Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Counted Blessings

You can bend with the wind or try to face it down. The cup is half empty or half full. Lemons or lemonade. It's all about what you choose to create. sometimes it's just about choosing.

I am polishing up my rose colored glasses. There are plenty of blessings in my life right now and I choose to focus on those blessings. Wonderful friends, a healed family relationship, more financial security than most...lots of warm fuzzies. I need to focus on these things and not complain about what could be perceived as lack in other areas. I am so blessed with the ability to paint, create and share those talents with others.

I attended a celebration this morning I had put a great deal of energy into. I was able to share my gifts with a group that was very dear to me and they were so very appreciative. I loved and was loved back. What more could be asked of life ? A gray day glowed with lovely life. A wonderful meal was shared. Gifts of love were shared. More blessings. I need to curl up with a cup of tea and nurse those images in my heart, feed the glow and let it be the Christmas glow it was meant to be.

It is a time of sharing...Yes ?..a time to open up and give. Sometimes that means doing things one doesn't particularly want to do...and do it without whining. That would be the hard part. Adding a surprise dinner to the schedule.....for someone one doesn't particularly like..someone noone particlualry likes. then I realize it is Christmas and so much generosity has come my be generous to someone I do not like. Oh this is the very basis of Christmas....of being it not?

So I will count my blessings as I drive home this evening..count the smiles of my dear friends and family...those who are so easy to love...and then I will say yes, any time is fine with me, I will prepare and serve a dinner for someone I do not like at all and I will smile and do my very best...and offer it as a gift.. a Chirstmas I count my own blessings.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 12, 2008


Right now it looks like a bomb went off, but generally this is what my studio looks like. There is a huge window looking out over a pretty big back yard with lots of trees. I can see some little bit of traffic on the road that runs by the side of the house. The bookcases are overflowing onto the floor right now and I have a funny little rocking chair that sits directly on the ground, This is my nest, my sanctuario. I am making some changes in there. I haven't been happy with the window treatment. I had a kind of three paneled triptych my SIL had made hanging up there, but I I really didn't like it or her, so I took it down. Bad energy. A dear lady gave some wonderful beaded curtains I want to play with in combination with some fairy lights and ribbons. I have contemplated painting the walls, but I really need them to be white so I can "see" colors in my paintings. I also need some sort of collapsible table top so I can have an extra surface to work on when I am doing larger projects.

I found the table on craigslist for $100. Seems a lot of companies that used to use drafting tables now use computers and this kind of thing is a fairly easy find. the fun part was getting it up the stairs and into this room. We had to literally tear it apart and then rebuild it. I should say the guy I bought it from tore it apart and then I had to rebuild it. DH bought me the chair, which is actually pretty as well as comfy. I like to take my second cup of coffee up here and sit and watch the sun come up and dream my dreams. DH bought the oriental rug, too. At first I thought it was a really bad idea to have a rug like that in a painting studio, but it gives a certain warmth to the room and really doesn't show the mess as much as you would think.

My holiday gift making is coming along quite nicely. I have been spending quite a lot of time in this room, gluing, cutting, folding, creating and enjoying the process. It is a very different experience than running to the mall and buying stuff. Much quieter. I pour a glass of wine, put on my apron and begin. This week-end I should be finishing, though there always seems to be a few more things I could put together. I cleared much of the makings away last night and rediscovered a sheet of watercolor paper with a waiting sketch, a primed canvas with a post it telling me what it wanted to be and a stack of thrifted canvases waiting for something to happen. Hmmm. My Christmassing will happen mostly on the 17th and the 21st. The Actual Christmas Eve service will be just that. no dinner, no gifts. Not much happening at all, which may be a better thing than I expect. It may be a gift of quiet time. Sanctuario. Contemplation. All of that has it's own magic.

This week-end is also a respite of sorts. Dh will be off hunting with his friends. I will have time and quiet. Funny how valuable that becomes. I was reading another blog where the writer contended that after a certain age we dreamed many dreams but seldom manifested much. She posited many reasons for that, focusing on a lack of energy as the main cause. I would say not a lack but a defusion of energies. Refocusing seems to be the main trick at this point in life. Constant refocusing, which means quite time and time to breath. This afternoon I will go off to lake and do my walk through the bird nice that they share theirs with me. Then some grocery shopping for things to bake treats with. No, I won;t be eating them, they will go off to be sold at my church fundraiser. Then the evening will be spent in this quiet room , finishing a hand bound journal for our minister and maybe the pixie face in a rosebud that is sketched out on that watercolor paper.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pointsettia !!!!

I signed up for a mystery holiday tour with a tour guide who has gained some reknown for excellent local tours. As I am still a stranger in a very strange land, I grab onto these things every once in awhile. This one started out with a fairyland of reds and pinks. MILES of reds and pinks. It was amazing. Every variation you could imagine and then some.
Some looked as if they had been splashed with enthusaiastic splatters of paint, some were artistically edged in contrasting colors. You could certainly play interior or exterior designer to your hearts content. My own heart was won by a tiny red lovely with whirled and and deeply folded hearts called "winter rose" that did look more like a rose than a pointsettia. The tale was told that these were Southern transplants from faraway Mexico. I remembered seeing them growing outdoors in huge bushes in South Texas and thinking how wonderful they were. Last winter I received a few as gifts and thought how sad they looked trapped in pots. Like me.
They appeared pretty darn impressive in the green houses. RED just seemed to go on forever. RED seemed to fill your eyes and heart. One of my most favorite scenes in a play was in a production I saw in Santa Fe in a play about my beloved Georgia O'Keefe. In the scene, she is hacking away at a huge canvas in her studio, working the paint. REALLY working it. Steiglitz comes in. She steps back and he wanders in front of the canvas. she collapses into a chair, wiping her hands on a rag. She looks at him, looking at her painting. He is silent. Finally she asks him what he thinks. He says "Well. it is very RED. Why is it so RED?". She stares at him like he just arrives from Mars, shakes her head, straightens her spine and head and answers (you know I LOVE this) " It is RED because I was feeling RED"Of course he looks astounded. She hardly painted at all when she was at his upstate NY home, she had to escape to New Mexico. I UNDERSTAND !!!!!!!!!!

