Monday, April 28, 2008

Images & words...

"Images and words are such fortunate cousins."

Those were the first words in a book I found at a thrift shop last summer. A book about monotypes created by artist Bruno Leti, the foreward (and that wonderful quote) were written by poet Chris Wallace-Crabbe. I am enamoured with words and images combined. I cannot resist putting a well chosen word or quote in my paintings and collages.

Even though visual images are often just as powerful on their own, perhaps it is my need to imbue a specific meaning rather than leaving a piece entirely for interpretation that compels me to add them. Sometimes it is the graphic shapes of the letters chosen for pattern and texture rather than for description. Lately, I've been inspired by my friend Marilyn's collage swap, based on the techniques of artist Kelly Rae Roberts - well chosen affirmations that motivate and uplift both the artist and the viewer.

Today, digital art allows even more exciting combinations of words and images. From digital collage artists to families capturing and recording memories with both handmade and digitally rendered scrapbooks, images and words have never been so fortunate.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sweet slumber...

I am not at all sure why I've done two illustrations in a row of girls sleeping. I am not any more tired than usual. Who knows from where the muse comes? I have learned through many hours of frustration not to force it. If it's not coming naturally, I try to quiet my mind -- not an easy task -- and listen for clues as to what direction I should follow. Sometimes, it means leaving the art behind for a walk or a movie, and other times it means putting down my pen in lieu of a paint brush. It's the listening that's the hard part.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Good night, sleep tight...

...don't let the bed bugs bite!

That's what my dad said to us every night at bedtime when we were growing up. I don't believe, at that time, my dad new about the millions of dust mites that live on beds, and therefore the accuracy of his statement, but maybe he did and just thought it best not to mention them. It was difficult enough to get us to go to bed at all.

My bedtime as a child was embarrassingly early -- 8 pm until I hit puberty. I dreaded the bus ride to school in the morning, because my friends would all be talking about the tv shows they watched the night before --The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, among others, and I would try to pretend I had seen them too, when in reality, I had to hit the sheets after Beat the Clock and To Tell the Truth. I was sure someone would call my bluff.

Our bedtime ritual included saying our prayers, followed by a shout out to my mother the minute we were tucked in, so that we could have glass of milk. That was followed, of course, by one more trip to the bathroom, all stall tactics to postpone the inevitable.

What I would do for an 8 pm bedtime and to sleep like a child again now!!
Sweet dreams today everyone!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Take time to smell the roses...

...and to visit friends
...and to spend time with family
...and to notice nature
...and to live in the moment.

Time seems to be moving faster and faster these days, am I wrong? It seems like just yesterday I celebrated the new year, and now it's almost May. I am trying to spend this fleeting time more wisely and productively as I get older, and to appreciate all of the people that I am so fortunate to have in my life.

Thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

I have done my share of damage to this precious planet, I cannot tell a lie. My vow is just to do better, buy less, recycle more, to reuse and repurpose where possible, and to encourage others to do the same.

Monday, April 21, 2008

What not to wear...

...apparently virtually everything in my wardrobe!
The arrival of spring weather necessitated that I pack up my winter wardrobe over the weekend and swap it for my summer clothes, which I store in totes in my attic. Unfortunately, as soon as I opened the lids of the totes, I could hear Stacy and Clinton in my head, exclaiming in horror at what lay beneath the lids. I could not believe that I even deemed most of this stuff worthy of packing and lugging up to my attic! So one by one, I emptied the totes and discarded (to charity) all of the items that I reluctantly admitted to myself I would not or should not ever wear again. Much to my dismay, however, this ruthless purging of my pathetic wardrobe was not met with a $5000 Visa card and a trip to NYC. Instead, I found myself staring sadly at the remaining contents of my now spacious, little, almost empty closet and pondering how many ways one can wear one pair of ivory trousers, one pair of black trousers, two floral prints skirts and four neutral tops. Now there's a creative challenge.

Here are a few of the rules I used to decide what to keep and what to donate.
It was time to let go if:
-- Aretha's "Freeway of Love" was a top ten hit when it was purchased.
-- it had shoulder pads.
-- it had text across the rear end.
-- I had cut off the sleeves, neckline or legs.
-- it reminded me of Molly Ringwald.
-- a strategically placed piece of jewelry would hid the stain.
-- I thought I should save it for a halloween costume.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Aaaaah, spring is here!

Finally. This is another illustration I dusted off, scanned and then colorized in Photoshop. Happy Spring!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fun discovery...

While going through some of my endless file folders of papers and things I've saved, I came across a file of black & white line drawings that I created several years ago when I was entertaining the idea of starting my own rubber stamp company. Curiously, my style was very much along the lines of Impress, Savvy, and Amuse -- some pretty successful companies -- but my drawings never made it out of that file folder...until now.

