Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Home Is Where The Heart Is, Linked Brooches
wool blend felt and acrylic felt, thread, silver embroidery floss, silver chain, metal pin backing
82/100 in 100 days creative challenge, and August Everyday #30

Can I tell you how hard it's been to post every day? It's hard. I think I missed a couple of days this August, but I managed to catch up to myself in the challenges.

Even if sometimes I count a piece that was almost done, and was just waiting to be finished... like this one.

This pin set was started months ago. I finally finished it this morning. Phew. I have some more I need to finish, too.

And then there is even more to do. Because this should be going into my shop. I have so many things to put into my shop and so little time to do it all.

Oh but here we are where we are. And Home Is Where The Heart Is, and Happiness Is Where the Love Is, and Love Is Where The Attention Is.

In all the things you have to do, are you paying attention to what IS?

I'm trying.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hand Sewn Skirts from Upcycled T-Shirts

Easy TShirt Skirt
upcycled tshirt, hand sewn with thread
size M, approximately, but probably more like one size fits all.
80/100 in 100 days creative challenge

I kept waiting to post my skirt because I wanted to add some embellishments. Perhaps some
appliqued flowers or a ruffle. I tried to make my skirt without sewing anything but the waist, but in the end, I had to cut off the sides of the t-shirt and cut out a vaguely A-line shape, and then stitch it up together again. I double sewed all the seams to make sure it lasted.

It's really comfortable, and great to throw on after coming home from work. But the hem is weird, because I left the t shirt hem the way it was, and it turns out, I should have cut it off and curved it just slightly. So last night, after the girl asking me for her own skirt every time I wore mine, I finally started hers, and I tried to take the lessons from the adventures of the first skirt.

She wanted pink, but I only had a purple t shirt, so I decided to use contrasting pink thread, since I like the way the hand sewing looks. I also set aside an old pink dress to use for trim, although I wasn't sure at first what kind of trim I would do. Notice that in this picture, I am basically just using the t-shirt as fabric. I have gotten rid of every seam and hem already.

After sewing together, using annekata's hints for hand sewing strong seams, I turned the skirt inside out and realized that I had meant to sew the skirt so the graphic didn't show. Ooops. I should have sewn the skirt right sides out, so when I turned it, it would be inside out and hide the graphic. Sometimes, you might want to have a graphic on your skirt, but I thought this was a little creepy for my three year old to wear on her butt. So.
So, I had to find a way to fix it so that I could hide the graphic and still have my nice neat right side out felled seams.

First I put in the waistband. I folded the fabric and double stitched it over an upcycled waistband from an old pair of leggings, then I set about fixing the problem.

My solution? The little pocket, which is actually made with the sleeve of the original tshirt. I kept all seams intact where I could on that. I'm sorry I didn't think to photograph that stage, as it was not planned.

If you'll notice, you can see that I simply cut out the underarm seam and trimmed the loose fabric off of the shoulder seam. Then I cut two little moons out of either side, for the pocket entrance. And I left the sleeve hem as is and used a blanket stitch to attach it to the waistband. And I double stitched the bottom of the pocket, which used to be the shoulder seam, to the skirt. I like the way the extra stitching makes a little ruffle.

When I finished the waistband and pocket, I decided that I didn't want to sew flowers all over it, that I liked the design enough to not fancify it, but I did want to sew a ruffle to the underside of the unhemmed skirt, to give it a hint of girliness and to echo the pink stitching. Plus the girl wanted pink.

For that I cut out a two inch strip of pink fabric from the old baby dress, then I gathered it roughly and pinned it to the hem, where I double stitched it on. It doesn't really look double stitched because I was running out of pink thread, so I did the second stitching with navy thread. Then I trimmed the ruffle so it was close to the skirt on the inside, near the stitching. The ruffle is far from perfect and isn't even at all, but it doesn't really need to be with all the exposed stitching and all. It definitely has a hand made feel to it, and that's what I'm going for.
Girl Skirt
handsewn, upcycled tshirt, upcycled baby clothes, thread
81/100 in 100 days creative challenge.

The last detail was the little ribbon, which was actually just another strip of fabric that I used for the ruffle. When I stretched it, it curled up and turned into a cord, so I tied it into a bow and stitched it on (along with a bit more double stitching to make the pocket more secure.)

Some action shots.

If I were to do this again, I would choose a slightly larger t-shirt. This was a size 8 girls shirt, for my size 3 daughter. My skirt was I believe an XL for me, who would normally wear an M. But if her t shirt was larger, I could have made it more A-line, which would give it more of a flow. It looks a bit straight, for my liking.
Who knows, next time I try this, I might get a little more ambitious and go for a gored skirt so she could do ballerina things, twirling and such.

One of the things I learned from this is that hand sewing is not as hard as you'd think. I did this in one night. That's it. One night. While watching Mad Men. And it was a lot more involved than my skirt was, what with the pocket and the ruffle. And taking the elastic waistband out of the old leggings took more time than sewing the actual skirt.

It seems crazy that I could whip up a skirt while my kid naps, even without a sewing machine, without even being that great of a seamstress. But I did. And maybe that means I could try some more complicated designs. My son has asked for a pair of pants. Yipes. I don't know. Maybe I'll make him a shirt, first.

