Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas has come and gone and we are winding down the last days of 2009. Wherever you are you probably heard about the blizzard in Oklahoma. My friend, Carla and I got out about 11 on Christmas Eve and ran to Hastings. Yes, I'd been hearing the reports but you have to understand that every year in Oklahoma the weather guys predicit snow. They really talk up the "possibilities" but it rarely happens. So, I must say I was assuming they were exaggerating as usual. By the time we left the store which is, thankfully, just blocks from my home, we were in white out. As we left the parking lot we stopped to help a guy in a truck get unstuck. Keep in mind Carla had surgery on her arm a few weeks ago. But, she got in the truck and steered while he pushed and I pulled my car out of the way. I got Carla home and then made it around the corner to my own only to get stuck in my own driveway. Thank God for a neighbor who saw me and came to help. Within minutes another neighbor was stuck in the alley between my house and the apartments next door and I tried to help her. Then I got inside and dropped my phone which was wet and slippery. The battery fell out and it took over an hour to charge.

Now, the phone wouldn't be such a big deal except my son and his little family were trying to get from Norman to Moore, a distance of about 8 miles, when they got stuck on the highway. They sat for 6 hours going less than two miles before they could get off and get back. So, I was on pins and needles without phone contact until the battery came back up. In the end, they got back to the hotel who had graciously catered in a hot meal for guests and stranded motorists.
I felt like I was in the cartoon Rudolph. At Hastings every time the door blew open the wind howled and the snow blew in. Sitting in my own house it felt like, "I'm gonna huff and puff and blow your house down." The sleet, the wind, and the emergency vehicles were so loud. But the snow ended later in the evening and at one point I woke for a moment in the middle of the night of the silence was so white, not a sound could be heard wind, not breathe, nor mice!

Christmas Day was much better. The sun was shining and I was able to shovel out of my drive. Four of us went to see Sherlock Holmes and then I met the kids for dinner at the Skirvin Hotel and we looked at Christmas lights and opened presents. Yesterday, the sun was shining, the roads are clearing, people are retrieving their abandoned cars. Yesterday, I only went to Starbucks and then I was home all day napping off and on and doing a little decluttering. I have made a practice of doing this at the end of the year because it helps me feel a little more like starting out with a somewhat clear slate.
I am between creative projects. Hoping to get the mural started this week and the "4 seasons" series of paintings. Otherwise, I am resting and catching up on movies.
Happy Holidays to the Creative Every Day community!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

December 6 - A Quiet Sunday Morning

I messed around with this version of a zentangle. I haven't explored the rules. I don't know if the face in this one disqualifies it as an "zentangle" but I had fun with it anyway.
The weather in Oklahoma has taken its turn into winter with the low something like 25 and the high in the 40's. Now 40 on a calm day isn't so bad but 40 on a windy day is COLD!
Last night several of us went to a Holiday Home Tour in an historical neighborhood then went to dinner in nearby Bricktown. We had pesto macaroni with grilled shrimp, yummo.
This morning I am lingering in bed with my coffee, markers, computer and Christmas music. Oh, and yes, the cats are asleep. One at my feet and one in my lap between me and the computer. She makes it kind of hard to type or draw! Sunday mornings are so quiet. It is my favorite time of the week and about the only time I can really hear myself think!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A New Twist or Turn

First, I just wanted to share this photo I took yesterday morning of the sunrise in Oklahoma. On my way to work I was suddenly compelled to look back over my right shoulder or I would've missed it. I carry my pocket camera with me so I pulled over, rolled down the window and took a couple of shots. Today it's raining but I can still enjoy the sunrise.

I'm not sure this will qualify as recycling but I am re-purposing a recent painting. When painted it came out like the version on the top. But then I unconsciously hung it upside down and didn't even notice until a friend pointed out how much she loved it that way! Then I realized I did too. It was like I had painted a road going toward some mountains with a canyon on the right. That is what I see anyway. Now that it is hanging "right" I do see a couple of tiny adjustments I want to make. But how funny is that?

Still trying my hand at the markers and poster board and a version of the zentangle. I was inspired this month by some portraits and hands I saw. I am not totally thrilled with this one but it's a practice attempt.

Monday, November 30, 2009

November 30 - Day 30

What I have created over the weekend is some Christmas magic. Did anyone ever tell you that the magic was created with a lot of hard work and sweat equity? Well, so far, none of my trees or decorations has appeared magically for me but once it's all done it is magic and I am happy. One of the ways I survive the winter is by having some sparkle of lights around the house. Watching my cats was funny as I unpacked the boxes. Miss Kitty, the calico, loves to play with the ties that come off the lights. As you can see in the photo she is contemplating one. Simone likes to sit in the window and watch the traffic go by. I thought she made a pretty picture. Not only did I get my own stuff up over the last couple of days but I helped a couple of friends with theirs as well. I have to say by last evening everything south of my ears was hurting. Good thing is that only thing left to do now is enjoy. Book club is at my house next Friday night and I am ready!

