Tuesday, November 27, 2012


At the last minute I decided to join

The theme of the swap was "empowerment."
Here are the postcards I made.

The images come from the 1949 edition of "Every Woman's Standard Medical Guide."

It's easy to laugh at the absurdity of these captions, but I think it's important to stop once in a while and reflect on how much has changed in such a short time.  This isn't ancient history, this was the reality for so many people we know directly.  Who do you know who was raised during these times?  Your mother? Your grandmother? Perhaps you yourself.

 Having grown up in the "Free To Be You and Me" 70s it's easy for me to take my rights and freedoms for granted.  I have never felt oppressed or limited in my options.

The funny thing about this book is that I believe it was intended as a source of empowerment.  
As it says above, we women are assets even in the halls of Congress. Imagine that!
(Just make sure you're married while you do "a man's job.")

I am thankful to the generations of women who fought and resisted and paved the way for the life I lead now.  I am reminded to not become complacent as our current and future generations continue to work for equity. Perhaps the 2012 edition of "Our bodies, Ourselves" will look quaint and outdated to our future granddaughters.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Creativity experiment: days 9-15

I continued the 40 Day Creativity Experiment this week by adding one layer per day to my humble paper bag canvas.
(You can see days 1-8 here.)

This challenge is going to be harder than I thought.  How can I possibly keep adding to a single piece for this many days?  I got to a point this week where I was starting to like it but then it started feeling precious, and I was afraid to mess it up.  I took a deep breath and reminded myself that it's just craft paint on a grocery bag, and since I've documented every step of the way, I could easily recreate the parts I liked at a later date.

So here we go with this week's progress.
When last you saw this painting, it looked like this:

Day 9:  I used some copper paint to stencil more circles, slightly off center to the gessoed circles.
 The photo makes it look kind of orange.  Here's a detail shot:  it's a nice shimmery copper paint.

Day 10: scribbled some brown circles with oil pastel

Day 11:  rubbed some brown paint over the areas of text to obscure them more.

Day 12: flung some burnt umber paint all over it.

Day 13: even though I kind of liked where this was going, I realized I would never make it to 40 days unless I added more layers.  Radical layers.   I rolled on some gesso with a brayer to push back some of the bright spots.

Day 14:  I stamped various size circles in teal paint and then sprayed water on them to make them drip a little.

Day 15:  I tore strips of a paper lunch bag and glued them down

And that's where it stands as of right now.
I really don't have any kind of plan here, but I've got 25 more days to figure something out.

Friday, November 23, 2012

and my grandmother called me pie face...

Forty five years ago, on Thanksgiving day, my mother delivered the nine-pound turkey that turned out to be me.

The family allegedly missed dessert that day, which might explain my life long obsession with pie.

Here are two of the four I made on Wednesday:
A few days ago, I apologetically told Ric that there would only be two apple, one pumpkin and one toll house pie for Thanksgiving.
We'd almost be pie impoverished.
(We take pie pretty seriously around here.)
This is one of the earliest art journally kind of things I ever did:

Once, when we lived 3,000 miles away and had neither the time nor means to come home to our families, we had the "All pie Thanksgiving."
This has morphed into a separate holiday with a core group of pie-obsessed friends and their offspring.  Last year we had 9 varieties (with doubles on the pork pie and apple pie for a grand total of 11 pies for 10 people.)
This was my ode to the day:

But I digress.
One of the nicest things about having a birthday near Thanksgiving is that it greatly increases the odds of not having to work on the actual anniversary of your birth.
("Hey Ric, you wanna know why today is awesome?  Because it's my birthday.  and I don't have to work")
Today started with pie for breakfast, and presents from my guys (art books - hooray!), and then the rest of the day was my own.
There was lots of art, and singing along to the iPod, and hanging Christmas lights in the unseasonably warm sunshine.  There was more pie, and more art, and leftover turkey and a rousing game of dominoes with the extended family.
There was no cake.  Cake is stupid.
Who would ever eat cake when there is pie?
It was a perfect birthday. 

When I went looking for the above newborn picture, I found these favorites from just a few years later.
They say your personality is pretty well set by age 2, and when you look at these pictures you'll see not much has changed.
This is still one of my most comfortable positions:

I still wear more than one hat and could use an extra hand.
(and my tights still get baggy around the knees)

I still enjoy a good bottle of something or other.
and I'm still unstoppable on a beach.

