Monday, November 26, 2012


 My excuse for NOT doing my art lately:


 And this......

A bit of this......

and this....

Just excuses, but who can argue?  My babies are so dang cute.  

This weekend, this little twerp went Christmas tree shopping with me.  He claimed I was "picky" and his feet were full of mud but look what kind of help he was giving me!  

But I ended up with a perfect one for my corner and once the MESS is cleaned up, maybe I'll get back to work.  

PS:  Those "excuses" were 5 of my seven grandchildren.  Just sayin...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Personal Note of Gratitude

The theme for this months blog circle is gratitude. This is so easy for me to relate to.   I have so much to be thankful for.  This is usually a blog about my creative pursuits but because it is Thanksgiving I am taking time out to reflect upon what is golden in my life.

 (pretty sad that I have so few pictures of my three together as adults.  This one was taken 6 years ago at my oldest, beautiful daughter's wedding).  
My family means everything to me.  I have three amazing children, (above), all grown and productive,   Anyone who has had children know there were certainly trials and sacrifices along the way but the outcome is hugely satisfactory.  I LOVE them with a fierceness that surprises me.   In the past six years those three have produced 7 children which, of course, are  grandchildren to me.  I LOVE them.

I have so much to be thankful for, but for this post want to focus on how I got to where I am now as an artist.

I really had No Idea  how much I yearned to explore this side of me. For thirty years I have dedicated my life to  raising and educating kids. I have been a school teacher in 2nd through 9th grades and have given 100% to that endeavor. 

Here are a couple of pictures showing you how goofy my life as a elementary school teacher could be.  

About a year ago, I knew that I was at the top of my game in teaching, but I was feeling it was time to move on.  I had other things I was aching to do.  I retired in June and by August I had renovated a spare room, turning it into my creative space.

My journey has been documented in this blog.  I am only three months into my (official) life as an artist but in that time I have taken three e-classes, joined a large artist community, signed up for an art retreat out of state, read countless art books,  explored, experimented and plunged into painting on a regular basis.  I have created an artist Facebook page, an Etsy shop and this blog. I am serious and  I am so thankful for the opportunity.

Since I was a little kid, I have always been happiest creating.  I learned to use a sewing machine at the age of 8, and by the following year I was sewing clothes for myself and my dolls.  I lived on acreage where there were woods to explore, claybanks to scavenge, chicken houses to renovate into a playhouse and  camps in the forest.  We did not own a TV and I was never bored.

(This picture is of me, in the middle, with my two sisters,  my mother, aunt and father.   I love the innocence of those days in the 50's. 

I love everything about that time of my life. )

When I was in high school, I decided that I wanted to be an interior designer. I took extra Home Ec classes and art classes. When I got to college I wasn't as committed to that idea and ended up with a major in Clothing, Textiles and Art. I did not have the resources to plunge into Fashion Design in Seattle in the 60's, and I needed to support a husband going through law school, so I ended up going back to college to get  a teaching degree.

I am SO thankful for my career as a teacher. It was rewarding on many levels, and most certainly, never dull.  What that experience is providing me now is a bit of retirement security while I explore this next phase in my life. Now that I am retired, I am so thankful to have something that intrigues me, causes me to learn, and is always there to turn to when I have some time. which is pretty much whenever I want.   And that is the way it should be.  I put in my time, as a parent and as a teacher, and now I get to play.
It is just so right and I am so thankful that this is my life right now.

  Here is some recent "fun" art to share with you.

And now, (after you leave me a sweet gratitude comment (<3 ), circle round to my friend, Kelli  Watcherson's blog to continue our personal thoughts on being thankful.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wordle Wednesday

Who would think that a newly retired, ecstatically satisfied, self-professed artist would have the word WORK as the most frequently used word in her blog thus far?   In this context WORK is a positive word.  

Friday, November 2, 2012


Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” -- Pablo Picasso

It also gets paint on the computer keyboard.  Man, I am a messy painter.  Today I was using gesso, acrylic paints, charcoal pencil, and oil pastels.  In the course of a few hours work, I dirty at least a dozen brushes.  My studio redo is already too small for me.  I find I want to stand while painting so I think I need a real easel.  Some day, I'll get it all figured out.  The good thing about my work area being so small is that I have to clean up after each work time.  

This week I've been working on a large canvas.  This one is for me.  I've been so busy setting up my Etsy shop and getting it stocked with a body of work that I haven't thought about what I might like in my own living room.  

For this painting,  I wanted to work larger and also wanted there to be a lot of white in the picture.  My living room has only one accent color...wythe blue 
which I wanted to repeat similarly in the painting.   And of course, I needed a girl.  

I am still trying to find my way as a mixed media artist.  I start each canvas out with a collage of materials in the background.  Materials like stamps, written material, music, poetry and patterned papers. I try to be somewhat strategic about where I place them. Ideally some of this should still be showing by the end of the paint process, but invariably I've made so many layers that the first one is long since obscured.  All that is left is the texture from the edges of the papers.  That is not necessarily a good thing.  But, I am learning.  

This  is when I was about 1/3 done. 

 I liked it, but when I moved on and painted her face and hair she looked VERY unbalanced.  Her head looked huge for her body.   So I added some "body" to her and this is where I am now.  

20 x 24 x 1 1/2" canvas

I always take a day to look at a painting before I say I'm done.  Any suggestions?

************  November 7,  2012  UPDATE:

I worked on her some more.  The arms really bothered me so I made the right one longer and the left one more proportionate.  I made her dress more see-through so you could see some skin through it, lowered her neckline and got rid of the butterfly.  Also worked on her hand, making her index finger longer.  I made most of the changes with oil pastels, because I had used a white pastel on the top and you can't/shouldn't add water based paints on top of oils.  I'm liking her better now.  I may still work some more dots back in the left upper side. I painted some out when getting rid of the butterfly.   I also used my Nikon on this rather than my IPad camera so the coloring is more true.   Thank you for your encouragement and constructive comments.  

close up crop...