Saturday, November 27, 2010

How to Find Your Festive

No sooner are the leftovers transformed into some nameless dish;  the holiday decorations are out of their bins and onto front lawns everywhere.
Table Setting (detail)
Monotype, pastel, collage

This can be challenging for some of us. Too much, too soon we cry!

My Favorite Kicks
Truly Festive!
If the art of elving is not part of your heritage or in your DNA, how can you find your festive this holiday season?

Notice where it already is, and say thank you for the fun and whimsy all around you.
Patsels Restaurant in Clark Summit, PA

Every nook is a work of art at Patsels

Create your own festive nook with art, objects, beauty and whimsy.
Ululani (detail)

Mixed media on mannequin
Collection of Harvey and Joan Vogel
Where do you find festive in your life? Is there a room, a corner, a shelf- that celebrates who you are and reminds you to smile, any time of year?

Let the fun begin!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This Holiday: Feast... off each other!

Share your creativity ... your ideas, your images, your words.
Perfect Pie, detail
Monoprint, gold embossed rubber stamp
with collage on handmade paper with inclusions.

Last night I attended a reception held at the Leeway Foundation's office in Philadelphia for recipients of this cycle's Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grant Recipients.

We introduced ourselves, shared our stories and interest and enthusiasm for each other's proposals.

There was truly an abundance of great ideas, energy, and proposals for Art & Social Change Projects.  For example, one artist I met Ayoka Quinones, author of I Hear Olofi's Song will be using her voice, combined with dance, music and words to preserve the Yoruba Tradition, which originated in Nigeria.  I look forward to following everyone else's projects and witnessing how art has to power to transform, to heal and create social change.

What a feast... who needs turkey?!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thank you note to the Big C

Dear C,

We had a bit of a rocky start.  You began as a diagnosis, not very fun, to say the least.  But I must admit-you grew on me.

Maybe it was the flowers, chocolate, and gifts I received;  that's one way to a girl's heart.  I found myself surrounded by loving, caring, and inspiring people. And, I continue to meet many more because of you.

Your ability to challenge me to dig deep, figure out what is important, go a little lighter on myself and value every day is greatly appreciated.

Oh, and I love how you inspire me.  Talk about the ΓΌber Muse!  That's you baby!  
The prints, photographs, collages, and more, came pouring out of me- even a book.  Who knew?

This note is long overdue (In fact 8 years (!) this month,) but, with Thanksgiving 3 days away, 
I figured no time like the present to say, thank you.

Gratitude, 2004
Digital Print with Colored Pencil
 And, I am grateful that...
I Still Look Good in Clothes, 2004
Encaustic, collage on wood

Often, the greatest gifts come in the forms of our biggest challenges.

To see more on life's challenges as a gift watch Stacey Kramer on TED.

What surprising gifts have you found in your personal challenges?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Celebrate like a Scout (or Not)

Celebrate your successes.  That seems to be the message this week that is coming in loud and clear.

I recently posted that I received a grant from the Leeway Foundation.  Cynthia Morris asked me how I was going to celebrate.  She commented that celebrating "is vital to building the trust we need in ourselves - reminders that we can go for it and succeed."  

Later that week I took my son Nate to a Scout Pack Meeting.  The scouts were celebrating their recent popcorn sales success.  As this was our first meeting, the den leader informed me that, as scouts, the boys learn new skills, work hard, and "always celebrate their successes!"  That evening, prizes were raffled off, pizza was served and boys took turns throwing pies in the leaders faces!

Pizza and Pie Throwing may not be at the top of My Celebrating "To Do" List. 
Flowers are always a favorite

What is at the top of your list?  

How do you celebrate?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What to Keep and What to Share

As we go full steam ahead in our Blog Triage class I find myself thinking about journaling vs. blogging. The whole who, what, when, where, and why.

I have always journalled, or when I started, it was called a diary.  My first, was a small pink book with gold trim, a cushy cover and came with a little lock and key.  I even gave a name for my diary - Star.
I would write  "Dear Star"... and then go on about some girl in my class - or some boy or some other adolescent angst. I would also go to great lengths to keep my writings private. Lock and key, hide it under my mattress, anything to keep it away from my then, very pesty younger brother, and later, my parents.

Private Pages, 2010
Artist Book: Wire, encaustic, collage
7.5" x 5" x 1"
But as a blogger, I want to share and exchange images and ideas.  View my entries as a conversation starter.  See WHERE blogging will take me, us.

This brings us back to the WHO - the idea of my Ideal Reader. (Hello, are you listening?)

Private Pages (detail)

As I start checking out my classmates and other good blogs I see that great visuals are a must. Clear shots of art, of colors, textures, places, people, a compelling image - as a dear friend once said. Helpful techniques, links and interesting writings about art, yoga, life, finding balance, clarity, creativity and nothing too long- oops.

So for today it is balance I am seeking. As artists who blog, and bloggers who make art;
How do you balance your time to make art and to write about it. How do YOU determine what to keep and what to share?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Is Your Fate in the Weight?

 hint: do your homework.
Heart, 2004
Digital print on Kinwashi with rubber stamp
11" x 14"

As artists, we are always putting ourselves out "there"; wearing our hearts on our sleeves, on paper, on canvas. We often find ourselves waiting for the sale, or acceptance letter to come through.

