creativity comes in many forms

This week and last week, I have been extremely creative with my time, with making meals for Tim and myself, with pretty much everything that’s important to me. I have tucked journaling time into the evenings while we watch tv. I carry around Wreck This Journal constantly, on the off chance that I will have a moment to destroy something. I print PDFs and carry them around with me in case I have a moment to read them. And today is the day before I leave on a trip, which means I have left a thousand details until the last minute, whether on purpose or accidentally, and I am a crazy woman. I know there are things that will go unfinished. And I know there are work things that I’ll just have to bring with me and do in the evenings. But I don’t care! You know why? Because…

Tomorrow I leave for a week in Phoenix for Art Unraveled!!

I am very excited for a week of creativity and friendship. I’ll try to check in here when I can. In the meantime I want to leave you with this utterly creative video that will make you smile. Have a great week!

wreck this journal – weeks 3, 4, 5….oh, whatever!

I just got caught up with Jamie’s videos and I am woefully behind on seeing what everybody else is doing. I apologize to all of you who have been so kind & supportive by visiting my blog and commenting. I fully intend to do the same every week and then life got in the way. Big time.

I have a good excuse, though!

The last two weeks I have spent getting ready for opening my very own art studio. I am working with this cool group called Poudre Studio Artists here in Fort Collins. We “live” in the Poudre River Arts Center, just north of downtown. I’ve also taken on the role of marketing manager for the center as well, so you can imagine how hilariously crazy things have been here.

So, I don’t know what week it is, really. I don’t remember what I did when, but I need to realize that’s not important anymore (which is REALLY hard for me, because I love tracking and archiving things). I did make a week list of the stuff I’ve done since the last time I posted:

  • poked holes
  • drew thin and fat lines
  • scratched with a sharp object
  • tore strips
  • starting adding office supplies
  • drew a nonstop line
  • wrote four-letter words
  • listed more ways to wreck

ALSO, I put the book out during my first First Friday, marked at the page that says “hang the journal in a public place and invite people to draw here.” Not many people wanted to do that, despite my big basket of crayons. I was surprised, actually! My MIL drew a horse though. My SIL drew a penguin and a blackeyed susan (that’s the “logo” my husband and I have – long story for another day). My husband drew a tiny alien and his space ship. That’s good enough for me!

I was carrying it around a lot and then that sort of dropped off, but I intend to pick back up again. It’s comforting to me.

Things I am learning from this process and how it’s spilling over into real life:

  • I am following the rules less and less. I used to be the “good girl” — who has to please everybody and do the right thing. I’m NOT that girl anymore.
  • I didn’t clean my house before my in-laws came over. Twice.
  • I am playing more. Today I was in the studio and I was prepping some pages for a journal and all of a sudden decided to do my process in reverse order, just to see what would happen.

So that’s it for now. If anyone reading this doesn’t have a “give away your favorite page” partner, please consider swapping with me. Leave a note in the comments.

And here are some photos of what I’ve done recently. enjoy!

wreck this journal week 1

As I type this, I am sitting on my journal. I received this book for Christmas and have done a few of the prompts in it since then, but when I heard Jamie Ridler was leading a Wreck This Journal group, I knew it was a sign that I needed to get more invested in this book. So I am. Only problem is, I keep forgetting to do stuff. ha!

Be Brave
Be Brave

Last weekend, I did do some doodling in one of the pages. Easy enough. Stuff I do every day in other books. Not a big deal. I made a sign for myself.

But last night I tried to do something more daring. There is a black page that says “Lose this page. (Throw it out.) Accept the loss.” I ignored it for a while and looked for another page to work on. Then I went back and tore out the page and crumpled it up. Then I sat the wadded up ball of paper aside and freaked out a little. And I know exactly why.

I love recording things. I love complete archives and histories of events. I want to leave behind stuff that doesn’t make people wonder about Tracey. “Why did grandma tear a page out of this book?” one kid might wonder.

Lose this page
Lose this page

And here’s the other thing. We had barely any money growing up. I learned the value of a dollar very early on. I also learned that if I leave my stuff lying around, my little brothers would destroy it and then it would be gone and there would be no more because there was no money to buy more. So I’m very protective of my stuff.

And that’s why throwing away this page is so hard.

But I’ve done more difficult stuff in the last week. I’ve gone out of my comfort zone at least twice and both times were very rewarding. Also, things aren’t as scarce now as they were when I was nine.  So when I post this entry, I will throw away this wadded up page (in the dumpster outside!) and move on with my day.

How I Know I’m An Artist — Part II

Friday, I was juried (is that the right word?) in as an artist to the Poudre River Arts Center studios. I know that acceptance by my peers shouldn’t be a requisite, but for me, it helps remind me I am an artist. These artists are following their hearts, making a living at their art or doing art daily and they have STUDIOS in an ART CENTER with a GALLERY and that’s part of the Fort Collins First Friday thing…well, that’s way too cool.

I’ve been doing their website for a few years and now and then made some suggestions which have morphed into a position where I could be compensated for doing something I’m really good at. Long story short, they used to be more of a co-op, but now they have decided to create two positions — a marketing person and an operations person and the compensation would be studio space. I have really wanted to get out of the house more lately, as working at home can be a bit of a drag sometimes. I also want to give my art more serious attention; I thought that being in this type of atmosphere might help.

Friday afternoon I met with the artists, at the encouragement of Kat Peters-Midland, to be “interviewed” so the others could decide if I fit in with the existing studio artists. They were all really nice and seemed to like my work, although I felt very amateur and silly in their presence. (I’ll get over that, really.) An hour later, there was an email from Kat saying I’m in.

