Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summertime Thoughts

Well, the temps are continuing to rise in the southeast.
As well as the humidity.

Heat + Humid = Tired Irritable Carol.

I've spent a few moments asking my friends about their energy levels during this hot weather.
I never know if it's some external force affecting my energy levels or my immune system showing its I ask others.
Everyone that I ask answered the same way...
They tell me that the heat zaps their physical energy as well as their creative energy.
So I've decided to quit worrying about whether I have any energy to create (or anything else ftm).

I'll take the advice of a wise friend...
"When you're tired, just rest. Sit your ass down and quit worrying about what you should be doing. Your body is trying to tell you sit your ass down..."

Good advice, huh?

So right after I pack my stuff for a Fiber Freaks get together tomorrow
and get my stuff ready for a First Friday showing in Greenville SC,
I'm going to sit my ass down.

What about you?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Furman University Sketch In

This past Monday was the day of the Greenville SC Sketch In.
We all met at the Furman University Asian Garden. The grounds of Furman are just beautiful and the garden was no different. Check this link out for more info.

You can see the Bell Tower from the entrance to the garden.

I stopped to sketch that (I do love buildings!) but just couldn't get in the "groove" of drawing a building for some reason.

So I moved on.

Looked at this...

While watching Nancy do this...

Stopped for lunch (well, it was 11:30 by then!) and then went back to this sight.

Notice the Buddhist Temple in the upper right hand corner of the photo.
You can read about it on the link above as well as view the many photos of the building of the temple.

Quite fascinating, isn't it?

I am always amazed at the things people do to preserve their share with others (or new generations).
I think it is an internal desire or drive.

To show the paths that our lives are on.

Our Pathways are so very important.

What pathway are you on today?

an incomplete (kinda wonky) rendition of the sculpture

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wonky Flower

I apologize dear (and lonely) readers for my lack of posting.
How do I explain that the days just fly by before I realize that they have flown?
I suppose I say just that, eh?

I do have a new toy though...
she has been sitting quietly in my studio, waiting for me to come back in there and pay her some attention.
I drew a wonky, silly flower tonight.
Then ran it through my new toy and viola!
A screen print.

Yes, I found a Thermofax machine on Craig's list!
So, check your local list for new toys.

That wonky flower?
Here she is.

This is one of the prints that I made with it (on paper).
I drew it with a Pitt Artists Pen and it burned a screen just fine.
Nope, no carbon copy - just a Pitt Pen Drawing!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Creating Pathways

This is a copy of the post on the Sketchbook Challenge blog that went up today.

I went to Spartanburg (SC) with my husband yesterday.
He was going to umpire a baseball game, I had planned on going to the local library.
Until I saw this...

This beautiful piece of equipment.
I called it a lightweight piece of heavy equipment (cause it was kinda small to be called Heavy...).

Anyway - I had to sit down and start sketching immediately upon seeing it!

Nothing like a modified contour sketch to get things going...

As I was sitting there, lost in my own little "Sketch In", I didn't realize that I was drawing my next "entry" in to this month's theme.


If you look behind the piece of equipment (what is that thing called?!), there is a new path being cut.

Evidently Spartanburg SC is joining Greenville SC in hosting (building and promoting) bike riding and walking trails.

So - I figured that my drawing is a way to illustrate a pathway.
Whether it is a link between two paths or something that actually creates that path...

The finished drawing stretches over several sheets actually.
I think I might put some color on it with watercolors and then use brads or something to make it an interactive piece of artwork.

Either way it was a lot of fun once I started.
Just remember that the real key to drawing from life is LOOKING and SEEING what you're drawing.
Not just drawing what you think you see.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

If you've read any of my posts here or those at the "Sketchbook Challenge" blog, you'll know that I've been um,,, out of sorts here-lately.
Been having a bit of trouble finding (or staying) on my creative pathway.

I'm using previous marks that I've made to lead me back to the "right" path.

Last time I posted (SBC blog), I talked about using the individual elements of a collage idea to spark some energy.
I've continued to do that - going back to my very basic art routines to rebuild my momentum.
In today's post I'll approach it from the blank page of my trusty pocketbook sketchbook.

I went to the library in Anderson SC while my husband was at a meeting.
I browsed through the (non) fiction books, picked out a couple or three and went to the small coffee cafe to wait for my sweetie.

Sitting at a small round table with a small silk greenery arrangement on it.
Looking out of a tall window at an even taller building across the street.

I had the thought that I should do some sketching...
draw the silk greenery...
sketch the "McDuffie Place" building across the street...

none of these three things ever did anything, did they?

But sitting there at that small table, looking at that small greenery arrangement in front of a tall window, across the street from an even taller building, I decided that I WOULD do something.
Not just sit there and think about it.

Nike was right, right?
Just Do It.

So, here is what I did in about 10 minutes...

The small arrangement on the small round table?

That (even) taller building in front of the tall window (McDuffie Place)?

That's how it all looked to me and my trusty pen.

Little by little, sketch by sketch I'm settling into my sweet spot for creating.
I'm learning (again and again) not to rush things...
just allow it all to happen in its own time.

