Friday, July 22, 2011

Alien Freaks aka Cute Li'l Guys

Alien Freaks aka Cute Li'l Guys
(all following) about 4" in diameter, felt, thread, rice.
designed by Gabriel, Ivy and me, sewed by me.

Here's a thought: Do we value the special unique qualities that make us who we are?

Or do we think those little quirks about us make us somehow wrong? Somehow not good enough? Freakish? Flawed? Ugly?

I made these beanbags, by hand, for Gabriel's 6th birthday party. The plan was to use them in a beanbag toss game and then let the kids take them home for a goody treat.

I had to squelch down my worries that they wouldn't want a dorky handmade goody treat. Or that my flubs in stitching would make these rejects. Or that no mom would want a kid to bring home a thing stuffed with rice. Or that the designs would not be cute enough.
But guess what? Every kid, from 4 to 11 snatched one of these little babies up. They picked the ones they liked best and those were owned.
Even the first attempts, the wonky little guys with wonky little eyes and wonky little tentacles.
And you want to know what? Even the one that was left over... I took it. Mine, I said, defending it greedily from six year old paws. Mine. I pinned it up over my desk. They didn't understand the delicate curlycues and the subtle color scheme, but that one was mine. The kids liked the wonky ones better. Go figure.
I'm even going to have to make replicas of some of the ones that went away for little girls who want friends for theirs.
What is this all about?

This is about trusting your own uniqueness, your own alien beingness, your own wonkiness. Someone out there will love you the way you are. Someone will love what you create with your own two wonky hands. And even if they don't, what you do is just the path towards you learning who you are, what you love, and how to make it.
Trust. Keep trying. Look with unbiased eyes at what you do. Look for the loveliness, not the flaw. Imagine your work was created by someone else and see it for what it is, without your own feelings of unworthiness and not-good-enough-ness getting in the way.

Loving yourself, is the key. Believing in yourself. Trusting in your vision and your process.

Saying yes to who you are and what you do.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What do you want to make of this world of yours?

colored gel pens, ink, sharpie marker, recycled menu

What DO you want to make of this world of yours?

It is possible to make it, did you know that?

That's the first step to changing your world, to creating something new, to transforming yourself, to breaking out of your rut... believing that it is possible.

This is where art can help with transforming your very soul.

Art makes things possible. It creates them as a reality, even before they are a reality. As humans, when we imagine something, when we ponder how it could be created, when we mark down the boundaries of something, we are taking steps to make the ideas real.

Sorry to sound as if I am a text book, but I myself am trying to create something in my life. And I know the first step is to imagine it so clearly I can see the steps to take to make it real.

This very drawing/doodle/sketch I posted above is an exercise in creating what I want in the world.

Facing the empty page, I said, "what do I want to make in this world? what do I want to have? what do I want to see?"

What I wanted was positivity. What I wanted was energy. What I wanted was about giving, not taking. It was about belief and personal power. So I drew it.

And look at me here, today, the very next day, being positive, energetic (yes I washed the dishes before sitting down), sharing, and believing in the very possibilities I am creating.

Make the world you want.

Imagine it.
Believe it.
Take the steps towards it.
Live it.

It could be about a personal mindset, a zen belief in life, like here. It could be about creating an etsy shop. It could be about writing and publishing a novel. It could be about making an ice cream cake when you never have before.

See. I did that too. It was pretty tasty, although not perfect, and not without troubles in the execution. But I did it, and I could do it better next time.

Creating is about making the world you want to see, and it is about standing in your own power.

You can do it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I Am Not Lost I Am Just In Camouflage

I Am Not Lost I Am Just In Camouflage
acrylic on paper, moleskine
5x7" 7/12/11

I did this yesterday. Took most of the day to paint and futz around with my art work. I did this one, and also, I've kind of been trying to figure out what style I want to paint portraits in. Sometimes it feels too cartoony, or not cartoony enough, too modeled, not modeled enough, too rough, too realistic, too pretty, too ugly.

