Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Art Crush

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I've had a really big, artist crush on Sabrina for years. I love her work so much and wish I could meet her. I remember when I first stumbled upon her 2nd book; Brave On The Rocks.
I was in the local Half Price books, just roaming the aisles and the title caught my eye and I pulled it from the shelf. I paged through it and was instantly drawn into the pages. I felt a very strong and powerful connection with what was I seeing, the images, the paint, the rawness of them and instantly understood the title. I was holding another artist's journal in my hands. I bought it of course and then learned she had another book out, her first; Spilling Open, which I then purchased from the local Border's at the time. I read both books the same day. I devoured them. Even tho I am quite a bit older than Sabrina, her journals and writing reminded me of my own journals from my early 20's and how I had a very real need to capture my experiences, write, express and commit them to paper. The need and desire to journal ran deep and true in my heart. I had never seen anyone journal in such a profoundly expressive and deeply personal manner. I was touched and moved by the honesty that Sabrina shared through so many different mediums. It was my first brush with mixed media journaling and I was forever changed. 

After discovering Sabrina's work my own journey to connect with other artists began in earnest and I found a vast network of others whose need to express themselves visually, matched my own passion. No one in my immediate family really quite understood my creative needs and so to find others who 'got it' was awesome to me. I no longer felt alone on my creative journey. Over the years my journals continued to take on different forms, first I used purchased journals and then I learned to create my own which ignited a new found obsession. I discovered so many amazing journalist's. The amazing Mary Ann Moss, the delightful Pam Garrison and of course Teesha Moore and so many others. It is a journey I am still on and will be for a very, very long time. It is a passion I will feed and explore for the rest of my life. 

Sabrina's brand new book; And The Story Is Happening which I found yesterday at my local Blick is a wonder to behold.  It's very much like her previous book, The True and the Questions, a book intended for the reader to journal in and make your own but with more punch and impact. The pages in this new journal are alive with paint, collage, photography, and the book is so well done that you can almost feel the texture and layers that are captured in print.  If you've wanted or needed a little inspiration to jump into visual journal keeping, this book will do the job. No instruction is really needed. Sabrina's work comes from her heart and are cleaely passion driven. There is no wrong way to create in this manner. It's hard to ignore the vibrancy that is captured on the pages. The pull to pick up a paint brush and run it over blank white paper is wildly strong. Sabrina has also included a few printed scraps of her own that live in a pocket on the inside cover page. A little something to get you started. It's a book to be added to or simply a delight for your eyes as seen through your heart. I highly recommend it along with her other books. I keep these books close by and look through them time and time again. I think you will too.

On other fronts, I've been working on my painted wall and will post part 2 of Painting Big and Bold tutorial soon. I also have journals in the works that I hope to send out into the world which are taking longer to create as I am pouring more into them and ideas for new journals come at me faster than I create them.  It's going to be a busy summer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Painting Big & Bold Fearlessly

Painting Big and Bold Fearlessly
Part 1
As promised, I've been keeping a few notes as I paint 'BIG' that I will share here on my blog across several posts, just things that I found helpful as I painted the walls and steps. I am sure that there are folks who would have already thought of this stuff and I am sure that what I will share is nothing new, nor rocket science but none the less, if someone is considering such a project or has a case of artistic 'heebie-jebbies' about doing something just a little different, then maybe some of what I share will be of some help or at the very least; a little bit inspiring. So get comfy as I walk you through my process. 

Above all the most vital aspect of taking on this kind of project or any creative endeavor for that matter is a commitment to see it through to the end. Especially if what is created is going to be a permanent part of your home, but even if it isn't, even if what you are doing is something you've never done before, give yourself the chance to go for it. Don't give up. Don't turn back. See it through. Commitment.
As I have been painting and drawing on these walls one message  has been repeating itself in my heart and whispering to my soul  and it's a lesson I needed to learn and listen to. Creative bravery happens when the desire to create something becomes so strong, so over powering it pushes and obliterates any fears that hold one back from doing it. The desire to do is simply stronger than the fear of failing or doing it wrong. It's that simple. 

