"To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books.".....The Secret Teachings of All Ages

Monday, December 12, 2016

Make Mistakes, Make Good Art.

"Make interesting mistakes,
make amazing mistakes,
make glorious and fantastic mistakes.

And then.....

Husband runs off with a politician?
Make good art.
Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor?
Make good art.
IRS on your trail?
Make good art.
Cat exploded?
Make good art."

Break rules.
Leave the world more interesting for your being here.

Make good art."

Neil Gaiman, from a commencement speech given at the 
University of the Arts in Philadelphia, in May of 2012.

I found this quote in the book "Neil Gaiman the View from the Cheap Seats", a collection of his non-fiction - essays, speeches, book reviews, interviews, etc.  The book came from our local library, so I must give it back, but the book impressed me so much that I intend to find a used copy on line and buy it. This review of the book by the journalist and author Caitlin Moran explains exactly why I want my own copy.

"If this book came to you during a despairing night, by dawn you would believe in ideas and hope and humans again. This is a beautiful book."

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Motivational Slump

I admit, for the last month and especially after Tuesday's election, I have been pretty depressed. For lack of a better term, my "muse" has gone into hiding. I don't blame her.

There were two projects started.

 Back in September/October it was the cropped jacket experiment, the inspiration for which I found on Pinterest. I got as far customizing and futzing with making the pattern, getting the material, and cutting out the outer layer, which will eventually be stenciled and beaded. Part of the delay with this was the stencil I had intended to use just didn't work, so I will have to drive into the next county, hit the Michael's over there, and try to find one that works. The other setback was the work table I use for cutting out cloth and stenciling got buried under...stuff. So I had to clear that off...again. It seems to attract "stuff" like honey attracts bees. Then the election became utterly terrifying, and my worst nightmares came horrifyingly true. I cried! I actually cried over the results of an election! Unfortunately, I am still depressed. I decided to give myself time to grieve before attempting anything creative. I am afraid it would color in a negative way whatever I tried to do.

The other project was a painting I started toward the middle of summer. I love the concept, and I am really happy with the drawing. I struggled with the painting, but felt things were moving along okay. Then some outside circumstances put things on hold for a few weeks, then the light fixture over my drafting table wouldn't work, then the weather got cold and rainy (I work in the garage), then the election added to the gloom. For me, it was a no-win situation. Now the garage corner where I paint is cold, and because we get no sun until late in the day, if at all, my corner, even though the light fixture is working again, is still on the dark side. That is something that needs to be addressed. Also, some kind of heater will help with the cold, but it has to be radiant heat, not something with a fan, or the paint will dry too fast.

This probably sounds like a litany of "woe is me" and to a certain extent, I guess that's true. But when your soul is in such despair, it's really hard to get motivated. I look at my poor painting, which is pleading with me to finish it, and I have good intensions, and then...just can't. Until I can reboot myself, I have brought it into the house so it doesn't get dusty. Since it is in the same room as the computer, it also forces me to look at it guiltily every day. Maybe the guilt will eventually overpower the depression, or something will happen to get me fired up again. Or maybe a week or so to do nothing but read, work my horses, and just breath will solve the problem. At this point, I just don't know.

This is the progress/progression on Embrace the Night so far. The last photo was taken in the house today, which is why the colors look darker, although parts of the painting were darkened before I left it. At this stage, I consider the painting about halfway finished.

Hopefully, this artistic funk I am in won't last. Maybe I can entice my muse out of hiding with a nice glass of wine, one of my favorite art books, and a lovely chat about inspiration?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Firing The Old Girl Back Up...With Photos of Projects Past and Present.

Recently I got asked by a Facebook artist friend why I had let this blog site sit silent for so long. I told her it was because I didn't think anyone was really interested, and that most exchanges of info and photos was happening on FB rather than on blog sites. She agreed, but lamented the loss of the way blog sites used to be. I know there was one blog, Notes From the Voodoo Cafe, done by Rice Freeman-Zachary, that I loved to read, and listen to her pod casts, but eventually she dropped it all and went to FB. It made me sad.

So, I thought about it, and decided that I would fire this old girl back up, and do it just for me as a type of diary. I will post a notice on FB when I add something here, and those who are interested can ck it out, and those who aren't can ignore it. I may only post things once a month or so, but if it keeps me connected with a few other people out there, then that is all for the good.

This first post will be photos of projects that have been completed, and projects that are in the works. It would take too long to describe each one in detail, but at least it gives an overview of what I have been doing for the last few months, and what is coming.

Hope you enjoy.

Wedding circlet - commission

Stenciled T-Shirt

Beaded back stitch over stencil

Eco-print experiment

Near completion, The Message

The Message competed

Preliminary drawing for Embrace the Night 

There you have it. A run down of the things I have finished, and the latest painting in progress. There is also a cropped jacket sewing project going on as well, but I don't have photos of that yet. 

If you are so inclined, please leave a comment. It's nice to know there are actually people out there reading this. Thanks!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Two Projects Finished

In December I had two projects that were sitting around half done. The T-shirt with beading over a stencil, and the red sweatshirt sitting out on the work table in the garage with soap lines drawn on it, but nothing more.

The beaded T-shirt I completed right before Christmas, and wore it to the family champagne brunch we always do at our place Christmas morning. This is my first time doing beaded backstitch over a stencil and I ended up really like the results.

The photos make the shirt look greenish, but it is a lovely turquoise. I enjoyed beading over the stencil so much, that I want to try it again. Also, I volunteered to teach a class in April on the technique of beaded backstitch using a stencil as a template. My first time teaching a class, so that should be interesting!