Here are photos of my two other trees. The smaller one is in my bedroom and the other one in my office. You might have to enlarge them to get a better view.
Just before I went to bed I ended up trying my hand at a Zendala. I have to say when I first started seeing these on the art blogs I was a little confused. I thought I had missed something. I used to do these when I was a kid. I'd get bored in church or school and do these doodles. I had forgotten about them. Now I see whole web sites dedicated to them. I even found one that mixed the Zentangle with the Mandala. As this was all I had time or energy for I decided to give one a try again. I had bought my poster board and markers earlier in the day to use for my dream images so I just grabbed the supplies and worked on it while I watched a not so good, made for TV Christmas movie. I seem to be on a tear to hear as much Christmas music as possible and watch a lot of bad Christmas movies! I have to say, though I haven't had time, I've decided I might try my hand at a screenplay for a Christmas movie. I think I can do better than some of the stuff that passes for holiday entertainment. And people get paid for this stuff!
I cannot believe that we are at the end of November. I am totally proud of everyone who participated in this Create Art Every Day challenge. I think it is an incredible group of talented people. It has motivated me in a way that I did not expect. I am thrilled with my tennis shoe painting. I am looking at it as I write this. If not for the challenge to paint every day I'd probably still be working on it. Two new projects came my way in the process also. Again, I can't say enough how much I appreciate Leah, her work and her idea for this project. I definitely plan to stay connected with this community.
Thanks to all of you who stopped by and or commented. Your encouraging words are so exciting to see!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

November 26 - Day 26 Happy Thanksgiving

I think I have found my Christmas card this year. My good friend came by my house last night while I was attempting to decorate my tree and some how we got the idea for this photo. For our book club this month we are reading David Sedaris' "Holiday on Ice." The ice being in his high ball glass as a method for surviving, ha-ha. I think I made the comment that after messing with the twinkle lights "no wonder people drink at the holidays." In honor of our book I am going to send out this photo to the gals with the title, "Merry Christmas, straight up, no chaser!"

Today is Thanksgiving and in about an hour and a half I am going to Tulsa with this same good friend. We often travel at the holidays together. Tonight we have a reservation at the Double Tree downtown where we plan to spend a leisurely afternoon at the pool/hot tub and then we have a dinner reservation at the historic Ambassador hotel. Well, the web site says, historic. After dinner we'll drive through Utica Square to look at Christmas lights. Tomorrow there will be some window shopping at Utica. We enjoy visiting the Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn and Renovation Hardware stores there. We'll drive home after lunch at our favorite Irish Pub "Kilkenny's".

I have found that it is imperative for me to be out of town at Thanksgiving. After years of struggling with holiday depression, I find that if I am in a different environment, it just doesn't happen.
Here is a photo of the Christmas Tree I got up yesterday. This is my more traditional tree and I have a good start on the decorating. I have a ton of more decorations to put on it. My 2nd tree is a Mardi Gras themed tree that I will put in the office and the 3rd tree is a small "Santa" tree I put in my bedroom. I'll get that and all the "sit around" stuff up on Saturday. For now, I have to go pack.
Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving and start to the Christmas Season.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

November 25 - Days 20-25

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! I have the week off and I spent 4 days in Sullivan, Missouri visiting my son and his family over the first weekend. We won't be spending the actual day together so we did it early. It's not that I wasn't creative it was that I didn't have Internet access at their home. Talk about going cold turkey, ha-ha. So, I am posting the last few days in this one.

I got great feedback on the painting of the tennis shoes. So I think I will stop obsessing over it and call it finished. I haven't started the next painting yet but I am getting things ready for that. In the meantime, I helped out at my son's church with their Christmas decorating. I created this tree in the foyer.

I drove home yesterday so that I would be here in time for our 3rd dream class. Last night we drew our dreams. I have never done that before and it was totally fun! I am off to Target or Wal-Mart today for the small poster boards and crayola markers we used. I plan to do more of this.

I've posted my photo here. I know it won't make sense without knowing the dream - but dream symbols don't make sense anyway, ha-ha. That is why we are doing the class. Let me just say that shoes are a theme in my dreams and in fact, I had another one last night. No wonder I loved Sex and the City so much. It was all about the shoes! ha-ha.

Today I will be creating my own Christmas magic. The goal is to get my own decorations up today and/or Saturday. I'll be taking a short trip again tomorrow and Friday so I have limited time to get it all done before I go back to work on Monday. However, I've been away from the computer for 4 days and I have lot of catching up to do. It is 10:00 and I am still sitting in my jammies with coffee I've had to heat up twice because it gets cold while I am typing.

