Reinventing Myself

You go through phases.  You have to reinvent reasons for playing, and one year’s answer might not do for another.

~ Yo-Yo Ma

Have you ever reinvented yourself?

I realize, only after having a year of hindsight, that I have been doing exactly that.  Or, mostly exactly that.  I’ve also been reinventing my bubble, my environment, my world.

Artsy Business Growth

The hubs and I have continued learning all kinds of cool stuff, adding to our repertoire of painting and faux textures.  We started with cleaning up and re-coating cabinets, and we have gotten really good at re-coloring cabinets with stain and with paint.  We have re-done some cabinets in a distressed, shabby chic style.  We have even rebuilt cabinet doors with metal screens as the interior panel!

Recently we started working in concrete, making counter tops and awesome floors and oh, my gosh!  Talk about potential for all kinds of arting!  Concrete has so many possibilities, from texturing to a myriad of cool coloring techniques.  And smoothing it and forming it and playing in it is awesome.

Changes with the Kidlets

I’ve also taken over our kidlets’ education entirely.  We were previously schooling at home but following a program.  That program has changed so much in the past six years that it is almost unrecognizable compared to the original program.  The last school year I battled frustration and burn-out and in some cases, anger.  The kids were doing way too much busy work and had become tied to the stupid computers.

So we’ve left that program behind.  We’re now enjoying a much free-er, livelier, exciting learning adventure together!! 🙂

Personal and Artistic Growth

And I’ve also been plowing through some personal and artistic growth and expansion…and rebirth.  I’ve been getting into the groove of not being totally involved in the making money for the family.  Being a bit of a control freak, this part has been harder that I thought it would be.  But slowly I am letting go of thinking I have to be in charge of everything 🙂

That release has led to all kinds of stuff.  I feel more relaxed, and more peaceful.  I have stronger faith.  I have more inspiring energy to give to the kidlets and to making stuff and to my art.  Which has also expanded, way beyond my most common outlet of art journaling.  My projects are getting larger in scale and braver.

Overall, I have more courage and I feel more, well, more ME.  Which then turns around and make all of this bigger.

So where does that land the blog?  I’ve actually been missing posting here, and I’ve been amazed that my little corner of the blog-o-sphere still has a life of its own.  I still have traffic and activity and see my work show up in the strangest of places!

My goal is to connect the blog to my other online stuff, like our website and Pinterest and all of the fun and creative stuff we’ve been growing.  I’d like to include some of the family adventures in life and in learning.  Where it goes from there, who knows…but I’m coming out of the fog that’s been enveloping me.

I’m ready to share again, to look out here again, to see the world again!!

Rock Quote Pic

Art is My Job…Finally!

When I started blogging, my hope that was someday, somehow, I would figure out how to monetize the blog, or my art, or both.

The goal was simple: make art, post stuff, get subscribers, make money.

Have you ever seen the episode of South Park with the Underpants gnomes??  You know, they steal underpants, the kids follow them one night to figure out where all of the underpants were going…and the kids find the gnomes with enormous mountains of underpants.  They ask the gnomes what’s going on, and the gnomes tell them:

  • Phase 1: collect underpants.
  • Phase 2: ?
  • Phase 3: make profit.

The boys ask them, what about phase 2?  All of the gnomes stop and start mumbling and look around at each other, asking Phase 2???

That’s kinda how I feel…I have no idea what happens in Phase 2.  I just know that I make art, I like to slap paint on stuff, and I want to get paid.  Then I have way more time to art.

Oh, and I also love to talk about what I love doing, and I love sharing fun tips and ideas and inspirations, I feel a NEED to give it back cuz that’s how I found this whole thing, by checking out other artists’ blogs and videos.  That’s how the blog really got going.

And I knew only that if I kept blogging, somebody would eventually look at it, and I might be able to build up the following from there.  Doesn’t that seem like what others do?  They blog a bunch, they get a bunch of regular readers, and somehow they get paid.  Advertisers just magically want to start paying them for space on the blog, I’m sure that’s exactly how it goes,right??

Okay, so I understand that’s not reality.  And I have found all kinds of other satisfaction from the blog.

So as we kept plugging along, praying for some opportunity to get paid to be artistic, I got more and more frustrated with “practical” jobs, “practical” choices and so on.  I was having more trouble smooshing myself into that mold.

Now, over the years, my hubs has painted houses, sometimes all white (boring) and sometimes with super-cool faux painting schemes.  He’s re-done cabinets and installed awesome wood-work and helped people with color schemes and decorating diy ideas.  We just hadn’t really pushed it to become a more consistent and financially supportive part of our lives.

