Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Little Bit of Love and a Lotta' Snow

Thanks to a good talk with my buddy over at Creatively Sensitive on Friday night, I powered through the rough patch and decided that making some Valentines for my favorite twelve year old would be just the trick to brighten my spirits.  I always put together a little package for him, and this year, I thought I'd "pad" it with little puffy home made hearts. 

I cut hearts of different sizes out of book pages and maps.  On the ones made out of the book pages, I decided to use a little watercolor paint to give it some color (and to hopefully take attention away from the fact that it's from an old medical textbook on joint diseases!).  I stapled them together and stuffed them with little crunched up strips of newspaper.

Today, I found out that the Midwest is supposed to get hit by a pretty big snow storm.  Again.  Once January rolls around, I'm pretty much over the snow's beauty and ready for Spring, but since I know it can still snow in May, I try to just roll with it.  So in keeping with that spirit, I dug out some of my favorite snowflakes that I made for my Christmas wrapping and decided to make a little "curtain" out of it.  Here are a few pics:

I'm just sort of gluing edges together with no real formula.  I'm still trying to decide which window I'd like for this to cover, so I may post more pics later when it's up.  Until then... I'm just going to continue making little valentines for Q, work on this painting commission, and try to stay warm!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One of Those Days

Really, it's been one of those weeks- ever since I talked to my son on the phone last, I've been feeling pretty sad and guilty.  I know, I know- I said I would try to let go of guilt in 2011.  But this is precisely why I don't make resolutions- who can let go of guilt completely?  Yes, it's a goal of mine to have less guilt, but guilt has been my cohort for most of my life.  And I am a mother to an almost teen-aged son who lives 250 miles away.

I couldn't help but notice the subtle sadness in my son's voice last week.  Perhaps it was apathy or frustration or masked anger- either way, I felt as though I just wanted to reach through the phone and give him a big hug.  Upon hanging up with him, I started searching for apartments in Indianapolis on Craigslist as I do from time to time when the guilt hits me hard.

I found an amazing artists live/work space that was within my price range and less than five miles away from my son's home.  It was right on the public transit line.  Utilities were included.  It was a recent listing.  It had great light and a gallery space on the first floor.

Then, it hit me.  Among all the other reasons I've had to remind myself of over and over these past three years, my joints are fucked up.  And I still need to get my left hip replaced once I'm fully recovered from the right one.  Recovery has been way harder than I ever expected it to be.  I thought I'd be feeling pretty incredible right now.  I even hoped that somehow, it would "cure" all of the other joint issues (but really, how could a new hip help the problems I've been having with my elbows?)

There are a ton of things in this world that aren't fair.  I'm aware that I have it better than probably the vast majority of people in the world.  But sometimes, when I fall prey to comparisons of those around me, I just want to cry into someone's arms, "it's not fair".  When I'm not in severe physical pain, I'm often in great emotional pain from the guilt.

My family happens to be here, in St. Louis (with the exception of my dad).  My son's father's family is in Indy.  Even his stepmom's family all live in Indy.  They are all there.  And my family is here.  Maybe it's my fault for falling in love with someone when I went away to college.  But that's ludicrous!  Who could have predicted this?  People grow up and go away to college all the time!  And I even stayed in Indy for seven years after my divorce.  That is the city my son knows.  That is where I had made a life for myself.  Where I met and made some incredible friends.  Where I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, graduated college, and got my first professional job- all with no family there to support me.

Then, this.  And I'm really no better off than when I moved here three years ago.  Yep, I've got a new hip.  But my mom has lung cancer.  And I still need help from time to time.  So does my mom.  But so does my son.  He is still a kid and I want so badly to be there for him.  I want him to know how much I love him and wish that things were different.

But I will go on, trying, from here.  I will try to stay positive and move forward.  I will continue trying all the ways I can to show him that I care (without overwhelming him- it's a delicate balance, for I know I embarrass him on FB sometimes).  I sometimes wish there were some magical way of knowing just exactly what to do in this situation to make it "right".  Until then, I will keep trying.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Link Lovin'!

Wow- in one of the comments sections, I learned that I got another blog award!  I'm blushing... I feel so honored that you all like this blog.  Shannon, from Thumbin My Way was oh so sweet to give me the award; she is smart, sassy, and her blog is so much fun to read- never a dull moment with her, so Thank You, Shannon!  This one is "The Stylish Blog Award" and I'll try to be short with my answers, since I was a bit wordy with my last one.  I'm supposed to share seven things about myself and then pass the award onto 5 other blogs. 

Woo HOO!  Okay, here we go:
1. I'm a middle child
2. I hate to cook and rarely do
3. I have one fat thumb and one fatter thumb (even weirder: my mom has two fat thumbs, her mom had two fatter thumbs; my older sis has two fat thumbs, and my younger sis has two fatter thumbs.  I got one of each.  And the "fatter" ones look like toes.  Seriously.  We call them "thoes".)
4. I'm pretty mild-mannered, but I use the f-bomb a lot.  I curb it around the kiddos, though.  Most of the time.
5. When I say that I miss my son, no one can understand the depth of my heartache and the heaviness I feel in my heart

6. I hate winter, but have learned that accepting it makes it much easier to deal with (like a lot of things!).
7. Me and ice cream- we got a thing goin' on.

