Wednesday, May 30, 2012
We've had so many odd days of flipping from clouds to sun.
But aren't the clouds magnificent!
Well, I have some really exciting and apropos news!!
You aren't going to believe this!
Okay...yesterday I am telling you all how I am struggling over this mixed media workshop, right? I confess my fears. I am wishing I could take that bigger step...leap into the deep end...emphatically cross that invisible inner line, right?
Well, I go check my email and I won!!!
What, you ask? What in the world did you win?
Well, Traci Bautista is the teacher of this Strathmore workshop on mixed media where I hit my brick wall. I saw she has a website and started following her...thinking maybe I could get some inspiration, you know? She's starting a six month online class ($75.00) in June called the Doodles Unleashed Video Kit Club. She was running a contest to give away a spot in the class. I thought--wow!--now that would really force me to be looser and bolder!
So, of course, I was afraid to enter for three days. Finally, I told myself--you'll never win, you coward, so what are you worrying about. Sign up! If you win--and what are the chances of that--then it would be meant to be. And it would be time to cross that line...to quit dipping your toe in and totally take the plunge. You'll never win, anyways.
See here! I won from her blog and somebody else won from facebook. And here are the class details! You might not be able to see them if you don't belong to Ning. If you can't--you can see her books Doodles Unleashed and Collage Unleashed on Amazon and they will give you an idea of how wild and free these classes are! Whew!
This is it, gang! No more pussyfooting around.
Oh, and I apologize ahead of time if I might sometimes have a harder time getting around to blogs and comments. There's this whole little private group...posting pictures and chatting...so I know it is going to take up more time...
...okay--slow, deep breaths...
Starts in days!
My stomach is in knots.
But I can't stop smiling!
My excitement and nervousness is hard to be contained.
The only thing uncontained about Karma was moving her cat bed off the loveseat. She's such a sprawler that, pushing with her feet farther and farther backwards for a belly rub, she almost fell off headfirst!
Eyes closed she is used to pushing her entire body up against something...anything. Karma needs to be contained--LOL! I, on the other hand, need to learn how to be unleashed and free and uncontained. ;)
Well, you know you will be joining me on my adventure. I promise I will post pictures--whether they are absolutely awful or passable. I will tell you how it feels to cross that invisible line...repeatedly. *my heart is pounding* Yup! I may have only whispered, but the Universe heard me. Be careful what you ask for, eh? ;) LOL!
The time is now.
I am going to jump in the deep end!!
"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed."
"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it is gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain."
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Rainy, cloudy, and thunderstorms all Memorial Weekend...but we had a brief respite when the sun valiantly attempted to make an appearance for a couple hours yesterday.
See! I have proof! LOL!
Sorry--I can't remember now whose blog it was this weekend where they were writing about having an art block--but I realized that I had come up to a complete brick wall and I either had to climb up and over or go around.
Around. It occurred to me--why not just leave that first page and start my first page spread. I have been watching all these various artist's videos and they often have several journals going at the same time and jump around from this one to that one. Several even have two out when they are working so they can slap leftover paint onto pages on the second journal. My OCD self is fascinated, but shuddery.
One of the first "looser" things I have ever done was working on the bookmarks. The bookmarks were an offshoot from the watercolor class I took at the art museum up here a decade ago. We made a painting where we used real leaves and saran wrap! Honestly? Blew my little OCD mind. I was so proud of myself on so many levels that I framed it!
We also did one where we put a lot of wet paint down, some gold dabs on last, scrunch up saran wrap on top, press it down, and let it dry overnight. Scary. No control, but I loved it!
I've done bookmark making sessions using that uncontrollable saran wrap technique several times in the years since then. Sold some, given most of them away...but I can use a sheet of watercolor paper, experiment, and then cut up the best bits for bookmarks. Small. I like to work small.
So, anyways--back to going around the wall. I was thinking...gesso. I see all these people using gesso on their pages as a base and then using acrylics on top. I thought--well, lady--you didn't have Dagan and Leah haul in the acrylic paint supplies for nothing. How about trying something completely new on that big page spread?
Aha! I could start out smaller! Remember in my handmade 5X7 art journal (where I've been just doing backgrounds) I gessoed a page spread white and another one black? I could practice on a smaller scale!
