Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I Won a Drawing (Again)!

First off, it you aren’t familiar with DIY Alert and you live in the Portland area, then reading this blog right now is a great introduction to an important art resource in the Pacific Northwest! Sister Diane, the creative force behind the DIY Alert, sends out weekly messages alerting everyone about all things crafty in the Portland area: classes, artists, stores, web sites . . . Diane is also the local organizer of the Church of Craft (among many other things). So be sure and check out both of these two websites (and follow the various links for a journey through crafty Portland). Oh, back to the point of my post. Diane occasionally has drawings for gifts related to art making and a couple of weeks ago she offered up an issue of Indie Arts, a DVD magazine. The magazine includes an art gallery, featured artists, interviews, and artist ideas. I have considered subscribing in the past, but didn’t follow through, sort of wondering what the format was like before plunking down the money. Along comes Diane, who offers a free issue of the DVD magazine. I submitted my name (gotta submit to win, right?). Well, yesterday I received word from Sister Diane that my name had been selected! Today she put my copy of this art DVD in the mail – I can hardly wait to receive it and pop it into the DVD player.

Matchbox Shrine Workshop

On Saturday I offered my Matchbox Shrine workshop at the Stampin' Cat Studio in Salem. Five lovely women came in from the beautiful sunshine to spend three hours playing with my bins, boxes, and jars of wonderful embellishments (glitter was a big hit!). I began the evening by having them do a five minute stream of consciousness writing about what they hoped to get out of making a shrine. They dove in and got their pens moving quickly across the page. When I (finally) turned them loose, it was with a ferocious intensity; they moved around the table picking up papers, choosing paints, and adding bits to the inside and outside of their matchboxes. Their finished shrines reflected reverence and playfulness: some were made for friends as gifts, two honored their upcoming weddings, and one ended up honoring her father who passed away in the last year. Thank you, ladies, for spending the evening with me and for sharing a glimpse into your personal lives.

The Artist's Way Week Seven: Recovering a Sense of Abundance

I continue to be amazed by the commitment these six women have made to our weekly groups and their attendance has been sterling! They are taking Julia Cameron's book to heart and demonstrate this by writing Morning Pages, taking themselves on Artist's Dates, working on weekly assignments, and by sharing from their heart every week. This past week we focused on abundance, both in how we spend our time and our money. Our activity was blind contour drawing, also known as "zen" drawing. This was a three-part exercise, which involved drawing a crazy object in the center of the room (a scraggly branch with rose hips at the tips), doing a self-portrait, and then drawing each other: all without looking at their page or lifting their pen! The groans were audible, especially when I asked them to write about the experience . . . with their non-dominant hand!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Accepted! Women Over 50 Show!

I never thought I would be so excited to be over 50 until a piece I submitted was accepted as part of a show honoring Women's History month and the art of women artists over 50. Gretchin Lair initially sent me the information about the show at the Utrecht Gallery (thanks, Gretchin) and I had tucked the e-mail away thinking it might be something I would like to do. I started a piece when I was at Sunriver earlier in the month, then, over the past couple of weeks I dabbled at it whenever I had leftover paint on my brush. The deadline was approaching, February 11th, and I pooped the day away. When evening hit, I realized I really did want to submit my piece, so I tackled the canvas, adding paint, scrubbing it away, layering and layering, removing, and layering, grateful I had been playing with it all along. Around 11:30 pm, I snapped some photos and selected the best of the lot, then e-mailed a photo of my submission, just under the deadline wire.

We were gone the past several days and when I finally fired up my computer last night, there was a message waiting from the curator of the show. It started with: "Thank you for submitting work to the Utrecht Gallery for the upcoming March group show. The positive response I received has been wonderful, and many more submissions have come in than I anticipated. Because of this, I've had to limit the number of works I can accept from each person, but am pleased with the variety of artists who will be represented in the show." As I read this paragraph, I was bracing myself for the "Thank you, but . . ." But it never came. Instead, I read on: "That said, I'm happy to tell you that 'Becoming' has been selected for the show." What!!??!! Accepted. My little 10 x 10 acrylic on canvas will be part of the Utrecht Gallery group show. The gallery is located at 1122 NW Everett, in the heart of the Pearl District in Portland. Pinch me.

