Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Acomplishment

Today Jamie asks us What do we wish to Accomplish? Well that is an easy one for me. I wish to finish one of my books. I have 2 ideas for nonfiction and 3 Nanowrimo novels. I would really like to finish one of them. Of course as you know the emphasis for me right now is the about my grandparents. Its what my trip to Ireland is all about. So actually that is such a big wish perhaps I might like to narrow it down to a smaller goal.

I have not finished reading all 220 letters that my grandparents wrote. So that is going to be my wish. My wish is that in this coming month I actually finish reading all of them. I have such a journey with these letters, first trying to type them all and then scanning them into my computer. First I decided to read and take notes on all of them but now I am just reading for the enjoyment. I am still taking notes when something jumps out at me like a location or persons name that I might want to look up when I am in Ireland. So of course it is taking quite some time and there are always other things pulling me away. That is going to end though, this will be my main focus for April and with all your wishes I know I will be able to do it.

To see what other women are wishing or to join in go here

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's a day for Ducks

Its a day for the ducks. Rain rain and more rain. I also have a day of medical appointments or perhaps I should say week. I had one yesterday, two today and another on Thursday. I am just getting it all done in one week, I hadn't planned it that way but that is they way it seems to be turning out.

My first attempts at a face from the class I am taking was a disaster. I think I will paint over it and start over. So as a result I have no art to show. Remember when I bought all that Golden paint and figured that Michael's was not going to carry it anymore. Well I was wrong, they now have a new display and are carrying some paints in tubes and some fluid acrylics in bigger bottles. Its just that the color selection is limited and they have a smaller selection of mediums. Its not as bad as it could be. In fact there is a new color (Indian Yellow Hue) that I wanted to try. They did not carry it before and are carrying now so that was great. I am glad I didn't have to mail order it. I always spend too much money when I order on line.

Remember when I was taking GutArt and sharing so much of it.  Well Mystele is offering the class again. Go here for details.  It was one of the best classes I have taken.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friday's play

This is the art I did on Friday.  This was not what I had intended to paint at all.  Funny how that happens. I think her features are a little wonky because I kept changing things.  I was also trying to do blond hair and although its not perfect I do think she is blond so I consider this a success. I am going to keep on painting faces till I get them right. I signed up to take Sharon's aka All Norah's Art class on face painting. She does beautiful work so I am sure I will be learning something from her. I've been learning a lot from watching Zorana's videos. She has done a series of 3 so far on red rosin paper and they are pretty great.

It snowed again today, some spring we are having.  the good thing is it always melts fairly quickly. Hope you are having a great  weekend.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Results from my mini retreat

I had a great time on my little retreat from everything. Among other things I finished up some journal pages and started two new ones.

Now that I look at this one I realize it is pretty appropriate that I chose the word solitude for this image since solitude was what I was seeking yesterday.

A couple weeks ago I was able to attend a
Leahy concert. A friend gave me the tickets to go since she was going to be out of town.  They are one family and all the brothers and sisters play and even some of the children.  It was quite a performance of high energy Celtic music. I really love seeing and listening to a live music.  I want to do it more often this year.

After my lament yesterday about art journaling I thought I would try something different.  I use a lot of blue and green because I love the colors and they are easy for me.  I have been wanting to explore reds and yellows more.  So I made these two backgrounds and decided I would try flowers like Alisa Burke does.  The first one I used india ink and I really didn't like it. The lines are two thick and the black seems to dry much lighter.

On this second half of the spread I used a Faber Casteel Pitt brush pen and it was much easier to do.  It became almost like doodling a little bit of an extension of doing those hands that I have been doing. Maybe the feeling would have been different if I had been using paint or working on  bigger piece. The fun thing about these pages is I had no expectations of them.  I seemed to let go and just do it.  It doesn't matter that there are no words or theme for them.  I think the color and the flowers are enough.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Where do I go with Art Journaling

The wonderful Jamie Ridler asked if I would be part of her site today. From time to time Jamie features short interviews with clients. I talk about my experience with Wishcasting Wednesday. You can read all about it here.

