Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Inspired by Others

So, this weeks Illustration Friday prompt was WORRY. Even though I'm just now posting on Tuesday (thanks to a LOVELY weekend in NH), I actually started this piece after scanning the handful of entries that had been posted as of 11 or so on Friday. This entry by Willie Baronet was really the inspiration for my piece this week. His sketch of dry-spell-worry was an instant catalyst for my piece entitled Never Enough Time. While Willie worries about running out of ideas, I worry about running out of life before I can get the ideas out of my head!

I'm sure I've mentioned all this before in my blog, somewhere. But let me explain things again while you are looking at my worry. When I was in the midst of writing my first book I would send my mum pics of some of my projects. She would give me feedback and once asked me if I was worried that I would ever run out of ideas. I told her NO! I was worried I was going to have to leave this earth waaaaaayyyy before I had the opportunity to share all the ideas that were swirling around in my head.

This is definitely the reason why I've written 6 books since 2005 and why I teach whenever I can. I just feel an intense need to pass my ideas on. Now, I'm not saying that every idea is a great one, but I've found that if the idea lives on in my head for more than say....4 weeks, I know its something I'm going to have to pay some attention to. I also don't necessarily get the right ideas at the right time. Right now I'm designing a new line of stamps and all I can think of are the 5 new book ideas I have that I'd like to propose to my editor. (They're coming Mary Ann!) Later today I have to put together my proposal for teaching at Art and Soul and I'm sure all I'll be able to think about is the art co-op I have to prepare for next week.

And now that I've given you a little glimpse into myself, check out this new book, Mixed Media Self-Portraits by Cate Prato that I've contributed to! I haven't seen the inside yet but the list of other artists is amazing.

But enough about me--now I've got to write up the class proposal...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

IF: Wide (Your Future is Wide Open)

This week's IF prompt, WIDE, immediately had me humming Tom Petty's Into the Great Wide Open. I also spent Monday at the Museum of Fine Arts taking part two of The Grand Tour: Sharing the Museum with Children class. While there I looked at a fabulous collage that was by an artist named Catherine McCartney (I think--I'll have to go back and check it out) The piece was a statement about being anything you want to be. It was just fabulous! Fabulous! Fabulous!
This piece is in an old Crystallized Ginger tin that was "packed for the S.S. Pierce Company" which happens to be a local Brookline name. Hence the reason I originally bought the tin. I wanted to make a piece with a door opening and at first I was going to try and actually build a door with dollhouse components but I didn't want to wait until I could get to the store. The tin is gessoed in black and the left side (the lid) is written on in a few different pens and inks and then was embossed to give some dimension and depth to the writing. The right side is a doorway to the future. I want my girls to aim for that opening as I have. The buildings are both city and country dwelings. I feel we can only make good decisions and choices when we are presented with all (or many) of the options. If we never see what we might become--can we ever know to try?
I love the idea of an assemblage illustration like this and I'm thinking of exploring this further. What are your thoughts??

Monday, May 19, 2008

Brookline IS NOT FLAT

Hmmm... I guess I didn't realize how many hills there were in Brookline. If I had, maybe I wouldn't have had HOT soup for lunch. I almost made it without stopping but when I got to the last hill I was seriously feeling sick. I need to get a waterbottle holder for my bike next time. And maybe a new bike that has WORKING gears. But it was fun just the same! I even got a little emotional when The head of the bike parade looped at one end and passed us going the other way. Yeah! to saving the planet.
Abby made me a mother's day card at school and said I was a good mom because I took care of my family. AND I was a Wonderful mom because I take care of the Planet. WOW! I guess my recycling (and bicycling) are paying off as good examples--for Abby at least.
Oh, and for those of you who did or didn't see the Brookline Tab article here is the link....the video of before and after is there now too! and if you didn't already think I was a little bit off my rocker, take a look at the before video! WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?
I've started my Illustration Friday piece (theme WIDE) but it's not complete yet...think "the Future is Wide Open".... Stay tuned