But now we are doing just that. 

What I realized is that I want to get paid to paint.  Commissioned work is pretty cool because I know the piece is sold before I make it.  And the customer gives me the idea and the inspiration.

Painting a house is exactly that: a commissioned work. 

It’s not exactly what I was thinking I was working  towards, but it is so way much better than calling people all day long, looking to make a sale.  Stuck in a chair all day long, no sunshine, no exercise, and no painting.  That kind of day sucks for me.

And because I’m playing in paint and painting tools and Home Depot for jobs, I am thinking about other projects and inspirations while I’m working.  And while I’m working, I’m listening to music, chatting with the hubs, and finding new ways of doing things all of the time…

It’s taken a few jobs to get in the swing of the physical exertion part of my day, but I’m feeling stronger and more energetic and more excited all of the time.  In fact, I had a break because my oldest kiddo and babysitter was at camp.  I had to send the hubs to the job without me…and what did I do?  I painted the walls in my living room in between art projects at home!!

Here’s the point…

So often many of us pine for an artist’s life.  We ache for a way to make money arting so that we can spend all of our time arting.  We feel a pang of longing looking at the artful lives of those out there and feel like we’ll never get there ourselves.

If we can broaden our scope of possibility just a bit, we can find ways to live the life for which we’re pining.  We might be able to find other ways to explore our artistic selves and to financially support ourselves and our art supply habits! 🙂

And all we did was put up ads on craigslist, fairly often, and eventually built a free little website so that we could give that link on the ads.  People can go to our website and see explanations of what we do and see examples, as well as click over to our flickr page for more pics of our work.  We also believed in ourselves, that we could do it, and kept up our optimism.

And people do call us.  We do get work.  And I get lots of left-over supplies to play with!

pink room

Pink and white walls, black doors, and stencils and stickers to decorate.

Painted walls, trim, and stained and painted stair rails and posts.

Painted walls, trim, and stained and painted stair rails and posts.

 *Now I’m looking for someone to get brave and hire me to do a full-blown mural!  Then I’ll really be having some fun 🙂

 

 

 

 

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

 

Dream a Little Dream, an Art Journal Page in My Little Red Book

Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.

~ Elvis Presley

What a loverly morning…Christopher and I spent some time together (sans kidlets!) at the church with our Pastor, talking about ways to work towards some funding to help build and expand the church’s facilities.  How happy, some of those business-y details filed away in the brain for years has some practical use outside of our business life 🙂

We were able to leave the kidlets home with big brother, so hubby and I got just a little bit of time together, while not exactly what you’d think of as a date, it was wonderful and stress-free.  And on the way home we stopped by the local thrift store and I got some plastic boxes and baskets to help organize some of the art supply clutter we have everywhere.  And a couple of board books to alter, yay!!

I got back to playing in my Little Red Book of Selling Art, an altered book I’ve been using this year (you can see where I got started here).  It’s been a really fun book for me, it’s a bit smaller than other journals I’ve used, and the size and shape and weight of it all feel really good in my hands.  If you haven’t turned an old book into an art journal yet, you should totally have a go…it’s fun and a little bit addictive!!  You can find some ideas on turning an old book into an art journal in this earlier post.

So this little red book is one of my faves, only I don’t work in it so regularly as my other larger, experimental journal.  This one is sort of my “practice sketching” journal.  More of these pages are dedicated to actual drawings of something.  I guess that’s why I don’t work in it quite as much, I still shy away from sketching sometimes…feels a bit more like work or something.

I did have fun on this one, though.  I love the colors and the ideas and I’ve been just gawking at it since I finished it.  It’s like I’m surprised that it actually looks like the vision I had in my head when I started (I did NOT envision the text from my stamps running off of the side though, lol)!  It all starts with the dreams, huh, with the vision, with the thought and the love and the inspirations.  Never forget to dream, and never squelch anyone else’s dreams…my little ones remind me of that daily as well.

The inspiration for this little spread also leads us to a prompt for today:

Prompt: Find an advertisement and use it to inspire a journal page.  Maybe it’s the colors that you like, maybe it’s the text, and maybe it’s the actual image in the ad.  Old magazines are such a great place to find Art Fodder™, and that’s where the inspiration for this little page found me…right in the back of a magazine, in the advertisement section 🙂

Time is the Greatest Expression of Love, an Art Journal Page

Yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.

~ Khalil Gibran

What’s your relationship with time?  Do you constantly watch the clock?  Are you a scheduler?  Or do you not worry about the time of day, going through time without giving it much of a thought?