The Artist's Way Week Six: Recovering a Sense of Possibility

What to do, what to do. I "forgot" to post about last week's Artist's Way session, then dashed off to Washington for a few days with my family. Here it is Monday afternoon already and I'm in a quandry: is it too late to post? Being the obsessive-compulsive person that I am, I feel compelled to at least post a note about last week's group and show off the Valentine-themed centerpiece I created. Our activity last Tuesday was story telling. I started with a sentence, then turned it over to the women, who took turns adding and embellishing the story. Wild women, that's all I can say about their story-telling abilities. The second part of the evening involved some collaged cards they had made at the beginning of the evening, which were then used as illustrations and a springboard for a new collaborative story. The title? Jack and Jill Go on a Freaky Journey. 'nuff said.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Alley Art Business Cards - A Meditation

One day last week I spent about an hour working on my business cards, what I like to think of as little collaged bits of art. I tried calling my good friend, Vicki, because I thought I could insert my hands free earphone and chat while I glued. Unable to reach Vicki, I set about gluing in silence. I thought how this was a perfect project for watching a movie or listening to music, but somehow, I was not moved into any action other than selecting from my supply of vintage and foreign poastage stamps and gluing them to the barren little business cards. The repetitive motion became rather meditative: choose, glue, press, choose, glue, press, my pile of completed cards growing with each motion. I got through my printed stack, a wide swath of stamped cards spread out to dry. Today I added swipes of paint, many colors, primary and bright, then a final touch of metallic, Golden's Iridescent Copper (Fine). Viola! A little teeny masterpiece, a completed piece of art. Would you like to receive one of my little bits of art? If so, send me a comment and I'll get in touch with you for your mailing address.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Artist's Way Week Five: Recovering a Sense of Integrity

All six women gathered last night for a heartfelt discussion of what was going on in their lives. Everyone had so much to share, our creative project got a little pinched for time, but we were able to get through the process and make beautiful Life Plaques. I got this idea from the book Explore Yourself through ART: Creative Projects to Help You Achieve Personal Insight and Growth and Promote Problem Solving, by Vicky Barber. Here are the results of their concentrated effort and energy:

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Morning rituals. I love how each morning I sit in the same chair. How I keep all of my “tools” in the brightly colored basket I bought at the health food store in Tacoma. How my pens, the ones I use in the morning, are all kept in the basket. I love that I underline sentences in Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance with yellow highlighter, how I write my Morning Pages with a Pilot Precise V5. How my grateful journal is also written with this fine-tipped black pen, the ink gliding smoothly over the slick, shiny pages. My purple pen? That’s for underlining in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way; I’ve already used black ink, red ink, and yellow highlighting, so I had nowhere to go but to broaden my ink color so I can track what is important this time I’m reading the Bible of my creativity. I keep a silly little blank book in my basket, with the appropriate title of: “Reflect Pocket Journal,” which I use to record quotes I come across in Sarah or Julia’s books; I probably paid 25 cents for this little journal at SCRAP. And when did I start using watercolors to fill in the hearts I draw at the end of each Morning Page entry? I don’t even remember, but I know I love my portable Winsor Newton watercolor set – 14 little half pans of vibrant color. I carry water in an airtight plastic film canister so I can whip out my watercolors at any time and color in my hearts. All of this is kept in my brightly colored basket, so even when I’m traveling, I’m ready to take all the accoutrements of my morning ritual with me.

This is how I start my day, sitting in my comfortable old chair, reading, underlining, writing . . . and sipping my chai tea soy latte.

Monday, February 4, 2008

3rd Annual Love Show

I am happy to report that the Opening Festivities for the 3rd Annual Love Show at the Launch Pad gallery was great fun on Friday night. There were nibblies that filled my tummy, I got to see Sven and Gretchin again (stars of Scarlet Star Studios), I saw Emma and met Emily, and got introduced to another Artist’s Way alum, Justine. Then my son, Scott, showed up, and with him and Hubby, we got to stroll through and take in the art and artists present. When we left to go for a more formal meal (the yummy Nutshell), Scott summed up the feeling of the event: “It felt like a circus.” Yes, it did, in all the best ways! People were mingling and visiting, loud music playing in the background, performance art taking place, and lots of interesting people and dress. Portland at its very best! By all means, let’s “Keep Portland Weird.”

For me, it was a highlight to look at the wall of art and see my Sixty-Four piece right there in the midst of a sea of art. I stood back and watched as people approached my piece and stepped closer to get a better look, to read the captions, or to see what embellishments had been used. It almost seemed surreal, knowing that it was my piece that was being displayed for all to see in a Portland art gallery. Satisfied. That was how I was feeling. And grateful for the opportunity. (And yes, that is my good-looking son in the photo at the top of this post!)

Monster Month Book Release Party

On Thursday night, my Hubby and I attended a book release party hosted by Sven and Gretchin of Scarlet Star Studios. The book? Sven's recently released Monster Month; well, technically the book was written by Professor Ichbonnsen, but he was not able to attend. He did, however, send an e-mail, which Sven read, followed by a reading from the book. The evening featured the original drawings from the book, tasty snacks, and lots of artists and teachers from around the Portland area. For more information about the book, visit the Monster Month blog, which gives background information as well as how to order your own copy.

Here is me giving my copy of Monster Month to Sven for his signature:

Here is Sven contemplating what to sign:

And here are Sven's groupies, Bridget and Linda, waiting to get their copies of Monster Month signed (Bridget appears to be a tad more excited than Linda, at least on the outside!):