Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dinner Invitation

How about a creative dinner invitation? Please take into consideration this may not be the best plan for inviting just anyone (like your pastor) to dinner, but if you have a friend with a warped sense of humor like I have- it might be fun? 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Divinely Created

Yesterday, we took a drive up and over (and around and over and down and....) the Blue Mountains closest to town.  I don't think we drove more than 70 miles yet we saw everything from farmland to rolling hills to mountain meadows and deep forest.  I am ever in awe of creation- it inspires me- to paint, to photograph, to draw, to somehow try to capture the alluring beauty I find there.  From the textures of rock, pine, and lush fern against a soft sky, to the analogous greens of conifers, crimson paintbrush and deep blues as the heavens open in showers, it's all so wondrous, this creation.  The only sounds that may be heard are of a small brook, of the wind blowing through the tree tops, or it may just be quiet. So quiet, in fact, that it's healing.  It's no wonder I have such a difficult time hearing God when I'm away from nature.  I live in a framed box with insufficient views, next to a paved path where noisy vehicles come and go from their own framed boxes.  It's the days like yesterday that I realize how much I miss nature when I'm away for long.  Nothing I can manufacture will ever come close to the gifts God created for us to enjoy.

A few photos from our drive, above.  It was one of those days I just had to exclaim, "YAY GOD!"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Creatively Consuming Politics

I had every intention of voting, really.  I had placed my ballot next to the computer to look up each candidate and research their beliefs and political outlooks. I think voting is important but I also believe being educated about the person you're voting for is absolutely necessary, otherwise you're making an uneducated guess and possibly voting someone into a position of power to make choices you may not agree with.  (I know, you're wondering where on earth I'm going with this political spiel.)  As I was clearing the table of a few stray bills and notes I came across the voting envelopes.  One was a bright pink, as you may recall- especially if you weren't quite as negligent as I- in getting your ballot in on time.  That's when it occurred to me, what better to do with an unused voting ballot and envelope than to recycle and make lovely handmade paper?!  I gathered some of the lavender pieces I had clipped yesterday morning for a fragrant and aesthetic addition.

To make your own hand-made paper you'll need the following:
Unused voters ballot and envelope (or any other colorful paper scraps)
1/4 of a soft paper towel
Old frame
Old pantyhose to stretch over frame
Large basin
Lavender or other flower or herb of your choice
A spoon or two of liquid starch (if you plan to write on your paper, the starch will keep the ink from running)

Tear up paper and paper towel to fill blender 1/2 full.  Fill blender with water about 3/4 full.  Add pieces of flower/herbs and starch.  Blend until completely pulpy.  Stir in (don't blend) several small blooms and leaves.  Pour this mixture over the pantyhose-covered frame that you've placed at the bottom of the large basin.  Cover evenly.  Gently press excess water from paper and set aside to dry.  After a few hours cover the paper (still over the frame) with a dry paper towel and turn over onto a flat surface.  It's almost done- just allow it time to dry.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

After only three days of scraping and painting in the sun and heat, (including yesterday with its glorious temperature of 101 degrees), teetering on a ladder and feeling a bit like Michelangelo must have at times, the painting of the pergola is complete!  Have you ever started a project that you thought surely you would have finished by the end of the day?  This was one of those projects.  I had NO IDEA how long it would take me or what kind of physical condition I would be in after!  Ah well, it's done and now all that is left to do in this area is to hang the swing, which has also been painted to match the pergola and awaits a chain to be fastened and suspended in it's new spot at the edge of the pergola and patio.  Hooray!!  

And now, off to work on my next creative project....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Creative Landscaping 2

Almost finished with the back yard circle.  The bucket, behind the potted tree on the right, sits where we will plant a tree - possibly a maple. (?)  My husband has a good eye for landscaping and placement to make things aesthetically pleasing.  He deserves much of the credit here.  I spent most of yesterday painting about 1/2 of our pergola which sits above the patio off the back door.  I've got to get back out and take advantage of the partial shade it's in this morning and get it done - today.  I'll share photos of the *completed* projects tomorrow!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Creative Landscaping

I did get back to the pottery studio to finish the teapot lid but before doing so we made a trip to what I'll call the brick dump.  Yesterday afternoon we put down the brick for a patio and created a path.  The previous owners had an above ground pool in this area of the back yard. Seemed to us like a good space to hardscape, add a fire pit, plant a tree and some grasses.  Tomorrow we'll get this project finished and I'll post a photo of our new fabulous back yard retreat.  I'm already thinking I'd like to try to fire some pottery in this fire pit....

