Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The agony of the hands...

Sometimes feels like defeat.

I apologize to my faithful blog readers. I am suffering from a severe case of sudden onset carpal tunnel syndrome, (socts - if you like acronyms - though I made that up) and it is excruciating. I am not sure exactly why it has happened so suddenly. I have worked at the same workstation for several years with no ill effects, but now, no amount of adjusting my computer, mouse, chair, keyboard, etc. seems to alleviate the constant pain that throbs from my thumb and the base of my wrist up to my elbow. And the pain persists even when I am not at the computer. To be completely accurate, the pain did start gradually a few weeks a go, but it was easily ignored. Last week, it went from easy to ignore to unbearable in one agonizing moment.

My husband, an expert in pain and suffering, bought me a great wrist brace and a giant bottle of advil, which both seem to help a little, but given that I sit at a computer for eight hours a day pounding away at keyboard and mouse, they are not enough. Perhaps a full-time masseusse and a bottle of vodka would work better. I'll let you all know.

In the meantime, I am posting this picture that I found last week while walking Max. As I've mentioned many times, our walk takes us along a number of paths around our local grade school and high school. It is an odd phenomenon that I've observed through two late spring seasons now that as the school year winds down, the bike path is strewn not just with spring buds and maple seeds but also with the remnants of desks and lockers, as if students cannot wait to shed the homework and school projects that have weighed them down all year. So it did not startle me to find a poster project, highlighting the life of Johann Sebastian Bach, unceremoniously dumped against a garbage dumpster near the junior high school last week. It had obviously sat out overnight, as the images and photos attached to the board curled at the edges and were discolored by the elements, but I loved what the damage had apparently done to this picture of a violin, so I tore it from the poster and brought it home, to find new life on my blog and in a digital collage that I have yet to create.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Spring...my new favorite season...

I have always been an autumn girl. I love crisp cool weather, new fall sweaters, ochre, red, brown... but this year, I am really appreciating the miracle of springtime, when nature shows its resiliency and incredible beauty. Plants that you think could not possibly survive winter in the northeast bud and bloom and restore my faith. I breathe deeply the smell of fresh-cut grass, flowers, wet earth, and warm sun.-- Yes, I smell the warm sun. Okay, maybe I feel it, but part of the magic of spring for me is the mingling of the senses.
another miracle of spring in upstate New York.
I have a nest of baby robins outside my kitchen window. From behind the sheers in my kitchen, I watched as they built the nest in my arborvitae, twig, by twig... and I watched the day they defended the eggs from a common grackle. I saw what it really means to "get ones feathers up" as the robin plumped up to appear larger and more threatening and successfully defended the nest. And now I watch as mother robin brings them worms, seemingly all day long. She has at least four hungry mouths to feed, from what I can see when I dare to intrude by using my own deck, and I am in awe of the devotion and duty of motherhood.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Numbers - 1612 (#3 in a series)

Anne Bradstreet
1612 - 1672

"If we had no Winter, the spring would not be so pleasant;
If we did not sometimes taste the adversity,
prosperity would not be so welcome."

Thursday, May 10, 2007


#2 in a series. It is humid today an my energy is sapped right now, so I may add more later, but for now, #13 says it all.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


#1 in a series
I've been noticing numbers lately...on telephone poles, electric boxes, elevators, the sides of buildings, painted on the ground. Sometimes their meanings are obvious, sometimes obscure. I appreciate the graphic forms of numbers and letters, as well as what they symbolize. Numbers in particular are more subtle identifiers than names.
I am photographing them as they appear, and then altering them in Photoshop. I don't know how long this project will last... as long as it takes, I guess. I don't have a specific number in mind.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Confessions of a dollar store junkie

I admit it. I love dollar stores. I know of every store within a 25-mile radius of my home, (there are at least 9) and if I am headed anywhere, I cannot pass by without a quick peek inside, where $1 quickly becomes $30 before I leave. Today it was $39.97, to be exact.
I was looking for small containers that could hold sets of notecards for an upcoming class I am teaching. I found the perfect little boxes, wrapped in decorative floral papers, with a ribbon loop to open them. I needed 10 for class, but I couldn't leave the 3 remaining boxes behind, could I? Then I found sets of pens, small tins, and small journal books that matched the little boxes. So I bought a few of those as well. Two boxes of ziplock baggies, 1 package of bamboo skewers, 6 wooden easels, an ornamental mirror, a pad of newsprint and one box of baby wipes later, I left the store and dashed back to work. This was just my lunch hour.
While many of my purchases were practical - I use the baggies and baby wipes in the classes I teach, so they really are a staple -- many of the remaining purchases fell into the category of "If I don't get these now I'll need them next week and I'll come back and they'll be gone." Of course, my art room is filled with items that I had to have and was certain that I would use, but haven't ... yet. Yet. Such a little three-letter word, but it holds such promise. One of the pitfalls of having a creative mind is that I can see creative potential in just about EVERYTHING. And if it costs only $1, the temptation is simply irresistible.

