Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mission: Accomplished!

Dun. Dun. Dun. Dundundun....

That's right! It was a mission, but as it turns out, it was not impossible! I'm so thrilled to have been able to participate in Laura's great idea! Here's the idea in a nutshell. She has 100 iPhoneography missions from a book on iPhoneography. Each week, she's pulling one of the missions out of a jar, and we're off!

This week's mission, should we choose to accept it, was Go to a farm and explore a worn path.

Divine providence for me, right? My parents live and work on a farm! And since my Mom was taking my little guy to the farm today, picking him up provided the perfect opportunity to fulfill my mission!

I started out by heading to a path through the cow pasture. Mom had recommended it and I set out in the direction she told me. With Hurricane Irene passing through, though, she had left that path a mud pit. I didn't really want to wade through knee-deep mud, so I chose an adjoining worn path: a stone road that leads to various farm fields.

Even that road was washed out, so I had to pick my steps carefully. I also had to skip over the expected cow pies. Ew.

As I walked, I realized that my mission was more than I had first thought. I had initially planned to snap a picture of the worn path and then be on my way. But then the light bulb went off. My mission wasn't about the path; it was about the exploration. What could I discover while traveling this worn path?

I decided to open my eyes and my mind so that I could better absorb the sights around me. I also decided to let fate dictate the pictures I took. Using the Hipstamatic camera on my iPhone, I allowed it to randomly choose the films and lenses for my exploration.

Now, shall we explore together?

The worn path I chose to explore...

My temporary companions. They were very interested in what I was doing and lowed at me as I walked up the hill.

The path had become a small stream in spots.

One spot in the "stream" was strangely foamy...

I believe that there was a small family of hobbits living nearby.
Maybe woodchucks.
But probably it's hobbits.

The neighboring farm is just past a cornfield...

The pokeweed is plentiful. The berries are poisonous, but Native Americans once used the ripe ones to make a beautiful indigo dye. If I had more hours in the day, I would see for myself.

These little orange beauties are also plentiful. The flowers form a pod before blooming. If you touch these pods, they explode. I loved playing with them when I was a kid.

A tornado swept through several months ago...

...evidence of the tornado's path is still evident everywhere.

Eventually, I had to head back down the path.

I had one lone sentinal watching my retreat...
(Actually, I startled her.)

And then, there is my favorite shot of the entire mission. A shot at the end of the path. I love this. Probably because it is so different from the rest. Probably because it's kind of creepy and spooky.

It's lucky I didn't start this mission with this image. I may have taken it as a warning and left my mission unaccomplished...

This was a great adventure and journey. I am so glad that Laura decided to share these little missions, and I cannot wait to see what the next one holds. I'm making a solemn effort to use these missions to step outside my comfort zone a bit, to grow as an artist, and to explore who I really am as an artist.

What a fulfilling start!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

After All, Today is Another Day

I am reminded of a song from the epic film Billy Madison, in which the title character is singing a song..."Back to school, back to schoooooollll..."

For indeed, I am back to school. Today was the first day for students. It was busy and full...and not too bad. I have some characters this year, but they keep things from becoming dull.

And as in years past, my mom is coming to my house each day to care for my little guy. When I came home, not only had she spent the day playing with him, but she did the dishes, cleaned the kitched, put away all my laundry...and probably did a dozen other things I haven't discovered yet! How does she do it? She is a miracle, that woman!

So, last week was pretty kaput when it came to meeting creative goals. Phhbt.

This week is another week, however, and I will have to get creative about getting creative.

I'm going to squeeze in photo processing wherever I can. I'm sticking to my goal of posting a pic a day.

And I'm going to purchase two things that I can use in my creative endeavors. The first is a Keri Smith book called Finish this Book. It can currently be purchased at a discount, and I'm down with that!

I also want to pick up some of this varnish. I found an awesome tutorial via Pinterest; it shows how to make necklace pendants from book pages!! I am going to make a million of these!!!

And finally, I am really excited about this! My creative sister, Laura, is posting a weekly photo challenge from a book called The Art of iPhoneography. The book contains 100 creative photography missions for your iPhone. Laura is going to pick one at random each week. This week's mission is "Visit a farm and explore a worn path." Since my parents live on a farm, I just may be able to pull this one off!! And since my mom plans to take my little guy to her house on Wednesday....Guess I know what I'm going to do!

