Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Are You A Mermaid...?

I haven't been on here since the Spring; here it is--the day of the Autumn Equinox. Anyone still occasionally peeping into my blog must be wondering where I've been.
There are so many ways to tell you where, but the whole truth of it is.... I've been swimming in my own humongous little ocean.
I had been struggling with my art... trying to rediscover my own authentic voice again. I was feeling like so many other artists I'd been connecting with were finding their ways into my brush and pencil--- not a bad thing, mind you.....just confusing. I needed to be alone with my art and my soul and refigure who or what I was/am and how I want to tell that story.
Turning 45 this year probably had alot to do with these thoughts. I seem to be someone who unconsciously goes through major rebirthing processes at the zeros and fives in my life.
So....I stopped blogging and reading blogs (although I stuck w/ my FB page) and I tried to create my own little vacum of things that have always inspired me and triggered my art....
It wasn't working very well... I was still feeling more than a little bit lost.
And day, while having dinner with my son at a local diner... a little girl shyly approached our table with her mother in tow. She came up to me and asked:  Are you a mermaid?
I wish I could find the exact right word for how that simple question made me feel.
It seems that she'd seen me come into the restaurant and had seen my long hair and told her mother "that lady is a mermaid. See her hair? She's a real mermaid."
I wanted so much to be a real mermaid for her..... but I smiled and thanked her for the wonderful compliment. And told her how very much I wished I was a real mermaid.
The moment itself passed...but her question and the thought of being a little girl who is convinced that wondrous,magickal beings can live ordinary lives among the rest of us.... that has stayed with me.
And fed my art in ways I can't expres with words....
How often in our mundane lives do we get mistaken for a magickal creature? I want to keep and hold that moment, as if in a little sparkly, faerie-dust filled globe.....and every time I pick it up and shake it I will see that little girl. I didn't snuff out her belief in magickal things...I told her that maybe someday we'd both get to meet mermaids...
So....for now, I continue my swim in this familiar ocean..... the water is deeper than it used to be and I'm not as strong a swimmer, but age and experience are on my side. I know a little better how to save my energy and where the rocks are. We shall see how this all turns out.... maybe I will even end up sprouting a tail and flirting with Poseidon.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Welcome Carson!

Nearly 24 hours home....he's fitting right in. Bailey was a little 'concerened' at first. I've watched enough episodes of Dog Whisperer to know that it was best just to let the dogs work it out on their own. They have.
Of course, it's just the very first day...but I think it bodes well. Carson is fitting in, as if he's always been here. He already has a battery of nicknames from toothless joe (he had 11 teeth removed!) to mini-me and teacup shih tzu. I call him monkey face. I'm absolutely in love.
This is one of his favourite spots in the Even with losing all those teeth...he has no trouble scarfing up his chicken and kibble dinner. I'm going to take him shopping today for some soft little treats...he can't manage any biscuits or carrots.
Thank you Universe...this was definitely meant to be.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Span Of A Week...

A week ago today I was outside in my sunny,very-warm-for-this-time-of-Spring yard working at the picnic table; painting,sanding and prepping a frame for Violet. I had a request for a framed print of her and I wanted everything to come out just right for the sale of my first print. I absolutely love the way the frame turned out...after much sanding; layers of lavender paint,crackle glaze and white paint...and then layers of Glimmermist over that. Awesome. Violet was pleased w/ her frame and she has gone to a wonderful new home.This week I am prepping for a new arrival of my own. Bailey is getting a new little brother tomorrow. He has been so melancholy since Shelby died. We knew he needed a new little companion and we'd been looking through Petfinder. Luck of luck, last Saturday our town animal shelter posted a picture on Facebook of a little Shih Tzu boy, named Carson, who was in need of a home. I called them the second I saw the picture (which was just seconds after it had been posted), drove over, met him (what a mushy,lovey little sweetie) and put in an application right there. Monday we found out he would be ours. Tomorrow we go and have Bailey meet him and finally bring him home. Carson's had quite a week...he had to get neutered and have some teeth removed but he's getting a new family and a new brother and a humongous yard and home to explore. Hope he's as excited and happy as we are.
Here is the picture that was posted on Facebook. How could I resist that face?
I am a tremendous believer that things happen for a reason and that you can tell when they are meant to be.We had been worrying about adopting through a Shih Tzu Rescue group on Petfinder--we were concerned it would take a very long time because they have an extensive process of approval...understandably. Last Saturday I'd been spring cleaning and had just taken a break for lunch when I popped onto FB and saw Carsons picture. The way the chain of events happened I just knew it was meant to be; I'd had that same feeling when we adopted Bailey and Shelby. And my son, Warren, is home this week. He was home the week Shelby got so sick and had to be put to sleep. I remember driving to the vet and Warren cradling Shelby in his arms and we were both just sobbing our hearts it seems absolutely right and perfect that he gets to be here to welcome this new little family member.
The Universe knows what we need...we just have to have faith in it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Gift of Spring

