Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Flying Girl in Stormy Skies, or Breathe

Flying Girl in Stormy Skies, or Breathe
Golden Fluid Acrylic

I really try to practice this. Man, life is bumpy sometimes. And sometimes, there's nothing really wrong going on, but it just gets you anyway. Sometimes you get all caught up inside and twisted around and tense and every bit of energy in the world is trapped inside you and you are left just BUZZING.

That's when I try to remember to breathe.

Just in, just out.

It's surprising how just breathing can help to calm you so you can move forward.

It's surprising how just breathing can release the pent up energy into the world, leaving you calmer, if just for the moment.

This is my second painting in a row with gray skies and a cityscape. Rough times? Well, just your general, you know, state of the world. And a couple of prompts that made me think along these lines. This one came from Jess Gonacha. She asks what we want to let go of and what we want to replace it with. so here's my list.

LET GO OF: impatience with myself, control over everything, my imperfection, S's imperfection, anger and resentment, fears of success, fears of failure, perfectionism, the need to do everything NOW NOW NOW, and working all the time.

LEAVE ROOM FOR: abundance, success, peace, enjoying daily living, playing with my kids, music, experimentation, doing grown up stuff like going out, my novel, faith that I am on the right path.

And yeah, what do I do when I need to let go of the tension or the fears or the past? Release. Breathe out.

Leave some lung space for the good air to come in.

oh yeah, prints are here. And my first original drawing is in the shop, too. Look for more to come.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Flying Girl in the Land of the Ghosts, or Let it Go

Flying Girl in the Land of the Ghosts, or Let it Go
Golden Fluid Acrylic on Paper, 7"x10"

The theme for Inspire Me Thursday is ghost. I thought that would be so easy, to create a kind of Edward Gorey like ghosty of Flying Girl, but instead, it turned into a real Flying Girl who was lost in the land of the ghosts.

Oh, it's the past. It's the scars and the pain and the losses and the could have beens. It's basements and cellars and the roots of things. It's distant sounds and far off wishes. It's empty windows and going nowhere.

When we get stuck in that land of ghosts, we don't do ourselves any favors. Lost there, our liveliness is overshadowed by the weight of all that past. We can be blue skies inside of us, but if we won't let go of that ghost, the rain clouds will keep coming in.

So do like Flying Girl. Let It Go, and fly off towards the hopes that the past gave you. Leave behind the pain. Because it's not all pain. Find the bloom of hope, the bird that flies off, and follow that.

I'd also like to mention that although it doesn't look like it, this painting is actually me playing with color, for CED's April prompt. Yes, it's gray, but I wanted to paint the light and shadows, the color coming from behind. I wanted to contrast the gray of the sky with the sky blue of the dress. And even the gray is both warm and cool gray. White and cream. Black and charcoal. And that's not counting the underpainting. It's bright pink, yes it is. Although the painting itself is gray. Take a look at that sky...see the layers, there?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"One Complete Thought Would Be Nice"

"One Complete Thought Would Be Nice"
Mixed Media drawing on antique book page, 4 1/2"x 7"

I'm doing this while making hamburgers. Yes. Multi tasking. Distraction. I have so much to say, but so little time to pull my thoughts together.

In fact, while drawing this picture, my thought process-- one that was trying to do as the 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women was directing and Plan to Achieve My Goals-- was interrupted by a two year old who was directing me to draw houses and "popsiple" trees. So this painting represents the difficulty of planning a cohesive thought, let alone goal, while trying to do a million and one things.

But, I'm kind of stubborn, and if I decide something is important and I can't get at it the way I want to, then I find another way, so while the kids took their nap (aka sat in their room playing and resisting nap) I went out into the garden and thought about where the last 12 weeks have led me.

Not coincidentally, I have finished my Portfolio Project-- because the project and the book were both twelve weeks long, and I started them at the beginning of January. We're 1/4 of the way through the year!

So I took stock of my 12 weeks. I've come far, opening my etsy shop , stocking it with 32 pieces so far, and selling my first artworks to people who don't already know me. I've learned new avenues in the internet and discovered new directions I would like to go with it all. I've expanded my repertoire of art techniques and even started painting a little larger, which I've been scared to do for, oh, say 15 years. I've grown my blog readership and met wonderful blog folk. I've started my second blog where I can play a bit more with lovely things. I've taken up the guitar, badly, but finally, after longing to learn to play since I was 7. I started drawing again and using some of my favorite techniques of yore that I have let slide. I even wrote a couple of poems. One thing that I did not achieve that I wanted to was to finish the second draft of my novel.

Once I realized that the shop needed to have a lot of time dedicated to it, the writing time just disappeared. I'm hoping to pick it back up, but I'm still learning the business end, so I'm not sure how I'm going to fit in the writing again.

So that brings me to the planning my goals. I've got big goals for the next five years, including living off of writing, art and teaching. I'm good with diversifying-- there are a lot of things I want to do.

But I'm going to focus on the next twelve weeks... I guess another Portfolio Project, if anyone else is continuing to do so. Here are my new goals. I'll have to give them a try and find out if they are too big for the time span, which is what I found out about the last go round:

Expand my etsy shop:
increase sales and visibility.
add new paintings, prints and drawings.
add new "other things" (I've got a few ideas currently kicking around in my brain.)

