Sunday, June 9, 2013

Goal Number 3 Completed and New and old Friends Met

Okay, so for those of you who have been reading my blog as of late, I am focusing on facing my fears and meeting new goals.  As I have said, my life has changed greatly in the last year.  I could have crumbled and let it ruin me, or I could have learned and grown from it and make life amazing!  I am working on the latter.  I must say, God works in mysterious ways and can bring beauty out of tough times.

So back to the goal.  Goal number 3 was camping completely on my own!  I decided not to let the fact that I am single with few friends in my area rule my world and keep me from doing the things that I love.  Instead, I got up off of my butt and proved to myself that it's okay to go camping alone.  In fact, it's pretty darn fun!  Not only that, but sometimes you get a few surprises - like a restoration in your faith that there are still really good and really friendly people out there.  That's what happened to me.

On Friday I drove down to Turkey Run Campground, Inc. in Parke County.  Turkey Run is my favorite place to go hiking and camping.  I just wish it weren't so far away!  Anyway, the manager of the campground came and talked to me as I was setting up my camp.  Jill was a fabulous hostess!  She was friendly and personable, and made sure that I was doing well all weekend.  It's awesome how she is working on restoring the campground!  She has done a beautiful job so far!  I enjoyed Jill's personality as well as her attention to her guests.  She is a great lady!

My campsite - isn't it cute?!
The next people I met - two guys and a girl - I met when I was having trouble making my campfire.  Now, I have never made a campfire on my own before.  Next time I will take lighter fluid along with my newspaper.  Anyway, Michael, Jay, and Kelsey were kind enough to help me build a fire.  Little did I know how much they would help to restore my faith in the kindness of others.  Later they invited me to come and hang out with them.  I accepted and we talked for quite some time.  The rest of the group came late, and I retired shortly after they got there.  In the morning I met the rest of the crew - Lacey, Tank, Anna, Whitney, and Shelby.  Saturday afternoon and evening they were wonderful enough to ask me to join them for volleyball, dinner, and all around fun!  The thing about this group though...not only did they help and invite me, but they helped and invited anyone who needed it.  All of them were so friendly and amazing.  I believe that God put them in my life to help remind me that even though I have not encountered the nicest people in the last year, good friendly people are still out there.  They still exist.  They are still amazing.  They helped make this weekend serendipitous!
The Bloomington Illinois Crew

Finally, not only did I make new friends (who I hope to see again), but I reconnected with one from college.  Kim lives near  Turkey Run.  We don't get to see one another often, but she is one of my most favorite people.  Kimmie and I share a lot of the same positive attributes.  I love her so much.  She and her daughter Addie met me for a hike.  She helped remind me that even though my family and close friends are wonderful and here for me, that positivity is the way to go!  When life gets us down, we always try to steer towards the positive sides of life.  Kim has been there for some of the toughest times in my life, and I am so grateful to have her.  The best thing is that whenever Kimmie and I do get together - no matter whether we haven't seen each other in months or years - it seems like no time has passed between us.  We are kindred spirits, and I love her!
Kim and I
Addie and I

The point of this post is not just to celebrate meeting my third goal - camping by myself - but to celebrate the serendipitous moments in life that truly remind us what life is all about.  I am a truly blessed person, and this weekend has restored more of my positivity.  I am grateful for the friends - new and old - that I came into contact with this weekend.  It was just what I needed . . . funny how life does that!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Meeting Two Goals!!!!


Well, so far this summer I have already met two of my personal goals!  The first was a creative goal.  For decades (geez I sound old!) I had been able to draw people fairly well.  Shading was one of my favorite things to do when it came to drawing.  The same still exists in both drawing and now painting.  For the past couple of years I had wanted to challenge myself by painting a portrait.  Fear had always gotten in the way of me actually putting this into practice.  Finally I mustered up the courage.  I posted the painting in my last blog if you would like to see it.  I am pleasantly surprised by the outcome of my efforts.  Of course I have room to grow when it comes to painting people, but I do love my first attempt!

