The Price Of Impatience

Twenty four hours have passed. Where is my second box? I didn’t wait long enough. I know, I know, I said I would, but the impatient me just couldn’t wait. I ruined it. I did wait twelve hours, so I thought it would be OK, nope. I had to start again. This time I absolutely promise to wait, maybe even forty-eight hours.

I love spring. When you grow up in a place that has harsh winter weather the first day of spring is cause for celebration. There’s nothing to beat those early warmer days. I’ve lived in Southern California for ten plus years and I still miss the change of seasons. I don’t of course miss the frigid weather, or the ice and snow. I have to admit it is pretty nice to have seventy degree weather in January, but I miss the feelings that come with the change. I think maybe for me spring seemed a little more hopeful when it came after a hard winter. We need new beginnings around here. Let’s hope the new season ushers some in.

In honor of the new season a drawing of an Iris done in watercolor pencil. I chose to paint the background black to make the colors pop.

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Did you hear the ringing? That was me admitting to phoning it in tonight. My “to be continued” from last night is still on hold.  The reason? More than a year ago Dan bought me seasons one and two of Downton Abbey. I’m not a huge television watcher, and very particular about what I watch. I knew I would like Downton Abbey, and honestly have put it off for a year fearing the worst, and I was right. I’m addicted. It has literally taken over my day. Late in the day I realized that I needed to tear my eyes away for a moment and work on something for tonight.  Dan paused the DVD long enough for me to run up to the studio and grab supplies. I was going for clay of some kind, but spied a linoleum block in the cabinet. It’s been awhile since I’ve played around with carving linoleum so I decided that I’d do that. As I was leaving the room I saw a heart-shaped Nicho (a Mexican tin art formed box) and decided that was what I wanted to do. A simple design that took way too long because my attention was elsewhere. The idea was to make a reverse block print. I like where it’s headed, but on printing with the block I definitely think it needs a little more detail. Some of what I carved in got lost in the ink. I did take one of the prints and add a little color and wrote something to put in the empty space I created in the center. I think I’ll play with it a little more tomorrow.057 That is of course if I can get my fix, only a few episodes left (at least until I get seasons three and four), back to reality, art, and windows tomorrow!

My Valentine

There are some moments in life that you will hold on to forever. Meeting my soul mate, the love of my life was one of  them.

I will hold on to him and love him eternally.

He is my Valentine every day of the year, every minute of my life.

A day spent with the love of my life…my couch. Only kidding of course. I am so not enjoying the euphoria of impending flu, you know the “I feel like I was just hit by a truck” kind of feeling? I’ll be quick once again this evening because my Valentine is waiting for me on the couch to watch our favorite love story, “Midnight In Paris”.  As Dan said, it isn’t your typical romance movie, its more about falling in love with Paris. It is a feeling we are both familiar with because it happened to us.

For tonight a Valentine for my husband. The lyrics of our song, “What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life”, printed on a piece of vellum which I had already printed one of my dried flower photos on. It is sandwiched between two pieces of plexiglass with copper tape. I hope at some point to figure out soldering and add an attachment for hanging. I also posted a close up of a bit of the lyrics. It is a lovely song, one that suits us well.

Happy Valentine’s Day2 14 14


One From The Archives

Tonight I am posting an old one, so old in fact that I don’t remember when I drew it. I had as always fully intended to create something new for tonight, but we are having friends come for dinner, and we have hardwood floors and cats, and worse yet the Ghost of Christmas Crafting is still in the house. Glitter in every crevice of my hardwood floors. One of my dinner guests is a former Marine, I’m not sure he would appreciate leaving my home sparkling. I cleaned for about four hours, shopped, cooked and baked. Needless to say I’m tired, but I’m also out of time, they will be here in a half hour. I was organizing some of my work today and came across this drawing, as I said its been around for a while, but I mentioned a few weeks ago about my plan to do menus for special occasions, and here one is. These are guests that I promised dinner to a year ago. Yikes! What a year, but a promise is a promise, and I really do enjoy their company. So for tonight I combined my old sketch with my new plan, and I have to say I am quite happy with it. I’m off to final preparations, and for once to try to be ahead of the game and relax and enjoy my evening. In case you were wondering, I came through yesterday’s hike with flying colors, nary a pain in sight. We will be going again in the morning, hopefully with the same results.Menu 1 11 14

