Friday, August 31, 2012

78/365: Write it Out

Today I tried to make:

peace with my failed to-do list...

Ok here we go...I'm trading in my paint brush for a keyboard today. A little journaling therapy to work some things out. Not the most creative writing I've done, but in the moment it's necessary. My husband is not home to give me one of his awesome pep talks and if I don't figure this out, I may implode. Well, maybe not, but my weekend will be spent unproductively bashing myself over my lack of motivation.

Every year around this time, I have this strange anxiety that creeps in. It's the end of August. Summer is nearly over. My reprieve from a hectic schedule is nearing an end. I check my summer to-do list and realize that, oops, I've failed to do most of it......Shocker!

You see this summer I had intended on reinventing myself. That's all. I planned on using my extra free time to take my dreamy ideas and turn them into action steps towards my goals- work goals, work out goals, super duper house wifey goals. You name it, it was on the list. Somewhere along the way (probably a week after the list was made), I slipped into that easy feeling of summer and started doing whatever I felt like doing in the moment, totally shrugging off my self-imposed responsibilities. Self-discipline was not on the agenda. Self-care and soul-searching settled in for a nice long stay instead. The whole idea of self-discipline was not meshing well with my pledge to "be gentle with myself."

When I consider what I focused my energy on this summer, other than tutoring, (and the 77 days I've logged to prove it,) I feel I accomplished exactly what I was supposed to. I spent my summer (unintentionally) getting my head straight about the importance of granting myself creative time and giving myself permission to take time to reflect on daily life through art and writing. These are not things I was very successful with working into my schedule before and now I've built a habit of it. That should go a long way towards my creative goals. Since part of my reinvention of self was to help me feel more like an artist and a writer, I suppose I wasn't completely off.

So why the guilty feelings?!!! Why the sudden need to catch up on all the other things I was supposed to get done to make up for it? Should I admit that my priorities shifted and just accept that? Did I actually follow my intuition for the better? Was I not clear on what I really wanted to do to begin with? Do I have unreasonable expectations for myself?  Am I seriously lazy and hopelessly undisciplined? (I have big dreams of creating all kinds of amazing things for myself, but they are not going to get done if I keep flaking on my to-do lists!) greatest fear after investing all this energy...Could it be that deep down I still don't value the creative time I've given myself?! What kind of hypocrite would I be if I can't even practice what I preach?

Ok, do you see why I'm in need of a pep talk?
Is this why people hire life coaches? Are there any life coaches out there who would be willing to trade their insights for a painting or a poem? No such luck, I bet.

So right about now, the part of my brain that likes to beat me up is putting on boxing gloves and taking practice swings in the corner. And there's the rest of me in the other corner, just being told of the impending battle. I fear I am not up to my fighting weight. I've been sleeping in and eating ridiculous amounts of ice cream all summer!

I'm really hoping that by getting this out of my head and into my journal that I can avoid the onslaught of self-sabotaging thoughts that usually follow my shortcomings. It's not like I can't just chock it up to a necessary detour on my path and pick up with my list where I left off, right? Right?!

I think maybe tomorrow, after my ears stop ringing from the punches that little bully in me managed to get in, I should sit down and reevaluate my goals and priorities.
But tonight...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

77/365: Battling the Blank Canvas

Today I made:

background effects for my calendar pages...

One of my favorite ways to get over blank canvas syndrome and begin a piece of mixed media art is to create an interesting background effect that can be a base for building images and themes onto.
It's so much fun to  improvise with different ways of applying paint and to experiment with ways to achieve these special effects. One of these days, I'm going to create a library of images and techniques for creating all the texture effects I know. Consider all the different surface and color combinations and the possibilities are endless!

Lately I'm loving the fibery look and I'm a nut for anything distressed and worn looking.
The images above are:
1) cheesecloth dyed with acrylic paint and stamped onto card stock. It almost looks like crackled paint!
2) acrylic wash (paint thinned with water) and brushed over torn antique book page. The text adds an extra layer of visual interest, and I love the way the paint seeps into the tears.
3) acrylic gesso (white acrylic primer) brushed onto burlap. Reminds me of the weathered and deeply textured look of fabrics that have been exposed to salt water and sun.
4) acrylic paint spread onto wrinkled tissue paper with a palette knife; I love the way the ridges of the wrinkled paper pick up the paint color for a veiny effect. The tissue was first glued onto a map page (so it would hold it's wrinkles)- can you see the roads peeking through?