I have been incredibly lax in getting on here and posting. So many things in my life are demanding attention right now.One of my jobs--I work with teen moms in an art and literacy program--has gotten more complex and that has demanded alot more of my time. I have been trying in every spare minute to paint or sew or sculpt or something... Here are two recently finished poppets...they will be going into The Sundial Sisters Etsy shop very soon.
It's the same every Spring...I find a renewed sense of creativity and just need to keep moving and working and getting it out... It's as if my muse spends her winter in a half-slumber and at the first inkling of Spring she stretches and fully awakes.
This little lady is The Duchess of Agony. I began her in the week following the snowstorm... She took alot of concentrated effort. She's sculpted from polymer clay and handpainted; her limbs are attached with satin ribbons. She's painted with acrylics and inks. I hand sewed and trimmed her dress and her headdress. Her hair is washed lambs fleece from a friends farm. She has a black tulle boa and a tulle bustle to her dress. I kind of think she might be a little inspired by Lady Gaga. She has a handpainted corset and stockings too! She's going into the Sundials' shop as well. She has several sisters in various stages of work... One--a Mardi Gras Queen named Talulah-- will be finished in a few days. I'm having so much fun with these new little dolls... I've been doing tons of research on 1920s silent film stars and things like that.
This little jennywren nest was woven into one of the floral wreaths that I hang on my door each Spring. I must have put it away in the attic last fall and never saw the nest. This morning when I went up to get my Spring decorations...there it was. It has a wee little bird skeleton in it...which I find so delicate and beautiful....but also sad. Poor lost baby of last spring or summer. I'm keeping the nest in a pretty little robin-egg blue pot.... I think it's my Gift of this Spring.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Februarys Last Blast

We got socked with major snow last week...lost power for 60+ hours. In spite of the frustration; it was incredibly beautiful. Fairyland to the tenth power. My house looked like a big frosted cake. Some of these photos were taken from my attic window...overlooking my neighborhood. Also got a picture of a snow-befuddled visitor...who bustled off into her thicket after 'posing' for me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ondine Makes Her Debut

I first introduced you to this little girl way back in October. Since then she sat, partially completed, on my drawing table. Not for lack of wanting to work on her...but because I was stumped as to how to acchieve the effect I wanted. And I couldn't decide whether to do her in 'straight' pen and ink or to add delicate hints of watercolour to her. Finally...I worked out an arrangement with myself.
Complete her in pen and ink...and then have a copy printed onto watercolour stock paper and add the hints of colour to that. So.... here is Ondine....making her debut:
 I'm absolutely in love with her...and excited to do the watercolour version very soon.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine, My Valentine...

Happy Valentines Day to everyone. And most especially, to my husband best friend, my sweetheart and my rock. Though we are less those two babies in our favourite wedding photo...and more like the couple below...The Weasleys. There is a romance in the comfortableness and familiarity we share. Candy and cards are lovely, but I'm much happier with the everyday blessings you bring to my life.