So I escape when I can and paint when I can and these babies are calling for cadmium red, alizarin crimson and all the quinacridone colors on my palette. Bouncing all those reds off some yellow greens and deep rich blue greens. Ahh, good enough to eat. Well ,it will keep me from eating. Look at those creamy white ones. Yummmmm
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wild Woman with a brush

People always ask what I paint. I paint what I like. The day I painted these wonderful juicy trees, some dear friends invited me a sailing on there dream boat. It was a magically luminous day that glowed autumn colors. My camera clicked away. when I got home, I printed out the photos and arrnaged them across my work table. Then I squeezed out some paint and began to play. No, not one of those photos had an orange sky or turquoise trees, but my heart did and so the paper did. I gave the painting to my friends as slightly over sized thank you card. They seemed to like it. I want to paint another one like it and keep it for myself, I think.
Now this one is different, n'est pas ? I do enjoy still life..very much like landscapes, but tiny, tiny, tiny. I built this one on my work table. My husband wonders where things disappear to. the letters are part of a sign that says "Imagine". The bird is part of a collection of toys birds that live in my studio. the very lovely teacup I inherited from my Mother in Law. She collected them and the collection was divided between the siblings and this is one of the very lovliest of teacups. I have sketched and scribbled nearly all of them and now I am working on doing all of them in watercolor. some are becoming very abstract. This one remained very well behaved. I think the birdie kept everyone in line and well arranged.. I love the shadows in this one. Shadows are my new friends in still lifes. You can really dump a lot of color and composition in shadows. The gold trim was fun to do. I loved looking at gold things in Rennaisance paintings. they made things really look so golden without using any real gold. It's all about high and low lights.

From the detailed to the simple. In this one I wanted it to be all about what I left out. How simple could I be and still say all I needed to say. The little figure was pretty simple to begin with, but the shell was pretty complex. Colors needed to be simple. shapes needed to be simple. Light, simple. I studied Oriental painting in NYC for years. I loved Japanese scrolls, Sumi-e, the utter elegance of black ink painting. I literally scraped pennies together to pay for my lessons. I still love the elegance of those compostions. I can sit for hours in the scroll rooms at an art museum just soaking it in. I really like the concept of simple living and at times have aimed for it, but my love of books and art making and cooking and... and..... and....well, all that seems to come with stuff. The very nice thing about art is that on that wonderful pure sheet of paper you can create whatever world you want..a simple elegant haiku, a jazzy colorful song or a shadowed elegance. It is one of the many things I love. Lewis Carroll Knew well that Alice could find so many worlds down her rabbit hole. My rabbit hole has paint and paper and brushes and says "paint me".
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Start here

Imagine. I love this sign. It is where I begin. Imagine what you want to happen then go for it. This is the place it happens. Right now it is a happy mess of paper, glue, sparkles and paint as Christmas gifties emerge from the stacks of pretty stuff. The gifts for my Sacred Space group will be the first things out of the gate as the party will be the third Wednesday of December. There is a very informal gift exchange and all gifts must be handmade. They range from bookmarks to wonderful boxes filled with the treasures of the Littlest Angel. Last year I was the newbie and came with no gifts. This year there will be journals crafted from dollar store composition books and the very best of my paper stash. I am having great fun making each more magical than the last. what fun.

My holidays are slowly evolving. Thanksgiving to be spent with my in-laws..unremarkable except for my own plans for some small kitchen renovations and Decorating. There will be a one day Christmas journey..a mystery tour I signed up with that promises some wonder. A Christmas feast for women in a safe house complete with gifts. Of course, the midnight mass with lit candles and familiar songs. I am toying with the idea of a Christmas coffee..nothing huge. Just coffee, cookies, sweet nibbles and Christmas tunes, a nice warm blaze in the fireplace. Invite all those folks that are friends as well as family. Ok, maybe a hot toddy and mulled wine.

Maybe I'll just hibernate with a good book, make a pizza and paint a Christmas cookie or three.

Down another two pounds this week. Up a drawing of a gingerbread man that found its way to friend's hospital room. she's still giggling over the fact that as I grow smaller, the pile of sweet drawings grows bigger.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Warm places

My own starry night to weave dream around and into. A lovely escape from all the gray cold already creeping into my cubbies and hiding places. A glance at the weather says snow flurries this week end. Oh did I really go sailing just two short weeks ago ? Can I sail away now into this starry starry night. Just a short escape from flourescent lights and emails and all that techno stuff.
Ah, that's better. I ran out to get a 2009 planner. The brightest I could find. Mary Englebreit has done a special one as a fund raiser for the local library. It's her library, too. She visits often I hear. I carefully marked off the first week in May. My escape to the shore, a few days of wild painting, a few days of wandering the beaches. A few blessed days to let my hair be wild beneath a pretty scarf and collect sand in my shoes and tote bag. A few days to be a sea creature. Oh yes. Oh yes. some, when they are Old Women shall purple. I will wear seashells and bright pink colors upon my toes. I will twirl in the very wildest of gypsy skirts and dance in the surf in the full of the moon. When I am an Old Women. ....Oh why should I wait. May shall come and I shall do as I please for seven long days.
And eat only the finest of things.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 10, 2008

Breakfast companions

Pink elephants and blue pigs.

