Patti Edmon Altered Attic: August 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

MeMe Award

What a wonderful way to start a day... I got a blog comment from Caterina Giglio, at La Dolce Vita and inside was this little blog award! wow! I love her work and her take on life, make sure to stop by her place and say hello!

Caterina sent it to people who, in her opinion, exemplify this quote:

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions
small people always do that,
but the really great people make you feel that you too can become great.
now I am to tell you 7 things about myself and pass this on to 7 people:

1. I have a chronic illness so I 'retired' at an early age
2. I don't have a favorite color
3. Like Caterina, I'm mostly self-taught
4. I still shoot the wrappers off of straws in restaurants (when I'm with my kids:)
5 . I'm a Presbyterian
6. I lived in upstate New York until my senior year in high school
7. My favorite book/movie is Pride & Prejudice

ok, so here are my choices for this little award, because they make great art and they are exemplifying this quote as well...
2. Jodi
3. Elizabeth
4. Jane
5. Debrina
6. Lani
7. Katie Jane

Knowing how busy everyone is, I'm going to add a waiver: those who are too busy or don't participate in blog awards are free from the obligation of sending this on; it's a way of saying thanks!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Life is Like a... Cupcake

Who would have thought that two weeks in a row I'd be able to participate in the Inspire Me Thursday challenge. I didn't have a lot of studio time over the summer so photography has been the creative outlet of choice, one of my favorites, I might add.
Even though my kids are older (7th and 8th grade) and don't require the kind of hands-on supervision that toddlers do, opportunities were scarce for collage, painting, altering and serious journaling. I didn't mind though, because like my kids, I'm old enough to understand how limited my time with them is; for years I've heard about the dreaded adolescent phase when they won't be caught dead at the mall with me, my opinion will carry as much weight as a grocery list, my witty sense of humor will no longer be funny but a freakish side show, only to be outdone by my lack of style, good taste and tact.
Why am I so sure this is imminent? Probably a little media influence, some recall, a bit of reality. Right now I have a great relationship with them both; they hate me at the appropriate moments, we have loads of fun and talk about serious (private) issues that I understand some mothers aren't privy to; however, the big separation may be around the corner.
Then again, as our lives change and journeys evolve, I find myself enjoying time with them, being selfish even. So over the break, we played in the lake, watched movies, toured the Alamo and spent a whole lot of time doing nothing. I kept a camera on hand and I did manage to work on a couple of art projects, to feed that part of my soul that can't be filled any other way.
Creative expression isn't a hobby, it's a fundamental part of who I am, a necessity - bread and water, breathing. Having children didn't change that; I have written since I first picked up a pencil. I journaled during the first few years of motherhood and then joined a non-fiction writing group as the kids got older, began seriously writing fiction - up until I was diagnosed with this auto-immune illness. Now most of my writing is journaling and on the blog.
My mixed media journey began several months afterwards, as I was coming to terms with the myriad life changes. More often than not, art has been validating, healing, a sanity booster, a meaningful activity that also keeps me connected with a group of artist/bloggers that I would never have otherwise had the opportunity to encounter.
Creating art and blogging has changed my life as profoundly as the illness. It doesn't take away from my being a mother, rather, it is an enhancement. In order to care adequately for others, it's vital that part of my identity reflects who I am on a deeper level. I guess an easier way to say it is, "if momma's not happy, ain't nobody happy."
There are days, weeks even, when I can't get to the studio; after all, life isn't always cupcakes and roses. But I know it's all there, albeit a bit disorganized, waiting for the hour, or half day that I can spend working on a collage, swap project, assemblage, creating another sweet bite of satisfaction to keep my life in balance.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Inspired by Color

Inspire Me Thursday's latest challenge calls for the use of the colors pink and orange. When I read that I wondered how I coulld showcase the brilliance of two colors that I absolutely adore, but don't often (enough!) use in my work. I was taking a walk this morning and I opened to the world around me, the beauty of summer, still in full color, blossoms drenched with fragrance, the steamy sensation that portends another hot day... though my children have returned to school and the house is quiet again; the Altered Attic beckons, still messy from the last few occasions I managed to find time for art. 
While admiring a neighbor's garden I recalled a photograph I took back in July and loved but hadn't yet used. So, when I came in (and cooled off!) I opened the computer and there it was, waiting, like then, floating in the gorgeous pond in the backyard at the home of our good friends Ron and Vickie.  
I didn't create the flower of course, like most of the natural world it's much too perfect. I am thankful, though, for the Creator, the opportunity to post the photo, and for the inspiration to use brighter colors in the next collage, journal, whatever project comes next. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sing from the Heart

Earlier in the summer, I found my self in a creative slump, a flat, static stretch; feeling OK, but not great, a little down but no major depression. I’ve spent the past three years spent learning mixed media techniques and processes; I realized that now it’s time to move to the next level. Do more than arranging elements in a pleasing design on a page, or canvas.
I need to find the source of the muse and, at the same time, understand the forces that subvert creativity. Like fear. Fear is a byproduct of most journeys; who, after all, isn’t afraid of face-planting at some point. My problem is that it often takes hold before I get a good footing on the path.
I’d been producing work that I really liked, so naturally fear arrived like a beautiful, fair-weather friend. I found myself doubting - will you really stay, even if I turn out to be a lot less perfect than I’d led you to believe? Will you abandon me just as I get my hopes up?
It’s no secret that growth involves risk, but after a few weeks of numb uncertainty I felt ready for an intentional exploration of the terra-not-so-firma, deep down where the knotted quagmire of roots simmer with meaning; the source, the forces that fuel the yearning, conscious need to create, to connect with the process of making art in an intentional design. Paint from the heart according to my good friend, artist 
Debbie Westerfield.  
Art and Fear*, the author(s) says: “Naïve passion (the time I spent in joyful experimentation), which promotes work done in ignorance of obstacles, becomes – with courage – informed passion, which promotes work done in full acceptance of those obstacles.” I take that to mean that I’m at the courage part.
Anyone who has lived with that holding back sensation knows that sooner or later it is easier to deal with the risk than put up with the angst and unbearable weight of keeping all the doors shut. I want to collage anger, paint memory, grief and joy. So what if a few stray bags pop open along with way.
Coincidentally, or not, I’m reading Patti Digh’s
Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful and Live Intentionally. I’d be willing to bet that, like me, more people than not have read a stack of books about self-actualization, living authentically. I’ve gleaned useful information from them all, though it seems a bit silly to look for one’s self in a book. In reality, there are times when we need guides and Life is a Verb is one of the best I’ve come across. Life is a Verb is loaded with fabulous mixed media art images, which is what attracted me in the first place, her stories, collection of kick-butt quotes and free-writing prompts are producing more than I’d anticipated. If you haven’t heard about it, or already read it, I’d highly recommend it, whether you’re in a slump or not.
While scanning this collage, which I thankfully managed to complete (I admire the mother who can work with the kids at home during summer?!) I realized that it is infused with more meaning than I’d given myself credit for: the bird house heart, hands cradling eggs, bird flying in with a heart in tow…. cryptic still, but enough metaphor to make sense to me. And, that is why I make art, after all, for me. At this point anyway.


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