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Brimfield I-Spy

I spy, with my little eye:
a Chinese imported box that will make a perfect assemblage spot
glimmering crystals, I'll make lovely ornaments and use the whole lot
speller book with entries like: The bishop is no bibber nor bigot
Three metal frames all dirty and rusted and each has a letter slot
two strings of oval and egg shaped beads for necklace couture that is haute
a plethora of metals thing, what I'll use them for yet, I know not
I'm not sure what happened yesteray but I definitely hit a wall at noon. I think I should have taken a morning break and I could have gone a bit longer. I think knowing that I was going to head back with friends on Friday was reassuring enough that I felt comfortable heading home at about 1.
I toyed with a bunch of paper weights and whether or not to buy them. I'd like to use them for my potential art co-op this christmas but I'm not sure. If you've seen my (co-authored) book Handmade Gifts, you've probably seen the really great set of paperweights I made in there. I'd love to make a handful more but I'm not sure if they'd sell as holiday gifts. Thought??? Right now I'm going to focus on some altered paper jewelry, small works of art, ornaments, and metallic message boards. I'm thinking "bits". "bits" of art, "bits" of whimsy, "bits" of beauty. One of the strings of beads I found look like speckled birds eggs. Now I'm in search of old bird illustration books...hmmmm the wheels are turning.
I love a challenge. Really. I just LOVE them. Give me three ingredients and dare me to make dinner, give me a new tool or supply and aske me for 3 new ways to use it. Give me 7 kinds of chocolate and dare me to pick a favorite (ok that last one was really just a ploy to get some chocolate!)
Maybe I'll go bake some cookies...

Monday, May 12, 2008

All the News that's fit to Print

Yep, that's me with a strange man in my bathroom. It's the photographer for the Brookline Tab. They're doing a story of some sort about our carriage house/home/renovation/and maybe living in Brookline--sort of article. We've been told that we are the first real estate article to make an appearance in the Life section of the newspaper.
Matt made them a CD with pics from before the renovation including the video I shot. They will be adding some of this on the website. The article is being written by Neil Simpson and once I have a link, I'll put it here. It's been fun showing off the house for the umpteenth time. I'm not sure when I'll tire of it all. I think I love Matt more every time I talk about how we worked together to make this incredible home. Oh, and did I mention that he washed the floor for me on Mother's day?!?!? How could you not love him?
Also, another exciting happening today was getting to meet Author Annie Barrows (writer of the Ivy and Bean books). If you have a 1st- 3rd grade daughter, niece, grandaughter, cousin, stepdaughter, or other such young lady in your life who hasn't read one of these books yet, stop reading this blog and hop over to Amazon and order one (two, three, and the NEW four!) This is the book that turned Bec onto reading--I mean not just because I told her too. But, instead because she wanted to. Like when she could have turned on the boob tube! I know! FANTASTIC! Annie was wonderful with the kids. She was fun and encouraging and answered a TON of questions (a number of which were asked multiple times). No matter how hard they tried, they couldn't trip her up.
Did I mention my latest goal? I might as well put it out there right??! When I moved to Brookline my goal was to get my art into a coffee shop. I hadn't had ANY shows yet but I knew I wanted a good goal for my new life back in Massachusetts. YEAH! My art work is looking lovely at the neighborhood hot spot... Kookoos! SOOO, my new goal, to work on in my spare time (HA!) is to write and illustrate a children's book! Don't hold your breath. It will take me a while but there it is--my new goal. Thrown out into the universe for someone to hear, read or hold me to.
For now? My goal is to make it to the grocery store for toilet paper, milk and something resembling a vegetable before the natives get hungry and restless.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Time for Rain: Illustration Friday

Illustration Friday time: Electricity.

Time for Rain: Electric Storm

This week was tough for me. I like to use the prompts to really jump start a fun piece of art. All I kept seeing was outlets and wires in my head. Then I started thinking of ole Benny Franklin (who btw, I am no longer a fan of since I saw the John Adams Series on HBO!) and that led me to think of electrical storms. I once heard that many animals don't like storms, not because of the noise but because of the build-ups of static electricty in the air--SHOCKING.

This piece was also a couple experiments in one. First, I pulled out my masking fluid to create the lightening and THEN painted it. I wasn't sure it would come off under all that acrylic paint. The second was making a "DARK" piece. Of course I had to start with my bright signature blues and greens but then I darkened them all up.

Today is rainy and tomorrow will be too. Seems a fitting piect to do.

Stay dry!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Have I lost my marbles???

I can't believe May 1st came and went and I didn't post my NEW BOOK! Egads! Well, here is my latest baby. I really love the layout of the inside pages. They made it look like you're flipping through a card designers' workbook! very fun--and I LOVE fun!

So many of you visiting here from IF and other Artist sites may be wondering what I'm doing writing paper craft books. And many of you who read and own my paper craft books may be wondering why I keep posting fine art work and illustrations.

Many of you might not care-ha!

But I thought I'd take a moment today to sort it out, just a little--I promise! I am an artist! Trained and everything! (University of Michigan School of Art and Architecture--GO BLUE!!). Because of my artistic prowess, I like to live as creatively as I can. I like to dress in bright colors, I like to crochet (my brain doesn't DO knitting), I like to sing, I like to go to the theater, I like to color with my girlies, I like period movies, I like to make sandcastles, etc.

