. In fact, I may do more like this.

I also created another piece that tore that incorporated sewing onto the canvas. I'll share that one later.

I've felt very helpless when it has come to helping these people--limited funds and unable to physically help, so when the chance came to donate to raise money I was thrilled to accept.

So, what do you guys think of this new work? And if you are in the Alabama area and want more info about the auction and how to help, just drop me a comment. The auction will be held on May 27th.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Painting in Progress

Here is a series of photographs that show the step-by-step process of my last painting. I started this quite by accident. I had applied red paint to a book I was altering but the paint was too watery so I took a canvas and wipe the paint on it. Then I filled in places with heavy gesso to add texture in the final painting. The red splotchy paint suggested a red horse which is something I've been wanting to paint so I blocked in a rough sketch of a horse and filled in the background with blue and a yellowish white. Once the horse was blocked in I began cleaning the lines and adding shading in a reddish brown all the while continually working the background. Finally, I added the details like the eyes, reinforced the shading and finished the background with the edge detailing. That's it!

I'm trying to document more of my process because I plan to apply to do different shows and often times you need works in progress photos. I plan to get better with the photos as you can see several of these are too dark...but there's always something to be learned.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Before and After the Storm...

Outside the thunder is grumbling...warning us to stay inside because it's about to lose it's temper in an outpouring of tears.

I love thunderstorms. The grumbly clouds, frantic lightening, and gray sheets of water playing the xylophone on the roof.

Right now, we're between storms and I scooted outside to let the dogs get their feets wet and to take some photos of my newest painting (last photo). This painting was inspired by our newest pup edition, Mary. Read about her HERE.

While me and the dogs were out I found fungus growing on a fallen tree limb--victim from a previous storm, we have about 6 pecan trees in the back and lose a ton of branches in a storm---and a tree full of wet leaves and dark berries.

I'll be working in the shop today (the above painting is now available as a print--HERE, painting, listening to Pandora (R.L. Burnside Goin' Down South is on now!), and enjoying the thundering arrival of April showers!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The frogs have it figured out....

Sometimes you just have to sit in the sun.

And if someone tries to move you....you might have to pee on them to make them leave you alone.

Well, maybe not literally...but you gotta do what you gotta do...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Magpie Painting

I have a confession...I'm a magpie painter.....

Now this term is something that I made up but to me it means...someone who paints willy-nilly, collecting " shiny styles" as they flitter from one technique or style to the next ...and this is also very frustrating.

I'm frustrated in the sense that my work has no direction, I don't build on one style and try to develop it...and I think my lack of sales and progress with my art is directly related to this.

Basically, I love painting and trying new stuff...but none of it develops into a cohesive style that is all me....

So, I'm getting pro-active about it. I laid out ALL my painting going back to 2007 and looked at them...just looked...no judgment, just recognizing my output...

Then I started gathering pictures that didn't really establish what I want to relate...that is...paintings that may be good in their own way don't really represent what I'm trying to do or say...

It could be there subject matter doesn't thrill me...
I painted it in a "fit of passion"....and it isn't "me"
Or it's just not right...

I kept weeding through and sorting out pictures all the while constantly reminding myself that the pictures weren't "bad"....they just don't point in the direction I would like to head....

Eventually, I gathered a collection of paintings that I really liked...paintings that made me happy when painting them, or...again...represented what I'm trying to communicate...

And I have created a road map to direct me as I work on developing this...

Now, all of this may sound trivial and common sense...and maybe it is. But as someone who has never had much formal "ART" education, this is something I've never done or thought about doing...but I feel like it's essential to discovering who you are as an artist. Reflecting back on past work, looking objectively, and laying the road map out for yourself as to where you want to go....

But also as someone who has never had formal art training...this is a hard thing to do....I ask for advice and comments about my work...but because the people I ask know me and like me...they say I love it...It's all wonderful.....

There's no objective viewpoint. And I understand why they say these things, art is very personal and the whole "beauty in the eye of the holder" thing....and people don't want to discourage.
(And if you have ever offered an opinion...thank you!)

But I digress...It is essential to develop a style and get better at what you're doing....

Of course, there is and should always be room for experimenting or as I like to think of it...get it out of your system. So, that's what I plan to use my artist's books for...styles that I need to paint, but don't necessarily want to develop as a signature style.

But, as of today, I'm going to be focusing on developing a style based on my selection of paintings that get me inspired. And I'm going to let this development be reflected in my online shops so I'll be removing items and adding newer ones as I develop...and hopefully, my printer will be printing correctly soon and I'll have new paintings to show.

So, there it is...my declaration to actively develop a recognizable style that is true to me and communicates what I wish to say.

What are you're opinions or thoughts on developing a signature look?
This is one of those things I have a love/hate relationship with....so, what do you think?