So, I do have to scale back my creative goals simply because at least 8 hours of each day is going to be filled for me, but I think that I can still find creative fulfillment each week.

Wish me luck!

And grab your iPhone and join in the weekly challenges!!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Life 1, Creativity 0

Summer ends too quickly. I didn't accomplish even close to all of my creative goals, especially the ones I set for only this week.

What did I manage to do creatively this week? Um...I took some pictures. Mainly with my iPhone but a couple of traditional images, too. I processed a couple (literally) images.

That's it.

Truth be told? I'm really bummed and out of sorts and near tears.

I wish Hurricane Irene had blown independent wealth onto my doorstep....

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Art Therapy

I'm feeling out of sorts today. Maybe it's because I'm getting my hair cut; that always makes me anxious. Maybe it's because school starts tomorrow with our first inservice of the year. I am just not ready to go back. Maybe it's because of myriad reasons that I can't even put into words.

Some days are just like that.

In any case, I can feel that band of anxiety tightening across my chest, and I just feel trapped.


I thought about that feeling and an image blossomed in my brain. Along with the image came the phrase from Maya Angelou, "I know why the caged bird sings." And I feel like a caged bird. But I feel like I just can't sing today.

And so, I turned to Photoshop, as I often do, to get this out of my system. What I really wanted to do was to create mixed media piece, but that just isn't going to happen with a toddler and a decided lack of necessary media. So, as I built this piece, I tried to build it as though I were working with mixed media: papers and paints and pictures....

I started with several text-based textures from an artist who goes by Les Brumes on Flickr. I wanted my background to be like I use a variety of book pages. Over that, I added some free painterly textures by Distressed Jewell (also on Flicker) so it would like I had painted over the paper. I started, then, with this:

Next, I started adding in and layering images from a wonderful free site called The Graphics Fairy. She had just the vintage images that I was looking for. I used a large raven image as part of the background. Ravens tend to have dark connotations, and I wanted that element of darkness. I chose a vintage print of a girl to represent myself. She's looking upward with a mixture of hope and anxiety on her face. As soon as I saw the image, I knew it was the one I wanted to use. I also found a vintage bird cage. Perfect.

Then, I added the birds by using brushes provided by Jerry Jones at Shadowhouse Creations. I used several brushes in order to get all the birds on the right side of the image. I also used a single bird brush that was different from the previous ones. This bird symbolizes hope and freedom and escape.

I added the text next. That's how I'm feeling right now. I want to sing but can't remember how.

And finally, I added two of Kim Klassen's freebie textures to bring the whole image together.

Then, voila. Here's my final image:

Between creating the image and posting this blog, I do have to say that I feel a little bit better...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kicking and Screaming

This is it. My summer is ending. In just two days I'll be back in the classroom, getting ready for the kids to arrive on the 29th.

I could cry.

It's not that I hate my job; most days I don't. It's just that it feels like it is just a job on so many days. It's not my calling. Sigh.

So, this means that time for creative endeavors is diminishing. I have to keep that in mind as I plot my next round of creative goals.

I'm definitely going to keep photographing and processing and posting to Flickr. I generally give myself a half hour each morning to do just that, so I intend to keep up that schedule this year.

This week, I'm going to try to work on the collage piece I threw together last night. It's missing something...

And I want to start a mixed media piece. I have the background ready; I had started and discarded it for another project. I want to at least get a layer of gesso or paint on it by the end of this week. I think that is a very fair goal to make.

And I want to find a bleach pen so I can do some custom-designed t-shirts. Results to be posted if I can find one of these darned pens!

Creativity aside, this is a full week. Groceries today. Must get a haircut tomorrow; my ends are fried! And I need a style; not just this long mass of hair. Two days of inservice and making copies and shelving books. Friday we're doing something that takes our mind off of Monday...

Busy, busy, busy!! Keep creative, my friends. Even if it's just one thing this week, do something that makes your heart happy!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What I Did...And Didn't...

Another week almost down! And was I creative? Yes! Did I do everything? No!! But there were some trade offs going on, so while I didn't tackle everything on my list, I did do a couple of other creative tasks...

1. I'm a Flickr machine! Having the Hipstamatic camera application on my camera is such a relief! If I don't have an image processed, I can just upload a Hipsta print! Makes it easier on those days when I just don't have time to get on the computer and tool around in Photoshop.