Finish my second draft of my novel
write as often as possible (figure out a schedule that works with the rest of my day/plans)
get another critical reader
write a synopsis
start researching agents

Start publishing articles
research publications
write queries

Apply to artist grants

Work on my nonfiction creativity work
do an outline
write some articles developing it specifically
teach an e-course or something with the work I've been doing.

and the biggest goal:

Live my life and be HAPPY instead of always stressed out
make time for me without work
practicing guitar
alone time
make time for S
play with kids more.
make real live friends and keep in touch with physically distant ones.
do more with family.
eat well.

It's a lot. I don't know if it's all doable. But if I set out on this journey and don't give up, the one guarantee is that I will get farther than if I just float around without any goals at all.

How about you... what would you like to do with the next quarter of your year? Spring is a lovely time for new goals.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Flying Girl Yearns for the Sea, or Defy Convention, Gift and Kick Back

Flying Girl Yearns for the Sea, or Defy Convention
Golden Fluid Acrylics on paper, 7"x10"

I am not a normal girl. Or rather, I'm terribly normal, but I don't let that stop me. What's normal? It's just an imposed constraint that is defining who "everybody" is, what "everybody" does. Even in normalcy, we're all weird and strange and not like anyone else. We all have unusual dreams or odd quirks. Are brains take twisty turns or we laugh at things no one else thinks is funny.

And that's a good thing.

To tell you the truth, I'm getting a little bored with my normal constraints of Flying Girl. I know there is more to explore, but I feel like I've walked down those paths and I'm looking for new ones.

From my history, I've learned this boredom isn't a bad place to be. All it means is that it's time to branch out and try new things. Is there a new technique to try? A different medium? Would a little side project fulfill my need to do something different? Is there a theme that I haven't addressed before? Maybe the challenge is as simple as switching up the colors. I actually think that the color yellow is what started this whole flying girl kick in the first place. The Illustration Friday prompt was yellow, and I was not used to using this color. Flying Girl came out of it.

We can get very settled staying in normal. We can lose our fire curled up by the radiator with a nice cup of cocoa. It's comfortable... sure, but where are we getting with the cushions and blankets and bonbons by the tv? A little plush on our behinds, that's where.

So defy your normal. Step out into the unknown and uncomfortable, just a little. Try something new. Don't go for that tried and true color, but for the one you think is too bright, too garish. Try a different perspective in your story... the one you don't quite understand. Maybe the tale that comes out of it won't be your knock-it-out-of-the-park hurrah, but maybe you'll learn something new, maybe you'll get one step farther to where you really are supposed to be-- before you got so comfortable.

I've tried something a little new. Or rather, a little old. Going back to the sketching. Going back to the old pages that I tore out of my altered book I made years ago. Glad I saved them. Because when I was looking for something different, they showed up.

I did them yesterday and today, and they were kind of in conjunction with FG. That's why I'm posting them here. I like the dialogue they have with her.

Triptych (?)
"Gift" mixed media drawing on antique book page, mounted on Moleskine.
"Kick Back" mixed media drawing on antique book page, mounted on Moleskine.
FG Yearns for the Sea, or Defy Convention, acrylic on paper

The shoes were drawn before the FG, but completed with the paint leftover from the FG. I like the conjunction of the contemporary sneakers and jeans with the old timey dress and sailing ship. Plus, FG's not wearing shoes, but I am (in the picture, I mean). And then the leaves I drew today. They were a gift from the kids. They like collecting things and giving them to me. I was looking for something special to draw on the page that says "Godliness." What's more special than dried out, colored leaves your kids give you? Plus, they almost look like they are aloft on the breeze, drifting like FG. And really, is the real gift our freedom?

The other thing I like about this? Those moleskine pages the drawings are mounted on? From my old journal where I used to paint. And they are edged with the leavings of old FG paintings. It was just coincidence the paint splotches matched the sketch. But I loved the way they looked there. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with these. Sell as prints? Sell the originals? That would be scary for me.

What new thing can you try that might stretch your boundaries? Give it a try. I dare you.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Flying Girl Swims, or Explore Undiscovered Lands

Flying Girl Swims, or Explore Undiscovered Lands
Golden Fluid Acrylic on paper, 7"x10"

Here's a departure for me. So bright. Half naked.

I saw sunny skies, in my head. That sharp, hot light of mid summer. Or was it the cool blue of a pool? It makes everything else brighter. Pure colors. Clean lines. Modern. A little dream like, but not romantic. Nothing ornate. No banners or swirls or words. Just silence, and the swim. Breathing. Sun.

Sometimes I feel like a fish out of water, lately. Things seem familiar, sort of, but then I'm kind of floundering about, trying to figure out the best way to get moving.

I like this Flying Girl. She has not let the water or lack of water stop her. She keeps going, equally in the air or in the sea. I imagine there's a lot more of this scene for her to explore, and I imagine she's not ready to stop in her adventure, but rather, is enjoying this strange swim.

