I Art Because I Must

More than two years ago, when I first started blogging, I tackled the topic of why I art.  And I asked my readers, Why do you art??

I don’t really think that the answer is totally different, exactly, but it is more.  Or more defined.  Or, hmm…the answer is more.  Full.  That’s it: more full. 

I understand why art is a discipline.  I understand why it’s a hobby.  And I understand why it’s a passion.  I think that art is all of that, for most of us that art.  Sometimes, we have to force ourselves to sit down and art.  We don’t feel like it…we don’t feel inspired…we don’t have a good idea

But if we can just do it anyway.  If we can just dominate our feelings and do something.  Anything.  We can overcome that inner critic that says we don’t have anything worthy of arting about right now.  We can own it.  We can ART.  We can art anyway, to spite all of the crap that tells us we’re not good enough, or our inspirations aren’t worthy of immortalizing, or that it’s only time to art when we are in the right place with the right materials and the right light and the right ambiance.

All of that is crap.  Total crap.

Sometimes we’re going to make something that’s a bit less than great.  That’s okay.  We have to get through those creations to learn something.  Maybe we have to learn a color combination that we love or that doesn’t work at all.  Maybe we have to try a new pen stroke or brush stroke to see if it works or not.  I know you get it.

Maybe we have some unspoken quota of garbage-to-fabulous-ratio, like 30:1 of crappy so-so creations to amazing creations.  Then we just have to get through the 30 less-than-stellar practice runs before we hit the home run, museum-worthy artistic wonders of the world.  We just have to get them done.  And that 31st creation will be the one we were waiting for all along.

I once heard a golfer explain the game of golf like this: Golf is a series of terrible shots that make you curse and hate the game and wonder why the hell you’re wasting your time.  And then suddenly, Whack!  You hit the perfect shot, the shot that you know will land you on the Pro Tour, the shot that just connects your club with your ball perfectly.  The Universe is in total alignment.  The sound, the feel of the club, the whisshing of the air as the ball goes flying, it’s all perfect.  And you’re like, Yeah, I love this freaking game!!

Art can be like that for me.  Sometimes I wonder why I even made that mess on the canvas in front of me.  But whether or not I get the perfect shot, the messy ones make me feel better.  I enjoy arting.  I feel more aligned, I feel more relaxed, and well, I just feel way COOLER when I art.

Yep, I’m an artist.  Just sounds cool, right?  Did you know you’re cool, too?  I always loved artists, you’re an interesting bunch, you have a lot of feelings and things to say.  Share them.  And don’t give up.

What about me??  It’s simple…

I art because I must. 

photo(1)

 

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Face Practice

GirlWow, so long since the last post.  Sometimes I wonder how I miss so much time??

Our painting business continues to grow.  We built a small website (take a look here).  I am amazed at how much better I feel getting out and painting and refinishing cabinets, and really physically working.  For so long I have used my brain and my conversation skills, selling and serving customers and, well, sitting.  Way too much sitting, talking on the phone, using the computer, and not getting up and moving around and doing more physical labor.

I really like it.  My body is feeling strong, my back feels better, my soul feels better…this kind of work is so meditative!  And I get to spend my work time hanging out with my hubby, making things beautiful!!  It just really doesn’t get much better than this 🙂

And in my art time outside of that, I have been continuing to focus on drawing faces.  Maybe soon I will start practicing bodies to go with the floating heads, lol…

The biggest challenge for me with faces is the coloring…I thought I would battle more with the features, but nope, it’s the coloring.  I have really come up with some interesting color combinations, that’s for sure!  But I keep at it, I’m actually learning to not fight it, but to just keep going…like so much else in art.  That’s a common theme for me, it seems.  Trust the process (I wrote ages ago about that here).

What a feeling of accomplishment, though, to keep at it and begin to see the success!  And this particular girl has a special place in my art journal…she is on the last available page of my current large journal!

Finishing an art journal…that has a very solid feeling of accomplishment.

