Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reclaiming the magic.

Remember when you were young and you felt the world was full of possibility? You hadn't yet been jaded or had your heart broken or saw what horrors people could inflict upon one another. Your entire life lay out before you, brimming with potential. There existed a certain feeling inside you, hard to describe, but it was there. You heard a favorite song or read a wonderful book and you could feel it. You could sense it in the change of seasons, smell it in the air when summer turned to autumn. It's a feeling that's hard to pin down with language, but i refer to it as magic. That's how it felt, as if there were magic all around me, inside me, and anything was possible.

i lived with this feeling up into my early 20's, and then one day i realized i had lost it. i struggled with depression for a long time, and wondered if the path i had chosen (or had chosen me) was the right one. i adore my family, but i worried all i would ever be was a wife, a mom, a housekeeper. Being a mom is a great joy in my life and something i cherish, but i feared i had put aside my own dreams to raise a family. i had aspirations to be a travel photographer, an archeologist, a writer. i didn't want to be famous (i don't like the spotlight on me), i just wanted to act on my passions and make them into a career. i wanted to see the world and discover different cultures, meet new people, take amazing photographs, write the stories that were in my head. i doubted that these dreams would ever come to fruition, and i felt trapped.

And then one day, i was working on a piece; i don't even remember what it was, but everything was flowing just right, i was in the zone and i felt giddy. And it hit me, here it is, here's the magic, it's back! It was there all along really, in my son's laugh, in the winter sunrise, in my true love's face when he smiled at me that certain way, in the first blossoms of spring...it was all around me, i just wasn't paying attention. But art helped me see it again, feel it again. Some days it's only a low hum underneath the daily obstacles in life - the bill paying, housework, grocery shopping - and other days it's a chorus. The quickest way to tap into it, for me, is through art. In art i can create my own playground, fulfill my own dreams, craft my own little bits of magic. It can be whatever i mold it to be, whatever i dream up. And it's always there, waiting for me to fulfill its potential. Art is part therapy for me; without it i would be lost.

i think we are all trying to reclaim the magic we felt as a child. We do a lot of what we do just to have that feeling again, to feel free and excited about what's to come, what lay ahead, to feel like anything is possible and all our dreams will come true. So today i urge you to tap into that magic - make art, or listen to a song you loved when you were young, or re-read a favorite book, or go outside and watch the clouds, or sit down with your child and fingerpaint, or take a leisurely drive down a road you've never been on. Because what is life without magic, without joy? Open yourself up to the magic and i promise you'll see the world in a whole new way. And if you already have, hold tight; don't let anyone or anything steal that feeling from you. Keep it going and spread it around. Because the world could use a lot more magic.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The greeting card as art...

i went through a period a couple of years ago where nearly all i made were cards. i just got hooked, and plus they allowed me to brighten other peoples' days with a minimal investment in postage. i think the biggest plus is they can be a quick and easy way to make art. i say "can be" because they have that potential, but if you're like me, you sometimes spend way too long trying to perfect your creation.

i still enjoy making cards, and have sold more of those than anything else i've made. i have pretty much become my mom's lifetime card supplier, which is fine with me!

So here's a card i made the other day. i love how it turned out, though halfway through i almost scrapped the whole thing because i hit a wall. i'm glad i saw it through to the end.

Thanks for visiting! i wish everyone an inspired day.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kenilworth Castle collage

i love so many different types of arts and crafts, but probably my favorite format is mixed media. i love the layers, texture and depth i can achieve in this realm. A few months ago i played around with the following, a mixed media piece on watercolor paper. i used acrylics, matte medium, extra heavy gel medium, watercolor pencils, ink, photocopy transfers, stamps, crackle glaze...and more. i didn't have a strict idea in mind when i began, just wanted to play and see what came of it.

Have an artful day!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

For as long as i can remember, i've loved cemetaries. My dad used to find this to be a bit creepy and felt it cause for concern about the state of my psyche. He asked me about it one day, and after he saw it from my perspective, he realized he needn't have worried. Cemetaries feel like peaceful, beautiful places to me. They're so quiet, and are little pockets away from the rest of the world where time seems to stand still. There are also many oppurtunities for some wonderful photos, and rubbings. The best ones are the oldest ones, where some of the headstones' markings are barely distinguishable after decades of wear, or others  lay broken and cracked. i am also drawn to the stones showing an unusual single family name; one of the best i ever found was "Dancer", that's it, just that word, that surname, carved on an unassuming grey slab. Beautiful.

i have pictures of cemetaries from all over. Here are some shots from earlier in the summer, end of June or so. They were taken in Staunton, Virginia, at a cemetary whose name escapes me right now.

i was told this spot is one of the most haunted places in Virginia.

For more pictures of this cemetary, visit  my flickr page.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday mornin' you sure look fine...

i just wanted to show another card today, one i made a few months back.

i colored the pear with Inktense pencils and then did a water wash (i love the vibrancy and inky quality of these pencils!). To the stars i added Stickles glitter glue for a little punch.

Have an artful day!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rest In Peace, Staci.

Not long ago, we lost a precious member of our family, Paul's little sister, Staci. She was born with Cerebral Palsy and spent her life unable to speak or eat without a feeding tube, but she was full of life and personality, for sure! She was 33.

There's not a card in the world that could even barely ease the suffering of a mother who's lost her child, but i made Paul's mom a card anyway to at least let her know we were here for her.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, September 10, 2010

GPP Street Team: Crusade No.44

i've been a fan of Michelle Ward's artwork for a while now, and probably many of you have heard of her monthly creative challenges over at her GPP Street Team blog. i've been lurking over there for a couple of years now, and even did a few challenges but have never posted my results; today i finally am!

This month's crusade, Crusade No. 44, is called "In a Scrape" and the challenge is to apply paint to the page using only a credit card or similar tool. No brushes allowed. i love applying paint this way and have used this technique many times. i took on the option of adding techniques from Crusade No. 25 - The Properties of Gesso , and here are my results.

i started by scraping gesso onto one page, then after it dried i scraped on acrylic craft paint. i sprayed the page with water and wiped and dabbed with a paper towel.

For the 2nd page in this layout i gessoed a foam stamp and stamped onto the page, then scraped on paint and again sprayed with water and wiped to leave a resist. The wiping left a "glow" around the stamped images that i really like.

Back to page one - more scraping on paint in different colors, then a last scraping of gesso.

Here's a close-up where you can see that i scratched into the gesso with the edge of the credit card.

The second page (close-up) received more scraping with my chosen colors and a layer of scraped gesso as well. The stamped images are now only peeking through these layers.

Here's how page 2 ended up. i attached a mask of letters (by Tim Holtz) and scraped paint over that, then outlined the word with a Sharpie pen.

This was a fun challenge and i'd like to take on more of these and, hopefully, actually post my results more often. These crusades are open to everyone, so stop by her GPP Street team blog and join in!

Thanks for looking, and have an artful day!