Tuesday, November 30, 2010

25 Days of Creativity-- Ready to Go!

25 Days of Creativity
glitter, gesso, acrylic gel medium, pencil, paper bag, paint pen

This holiday season, I am making a real effort to focus on the home made, hand made, creative and non-materialistic things. I'm making gifts and cooking and decorating and hoping to help my kids see that it's not just about getting presents.

And to keep myself from getting overwhelmed by all of the crafting, baking, making, doing, painting, holidaying and ho ho ho-ing, I have decided to take on the challenge of doing one creative, crafty holiday task a day.

And since the online challenges have been such a help to me, I've decided to ask if anyone else wants to join in.

So here are the (loosely defined) rules.

I do solemnly swear that I am up to crafty goodness (or naughtiness).

Every day in the month of December, until the 25th, I will make something crafty/arty/creative/festive.

If I miss a day, I will not panic. I will just keep going, or maybe I'll do two things the next day, or maybe give myself a break. Or maybe I will count that eggnog I made for a party, or the cookies I baked for the kids, or decorating the Christmas tree, or wrapping those presents beautifully.

I will have fun, because this isn't a race or a competition.

I will not freak out with the pressures of the season, and that is why I am giving myself the whole month to get there, day by day.

I will do it bit by bit. And I will count the bits I am doing, even if they aren't perfect/complete/fancy.

I will put my love into my creative endeavors.

I will not put too much pressure on myself to make things perfect, because hand made is loved, and imperfection is lovely.

I will celebrate myself, my creativity, my loved ones and the season with all of the wonderful goodness that is upon us.

I will go with the flow, after making my lists, and see where this adventure takes me.

*** *** ***

So there are my rules if you want to play along.

The only other rules I can think of are to put your name and your blog address in my comments, if you want me to put you in the sidebar, so we can cheer each other along in our creative holiday month. Or if you don't want to commit to a sidebar, you can just put a link to your creative projects in the comments.

I was also thinking about making a pinterest board with my 25 days of creativity project-- in fact I've just done it. Now I will be able to add all the creative projects, with links back to their blog or flickr account. I think it would be a fun place to collect all the projects in one place.

Well. I'm ready for the holidays... are you?

p.s. I finished my nanowrimo 50k words yesterday. woo hoo! Not done with the novel, but I am done with the November challenge. Thank you November. You kicked my butt. See you next year.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Am Learning

I am learning
glitter, pen, acrylic gel medium, repurposed menus

Life is learning.

There is no perfection.

There is always change.

There is always disruption.

There is always something new.

There is always another adventure.

There is always more joy.

There are always more questions.

There is room for error.

There is invention in mistakes.

There is a process to go through.

I made this card to remind myself that everything I am going through, life, creation, raising kids, finding zen, keeping house, work, joy, everything is a process.

And I made it in glitter to remind myself that not only is this a process and am I imperfect, but this is the only life there is and we may as well enjoy it.

And have faith in ourselves.

Have faith in the process.

This is life.

And for anyone who is interested in spending the days leading up to Christmas making crafts and painting cards and knitting gifts and decorating and celebrating and hosting and cooking and being generally all around creative, then stick around. I'm calling it the 25 days of Christmas, and I'm counting down to Christmas, making my lists, checking them twice, gonna find out how much glitter to buy.

Check in tomorrow. I'll have the rules and sidebar finalized. (because it's a work in progress)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ho Ho Ho on the Go Go Go, or A Question About A 25 Days of Christmas Creative Challenge

Ho Ho Ho on the Go Go Go
Maroon Gel Ink on repurposed menu

After a month of being ahead in nanowrimo, I am behind. I haven't written in a week, wrapped up in life and living.

But I'm going with the flow. I am learning something about myself. I am learning something about my writing process. I thought that I only liked the first draft stage of writing, but it turns out, I like the revision process just as much if not more. Go figure. This is good news, since you can't be a published writer without the revision process.

I am also, I think, in the midst of an artistic transformation. However much I like the newness of invention, coming up with that solution, doing a brand new painting every day, going off on a whim of creativity, I am finding that I really long for an extended commitment to something. I want to spend more time on paintings. I want to make bigger projects. I want to work on stuff, expand the process from idea to execution so that I get it RIGHT, not just get it fast.