That's what happens when you get up at 5:00 AM. Obviously this was taken a little later, with a little more sunshine, but these guys do live in my kitchen. the elephant gives me the giggles everytime I focus on him. You see I have these pepto bismol pink vertical blinds hanging in the kitchen. DH says they stay. I actually contemplated spray painting them. then I thought if you get lemons, you make lemonade, if you get pink blinds you make a pink kitchen. A pink kitchen ? Me ? Only if it is a really different kind of pink kitchen. so the elephant came as a muse. The pig has been a muse for a long time. He is a leftover from a business I was involved in when I lived in Santa Fe...a lot of fun actually....a heartbreak to leave. The cup is one of my favorite coffeecups. I love cups with something INSIDE. I had a cup with a little boy at the bottom..a figure that popped up through your milk as you drank it...another one with a frog. Hard to find things like that. this one has a rose on the side. I have a porcelain mug with a butterfly on the inside.

So I won a giveaway on a blog called Tuttichic. Check her out. Very cool. One of the many wonderful things included a set of chargers with pink stripes and wonderful vintage fleurs. I think I am going to hang them in the kitchen, then hunt down some retro pink curtains..something with stripes..or pink elephants....maybe both. DH is going out of town this week-end. He may come back to something that goes with those pepto blinds....or he may be suddenly inspired to trade them in for the soft beige woven blinds I have circled in a conveniently placed catalog.

Oh, and I haven't been speaking to my blow dryer for two weeks. Not a major tiff, just not involved. this means my hair is a wild semi curly wavy wild woman on the loose kind of thing. I tease it and fluff it into shape every morning, but otherwise leave it alone. I've gotten complements from total strangers and even a flirt or two. DH just verbalized something this morning. "your hair looks crinkly".

"yes, it does" as I waltzed out the door. I wonder if I can find a bejeweled pink elephant clip for my hair ?????

"I am not eccentric. I am simply an electric Eel in a goldfish pond"...can't remember who said that...but I love the quote.

I am not eccentric. I am simply a pink elephant waddling around Saint Louis.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 7, 2008

Weight Watchers

The Secret has been a rendevous on Monday every noon time. A Pass book hidden in the depths of my purse. Mail quickly snapped from the mailbox.

The Secret has been running off to try on new jeans...and even buying a pair as gift to myself. Size 8.

Then having them feel just a little too big a mere two weeks later.


But Secrets are so hard to keep. They leak out at the corners. They peek out at the edges. All of a sudden you don't want to draw seashells or empty teacups. You want to draw a luscious cranberry tart. A lovely lollipop. A bright red apple. Ok. You are going to eat the apple and draw the goodies because if you are busy drawing them you are NOT eating them.

The pencils are Inktense watercolor pencils, my new passion if I can't eat that *&%$ tart. The journal is a lovely handmade one I made for me back in Vegas and need to fill with yummy goodness. The beautiful plate holding my pencils and lollipop is a thrift find...I could not resist the color and gilding. It was actually pretty expensive for thrifting..$10., and I didn't quite know what I was going to do with it until I got home and put it down on the table next to the tin holding my pencils and realized they needed an upgrade. It's perfect. I love having it out on my library table and it encourges me to sketch away.

Oh, the Secret. Eight pounds so far. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but I am very short so it is enough to make a noticeable difference. I am afraid I gained a bit with a slipped disc and migraines and all that sad stuff of having to lay very still so my head wouldn't fall off. I really joined Weight Watchers so I would be forced to toe the line every week. It's actually been fun to get my little sticker and stars and try new salads and such. Today I have a warm bean salad along with marinated artichoke hearts and lovely homemade corn muffins for my lunch. I eat a very light dinner which lets me sleep better. OK, truth is , I fall unconscious from exhaustion, but having an empty tummy helps me stay asleep. Lots of veggies and fruits, which I love anyway. Early morning walks and hikes along the lake get me fresh air and exercise and every week I get just a little bit smaller.

Like Alice.

Maybe I should paint a few Flamingos.

So I think I am painting some creme brule this week-end. Maybe a few quick cupcakes.

Shhhh. don't tell anyone.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Good Life

Ok, Nasties are over. the sun is shining and life is good. I have been scribbling madly with my Inktense pencils and loving them dearly. I excavated my good art journal with the decent paper in it and began with a sketch of a lovely cranberry tart. I also have a watercolor going of some pistachio cupcakes. do we see a pattern here ? I've lost seven pounds in six weeks, so if I can't eat the darn things, I'll draw them, paint them, eat them with my eyes and devour them with color. It actually works. then I'll have a pretty stack to do the kitchen with !!!!

I do get to feeling sorry for myself and perhaps I had few good reasons, but it's time to get up and do something. I volunteered at the church for a mission to work with the local safe house for abused women. Christmas always depresses me because DH never wants to do anything special. WE do up Hannukah, but ignore my christmas..well, he tried last year, but we wound up eating pizza on Christmas Day. well, this year I'll be serving up a Christmas dinner at the safe house. Also be teaching a few Art classes. so I am off and running again. It would be nice to get some $$$ somewhere along the line and I am sure I will. these dessert paintings should make someone drool.

nonfat desserts.