I actually painted some blobs of yellow and blue on the white background and used the baby wipes to smear it around. Realized that I had used white acrylic paint and not gesso, but did my best to be smeary. ;)
Took a picture after it dried by the window and it looks much more blue than green. My camera shifts colors a lot. My first attempt with acrylics and I think it's a quite acceptable smeary background.
So last night I dug out the jar of real white gesso. I've had it for years and it seemed a bit runny, but worked okay, I think. I'll find out if it is smoother than the white acrylic I used by accident on the little green art journal.
This page spread looks frighteningly humongous to me! I may end up doing one side at a time...but I have taken a step around the wall--LOL! I expect my first efforts to be pretty bad, but if I don't like something...just open up another page, right?
I feel like a non-swimmer getting ready to jump in the deep end of the pool when I have barely learned how to hang onto the side of the shallow end and paddle my feet. I've never even let go on the shallow end! I'm a little bit nauseous just writing this.
I wonder why it scares me so? Feels like some deep past life thing, to be honest. I know it's not from this life...honestly, have never been discouraged. Encouraged, in fact! So I know it makes no logical sense...but this fear grabs me by the throat and makes me feel my life is in danger if I step across some invisible line. ?? Has always happened to me with art and writing...and getting up in front of groups of people.
Anyways, thanks to everyone who offered help with Mr. Linky. :) Jennifer told me that I could enter my bookmarks late in this week's challenge! She said that the challenges are only suggestions and that any kind of creative artwork would be fine to enter. So, I made it up and over the Mr. Linky wall, anyways--LOL! Not that computer stuff does that irrational fear thing to me. With computers it's more like being lost in the woods near a town, stumbling around--you know you'll either find your way out on your own or somebody will hear you calling for help--more frustrating and baffling than scary. ;)
Looks like it's going to rain again. I slept late this dark morning. One of those really good mornings where pain didn't drive me out of bed and if I didn't move I could drift back to sleep. Glorious! I've got clothes ready to go in the dryer and more for the washer, so I'd better get moving.
"Life does not accommodate you; it shatters you. Every seed destroys its container, or else there would be no fruition."
Sunday, May 27, 2012
You may have noticed the Artist's Play Room logo/link on the side of my blog for the past many weeks. It's a group started by Jennifer McLean at Just Add Water, Silly where they have a weekly artistic challenge. And have you seen me enter a single challenge?
They just finished #10 which was "bookmarks". I even have handmade watercolor and ink bookmarks I made up quite a while ago that all I had to do was take a picture...and did I get to it in time?
But I have been determined that I will participate...eventually. So here is my late contribution to bookmarks. ;)
Starting today the challenge is "magnify". You can click here to read about the new challenge, or join if you'd like, and see several of the bookmark entries from last week. :)
I know it's too late to enter my belated bookmarks...but, no matter. One day off, for me, is progress. I still feel I have finally contributed. (Been a rough spring.) Truthfully, even if I manage to get done in time this coming week, I don't know if I can figure out how to use the Mr. Linky--LOL! Wish me luck...on both counts! ;)
Look what I got in the mail!
Dee Ready's sequel to A Cat's Life: Dulcy's Story. This one is called Twelve Habits of Highly Successful Cats & Their Humans by Dulcy & Dee Ready.
Dee is a remarkable woman who writes her life stories on her blog. The books are about her and Dulcy's life together. If you click on the titles they should take you to Amazon--if I did it correctly. :) Thanks so much, Dee!!!
I hope all of you traveling about and hoping for picnics and frisbee are having better weather than we are up here for our holiday weekend in the US. Been dark, rainy, and cloudy with occasional thunderstorms. Personally, I don't mind at all because it's been in the 60s and 70s. Wonderful fresh damp air and birds fussing in the puddles. Karma's snoring softly in her cat bed and all is right with the world.
Peace be with us all.
"Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace."
Friday, May 25, 2012
I have one rose left that hasn't collapsed yet. I moved it into a bud vase. The rest of them are hanging upside down drying in the laundry closet.
Sometimes I wonder what cats are looking at?
Or looking for? Maybe she's still looking for moths? LOL! (I've been keeping the porch door shut so the moths have been trapped outside.)
I haven't mentioned movies for a long time and have seen some pretty interesting ones this past month. Netflix, of course. New ones and a few older ones.
