Art, Ideas, & First Loves

I was reading over an old issue of Somerset Studio today during my lunch break at work. There’s really just something about those back issues that I love – they tend to have some really great articles that refer me back to more formal mixed media art, some that is much simpler, clean, less busy. This particular issue got me thinking of my first loves that I haven’t tapped into in quite a while, I guess because I’ve been too busy trying to be what everyone else is being. I love to read the wisdom and insight shared by the artists in these articles – they have truly thought things through, learned and grown. I was humbled by the artists in this issue, as I realized that I simply do not take the time to stretch and challenge myself anymore, because it won’t create things fast enough for me to feel like I’ve been successfully productive. I am tantalized by my first loves of colored pencil, handmade papers, simple sculptures of wood, paper, and light, oil paintings, and detail drawings. It has been too long since I’ve shared a project with them, and I miss it.

I definitely think way too hard about all the wrong things. Again, I don’t seem to stop long enough to allow myself to formulate my thoughts. I can never think of the right words for what I am trying to express, and I work way too hard to force meaning into what I’m doing. The meaning should be the starting point driving the project, not something I force feed in later. What can I introduce into my life to exercise these muscles again? Some of these things I may have already recently started, things I prayerfully chose to pursue or refrain from during the Lenten season – delving into those things that remind me of who I am and make me feel the most me. Slowing down, in general, would be good.

I wish I could take time to do art and journal every day. How do I focus without becoming legalistic with myself? I blossomed while at school, always did so well in each assignment, testing the limits and boundaries of each project given to us, finding ways to make the ideas mine. I think the main point here is that the original idea really wasn’t mine, so the scope was automatically narrowed down to considerably and I did not become overwhelmed by all the possibilities. It’s not like I can’t think of my own ideas, its that I can’t seem to manager them. Too bad they don’t teach us in school how handle our ideas ourselves, running with them instead of being run over by them. Can anyone relate to this?

Anyway, just some thoughts, stuff running through my brain this week. I’m feeling a big motivated to whip out that art journal again…

Updated Website

I have finally updated my website! I have learned how to take my own digital photos, move them from the camera to the computer, clean them up in photoshop and make them web ready, and get them up on my site. How wonderful it is to be (mostly) self sufficient! Maybe I can keep my website updated more often now.

I’ve added 4 new albums and about 20 new photos, some of which are long overdue. First, I created an album for Christmas, so you can see what I was up to over the holiday season. I also now have a folder for swaps and Artfest 2005 and put in some photos of the 2 swaps I’ve done as well as some pictures of my Artfest projects. Finally, I created a separate album for Altered Art. So far, I’ve got an altered bingo card I did over New Year’s weekend, as well as the project I started for my husband’s and my 3rd wedding anniversary in 2005. I altered a box of Russel Stover chocolates that he gave me for Valentine’s Day and cut 3 pages to fit inside that will fold out as an accordian book. I don’t yet know what I’ll put on the pages, so they just have a base coat of color so far, but the top of the box it totally finished. I will work on it each year around our anniversary until it seems done.

That’s it for now – I’ve been pretty busy on stuff for the last couple of weeks, I’ll add more photos and updates soon. Hope everyone is enjoying their new year!

Thoughts on life and my art

(Late night blabbing with myself) I think some of my work could be called…I don’t know, dare I say Shabby Chic? I don’t think that is the right term and seems kind of silly, but I am still exploring and figuring this all out, and this was a good starting point. The whole idea of taking the neglected, used, worn around the edges, seen-better-days things and giving them new life, new purpose, turning them into something beautiful is what I am so passionate about. I like to do that with people too. I think my art is a reflection of my compassion for the left-behind, hurt, lost, and neglected. I feel their pain as if it were my own, I just want to wrap my arms around them in a warm loving embrace and help them see themselves as God does – unique, loved, special, and designed with purpose. Art is my way of digging into the nitty gritty of life, not just living out an existence. Through texture, color, touching, smelling, seeing, reusing, recycling, and making glorious messes of all kinds, I can dive headfirst into this wonderful universe of emotion, people, places, food, thought, music, and experiences of all kinds. I love to live, and doing art helps me live. No, it is HOW I live.

God himself is a creative spirit – he created everything in heaven and earth, including us, and as we were made in his image, I guess the way I see it is that we were born to be creative too. The imagination and ingenuity of the human race never ceases to amaze me. Some may mistake my passion for a Pollyanna outlook that is not rooted in reality, but what kind of a reality do we have without our creativity? It is what brings color into an otherwise black and white world. We all make our choices in life – try as they might, people cannot cram us into a box based upon their judgments, we can only jump into it ourselves or allow ourselves to be pushed in. You choose what perspective you have about the world; as you sift through your various experiences, you decide what kind of attitude you will develop about life. For me (as the quote says) it is not a matter of my cup being half full or half empty, but being thankful that I have a cup. And that is why I am an artist.

Hmm…wow, this all kind of came out at once. Definitely something worth thinking more about! Raises such good questions…

New Greeting Cards

I have just uploaded a bunch of handmade greeting cards onto my site, be sure to check them out in the gallery! Handmade greeting cards are how I started out in the paper arts world, as I discovered all sorts of stamping, punching, embossing, and embellishing techniques. All are handmade by me and are not prints or photocopies – in many cases, my cards are hand-colored using watercolors or colored pencil. Available in a multitude of categories, including Birthday, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Thank You, Just Because, and Easter to name a few – more will be added as time goes by. Currently none are up for sale, but I plan to put some up for sale soon with the average price per card in the $3 to $5 range. If you see one you must have desperately and cannot wait for me to get my act together, please email me at and we can make arrangements. You may also contact me if you have any questions about techniques I used, although while I’m happy to share my tools and tips, you may not copy my designs. Eventually, each card will have a description that gives credit back to the designer of the stamps I used. Hope you like them!