Friday, September 24, 2010

On Dreaming and Working

I've been posting a lot about being brave,
stepping out on faith and believing in yourself.

Today, I'd like to write about the flip side of that...
or where I was a few years ago with my artwork.

If you've read my blog much, you know that I feel I have always been an artist.
I drew when I was young.
I collected bugs, feathers and fabric
and then placed them in a pleasing manner in my own little room.

I learned to sew as a young girl,
usually designing clothes for teddy bears and making tote bags
that I later painted.

As a young adult, I taught myself to crochet,
making elaborate doilies and starched snowflakes for every one's Christmas tree.
When I worked as a RN in Neonatal ICU,
I used to sell handmade gifts to all the staff.
I was both artsy and crafty...
Still am actually.

But there was a part of me that felt I wasn't a "real" artist.
Wonder why?
Cause I never went to art school?
Well, lots of really famous (REALLY famous) artists never went to art school...
So that argument was out.

Well, people might laugh at me.
You know what, people have laughed at me and never seen my artwork.
So that was a moot argument.

Well, they will make fun of me...
They won't like my art.
No one will buy it...

OMG! The list could go on and on and on here!
The truth of it is (and was) that I was afraid...
of several things.
But I decided that I could either hide away at home and never share my work
or teach others to enjoy their creative talents,,,
I could put all those fears, doubts and insecurities behind me and jump in with both feet.

Now, I'll tell you a little (big) secret that REALLY worked for me.
My circle of friends.
My loved ones.
Those whose opinions I really trusted.
I ask them - look at my work.
Honestly tell me what you think of it.
Should I pursue my dream of making, selling and teaching my art?

And thanks to the counsel of my husband, my close friends
and a couple of other artists (in the know),
I made the right decision.

Was it scary?
Oh yeah.
Is it still scary?
Yeah, but not so much.
Is it fun?
Oh yeah!

Truth is, I can't imagine doing anything else.
I've dreamed of this my entire life.
That's a long, long time people...
A long time to sit and dream and not jump into action!

If I could move you to do anything in your life,
it would be to put one foot in front of the other towards a dream that you have.

MAKE it come true.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Textile Evolution

I wanted to post some of the photos that I took at the retreat.
I just have not had time - until now.
First, I wanted to show you the "treat bag" that all the participants received!
This is just the bag (in my messy but happy studio).
It was filled to the brim with The Most Awesome Freebies!
Liz Kettle's new book, threads (about 12-14 spools!), Misty Fuse (white and black!), multi purpose cloth, a journal that Liz pre-made, a collage pack form Artistic Artifacts, Portfolio water soluble oil pastels, Handcrafted magazine from Stampington and more!
Can you believe that?! It's really the BEST goodie bag that I have ever received!
Thanks to Liz and all her hard work!
She made the bag (below) out of the multipurpose cloth, screen printing, stamping and all sorts of fantastic surface design techniques.

The one day class that I taught was based on a small wall hanging

that utilized an ATC as the central element.

Here are photos of everyones artwork all together, followed by each individual piece.

They learned a couple of ways to make ATC's

as well as some easy background painting techniques.

We fashioned a background out of rusted fabric/fibers.

They all used slightly different layouts and different images to make their piece their own.

And they all did such a great job!

I love to watch people when it hits them - "it" being when it all comes together...

they go beyond what an instructor shows them and put their own stamp on it.

Just fabulous to have any part in giving everyone their own wings!

After lunch, we went for a walk around the mountain behind us and picked up some natural elements to add to the wallhangings.

Some found bones, dried and decaying but fabulous hangers!

Some picked up sticks to use as their hangers. And smaller twigs to use as design elements.

Whoops. Gotta turn your head to the side to look at this one! Kerry picked up an awesome piece of bark to adhere beads to!

Cat's painting techniques looks like embossed leather on the ATC. I love how everyones looks so different yet similar. It would be a great mini series to show together.

Here is another bone hanger from Kathy! She adhered words in the nest to symbolize her growing creativity and growth. How cool is that?

A beautiful piece with lots of musical symbolization from Cheryl. I love how she distressed the buttons on her piece.

Everyone completely finished their piece in this class. I think that sometimes we need easier projects that can be completed in the class.

I sure do appreciate all the ladies that joined me at Colorado Springs.

I am planning on going back next year too!

Perhaps I'll teach some drawing classes...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Seed Head Riot

Just celebrating the Fall Equinox here at my house...
along with some of natures tiniest power houses.
"Seed Head Riot"
India Ink on handmade paper.
Original is mounted to antique cypress siding.
It is available - price on request.
Prints still available
Email me for more info.
Step outside and view the full moon tonight.
You may even be able to see Jupiter if the sky is clear enough!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

West Greenville Art Festival


Un. Be. Liev. Able.

I am still reeling from the generous, encouraging, helpful
and supportive folks that I met at the West Greenville Arts festival!

What a talented group of artists that our city has.
There were out of towners as well that were just as talented and supportive of the other artists.

And UVA did an awesome job lining up vendors!

