Monday, April 27, 2009

A Sense of Hope

It's Monday night, and I just returned from my Monday Art Night with Nikki. We had a special guest join us tonight (welcome to the club, Emily!). I just finished my Chapter 4 project of Taking Flight. I am making the project "my own" by adding my own personal touch of bisque fired clay pieces...and subtracting the wings that Kelly Rae shows us how to make in her book.

We did actually make some wings tonight, but I just didn't feel like they belonged on this book. Here's what they look like for now...

I'll hang on to them, because I'm sure I'll figure out a way to use them in some future project!

Nikki...if you're reading this....I am so enjoying our art nights together! If only I could figure out how to make those wings really work, so I could fly out to see you every Monday night in California! Maybe I could attach them to Precious and turn her into a Pegasus pony :) I'll keep you up to date with my progress on that one!

And now for your reading's "Hope" by Emily Dickinson...


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

An Ordinary Day...NOT

Such an ordinary's from my dad's apartment in Chicago around 1958. He and my mom met when they lived in the same apartment building.

I thought about using this photo for my Taking Flight chapter 4 project, "Finding the Sacred in the Ordinary". But the photo seemed just a little too ordinary!

The chapter encourages us to look at the ordinary events in our life, so I did that today...I start the day in an ordinary bed. Ordinary, but so comfortable...and I just love my cloud robe that is sooo soft (probably because it is soooo old - it really is time for a new one).

And I start up my ordinary teapot...which I use "religiously" every morning to make that oh-so-important cup of coffee.

And while the water is warming up, I feed my ordinary cat his breakfast. A bit more carefully these days, because his breakfast and dinner are now served with an injection of insulin.

Then, it's off to ordinary day at preschool. Where ordinary children enjoy one of the first real spring days by painting and playing one of the children is painting a picture of the bubbles that the other ordinary children were making today....

Then time to come home to see some of the first ordinary buds in our back yard.

And to take a peek at the ordinary garden in these early spring days...

And off to the barn with my ordinary daughter to visit her ordinary horse. The horse who began as a rescue, and can now win champion ribbons at shows. The horse she loves.

Come to think of it...there's nothing at all ordinary about my day. How bout yours?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Tomb with a View

Rumor has it that there's some good news this morning!
May everything in your life be blessed with new beginnings and celebration!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Who's Your Favorite Blogger?

It's so much fun to visit other people's blogs! Not only to see what they're up to, but also to see which blogs they like to visit. I love to see all of the variety that's out there...

art blogs
writing blogs
cooking blogs
humor blogs
gardening blogs
and even blogs about style!

(I could go on and on and on...but I think you get the idea)

So here's what I'm wondering today...what is your favorite blog and what makes it your favorite? Don't keep me wondering...I know you're out there! I look forward to hearing from you! Till then...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I'm Cyber Famous!

A few weeks back, I entered a photo of one of my pieces along with some words of reflection to Creativity Portal's 365 Picture Prompts, and today my submission is appearing!

"Going public" by keeping a blog, starting an Etsy shop and submitting pieces to Creativity Portal were all big steps in my artistic life. It took me a long time to feel confident enough to put myself "out there" but I'm so glad that I did! It's worth taking the risk, and I know that the journey always begins with a single step!

Till next time...

PS...Chris Dunmire is still accepting submissions for her 365 Pictures project. You should join us!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Taking Flight Saga Continues...

Nikki and I are continuing to meet once a week for our Monday Art Night. Our goal is to complete reading Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts and to complete all of the accompanying projects (one per chapter) before the end of summer.

We're both feeling pretty impressed that we've made it through the first three chapters, and we're even staying on schedule! It really makes it easier, and much more fun, to go through this book with a friend. Which just happens to lead into the topic of chapter three: Creating Community.

I was having a tough time deciding what words (if any) to add to my project. After looking through poetry books, scripture verses, favorite Rumi quotes and my own personal collection, it finally hit me...Love One Another. That short three letter phrase that makes all the difference in the world.

The background of this project was made up of notes and cards from friends and/or family.

What a difference in the before and after!!

As I worked on this, I spent a lot of time reflecting on my circle of friends, and I remembered how much of a difference those people have made in my life. I most definitely wouldn't be where I am now without the love and support of friends. So I dedicate this piece to all of those in my life who have taught me how to love and how to be loved! I couldn't have made it without you!!

In case you're interested, here are some other quick notes on the creative process for this piece: The two figures were created from polymer clay that was imprinted with a hand carved linoleum block. The center heart was created from a technique in Kelly Rae's book - we used floral foam, plaster and some other secret ingredients :) The bird's body is formed from polymer clay as well as the letters on the twig. The wings of the bird and the leaves on the twig are bisque fired hand formed ceramic pieces. And the twig is from my neighbor's Corkscrew Willow Tree. Thank you Denny :) Needless to say, I'm definitely enjoying working in mixed media!!

Till next time...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Traits of Creative People

Hi Everyone! I just found an interesting article titled "The Creative Personality" written by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It's from the July/Aug 1996 issue of Psychology Today and if you want to read it in full, you can find it HERE. The part that caught my eye was the list of ten traits of creative people. I thought you might enjoy reading the highlights - I only used the first couple of sentences of each item, so see the full article if you have a chance!

Here are the 10 antithetical traits often present in creative people that are integrated with each other in a dialectical tension.

1. Creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but they're also often quiet and at rest. They work long hours, with great concentration, while projecting an aura of freshness and enthusiasm.

2. Creative people tend to be smart yet naive at the same time.

3. Creative people combine playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility. There is no question that a playfully light attitude is typical of creative individuals. But this playfulness doesn't go very far without its antithesis, a quality of doggedness, endurance, perseverance.