I don't know if other artists have this sort of dilemma. Sometimes it feels like I am struggling with it because I am basically a weekend painter. Between the kids and the job and the house and the writing and the wasting time obsessions, I don't have enough time to dedicate to experimentation and creating and discovery-- the journey. But maybe that's just a story I tell. If you add together all the years I've been working on art, the moments after bedtime or the summers before kids, the painting sessions with my tiny watercolor set, the sketching while at work, the doodling while in meetings, the classes I've taken, the museums I've visited, the books I've read, the classes I've taught, the crafts I've concocted, the photos I've taken... this is the life of an artist.

Just because I don't do it as my full time job, or because I didn't get an MFA doesn't mean I'm not an artist. I've spent 35 years developing my art. I'm lucky because I was born to an artist and was encouraged even when I was very young, but I think we all have a tendency to devalue what we have achieved, our own personal journey, and only see what we do not have.

What makes us artists? I believe that all humans are inherently creative, an artist is simply someone who focuses their energy on developing that creativity, on growing and experimenting, on discovering who they are and what they have to say, and honing their skills.

We can be artists at any stage of development, and as artists, we might very well have different purposes for being artists. While one person wants to be the next Sally Mann or Kiki Smith or Chuck Close, another person might just want have an outlet for their personal self expression, with no desire to show or create a commodity at all. Me, I think I'm somewhere in between.

I would love to be able to make a career out of my art and writing, to not have a day job, but I also think that I would do it anyway, even if I never made any money at all. And more than making money for me, I want to be an artist who teaches and enlightens others.

I suppose that's what my blog has become. I share my journey, sometimes daily, sometimes weekly, but I do it so that I can shed a little light on the creative process, share with people who need inspiration, and perhaps find some sort of balance between living and creating. I don't know if I achieve that, but I try.

As for the painting, I am slowly developing a style of figurative work that pleases me. When I was painting the picture above, I went back to some old paintings that I wasn't satisfied with and adjusted the faces. Yes. What I thought was done, was not done. I might still continue to work on them. The process is never done. Or I suppose it is done sometimes, when you let go of a piece and send it out into the world or stuff it into a drawer... or maybe not, because you can revisit the images or ideas, they can continue on.

Oh just like life. Our process is ours. Our life is ours to develop, no matter what other people are doing. Just stay true to ourselves, try to be us, not someone else. Keep going. The journey is not over until we give up on it.

Keep on trucking.

(this painting inspired by this photo)

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Strangers in a Bar

This is my second post in my July photo challenge. And my second picture. The theme for this was "strangers."

It was a hot day. The air conditioning was nice. The cold beer was nice. Sometimes it's nice to just sit in a nearly empty bar by yourself and be a stranger. Yes, I think I was the stranger.

And in an attempt to not be a stranger to my blog readers, I am trying to get back to the habit of posting. Even if this is the July 4th weekend and everyone is out doing summery celebratory things and this isn't exactly an enlightening post.

The theme for today's picture will be "lunch". I might be able to manage this.

See you tomorrow and have a happy Independence Day. And if you don't celebrate Independence Day, have a happy Sunday.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Night. Street.


I'm going to try to do this photo challenge, here. I've been such a bad blogger lately that I need a prod to get me going again, but I don't know if I'm up to doing any of my old painting a day things. I like to take little photographs and my camera is easy to carry around, so I thought this might help me blog better again.

This photo above is my first attempt to fit into the challenge. The theme is "Street". Is it kind of fudging the challenge if I take these moving-car-on-the-road pictures quite often? Oh, who cares. The challenge is the commitment, not each individual theme. Today is "Strangers" and that will be harder for me because I am a rather private person. I don't like to bother strangers. (Never mind the public blog, ok? I don't mean writing. Writing is not the same as being face to face with strangers.)
Rain. Green. Street.
watercolor on paper 5x8

In fitting with the theme, I did a watercolor sketch a few days ago, in my journal. More than the painting itself, I think it was important that I sat out side on my porch with my watercolor set and actually painted.

It was good to sit in the moment and focus on what the moment was about, not the future or to do lists or worries or things to do or any of that. Just the moment, the rain, the green and the gray, the paint, the paper.

Paying attention to the world you are living in. Paying attention to the moment that is happening right now. This is important.
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