a Tiny description

a full time artist, stepmother, radio personality, and mom to an energetic Chug dog, tries to get through the days without committing a felonious act. My life is a rickety Zen circus.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

(photo by Bates Littlehales, NatGeo) yes, it's true. i have been battling ferociously against torpor...that sneaky, pea soup in the brain feeling...the feeling that you are trying to run a race through thigh-high wet cement. grickly grackly mind-numbing. and crabby, but i've managed to keep that inside, so as not to do irreparable harm to relationships i care deeply about. it can't possibly be leftover from the Grim Creeping Death that had me down since October. i'm just not sure what the heck is going on. tonight, i stopped in to wander the halls of the Delavan, and soak up some of that artistic mojo that hangs in the air, and i realized how long it's been since i was there, and how long it's been since i've created anything for the sake of creating it. way too long. my bones feel dry with it...my frustration leeches out onto the canvas...small dribs and drabs that are quickly covered up with gesso. inspiring post tonight, no? but this is my sounding board...my place for my fingers to take over and tell me what my brain has been hiding from me. this morning, i got my daily email from Brian Andreas StoryPeople, and thought, " this. is. it." Waiting for the pen to dry up so he can start fresh with thoughts that are worth new ink. yes. i had complained that i was tired of doing the same-ish artwork...that i needed a new direction. so a palate-cleansing time was set in order, is what i believe. except i forgot to feed my spirit...forgot to keep the windows of my soul polished and open to let in warm breezes and bright sunshine...forgot to keep the wicks of my candle trimmed. so tonight, a porcupine reminded me that we all have built-in checks-and-balances that are natural functions of our beings...before we get too close to taking a left when we should stay straight ahead, our warning bells will go off. in my case, they hit the gear shift into neutral. there is a reason, i am certain, for this staying in place. not sure what, yet, but i know i also need to open the windows. so, the porcupine gave me many gifts tonight. they are interesting souls...they like to climb trees, but are very clumsy, so nature granted them a survival tool that they need do nothing to activate - when they fall, (and they do with regularity), a naturally occurring antibiotic is released into the quill, and basically injected into their own bodies. so they fall, but do not die from infection. you can connect the dots from the natural to the spiritual here. In some Native American teachings, the porcupine represents protection - from both outside attack and from inner spiritual attack (the tricks our mind plays on us, or the untruths we tell ourselves). little porcupine is a peaceful animal, yet protects himself fiercely if pushed too far. Porcupine gave me some other gifts tonight, but more on that in a few days. some new stuff began burbling...new ideas...new designs...new materials to work with. and sooner than soon, i hope to share those with you. for now, a nap is in order...a long night is ahead.

