Friday, July 30, 2010

Things I Love - COLOR!

I love color...

I especially love looking at the color spectrum, a color wheel or a whole sheet of colors...or at the way the color spectrum plays out in my own home...

paint chips left-over from a color wheel I made in an art class long ago...

...colorful beads in a small glass...

...a favorite hat...

...a skirt I've made...


 ...t-shirts...

...and cashmere cardigans in my closet...

 ...some of my many sets of color pencils...



So imagine my delight when my Artful Journey classmate Louise Gale introduced her Creative Color Challenge!

The challenge begins this Sunday so there is still time to join in. There will be a new color to work with each week of August and if you're not moved to participate one week it's okay - I like a challenge like that!

It's promising to be a great challenge and the list of participants is growing by the day! I hope to see you there!

 * * * * * *

By the way, I'm having a give-away so stop by to read about it and leave a comment to enter. You've got a whole week until a winner is chosen - Good Luck! =-)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Many Reasons To Celebrate...

One year ago today I wrote my first blog post and so much has happened since that first post:

  • I continued learning from my favorite book making instructor
  • I registered and attended the Artful Journey Retreat, which was my first art retreat EVER and I met amazing artists!
  • I participated in Tinniegirls Blogtoberfest and I met amazing bloggers!
  • I'm doing a "No Clothes Challenge" inspired by Magpie Girl's "A Year Without Clothes" and I've learned I have a LOT of clothes!
  • I submitted art for a Patti Digh publication and was accepted for publication (due in September!)
  • I submitted artwork for exhibit and was accepted for exhibit
  • I opened an etsy shop (currently closed for the summer)
  • I submitted more work for another Patti Digh publication...

 you can find this drawing in Patti Digh's upcoming book: "Creative is a Verb", due November 2010

...and I just learned today that it too was accepted and will be published in November this year! YAY!!


...and there is still so much more to come:
 
  • I'm in process of making my creative play-space a beautiful room to play and create in
  • I'll be participating in Louise Gales Color Challenge for August  (I'll have a badge link soon!)
  • I'm working on getting to the next Artful Journey Retreat so I can learn from Nina Bagley
  • I've signed on to create art for a great non-profit, City Hearts for their upcoming fundraiser, which I helped with last year
  • I'm nearly done with my first sewing tutorial
  • my dear boyfriend has ideas for prettying up my blog
  • I'm planning on participating in some art-book e-courses and The Sketchbook Project...

...and I've got lots of ideas I plan to share in the year to come!


I mentioned in my last post that I would have a giveaway and so we shall...


Just leave a comment on what you think is YOUR number one greatest achievement this year so far AND one thing you really want to accomplish in the next year to come. The winner will be chosen at random on Saturday August 7 and announced on Monday August 9. The winner will get to choose from one of the following "Tools of the Trade" groups:

* - Knitting Tools: knitting needles that belonged to my grandmother and some yarn and a knitting book from my personal stash and library


* - Collage Tools: rubber stamps, scrapbook papers and vintage photos from my stash


* - Sewing Tools: one or two quarter bundles of cotton fabrics and one beautiful vintage thimble all from my grandmother's stash


...and I'll make a special bag to hold other various bits and bobs that will be tucked in your gift as well =-)


vintage fabric ready to be made into a bag that will "journey" to a winner...


The giveaway is open to all, near or far! It's open to newbies reading this blog and I think I have some items that will tempt even those who have won in the past to join in the fun again...and those who have participated in past giveaways can attest that a giveaway package is worth waiting for...in case it takes me awhile to get to the post office!



And to get you going here is my #1 accomplishment this year, so far:


My art exhibit entry "Currency of Strength" is an accomplishment I will always cherish. I will return to tell the rest of the tale and share images of the actual artwork soon, I PROMISE...


And here's what I hope to accomplish in the year to come before my next blogiversary:


I'm planning some posts about "Legacies" and "Lineage" that I really hope you will enjoy...and maybe figure out a way to 'teach' a class, online or off...


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Thank you all for stopping by to read my blog and for being a part of this amazing journey. I hope your journey is just as amazing today AND tomorrow!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

In one week from today...

...it will be my one year "blogiversary"...

Can you believe it??!??