I'm using Photoshop to digitally color and otherwise enhance them, and I thought I'd share some of my favorites.

The art of celebrating life...

One of the projects that has taken up a lot of my time this spring has been design work with my friend, event planner Lori Stachnik, for a Bat Mitzvah celebration.

The event took place last Saturday evening, and Lori invited me to stop by just before the guests arrived to see all of the pieces in place. My job entailed providing graphic design services and a lot of hand work for place cards, programs, tags for favors, and digital artwork for t-shirts, signage, and tote bags, to name a few. The theme was a sort of magical wonderland that included dogs, butterflies, lots of pink, an animal trainer, music and an amazing explosion of color and decor.

At first, in spite of the fact that I love to work with Lori, and that this was a great freelance job for me, I found myself disapproving of the excess that such an event necessitates. I was (inwardly) judgmental of how much such an event must cost, and how that money could be spent more responsibly.

Then I stopped by, just as the family was arriving, and I realized that I had it all wrong. I saw a mother, beaming, full of love for her daughter. I saw family members embrace and shake hands, eyes bright with surprise at all of the wonder and magic that greeted them as they entered. It was a celebration of life and an offering of gratitude that they could be together for such a happy occasion. It was not excess. It was abundance -- of life, love, family, friends, beauty, whimsy, and magic. It was also the culmination of a team of wonderfully creative and talented professionals putting their artistic mark on this event.

Of course, a small gathering of friends and family can be equally abundant and rewarding, but I went home that evening realizing that every now and then, it's okay to create an evening of magic.

The photo montage above is just a glimpse of the event, just before guests arrived.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Aaaaaah. A Sunday of Art-Making...

I played with a technique by Kelly Rae Roberts that was featured in two issues of Cloth Paper Scissors. The finished piece may be my submission for an affirmation collage swap hosted by friend and artist Marilyn Rock. I am in the process of making several more, so I am not sure which one I will swap. Marilyn cautioned that making these could become an addiction. I loved working on what affirmations I would use. It was definitely an exercise in self-awareness.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Cindy Dean is cooler than James Dean!

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I won a handmade flower pendant on Cindy Dean's blog a few weeks ago, and even though she is in the middle of moving to a new home this week, she managed to find the time to send it before the move -- but if that isn't cool enough, she sent me not ONE, but TWO (see picture) of these totally cool and stylish pendants, and they are even more fabulous in person than in pictures. Thanks again Cindy!!

I am continually amazed at the generosity and overall goodness of the artful blogging community. Cindy has inspired me to do a giveaway of my own, and I will be posting it soon!!

Friday, April 04, 2008

My March ta da list...

Is it just me or are the months flying by at the speed of light? And yet, winter still hasn't quite left us here in the Northeast, even though it is clearly notated on my calendar that spring arrived fifteen days ago!!!!!!!! I hate pulling on a hat and scarf and mittens in April. Waaaah. But enough whining. In spite of my obvious blog-neglect, I was very productive in March...

I met with my creative coach, Sheri, to help clarify my goals for 2008, and I also finished writing a brief contribution for her upcoming book!! (I will definitely tell more when it's published);
I sent a brief list of questions to my altered chess set participants to be the basis of an article that I have to get busy writing this month (thank you all for getting back to me so quickly);
I read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (a great little read about breaking through all the resistance we put in front of making our art, whatever that art may be -- even reading books about making art);
I created & taught a class at Stampassion called Polymer Clay Kitchen - we made faux recipes for jade, bone & lapis lazuli. and then turned the clay mixtures into jewelry pieces. I don't work consistently in clay, but when I plan a class like this, I am always reminded of how tactile and satisfying it is;
I taught another session of Spotlight on Art Journals at Stampassion (I love, love, love this class -- it is unbelievably satisfying to introduce students to the concept of an art journal and watch them relax and create spontaneously);
I planned and taught a class at the Watervliet Seniors center (we made cards for Easter & St. Patrick's day);
I continued to work on several freelance design jobs with a friend who is a spectacular local event planner -- Lori Stachnik Events -- contact me if you need an event planner in upstate NY. She is amazing!!!
I signed up for my first yoga class(es) and I absolutely LOVE it -- another recommendation if you're in the Troy, NY area -- she does great classes. Here's her website (I also added a link a the right);

And, I created a new class for Stampassion, called Home Sweet Inchies, inspired by artist Patti Gramza, who posted similar ones on her blog a few months ago. I love working in small formats, and I have always loved the house shape as an icon, so this was a very satisfying class to plan. I will teach the first of three classes next weekend! Here are some samples at the top of this post. I will also be creating a collage sheet for this class, and I will be offering it as a giveaway to a few lucky blog readers, so come back soon. I'll be posting the sheet early next week, along with details on what you need to do to win one!!