A little postscript to my wishcasting post yesterday where I talked about wanting a mini retreat.  Well my appointment today got canceled so today I can do anything I want.  So another wish came true.  That wishcasting is pretty powerful stuff.

Here are my latest journal pages. Lately I don't seem to know how to finish pages.  I like the look of this but feel it needs something more so perhaps it will have to just sit for awhile.

I drew this hand last night. This time I used a sepia pitt art pen, its started going out on me so I had to use a regular marker for the nails. I seem to be doing wordless journal pages lately.  I don't know why I think they are not finished without words. I need to change my mind about that.

I seem to be struggling with art journaling lately. Often my process is just to do some background pages, several at one time.  Then I try to fit something on that page and sometimes it flows and others its just a struggle. I wonder am I just trying to make something pretty.  If that is the case maybe I need to move out of the journal and work on canvas or wood more.

Do I just need to go deeper with the journal and talk about feelings and experiences and forget the idea that I want things to be pretty. Or I may just be struggling with style, do I want to focus more on images or words or both.

I like how Judy Wise seems to incorporate words and images and yet I also like Mary Ann Moss's style of very few words or my friend the Queen of Arts whose pages are always full of life and meaning.

I wonder what my style is and if I am happy with that or do I need to just let go of any thought about style and just create something.  I know I am over thinking this too much.

I'd love to know your thoughts on the subject.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Take a Break

Today Jamie asks us What do you wish to take a break from?

I wish to take a break from doing.  I want a day where I am not going anywhere.  Where I can sit and linger over a cup of tea if I want. Bake cookies and watch sappy chick flicks all day and not feel guilty about it. A day with no deadlines, no commitments, no shoulds that I tend to impose on myself. I want a day to be me to be free to just let the wind blow in my hair as I dance around the room or my backyard.

Now that I have my wish I am thinking oh maybe tomorrow, no  I have an appointment at 1. Friday no, hubby is home and I am sure he'll have me doing something, Saturday well maybe during the day as I have an engagement that evening. It looks like Sunday will be my first chance to have no plans...well at least the idea is not 2 weeks away....    You know I have always liked the idea of mini retreats.  It doesn't have to be all day, maybe if I schedule it for Friday or Saturday I can make it happen. If the weather is nice a day in the park sounds just like the thing I need.

To see what other wish casters are doing go here

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

All it takes is a little focus

 I have been noticing that weeks can go by without my doing the things I want to be doing.  So I pulled out my planner and started blocking out sections for art and exercise and internet time and so forth.  Its something I came to do after reading Barbra Sher's Refuse to Choose. In her book I discovered I am a scanner and figured a way to work on my projects I think it was called a Sable.  What that really means is I use the school format. As if I were a teacher or student and I had a 2 hour class. I will plan my day in increments like that. For example today

  9:00-10:00  Write emails I need to get done
10:00-12:0    Go to the gym and run errands
12:00-1:00    Write a blog post
1:00-2:00      Work on research for my trip
2:00-4:00      Art and play time

Sometimes I do hour increments and sometimes more and sometimes I switch everything around.  Today I did research in the morning so now I will just switch it around and got to the gym this afternoon instead.  I don't like things to be so rigid so I need flexibility worked into the system.

Now today I have got an incredible amount of things done and does that ever feel great. Now of course this style doesn't work for everyone.  Sometimes I switch it all around and devote a day to something. I used to do Mondays for Art, Tues for Writing, Wednesdays for Weaving etc... Some people work better with no plan.  If I don't have even a simple one I feel like days go by and I have wasted all that time.

Have you discovered a way that works for you?  I'd love to hear about it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Some art in a couple books

I have been working on some of the books in the Artshine Sketchbook that I am involved in.