I have been working in that particular journal for two full years now.  It’s funny, when I first started journaling, I would work in one journal straight through, then moved to the next journal.  Along the way, I started working in a whole bunch of art journals at one time.

I have old books that I used as journals, I have kids’ board books as journals, I have loose pages that I journal together, I make mini-journals out of bags or cards or junk mail, I have composition books as journals…and I have my sketch books.  I have themed journals, I have chronological journals, and I have extra paint journals (you know, the ones where you slap extra paint or ink on pages that you use as backgrounds for stuff later).

And the journals are all over the house!  I was cleaning up some shelves, and I counted…seven journals going at the moment!!  My kids thumb through them, they show them to their friends, and my hubby looks through them all of the time.  My art has become such a way of life in our home, I never imagined how ingrained in our lives it would all be.

That has its own very satisfying and fulfilling level of accomplishment, too.

More Art Time, or Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Look at every path closely and deliberately, then ask ourselves this crucial question: Does this path have a heart?  If it does, then the path is good.  If it doesn’t, it is of no use.

~ Carlos Castaneda

It’s funny…I hated my day job, I prayed for a way out, and I had been pining for more work time with the hubby…and I had been praying for new ways to bring in other sources of income so that I can work on more art and make money with my own hands.

I sort of thought, in all of that pining and praying and fervently hoping, that I would have some alternative worked out BEFORE I left the hated job.

Well.

So I don’t always get to choose the timing or the details or the exact path of how prayers are answered, or so I’m learning.  I did not get a new job lined up, I did not make sure I had plenty of savings at the ready, I did not have a whole bunch of multiple streams of income all neatly lined up.

Nope, I sure didn’t.  My prayers got answered with a big old fashioned kick in the butt as I lost my grip on the slippery rock of seeming safety.

I have been through this before.  When we opened our business consulting firm 6 years ago, I fought to keep a hold on that rock.  I was so afraid to let go and flow with the river.  I was afraid of the unknown, even though I hated the work that had me “trapped” in the known.

While I have since moved away from so much business consulting as the economics of small businesses have changed these past couple of years, I loved my work and my rules and my customers and my way of being able to sink or swim on our terms.

Then I got foolish and took another “Joe Job”.  And in the short time I was working it, I got complacent and liked the feel of the rock under my strained fingers.  I lost sight of my priorities and how I wanted to create my life and how good it used to feel when I felt good about the work I did everyday.

Then comes my answered prayers.  I lost my job.  Before I was ready, or not exactly on my terms and on my timetable and when I was all neat and tidy and “ready”.

And guess what??  I’m living through it!  It seems that I can earn money and art at the same time!  It’s a bit different than what I imagined, and is not the total sum of what I want to do in paying art time, but it so totally works!

Christopher and I have been painting the walls in people’s homes…faux painting, which is just an enormous art journal background!  And re-finishing cabinets and designing murals and playing in color and going to Home Depot…it’s what I love to do, just on a much larger scale than my art journals.  Of course, not so many rub-ons or markers 🙂  But I get to hang out with Christopher and listen to music and wax rhapsodic and paint and make something that looks beautiful and brings joy!

I am still fighting the fear a bit, it’s certainly uncomfortable still, but I have faith that we are moving in the right direction, and I feel so inspired when I come home from a day of painting!  And I have time to art more and get back to so many projects that were falling by the wayside…Now it’s just a matter of scheduling enough jobs to keep the lights on and the art supplies coming!!

xoxo

Happy Fish

 

Keep Visiting, We Are Still Creating

Life is beauty through and through
Life is sunny, life is cool

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros,

Life is Hard

We have been working to redefine and sort out what we want with our blog.

I guess I’m not completely sure where the blog world needs St John Family Studios, but the times that I’ve asked I seem to get few responses.  I’m unsure how y’all all get interaction on your blogs…but I seem to get nowhere in that department.

I do know this: during this past hiatus, our blog continues to have momentum, it continues to have this weird life of its own…it keeps going, people keep searching our art and coming to our page and looking at it over and over again.