However... this upcoming month is going to be about Christmas. I recognize that. So, I am going to let myself off the hook on the production of art and allow myself to go fallow, to develop the ideas, the concepts, the desires. This is in regards to painting, though.

I still have some crazy stuff to make for Christmas, but this is more in the lines of craft and cooking, which I still find creative, but is a bit more practical.

I also had a question for any of you out there in blog land. Would YOU be interested in a joining a 25 days of Christmas creative challenge?

I think I want to post one creative project a day for Christmas. This could be holiday decorating, present making, meal cooking, card making, hall decking, carol singing, tradition building, present wrapping, stocking stitching, party hosting or what have you. If it's creative and related to the holidays, then I think it counts.

Really it's just all the stuff I already have to do, but since I am kind of opposed to the materialistic nature of Christmas, I really want to focus on the handmade portion of the holiday. And since the month long challenges usually help me to keep on task in the productivity department... well.... I think this is a good timely challenge.

I know it's late notice, but I think I'm just going for it in my crazy impetuous way. I'll figure out some "rules" for the 25 Days of Christmas Challenge and post it tomorrow.

Well, after I have a novel writing marathon, because I've got to hit 50k in the next couple of days because I'm 5k short!

Tune in tomorrow. I'll put up an official list, add it to the sidebar. Maybe sketch up a graphic. I'm up for a little bit of holiday inspired creativity and community. How about you?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Let the Sunshine In, Bookmark, and Getting Back to Work

Let the Sunshine In Bookmark
repurposed menu, ink, fabric, acrylic gel medium, embroidery floss

I made this a few days ago as a gift for a customer. I might have started it a while ago and just finished it this month. Well yeah, that's what I did. I have not really used Art Everyday Month in the way I wanted to. I wanted to get back to painting pictures. Instead, I am again broadly defining "art" as all the sorts of creativity that I take part in, which is good. But I miss painting.

I also haven't been writing as consistently as I wanted for nanowrimo. First with getting the flu, or whatever virus it is that is actually still dragging on just a little bit, then with some required social engagements and my birthday, and to top it off, adding a freelance responsibility to the past week... well, I haven't been writing everyday, and when I write, I haven't been writing as much as I wanted to. I'll still reach the 50 thousand word goal, but I wanted to finish my whole book.

I don't think that will happen, unless I get super productive in the week after Thanksgiving.

So in a way, with the way my life has gone this last month, I've kind of stuck a bookmark in my goals for myself.
reverse, let the sunshine in bookmark

But maybe it's not the worst thing in the world to hold still in place for a little while.

I know that I will always be able to get back to painting when I am ready to make that commitment. There is no reason that I have to do it now now now. I don't have a deadline. The only deadlines here are my own self imposed ones.

And, even though I am not writing as much as I want, I am still ahead of the goals for nanowrimo. I will finish my 50 thousand words, I will hit that deadline. It is only my personal goals of 100 thousand words and actually finishing the whole novel that I may not reach.

The real deadlines that I've had to work with this month are are when I someone else is depending upon me, like when I have to be at work on my scheduled days, or meet the school bus when it's my turn to pick up G, or finish this pile of curriculum plans by tonight. Yes. That's the deadline that has kept me away from writing, blogging and painting this last week.

I finally have a handle on it and can see that I will reach the deadline.

And then when I am done with that, I can get back to the other things that I want to do, my personal goals. The deadlines that only I am holding myself to.

Well... that is, after I do Thanksgiving. You know. Thanksgiving? That day that is never your own, at least when you're a mom. Well at least I don't have to make the whole meal, since we're splitting duties up between family members.

What are your own external deadlines that are getting in the way of your personal goals? Are you letting them stop you? Giving up on your dreams when those responsibilities to others seem so much more immediate?

I'll tell you a secret. I'm planning on finishing this curriculum plan before I need to, and I am going to stay down in the basement, away from all sorts of distractions, and get back to my writing. That's right.

I'm getting back to the plans. I'm going to pick it up where I left off. I'm taking the bookmark out and will be ready to get back to my goals. Just because we don't get as far as we want as soon as we want doesn't mean we still aren't moving forward.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I am the Eggman

I Am The Egg Man
eggs, pretzels, olives, salt and pepper.

Koo Koo Kachoo.