And the music...
Can I get a witness here?!
If you missed Mr. Mac Arnold & Plate Full O' Blues - you missed IT!
Yee Haw! What a talented group of music men.
Loved, loved Mac Arnold.

We had a good crowd both days, lots of folks out and about this weekend.
I met so many local people that were looking for art instruction.
Mixed media, fiber art, book making...
our society is hungry for handmade again.
I guess the old saying is true - what is old is new again...
We're headed back to our roots, I hope.
Honoring the art that is fashioned by loving hands, ones that are connected to the artists heart.
People see the connection in your art - they can see that you love what you do...
that your art is from a happy place, a troubled place or just a place of wonder and intrigue.

Every person that bought one of the little houses from the
"It Takes A Village" series said that it made them happy to look at.
What more could an artist ask for?

I thank you Greenville for making my very first arts festival a huge hit!
I got so many requests for classes, a couple of commision pieces and even sold some art!
In my mind, that's a complete success!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Textile Evolution/Colorado Springs

Going back to the retreat that I taught at in Colorado...
I forgot to add a link to the retreat center that we were playing at...I mean working at.
If you go the their website, you can find lots of photos to show you around the place - but I'll add a few of my own for you.
True to nature, I've loaded them backwards from what I really wanted to...and I'm too lazy - too busy- to go back and change them.

All the instructors stayed up at a separate building, so each morning we had a beautiful and inspiring walk (a short one) to the main building.
I really wanted to show the family of deers that ran (almost) right up to Liz and I the first morning - but they will be last in line.
This shot was what I saw behind the building that Judy Gula (from the filled to the brim with goodness store Artistic Artifacts in Virginia). She taught a dyeing class. Her students had the MOST fabulous fabrics to show each day. I do believe that she will be teaching next should grab that class if you want to learn the fast and easy way (or down and dirty) on fabric/fiber dyeing.
Aren't those just great colors?

Here is our group joining back up for dinner one night (probably the first night since my pics are backwards!). The rooms were huge in this place - very well laid out and lots of room to play (work).
Liz set up an inspiration area - provided stamps, dye, inks, pens, fabric, paint, journals, glimmer spray, name - she provided it for everyone!

Here is the mountain that we saw each morning when we walked to the main building - maybe Mount St. Francis?

The building to the right of the photo is the classrooms that Laura Cater Woods and Judy Gula used.

Okay, here is the "Family Photo" from the first morning walk! This mom and two babies came running up to Liz and I.

I was on the telephone with my husband at the time. The scene from that movie where the dad and kids are lost in the woods came to mind - you know, the one where the deer has red glowing eyes and begins to beat the dad up...

Hmmm...well, it was a while back...

"My, what big ears you have"...

Here is a side shot of the building that we slept in - a fabulous rock building.

And look at the texture of the tree bark to the right of the photo!

I got a couple of close ups of that for later use.

Okay - that ends my update for today.

We are packing up for the West Greenville Arts Festival.

There is also the US Cycling Pro Championship in downtown Greenville this weekend.

If you attend that event, be sure to drive another couple of miles to the arts festival.

Booth #26!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Post Textile Evolution

What a week I had in Colorado Springs!
I got home last Monday from an awesome teaching experience
at the mixed media fiber art retreat Textile Evolution.
I'm going to try and do another post or two on the retreat later
cause I am right in the middle of getting ready for the "West Greenville Arts Festival" in Greenville SC.
It's this weekend and it's my Very First Art Festival!
I sure hope that you all will come down and visit me...
I've got several pieces of mixed media fiber art and TONS of paintings!
So, I guess that we could call this my
"Coming Out Party"...
coming out of the painting closet, that is.

Back to Tex Evo...
I had two great classes - one was a two day class and the other was a one day class.
All my students completed their projects!
How great is that?
Every time I go to a class (or retreat) I always think that I would love to actually finish something...
I tried to plan the classes so that the participants would be able to finish in class.
It actually worked this time!

I must say that Liz Kettle has done an awesome job planning and running this retreat.
The price is all inclusive (if you stay on campus). It includes room, food and classes.
And the food was fabulous! She had several diet restricted participants
and was able to provide tasty and nutritious food for everyone.
We even had wine, chocolate and ice cream!

What more could you ask for?

I've been invited back next year as well, so I'm really so excited (and blessed) about that.
I made some new friends and got to visit (face to face) with old friends.
My flights went well, with no major delays or bumps.
I'm home - safe and nearly sound.
I'll try to add photos later or tomorrow.

But for now - back to packaging prints, signing paintings, sealing boxes and looking for my pens...
now where did that tape go...?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A New Neighborhood

At my house, the little worker bees are busy, busy, busy!
They've been so busy that I had to build them houses to sleep in at night...
just too busy to fly away...
Here a peek at two of the new houses.
It's a happy, happy neighborhood!
These two are for two sisters. They are twins - a lot alike, a little different.
Just like their houses!
They wanted wonky, silly homes with lots of color, a little different but kinda alike -
so that's what they got.
Now all the other helpers are clamoring for their own place...
I'll be working late into the night to get the neighborhood ready for them.
After all, they are saving my rear end working so hard for me...