Anyway, next time I try this, I'll try to keep better photos so I can do a clearer tutorial. Maybe I'll even make a pattern, instead of just cutting a skirt out freehand. This post is basically just a "hey you can do this too" post. Because, well, you can do this too.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Solo Flights and Community Fairs

Ivy on the Carousel
casio exilim digital camera
78/100 in 100 days creative challenge

This weekend has been so busy I haven't had much time to be creative. I worked, my best friend from High School came to visit, I cooked pot roast, there was a parade, and we went to the community fair.

So I was getting ready to skip posting this weekend. And then I thought, well, hey, why don't I post a couple fair shots.

And then, I couldn't in good conscience ignore the photos as part of my creative output when, well, I took them, and edited them and posted them.

Why don't I ever count my photos as part of my creative output? For that matter, I never count my blog entries as part of my creative output. And I made dinner from scratch, a pot roast with coffee sauce (don't scoff, it's surprisingly easy and good.) I also turned my partially finished basement room into a cozy guest room, and I didn't count that either.

I suppose I am starting to value the creativity that I use on a daily basis. That's quite and achievement. Now I have to work on celebrating my various accomplishments.

Gabriel on his first solo flight
79/100 in 100 days creativity challenge

I wanted to also show you this photo.

Gabriel was big enough and old enough to get in this little plane and go for a ride all by himself. I was far more nervous about it than he was.

Call me a silly mama, but I imagined this as practice for his soon to be solo flight into kindergarten.

A thing to celebrate, not just for him, but for me. I managed to raise a kid who was ready to go out into the world and be a big kid. Not a baby. Hurrah. What a long way you've come. I'm not going to get all weepy. I swear.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Feather In My Cap, Two

yesterday's feather... in my cap

I wanted to show this feather again, in better light, not in a panic to get it posted so using the picture from the middle of the night under the lamp.

And in addition to the feather in my cap here, I want to celebrate some other feathers in my cap.

First of all, I'd like to say that, once I recalibrated my 100 days challenge to the day I actually STARTED my challenge (June 14th) I actually discovered that today is the 74th day. And that makes me perfectly even with my challenge, in fact, I'm going to be ahead when I count all the creativity of the last couple of days.

So for number 75 I am going to tell you that I have just finished the third revision of chapter one in my novel. That makes me uneasy, because I don't think it is ready yet. I think I need to go back over it. There's so much I had to do to the new chapter 1 once I deleted the whole of the old chapter 1. It's still rough around the edges and there are moments of too much exposition and other moments where it is totally en media res. Now, I generally like starting in the middle of the action, but I haven't managed the balance between en media res and helping my reader know what is going on. Actually, now that I think about it, I think I should stop trying to get all the exposition in and make it truly en media res. That might make me feel better. The next time I go over it, I'm going to think about just dropping the reader in the middle of things and letting them come to know that this girl is not "just a girl." I think I might change the title of the chapter to "just a girl," too.

So this is a double feather in the cap. First because I have actually managed to get to the end of chapter one. Second because I am actually counting my writing as one of my things for my creative challenge. I said at the beginning that I wanted to count all my output, not just certain things. How can I not count writing a novel? That's just crazy.

So. Although there's no picture, just take my word for it.
Chapter One. Just A Girl, or El Lobo and The Wolves
approx 28 pages in Wolf Run
75/100 in 100 days creative challenge, day 26 August everyday

Woo Hoo! Go me!

Name Cards
recycled menus and Pitt Artist Penn, 4" square. 8 cards, plus 4 cards for Ivy (not shown)
76/100 in 100 days creative challenge

Gabriel is starting kindergarten in a few weeks and he is terribly excited. When we got the placement list, we read him all the letters from the school and his new teacher as his bedtime story.

He also has decided that he wants to learn how to write his name. He is at a little bit of a disadvantage over Joe and Tom, though, since his name is so long. And he isn't quite ready to write out all his letters. We tried some at the beginning of the summer, and he wasn't really enthused about the big task ahead of him. So I decided to break it down a little.

Learning to write is a big challenge. He wanted to write his name, but that's a bit much, so I wrote out a card with his name spelled in capital letters and lowercase letters. Then I wrote a card with each of his name's letters and I gave him the cards and told him to match the order.


He did it. Very quickly. He is almost ready to read and write and it is just about time for him to start kindergarten and get away from pushy mama always trying to get him to do something with a crayon.

Okay, so it's his accomplishment. But it's my project. Thus #76.

Feather in My Cap, too
felted wool, wool blend felt, acrylic paint, thread, embroidery floss, metal pin backing
77/100 in 100 days creative challenge.

I forgot to tell you yesterday that I had already made another feather. I didn't post it because the photo was simply unacceptable and I had to wait for day light to take a better shot.

One lesson I learned about these feathers? Commercial felt, wool blend or acrylic, takes the acrylic paint much better than does the felted wool. When I make more feathers, I think I'll go straight to the store bought felt, although it's not as charming as the idea of hand felted repurposed wool. Oh well. We need to work with reality here, not just the charming ideas of how we'd like things to work out.

And that draws my post to a close, nicely.

The theme for today, folks, is to give yourself credit for what you actually do and accomplish. And also to pay attention that your ideals or goals are not outstripping the reality of where you are and what you are ready for. If you're a part time waitress/part time stay at home mom of two kids without help, don't then think that you should also, without startup capital, be running a full time professional enterprise all by yourself and up there with the big boys.