Monday, January 30, 2012

perfect weekend

went here: with these two - that make my heart swell with love & pride... (not such a great picture - see explanation below) happened upon a rust garden: and by the 3rd floor, felt less like a hoarder: but wanted it ALL! a perfect weekend in Albany and Saratoga...incredible food, wonderful shopping, peacefulness, seeing PSD shine as she has become her own woman. She is amazing. Fell in love with handsome husband again, too! (not such a great picture but a shaky phone at dark after key lime martinis...it's as good as it will be. poor diva spent the weekend at Camp Grandma's with tummy trouble, but bulimia cat got to stay home with the full attention of Uncle Brian. there is much love and sadness that he is not here to pet & play, apparently. today - cold & snow. yesterday - mild, sweater/no coat. go figya. am planning to get work & errands done, then spend a quiet afternoon with some Constant Comment tea, and Jen Lee's Iconic Self CD's...eyes closed, feet up, soaking in the goodness. wishing you a cozy day filled with creativity and sparkly surprises!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The very purpose of spirituality is self-discipline. Rather than criticizing others, we should evaluate and criticize ourselves. Ask yourself, what am I doing about my anger, my attachment, my pride, my jealousy? These are the things we should check in our day to day lives.
with love from the Dalai Lama yes yes yes. i know. and i have the mark on my forehead from where the words hit me. not so much acting like an ass, but feeling moody and yes, i guess angry. at who? at what? when push comes to shove, who knows? (hmmmm - push comes to shove...a lovely & peaceful phrase). I do know this...when something is wrong wrong wrong for me to do, or there is a person that is not quite what they represent, my internal radar goes off big. and i feel such a strong emotional response toward that person or path or decision, that it borders on repulsion. (more lovely visuals). not "repulsion" in the gag reflex way - but more like a force field pushing me away. that's the best way i can describe it. i have felt this toward people who i now call "friend," but at that time and place, it was important for some reason that i Not Go There. it is such a definite NO! that hits my system, that to go forward would be such an obvious mistake. (not that i haven't boldly put my shoulder to the hurricane and pushed into the storm before). but there has been such a chain of these NO NO NO's lately, as everything shifts, it has made me downright grouchy at times. so i had to sit with my inner tantrum this morning to see what it was trying to tell me...i'm not normally a person to have expectations on other people's behavior or how they run their lives, but lately it seems that things have been so delineated - so black OR white - and i've been fighting against it inside...fighting to reclaim that part of me that lives-and-lets-live. so i went to have a chat with this inner tasmanian devil, no longer fearing what i'd find, (that maybe age has morphed me into a bitch), but more to untangle, unclog, put into perspective. and i began to remember how years ago, i had asked for a "clear and definite voice" to guide my feet on the right path. i am here to say that there is no clearer voice than the turbulence that gets itself all het up in me when there is something to avoid. and i had a sense as the new year dawned, that this year Big and Fast Changes were to be afoot. and so it seems they are. now that there has been all this clearing & purging of issues and material things, there is a void. and that void needs to be filled carefully...not just bringing in new stuff and re-filling it, but perhaps bringing back in only the essentials, and leaving some breathing space...some windows for the sun to peek in and glow around everything. i watched a new show called Touch the other night. In it, there is a child who hasn't spoken in 10 years or more - his whole life. and the father figures out how his son is actually communicating. and that's what i have to be quiet & peaceful with - what is my intuition and God trying to tell me? there are clear directions, if i listen, if i allow myself stillness. and it seems nothing will move forward until i do. i have a GPS in my car that i couldn't live without. but it just tells me the next turn to take. and i need the full map right now - the fold-out kind that never re-folds the way it should, but shows the whole route so you can plan potty breaks and stops at Interesting Sights. coincidentally, I just won a copy of Jill Berry's book "Personal Geographies," which is about mapping your life in art. i never win anything, and there was a huge huge pool of people on this webinar call. and i won. how's that for a clear bell? sorta like standing in the tower of Big Ben at noon. so this is what my stillness brought to me today. my uneasiness...feeling like a spider monkey on Mountain Dew... child-in-grocery-store-past-naptime inner tantrum - it seems it was a call to Be Quiet and Be Still and Be Thoughtful for a few minutes or so, and sort out the map...find the route and mark it in highlighter, THEN engage the GPS for turn-by-turn directions. and in that perspective, it will all work. even when the GPS says "cannot locate satellite. this will end directions temporarily," and i have to punt quickly or miss the entrance ramp. wishing you clear sailing and warm breezes and maps that refold with ease....

Thursday, January 26, 2012

in my pile of purged things, i have a mountain of books. and some of them are actually duplicates of books i already owned, but had gotten buried in the dishevelment that had become my studio. so i think what i may do (while supplies last, as they say) is enclose a random book with every order from my website. if it's a book you already own, pass it on! most are technique books, some are novels or non-fiction or mysteries...a bunch o' stuff. if you don't want a book (because your studio likely iis stuffed with them!) just let me know. poor diva has tummy trouble...running the stairs and out the door all night counts as exercise, right? i loaded some Forti Flora into a pill pocket for her last night finally, and hope that gets working soon. she is so sensitive to any change in the house, and with an unannounced "guest" showing up out of the blue last night, we all need some pill pockets loaded with something. Today is busy with Becky Home-ecky stuff, which i am obviously procrastinating about. stepson loaded up the washer and left - for an hour? for the day? who knows? but it has definitely changed my schedule. ggrrr. i'm working on a collage that excites me to no end. it's pretty large, and i'm taking my time with it - something i learned while attempting to draw. it does make a difference! and i still have the large marble plaster piece from the "Fissure" series staring at me. I have to get going on that one, because I need the table it's resting on. so far, bulimia cat has left that surface alone. My brother is coming to stay with him/her this weekend, and i'm sure kitty will love the undivided attention! a new paper bag on the livingroom floor=many hours of fun. okay - i have to dive into this vacuum/laundry drama before it's too late. Am also working diligently to finish some special orders for some heartfelt talisman necklaces. starting to get my shparkle back!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