This balloon collage was made by first making striped paper, then I added fabric tape to the borders. Then I found this paper with old balloons on it and it seemed to fit nicely. I stamped the words on scraps and cut them out before adhering to the page.

On the back of the page I decided to do one of my faces. Since there was sewing showing through the page I added a piece of red rosin paper. First I added gesso and then added in the face. She looks like a young girl to me.

For the next book most of the previous people did trees and when I learned that the books owner like ravens too, I thought I would combine the two. I did this in watercolor, using pencils, paints and also gouache watercolors. Its from a photo I took at Yellowstone park last year

For the back I did a simple watercolor wash and added the words to The Raven a song by the Alan Parsons Project.

These were fun to do and now I need to clean the studio, its quite a mess now. Have an Artful Day.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thankfulness Thursday

Its Thankfulness Thursday today, and I am so thankful for Spring.  We were supposed to have a storm but instead we have sunshine and clouds. I will take that any day. There are lots of signs of spring here.

I have been down walking by the Snake River and its been quite pretty.

This Canadian goose and a pair of Mallard ducks were enjoying the weather too.

The snow is melting fast. I loved this little droplet I managed to photograph.

My old ewe Gabrielle has come out of her shed to sit in the sun too!

One of the neatest thing we have is a pair of eagles that are nesting nearby. They have taken over an old Osprey nest.

You can see one eagle on the nest and another lower on the right. Unfortunately the nest is located right near a fishing access where there is quite a bit of traffic and we think the eagles will eventually move their nest.  In the meantime I am enjoying seeing them.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wishcasting - What do you wish to pay attention to?

Its Wednesday again so its time for wishcasting with Jamie Ridler.  Today Jamie asks us What do you wish to pay attention to?

Ever since I did the Artist Way online last year I have been doing Morning Pages.  They are 3 pages of long hand writing on nothing in particular.  It gives me the opportunity to dump what is going on in my life and think about things I might want to be doing.  I get good insights this way and sometimes I have a notepad and will jot things down that come to me.  This could be art ideas or something I really want to do that day or even sometime that week.

Some weeks I find myself writing the same ideas or tasks down over and over. Either I didn't put them on a list and bring them to the forefront of my life or I just plain forget about them.  I wish to pay attention to those insights and ideas  on the days that they come to me.

I took Michelle's advice and photocopied that page and just glued it into the journal as a background. I added some more stamping on top. The cool thing about this is I could move the page around to highlight a different spot in the background.

I read a lot of blogs and when I see something another blogger has done that I really like I print it out to use an inspiration later. That was the case with this hand. I have seen some blogger's with those mehndi stencils and always thought I would buy one but haven't gotten around to it. My inspiration was Elizabeth Bunsen's blog . She did a couple spreads with black hands. I have looked at the page several times and wondered if it had been a stamp. Then I got the bright idea oh black gesso. So here is how I made the hand.

I took a piece of white card stock and painted it with black gesso and traced my hand on it and cut it out. I used a white gel pen and marked the finger nails and wrist and then began to add the patterns. The designs came from several places, one being my pajamas, the other some variations of what she had used and some patterns I just made up on the spot. I am sure you could look patterns up on the net but my computer was not near me so I just went with what felt right. I had the most relaxing time doing this hand, its just as fun as doing a zentangle. I may have to try one with sepia ink on flesh colored card stock next. I've decided that this is the kind of doodling that I love to do.

Have a happy St.Patrick's Day Everyone,  maybe I'll have to explore a little art in the lovely green shades of Ireland today...

Monday, March 15, 2010

GPP Street Team #38 Grab a Tissue

It GPP Street Time again and this time Michelle has us playing with tissue paper. I have used tissue paper on my pages before but I never painted it with gesso. It really gives the tissue an unique texture. I liked using it that way.

First I covered white tissue with gesso and adhered it to the page with gel medium.  Then I added some colored papers and patterned ones. I glued these down and added gesso on them.

This is after I added some paint and then some stamping.  I really like how this one turned out. I liked the colors so much that I haven't  decided how to use this one yet.