Don't beat yourself up for being who you are, and being where you are on your journey. You are who you are and you are right where you need to be.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Feather For My Cap

A Feather for My Cap
wool blend felt, felted wool, acrylic paint, embroidery floss, thread, acrylic gel medium, metal pin finding.
74/100 in 100 days creative challenge, day 25 of August Everyday

This is a new feather I created. It's for the hat I got the other day to replace the fake leather button that came with it. It was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, but it was fun figuring out how the media would react together. I also realized that perhaps I didn't know exactly what a feather looked like, not exactly. This feather went on quite a journey to get to it's final state.

It's not quite the teal feather that I was envisioning. The felted wool I started with was actually an emerald green. Can you see it in there? And when I was trying to figure a way to make it more sturdy, without making it weighty (since it is a feather after all) I decided to add the purple felt to the back, which meant I could attach the pin finding without disturbing the painted feather. But then when I was trying to attach the purple felt, I wanted it more sturdy than just the line of the quill, which was my original plan. That's when I lit upon the idea of the embroidered dots. I used both navy blue and teal. So there's no shimmer on this feather, but all the different colors give the illusion. Yay me.

Actually, I should have shown the other feather that I made and decided I didn't want to use on my hat. Yes. I did two feathers. And I missed posting yesterday, so I really should have done two pieces today.

Honestly, I keep running out of time to do things. I want to post every day so I can keep up with my creative, and push myself to make more things every day. I'm still trying to catch up with my hundred things.

Come to think of it, I started off behind, so the entire time, I was trying to catch up to myself. I have just decided that is not a good way to start.

You've got to start where you are. You've got to, or you are automatically not "enough".

Dare I say it? I am extending my 100 days challenge to be 100 days from the day I actually started, rather than the day I should have started, June 1st.

Look. There's another "should". Why should I have started on June 1st? Because I did last year? Because someone else did?

This whole creativity thing is not really about shoulds. It's about the journey that I am on personally. My creativity is my journey. Just like your creativity is your journey.

Just like this feather started off one thing and turned into another. Just like I thought my life would be expected and smooth and it turned out to be something, well, not quite like what seemed to be the logical path.

Such is life? A meandering path. Detours, delays, scenic overlooks, occasional pile ups, truck stop snacks, running out of gas, speed traps. Oy. That's a lot of things stopping the trip.

But still we travel on.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

This is the Path

I decided to be happy
acrylic and pitt artist pen on repurposed paint chip

This looks like it's folded, but it's not. It's just how the paint chip reacted when I painted it. I guess the paint strips deal with paint better than the tiny lines between the colors, where it's just paper.

I actually came up with this after encountering Illustration Friday's prompt "atmosphere" again and again this weekend. I might like to start doing IF again.

The quote is by Voltaire, and found amongst my collected quotes. I just picked one that resonated with the picture, even though it's not a direct illustration. I don't think it needs to be.
It's the Little Things, or Magnified
acrylic on repurposed paint chip

This is actually a drawing of a tiny tiny flower that my kids brought me. It was probably one inch from tip to stem. I blew it up and made it work.
Traveling where I am or This is The Path.
ink on repurposed menu

This was started while I was at work and finished yesterday.

Somehow, all these pieces I did fit together.

Maybe together they begin to make sense. Maybe they aren't little worthless pieces. Maybe the little bits of this and that add up together to make the path and by accepting the path that we're on, may we get to be happy. Maybe the happiness makes the path enjoyable, whether or not we get to the end point as soon as we want.



Monday, August 23, 2010

Traveling Along, In Photos, In Life

Traveling with Tree
digital photo casio exilim
69/100 in 100 days creative challenge

My traveling series was inspired by some of the photos that I have taken from a car window while I was-- wait for it-- traveling, so I thought as long as I was trying out different media, why not go to the original? I don't generally take my photos very seriously. Every time I've posted one here, I usually don't consider it, quite, my art. I use photos more for documenting my life and my creativity. I use them to tell stories. I use them for emphasis. I use them for a kind of editorial commentary. I've forgotten most of what I learned about film photography in my High School photography class. I use a crappy point and shoot. I don't remember what aperture or shutter speed does. I almost never actually even print out my photos. Lame-o lame-o, but I continue to take photos. Almost every day for most of the last five years. And I enjoy photography. And I like the images I post, mostly. Don't get me wrong, I delete a whole heck of a lot of photos. That's actually kind of my process, to take as many pictures as I can, and then to get rid of most of them, and then to edit the ones I have left.

Traveling with Wildflowers
digital photo, casio exilim
70/100 in 100 days creative challenge

These latest photos here are cropped to match the latest painting/drawings I've been doing. A square format. I always have loved the square.

I think of them as if I could have painted them. I particularly like the round tree shape in the first photo, and I wonder about that giraffe looking shadow in the second one.

I have some more things that I did today. Three pieces actually. But I ran out of time to post them because we went to Ann Arbor and did some thrift shopping.
I got this nifty chapeau. It's nothing all that fancy or even all that vintage, but it was the first thing that I saw when I walked into the thrift store and I never took it off the entire time I was there. It came home with me. Don't worry, I paid for it. I think I need to get rid of the leather button on the side. It wants a teal feather. Now where am I going to find a teal feather?