Today- enjoying a day of rest!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Blogging is to Artwork is to Prostitution

I know, you're wondering where on earth that title came from...  This summer my (extremely encouraging, patient, devoted, and all around wonderful) husband and I set out to sell my artwork at several shows and events.  We put much time, energy, and money into preparing for these events, not to mention the disaster the house stayed in for the months prior to them.  Once those days arrived we'd pack the truck to the gills and head out.  Setting up took a few hours.  We'd sit out in the heat, talk to the people who came by and hoped things would sell.  I started realizing, as we were talking to potential customers, that selling artwork is a lot like prostituting oneself.  In creating things we are expressing a part of who we are- whether it's arts and crafts, music, writing, (blogging), etc., and we hope what we express will be accepted and bought by the public. It's really like trying to sell yourself, and if the public doesn't like what you're selling- the rejection is personal.

That being said, I realize I ended yesterday's blog with plans to begin on a similar painting to that I had posted but didn't have the time to do so.  After helping a friend in the pottery room I decided I'd unleash my creativity there.  When I first started working on this piece I wasn't sure what it was going to be.  A flower pot? A bowl?  A teapot! Of course! 

Well, the clay is still damp and I didn't have time to make a lid so I'm off to do that now.  Happy creating!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

From the Studio - Day 3

While having fabulous coffee and delectable treats in a patisserie last week, my husband and I surveyed the artwork displayed. I certainly can't say I liked all of it, but the style is growing on me.  I decided I would make an attempt at creating something similar.  Surprisingly, I'm not unhappy with the results considering this was my first try.  

I really have a tough time drawing or painting new things because I fear the results won't be perfect.  I know that's silly because most people can't always expect to do something flawlessly the first time they try it, but how do I get past that feeling of being a failure if, frankly, my artwork looks like crap?  I've been an artist for years.  I used to teach art.  Surely my skill level should be at a point now that I can pull off perfection without much effort.  Then again, maybe not.  Anyway, I'm heading back to the studio.  I think this painting needs to be part of a set.  Wish me luck.  Hopefully, the way this first painting turned out wasn't just beginners luck.  ;)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Something Creative - Day 2

The first thing that comes to mind as I strive to keep up this creative discipline thing (even if it kills me) is an email that circulated not long ago about a woman who seeks out a personal trainer.  (Remember that one?)  Her first journal entry is something like, "My first day at the gym and I know I'm going to love this!  I met Andy, my personal trainer, and he's so hot!  It's going to be fun seeing him every day!  He had me do such and such and man I feel great!" and so on.  And you know by the 5th day this woman is so sore it hurts to roll over in bed much less walk or lift her arms to feed herself, and she's cussing Andy and muttering every nasty name she has locked away in the BAD WORDS: DO NOT USE recesses of her mind.
Well, I'm not there...yet.  It is only day 2, after all.  

After the first picture and posting I decided to draw the same corner in our back yard from a different angle.  (I promise I will get more creative than this in the future.)  We just planted this very delicate, petite Japanese Maple- that reminds me more of Charlie brown's fragile Christmas tree that may lose all its leaves if you blow on it too hard than anything that will grow up to produce real shade.  But it's cute and didn't seem to mind being my model for this sketch. 

I think I feel a creative spark! Heading to the studio before it goes away............

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Discipline through Sketch/Journaling (?)

I wish I could say I'm disciplined enough to do some kind of artwork every day. I can tell you I wake at night and think of new things to create, or even as I drift to sleep, through the cloudy haze of my thoughts, I seem to come up with incredible ideas, things that I promise would really knock your socks off if ever they were realized on canvas... but when I come to my desk to paint my mind often seems devoid of those precious morsels of creativity. So... I've decided I'm going to discipline myself to do something, anything, to sharpen my skills.

A few days ago I sat just off my back patio and sketched a small portion of the backyard and fence. Just because. Then I started thinking (again, all of those wonderful ideas that don't often see fruition) I would love to have a sketching journal. Hey! Wonderful idea! Brilliant even! Could be just the daily regimen I'm looking for, right? I mean, I admire those people who do such things. However, my travels are sometimes few and far between. What do I do in the mean time? Sketch my backyard from every angle? The living room, the kitchen? *yawn* My neighborhood? How do other people do it? Should I only use ink? How am I going to feel about "journaling" if I'm the only one that ever sees the work? Does it matter? (Do I WANT other people to see the journal?)

Time will tell... and I'll get back to you on that.