gentle spirit/badass MF

if you've followed this blog for any amount of time, you've probably sensed an impatience i have with the recent slew of "finding yourself" guides/workshops/videos/self-proclaimed gurus. I have been in situations where well-intentioned, but woefully not qualified people have led a group of (usually) women through exercises to help them discover their inner fears or demons or what is blocking them from having some magical tra-la-la life. Like they are. except...there are times when the door is opened, and monsters rush out, but it's time for the workshop to be over bye bye. so these observed instances have colored my view of this desperate search for some reality that is Not Your Own. I have to say - sometimes your reality just plain sucks. or was never intended to be whatever it is you are trying to emulate...the friction may be that you are trying to live contrary to what your own path is. and it's up to you to see what can be changed and what can't, and it is not likely that you will suddenly become 30 pounds thinner and an Important Artist or Better Person In Touch With the Gods/Goddesses of your belief system by taking a quick class/workshop. i know - that sounds like i just contradicted myself - find the source but don't get help. nooo - get qualified help. and know the limitations of that source. sometimes, life just Is. It is in your day-to-day reactions and actions. and if you need to go deep, seek out someone who has the paper to do it with you. ALL THIS BEING SAID.....i DO believe that there are tools you can use to help you work out some issues that may have cropped up - whether you use these in conjunction with a therapist or not is for you to determine. One of the dearest people i have met is Jen Lee. she is sweet and thought-full and will freely admit (in her blog) that there is often not a bowl of cherries sitting there waiting for you. Life is messy, but that doesn't mean it can't also be rewarding and fun and soulful and moving right along. Today she launched a Home Retreat course called Your Iconic Self. It includes 4 discs, a tote bag, a bunch o' stuff, a tshirt, and some wisdom from Phyllis Mathis and Jen Lee. (she had me at Tshirt!). I trust her to dig up some thought-provoking insights for me. yes, i ordered it this morning. i'll keep you updated. do i think that all of my life's questions will be answered by disc 2? i hope not! then what is there to look forward to in life? but what i am hoping to find is a conversation...an opening, a prompt, an unfinished sentence where i can fill in a blank. these are not deep life struggles i am hoping to challenge and tackle...they are dust bunnies that come wisping out of the corners from time to time. and so far, this year has been all about recognizing targets and clearing them away - much like the Great Closet Cleansing of the past few weeks. (btw - we ended up with husband's van FILLED with stuff that we no longer used ... all that stuff clinging to our feet & slowing us down). so the "Gentle Spirit Badass MF" title? that's one of the T-shirts you can choose when you sign up for the class :) Whether or not you choose to sign up for a workshop of some sort with anyone, or do it on your own, or access the help of a good therapist, i wish you clean corners, and room for your feet to move.....

Monday, January 23, 2012

isn't this the cutest brooch? Antique French - found at a consignment shop, and grabbed up for a song. the picture doesn't really show the background color well - it's less opal-ish...more of a solid color. Love that the bezel is a cat's open mouth! I may be figuring out some things on this Mac yet - bought a 25 pound book, and have been studying it like the SAT preps. so i figured out the "adding photos" part, obviously. Last night, while husband watched the games, I started sketching. I'm trying to teach myself how to draw portraits, which has been hit or miss - much like my cooking. Actually, I sit down with a sketch pad and pencil - and completely freeze. I had given up, not needing the negativity that the resounding failure-to-launch brought. but! Saturday, there was a Golden Artist Colors lecture/demo at the Art Store, (which i highly HIGHLY recommend and not just for the generous freebies they bring) and it sparked a small spark in me. this week, i'll be playing with tar gel, fiber paste and perhaps some skins and digital grounds. it's great to learn how to use all those products i have sitting around! after procuring The Last Bottle of iron oxide on the shelf, i wandered out of the melee toward the book/video section. they had a good selection of "art on demand" dvd's - one by Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch. I am just drooling to go to her Encausticamp, but that is a little budget-unfriendly for me right now. HOWEVER, she is coming to Kitchener, Ontario soon, and that is what has my heart palpitating. hello, Universe? umm yeah. after composing myself, i looked through the books, and lo! There's a book called Faces & Features. perfect. in the cart. Here are some first attempts at facial features. i plan to work on more today: Not quite ready for prime time, but i'm pleased that you can probably tell those are eyes, and a nose and a mouth. ok - into the shower and then to the woods - it's quite mild here today, having dodged the promised freezing rain and all manner of Armaggedon. Then - to the studio for some jewelry-making and sketching...ahhhh, that feels good to say... wishing you a spark today ....