We also stopped downtown where we had New York style pizza. Not quite Joe's on 7th Ave in Greenwich Village, which is still one of my favorite pies, but it is decent. Then we got a little ice cream and on the way back to the car, passed by a little vintage shop where THIS happened.
Yes. It looks like we might have a budding Vintageista. She fell in love with this mannequin in her Pepto Bismol pink dress. I certainly won't discourage her if she declares a love for vintage, and if she ends up hating vintage, well we'll just have to see what happens.
This is a budding marine biologist. The smudge in his hand is a toy hermit crab. Nothing to do with art or vintage shopping, just giving the other kid some equal time.

Well stay tuned tomorrow. I'll show you the three pieces I did. They wanted to stay together, so I went photos for this late Monday night post. I'm proud of myself for getting any post up at all.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dream Roll, Sully's Black Irish Public House

Dream Roll, Sully's Black Irish Public House
Acrylic Paint, Gesso, on Found Wood approx 11.5" by 19"
68/100 in 100 days Creative Challenge, day 20 August everyday

I have been very resistant. I don't WANT to post every day. I don't WANT to be creative everyday. I want to be a big baby and do nothing. Maybe surf the web all day. Pooh.

But that isn't what I want in the long run.

In the long run, what I want is to reach my dreams, to create, to be happy, to raise strong happy kids, to enjoy my life.

So basically I have to suck it up and keep going, even though sometimes my eventual dreams, the destination I am aiming for, seems to be so far away and hard to grasp as an actuality.

I made this Dream Roll for S, like the bus rolls you've seen around here and there, one that says the stops and destination of the bus route. But the dream roll is not about a bus route, but the route we take to reach our dreams. He's decided he'd like to open up a pub some day. It doesn't seem like it is in the cards for the near future, but I made this remind him of the destination of HIS dream. I wrote down some of the places he's been, a reminder that where we've been gets us to where we're going. And then I wrote the dream, the final destination.

Does writing something down, declaring it for yourself as a reality make it more likely that it will become a reality? Does it help you focus on your dreams? Does it draw your dreams to you?

Friday, August 20, 2010

More Girl, of the Ivy Variety


More pictures from Ivy's photo shoot. I don't know how good they are, but these are my favorites.

This one I left with a slight colored tint. I don't know why. I just felt like it was important.


This one I liked because of the smile.


This one surprised me, because although it was out of focus, I still liked it. Goodness look at those fingernails. Time to tie her down and clip those.

This little girl really refused to sit still and give me a plain, no fancy stuff shot. When I look at all the pictures, I can see her just irrepressible personality. I don't know what she will be when she grows up, but if she's an actor trying on a million different emotions and characters, I wouldn't be surprised.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ivy the Girl

Ivy The Girl
Casio Exilim 7.2mp
63/100 in 100 days creative challenge

A quick post before I run to work today.

I did a little photo shoot with Ivy yesterday and this morning, I tried to do some editing for black and white.

I did a photo shoot of Gabriel once, but for some reason, his fair coloring and the orange shirt he wore did not work out for the black and white, so I never posted any of the resulting photos. That of course is ANTI my challenge, because my 100 in 100 creativity challenge is supposed to include the imperfect, the odd media, and the experiment.

So WHY am I still not counting some of the work I have done in the past couple of months?

Oh because being an artist is mainly about struggling with your own inner demons, your gremlins, your vampires. It's about telling the stories of your soul, and documenting the travels of your life and imagining the future and dissecting your dreams and sometimes just going with the flow without any deep meaning. But to get to all that, you have to get through your insecurities and fears and neuroses and self critical tendencies that say things like "that doesn't count," or "you're not good enough."

So, onwards and upwards. Keep doodling, taking photos, making kid forts, drawing, painting, sculpting, sewing, cooking and everything else that allows that creative urge to get out, whether or not anyone pays for it, or says it's good, or you think it is even important enough to count. It does count. You count.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Traveling the Creative Process

Traveling Softly/before
Watercolor Pencil on paper, 4x4"
60/100 in 100

So I decided to try the various media on this Traveling series. Here I picked up my watercolor pencils and colored it in. It sure does take a long time to do something in watercolor pencil. It ended up being a little too soft for me, without enough definition to make me happy.

That's when I remembered that they were WATERcolor pencils. So I took my brush and washed the paper.

Traveling Softly/ after
Watercolor Pencil with water wash

The paper? Not so much watercolor paper. But I still liked playing with the medium. With the wash it turned out much different than just the drawn pencil. Very different, but I still like it, and I think I like it better.

Traveling Gray
watercolor and acrylic on paper 4" square
61/100 in 100

Here I tried straight watercolor.

Truth is, I'm pretty rusty with watercolors. There was a time, years and years ago, when watercolor was my main medium. I carried my little travel paint set around with me where ever I went, and when I had time, I'd sit in a cafe window and paint the street, or find a park bench and paint the trees.

It's been a long time since then, and I felt awkward when I opened my travel set and awkward when I set brush to paper. Again, this is not watercolor pencil and was the complete wrong ground for even a light wash. But on top of that, this is just not the right way to use the medium. I added the lines in white acrylic just to try to make something of it.