Together we can find our own individual pathway to creative energy.

I hope that you're all peeking at my Flickr photo account from time to time.
I try to add photos there whether I post them on my blog or not.
There are a lot of older pictures there so check it out.
Think about setting yourself up an account if you have the inclination. It's a great way to share inspiration and an even better way to share photos with friends and family.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I have been thinking about this months theme over at the Sketchbook Challenge blog –


How did I want to approach the subject...
where would I start...
what would my inspiration be...
when would I get off of my (uninspired) rear end and get going with it...

As my regular readers know, last several weeks I have been struggling with some type of artist block -
not a true block I know, but troubling to someone like me just the same.
I have always had a plethora of creative ideas.
I'm not lacking there, even now.
It's the energy to get started or follow through with anything that I am having issues with.
So – I am trying a little exercise today to see if I can jump start that ol' creative energy.

I chose three separate pages from my sketchbook that I had been working on when I last saw my energy.
Yes, I am going to try the “if you lost something go back to the last place you saw it” routine...

Back to the three pages.

I had started playing around with an idea that I had for a collage piece.
I usually work in my sketchbook first- investigating symbols/meanings/looking at drawings, etc. on the particular subject.
Then I begin the process of combining or merging the subjects. This may be as simple as drawing them from different angles or collaging them onto a painted background.
This particular project was to include poppy seed-heads and botanical drawings (among other things).
I did a couple of drawings in my sketchbook of poppy seed-heads (I know you're shocked) and decided to carve a stamp instead of having to draw them all. During the carving process, I ink the stamp and stamp off sample images in my sketchbook to see how it looks. I always keep these pages to add collage items to later. This is a wonderful way to avoid that dreaded “white page syndrome”.

Here is a sample page (or two) of the “stamp-offs” that I did.

Notice I had already used one page to do some contour drawing on. I kinda like the combo of the two (the face + the seed head) and may wind up using them together.
I would have never known this had I not taken that particular pathway.

Many are obstinate with regard to the pathway once they have set upon it, many without regard to the goal.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

When I am creating art, when I am “in the zone” as some would say, I am not obstinate about the pathway or the goal.
I may have started out with a particular idea but it usually morphs or changes as I go.
I often allow my choice of materials to change the outcome.
I always give myself permission to change my mind, to change the end goal.

There are many, many ways to obtain similar outcomes or goals. It's a great idea to set aside time and materials to play – don't worry about the outcome – just pick a pathway and run down it.
If you see something else you like while on that path, just veer off of it!
Run down a different pathway!
The important thing is that you are enjoying the pathway that you take. Or that you're beginning to enjoy it.

Here are a couple of scans of the different pages that I was experimenting with.

This one is a collage background using acrylic paint washes, tissue paper, paper napkins, watercolor paint, and Neocolor 3 crayons.
I stitched a poppy seed-head design over a netting fabric to create a light shadow as well as to create the stitched image on the opposite side.

Here's a scan of the opposite side of the stitched poppy. I've added tiny bits of color by using the page to press against pages with wet paint - effectively removing the areas with too much paint and beginning the layering process on this background as well.

The last one is a compilation of things...
several different pathways, if you will.
The bottom layer consists of a light tan/brown acrylic wash. I stamped a couple of images, used masks on a couple, Shiva paint sticks on stencils, thermofax screens with watered down acrylic paint and made marks with a variety of sticks and different items.
You can't tell on this scan but it has amazing texture and little bits of color peeking through.

I'll keep working on the theme...slowing pecking away at that rock wall that is trying to hold my creative energy captive.
I'm hoping that this exercise (of talking about the pathways that I took on my sketchbook pages) will jump start my energy...
Hopefully I will be able to see a clear pathway back to that creative zone I was in just a month ago.
Make sure that you visit the Sketchbook Challenge blog - the June prizes are just fabulous!
Visit our generous sponsors and see what goodies they have!
Tell them that the Sketchbook Challenge artists sent you!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Being Proactive

Watch this please.

Very powerful indeed.
My step daughter has had two moles removed that were pre-cancerous.
We don't like to think about what could have happened if they had not been found.

I worked as a RN for many years and one of the things that I found to be true is that we MUST be proactive in our own health care.
No one is going to do that for you.
So remember.
Be Proactive.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fiber Freaks

Well, I finally got up and managed to do something in this heat.
My fiber art group, Fiber Junkies (more commonly known around my house as the "Fiber Freaks"), got together at Val McGaughy's house for some Deconstructive Screenprinting. I love doing that but it's a lot of work, especially in the heat. It was cooler in Asheville though.
Judy Simmons and Val McGaughy did the prep work for us, mixing dyes, setting up the space...all that "pre-work".
All we had to do was show up with the rest of our supplies and get to work.
I didn't take any pictures (bad Carol) but I'll be willing to bet that if you go to Mary Stori or Judy Simmons blog, you'll find some in a day or two!
I've got two screens here at home that I am going to print. I'll post some pics of that.
And I also have several pieces of fabric that I am batching. When I finish them, I'll try to post some photos.

So - there you go.
I FINALLY got up and did something!