I hope everyone has a very special and happy T-Day. Aside from being thankful for my special friends and family I am especially thankful this year for Leah and the Creative Every Day family she has created. I do appreciate the opportunity to share, your encouraging comments and the fact that I was motivated to do a painting - start to finish in 2 weeks. That has to be some kind of record for me!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November 19 - Day 18 & 19

Tonight while listening to the weekly Self-Love call I put in the grass and tweaked the laces a bit. I am getting dangerously close to finishing this. I am still a bit shy of being happy with those laces. The rest of I am thrilled with. I have had such fun painting this and thanks to Leah and this Creative Every Day challenge I have stayed focused and productive. I have so enjoyed watching others progress and listening in on the internal dialogue that we are all reporting on. It's a great comfort to know that everyone has similar challenges, insecurities, epiphanies and celebrations! It's fun to share and support each other in a community of like minded individuals.
I'll let this rest again for a day or two and then maybe make another attempt with the laces. Or maybe they will grow on me as they are.
Next on the agenda is the first painting in the 4 Seasons series I am doing for my friend. I am going to start with Spring and "Mexico". I won't get started on the mural until about mid-December due to the fact that construction on the facility won't be finished until then.
Of course, I have to allow for Thanksgiving and Christmas in the midst of all this activity but I have some days off planned around both. I suspect there will be a few days when I resort back to photography rather than the painting due to travel. But it's all good, as they say!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

November 15- Day 15

What I created today was the perfect Sunday. If you can't tell what the photo is ... it is my feet wrapped up in my blanket with a cat on either side keeping my toes toasty warm while they napped and I played on the computer. I was listening to All Christmas Internet radio and enjoying a cup of hot Jasmine Tea. I just got off and let the world pass me by for a while. Later I did get up and do some light housekeeping chores. I met with the woman who wants the mural for her office, had dinner with friends and I am back at home ending the day as I started with Christmas music playing softly, cats asleep in their baskets, tea steeping and a hot bubble bath about 5 minutes into my future.

The painting will wait until tomorrow. After two really busy weeks I really needed some quiet and low-no activity!

It's days like this when the mind chatter has died to a the faintest of whispers and no one is calling my name, no activity forces me out of my comfortable little nest that I wish I could bottle the feelings and when the fires of my days swirl around me I could have a little taste of this sweetness. And I am listening to I Heard the Bells on Christmas Morning... and peace prevails, at least for this moment.

This is the view from the sofa of my living room!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

November 14 - Day 14

I am posting late as I got to the painting early evening. I mostly spent my time working on the shoelaces. I also bumped up the color off the decoration on the shoes. After the paint had dried for a couple of days the orange was too muted. I wanted it to have more punch. The difference may be subtle but it's there. I am really happy with how this is coming along. I enjoy looking at. I have it on an easel in my living and it just makes me happy as I come and go.

Today was a little overcast and cooler than it has been. I hear a nasty rumor that a bit of a winter storm is brewing for the next couple of days. I woke about 7 this morning but hibernated with my coffee and the computer until about 10. Then I met some friends for more coffee at a new coffee shop in town. Next on the agenda was a Spirit Fair. My friend and I had been invited by our massage therapist. I wasn't expecting much but I must say I got more than I planned for the $6 entry including a mini massage that was really great. After a late lunch we packed up the art supplies and spent the evening with two other friends. Two of us painted and the other two cooked dinner. So it was a lovely day full of all kinds of fun surprises and creativity.

This next week should be quieter at work because several people will be out of town. I am wondering how I am going to handle Thanksgiving week. I have a few days of travel planned so I know I won't be working on any oils. I will have to switch back to the photos or poems, etc. But the truth is every month has some event that would distract me from the oils, ha-ha. So I can't let Thanksgiving derail me. Good night, sweet dreams.

Friday, November 13, 2009

November 13 - Day 13

I had thought that I would get back to the canvas last night. The meditation group was great but went a little long again. I am not operating at the same high energy level as last week. I was just as busy then but had the energy to put in some time even if it was late. Maybe it is just the ebb and flow of life or maybe that issue that knocked me off center last week is still bothering me. The immediate crisis was averted but it still hasn't quite resolved to my complete liking. Will have to keep working on that as well.
Tomorrow three of my friends and I are going to paint together for the afternoon so expect a new photo of the painting tomorrow.

I have added this meditation group as well as the dream work shop to my endeavors to nurture myself. It must be working on some level. I have now awakened twice with different songs in my head. Last week George Strait was singing to me, "I Cross My Heart and Promise to..." At first, I didn't get it but if you think of it as a love song to yourself it is pretty great. And I don't even like country music. This morning I woke up with Paul McCartney singing to me "My Love." Now that is more like it.

Today I leave you with another fall photo. This was taken in Santa Fe a month or so ago when I went to the Balloon Festival but I include it here today because I intend it as a painting.