But I don't consider this experiment a success.

What I do consider a success is that I am trying different things. I like this idea of using different media for the same subject. I think it's a great exercise for exploring the media, and for discovering what you like, what works, what doesn't, what pulls your attention.

So I think I'll keep trying at my various media. And someday soon, perhaps I'll show some other watercolors that are more successful than this one.

This is not about the end results, not right now. And it's hard for me sometimes to not always present a perfect piece... but I remind myself that this is after all, about the journey. This is the process of creativity.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Traveling with Shadows, or Simple

Traveling with Shadows, or Simple
ink on recycled menu, 4"x4"
59/100 in 100 days Creative Challenge, Day 16 in August everyday

Hey, you know it's kind of difficult to post to the blog every day. First I have to create something. Then I have to photograph it. Then I have to edit the photo. Then I have to post it and write something. And I have to have all that time to do all that stuff before I go to work in the morning. Or I have to have stuff saved up from the day before.

Phew. It's a lot of work. A lot of consistency. A lot of commitment. I guess that's what I meant to do when I said I would do the challenge. It wasn't about making stuff only when I felt like it, it was about showing up to the page, (or sewing box, or clay, or camera, or kids, or kitchen, or whatever) and being there for the inspiration to arise. Or perhaps for no inspiration, but for the medium of the day to hit me, or perhaps for the exercise of experimenting with a new or unfamiliar medium.

But I like doing these little pocket drawings. They aren't doodles. They aren't sketches. What are they? Studies? That could be.

They are a challenge and an exploration. I am surprised by how pleasing the simple challenge of making a landscape with just blocks of space and lines and dots can be. I mean, this little piece pleases me. I enjoy the stripes and the tiny dark shadow that makes the darker portion pop. I enjoy the stretch of white cloud. And I thought I wasn't going to like this one when I started, but I do.

It feels like play to do this kind of thing, even though my hand cramps up a little.

Sometimes, making your goals smaller and simpler (4 inches square and just one pen) can allow you a little bit of success... can allow you to open up a little in your creativity. Perhaps all you need is that one little keyhole space to open up and grow as an artist.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Traveling in Black and White, or Patterns

Traveling in Black and White, or Patterns
ink on recycled menu, approx 4" square
58/100 in 100 days creative challenge, Day 15 in august everyday

I was at work when I did this one. I was thinking that I was tired of doodles, and I'd prefer to do some more abstract landscapes. And, what a shame it was, I was thinking, that I didn't have some paints or the opportunity to paint them, because really, they were all about color.

And then I wondered, well, hey, how would one represent all those shades of color if one only had a black pen and a scrap of menu?

And then something like this image came to my head.

Of course. Pattern. Line. Texture.

So I spent my down time drawing lines and dots. It's an exercise, of sorts, in exploring pattern and texture. Really, you can do so much with just pen.

And then I was thinking it might be kind of fun to do an experiment and see what one of these traveling pieces might look like in all sorts of different media. What could we try? After ink, what's next? Colored pencil? Watercolor? Charcoal? Marker? Oooh. What about pierced paper, or paper cuts. Or crochet. Or fabric quilting. Now that I think about it, it might be really interesting to try different media.

Stay tuned. I wonder what will happen next.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer Traveling and Adventure

Summer Traveling or On Our Way
Acrylic on Canvas 10"x10"
56/100 in 100 days, August Everyday 14

I've been working on this for quite a while. Well. Most of the week. In my world, that's a while. Actually, I wanted another painting for my gallery wall. I have something from Leah Giberson (similar to this one) and THIS one from TushTush.

It is a very small gallery wall. I know I have plenty of things I could put up there, but I've been very slow in building it. And actually my biggest problem is frames and mats. Speaking of frames, I should probably count my frames as part of my creative challenge, since I took a bunch of yardsale frames and spray painted them black. I guess I'm waiting for my gallery wall to get bigger.

But back to the painting. This is actually part of a series of my travelling paintings. They are inspired by the way the land looks while driving past in a car. I really should have used all my many photos as a reference, but for this one, I just wanted to start and get it out there. I almost didn't want to post it because I thought I should "fix" it as my vision is developing as I have painted it. But then I realized that no, this piece is rather complete in itself. What I need to do is paint ANOTHER one with the new vision in my head, one that is more straight lines. I still have a couple of these canvasses so I have a little freedom to experiment. That's kind of exciting. I love to experiment.

I See
Pen and Watercolor on recycled menu
57/100 in 100 days

I did this doodle yesterday while at work. I was getting into the doodle phase when I looked at it and said-- "Hey! This is done." Then when I got home, I took out my watercolors and painted it.

It reminds me of the back of a set of tarot cards.

I don't know where some of these doodles will go, if they will go anywhere, really, but they are fun to do and they might actually lead to something. I mean, who knows, if I do create a tarot deck someday, which I might, this might be neat for the back of the cards. Or something like.

I have some more stuff that I was working on yesterday. I sewed my skirt and fixed it! It's now an aline skirt. However, I think it's not done yet. Or perhaps I just didn't like my photo of it. It's certainly not professional looking. But I wore it last night and it was very comfortable. The hem is a little wonky. Oh well, either I'll add some details to the hem or I'll just post it the way it is. I haven't decided yet. And I worked on the wings for that goddess doll but they'll take a while to dry so that I can add them. I also worked on a log for all these projects. I can't keep track of them all. I should have known I needed to write them down. I ALWAYS need to write these things down.
I'm having lots of adventures in art lately. Creativity.

