Monday, May 22, 2017

Magic Things

"The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper."
-W.B. Yates
Did I spell "senses" wrong on the page?  Yes, I did. 
Apparently, my spelling senses need to grow sharper...

But spelling errors aside, I am a fan of the quote for sure.

I like the idea of magic things waiting for us to notice them.

I think we get caught up looking for grand gestures of the universe,
and, sometimes, I think we can get those things.

My guess is that the magic of life, though, is found in the small details...
the parts we ignore as ordinary. 

So much of life is found in the smallness of it....

Maybe that's why those magic things are looking forward to our perception becoming more keen.
Because the magic is already there.

We just have to open our eyes and see it.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Back Where I Started, In A Better Place

"It's a funny thing coming home.
Nothing changes.
Everything looks the same,
feels the same,
even smells the same.
You realize what's changed is you."
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Today is my 34th birthday. 

It's been almost two years since I've blogged.
It's been almost as long since I've really made any art.
How did I manage to let go of something that meant so much to me for so long?

The truth is, I think, that as much as I needed art and this blog for growing,
I needed it to stop for the same reason. 

My art and blog had been like a diary for me, a sounding board to hear my own voice in this noisy world...a place to figure out what I wanted and how I felt.  There was a time when that was what I needed most of all.  In a way, it saved me.

It became so important to me that it took over.
It consumed me to there point where nothing else really mattered.
No one and nothing else was as important as making art.
That's not a way to live.

The thing about growing is that it is not without pain.

The thing about learning is that we often learn we are wrong.
And then we must decide what to do.

Middle ground is not a place I have lived comfortably.

I have never been one to take a step forward or back, but instead a jump in either direction.
And so I quit, cold turkey, the blogging and the making of any art of merit.
I set out to live my life in the real world without any of the things I felt were holding me back.

In the process, I learned.
I realized I had led myself astray in a lot of ways.
It's important to listen to your inner voice,
but there's also value to listening to what others have to say. 

When you're in a situation, you can be too close to see the truth of the matter...
you can't see the forest for the trees.
Occasionally, you can be lucky enough to find someone to trust, who can slowly pull you back from the tiny details and make you see the big picture.  A person who can  show you that you're not lost forever amid the trees; there is a path out.

I was lucky enough to have a friend do that for me and wise enough to see that, even though it may not have been what I wanted, it was what I needed.  And that it wasn't selfishly only what I needed, it was better for others too.

So now here I sit, in a familiar place,
easing back into something I love,
with someone I love by my side.
Still learning, still growing.
Back where I started, but in a better place.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Rising Water and Keeping My Eyes On the Prize

Today, I've got my spread for the DOCUMENTED LIFE art challenge of Acrylic Paint and the prompt of Cry Me A River.  Here's what I made:

"Let the waters rise and hide the tears I've cried for that bad man."

The words on the page are from this song (except I changed it from 'woman' to 'bad man') by Justin Townes Earl, "Let The Waters Rise" :

I just love him...he can do no wrong in my eyes!

I used acrylics on the sweeping/ombre  brush stoke bits and the tags, but watercolor for the eye and the leaky tears.

I am kinda excited about the eye because, while it's pretty simple, I think I got it to look a little more 3D than I usually YAY!  I love it when I notice that my hard work has started to pay off!

Along those lines...the 'hard work paying off' lines, I mean...I want to invite you over to check out my new blog endeavor, NOSTALGIC CAKE.  Before you freak out and start to panic, I'm still going to keep up with this blog (at least as well as I have been lately...which is not very unfortunately..I've been caught up in a little side project that I'm not quite ready to share just yet).

So, why start a new blog then?

 As you may know, I've had a big life change recently.  When that happened, basically all my stuff minus art supplies, clothes, and a few childhood memorabilia-type things stayed at the house while I...evacuated it.  It's worked out fine thus far, because I'm staying with my mom for the time being and she lets me use her stuff...horay!  But in a relatively short amount of time (6-10 months...ish), I'm going to have to find my own place to live.

You may have heard me mentioning *read complaining* about the fact that I am really having a hard time with this transition period I'm in.  I've been feeling uncomfortably unsettled and disordered...and I realized that I should be able to do something about it...and then I realized...of course I can do something about it.