I'm trying to keep my stuff together and list things in my etsy shop every day. Work work work. So here's a link if you want to buy a print of this one. I think I want to put it up on my wall, myself.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Flying Girl Remembers her Courage, or I Am the Adventure

Flying Girl Remembers her Courage, or I Am the Adventure
Golden Fluid Acrylics, Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens, and white gel pens on paper, 7"x10"

Sometimes I forget that this is all about the adventure. It's not about getting things right or being rich or even being productive. I forget that I am not just a person on this journey of life, but I am constantly in flux myself. I am not a thing, I am a being. I am the living. I am the adventure.

So I drew myself a hippie chick on a safari. Or maybe she's on a walkabout. Or maybe she's just hiking into the landscape. It really doesn't matter where she is or what she's doing on this trek, or where she's going to end up. What matters is that she continues on, like the light, like the sky, like an adventure.

I also am incorporating the prompt for Inspire Me Thursday, late though I am. Well, the prompt it "I am."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Goddess Inspire, or Flicker of Imagination

Goddess Inspire, or Flicker of Imagination
Golden Fluid Acrylic and Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils on Paper, 7"x10"

Goddess Inspire came out of nowhere, and yet she is all around.
In fact, don't you think you know her? Wasn't she that girl down the block? Didn't you see her in that place the other day?

She's so familiar.

Say hi.

The flicker of this painting came when I realized the next Thursday Sweet Treat prompt was "Flicker of Imagination" although, I think I thought it was Flicker of Inspiration. Either way, I imagined a girl looking out at us. Maybe also seeing a couple of portraits in and around blogland had a portrait happening in my mind.

But what was really interesting was what happened when the drawing (with watercolor pencils) was covered with paint. Things happened I did not expect and her face changed as I painted. When I added the hair/shadows even more happened. And I left the edges bare mostly because it seemed to want to be unfinished.

This girl really did come out of nowhere, and I really do feel like I know her, but she doesn't match anyone I know. Do you know her? Can you place that face?

I think she is a goddess. When you let your inspiration take over, do you see a face of the goddess, too?

To purchase a print, go here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Flying Girl Cuts it Away, or Let Go of All That Is Not Yours

Flying Girl Cuts it Away, or Let Go of All That Is Not Yours
Mixed Media, Golden Fluid Acrylic, Antique Book Pages, on paper, 7"x10"

I had no idea what I was going to do with this picture until I thought of using some of the old pages that came out of a book I altered about five years ago. And then I realized I also wanted to use the themes from Illustration Friday (Subtract) and Next Chapter: 12 Secrets book club (Subtract Serenity Stealers). How convenient that they dove tail so nicely. Who planned that?

Anyway, there is actually a fully painted flying girl underneath the paper collage. I guess in order to subtract things, you have to add first.

The idea I had here is that in order to find the heart of the matter, the center of the self, you often have to cut away all the things that do not matter. You find out what does not fit, what does not give you joy, what makes you feel bad about yourself or out of sorts, and you get rid of it.

A lot of people have been asking, here and there, how to find their passion. Really, I think it's first a matter of finding that spark, and then cutting away the excess around it. For instance, I discovered I loved writing when I was a kid, then I learned a lot about different kinds of literature, fiction, non fiction, poetry, epic tales, post modernism. I learned about reading and writing and teaching. I learned about various topics, art and science and culture and psychology. I followed breadcrumb trails down dark alleys and scrounged for bits and pieces of magic, or trash.

As time went on, I was able to eliminate what I did not want to focus on. Or I was able to take pieces of an idea and fit it into my passion. So here I am years later, realizing that I still love writing, but I don't need to be writing the next Pulitzer Prize winning serious literary novel. I like my Science Fiction and Fantasy, and my blogging and maybe I'll go somewhere further with it all.

I could just as easily have discovered my passion to be photography, or jewelry making or philosophy or geology. Actually, the truth is, there are many worthy pursuits and passions out there. How do you know which fits you best until you explore them?

On my journeys, especially in the last few years, I was also able to eliminate old outmoded ideas of thought that kept me down and kept me scared. One idea being that I should be a precocious young thing who becomes a literary sensation before the age of 30, or that only literary fiction is worthy. Another idea is that I can not have financial abundance, or that I can not earn a living with my art and/or writing. This is after years of collecting dustbunnies on those silly ideas. I began to figure out which ideas are just full of ego, which ones are full of fear, which ones were placed on me by other people but don't really have basis in my reality.

And I get out my scissors and I snip it all away.

In my mind, all the biggest serenity stealers are in the mind. Even if your life is full of people and things that clutter up your world, if you can find the right place to exist in your mind, you can live in peace. That doesn't mean we shouldn't purge old things (sometimes those things are laden with ideas) but the most important part of that is the getting rid of the mental, emotional and psychic clutter.

What mind clutter are you willing to let go of in order to live your passion and reach your dream?

Oh yeah, to buy a print of this you can go here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Flying Boy Where The Wild Things Are, or Dream

Flying Boy Where The Wild Things Are, or Dream
Golden Fluid Acrylic on Paper 7"x10"

This piece is kind of a companion piece to yesterdays. Not that they have much in common, really, besides a stuffed animal and a banner. But I got to thinking, if "Play" was inspired by my girl, then what about my boy? And this is what came up for me. As you can tell... I like stories. Kids stories, picture books, fairy tales, myths, histories, novels, dreams, tall tales... I just like stories. It's obviously inspired by Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are" but I only used the book for the briefest reference on the colors of the boat and the fine tuning of the wolf suit.