***I've just changed my comment setting for blog owner approval due to seeing a post on a blog I follow about 'spam comments' and attached viruses etc. I went thru some recent posts and found two comments that may have been something similar. As this is currently, the only computer in my household, I need to take precautionary measures. Thank you in advance for understanding. :) Kelly

Monday, February 8, 2010


This is Violet... Aside from the possibility of an antique wash to really make her 'shabbiness' pop...she was finished yesterday pre-Super Bowl. Another angel. And again, she was somewhat unexpected... She seems a bit quieter than her sister... more of a shy away from attention kind of girl. Except for those shimmery wings...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sneak Peeks...

It's Superbowl Sunday and amidst all the football and feasting we should be able to squeeze in a little art. I had promised new paintings at least a week or so ago.Unfortunately, even while I consider my art to be my primary focus and work, so many other things conspire to make it secondary and even-in a few cases-a distant third on my list of jobs. I have been griping about this the last couple weeks...I think this must be the curse of the artist who is also a woman,wife,mother, etc. I know that these are the roles that have afforded me so many blessings in life, but some days I wonder if I would be more prolific and productive in my art if I could be-I don't know- Pablo Picasso or Jackson Pollack....and have Lee Krasner or anyone of a dozen mistresses to make my meals and clean my house and do my laundry for me.
So, here I am on Superbowl Sunday, taking a moment between squeezing in some art-time and needing to make nacho dip and brownies to take to a Superbowl feast,to show you some glimpses of the art I'm working excruciatingly slowly.

My response to the responsibilities and whatnot that won't let me sneak off to the studio for more than a couple hours here and to move the studio into the parts of my life that won't give up. Hence, my kitchen table is completely consumed in decoupage ornament making...and has been for over a week or so.

They are coming along.... They started out with an intent that they would be one thing and when that wasn't 'gelling', I took a day or so to reconsider what I wanted to do. That's the part of being an artist that--to outward appearances--doesn't seem to be actual work. But at the end of those couple days, I knew what I wanted and how to achieve it. And now I'm back on track, getting these little hand drawn and painted ornaments nearer to completion. They're being sealed in beeswax, so that's an entire long process too.

Apparently, even though I truly do strive for simplicity in my life, I'm destined to make things more detailed and complex. Fun.
The topmost picture in this entry is a sneak peek at a painting I only just finished today--about an hour or so ago. As soon as she's dry and moveable I'll get some decent pictures of her and post them.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Glue In My Hair...

Forgive the bad photography... The only way to get a picture of all my hair is in the mirror, which means zero flash and also shaky-blurry pictures.
I have alot of it--hair that is. It's very long and has-over the years-gotten thicker and wavier as it grows, which I guess isn't usually what happens. When I was younger my hair was thin and super straight and my mother cut it for me in her own version of a 'shag' haircut. It wasn't the best look. So, for most of my adult life I've had my hair varying lengths of long... I've cut it a few times but I always grow it right back. I love long hair and I know for a fact that I would never be one of those ambush makeovers who gets convinced to cut off all their hair for a new look. Nope. No way. However, long hair plus messy art is not a comfortable mix. I've accidentally dipped my hair in paint more times than I can count. I think I know why Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keefe pinned their hair up.
Yesterday, while gluing together dollar-store cardboard coasters to prep for painted ornaments I managed to glue a few into my hair.

I managed to get them out and rinsed the glue out of the ends of my hair. Then , a short while later, I accidentally dipped my hair in the glue and that has not been so easy to get out. I should mention that ponytails and braids don't always help this problem.