P. S. I can't believe how many posts were about cats yesterday and how many people use them in their art! That is wonderful. P.S. My cat is still in the laundry basket!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

November 12 - Day 12

Wow, even less time this morning. I thought I hit snooze but apparently not! However, I usually have a back up plan for days like this so it doesn't take me very long to get ready. This has been an extraordinarily busy week both at home and at work. I will be back to the canvas this evening. The background is as nice and dry as oil paints can get in a couple of days. Even though they can get wet again it's easier starting with drier. The wetter the paint the easier it is to muddle.
I noticed someone else in the community has a Ms. Kitty. Here is mine, the Calico. The gray kitty is Simone. I caught them napping the other morning. Of course, the story is they are up early and rambunctious. By the time I am ready to leave for work - they are napping. Ms. Kitty loves her textures and spent the entire evening in the clothes basket last night.
I will leave you with another litter poem for today....
The girl who is born with little
Creates magic
She is the morning star
Her favorite sound is night fall
She writes dreams by the cool lake and
Music is her prince

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

November 11 - Day 11

Very little time today. The dream class at my house went longer than expected, the canvas is still resting. We've had such a lovely fall that we are just now getting the second round of leaves turning and falling. I woke up yesterday to fog and about 1/3 of the leaves on my pecan tree had fallen over the yard. Today I'm posting a couple of photos of the tree. Tonight I will be back to painting the canvas.

Another thing I like to do is mess around with the Magnetic Poetry. Here is a little ditty for today.
But for one memory, say a dark whisper.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November 10 - Day 10

Today I am posting a photograph that I took recently on a walk around the university I live near. We are having such a gorgeous fall and the roses are still in bloom. I didn't realize until I uploaded the photos the ants that are at the center of the bloom.
I simply had to let the canvas have a night off. After darkening up the background it was too wet last night to do anything with blades of grass. I will get back to it tonight.
As I mentioned I have my marching orders for the 4 Seasons paintings AND tonight I am meeting with a woman who wants a mural for her office. So, if that goes well, I will certainly be busy and creative for some time to come. There has been so much synchronicity in my life lately and it's funny that I unconsciously picked the rose in bloom in fall for today's post because it is a great metaphor for how I am feeling. I don't think it is any accident that Creative Every Day and all these job opportunities are happening at the same time.
On a final note, my 2nd dream workshop is tonight. I woke early and went back to sleep this morning and dreamed I barely escaped a car crash. While I was careening down the highway sideways, with my friend Jackie in the passenger seat, cars are passing me going even faster and cutting in front of my swerving car. I come dangerously close to guard rail but in the midst of it all I am very aware and conscious of taking deep breaths and staying in control and I manage to bring the car back to normal. As we slow down Jackie says that she either saw or is aware of a female presence that was with us in the back seat. Then I am off the highway, I stop at a stop sign and a kid behind me hits me after all that! I get out of the car but then my body starts flying around on its own. And I discover I have control over it . I can jump and do somersaults in the air and all manner of tricks. Jackie tells the couple who hit me that it is "mind over matter". There was some more detail to the dream but this was the most significant part. Wonder what we will make of that.
Do any of you have flying dreams?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

November 9 - Day 9

I am happy to report that my idea to treat today's painting as a meditation worked really well. I love working with oils because they can be very forgiving. It is because they stay wet so long it's easy enough to remove or paint over something that isn't working. But that same quality can have me pushing the paint around until it is just a muddle. Once I had my little epiphany though that the frustration is really just coming from how I am thinking about what is happening I took a different approach. Deep breaths and an intention to just let thoughts rise and fall. If a critical thought surfaced I listened to it once, thanked it for its critique then reminded myself that it's only paint. What is the worst that could happen? I end up not happy - paint over it and start over? And who would care if I had to do that? No one - no big deal. The masters probably threw out more paintings than we'll ever know about.

Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes the master. I'd give credit for that quote but I don't remember who said it.

I'm getting close to finishing the shoes. I want to do some more refining on the shoe laces and then I have to find a way to add in the blades of grass. I attempted a start at that but wasn't happy with the brush I picked. Back to the "drawing" board on that one. But I'll figure it out. I really shouldn't be too much longer on this one and then I'll start on one of my commissioned pieces. All in all, it was a good day.

By the way, if anyone wants to make an incredible French Onion soup: Slice up your onions (I used sweet ones) and put them in some kind of oven pot. Drizzle a littel olive oil and butter over them - add a 1/4 of white wine and cook them down slowly. I think I had the oven set at about 300 for an hour or so. I stirred them occasionally. Made the most scrumptious carmelized onion. Tossed them in a sauce pan with some chicken broth. Tomorrow will add the croutons and maybe a little cheese. Beats standing over the stove while the onions cook down in a pan and the flavor was incredible. They cooked down while I painted.

November 8 - Day 7/8

Somehow I think I've missed a day of posting but that is ok. I'm still keeping up the challenge. Yesterday I was able to spend some time with the painting and I worked through the part that was frustrating me. It's funny how dual the mind is. I find, for me, almost every thought has a conflicting one. I am working on that in my meditation group. I do find that when I can connect with that part of me that just witnesses everything, the inner conflict just disappears. However, so far, it is only in rare moments that happens. What is usually going on is a voice that is hypercritical of what I am doing and the other is the arguing voice of reason that says I am (or should be) enjoying the process. The critical voice just wants to slap some paint on it and get it over with. The frustration then isn't actually with the painting itself but this internal conflict. These phantom voices. I'm tempted to say it all sounds crazy, but I'm reading your blogs and I know that this is a common thought process.

