Wednesday, December 31, 2014

So Long

And here we are...counting down the last day of 2014!

This year seems to have flown by!  Especially the second half...for me, from September on was a total blink of an eye.  It was crazy!

For this last post of the year...the post that completes my year as well as my December blog-a-thon (hooray!)...I thought I would share a few of the highlights of 2014...

In January, I was having fun with one of Jane Davenport's workshops:

This was for Jane Davenport's "Supplies Me" workshop.

It was also the beginning of my two year long art projects, Journal 52...

This page remains one of my of the ones that I am most proud of!

...and Documented Life:

This was documenting a very sad thing, the passing of my dog, Nunu...he was such a good boy, but his passing away brought an end to a painful illness, and there's comfort in the fact that he's not in pain anymore.

In February, I had a rant about a co-worker, but this lovely page came out of it:

Her horns/tiny head trees are my favorite part...I adore them!

I started a short and frustrating trip into abstract art, that still goads me every time I think about it...

Then I tried my hand at a Mindy Lacefield inspired spread and found I liked that much better:

I've ended up with several Mindy Lacefield inspired pieces, but this was the first and probably my favorite...

I also realized that my desire for freedom isn't new to me...I've wished for it since I was a child:

I didn't remember this page, but maybe in 2015, I'll reach my lifelong dream of attaining freedom...

In March, I thought a lot about who I was...

...made with some home-made stencils I did a tutorial for (also in March)...

...and who I wanted to be:

"Now and Then"
I started understanding that if I wanted to get to the colorful and happy place on the right, I'd have to push through fear as illustrated on the left.

In April, I thought more about being afraid:

Another one of my favorite pages...I think she's so cool!

I worked on some personal stuff...

I love the color combo of the olive-ish green and the rosy carmine...

...and started a project that I later came to realize was better left unfinished:

My collage skills were improving by leaps and bounds, but I was backsliding to an emotional state that was better left in the past...I do need to get back to collages though...I was getting better at them!

May saw a couple mermaids (and me admitting that I like washing dishes):

...if I were a mermaid, I'd be a chunky one...but my tail would be fantastic!

This is another happy-making page for me...her arms and hands came out relatively normal looking! ☺

I also remembered that change comes from within and got a little confrontational with someone who had done me wrong (so out of character for me!):

...the shading on the ball of her nose turned out surprisingly well!

In June, I got experimental!  I made my first (and, so far, only) mandala:

...not too hideous for a first attempt, right?

...tried my hand at playing the Glad Game:

...I also started noticing a run of purple in my art that month... to do an artist interview with my sweet and talented friend Jackie (aka My Honey):

Isn't My Honey an amazing artist?  I adore her and her work!

I also did a video talking about my art and myself...and I got all scientific on you:

...there was an informative discussion about what a 'line' actually is, involving time, our lifespan, and mind is so weird...

July saw more science:

Real life anglerfish are NOT as cute as this guy is...

...participation in Summer of Color:

That wolf sure loves that girl... making wishes:

...still looking for those things...

...and my realizing how appalling 'fashion' has gotten in recent times and how I would dress if I could:

check out those gams...

In August, I realized that I'm probably a psychic, but most of the time I don't know what I'm talking about:

The reference photo that I used for the above girl is one I keep coming back to...she's on my Pinterest board, "Photograph".

In September, I had an awesome beach trip with my mom!  Artistically, I played with texture, made some cards, and realized that some things can't be let go of quickly:

the olive green and carmine make their second appearance

I got my feathers ruffled:

That crow napkin is still awesome...I wish I had a million of them...

...and I started seeing things connect:

Leonardo was right...

October heard me bemoaning the fact that my mom and I couldn't stay at the beach indefinitely...and it heard me celebrating as well:

...after MANY attempts, a decent face in profile was drawn!

I thought about what was dear to my heart:

...also reminded you that Bambi was, in fact, a boy...

and magic was made:

...still NOT Tinkerbell...

November came with some baggage:

...we hold too much inside of ourselves sometimes, don't we?

but also contained acceptance:


...and realizing I've still got some fight in me:

And finally started out with a scare that THANKFULLY ended much better than it could have.

I participated in Reverb14 (my first Reverb ever!), which was fantastic and reminded me how much I enjoy writing (which has taken a backseat to art for quite a while).  I learned a lot about myself...

...finished off a bunch of pages where there was a background but nothing else...

where I wanted to be:

This page is laughably bad!  (but laughing's good, so it can't be all bad, right?  ...right???)

...and what I hope for the future.