Here's one of the things my mother wrote about me at this age:

 See?  some things never change.

I did put down my superballs long enough to continue my 40-day creativity experiment today, but you're going to have to wait until tomorrow to see that.
I'm off to have another slice of pie.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


My typical approach to art is full-throttle.
I work rapidly, exuberantly, impatiently, impulsively.

I almost always finish a piece in one sitting.
I don't like to wait between layers.
 I've turned lots of pieces to mud by adding a new color too soon, and wrecked a fair amount of markers by writing on not-quite-dry pages.

I could stand to practice some restraint.

So when the 40 day creativity experiment began on November 11th, I decided to use this as an experiment in self-control.  I will work on this big gessoed paper bag for 40 consecutive days, and I will only add ONE LAYER per day.  No matter how much it pains me to walk away.

Day 1:  No vision.
Smeared orange paint with my hands.

Day 2: Looked for something I don't usually use.
Smeared burnt umber paint with my hands.

Day 3:  Used a brayer to add a layer of gesso.
No plan whatsoever.

Day 4:  Sprayed some walnut ink.

Day 5:  Rubbed on some teal paint with a baby wipe.

Day 6:  Adhered some torn book pages with gel medium.
Flying by the seat of my pants.

Day 7:  Rubbed gesso over the text.
No clue where I'm going with this.

Day 8: Used gesso and a stencil to add circles.
Today is the first day I walk away knowing what I want to do to it tomorrow.
And it's killing me not to do it RIGHT NOW.
I'm almost twitching.
But instead, I'm going to bed.
Look at me, practicing restraint.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mail Art Call

Please consider making some mail art for Gina's wonderful ongoing project.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

This might be a record

People often wonder how I manage to do all the things I do.
First of all, I'm a well known spaz.
Second, I have the attention span of a flea, so I always have a lot of projects going on at once.  When I get bored with the one I'm working on, I can reach over and add to something else.

I want to give you a glimpse of what my art room looks like right now:
There's a lot going on.

So now let's take a closer look at the works in progress.

 I'm painting more tissue paper so that I can make more paper cloth so that I can make more covers for my long-stitch journals.

Here's a stack of postcards that I just finished.  They are sitting on the couch to remind me to actually write on them and mail them.

Next is the beginning of a challenge set forth by a friend many months ago:

Liz told me to keep one of the three duct tape journals she sent for the MMSA swap.
I started slapping stuff down in it while waiting for paint to dry on another project.

and look, here are some leftover squares from the "cubomania" swap:
 Here's the finished postcard that I mailed yesterday:

 To the left of my newly made long-stitch journals is a painted book cover that will be used for a duct tape journal:

and speaking of duct tape journals, I sent this one to a swap-bot partner yesterday:
I used an old text-book for the cover and I love that the school property stamp is the first thing you see when you open it.

Here's a stack of papercloth, begging to be used:
("please turn us into journal covers, Karen!")

and look, the procrastination queen is finally finishing her inspiration deck.  The one she started in August that has to be in Texas in about 4 days.

On my work table is the junk journal from the paper swap:

Jake takes the mess in stride and just curls up at my feet. 
I nuzzle him periodically.

This is a pile of mail that needs to be answered.  And snacks.

The lap top is always nearby so I can blog in between layers of paint:

Pop Quiz: which of these baskets are trash and which are collage fodder?  Not always easy to tell the difference.

Haven't quite finished cleaning up the beeswax supplies.

I used the wax to make this "no glue" collage for a swap:

Over here on the "easel" is day one of the 40 day creativity experiment:

There, behind the door, are my needle-felting supplies (squashed between a basket of MMSA swaps and the bunched-up rug that I moved so that I could paint those pieces of tissue paper on the floor)
And here are my first two attempts at needle-felted ATCs
(for a paper-less ATC swap)
This first one is too big and will have to be used for a different purpose:

This next one is the proper size and I rather liked where it was going, but then I lost my head and glued it to a piece of cardstock to strengthen it (forgetting about the whole "no paper" rule of the swap).

So I can't swear to it, but I think this is the most things I've ever had going on simultaneously.
Everything pictured has been created since I got home from work at 4:30 on Friday.  (and yes, I have slept this weekend).
I'm not sure how I do it either. 
I even make my own head spin.