These are my bases for works of art to be born on. Beats staring at a blank canvas and wondering where to start. It occurred to me recently that so much of these distressed layers and textures are showing up in digital art these days. One day, when Santa Clause gifts me with Photoshop, I may experiment with this, but I know I'll never leave behind the hands-on messy fun.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

76/365: Meeting of the Minds

Today I made:

good conversation...

I stepped away from my art desk today and met with some creative cohorts to dream up more possibilities for a future business. I so love brainstorm sessions! Ideas were bounced, hopes encouraged, mission re-energized. It's easier to think outside the box when different perspectives come together. It's amazing how quickly ideas grow when people's unique skills and talents mingle.

I've been spending a good deal of time alone lately making art. I think it's going to take some solitude to get closely acquainted with my creative process and I know I need that time. I also know how valuable it is to connect and share with a creative community, like the one we're trying to build. I'm learning to balance both worlds. I know my art will be better for it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

75/365: Working in a Series

Today I created:

mixing and matching pieces across the series

I spent the evening designing a series of mixed media journal pages for my calendar project- twelve pieces of art, one loose theme. I typically work on one piece of art at a time, start to finish, so when I hit a wall, it can be very frustrating. I really haven't given myself very many projects where I've had to work in a series before and it's proving to be an enlightening experience.

I'm learning to carry out a theme over several pieces, intermix the elements, try out different versions and play until the design suits the feel of each page. I'm realizing that producing a series of pieces helps me keep my momentum going! When I'm stuck for an idea on a piece or  am faced with making a decision about the design or composition, I can set it aside and work on another piece for the project. I don't have to stop; I just move on to something different. It helps maintain the flow! Sometimes it helps to step away from a piece of art and let it stew a bit while you work it out or wait for inspiration to strike.

I guess I never realized how much decision making plays into my anxiety during my creative process. In the past when I've gotten stuck, I felt like I had to figure it out right then and there (or it was in danger of becoming one of my many unfinished projects.) But I see now that I can remedy that by giving myself time to reflect on a piece- what's working, what's not, and what it needs to make it special- while working on something that's connected. This leaves me less likely to give up on the problem piece and more likely to feed off of other pieces in the series that are going well. So from now on I'm keeping my "stuck" works in progress out in the open where I can keep them in mind, and I'm not letting them keep me from making more art. Yay for maintaining momentum by becoming series savvy! ;)

Monday, August 27, 2012

74/365: The Flow

Today I made:

sneak peek of calendar page &
Banjo, my studio assistant, enjoying his own kind of flow
a connection with the source 

There must have been a creative cloud over our house today. The energy was in the air- hubby in his wood shop building a cigar box guitar, me in my bedroom art space working on my mixed media calendar pages, both making things with our hands that didn't exist yesterday. We were both in the flow! We met in between for meals and giddy brainstorm sessions, and the occasional "look what I can do!" It's nice to have someone who can relate, provide support and to celebrate with. 

When I'm in the flow with my art, time is nonexistent. Ideas are flowing thick and fast, and nothing seems impossible. Things are coming together surprisingly well. The motivation to push through sticky design problems is there to the end.   A great sense of accomplishment comes from the tiniest things during the process. The end result does not figure in, my mind is in the moment and I don't want to stop, not to eat or sleep or even take bathroom breaks. 

I get such a rush from being in the flow! It quite literally feels like some greater source is working through me, giving me jolts of creative insight and energy, telling my hands what to do. It's my job to just ride the wave and see a project through. I'm still figuring out what it takes to plug into this source on a regular basis. I am by no means "in the flow" every time I step foot in my studio. Sometimes it's like pulling teeth to manifest an idea, or I feel too anxious and inhibited. But I keep those moments of connection close to my heart to remind me that I can reach it. I do know this- granting myself permission and time to do the things I love, surrounding myself with inspirations and giving myself the freedom to play rather than focusing on an outcome most often helps me get into the state where art is...inevitable. 

I think we are all capable of tapping into this source of creative expression. I often wonder what this connection with the creative source feels like for other artists and crafters. If you've stumbled upon this post, I'd love it if you'd comment and describe your personal experience with being in the zone. How do you reach it? What do you make? Does it make your hands tingle, your heart beat fast? Does it make you feel like anything is possible? 