2. I printed two more dictionary prints. This time, I added a hint of color. I don't think I like how they turned out. I wanted the color to be more translucent. But my brother-in-law loved one of them, so I gave it to him for his new apartment. Score!

3. That necklace will be the death of me. I didn't even look at it. On purpose. I just looked away and pretended it wasn't even there.

4. Pinterest-inspired project? Score! I posted that the other day! Huzzah!!

5. Encourage creativity in others. Another score! I also posted the other day about turning t-shirts into swingy tank tops (another Pinterest-inspired endeavor). Well, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law are both going to make one! Yay!

I also cut out a bunch of pages from one of my found books so I can start getting it ready to be an altered book. And I've been drawing silhouettes on the pages I pulled out. I'm not thrilled with them, but I feel good drawing them, so I see that as a strong start. AND I started rough sketches for a children's book I'm going to make for my son for Christmas! Have to get to work on that!

I wonder what this week will bring in terms of creativity. Unfortunately, I have two days of Inservice this week. I do not want to go back to school this year. I want to continue to have time to devote to creativity. Once school starts, I'm going to lose these valuable and productive morning hours. Waah!

Today's image: straight out of the camera. A rarity for me!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

No, You DON'T Have a Migraine

They started when I was about thirteen.


I don't really remember the first one, per se. But I remember having blinding headaches that prompted Mom to send me to my grandmother's for her care. She stretched me out on the couch in the darkened living room, no sound other than the rustle of her housedress as she brought me cold compresses for my head. She was a lifetime sufferer, as well, and she knew just what to do to help ease the pain.

And pain is an understatement. They start just over my left eye, a nagging ache. If I take medicine at that first breach, I'll be okay. Often, I am busy and just ignore it, thinking stupidly that it will just go away. Other times, I don't have medicine with me (dumb), and I have to wait until I can get home.

After the initial blossom of pain, there is the explosion. Like a flash grenade going off in your skull. The pain is everywhere, but it centers in my left eye. I won't say that I go blind in it, but I cannot even open it for the pain. (If you see me winking at you with my forehead all creased, I have a migraine.) Light hurts. Sound hurts. Everything hurts.

Then, the worst. If I don't get meds immediately, the nausea hits. I have thrown up from the pain of a migraine, and it's not pretty. (Well...duh...) What I mean is that when I've hit this point, I need someone with me for protection from myself.

Case in point, the first time I ever had a migraine this bad was about twelve years ago. I didn't have any migraine medication at that time, so I tried to rely on over the counter headache meds. They didn't even come close to helping. I ended up crumpled on the bathroom floor, emptying the contents of my stomach from the agony in my head. It was so dreadful that I began to think, If I just bash my head against the tub hard enough, it will knock me out and I won't be in pain anymore. And I was serious. I was going to do it.

So I hate it when people throw around the word Migraine. "Oh, I had a migraine..." and then they go on to prove that they, in fact, did not have one and were just throwing the word around for an excuse or, even worse, a play for sympathy.

If you have real migraines, you don't use them for those purposes. You respect and fear them too much to do that!

So here is my representation of a migraine. Or moreso, the moments when the pain is just starting to subside and you know that relief is on the horizon:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Inspired By...

I have my friend, Laura, to thank for introducing me to and getting me addicted to a website called Pinterest. Basically, it's a giant bulletin board. You see something you like, an idea you want to try...and you "pin" it to your bulletin board. I have become a complete addict; I'm not going to lie. I could pin all day!

But then I saw this image:

Darn it! It's right! I keep pinning all of these inspiring ideas, but I don't do anything with them! So I got to work. First, I printed an image onto a page from an old dictionary. It was awesome! I may even do a bunch and try to sell them on Etsy! Or even Fiverr....Money is money, right?!

And then? I. Kept. Going. I made more stuff!!

Today, I threw together an upcycled t-shirt! It literally took all of five minutes...

Step One: Collect your supplies. They include: an old t-shirt (Seriously, the bigger the better. you want swing with this shirt. I used a men's XL, and I think an XXL would have been better...especially since I'm pretty curvy), scissors, and ribbon (though I chose beads and embroidery floss).

Step Two: Cut! Cut the sleeves off starting at the armpit and working your way toward the center of the shoulder seam. Cut the neck out (the lower the better but don't get too trashy). And cut the bottom hem off in a crescent shape (see below as I didn't know how better to explain it).