Friday, January 20, 2012

deeper, clearer

this year has just started off with a bang, i tell you...clearly 2012 is not going to be a shy one. right out of the gate, things Happened...good things, bad things, but Things all the same...and they just haven't stopped. now i know what all that rest was needed for at the end of last year! last week, i spent Two Full Days vacuuming, dusting, purging, rearranging and otherwise reconstructing 2 closets upstairs...i went at it with the fanatical energy of a traveling preacher chasing sin down. and i'm pleased to report that i can now breathe/sleep in my own bedroom again. thusly inspired, i did a While you were out" type redecoration of the bedroom. husband had begged me to promise never to redo anything without him Ever Again following an ill-fated attempt to paint the kitchen red Red RED with Perfect Stepdaughter. but that was years ago, and i crossed my fingers when i sheepishly nodded my head affirmative. so it didn't count, right? but. but the room was so sparkly clean, but so taupe and dreary. and this caught my heart, and, well, you know the rest. yes i did. and i did warn husband before he got home...sent him a text picture. then made his favorite dinner. he really likes it. the room. so inspired, i continued on - a Big Boy night stand for him (replacing the rickety telephone stand he's been using - crammed with alarm clock and a coalminer-type headlamp he insists on using to read at night), and a pair of antique lamps i found at a garage sale - gorjus cut glass base - got new shades and wowa! our old headboard didn't fit in the new bedroom when we moved into this house - it being a 4-poster huge tall thing, and the wall slants in like a cape cod-ish style. (i am laughing my pants off here because autocorrect changed that to "codfish!") we never got around to getting a new headboard, and since it may be a while yet, i bought some "Wall Words" rub ons that say "Always kiss me goodnight" to put on the wall. i may never leave this room. i'll need a pretty good reason why. but that's all good. mom & i are in tense mode, having spoken some truths yesterday that cut through quite a lot of smoke & mirrors, we have gone to our seperate corners to get stitched up and sent back into the ring. it seems that a lot of things are being laid bare in many areas of my life, and in the lives of friends. strange times, for certain. black and white with no gray...and the lines clearly drawn between what is acceptable and what is not... piles of useless or unused stuff laying around in corners of the house, and corners of the heart...no longer waiting patiently to be cleared, but revealing themselves and demanding action be taken. i have cleaned every nook of this physical house throughout the past few weeks - not setting out to, but one thing leads to another, it seems. and so it begins with the heart, as well. the year has whipped up a vortex of demands that corners be swept - sooner rather than later - and everything be set right and proper in it's place...no room for the unnecessary, travel with lightness, leaving space for the brilliance of sudden sunlight to blaze through...change, for certain, has begun. and with the dawn of the new year, i believe that this dusting, polishing, organizing, will reveal quite a lot...will show many things for what they truly are...treasures some, others not. i've gone deeper in my daily meditations...listening...asking...watching...for i don't want to misstep or overcorrect, yet want to keep pace with the broom. thoughtful times. wishing you richness...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