I really have NO idea how that happens, but it’s pretty cool.  So something we do here is interesting 🙂

I’ve been completely involved with some new classes, a job outside of the house that I really do dislike a whole bunch, and other regular life stuff.  But my goal this year is to figure out what’s next, where the blog fits in, and how to keep sharing cool art and techniques and inspiration…and to figure out how to get the art and the surrounding stuff get to be the focus and the stupid job less of a focus.

Do you feel that pull?  How do we get to the place where what we love and feel passionate about is what we spend our time doing, and still eating and paying rent??  Any thoughts??

The other big goal this year for me is to learn to not be afraid of drawing and painting the human form, faces, hands, noses, eyes, hands, and all of the super-duper things that float around in my mind’s eye.

So I leave you with a sample of how I’ve spent my recent time arting.  Please keep coming back.  We will figure it out 🙂

xoxo

Class from LifeBook 2014 with Tamara LaPorte

Class from Life Book 2014 with Tamara LaPorte

What’s Up at St John Family Studios

Wow.  Once again I find myself realizing I haven’t posted on the blog in quite some time!

My J-O-B has taken way more of a toll on me than I previously expected, which has been kind of a downer…but this week I was able to change my schedule around a bit…which gives me early work times and home earlier in the day.  Unbelievable how much difference it’s already making after only one week!

My mood, my attitude, my soul feels way better.  I get home before it’s dark, I have time to play with the kids and art a little, hang out with Christopher while he’s cooking dinner…I may be working the same number of hours, but I feel like I have more time and way more quality time!

Hopefully that will mean more blogging time as well.  I do miss the blog when I’m away too long.  I have a number of different projects going that I want to share soon.  I’m working on a design for a pencil/marker roll-up case, made of denim from old jeans to give to each of the kidlets for Christmas.  I’ve been working on a fun jounaling-arting prompt list to share with you.  And I’ve been doing more art journaling and trying to get some more canvases ready for the etsy shop, as I’ve sold most of what we had listed in the shop.

So I’ll leave you with a couple of pages from my Little Red Art Journal and look forward to coming back with some completed projects to share 🙂

JoyShine

 

Ephemera Give-Away, And Getting Back to It

This past week was full of playing with Brave Girls’ Club and managing that excitement…so we sort of dropped off working on the Activity Blitz and awesome ephemera give-away.

Crazy to get started and then change momentum, huh.  But here we are, back to it.  Seems like so many people ran over to the Facebook page and found us there, but no one remembered to come back and leave a comment here about it.

Maybe the whole thing was too complicated?  I don’t know as I’ve never run a give-away like this before…so I’ll give everyone a BRAND NEW OPPORTUNITY!!

We’ll keep it simple.  And we’ll spice up the enticement a bit and share a sneak peek picture here with you 🙂

Ephemera Collection Give-Away

Buried in this pile: sheet music, French book pages, an Alka-Seltzer ad book, old letters, old snapshots, poems, dictionary pages, and more!

Leave a comment here.  Tell me what you like to make with ephemera, bits of stuff, saved little doo-dads that you keep or find.  Collage?  Canvases?  Cards?  Art journal spreads? ATC’s?  All of the above???

And if you run over to the Facebook page (you can find a link at the right now), leave a comment there too.  Just say Hi, and give us some love.

I’ll make sure that you’re entered for going there and leaving some love here on the blog.

Is that simple enough? 

I know that I’m not the most social of creatures, so I understand if you are not typically all about leaving comments and participating in small talk…but you’ll have to leave a comment somewhere to enter the drawing 🙂

This will not knock out anyone who has already entered or who stops by the first post and gives us love there.  I know how the whole random number generator thing works now, so I’ll get you all entered.

All of this is towards a great end.  With the official launch of SWAAK Paks™ just around the corner, the more activity we have here and on Facebook, the more our RocketHub page will get seen.  You can be a part of something greater by just helping our activity and interaction levels grow.