Ok, I'll photo them over the week-end. I'll need to pick up a few models, too. The fun part will be letting DH eat them when I am done. I guess I'll have to work a little bit faster. Maybe pick them up on thursday and sketch on Thursday night, start painting on Friday and finish up on Saturday. DH gets a fine dessert on Sunday. this could work.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 24, 2008

Temporarily Out of circulation

Ok, I still can't get into the Romance of Autumn everyone else in Blogland is waxing poetic about. I am not disparaging that approach one bit. I wish I could put that cap upon my pointy head. It just doesn't fit.

I sat at the window this morning, quietly sipping my Autumn spice coffee while burning a Yankee Candle Candy corn candle. I am working it, folks. I am working it. Handmade quilt tucked around my feet. I had just changed out all the table dressings last night from flower fairy houses to gilded pumpkins.


It's cold and damp. My DH has pumped up the heat so high my sinuses are blasted far worse than any desert wind ever dared. I either dehydrate or shiver and nothing in between.

Oh, I am whining a good one, am I not.

The painting, then. At one point , I had decided I would never, ever paint flowers because every watercolorist under the sun did flowers thereby creating the very definition of trite.

The problem is, Watercolor is perfect for flowers...and I LOVE flowers. So I batted it around my pointy little head and came up with these taped down beauties. No vase. Flowers in bondage. A bit dark, so I used soft colors. I like it. I want to do more along this line, maybe throw in some gold leaf and collage. Maybe let it get darker still and be what it is. though I am still kind of stuck on these orangey, pinkie reds. Can you see Mums taped down to some crumpled tissue, maybe a bent a twisted tag sadly blowing in the breeze ?Some misty painted daisies, alittle bent, a little bedraggled pasted to some corrugated cardboard.

I just realized where this is coming from. When I was in High School, I was always out of school with some weird thing..anemia for the most part. It still bothers me. My DH finds it tedious. Anyway. I was taking an art class, which I just plain adored. It was an entire hour of blessed heaven. The teacher had to kick me out at the end of each class. We began a still life of daffodills in a bucket and we were working in watercolor, so you know I was one happy camper, but I somehow missed a class and when I got back, the daffodils were pretty much done, very wilted and turning brown. Pretty darn sad looking. Poor things. They looked like I felt. the rest of the class was finishing up their work or starting another project, but I sat down with the dead and dying and painted away. In fact, I came back on my lunch hour and after school. The teacher must have been in a patient mood because she let me. I finished my painting and handed it in.

A few weeks later there was an open house for the parents. Part of the program was an art show. Yeah, the art teacher framed and hung my daffodils. I remember they looked pretty great. I also remember bringing them home and no one wanting to hang them up because they were dead daffodils.

You would think I would have learned something.

Must be the pointy head thing. Stuff tends to just run off.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh Yeah

This is about how I have been feeling recently. I would really like to wax poetic about Autumn leaves and moonlit nights but that just isn't the vibe of late. It's more like this wild jungle goddess with her Eagle familiar ready to do battle and just pulverize anything that gets too darn close.

What's all that about?

I know it has something to do with all of the physical challenges I've been dealing with and fighting my way back from all of that. I know it has an emotional aspect to it, too.

There is a new sign on my desk that says :

"Practice Positive habits Gently"

And I want Jane the Jungle Queen to bat someone upside the head.

Not Gently.

I think I had one too many ego bruises last week. It seems they came pretty regularly from almost every direction. Nothing seemed safe. Nowhere seemed safe. By Friday evening, my husband delivered what to him was probably an innocuous statement and to me was the bombshell to break the wall. It crumbled. Completely. I wanted to crawl under something. I wanted to go into a darkness that would not ever become light. I wanted to deny myself breath. But something else came up out of the tears and pain. The utter futility of life at that moment evolved into an image, a thing separate, yet within me.Not what I expected. She looked a lot like Nikki's goddess. Probably not as round. A lot sharper, a lot meaner. More claws and nasty edges. You wouldn't want to meet her in a dark alley. She settled in and just about dared anyone to mess with her. She scared even me. Then I realized she was there to protect me. She tucked me into bed and told me to rest...and I did. Slept pretty darn good. She is now my favorite bedtime story.

She's been hanging around ever since.

Now don't tell me I'm losing it. Obviously Nikki knew who she was. Look at the sculpture. It's the same gal. I'm sure mine has that Eagle thing around somewhere. Maybe this dark One comes to bruised art girls to glue us back together when we get too banged up. Maybe she is a soul shield to keep that part of us safe from those world bruises.

There is a legend thousands of years old of a Black Madonna, always a dark One shielding a small soul. Guarding. Protecting. Fiercely holding off those who would bruise and tear and take down those who try to look up. There were temples built to her, then churches built over her temples because the ground was considered so sacred. Chartres Cathedral is one such site. There is another in Poland. On and on. Think of Kali. Same gal, I think. All those skulls are a real give away.

I need her right now.

I don't know how I got so fragile. I always thought of myself as a sort of tough gal, but I know I need that dark One and her protection.