I think everyone experiences that in their lives from time to time. If you want to do something badly enough, if it matters to you enough, nothing will stop you from going for it. You will make it happen. Painting this particular wall has been something I have considered doing for quite awhile now. I planted the seed months ago and kept putting it off, but eventually those seeds took root, wrapped around my heart and I went for it. And that is where the commitment plays a vital role in the process. An idea can sit in the corner of your mind for as long as you will allow it to, but until you take those first few steps to begin, that idea can sit there undisturbed forever if you let it. Don't allow those wonderful 'seedling's  to die and wither. Water them, tend them, and allow them to bloom.

Creating fearlessly doesn't mean that it won't be hard or that it will all fall together perfectly. Even staying 110% committed to any project won't keep things from going wrong. It's what you do when things go wrong that makes the difference. When I chose to do this, I knew that no matter what happened that I had to see it to completion. It's a wall in our home, everyone has to live with it and therefore doing it half way was not an option. It was an all or nothing proposition and that is what I told myself the second I began drawing on the walls. There was no turning back and what I think is this, when considering the investment of time and a few dollars in supplies and undertaking a wall in our home, anyone considering doing something like this must have a very strong desire to go for it. It's not the kind of project that you can stick in a drawer or a box and say you will get to it another day, or that you can allow yourself to walk away from. The idea for this kind of project has to have rooted itself deeply in your heart so it can bloom and that you can thrive while doing it. There can be no room for doubt. Doubt is like a weed that can strangle the best of ideas and kill them before they are ever given a chance if you allow it to. 

I will stop here for today. I've given you your very own packet of seeds and wonder what you might do with them.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Buffalo High School
Class of 2012

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Slowly but surely I am finding my way back to my normal, everyday life. It's been a whirlwind around here the past two weeks with preparations, impossible schedules and having to be in so many places pretty much at the same time. In a word; it has been insane. I am really 'happy' to have it all behind us. 
I couldn't be a prouder Mom, of that I am certain. 

The graduation ceremony was a success, albeit in a very, hot and stuffy auditorium. It was 92 that evening and just a wee bit humid. We held Brittney's open house this past Friday, 6/15 and had a houseful of guests; a good time was had by all. I spent the rest of the weekend piecing our home and yard back together. DH helped, napped and went to work. Brittney and Meg in the mean time worked a concession at Target Field for the Twins game; 15 long innings including a rain delay, 10 or so hours of serving, hot dogs, cheese curds and ice cream; that begins to melt as soon as it comes out of the machine. Messy stuff.  I've worked a handful of games and can report that it's hard work, fun, but there is no down time and a little tougher when you are already tired from a busy weekend and on little quality sleep.

And lastly, I am pleased to report that my steps and wall project is about half way to completion and while I wanted to be able to say I finished it; well that just was not meant to be. I did try really hard and put in a couple of near all-nighters right down to the day of the party, but I did get far enough along to feel as tho I had accomplished something. One of my daughter's friend's exclaimed as she went down the steps, "I wish my Mom was this cool". I couldn't help but smile and glow. I have several upcoming posts in the works with all I learned about 'painting big' as I worked on the walls and steps which I will share soon. For now I leave you with a few pics of my progress thus far.

I am so looking forward to getting back into my studio and surrounding myself with my art supplies and creating. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Painting BIG

'you are not
meant to fit in
you were born 
to stand out
and free'

Daily Scrap
Let me begin by saying that I have painted 'big' things before, set pieces and props for the dance studio; among them a giant full sized fire truck, a VW bug style clown car that was pretty close to life sized too, several giant boom boxes one of which was 2 stories tall. Then there was the 6 foot upholstery foam river with landscape boulders and rocks. I could go on and on. None of them were all that much of a challenge, the colors and style were pretty basic and anyone could have painted them. Easy stuff, just big. My girls often helped with these projects, even when they were quite young. I was simply painting everything in the appropriate colors, like painting in a really big coloring book, only one that was 3 dimensional. You'd think I'd be able to paint these stairs and walls without fear but that would not be true. For what I intend to bring to these stairs and walls is about the biggest art project I have ever taken on and to completing it by next Thursday; well maybe I'm just a wee bit insane.

