Wednesday, July 29, 2009

WooHoo! What a Great Day

Look what I found in my mailbox this afternoon:

Cindy Gimbrone sent me the promised bronze pendant but also added an extra special set of her lampwork beads. What a surprise! She is known as the Lampwork Diva and here you can see why. I am just itching to see what I can create to do them justice. Thank you Cindy!
Next, I went by the printer’s and picked up the patterns for some tiny art quilts.

When I brought them home, I could hardly wait to pull some fabrics from my stash. What do you think?

And finally, thanks to everyone who has visited my blog.

The counter is about to rollover to 1,000. (Granted, quite a few of that number records me checking in before I knew how to exclude my count.)

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. And to thank you properly, I will host a giveaway. Details on Saturday, August 1st. You don’t want to miss this.

Monday, July 27, 2009

And the Winner is . . . .

It could be you! Lorelei over at Lorelei’s Blog is hosting a giveaway for Cynthia Thornton of Green Girl Studio’s book “Enchanted Adornments: Creating Mixed-Media Jewelry with Metal, Clay, Wire, Resin & More” which will be released November 1st. Building up to that release, Lorelei will be hosting, not one, not two, but EIGHT (8) giveaways.

Check out her blog and enter to win the first and stay tuned for the following giveaways!

In local news, Kate Clawson of Ongoing Explorations of an Organic Artist has won the Snowflake Obsidian and Pearl earrings

for her email comment on my “Ups and Downs” blog post. Apparently she was not able to post to my blog. I know that sometimes I have to preview a blog before I am allowed to actually post my comments. Anyway, check out her lovely blog – she does amazing things with polymer clay!

Speaking of giveaways, I am a winner of the Art Bead Scene Studio Saturday giveaway from Cindy Gimbrone. Check out this gorgeous bronze pendant she is going to send me. Can't wait!

I was supposed to go in for jury duty today, but I just got a call saying I have been ‘release from that obligation’ – funny how I suddenly feel “sooo freeee!!!” Now I can make plans for my week. I can do some serious work in my untidy house and create something beautiful in my studio. Check out my before and after photos of one corner of my now lovely little kitchen.

Boggles the mind that I let the chaos get so bad.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Ups and Downs

Where does your creativity come from? Are you a thoughtful, focused, organized processor of your creative ideas? Or do you come to your ideas from intuitive spurts that are erratic and disorganized? I imagine quite a few artists with claim the second process over the first but that probably varies depending on the medium an artist chooses.

Right now I am having a little trouble, because I am taking a medication that diminishes that sort of euphoric feeling you get when you are at the beginning or in the middle of creating a piece – where time stands still and all the separate elements seem to fall into place. That euphoria is the same feeling you get in your gut and head when you have laughed long and hard. The effect of the medication has me very concerned. I am taking it for very good reasons, so I will continue to take it even if I don’t like this particular effect, but I fear the flattening of that “up” feeling.

In short, I fear losing my creativity.

I have been told that the medication will help me focus and finish tasks -- and that is a very good thing, but I worry about the beginning of tasks – especially artistic endeavors. From my own observations I think the artistic temperament tends to be more sensitive and skates a little closer to the edge than other folks. It also seems to be a two-edged sword: creative euphoria with dramatic highs, or numbing lows that prevent any creative thoughts a place to roost. I have experienced them both, and I must say I prefer the “ups” – and who wouldn’t! But if they are too high, the fall is farther and much more pronounced. (What I am talking about is NOT bi-polar disorder, but depression with manic episodes.) We all have our demons, this is mine.
At this point, my creative output is a moot point – I am not creating anything tangible – but I do have lots of concrete ideas I want to pursue.

So help me out here: whether or not you suffer from similar demons (no need to self-disclose), do you see your creative self in any of this? How do you deal with it in or outside of your studio? Do you have organized processes to get to your creative work? Do you keep an art journal (and does it help)? What practices could I adopt to “get me going” when the “up” isn’t there? Give me some boot-straps I can pull on.

Since I did not have any takers for the last giveaway – the Snowflake Obsidian and Fresh-water Pearl earrings will go to a special someone (selected at random) who posts a comment to this blog between now and Saturday Morning.