Of course, there will be a give-away of some goodies to celebrate...

 here are some rubber stamps that need a good home ;)

Wow...

Little did I realize how many things would happen when I first began this blog but of them all, I am gladdest to have found such an amazing community of "creative beasts". Your support during some difficult musings has been SO important to me, I can't begin to tell you though I may have tried, which reminds me...


Thank you all SO much for your wonderful comments on my last post!! You artists are SO FABULOUS!! I tried to respond to each of you individually through your comment e-mail but I'm never really sure if you get them so I'd like to pose a little bit of a poll:

how would you like me to respond to your comments?
individually? in the comments section?


Just so you know (in case you haven't figured this out!), I love connecting with like-minded folks and I love having a "dialogue". I have tried leaving responses in the comments and I usually respond to individual comments, though I'm not always sure I can do that with all comments left here, so I thought I'd go straight to the source and ask YOU =-)

Feel free to leave a comment below and for those readers who may be feeling a bit shy about that, you can e-mail me with your thoughts and it will be just between us. You can find my e-mail in the right side-bar. Just look for "say hello or send me a message"...


Thank you all so much for being here and reading about my adventures in creating! There's still so much to share and I hope you stay tuned for it all =-)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Abundance, Scarcity and the Melting In-Between...

My creative play-space is a huge mess as I continue to sort through all my goods. It makes me think of a recent post by my blog buddy Kat of "I Saw You Dancing". She wrote of questions she asks herself about feeling bad when things in her life are good and she is grateful for it all, yet she is still bothered by ...something. I am  glad to see that she is learning to lean into the discomfort of that unhappiness because it is honoring her TRUE FEELINGS whatever they are, for whatever reason she is having them, and our feelings will always teach us something we need to know...

the messy closet in June - maybe clearing the outer space will help with the inner space??


I was particularly struck by the paraphrased quote from Wayne Muller

Abundance is a fearful response to scarcity. Sufficiency invokes satisfaction and well-being. How are you confusing the two? How do you know when you have enough?

My initial reaction to the first sentence in this quote was the observation of how others talk so much about abundance and the concept of the fear of scarcity underlying all of that. In Los Angeles, I am surrounded by a lot of New Age theology and a LOT of affluence - an affluence I could not begin to keep up with and, I've discovered, that I do not wish to keep up with. I've come to learn that much of that affluence is used to cover a great many things, most of them bad feelings that many people just don't want to deal with. But the bad feelings will always teach us something we need to know and only then can we move beyond those feelings...

The second sentence in the quote was quite heartening:

Sufficiency invokes satisfaction and well being...



This really spoke to me as I have worked hard to be self-sufficient and my many skills in creativity provide so much satisfaction and well-being for me. I have learned to make do with what I have and my creativity is something that has been born out of having a limited income. I can not afford high-end clothing or furnishings but I can be creative with what I DO have and what I CAN DO and I cherish those skills and the environment I have been able to create with them. It is MY STYLE and it is authentic, mess and all...


 the closet is getting a little more stream-lined, these days, but there's still a ways to go...

Finally, the last two sentences in the quote are certainly worth pondering:


How are you confusing the two? How do you know when you have enough?

As I look at the abundance of goods in my home I have come to realize that I have TOO MUCH!...and I'm realizing this is due to my own fears of scarcity having worked with a limited income virtually my entire life. It's something I often fear I will not be able to move beyond, this limited income...



MELTING...(DOWN?)

This fear really struck me this weekend as I spent more time at my dear boyfriends air-conditioned abode to ride out a heat wave that occurred since my own rent-controlled abode has no air conditioning to speak of. It is really hard to do much of anything (creating, cleaning, clearing) in such a hot space and I had a meltdown as I came to grips with the reality of my circumstances: no a/c, no internet at home, no savings to speak of and no decent job opportunities. It really made me question my abilities:

Why can't I find a better paying job?
Are my skills not as great as I think they are?
Or is it the Universe sending the message that office work is not where I should be anymore??

These doubts nearly got in my way of meeting three fabulous artists this weekend. Some of the classmates in the Kelly Rae Roberts e-course thought of meeting up, which took place on Saturday and I almost didn't go! I was beginning to have so many doubts about my skills in 'earning a living', it began to seep into my faith in my skills as an artist...thankfully my dear boyfriend helped me to shift my perspective and used a reference* that made my heart sing as he gently reminded me that I have much experience with art and creativity, despite my living circumstances and it's not that I live on the 'wrong side of the tracks'**, I just live on a different side of them!