Reflections On Writing

If you’re a writer I don’t believe there can be anything worse than a lost thought. I’m sure writer’s block has its issues, but for me there is nothing worse than that fleeting thought that disappears from my mind in nearly the instant that I have it. I had such a thought this morning, and I remember thinking I need to remember this for my blog later. (Notice I remember thinking I should remember, but I don’t remember what the thought was) At least with writer’s block you aren’t pulling your hair out at the sentence that got away. I’ve been writing about as long as I’ve been drawing. Stacks and stacks of poetry, and endless beginnings to short stories. I have several journals with words contained within, but what I have much, much more of are the scraps of paper where I managed to record some of those fleeting thoughts. Grocery store receipts, deposit slips from my check book, and a pile of the loose subscription cards that fall from the pages of magazines. I have always planned to go back to them. Some to decipher the sentences that I scribbled in the dark when inspiration struck in the middle of a restless night, others because I was in an inconvenient place or time and just grabbed a quick second to record my thoughts before they vanished. There are times when these quick notes have turned into something special. Times when I reread words and they in turn gave birth to poetry. I have said it before, I love the written word. Much like art, when two people look at a painting they don’t both have the same reaction, each individual is made up of their own thoughts and experiences that play a part in how the work speaks to them. Reading the written word also speaks to our own experiences, we take those words and unknowingly apply it to our own lives. The words live on deep in our minds and can color our view by what we have taken from it. There have been times when I have read words that have caused me to go back in my own life and see a situation in a new light.  There may come a time before this project ends that I will illustrate my words. There has never really been a time when I thought of having the two connect, although I guess in some ways this very project has done that.

I had planned on finishing my table today, but as always there were other things to attend to. In the end I decided to return to one of my favorite activities, pen and ink. This piece may look familiar. Quite some time ago I drew an antique hand mirror in pen and ink, I have done the same tonight. It’s just a different mirror. I actually own four vintage mirrors and decided to draw another. As I sketch this beautiful mirror I again marvel at the craftsmanship of old. It is in itself a beautiful piece of art.1 7 14

Mirror illustration from October 29th.10 29

The Day After

It was a difficult day today. It is my Mother’s birthday. She would have been seventy-seven today. I felt a little out of sorts for most of the day, like I should be doing something, I just didn’t know what. She is buried in Chicago so there is no grave to visit. My family couldn’t even have visited there today, there is more than a foot of snow on the cemetery. It’s strange how your life just goes on. I feel a little lost. Bad day all around.

Most people at this point are probably nursing a hangover from the holiday, I am nursing bad decisions and my bad knees. Somehow my kind of hangover doesn’t seem as much fun. Someone should have stopped me from walking more than six miles yesterday. (Dan?????) It always seems like a good idea at the time, and I am bound and determined to not let these injuries get in my way, but sometimes I need a reality check. Walking through the neighborhood for thirty or forty minutes at a time is a far cry from hiking. This is California so there is barely a flat surface to be had. The slight incline of my neighborhood hills are quite different from the rocky terrain I attacked yesterday. It threw my whole day off today. I could barely walk. So much for promises of getting in top-notch shape. One resolution down. (Not really, I will attempt the plateau again, but not six miles, and in better shoes!) It left me not feeling well today, and a little less than creative. I am also still struggling with the idea of getting my writing done early. First of the month bills to pay, Christmas returns, and helping my Dad figure out his new cable long distance took a good portion of my day, then there was dinner to cook, and now at last a moment to focus.

I mentioned a while ago that I do enjoy drawing and or painting regular objects. I thought about what I wanted to do tonight and remembered a photo I snapped one Saturday after a trip to the Farmer’s Market. A bowl of fresh eggs. I was originally planning a watercolor, but when I went into my studio I saw my colored pencils and realized I haven’t used them in some time. Tonight a bowl of eggs in pencil. I’m a little rusty. I haven’t taken the time to keep my drawing skills up to par. I have been toying with the idea of filling a sketchbook with some practice drawing, forms and such. I may just have to do that while I’m staying off my feet. Time to attack a mountain of a different kind.1 2 14