Step Three: Tie a ribbon around the shoulder straps, about an inch below the shoulder seam and in the back of the shirt. I decided to girly it up by using beads instead.

Step Four: Ta-da! Frankly, it's a grubby shirt, so I don't intend to wear it in public, but for around the house on a hot day? Sure! And next time, I would use the ribbon. The beads are cute, but the gap creates a weird fold in the back. Tie those straps together!! Otherwise, a cute and quick idea!


My big project and the original one that I wanted to try was a silhouette of birds sitting on tree branches. The background was (again) pages from an old dictionary. I had started it with pages from a book, but I didn't like how that background looked. So, I started fresh with the dictionary pages, and yesterday I did the silhouette:

I am really, really proud of this. I went with folky-art birds instead of actual bird silhouettes (as in the original) because I wanted a touch of whimsy. Hubby thought they were funny in a cute way, and that reinforced my decision. I wanted three birds, one for each of us, and I wanted one empty branch, as we are missing one member of our little family.

I love it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Last Ditch Effort!

Gentlemen, start your engines!

Two weeks from today marks the first day of another school year. Please set your violins to mourn. And next week involves two inservice days, so I can literally feel my creative time being drawn from my veins.

Just means I have to get creative about getting creative, right?

I think about this as I set my goals for the week. I want to cram in as much last-ditch creativity as I can! So, let's see what I can do...

1. Keep posting a daily image to Flickr. Maybe two as I want to start adding some of my Hipstamatic shots.

2. Work on a couple more dictionary prints. I really like how the one I did for my husband and I turned out, so I want to try some more. I'm thinking that if I can get a head start on some samples, I could start a new Etsy page for personalized ones. Hmm?

3. Work on that gosh-darned necklace!!!!

4. Finish my original Pinterest-inspired project. I redid the background last night and I am sooo much happier with it! Now, I just have to do the next step...which involves some freehand drawing and sketching...and that is going to make me hesitate. Still, I will do it! And if it turns out, it may just become a treasured piece for our home.

5. Encourage creativity in others. There's an old quote about the best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer someone else up. Well, maybe that should be reworked and applied to being creative. The best way to get myself creative is to get someone else to be creative!

So, you! Yeah, you! I know that you're reading this!! I can see you through the screen! (*tap, tap*) It's time to click the little "x" in the corner of the screen and do something creative! Right now!!

6. And finally, I think I may have to consider becoming a resource for the tourism industry. Just sayin'...

And with that, I wish you a creative week! Happy creating!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Better Attempt Next Time

I'll admit it.

I wasn't as creative this week. I set reasonable goals, and only through a bit of creative semantics and debate can I say that I met some of them. I had good intentions, but I also had to do some school shopping. And I did squeeze in a day of relaxation and inspiration which I wholeheartedly feels should bring about an entire forgiveness for other lapses this past week.

So, let's check out those goals and see how I did...or didn't, as it were.

1. The first goal was to keep posting to Flickr. I managed to maintain this goal, but it was close a couple of days. (May I say thank goodness for the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone?)

2. Next up was to decide how to put together my next necklace. It includes a chain with a ribbon strung through each of the links. I looked it at. I thought about it. I sighed and put it out of sight because I know how very tedious that job is going to be. Maybe next week...

3. I was also supposed to decide what to do with my Pinterest-inspired project. I think I have come to a decision on that. I know what image I want to do, but I'm not happy with my current background piece. I think I'm going to create a new background and restart the Pinterest project. And then I'll use the original background for something else, perhaps a mixed-media piece.

4. I did look at my art journal, as I had said I should for my fourth goal. I did think that I should glue the pages together, as I also said I would do. I did not glue any of said pages together, but that wasn't my goal, so I can't feel too badly about that, right?

5. I mentioned previously and posted pictures from a book of gothic romance tales that I intend to repurpose. Well, I did start to do that. I want to do something with the cover of the book, and I managed to cut the image out. Now, I have to figure out what to do with it. Hmm...maybe this could become part of that mixed media piece?

6. My final goal for this past week was to make another stock manipulation piece. That I did not do. I tried, as I did have an idea for something, but I wasn't happy with how it kept turning out. I just couldn't get it to meet the image I had in my head. Now, that being said, I did work on a piece this morning that involved brushes and textures and an image that was different from my usual. I'm going to count that, okay? (You don't really have a say, so you might as well agree.)