A friend is taking me to brunch in about an hour, I have some grocery shopping to do and then I plan to spend the rest of the time on the painting. I am going in to it today with the intention of working from awareness making it a painting meditation. The intention will be to just let the thoughts arise, notice them, thank them for sharing and let them disappear. I'll let you know how it goes! ha-ha.

Someone commented on the painting that the shoes had "character". I'm so glad. The girls were sisters at the balloon fiesta and their shoes were so cute I asked for a photo. The dad got all excited and tried to pose them. I think the younger little girl was probably pretty precocious and "sassy" while the older sister seemed more aware of herself, a little shy but much the big sister. I can see that in their shoes! I haven't thought yet about a title for the painting. I don't often title them but maybe I will this one. Any suggestions?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

November 6 - Day 6

I'll be posting twice today since I ran out of time yesterday. I'm starting to get to the detail of the shoes. I find that once I have to start slowing down to work with the detail I always hit a point where I end up getting frustrated with something. I have to walk away and keep coming back to it. Or maybe I stop where I am and start working on another spot. I just have to keep at it until the 'ah-ha' and I figure out what I need to be doing.
I'm still working on getting the shoes right so all that green around them is going to be grass but I haven't started to put that detail in yet.
Yesterday I read an interesting article in a newsletter from the artist Robert Genn. And it was totally synchronistic with Leah's post about the frustrating mood she was in. He said that it had been his experience that a bad mood helps the attention span and the critical faculties, not necessarily to be more creative but with a wider vision and sharper focus. He pointed out that the University of New South Wales had produced research that shows people in a negative mood are more critical and more attentive than when in a regular or happy mood. Sadness, they found actually promotes information processing strategies best suited to dealing with demanding situations. Other bad mood benefits were less gullibility, improved assessment of others and memory improvement. Who knew?
I have come to accept that we are meant to experience the full range of emotion but this info helps me refine my attitude about it. I can actually use it my benefit, as Leah did creating her gorgeous bear, instead of letting it throw completely off the track.

Friday, November 6, 2009

November 5 - Day 5

I wrote this post and then went back to proof it and saw something I had not connected. As you will see I had something happen this week that has really tested me. And I talk about it as an opportunity to heal a negative pattern. What I had not connected was the metaphor for the painting. When I saw the words "other shoe" it made me thing of the expression "waiting for the other shoe to drop." THIS IS the old negative pattern. When things start rocking along too smoothly in my life I expect the "other shoe" to drop. Well, it did. I realize stuff happens in life and nobody ever goes through it completely without challenge but living with this constant fear of the "other shoe" dropping IS the thing I am trying to clear up! How weird is that? ha-ha.

That said, I am just amazing myself that I am keeping up this week. Along with the day job I've had something going on pretty much every night. Time last night was really short. I had a lovely visit with my new friend, Marcy, about the paintings she wants. We ended up running some packages to Fed-Ex for her and then stopped for a snack/drink before I headed off to meditation. I'm very excited about this project for her. She wanted something meaningful for her and her husband so I am going to paint 4 vertical canvas that represent something from each season they love to do. Winter will represent skiing in Breckinridge; Spring in Mexico, Summer concerts at Red Rocks and Fall at Austin City Limits concerts. She had some photos for ideas she had pulled out. I enjoy the collaboration and helping someone bring their vision to life.

Meditation was just wonderful. I am so grateful to have found this small group of people. I hear a lot of things I've known for a while, am learning some new things but the great thing is really beginning to practice what I've learned. And this week something came up that has really been testing me. Does anyone else find that to be true? Though I panicked in the moment I am trying accept that this is an opportunity to heal an old and long standing pattern in my life. Yuck. Nobody likes the process but I've had enough experience to know that once you come out on the other side it's worth it.
So all that is just lovely and peachy but I found myself with not much time or energy left at the end of the evening. I did work a bit on the other shoe because I am determined to put some stroke(s) on it every day. I realize I don't have to hold myself to any harsh standard. But it is the "challenge" to create that I have taken on and it will be a little personal victory to follow it through. Besides I am enjoying it so it's not like I am hating or begrudging of it. Tonight will be another night, I suspect, for a few brush strokes and then this weekend I will have more time to devote to it. I'm just excited that my "Muse" has come back to me well rested and energized and ready for this project.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

November 4 - Day 4

First, thank you for the comments! I am so excited! I write a blog for my book club. And every month 13 other women read it and send me their comments on email but no one ever leaves a comment on the blog! ha-ha.

Yesterday was a bit more of a struggle. I've been rocking along pretty good in life and then wham! Something kind of came at me out of the blue. Hopefully, it will resolve it self quickly and easily but it has knocked me a bit off center. Also, last night I had dinner with friends and planned to be home by 8 for a telecall with "Self Love Studio". Christine Arylo is hosting a free 7 week seminar on self-love. Last week we had Muriel Hemingway on the phone. How cool is that? And last night was Kimberly Wilson (from my home state of Oklahoma) talking about tranquility. Funny thing is, she is wound up pretty tight. A high driving, type A personality. My friend, Carla, who was also on the call said it worked for her because they have the same kind of struggles with relaxing.