In the eighties, I had one of those wonderful asymetrical hairdos with enough spray or mousse or whatever in it to hold it through anything. Glue shouldn't be a problem for me...except for how nearly impossible it is to try to comb or brush it out. From now on I'm wearing a shower cap in the studio!
On another note: I'm hoping to have some ornaments and a new painting to post by this weekend or early next week. Provided I can keep my hair out of it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Unexpected Angel

I'm not completely sure where she came from. This painting...begun kind of vaguely with old book pages and smears of acrylic paint...didn't seem to have a defined personality. I really didn't know why I needed to paint it or what it was I needed to paint. It wasn't until I took out a piece of charcoal and started sketching that I even could see a face in the canvas. A layer of gesso and then paint and last night she began to take shape.
I still wasn't sure I liked the look of her. This morning I sat with her, just staring at her...getting to know her a little better. This afternoon, I picked up the brushes again and now...I think she is done. I will sit with her for a little while to be sure...
I don't even have a name for her. She was that much of a surprise. She feels like peacefulness and early thoughts of Spring to me...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Eclectic Creative Chaos

Credit where credit is due: I 'cribbed' this phrase from Milliande. In one of her lovely videos, she made mention of her "eclectic creative chaos" and I swear a lightbulb came on in my brain...That's it!!! That's the perfect name for my studio! In it's current is the absolute personification of eclectic creative just can't help it. It has me as a caretaker, resident messmaker/artist. I have tried--so fruitlessly--to organize,label,winnow out the junk, but all that ever comes of these efforts is that I seem to lose track of my muse. I get so swallowed up in the cleaning that the creating just doesn't happen.
I work best in a mess. I should put this on a sign and hang it on my door. I should take a jumbo Sharpie and write it on the wall as a reminder. I should stop wasting my time fighting with my messes and I should just let it go. Within reason, of course.

So long as there is seat surface enough for my rear and table surface enough for my supplies...the rest can stay as is. I get more inspired "shopping" (rooting really...) in the bins and piles, looking for one thing and then finding three or four alternatives I hadn't even considered. I have finally made my husband realize that his occasional vacuming forays into my studio are unneccessary; whatever (paper,yarn,beads,what-have-you) is on the floor is still a potential supply. Vacuming it up just creates stress.

I am happy in my disarray. If I had one of those uber-clean and perfect studios that are often shown in the magazines...I would just have to mess it up before I could create.
Here's to a Perfect Mess!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Staunch Character: A Self Portrait In An Art Journal

I made only one resolution this year. I made it in my head at first and didn't speak it out loud for a few days. That resolution is to make or work on art every day. In the days since I finally made the resolution real by speaking it, writing it, enacting it... I also realized that this year I need to explore who/what I am. I need to reconnect with myself in a way I haven't truly done for quite some time. I used to almost exclusively paint and draw self portraits. I recreated my face and form on paper over and over again. I made myself a gargoylesque she-creature, a vengeful goddess protecting her planet, a mystical woman who stares the viewer down, a primordial creatrix, and even a blinded version of Lilith feeling her way through thorny woods. Some day perhaps, when I'm feeling a little braver in my blog I will show you these pictures/ paintings and reveal these faces/aspects of me.
The picture I use as my blog profile photo--called Grandfather--is from that period of my art. I think it's one of the tamer paintings I did at that time.
I have started up an art journal in the last week or so.
I'd kept one or two before, during my self-portrait period...but never kept them up for very long. I think, in my head, it was hard to see them as truly being art because I was already receiving alot of flak about my paintings being "nothing more than coloured pencil on paper" and "why don't you try's more painterly" blah,blah,blah....

I had people (mostly men, but also some women) ask me why I didn't paint "nice" things like flowers or landscapes. I was young--in my 20s--and it was hard to keep hearing this kind of commentary over and over. When I'd been in school, I'd felt like the short end of the stick seemed that my art teacher just couldn't see me as I saw myself (an artist) and he tried his best to make me see that my art wasn't enough for the world. Good enough, bold enough, innovative enough...whatever.

My father was always my loudest cheerleader. He would boldly tell people at his own art shows that he thought I was more talented than he was. I never felt like that was true. I still don't. I like to believe that, in truth, we were equals in art. We both had visions. We both had obstacles. And we always tried to keep working over and around those so we could keep creating our visions.
I also sometimes felt that...well, he was my dad. Of course he thought I was talented. He was supposed to, right?