Now, I've seen this award hoppin' along to a lot of my favorite blogs, so I'm going to pass it along to those who hopefully haven't gotten it yet:

Olive and Hope
That's Mrs. Mediocrity To You
Bottle Up The Crazy
A Muse
I Forgot To Shave My Face
So much inspiration in this blogosphere!
Onto other news... The beautiful soul over at Creatively Sensitive recieved a sort of "challenge"- a "Pay it Forward Creativity Challenge".  I love her photography so much and I also love the concept (thought up by another wonderful photographer, Jodi from Living Life Photographically) of paying creativity forward.
So here's the deal:   The ideas is that the first three people who contact me and request to be involved, by comment or by email, will receive something hand made by me. They then create something handmade for three people, and so on.  If anyone wants to play, just leave me a comment; I haven't quite decided yet what I will be giving away, it might be a print (see "my artwork" on the sidebar for my woodcuts) or I may make something that has yet to be created!
Thanks for all the love, you guys!  I'm so glad I've been able to make so many great connections and I can't wait to make more. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Sketchbook, or Three

My friends and family often have to stop me from buying more sketchbooks/journals when we are out and about.  Several years ago, I gave my son strict instructions to tell me NO if I have a blank sketchbook in hand at the register.  You see, I have a special affinity for blank books.  They just seem so full of promise, of journey, of future inspiration!  But... I have bought so many through the years, and inevitably fail to fill them.

Sure, I use them, but then I feel like if I start a "new chapter" in my life, that chapter deserves a brand-spankin'-new sketchbook to go with it!  I also tend to categorize different books for different activities.  For example, I've got at least three right now that I work in. 

There's the big, green, purposely coffee-stained one I use more for journaling than anything else. I held it over the kitchen sink and poured coffee through it's beautiful blank, white pages before I ever wrote anything in it, because it just looked too perfect.  And that was intimidating to me.  Here's a look inside:

sometimes I journal in this one, using gesso to "hide" some more private feelings

sometimes I write down my crazy ass dreams and try to illustrate them

I record fleeting feelings I have at times

I doodle, often finding shapes out of the different coffee stains

I make manifestos

I experiment with collage and textures

I take it with me to my favorite coffee shop down the street and sketch while outside on the patio

I try my hand at the whole "Art Journaling" craze that is going on now

Then there's my smaller, thick, grid-lined sketchbook that I like to use for other things:

drawing exercises and practice

fleshing out ideas for larger paintings

finding and cataloguing inspiration from other artists

And then there's my watercolor sketchbook.  This is a smaller book with thick watercolor paper.  I've never learned how to "properly use" watercolors, so it's a fun book to experiment in.  I bought a cool little portable watercolor set that I like to throw in my bag, along with the sketchbook, for when inspiration strikes:

experimenting with the way different colors overlap others

making imaginary landscapes

"sketching" a playground

practicing technique

using it as art therapy to heal after my hip replacement (yes, the last pic is bruising and my staples- gross? yes.  but that's how I roll sometimes)

So I hope you've enjoyed a little trip through some of my sketchbooks!  Though I've resolved to not buy any more until these are full, I doubt that will happen.  I've got a weakness, y'all, and with that new Art Store across the street from me, well, I've got no chance in sticking to my resolve.  Oh well- happy creating!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

For Me? Why, Thank You!

The beautiful gal over at Creatively Sensitive surprised me the other day with a blog award!  She is one of the sweetest people I know- a great cheerleader to many, a strong, yet gentle creative soul, and an amazing photographer.  If you haven't checked her blog out yet, you really should.  She's involved in a lot of creative challenges this year- she is such an inspiration and has become a great friend of mine over the past few months.

Part of the blog award is that you get to answer some questions, and then pass the award on to someone else that you enjoy.  So... here are my answers to the questions:

Q1. If you blog anonymously, are you happy doing this? If you aren't anonymous, do you wish you started out anonymously so that you could be anonymous now?  Nope- not anonymous.  I don't think my last name is anywhere on my blog, but it probably wouldn't be hard to find.  I'm pretty sure you can get here indirectly from my FB profile, too, though I don't advertise this blog over there.  Part of letting go of the shame surrounding my disease is kind of coming out of the dark about it, so I'm glad that I am no longer anonymous. (This started out a "private" blog, but last November, I was inspired to go "public").

Q2. Describe an incident that shows your inner stubborn side.  Though I think I'm pretty forgiving, there are times that I think I have to be uncompromising when I feel I have been wronged.  This, unfortunately results in a stalemate with certain people and family members (we usually get through it, though).  And I hate stale.  However, it has also protected a broken heart. Ummmmm... have you read this post

Q3. What do you really see when you look at yourself in the mirror?  Someone that I know is a great girl.