I am crazy right now. In the middle of projects and all. And also, to be honest, when I got an unexpected break in a deadline, well, I did absolutely nothing. That's right. No creativity. No writing. No painting. No sewing. No nada. Sat on the couch and let myself be a shlub.

Because there comes a time when you have to let yourself off the hook.

So I don't have a lot of stuff here. Actually, I have a few more things to show, but I'll save it for another day, because I have not been able to post as often, due to said deadlines.

But I did make Ivy a gingerbread man egg for breakfast. So she didn't eat it. What can I say. I'm used to it. But I made it. Cracked an egg into a cookie cutter and let it cook. Simple as that. Then I added the olive slice eyes and pretzel house.

Oh by the way, wordcount on nanowrimo? 44436, almost 50k. But I have not been able to write consistently, what with life taking over. It figures. All those months with nothing to do, and this is the month I choose to write a novel. But, with all of the writing, I've also started to write my way around to the novel that is closer to the one I want to write.

Boy, this process stuff is hard.

But then, I think this process stuff is life.

I think perhaps that enjoying the process, including the craziness, the challenges, the deadlines is part of how we find happiness.

A painting is not just the piece of art I end up with, not for me. It is also about how I come to that painting, and the act of painting, and the thoughts that created that painting.

Life is in the living. Creating is the process.

Koo Koo Kachoo.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Play a Game

Pin the Nose on the Clown, impromptu party game
sharpie on craft paper, recycled food raisin box, blue tacky stuff.

Where have I been. Blah.

I've been doing stuff but having no time to post it. Or perhaps I've been lazy. Possibly the latter.

I came home intending to finish a project yesterday, and instead was roped into creating a kids party in the kids' bedroom, with party games, snacks and well, that's about it.

I never did get to finish my project, which is still sitting on my desk, awaiting glitter.

And meanwhile, my projects to be done are racking up. And so is my anxiety.

Ah, but a lot of that anxiety is manufactured. A lot of my deadlines are manufactured. I have plenty of room to rearrange my to do list and to rearrange my headspace.

I present that same sort of freedom to you.

Take a look at all the things on your to do list and see what you can reprioritize. What can you knock off the list until next week? or completely? What, if completed first, would reduce your stress level and give you room to breathe? Is there anything you can delegate to others? Is there anything you need to do first to leave space for following projects.

Take a deep breath and pay attention to how you make things harder on yourself.

Give yourself a break.

Play a game. Remember what you're doing all this for.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Enjoy Life and Letting the Light in

Enjoy Life
watercolor, pen, pencil on paper
4"x8", repurposed menu
AEDM #15

I woke up this morning, still recovering from the flu or a cold or whatever this is, also suffering from a wine headache (known as an adult hangover, even though as an adult I only had three glasses all night and wasn't even buzzed) and feeling stressed out and behind on all my goals.

And then I said to myself, you know self? I'm going to try to enjoy my day.

And then, I must admit to you that I didn't quite succeed. It's kind of hard to enjoy your day when your stomach starts rebelling. (I really shouldn't drink wine. Sulfites aren't kind to me. Too bad it tastes so good.)

So a few hours later, after some squealing kids, a little bit of web surfing, some alka seltzer, and something to eat, I managed this little painting.

No pressure to be perfect.
Going with the flow of life, paint, and paper.
Lots of color.
Remembering to remember.
Inspiring others (the boy has decided to paint again, finally. we may have broken through his own perfectionism that keeps him from painting/drawing/writing.)
Using what you have and living where you are.
Just breathing.

I can't guarantee that I have enjoyed every bit of today, but I'm trying to remember that I enjoy the parts I do enjoy, and not let the grumpy parts take over the rest.

I should be going down to do some writing in about a half hour, so I am trying to prepare myself to get writing. After my slow down this last week, I am still ahead, but not as far. And this morning, I thought about what I want this story to be... on the whole. I want it to be about a strange beauty, shadows and the unexpected things that grow there, the power that we find when we truly embrace ourselves and all our imperfections. And in order to that, I need to push myself to go deeper, wider, bigger. Also harder, more painful, uglier.

To go all the way with our endeavors, we really have to commit to the whole thing, even if it's scary, even if it isn't expected, even if people might not like it. Even if it's odd.

Say yes to those cracks between things.

That's how the light gets in.