I hope the Eagle comes, too.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nikki and company

Doesn't this guy look like a fine Halloween treat ? He's been sitting in the Missouri Botanical Gardens all summer long. His head is filled with summer blue and has a wonderful bench to sit on and dream fine dreams. You can peek out at the blossoms through his teeth. He has to be the lovliest skull I have ever seen. all that color is fine glass mosaic. there were so many lovely sculptures there this summer. I think they go away next month, but I did get some lovely photos to share and inspire and dream with. I actually liked the Nikki sculptures better than the Chilhuly glass. the glass competed too much with the flowers and I think they got jealous. Nikki's work made the garden feel like a giant playground and I just loved it.
Of course, Chilhuly is a master. don't you love the way the light bounced off this elegant creature ? I can't decide if its a bird or a flower. Maybe both. I love glass and I do love Chilhuly's work. When I lived in Vegas, one of my favorite haunts was the entryway of the Bellagio. He had done the entire ceiling with his flower shapes. I don't know if any of the Vegas denizens ever looked up to enjoy them, but I would throw myself into one of the lounge chairs and just stare happily at all that eye candy. Vegas had a lot of stuff, but not a lot of real art. The Bellagio was the first exception to that. Just beyond that lounge was a wonderful garden room that changed with each season. they flew in Martha Stewart every christmas to do the Christmas tree.

OK, so I am back and hope to post a little more regularly. I have been teaching a fun art class, making jewlery, trying my hand at stenciling with multiple registration stencils and all sorts of fun stuff. My newest promise to self is to attach this little camera to myself and share some of those treats with you. So hang in there !!!!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sea Dreams

I am so with this sculpture ! I have been craving the sea for some time now. Last November I was able to spend two entire weeks in a beach house in California. I had not taken a real vacation in decades and it was a dream come true. Now I am craving MORE. I don't need it to be California...any beach will do.

Tuesday is my thrifting day. Most weeks I go to a particular, very small shop in an upscale area, then once a month I go to a megastore. In between there are various antique malls and yard sales. Today I was hunting for sweaters as a chill creeps into the air. This desert girl is still lacking a killer winter wardrobe. I am still hunting for cute coats, boots, whatever I need to get me throuogh these Midwest ice storms. Well, today I scored a wonderful pair of soft, soft corduroy pants in a gray paisley and a silk sweater with very understated beadwork to go with them. I am not exactly a sweatshirt and jeans kind of girl and running suits are for running. since these two items were only a few dollars, I can paint in them with a clear conscience and still look cute if I have to dash out with my DH.

I had almost escaped the shop when I glanced into an etagere near the door and there, in all of its glory was the most amazing blown glass paperweight. the bottom portion is a swirl of cerulean and white, creatinga bed of ocean waves. A gold and blue fountain leaps up from the center and falls in a glory of bubbles and topping that jet of glassy water are three wonderful dancing dolphins!!! I LOVE DOLPHINS. I was enchanted by a pod that lived off the shore of the beach house in California and I visited them every single day..sometimes for an hour or two. What magical creatures ! I tried to find a memento of them in San diego, but anything that wasn't a cast plaster nightmare made in China was prohibitively priced so I returned empty handed.

So I traipsed back to the counter and asked how much is that dolphin in the window ? Yep, I really did. The lovely volunteer went oout with her key and removed it. She told me it was a little pricey as it was handmade and all that. I could feel my heart sinking into my shoes when I heard her say it was $10. TEN DOLLARS. IT WAS MINE !!!!!! She looked a little puzzled as I jumped up and down and said YES< YES< YES..kind of like that scene in "When Harry met Sally". You know which one I mean..where the little lady told the waitress she wanted to order whatever Sally had ordered.

So the dolphin filled ocean now sits on my desk and I grin every time I peak at it. There is a school of thought that says if you really want something you need to ask the universe on a very regular basis for that particular thing. Since I grew up on the Atlantic Ocean I thought the best possible request is to tap on the glass every once in awhile and whisper "There is no place like home, There is no place like home..."

I'll let you know if it works.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 15, 2008

carved rubber stamp art

AH ! I found it ! I thought I had a photo of the original project in here somewhere. These were designed as Valentine gifts for my Sacred Space group. Some are single, some divorced and I wanted to make sure everyone got a Valentine. I created and designed these without spending much cash...the only thing I purchased were the decorative studs holding the ribbon on. The papers were all free in many years worth of "Somerset Studio" magazine. Some issues had as many as four sheets of printed papers. I tore them all out at the beginning of the year so I would use them. There are two designed papers on each heart, front and back. I cut out the hearts, pasted them together with glue stick, then edged them with a gilding pen.

I carved the stamp out of EZ Kut, which is very much like a thick sheet of rubber eraser. it carves very easily and I love working with it. I can carve a pretty intricate stamp in less than an hour and a simple one in minutes. This one is based on an antique paper cut which I adapted by adding the heart balloons and puppy. I used a black "Chalk" ink pad to stamp the image. the ribbons were what I had lying around from other projects as were the rhinestone jewels. The lettering is done with a "Glaze" gel pen in black. It is kind of thick and you can manage some tapered strokes with it.

They were all tucked into a lovely white basket lined with a lovely floral fabric desgined by another artist friend and were delivered to my church group. I actually had quite a few leftovers as I had gotten just a little carried away making them, so I just wandered through the building hanging them on doorknobs, musical instruments, brooms, whatever. It was such a wonderful expreience to be a secret valentine to folks I really didn't even know.

A few months later one of the friends from Sacred Space asked if I would make 30 of them for her special group. She wanted mostly yellow and white as colors and we chose a pink, yellow and white ribbon and plain round studs in various shades of yellow. She is calligraphing them herself , but my little parade gets to march on !!!!

I've cut a few more "shadow" figure stamps and have more planned. My next project is a Halloween Raven Heart. Ooooooh Scary! Maybe he'll get a rhinestone neck chain to sparkle plenty with.
Posted by Picasa

Magica Pajamica Investments

Let's see, I've got my comfy travel shoes on, my magic pajamas. Yep, I am ready for take-off !!!