So, I guess I did fairly well. I wanted to do better, but it just wasn't the week for it. And I know that with school starting soon, I'm going to have my creative time cut into significantly.

But on a side note, I had an idea for a creative space in the basement. We have a little laundry room just off the main room downstairs. There, of course, is a washer and dryer off to one side against the outer wall. There's a really big utility sink against one of the other walls. I had a vision for that area, but I didn't really think much of it until yesterday when Hubby mentioned that we should replace that sink with something smaller. I jumped at the chance to share my vision with him. A smaller sink that is attached to a countertop that extends to the corner. Shelves and drawers and a stool...and a workspace for me.

Hubby? He liked it. Now to just make that idea come to fruition. It'd be alot nicer to work there than my usual: an old changing pad spread out on the floor amidst all the toys and nonsense...

Friday, August 12, 2011

In The Moment

A new school year is fast approaching. (And don't insert the expected moans and groans; insert wretched screams of!)

One thing that I sort of like about school starting is that I get to buy new clothes. I only say sort of because of dressing room mirrors, but I digress...

So, on Tuesday, I whisked my son to one of his favorite paces in the world: Grammie and Grampie's farm. I dropped him off in the morning, and spent the day at the outlets. What finds! I came home laden with bags and feeling good about some good deals and some new styles for my wardrobe.

I did so well on Tuesday that I didn't really have to do any school shopping yesterday. But I already had plans to let the little guy spend the day on the farm, so I decided to spend the day on my own.

First and main stop? Barnes & Noble. I have not been able to browse at B&N for a long time; I now spend my time there in the children's section, playing on that cursed Thomas table.

Today? Just me, myself, and I. I grabbed my grande caramel macchiato and started to browse. First stop? The craft section. I looked at book after book of art journal idea and upcycling ideas and altered whatevers ideas. I snapped pictures of the book covers with my phone so I would remember what titles I wanted to get my hands on eventually.

Then I strolled through the bargain books. There were a couple of stacks of 75% books, and I was excited to find several of Dover's clip art collections in them. I grabbed a book of 1565 spot illustrations and motifs that was reduced to only $4.

Finding that book sent me over to the art section to see what other Dover books were available. I found a wonderful one full of book plate art. I couldn't resist as I think it will be perfect for my dictionary project. I decided it could be one of my splurges since it wasn't on sale.

Next stop was the magazine rack for something to read over lunch. I chose the latest issue of Somerset Studio, and I'm so glad I did. What inspiration! And I love the ads for all the resources; I can't wait to start beefing up my Christmas wish list!

Finally, my growling stomach let me know that it was time for lunch. I settled into a small table in the cafe with a chicken and artichoke baguette and a passion tea lemonade. As I sat there, I felt compelled to lose myself in the moment and just be. I documented my thoughts:

Color: Periwinkle
Word: Peace
Phrase: Cleansing breath
Where I Am: Starbucks cafe at Barnes & Noble
What I'm Doing: Lingering over Somerset Studios and an artichoke/chicken baguette
Why I'm Doing This: I need to recharge my battery

See: A girl in a summery floral dress. She's packing up the laptop and textbook she's been working on since I sat down. I can't imagine that any summer courses are currently going on as most colleges are getting ready for the new semester, and I wonder what she's been working on.
Hear: Three people are sitting behind me. There's a younger woman with an older male and female. The young woman is going through a nasty divorce, and she seems to be discussing failed arbitration with two lawyers. So sad.
Smell: Surprisingly, I don't smell coffee. I smell the warm, yeasty smell of my baguette and the grilled chicken. I also smell the ink of my new magazine.
Taste: Artichokes, their flavor is most prevalent, and there's a peppery spice that's not pepper.
Feel: Relaxed and content and refreshed and that I need to do this more often...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Resource Round-Up!

I love book sales. I love picking up gently loved books at bargain basement prices. In fact, I think I love it a little too much as I have an entire bookshelf of book sale finds that I haven't read yet. (Shh...don't tell Hubby.)

Yesterday, my mother-in-law and I took some of our used books down to the public library as a donation to their ongoing book sale. And I did something that I've never done before. I looked for books that I would use for the sole purpose of art projects! It was so much fun to scour the selections for artistic and creative purposes!