That's my boy's teddy bear, more or less. He wanted to be in the picture. It might be his dream, for all I know.

I realize also, just now if you can believe it, that this painting fits the totally optional prompt of March for Everyday Creative. One thing I've found with inspiration is that it often percolates in your brain for a while... say three weeks... before it comes out and becomes real. I'm also starting to remember my dreams. But that might be because the kids papa is taking the kids in the morning to let me rest a bit (I've had a cold) so I am not starting right from eyes open with the kids and all their various needs.Ivy Watching Bubbles
TtV, Duaflex II, Crappy Casio Exilim.

And speaking of inspiration, yesterday's painting of Play must have inspired me, because I spent quite a while yesterday playing with my new gadget that I made for my old Duaflex II camera. It's made out of cardboard so I can do Through the Viewfinder (TtV) pictures. I don't know if they're any good, but I had fun seeing what I could come up with. When I look at the photos in the Flickr group mine look nothing like that. (I've been playing around on Flickr, too. Trying to figure it out.) They're over exposed and fuzzy and splotched.... but I LIKE them. When I was going through the shots to edit them, I got that funny feeling in my stomach a few times. Butterflies. That's often when I know I've done something right. The other way is when I can't stop staring at something. Like this Flying Boy. Keep looking at him.

So, I'm working on play, because I've decided I am too burdened with all I feel I have to do, but I can only do so much. So I need to change my outlook and come at the to do list, and everything else, from a place of joy. I chose this life, most emphatically, over easier more reliable life paths. I want to enjoy it.

Are you enjoying your life? What do you think you could do to start enjoying it more?

"working on play?" That's quite the oxymoron.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Flying Girl Goes to a Tea Party, or Play

Flying Girl Goes to a Tea Party, or Play
Golden Fluid Acrylic on Paper, 7"x10"

I really like this one. It reminds me that I really need to do more playing in life. I've said it before, I'll say it again. I am far too serious and I work far too much. And part of it is the mind set. I think of almost everything I do as work.

Maybe it's because for too long, I have equated my worth with my productivity and felt terrible guilt over doing things that were seemingly unproductive.

I can just roll my eyes over feeling guilty about living.

Anyway. I like this Flying Girl. I think we could all use some of her mojo. Obviously, she was a little inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Also a little bit by my little girl, Ivy. Right now she's a blond, but I figure that by the time she gets older, her hair will darken and she will be a brunette. I also call her bunny.

This was also inspired by Easter, and by Spring in general. I can't help thinking in Spring colors. In Easter egg colors. Of bunnies and flowers.

Hopefully the renewal of Spring, the rebirth, the shedding of layers and lightening of the air will influence us all and allow our own renewals.

All hail, Spring!

If you know some bunny who would like a print, I've got one over here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Flying Girl is a Warrior, or The Miracle is Now

Flying Girl is a Warrior, or The Miracle is Now
Golden Fluid Acrylic

The theme for Illustration Friday is "Legendary." I painted this... that's inspired by Joan of Arc. But you see, rather than being burned alive, you notice that she holds the fire within her. The fire to purify. The eternal flame. The fire looks a lot like the trees, also. Perhaps its the fire of life?

Flying Girl is made of spirit and she does not wait for someone else to bring the miracle. She does not wait for the perfect circumstances to create the flame. There is no deus ex machina here. The miracle is right here in this very now, if only we pay attention. All around us. A part of us.

My other thought for the theme legendary would have been something inspired by Billie Holiday. Oh, she sings the blues. Interesting, huh? An idea for a saint. An idea for a sinner.

Well, they're both Legendary, and they both kind of gave their lives for their beliefs, for their living. Sacrificed their fire to the greater good.

Granted, I'm not saying any of us should sacrifice ourselves to the extent that those women did. Martyrdom is nice for the stories, but not so much for us. That's why my warrior, my Jean D'arc has that fire in her hand. It inspires her, it leads her, but it does not burn her. The passions burn without destroying.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This Is A Flower, or Living In the State of Blooming

This Is A Flower
Pitt Artist Pen and roller ball pen on paper, 7"x10"

Let's talk about abundance. The 10th Secret of the 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women is about Living in Abundance with Positive Priorities.

Talk about something that creates happiness, this is up there with being in the moment.

Both are things that exist within the mind. As does happiness, don't you know?

What? Abundance is within the mind?

It sure as heck is not in the wallet. You can have millions of dollars flowing in and still feel like you are lacking. You can be without a job or steady income, living in someone else's spare room and feel rich.

I think it's about accepting what you already have, accepting who you already are, and moving out from there. That doesn't mean you can't go out and get more money and more stuff, but as long as you are trying to plug that hole of lack with things, it's just not going to work. The hole is not made of things, so it cannot be filled with things.