Are you always running out of time, wishing that you had just a few more hours in the day?  Or does time seem to pass too slowly, as you wait?

When I was just a kid, I always thought that time was way too slow, that I’d never reach whatever the next milestone was.  As happens with most people, I guess, time seems to move faster and faster each year.  I watch my little ones grappling with time, and I catch myself thinking that I wish it would all slow down now.

I did give up wearing a watch years ago when I gave up being an employee for someone else’s business.  I get a pretty good feel for the time of day from the sun, and we basically follow the natural day-lengths around here.

I say fairly often to my business clients “Time is the one finite resource we have”, usually when I’m talking to them about how to build a business system as they plan for growth.

Christopher told me as we were courting, that our bond transcends time and space (which it does, by the way, I’m pretty sure we’ve done this before and will do so again).

And in church last Sunday, the preacher talked about how the greatest expression of our love is the gift of our time.  Wow…the gift of our time.  And our time really means our attention, don’t you think?

Time is a pretty big concept.

What is your relationship with time?

Your prompt, create an art journal page around time.  Explore what it means to you.  Use words, pictures, quotes, colors, whatever seems to express that weird, ethereal concept.  Time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. For an added bit of fun, here’s a side note on my page: For the background and inspiration before I even got to the theme of time, I played with school supplies.  I used watercolors, markers, and some flower stencils that I got in the pile of school supplies for the kidlets.  Nothing in that pile was more than a buck, yay!!  The clocks were all cut out of old magazines.  A little bit of glitter glue and some embossing powder added the pizzazz.

Conversations with God, a Journal Page and Updates

If you want guarantees in life, then you don’t want life.  You want rehearsals for a script that’s already been written.  Life by its nature cannot have guarantees, or its whole purpose is thwarted.

~ Neal Wash, Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue 

When I started blogging, my goal was to blog everyday except for Sunday.  I was able to keep up with that schedule for a short time, but it turns out that schedule is a bit tough. Life seems to get in the way, lol.

Our business is continuing its recent success, which is a tremendous blessing.  It is also very time-consuming.  And other recent events for our family are building…we recently found out that we have to move, not by our own design, but still something that has to be. So we’ve been working on finding a new home, and packing and getting ready and so forth.

The result is that I haven’t had nearly as much time as I like for arting and blogging.

I think in the coming months I will strive to organize a bit on the blog, and keep great tips and how-to’s coming, so that the material I put out here to share with you is valuable and fun, even if a little less often.  I will keep you posted as I nail down the regular scheduling. Once I figure it out, haha.

I did have time to work on a new journal page, and I particularly love this page, it has some really cool elements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My sentiment here is a page build around some recent chats I’ve been having with God on finding our family a new home.  I wanted a place on the page to tuck in the details of the chats so that it didn’t have to be right out in the open.  I love the idea of using pockets and little nooks and crannies for putting stuff onto our journal pages…we can have a beautiful page to share without having to have all of the goods displayed.

The pocket I attached is actually a little gift enclosure card and envelope.  I glued down the lace in the square shape and then glued the pre-gessoed envelope down to the lace.  I did the painting on the envelope after it was already glued down.  The whole thing might have gone a bit smoother had I decorated first, glued the lace on to the envelope, and then glued the whole thing into the book, but this time I guess I did it backwards 🙂

I used strips from an old French paperback novel for some added textural interest.  I love love love using elements with text!  Although I have to sort of imagine what the French text might say…

The other thing I love about this page is the border.  I once had a client that was moving around a lot, and he had his magazine subscriptions delivered to me for a number of months.  That was years ago, and while he picked up most of them, I ended up with a batch of yachting and sailing magazines that he told me I could keep.  I happened on to the stack of them this weekend, and the colors are all so bright and beautiful!  I used an ad for a sailboat cruise to some wonderful island.  The colors were all blues and greens and sand and turquoise, and that inspired the color scheme of this whole page.  I just cut the add up into short, scalloped strips, and Voila!  An awesome border for the journal!  I Mod Podged ’em down, used some cream-colored paint along the scallops and followed that with my black Pilot Varsity pen.

I did a bunch of texture stuff on the background, I used several of my homemade stamps, did some doodling, and that kind of regular stuff.

So that’s all for now.  I will be back, I’m aiming for twice a week right now, I will get it nailed down to a regular schedule as we get settled from the move.

Here’s your Prompt: Grab an old magazine, and use some brightly colored or interesting pages to make some borders.  You might try a border for a photo or a journal block, or border the entire page!  You can use those old mags to make a pocket for your journal page, to tuck in some little personal notes or tidbits.  Those magazines have tons of great Art Fodder™!!