A while back on this blog, I mentioned how I had bought three pieces of furniture (and my mom was going to refurbish them for me, so they were at her house and I actually have a desk and two dressers in addition to my clothes and art stuff).  I really love these pieces!  I mentioned that, one day, I'd like to have a home where no matter where I looked, my eyes would land on something that brought me that same kind of joy.  I want my house to declare who I am as a person...and I've realized that, even though I may not have the actual house yet, I can slowly start gathering the objects to fill it...and not just to fill it, but to make it into the place I dream about.

And so Nostalgic Cake was born...a place where I could keep tabs on my slowly growing inventory of joyfulness, and, of course, share it with the amazing friends who have been rooting for me all along!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

See How They Shine?

Today I've got a spread for my DOCUMENTED LIFE journal.  The art challenge was watercolors and the prompt was "It's water under the bridge."  

Here's what I made:

"All your dreams are on their way...
...see how they shine?"

The words are from the song "Bridge Over Troubled Water", and here's my favorite version, sung by Johnny Cash and Fiona Apple:

I love how this painting came out...not perfect...but still right.

I've been noticing that I add black outlines to a lot of my work, especially watercolors...I think of that as an illustrative style...many people do it...and I love how it looks!

But I've been noticing, especially recently, in old children's books, images like this:

I feel like this picture asks a lot of questions...why are the pigs wet?  Why are they sitting on top of that wood crate?  Who leaves a wood crate that close to a lake...that can't be good for the boards...   Why does the fish care...smug little jerk?  How did he manage to catch two pigs in the same net?  How does he plan to carry them home...look at his muscles...those pigs are almost as big as him...he better have leashes...  Why is his mustache growing upside down? (I actually think that might be an open mouth, not an upside down mustache, but once you see it, you can't un-see it..)

No black outlines...I've noticed this style before, but it wasn't until recently that I thought of it in relation to my art.  And I thought...HOW DO THEY BLOODY DO THAT?  

So this spread was my first attempt at making this non-outlined style of art...and my thoughts on this afterward are that either a) I need WAY much more patience in order to create those crisp lines without using black pen or b) there's some kind of special secret technique that makes this style a million times easier once you know it...

But, despite all that, I still like my painting...  I think that the imprecise edges in has make it look hazy and in a dream...which is (after I realized I couldn't get the crisp lines!) the effect I was going for.  :)

So, my b-day was a couple weeks ago (May 19 to be exact), and I got some awesome things from two of my beautiful friends:

First, from Boo, an awesome doodled cake card:

I love this!  I will always remember how Boo once told me she couldn't draw and how ever since then, she's been proving herself wrong! :)  I love it, Boo!

And then from my Pamikins, I got this assortment of goodies:
I can't wait to use all these goodies!

And a close-up:

These are Wallpaper samples!  I love that textured gold one all the way to the's my favorite one (although the rose one she used to make the card with is right up there too!)...I can't wait to make something special with it!

Thank you ladies for remembering me!  I love you both! <3<3<3

And lastly, I've got a picture of Frida...because I get fussed at if I don't! :)

Ain't she cute?!?

This is what Frida does when I go outside to smoke...sits and stares at me...I think my mom probably trained her to do this in order to add one more person to the list of guilt trippers nagging me to stop...

Then again, she does the same thing when I go to the bathroom (sits outside the door and waits for me), and no matter how much I get nagged about that, it's not gonna stop! (Haha!)

She does the same thing when I go to work in the morning as in the picture above...sits by the door and stares at me till I'm a little kid watching their parent leave for work.  Don't leave, Mom!  She doesn't sit there all day, but the fact that she waits till I start pulling down the road before she goes on about her business is more than a little heart melting...  

I am always a little uncomfortable with her displays of unconditional love, loyalty, and devotion...I don't quite know what to do with it and always feel more than a little unworthy of it!  And yet, despite that, she persists in her determined, sometimes belligerent, ways of showing me affection.  To the point where I've often wished that humans could see each other with dog eyes because I know it would end all the bad stuff that goes on in the world.  But, for now I will have to settle for Frida...always staring up at me with her loving goo goo eyes, loyal to me for reasons I can't understand.  