I'm not lucky because I have the things I have. This was not luck... or rather, it was my luck, neither good nor bad. I've worked hard to make it feel good. It seems so silly. What's not good about living in Florida with grapefruit and key lime and carambola trees surrounding your house? Oh, well, you see, that part is good, but I've never wanted to live in Florida. I cam here for family, and to help us get our feet back on the ground. I could easily see this period of life as a failure, but instead, I chose to see the abundance. The weather, the flowers, the family, the garden, the security, the time to follow my art into a place and time where it might someday allow more financial security.

THIS is abundance. Looking for flowers instead of political sewage. Looking for margaritas instead of friends who are all thousands of miles away. And it's okay. It's abundant. And it is building a future that I know will be full of even more abundance...

Because I am not waiting for luck, or for a paycheck to make my life abundant. I am creating it right here. Right now. Where I am.

I invite you to live in the state of Blooming Flowers, where ever you are, whether you live in "Florida" or not.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Flying Girl Off the Path, or I May Wander But I Am Not Lost

Flying Girl Off the Path, or I May Wander But I Am Not Lost
Golden Fluid Acrylic on Watercolor Paper, 7"x10"

I worked on this painting all weekend. I had ideas in my head, but none of them came clear. Maybe I had too many ideas. I don't know, but the images did not come out. I painted over this about five times.

And it was so ugly. Oh my it was ugly.

That's when I realized I just had to let go and trust that the process would create something worthy.

The quote popped into my head.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost.
-J.R.R. Tolkien

It fit the painting. It fit the process. Perhaps it also fits my life, in this spot of life where I am trying to figure out how this all fits together.

In the end, I like the painting. I like the orange flowers and the wishes flying over the hills... I assume those wishes are leading her on to the clearer road, where the horizon can be seen, and the sky is boundless.

To buy a print, go here

Friday, March 13, 2009

Flying Girl and the Dance, or Pas De Deux

Flying Girl and the Dance, or Pas De Deux
Golden Fluid Acrylics on watercolor paper, 7"x10"

This one may look familiar to you folks. That's because it's a redo of a painting I did back in November. Someone liked the November painting but I was uncomfortable with the sketchiness of the original. So I painted it again.

I did it on heavier paper and larger, and I brought to it the things I've been doing lately, namely the underpainting. It's still simpler than what I've been doing lately, but I like it a lot better than the original. I think Flying Girl and Flying Guy look more dynamic, stronger. I like that they are larger and more finely done, although still loose. I like that there's more tension in the composition, with a steeper angle and less negative space. I like that the flowers are less intrusive. I considered not putting them in at all, but I think they add something to the narrative of the piece, and I like the bit of pink.

Oh, and I love the little cockeyed curls at the end of her rippled hair. I still like the color combo and in real life, the two paintings look almost the same, except for the added bit of pink from the underpainting.

FG Is Coming Together, or The Dance
Golden Fluid Acrylic and paper, 51/2"x8"

The discrepancies in color here are from the not so great photography. Sorry, upgrading my systems, camera included, is on my to do list.

Anyway, I enjoyed doing another version of this. Sometimes we really can take the best of an experience and recreate it-- or rather, re-envision it.

Oh, goodness, you silly novel-ignorer. It's called revision.

Revision is good. We learn new things. We create improved things. We become better artists.

I need to get back to work on my novel.

(to buy a print of Flying Girl and the Dance or Pas De Deux, go here!)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Flying Girl Sings in the Spring, or Go Gently

Flying Girl Sings in the Spring, or Go Gently
Golden Fluid Acrylic on Paper, 7"x10"

Oh I have been going non stop. Really. When driving to the post office is a break, you need to schedule in some down time.

That's why I painted this picture. It's inspired by my baby blue guitar which I am trying to teach myself to play. It seems to be the one thing I am doing right now which doesn't entail some sort of work to be done or future to be made. I mean, even when I eat, I usually have to cook and clean up.

I try to remind myself to be in the moment and just take out some moments to relax. To feel the softness of the air and allow myself to play. Play is hard for me lately, now that what I used to do for play has become work. Hm. I need to explore that dynamic and try to take it back to play a bit. I think my perfectionist tendencies are rearing a little.

I also have Spring on the brain. You all in the Northern climes may still be getting socked by that Lion March, but here in Florida it's more like May in New York, so everything I'm doing is covered in flowers lately.

The sales in the etsy shop seem to have slowed down, so I'm not running around frantically, but I still have some work to do and I still have to learn my way around this new world. I got a second treasury, which I take as a good sign. It's all blue and green and sea colored. Some beautiful stuff in that one. I love finding new artists and rediscovering old ones that I had discovered before.

I don't know if you've noticed, but this painting and the last are both 7x10, which is bigger than my usual 5x8. I'm trying to expand my repertoire and expand my vision. I've always kept things small when I have felt insecure or frightened by any number of things. And it's worked. I've made some lovely tiny paintings, but sometimes it's time to move on to something a little larger.

I want to try and keep the spontaneity in my paintings, even if I am painting larger, and for the etsy shop, and with "Art" capital "A" in mind. I'm wrestling a little with my different tastes, too... the more abstract with the more cartoony almost. I have no idea where I'm going next.
Plus, my moleskine inexplicably went missing. A message from the universe? I can't promise I won't go back to the smaller paper, but I'm trying this out to see how it feels.

