A Step In The Right Direction

It’s late as usual, but today wasn’t about avoidance. To begin with I did only a very small watercolor today, but I honestly thought that this would be the day I didn’t accomplish anything. I have a horribleimage, horrible neck and shoulder  injury from a car accident, and some days it rears its ugly head and becomes painfully intolerable. Today was one of was one of those days.  From the moment I woke I was in pain.  All that aside I took a major step in the right direction to further my artistic self-esteem. I have a friend here in town that owns the Temecula Valley Cheese Shop. I had spoken to her more than a year ago about selling in her shop. At the time she agreed, but “not good enough” was a major influence in my life at the time. Basically, I chickened out. I changed that today. I made up several cards using my photography and brought them into her store. I start selling later this week.  Of course now I’m worried that no one will buy them. Surprised? You shouldn’t be, many years of self-doubt have taken more than their toll. Well, that and I’m Irish. As I tell Dan when you’re Irish the glass is not only not half full, it isn’t even half empty, its shattered on the floor.

So here is the tiny painting of today, pinched nerve and all.  I will follow with photos of a few of my cards. Wish me luck, and if you happen to be in the cheese shop and need a card….

Keeping My Promise

I kept my promise to myself today, I took the time for art. Of course I didn’t take the time until late afternoon. That was because “not good enough” came for a visit. I really don’t like the Mia drawing, and that got in my way. I finally decided that it was time for a change. Remember that this project is about cleaning out my artistic refrigerator. I went into my studio and looked for something different to create with. I decided on clay, the home-baked kind. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do, so I gathered my sculpting tools and headed out to the garden. I thought about flowers, but I wanted to do more than copy nature. I turned to my Pinterest boards for inspiration. The board with the most pins is about quotes. I believe I mentioned before how much I love words. I decided to make a three-dimensional sculpture illustrating a quote. I chose a quote by actress Helen Hayes, if you don’t know who she is look her up!  Of course loving words also means I love books, and we have more than our share in this house!

I love the quote, which states, “From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot in front of the other. But when books are opened, you discover you have wings.” I like the finished project, although it came out a little “crafty” for my taste. But here it is.IMG_9703

I also added another watercolor. It is a simple illustration with fine black marker added. Someone I love has been hurt and lied about. It is an illustration of how I have been feeling the last few days.

I can’t say or do anything. I feel helpless, angry and frustrated, thus “Voiceless”.


Old Lessons, and a Still Not Quite Complete Mia

I finished Mia this morning. Still not completely happy with the drawing, but I think I might have done better drawing a white cat on a paper with color and highlighting with white pencil or chalk. It’s what I had done on the earlier post of the drawing of my grandmother. Sometimes its best to walk away from a piece and revisit it later with a fresh pair of eyes.

I had a realization this morning. Again, when I started this blog I was excited and challenged, but as I wrote last night I find myself not getting to it until later and later each day. I told Dan this morning that it is becoming reminiscent of high school. I did take art in high school. I wanted it as early as sophomore year when I had my first shot at choosing an elective. However, my dad didn’t see the value of it. My electives were gobbled up by sewing and typing/ shorthand, all marketable skills for a young woman who was sentenced to no more expectation in life than that of a secretary or housewife. (Typing? Yes, I’m that old. My high school graduation gift was an electric typewriter, the latest model of course!) Junior year left me open for an elective of choice. At that point my dad had three of us in high school and was probably too busy to interfere. What I should have done was take Art 1, the basics, but what did I do? I took a few drawings and a painting into Mrs. Miller’s office and told her my sad story. She looked at my work and put me right into Art 2. I lost the opportunity to get the basics. I didn’t know any better…..back to the project.

The first few days of this project I was anxious to get to work every day. I truly was excited about what I would do next. Then my bad habit of putting myself last began to creep in just a little further every day. Cleaning, cooking, bill paying, watering the garden and so on. Finding little ways every day to push it further away.  Just like high school. I was excited to get into art, more so that I had been allowed to skip ahead, but as time wore on I began to not do assignments until the night before. There was a girl in my class who quite frankly couldn’t draw very well. We both turned in assignments for a graphic design project, she got an “A”, I got a “B”.  I was incredulous, my drawing was so much better than hers, at least technically. When I approached Mrs. Miller to complain she said, ” No she can’t draw as well as you, but I can see how hard she tried. You have so much talent, but you did that last night didn’t you?” I had to admit I had. She said, “I know what you can do, that’s why you get a “B”. I should have learned from that, but here I am so many years later doing the same thing. I am cheating myself each time I do this without my full effort and attention. Yes, sometimes my life will get in the way. Today my son is sick, but there are more than enough waking hours for me to fulfill my promise in every way possible.