Thanks in advance.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Color, Colour,

If you have been reading along the last few posts, you will know I am about to jump into the artistic abyss – with glee!

Color has been on my mind lately. I love color, I could not really tell you which color is my favorite one, I love them all. Part of this thing with color comes from a presentation at our local quilt guild. The speaker gave us a basic talk on color the other day but I know there is a lot more to it. She spoke about how the printers of fabric help us match fabric colors with the little colored dots in the selvedges and she spoke briefly about the color wheel.

I have another method for squeezing out the color from an image. I open the images in “Paint” and then I “select all” and grab a corner and manipulate it until the image is pixilated into large blocks.

I plan on using these rendered pairs to create interesting textural pieces. Exactly how they will look once I have finished, I will be as surprised to know as you. Now, I have to get in the studio and let the muse guide my hand. I am really looking forward to that!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rollin', rollin' rollin' like a river

There is a spiritual side to creativity. Sometimes we have to step into the stream and flow with it to see where it will lead. But you can’t just step in, you have to be ready for it, you need to be open to it. I am not quite sure where it will lead, but I think I am just about ready to follow that creative stream.

In this first week “without a job” several wonderful, helpful, thoughtful friends and family members have made suggestions. Some of these suggestions have been way out in left field, but now I feel like I can recognize the direction I need to take. A dear friend asked me to join with her in a co-op gallery. She is a watercolorist, and I make small art quilts as well as jewelry. When she made this suggestion, it felt right. Now I have all these wonderful ideas swirling in my head and I can hardly wait to get to my quilt studio. Stay tuned!

Now, I would like to introduce you to an amazing artist who is just joining the blog-o-sphere: Catherine Davies Paetz. She works in precious metal clay and enamels. Her first blog-post is about mandalas and meditation. Check out her blog and website and give her a warm welcome. It was Cathy who reminded me of the spiritual side of creativity – I will certainly be following her blog.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Today is the first day of the rest of my life . . . ?

I have stepped off the precipice into the great unknown. Definitely not the best time to be looking for a job. What I will be doing in the next six months is anyone’s guess. This is at the same time exciting and terrifying.

I have been teaching the intro class to the visual arts (art appreciation) at the college level for about 14 years. It is a class that none of the full-time faculty wants to teach, but I have grown to love it. I get to see the light-bulb go on over students’ heads when they begin to make connections. But adjunct faculty are expendable and don’t even get unemployment benefits. And who knows, there may be a class to teach in the distant future, but it is not something I can count on.

I keep waiting for the heavens to open and a great booming voice to tell me what I am supposed to do next.

Times change, and so must I. But it is getting more and more difficult to morph into something else, I have done it four or five times already. Will I be a jewelry designer? Or a quilt artist? Or will I be flipping burgers with my highly prestigious Masters degree in Art History?

If you have any insight or encouraging words, I’d love hear them.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July -- Independence Day

Summer seems to speeding past a break-neck speed. Wasn't it just Memorial Day? So much can happen in a short time.

Here I am teaching college student the joys of knowing and understanding art in the first short semester of the summer and -- poof! -- I do not have a teaching job in the fall! After this coming week, which holds my husband's birthday and my parents' 53rd anniversary (on the same day), essays, exams and final grads, I will be free -- at loose ends. What to do?

Suddenly I am freed from the espectations involved in teaching -- not that I am happy about that.

I am waiting for the heavens to open up and tell me what I am supposed to to with the rest of my life. Perhaps this is a time for me to take stock of my life and start getting serious about my art and my jewelry. I have been dabbling all my life. Maybe now is the time to test myself, to push myself creatively. I have been following the artistic adventures of my blog friends in the left-hand column for about two years now. They have led the way, now it is my turn to march to a very different drummer than before.

I would appreciate some encouraging words. How did you get started? What prompted you on your crative path? Is the adventure worth the anxiety? What is the best advice you got/can give in starting an arts-based business?

To tempt you to your keyboard, I am offering a pair of earrings to one randomly selected response. Since life promised to be crazy this coming week, I will draw the winner on Saturday, July 11th.

Share this with your blog friends, the more responses the better. I am looking forward to your encouragment.