Giving myself the challenge of creating everyday is getting me to expand my vocabulary and try new things, and also to recognize when I am being creative when I might have just discounted it before.

This should be a lesson. It is the commitment to DOING that develops an artist. Probably any person. In any field, you need to commit to get better, to become an expert, to grow.

I think that's why I like the 100 days challenge. You can start out at zero, with no habit, and you stumble in the beginning, trying to find out where you are going, and as the days keep going, you start being in a dialog with your work. Some of it doesn't work, and some of it does, but it all informs the rest of the work, the journey. And you become more confident of your work as you go on, whether that is experimentation on a broad level, or with a very narrow focus.

One of my favorite 100 in 100 days challenges was Ina's and her wonderful self portraits. Watching her growth as an artist over the course of 100 days is just amazing. And she came up with some great pieces, even if not every one was amazing.

It's the journey. The adventure. The commitment.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Works In Progress

"begin again" or Prayer for Rain
54/100 in 100 days

Yesterday I meant to spend all my time finishing pieces that I had begun. Instead, I kind of sat around in a funk.

The day before yesterday, I finished this piece... a drawing I had started inspired by another artist's print.

I was completely unsatisfied with the piece. I'm afraid that sometimes I get so inspired by what's going on around me that I drift off track and try out someone else's voice instead of my own.

Of course what attracted me to the piece were the elements that I already had in my creative vocabulary, the swirls, the doodles, the floral thing, the rain drops.

Now I am almost satisfied, but that didn't happen until I got away from the other artist's vision and paid attention to what I had done myself. I had to be able to see my work in order to see what I needed to do to complete my picture... my voice, my vision.

Lotus Tears
56/100 in 100
recycled menu and ink

Interestingly, the same day at work, it was slow and I started doodling on a scrap piece of menu. This is what came out. I read on someone's blog (I lost the link, so if it was you, please tell me) how they had an assignment to incorporate a realistic eye into their doodles. I thought that was a great idea, and since it had been years since I have incorporated realistic eyes into my doodles (seriously it was kind of an obsession when I was younger) I thought I'd try it out.

Now this piece I really liked.

But do you see how the two pieces are connected, both inspired by something from someone else, but allowed to marinate in my own brain, they become my own.

Work in Progress

Yesterday, in my funk, I spent some time altering an old pink tshirt of S's that he would never wear because it is, uhm, pink, into a skirt for me. I used loose inspirations and directions from around the web, but mostly came up with it on my own... which is probably why there are some major flaws in the skirt and I am not showing it to you today. That's what I get for being lazy and trying to do as little sewing as possible.

Well I will revise it and get back to you, as I will with the 10" square canvas painted and have eyeing for editing, and my developing gallery wall, and my novel, and this little art doll I am working on.

I've already painted out the golden brown on her forehead and I think changed my mind on the babushka. It just never warmed up to it. It never felt right. I have a new idea, but it will take some time because I have to create some wings from paperclay. Yes wings. What, you thought something else? Have you met me?

But I joke. Yesterday was a day of works in progress.

The biggest work in progress is me. Especially in all my laziness and thwarted actions.

I am still learning how to do all of this, this art stuff, this internet stuff, this job stuff, this parenting stuff, this partnering stuff, this writing stuff. This living stuff.

We all are.

I think we all are.

Here's to you, you work in progress.

I believe in you.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Porch Tent Club House

Porch Tent/Club House
plant hanger, bed sheet, hooks and nails, twine ties, rug, pillows, books, popcorn, kids
53/100 in 100 days creative challenge.

This is not something I can sell on etsy or carry around with me to show I'm creative. But this is a big part of what living a creative life means to me, now that I have kids.

They wanted a club house, I thought, gee, what can I rig together? I came up with this, from mostly nothing, and I am kind of proud. It only lasted a couple of hours before being pulled down, but nobody said creativity had to last forever like the Parthenon.

Yesterday, I counted out the days in my 100 days of creativity challenge and discovered that while 53 works of creativity is pretty good, I am actually supposed to be on 73.

Whoops. I am 20 days behind. Almost three weeks down in the hole.

But the odd thing is, I'm not that far behind at all. I have a bunch of pieces that I am half way done with. I'm kind of sitting on them, rather than posting them unfinished. And there are also a bunch of pieces that I don't really like. I don't post them because I look at them and I get grumpy and I abandon them midway.

I think I've forgotten about my self imposed rule of counting everything I do, whether or not it is great, whether or not the cranky insecure gremlin in me says it is not Art with a capital "A".

I've also forgotten the value I got from posting whatever I had that day, whether or not it was good. Or finishing the work whether or not it was going in the right direction... or at least the direction I wanted it to go.

Real creativity is not about coming up with the best painting. Real creativity is not about always being perfect or about always getting things right.

Real creativity sees what is and makes the best of it. Real creativity takes the journey, even though the road gets bumpy sometimes. Real creativity says "screw the rules of creativity, I am who I am."

