Friday, May 27, 2011

Cells and Building Blocks

Cells and Building Blocks
pencil, pen, watercolor on paper

For the last six years, I have been struggling to remember who I am. Where I want to go. What I really want to do with my life. My art.

This is confusing, because I am who I am, even in this time of kids and jobs and housekeeping and normal every day living. I am living my life and I am thankful for the life that I have, but at the same time... it's really hard to maintain focus when there are so many things pulling on you.

This is a different way of living than it was when I was single and had all my free time to devote to writing, art and dreams. Now, half the time, I am still devoting time to writing, art and dreams... but it's the writing, art and dreams of my kids. I don't mean that metaphorically. Working with G on his school work and practicing writing. Setting up projects and helping the kids in their painting, plays, music performances and other creative outbursts (also cleaning up from said creative outbursts). And dealing with nightmares, midnight wakings, bedtime routines, as well as the kids adventures in discovering their own dreams for themselves.

A fully worthy focus.

Except I can't help feeling frustrated at my inability to keep up with my personal goals.

As usual, this blog is about recovering, maintaining and exploring my creative goals. Since the very beginning, when I was trying to get back to being creative after having two kids, this is what it was. But I am creative again. I've found my voice again. Now I want to be heard.

This is a different journey, although a continuation. And I am writing this while the back of my mind ruminates over the bad chapter that I am revising in my novel. I want this book done. I want to finish my synopsis and send it out with my query letters. I want to get OUT in the world.

You'd figure if I really wanted to have my voice heard, I would post more than once a week, but like I said, it is hard to keep my focus in this busy world of living. I guess it is for everyone. And the only way I know to reach for those seemingly unreachable and frustratingly close goals is to take baby steps.

To paint one journal entry.
To write one extra blog entry this week (this makes 2 this week!)
To spend an hour before work (or after or at bedtime or whenever) revising my novel
To carry my "How to Write a Synopsis" book with me and read it whenever I get 15 minutes
To add another print to my etsy shop
To crochet a granny square or two while watching SYTYCD (it's back on, yay!)
To slowly work on organizing my workspace
To take notes on my synopsis in those slow moments at work
To have an artist date with my daughter where we can both paint and draw
To take photos whenever the need strikes me
To never give up on those things I really want, even when my efforts seem useless and it seems I have been working on them for an eternity without much progress, to never give up
To believe and remember and commit even though it's not perfect or easy
To never give up.

I said that part a lot. Never give up. Maybe it's a midlife crisis, wondering if all these years of effort are worth it. But I guess I decided it is.

I'm still at it.

You don't give up, either.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


paper, pencil, acrylic paint
8.5 x5"

This morning I sat down to draw with a couple of things in my head for inspirations. One of them here, and one of them here.

But what came out was this painting. Why? What does it mean? I meant it to mean, "I am trying to stay grounded," but as I painted, I got a feeling of anxiety and oppression. Not what I was intending.

And then I began to see the hatchmarks not as time passing, which sometimes is what it feels, but words. Words on a page, words in a book, words spoken and heard. Ideas made real.

And then I thought of this "write one word over and over" prompt from Wreck this Journal. And I had somewhere to go with this piece that wasn't oppressive. I still feel like there might be room on the opposite journal page for words or even color, but right now, this is where I am.

I like this piece. Hope does come out of darkness, you see.


A gratuitous photo, because somehow, the painting feels like stone to me, and perhaps some rain. And I took this photo right after I made the painting. And there's nothing like a rock for being grounded.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Of Writers and Divas

La Diva Airstream, articulated paper doll
giclee print, mini brads, ~8.5" high

I've printed out, cut out and assembled my La Diva paper doll. I just wanted to show you how cool she turned out when all put together. I still think she needs a frilly apron, and now a vintage camera, but there wasn't room on the paper when I was drawing. Those "new style" skirts take up a lot of material... fabric and/or paper.

She is far more glam than I will ever be, but I am glad that she was commissioned, because I love her.

I've also put her up for sale in my shop. Finally. I'm trying to get my back log up in there, but there's so much I get overwhelmed. So it's an achievement to put her together, do a photo shoot, edit, and list. And then go and write a post! Geez.

So tell me to stop feel like I'm cheating for putting the same piece up two posts in a row. I already feel guilty for letting my once daily blog slip to once weekly if I'm lucky.
The Writer, Altar Ego, close up of articulated paper doll
giclee, paper, mini brads, 8" tall

And here's a reminder about The Writer. She's up in my shop, too. How exciting. Two new things. And she also serves as a constant reminder to myself that I am working on my novel, however slowly, even if it's just researching the query process.