This year, as I begin a new year, a new decade without either of my parents here on earth... I am drawn to re-exploring who I am and what I am. In the years since I'd last done my self portrait work, so much has happened. My children have grown and are learning to fly the nest. I have grown and am reaching beyond my nest as well. My personal icon list has grown: Frida Kahlo, Georgia OKeefe, Little Edie Beale,Louise Bourguois.......etc.
My personal universe is very different.

Expanding into the internet and the blogosphere and meeting/seeing all these other like-minded artists has helped me to stop hearing only the voices of the naysayers..."You can't be an artist. You're good but I don't see you as an artist." I'm tired of hearing that voice.
I AM AN ARTIST. period.

I have tried to be creative everywhere in my life that I possibly can... No. Wait. That's not right. I haven't actually ever had to try. It just came out of me like that. No matter what I did. That's the way I did it. I can't NOT be creative.
That makes me an artist.
I live breathe eat sleep work dream drink art in some way every day.

So... I am beginning this year...this decade...this art journal with the declaration.
No more second guessing or doubts or questioning if what I do is truly art. IT IS. AND I AM...
My word for the year is : MANIFEST... does that make this my 2010 manifesto? I don't know. I do know I am going to manifest these dreams this year and for the rest of my life. No more waiting for the perfect moment or to receive some sort of permission from some 'expert' somewhere. I am doing this. I can do this.
I hope you will all join me in knowing that you are all artists...wonderful and creative and you bring a multitude of gifts to the world through your creativity.
Art is a neccessity of life.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Feeling My Way Into The New Year

It's been about a month since I last posted here. Christmas has passed. New Years too. I had a lovely holiday...but also a very melancholy one too. Missing my mother so much this year. My sister and I tried to soldier through in our own respective ways. We went through all the family ornaments that had been collected and hung with love each year on moms' tree. It was bittersweet. So much of the way we felt this year could be summed up with that word; which is ironic and sad. The name my parents' gave to their boat was Bittersweet; they said that it was a perfect summation of life: which is both bitter at times and also sweet. Seeing some of those treasured ornaments on my own tree was comforting; so many memories...
But this holiday season was also sad and heartbreaking for us. My little dog, Shelby, went into kidney failure and had to be put to sleep. Our hearts were truly broken. She was our sweet little girl; she and her 'brother' Bailey were adopted into our home 3 years ago from a local Humane Society. At 7 and 8 they were considered senior dogs. Shelby was actually quite sick when we got her. She had a history of bladder stones and, in the time we had her, had to have two surgeries to have them removed. After the first surgery--shortly after we adopted her--it was as if she was having a second puppyhood. Her personality came out; her spark and joy at being a little dog in a loving home. She loved to be contrary and stubborn. She loved to gambol about our huge yard, with Bailey...and sometimes my husband, at her heels. She loved to give the squirrels endless grief. She loved dinnertime and petite carrot treats. She loved to meet other people and dogs. She was a gem. I'm glad we took the chance and got to know this amazing little dog. But I have to admit, I might think twice about taking another dog with an unknown health history. It seems Shelby also had a history of kidney stones and had had a kidney removed some time in her past. We didn't know until she became so sick.
We are considering getting another little dog. Bailey is so melancholy. He lived his entire life with her; he seems kind of lost without her. We are looking into a Shih Tsu rescue organization and the possibility of a younger female. I've been going through pictures and profiles online on Petfinder. Of course they all tug my heartstrings, but I want to make a considered choice and not just an impulsive one. No more heartbreak...if possible. Post Christmas...I have been sick myself. What seemed to start as a typical cold; took root and has had me pretty well laid up for the last week or so. I am only just starting to feel like myself a little bit. These pen and ink drawings were done last week-- Thursday, Friday, Saturday--as a way to distract myself from how bad I was feeling. And as a way to make good on my personal New Years resolution to make or work on some kind of art every matter what.

They are loosely based on the idea of a zentangle, but not really a true zentangle... I think they are very stream of consciousness though. I tried not to think too much about what I was drawing as I was doing them. I love the black and white; the starkness of them.
I am really trying to keep to my resolution.
I should also resolve to be more dutiful in my blog entries.