Well, I'm glad I drove out to the meeting spot and took a moment to speak with my dear boyfriend before getting out of the car - it was great to meet with three fabulous artists who are on the path of creativity and learning to make a creative business pay off. Three amazing women who are moving forward making their creative passions into viable businesses...

...and if they can do it, I can too, despite the messiness and the melting =-)




* -  yeah, he gets me!

** - those train tracks are now the Metro Orange Line of the San Fernando Valley and it's a LOT quieter than the old trains that used to go by ;)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

More mail!

YIPPEE! I got more mail last week! I nearly forgot that one of my cool co-workers put me on the list to receive a letter/postcard from one of his friends who is one of the artists involved in "The One Hundred Postcard Project" and this is what I received last week...




this image is striking and 'hypnotizing', as the photographer herself states...

It is a striking photograph of the Los Angeles sky, since the writer lives here in Los Angeles as I do. She occasionally takes photos while stuck in traffic, which I've occasionally done too!


Yes, traffic can get so slow you have time to take photographs from your car =-(


The colors of this image are part of my favorite color palette to work with: sepia tones, aged paper and aged gold which are featured in my dining room art piece that I wrote about last year. I thought I'd play with this photograph I received and see how it might fit into my artwork and took some snapshots to send back...



my snapshots of the photo finding a home in my artwork...


 I think The One Hundred Postcard Project is a great creative project and I really admire anyone that is using snail mail to make or keep connections going. Check out the site and watch their progress as they attempt to send 100 postcards or letters in 100 days. This project is continuing through August 29, 2010 so if you'd like to receive a postcard or letter you still have time to sign-up!

This project reminds me that I need to send a few items through the mail myself soon!


Do you like to send postcards or letters through the mail? What is the best card or letter you received in the mail? I'd love to hear about it!


Friday, July 9, 2010

No Clothes Challenge Update...

I've been meaning to post an update to my No Clothes Challenge that was inspired by the challenge posted at Magpie Girl and since she has posted her update, now is a good time to update you all on what's happened so far in my own challenge...

As I wrote when I took on this challenge, I have not bought any clothes, shoes, hats or handbags, but I did give myself the choice to purchase the occasional accessory which was a good thing or I could have been stuck when I was ready to buy my own piece of Nina Bagley jewelry at the Artful Journey Retreat! Though, it could be seen as buying an art piece as Mel so wonderfully pointed out to me ;)

I had hoped to do more sewing with this challenge and though I have not done as much sewing as I would have liked so far, I DID make myself a converted jean skirt this year! I made it from a pair of my dear boyfriends black jeans - I don't have a picture of it for this post but I will be sure to post a picture soon...

I have to say it's been difficult AND strange to NOT buy clothes, shoes, hats or handbags. However, I have seen my money go elsewhere - to art supplies!! It looks as though I will spend my money one way or another... =-\

Since Magpie Girl asked some questions of those folks participating in this challenge, I will answer those questions here:

  • Have you been going A Year Without Clothes? What have you discovered so far?
I have been going this year so far without clothes...and shoes, hats and handbags! No new or used clothes bought at the local thrift shop! I did however allow myself to buy accessories since I knew I couldn't go "cold turkey" and buy absolutely NOTHING and accessories are a great way to add some flash to a favorite outfit....

What I've discovered is that I have A LOT of clothes!! I also discovered that I was buying clothes because I like to have a new item to throw into the mix and this is easy to do when you thrift shop a lot. When clothes are inexpensive, I can bring home more than I really need. I did attend a "naked lady" party and brought a home a few items while giving a lot more away, including a HAT*!! The hat looked absolutely fabulous on the gal who is giving it a great home and new life! One of the items I brought back is fun and reflects my blog banner actually...

a fun pink t-shirt with periwinkle screen printing...


...does this word look familiar?? ;)


  • What are your thoughts in general about clothes and how you present yourself as a creative person thru dress?
My thoughts on clothes in general can best be summed up by Stanley Tucci in "The Devil Wears Prada":

"Halston, Lagerfeld, de la Renta...what they created was greater than Art because you LIVE YOUR LIFE IN IT ."  - (emphasis mine)

This quote is saying a LOT considering my love of ART!