The quote by Rachel Awes that I chose for the steps very much represents the message I want my daughters to see each day as well as myself, for I am an artist at heart and that sometimes means being misunderstood by those who lack the understanding of the importance of this kind of self expression. It is a message I wish to share with anyone who graces us their presence in our home. Everyone should be allowed to be stunning, shining and free. It is the light inside each of us that is uniquely ours, our imprint on the world in which we reside. That I am doing this on the eve of our oldest graduating high school, having friends and family over to share in this moment of her life, very telling and insightful. It is a message I wish to impart to  everyone who visits. Don't settle for being a carbon copy, an imitation, a cookie cut out, be authentic, stay true to your heart, live your entire life, true. Which is what I've written on the wall on the left of the top of the stairs,
live true. I couldn't get it all to fit into the photo. 
Writing that big was way outside my comfort zone. It took me several days to gain enough courage to write on the steps and then on the wall. I've never trusted the steadiness of my hand to write on a canvas, in my art journal, much less a wall, which is why I wish to share the process in the next few posts. For now a little background history.
A few years ago I painted my daughter's rooms in 3 glorious colors of their choice. (please note, I'm sharing these photos while they are in school and if I don't return here, you will know that they will have shot me for sharing these on my blog)
Megan's room with my studio assistant and member of our family;  Miss Fibi curled up on Meg's pillow. 
Then there is Brittney's room.
Please ignore the chaos. 
Is it a wonder that our daughters attend a art's magnet high school and ride a school bus for an hour each way to get there. They have to get up at 5 AM to catch the bus at 6 AM. I'd like to think we gave them an environment where they could feel brave and grow their own dreams and attending the school was their choice. They left the comfort of going to the local high school where most of their friends would choose to attend, knowing that most of the friends they would make would not be in the neighborhood. Yet they chose to go. They were brave and I love them so much for taking that risk.  We feel like we've given them every opportunity to become adults who value things like, art, dance, theater and the importance of self expression, along with learning those skills one needs to enter adulthood and begin to create a life for themselves out in the 'real' world. As a side note; I am grateful that we live in a community that still honors art in their curriculum when so many public schools are cutting out art classes entirely. This program now faces budget cuts and while Brittney graduates this week, it is our hope that it can continue 2 more years and beyond so that Megan can also graduate from this amazing public school.
So, back to what I was sharing. I painted Brittney's dresser about 13 years ago, just before we moved into this house. This was my dresser as a child, I stripped it and created it into an aquarium of whimsical fish. At the time this was the biggest thing I had ever taken paint to. 
So painting these walls and steps should come easy. Nope. I am learning a few things about painting big and about being brave and I intend to share them here as a tutorial so if any of you are inspired to paint big you will have the confidence to move forward. It really is fun and exciting. These steps and walls represent our own affirmations that a little bit of art goes along way, that creativity should not be restricted but rather celebrated and where we live can 'respectfully' express that. I wouldn't go out and paint the outside of our home 10 different colors and force my creative endeavors upon my neighbors and hoping they will understand. I wouldn't go that far. Nor would I turn every room in our home into a colorful 3 ring circus. My husband lives here too and am grateful he is willing to allow me my artistic freedom as much as I respect his need to come home to his own relaxing corner of the world and we balance each other's needs for what we want our home to be. We've not had family over for a very long time so our home is going to represent who each of us are at our core, that pursuing an artistic dream can be done in a big, yet respectful way. 

Stay tuned, as I will share the details of this process in the coming days as time allows. For now I need to get back to the work at hand, adding all the fun details to the steps and walls. I need to bring them to life.