I had spray painted the red on this page previously and added various shades of red tissue paper, both patterned and plain. Then I added violet oxide golden fluid paint to unify all the reds. I stamped stars to coordinate with the starred tissue paper.   This image of girls seemed to want to be here.  I added some journaling and called it done.

This one was the same process, this time I added random colored  and patterned pieces of tissue papers. Then I added gesso and paint and stamping, you know the routine. I dded the image of the girl and I like how she looked. I may alter her a little or ad some journaling later.

This last page was not done with the tissue paper technique. I had sewn striped paper I had made to a page and made a page out of it. These women in the image reminded me of good times and many friends over the years.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sacred Life Sunday

I just got home from church where we had our monthly potluck.  It was a time of friendship, sharing and good food.  I always like these days, it makes me feel part of a community.

When I got home I was reading in Giving Thanks; the gifts of gratitude, and I thought of all I have to be grateful for on this particular Sunday. Amongst these is the beautiful day we are having. I am going to add being grateful to be able to take my dog out for a walk today.  To spend a little time in nature always lifts my spirits.  I'm grateful I got to go to that concert on Friday, to spend a wonderful time with friend and hear fantastic music.  I am grateful that I will be going to Ireland soon.  I am grateful for my wonderful husband and daughter, they are the best. I am grateful for all my blogging friends, that we get to communicate in this wonderful way.

What are you grateful on this beautiful Sunday in March?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Leahy, what a performance

I saw Leahy perform last night. What a way to get excited about Ireland.  They were incredible.  A group of sisters and brothers from Canada who sing and dance Celtic music.  There are actually 11 of them but only 8 perform at a time.  The men and the women all danced, played the fiddle, piano and guitars and drums too.  What an amazing night.  They actually had a niece performing too and what an incredible singer and dancer she was.  There was a proposal on stage for a member of the audience.  That was fun it was the first time I have ever witnessed that in person.  Oh yes the woman said yes.  My friend Ginger had gifted me with the tickets when she left town to see her new grand daughter. What a great gift that was.

I have been playing with and boy is it fun.  The other times I tried to do this I could never find anything on my grandfather.  This time I found the family in the 1920 census.  It was like the existed finally. I found my grandparents and all their children.  When I looked at the 1930 census I knew it would be sad since 3 of their children had died by then from tuberculosis.  My Aunt Margaret was listed but my mother wasn't since those were the years she was in the hospital and I also discovered that they had a border living with them at the time.  How interesting that was.   I can't wait to look even more.

I seem to be blocked artistically and have been trying to work through it. I have two books to work on and am just drawing a blank.  I hate when that happens. I figured that if I could just do some art that might help.  I have been doing some backgrounds in my journal but not much else. I hope that if I spend some time in the studio I will let go of that and some art will just jump out of me.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wishcasting - What to say NO to!

Today its Wishcasting Wednesday and Jamie asks us:

What do you wish to say no to?

What a powerful wish that is.  My first thought was fear.  Fear of new things, new circumstances, in thinking I am not good enough for any of the many things I try in this life.   I also wish to say no to limiting beliefs and I guess fear is included in that too. The world is full of possibility and I choose to welcome all of it into my life.

Then I started to think of NO in different terms.  You know when someone asks you to do something and at the time you feel, oh yes I'd be happy to help, or yes, I can do that thing. Its afterward that you realize how much time its going to take or the amount of stress it will add to your life. Its at this point you realize you should have said no but now its too late.  You tell yourself next time I won't do that, I will just say no. Then you do it again.  So I wish to say no to things that do not serve me in the long run and I wish to make those decisions quickly and easily.

Why don't you join in today,  just what do you wish to say NO to.....

To see what other Wishcasting participants are saying go here

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Art Sentiments

Here is the Art sentiment piece I did from Mystele's class.  I started with a coaster I got from Chili's.  I covered it with paper and paint. I took a copy of the face in my banner and adhered it to the coaster with gel medium and painted it into a new look. Its been embellished with fabric and lace that also was painted and stitched and sewed on my sewing machine.

