Saturday, October 13, 2012

Spirit Filled Painting and Art from the heart

Hello lovelies! I know it's been a while since I've blogged. Life has been the dreaded busy and I've been struggling with my health again, which is just a never ending battle.

BUT while I've been doing the work I needed to do to find peace in my life God put something on my heart that I think is so important for so many artists and something I wanted to share. Many of us start off making art, because we love it, it's a healing process, or you just feel called to do it. Your art comes from this place of bliss and inner peace. And then we start selling our art and all of the sudden people are telling us how we should be, what our art should look like, and what we should do with our time. And it becomes this big huge life burden. You want to take care of yourself and your loved ones with your work, but it becomes this soul sucking thing. And it benefits no one. The more I find myself trying to do what the world wants me to with my work, the sadder and more stressed out I get. And I'm still not making my bills and it makes my illness worse.

Yesterday I spent hours painting on this very large painting for my kids room. It was pure and utter bliss. The paint flowed so freely and I just seem to know what came next. I painted like my heart knew what to do and to me that is the best kind of art. You love the process and the finished product. To me that is the kind of art God is calling me to make. Whether it be paintings of monsters or flowers or a piece about a world issue, He wants it to come from my heart and be healing to my soul. And when I make those paintings and show them to other people the response is always great. They speak to people, they make them happy, or they touch something in them.

As I was struggling today with bills and not feeling well God really spoke to my soul about taking better care of my life, body and soul. It was an eye opening moment when I realized that I'd allowed my painting and creative life to be a burden, rather then the joy it use to be. I put road blocks and pain into my life that not only affect me, but also my kids. And this is not contributing to a happy healthy family life.

So how do we as artists go about getting back to that blissful helpful creative space? The answer to me seemed really so simple and basic it was this just AH-HAH! moment that made me almost laugh. How blind I've been to things right in front of me. Prayer and meditation. See?! So simple. It doesn't cost money. You don't need any special tools. Just an open mind and a willing heart. Sit down in your studio, outside, in your room, on your couch, anyplace you are comfortable and talk to God. Have a spiritual cup of coffee with Him and say hey this is how my week is going. What can I be doing to make things simpler and more peaceful in my household and in my life? What burdens can I release to you, so that when I create all that worldly stuff isn't blocking my spirit. Spend quiet time with Him just letting your spirit be renewed and the stress melt away.

I'm challenging myself and others to set ourselves up for a life full of hope and happiness. And our Coach and Team Leader, God really wants us to succeed. I don't know where God is going to take this, but I'm exciting to see what can come of letting go and learning to really dig in and living a spirit filled well rounded creative life. I'm going to be doing posts on here with encouragement and thoughts to share with all of you and I'd love to hear what is going on with you guys and how prayer has helped open up those dry stressful creative spots and caused them to bloom into juicy joyful art to share with the world.

Today I'm going to leave you with some thoughts from Psalm 18: 7-9. "The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord then to trust in princes."

This is the verses God put on my heart today that really reminded me that God is always faithful, but sometimes we are the ones standing in the way of the lives we desire. So it's time to be prayerful creative warriors and go into battle to create the lives we desire. A life of creative joy and peaceful presence in the every day moments. God didn't say he would give us a life without hardship and struggle, but he did promise us a life of hope, happiness, and love. Why don't we start finding that in our creative lives today?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Kevin the Sneekbee

The latest sculpture is finished! Yeah! Meet the fabulous Kevin the Sneekbee. Kevin is sad, because he asked his mom for an aviator hat and instead she made this one for him out of yarn she already had. After all mom's are nothing if not thrifty. Kevin didn't want to hurt her feelings, so he's wearing the hat. But he sure isn't happy about it.

Sneekbees love to collect shiny and fluffy trinkets. They are the little sneaky culprits who steal socks from dryers, keys, and any other thing they think they can get away with. They are harmless creatures as long as you don't mind loosing a few bits and pieces here and there.

But poor Kevin is looking for a new home. He promises to play nicely with others and won't be to loud. He also said to reassure everyone that his raygun isn't real. It was a birthday present from his best friend, Duncan.