Okay well, we'll see if I'm brave enough to go to those cracked and dark places, instead of just going with the flow.

As for you, I hope you are remembering to enjoy life in your little cracked or not so cracked parts of the world..

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Flying Girl Goes Head First, or Dive In

Flying Girl Goes Head First or Dive In...
acrylic and pencil on paper
AEDM 13, 11/13/10

Where have I been? I skipped posting yesterday. I have been cranky and sick and not all that creative. Well. I've been creative, but low energy.

Plus I've been obsessed with pinterest. It's fun, but it's definitely a time suck. I guess I prefer a time suck when I'm still sick. So oh well.

But I have been slowly recovering, regaining brain power and such. I've been trying to get back into writing for nanowrimo and I've been afraid.

Writing while I was sick and brain dead took me far off course and got me really confused as to what was supposed to be happening.

Yesterday, before work, I sketched out this.
Dive in sketch
pencil on paper
11/12/10 aedm #12

This was me trying to tell myself that it was time to just dive right in, beyond the fear, beyond the uncertainty, beyond the laziness, to just commit. Take the steps. Write the words.

And I did. I lay in bed (because I didn't feel well enough to go downstairs and sit up right) and I just started writing.

I completely skipped the scene that was giving me trouble. I just went to the next part.

And it helped me figure it out.

The act of committing. The act of writing. The act of just doing carried me past the fear and the confusion.

Am I perfectly clear about what comes next? Nope. But I have somewhere to begin.

Remember also, this is week two of the big November challenges, when the excitement and the anticipation and the stored up ideas all start to run out. When life starts to interfere. When it just ain't as easy as it was in the beginning. This is part of the process. Keep going. Dive back in. We shall pass through this and move on to the next phase.

I'll tell you about when i get there.

How is your November going? How is your creativity moving?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Altering a Bleeping Big Thrifted Man's Sweater

Neckline: Foggy Day Sweater
AEDM day 10
thrifted sweater. thread. scissors. snip snip.

I have decided that what I have is not a cold, because I don't have the whole stuffed nose cough tissue dropping thing going on. What I have is a mild versions of my daughter's nasty flu. That is why I have not been able to think. So okay. Let it go. I will fall behind on my nanowrimo. I have time to make up my numbers later.

But last night, after while watching America's Next Top Model, I finally took out my old sweater.
Here it is, pre chopping.

It's a big baggy sweater that is fairly soft of a nice heathered greeny gray. Like a foggy day. It's a little tight in the neckline for me. I want it for throwing on after a day of work, over my tshirt, to lounge about in. But I'd like it to be more stylish than just a big old baggy man's sweater.

So the first step was to cut out the neckline. I was inspired by this sweater, that I have been staring at for months, it seems. I am afraid of cutting the arms. That seems a much bigger step to take. But I think I really need to do it. I think this sweater needs it's arms chopped off. However, I like feel the cozy sweater around my wrists. I think I am going to have to take the jump and just do it. (Whenever I make something, there is often a stage where I don't want to take the big step, to try something new, to possibly ruin it... and I just have to go for it.)

The neckline has improved it already, so why the heck not? Plus, there's something awkward about the big shoulders on this sweater, they don't lay flat, so I'm thinking a wise chopping and stitching might improve the whole thing. Who knows. Maybe I'll ruin it. But I'm still counting it as my aedm item.

Oh, I also just wanted to say that I finally got my invite for pinterest and I am now officially obsessed. I may have to let go of my small and heartfelt blog for the pinterest boards, since I use s&h as a pin board of things I like, but it takes me about 20 times longer to do a s&h post as it does to click the little "pin it" button on my bookmark bar. Sorry if you liked the blog, but I just don't have the time to maintain it the way I would like. Come on over to pinterest. If you need an invite, email me and I think I can send you one.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sex & Chocolate, Art & Writing

Sex & Chocolate
ink, repurposed menu
day 10 AEDM

Just a quick note, a quick sketch to get myself in there on this AEDM.

A friend asked me to sketch out a design for an invitation, so when I had some down time at work, I did. It made me remember that I've been doing invitations, posters, menus, tshirts and various other design projects since I was very young. I've even been paid for them.

I forget sometimes that I do that. I mean, I do it all by hand. I don't know anything about the various tools of the graphic design trade, from photoshop to screen printing, but I do it.