4. Creative people alternate between imagination and fantasy, and a rooted sense of reality.

5. Creative people tend to be both extroverted and introverted. We're usually one or the other, either preferring to be in the thick of crowds or sitting on the sidelines and observing the passing show. In fact, in psychological research, extroversion and introversion are considered the most stable personality traits that differentiate people from each other and that can be reliably measured. Creative individuals, on the other hand, seem to exhibit both traits simultaneously.

6. Creative people are humble and proud at the same time. It is remarkable to meet a famous person who you expect to be arrogant or supercilious, only to encounter self-deprecation and shyness instead. Yet there are good reasons why this should be so. These individuals are well aware that they stand, in Newton's words, "on the shoulders of giants." Their respect for the area in which they work makes them aware of the long line of previous contributions to it, putting their own in perspective. They're also aware of the role that luck played in their own achievements. And they're usually so focused on future projects and current challenges that past accomplishments, no matter how outstanding, are no longer very interesting to them. At the same time, they know that in comparison with others, they have accomplished a great deal. And this knowledge provides a sense of security, even pride.

7. Creative people, to an extent, escape rigid gender role stereotyping. When tests of masculinity/femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers.

8. Creative people are both rebellious and conservative. It is impossible to be creative without having first internalized an area of culture. So it's difficult to see how a person can be creative without being both traditional and conservative and at the same time rebellious and iconoclastic. Being only traditional leaves an area unchanged; constantly taking chances without regard to what has been valued in the past rarely leads to novelty that is accepted as an improvement.

9. Most creative people are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it as well. Without the passion, we soon lose interest in a difficult task. Yet without being objective about it, our work is not very good and lacks credibility.

10. Creative people's openness and sensitivity often exposes them to suffering and pain, yet also to a great deal of enjoyment. Most would agree with Rabinow's words: "Inventors have a low threshold of pain. Things bother them." A badly designed machine causes pain to an inventive engineer, just as the creative writer is hurt when reading bad prose.

From Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, published by HarperCollins, 1996.

Till next time...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Spring Break Art...

Well, it's Saturday night...just two more days left until my spring vacation is over, and I return to my life as a preschool teacher. I really am looking forward to seeing the darling kids and my co-workers again, but the time off has been absolutely necessary and absolutely awesome!! There's something almost sacred about going to sleep as late as I want...not setting an alarm...letting my body rise when it is ready...and of course, creating art all week long without thinking about my typical Monday-Friday routine.

I had hopes of "completing" a lot of creative projects this week, but I can't say that I completed anything at all so far. It's been a week of mostly process stuff. I'm okay with that, because I've been having a great time playing as well as having a lot of insights into myself as an artist.

Most of my creating this week involved a pile of used book covers. I ended up covering 8 of them with maps and 2 with music - after I find some more old looking sheet music, I'll be making more of those music ones!

I brought out some collage elements and some paper shapes to explore different layout ideas and to see if any themes jumped out at me. I had lots of fun digging through my old stamp collection that I've had for over 30 years. Who knew back then that I'd be using them in mixed media art projects! And boy, did the memories come back as I looked through them!

I noticed that the maps needed something more on them, so I made some stamps out of some strange black foam material that was lying around my art room. Then I had fun experimenting with paints. One thing I've learned about myself lately, is that I really enjoy watching the transformation of my art from beginning to ending. Not so coincidentally, I also enjoy watching that transformation in the preschool kids I teach!

Well... that's it for today! Till tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How Much Art Can I Make....

So far, I've made a bunch of little polymer clay letters and some figures...

and I've started playing with some old book covers. I gessoed about ten of them, and then added some maps and old music to a few. We'll see what they evolve into...Is "gessoed" a word? Hmmm...

I've noticed some evidence of "Art Fairies" hanging around to inspire me. They left a ton of magic fairy diamonds all over the place! The three little leaves you see are thinking about attaching themselves to the Kelly Rae project I'm working on. They keep moving around though, keeping me in suspense. Decisions, decisions....

I'll finish up this post with some workspace photos, just in case you're curious...

Till tomorrow...

Thank You for Rainbows!

I just had to say thank you to our Creator for providing this wonderful bit of inspiration for me yesterday! I did like the colorful image of pencils that I used in yesterday's post, but this one takes the cake (more about cake below)! I also found a poem by Evelyn Heinz that I think you'll enjoy! If you visit you can find more beautiful and inspirational poetry by Evelyn.

How Does God Make A Rainbow?
to my grandson John Koval, in answer to his question

Oh, he takes a little boy's blue eyes
and a little girl's blond curls,
He adds a baby's tiny pink fingers
and ten tiny toes.
Plus, He adds a father's loving arms
and a mother's tears.
Then He stirs them all together
with His watercolors...
And... He paints the stormy sky.
John, that's how God makes a rainbow!

Evelyn Heinz
Copyright ©2009 EvelynHeinz

Awwww....What a lucky boy John is to have Grandma Evelyn in his life!!

Ah yes...I mentioned cake earlier....if you're in the mood to cook, visit Aleta Meadowlark's blog Omnomicon to learn how to make a RAINBOW CAKE!! So cool!!! I can't wait to try it out!! You can bet that I'll be including this recipe in my preschool newsletter for our April Showers Brings May Flowers unit!!

Well, I'm off to my upstairs studio space to continue my week of creating. I'll be posting some photos of what I've been up to later on today - I just wanted to do a quick check in to share some rainbows with you! If you're having a dreary, rainy day today...I'll wish for some rainbows to come your way!

Till next time...