We are asking for your help to share the activity and buzz by participating a bit, and we’re willing to bribe you to do it!!

And to those of you who joined in the give-away for the new Brave Girls’ Class…this is pile of awesome Art Fodder™ to use in your projects!!

 

Tooray! Winner of Soul Comfort Class!!

We totally pushed pause on buzzing about our other give-away for the excitement of the Soul Comfort class give-away.  So be sure to check that out as this one’s ending…you can win some awesome ephemera!!  And we’ll be back tomorrow to share a sneak peek at what’s in that awesomitacular collection!!

Hosting this give-away has been terribly rewarding…I have totally loved all of the comments and feedback about what everyone does as comfort to the soul.

Originally, I had all kinds of reasons for wanting to host this.  I loved the thought of being involved in drumming up excitement for a class from Brave Girls’ Club…I guess you could say I’m kind of a fan girl 🙂  I was so excited about being a part of that!

You know what I found, though?  Brave Girls’ Club devised such a beautiful way to share their own successes and excitement.  They offered out the classes for the other bloggers to give away, FOR FREE!!  I know, it seems like it was a great way to get other bloggers to reach out to their own followings and spread the news of the new class, but really.  Brave Girls’ Club has a way bigger following than does St John Studios.  And when I asked to be a part of the whole give-away blog fest, they didn’t say “Oh, no, your blog is way too small.”  They didn’t tell me I don’t have enough of my own subscribers.  They were totally positive and delightful and then pushed my blog out on their own messages to send people to this blog to enter the contest!!

Talk about sharing in the success!  We have had such an amazing boost in traffic and interaction and lovies from people who might not have run into our blog otherwise!

And I get the joy of giving away a spot in their new class!!!

Talk about paying it forward, about spreading joy and love, about helping others, about building up other artists.

I can’t thank them enough.  I can only profess here, publicly, that I so love and appreciate Brave Girls’ Club and Melody and Kathy for their precious gift.  Thank you.

Alright, so on with the WINNER!!!

Random Number 2Autumne Horan Sep 17, 9:04 am

When I hear the words soul comfort I think about being deeply rooted in the ground, I think of being empathic of myself, self care, and being gentle with myself. I have post traumatic stress disorder and spent the summer in trauma treatment centre, soul comfort would help me with the transition from this centre to home, self care, connection to self, and self love.

 

Tooray! 2

Please drop me an email Autumne to verify your email and other details so that Kathy can get your spot in the class all set up.  Congratulations!!

I do hope that those of you who are new to St John Studios will come back.  You can follow the blog and get wind of new posts and goings-on around here by subscribing over at the left.  You can also find our FB page and follow us there, we’d love to see you!

And don’t forget to come back tomorrow to see the sneak peek of our AWESOME ephemera pack!  It will be fun Art Fodder™ to use in your Soul Comfort class 🙂

We’re Hosting a Give-Away to the New Brave Girls’ Club Course, Soul Comfort

Hot dog!

I have the honor of sharing with you the details of a FABULOUS class starting next week…Tuesday September 24…with Brave Girls’ Club!!!

Do you ever have one of those surreal moments, where you look around and wonder how something this groovy happened?  I was at work, pouting pretty much cuz I couldn’t play hookey and paint all day…when I found out I was going to be sharing with you such a super-cool opportunity…that I get to give away an artsy-journaling class!!!

I shared with you earlier this summer new of a meaningful class I was taking with Brave Girls’ Club here, and then finished up the summer sharing with you the cover to the book I worked on throughout the class (check it out here).

And now Brave Girls’ Club has a new class coming, next week!!  And I am honored to share with you an incredible opportunity, to win a spot in the class!

Outstanding 🙂  And we will be holding the drawing, a random winner chosen out of the comments left on this very post…it could be any one of you, just leave a comment below answering this question:

What do you think of when you hear the words “Soul Comfort”?

WOO-HOO!!!  Here’s some class details:

To the tired, the exhausted, the overstretched…here’s an invitation…

Life can be simple.