I also started some polymer clay beads last night, while watching Glee, which I just love. It's an experimental process, but I want a new necklace, so I brought out my clay.

I hope your processes are continuing on. I hope you're not too hard on yourself when you don't get as far as you'd like. I hope you're letting your alter egos out to play sometimes. It's good to play sometimes.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

La Diva Airstream/Altar Ego (unassembled)

La Diva Airstream, unassembled articulated paper doll
acrylic paint, pencil, recycled menu

I created this paper doll as a commission, after showing a friend my Writer doll (who is hanging up above my desk with her coffee and manuscript). She wanted a present for her mother on Mother's Day. I whipped it up in a couple of days and assembled it for her as a test. It worked well, and was well received. Alas, I was on such a tight deadline that I forgot to take a picture of the doll once assembled. I am going to have to print up another one to show you. Now I think I want to finish up the other dolls I have, print them up and put them on my etsy shop. Because they are pretty darn cool, if I do say so myself.

My writer girl keeps reminding me that I should be writing. Sadly, I have not had the opportunity. I keep thinking I should be able to, and then... poof. Yesterday, I wanted to take all day, since I was off both work and childcare, but the power cord to my computer went poof and I spent all morning freaking out, then all afternoon looking for a replacement, then all evening in a funk over where my writing day went. Not productive.

So this morning, half an hour before heading off to work, I wanted to check in here. I know I haven't been writing very often, but I've at least been trying to maintain a once a week presence.

I discovered something interesting though, when I popped into blogger. They now have stats built into the blog system. Who knew? I checked mine out, and found that my most popular entry of all time is this one. Most popular by far. I have no idea how people are finding it, but I read it through and it's a good one. One I should probably listen to. It's decided me on going back to a creativity log, which I have basically been ignoring for the last, oh, couple years. Sometimes I find that I am smarter in the past than I am in the present. Luckily, I have some of my smartness documented on this here blog, so when I get stupid, I can review it and go, "Oh yeah! That works. That's a good idea! Hey, I was pretty smart, but I sure am dumb now." (That last part is probably not productive.)

Why do I do that? Find a system that works and then get lazy? Because I really need this creativity log to keep track of all the various projects and responsibilities that I have.

Perhaps life is continually about making adjustments in what works. I've been wanting to get a writing practice going in the morning before I go to work, but am finding that I am so used to allowing myself the slow waking period, that my time is gone before I know it.

Oh no. I think I have to get up earlier. Oh, drat.

Well, this goes to show that when you want to be an artist of any type, you often have to sacrifice something to the gods of creativity. Lazy mornings. Social life. Money. Well, maybe not, but those are things I have sacrificed.

Ok. Enough talk of sacrifice. Let's get back to focusing on what is done, what has worked, what we have accomplished.

When I begin a new creativity log, I am going to make the new categories like this:
Me (I wanted to skip this, but it is important to remember yourself, particularly when you are a mom)
Business (blog and etsy)

Well, maybe that's how I might organize it. I will get back to you when I've actually started using it. I hope I actually start using it.

On another note, I was wondering if any of you had suggestions for new Altar Ego paper dolls. What part of you wants to show up in doll form? What role do you want to remember in a visual manner? I'm working on an artist doll, and a yogini. I think maybe a punk/rockstar might be on the horizon, too. It's fun to draw these girls, and fun to see them come to life when I pin them together. I don't know what it is about the articulated design that just makes them pop, but pop they do.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Writer/Altar Ego

The Writer, Articulated Paper Doll
card stock, pencil, acrylic paint, mini brads
about 8" tall

I made myself a paper doll to remind myself of who I want to be. Who I am. Oh she's me, no doubt. The kids found her when she was still in progress and carried her around, having conversations with her, "Hi mommy. Are you going to drink coffee now?" She has accessories, like her manuscript and her cup of joe. Obviously, she's busy revising. Or she can pick up her laptop and notebook and get some first draft work done. Or, she can take her journal, pens and pencils and do some process work.

Sometimes I feel like my other roles take over the parts of me that I really want to focus on. I mean, it's springtime and the kids are cute and I have jobs to do, but I don't want to lose my focus on the long range goals. So I make little reminders for myself. Right now, she's hanging over my desk, on a piece of black embroidery floss. She's like my little alter ego. Or maybe she's my altar ego. A little altar to that part of me.

Who are the parts of you that you need to be reminded of? Who is the you inside of you that needs to get out more?
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