Saturday, November 30, 2013

Creative Every Day November 30

My last intention for this creative month of November is to give my Little Ladies their very own book. Next week in my multi media group we're repurposing children's board books. I'm creating a Little Ladies story book where they can all be together and share their stories with each other. Born of boredom in classes, the first were definitely freer than what came later.

The second generation of little girls yearned to wear their capes, tutus and boas and due to their various moods of courage and insecurity often weren't able to make a choice. There are a couple of them below.

Later the girls were happy, confident, jumping for joy, amazed at themselves. I think I was too.

This year I hope to draw a whole new series. The little ladies are discussing it as I type and all have opinions. Do you?

Leah, thank you for this challenge. I've grown and been conscious of creating every single day.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gratefulness Makes Us Happy

This year the many gifts of letting go and being grateful have brought me lessons on patience, standing up for myself, being for myself, letting go of myself. It really is all about me. You and I can be grateful in any given moment for the opportunities given to us. Watching a TED talk with David Steindl Rast brought this all home to me. A difficult gift is an opportunity to learn something. And we always get another opportunity to learn more.

Onward to the future. Stop. Look. Go.

For example I have had lots of opportunities to learn a better way to transfer my drawings and paintings so others can see them. Lesson after lesson and I haven't learned. I just want to get something done and not learn what the moment can teach me. (I am not generalizing this to my whole life, but it could be an apt metaphor.) Think Photoshop. I really really need to learn this in 2014. I'm putting this before you. Hold me accountable.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Day I Always Said Yes

The view out my window is grey grey grey with a chance of clearing. The view of my blog is warm, cheery, and incomplete. How do I put in those things that usually clog up the right side of the blog. Surely some of them must go back in, but I don't really know how to do that. It's a start. I've been saying, "On your mark, get set, change this," for quite a long time and then I don't. Until today. It's like much else in my life. I belong to to the dive in and start swimming school of taking action. Do I know how to swim? Barely, but what I have will allow me to start and what have I got to lose? Are you asking where all those side bars are and how you can subscribe if you don't already? Probably not. It's enough for first thing in the morning: a cheery look, a place to comment, and something to say. I hope I'm gearing up to that part.

Here's what I'd like to write in my gratitude journal at the end of the day.

1. Today I began something I've been afraid to do and I allowed my self to stop doing it at the first step. I know I will build on it, change it, eventually. For today, one step is enough. I'm proud of myself for not plowing on and on and getting frustrated.

2.  Today I recognized my limits in changing this blog and I looked at it and said, "It is enough." Then I said to myself, "And you are enough too. Just as you are."

3.  Today I sat down began to warm up my drawing muscles. I've missed drawing. Today I was patient with myself because I know it will take time to get in the groove again. This is a little doodle on top of a piece of intuitive painting. Looks like he's pulling up a worm he can't let go of! Oh yes. I've certainly done that. But NOT today!

4. Today two thoughts from the weekend kept me happy and light: my son said he would like to have one of my paintings and my grandson told my cousin,"Cousins and grandmothers are the best because they always say yes."

5. Today I always said yes to myself. I always said you are enough, and I am grateful for you.

Baruch ata adonai...being grateful brings me to a place of warmth and security within myself and closer to you. Even in the midst of difficult times when being grateful seemed hard to come by, times when I was only grateful for my dog and the fact that the day had ended and I had something good to eat,  you've helped me keep the gratitude door open. Amen

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Creative Every Day November 21, 2013

As I have been painting the past two months, I've taken photos of my progress from stage to stage.  Looking through the photos before I posted this picture of today's work, I realized that no matter how much I think I'm going to start a new canvas in a completely different way, I always begin in the same way. There's a palette I like, bright warm colors, and there's an raucous amount of energy going on which I'm not so crazy about. I want to reign it in, calm it down, but intuitively this is what wants to come forth: the excitement of new beginnings.

