I had intended to make something or work on my journal during this unseemly hour of the morning, but instead, I am sharing some work I’ve been doing for the past week or two. Dawn Sokol runs a class each holiday season that focuses on journaling to help process the holiday season and winter. It’s a great class that I’ve taken a couple of times in the past. Here is some of my work, along with some works in progress, that I have so far.
It’s a homemade book, set up in the style of a travelers notebook, using elastic bands to keep in each signature. The pages are made of old cereal boxes, magazine pages, old Christmas cards, cardstock, regular ole white heavyweight paper, and more. Some of these pages are still works in progress, mostly needing some doodling and journaling. #JingleJournal2021
First of all…where have I been? Well, I’ve been over at alwaysbcreating.com, working A LOT on our Art Play Dates and workshops that I’m bringing to the Northern Colorado area. If you’re in the vicinity, you should check it out. I’ve got 7 cool artist instructors teaching in Fort Collins this year and you may really enjoy their offerings.
Ok, so yesterday I was supposed to get my temporary crown removed and replaced with the permanent crown. I’ve been dealing with all kinds of pain issues since they put on the temp, and when the dentist took a look, he decided to send me to the endodontist for an exam to see if I need a root canal. Joy. That news, coupled with the recent “Happy Birthday, now go get a colonoscopy” greeting my doctor gave me, well, I was just dejected. As a bonus, it was raining and cold and gray out. So what do you do when the perfect storm emerges? Go to the craft store!
First I hit Hobby Lobby, just to check out the clearance section. I got out of there fairly easily, with two rolls of deco tape and a bin of little plastic gems that were half off. Then I went across the street to Michaels (I was on a roll!) specifically to purchase another storage unit for my tapes.
[It’s funny, when I typed “tapes,” it reminded me of my massive cassette tape collection from college and thereafter. I guess I’ve traded in an obsession for one kind of tape, just to have another kind 30 years later!]
I walked all over that damn store to find the storage unit I wanted. Luckily they still had something similar to the one I purchased a while back. The drawers slide out and then angle down so you can see everything in the drawer. So cool. Problem was, on my walk around the store, I found way too many other things I needed. Jane Davenport has a collection of stuff now, which I didn’t know about, and it was all displayed so nicely on an endcap that I had to stop and look. I ended up with her version of washi tape, a face cling stamp and the Inkredible Pen, which I now love.
On another end cap, I found a set of washi tape, something like 40 rolls, for 10 bucks. You can see all of them on the pages of my planner here.
And now, we finally come to the point of my post. My planner. In coming months, I’m going to talk a whole lot about planners. For now, I wanted to share one of the things I do with my planner. Whenever I go shopping and find neat little things like I did yesterday, I like to try them all out in my planner. Very randomly, I went through every roll of tape and stuck a piece in there. I love the way it looks!
It also gave me another idea: If your planner pages are thin and you want to do wet or heavy stuff on a page, back that page with tape! ta da!
I took a class online last fall called “For the Love of a Tree” with Diane Culhane and it was fantastic. It really made me happy because there are few things I love more than staring at trees. We have some good ones in our neighborhood here, but my mom’s yard in NJ is lousy with amazing trees. I remember looking out the kitchen window on a very gray and rainy day in the autumn and being struck by the contrast between the dark, wet bark on the trees and the golds, reds and yellows of the leaves. I still have to catch my breath when I think of it.
Here’s Weeping Tree. 5″x5″ acrylics on cradle board.
My baby girl and I have both been sick for about two weeks now and I wasn’t able to take her to day care because of her lingering cough/runny nose + my own inability to wake up in a timely manner because I still don’t feel well. So we had Mommy/Baby Day, during which I counted the minutes till nap time so that I could lie down. (No, I do NOT feel guilty about that.)
And lie down I did, but only for 30 minutes, because I seem to feel worse when I haven’t made anything for days and days on end and I set my alarm for only 30 minutes so that I could make something, anything, today.
So, I napped until I could get up and then ran downstairs to do as much I could in the few remaining minutes until my blessed angel awoke from her nap.
I’m not saying it was good. I’m just saying that I did it.
I took two halves of a scrapbook paper that I had painted on forever ago and collaged over the paint with scraps of paper that I had sorted out last night from my collage boxes. The next step will be to gesso over these scraps and map out a drawing of some sort.