What if we celebrated the brave act of….taking a break?

What if simplicity,
comfort, and quiet were the goal?

What if there really was a way to quiet the chatter in our minds and let us recharge our body & soul?

And what if it was fun, too?

Introducing a new eCourse . . .

Soul Comfort

Soul Comfort is a fresh new concept using art and journaling as a means to relax and comfort yourself and to get grounded while dealing with the craziness of every-day living.

This course if full of beautiful projects to fuel your creativity in very simple and easy ways that are meditational and relaxing , beautiful comforting things that will have your soul infused into them so that you want to keep them forever.

Brave Girls Club - Melody RossMelody (course creator and teacher) says, “I want to teach you some new habits of creativity mixed with simplicity that I have learned over the years. Being a recovering hoarder of supplies and techniques, this is really a new way to give yourself permission to do things simply but beautifully.

One of the most wonderful things about this course is that everything fits into one fabric tote bag . . . I wanted to create a whole course where all of the supplies fit into a tiny space so that you could take it everywhere you go…so that you could do it sitting on your bed, on your couch, with your family, do it with your children, in the car, wherever your day takes you. It’s incredible. This has changed my life. This has been something that I have used on my own and I can’t wait to share it with you.”

Brave Girls Club - Soul Comfort - Melody, Patrice, Kathy

You can count on this class to be . . .

  • enlightening, enjoyable, fun, & simple
  • customizable with many choices to fit your exact style
  • interactive, encouraging, and supportive with a private community on Facebook and weekly live chats
  • a beautiful experience that will help you relax, simplify, and enjoy your life 
  • a place to learn simple new ways to journal, plus the  ”Brave Girl” way to use stitching and such to create both beautiful things you’ll love AND peaceful relaxing moments
  • a place to learn exactly what nourishes YOUR body and soul, and how to fit comforting rituals into your day
  • something that you can finish without feeling overwhelmed
  • produced with the level of caring and  excellence and attention to detail that Brave Girls Club is known for

Brave Girls Club - Soul Comfort Stitchery

We’ve worked to narrow down things to quench the yearning of your soul…to be able to be creative but also to be sensitive to the mess that it makes and the time that it takes as well as the brain space it takes for complicated tools and  techniques. We will teach you fun ways to make beautiful things while relaxing yourself . . .and we’ll be participating in the class right along with you.

  • This will be relaxing, fun, and simple
  • You’ll be able to take it along with you, everywhere you go
  • Instead of overwhelming you with one  more thing to stress out about, this eCourse will help you relax, enjoy, and feel comfort and peace no matter what else is going on in your life.

Brave Girls Club - Go Create Something stitchery

It is YOUR time for some Soul Comfort. Come join us!

        • Supply List – simple, inexpensive supplies
        • Register Here – tuition $99
        • Class begins September 24. Access the online classroom through January 2, 2014.
        • Divided into 4 segments, with a new one released every two weeks to give you lots of space to breathe.

Brave Girls Club - Soul Comfort journal prompts

Remember: Leave a comment below, answering the question,

What do you think of when you hear the words “Soul Comfort”?

We will choose the random winner Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 9 a.m. PST.

A Giveaway, Oh My!

Giveaway 2Woo-hoo!!!  It’s time for an activity blitz!

We are building a project near and dear to our hearts, hoping to reach out to the art communities and family communities and Christian communities through the blog and Facebook and any other awesome online communities through all of you!

If you haven’t stopped by the SWAAK Pak page on our blog yet, please do so.  You will be able to read details there of the exciting vision we’re building.  This is a purely community-driven project, so we need YOUR help to get the Word out!  WORD!!

Now for the activity blitz part.  Several awesome and unique giveaways are getting started here with St John Family Studios Blog.

We will be having some fun giveaways as we work to build the readers on the blog and the Facebook page.  As we build the activity, we will be sharing updates and fun stuff as we move forward to the birthing of the Rocket Hub SWAAK Pak™ project and going LIVE!!

