Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Prayed for Rain

If I can be a bit transparent for a sec... While I've been busying myself with orders and new projects over the past couple weeks, world and local events, and personal and professional expectations and goals have had me in a bit of a funk. I've also been thinking about those of us who need clean water, and those of us who just need precipitation after 40-some odd days of drought and damaging fires.
I get impatient when I can't make, do, or fix things for myself and the world around me the minute they emerge into my consciousness. I know that's not how it works, lol. Thankfully, in addition to a ridiculous level of obsessive, perfectionist thinking, I also have the gifts of flexibility, optimism, and resourcefulness. How's that for insanity? Surprisingly, it balances me out.
ANYway, last night and this morning, some much needed rain finally hit us in Georgia, softening the brittle, dry fall. Illuminating the vibrant leaves to their full potential. And, as it happens, adding to that cocktail of thoughts swirling in me to make the perfect creative tonic (as a creative, I NEED nature and rainy days). Rain is a total, cathartic balm sometimes, whether it's coming from the sky, from a source of inspiration, or from one's eyes.  And I'll take the rain as a sign of refreshing for me and my planet, to just keep going, keep helping, keep creating...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Passionate Harmony

created by RenéeThe other day as I was prepping veggies for a pretty little salad, an image came to mind. It was inspired as I thought of how my passions often sort of overlap into and feed each other. As some might be well aware, if you ask any type of artist or creative person, they will likely tell you that they have other interests that may exist in harmony with their creative work. And actually, isn't that true of everyone, not just artists? One might be able to quickly discern from my blog, website, and social accounts that I'm an artist, and painting, sculpting, creating is pretty important to me. But some of my other passions include growing, prepping, [and eating] fresh, organic
food. building things and organizing, and snapping pics. I also love physical activity, and staying fit. And all these things seem to prove pretty useful to each other on a regular basis. I like to think that that's not accidental, and that we each have a toolbox of things we like or do well. And often the seemingly unrelated tools are used together for unique or special results. What are your passions and tools?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

💡 One Tip Tuesday: Roll Call

I'm so ashamed (okay, not really ashamed). I started One Tip Tuesday a few years back, with nothing but good intentions, but other things got in the way of those good intentions. 

But it's never too late to amend one's ways and to try again to get it right. So I'm recommitting to this, because I have a laundry list of things I'd like to share on the creative, DIY, and art fronts. In many years of building, tearing apart, and rebuilding my studio, the work I do there, and my approach, I have managed to create shortcuts, time savers, and my own favorite approach to everything from making things, planning things, and being organized while doing those things. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely not touting myself as some sort of expert. But I do want to share (for anyone who is interested) things I've figured out along the way that have made my life easier. I actually would like my whole blog to take something of that tone. BUT the purpose of OTT (WHOA- I just made it an acronym! And we're on our way!!) is quick tips in short posts that I share, that can be reshared, and that I can refer back to myself. These are meant to be no-fuss quickies that I hope will have value, based on my own experience, not on things I read about something I have never tried. So, for instance, this will probably be the single longest OTT, as I'm rambling about my personal ground rules. Going forward, comprehensive info on any of the tips will hopefully not be necessary, as this will just be a couple pictures and a short paragraph. That way, hopefully, I can stay on track with it. And I can still answer questions in comments. I am still shooting to do longer posts on specific projects and techniques, but those would be something separate. 

If you already follow my blog, you may know that I struggle to find time for ONE post a month. Don't worry, you won't suddenly receive twice-weekly post notifications with ads and begging for shares, lol. Like you, I don't have a bunch of time to devote to blogging or reading blogs. But I am hoping to achieve more reasonable consistency, without writing useless fluff.

All that said, here is the first in the new chapter of One Tip Tuesdays. Today I'm sharing some of the useful rolled stuff I try to keep on hand in the studio.  Here's a shortlist:

  • Clear Plastic Wrap- great for lining molds to make pulling items out when they're dry easier. Also great for stretch wrapping items together, no hair dryer required.
  • wax paper- ball up into shapes for sculpture armatures, use as homemade transfer paper, wrap leftover clays short term, disposable palette paper
  • GLAD brand Press'n Seal- cover leftover paint in pots or on a palette to use later, seal small parts onto bigger things so they are visible and won't get lost, short term patch for rips
  • freezer paper- create a non-stick work surface, draw on the non-coated side like banner paper
  • banner roll- mount onto a curtain rod to create a continuous sketch area on a wall or table, use to create a smooth, seamless backround for pictures, use as a heavy duty wrapping medium- stamp patterns for custom paper
  • dollar store brown wrapping paper (in print or plain) wrap things big and small, crumple to fill boxes or bags, make gift bags, cover salvaged boxes, books, or cans for storage
  • thrift store fabrics- keep on hand for all kinds of quick projects: patching things, covering things, making scented sachets, covering things, adding layers to projects, photo backgrounds
The possibilities are endless. I don't think I  even covered half. And having these around for a last minute or unexpected project makes my life easier.  Hope this tip gives you some inspiration to make yours easier, too. Feel free to share your own uses in comments! Rock and roll! (sorry 😛)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

{Sharp} Silver Linings

who's the culprit?

Whether it is apparent or not, it feels like I am constantly working on making progress in some aspect of my art or my business around my work. It's really an almost daily commitment for me. But sometimes things throw me off track, only to set me back down even further along than I planned. For example, about a week ago, this happened→

I was sitting at my desk in my studio editing pictures, and I kept hearing a funny tapping sound. I ignored it at first, but it kept up, so I got up to investigate. And I found that one of the two windows in my studio had somehow shattered, or buckled, or imploded- whatever. Glass dust and particles were slowly falling in. 

please don't rainGood thing (and I warn you there are a number in this post) I've had enough years of mishaps that I've now trained myself to bypass the freak out and the thoughts of inconvenience, productivity setbacks, general pain in the..., etc. (at least initially). Yes, I finally learned what a waste of time and energy moaning, groaning, and getting all upset is. Instead I used the energy to quickly move things away from the window and focus on making things as safe as possible. So I dragged out the ladder I keep in my studio and rigged this up until someone could come and take a look at it.

 sidenote: A few weeks back (with skepticism) I bought a roll of duct tape from the Dollar Tree store in my neighborhood.
It had a chance to prove
 itself here, and it did.
Not only does it have a snazzy
print, it seemed just as strong as the
more expensive stuff. #yestothat

broken windows, not broken dreams
pardon my dust

Later that day, a guy showed up, took measurements to have a new pane of glass made, and complimented me on my studio and my tape up job. I felt better knowing that things were moving towards a fix, and once he left, I added a tarp to catch any stray glass. I really didn't want to spend the next few weeks making bloody discoveries of tiny pieces of glass that had fallen in and on things. Once the tarp was up, and the place where my white box (that I use for picture taking) was cleared and covered in plastic, Good thing #2: (3?? I don't think I've included them all) I was able to go back to working on things that don't take place in that corner (no excuses!). 
taking pics outsideAfter a few days of not being able to work in that corner, I decided to take the white box outside to try getting some pictures done.  I set it up on a plastic deck chair in the sunlight, and it worked like a charm (yeah, another good thing!). 

My new pane of glass was installed a couple days ago, and much of the broken glass cleared by the glazier. I still had the task of removing the plastic shield I had created, which had a bunch of scary pieces still just hanging there in it, all sharp and stabby. I finally got my mind to the task, got up on my ladder with goggles, dust mask (just short of a hazmat suit), and the long hose on my vacuum cleaner and tackled it. Once I had removed all the glass I could find, removed the tarps and all the plastic, and given the whole spot a good obsessive compulsive vacuuming, I was ready to start putting everything (especially my white box!) back, so I could get back to photos, etc. over there.

And once you start (here comes another one) something like that, it often just snowballs. And this case was no exception. So I ended up putting things back better than they were before, including some bonus cleaning and purging things I don't need any more. And now I am sitting here typing this, and looking at that corner thinking of what else I can do to make things more efficient, neat, and productive. That stupid broken window helped me fix something else! #Perspective, my friends. Perspective.

PS: It is so true, that a clean, organized work space is very inspiring (time to make some messes!)
PPS: I never figured out what broke the window. Meteor maybe?
PPPS: I got my white box years ago. You can find a similar one (plus links to other tools I use) in my tools storefront on Amazon.

nice and tidy

Sunday, May 1, 2016

SmARTphone Scores

how old could it be??
I love random beauty of pretty much any variety. As an artist, I absorb inspiration constantly from everyday life. I stumbled onto a quiet little spot the other day, of what seemed to be otherwise unnoticed beauty, and I had to explore and take a few pics, allergies be damned.