My friend Joanne is such a delightful woman. She is also uber creative, supportive and so talented. For years, she has graced my mailbox with little surprises that always make me smile, even when all others have forsaken me because I rarely send a RAK anymore. I am so grateful that she always thinks of me in this way, she always comments on my blogs, she holds me up when I’m struggling in my journey as a foster/adopt mom. We don’t get to hang out often, but I really look forward to the next time we get to do that. Joanne inspires me.
Here is the most recent card I received from Joanne. I’ve been enjoying it here on my desk and will be moving it to my Wall o’ Art Fame here in the studio. Thank you, Joanne!
…though I am sure that I don’t have any readers left here since I’ve been so hit or miss with my blogging. (If you’re still out there, please comment and let me know!)
Tonight, I had an idea for a blog post and headed over here. Realizing I haven’t posted since early May, I had to sit for a minute, staring at the screen, trying to figure out why. I could have sworn I had written lots of things, but then I remembered what a long, hard summer it was. In mid-May, I learned that my awesome friend and mentor, Chuck, passed away, after battling congenital heart disease. It hit me hard because I had just seen him in April, albeit in his hospital bed, and he looked and sounded good. At least I got that last visit with him, unlike a number of others who have gone before him and I always feel pangs of regret about those folks.
Chuck was always so supportive of my work (he loved the prayer flags!), whether it was the web work or more hands-on creative endeavors. I feel so much loss every time I think about him. Same goes for my brother-in-law, Andy, who passed away at the end of May. Andy was also very supportive of my work, though he was more subdued about it. His passing was (and still is) a huge shock for my husband’s family and though I clearly didn’t know him for as long, or as well as they did, there are days that I can barely get myself out of bed to face the day if I think too hard or long about Andy.
Luckily, we still have our little bundle of energy, publicly known as Baby New Year. I’d show you a photo, but she’s a foster child and we’re obliged to maintain her privacy. She is now 15 months old and so cute it’s painful! 🙂 She’s also bullheaded, funny, smart and intense. We love her lots and she keeps me hopping.
All of that adds up to me being scatterbrained and all over the place, both mentally and emotionally. Not much art has progressed this summer, though I have been journaling. The past few weeks, I’ve gotten behind, but my hope is to photograph some of the pages next week and get them up in my flickr albums.
I shouldn’t say that NO art has been made. I’ve been busy organizing workshops with out-of-state artists and this summer, we hosted Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, Kelly Kilmer and Leighanna Light. Leighanna’s workshops were just this past weekend and I have a few photos of my creations to share here in this post.
There are a few draft posts in my dashboard that I do need to finish up and I have some more workshop photos to share as well, so stay tuned for those!
This week I re-discovered gluebooks. If you’ve never heard of them, a gluebook is a book (with me?) that you glue things into.
What’s it for? you may be asking.
It’s for …wait for it… fun.
A gluebook might be a place where you stick all of the pretty pictures you cut out of magazines and don’t know what to do with them after that.
Or a place where you put cut out photos of your favorite dreamy actors.
It’s a book into which you glue stuff. Simple as that.
I used to do gluebooks stuff a long time ago. And I guess my Everyday Book journal is a sort of gluebook, when it comes right down to it. But I haven’t consciously worked in a gluebook for no reason for a very long time. The thing I love about gluebooks is that there is no pressure to create great work. And it can be a nice collage exercise. Or it can be nothing at all. Is there anything in life that creates less pressure than “nothing at all”?
Here’s a spread I did today in under a half an hour while I listened to inspiring Todd Henry podcasts:
The theme was “blue.” I got the theme from the gluebooks group I just joined on Facebook. This group popped up in the sidebar on Facebook last week and it made me go “oh yeah, I love those!” and I joined the group without thinking.
I have made two rules for myself in working in this book (which is just your ordinary, run of the mill, every day composition book, btw):
Don’t think. All I did was rummage through my box of images and pull out anything that was blue and turned me on. I did not spend a lot of time aching over the composition of the page either.
Don’t spent more than 30 minutes on a spread. A spread is two facing pages. Therefore, if I did one page, I would only spend 15 minutes. This goes with the don’t think thing very nicely. You can express yourself in whatever way you need without spending a lot of time over how perfect (or imperfect) the page looks.
If this sounds like fun, grab a magazine you want to cut up (I like ripping out pages and images for later use while I watch tv in the evening), a glue stick, and a book to glue stuff into and GO! Go Glue Something. I’d love to see what you do!