These were via the mail:
Albert Nobbs (2011)
Answers To Nothing (2011)
State of Play (2003-British miniseries)
Zen (2011-new British series)
Angels Crest (2011)
In The Valley of Elah (2007)
These were on the instant movies:
Everything Is Illuminated (2005)
The Tenth Man (1988)
No blockbuster comedies in there. But, honestly, the comedies I have seen lately, like Carnage (a comedy/drama, I guess) and Bridesmaids...I just don't find that kind of humor very funny. Vomiting, belching, casual sex, drunkenness, fighting...seems to be the direction most of the popular humor is going these days. I keep renting one now and again when they're raved about...parts of them may be okay, but I'll pass. Just not for me. Even though they are, obviously, very popular with a lot of people.
I miss when movies and TV shows generally had a bit cleaner humor and less gross out or shock tactics (not that they're the least bit shocking). Shows that I could giggle all the way through or get a couple good belly laughs from that weren't so demeaning, negative, and insulting, you know? I never liked that kind of sophomoric humor when I was young. Not a Three Stooges fan, for example. I know...I know...they are loved. But I always preferred a more gentle humor that came from knowing the characters themselves...like Andy Griffith, Leave It To Beaver, or Mary Tyler Moore. I even much prefer the darker more tragic humor...like in Mash or in Everything Is Illuminated...to fart jokes. Maybe I am a bit warped myself? Oh well. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. Any laughter is good medicine, right?
Anyways, I hope the links worked this time. :)
Been in the 60s and 70s--ahhh! Even clouded over, I love it! I worked on the Circle Letter for a couple days and got that off in the mail. Been in a letter writing focus the past couple weeks...and puttering my days away before I know it. :) Today the sun is shining through big fluffy white clouds. I am always behind reading blogs, so I think I will do some blog checking while I eat lunch today. :)
But first, Karma is very restless this morning and so I'm going to run around the apartment with her string toy for a while and wear us both out--LOL! ;)
Have a good one!!
"Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it."
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
I have a few older pictures of Karma.
Sitting between light and dark.
She's just so odd. This is how she sleeps best...pushing her butt up against the chair and her head against the wooden arm. Sometimes I look at her and I am convinced she was a dog in her last life.
The birthday bag has remained interesting for some reason.
I stuck the Bbag out on the porch under my chair yesterday--because it's just another interesting spot--but I forgot it out there. We had a whopping thunderstorm last night. I haven't checked yet to see how the Bbag survived.
Don't tell Karma.
I go in streaks with everything it seems. The past week or more I have really been into writing letters. Day before yesterday the Circle Letter arrived! Perfect timing, eh? Last I mailed it off was mid-December. There are ten of us, so it takes a while to make its way around. Third time I've had the letters. Fun getting to know all these ladies from around the country. :)
Okay, let's see...oh, yah...Zines!
I did google zines and it was very interesting. Basically they are handmade, original, non-profit pamphlets. From what I could find, there's usually one author and no more than 500 copies are made of the original zine. They've been around for a long time but were big in the 60s. Back then they were usually black and white (or that blue mimeograph color--LOL!). You could say whatever you wanted--uncensored. Being able to talk about the Vietnam War or sex was very appealing during those days of the underground newspapers and all. You could make it yourself and hand them out for free or sell them at cost so you could make some more. Looks like there was a lot of cutting and pasting of typewritten word being rolled off in the 60s. I can't believe I never heard of these back then--it's so hippie-perfect!
Anyways, apparently they've changed a bit since the 60s. Today we have home printers and copy stores! Actually is a lot easier to make a zine these days, I would think--or at least to mass produce them. Artists have gotten into making colored Zines, too--but black and white is still cheaper to copy.
Seems that more people are trying to make a little profit off of them these days, too. Instead of charging just to cover costs I have seen them for upwards to $12.00 and even more. They can look quite professional now with all the home computer programs and the quick copy stores. But you can still get some very handmade looking zines for 1 to 3 dollars and most are under 6 or 7, I'd guess.
The variety out there is amazing! There are still political and sexual content zines, of course, but there are fantasy, comic, poetry, personal stories, art, and fan zines to name a few. It's hard to tell what you're getting when you're buying online unless they show a sample of a couple pages. Some people have serial stories going or whole invented worlds--quite something! Freedom of expression at its best. There are apparently zine stores around the country and people who are zine collectors. I really didn't know any of this existed! And there are really no rules I could find except that there be less than 500 copies of an individual zine. I guess if you have more sales than that you have morphed into a proper magazine, eh? LOL!