I had intended to paint while I listened but that didn't happen. So it was after 9 again when I got to the painting. Now that the whole thing is blocked in with color that means I have to get down to the details. My personality in life and in painting is that I like the big broad strokes. I see the big picture and it is difficult to get me focused on the details. Sometimes this serves me well but everybody has to attend to the details sometimes so it is good practice. One tiny problem I was having was that because I blocked in all the color first the canvas is wet. So in some instances where the detail is small and fine.... I was just pushing paint around. However, as always, when I step away from the canvas or leave it and come back to it, it is never as bad as I thought. I have to remind myself that art is meant to be viewed from the distance and I am painting it nose to nose. Step away from the canvas!

So today I'm only posting the toe of the shoe I worked on last night. Tonight on my way home I am stopping to consult with my friend who wants the 4 paintings. I will keep you posted on that and then I have a meditation class at 7 so, again it will be late when I get to the paint - but that seems to be working for me this week. Go with what works.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November 3 - Day 3

I thought it worth mentioning I am doing my art at night and posting the next morning so it seems I am a day behind but this only the posting part. That said, this is day number 3 of Create Art Everyday and I am still going strong. You might think it redundant that I keep announcing that. But I am notorious for having a great idea that doesn't get kicked off or starting something and getting totally sidetracked. Everyday that I accomplish my intention, and tonight it was to get the full canvas covered in paint, it is a huge victory!

Tonight, after another full workday, I hosted a small group of women for a dream workshop. Tonight was the first in a 4 week class. I didn't get started on the painting until the girls left at 9:00. By 11:00 I had accomplished my task and now I sit happily typing away about the experience.

I'm very happy with the progress. I was tempted to let myself get a little frustrated. I thought there wasn't enough contrast between what is going to be grass and the shoes. But, I left the room to clean the brushes and when I walked back in the room and got the view from a distance I was much happier with it and I reminded myself that this is really another layer of under painting. It is no where near the finished product. So, once I diverted myself from the all too early criticism I finished the cleanup and got out the camera. Not bad for a few hours work.

Monday, November 2, 2009

November 2 - Day 2

I managed to keep up my energy today and after a full day at the office came home and started to block in the color on my painting. I think it is coming together nicely considering the small amount of time I've put in so far. Once I get the first layer of color blocked in I'll go back and spend more time refining the details.

I have to say, so far so good. Last year all I could manage was reading Leah's blog every day and think about how great it would be to participate. I would admire the others in the cybespace community of people that were actively working on their projects but I just couldn't muster up the enthusiasm. This year, however, I was a bit ahead of the game with a canvas and drawing under way. I had already created this blog so I was off and running.

Starting tomorrow night I'm hosting a work shop on Tuesdays at my house. I hope I can manage to squeeze in a few brush strokes before bed time so I don't break my stride. It's kind of early in the game for that. I'm having so much fun with this painting that I am eager to get to the canvas. What a great way to spend a month that is normally kind of tough for me. Though I love this fall weather the shorter daylight hours take their toll. I seemed to have picked the right subject, however, something about the shoes, the colors or maybe the memory of the balloon fiesta is sure cheering me up!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November 1

Today is November 1 and the first day of the Creative Every Day challenge. I came across this blog last year around this time and have enjoyed following it ever since. I enjoy the other blogs that are part of this community as well. Last year I did not have it in me to participate. As you can see from my previous posts I was at the beginning of a bit of a dry spell. That seems to have passed. Today I put the under painting to a drawing I did a few days ago. My goal for this month is to work on this painting at least a bit every day. If I get the time and get really ambitious and finish it then I'll move onto something else.

Since my impulse to create has kicked back in suddenly I am in demand again. I am in discussions for a commissioned painting as well as possible mural. It's very exciting. Today my sister was in town and we took a short stroll around the college campus and I took some lovely photos I posted to Facebook.

I work mostly in oils on canvas. When I do murals I switch to acrylics. I really enjoy photography as well and I am usually taking photos with a painting in mind.

Something else I did was take a little road trip with four of my girlfriends. We drove up to Wichita, Kansas to see an exhibit of 3 generations of Wyeth paintings. It was a truly beautiful exhibit. It was a gorgeous fall day and it just added to my enjoyment and inspiration.

Here's to getting a really great start to November!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Saturday I had another amazing massage. Before I went I got out a vision board I had started earlier in the year. I've wanted to tweak it some but haven't taken the time. I was looking through my box of photos, quotes and scrap paper when I came across a journal I had started in December of last year. I was frustrated because I had lost the motivation to create anything and I was trying to figure out why. I found I had made a list of possible reasons everything from past life injury to this life fear of personal power. I think I had about 9 possible reasons. I journaled one page about my frustration, made the list and put it away. I had to laugh when I saw it though I still remember my frustration and it wasn't funny in the moment.

All that mental hoop jumping trying to figure it out and in the end it turns out that I was just tired. Exhausted. Mentally, physically, and emotionally drained. The well had just gone dry and I didn't recognize the symptoms. Instead, I do what most peopl do and that is beat myself up about it. And that helps, of course.