Kevin is available in my etsy shop now. He's sold! Thank you!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mosaic Moooooonday

Welcome to Mosaic Moooooonday. A little inspiration post to start the week off right. I went through my flickr contact and picked out photos that inspired me. The links below the photos take you back to the original owner of each photo, so if you'd like you can check out the rest of their photos. Some of the photos I choose will be artwork, some will be people I find interesting, or just things that make me happy.

1. Cameo, 2. Check out the magickal pouch Aimee made me for my bday. Leather, gold leaf, vintage necklace as rhinestones. Thanks to Tony for the treasures to put inside!!! #magic #necklace #jewelry, 3. Untitled, 4. I need a hug..., 5. My Girl detail, 6. "The Last of His Kind" My piece for the Adventure Time show at OhNo!Doom opening this Saturday!, 7. this was as far as their plan wen, 8. Ralf, 9. Crystal Cloud Carousel

This is an extra photo I couldn't fit into the mosaic, but just had to share. It made me smile and I think just shows how fun and fabulous, Stephen is. Stephen West is a knitwear designer that creates some of the most beautiful patterns. I have a few of his books and I hope one day we can meet and knit in person. We've interacted on twitter and he's a warm, kind, and funny fellow. I love this photo and how he doesn't take himself to seriously. The shawl in his mouth is one of his own beautiful designs.


You can find all of Stephen's great designs on his website, West Knits

Happy Mooooonday! Hope you all have a great week! :D

Sharing inspiration

(This is a sculpture I'm working on that's waiting to be painted.)

Today is the first day of school for my kids. I am blessed by a sweet husband who gets off work about dawn and drives our kids along with some neighbor kids to school. So I woke up to a very quiet house today. It was nice to have a bit of peace and quiet for a while. Our neighbor is doing the afternoon carpool, so I don't even have to go out to get them this afternoon. I'm feeling very spoiled. I so appreciate not having to go out in the heat though.

The last few weeks I've been struggling with swelling in my hands and feet. It has gotten so bad that it just makes it hard to sleep or do anything. It's frustrating to say the least. But thankfully I have a very helpful clan of people who help with many things to make life easier. But I really prayed and meditated on what to do and I felt like for now the best answer is to just slow down and rest. I have had tons of tests done on my hands and body over the years, so I know that this is just part of having arthritis. It's just sort of a time when I have to say okay I can only do so much right now and allow myself to just be happy in the small things.

So I'm making art when I can and trying to just have a good balance in life. But it's really hard for someone who has spent their life being "busy". I'm not good at just laying around and doing nothing. I want to be knitting, sewing, painting, sculpting, or writing and all of these things require my hands. So I've been feeling a bit sad, because I know one day I probably won't be able to do the things I love anymore. My grandmother was a crafter who sewed and knitted, but eventually had to stop because it was to painful on her hands. When she stopped knitting she sent me all of her needles and knitting supplies. I remember opening the box and getting choked up, because I knew how hard it was to give away all these things that had brought her a lot of joy over the years. I'm glad though that she sent them to me rather then them ending up in a second hand shop. I continue to use her things and have passed on a few needles to friends who wanted to learn to knit. I felt like it was a great way to honor her by sharing her love of knitting with others.

During times like this I like to read a lot of blogs and look at things on pininterest. It inspires me and allows me to make little notes for things I'd like to work on in the future. I day dream about making dolls or paintings with the ideas. So I thought that I would start doing posts of things that inspire me and share different blogs I enjoy, because I love reading recommendations from other artists. I've found some of the greatest blogs that way. Hopefully this will be a way to share what I love and encourage others that even if you have to take a break for a while you can find other things to do, to keep you going. :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Couch Boxes

My friend and amazing artist, Samantha Kira Harding posted a video the other day about her "couch box". A box full of art supplies for making art while on the couch for people who deal with illness, disability, or are just darn tired at the end of the day and still want to be creative. I often want to make art while sitting on the couch, but it's a pain to grab all the supplies from my studio and drag them over to the couch.

I watched Samie's video with all her great tips and then made a box of my own. I had a rubbermaid box with a lid that is the size of a shoe box already. So I pulled that out and then found supplies to fill it with. For my paint, I used old film canisters and pill bottles and filled them up with a little bit of different colors I use often. I put in inktense pencils, brushes, paper scraps, little pair of scissors, a little pill bottle of decoupage glue, glitter vials with different colors of glitter, a little bowl for water, an old tin box to use as a paint palette, tissue paper, some stamps, a stamp pad, and some bubble wrap. It all fits nicely in the box and is safe and sound now in the cabinet next to my couch.