the past few weeks (months?) have been such a sharp change for me...i was sick with bronchitis that turned to pneumonia from october through december. during that time, i could do little but change the channel on the TV and sleep through another episode of whatever happened to be on the screen. as i began to recover, and got my hearing back, (sinus problems blocked my ears), i had no inclination to get back into the studio. none. telling myself that i was still weak and needed rest, i continued to Not Be Creative. i had thoughts and dreams of some amazing pieces i wanted to create, and new materials i wanted to use, but i'd walk into my studio and feel heavy. then turn and leave. i'd look at half-finished projects hanging about in my studio and feel no inspiration whatsoever to finish them. the frustration in not being able to express myself is not easily described, and it was not always easy to be in this house with me. as you may have noticed, even my words deserted me, and my blog posts became few and far between. i began searching for an answer, deep within. was it just a time of rest? was it a time of creating a delineation between what was and what would be? was there a different path to take? (thank you Swirly, for bringing this video to light). what what what?? working alone in a studio is very isolating. after a while, you can anticipate the next song on the iPod - even on shuffle. you can almost believe that your dog understands every single word you speak - especially after reading "The Art of Racing in the Rain." I am still casting about for answers. out of the blue, I've received requests for new Squam 2012 necklaces, and that was an incredibly bright light...it got my hands working again in familiar ways. and helped me get a glimmer of what it is that drives me to the studio...to make beautiful things for specific people. not to mass produce or market or splash things about on facebook or twitter or wherever. but to make something filled with love and intention for a specific person. when i make a necklace or collage or painting or any piece of art that has a home to go to, invariably, i think about that person while i'm working the piece...meditate on the spirit of them, stay open to anything that may come up, say a prayer for them and send golden blessings to them during the creation process. that fills me, as it blesses them. and that is where this twinkle of a sparkle of an inkling is sending me, although i don't know where or why or when or how...i just know that i need to go even deeper into that process of creating. even writing this all down here is a sort of working-it-out process. i have watched so many people start out and see popularity in their ideas or creative works, and jump on the surfboard to ride the wave, all the while staying in that same spot - just getting louder or more "marketable," trying to be everything to everyone - all the while thinking they are growing. a following does not equal growth, i've found. and a message for the moment rings stale & inauthentic after a time. (i say this in random thought, and am not pointing a finger, or thinking of One Specific Person, so please don't be offended or hurt if you think i'm writing about you). I want to stay current - not with fads or trends or marketing plans or any other indicator of "success." i want to stay current with what my heart and spirit tell me is my path on my journey. when i first moved here 10 years ago, i carved out a path for diva and i to walk. and everyday (mostly!) we walk the same path into the woods, through the Echo Echo tunnel, around the Tree With Eyes, and the owl's nest, past the hawk's perch, around the lake and through the woods again past the Monkey Tree and Roxy's house. it is a beautiful walk during any season, with different birds chirping and a different treasure to tuck away in our hearts every time (the past 2 days, a fat Barred Owl has swooped over us Really Really close to my head). and even though diva gets to check her ever-changing pee-mail, the walk has become automatic...she knows the way by heart, as do i, and rather than enjoying the scenery, we walk the same trodden path out of habit. same with life. same with art. the past few weeks, diva has absolutely insisted on changing things up - to a degree - and tugs and pulls till i follow her. the same walk, but starting at the end and walking it backwards. and i think that was the message to my heart - follow the trail backwards to see it afresh - to find that sweet spot where the wonderment and absolute gusto reside. stop there and breathe in what i need from that spot, and before taking one baby step, look all around at the different variations of ways Home. pick a different way this time, in order to follow the same destination, but with renewed spirit and new things for my eye to see. i have never ever felt like i was being inauthentic with either my art making or my promotion of it, i guess. no matter how many orders jammed my email box, i never thought, "well, look at me!" my gift is my spirit. and that can't be sold or promoted. it is something that will either draw people in, or not. i am happy with Plenty & Enough, and when there is overflow, it gives me incredible pleasure to share the abundance. i doubt my bank account will ever be as fat as it has been in previous times of my life, because it just feels fearful and wrong to hold onto that abundance - fearful that it may go away, and wrong because there are so many incredible things that can be done with money...so many people to help. so i look at "abundance" differently now - more of a flow, than an accumulation. on a similar but separate topic, i've received emails asking if i will be attending my annual Meeting of my Tribe in september. i will not be. i'm not sure why i feel that this year i belong at a different place, but that feeling is definite and strong. Un-ignorably strong. i spent quite some time sorting out my feelings about it, and worked through some pretty ugly and uncomfortable anger and grief and feelings of being quite expendable in an area where i felt like i was part of a whole. i tried to deny these feelings and move past them and proceed as usual. but my spirit simply would not allow me to "proceed as usual." so having gotten through the steaming heap of junky emotions, came to realize that there was a purpose elsewhere this year, and had no choice but to follow that thread. That is all i have to say on that, and am not asking anyone to follow me if their strong inclination is to stay their course. it is your journey to determine. i'm not sure how this post got to where it is, but here it is anyway. the wind is pushing tree limbs to their limits outside...45 mph they say. it makes a nice shushing sound inside where i'm warm with diva and bulimia cat, and a cup of my current addiction - Constant Comment tea. there are worse addictions and this one comes in decaf too! wishing you each a brightly shining day filled with insight and ah-ha's...