So I stash things aside, and tuck things away, until the perfect opportunity presents itself. Hmm. I should have gotten a few more of those little journal books. Gotta run!

And in other news...

There's nothing like a full-day staff meeting to bring out my inner doodler. As a child I used to draw all the time. I've gotten away from it, but scribbling away these faces in my notepad made me remember how much I enjoy it.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

On the verge...

Some days I feel that I am on the verge of a great discovery...that if I just keep pushing, I will come through the other side a completely new person with a new way of creating and seeing the world. I feel that way as I write this, after looking at some inspiring paintings by cw slade and thinking about layers and textures and colors, so I am trying to seize the moment and work fast and just get there. It's still just beyond my grasp. Time and structure and rules hinder my progress, so I cast them aside. I am at the threshold...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

"Living our Dreams"

On the heels of my last Ta Da list, I need to say just a few words about my coach, Sheri Gaynor. I've worked with her on two separate occasions now to get through some self-imposed obstacles (are there any other kind, really?), and I would be remiss if I did not mention how instrumental she has been in the successes I'm beginning to have now. She very humbly insists that I did it all myself, but if it were not for her insights and her ability to help me find my core, and silence all the voices in my head, I am certain I would not have accomplished so much in such a short span of time. She has launched a new blog to accompany her website, and I've added the link at the right. It's called, aptly, Living our Dreams, and it's a great place to visit for wisdom and words of encouragement. Just fyi, she does coaching sessions by phone for those of you who are not in her neighborhood in Colorado.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The April Ta Da List...

What's a ta da list?

My list seems a bit short this month, in spite of the fact that I feel like it was an incredibly busy time and getting busier. As much as I love and welcome the nice spring weather, it brings with it a whole new set of outdoor chores to add to my indoor chores, so perhaps it's that shift into a new season that makes it seem so frantic. I did manage to accomplish some creative things, however, so here is the list...

Designed new business cards (pictured) (I order my personal color printing through this site - great prices, service and sales)
Produced a postcard from one of my digital collages made in March
Taught repeats of popular classes at Art Connection & Stampassion
Read book - White Ghost Girls by Alice Greenway
Removed the last remnants of winter from my garden & yard (this qualifies as a creative outlet for me, so it is listed -- when I am still weeding the garden in August, it will qualify as a chore, but in the early spring, there's nothing like digging in the dirt an watching things pop up!!
Planned and taught a new 3-hour workshop on art journaling at Stampassion - it was a great class. Students really took risks and dove fearlessly into the act of journaling.

And as some of you may know, I've mentioned a few times that I made some intentions this year to get some of my writing, artwork, and projects published. I've been hesitant to be too specific because the publication dates span from later this summer to spring of 2008, and until I see them in print, it seems a bit unreal, but I am very excited about the opportunities, so I am going public! When the publications are actually in print, I will post links to them as well. In order of projected publication dates, you can find my art and articles here:

July/August Somerset Studio - Will publish an article I wrote about my altered birdhouse book

August (projected) Somerset is creating a special edition magazine on "creative blogging" and I was asked to write an article and submit artwork featured in my blog.

Sept/Oct Rubber Stamper - My "Recipe for Creativity" article will be featured, as well as a technique I taught at art connection

Somerset Home II (August 07?)- My butterfly tealights will be included in the gallery section

Take Ten Magazine(Fall 07) - will feature 8 of my handmade greeting cards, using natural elements from the outdoors.

January, 2008 Somerset Life - an article about my collaged tile memo boards

April 2008 - Somerset Workshop III - I will be one of 4 artists who get to showcase and describe step-by-step an artistic process - in my case, digital collage. This is a biggie for me and will involve a LOT of work over this summer to meet their fall 07 deadline for submission of materials but I am thrilled for the opportunity!!

And I'll end this post with the fortune cookie I opened today:

Don't spend your time stringing and tuning your instrument. Start making music now!

So I'll stop cleaning my paint brushes and go make art!!