Okay.  So the first giveaway.

The first round is an AWESOME collection of ephemera!!  Wowsers!  This project is SO important, I will be sacrificing a collection of my personal horde collection: genuine-time-aged music pages, French book pages, old advertisements, vintage photos, shiny bits of stuff, sparkles, and more!  Oh, the fun you will have using these goodies in your canvases or your collages or your art journals or your hand-made cards or your love letters!  And if you’ve been following our blog for a while, you know how much I love collecting ephemera, so this will be no slouchy prize!!  And I will ship this anywhere. In.  The. World.  BangPow! *whispers* the world…

Your To-Do List:

1.  Follow the blog.  You can find the “subscribe” spot over there on the right-hand side of this posting.  Leave a comment and let the world know how cool you are for doing so 🙂

2. Run over to the St John Family Studios Facebook page and like it.  Come back and leave a comment here that you did 🙂

3.  Share the St John Family Studios Facebook page on YOUR Facebook page.  Hurry back and leave a comment that you did 🙂

4.  Share the link for this post on your Facebook page and let us know back here 🙂

5.  Share this post on your own blog and leave us some love here and let us know you did so, and you can leave a link to the post in your comment…that way everyone else will see the link to your blog, too!!

6.  This is the free-for-all-extra entry for the giveaway: Share this post on any other place that you share stuff.  I don’t know all of those places, but I know that you do!  Share it on twitter or pinterest (I have no idea if that kind of stuff goes there) or on your ning groups or anywhere that you have buddies.  Leave us a comment here to let us know 🙂

It’s as simple as that.  Simple.

The idea here is that with each comment, you’re entered a separate time into the giveaway.  You see?  You could enter 6 TIMES!!!  And if you’ve already liked the FB page or subscribed to the blog or some such thing, we TOTALLY appreciate you and aren’t leaving you out!  Just leave a comment about it and you’ll be counted in the entries for the giveaway!  

And the whole thing is gonna build as we go.  The BIG idea is to build MOMENTUM!!  So…

The first giveaway for the big brilliant box of beautiful ephemera (alliteration much?) will be given away when we reach the first milestone of 100 likes on the Facebook fan page.

You have till then to enter this thing as many times as you can. 

Then we will work towards the next giveaway (oooh, wonder what the prize will be???), that will be tied in to the next goal.  Your activities during this round will help you during the next round cuz you’ll be leaving comments then about these things you’re doing now…already liking the page and so forth…and you’ll have extra opportunities then with sharing our latest news then.  Makes total sense…well maybe only in my head, but hang in there, we’ll keep having fun stuff and prizes in the coming weeks!!!!!!!  And helping out now will help your entries then!

Whew!  So thanks for coming ’round and seeing what’s going on here with us.  We so look forward to gettin’ moving and dragging pulling bringing you along 🙂

XOXO

Upcycling Cardboard for Canvases

Working out of my home is way overrated.  Finding time to art has become its own creative endeavor all it own…I keep several projects going at all times.  Then when I find a spare minute or two, I add a bit of paint or doodle here and a bit of glued paper there, and eventually I get a whole piece finished.

But here’s the super-duper awesome thing about the job: all of the trainers are now saving me the cardboard that comes out of the training materials they use in their classes!  I have a gigantic pile of these babies, they come out of the packets of training materials before they get put inside 3-ring binders.  All of them are the same size, they’re in pristine shape, and they gesso up and make the perfect canvas for collages and other art works!  And the kids love them as well!!

Who knew?  I get paid to work, and I get more Art Fodder™!!

They will make great book covers for art journals.  They are the perfect size for making lovies to frame and put on the wall.  And they are a nice, consistent size for another project I’m creating that will have pages and pages of illustrations.

I’m posting a few here for you to see how well the card boards are working out.

TreeButterflyBirdie

Prompt: What do you like to use as alternatives to traditional canvas?  Cereal boxes, old book covers, cardboard?