When I look at the all photos, I see many stages I wish I'd kept. So far in this one, I think I'm saying no matter how much chaos is going, on love and hope and joy and gratitude can overcome the rest. The only part we see so far is the love part. My challenge here is the same as in all the others. Right now, everything is more or less of equal importance. How do I move on and highlight parts and have the rest to the background. I haven't learned  how to do this yet.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Creative Every Day November 19, 2013

Today I'm creating ideas for new projects. My desk is in a room where I'll only do "clean" projects. After for months on big canvases and creating big messes, I'm yearning for smaller formats, think trading card size or 4x5. I'm thinking tissue paper collages. I'm looking forward to seeing what Little Ladies come to life. Maybe I'll work on more greeting cards again. Today my world is full of creative possibilities and no time to do much more about it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Creative Every Day November 18, 2013

A Time to Be Silent
There must be a time when we cease speaking
to be fully present with ourselves.
There must be a time when we exclude clamor
by listening to nothing whatsoever.
There must be a time when we forgo our plans
as if we had no plans at all.
There must be a time when we abandon conceits
and tap into a deeper wisdom.
There must be a time when we stop striving
and find the peace within.
David O. Rankin (U.U. Minister San Francisco)

My goal as an artist is to paint without talking to myself, to paint and not listen to myself, and most especially to paint peacefully. It isn't exactly that I'm new to this way of painting. Every year for the past couple of years, I paint for months at a time, but it doesn't come easily, especially not when I'm explaining to myself that I don't know how to do it, and that is just the beginning of my talk.  I know, yes I do, that I'm not alone in this struggle. Sometimes I really love painting.

Up to this point, I've had a great time. The canvas is hectic, but I'm enjoying the journey, right through the point where I painted in the dark background below because I wanted contrast, and I needed to simplify.

This is the angry teenager stage. I've done a number of things I really like. I still like the central figure and the turtle is getting more definition. This is the point I've gotten stuck in many paintings before: making smooth transition spaces with interesting gradations of color blending. The purple background still had more energy showing than I wanted, and hoping to make it work I painted in a world of precious little butterflies. I tightened up. I'm tried too hard. I lost my rhythm. At this point the fun stopped and the talking started. Now turtle woman who definitely has attitude is getting impatient with me.

If I take out that green I added on the left, the whole thing looks kind of like the inside of a snow globe. I like that, but I begin to imagine she feels like I did when my mother sewed my clothes. I was not gracious about standing still while she pinned and re pinned, ran the sewing machine and then asked me to try it on again. She must have wanted to wring my neck. I need to figure out this color background stuff while the turtle woman isn't looking.

Here's the beginning of another painting. It's a larger canvas, 40x40, and this is the really fun part. I love painting without a plan, playing with color, daring to let my brush take the lead. Are those the beginning of glasses left of center? Forget it. I try not to think this could be a painting about windows or doors. Much much too early. In part that's where I got stuck in the painting above. I began to love the combination of butterfly and turtle totems. She wants to survive, I tell myself. I'm personifying her. I'm making her much more than a painting. Yikes.

I keep circling back to this quote by Thich Naht Hahn. "There are two ways to wash dishes. The first is to wash the dishes in order to have clean dishes and the second is to wash the dishes in order to wash the dishes." I need to paint in order to paint. I know I can get a painting back to this point. I always love my first few layers. Now I think I need to practice the blending that's stopped me before. I need to make sure this painting is willing to change, and I'm willing to change it, and then I need to go back to the first one when I have the skill to change it.

Baruch ata adonai, I feel like I've told you all this before. Maybe if I go through this over and over I will shoot out the other side with a better skill set not only to paint but to deal with myself. I hear you tell me I already have that. This is all about patience, right? Yes I thought so. Then please help me to be patient with myself and others and not always need all these words to understand what I intuitively know already. Amen

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Creative Every Day November 12

I am not a baker, but I did have cranberries in my freezer from last year and Google not far away and found a recipe for these easy to make little cranberry apple pies. How hard could it be to do this with the kids. I bought Trader Joe's frozen rolled pie crust, which certainly has to be better than mine, and had everything set up for my grandchildren to make when they came Sunday. Almost perfect except for one thing. The dough had to come to room temperature. and I didn't have the time to do that. So this is my creative venture today. Notice how no two are alike?? Too delicious. They're not staying around here. I ate the other half of the one you see at the bottom right. Tonight they're going off to film club with me.