Goal #2
Riding a bicycle has been a huge deal for me as of the last year (thanks to a friend who is a bicycle riding enthusiast and a great inspiration when it comes to riding).  Before today, 14 miles was the farthest ride I have ever completed.  I had decided a while ago that I wanted to be able to ride to the Starbucks in Dunlap, enjoy a beverage, and ride home.  Today I accomplished that goal!!!!  Ava was spending the day with her grandmother, and the weather was beautiful.  There was a bit too much wind for my taste, and I was very slow on the way there.  I did, however, shave ten minutes off of my time on the way back.  Could have been the caffeine though.  :)  My legs were also not used to some of the hills, and I did have to walk my bike part way up a couple of them.  But I was not worried about the speed, or making it completely up all of the hills.  I just wanted to get to starbucks and back.  My goal was completed today!  I was so excited!  Although I have been rather whooped the rest of the day, and my legs and butt are aching like crazy, just reaching that goal made me so happy.  One more step in proving to myself that I can do anything that I set my mind to.

Goal #3

I plan on reaching goal number three this weekend.  You will have to stay tuned to see if I complete it.  My next post will be posted on Monday evening.  Hope to see you all there!  Until then, have a fabulous time!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

It's been quite a while since I have posted a blog.  There has been a lot going on in my life, and I have had to completely start over in some ways.  In fact, I am still in the process.  So I would like to take this time to completely revamp my whole purpose for this blog.  Yes, it will still follow my creative journey as that is still ongoing (thank goodness!).  Actually, I have been doing a great amount of creating.  But I would like to create my life in a new way.  My life has taken a strange turn in the past year, and I have had to make many changes.  I am still adjusting to this new way of life.  It has been difficult in many ways, but I am getting there.  Overall, I think it will be a blessing.  Life is supposed to bring surprises and changes, and we can either go with them or fight them.  I choose to go with them and blaze my own new trail.  :)

So, I will be sharing my art - as always.  I will share my processes and my ideas.  Sometimes I will post videos as to how I do things. 

I will also be following my travels.  This is what I am calling my "Summer of Solitude."  I have never traveled alone, but it has been something that I have always wanted to try.  Granted, I do not have a lot of money, and I will not be travelling very far.  But I bought a tent, and I plan on exploring new places to inspire me.

I will also be including stream of consciousness writing on life in general - observations, thoughts, questions, experiences...

I hope you will all join me and share in my journey.  I plan on posting at least once weekly, and perhaps more than that.  Feel free to share your experiences, thoughts, ideas, etc.  All are welcome. 

To kick off my new start, here is my most recent painting.  I was afraid to paint a picture of anyone, but I knew I had to face my fears.  So here's to facing my fears!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Been a while

Sorry it has taken me so long to add another post.  I wanted to be more consistent, but I also wanted to get a certain project finished before I posted again.  Needless to say, it is going to take much longer than I anticipated, so I am going to show you a sneak peek today!  It's the whole reason that I have been waiting to post!  However, until I show you what it is, I wanted to share what I have been doing in my spare time.  This past weekend I went to visit my best friend, and earlier last week my husband, daughter and I went to the zoo.  I have some great pictures and thoughts to share, so hang on and have fun reading!

Scott and I decided to stay home during his week of vacation instead of going on a trip.  It was a nice break for him, and it was fabulous to have him home.  However, we did decide that we wanted to do a family day trip, so we took Ava to a zoo that is a couple hours away from our home.  It was so much fun!  Ava and I got to feed the giraffe's, and I got the closest to a live lion that I ever have.  We also visited work camps (simulated) of African safari's.  The day was a total blast, and we were all exhausted by the time we got home.
Ava and Scott in a Safari tent

Ava and I feeding the giraffes

I'm a Leo, so it was awesome to be so close to an actual lion!  He was gorgeous!