Maybe I should have gone to art school. Oh well.

Right now I'm too busy with the other parts of my life, and as soon as I finish this, I have to run downstairs and write my novel.

I didn't write yesterday because I was too confused. The cold plus a detour in the plotline took me off so I got lost. Today I think my brain is working a tiny bit better and I think I've decided to back up and start writing again from before I got derailed. I'm still keeping my word count from it, and the character who showed up might come back later, but I'm just going to skip over all that writing.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Moon Was Up Here, or Creative Slumps and the Journey

the moon was up here...
watercolor, pencil, sharpie, on paper
November 9, day 9 AEDM

(It was dark, pre dawn, and the three of us walked along. On our way to the rest of our life.)

This is a quick sketch I did this morning. Well, I did the pencil yesterday and watercolor today, the ink too. I didn't want to think too much about it. I wanted to just let if be whatever came to my mind in the moment, thus the grammatical mistakes. Or perhaps the not my favorite choice for colors.

What I've learned from my years (yes years) of creative challenges, is that it often takes a while to find your groove. You start out excited for the challenge, with the opportunity to jump into some things that you have been thinking about for a while, then after a while, your ideas dry up and you kind of futz around, wondering what is going on, wondering what it is you should be doing, what it is you have to say, wondering if you have anything to say at all.

It would be really easy to stop in this point, because it's not a very fun point. That is where the commitment takes over. You keep going because you promised yourself you would. You keep looking for ways to be creative because you promised yourself you would. And it can be a grind.

But somewhere in that grind, you discover something that is meaningful to you, and it all starts making sense again and then you start having your ideas again, and your direction, and you learn new things about your technique and about your voice and the energy returns.

I am in the grind.

But I will continue on.

This is the process.

And it's all good.

How is your process going? Are you sticking with it? Are you living up to your commitments?

ps I think this may also go for all commitments, relationships, jobs, education, projects.

nanowwrimo: 30113 words, day 8

Monday, November 08, 2010

Can Eye Skip Today?

Day 8 AEDM

No, that is not a dried apricot.

That is an eye carved out of melted candle wax. I did it while avoiding my nanowrimo wordcount for today.

But I carved an eye.

And I hit 30 thousand words in my new novel. Bad words. Nonsense words. Words that will be removed when I finally figure out what words I SHOULD be writing in this book.

I am still cranky. I am still sick.

Can I skip today? (bad pun, I know. Plus, I did not skip today.)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Pink Pennant Banner and The Grumpy Day

Pink Pennant Banner
repurposed kids clothes, tulle
AEDM, day 7

Well, good morning.

I have a cold and am tired and achey and cranky. DON'T mess with me.

However, I'm still trying to maintain my creative goals. Despite the way life have a tendency to whack one over the head with the busy stick. Eh, to be honest, it's my day off, I'm not that busy, except for the kids climbing all over me. Apparently they did not read my entry today, particularly the part where it said DON'T mess with me. Sigh.

But, to maintain AEDM, when I was feeling like a grump and having no ideas that were at all creative, I used my jar of creative ideas and pulled out a project that inspired my imagination in the past. I ended up pulling a project that I've been putting off for months.
I told the kids months ago that I would decorate their room like a circus. I figure it would be good for cross gender preferences, the lions and bright colors for the boy, and the sparkly decorations and pretty ladies for the girl.

One of the things I'd planned to do was to create coordinating pennant banners for each side of their rooms.

Pulling this project now made me go to my scrap clothing bin and pull out an old pair of pink camouflage sweat pants that Ivy was too big for. I would have preferred pink flowers or stripes, but those who are lazy cannot be picky. That would be me, the lazy one. I almost cut up a pink flowered dress that I didn't particularly like, but the girl saw me and cried out, "Oh not my princess dress!" and so a new princess dress-up dress was gained (seen in the first picture).

So pink camouflage it is. Please notice, I did not sew a darn thing. I just cut out triangles and slit little holes in the top. It's sweat shirt material, so it won't fray. That was part of the plan, my friends. A particularly nice detail, I thought, was when I realized that the roll of tulle I had leftover from another project would make a good ribbon. And it did. I used a bobby pin as a needle and threaded it through the slits I'd made in the top. Tied the ends into bows, and then pinned it up to the wall in her room.