Q4. What is your favorite summer cold drink?  Margarita(s).  On the rocks.  With salt.  And lots and lots and lots of water.
image by corsi photo

Q5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do?  When the pain is somewhat under control, I love to paint.  And rest.  My dream, though, is to one day own a bathtub that fits all 5' 11" (and 3/4") of me.  I love bubble baths (and if I owned said tub I would probably soak myself pruny because I would be in it all the time!), but they are always so disappointing because I have to choose which part of me gets the good stuff- my legs, or my torso.  It's never both at the same time because apparently, baths were meant to be taken by short people. 

Q6. Is there something you still want to accomplish in your life? How much time do you have?  I want to get my Master's, and my PhD.  I want to travel to Spain, Italy, and Greece.  I want to be there for my son in every way he needs me to be.  I want to sell my paintings, and not just use them for barter (though I'm soooooooo grateful to those who have let me!) or give them away for charity auctions (though I love this, too).  I want to learn how to salsa dance.  I want to go hang gliding.  I want to climb a mountain.  Hmmm.  Maybe I need to make one of those "life lists" that have become so popular on the interwebs these days...

Q7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever, the shy person, or always ditching?  I'd say overachiever, and shy.  I went to a college prep school for high school; coming out of a public school education from k-8, I really felt the pressure to be "smart".  I worked really hard on that.  I've also always been pretty shy- people mistook it for snobbery which is really unfortunate because I'm one of the least snobby people I know (that sounds snobby, doesn't it?  Dang.) 

Q8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment in your life, what would you see?  Looking into my (then)fiance's eyes and telling him I was pregnant.  At nineteen.  So many emotions!

Q9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog, or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?   I enjoy sharing my true self- it's really hard to know how much to share online, though.  I'm sure anyone reading this can relate.  But I think the parts that make us human, make us feel connected.  And I really love feeling connected.  And starting sentences with the word "And" (it makes me feel rebellious). 

image by hashmil

Q10. If you had the choice to sit down and read a book or talk on the phone, which would you do and why?  I'd definitely read a book.  I don't know why, but I hate talking on the phone.  I like writing letters (the old school "snail-mail" way or through email and social networking sites) to people or seeing them in person to stay in touch.  Something about the phone makes me feel so awkward- even with close friends.  I'm not sure why.

I'm so thankful for all of the people I've met, connected with, and reconnected with online.  The best purchase I made last year with my disability money was my laptop (and catching up on my rent with my ever-patient landlord!).  Having said that, I'd like to pass this award on to Lisa of Life Unity.  She is an amazing woman, yogi, mama, wife, etc. who bares her soul so honestly and openly with readers.  She ponders the deep and nagging questions of life with great awareness and humor.  She's been on my regular, daily reading list since I got a computer again!  Check out her blog for some great discussion.  And thank you, Lisa, for reminding me that Life Is Good!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Teaser and a Scarf

Considering the astrology world has been turned upside down with all the controversy going on concerning the "new" chart, I'm not so sure I want to continue with my last piece of artwork!  I actually think it's pretty funny how crazy everyone has gotten over this.  Although I totally relate with the Virgo stuff, I'd be happy to be a Leo, too (which apparently I am now?), since I really don't think it matters.

I haven't posted in a week, and more regular posting is something I've wanted to do this year (NOT a resolution, just something I'd like to work on); my pain has been outrageous lately and a recent appointment with my rheumatologist got me a little down last week.  I've been working on a painting commission (actually it's a barter with the guy who is designing a website for me and my sister's business) and I have some teasers of that painting (will post final painting when finished!):

And... I thought that I could tie in my recently finished scarf with the whole "Cosmos" theme since it's an infinity scarf and it's colors are totally cosmic;)

you can wear it long... can double it up...

...and you can even wear it like a hood, while still keeping your neck warm! 

I actually think I started this scarf in 2009, but it's really hard to knit with arthritic fingers, and I had a couple of other projects going along the way.  But I finished it and it is only the second scarf I've made for myself- I always want to give them away, but I'm definitely keeping this one.  Now, my little sis and I have decided to learn more than one stitch, so look out for future projects!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Cosmos.1

This year, I decided to join Creative Every Day2011.  And while it hasn't been every day (due to sickness and excuses), I have been working little by little on something in my sketchbook.  The theme for January is the cosmos.  The creation can be anything, so it's really wide open, which I like.  It's not finished yet but I thought I'd show you my process and progress:

I didn't get pics of the first couple of processes.  Basically, this is a couple of layers of a watercolor wash and then acrylic white paint for the stars.

If you are into astrology or are a Virgo, you probably recognize this symbol.  If not, hopefully from the two hints in the prior sentence, you know what this is now;)

I decided to add my favorite yoga asana (pose) on the other page; this is the Natarajasana or "King Dancer Pose".  I'm pretty sure this has nothing to do with astrology, but I just love this pose.  Not only do I find it beautiful, but I feel so strong and graceful when I can execute it confidently.  Since my hip surgery almost three months ago, I haven't been able to practice much.  My movement restrictions are lifted in 3 days; I really can't wait to get back to yoga!

I just went over the pencil lines with a sharpie once I was confident with the sketch.

curious kitty!

Then I took a silver paint pen and went inside the lines of the sharpie.  I also added some silver dots to the background.

Like I said, it's not finished yet, but I wanted to post this so I could start feeling a little more connected to the CED community.