A Mother’s Day Journal Page

God could not be everywhere and therefore He made mothers.

~ Jewish Proverb

What a whirl wind week this has been for us!  Up till now, I have been so consistent with blogging and sharing with you…I hate it that I missed a couple of days this week!  One of the things you’ll find in the tips of any blog about blogging, is stay consistent!  As your readers come to expect your posts on a regular basis, whatever that expectation is, keep it going.

With that said, while my goal is to keep this blog consistent and regular (wow, I don’t mean for that to sound like a bodily function, lol), I got super busy this past week with our business.

We were blessed with a huge new client and a large base of referral clients this past week.  We have been hoppin’ busy, taking care of their orders and phone calls, hosting conference calls, and doing paperwork.  I am so thankful for the blessing and the new business, but it’s cut into my arting a blogging time a bit.  Not a complaint at all, of course, but it has been tough not being able to art as much as usual.

I did take the day off on Mother’s Day.  I had the most awesome Mother’s Day yet, mostly because the little ones are big enough now that they are all making me lovelies and cards and picking me flowers and so forth.  Christopher and my eldest grilled out fajitas and put together the most yummy Mexican Fiesta dinner for me.

And I did get in a bit of art time, enough to play in one of my art journals and make a bright and cheery page about the day.  I just finished it up last night…

This page is the result of me digging around in envelopes of Art Fodder™ I have stashed around my studio.  Sometimes just thumbing through the piles of stuff spurs the whole thing, and that’s definitely what happened here.  I wanted to play with the butterfiles from a card I had saved along the way.

I hope that all of you Mommies out there had a wonderful Mother’s Day and that the rest of you got the opportunity to call yours…

I did also spend some time reflecting on how much I love being a Mother, and how much my kidlets have taught me about love and life and the world and God.  I spent time reflecting on continuing to be the best Mom that I can be, and to continue striving to be even better throughout this coming year.

I will be back, Christopher and I are working on a couple of cool technique how-to’s for you, and I am still fixin’ to get ready to finish up my latest caulk canvas (I’ve been hiding from the hand-lettering that I’m going to attempt on the canvas).

Happy Freakin’ Friday…We Should All Be as Imaginative as This Kid

Not everyone takes the time to check out my Happy Freakin’ Friday videos, I know it’s sort of my own little joy…but this is well worth the peek.  This guy is innovative and believes in himself and in his dream.  We can all learn something from him…

Trust the Process Art Journal Page

The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.

~ Julia Cameron

Trust the Process.  Those are words of wisdom.  Words of simplicity, although not always words of ease.

In my alternate life, my business life, I spend a lot of time working with business owners, teaching them new concepts, helping them wrap their heads around new ideas that sound foreign and a bit overwhelming.  I find myself saying to them all of the time, Trust the Process.  It may seem like you’ll never figure this out, but if you’ll just trust the process, and keep moving along, you will eventually have a larger picture to view.  When you are able to look back on the larger picture that you have created, it will all seem to make sense.  It will look good, and you will know you have accomplishment.

I sound so smart, and like I really know what I’m talking about.  Funny, how is it that I can sound so smart, and really mean what I’m saying, but have so much trouble in my art life following my own advice??

Sometimes I know exactly, or at least mostly, where an art piece is headed.  Sometimes I have a vision in mind when I get started.  Many times, though, I have no idea.  I just get started.  What I am finding over time, is that whether or not I have the vision in mind at the beginning, somewhere during the process, I start disliking what’s coming out.  I start thinking I screwed up, or I shouldn’t have done that, or the whole thing is looking yucky.  I even go so far as wanting to abort the whole thing.

What I have learned from experience is to just keep going.  Don’t worry so much about the fact that somewhere during the process I start to hate what I am making.  Just keep working.  Just keep adding a little bit more.  Stop thinking so much about what I think I screwed up or the mistake I made.  Because as I move along, as I keep adding something, I start to like the whole thing once again.  Because as I try to work the imaginary mistakes into the overall piece, they become a beautiful part of the whole.

Sometimes, even, the mistakes become the best part of the whole dang thing. Sometimes, the mistakes turn out to be the best thing that I could’ve done.  Sometimes the mistakes lead me to use a different color, or a different texturing tool, or to add a layer. The mistakes can become something I try to do again later on another piece, and instead of remaining a mistake, they become a new technique!

And it turns out, my getting frustrated and thinking I have gone the wrong direction, has become part of MY process.  Weird, huh.