We DO live in our life in clothes and they can be creative, beautiful, artistic or fun and whimsical, so why anyone would choose to wear bland colors and shapes is beyond me...

In terms of presenting myself as a creative person through dress, I have discovered that I have not been expressing myself as creatively as I'd like to, but this is due in some part to the fact that I have a "day job". I did make a decision to start ridding myself  of 'work clothes' this year since I realized that I am in a unique position that it really doesn't matter what I wear since I'm usually the only person in the office!! Not to mention wanting to have clothes to fit a lifestyle I hope to have in the future: self-sustaining, self-employed ARTIST!

  • What’s the best thing you’ve ever done to get a right-fit wardrobe for you? (Tips please!)

I'm not quite sure what is meant by "right-fit" wardrobe, unless it means getting things to fit correctly for my body shape. In which case, this is where my sewing skills come into play. I do a lot of altering or transforming of clothing one way or another: shortening hems on pants or skirts, taking in/letting out waists, shortening sleeves or removing them completely. And I have made a lot of my own clothes creating my own patterns of shapes and details that I love...

The best tip I can recommend is to read books on style, which I have done**. One of the best books around is "What Not to Wear" by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, who had a great show of the same name. What I love about this book is that they target specific body parts to highlight or camouflage, as needed. It's much better than the general body shape theories that are usually written about. There are many books on style out there and I have several - feel free to drop me a line and I'd be happy to share what style books are in my library =-)
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So there it is - my No Clothes Challenge so far. I began the day after Thanksgiving on Buy Nothing Day and I think I've done pretty well so far. If  I can get this far without buying clothes, the rest of the year should be a cinch! In fact, since doing this challenge, I'll be making more thoughtful clothing purchases in the future as I continue cleaning and clearing in my life...


Are there any long-term challenges you've been working on this year? I'd love to hear about them =-)



* - this was a big deal considering how much I LOVE my hats!!
** - in fact, i have a collection of style books and articles I've pulled from magazines =-)

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    In my mailbox...

    Guess what came last week...

    airmail from the other side of the world...

    ...all the way from Australia...


    ...to land in my mailbox??

    mmm, happy colors for summer!

    A stitched postcard from the Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap!! Isn't it great??!?! Look at the bright happy colors! My postcard was made by Lauren who wrote about making this card on her blog, so I did get a sneak peek before it arrived but it's so much better to look at in person!

    To be fair, it did arrive last week but it arrived just before the holiday weekend so I didn't get a chance to take the pictures to set up a post to launch during the weekend, which is what I did with my last post. But I did take a few special shots to show my love for this lovely set of postcards and here is one of them...

    tea and flowers go so well together, don't you think?!?

    I can't wait to find some frames for these cards so I can display them in my creative play-space. Thank you for these beautiful postcards Lauren - I LOVE them!

    Sunday, July 4, 2010

    Creative Independence...

    It's "Independence Day" here in the US and it's got me thinking of "Creative Independence"...


    red, white and blue - the colors of "Old Glory"...

    It's something I'm craving to have back in my life and I took the first steps toward that goal when I began this blog in July 2009...not to mention the sewing I was getting back into at that time...

    hand appliqued flowers and embroidery...I will share the inspiration source soon...

    ...and though I've been creating many, many garments, dolls, and gifts through the years, I've held fast to a little shred of a dream that maybe, just maybe, I could earn a LIVING at it...others do - why not ME?

    i like how the 'spider mum' flowers can look like fireworks...and i LOVE fireworks!

    Some days it's been hard to hold onto that little shred of dream but it's getting easier now that I discovered a memory tucked into a drawer:


    Spanish class writing assignment about my daily routine but it took a different tone than the others ;)

    I came across this old writing assignment from a Spanish class I took several years ago as I've been cleaning and clearing in my play-space*. It was an assignment to write about "Our Daily Routine/El Routina del Dia" and my approach to this assignment was different than everyone else, of course, being a Creative Beast! While my classmates were writing about getting up in the morning, eating breakfast, driving to the office, I was writing about my own days as they unfolded at that time of my life. I was just beginning to work in the costume field in LA and there would be time between jobs since I was a 'freelance contractor'. I took the language class at night and when I was between jobs my days were very different, as the title of this piece conveys: "Todos Los Dias Son Muy Differente/Every Day is Very Different"...