May we all learn to go with the flow.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

73/365: Inspired by Clutter

Today I made:

good use of my mess...
Rough design of page elements; below: close up of acrylic gesso applied with palette knife on textured card stock
As I stood in my art space tonight, contemplating a rough idea and a blank canvas, I told myself I didn't have to finish a piece in this sitting. I had just a few minutes before it was time to don my jersey for Liverpool soccer, and Rodney's fajita dinner was smelling amazing in the kitchen. But I had some time to play and wanted to start designing one of the pages for my project.

I've let my art space get a bit cluttered the past couple weeks so there are all kinds of random scraps and odd collage bits lying around. I had the urge to clean (clean space, clear mind), but instead I allowed myself to begin pulling the elements together haphazardly until a color palette developed. Pieces I had stashed away in my collage files began fitting into my theme. It felt good to make art out of the moment like that, working off of visual stimulus rather than trying to plan and visualize it in mind first. I am such a visual person. There's something to be said about having art supplies out where I can see them, remember to use them and have them call to me at just the right moment in the design process. It's so much easier than starting from scratch. Maybe I need to start with a mess more often. My art desk does not need to be a blank canvas!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

72/365: Fitting the Pieces Together

Today I made:

plans for a big project...

I've been fluttering around the edges of an idea for months, trying to think of a way to find my voice by incorporating what I've already got going on and what I want to work on as an artist. Using what I've built up as a basis for pushing myself further seems like the logical thing to do. That is easier said than done. It's been like staring at a puzzle, knowing that I have all the pieces I need to create meaning, but I just can't see past the parts to make connections. I don't know what kicked my right brain into synthesizing mode today, but all of a sudden I can see all the little parts together to make a happy whole.

This project will give me lots of practice with facing a blank canvas. It combines my love of mixed media collage, art journaling and photography. I can experiment with the mixed media art techniques I've been learning for creating layers and textures. It also gives me a chance to work on a series of pieces that are all connected with a common theme. My fledgling style will certainly get a workout, and if things go well, I may just come out with a set of encouraging and inspiring pieces of art to share.

One good thing I've done for myself as an artist over the past year is to begin collecting the things that catch my eye and in some way speak to me. Among my collections are the whimsical photographs I take on my daily travels- mostly iPhone photos I capture on the fly, but nonetheless, a good documentation of my journey. I've also been seeking out and collecting quotes and affirmations that speak to me and validate where I am on my journey of creative and personal development. I finally sat down today to sort through the photos. (I will not even tell you the ridiculous number of pictures I currently have stored in my phone, but it's well into the thousands.) I was surprised to find that I've taken pictures of things that perfectly illustrate many of the quotes and affirmations that have been keeping me going the last few months. That must have been the final piece of the puzzle.

So I spent the afternoon pairing my favorite photos and quotes to begin my project. I've narrowed it down to twelve. Can you guess what I'm making?

Let's just say it will help me keep track of how I'm spending my creative year.

Friday, August 24, 2012

71/365: Follow Your HeART

Today I made:
acrylic, pencil,  paint pen, water soluble oil pastel and scrap paper on watercolor paper

no excuses

Tonight was one of those nights that the couch and a forgettable book were calling my name. I didn't want to have to think about anything, particularly not what "masterpiece" I should create today. I've had  my share of nights like this in the last 70 days, when I realize that it's nearing midnight and I haven't created anything yet. A few months ago I would have talked myself right out of it. "I'm too tired. I don't have any ideas. I'm not inspired to make anything," went the old excuses. "I'll make art tomorrow," I would have told myself, and tomorrow would turn into the next 20 tomorrows.

But these days, I'm learning that finding the time and energy to create something is my way of showing up for myself (and for my muse.) I'm learning that inspiration comes when I am working, elbow deep in paints and papers, or just a sketchbook and a pencil. I still have to remind myself: you get out of it what you put into it. It is worth the time and effort and energy. Showing up lets my muse know that I'm ready to take on anything she sends my way. 

So tonight, despite my laziness, I realized I really did want to make art. I told myself, "Self, just put in ten minutes. Turn to a random page in your art journal, grab the closest tool, and make something." 
I'm slowly getting over the notion that I have to start with an idea, or end with something that's worthy of the time I put in. These are both things that so often kept me from even beginning. I see that now! 
I can't sit around waiting for my style to emerge or the next big idea to materialize. If I want to be an artist, I have to practice. I have to put paint to paper. I have to be willing to make bad art, and a lot of it. 