It is more than enough.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Like What You Like

Today I've got the "Treasure" prompt for JOURNAL 52 to share with you:
"I like what I like and that's that."

I love this spread...and the hippo bank that inspired it:

I tried to do this spread in the style of TRACEY FLETCHER KING.

I feel like I accomplished my goal pretty well...of course, you can tell it's mine because it's badly drawn! (Haha!)

I like that he's shrugging his shoulders...he doesn't know what's going on either!

Of course, one of the things I treasure is my Frida:

Alright, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up.

She's such a doofus (you can tell from looking at her, can't you?), but I say that in the most loving way possible!  There are times when I want to throttle her (she was SO BAD on our walk the other day!) but then she does something goofy and all the misbehavior is forgotten in the giggle fits she causes.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Enough Nerve

Today, I've got my spread for JOURNAL 52'S prompt "Collage Crazy":

"Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve." -J.K. Rowling

I can't even explain how much I love this spread!

Scrapbook paper base, followed by napkins, a wash of color, followed by gesso through a stencil and some glorious drippage!

Hubba hubba!

It's not my usual for sure, but I really love how this turned out!   SQUEAL OF DELIGHT!  SQUEAL OF DELIGHT!

Sigh.  Glorious!

I'm magically in love with this spread, and I love the sentiment behind it as well...the idea that the world is my oyster if I can only work up some nerve...or moxy if you will...I love that word...moxy.

I've worked on getting my moxy back since I've made my major life move...and one thing I did was to get a haircut:
Ugh.  Selfies.  But on the positive side, my hair is fabulous.

Considering the fact that my hair was halfway down my back when I got this cut, I'd say that more than a little moxy was required.  But I love it!

When I got my haircut, the lady (who my sister uses and recommended) said "You know, you just have the perfect attitude to pull this haircut off."  Which I took as a huge compliment, because to me, short hair takes confidence.  You don't have anything to hide shrink into when you're nervous.  You're just out there!  

So maybe my moxy wasn't entirely was just simmering quietely beneath the surface...waiting to be let loose on the world...

Sunday, May 31, 2015

En Garde, Your Majesty

Three spreads today.

The first one is in my DLP journal for the prompt MARK MAKING AS A FOCAL POINT/COMING INTO FOCUS.  Here's what I did:
"En garde."

For me, what this prompt brought into focus was the thought to guard my heart.  I've worked really hard to let myself be open and vulnerable, but there comes a point when one might go too far.  Too much of a good thing and all that.  I've realized I need to put a few walls back up.  It's important when one follows one's heart to take your brain as well.

Love those triangles.

Sometimes people are just not what you need them to be...they're just not good people when it comes to you.  They take advantage of kindness...they use you...

Like this spread, another for DOCUMENTED LIFE, says:

" hit me."
My custom element for this spread are sticky labels that I've used to wipe my left-over paints on since I've been here at moms...they are pretty nifty and an easy way to get some color on the page.

It suddenly hit me that being my friend is a privilege, not a right.  I don't have to stand for someone taking advantage of me or doing me wrong...I don't have to deal with that crap!

This spread for JOURNAL 52 sums it up nicely, I think:

"You rule your own life."

You rule your own life.  I rule mine.  You rule yours.  What an epiphany!

This was for the 'Cards' prompt, and I used a queen card as the base for this...the queen of hearts actually...hence the no arms.  But Queenie McArmless here reminds me that I have power over my heart and my life...I'm not lost to the whims of either.

It's up to each of us individually to decide what we are willing to deal with and what we are not...what we find acceptable and what we take exception to.  I don't get to tell you.  You don't get to tell me.  ...I mean, you can try, but I'll stick my fingers in my ears and start humming and ignore you, so there! :)

Sometimes I am both amazed and frustrated by how long it takes me to really 'get' things.

I mean, I would never think of telling another person how they should live their life...and yet, it's taken me all this time to realize that they shouldn't be doing it to me either.  I would never intentionally take advantage of another person, and yet, it's only now that I see it's not fair for someone to do it to me...

At least I've finally learned it I suppose...I just hope that, if there are any more blazing epiphanies to be had, I'll be a quicker study in the future.