Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Where in the world???

Where has she been?  I'm such a slacker.  Between going to the gym and growing my hair, I just have really been slacking off on things.  Things like a new blog post...and new artwork...you know, that kind of thing.  In my defense, I have been using my break from the easel to do some needlework.  Longer days and warmer temps will be here eventually and the needlework will be put up.  For some reason, needlework just seems to be a winter kind of art. 

I did finish up a butterfly that was started last year...

I started another butterfly as a companion piece...

I finished, (but obviously haven't pressed) a counted cross stitch from two years ago...

And I finally got around to taking a picture of a cute little needlepunch that I did last year.

So, as you can see, I haven't been without art during my self-imposed painting break.  I'm just painting with thread. 

One thing is for sure, if I ever do get painter's block, there is always another art to motivate me. Because in addition to all my painting supplies, I have (and I know I'm the only one) large stashes of yarns, fabrics, patterns, books and magazines, and of course, my friend the internet to motivate me if I become bored with my current artsy adventure.

The thing is, if it's knitting, I have tons of supplies.  If it's sewing, once again I have tons of stash.  I have jewelry supplies that would complete any store inventory and whatever I need in the way of polymer clay is always only a few steps away.  I have vintage craft kits from the 70's just waiting to be completed and a box full of naked Barbies waiting to be repurposed.  Blessedly, our house has a great storage area that is the length of the entire house and DH has been great about helping with shelves and tables and whatever we need to keep things organized.  Shucks, I even converted the downstairs walk-in shower to a supply closet.  It wasn't always like this.  I have done many an art piece at the kitchen table, and who hasn't put that sewing machine in the kitchen at one time or another?  That's one of the great things about artists.  Whether it is fabric or fiber, painting or polymer...we will figure out a way to do it.  Why? Because it's just who we are.  We may take breaks from projects for long periods of time and devote time to other things when necessary, but we always go back to art. 

So if the little artist within you has been too busy, or too uninspired...indulge yourself tonight.  Take her out for a while and immerse yourselves in something that you used to just love to do, or perhaps haven't made the time to do.  It could be finishing a previously started project, or simply reading a how-to book. You know you want to...so like those Nike ads say...let's just do it.

That's all for now.  We'll talk soon and maybe I won't be such a slacker next time...but don't hold me to it!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Do you have rules?

We all have rules that we live by.  A civilized society, as we blessedly still somewhat are, must have rules to survive.  I'm actually referring to the self imposed rules that we live by in our personal lives.  Most of my rules are logical, such as increasing the size of the pin hole in the plastic top on my coffee to go cup.  If there isn't a "breathe" hole in the lid, you have to almost suction the coffee into your mouth, so I take something sharp, like a pin or the tip of the largest, sharpest knife in the house and enlarge this little hole.
You may be able to notice a small circle on the top of the lid, that is actually the pin-hole that I'm referring to.

It's quite similar to poking a hole in the bottom of the cranberry jelly can at Thanksgiving.  Because that works with the cranberry jelly, I've known folks that pierce the end of every can that they open.  So you see the kind of rules I'm talking about.  We have rules when we cook that may or may not be based on fact.  Remember the story about the newlywed that was cooking a ham for the first time by herself and had her husband looking everywhere for a handsaw to saw the end off the ham bone?  "You've got to find the saw, Mama ALWAYS cuts the end off the ham". Finally to avoid additional frustration, the husband (who are sometimes a lot smarter than we give them credit for) asked her to call her Mom and ask why you had to cut the end off.  Her Mom answered incredulously,  "honey, it's because my pan is too small for the ham."

So you may see where I'm going with this.  We have a new year upon us and maybe it really is time to reevaluate our self imposed rules.

Lots of my rules are food related.   Some of them are a bit weird and nonsensical.  If I have made a sheet cake and have snuck in and eaten some right out of the pan with a fork, then I think that I have to cut the uneven part off, so it will look neat. Hmmm, might it be I don't want anyone to know that I've been in there?.  Of course, I do eat the part I trimmed off.  Good thing I don't bake many cakes.  I have a friend that doesn't like to eat a sandwich if there are no potato chips.  Or perhaps you don't want to eat beans without cornbread.  You know, food rules.  Like the one that says you have to eat the entire pack of something, even when it's more than one serving.  When we do have cookies in the house, and that is rare these days, I wont take an uneven amount in my hand.  I don't want one cookie, I want two or four.  I know, I know....

So since we're going to be taking part in the fitness center weight loss challenge, I am going to have to change some things.  "They" say that you shouldn't work out every day, that you should let your muscles rest a day.  Therefore, I only do cardio on some days and weights on others. Seems that I remember back when there were farms, that folks worked every day and for that much, we know that anyone that has a physical job, they do it every day without have a day to let their muscles rest.  So, for me, that is a rule that bears some thought.  I have been going to the gym everyday trying to build up my endurance for the competition, because I know the trainer is going to push us to get the most out of us that she can.  Today, the hubby was very tired and we went back to bed and didn't hit the gym.  I will probably work out at home today and hopefully over the weekend.

We are also invited out to eat with friends Saturday to our favorite restaurant, a Japanese Steakhouse, as a belated Christmas gift.  We're both looking forward to that.  Usually that's where we go when my sister (Peri) comes in from out west, so it will seem a bit odd being there without them.  Other than working out and eating out, that's the extent of our plans.

I have been working on a counted cross stitch kit that I started last year (I think) so hopefully soon I will have that to show.  My art table feels neglected, but sometimes that's just the way it is. I'll be full of new ideas for paintings soon, but until then it will words of wisdom and wit and perhaps a few pictures here and there.

So dear friends, enjoy your weekend and when you sit down to enjoy your celery that you refuse to eat without peanut butter and raisins, think about some of the self imposed rules that may have you stymied.

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's 2011...how can that be?

Just a quick post to say Happy New Year to everyone.  I hope you all survived the crazy weather, the disruption of snow removal, the falling of birds from the sky and all the other wild things that happened over the holidays.

I haven't done much during my holiday week, but I did manage to make one painting.  They say that copying the Masters is a great way to learn.  This copy of Renoir's Head of a Girl started out simply as a quick sketch to decide on the colors that I would use when I do it for real.  For that reason, I used acrylic paint and not oil.  Those of you that you know me wont be surprised that I got bogged down with it and instead of doing a quick color sketch, I tried to replicate the look of oils using heavy bodied acrylic paints.

There are lots of methods and techniques to use with acrylics and I do so love working with them  especially because of the fast drying time.  On the other hand, that fast drying time is the one thing that will always separate acrylics from oils.  That is the reason that I will be copying this painting again soon and using oil paints.  The blendability, as well as the color mixing, is so different.  All that being said I offer for your viewing pleasure my version of Renoir.

I tried to use the same size canvas as the original in order to keep up the appearance of it being a copy, but as you can see, I just wasn't able to get the colors very close to the version that I was using.  Now not having seen the original (which I have read is the ideal way to copy a great work), I really wasn't sure how true the colors in the art book were.  At least it is recognizable as the head of a girl, so I'm happy with that.  I probably will do another version of it some time.

I will be working on a huge box of photographs from my past for the next several days (I hope it doesn't turn into weeks) and won't be painting much.  Organizing old photos and checking out negatives and sorting out photos to scan or reprint can take up some time.  If you have any ideas on making it easier, please feel free to let me know.  Otherwise I'll be immersed in the 50's, 60's, 70's, and early 80's for a bit.  Wish me luck.

That's it from me for several days.  Take care and have a great week!