This is the back.   This one has a velum panel and ribbons. I added grommets and ribbon so it can be hung. Making one of these little bits of art were really fun. This little piece of art is now on its way to one lucky friend.

Here is my latest journal page. I started by stamping the pear on a piece of watercolor paper. My ink pad is pretty dried out so it didn't stamp well so I added ink and watercolor pencils to add color to the piece. I had a day in the studio where I just played with backgrounds. I decided to add this little pear to the page. Then came more painting and stamping and a few words. There was so much texture on the page that it was really hard to write on but I like the end result.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ireland on the horizon

Life is so interesting, you know last week my life had a whole different purpose and it seems everything has changed.  I knew that 2010 was going to be a different year, perhaps one of change or one of growth.  I did a wishcasting wednesday  where we talked about travel and I mentioned I wanted to go to Ireland and I never imagined that wish would be coming true so quickly.

Here is a little history, I am Irish through my mother and I have Irish grandparents who emigrated to the US in 1910.  I have the letters they wrote to each other from 19-01-1910. Most of that time my grandmother Brigid was in New York, working and making a life for herself always encouraging James to come too.  He was either in Ireland or England working and resisting.

I have over 200 letters and always wanted to write a book about them.  One of my ideas is to travel to all the locations that they wrote from.  These include Dublin and Carrick on Shannon, Ireland and Gateshead and Wigan England, and New York City. I thought it might be interesting to see what is at these locations now and what they looked like then, plus what it will feel like to return to where their story started.  After doing the wish casting thing I thought I am not really doing anything to make that trip happen.

Now fast forward to last week.  I am working on our tax return, we are expecting a good refund due to some credits from our truck and window purchases last year. Plans were to pull up the carpet and put in a hard wood floor.  One day my husband comes home with this idea.  Instead of the floor maybe we should just replace the carpet with a stain resistant one and you can take the rest of the money and go to Ireland and take the trip you have wanted to do for so long.

Well that threw me for a loop.  At first I resisted since I have wanted the carpet gone for years.  We went and looked at carpets and floors and then decided that a floor is just a thing and this trip could be life changing.  So I decided to put off the issue with the floor for another year and to travel to England and Ireland instead.

So now of course I am consumed with reading travel guides and searching on the net for all sorts of things.  I haven't decided when I am going yet but it will be either June or September. So many things to consider and think about. I am excited to finally be doing this.

So if you have  a dream never let go of it, don't worry about how it is going to happen, trust the universe to find a way.  You know you hear this all the time but when you see it happen in  your own life it really is amazing.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Postcard Swap

I have not gotten my tenth postcard so it must be lost in the mail somewhere so I will show what I did receive in the postcard swap hosted by iHanna. I also got an ATC so I included that in the picture. This was one of the most fun swaps I have done.  Thanks to all the lovely ladies who sent me cards.

This is a journal page in response to a prompt on Creativity Portal. They do a prompt a day with a picture to inspire you to create. The question was What is Zen to you? This was fun and I kept it simple because that is what Zen means to me. It seemed to call out to me to be very sparse.

I have been wanting to make some more striped paper so these are my efforts so far. I threw fabric in one of the pieces. I had made that fabric paper for one of the sketchbook exchanges I worked on and just loved the feel of it so I may do more.

I signed up to take Mystele's, e-growth class. Art Sentiments. Its all about making little pieces of art to give as small gifts to friends in need or just because. Its one of those crafts where you can utilize your whole arsenal of supplies. You start with a a copy of a piece of your own art and create something new by using paper, collage, trims, sewing, painting, stamping, beads and more. What a fun little class that has been. I am almost done with a little sample but its not quite ready to show yet.