I’m very excited to have a studio, away from home, to work in. I think I’ll be more focused, as I won’t see my laptop across the room and worry about work that needs to be done, or laundry that needs to go into the dryer, etc. I’m super excited about finding a spot large enough to teach classes, as I’ve been wanting to do that for a while now and have a few workshop ideas bubbling up in the back of my head.

This coming week, i’ll go over to look at the spaces again and select mine, as well as to sign the contract. I think I move in July 1, but I’m hoping it will be a little sooner so I can participate in First Friday that month. I have so many ideas!

In the way of actual art-making, I have a few projects in progress, which I’ll write about soon. I completed a 9-month art therapy group yesterday, which also deserves a nice, thoughtful writeup. The photos in this post are from a swap I just did with Kelly and Venita. These two ladies make my heart sing. clicking on the photos will take you to larger versions, along with short explanations.

Harlan Ellison speaks the truth

Today my mother called me when I was slammed with work. She does that a lot. It’s ok, because she’s mom and I love her. Usually I rush her off the phone with a promise to call later (which I always do), but today I listened. She was excitedly talking about Harlan Ellison and some interview she saw on The Sundance Channel. She was really excited about it, which surprised me because mom doesn’t go in for foul or crude language or free-spirited thinkers (unless they are saints). Mom, I know you know I’m teasing you, but this is true – admit it!!

In the interview, Ellison discusses this phenomenon where writers are asked to write for free. He is appalled by this practice; insulted, even. And he’s right. Creativity is work, just like doing dishes, paving roads or being the governor. And when you work at something, it’s only right you get paid for it. (I’m still working on a solution for the stay-at-hom moms out there, but I’m puzzled on how to approach that one.)

I build websites and consult on internet stuff for a living. I can’t even count how many people have asked me to do it for less money or for free. In the beginning of my business, I did it a lot. I am not doing it any more. It’s hard, because you want that business, but by doing things for cheap or for free, you are cheapening your work and the work of your contemporaries. This is the same for all of you artists who are patiently and quietly working on softies or paintings or collages or altered art and so on. Your inspiration is of great value to the world. Think about it.

And for those who are wondering, the smudge of lime green pastel is still on the sleeve of my hoodie. Which is good, because it helps me still believe I’m an artist, because there hasn’t been much proof of that lately. Also, I can’t find my camera. 😉

how I know I’m an artist – part 1

A few weeks ago, in my art therapy group (Creating Your Heart’s Desire), we did intuitive drawings on large sheets of paper hung on the wall. We used pastels, which I rarely use in my regular art. I noticed the next day that there was a smudge of lime green pastel on the sleeve of my hoodie. I was so excited and wore that smudge all day like a quiet little personal badge of honor. Unfortunately, I eventually washed the hoodie and the smudge is gone now. But today I’m wearing that hoodie again and I remember the smudge and I’m reminded: Yes, I am an artist. What a happy, freeing thought that is for me.

recent mini quilts, journaling, collage and cards

I have been very very busy finishing Christmas gifts (yes, really) and, more recently, valentines. I’ve also been working on the Collage Challenge with Crowabout and assorted swaps. I have so much to show, so I put a few of each type of item here (click on photos to see larger version), but there are a lot more on my Flickr site.

Mini quilts. These are fun and I’m finally getting the hang of using my machine. I’m no expert, but I like the way these are all coming out. The base fabric is stuff I painted in workshops with Lisa Englebrecht (Maybe I’ll actually finish the projects I started in Lisa’s workshops someday!) last year. The two that say “hope” are for my youngest brothers and there’s a pocket made from a Hambly overlay that holds a prayer card from our dad’s funeral, which was last year on 2/14. The card is of St. Jude, who was my dad’s favorite saint (and is my second favorite). St. Jude is the patron saint of hopeless cases (and policemen) and I thought my brothers would like a little something to remind them to have hope for whatever their dreams may be. Recently I thought that gluing pony beads on the ends of the hanging stick would finish off the look nicely and I was right! Very happy with these.

Mini quilt for my brother Steve and his
wife. A belated Christmas 2008 gift!
Mini quilt for my brother Mike. A belated
Christmas 2008 gift!
This was Jennie’s Christmas gift and
it was less late than the ones for my family.

Collage stuff. I’ve been trying each week to find a little time to participate in the Collage Play With Crowabout challenge. Here are a few of the recent collages I’ve done using images from that challenge. If you are interested in playing along with us, email Nancy and ask for an invite. Let her know traypup sent you! I’m really enjoying art journaling lately and will be posting more pages from my journals in my next post.

Crowabout challenge week 20.
Crowabout challenge week 21.
Crowabout challenge week 22. The heads
are my mom and myself about 40 years ago.

Cards. Sometimes I have a hankering to make a ton of cards. I can’t bear to buy them in the store because I feel like making them from scratch means so much more. Plus, I have all of the stuff! So I collected all of my Valentine’s Day-related supplies and sat on the sofa watching movies with my husband and made a ton of cards. Here are a few:

Vday 2009 card for Devin
Assorted Vday cards
You make my heart whirl

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately! There is lots more that I’ll be writing about this week. I’m excited to get back into the swing of things.

AEDM: Day 6

Today wasn’t a superbly creative day, other than dealing the usual work challenges. The closest I got to art was photographing the last two days of journaling and pulling together supplies for the next three days of workshops with Kelly Kilmer. Kelly is one of my favorite instructors and I have been chomping at the bit for this weekend to hurry up and get here! I will have no problem meeting my personal challenge of art every day for the next three days, which is why I’m going so easy on myself today.

Have a great weekend, everyone!