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!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What is the Best Part of Creating - Process or Product?

Happy summer!  I am finally on summer break (second week in), and I have been creating like crazy!  Doing art every night has been so relaxing and amazing!  My inspiration antennae is up and running at full strength!  Before and during my creating process I have been journalling.  I journal every night about whatever is in my head.  The last part of the entry always ends up being about whatever project or projects I am working on, and new ones that pop into my head.  During several of these journal entries, I have contemplated an important question that I had never really given much thought to before; Which do I enjoy more-the process of creating, or the outcome of a piece?  For me, I have found, that it depends on the day.  However, I do lean more one way than the other.

Do I love the pieces that I create?  Yes!  Have I learned to be more fearless and forgiving with myself as I create?  Yes!  Do I enjoy trying out new techniques and products?  Yes!  But it has taken me quite some time to get to this point.  We are our own worst critic.  We tend to cut ourselves down and look for errors and mess ups.  I have switched my focus.  I pay more attention to the process than I used to.  Never before have I sketched out ideas and thought through the materials I am using and the look and feel of those materials.  This, however, has become my greatest ally.    This has also brought my focus more to the creation of pieces and not so much on whether they come out perfectly.  I enjoy the process of making art much more now.  I worry less about whether or not my skill is perfect, and more in the curiosity of  "what would happen if I did this?".  Each night when I journal, I think about how I can continue with the piece that I am working on.  I think about the stage I am in, the parts that make the piece a whole, and whether my plan is what I really want to do.  Sometimes I contemplate what materials I could use to present certain parts of the piece.  Sometimes I contemplate how best to place objects or focal points.  This has opened up my inspiration and creativity more than anything.  I look at other artist's creations, make notes in magazines about things I want to try, or like.  All of this "research" plus the slowing down of journalling through a piece has made me so much more confident in my creations; and it has made me love the outcomes! 

I should state that the sketches that I make for my creations are not the end all be all.  They are guides.  They are the baby bird that needs to grow.  And grow they do!  My end piece, while the integrity of the design is in tact as thought of in the sketch, it has morphed and grown into a more beautiful reality.  So, I guess you would have to say that I love the process for watching my ideas grow and morph into their full potential!  In the words of Life is Good (, "Do What You Like, Like What You Do!"

The following are twin paintings that were born one right after the other.  I planned them, thought them through, and enjoyed every moment of their birth.  I hope you enjoy them as well!  ~Peace~ S.