So these days (and hopefully ever after) the focus is on the process. I show up, I play with my art tools, I make the gestures and I see what comes out of me- AND I pay very close attention to the ups and downs I am having. This piece was all rapid gestures, fluid lines, my hands and heart guiding me. My mind had very little to do with it really as it was busy processing the realization that turned into this writing. 

Sometimes art is what comes out of you when you surrender to the moment, when you follow your heart and let your hands move how they will. Art is what comes out of you when you show up with the intention of...showing up. And nothing more.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

70/365: Sea Child

Today I made use of my water soluble oil pastels...

mixed media on watercolor paper: water soluble oil pastels, scrap paper, text transfer
I'm kinda in love with this new (to me) medium. Water soluble oil pastels lay down really vivid colors in a super creamy consistency like oil pastels. They can be dipped into water and then used to draw with or they can go on dry and washed over with water to blend. I like the control of being able to blend the colors with my fingers, which I can't do with watercolors. I'm experimenting with wet and dry blending. I really like the textured effect on the watercolor paper. It was still a little too pristine for my taste, but the random scraps of paper helped give it some dimension.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

69/365: A Question for His Majesty, the Monarch

Today I made:

an inquiry...

One still sees a few 
faithful monarchs fluttering near.
These red-gold beauties
far from being a typical butterfly-
handsome in all phases. Ordinarily.

mixed media altered book poem: original photo, oil pastel, pencil
excerpts from Stalking the Good Life, E. Gibbons

I have a question for
His Majesty the Monarch:
Does a butterfly
remember being
a caterpillar?

Perhaps he 
waves his wings about a bit 
to get the feel of things,
then takes off 
as if he had been flying
all his life.

On a visit to L.A. I saw this question painted on a sign that hangs over an abandon plot of land. I have been pondering it ever since.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

68/365: Conversations with a Seagull

Today I made:

The Harrowing Tale of Gull and Girl...

In my travels as an amateur wildlife photographer, I have scouted the far reaching corners of my neighborhood with my iPhone camera. One day, the Serengeti (and a nicer camera.)
Today, South Cove, Mission Bay.

Word to the wise: seagulls are not to be messed with.

I spotted this feathered "friend" perched on a rock by the shore and decided I needed a picture. As soon as I approached, he objected. Angry squawking in seagull tongue ensued. It went something like this:
moments before the attack

Me: But sir, I only wish to photograph your pale feathers in the fading light. I mean you no harm.

Gull: Foolish girl! Leave your turkey sandwich and go!

Me: You are but a small bird, and I am a girl. You do not scare me.

Gull: You underestimate me, silly girl child!

To which he flapped his wings at me, took off into the sky, circled twice overhead while squawking profanities...and proceeded to dive bomb me!!
I stared him down as long as I thought was smart, but I decided I'd rather not have a beak to the eye. I ducked just in time for him to swoop inches above my head. I must have looked ridiculous running from an angry bird.

pelican peanut gallery
I made it out alive and I learned my lesson about seagulls. My pride is a little bruised, but I'm pretty sure no one saw the dispute, except for a squadron of pelicans resting on rocks by the dock. They were much more docile, though I know they were cheering their pal on on the inside. They just sat and watched it all go down, two and three to a rock on the water, like an audience at a comedy show.

Seagull: one; Me: zero (plus a grainy photo)

sky pond--my consolation prize

Monday, August 20, 2012

67/365: A Tribe of Brave Creators

Today I made:

a collection of our art community photos

Yesterday's Mixed Media Obstacle Course was a great success! Our little tribe of brave creators have helped Jess and me launch our dream community. A delightful group of people gathered on the bay with the sea breezes, sunshine and art making tools. It was such a joy to witness everyone's creative process, to learn from on another and to share in the pride that comes with making something with your hands, heart and mind.