For the past four days, Ava and I have driven to the other end of the state to visit with Betsy (best friend since sixth grade) and her family.  We had such a relaxing and nice time!  Ava and I were so sad to leave, but we missed home as well.  Just sitting with Betsy in the evenings made me realize the evolution of friendship.  She and I have bee through so much in the twenty-some years we have been friends.  But now it comes to being comfortable in our skin and our lives and learning about being an adult.  We laughed (so much) and talked about everything (which we usually do).  We vented and told jokes, as well as enjoyed all of the kids.  I am so thankful for her friendship.  I don't think anyone quite gets me like she does.  :)

Betsy and I on pride rock

Okay, now for the project I have been working on all summer so far.  It is a very involved project.  I am making my first sculpture!  It's a wire tree with canvas, hand-painted leaves, and a log base.  The structure of the trunk and branches was really fun to do!  It took a couple of hours, but was completely enjoyable.  The leaves are what have been taking forever.  I made what seemed like a bazillion of them, but after attaching many of them I realized that I don't even have half of what they need!  Each leaf is hand painted and hand shaded.  They take forever.  Plus, I figured putting the leaves on the tree was going to be the simplest part and not take very long at all.  Boy, was I wrong!  Not only do I need to attach it with metal glue, I also need to put a stitch in each leaf to keep them from moving around while they dry.  This project is taking quite some time, but I am completely enjoying the process.  Check out what I have so far and let me know what you think!
Me working on the tree.  If you look closely, you can see the base of the tree, and a couple of leaves that have been added.

The structure of the tree.

Next time I will post better pictures of my progress, and keep you updated.

Hope all is well wherever you are, and that your creative passion is bursting forth to the world!  Peace ~S.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Going Back to Childhood

I had a very blessed childhood.  No, we didn't have lots of money, and no, we didn't take lots of vacations, but it was a happy and healthy childhood.  I did the simple things.  We lived in a neighborhood and played with the other neighborhood kids.  It was safer then, and we would roam the neighborhood, playing hide-n-seek, tag, kick ball, baseball, ghost ghost in the graveyard.  We spent most of our time outside playing.  Catching salamanders and frogs was one of the highlights, as was splashing in puddles when it rained. 

Even though we do not live in a neighborhood, and my daughter is an only child, I try to give her as much of that fun as possible.  I am her playmate a lot of the times, but we also have friends over for her to play with.  We go camping with my husbands parents or by ourselves, and we have family gatherings with my parents and sister's where we play baseball and things like that.  I feel like she is getting a good, well-rounded childhood.  During this summer we have spent a lot of time outside.  A bird built a nest in Ava's bird feeder and we have watched the birds hatch.  They are not growing very fast, but we are keeping tabs on their progress.  We also have senor and senorita frog who live in our window well, and do every year.  The other day, Ava had her best friend Chloe spend the night, and the next day it poured for a while.  In our backyard, there are some low areas where water gathers.  The girls started running through one of the puddles.  At first I was a bit upset because Chloe's mother was going to come and get her, but then I realized that Ava had never had the joy of just running through puddles, so I let them continue for a while.  Chloe's mom is pretty laid back, so I wasn't really worried.

I also realized that the fun of being a teenager comes back around as you get older!  My parents, who I thought while I was growing up had no life, now stay up later than us and hang out with their friends more.  I am to the point where I don't really go out or stay up late.  It's funny.  Anyway, my mom and her best friend Rita got to feel like teenagers today.  My little sister and I went with them to take pictures of Peter Reckell (Bo Brady from Days of Our Lives).  It was great!  My mom has watched that show for years!  I remember it being on when I was little.  I watched it for a while but don't any longer.  Anyway, she was so spazzy and antsy right before it was her turn.  It was hilarious!  I thought about how many times as a child she let us go and do things like that, and now her turn is back around.  It was so fun to watch!  I love my mom, and have realized that I am much more like her than I ever realized.  I tried so hard not to be like her growing up, but I'm so glad I am.  It's an honor to look like her and to be like her.  She's a great mom!

My mom and Peter Reckell (Bo Brady).  She's so cute!

Life is truly good!  It's the simple things that make life worth it.  That's why chronicling life is go important.  The following is one of a series of three pictures I am doing.  My friend Bryan has left his job at the school where I work to go to the Administration Building.  As a gift, I am doing a series of three pictures of his daughter.  I have completed  one using pointillism, and one in graphite pencil.  The following is the beginning of the colored pencil one.  I'll share all three when I am completely finished.  This is the first time I have ever done a series like this.  It has been really fun! 