This is a project from Sierra Club magazine. Homemade snow globes. Simple to make. Use E6000 to glue figures to jar top after sanding the lid a bit. Allow 24 hours to set up. Then fill the bottle with distilled water and add one tablespoon glycerin and a half to a whole teaspoon of glitter. 

You need to fill the jar to overflowing, turn it over and screw on the lid and voila!

I prepped these before the kids came and then we made a mess together. When I visit them in a couple of weeks, they can go through all the steps themselves. There must be a way to glue on the lids. I haven't explored that yet, but I'm quite sure my six year old Charlie would give it a try.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Creative Every Day November 11

"No positive change can occur in my life as long as I cling to the thought that the reason for my not living well lies outside myself." Terry Hershey

To warm up this morning, I continued on with a new canvas by painting cool colors over warm. The random marks don't bother me. It's suppose to be this way. Out of randomness comes the picture that wants to be born like Michelangelo sculptures emerging from stone. He probably knew where he was going every step of the way, and he still had to follow seams existing in the stone itself. And so I put down marks that are random and layer by layer something, I don't know anything about just now will emerge. In this way the turtle girl I'd never met before came out of the chaos.

At this point in the painting, I don't have that feeling of reckless abandon. This morning I'm asking myself what's working and what's not working. How do I keep every little stroke from becoming too precious, too thought out, too deliberate? How do I keep letting go rather than painting like someone who is fearful of losing something? Unlike the earlier stage of another painting, I can't paint "no regrets" on this one. This one's a keeper. I really love the central part of this canvas. There's the turtle walking its path in peace, sticking to it with determination and serenity. There's the busy fluttery butterfly, the end stage of a big transition that only lives for a day. And there she is, the impatient girl coming out of nowhere who is learning to fly, and at the same time loves that sure steadiness at her foundation.

I've outlined some areas in the side panels and I'm thinking those marks will disappear. I think she is being born form we don't know what, and we don't need to know. There's a trick to keeping what is working and changing the rest, but I don't know what it is. Yet.

Baruch ata do I walk the line between letting go and having to know? Anything I need or want or hope to be is already in me right now. Help me to live with the mystery. Amen

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Creatie Every Day November 10

Just a quickie today to show you my studio non-light fixture newly  assembled.

 I wish you could see this better. There are glass hearts and devil heads and tin hearts from Mexico, a small doll given to me at Artfest, bulbs and stars originally from thrift shops, the shooting star at the top and the angel and a bird nest you can't see and the birds on the right came from an art group tail gate party. It is so much fun, and it's very difficult to get a picture of. Surrounding it are cards I make, and my grandson's art. If you've ever made an assemblage like this, please send me a pictured. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Creative Every Day November 9

The first layers in any of my paintings consist of putting down warm colors, then cool colors, then black and white. If this were an art therapy class, this would have told the story of a time in my life when I was trying to make sense of what was happening and create some sort of order.

And then order came in my life and I didn't want to work on that subject anymore.  So on top of that layer I started again. I knew in starting again, with "no regrets" I would still find myself in some sort of chaos for awhile. I know in starting over, I'm still dealing with myself and my ability and my willingness to be brave and bold and most importantly, being able to let go of preconceived conceptions about what this painting "should" look like. Once restarted, I would continue on.

Definitely in transition on this one. I showed a version of it before. I love that the idea of a woman riding a turtle came up. Today I've been working on calming and simplifying the area around her. I'm excited to discover where it will go next.