However, I am glad that things worked out like they did because I learned a great deal from the experience.

One thing I learned is that I am a creative person and I am always going to be a creative person. An artist in some form or fashion. I don't have to worry that the Muse is going to depart the building for good. So, if I cycle back around to this subject again I won't beat myself up again. Creating is not a phase it is supposed to be our way of life. In whatever form we choose we are all co-creators of our lives. So, I can put that to rest.

Creating any kind of artistic endeavor takes a lot of energy and focus, drive and motivation. And if it is one thing I have learned in other areas is that you have to fill your own well first. When you give anything out of the excess of the flow then you are not depleted. Try giving from a dry well and the results are poor or none at all. Or, you give and are resentful, angry, depressed.

In life, awareness is the key to any problem you have. Bring awareness to the situation and sooner or later you will hit on the solution. When you are feeling frustrated or resentful (milder forms of anger), ask yourself in what ways are you not taking care of you. I read an author recently that said that when you are frustrated with life and want to pack it all in and run away from home that is a sure sign that you are neglecting your own Extreme Self-Care.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Inspiration has arrived

When I started this blog I intended it to be a place for me to sort out my feelings on my creativity or, lack thereof, which seemed to be more the case these days. I whined a bit in my first post and the 2nd post was all about the weather. Can you spell "avoidance?" And then I just got busy and left it at that. Then last weekend I went with two of my friends to Albuquerque to see the Balloon Fiesta and we planned a day in Santa Fe. Let me say first how much I love this area. Anytime I get in the car and head west out of OKC on I-40 I just let go of the stress and anxiety. I think I finally figured out that because New Mexico is sparsely populated and there are no huge cities or concrete canyons the energy is different and the pace is slower and relaxed. And because there are fewer buildings and less concrete your enveloped in nature in a way that just soothes the troubled soul. At least it does it for me.

Then you throw in the art community in Santa Fe and it takes the experience to new heights. This is my 4th trip to Santa and the 2nd in October. The fall in the high desert is gorgeous and it was in full fall color. This day there was not a cloud in the sky and it was an intense blue. It made a beautiful background when juxtaposed against the various adobe buildings or the vibrant flowers and leaves. I was instantly inspired by the photographs I was taking. Every where I turned I saw potential paintings. We didn't spend too much time in the square, we headed over to Canyon Road. This long and winding road is world renowned for its galleries that house every thinkable kind of painting and sculpture. I think I heard there were around 50 galleries but don't quote me on that.

There were 3 galleries in particular that stood out for us. The first, whose name I'm going to have to find again, was totally fun because of the curators. One had graduated high school in OKC. They were fun, funny and informative and giving an artist's opening that night they invited us to. I think in this gallery I was more inspired by the sculpture and there were some outstanding pieces. What I noticed was that most of these galleries represent several artists and are watched over by a curator whose job it is to protect and sell the art. The 2nd gallery that stood out for us, however, was owned and operated by 3 artists themselves. They were all there working on pieces and could not have been nicer and more welcoming. Their art was totally different from each other. One woman painted whimsical and autobiographical images on hollow core doors. The 2nd woman was a "fine arts" painter of portraits and nature scenes, and the young man was a photographer who enhanced his photographs with oils.

The last gallery though made the biggest impression and we almost didn't go in. We were standing at the street trying to decide what to do when when a smiling security guard invited us to "come on in" to Chaulk Farm Gallery. The gallery itself was stunning in its arrangement and decor and the paintings were unlike any I am used to seeing. All were of the 'fine art' persuasion but just completely unusual. We were standing in one of the rooms admiring a rather large painting when the curator came in and started giving us the back story on the artist and the symbolism behind the painting. It moved us all to tear. Well, it moved Carla and I to tears. Phyllis is taking an anti-depressant and couldn't generate the tears, though she was just as moved. The artist was Michael Whelan and I have to say I never thought I'd be so moved by a painter that does whimsical and sci-fi art. Apparently, he is a famous illustrator that has done book cover art for people like Stephen King.

And then there was the balloon fiesta which is so overwhelmingly magical and full of whimsy and bright colors. When we weren't taking photos of the balloons Phyllis was taking photos of cute babies and children for a photo book on "Balloon Babies" she wants to create and I was busy taking photos of cool and funky shoes for paintings. I think I probably took about 500 photos and I have plenty of material to work from to paint as long as I want to.

In my reflection on the process of creativity I realize that often it is about time. When you have a day job that consumes you and any kind of a social life sometimes the art takes a back seat. Because creating takes time and energy. You have to plan on focusing that time and energy in a different direction. Timing is also part of the issue with the process of desire and motivation. I had been working pretty hard for a couple of years painting canvases and doing physically demanding redecorating projects on top of the day job. I have come to understand that I needed the rest both mentally and physically. Though it felt, at times, that my "Muse" had departed the building for good or that maybe being an "artist" had just been a phase, I decided to just wait it out. I had a feeling, on that other hand, that if I just allowed myself a bit of a vacation with no judgment the desire would return.