Thank you Mrs. MillerImage

An Incomplete Mia

When I committed myself to this 365 project  I forgot to take a few things into consideration, mainly that I have a life! It isn’t as though prior to this I spent my days lazing about. I work every day, not at a job that involves a time clock, or a paycheck (my family couldn’t afford me), but I spend every day employed in the business of making a home. I have on occasion (usually because one of said family members has pissed me off) stated that mothers and housewives don’t get days off, or vacations, personal days, and most of the time we work through our sick days. There are I admit bonuses. Like when your husband still thinks you are beautiful after twenty seven years, or you see some of yourself (and I mean the good stuff) in your daughter, or when your twenty two year old son gives you a hug after years of acting as though you are contagious. (He attempted to hug me last year for the first time in ages, I was so startled it was as if a stranger were attacking me. You can’t blame me, six years ago when my mother died I got a pat on the back.) The point of all of this ranting is to say that I didn’t have enough time for myself today to finish a piece of art. What I really should say is that I didn’t make time, or give myself permission for time to work. It’s 10:30 now, and the two men in my life, my husband and son, are passed out cold, one in an armchair and one on the couch, I need to get them to bed.

I started drawing about an hour ago so I do have a glimpse of today’s project. I had a hard time deciding which cat to draw last night, so tonight I had decided to make it Mia. It’s an older photo when she was a kitten, but my favorite one. And tomorrow I promise to finish Mia, and more importantly to give myself the time to work.

And maybe the next time I sign on for something for a year I should make sure I get vacation time.Image


It’s late, nine here in California, and I again find myself putting my project off until the end of my day. Today it had nothing to do with avoiding the project at hand, but because it was a hard day for us here. Issues beyond our control came to a head. It was a long emotional day, one that I will be glad to have over.

I grabbed my sketchbook tonight, as always not sure what my subject might be. I started a drawing of some flowers, but I chose the wrong paper for the pencils that I was using and couldn’t achieve the correct amount of blending. Therein  lies the biggest issue I have with not having had lessons. Materials are foreign to me. I still have a painting that I completed in my early twenties. It is large and a little abstract. I gave it to a boyfriend. His friend who also painted was curious as to why the background of my painting, which was entirely black, was painted using both matte and glossy paint. Matte? Glossy? I had no idea that paint for art came in different finishes. I was of course familiar with the terms, my dad was a house painter, but for art? I thought black was black. I know of course I could read books, and believe me I have more than a few, or I could take a class. Classes don’t work for me either, too judgmental. I did take a stab at art in college. My first fine art class was a drawing class. Within days I felt out-of-place. Remember I started drawing around the age of five. There I was at eighteen with thirteen years of bad habits that I had obtained, at least as far as the teacher was concerned. But I liked how I did things, and as I pointed out to her after she told me I had to use the oval with the lines to draw portraits, my portraits were better than hers. Mine actually looked like the people they were meant to look like. I dropped the class. (Long story to make a small point. I seem to do that a lot.) By seven-thirty or so I was gaining that familiar feeling of frustration. I decided to look on my computer to see what I had photos of to inspire me. I came across my file of photos of our cats. Spouncer (who sadly passed away, but was named after an art tool), Riley, Mia and Sophie. I decided on a photo of Riley. I used a combination of the photo and real life model, who unfortunately was more interested in swatting my pencil away. So here is Riley. I don’t  do much in the way of drawing animals, but I’m happy with these results.

OK, so I know this is getting long-winded, but it reminded me of a painting I did as a teenager. A very nice man I worked with asked me to paint a portrait of his poodle as a gift for his wife. I didn’t really want to do it but it was a job. I had just finished the painting, it was oil, when I knocked it off the easel onto the floor. My bedroom floor that was covered in carpet. There were fibers stuck to the paint everywhere. I could have cried, but just blended it into the paint. He loved the painting. In particular the “texture” I had given to his beloved dog. He paid me more than I asked.

My mother was not so happy, how could she possibly fail to see the value of sacrificing the carpet for my art?


My Apologies To The Desert!

I reread my post from yesterday. Yikes! I think  maybe the fact that we drove five plus hours to Tempe on Wednesday, and the same five plus hours back Thursday had taken a toll on my brain. No, I’m not a desert person, but there is no denying the rugged beauty that can be seen there. We’ve made that trip more times that I can count. We have family in Arizona, and my husband has had business to conduct there. I think maybe seeing the scenery too many times may have taken effect too. However, it doesn’t stop me from taking dozens and dozens of photos out the car window. I have annoyed Dan more than he will ever admit (as I have said, he is wonderful), I am continually having him move his hands and head as he drives because he is the way of a shot I want to take. I sat this morning looking at the one hundred ninety-two photos that I took, and realized how wrong I was. It is beautiful, and dare I say it…magical. So in my apology to the desert I will post a few photos. I will be back later with some art, but I felt the need to express how I was feeling this morning. Also, in my defense, all the chocolate I packed to snack on in the car melted, that also effected my mood. I take my chocolate very seriously.ImageImage