One of the goals for the gathering was to work through obstacles that all creators face during the process. We built up layers and played with texturing tools to create depth and interesting backgrounds. There are no mistakes in mixed media art. We were free to explore the tools and techniques that can develop into many works of art to come. I got to be an artist and a teacher yesterday, and it was an amazingly rewarding experience. This is the beginning of a very good thing.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

66/365: We Gather Together

Today we made a community...

members of the first meet-up of En{COURAGE} Creative San Diego
& our art from the Mixed Media Obstacle Course

Saturday, August 18, 2012

65/365: The Stuff That Art Is Made Of

Today I made:

a place for everything and everything in its place...
I spent the day organizing supplies for our mixed media workshop. Paints, brushes, papers, glue, stamps, stencils, inks, fabric, ribbon, embelishments- it's all ready to pack in the car and take to art in the park. I think we have enough to keep everyone inspired. We have ten creators coming to play! I'm so looking forward to surrounding myself with creative people and making art in the sunshine.

Last summer, when I decided to build a little creative studio in my bedroom, one of the best things I did for myself as a blossoming artist was to organize my supplies and make them easily accessible. It was amazing how much more art I made when everything was on hand and easy to maintain.

I had to remember that today when I was packing up our traveling art circus! ;)
Someday, a studio of our own...

300 days until my celebration! :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

64/365: She Answered the Call of the Creative

Today I made:

mixed media on 16"x24" canvas: acrylic, charcoal, scrap paper, found image
I played some more with the mixed media I started the other night. Not sure if it's finished yet, but it's coming together. I had no plan for this one when I began. I like it that way lately. I just add layers and make textures until some part of the canvas starts to call for a certain something. Had a fun time stamping found objects on this one. It just builds from there and usually there's text involved. I just can't help writing on the canvas and I love typography. It's like art journaling on a really big journal page. Not sure if it's symbolic beyond that. That usually doesn't occur to me until later. The little darling on the soup can telephone is from album art done by Kate Quinby of Croak & Hum. I found it flipping through a magazine and it fit perfectly, so I altered it a bit. I think that's ok, since it's just for me, but Miss Kate gets all the credit. Still working on illustrating my musings.

It's been a while since I've worked on a bigger canvas, and this is not really all that big. Some day I want to have to jump to reach the top of my canvas. Cause it's art, why not jump? Do whatever you have to do to connect with your muse.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

63/365: My Mission

Today I made:

my mission more complete

Just like me, my mission will always be a work in progress. Today it exists as my Pilgrimage in Two Parts- my artist self and my teacher self. Maybe the name en{COURAGE} creative speaks for itself, but in the process of trying to write a short snappy mission statement, I find myself needing to dive deep into my own personal (and long and winding) beliefs and values. So it's more of a pilgrimage really, a quest for the Holy Grail of understanding my own purpose as a creator. This is me working it out. I do so like to hear myself type. ;) Maybe one day I'll perfect my elevator pitch, but this is not the short version. You have been warned. Join me if you dare.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

62/365: Reflections at Low Tide

The other day I rode my bike by the bay at low tide. The sun was in the perfect position to bounce light onto the crests in the sand. The shadows fell deep into the troughs. Crests and troughs keep finding me these days, as do the ripples they cause. I keep stumbling onto ripple effects.

Today marks two months of my 365 Days of Creative project. I've been pretty tight lipped about it so far. I think a part of me (the part that doubts myself) didn't think I could do it for very long and I didn't want the pressure of "maintaining" for an audience. I needed it to just be for me, to hold myself accountable. Well I haven't made it nearly a year yet, but two months of making creative time for myself, that's big for me. Two months is enough to be considered a habit, right? There have been days that I've had to scramble to post my "makings," but so far, I've managed a daily creative act.  In these past two months, I've done more writing and had more paint under my fingernails than I have in a long time. I've used my phone for taking photos more than I do for calls or texts, and I've realized that it's OK to take time to play in my art space even when I have no particular project in mind. Little epiphanies are arising from my reflections on my creative process. I'm beginning to see the benefit of documenting my journey toward a more creative me.

Granted it's summer; my work load has been lighter and the days seem longer. We'll see how I manage come Fall, but this was a good time to ease into my new daily routine. I think what's been key for me is that it hasn't been so much of a routine at all. Rather than having the same kind of art to work on every day at the same time, catching myself in the act of organic, spontaneous creation has been a welcome relief from the planned and precise art of my past. I tend to rebel against schedules and need to mix things up to stay interested. For me, variety is the spice of art. It's true some projects have been more meaningful and filled me with more pride than others, but at this point, it's just been about making time every day to acknowledge my creative spirit. In return, she's helping me to see reoccurring symbols and themes in my art and writing, and even in the things that catch my eye in nature.