Friday, January 13, 2012

this is the second attempt to post today...the first one froze my mac and i had to delete the whole program and blah blah blah. so instead, i spent a productive day...12 loads of laundry. yes. twelve. i have a closet in my studio that's 12x10 feet. we don't have a basement, so all my out-of-season clothes, shoes, size 4 pants, some furniture, husband's not-work clothes, rifles, etc, get stored there. it is not possible to vacuum or dust in there, and after so many years, i would have a major allergy attack (dust) every time i went to wear a sweater from that closet. so i got mad (and smart) and motivated and emptied every last thing out of the closet, donned a surgical mask (beauty) and vacuumed, clorox-wiped, dusted and began washing Every Single Thing in there. I have a tremendous Mt. Everest pile of clothes going to Goodwill - i mean there is no hope whatsoever that i will ever get into some of these pants. and the closet is so clean and beautiful now. i actually would use it for a task area as part of the studio. it's bright enough to draw in. but there's a pile of stuff still needing a home, so i'm sure it will fill up again. one thing that made me happy to do was wash all the linens that were stored there and put them in giant clothing bags. now i can have April fresh sheets anytime without having to run the wash before i make the bed. ahhh. it's all about organizing and simplifying right now. it started yesterday when i went to get ready for a business appointment and realized that the Big Girl clothes i had either didn't fit, or looked tattered or schlocky. perfect for my last job where i sat in a cube and no one saw me, but not at all right for my new life. thank goodness for Wholly Tara - I bought a dress there last year that is perfect for anything and is actually flattering. i was hating on the pantyhose, though. so immediately after the appointment, i took myself to the mall. as luck would have it, the salesperson watched more episodes of What Not To Wear then i ever have, and put together the start of a great wardrobe for me...and they were having a sale! the entire haul cost the same amount (including 2 pair of shoes) as the coat's regular price, so i actually shopped for free, if you think about it. (that's called "sales math" where I'm from). bags and bags and bags of stuff. and all of it fits, and is flattering and i feel great in them. and no pantyhose required. so i made a deal with myself that i would finally clean out/clear out every single thing that i didn't love, or that didn't fit. i hung onto a lot of things because even though the fit was off a bit i worried that i'd never find another whatever. and i have to say, i have a lot of duplicates because i couldn't find something in all the chaos. and it was chaos. 5 black turtlenecks. 7 pair of black pants (only 1 fit, and they were downright matronly). that sort of thing. 30 - yes 30 - pair of white sweat socks. and a drawer full of left socks with no right sock, or elastic that had seen better days. don't even get me going on the bras and unmentionables. whoosh. all out. so now i have the clothes from the big closet to re-hang, and every piece has to justify it's way back into the closet. (and i don't think the skirt from the 80's will make it, sorry to say. or the jacket with the Joan Collins Big Mutha shoulder pads). oh yeah it feels good. it's dinner time, and i haven't showered for the day yet, but got a lot done. it sure beats watching the snow outside. holy mother of george jetson! in 2 hours, the world filled with snow...i kept trying to clear a path for diva to make it to her special spot to poo, but it would fill in by the next trip. ok - now husband smells smoke, so i have to go check. happy friday the 13th! update: no fire, but somehow blogger rearranged the order of the blogs (i have 2 - one is extinct) and i just posted to the wrong blog. so thank goodness for copy/paste. and thank goodness for Sue who taught me how to copy/paste on this computer.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

wow. within minutes after my facebook farewell, i got no less than 10 emails asking why i was leaving, and 1 was pretty damn huffy. Here's the thing...I am happy to promote you here...my focus this year is all about helping to spread the word about workshops/ecourses/shops/extraordinary people, etc. and yes, I do recognize that facebook is a great vehicle for advertising - especially for small biz. heck, i promoted my website on my facebook page. i don't have a problem with using any technology that's available to you to get the word out. My issue with facebook is this: it is becoming the way people assume they are connecting with one another, exclusive of emails, letters, cards, phone calls, and old fashioned face-to-face cups of coffee. and that is not acceptable to me. someone clicking "like" after a comment should not replace a personal comment to that person. it's just how i roll. it makes people more isolated. i don't have a problem, per se, with facebook, or with a person promoting their whatever on facebook. just look at it as a sidedish, rather than the main course, is all i ask. it's like posting a billboard in someone's yard without thanking them, or asking them. don't forget to send an email to or call a friend you know is having a bad time, or celebrating a fantastic event. that was my only point. and since i'm no longer on facebook - don't forget me! i won't forget you. and as soon as i get a minute, i'll be updating my gadgets and sidebar to list some of the amazingly wonderful places on the web i'd love to share with you.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