I am still limping around with a slipped disc, but that can't hold me down for long. I attended a wonderful parade on Saturday followed up with a trot to a great art festival where I invested heavily in handmade soap, vintage postcards and a giant ice cream cone that seemed to amaze everyone I passed with it. Seems like my investments are more stabile than those of Lehman Brothers. EEk !

My dear Husband invested in pounds of seafood and roasts on Friday so we have been nibbling home cooked chicken wings, lime marinaded turkey roast and a huge home made batch of gravlax......which is a marinated salmon that comes out very much like lox, but can be made in your refridgerator. I traded a professional chef painting lessons for cooking lessons and this is one of my treasures. Dh loves it and it is actually very easy to make and serve. All I have to do this evening is slice it up and serve with bagels and cream cheese. OK, mine will be with a 100 calorie english muffin and low fat laughing cow cheese.

Sunday was dedicated to finishing an art project for a friend. I made a handcarved rubber stamp and she wanted it used on these wonderful heart shaped door hangers I make. with all the carving and designing out of the way, they went together pretty darn fast, so I may be doing some seasonal designs..Halloween is already on the drawing ttable.

My art classes begin this week and I am hoping to post some photos from the class !!!!

Happy painting !!!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Coming in for a landing

OK, I am, more or less, back in the land of the living. The past month was a rough one and I feel like I am coming out of a very dark tunnel. ARGH!!!!

This piece is for my nephew's wedding. He and his so sweet fiance asked for a painting. I had painted on animal bones I found in the desert at one time and given one to my darling nephew when he was a child. He carried it around for years as he bounced from home to home and finally lost it. Now that he is a grown up, engaged New Jersey Police Officer, he figures he can chance another piece of Auntie Diva's artwork. What I enjoyed about this one was the revelation that my new Midwestern River city home is so perfect for wet in wet techniques. I am loving it! I went to college in another River City not too far from here and fell hopelessly in love with watercolor. I not only took my regular art degree classes at that time, I signed up for extra classes at the local city art center ! Talk about gluttony ! I loved it so much and still do. It is magical the way color flow and mix on the paper. You only think you are in control. Most of the time I feel like there is some deeper creature within that is really directing the paint and running the show. Sometimes I sincerely believe it is an angel on my shoulder.

Well, there has been an angel smiling on me the past few days. My spirit seems to be coming back to the fore and wants to play. It was so gloriously beautiful out this afternoon. I made a lunch hour run to Michael's for some acrylics for my stencilling adventure..I am stenciling a very baroque seashell and vine design on my bathroom walls, almost near the ceiling. I will have to photo my bathroom. It is a little over the top. Maybe a spa ay be a more correct term. I had a wonderful slipper chair I inherited from my MIL reupholstered in a blue and cream damask. There are paintings on the walls, wonderful brass fixtures. I can actually hide in there for hours at a time. I even have a portable DVD player that I can set up so I have something to divert my attention while my pedicure dries.

Well, I am a Diva..and work darn hard at it !

So when I went to visit my family in NJ, I stayed with my brother who had just moved into a new home. Divorce. Ouch. I was so afraid he had moved into a bleak empty apartment with blank walls and no furniture. Not so. He has a wonderful casita. The woman who rented it to him is an Interior Designer. She and her mother had lived there until Mom passed away and she got married. Moving into her husband's home left the darling bungalow open. She put it up for rent and my brother hooked it. Everything is gorgeously decorated. You can tell there was a shoestring budget, but a very creative mind. She invested in a few cute stencils and went wild. Very shabby chic, but the colors are soft blues and greens with lots of white so my bro didn't pass out with sugar overload. He did take the blue toile seatcovers with the large blue ribbon bows off of the dining room chairs. Everyone has their limits.

so I was enchanted by the concept of all these wonderful flourishes and florals. OK, so this is the Diva speaking. I started looking at stencils and all I found were grapes and bows. Save me. So I hit the internet and found this killer resource for stencils and wound up spending $100 just on stencils. OK, so I got the shells and garland; a set of poppy designs and a full color catalog and stencil guide..which they charged $15 for, but was so worth it. That's how I wound up at Michael's buying paint. I can't wait to get going on this. If my husband were not home, I would have gone straight home and started painting !!! Duty is a b****. I sit in my office typing away, wishing I was out wandering.

It's good to be back.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sweet Friend

This is my Shadow. What a wonderful fuzzy friend. We were gal pals; gave the "boys" heck when they misbehaved and had a lot of great road trips together. She was my shadow in more ways than one. I always had to be careful when I was working in the kitchen if I stepped back to quickly and wound up stepping on her !

Shadow was diagnosed with liver cancer almost a year ago. The vet, who happens to be my brother-in-law guessed she had only a month or two at most. She hung out for almost a year. Yes, she got slower and slept more. There were horrible growths visible on her side and ear, but they didn't seem to be painful. She was always happy to be petted and cuddled and loved as much as anyone wanted to. We had a tradition. After I finished dinner and cleaning the litchen, my husband would take our male Gordon Setter downstairs to check emails, etc. Shadow and I would wander into the den. I would sit down on the floor and she would throw herself down almost on top of me and we would just sit and love each other. What a great way to end the day.

As she became weaker, she wanted to sleep next to my side of the bed, with a fan on her. She loved cooler temperatures. HOwever, she was restless and had a hard time getting comfortable, so she would move around on her bed, off her bed, in front of the fan, whereever ! I often get up at night and had trouble avoiding stepping on her in the dark, so I began to keep a flashlight by the bed and checked on her everytime I got up.

