Friday, March 20, 2015

First Painting Epiphany

In my last post I told you about healing, getting my creativity back, and my resolve to reclaim my personal creative voice this year.

In the middle of February I had a lunch meet with an old work friend. She quit not long after I did. As we chatted about where we were both at I told her about how I had struggled to spend time in my studio and that I hadn't made a finished, ready for the wall, work of art in YEARS.

That conversation must have shook something loose because that night, as I was falling asleep, I suddenly had an epiphany. A painting I needed to do. I went to sleep resolved to locate all my painting stuff in the morning.

When I woke the next morning I was fearful. I was afraid that I couldn't do it, that I wouldn't be able to translate what I saw in my mind to the canvas. I had failed so many times before that it was not an unreasonable fear. I sent up an urgent prayer, "Please let me have this one."

I went down to my studio and pulled out my portable easel, a watercolor board I've had for years, gesso from my art journaling tote, the jar of brushes, and went upstairs to the kitchen and sunshine. I opened up the easel, mounted the watercolor board, and gessoed it with a couple of coats.

While that dried, I pulled out the oil paints. I couldn't open any of them with my hands, but they still seemed soft in the tubes, so I visited the garage and used a pliers to tease all but one of them open. The one that wouldn't ended in the trash. It wasn't worth worrying about. I had momentum and needed to maintain it.

I couldn't locate the solvent and so I sat down at my computer and located images in my photo files that would help me with my painting, 2 photos my Dad took in the early 1970s and one I took in 2009. They were images of the valley where we lived from the time I was 6 to when I was 10. Four years that I call home.

As soon as the board was dry I sketched the image I wanted onto the gessoed surface. It's an image of something I spent a lot of time looking at. It's what you see if you stand at the edge of the yard of our old house, looking out into the valley. You can see for hundreds of miles of rolling hills on a clear day. The main road into the valley is on the right. Today it's paved but when we lived there it was just the native red dirt. In the center of the valley is the airstrip and I have put the single prop engine airplane at the far end of it, about to land. The road and the airstrip represent the two main forms of transportation out of the valley.

After I got done sketching I took up the hunt for the solvent again, finding it. So I quickly roughed in the image with color.

So far it seems that I'm going to be allowed to have this painting.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Getting Back to Making Art

Since I quit my job in January of 2013 I've been healing. I was left physically, mentally, and emotionally ill to the point that I sincerely believe that if I had stayed much longer I would have ended up in the hospital.

But, I didn't and I've spent the time since healing in a very deliberate sort of way, trying to listen to what my body, my heart, and my mind needed to become whole again. I've had so much help and support in this from my Honey and I feel like I'm almost there.

I haven't shared much of what I've been dealing with except with those closest to me. I have shared bits and pieces with friends and family, just to let them know how I am because they care. Being too needy is a good way to destroy relationships.

One thing that happened at that old job was that I felt my creativity was prostituted, even stolen, for someone else's agenda leaving nothing left for me. What I offered was also often treated as cheap and only as valuable as they decided it was. I can't tell you how many times I heard the phrase "You're really creative, but..." I hung on to the scraps that were left, but nurturing one's personal creativity back to health is a grieving process as well as kind of like nurturing my body back to health. It can't be rushed. It takes as long as it takes.

• I continued doing my crochet and even found I was again able to do the work to publish the designs last fall. Doing handwork like crochet and yarn spinning was therapeutic and one of the ways I was able hang onto the scraps of my creativity that were left. Getting back to publishing was a sign that my brain could once again handle more complex tasks.

• I took classes to help revive my creative spirit and did a little art journaling. The journaling was helpful although I'm not really that kind of artist. I was able to use it occasionally to assess where I was at. It could be very revealing and I valued that. One thing that kept coming up that I couldn't figure out was that I had clearly "lost my voice." I needed to figure out how to find my own voice again.

• I decided this January that my word for the year is "Reclamation." I'm finally well enough to reclaim ownership of my creative voice, all the way through from design to art. Look out, here I come!!

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Here's a journal page I started in April but couldn't finish until today. It's called "Belonging."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Thought for the Day

Some artists begin as mission-driven but get tricked into being career-driven.
~ Andrew Simonet

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thought for the Day

"A country remains poor in wealth, both materially and intellectually, if it does not develop its handicrafts and its industries and lives a lazy parasitic life by importing all the manufactured articles from the outside." -Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bookbinding and Creativity Packs

Creativity packs, especially fiber based ones, excite me. I found this one from Painters Threads Collection at Blue Twig Studio.

Creativity Pack opened up and prepped.
I was so excited when I got it that I immediately opened it up and started separating things out. I had it all prepped before I thought to take a picture of it for you. When I received it, the stabilizer was a 4"x6" sheet (which I cut in half) and the yarns were gathered together in one hank.

To the pack I added some beads to add a bit of extra sparkle. When I was done embellishing the cover, I lined them with some scrap fabric and added some Canson XL Multi-Media paper for the pages.

I used the flat tape to reenforce the binding edges and left one of them extra long to act as a bookmark. The binding was done with some of the yarn from the pack.
The finished book.
The finished book is about 3" wide, 4" tall, and about 1/2" thick. Everything is sewn and the only glue used was on the knots to ensure they don't come undone.

There are some creativity packs from Treenway, too. I might have to try one of them next.