So maybe it's time for me to go low tide, let my guard recede, expose the ripples. Maybe it's time to share of myself and what I am learning with more than my closest few and whoever happens to stumble upon my musings. I'm starting to think that maybe it's time to live a little louder and spread the joy of what I'm discovering. Perhaps I should embrace the ripple effect.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

61/365: Layers & Textures

Today I made:

a mixed media mess...
Tonight, Jess and I got warmed up for this Sunday's mixed media art Meet-up. We made a brilliant mess of her dining table as we played with layering up a canvas and building textures. The piece I worked on was a crazy mix of background techniques. Love the way the watered down acrylic soaked into the wrinkles of the sewing pattern paper letting the text peek through in certain places. Had a ball stamping with found objects and realized that I really like the look of glossy paint on top of matte. Found images, torn book pages and brayer roller streaks add even more layers and textures. The piece is not quite finished, but I thought I'd get some "swatches" of parts of the canvas. In doing so, I'm seeing each little swatch as it's own mixed media piece. Each one is a little study in composition and color combinations. It's neat to see how each little piece contributes to the whole. Mixed media layering  is becoming a sure fire way for me to let go of the end result and enjoy the process, while I experiment with tools and techniques.
mixed media "swatches"

Monday, August 13, 2012

60/365: Picture Pages

Today I made:

August journal pages...
Personal photos make great journal pages. I choose photos from my day and print them in large dimensions onto regular printer paper. I attach the photos right onto the pages of my journal or scrapbook. They make great graphic backgrounds that I can write on top of. Photos with a bit of solid color block, like skies or grounds, work best so the text is easier to read. Here are some of my August pages ready for journaling.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

59/365: Oh Baby

Today I made:

A new friend...

58/365: Polish Earth Capsules

On Saturday we finished the Polish earth capsules. Love how they turned out and I think their new owners appreciated the sentiment.

Travel made it hard to post, but the day was a creative success!

Friday, August 10, 2012

57/365: Memories from a Faraway Land

Today I made:

a memory capsule...

A couple summers ago I took a trip back to the mother land (my native Poland) with my mama. It had been sixteen years since I'd been back on that soil and I was completely in awe. I saw it with new (grown up) eyes and was really able to appreciate where I come from.

We visited the house where we lived with my beloved grandmother until I turned four, before my mom and I moved to the states. My heart welled up with memories of my past and understanding of my heritage. My personal history, that is beginning to work its way into my art, came to life for me. I was so overcome with this reunion with my roots that I did my best to pick up little pieces of Poland along the way: dozens of photographs of the landscapes and relics of old, and wild flowers to press between the pages of my journal, which was filled with my impressions of all I took in. I even brought home a handful of earth.

That little bag of my home land has been sitting unopened with the other mementos, until today. After making plans to see an old Polish friend who has never set foot on the land, I decided to share my wealth of, well, dirt.

Tonight, with the patient guidance of my dear friend, Erin, these little beaded memory capsules were born. The master and the apprentice- my first official lesson in beading and jewelry design. I love them! They hold some of the earth I used to make mud pies out of as a child. Now we can both carry a piece of Poland with us.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

54/365: Anatomy of a Ripple Effect

last night after the baseball game
Rodney suggested we stop by the bay
to look at the moon on the water

I love when nature catches his eye
our gaze is synchronized
our hearts beat for the same reasons:
dark night, wet grass, water sounds,
sand still warm from the summer day,
the pregnant moon hangs heavy
a white slice on the placid bay

I watch as he steps in
past the shards of broken shells that line the shore
until he is knee deep in moon glow
his frame reflects on the surface
an imperfect attempt at playing card symmetry
my king of the bay
this night is for him

his quiet energy casts ripples
one affecting the next
soft, wet metaphors
of all his good deeds
they disappear outside the moonlight
but we know they are still there
those endless crests and troughs
such is the anatomy of a ripple effect

Sunday, August 5, 2012

52/365: You Are Just in Time

Today I made:
altered book page: original photo, scrap papers & found text

altered book art...