Many of my artist friends also have "day jobs" that help them pay the bills. I do too. My day job is to share my creative living with anyone who wants to add a little more art in their lives. How lucky am I?!?! So, my day job consists of writing a column for Cloth Paper Scissors, writing books for Quarry books (see above!), designing product for the paper craft industry (currently via Creative Imaginations and Provo Craft), and teaching anything and everything. Phew, that sure keeps me busy. In my off time I like to create original, fine art, mixed media collages and assemblages--my "night job".

Occasionally I run into artists who don't like scrapbookers, scrapbookers the don't like rubber stampers, rubber stampers that don't like painters, painters that don't like collage artists and collage artists who don't like anyone...

Eek! My goal in life is to get ALL of the great ideas out of my head before I check out and to get everyone to play nice together. There is so much out there that we can learn from each other. Being creative lessens stress, increases self worth, and makes the world a nicer place. Right?

I have an collaged angel that my college roommate gave me and it says... "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say: I used everything you gave me." (Erma Bombeck) Regardless of your religious or non-religious affiliation, I think this isn't a bad wish to have. So lets not hold any of that creativity in and lets paint the town red...and green and blue, and a little old book page here and a little acrylic gel there....

as Paper Source says, Do something creative, everyday.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Planting Seeds of Music in a Childs Heart

Here is my Illustration Friday Art for May 2, 2008, the theme is SEED.

I had just finished a "flowery" piece for one of my upcoming Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine articles when I logged onto IF and saw that I could stay in the flower-groove. I especially love the transparent dixie cup and the memories of my kids bringing home a seed they planted for me in school. Mother's day ROCKS!

I was also just beeming after Thursday night with pride for my little Becky who just shined like a diamond in her PALS Chorus Spring concert. She never stopped smiling the entire performance and while I know I'm biased, she was one of the best up there. Not just in how she sang, because the choir is indeed made of many beautiful voices, but in the WHOLE package. She sang with her whole person. I was weepy with joy. I couldn't help it. I was proud of her, yes. But I was HAPPY for her too. Because the joy was spilling out of her while she was up there on stage.
Oh Drats, I'm getting weepy again!

Anyway, this lovely piece, is in honor of Becky who has discovered one of her many talents--a love of music. I look forward to planting many more seeds with you Bec--and thanks for giving mommy the perfect inspiration.

Friday, May 02, 2008

What will it take?

I'm not sure what it will take to get me to this computer every day to blog. I'm loving that so many of you are taking the time to read it and maybe I'm letting the pressure get to me!?! I want to blog every day! I mean, I really WANT to but I don't. Almost every day I think, Oh, I should blog now but then I can't think of anything worthy enough to blog about--worthy of you all! I want to take a photo to include in my blog, I want to add hyperlinks for your benefit and it all just stops me. Geesh!
Oh, and being busy every now and then doesn't help things either!
So here is my promise:
I'll keep trying! I'll stop apologizing and spend that time blogging. I have some great new ideas for the blog and my website, I have some fabulous new products coming out to market. My fine art work is just so taking on a life of its own that I find myself smiling quite often. I'm working on art retreat proposals, classes here, at local independently owned stores, classes for kids who deserve better art classes, and yes, even book proposals--can you stand it???

I know different people are inspired by different things, some do what they do to find a cure (3 day walk), some to provide awareness (Changing Lives), some to save innocent lives (Free Tibet), some to care for our four legged friends (A Place to Bark), some honorable families just do what they do to put food on the table everyday. I am inspired to make the world a more beautiful place. Sure, I suppose I'm not going to save lives, well, not directly, but can I make a child happy to see their work framed and hanging on a wall? Can I (co-)write a book that inspires a new mom with the baby blues (Celebrating Baby)to make something and thereby lift her spirits. Can I paint/collage a picture of a lovely cottage on the cliffs of Ireland that someone will cherish and pass on to their children one day. Can I design a product that encourages the keeping of family memories? I CAN!

Of course, I'm not totally selfless! I do so enjoy making art. My heart aches when I have to be out of my studio for a prolonged time. My personal batteries are indeed charged by getting paint under my nails. And lets not forget my pilgrimages to Brimfield--the wonderous and plentiful antique mecca!

So, here it is, the end of another post...I have links, and a photo and maybe a clearer message--even if it is just a message to myself. Be the ART you wish to see in the world...

Now off to Illustration Friday to see this week's challenge. (I'm writing this here so someone will hold me to it!)

By the way, this piece pictured here is called Mind Your P's and Q's: the beer machine and I find it quite hilarious.