Last week-end I went to New Jersey to visit my Dad, who is also fighting multiple cancers through out his body. I wanted to visit him while he knew I was there. It was the right thing to do, but on the day I traveled back home, my Shadow left us in her sleep. Quiet and good as she always was.

In reading over this, I don't want you to get the idea she was a marshmallow lap dog. she was a trained hunter and even had a short career as a show dog. She had her show prance down pat. It was adorable, but she was comparatively small for a show dog. She was raised on a hunting preserve and was a great little hunter. I hunted pheasant over her many times and she was patient with my poor shooting skills, but retreived the bird when I did hit it, prancing back, as excited as I was over our success.

So I had a dream last night. She was patiently staring at her lead, meaning she wanted to go for a trot. I would sometimes be a very slow human about her desires on this so she would make a point of getting me out to the garage by pretending she needed to go out. then she would stop in front of the rack that held the leads and stare at the lead, teh stare at me and go back and forth until it sunk in that a potty stop was not what she wanted. In the dream, I put the lead on her and off we went. somehow we wound up in this beautiful golden field. I had no doubt there was plenty of birds out there so I stopped and took off her lead telling her we sure didn't need it anymore. She ran off through the field, galloping along looking more like a dolphin leaping through waves than a gordon setter bouncing through a golden field. Then there was someone else in the field. I couldn't see the person, but I knew it was OK. It was more than OK. this person was going to be better for my Shadow than I could ever be. She stopped and saw this person and stared for a long time. then she looked back at me..for a long time. I told her she had to go. it was allright, and I would be along soon. Off she went and that very Good Shepherd turned and they both walked away.

It was actually a very good dream.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I have been drooling over Somerset Studios new Art Blogging publication. A steep $15 and worht every penny. I so appreciate hearing about how other art bloggers struggled with banners, postings, etc. At least I know I am not alone. I was especially impressed by the fact that some bloggers had some very specific purposes for their blogs...providing lessons, sharing designs etc. It's real food for thought as I was lamost ready to completely revamp this blog in favor of another concept. I think what I may do is start a separate blog and see how that works.

All that for another day.

An observation: this morning I awake five minutes prior to the alarm going off. I love my current alarm clock in that it starts with a soft beeping that gets louder as it progresses. Most of the time I can shut it off before it wakes my DH. This morning I was pleased that I had slept the entire night through and was moving a litle better than the previous morning. After a quick breakfast I wandered upstairs to the studio, put on my apron, took off my shoes...I work so much better in bare feet...and just hit it. I opened a visual journal I am working on with some very specific prompts. An image had been cooking for days and today was the day for it to jump onto the page. I worked non-stop for an entire hour. WHEW ! The image was extremely cathartic and no, I cannot share it. What I do want to share is that there was a definite afterburn.

My mind was off in the creative stratosphere for the rest of the morning. I was gigling to myself as images coalesced and came into focus..more...yes...more. No time to do them now, but I took notes, then went out to have a cup of coffee on the porch...more ideas started to just flow amazingly into my head ! A character formed, introduced herself and we chatted for an hour, I ran up to grab the journal and recorded as much as I could. while trying to fix my lunch, more flow ! ARGh, how could I capture it ???? DH would have a fit if I remained in the studio, so I got out of the house as fast as I could and drove to the lake. Off came the shoes..very important. Out came the journal and it was more like taking dictation than writing. I wrote for half an hour . then scribbled out a very comprhensive list of things to do before I fly off to NJ. After all that, I was grateful I had packed my lunch as I was famished. another surprise as the meds have stolen my apetite, but I ate a luna bar and a peach and a handful of crackers.

The lake was just breezes. Oh I wanted to spend the rest of the day there happily painting. A future goal. I did get my shoes back on and take a little walk along the beach to a lovely waterfall and just hung out there wondering what had happened to me this morning. Is this the legendary Muse ? I can't say if what I painted and wrote was good or bad, but it sure did flow.

Steven Pressfield would say that my showing up in the studio every day at the same time finally paid off. Maybe that is true. the watercolor I posted at the beginning of this entry happened in a very similar fashion. I had painted several versions of the bouquet and teapot and none pleased me. they were carefully considered , heavily labored watercolors that looked stiff and ugly. this one was sketched in fifteen minutes, the composition coming from my head. The painting done in another fifteen minutes.

Trust Yourself. I think that's the lesson. Trust your creativity and it will flow.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 11, 2008

Migraine cures

Oh, I need to be doing this......running like a wild thing through some lovely magical flowers, playing tag with a good friend ! No cares of migraines and crumbly bones. No achies and breakies. Just a wild bit if fun.

I truly believe that would be highly curative of many ills, not just my own woes. there is a happy balance of serious business and wild child running free and it is a happy place. This piece is in my small watercolor sketchbook and it was an experiment. I had been working on a floral still life using a color copy from my printer. It had run it's course and I was getting ready to throw it out when I read that one could transfer just such a copy by dousing it with Tequila. Viewing the fact that I have been transferred into many amazing places with a dousing of Tequila, I decided to try it...on the copy, not me, my Tequila days are near done. The results were pretty amazing. The colors transferred with such intensity they actually leaked right through the papaer onto the next sheet !!!. I added some watercolor details, then the little dancing things at the top.

So here's the wild child plan for today. A dear friend has informed me migraine sufferers are a certain slightly rigid perfectionist sort. To counteract that tension and folly, one must add...another folly !!!! I am running off to Old St. Charles in search of jalapeno popcorn to bring my brother on my upcoming visit. He is fond of the stuff, as am I and a shop specializing in spicies of all kinds sits in this quaint village. There is also an art museum which I may need to visit and a river perfect for lunching near.