When I wasn't feeling well today I pulled out my box and created this page in the journal I made out of recycled stuff.

Having a couch box saved me a lot of time and when I was tired and felt like I was done for the day I put everything back in easily and stored it away with my journal for next time. I have a feeling I will be using my couch box often from now on.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer has been busy busy busy. But lots of fun. I've been working on all sorts of new things. Artwork with fun characters and unicorns. I'm hoping to do a big shop update in a few weeks along with a sale for all my loyal customers. I'm trying to create some smaller pieces that are more affordable for everyone. I know sometimes I fall in love with an artists work, but I can't always afford to purchase a large painting or piece, so it's always great when they do prints or smaller things.

But before all of that I have a show coming up July 21st in San Diego at The Spot Barrio Logan, 1835 Main Street, San Diego 92113. The show is titled, Drawing A Blank, a custom vinyl toy show. Lots of great artists putting their spin on vinyl toys.

Here is a sneak preview of one of the toys I'm working on for the show. Meet Mr. Big Top.

I've also finished up some art journals finally. These are journals made of recycled paper and things I had in my studio. They are just the bare bones, so that when I feel like making an art journal page I have two journals all ready to go. They are small enough that they can easily go into a bag with water colors, colored pencils, and other little art supplies to go to the park or the beach with my kids. I'm thinking about making some to put in my shop to sell for people who want to art journal, but don't have the time to make their own journals and want a fun alternative to the journals that are pre-made.

This cover was made out of a heavy cardboard envelope I received in the mail from another artist when they mailed me a print and a zine. I saved it in my stash to use for something one day. I embellished the front with the little paper city cutout that was from an envelope, drew the unicorn and painted it, then cut it out and glued it on. The word magic is done on an old 3 x 5 card that was from some paperwork my kids had brought home. I thought the orange on it added some fun. And I just penciled on the stars and then filled them in with glitter paint. Easy, fun, and FREE!

The inside pages are different empty food boxes, watercolor paper, and an old manila folder. I painted them all with different colored acrylics so the pages are all prepared for whatever art that strikes my fancy. I just chose paint colors that made me happy. They can always be painted over or added to later if you want to change things up.

The second journal was made out of a magazine mailer that our cable company sends out. It had lots of photos and advertisements inside, so I used black gesso and covered all the pages. I glued sets of pages together to make the pages a bit more sturdy. I covered the cover with old brown packing paper and old book pages from a medical book. I liked the image of the ribcage, so I added that with the idea that I'll add some hand drawn wings. I'm going to add a word and some color to it as well.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sad For The Weather

I love the internet for the fact that it's where I get much of my inspiration and get to hear about amazing musicians. Last year some time a friend recommended I check out the amazing musician, Tom Dickins. I was blown away by his beautiful voice and have been happily enjoying his music. The only thing I don't like is we have a very large ocean between us, so I am not able to support him in person. I'm hoping one day to be in his neck of the woods to see him play in person, because I know it will be even more magical then seeing him in videos.

Yesterday Tom posted a new song he'd written inspired by people's suggestions on twitter. I still can't believe something so beautiful could be written in 10 minutes. It blew me away and moved me. It made me think about my own relationships with my loved ones.

So I tweeted that it made me want to create something as beautiful. Tom, who is a total sweetheart tweeted back to go for it. So I set about painting. As I was painting I began to cry. It was a moment of real joy, but also thinking about my relationship with my partner. (Here in America husbands and wives are usually called spouses, but I hate that word. The term partner seems much more endearing and what I think my love and I are, two people who are equal who choose to be in a loving committed relationship.)

I don't often "explain" or talk about my work. I like that people see what they want to in my work or form their own stories that fits into their lives. But this painting felt so personal in a way and like a moment in my life that needed to be recognized and thought out. I started the painting after seeing the video a few times, but I hadn't read the lyrics or saw what Tom had written about what inspired the song.