Here it is, in her room. It's not a very good picture, but did I tell you I was lazy?

She likes to put her toys up at the top of her bed so she can make up stories about them. Along with the dolls and stuffed animals, there are a couple of fabric flowers, a pinwheel, a flower lei and a potty chart award, as well as a dream catcher, and barely visible to the side, her very own pink Flying Girl mobile. In this light, she kind of looks like a girl on the flying trapeze. She's already asked for a unicorn painting... and I either have to paint it or I have to buy something from etsy. The boy asked for a lion. Or was it a tiger? I don't remember.

Anyway. Grumpy and Sick Rowena has done her duty for AEDM. Grr.

I still have to go write for Nano, if I can dig up the time alone to do so. Grr.

I need some chicken soup and orange juice. Luckily, I made chicken soup two days ago when I felt the cold start to come on. Hey! I should put the chicken soup in my AEDM count.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Babette and the Balloon Flight, or Pace Yourself

Babette, dressed for Autumn balloon flying
repurposed menus, acrylic paint, pencil.

Lookie here! My Babette girl is wearing clothes. You can't see her underwear.

I drew an outfit inspired, actually, by Leah's aedm painting. It's not the first time her striped tights have reminded me how much I like striped tights.

But, I can see that I am just a beginning paper doll maker. I don't have the appropriate paper for this. I can't see through it to trace the doll and get a perfect shape, but I will admit that I made a pretty near guesstimate on the shape, making her only a few millimeters short. (At the bottom you can see her black pumps underneath the red mary janes.

ANYway, despite my flaws in the doll making, I think it's cute. She's got a green long sleeved undershirt, a light blue mini dress and a red/purple belt. All of this over the delightful green and blue striped tights, and the ruby mary jane slippers. I tossed in a pouch-purse, because it reminded me of the shape of balloons. What you don't see is the striped blue and green cap that I had to get rid of because my eyeballing it made it too dern small to fit over her head. Oh well.

As for Nanowrimo? I am slowing down. That's okay. I was going really fast before. Sometimes I set my goals too high, and then falling short makes me feel bad, so I have to recalibrate my expectations of myself. Another thing I have learned from nano years passed... if I set really high goals for myself and force myself to reach them (the first year I did 100k words, instead of the standard 50k) I end up burning out by the end of the month. Of course, I am more used to the intense pace of daily creative challenges, so I may be better able to manage them.

This whole creative life thing... it's a marathon, not a sprint. You may want to do intense fast sprints sometimes, but it's really hard to keep up that intensity in the long run.

Slow and steady wins the race, they say. Only you can define what that slow means. For me, I tend to make it be faster than other people write... but then I am a bit of a compulsive writer. I can't really stop myself from writing. I guess that's why I blog, too. And you should see my decades of journals.

All I can say is keep it up. You don't have to reach your goals all perfectly, but if you want to reach the end point, you do have to keep going. Pace yourself, figure out what works for you, but keep going.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Sun

The Sun, (Flying Girl Tarot Card)
repurposed menu, pencil. acrylic paint, watercolor

I did this at work yesterday. Someone I know was having a hard day. I thought, you know, I don't have it in me to be a mom to everyone I know. I just don't have that much energy. I barely have it in me to be mom to my actual kids, but then I thought, I don't have to be a mom to everyone. I have something to give that is my own special thing to give.

Then I asked myself, if I had something to tell her, what would I have said? And the image that popped in my head was The Sun, from the tarot. And then of course, the song, Here Comes The Sun went singing through my head.

What did this image mean to me? As a message for her? Hard times come. There's no stopping them. But if you look at them as a passage we must travel through, if you understand that there is an end to struggle, and you understand that after darkness comes light, well, then, you know the struggle will have its own purpose. And you know the sun will come. Life will be joyous again. All is right with the world (even in those days/weeks/months when it seems like nothing is right).

And what kind of message is that for me? Because you know, all the messages I have for you are messages for me. When people buy prints and paintings from me on etsy, as I am packaging up those pieces, I am getting a message that I need to hear.

So what this piece is saying to me is to enjoy the sun that is shining today. No matter the struggles or worries, the sun is still shining. Even above the clouds, it is shining. Open yourself up to the joy of life, and let it be the beautiful life that it is.

nanowrimo: 20432

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Babette and The Living

Babette, A Paper Doll (prototype)
paper, pencil, ink, acrylic paint

Yesterday, I got the urge to make a paper doll. I was standing around at work when the urge hit. So I whipped out some recycled menu scraps and started sketching. Woo hoo.