I wrapped up Journal 52 with an important reminder:

...better keep learning then!

and Documented Life with a little whimsy:

I've never been happier that my name starts with an "A"!

...thus completing TWO year-long art projects and proving that I CAN finish what I start!


And that brings us up to date with today, December 31...

...still celebrating the cleanliness of the desk!

...where I thought I send 2014 off with a little bit of fun...

Followed a tutorial I found on Pinterest to make this cartoony can find the tutorial on my "Copycat With Respect" board.

With many thanks for all it's taught me, I say:

SO LONG 2014!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

To Live Without Definition

Another late one tonight...overtime and then mending a coat...sigh.  But I'm one post away from a month long blog-a-thon, so I'm doing a quickie tonight!

I used some happy mail napkins I got from my friends Boo and Pamikins quite a while ago, as well as some leftover's from my Journal 52 page for this week and ended up with this:

I guess it's a collage...

I had painted the background and then put other napkins on, but didn't like I tried to take the napkins off...which ended up ripping the pages.  Oh well...let's just say it adds to the finished piece, ok?

"To live is the rarest thing in the world.  Most people exist, that is all."
-Oscar Wilde

I whited out the background on the page with the groups of girls, but left the colorful and crazy background for the individual girl...

While there have been times in my life I've wanted to fit in or, more correctly, to be accepted...those are two entirely separate things after all...I've never quite understood the desire to be like other people.  
In the past, I often wished that my brain functioned the way normal people's brains do...until I realized that most people's brains don't actually function all that well either.  I don't say that in a mean way...although now that I think about it it's probably hard to interpret that in any other way...

What I mean is that I see a lot of people putting "fitting in" over being happy.  I'm not always innocent of that crime myself...less so the older (and wiser) I get though.

The other day, a man I work with called me a free thinker and told me that I was therefore a rare and dangerous breed.  He said that generally people like me are misunderstood and tend to cause a lot of problems just by doing what comes naturally to them...because most people fear things that are different.  I think it was a compliment...

He's not wrong, I guess.  It's been my experience that people like to label things...and when they come across someone that doesn't fit into a predefined category, they're not exactly sure what to do about it.  I imagine that I've been very off-putting to a lot of people in my life so far.

I like to think that I have learned to temper my weirdness with kindness...that I don't try to shove my ways down anyone else's throat. 

I was thinking about Oscar Wilde's quote that I put on my spread today.

I always giggle to myself when people try too hard to stand apart from the crowd...because doing that just lands them in another crowd.  Maybe I'm just a little snobbish about my weirdness.

I wish that we lived in a world where everyone could be free to be themselves at all times.  I think people like to believe we live in that kind of world, but it's not true.  I've not met a person in my life, including me, who is not a watered-down version of the person they'd like to be.  And every single person I've ever known, again including myself, perpetuates the world as it is...because we like to pass judgement, consciously or not...we like our labels...we like to think we know what other people are, to be able to define them.  And to try to define another person is to judge them.

Starting now, I'd like to quit passing judgement on other people and, instead, to concentrate more fully on becoming the undiluted version of me.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Til I Shine

So late in posting tonight!  I blame overtime at work...hooray for the money, boo.hiss.hiss. for taking time away from me that I reserve for art!  Seeing how, including this post, I'm only 3 days away from posting every day in December, I wasn't going to let the lateness of the hour deter me!

Down to brass tacks then...

I found this song, "Calvary Cross" by Richard Thompson:

It happened by accident the other day while searching for a different song....but it stuck in my head and I've been listening to it a good bit.

Contrary to what it may sound like, this song is not's actually talking about creative inspiration!

The part that struck a chord with me is talking about putting the effort into learning your craft...working hard in order to improve, and I liked it so much I wanted to put the lyrics in a page:

"Scrub me til I shine in the dark."

I was thinking about how sometimes our dissatisfaction with our art (or our lives in general for that matter) is the factor that motivates us to try to change.  But it's not always the case.  We can be dissatisfied and do nothing about it...just wallow in it.

The scrubbing only happens when we start to work against the thing that we find distasteful.  If we don't push against that abrasive feeling we have about something, then we'll never get polished up and pretty, you know?

That gelly roll  pen worked surprisingly well on the kraft paper!  I see more of the white on kraft in my future!

I think one of the best ways to use the abrasion of dissatisfaction is when you let it be a motivator to try something experiment with something you've never tried before.  It can be a hideous mess, or it can turn out to be something totally awesome...but either way, stepping outside the familiar in some small way seems to always lead to the discovery of something good...maybe not the first or second time, but somewhere down the line, bad will lead to bad will lead to bad will lead to good...and that's a result that makes continued effort worthwhile.