It's easier to paint a little bit bigger.

I'm experimenting with layering and different brush techniques. I might go into a painting thinking I am going to do one thing, but I follow the medium, and it often goes in other directions. So I go with it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Flying Girl Steps Boldly on the Earth, or I Am a Joyful Girl

Flying Girl Steps Boldly on the Earth, or I Am a Joyful Girl
Golden Fluid Acrylics on Paper, 7x10"

Every time I see this painting, I start singing that Ani DiFranco song, Joyful Girl. Oh, come to think of it, this painting is all inspired by Jen Lemen. First the song itself which she posted yesterday, and then a few days before, this post. "Step boldly into the Earth and let the Earth figure the rest of it out."

Let me tell you, I feel like I'm stepping boldly, and I'm trying to let the Earth figure the rest out. Did you know I even put "Relax" on my to do list? I think I managed some of the sublists on that, but I'm still too busy to relax. Although things seem to be slowing down a little, enough for me to catch my breathe.

But that's okay, because

i do it for the joy it brings
because i’m a joyful girl
because the world owes me nothing
and we owe each other the world
i do it because it’s the least i can do
i do it because i learned it from you
i do it just because i want to
because I want to
via jen

I'm learning the way as I go, and so are you. And so is everyone. When we stop learning, we can stagnate, so it's okay to feel like a beginner when you are one.

Someday soon I'll tell you some of the things I've been learning. Someday soon I'll figure out ways to make things run smoother and more efficiently and still have time to live.

I'm going to remember joy. I'm going to remember Flying Girl. I'm going to remember about stepping on the Earth.

My First Treasury

I little interlude here, as I figure out how to negotiate all this life and business stuff-- I am featured in my first etsy treasury!

I don't know how to do a screen shot, so I thought I'd just share with a link.

Okay, now I have to go and package up my first shipment of ten prints!

I have a new Flying Girl to put up, just need to find some time to pull it all together. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Flying Girl Begins to See, or There is a Pattern

Flying Girl Begins to See, or There is a Pattern
Golden Fluid Acrylic on Paper, 5"x8"

Holy Cow, my peoples.

I'm a little weirded out right now. A little confronted with long held, maybe not so true beliefs.

I'm selling art.

I'm a WORKING artist.

Do you know, I went to a liberal arts college instead of an art school because I didn't think it was possible to make money as an artist without "selling out." This is the legacy of being the daughter of a starving artist.

You see... it doesn't matter where you start out on this journey, you still have to get through your shiite.

So, here I am, and if it keeps going in this fashion, I will actually be making a living at this. A small living, but that's all I wanted.

I'm having a hard time believing that just sitting here is producing money.

But then, I step back from my issues and feelings (like how I feel like I am wasting my time, still, when I am sitting at the computer, the way I wasted my time by reading book after book. I was a guilty reader as a child) and I start to see how everything I have done-- not just in the last 10 weeks, but in the last 18 months since I hatched the etsy idea, or in the last 20 years since getting out of college, or even my whole life-- maybe even my ancestors' lives, has moved me towards this point. (How's that for a run on sentence?)

If I didn't think I could make a living as an artist, would I have studied English or become a teacher? Would I have left New York City to encounter another life? If my own personal economy hadn't crashed and burned, would I have thought about entering the marketplace? Even if I hadn't been so scared and put it off so long, trying to be prepared, would I have developed my work into what it has become?

I don't know. I don't know what this pattern of my life looks like or what it means or where it is going.

But I can see there is a pattern. I can see how things are connected.

Oh. Plus I love swirls. I used to fill notebooks in school with all sorts of swirls and mandalas and paisleys and grids and whatever fell out of my fingers and pen. So when the prompt for Illustration Friday was intricate, this is what fell out of my brush. If you look closely, you will see that the background is very similar to that last painting's background, but I needed to do "intricate" so I tried something unexpected. I like something about how the way it came out.

I also wanted to thank you all for your support. I am very thankful to all of you, long time readers, or new ones, buyers and lookers. I've decided I really do love the internet.

Oh yeah, and I'm posting the Roadblocks paintings today, so keep your eye out. I'll do this one, too.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Flying Girl Takes Off, or Every Road Block is a Stepping Stone

Flying Girl Takes Off, or Every Road Block is a Stepping Stone
Golden Fluid Acrylics on paper, 5"x8"

This is a departure for Flying Girl. It's far more painterly and far less cartoony. This was actually intended to be an underpainting, but there was something about it that made my heart go a pitter pat, and that is a sign that I am at a moment of YES. This is that same thing that happened when I was painting that double portrait commission and I realized I liked what was supposed to be the underneath and ended up leaving it exposed.

I questioned again and again if I should add to it, paint in the outlines, put in the banner with the title as I'd planned, add the detail of all the things she sheds on that trek up the blockade. Even fixing the smudges on her head and leg, or giving her hair or any of that.

But I like how she is disappearing into the air, almost as if she is becoming part of her true element. I think I like it just as it is. What do you think?

This painting was inspired by 9th chapter in the 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women-- a chapter that I really resonated with. Transcending Rejection and Roadblocks. I haven't even finished the chapter because I just started going off in all directions that I had felt stuck in.