I also got some feedback from the other women at work. What woman doesn't like paper dolls? Actually, one of them came up with her name, "Babette," which gave me all sorts of ideas for possible outfits to design.

I'm still trying out ways to make this work, so I'm not sure if I won't have to make a couple of
different versions. I think perhaps her arms should not be so close to her body, and perhaps her feet should be slightly more apart, so as to make her shoes more visible. Shoes are part of fashion. Fashion is part of paper dolls.
Babette, detail

I have to admit that I was a little rushed while painting this. And I am not so sure that acrylic is the best medium for her. Or perhaps I was just unable to do it as smoothly as I wanted to. I also need to work on getting better pictures, but I am taking these photos when the sun is still not fully up. Yes. I work early in the morning. Perhaps daylight savings time will help with that.

All in all, I think she's a little clumsy in execution, but AEDM is not about perfection for me. It's about getting the ideas down. Getting the ideas out. It's about developing the practice of creating every day. And maybe some of that creating ends up being a great end product.

But you know, the end product is not the point. Not really. The point is the creating. Just like collecting material goods (art, paper dolls, clothes, money) is not the point of life. The point of life is living.

That said, I'm still going to create lovely outfits for Babette. Because I like fashion and I like clothes and I don't always have the opportunity to dress up myself. The point is not to always be the height of fashion, the point is to have fun with fashion. This is fun. Woo hoo.

Now I must start heading off for work. A little behind this morning. Lost my chance to write.

Hopefully I will be able to write when I get home today. There is no emergency in my word count, because I have been writing far above the word goal of 1667 words a day. I've been doing something ridiculous like 5k every day.

Now I like smashing my word goal every day. I like the challenge of reaching and surpassing my goals. I like finishing my scenes. I like getting past the rough patches, even though I don't particularly like being mired in the rough patches of the story. I just keep writing and I get myself out of the mess, sooner or later. And later still, I can go back and smooth out the rough edges and deleting the REALLY rough edges.

In this case, the output is the point. Except the quality of the output isn't. Just like with AEDM, it's about being creative, about the writing practice, and about getting the ideas out on paper so that I have a body of work to whip into shape.

And so.

Keep going. Roll with the rough patches. Keep going. Accept the flaws. Keep going. Live for the living. Keep going. Don't stop trying. Keep going. Sit down and create. The creating is the point. The living in the point.

Go for it.

nano word count: 16041 (day 3: 5457 words)
AEDM day 3: Babette the paper doll

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Hi Ho, Silver-- I Mean, Glittery Ruby!

Glitter Ruby Horse (on desk, with plant and chocolate covered raisins.)
Plastic Cowboy Scene Horse, Gesso, Acrylic Paint, Acrylic Gel Medium, Glitter
11/02/10, AEDM #2

I had the urge, yesterday, to get some glitter out into the world.

Luckily, I had some glitter left over from Halloween projects. And unluckily for my kids' little toy horse, it was in my line of sight when the urge overtook me.

This could be a dangerous situation, as it is rather easy to turn something regular into something FABULOUS. Although it did demand patience, because there are four layers here, gesso, paint, gel medium (which might not be the best thing to make glitter stick) and glitter. And I needed to let most of these layers dry before moving on to the next. Which I did not. And it was hard to get the whole thing glittered without rubbing off some of the glitter that was already placed.

Anyway, I enjoy the broad definition of art in the AEDM rules, as this might be more properly defined as craft, but for me, I think it's a blurry distinction.

I showed my daughter, and she's already declared that she needs a pink glitter unicorn.
Glittery Ruby Horse on desk with plant and Creativity Jar

I also wanted to show you my jar of art projects.

I wrote ideas for projects on an index card, cut them up into little strips, then curled them on the end of a paintbrush and dropped them into the mason jar.

This is to help me out on those nights when I collapse on the couch after a long day, with nary a creative idea in my head.

I can reach over and pull a curly strip, and let chance decide how I will be creative that night. I haven't needed to do that yet, but I'm sure I will at some point. Every time I have a new idea, I write it down, make another strip and drop it in. And I also have no problem with rejecting an idea I pull, if I don't really want to do it. I don't want this to feel like work. I want it to be fun.