Our skins thicken, hopefully, as we feel more comfortable in who we are regardless of how our work is received. That's all good to say, but how we feel can be another story.

I recently submitted a grant proposal to the Leeway Foundation for a project that involves social action in my community- a collaborative printmaking project with teen moms. My proposal was to partner with The Garage in Kennett Square who service teenagers in various after school programs that are free of charge.

So here's the great news... the envelope arrived on Friday, a thick one. I was hopeful.

My heart still sank to my stomach when I took it out of the box.  Did I tear it open? No.  Did I open it first. No.  Did I have a little pep talk to myself. Yes.

The great news is that I did get the grant (yea!)... and I will tell you all more about it as it moves along.

But this I will share now. Lessons learned:

1. Start early. Leave yourself enough time to write and rewrite your proposals.
2.  If they offer free workshops - MAKE SURE YOU GO TO AT LEAST ONE.

By starting early, I was able to attend 2 which was helpful since in the first workshop I learned that my idea was good but that this Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant has various specific goals and my proposal needed work aligning itself with their goals.  This brings me to #3....

3. Learn as much as you can about who is funding this grant and find out what their goals and mission are.

I am excited to be supported by this awesome foundation that supports women and transgender artists in the Philadelphia area and look forward to sharing this experience on my blog.

I'd love to hear about social action projects that you have been involved with or know about.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Class Tripping ... a confession

Front Seat View on the Road
I've always been a little boy crazy. So yesterday when I had the opportunity to hang with 9 guys on a day trip to Washington, D.C. - it was just my kind of trip! Ok, it was with my son Griffin, his classmates and one Dad in our group.
Boys will be Boys
The 8th Grade trip to our Nation's Capital couldn't have been on a more beautiful day. It truly was picture perfect - the weather was glorious with blue skies, unseasonably mild temperature, and brilliant autumn colors in all their glory.
A View of the Pool from the Scene in Forrest Gump
It was also Veteran's Day. Walking around the monuments with Veterans in our midst brought a new perspective and hopefully meaning to my son and his classmates. The Vietnam Memorial in particular had Veterans mingling with each other, sharing photos, conducting interviews and doing rubbings of names on the wall. Maya Lin, the architect of Vietnam War Memorial created something incredibly beautiful and profound with her design. The Wall envelopes and invites viewers to become a part of the space and thus, the experience. Art and artists truly have the power to transform... and to heal.
We Honor You

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Round and Round

My Girls:
Dini & Maggie
White Clay Creek State Park

Be Open... 11/10/11
Watercolor pencils, 14" x 11"


Almost a full week in my Blog Triage class. My brain is spinning.
Spent hours today on layout, colors, and different versions of my header with title.
I probably shouldn't admit that it has been hours (!), but I figure it's all part of the learning curve.

Looking forward to seeing where this takes me. Hopefully there will be more of a flow and some sort of cohesive vision between my work, my website and my blog that emerges from all this.

A confession: I never read other people's blogs on any sort of consistent basis before this class. Now that I am committed to this new art form I have found some wonderful inspiring ones in my blog class and beyond. I need to get beyond some of the technical challenges of working on Blogger, a better camera, and a more disciplined schedule to make art, blog and connect with other artists.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Daily Drawing 9-1-08 (way back when..)

10 Blog Titles you May see forthcoming (or not)
but this BLog Triage class has my wheels a spinning!!!

1. Art Phallicies: Is it Good, JUST because it's Big and has a Head?!
2. Art Soul Food: 10 Ingredients to Keep "em Coming Back for More
3. Hung up on Art? What's on Your Walls?
4. Warning - Creative Muses at Large! Who Lurks in Your Studio?
5. Give 'em a Piece of Your Mind- Curating Your Obsessions/ Collections
6. Mommy Dearest: Being an Artist and a Mom without the Wire Hangers!
7. Suburban Cowgirl: Finding Art in all the Wrong Places
8. Art in the Class: an Antidote for Teaching to the Test
9. Cancer & Art: Creativity is the best Revenge
1 0. OUT OF OFFICE REPLY: Artist Retreats - Self Imposed EXILE

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Surprise... yourself!

Swimming Eye to Eye
Acrylic, graphite, collage on paper
40" x 60"

"When I'm in the studio working, I reach a point at which I know I could stop - that the painting if fine as it is - but I feel that there's something else I want, something more, and I keep pushing, bringing the painting to another place. I scrape off what I have and try something else. That act of pushing myself to make a change- even though maybe what I have there is okay - that, for me, is
excellence. It's pushing yourself further than you think you can go."

- Elizabeth Murray (1940- 2007)

I LOVE this quote! I have it taped inside of a sketchbook and reread it when I work to keep pushing... and surprising myself.

Elizabeth Murray talks about "bringing the painting to another place." That is an act of faith and courage ... and practice. Showing up consistently, and as we say in yoga, coming to your edge.

How do you know when you are at your edge? How do you take that leap of faith?