I am leading my spiritual group this Wednesday..a desperate measure on their part. My theme may just be rivers. I'll let you know !!!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Once upon a time in the land of Enchantment, on a high plateau in the middle of the desert lived three pretty great looking Mamacitas. Evil princes had bewitched them and made them believe they were very stupid beings hardly capable of driving off the plateau. However something magical happened when they finally met each other and began walking together across the mesa speaking of their dreams, which were not stupid at all. The more they walked together, the more real their dreams became. Excited, they ran home to tell their princes, who promptly put them all on mood altering drugs or locked them up in faraway towers.

Those mamacitas were pretty sad.

They thought the magic was gone. they thought their friends were gone. So they, all three picked up their magic paintbrushes and began to paint each other and the dreams they had shared. They painted stacks of paintings. Mountains of paintings. Enough paintings that they hid their mood altering drugs, climbed down from their towers and ran as fast as they could to city of Santa Fe. They ran straight into each others arms laughing so hard they could hardly breathe. their dreams swirled around them spinning into sparkling realities. They danced and sang and ate a lot of sweet things. They vowed to never return to the haunted plateau and live happily ever after. sometimes their dreams took them away from each other, but they always danced back together again to share more dreams and spin them into sparkly realities.

These mamacitas were dancing happy.

One day though, one of those happy dancers wanted to dance back up to that place. She did and the horrid princes cursed her. they beat her and called her stupid...and her heart broke into a hundred tiny pieces. Each and every single piece became a beautiful mariposa that fluttered down to the two remaining Mamacitas. They looked with tear filled faces on the beautiful mariposas, seeing how they sparkled like no other butterflies had ever sparkled. They knew their friend had moved to another place way beyond the Sangre de Cristos. They cried for so long that the Rio Grande overflowed its banks and the Pueblos on the river came to them and begged them to stop. When they did, the mariposas were all gone and the full blue moon, which had been a special love of their friend, rose high over their heads and whispered that their friend was safe and happy and no one would ever beat her or make her hurt again.

The mamacitas were quiet.

They dusted off their dreams as well as a few of their beloved friends dreams and began to sing to them as they walked the mesa. They are still walking. They are still singing their dreams and if you are very quiet on nights of the full blue moon, you will hear a bit of their song and perhaps you may even see, in the glittering blue moonlight, a very sparkly mariposa.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 25, 2008

Love is all that I can give.....

This is actually a sketchbook page I began in California, played with in Nevada and finally finished in Missouri. Traveling art show !!!Not much traveling since November, but I will be off to New Jersey for a quick trip in a few weeks. In the mean time I am working away at my visual journal and needing to finish three 90% done pieces and get started on something new. I have some ideas and reference shots for a still life...we'll see how that goes.

This week-end my DH is going to be gone almost all day Saturday so I am thinking of how to optimize all that art time !!! I want to make a few new journals for gifts and could actually set up a line of work and just rock out. Then again I have an idea about setting up a shallow shelf of some sort to set up my still lifes on. Thirdly (is that a word??) I will have an opportunity to set things up elsewhere in the house and challenge myself to paint as quickly as possible. so many ideas, so few hours !!!! I should also go for a run, clean the house, do some laundry, vacuum, scrub the bathrooms and all that fun stuff. je refuse !!! I am tired of wearing myself out doing stuff that could really be done when DH is around and can maybe even help...OK I am on drugs with that last line.

Having free time..or husband free time as the case may be is like suddenly finding yourself with an extra, unexpected $100. You can come up with so many ways to spend it that you wind up going way over $100.

Gotta sit down and breathe.

I am going to do this: Pour myself a large glass of iced tea and go up into the studio. Clear my work table, get some clean water, put anything I can trip over away. Then I am going to pull out one of my sketch books..not a good one..One of the cheapies I sometimes get for free when I buy supplies at Dick Blick...pull out my pencils and start to draw. what to draw ????? Well, I'll either grab some fruit or already have some decandent pastry, slap it on a pretty plate and simply begin. The flip side, if no fruit or treat to eat when I am done ( after I do get in that run) is to pull something from my stack of reference photos and go for it.

A long time ago and in far away Santa Fe, I took a class in printmaking..specifically, monoprinting using plexi plates. It was wonderful. After the first year, the instructor allowed anyoone who had taken two or more classes to pay a "studio fee" vs, a more expensive class fee to come on and work. I thought that was heaven on earth. For a given amount I got to use the presses, a full palette of printing inks and mediums. I had to pay for my paper, but that was only a few dollars a sheet. I started dragging every art friend I had to this set up. I was amazed when some began to complain bitterly about how they couldn't just "turn on" inspiration to create work at a given hour and place. I was shocked. I planned every precious minute by making sure I had a sketch book full of value sketches, reference photos, hot coffee and the world's most bedraggled apron. I couldn't imagine waitng for inspiration to "strike". I went and set up every trap I knew to trap that sucker and bleed it dry in the 3-4 hours I had to work. I would finish with a stack of finished prints. Wonderful stuff that made use of my "ghost images", chine colle and anything else I could think of to furhter the process. One image would freed off the previous and they would develop like a movie. I could not understand this waiting around trick.

That said, I think I might have wasted some serious time waiting for the "right" moment to get back to my art work. There is never a right time, or an inspired time. There is only this moment. the one we have right now. Nike had it so right. don't think about it, don't do more than a moment's planning . Begin and the finish will follow as naturally as breathing.

There, that breath helped a whole bunch, didn't it ?
Posted by Picasa