Interesting fact I heard on CBS Sunday Morning--1 out of 7 or 32.7 million Americans live alone. 17.2 million of those are females and they fare much better on their own than most of the men do. Men are more likely to report that they are unhappy or lonely. They were saying it's the biggest shift to American households since divorce became commonplace (60s?). I'm part of the new trend--LOL! A contented, happy female living alone. ;)
We had a pre-inspection of the apartments yesterday by the building owners. In June we have the federal inspection for the building (to keep its subsidies, I assume) and they wanted two weeks to have time to dot their Is and cross their Ts. Anyways, Tahnee from the office came to check my place. The dryer flap was pounding--fairly softly in the afternoon wind--but she got to hear it. Even in the few minutes we stood and talked the pounding was annoying her. She starred my dryer flap complaint!! I hope they can figure something out. It's been seven years, people!
AND--I had time to really talk with her about the dog! The dog is not even out on the balcony!!?? It's apparently inside the apartment!!!! She says they kennel the dog while they are gone (maybe destructive?) and it just cries the whole time. But the dog has food and water and all that. I couldn't believe the dog wasn't outside. We all thought it was because it is so loud! They leave their windows open, I guess. (How good is that for the woodwork!!!) The kennel is near a window. So, there you have it. And they are supposed to be gone by the end of the month.
We had a raging thunderstorm last night. Karma decided to sleep with me--LOL! The parking lot puddle is huge again. Why do I mention the PLpuddle so often? Well, I think of it as my own personal backyard bird bath. ;) The birds just love it. The water is fairly clean, not muddy, and it's been there pretty consistently all spring whether large or small...like a big bird bath.
Have a super duper day, my friends!! :):)
"The more alert we become to the blessing that flows into us through everything we touch, the more our own touch will bring blessing."
Monday, May 21, 2012
Our stretch of dry days ended.
The big parking lot puddle is back. But then the birds come to drink and bathe, so that's good. I especially love the crow couple when they drop by. :)
We seem to be back to that pattern of a day or two of dry (cloudy to sunny) days and then rain. But it's been warmer than it was some of the time. 80s today and tomorrow. Then back to my favorite--70s! ;)
Anyways, I took the advice of my friend, Ruby, and made a couple copies of my first page in the Mixed Media journal so I could play around a little before I actually paint over the top--coward that I am.
I used the brown and green from my new Blick liquid watercolors and experimented trying to make vines...and played with different types and sizes of brushes a little, too.
But the computer paper just curled and buckled. So I printed off some copies onto card stock so I can play a little more seriously--coward that I am. ;)
Yesterday the clouds were rolling through here all day.
The wind was brisk. The clouds nearly cleared...
...and then they'd come across the sky in force again. Was quite beautiful to watch.
Karma didn't care. Slept all afternoon, as per usual.
This afternoon--I got a RAK (random act of kindness) package in the mail from Desi!!
My goodness!! A letter and a card inside...and tons of goodies!
As usual, you can double click on any of the pictures and they should get bigger for you. (Unless blogger has changed that, too, with the new format.)
The two rubber stamps are just perfect for me. This typewriter looks like my Underwood!!
And the little one shaped like a house has this cat sitting in an open window stamp on the bottom.
She sent some bags that will be perfect for collage!
This overlay says "get well" all over it.
She sent a couple of sets of quilting directions and a bunch of fabric samples. (Reminding me--another project I want to get to--the journal covers!)
A card making booklet.
A sampling of 6X6 inch papers, some journaling cards, and air mail envelopes.
A sampling of 12X12 papers.
And last, but not least--one of those handmade scrap journals she made just for me!!
I have seen these all over on youtube. I snapped several pictures as I was thumbing through and these are not the half of it all!
A big R for Rita!
...some stamping here and there...
...and sayings, too.
Desi uses her sewing machine a lot on her projects.
I'll have to take more time and go through it slowly later. Wow!
And she signed the back page!!
Now that is special!
I've never tried making one of these myself, but it's another cool way to recycle stuff and use up your scraps. You can put things inside, write in them, paint on pages...whatever you want to do.
Thanks so much, Desi!!
So, lots of pictures again today. Hope you enjoyed opening the RAK with me. ;) I am washing clothes and writing letters. Have a movie to watch from Netflix tonight. It's another dark, cloudy day...but a surprise box of goodies was quite the bright spot.
Have a super-duper day!! :)
"At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want."