You see, I don't really believe in that thing called creative block or writer's block or whatever you call it. It's just a period of time where you need to focus on something else, or get over your fear or keep working even though you're confused. It's a moment that is telling you something else needs to be done. Maybe you've gone off track, maybe you've gotten to the heart of the matter and it frightens you.

It's all a mindset, you see. And in life, I am learning the same thing. All these setbacks in finances or housing or emotional stumbles or losses when you thought you'd win? Sure, they suck, but if we can get the right attitude about them, we can parlay the disappointment into the forward momentum to take us to the next step, which might just be what we really need. And will also help us to get over the disappointment. There's no need to drown ourselves in our failures, in how we can't write or we are afraid or we are so broke there's just no hope. That attitude is what gets us stuck. Instead, if we can objectively see what where we are, failures and all, what we still need, and what we need to get there.... or even just one step we can take, if we can't understand the whole journey, then we don't get stuck. Don't focus on the stuckness, focus on the possibilities.

Sometimes failing just means we take our lumps and our lessons and are stronger for the next thing. Sometimes climbing up that roadblock makes it so we are able to get the lift off to fly.

I'd like to translate this feeling about artistic and life roadblocks into dealing with rejection.

See, if I can do it with life and with writing a novel, I should really be able to handle the possible rejection of my art and my writing from the wider world. Publishing. Selling art.

Like they say, there's no way to bake a cake without cracking a few eggs. I need to crack some eggs of my safe feelings... my comfort hiding... and get out there in the world to try to fail better.

I want my goal to BE to fail. Because for most of my life, my goal has been to avoid failure, so I have avoided trying.

Can't I take my lessons that I learned from my art and put them into my career?

I say yes, yes I can.

In fact, I did. I finally opened up my etsy shop, and if you want to buy a Flying Girl, you can step right over there and snap one up. I don't have them all listed yet, but I am selling limited edition prints to the wider world. If there's one you fell in love with over here and you'd like to buy it but it's not for sale yet, just leave me a message here or convo me on etsy and I can get that one up, too.

I'm sorry. Did I just say I DID IT???

Holy Cow. No more delays, folks. No more promises. It's up and running.

Oh, and I already sold my first print! Yay me!

This calls for a key lime margarita.

Friday, March 06, 2009

It's Okay to Just Breathe

My paintings take longer than they used to, so I don't always have a fresh Flying Girl to post every day-- but I do have these postcards. I sent these out to a friend in need a while back, one with whom I was already in contact with via email, so I didn't feel the need to write letters to her, but I wanted to give her a little extra inspiration.
So I took a series of postcards from the wonderful Christine Miller Mason, otherwise known as Swirly Girl, and author of Ordinary Sparkling Moments, and sent them off to my friend. I collaged them, or painted, or wrote inspirational quotes.

Frankly, I need these reminders myself sometimes. In fact, I posted Swirly's two postcard above because those are two prompts I need to get myself up and off of my ass sometimes.

And my own addition, at the top? Well, I get wound up sometimes. Even the act of painting everyday makes me get all confuzzled with havetos and shoulds.

Sometimes, a lot of the times, I have to remind myself that I am not only living this life to produce and care for and be heard, but also to just breathe. Especially when I am accomplishing a lot and going at top speed, I need to remember this.


Don't forget to just breathe, sometimes.

You don't have to run to keep up. Just love what you love. Be what you be.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Flying Girl Sails Rough Waters, or Life is an Epic Tale

Flying Girl Sails Rough Waters, or Life is an Epic Tale
Golden Fluid Acrylics on paper 5x8"

This is the painting I was having trouble with last night... and the night before. And this morning.

I think I'm finally done with it. It needed bazillions of layers of paint. And it turned out to be a lot brighter than I thought it would be. It reminds me of summer. It also reminds me of the dress that I posted about here. Well, it used to, before one of those layers of paint I was talking about kind of altered the floral pattern.

I've been really into layers of paint, lately. I like the combination of colors, the subtlety of nuance, the tactile pleasure of texture.

Not only do I like layers of paint, I like to paint with my hands.

Oh, I use brushes, but I also rub the paint in with my fingers. I often take off more paint than I put on. Well, almost as much. The layers, sheer or opaque, give different feels according to how they are mixed, layered, rubbed off, blended. I can use the same colors in two different paintings and get completely different feels and effects.

I'm finding that I like a contrasting under painting, but I haven't quite figured out which color combos go together. And I really don't know how to paint with yellow so that it doesn't overwhelm the other colors. This painting was much too yellow this morning. Much. Looked like an alien shore. I wanted it to feel sunny and warm, but it went too far. Anyone have any suggestions for managing yellow-- this so so sunny color?

This painting started with a green under painting, although you could hardly tell by the end product. I think orange might have been better. But in the end, it looks pretty sunny to me.

One thing I noticed also is that I like different layers of dark and light. I like getting dark paint in the cracks of a lighter underpainting. And I like to put multiple sheerer washes over a light underpainting... although those two techniques give it a different feel. And I'm finding different colors, contrasting maybe, work better than colors all in the same family. I need to experiment with using analagous colors vs complimentary colors.