I will admit that 1) there weren't many that I could see using since much of the sale was paperback romances and 2) I passed up a couple because I knew that they would just sit somewhere collecting dust and my husband's ire because it would be a while before I'd start using them.

But I did pick up three hardcover books for about $3 that I intend to use in various ways!

The bottom book is called Folk Art of Rural Pennsylvania and is full of sketches and images like the one below. I think I can incorporate some into collage work.

In that stack is also an encyclopedic dictionary. I have seen some delightful images printed on dictionary pages, and I want to try to make my own! I think they'd look great framed and hanging around my house! I can also use some of the pages for mixed media projects. The other book in the stack is called English Drawings. It is full of sketches done by various English artists. It includes this wonderful map of London in the front cover.

I'm hoping I can salvage and use these pages in some sort of project. I'm also excited to use some of the sketches inside. I think these portraits would look great in matching little frames!

I also snagged one of the books my mother-in-law was going to donate. It's an old copy of The Thorn Birds and I fell in love with the image of a bare tree imprinted into the cover. The spine is in good shape, so I want to save this for an altered book and keep that imprint as part of the cover art.

As I was going through my bookshelves and pulling out books to donate, a collection of gothic tales condensed by Reader's Digest ended up on the stack. I've had the book on my shelf for years and have never pulled it off to read it. As I was going through my boxes one last time to make sure I didn't have donor's remorse over any of the books, I pulled this book out. What was I thinking?! Look at the book cover! I can totally use this for something!

And then, flipping through, I remembered that Reader's Digest provides illustrations in all its condensed books! Look at what I nearly threw away (especially the last image which screams Alice to me!!)!!

What cool resources I have to work with! And they only cost me $3!! I can't wait to allow my imagination to take flight and to see what artistic creations I can make!

But first, I have some goals to meet this week...including one with that gothic book cover!

Cheers! Have a creative day!!

(P.S. Thank heavens for autosave as something just freaked out and this post disappeared! Phew!!)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Setting Myself Up for Success

It's been a rough week. But the last eighteen hours have made it seem like we're on an upswing. Hubby and I had a heart-to-heart talk yesterday morning in which I consoled him, cajoled him, and outright scolded him. As the day went on, he seemed to be in better spirits. Now, whether he's just a fine actor, I'm not sure. I don't think he's that good, so I'm hoping what I told him helped. I'm also hoping that today goes amazingly well so that he can feel more relief.

A week ago, I set some creative goals along with a becoming-very-dear-to-my-heart friend, Laura. Neither of us met every goal, but we set the bar high for ourselves and I think that we really rose to the challenge. Good for us!

This week is going to be a busy one for me. I'll be squeezing creativity in where I can, but I have tons of things to do that don't involve being creative (except for piecing together a new school wardrobe without breaking the bank). I'm keeping that in mind while I make my goals.

1. Continue to post a picture to Flickr every day. (I almost feel like I'm cheating with this one because I'm pretty sure I can do it. Maybe I should say "a quality image" instead?)

2. Figure out how to put together my next necklace, a ribbon and chain idea. I may need an extra set of arms for this one.

3. Make some decisions on my Pinterest-inspired project. I had decided what I wanted to do, but now I have other ideas, too. I know I should probably just sit down and go with my gut. I'll see if I can make the time to do that.

4. Look at my art journal and tell myself that I really must glue those pages together someday.

5. Start to prep a gothic romance inspired piece. I had a collection of gothic stories that I was going to give away to the local library's book sale. I flipped through it before boxing it and saw some wonderful illustrations. What are you doing? I mentally yelled at myself. You could make something out of that!! So I'm going to listen to that voice and try. Sorry, library.

6. Make another stock manipulation piece. An image flew into my head yesterday, and I had to get it out. It was so strong that I couldn't even see; my mind's eye took over. When it was finished, I felt so good. So I want to feel that way again! I'm hoping to be inspired enough to create another image this week!


So another week of creative spirits gets underway! For anyone reading this (taps on computer screen: "Anyone out there?"), set your own goals for creativity. It's easy to say that you're going to be creative, but it is sometimes darned hard to actually do it! Set a goal and set some time. It is soooo worth it!

Good luck, Laura! I look forward to seeing your goals and your creative endeavors!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Finding Art in the Mire

On Monday, I posted my art goals for the week. And I have to admit that doing that is a good impetus for me to actually be creative and productive! I will also say that I was more productive at the beginning of the week, but more about that later.