I hope you all look fondly upon your childhood, and are making great childhoods for your children (if you have any).  May your days be blessed with the simplicity that counts in life.  And don't forget to look for the simple things and cherish them!  See you next time!  Peace! ~S~

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Beauty of Life

Well howdy everyone!  Happy Father's Day to those of you who are fathers.  Okay, so some of you are dying to find out who would win the print of Dearest Heart.  And the winner is....Shondra Brown!  Thank you to everyone who responded either on my blog, twitter, or facebook.  I appreciate the support.  Stay tuned for future giveaways.  Congratulations Shondra!

Now, I'd like to share a project with you that I have been working on.  It's my first 3D painting, and I was so excited as I watched it come alive!  Quite some time ago I painted this canvas red, and I had initially envisioned a flower on it, but not the one I ended up painting.  I had envisioned trying a more traditional painting, not mixed media.

Then, one night I was journalling about my Life is Music and Music is Life paintings when the idea for the Musical Flower came into my head.  I wanted to do something that stood off of the canvas more, but the petals had to be fairly sturdy.  I couldn't just use regular painted paper.  I was afraid that the paper would droop and not hold its shape well.  I also wanted it to be fairly sturdy so that I could make it stand up well.  So I chose antique music sheets for the petal.  I put a couple of layers of gloss on it before painting each petal with acrylics and using the paint and colored pencils to add shading.

After the painting and shading, I added another layer of gloss.  The petals underneath did really well.  But they did not need to stand up off of the canvas.  While the top petals were thick and sturdy, I couldn't get them to stand up as well as I wanted them to.  So I attached each petal to a small piece of wire with metal glue.  This type of glue dries fairly quickly, but does not completely set for 24 hours.  I let each petal dry so the glue was no longer sticky, but not completely set either.  Then I bent and positioned each petal carefully.  I did ruin one petal that was no longer usable by trying to pose it before the glue was completely dry (but not set).  Once the petals were in place - again using metal glue, I sewed them onto the canvas at the base for extra support.

Next was the center of the flower.  I wanted the center to stand out, but not be the focal point.  I found a white and brown streaked button and added a few layers of yellow acrylic wash to it.  I also used acrylics to shade it.  Then I sewed it in the center.

This also added more support for the petals.  Once the center was painted, I added a couple layers of gloss.  Then I took my acrylic paint, darkened it, and added the shading around the flower's center.

After the flower was assembled, I took a shipping tag, stained it with ink, applied the words I had ready, and added embellishments with colored pencil.  I believe God has truly given us a beautiful piece of art in the world, and I find awe in it every day.

The last thing I added were the ribbons.  The green symbolizes the earth, and the white brings out the petals more.

This project was so fun to watch come to life!  I would say that my first 3D painting was a success, and that there may be more to come!  Stay tuned, because in keeping with the nature theme, I am making a mixed-media sculpture that I would LOVE to share with you all!  Until then - have a blessed time!  Peace ~S

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Revamping the Old

Do you ever get the feeling that something is not finished, but you cannot quite put your finger on it?  That's what happened with my "Dearest Heart" creation.  It hung on my bedroom wall, waiting for more.  Months and months went by before I realized that I needed to add the red tissue paper to make the words stand out,  and the wire wind behind her wings.  It was amazing to go back to one of my favorite pieces and add to it.  I knew it wasn't finished, but I had to be patient and wait for the clarity of what needed to be done.  I am still not quite sure that it is a finished piece though.  It needs to hang on my wall for longer before I can determine that.  But that's what creations are.  The begin as a seed and grow into a creation that was only a sketch before.  It's an amazing process to be a part of.  I pray that everyone has something like that in their lives.

Dearest Heart

So please leave me a message and let me know if you think this piece is complete or not.  Leave ideas, comments, thoughts, and you could win a 5X7 matted print of the piece!  Every entry's name will be put into a drawing.  The winner will be selected on Saturday June 18, 2011.  Good luck!  It's my first giveaway, and I am so excited!!!