Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I only had time to make a few gifts, two of them, of course, were journals. The background started out, as usual, gesso and a few layers of gel, some bits of paper and stuff to enhance the texture. I had an idea, albeit vague for the concept but I don't worry about specifics until later in the process.
More scribbling and stamping with gesso then the Turner's yellow. It's one of my favorite colors though it usually ends up covered up by so many layers of paints, media and texturing elements that it only shows through here and there.
Ready to collage I started to think about the recipient - in this case Karen, who has been my best friend for 40 years (oops, am I revealing my age??). It didn't take long to come up with the elements and then the concept... coffee, conversation, much of it via letter and the wires, the denim and watch face; the tiny slip of paper that says "make your rules," which speaks volumes about our teenage years and the journey we are traveling on today.
A few more symbolic embellishments, finishing off the inside covers and painting the back and in the bubble wrap in the nick of time.
Christmas may be over but during the time I spent away from the studio my subconscious was brewing... I believe I could create these without ever running short on ideas. I think I'll go up and spend a few hours (days?) cleaning, so that I can resume with an open path. That and my New Year's plans, the values I want to embrace in the coming year, a few old habits that need to be relinquished... more on that later.
What are your thoughts and traditions for approaching a new year? I'd love to hear about them!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
It's fairly obvious that we celebrate Christmas, the festive tree journal and all... so whatever holiday you observe, or not, I hope it's filled with friends, memory-making moments and peace. Last night I re-read the message I wrote for the Advent Devotional published by our church and realized how little credence I was assigning to my own words. Written in November. Before, when there weren't a hundred things on my list and a clock ticking. So, climbed in bed with my laptop and I read it again, took a deep breath and... settled.
I moved on to The Rat Race Trap, one of my favorite blogs, and from there a link to an article by Steve Pavlina, about values, with a list of dozens (fortunately many are synonymous). I read slowly down the page and every time I felt a thump in my inner heart I stopped and made note. What I ended up with is a core set of beliefs that I already hold as truth but want to deepen, further, enhance, expand in the coming year. Like adventure, awe, focus, making a difference...
I came out of the Life is a Verb coaching class with a sense of, if not direction, an idea about how to lift any limits that present themselves along the way. My friend and art-group leader, Lani Gerity is several steps ahead of me. She cites a friends' idea that instead of resolutions, we need revolutions; she has paired her attributes with inspiring and amazing art that will help her focus on the qualities she wants to create more of in her life.
Why am I going on about the New Year when tomorrow is Christmas Eve? Perhaps to help me stay focused on the devotional, in the hopes that when the calendar flips I will be in good stead. I consider myself illiterate when it comes to the Bible, embarrassingly so, and don't ordinarily post pieces that I write to share with my Pastor (and great friend, Woody Berry) and church family. But, stepping out onto a limb, I place it at the end of a branch in the hopes that you will find some meaning as you enjoy a wonderful celebration of Christmas, Kwanza or whatever it is that you and yours observe. Peace.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?... Eat what is good. (Isaiah 55:2)
How many of us will settle into the grey January, post-Christmas days with a sense of renewal, abundance and spiritual strength? This may be the easiest of seasons to ‘overextend’ on all that is outwardly good. But can it fall short of reaching the inner emptiness that can hollow out the seemingly fullest of lives?
This scripture asks us to answer to the tendency, even in these times of hardship, to spend, eat, attend and present the perfect holiday picture for all to see. At first glance, it may appear that we have indeed done the right things for the right reasons, but if we do not eat what is good, what is vital for maintaining a spiritually nourishing life, we may arrive at the New Year empty handed.
In preparation for this Christmas, carve out generous moments for prayer and spiritual discernment; make time to care for those among us who seek not material bounty but a hot meal, a clean place to rest and warmth continue on through another day. Pray that God’s guidance and mercy will show us what is truly good to eat.
Dear God, help us stop, be still, find the cause of our inner restlessness. Quench our unceasing appetites with the bounty of your merciful grace and satisfy our deepest longing with all that is good in your eyes. In the name of the one whose birth we await with tender hopes, amen.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Some of us can't keep up with the essentials this time of year, let alone creating a virtual encyclopedia of tricks, techniques and handy ideas. If you don't know about Seth Apter's Secret Sunday, it's time. This is the fifth Sunday that he's posted a veritable wealth of info from artists of all media and style - with the previous weeks' treasures posted on his sidebar.
The blogs I've visited in the past hour(s) are brimming with creative works that make me long for a trip to the studio. Everyone seems so productive. I have been busy up there, finishing the commission of journals, projects in various stages that I hope will be wrapped up by Wednesday. Not a lot to show off though... hmmm, I posted a photo of the wreath on the front door, now maybe the fab swag I made to drape over the mantle? Or the sled I salvaged from a junk shop and embellished with pine cones and greenery... wait, I think Martha does that. And believe me, I am NO Martha (if she even is the maven of all things decor these days:)
At least I have had my fill of warmth, humor, art, creative thought and deed... here are some of the blogs I've visited:
Seth's Secret Sunday, one not to be missed!
Beyond Words, a video presentation of Karin's giveaway
Altered Bits, Alicia's confession of just how many projects she can work on at any given moment along with an admission of feeling a bit... flowery?
Mistress Debrina, whose cards and other gorgeous goodies await, and there's still time!
Retro Cafe Art Gallery - did Kris say German glass glitter? how many colors must I have...
The Poetic Artist - Katelen serves up some words to live by - such a creative inspiration
Ilka's Attic - Susan makes magic look SO easy
Jazworks - Jilly shows off her cache of papers from the Woven Letters swap (Lawendula is always working on something amazing)
Jasmine - her beautiful felt scarves (and showing off her winnings from Karin:)
Sharmon's study of all things rock
Soulbrush - I think I'd like to get in on the 6:6 adjective swap
La Dolce Vita - Cat and I definitely share in the philosophy that giving gifts of art or handmade treasure are so much more meaningful than racing through the mall just to check off the list (my words not hers:)
Each Day is a Present - a wonderful blog I just discovered thanks to a comment!
and Iona Drozda - a new friend I met through Karin who has such a warm depth and insight that radiates from her art and in the book she published, Twenty-Two Prayer Poems for Care Givers, which is on my nightstand.
I guess it's obvious why I'm not making art... I could go on, listing many more of the blogs I've been cruising in the world that has become community, such a big part of my life. One way to catch up on much needed rest without missing out:)
The energy sucked up by chronic illness would collectively fuel a rocket to Mars. But in the meantime, more than one party a day is too much for me. And three events I most wanted to attend this season are all taking place right now - Christmas caroling, a memorial service at the Hope Center for the homeless, and a party at my great friend Judi's that promises to rock the night away... sigh. But tomorrow I'll arise refreshed and ready to tackle the fifth day before Christmas?
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
So many posts, so little time... there are the wonderful gifts I received from the art exchange, the lovely papers from (have already used) Poland, the paper swap that Lawendula organizes... photos of the journals that were so well received (someone asked if there were more... that's what every gallery owner wants to hear - YES:)
Or, the price of wreaths... I wanted a large, lush production for my front door but alas! Even at the wholesale place they were $70 and $85 for a finished piece. Yikes. Not happening. So, I bought a fresh one while we were getting our tree, dug around in my supply bin and here it is, my $14 special!
I hope you are all coping well with seasonal issues, making a bit of time for art (time? gifts?) and for friends and traditions - old and new.
I hear the brushes rattling in the jar... it's December 16 and you aren't finished.... so for now, bye and blessings, much love ~