The List Grows

Oh no, I’ve thought of another resolution. I need 2014 to get here quickly before I think of any more. I, like so many people, swear I don’t make resolutions, but I do make them, just not publicly, at least not before now. It’s a little game I think we play with ourselves, promises for bettering ourselves in the new year, quickly forgotten, or in most cases falling under the, “I’ll start it Monday” heading. I do have a few that I am keeping to myself, but I have one more to add to my list of “artistic resolutions”. I still have far too many half done projects that I had prior to this project, and in the last eight months since I started this I have begun a number of things that are not finished. Resolution number four: I must finish what I start. I began this resolution a little early. Last night I posted photos of a cigar box that I started. I finished it today. However, I have a little dilemma, it’s one I’m sure most artists and crafts people run into, how to price my work. I started this box last night, and spent quite a bit of time on it today. If I charged for my time the box would have to sell for a large sum of money. Too much for a paper cigar box no matter how good I think it looks. It isn’t that I don’t value my work. Funny, I just typed that and thought to myself, “You don’t value your work.” I constantly under price things. It is a discussion that Dan and I have had several times. I ask his advice on pricing, and then I immediately shoot it down. Always claiming that I wouldn’t pay that much. It really needs to stop. I need to look at my new-found confidence and ask what my work is worth. I would guess that this means resolution number five. (I really need to get through the next forty-eight hours without thinking too much.)

I finished with the gluing and burning of the box. In the process the lid was becoming loose. It was an easy enough fix. I made paper bag hinges, one set on the outside, one on the inside, and then I simply glued and burnt those. Embellishing was next. I looked on-line and found a Shakespeare quote about love:

Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs,

Being purged, a fire sparkling in lover’s eyes,

Being vexed, a sea nourished with lovers’ tears.

What is it else?

A madness most discreet,

A choking gall and preserving sweet.

I printed it on a piece of vellum, burnt the edges and decoupaged it to the top of the box, added a metal heart piece that I had, and the addition of a hinge and small padlock completed the outside. Inside a decoupaged vintage botanical photo, and a copy of a French postcard I own, again with burnt edges. It looks really old, and really does look like metal. A finished project, let the new year begin!IMG_3413The original box

IMG_3422Last night’s beginningIMG_3427The finished boxIMG_3431IMG_3432


In Need Of A Fix

I write every day. I have written every day for 204 days now with the exception of the lovely case of pneumonia I contracted last June when I missed one. I never really know what I will write about until I sit down at this keyboard. There have been one or two occasions where I sort of knew ahead of time what I wanted to say, and very early on I got sick of my “woe is me of the no art lessons” stories, sometimes I talk about the work, but I really don’t get into it in-depth. I just write. I have a friend who has asked on more than one occasion, “Why?” She says that she is fascinated with how my brain works, my thought process, the whats and whys of the piece of work I am currently creating. She has brought this up more than once. I don’t really have an answer for her. Much like I sit down here night after night and words begin to flow, I do the same most days/nights with my art. It is second nature to me to create. I don’t think about it all that much, I just do. I cook, I write, I sculpt, I paint, I design, I never stop creating. When I have an idea I go with it. I went to my nephew’s apartment in LA the other day. He is a chef, a very busy, talented chef, and he is relatively new to his apartment. He needs a decorator. It’s a small place, two rooms, kitchenette and bathroom, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. That will come to no surprise to those who know and love me, as well as those I annoy to no end. I’m a girl who loves a project. I have so much to do with two shows right around the corner, Christmas cleaning and decorating (although the glitter issue has me way ahead on that!) I have to shop for Christmas, get a tree, rescue my snowman collection from its garage prison, and write those Christmas cards that will never see the inside of a mailbox. (Story for another time) What is on my mind? John’s apartment. If I didn’t need the money I would forget the shows and be there now, paintbrush in hand. It’s as though I’m in need of a fix, it is that bad. To know that somewhere in this world there is an apartment laying in wait is killing me. My home is done, several times over in fact. My sister once said that I paint my walls more often than she changes her sheets. Sad but nearly accurate. About two years ago I painted the kitchen three times in three days. (Dan only had to help the first two times) It’s an illness, but the color just wasn’t right. The ideas for John’s apartment will not let my brain rest. I have to wait at least another eleven days until after my second show. I don’t know how I will get through it.