I went back to Michael's to get some more of that clearance Golden paint and someone had come in and bought almost everything in the store. It was sad to see the shelf bare. I picked up 2 bottles of fluid acrylics in colors I did not own at 2.99 ea and a jar of Hansa Yellow opaque in a jar for 4.99. The only other colors they had were cadmium orange which I refuse to use do to its toxicity.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on my new banner and the support regarding yesterdays post too.  You are all awesome individuals that I feel blessed to know.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Following Dreams

A few weeks ago I was at coffee hour talking to one of our church members and we were talking about our college age kids.  I had mentioned that Sarah had one this big writing award and that she was graduating in a couple months. When I mentioned that she wanted to be a writer and I got that look again and the comment 'is she planning on starving'.

I think I went on to say something else but his comment bothered me.  When I discuss this at other times people always say 'Is she going to teach? And I say no she is not interested in teaching, then you get the look again.  That oh why didn't you have her get a teaching certificate anyways, or she'll be living in your basement for years look.  Why is it when you have a creative career people always want you to do something else too?

This having an creative dream and following through is so hard when no one supports you. I have never heard promising comments from another adult when I mention my daughters chosen career.  Tell me why aren't people saying, Oh she got her degree, great, that should open some doors for her, or she won that writing award,  that is the first of many she will win.  Or I can't wait to see her books at Barnes and Noble.  Why does everyone assume that she will not succeed.With all this negativity its amazing anyone follows their dream, that anyone succeeds.

Where would the world be if JK Rowling never followed her dream of being a published writer, or Monet who struggled all his life or Van Gogh who I think sold one painting in his lifetime. Why aren't people more supportive.  I just don't understand it.

When Sarah graduated from High School this is what she said about her career goals.  "I am going to write an award winning novel that will be made into an academy award winning motion picture." I loved the strength of that goal. I made her promise to take me on the red carpet when that happens. I don't hear her saying that statement anymore.  I hope the opinions of others have not squashed that dream of hers.  She is a fantastic writer and I know she will be successful.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Birthday Bash Redo

I had a great time at my birthday dinner. We all went to Johnny Carinos for dinner. The night was filled with fun laughter and great food.

My longtime friends Gari and Amy pose for the camera.

Phil and Jackie, my friends from game night.

Here are my friends Kay and Bob, I haven't seen them for a long time so it was great that they were able to come.

This is my good friend Diane and her 2 daughters and a friend

Then we have Ginger, Tom and Molly.

Then Dave and myself.

This is a pendant I received from Kate. Its a Lisa Leonard design. As you know I love birds so I really treasure this gift.

She also gave me this pot holder she had made. I had been admiring it at her house while it was in pieces and now its mine, how lucky can I be.

This is a tiny bag made by my sister Peggy.

She also made this tote bag. The bottom and middle are made from screen material.

My friend Kay gave me this book. I know I will use it in fact I had painted the flowers for my banner on this day and really could have used its advice. At least I am ready for the next time. It gives step by step instructions on painting all sorts of flowers.

I had a wonderful birthday celebration and am blessed to have so many wonderful friends.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Birthday Bash

 I have just spent the day trying to get a post up with tons of pictures and lots of writing only to have lost the entire thing.  To say that I am annoyed would be an understatement. So tune in tomorrow when I will try again...

Monday, March 1, 2010

My new banner

I have been wanting a new banner for my blog for ometime. I toyed with many ideas and then decided to just paint my own. Finally I got the banner finished and uploaded. I thought I would share a little of my process.

Here is my first sketch on paper.

Then I drew a sketch on the canvas board I chose to paint on. It was a rectangular size so I thought it would work great for a banner.

This is after the first painting session. I added tissue paper for the garden.

In my second session, I painted over the tissue paper and added painted flowers. Then I added the gate on the left and a little fine tuning on the crows and hair.

Now here is the final painting. I added the birds in flight, words on the flags and some more fine tuning on everything else. I really like the way this turned out. I want to thank my friend Kate for all her suggestions while I was working on this painting.