Today is the first day in a long time that I have an uninterrupted large chunk of time and it just happens to coincide with a pedicure appointment I made a month ago with an excellent salon in town. I’m thrilled to have the next 6 hours with only the dogs and the husband getting in my way and frankly, they know better by now. I will complete some billable work. I will go to the craft store. I will have pretty toes.
Walking into my studio to work after dropping the boy at Boys & Girls Club and the baby at her grandma’s house, I realized, “Oh my gosh, I surely can’t let Kelly Kilmer see my studio in this disastrous state!!” And that’s when I sat down at my desk, sighed, and said, “Ok, I can’t do it all. Or I can, but I can’t do it all well.”
First step is in admitting it.
Now for the recovery period.
<3 <3 <3
And here’s what’s currently on my worktable. I have a yen to cover a bunch of little birdhouses with lots of bright and sparkly crap, waterproof the hell out of them, and then put them up in our yard to see what happens. (Those knobs in the upper right corner will be painted and put on the dresser in the baby’s room. Eventually.)
My local art pal, Lynn, recently set up her basement so that all of the local art girls could go and hang out, at least once a month, and make art together. Nothing formal. We just bring projects and hang out together while we work. We also bring snacks. It’s pretty fun!
We all got to talking about bringing in art instructors and hosting them for weekend-long workshops, just like Christine of The Artists’ Nook used to do. I had been looking into starting a similar project of my own and thought I could organize the logistics and see how it goes. Around the same time, Kelly Kilmer and I talked about getting her back to the area to teach, especially because her classes that were scheduled last summer didn’t end up happening.
When all of the pieces come together like that, it’s a sign, so alwaysbecreating.com was born. Check it out, either on the website or on facebook, even if you’re not local. There will be something there for everyone as time goes by. Thanks for checking it out!
First of all, no, I have no idea why I was up at 2 am writing this post. I thought I might get more work done while everybody is asleep and that I might sleep while everybody is awake tomorrow. I don’t know if any of this is wise, but Tim was ok with the burden it would place on him in yhe morning, so why not give it a try.
And that’s one of the things this post is about. Trying something even when you’re not sure it’s going to work out.
Now I want to share the two scary and creative things I’ve done in the past few months.
1. Became a foster mom.
I haven’t mentioned this topic here, because it’s my art blog, but it’s relevant to this post. Last year Tim and I were certified by our county as foster parents. Never having been a parent before at all, this was a huge and scary step for me. (Not for Tim. He was good with it from the word go.) I have learned in the past two months, however, that motherhood requires large quantities of creativity. HUGE quantities.
I had no idea.
Can I shower, have breakfast and answer all of my client email before the baby wakes up? How do I take a sleeping baby in the car to pick up the 11-year-old at school and get home before the baby has a poop explosion or needs a bottle? How long can I listen to the boy yammer on about his plans for a birthday party we’re apparently throwing him this summer? How many times can I take him to McDonald’s for an after-school snack before I feel like an awful guardian? (The answers are: no, carefully and quickly, as long as I have to, and two.)
And so on.
But you know what I learned this week? I can do it. I AM doing it. And I am doing it pretty well, if I do say so myself. There may have been a couple of times I wanted to cry or give up, but in general, I think I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. And even though I haven’t made one bit of art in the past 3 weeks, I look forward to the challenges these kids bring into our lives.
I took the chance. I made the leap. I let these kids into my life. And it’s good.
And the other thing:
2. Participating in an art community tradition in my city.
I’ve heard of the Masks at MOA for years and either was afraid, or kept missing the deadline, but this year, I finally got to participate. Basically, it’s a fundraiser for the art museum in which artists create masterpieces out of ceramic masks. The masks are then displayed in the museum for a month and the public bids on them throughout the exhibit. Some of the masks also sold during a Gala dinner, as well. All of the proceeds to towards the museum.
On First Friday last month, the museum was packed. I was so nervous…I enjoyed looking at all of the masks, but was so anxious to see my own piece displayed in a museum. I’d been in a gallery before, but a museum! That’s huge!
When we found mine, we saw that someone had bid on it. Not only that, but two someones had bid on it.
It was thrilling.
The exhibit is closing this week, so I went over there today to check on my mask one more time. More people had bid and the price was up to $95. I don’t know that I ever expected that!
I took a chance, made the leap, arted up the mask and put my work out there. And it turns out, I’m not the only one who loved my piece.
I can do anything, if I want it badly enough, but the point is in the trying. Even if it’s scary. The point is in pushing myself to see just what I’m capable of. You can do that too. Even if you’re scared.