I have a thing for old books. Vintage dictionaries, out of print novels, nonfiction nature themes, outdated children's activity books- I have quite a delightful collection. I love the yellowed pages, fabric covers, gold leafing, vintage photographs and illustrations. My favorite, by far, is the flow of language and eloquent wording. They just don't write 'em that way anymore.

These books, or bits and pieces of them, are finding their way into my art. Altering books is an old art form, but rather new to me. We were always told as kids not to write in our books, but I like to think I'm breathing new life into them. And they are providing me with a unique new canvas, just in time to tell my story through art.

It's a great excuse to use up all those odd bits of paper left over from collage and scrapbooking. It's also a perfect little album for snapshots that may work their way into other pieces of art eventually. In this book I can play and practice composition and color theory, both areas I need to work on. The small size of the pages (about 5x7) makes it less intimidating to fill than a larger art journal. And once I get into the inside pages, there will be endless inspiration from the old text- poems waiting to be found!

Today I just designed one of the end pages, but I have plans for this little book. Each page can tell it's own story- or not. There can be a theme to the photos, words and collage bits, or it can just be a mini art journal. This particular book, published in 1966, is called Stalking the Good Life. I think it will lend itself beautifully to telling the story of our life here by the sea.

One of the greatest things is that once I had collected the elements (which didn't take much thought) it only took me about 10 minutes to put the page together. I've been looking for a quick creative activity that I can do on those days when there's not much time, and these playful altered book pages might be just the thing I need to get out of my own head, make art fast and not stress so much about the end result. It's less pressure, somehow, than working on a canvas and the possibilities are endless.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

51/365: My Music Man

Today I made:

some art for my Music Man...

For his birthday this past June, I wrote my husband this free verse poem, hoping to capture my admiration for his creative passion. Because I am the Queen of Unfinished Projects, the scrapbook page that was supposed to go with it didn't get completed until today.

The photo is a self portrait he took when he had long hair...and the most amazing mustache. He probably wouldn't be thrilled that I'm posting it here, but tough cookies. I love that sweet face!

Thanks to my hubby for always encouraging me to finish what I started and to find the purpose behind my creative passion. xo

Friday, August 3, 2012

50/365: Nifty Fifty

Today I made {it to} 5o Days of Creative!!!!!


When I realized what day it was, I did a happy dance. Then I patted myself on the back.
Then I made this picture...

Mixed media journal page:
collage papers, colored pencil, ink, water soluble oil pastels

Thursday, August 2, 2012

49/365: Beachy Keen

Today I made:

a new set of photos on Flickr...

Feet in the sand, head in the clouds, sea spray, sunshine, salty air,
the colors of seashells, the rumble of the waves that drowns out the noise in my mind...
this is my happy place.

If you ask me, the best kind of dizzy is standing at the edge of the Pacific and letting it tug at your toes.
I will always long to be closer to the sea. I'm not the only one...
The moon has a love affair with the tide and the sun sees fit to kiss it every evening.
There's something special about that place where the sand meets the surf.
This collection of photos is my ode to the ocean.

"May you always have a shell in your pocket and sand in your shoes."

Pacific Beach, San Diego 
browse my "Beachy Keen" album at

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

48/365: You Are a Child of the Universe

Today I made:
an affirmation...

ink and gel pen on scrapbook paper with original background painting in acrylic

"Child of the Universe" photo journal page: original photograph, cloud paper, pencil, gel pen
This quote is an excerpt form Max Ehrmann's poem, "Desiderata," all of which I love, but these lines especially have been echoing in my mind the last few days. I need to remember to be gentle with myself, to accept that I am enough right now just the way I am, and to honor how far I've come on this journey. This affirmation comforts me when I feel anxious about living up to my self-imposed expectations.

The photo is a shadow self-portrait I took a couple weeks ago at the cliffs in Ocean Beach. The whole thing was a happy accident. As I stood on a higher rock and pointed my camera down into a lower bed of rocks that were partially underwater, I had no idea at the time how meaningful the picture would be for me. I love the colors and textures of the rocks. It reminds me of a galaxy. My shadow, an expression of self, is a child of that Universe. I also think it's quite symbolic that the shape of my shadow looks like an eye. There comes a time in all our lives (I hope) when we begin to see ourselves as a part of the Universe. Like the trees, we reach and grow. Like the stars, we shine our lights. And with the understanding that we are connected to all of creation comes empowerment. We are all creators. Remember that.