I took a day off from fairies today. My back was pleading with me, and as I mentioned last night I am exhausted. Something simple tonight, another book-plate for the business. A pen and ink, computer tinted in photo-shop.12 4

Finished Work

Can anyone tell me why when I have an event coming up where I want to look my best, a cold sore of epic proportions appears? This thing is so big that it could be an extra in the movie Gravity. (Which we saw today, most excellent.) It could seriously have its own solar system. I started with the cold sore medicine this morning, but I swear it made it bigger, and I believe it is developing a Siamese twin. Can’t wait to see how it looks in the morning. More than likely caused by self-induced stress caused by my life and the thought of squeezing my hips into a dress on Saturday. I may just have to say an extra prayer tonight. Is there a patron saint of dermatology? Oh well…on to the important matters at hand.

No big changes after last nights little rant. I still put way too many things in the way again today. I guess the realization is one thing, actually acting on it is something entirely different. On a positive note I did finish the book-plate that I began last night. It may not seem like much, but filling in all the negative space in that border took quite some time. I also enjoyed myself this evening designing a quirky little bookmark, which I might add I also finished. The paper Jessica gave me last night is gray. I really like the way that the pen and ink works with it. Both pieces bring to mind the work of both Aubrey Beardsley and Edward Gorey. Along with Maxfield Parrish, I would consider them my favorite illustrators. Beardsley and Gorey’s work was primarily in pen and ink, (as you know my new favorite) and I can’t even begin to say how much I love Maxfield Parrish. His incredible use of color, just amazing. We saw an exhibit several years ago and were blown away. There are nights when the sun has just set and there is just a hint of a bright blue, similar to the color Parrish achieved by glazing with layers of varnish in between, Dan and I call it a “Parrish” sky. I just had a spark of inspiration, and that’s always a good thing. I may just have to begin to try that technique tomorrow.Book plate final

bee mark

Two Steps Backward

I have an unfinished project for tonight. I feel bad habits forming. A few months ago I declared freedom for orphaned art that was in my studio. I vowed to rescue them and bring them to completion. I have done that with a few, but as I near the middle of this year-long project, I realize that I now have more unfinished work than when I began. That is not good. I knew earlier today that I would have difficulty getting to a project because of other plans. We drove to our daughter’s apartment to spend some time with Jessica and her husband, and to enjoy a lovely dinner. (Thank you Jessica. It was delicious!) I set out for the day with my art box of pens, pencils and charcoal, but forgot to bring my sketchbook. Jessica was kind enough to give me some paper, and I decided to create another book-plate, but chose to do a very intricate design that I didn’t have the time to complete. In other words I have a perfectly legitimate excuse for not getting finished tonight. As for the other projects? I simply have fallen back into putting what is important to me at the end of the line.  Dan and I were discussing my project yesterday, and I pointed out that I didn’t give myself a day off at all for this project. With the exception of one of the several days that I had pneumonia, I have written and worked every single day since April 13th. My brother-in-law is an artist, I’m sure even he takes days off, and as Dan pointed out, it’s all his brother does, its his job. I on the other hand still cook two to three times a day, clean house, do laundry, garden, do the family grocery shopping, and numerous other projects around the house. There is also trying to reach out to my Dad several times a day by phone to help with his loneliness, to schedule help for him, and to let him know what is on television that might fill his time. There are so many projects that I have started at the last-minute, written about and posted half done, fully intending to finish them, but then they get pushed to the back of the line the next day. Tomorrow I will take stock of what is done, what is half done and prioritize my life. I also need to raise the white flag and ask for help. I try to do everything for everyone I love. I need to remember to love myself a little as well. Finally, I really need to ask myself if I haven’t fallen back to the worst habit of all, doubting myself and my abilities. I haven’t written too much about “not good enough” in a while, or about my fear of being judged, but I need to look at myself in the mirror and face the truth about what is really going on here. I hate to go back to the dieting metaphor, but much like when I am tired and give myself an excuse to eat too much, I am finding excuses to not finish the work. Why is it so easy for us to ignore our own needs? My halfway point arrives this weekend, time to take control once again and give myself permission to have the artistic life I deserve.  10 7