Last night, I was really tired and didn't want to create. I just wanted to be a shlub.... but I know that in order to develop the creative habit of nightly painting to the point where it is automatic instead of a chore I have to make myself do... I have to honor my commitment, my long term goal of creativity, rather than my short term desire to be lazy.

It's a delicate balance, trying to walk between that commitment and keeping it fun. But that's why we keep the rules light and flexible, so that there is room for both the commitment and the fun.

How are you doing in your creative commitments this month? Are you managing to remember that this is fun? Are you staying true to your long term desire to be creative, even though the fear pops up and tries to make you do something else, anything else?

Maybe the Glittery Ruby horse might serve as a reminder that we have to get back on that horse, if we want to get all the way to the end of our creative journeys. And yet, this is still a FABULOUS journey, full of joys and light and unexpected turns.

Hmm. Yes. I do think so.

I believe that Glittery Ruby Horse will find a place on my desk, as a muse to my creativity and a reminder to remember the joy.

(Now if only I can get her away from my daughter. Perhaps a promise of a glittery pink unicorn will do.)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Little Gods and Goddesses: Nanowrimo, The First Day

Little Gods and Goddesses
"cover art"
11/1/10 Day 1 AEDM
acrylic and pencil on paper

Yesterday, the start of Nanowrimo and AEDM, I woke up bright and early, took the boy to the school bus while the moon was still out, returned home, and promptly got to work... on Facebook.


It turns out it's really scary to get started on those big projects that you have big hope for.

The more weight you put on something, the scary it is for you to actually tackle.

But, I pulled on my big girl pants and sat down and tackled it one word at a time. And it turned out it wasn't that hard to tackle.

I don't want to talk about my impression of the WORTH of what I wrote to get myself started. But it is not really important how good the writing is, not at this point. I am writing my way into the story. I might delete every word I've just written-- at some later stage. Because right now it is not about having lyrical prose, engaging characters or a fantastic plot.

Right now it is just about getting the words down, getting rid of that empty page. Getting the ideas out into some sort of concrete form. Giving myself a scaffold to which I can hang my story.

This is the first draft.

The glories and the pains of just writing it out.

It's a little bit difficult to switch from the editor's cap which I have been wearing for the last 11 months, to the first drafter's cap. But I'm working on it.

The most important phrase of this whole post is the one I just wrote, "I'm working on it." Because you can't write a novel, not a first draft, not a second draft, not a final version, if you don't sit down and work on it.

Little Gods and Goddesses, detail (with the little mermaid. i like her.)

The images I have here are from my first piece of art for AEDM. It's "cover art" for my nanowrimo novel. Well... it's a concept. I drew the sketch for it last week when I was trying to get into my story, get a handle on it, understand what it was about and what the themes were and what the title was.

Right now the working title is Little Gods and Goddesses. I don't know if I'll keep it, but it keeps me focused on some things. And it makes me happy when I see it. And if it weren't for AEDM, I wouldn't have sat down with my paints and finished this cover art, temporary as it may be. Just me and Chuck and some chocolate chip cookies and my paints. After Chuck was over, I closed my paints, turned off the tv, and went to bed, satisfied to have met my goals for the day.

Nanowrimo : 5180 words
AEDM 1/30

Monday, November 01, 2010

All Creativity Day

Here we are, me and the boy. Before trick or treating.

I have much to post, it being nanowrimo and AEDM... however, it also being 8am, I don't have much to post quite yet. There is no creating to document at this moment, but I wanted to just give a shout out to Halloween, and the end of Halloween. I'd feel I could relax a bit, except for the lunacy of tackling nanowrimo and AEDM.

What can I say, I am an inhabitant of the asylum, and I am about to descend to the basement and hole up with some purloined trick or treat candy, a cup of coffee, some notes and my laptop.

If you all are interested. That hair stayed inflated from 10 am to 10 pm. It took me about an hour to get the hairspray and ratting out of my hair. That's after two washing, two conditionings, a lot of combing, the loss of a beast-worth of hair, and some smoothing cream.

Evil beauty comes at a price.

Happy All Saints Day. Happy Nanowrimo. Happy AEDM. And Happy November

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