So all in all, once again, just like abundance, creativity is about valuing what is there, instead of getting stuck in what should be. Even if sometimes you end up futzing with what is there until it gets to be where you want it to be.

Hmm. That's interesting. I never really noticed that there was a connection between creativity and abundance, but really, they go hand in hand.

Creating is about making things real. Growing things. Painting things. Cooking things. Cobbling things together. Making things beautiful and/or meaningful and/or useful. Taking what you have and turning it into something.

Abundance is almost the result of that creating. Yes? No? I'm not sure. It's a thought I had. Does that mean that we can create abundance? That would be nice.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"I could let you out, you know" or Prayer for Freedom

"I could let you out, you know" or Prayer for Freedom
ink and acrylic paint on vintage book page, 7 1/4" x 4 3/4"
52/100 in 100 days creative challenge

I like this feather. Feathers are pretty.

When this page fell out of my Alice in Wonderland book, and I read the words on it (which I often do when trying to come up with a drawing for the page) the image that popped into my head was a feather. Just a feather. And the concept of freedom.

I could go on about what freedom means and the heavy weight of American freedom, history, politics, poverty and slavery. But I won't.

I'm going simply leave it to the feather to speak to freedom.

It's small. It's light. It's miracle of nature. It's beautiful.

And there was one floating around my house, I knew. The kids brought it in. I ran around trying to find it and it was nowhere to be found.

Here I was, desperate for that feather so I could draw it, and I'd just seen it. I wanted to catch the inspiration while I still had the idea. But it was gone.

For a day, I kept the page to the side, hoping to find that feather.

In the end, I found a picture of a feather on line and used that for my drawing.

I keep trying to make this post one that is very deep and heavy, one about not being tied to our previous concepts, or being responsible for what we do with our freedom.

But instead, I'm just going to think of a feather floating on the wind. Or perhaps the bird which that feather came from, flying through the air, heading out for the horizon.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Goddess Abundant, or House Spirit

Goddess Abundant, or House Spirit
cotton, linen, silk, thread, paperclay, acrylic paint, rice. approx. 11" tall
51/100 in 100 days creative challenge, and day 9 of August Everyday

I have been working on this lady for quite some time.

My creative process is starting to take a lot longer than it used to. Sometimes I look back at my previous everyday painting periods and I am amazed that I managed to start and finish so many pieces every single day. Now, I have a tendency to start something, start something else, finish something already started, and then do a project with my kids. I have a zillion projects in process.

This spirit goddess is one of them. I made the head a long time ago, and then I made the body and painted the decoration not too long ago, but I was told it wasn't done. Just in case you are wondering, she herself told me she wasn't done.

Maybe part of the abundance that I've been focusing on is about the wealth of projects, the willingness to explore something new. Like this little House Goddess. She's something new and I was kind of scared to go all the way with her. But when I found the right fabric, there was no reason to let my fear stop me.

Why should we be scared of new things? Why should we be afraid to take those chances on things that could be wonderful? Why should we close our hearts to the possibilities of experimentation and adventure.

You know, there's a lot of fear wrapped up with creative projects. It's amazing. The fear of the blank page. The fear of making mistakes. The fear of letting it go and releasing it into the world. The fear of showing. The fear of declaring that you are worth something. The fear of declaring yourself an artist.

Now how did I get from a post about abundance to a post about fear?

Are these two things connected? Is abundance really more than just having stuff? Is abundance more about being open to the world? Taking chances? Trusting that the universe will provide? Is abundance about saying yes to what you have, the life you live, the gifts you have to give?

Is abundance really about giving?

Well, I think my post has gone off in an unexpected direction. Perhaps my House Goddess is leading me there. What are your thoughts on the matter? What is abundance? What about fear and creativity? And are these things linked?

Monday, August 09, 2010

Mermaid on the Midway, or She Knows Without Knowing

Mermaid Girl on the Midway, or She Knows Without Knowing
Acrylic Paint on Paper, 8"x8"
50/100 in 100 days creative challenge

I've been holding on to this one for a while, but here it is. I really like her.

What do I tell you about her? That I worked on her for so long. That I didn't work on her for even longer. Staring at a half finished painting, wondering what to do. That I asked advice on what to do with her and got advice and still stared at her without painting, wondering if it was the right thing.

In the end, I neither did my first instinct with the piece, which was to put another graphic pattern in the water, with a slightly muted blue, so it wouldn't stand out, nor did I do what the other artist suggested, which was to paint in organic fluid lines to suggest the water, also muted. I decided the pattern would be too busy. And I tried the organic lines and was not satisfied. So in the end, I just did a graded lighter blue to darker blue, with and organic flow between lines. The detail, which I'd planned with the graphic pattern, went instead into the hair flowing about her, which suggests her being underwater, but not obviously. I like the subtleness about it. The way her scales could be a dress. The way her tail is secondary, and could be ignored if you were just looking at the girl.

But like I said, this is not the painting a day kind of project. This is a process that is more extended and involves a lot of staring, considering, thinking, wondering, looking out the window, doing other things, coming back, considering some more. Maybe in a way, all that not painting is a way to get to whatever we already know.

When I was in the midst of painting this picture, I also stumbled across this little cast iron lady and I was compelled to buy her. I mean, come on. A teal mermaid? A requirement.