i know i've said this before, and will likely say it again, but....tonight i closed my facebook account. yes gasp. (sarcastic gasp). it's been a few days since i checked on it, and honestly, it looked like a highway filled with billboards. very little actual connecting going on...mostly people trumpeting their product/workshop/store, etc. And that's not what i signed up for. i was talking to a friend the other day (yes actually talking to an actual friend), and we were bemoaning the demise of people connecting, or even conversing. texts, emails, "likes", comments...they've all taken the place of an actual conversation. and don't get me going on a handwritten card or letter...they are filed in the "quaint" category these days. maybe i sound old, but if being old means i care enough about you to call, then hand over the AARP card. i'm happy to give a mention to your book, or workshop or new puppy here in this space - hell, i'm thrilled to shout your happiest news! but facebook has become ad-central...a promotional platform. i spent more time hiding stories that i felt inappropriate for what i wanted to represent me. and i want more from a friendship then a "friend." so, sadly, i am leaving that part of the technological wonderment behind me. but hopefully not the friends i've made.
yes, i'm like that. a list-maker, organizer, pretty things all in a row. ok, well, mostly. sort of. except for the "tidy & organized house" image that might conjure. every morning while i have my 1st cup of coffee and wait for diva dog to shake off the sandman and come downstairs for "out," i make a list of what i hope to accomplish that day. well, back up a sec...on Monday, i make a list of what needs to get done for the week, then break it down every day. so on monday, i tackle a few things & check them off. then tuesday i pick a few more, etc. I know if i pick at least 1 hard thing a day (laundry, grocery shopping and that ilk), then by friday, my list will be empty. and the weekend free. except my weekdays and weekends are pretty seamless. so it's more about carving out personal time. if i finish xyz on my tuesday list, for example, then i have "free" time...my list is done for the day. and i include things like "an adventure walk" with diva - which is nothing more than taking a different route than usual...not such a hard frog to eat*, right? and also in the schedule are items like "9-11am: sketch," or "afternoon: used book store to find text for collage." so along with vacuuming, cleaning up after bulimia cat, running the stairs with scorchingly dirty laundry, etc, are Must Do's that are actually pleasurable. but they are important. and if a wrench gets thrown in to my perfectly planned day, i can assure you that the vacuuming will wait. which explains the state of my house. but i figure there are no extra points for dying with a clean house, and when the temps are in the high 40's in January, it's a sign from God to go ye therefore outside of the structure and play. (that's a rough translation from the actual verse found somewhere maybe). you know, in all this random rambling, i completely lost my point. surprised? ok...back to paint and pencils and gesso and the smells of a productive studio. wishing you an amazing day of play, and a self-cleaning house! *my ex-boss had a term "Bite the frog" which meant to tackle your least favorite & often avoided task first thing in the morning, so then the rest of your day was better by comparison, and you were done with the task on deadline. my whole day was a frog, so it was a matter of jumping from lilypad to lilypad all day! and yes - i did buy a pack of rubber frogs, and would randomly launch them over the tops of people's cubes throughout the week. and yes - i was not an easily managed employee, but was very productive, and have heard morale sunk to a low low after i left. so there's that.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

ok. the first week of the new year has been whiz bang, let me tell you. But at the same time slow and gentle. inside. chaos swirls around outside, but i am focused on where i need to be. one thing that i know i need to improve on is beating me over the head...and i can't understand it. I am uber-punctual for appointments...always 15 minutes early at least. it's maddening sometimes, because if i am meeting someone for lunch, and they're 10 minutes late, i've already sat there 25 minutes. my bad. but i will be totally honest with you here: I have not mailed out christmas presents yet. i know. i feel so ashamed. yes, i was sick for 140 years, so that did slow me down, but i have one that i'm making, and it honestly would take maybe 30 minutes to finish, and i just can't seem to work on it. yes, i've been busier than usual with Stuff That Needs Sudden & Immediate Attention, but i just feel so wickedly aweful about (what I perceive as) sluggishness. so this year, i will be trying my best to get gifts, cards, letters, etc, out on time. it's a lifelong problem that i am known for, and feel like a bad friend. it's not that these things aren't important to me...they are VERY important to me. which is why it makes me scratch my head in wonder. new topic. I am signed up for a second round of online workshops with Suzi Blu. I have always wanted to draw faces, and my brain and hand refuse, just REFUSE to play nicely when the pencil hits the paper. so i thought if i was learning to make a folk art-ish face, then there would be less pressure. and it was so great! i'm not sure how she does it, but within 1 lesson, i was drawing and shading and SEEING what i needed to see. and have carved out time every morning to draw a face from a magazine - a real face. i'm pleased with the results so far, although most of the models would probably take one look and push me down. But i am doing it. The next round of workshops i signed up for is a Portraits class, where she goes more in depth about where things should go. I never thought i'd enjoy this type of class online, and figured i'd be so high-maintenance in person that i should stick to collage. but there you have it. i also signed up for a free mixed media class taught by Traci Bautista through Strathmore online. check them out - there are a bunch of different artists and techniques to choose from. free is a good price. i also found a cool website called "Bookmooch," where you can trade books with people all over the world. i have to look at it more, but the premise is that you list the books you want to get rid of, and if someone else wants them, you either trade for something they have, or get a certain number of points to use elsewhere. (if they don't have a book you want). i have stacks of books here that i've cleaned out. our local library is pathetic, yet when someone donates books to them, they put them in a huge book sale in the summer (50 cents each). i mean, hey. you have a perfectly good book here that obviously SOMEone wanted to read...why not put it on the shelf?? or sell it for $5 if you need the money so badly. and i'm not sure what they spend the book sale money on, because they haven't seemed to add to their inventory since bell bottoms came around the first time. so here's something confusing: a few days ago, we had our first snow. yes - FIRST. it was a respectable amount...enough to get my prepaid plow guy to come. yesterday was 9-degrees and Very Windy & cold. my windshield wiper actually froze and broke off. for real. now today, i went outside with diva at around 8am (lazy slug that she is) and it was warm enough for my usual morning uniform of bathrobe & boots. (no wonder the neighbors have their house up for sale). i'll take it, though. not a fan of snow. diva is getting old by the day. she is slowing down in ways that remind me of Kita's last year. and she's been getting weird spots on her...a sore she keeps licking on her paw...some kind of irritation on her chin. between my dentist appointments and her vet appointments, i have a full time job. speaking of which - time to get back to the workbench and Gepetto out some very special necklaces that are scheduled to head out. but first a shout out & big congratulations to Swirly! not only is her book on the shelves, but she became a grandma yesterday!! yikes - and she's, like, 20 years younger than me. oy. wishing you all a day filled with blessing and gratitude