Our long weekend in the high desert was just the antidote I needed. We booked a room on Priceline and we were delighted with our Hilton. It had just finished a renovation and was gorgeous. One afternoon we lay by the pool and it was so quiet. The air was a tiny bit cool but the sun was warm on my face and I slept. When I awoke it felt like it does when I've just had a massage. I felt like a big puddle that needed to be scraped off the ground and I mean that in the best possible way. I ate well, I slept well, I enjoyed the company of great friends and my eyes feasted on great beauty every where I turned. The timing was right, the environment was perfect and the ground and been plowed and allowed to rest.

I also have to say that I had taken a few other steps in the area of my rejuvenation that was part of that getting the ground ready. I have found a new massage therapist that does energy healing work and a dream interpreter that I've started working with. I think even the little work I've done with them has started moving my energy in a more positive direction. I definitely want to give credit where it is due. And just this past week I found an amazing meditation group that I believe is only going to enhance what I've got going on. The mediation that we did this past Thursday has helped me hold on to the feelings generated in Santa Fe.

In fact, a very nice young man told me on Friday, that he thought I glowed when I smiled! And I had to smile to myself. I realize that the culmination of the last couple of months have truly been healing and now.... I must go paint!

P.S. the creativity isn't just about the painting. Recently, I've been inspired to cook and I'm also inspired to write things like this blog and our book club blog. I've always had several ideas for books and now I may just work that in as well. The one thing I will try to be aware of is to pace the energy a bit better and to remain vigilant with the things that heal and nurture me. Truth is life on this planet is hectic and stressful and its up to me to keep things in balance and perspective.

Stay tuned.... and we'll see how that goes!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fall and other Stuff

The weather this weekend was just indescribably beautiful. The temperature was exquisite. That first perfect day of fall when the sun is shining but there is the tiniest nip of cool in the air. I kept saying that if I could hug a day I would. The summer had its moments of intense heat. I think we had about a 3 week stretch of temps that were 106+. The good news about the summer is that we had enough intermittent rain to make it bearable. Seemed that with each rain the temperatures backed off. I can live with pretty much anything as long as there is that sporadic reprieve. However, now that the worst of the heat is behind us I relish the darker mornings and cooler days and nights. We've started to see the first leaf turning yellow. And the first college football game is on Saturday. Fall is my very favorite time of year. There is excitement in the air as students converge on the college and we gear up for football, Homecoming, and Halloween. For me, there is something romantic maybe even nostalgic about the fall. And the heat can really make me cranky! So my personality takes a shift to the lighter side. I am just not a girl who enjoys the extreme temperatures of summer and winter but I am living in the wrong state for that!

For now I am so happy to have turned that corner into this season. Soon the Fair will be upon us, and though I am not a fan of the Fair, you can count on lots of rain during that time. The leaves will start to really get golden, red and brown. My pecan crop (one tree in my front yard) will fall. I love Halloween and can't wait to get out the decorations and carve my pumpkin. For years I loved it more than Christmas.

I am going to enjoy every single second of this glorious season!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I just came from a small art show on the campus corner in my college town. As an artist myself, I am always inspired, not only by other people's work, but by the fact that they are out there creating and sharing their talents.

I have not participated in an art festival, though I have shown some of my paintings in restaurants. I've sold most of what I've painted but mostly to family and friends. I did sell a few things to people who never met me when I had a booth in a consignment market. That was very exciting. I love to paint and to write but I always seem to put in on the back burner while I toil away at a less than creative desk job. I thought I'd start this blog as a general on line journal to help me sort out my thoughts about why I am doing what I am doing and not what I think I want to do.

It is a process that I know a lot of people battle. I have a friend who is a singer/song writer and several that paint or write. But we toil away to support lifestyles we don't even want to be living.

Let me rephrase that just a bit. There is plenty about my life that is wonderful and that I love especially my friends and the travel I've been able to do in recent years. But basically, I am living a past life in the sense that my marriage ended and my son grew up but I am still living in the same house which requires a lot of effort and upkeep and there's a good size mortgage to fund and that keeps me toiling at the day job. I don't need this big house and yard and the burden that it has become. It served its purpose for me for years as I raised my son and cared for a family but now it has become a boulder around my neck. I love the neighborhood but it's no longer worth the stress. The good news is that it is up for sale and I'm waiting for the right person to come along.

I realize that plenty of people pursue their dreams with more passion and perseverance. They stay up late or get up early putting in the hours that a creative life requires while they do the day job. And I have done this also and it served me well but I burned out burning the candle at both ends.

So, I am taking steps to move into a different phase and a different kind of life. I'm a bit like the elephant tied to the stake and when they cut the chain the elephant doesn't move. I am conditioned for this life of stress and strain. So part of my practice will be to enlarge my comfort zone gradually so that fear of the unknown doesn't undo my good intentions.

When I fall to feeling trapped and frustrated I need to remind myself that I am taking the right steps. The house is up for sale and there is plenty to do in the mean time to ready myself for this new life.