I think it has now happened that if I don’t have that emotional roller coaster to tie me to the piece, I don’t feel the satisfaction of accomplishment.  If the whole art piece was too easy, I’m bored and looking for the next thing.

This art journal page is a perfect example.  I was trying out some techniques for image transfer.  It did not go at all as planned or imagined.  In fact, I just ended up with a gooey shadow of what I was hoping for.  I really didn’t want an art journal page in my newest journal to be an abandoned page with a gooey lump.  That just wouldn’t do at all.  So I kept on going, simply because I had to make it look at least a little better.  By the time I had added some color and started incorporating the gooey mess into the colors, I started feeling a bit better.

By the time I got to the end, I got excited!  This page for me is quite a bit different than my usual journaling.  I actually used some text.  I used a very different color scheme, or maybe not such different colors, but way more colors on one page than I typically use.  I used some pastels that I don’t use much.  I made a quick foam stamp for some added dimension, and now I have a new texture stamp.

I sat with one of my kidlets at the kitchen table last night as she looked at the page.  She asked me what it was all about, so I bashfully read the text to her (I typically don’t share much text in my journals) and showed her where the “mistakes” were and how I got them to work.  She was able to ask questions and paraphrase what the meaning is.  She seemed to really get it.  So the whole page turned into something even more than anything I imagined…

So.  Trust.  The.  Process.

Neocolors, acrylic paint, ink, book pages, sumi ink, pastels

Is there a prompt here?  Do you ever find yourself fighting with trusting the process?  Okay, build your own Trust the Process piece, but try using a medium that you have sitting around but don’t use ever or often.  Pull out the pastels, or the markers, or the paint color that you never use.  If you usually use warm colors, go with cool colors.  Do something new.  And just keep going, just trust the process.  Be sure to let me know how it turns out!

Searching for Inspiration and an Art Journal Prompt

Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do.  Where there’s love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.

~ Ella Fitzgerald

Finding inspiration.  Whew, that’s sometimes way tougher than just writing some words and posting it on a blog.  In fact, sometimes it’s the blog itself that tries to block the ole inspiration machine…my inner critic gets in the way in my business life, in my art life, in my blog life.  It’s as if the story-board writers of my life like to mess with me.  They seem to have a sense of humor about things, laughing when I run around in circles chasing my tail.

Although my business life can be a bit on the technical side, I still have to be use my creative brain to write articles and teach business owners and create solutions.  So even there I have to find ways to otherwise entertain the inner critic so that I can get a head start.

The art blog seems to help me with keeping on track, on staying focused, on being a bit disciplined and consistent with my focus on creative self.  If I feel accountable to those of you that I am trying to connect with, even on days when I don’t feel like writing or creating, I will sit down and get focused.  Accountability, quite the motivator.

Do you ever fight with your blog that way?

I think that over time, as my little corner of the world here has more meat to it, and more content to it, that it will show me some organization and categories to work with.  Is that how you work with your blog?  Or is it just a space for you to put down your thoughts, with no focus on what people on the reading end are wanting?

My hope is that over time, this is a chronology of my art journey, that it becomes a place where other people and artists visit to talk about technique and art and inspiration and thoughts and ideas.  A bit idealogical?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  We’ll see.

Last night, I was having exactly that kind of evening.  I was wanting to put pen to paper, so to speak.  I was wanting, no needing, to create something.  Anything.  Many of my current projects are at stopping points, either finished up or waiting for some crucial piece to be finished up.  I didn’t have any ideas rattling around my head.  Or the ideas that are rattling around are too big to get started on when I just need a quick fix…and I knew that today I needed to be focused on a number of money-making activities and wouldn’t be able to take the time to stop and play for most of the day.  So I really really needed to get some of that time last night.

So I just grabbed a couple of magazines and started thumbing through them.  I cut out little snippets, words and pics of any ole thing.  I just started playing.  Eventually I found this pic of the girl and the umbrella in a full page advertisement.  That led to the whole page you see here, and because the whole time I was pondering where to find some inspiration, that became the theme for the page.

It definitely helped last night.  I’m not so sure how much it helped me with staying focused today on business, but at least it was fun!

Prompt: Find a picture out of a magazine, it can be anything that catches your eye. Use the colors in the pic to smear paint onto a background.  Use credit card scraping or your fingers or smush it like an ink blot.  Just get the colors onto the page.  Let go of the inner critic by working faster than he or she can talk to you.  Forget for a time that you’re trying to make some art.  Just play with the colors and glue on the picture from the magazine.  Let it free you of the critical voice that likes to fight with you.