Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ta Dah!

A couple of years ago, our family decided it was time for the adults to draw names for Christmas gift giving and this year I drew my daughter Amy's name. Lucky me! And what did she want? She asked that I "make a piece of art" for her. I was feeling some pressure to make the "perfect" gift, one that she would love, also something worthy of hanging in an art gallery (yeah, right), all of which was causing me to freeze up and become royally creatively blocked. As time was closing in and Christmas was looming large, I decided to follow my own advice to "make something I know." Amy loved my Itty Bitty Pretties, but I didn't want to work that small for her gift, so I went to the Art Department (Salem's local art supply store) and purchased a set of nine canvases, each canvas four inches by four inches. I proceeded to choose background papers in a palette that she loved: turquoise and crimson. I scrounged around and found eight family photos I wanted to use: four of them of her sons, Jackson and Emmett, one current and one when they were about six months old; one each of when Amy and her husband Mike were toddlers; a fun one of when they were dating, finally, a family photo that was taken at Thanksgiving. I joined the long line at Kinko's to make black and white copies of the photos. I cut out the images I had selected, glued them to the chosen background, painted around the edges of the canvas, then embellished each one to my heart's content. My Hubby went with me to Lowe's to find a piece of wood to mount the canvasses on. When we asked if they had any scrap lumber, the guys pointed to the floor: they had one lone piece of wood and it was just the size we needed, 13 x 13! I took the wood home, applied gesso, then painted it with two of my favorite Golden colors: Quinacridone/Nickel Azo Gold and Quinacridone Crimson. Luscious! My Hubby helped me glue the little canvasses on the board and it was completed in time to dry overnight. On Christmas Eve Amy opened her gift and loved it! Merry Christmas, Amy!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

"Recovery" Sticks

I had the privilege to be the Crafty Chica at the Salem Serenity Lane patient holiday party on Monday night. After a group exercise and a tasty potluck, patients and their family members were invited to enter the "Craft Room" (a converted group room), where they had the opportunity to design a recovery stick, sometimes known as a Dream or Spirit Stick. Their creativity was phenomenal! Here are a few of their creations:

Peace and Joy

One of my favorite blogs, Pomegranates and Paper, is hosted by the talented artist, Loretta. A short while ago, Loretta had a little contest where all you had to do was post a comment at her site. That was easy enough because I love her blog and it was my pleasure to post a comment telling her so.

Well, during a recent family emergency and in the midst of a lot of stress, I received an e-mail from Loretta informing me that I had been chosen as winner #3, which meant I was to receive an original watercolor from Loretta! It arrived in the mail yesterday. I ripped off the mailing envelope to discover a little square wrapped in old world atlas tissue paper. Yesterday was a kinda busy day as I was preparing for a workshop I was to conduct in the evening, so instead of just tearing away the paper, I put the little wrapped package on a chair in my den to be savored until the time was right to open it. That time came this morning when Amy, one of my daughter's, made an unexpected visit. Since she is a great lover of art (and supporter of me), I chose this morning to open my gift. As I gently tore away the tissue, we both sucked in our breath and collectively exhaled while saying, "Oh, it's beautiful!"

Thank you, Loretta, I love my little angel of Peace and Joy.

The Strong Silent Type: Wordwear

I was one lucky lady to take a class from two of my favorite creative advocates: Gretchin Lair of Scarlet Star Studios and Bridget Benton of Eyes Aflame. Gretchin and Bridget generously shared the techniques they have developed in making Wordwear, jewelry made from little metal dog tags, letter die stamp punches, and embellished with beads and brads. During the workshop, Scarlet Star Studio was a frenzy of tap tap tapping as we got our words punched onto the tags, then learned how to add color with alcohol inks and Rub 'n Buff. I punched out three tags on the day of the workshop.

Today I got to work and made three Christmas gifts for friends (after ruining about six tags that didn't come out right!). I had sent an e-mail to a special group of friends asking them what their favorite or special word is; everyone responded, so now I'm in the process of hammering out necklaces for my select group of friends. Two of my favorite responses? Paratum, a Latin word, and GROK, from Robert Heinlein's sci-fi book, Stranger in a Strange Land. My Mom is sure going to be surprised when she receives a necklace with the word GROK emblazoned across the tag!

Monday, December 3, 2007


My hubby and I had a tough week. He went in on Thursday for routine outpatient shoulder surgery, but when he was put under anesthesia and given a nerve block in his neck, his heart started doing flips and flops (my lingo for beating crazily fast). The docs didn't think that was a good thing, so hubby's orthopedic surgeon performed CPR while they waited for the ambulance and paramedics to arrive. Hubby ended up in the ER, eventually being admitted overnight for observation and tests. Turns out he has atrial fibrillation, something that can be controlled by medication. This long explanation is leading up to the real post, so stay with me here.

I had registred a while back for a one-day workshop to be held on Sunday, December 2nd, but after what I (we) had been through, I was a little hestitant to leave the house. Hubby encouraged me to go, but if it weren't for the fact that I had promised a ride to my new friend, Deirdra, I might have bailed and stayed home. Man, am I ever glad I went! The class, "The Artful Journal: Finding the Way," was led by the vivacious, talented, gracious, and fun Judy Wise. The class was offered through Innerstandings in Diane Havnen-Smith's beautiful, inspirational studio.

The class itself was phenomenal. Judy guided us through the painting of several pages to use as backgrounds, and along the way demonstrated several new techniques. I was introduced to writing words using twigs and Sumi ink, the unexpected surpise of applying water to watersoluble wax pastels, and learned how to carve my own rubber stamp! But an added bonus was the delightful group of talented women artist's who were in attendance. Besides Diane, Deirdra, and Judy, there were several notable participants: Katie Kendrick (I took a class from her at Art and Soul in Portland in October), Linda Womack, the queen of encaustic painting (I've taken a class from her at collage in the past), and Lisa Call (also an instructor at Art and Soul), not to mention several other inspiring women artists. It was like a Who's Who of my favorite artists and I was sitting in their midst!

After the exhaustion and fear of Thursday and Friday, my spirit was restored and nurtured after spending a day making art.

Here's a photo of me with Judy Wise.