The second project was the red sweatshirt. I had originally intended to cut it up the front and make a jacket out of it. After thinking it over, and taking an inventory of jackets, shrugs, and boleros that I already owned, I decided to go a different way, so I rubbed out the soap marks. And because the weather has been dark, gloomy and rainy, I wanted something bright and cheerful. So, I cut the sleeves shorter, cut the banding off from the neckline and the bottom edge, and added T-shirt binding leftover from other projects. The shoulder decoration is also made from leftover bolero projects. All of it hand stitched.  I wanted this to be a little funky, a style I don't usually do, so left all the knots and tails of thread showing. When I finished the stitching, I added small brass washers I had purchased a long time ago in the hardware department at Home Depot (a great source if bits and bobs, the hardware section).

This sweatshirt was very wide, but once I cut off the bottom binding and shortened the sleeves, it worked really well over a long-sleeved T-shirt, which is what I had in mind.  I may, at some point, go back and add beads (I have some small, fiery red ones that would look great), but for now I am calling it done.

The above photo shows how the binding strips go over the shoulder seam, so when I wear it, the decoration will show on both the front and the back of the sweatshirt.

The bands were sewn length-wise with embroidery thread, then sewn across with a running stitch done with regular sewing thread, as were the brass washers.

This turned out to be a great way to use up T-shirt bindings, and short lengths of embroidery thread leftover from other projects, and it was fun to do something a little outside my usual box.

Oh, and both garments came from the Goodwill Store.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Travels of the Amulet Seller

Ever since I finished the small painting The Amulet Seller I started thinking about a journal based on what her life might be like. Nothing fancy, with short entries describing her journeys with a band of gypsies, selling her handmade talismans and reading tarot cards. She has a love interest named Tadao, but they are not married. I don't know much more about her at this point, but as the journal progresses she will reveal more of herself to me.

Since I have a love/hate relationship with journals I don't know how fast this one will progress, but the idea has me pretty excited. The pages will be made up of my own drawings, stencils, and collage. I will do the text on the computer, because if I did it by hand, it would be a mess and unreadable. This is meant to be her (I don't even have a name for her yet) travel journal, so will reflect, over time, the wear and tear of being toted around from village to town, and over the long roads in-between.

We'll see how it goes. Here is the first page.

I also noticed, after I glued it down, and after I posted it here, that Spellcheck, that lovely, annoying automatic demon, changed varda to varga...or my dyslexia popped up, which is more probable. I corrected it with a pen on the original. At first it ticked me off having to go back and mark it, but then I thought, "Hey, she's a gypsy. Spelling might not be her forte either, same as me. Maybe she goes back and edits herself, like I do?" See, she has revealed something new about herself already!

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Amulet Seller — Progression

In this series of photos you can see the progression of the small painting The Amulet Seller, number four in the Gypsies series. In a previous post, I said that I had trouble with the drawing—didn't like it, but couldn't figure out why I didn't like it. I set it aside for about a month, in a place where I could look at it as I walked by. It slowly grew on me. Once I got paint on it, I liked it even better.

The Amulet Seller — Acrylic and Micron pen on illustration board, 10"x12."

I ended up really liking her narrow-eyed expression, as if she is thinking, "If you don't think my amulets will work, then piss off." I have several other ideas for paintings in this series, and have been doing a bit more research into the history of gypsies, their beliefs, and superstitions. All very interesting. Most of us have a rather romantic view of gypsies, but throughout history, their lifestyle has not been an easy one. In this series of paintings, I did not want to veer too close to a stereotype—you know, like the typical paintings or tinted photographs of smiling gypsy dancing girls with their tambourines. I want to keep the paintings respectful.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Two Recycle Projects

With the weather becoming more and more iffy, inside projects are nice, for the most part relaxing, and give me a few new items of clothing to wear. Here are the latest ones to keep me occupied when I'm in-between painting and cleaning horse stalls, and it's pouring rain outside.

The first is a turquoise T-shirt. It's a bit shorter than I like them, but it was only $2.99 at the Goodwill, so I bought it because I loved the color. I decided to stencil a design on the front then add either tulle or more T-shirt material to the bottom and sleeves. I have seen tulle added to shirts, and as long as it doesn't look too cutesy, I like it. So, black stencil design to be beaded, and then black tulle added to the hem.

The photos make the shirt look royal blue, but it isn't. The stencil is a Martha Stewart.

The little white mark at the center is made with soap, to help me line up the design.

I think I will add a small piece of T-shirt material on the inside of the shirt, behind the stencil design, to help carry the weight of the beads and stitching.

The next in line is a very wide sweatshirt, also purchased at the Goodwill. I want to make a jacket out of it, with elbow length sleeves.  I am always shoving the sleeves of sweaters, T-shirts and sweatshirts up my arm, so figured why not just cut this one off at that length. The lines on the front are made with soap to show the center, and then how much I am going to trim away from the front. This thing is REALLY wide (the size tag says M, but two medium sized people could fit inside it), so I will also have to figure out a way to take in the back. Maybe make something out of the leftover sleeve material— like the little mini belts on the back of jackets (I am sure they have a proper name, but I don't know what it is).

The T-shirts above it were laid out to see what trim color would work the best. I finally decided on the dark blue. The buttons and beads will go on last. Originally I had pulled out some very nautical looking brass buttons with anchors embossed on them, but decided it looked way too yacht club, preppy, proper, ladies-who-lunch, so I put those back in the button box and went with these mother of pearl ones, turned back side forward, with some old red buttons I dug out to be sewn on top.  This project may or may not work out. I have mixed feelings about it, so when I get it sewn up, if I don't really like it, I won't bother to add any decorations.

Here are both projects laid out on my big work table in the garage.

Those should keep me busy for a while. I am especially looking forward to stitching and beading the T-shirt. So, time to grab a book on CD, make a cup of tea, park myself in a comfy chair, and bead away.