I am out on the shores, here. I don't know about the academic thought on these layerings or how to treat the medium. I once read a book on layering oils, but I never had the time, space or patience for it. Can oils be ground in the way I work the acrylics? Not sure I would want the pigments on my skin. Hm. Maybe I should be concerned about the acrylic pigments.

I'm totally on an adventure with Flying Girls-- in both her narratives and my painting. I've never done anything this involved, this continuous, not with art. Oh, I've written novels... which, come to think of it, this almost feels like. With themes and characters and supporting characters (like the cat or the house or the key) and the kind of chapters. Writing every day, painting everyday. Following the main character through her world.

It's all a very interesting process. I don't know where it's going, but I'm enjoying the challenge.
Off on the voyage, searching for answers, for treasures, for meaning. Is this part of the tale?

Yeah, I think so.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A Painting Break and a Giveaway Link

No painting today. This is just a little girl giving mommy a flower. A little girl who is now TWO whole years old.

I'm working on a painting, but it's kind of stumped me, and I was too tired last night to get it sorted out. I'm sitting here staring at it right now, wondering what I will make of it. I even considered dropping it and moving on to the next one... but I have learned quite a few things about allowing the mistakes to become the victories.

I think I'm still holding on to an image in my head with this one, so I'm kind of unable to see what it actually is. Well, we'll find out tomorrow.

As it is, I wanted to point your direction to an interview about being a mom and artist I've had published over here at Thursday Sweet Treats. It was enlightening to write it, and I hope you can get something out of it. Also check out what Natasha is doing with her cool blog and say thanks to her.

Oh, yeah... you can also enter the drawing for a print giveaway. Just give a tip you use to get your creativity going.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Flying Girl On Her Way to the Moon, or Take The Leap

Flying Girl On Her Way to the Moon, or Take The Leap
Golden Fluid Acrylics on Paper, 5x8"

Moon is the prompt for this week's Inspire Me Thursday. Dreams is the totally optional theme for this month's Creative Everyday. Karen at Beelieve painted a flying girl and my flying girl followed hers into space. Plus I had a new violet paint color that I wanted to try out. It seemed appropriate for space, because I didn't really want it to be a dark painting, but a dreamy one.

I love it when you pull on various threads for your inspiration and something unforeseen appears. Reach for the moon. Follow your dreams.

This is also about fears, which I wrote about in the Instinct FG post, and which I just read about over on Havi's blog. Fears and dreams. Taking the leap. Letting the fears be acknowledged... and taking the leap anyway and going for those dreams, because it's that important.

She's not wearing a space suit... although I like to think her dress has a metallic protective kind of shimmer about it. Okay, it's just gray. No helmet. No jet pack or space shuttle for that matter. This journey is under her own power. And I don't think purple heels offer much in the way of defense against the void.

She's not prepared for space... but look at that, she's almost reached her destination.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Flying Girl Makes a Margarita, or Drink Life

Flying Girl Makes a Margarita, or Drink Life
Golden Fluid Acrylics, 5x8

Honey, sometimes life is full of lemons... or in my case, key limes. Tart and sour and green and sharp. They're harder to find than other citrus, at least in my back yard, being smaller and hidden in the leaves, and they seem to get ripe randomly, not all at one time. A few here a few there.

Wait... did you just say you have a key lime tree in your back yard?

Why, yes I did.

What a treat. You mean you can just go out there and pick that key lime whenever you want?

Well, yes. But didn't you hear about how rare they are? And it's not really my yard, but my uncle's, so I'm kind of borrowing it, but he says it's okay to pick them.

So you have fresh fruit just for the picking.

Yes, I do. Grapefruit, too. And starfruit... isn't that crazy?

That's a lot of yeses in your life, there.

But didn't you here about the buts?

Meh, buts are a downer. I think you should pay attention to the fruit, and what you can get out of that.

I do have some tequila lying around. I could make a margarita. I love margaritas, but only if they're with fresh lime.

You mean, like the lime on your tree?

That would be the kind.

Viva los limones.

Viva las Margaritas.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Flying Girl Sometimes Gets Lost, or Trust the Journey

Flying Girl Sometimes Gets Lost, or Trust the Journey
Golden Fluid Acrylics on Paper, 5x8

Hey, you know what? The most important thing is that we keep going. Keep trying. Try new things. Try different directions. Go slower, go faster, take the detour, maybe. Be open to the kinks and stumbling blocks. Be open to the different terrain, just keep going.

I'm in an inexplicable funk and very tired, which is normal. But somehow, it's made it so that I don't want to do stuff. Don't want to keep trying.

There's some undefined fear in there, floating around, gumming up the works.

So how to get through? How to keep going?

The only way I can see how is by keeping the faith. Believe in myself. Believe in the path. Believe that what I do now, whether it is successful or a failure will give me the tools to move on to the next step... as long as I keep going. Never give up.

Can't see that road off in the distance, or where it ends up, but I'm going to keep following it until I get where I am going or run out of road and need to find a new one.

Oy. This post took a lot of energy to get to. And I think that's all I've got left in me to give. That's okay. Small step.
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