As a reminder, my goals were the following:

1. Process and post one picture to Flickr each day.
2. Start a sketch for my watercolor journal.
3. Glue the rest of my pages for my art journal.
4. Post at least one print to Zazzle.
5. Finish making another necklace and matching earrings.
6. Start my Pinterest-inspired project.

So, how did I do?

1. Met it! This was probably one of the easier ones. I process and post while my son is sleeping in the morning, so I am fairly easily able to get one per day.

2. Met...and met! I generally sketch and then add ink and color. This time, I just went for it. I had added the background and was debating over what to sketch. Then, after a rough day, I just grabbed my pen and drew:

And then, because I had some time and because drawing with no starting sketch was kind of thrilling, I started another page:

3. Oops. There just wasn't time to get out the glue and go to town. I'll try again this week.

4. Honestly, I don't remember if I did this. I know I posted something fairly recently, but I'll have to see if that fell within the past six days. If not, I still have 16 hours left to do it!

5. Done! I finished a necklace that I had started and the earrings to match! I was going to start the next one, but I have a previous one that I need to lengthen first. That'll be a new goal for the week.

6. Started! But not much more than that! I glued pages from Ayn Rand's Anthem onto a canvas board, but then I stopped because I have too many directions that I'm considering. But, goal was too start, right!

All-in-all, not too shabby.

Quite honestly, I did better at the beginning of the week. The end has been filled with a little bit of travel and a whole load of stress.

Hubby is a music teacher, and until the end of this year, his job was to teach 4th through 6th graders how to play instruments. He loves it, and he is so gifted when it comes to working with younger kids.

Then, the high school instrumental teacher retired. And because Pennsylvania is in a budget crisis (don't get me started on the money being given to the prison system...), the school district didn't hire a new music teacher.

They just shoved my husband into the job.

It's not what he wants. Now he has had to become the high school band director, one of the most public positions in the district. And he has to ensure that our county-famous 160-member band performs up to the standards that have been set over at least the past 15 years, but more like the past 80 years.

And he can do it. I know he can.

But he doesn't feel that way. So the stress of being given this monster is getting to him. The stress of being pulled from a job he loves is getting to him. The stress of having to deal with irresponsible kids and their even-worse parents is getting to him.

Last night, the straw broke the camel's back. And now he is so depressed and so despondent. I don't know what to do for him, and he won't let me help him.

I can tell him all the cliches, but he knows they are just cliches. I can remind him that for the handful of students that are causing him grief, there are over 150 others who are there to do the job and make him proud.

He just keeps seeing the stuff that is upsetting, and he refuses to see the big picture. He has made up his mind that the glass isn't just half-empty, it's empty. And I can pour more into it, but he just keeps dumping it out to prove his point.

I am at my wit's end. I don't know what to do. We've been through much worse than this, which I've reminded him, but he just won't listen to me. He is a stubborn man, and he has stubbornly decided to let this kill him.

I don't know what to do.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Squeezing In Some Art

Yesterday started off so nicely. A little Internet surfing and relaxation before some snuggling with my little guy. Then, we were off to a train shop for a little scenic shopping. Hubby has an approximately four foot by eighteen foot train layout in progress in the basement, and we were hunting for a gas station to place across from Irene's diner.


We were just having a nice day! Fun and giggles at Burger King while the little guy played with his crown. Friendly gestures at the store as one of the train guys gave our little guy some old train catalogs to look through for free (they become collector's items as the years go on).

It was just a nice day with no worries or stresses.

Then I got my course schedule and wanted to jump off a bridge.

In the midst of that, I created. I worked on an image in PhotoShop and that provided me with a nice distraction. I added some color to my watercolor/ink journal's latest sketch.

And then I ended the night with a massage from Hubby, who realized that I need to be kept sane just as much as he does. :)

And today? It's another day. I doubt I'll have time for any creative endeavors as we have a packed schedule, but that's okay because it should be a fun day.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ups, Downs, and Kersplats

Okay. So there weren't really any kersplats that I am aware of, though that would have made sense given the type of day it was.