Oh, and if you're interested in a print of my mermaid, you can get her in my etsy shop, here

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Brown and Cream Bracelet
embroidery floss and yarn
47/100 in 100 days creative challenge, day 7 in August everyday

Don't have much time to post. I almost forgot I was trying to blog every day!

But I made these bracelets, based off of this tutorial. Although she used rope and fancy things like nuts and washers for embellishments. Hers is a belt and would take longer. Mine is just a little ole bracelet. I think it would make a nice necklace, though.

Easy and quick. And when I was done, the girl begged for one (pink! pink! pink!) and the boy begged for one (orange! orange! orange!)
Pink Bracelet for Ivy
48/100 in 100 days creative challenge
yarn and embroidery floss

Here's the pink one. I like the smaller bands of color.Orange Bracelet for Gabriel
49/100 in 100
embroidery floss and yarn
Oh, and I forgot to tell you. The embroidery floss was a yard sale cast off. Someone left some cross stitch kits outside by the curb with a sign that said "free!"

That's my favorite kind of sign.

Actually, now that I think about it, I might use the canvas for some art work. Maybe the teddy bear instructions are not to my liking, but I am kinda digging the contemporary needlework I've seen lately. And I do love more traditional artwork that incorporates fiber art.


The possibilities are enticing.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

"What Day," or A Prayer for This Day

"What Day" or A Prayer For This Day
Acrylic and Ink on vintage book page
46/100 in 100 days creative challenge and day 6 in August Everyday

I'm going to try not talking so much on this post.

This drawing is to remind me that today is the day. Every moment of this day grows together to make the whole thing. This drawing is to remind me that the attention I give this moment is what makes the whole life joyous.

May you have a joyous, juicy day.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Comeback, or A Prayer for Remembering

Comeback, or A Prayer for Remembering
Ink and Acrylic Paint on Vintage Book Page
45/100 in 100 days creative challenge and Day 5 August Everyday

Interesting that I would post this drawing today, when I kind of feel lost in a hazy day of things to do and forgetting.

It's so hard to remember my own plans, sometimes. And also, so hard to remember to pay attention to what is happening right now in that haze of forgetting. It's kind of just like tumbling along in a river. Tumbling? Shouldn't that be floating?

Well, I don't know. This was an intuitive piece. The phrase in the text, "come back," caught my eye, and then I started drawing this swoopy road. Maybe it's a river. And then the edges of the road/river became wings or petals and then I added the ticks of time passing.

What purpose do our memories serve in living our lives in the moment and planning for the future? How do our old experiences shape our present choices? How do we find our once upon a time dreams and live into them right now?

Honestly, I don't have an answer and perhaps there is no answer to this question but to live.

Meanwhile, I am thinking about the things I want to do.
Sprinkler sessions in the backyard and popcorn snacks.
Doing some Internet business.
Putting up the circus curtain in the kids room finally.
Painting another circus girl/flying girl.
Turning an XL tshirt into a skirt, although I have no pattern and no sewing machine.
Working on revising my novel.
Spray painting the frames black and finding some work to go in them.
Teaching my kids not to bother me a million times about the same thing (can I have some popcorn? can I have some popcorn? can I have some popcorn? can I have some popcorn?)
Oh yeah, plus the laundry and the chicken in the refrigerator and I probably should sweep and find a place for these bins of supplies that are just sitting out.

Okay. I am trying to remember to live in all the remembering of things to do. It's tough.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Juicy, or Prayer for Loving Life

Juicy, or Prayer for Loving Life
Ink and Acrylic on vintage book page
44/100 in 100 days creative challenge and Day 4 in August Everyday

The interesting thing that I found when I started these book pages/prayers/meditations, is that although I created them to focus myself on abundance, to draw abundance (read money) into my life, what they actually started creating was a kind of love of the life I already have, with or without money.

Because the truth is, money doesn't make you rich. Okay, it helps you pay the rent and take fabulous trips and wear trendy clothes, but it doesn't make you rich as a human being, no matter what your tax return says.

What makes you rich beyond reckoning is diving into the life that you have and living every single moment with love and attention.

So much of our lives these days is wrapped up with dissatisfaction. We don't have enough. We aren't where we want to be. Our homes are too small or in the wrong place. Our partners do things wrong. We ourselves are not thin enough, pretty enough, successful enough, talented enough, smart enough... in essence we are just not enough.

But the truth is, the REAL truth is that we are.

We are enough.

And this moment is enough.

Did you hear me? This moment, this one right here, where you're sitting and reading these words, this moment is enough. And in this moment, you are enough, in all your imperfections.

And it is enough that I took this day off of work, even if it was because I didn't have childcare and I needed to stay home from work. There is no lack in that statement. There is only what is. And what is, writing blog posts and making blueberry corn pancakes, and watching these kids tumble and yell across the living room and cleaning up potty accidents and watching the sun and the trees through the window and listening to the birds chirp and Phineas and Ferb on tv having the best summer in the world, and the kids playing telephone with an empty tin can... well, this is all enough.

This is the living of a juicy life. Whenever we accept and love the life we are in, it is a juicy life, no matter what the world says we should be doing. No matter the little gremlins sitting in our ear whispering words of fear and dissatisfaction and insecurity.

You are enough.
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