Sometimes we just need to restart, return to go, but after getting to go with "no regrets" I still had to strike out again and get through the chaotic stage of new beginnings. Painting is so much like real life!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Creative Every Day Post

Last year I found this light fixture in a San Francisco recycle store. It became an assemblage featuring jewelry especially earrings, ribbons, Miss Piggy and other characters. Most things came from give aways or from SCRAP, an art supply warehouse containing  the dreams of every artist and everything recycled and inexpensive.

Yesterday I took everything off and started rebuilding it. For me it's the focal point of my studio.

My guiding principle now is to use stuff I already have. The picture in the lower right is a chandelier from a magazine with silverware dangles. I've accumulated some children's silverware I'll add to this. I'll send the finished picture this weekend.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Past Few Days

Dear Readers,

If you've been following my blog, you can see this isn't my usual format. I'm participating in an art challenge and every few days I want to post to that and can't figure out how to do it unless I publish this. So consider this a bonus or more junk in your mailbox. I know there are lots of ways to accomplish this, but I'm not in on the tech of any of that. Barbara

Creating art has been easier than getting the pictures to my blog. The whole thing has been constipated and I am frustrated!! So, calming my feathers, and taking a deep breath, I'm hoping this is going to get to Creative Every Day.

I've been making bookmarks and hang tags from my painting remnants and from drawings I've done. We are in a wine growing area and soon I'm going to go to some wine shops and see if they would like them for hang tags for gift bottles. Today I met with a graphic artist who really likes my designs, who will work with me, and who has a contact who licenses drawings like mine. Even if it's not my "and away we go" moment, it's pretty exciting. Think really good and positive thoughts!

This painting is moving along. I've completed an online class with Flora Bowley on intuitive painting, but I certainly haven't finished the work! This image seems to be evolving, and as usual, there are parts I wish survived into the next painting session.

Now she is standing on top of something, and it looks like she has a tennis racket next to her. I don't know what that's about, but I think the racket will disappear and way too much green. It will go too.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Blooming At Last

"In a world that just keeps getting faster, increasingly more complex and loaded with never-ending expectations, I continually need to remind myself to be gentle, both with myself and with the people around me. For me, being gentle is about softening and allowing. It's about letting go of my grip on how I want things to be and allowing things to just be the way that they are. In this way, being gentle is also about acceptance." Flora Bowley

This weekend I completed a five week online class on intuitive painting with Flora Bowley. I've taken classes from Flora before both online and twice in Mexico, and this is the first time I feel as though I have overcome myself, been gentle and patient enough to soothe the inner angsty voices and paint on anyhow.

This process involves putting down layer after layer of acrylic paint until the painting works its way from a mess, from the unknown, from stuck, to something that begins to speak to me, to something that seems to want to be born on this canvas. I have no painting background and no particular skill I bring to this process except determination, except knowing I want so much to let go, and when I do, I will stand on the other side of what I know now.

Lots of potential in this one. I love the colors. It's maybe the fifth layer I've put on.

Several days later it looks like this. You can still see bits of the painting above and now it's kind of an underwater scene. I like it a lot. I fuss with it a few days, and I am stuck. I don't know where to go next. Time for radical change.

Tuesdays and Fridays Flora demonstrated the daily lesson on two paintings she began the first day. They were about as big a mess or full of possibilities, whichever you might want to call it, as the rest of us were making. We compared notes and shared our paintings and emotional journey on a private Facebook page. This day she added a flower or maybe it was a fireworks burst, and I ran with that idea. I wanted to see how she did it.

I love this painting, because it feels as finished as I can make it and because it is the first time I painted effortlessly and with abandon. Even though what you see are blooms, each of the many layers I added is still there and adds to the whole. I've named the painting Blooming at Last.  It's on my studio wall as an acknowledgement that I can let go, I can move through many layers of paint and emotional uncertainty, and I can do it while being gentle with myself.

Baruch ata adonai...I've struggled with this process for years and something in me wouldn't let go. I know this painting is the beginning of a breakthrough in all parts of me. Thank you. Amen