For me, color, texture, and light of certain qualities draw me in, cause me to take notice and make mental notes. Thankfully, in this day of smartphones, I can do more than that. My phone is currently full of pictures like this, serving a purpose similar to a sketchbook. I have a whole folder in my phone devoted to photo references. I look at them as valuable gems to reference for sculptures, painting details, and more.  

 I love using technology to facilitate creative inspiration and work. Since I seem to use it for so much of that, I'm thinking I need to start calling it an ARTphone. Maybe even leave off the phone part, if I'm being realistic, (who makes calls anymore, lol??). Hey - it could become a thing! Off to take more pics...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Seasons of Anticipation

so pretty
Spring Azaleas
I could make lists of the things I love about every season. I've lived in the Southeast for many years now, and have lived further north, west, and south. So I've experienced seasons in several extremes. 

We're well into Spring in Georgia, settled in enough for the pollen to have subsided, but the season still fresh enough to awaken the senses. Its arrival made me think about how much I relish every season. Before the first signs, I begin to anticipate all the little things I will enjoy. It's not just about the weather. It's the seasonal food, the family, friends, even the clothes... All the little things that I have come to look forward to, and that have contributed to sweet memories and lots of creative inspiration over the years. look up!I like to "pre-savor" each season in early appreciation, since they often seem to pass so quickly. Sort of like the anticipation I feel when I see my plate coming in a restaurant. I'm almost glad it's not quite there, because I get to start appreciating the experience before it even reaches me. It's much nicer than looking up one day and realizing with sadness, that the days, the light, the colors that belong only to that season are swiftly slipping away, that exact time never to be recaptured outside of memories.

I don't consider myself old, but I've grown to appreciate other things in my life that way-- people, places, projects, etc. Day to day, consciously or unconsciously, things grow and change. The world is constantly changing. And my answer to that is to constantly renew my promise to me: to pause in anticipation, appreciation, and expectation of a season of wonderful things.♥
Spring flowers
fresh cut!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

TBT: Childhood Creative Sparks

It's throwback Thursday, which stirred up a memory of a creative beginning I had long forgotten. Today I'm reminiscing about a game called Mouse Trap. You may remember it- may have even played it?
image source: Google

It was a game that involved building a contraption that required syncing a series of moving parts domino style, to get an end result (trapping a little plastic mouse). 

The Rube Goldberg inspired gizmo had to be assembled prior to playing. At some point during the game, landing on a certain spot or drawing a particular card would call for the mechanism to be triggered, dooming the losing player's mouse to being trapped.
The cause and effect parts of that game could very well have been the beginnings of training my brain to continually dream up creative solutions. I say train, because even though I've always felt creative, it took years of training my mind to see all kinds of things for their creative potential, and to automatically brainstorm multiple ways to make projects work using found (or bought) things. That didn't just happen, lol. It's a creative muscle I built further through school projects, problem solving at various jobs, and personal projects.
I think anyone can develop a skill to compliment a passion or talent through practice. Do it enough and it becomes automatic.
Anyway, the game is a fond memory. And maybe a good example of snowballing something simple into something I use constantly to this day.❤

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Lost Compass

Ugh. Left my studio in a bit of a hurry today without my sketchbook because I just couldn't find it. Feels almost like being without my phone, or say, my arm. Okay, I'm being a little dramatic.
But I am reminded how important that dog-eared thing is to me. More than just the catchall of my (sometimes innermost) musings, ideas, and dreams, my sketchbook acts as a compass. A reminder (which I frequently refer back to) of what I hope to accomplish or express. It's things I feel poured through me into physical manifestation by Holy Spirit, my running water captured onto pages, if that makes any sense.
Lol- yeah, that's a lot of weight for a bunch of spiral bound paper. But I pretty much feel that way about all my sketchbooks. All of which I've hoarded since I started drawing as a child.
I still gain insight into my creative evolution flipping through the old ones. Sometimes it's an opportunity to revisit old ideas using skills or techniques I've gained since.
So when I find my sketchbook again, as I carry it from one spot to the next, maybe I won't toss it on the floor, balance it on a ledge, leave it in a pile of papers, prop my cup of tea on it, or whatever, like I've always done!