    Let me share what my days were like as illustrated by this writing (I will write in the original Spanish since I always thought my 'prose piece' sounded prettier in that language and then translate into English below each line):

    Todos Los Dias Son Muy Differente
    (Every Day is Very Different)

    Todos los dias son muy differente
    (Every day is very different)
    Algunos dias yo tengo mucho trabajo
    (Some days I have a lot of work)
    Algunos dias yo no tengo mucho trabajo
    (Some days I don't have much work)
    Algunos dias yo como desayuno con "Plaza Sesamo" en el telvisor
    (Some days I have breakfast with Sesame Street on the television)
    Algunos dias yo bebo cafe y escucho los pajaritos cantan para la ventana
    (Some days I drink coffee and listen to the birds sing outside the window)
    Algunos dias yo duermo a las dos de la tarde
    (Some days I 'nap' at 2 o'clock in the afternoon)
    Algunos dias yo baile todo el dia!
    (Some days I dance all day!)

    Algunos dias yo leo
    (Some days I read)
    Algunos dias yo pinto
    (Some days I paint)
    Algunos dias yo bailo
    (Some days I dance)
    Algunos dias yo duermo
    (Some days I sleep)

    Algunos dias son largo
    (Some days are long)
    Algunos dias son corto, pero...
    (Some days are short, but...)
    Todos los dias son muy differente
    (Every day is very different)

    My memories of those days were starting to fade but they have been coming back to me as blog buddies have begun to experience their own "creative independence" to leave jobs that do not serve them and move into being the amazing artists they are and I am so happy that they now get to experience how "every day is very different". It gives me HOPE that my "creative independence" is coming soon...


    HOPE on Independence Day 2009

    This is me in my hand appliqued and embroidered skirt last July - I wished I had a blog to share this with other creative kindred spirits last year and now I do! I'm very happy that I can share this skirt with you now and you may rest assured that I am wearing it again this year =-)

    It's not always easy, but I still HOPE for my "creative independence" and I will be ready to claim it when it comes. I'm glad I discovered a memory of what it once looked like so I can use it as a 'road map' to guide me back.

    I HOPE that you are claiming some "creative independence" in your life today!

    Happy Independence Day to you all!



    * - thank you all for your wonderful comments, messages and stories as I continue this monumental task of cleaning/clearing in my life. Your words are SO inspiring to me - Thank you, thank you, thank you for being here!

    Friday, July 2, 2010

    Letting go of Hopes and Dreams...

    I've been doing quite a lot of letting go of Hopes and Dreams these days...

    The hopes that I would make certain projects...


    craft books I won't be keeping...but they may show up in a give-away...

    The dreams of day trips to quaint and charming towns...

    okay, maybe I still harbor a tiny hope of seeing Cayucos ;)

    The hope of restoring an old painting...

    a 3-D painting from art classes taken; the 3-D parts have all broken off over time before I could get a good picture of it for my portfolio; it's time to give up the ghost...

    ...and the dream of creating blue glass bead necklaces...

    too many blue beads to count! but they might be good for a give-away later...

    I've been letting go of old remnants of the young girl I once was...

    old notes, to-do lists and sketches of garments I won't be making...but there is always a project on the horizon!

    ...as I continue to cherish the bits of me that have have always been a constant...and the values I still hold close and dear...

     a postcard from New Orleans I have always treasured - it always seemed as if you could FEEL the JAZZ coming from this postcard!


    Values I hold on to: truth, beauty, joy, love, wisdom, integrity - to name a few...


    and the memories of places I've been and I hope to return to soon...
    I haven't been a good flea market in nearly three years and I really miss that part of my life...

    I'm still holding onto some Hopes and Dreams - hoping to turn old vintage garments into a new garment...

    this will make a lovely skirt and the left overs will be great for embellishments on other items...

    ...and I'm DEFINITELY dreaming of a beautiful creative play-space where there is room for more than one artist to play...

    bits and bobs of inspiration in the colors for my play-space - YUM!

    ...as I continue to hold a vision of Creative Independence...