When I heard it I immediately thought of a story teller telling people about how life is hard and things get rough, but you must hold on to your loved ones and weather the storms. It also made me sad as I painted thinking about people who aren't allowed to be with their loved ones. I've been with my love for 15 years. I was barely 21 when we wed and many friends and family were very upset that I was getting married. I even had a pastor who I had known most of my life refuse to marry us. It broke my heart that people I loved would not support our love and our desire to be together. Many people asked why didn't we just live together? But to me that wasn't an option. And for my darling boy he wanted to make sure that I would get medical care, which was often needed as well as he would have the right to see me in the hospital or advocate for me when I could not.

The longer I painted the more I thought about how long I have taken for granted the privilege of being married to someone who has spent their adult life making sure that I am well taken care of, treated with respect, and loved. And how many people don't have that right. It saddens me that we still live in a world where people want to have a life with loved ones and they are not allowed. Not only partners, but friends, children without parents, grandparents without grandchildren, all kinds of people that have holes in their lives where people should be. What is life without love and friendship? It's a sad day to day trudging through instead of a hopeful daily life full of little moments of joy.

The painting is called, Stormrider. The two figures are loved ones hiding under a protective blanket waiting out the rough weather and seas of life. When you're young blankets protect you from monsters in your closet and under your bed. In the painting it's the metaphorical monsters of life that are kept out and away. The blanket is a knitted blanket, because to me there is nothing more comforting then a hand knit or crocheted blanket made by a loved one as a special gift. Being a knitter I know that if I make you a blanket or any knitwear it means that you are special to me and very loved. It's my way of wrapping you in a hug that you can touch again and again.

I often get asked about the figures and faces I paint. What gender they are always comes up. In this painting I really hope that people can see a little bit of themselves despite gender. That maybe some how they will make you think about the loved ones in your life and how important they are.

Tom is in the process of crowdfunding his solo album. He would be so thankful and happy if you checked out his website and got in on the fun helping him fund his album. I can't wait to hear what he creates. I'm so inspired by him and independent artists like him. We need to continue to support and encourage artists with good feedback as well as our hard earned money. What they do is so important and they can't continue doing it if we don't show our support. This is the link for his solo album project and he also has a great website with videos and more information about Tom's other project, The Jane Austen Argument,

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Summer is coming!

Things have been very busy for the last few months at my house. My daughters are finishing up school and I'm preparing for the few months that they will be home all day. I enjoy having the kids home, but we despise the incredibly hot heat. So we've been enjoying going to the park and getting outside while we still can. I had forgotten how relaxing it can be to go to the park and lay on the grass for a while. Back in May I got some not fun news from my doctor that my liver has decided it doesn't want to function properly anymore. So we've been doing tests and put me on new medications to try to help. We are still not sure what is causing it to be a sad enlarged liver of grumpiness, but I've not given up on us finding out the cause and working on getting it back to a happier healthier liver. Until we know what the cause is I'm concentrating on putting good things in my body, so I'm not over working my liver trying to get rid of junk that I don't need. So lots of healthy food, juices, milk, and water. I've cut back my coffee a ton as it really seems to bother my digestive system now and it doesn't taste the same. I often have this strange taste in my mouth now, so certain foods just don't appeal to me. I like to think it's just God's way of helping me not eat things I don't need. It's so true that if you put garbage in your body you're going to get garbage out. I am hoping that by putting good things in I'll have more energy and be able to be a bit happier. During all of this time I've still been painting and knitting up a storm. Just because life throws you a curve doesn't mean you have to stop chugging along the road. Sometimes you have to just slow down a bit to deal with the curve.
I finished this painting recently. It's called, Max and Monster. I was working on it the day after Maurice Sendack had passed away. I was feeling a bit sad that we would never get anymore wonderful stories or art from Maurice. Where The Wild Things Are is to me one of the best books and stories written in the last couple of decades. It pleased me as a child and then as an adult encouraged me to create the art I wanted to make. As I was painting this character appeared and I realized he was the adult version of Max from Where The Wild Things Are. As I was working on it I thought how great it would be to do a children's book of my own. So I'm working on that some more. And I'm also doing some fun illustrations like this...
It had been a while since I did any real illustrations instead of just a painting. It was fun to work on and I'm planning on doing more in the future. For those of you thinking about doing things or waiting for the right time, the time is now! Jump in and do it! It's never to late to do anything your heart desires! Remember the most important rule of art and life that is the number one thing for everyone, HAVE FUN! <3