Monday, January 02, 2012

yes, it keeps coming back to this: I am wired to express myself by making art. BUT, i also get such fulfillment in sharing art that moves me, whether or not it is my work. what to do? what to do? I am thinking of revamping my website...have tabs to showcase an artist (or artists) every month on a special tab. there are so many people who's art is so fantastic, but they don't have an online venue to share it with you...or they do have an online venue, but i really want you to discover them. and maybe through this blog, you'll head over to the website and see what they have created. i'm not sure what this will look like yet...just kanoodling right now. but i think if i lost all ability to make art, i would most certainly represent other artists. so, while i'm figuring things out, if you are interested in being featured, please email me or leave your contact info in the comment section here. i think this will be really good. In other news...i signed up for (and actually completed!) Suzi Blu's Petite Dolls. i have been wanting to draw portraits, but the minute i hold a pencil in my hand, the brain checks out and the yes roll away. so i figured it would be a good warmup (and non-threatening) way to get used to drawing. they're just folk art dolls, right? they aren't supposed to look real, so there's no pressure. let me tell you...it worked. through the class, i learned about placement of eyes, nose, etc, and about shading. the downside to this is that i now have a colored pencil addiction, and had to go buy a carrier thingie with all these elastic loops to hold the pencils. and a special sharpener. and eraser. oh, and sketchbook. yeah, so, there's that. but i'm diggin it. i know i am drawn to an orderly display of things in bright, juicy colors, so i should have just had Leslie at the art store pick out colors for me while i kept my eyes shut. but no. and so, armed with discount coupons and gift cards and a Strong Need for these things, i went guerilla commercial on them. well at least they weren't sweaters (back in the 80's when shaker knit sweaters came in vogue, i happened upon a display of them all folded neatly...long sweaters and short sweaters...in every single color imaginable. i bought one of each in each length. many many sweaters. i may still have one or two.) there's just something so appealing and tasty about it. and i noticed that when i was going through magazines for design ideas for my Perfect Studio, i ripped out pages of images that were colorful rows of whatever. even fish in a fish market (yes - real fish) all lined up. you would think my house is neat and tidy and orderly, but no - it is a righteous mess. it really is. husband travels a lot, and likes cleared, flat surfaces - like a hotel room. it is a tension. okay - time to shower and layer on clothes, walk diva, and start the year with dental work! yippee. but Dr. Patel is fantastic...he is redoing all the bad dental work i've had foisted upon my mouth in the past 15 years, and i am hopeful to have things set right by May. meanwhile, i cannot urge you strongly enough: this year, take a week for yourself and go to an art retreat. start saving change, bonus checks, round off your checking account balance...whatever it takes...but do this thing for yourself...meet like-minded women, or just absorb the atmosphere of creativity while you try something new. it has been a balm to my soul to do this every year. promise? okay - time for the shower.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

what an incredible day...no snow...temps in the upper 40's to near 50-degrees...windy...perfect day for a walk...i took my camera down through the woods (yes, diva was jealous) hoping to catch the owls or the two huge hawks that were fussing around the treetops calling each other out yesterday, but no luck. today is a lazy day of sketching, and starting a new (FREE!) online class with Traci Bautista. It's through Strathmore Paint ... www.strathmoreartiststudio.com . sorry - haven't figured out how to copy & paste with the mac yet, but signed up for a class on friday. there really isn't much to say right now...am gellin' with a glass of Rancho Sisquo, and my sketchpad...a fire in the fireplace, and am trying to waft as much estrogen around the room as possible to offset the football :) will check in tomorrow with a little more of a verbal meal.