  1. Hubby is being destroyed by the stress of his job switch. And he hasn't really started yet.
  2. It falls upon me to not only maintain his sanity but to maintain every aspect of our lives since he can only focus on the job right now.
  3. That includes making doctor appointments for the little guy (who suddenly has an eye out of alignment).
  4. I should be making appointments for myself for new glasses (it's been three years) and for these dizzy spells that keep showing up.
  5. But I don't have time to deal with that.
  6. Or much of anything else.
  7. Because we're constantly go-go-go.
  8. And I can't even get my laundry done.
  9. And I have swollen glands.
  10. And dreamed about a horrid spider going up my shirt.
  11. Thereby destroying the best sleep I've managed in weeks.
But in the midst of this, I managed some of my ups for the day.

  1. Arranged dinner with Hubby's brother who dispensed the same advice as me...but Hubby actually seemed to listen a bit.
  2. Arranged a visit with Hubby's mom because there's nothing more calming than going home.
  3. Played with the little guy and had so much fun! (I forgot how cool hide-and-seek was!)
  4. Watched the little guy's imagination soar even further!
  5. Finished a necklace AND a matching pair of earrings while the little guy slept in.
  6. Finished my watercolor page (though it went in a completely different direction than I had planned).
  7. And started another page!
I know the downs are outweighed by the ups numerically.

But truly? It only takes one good up to make the downs seem not as daunting.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Can We Do It?

Yesterday was only moderately creative.

I spent most of the day on my parents' farm. We were going to take the little guy to the county fair, but as soon as we got to Mom and Dad's, he was ready to play and see the cows. We decided to just stay there and let him have fun.

I did manage to squeeze in some pictures that I look forward to processing...someday.

I processed a couple pictures last night, including today's post for Flickr:

But otherwise, I wasn't productive. I erased what I started to add to my watercolor/ink journal. I looked at my Pinterest-inspired project and wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go.

So I sat and read my new Food Network magazine and imagined all the yummy food I could be making if I had my dream kitchen.

It doesn't help that Hubby's newish job is a stress monster and that he really doesn't deal well with stress sometimes. And having to maintain his sanity is threatening to become a full-time job for me!

Well, other than laundry, a potential call to the pediatrician (that's another blog, altogether), a jaunt to the grocery store, and helping him set up some chairs at school...I don't have any plans. Maybe I can squeeze in work on that necklace today?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Trucking On

I hate to admit it, but I do better work when I have to account for myself. Just being left to do things on my own and on my own time? I think about doing them...but then I do other things.

So this deal with Laura, my creative kindred spirit, is already working so well! Last night, I processed an image for Flickr (2/7). I did the background for a watercolor/ink page I've been thinking about. (I'm not thrilled with it for a variety of reasons, but I'm thrilled that I did it!) I even started my first real mixed media project. (Squeal!!)

And I felt good. I felt so good to be creative. Granted, it would have been nice to be creative in my own space, maybe with some of my favorite music playing lightly in the background.

But I was creative while playing with my three-year-old, instructing him not to touch the Mod Podge, washing the Mod Podge off of him, washing it off myself, wondering how it got there, getting hit in the face with a ball, and being asked a million questions by my husband as he worked on his train layout.

Phew! I'm like a warrior or something!! LOL!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Planning Art

As I said previously, my creative sister, Laura, and I are going to set creativity schedules for ourselves. Life has a habit of intruding (yes, intruding!) on our creative endeavors as of late, and we're not going to take it anymore!

(Protest music starts to play as we make creative signs to march around with.)

Part of our intentions (I won't use the word "plan" because that's a dirty word in my house) are to post our creative goals for the week, so here I go:

1. Process and post one picture to Flickr each day. (That's the easy one, I think.)

2. Start a sketch for my watercolor journal. (I haven't touched this in over a month! But while researching tattoos...ahem...I came up with an idea I want to try!)

3. Glue the rest of my pages for my art journal. (One of the tougher endeavors, as it involves the cooperation of a three-year-old, but I think I can do it.)

4. Post at least one print to Zazzle. (I have a habit of forgetting about Zazzle. Must stop that bad habit.)

5. Finish making another necklace (and matching earrings). (I just made two necklaces and have two--maybe three--planned. Time to hop to it!)

6. Start a project based on one of the items I pinned on my Pinterest board: "I'm Inspired..." (This actually ties into what I'm doing in my watercolor journal, so I think I can pull off at least the rough drafting stage!)

We can do this. We can schedule art and still have it be spontaneous and wonderful and creative and fulfilling.

Here we go!!

Flickr 1/7