I hope that in the new year some of the things that have been abrading me for a while will finally have polished me to the point of shining.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Later Gator

This is the final spread for DOCUMENTED LIFE (DLP)...there's not much I can say about the first year of DLP that I didn't say about Journal 52 in yesterday's's with the same melancholy feeling that I bring 2014's DLP journal to a close.  

Just like J52, DLP will continue next year, and I will continue right along with it for as long as possible, but I don't know if it will hold the same meaning for me that this first year has...I can only hope, I suppose.

The prompt for the final DLP spread is "Draw or Collage Something That Begins With the First Letter of Your First Name."  

And here's what I came up with:

Look at my desk!  It's clean!  Holy guacamole!  ...but more on that later...

Here's the left side, as close as I could get it with the full page showing (mostly):

I figured I would do a little collage on one side of the spread  and draw/paint on the other and be an overachiever like I like to do...

Just in case you don't know, my name is Amy.  I chose to go with "A" things instead of my normal inclination to go with Sweet Red Clover as my 'name' for any kind of prompt where names are involved.  I don't know why it was, but I knew I really wanted to use "A" stuff before I ever even considered what it was I would do for the spread...but of course I still had to sneak in a little clover action on the page...

I got the all the Aces and the 'A' flashcard with the apple on it in happy mail, so thanks to everybody that sent those to me!  I happened to get a piece of junk mail  yesterday  (the pieces of manila envelope) and the words "important" and "documentation" caught my eye, so I tore them out thinking I would use them sometime...although I didn't realize it would be so soon!  And the little tag from the Earl Grey I was drinking as I worked on this spread...had to throw him in there! 

I'm not much of a collage person...sometimes I get it right and other times, not so much.  This one, whether it's good or...other, makes me it must be ok, I guess!

 The "End Here." and the words at the bottom of the page (you can see them in the pic before this says "See nothing to be scared of.  It was even a little fun, right?") were already in the SmashBook (that I converted for my DLP journal), and I was glad to be able to keep them visible, since they seemed like good words.

And this is the right side of the spread:

See you later, alligator!
I copied this guy (with a few changes...not enough to call him my own, for sure) from some art I saw on Pinterest.
You can see the original (which is TOTALLY awesome...) on my 'Copycat With Respect' board.

While they were two separate projects, DLP and J52 have served the same major purpose for me...which is proving to myself that I could, in fact, finish what I started.  And so it seems fitting that both the first page for my J52 journal and the last page of my DLP journal have balloons on them.  I remember very distinctly someone from the J52 group on Facebook commenting (a whole year ago, that's how happy it made me!) that my first page should be in a children's's one of the kindest compliments I've ever gotten about my art!  And this gator, even though he's pretty much a copy of someone else's work, looks to me like he'd be a good children's book too!  (Best compliment I ever gave my own art! ☺)

Again, like J52, the only thing that's left of DLP for me is to do a little (but picture heavy) post showing all the spreads in one place...and maybe to decorate the cover, but I haven't decided if I want to do anything to this one, I kind of like it as is.  We'll see...


As you might be able to tell from the first picture, I started cleaning my studio.

Actually, I think it would be better described as purging.

I've told you before that I never clean...and honestly, that's only a very slight exaggeration of the facts.  But when the idea of how cluttered and disgusting my studio actually is just wouldn't leave my mind, I knew there was a reason for it.

Normally when I clean my studio, I keep everything...I don't do this in any other room of the house, but in my studio I think I can't get rid of that!  I might need it someday! a true hoarder would.

But this time was different.

I just kept looking at things I would normally keep...minuscule scraps of paper, empty tubs that once held gesso and other various mediums, pens that 'still write' (albeit not all the time or not very well), packaging from any kind of box that was brought into the house...and I thought to myself It's weighing you down.

When I stood back and looked at all that extra stuff, a big black garbage bag full to the point of ripping, it gave me such a nauseating feeling.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for doing what you can with what you have and recycling and not wasting things and all that stuff...but what I was doing was not that.  I was burying myself under 'art supplies'.  I was hiding in a fort of useless objects so that I wouldn't have to see or hear the things that frustrate and offend me.

I don't want that kind of burden anymore.

That's why I had to take the time to clean up and toss and reevaluate what I would use versus what I felt like I had to use.  Other people do awesome stuff with cereal boxes, so I should keep mine...but, you know what, I'll never do anything with them.  I am not everybody else...I'm just me, and that's the only standard I should measure myself against.

I come from a place of meager means, and maybe a part of me got twisted into believing that it's frugality to keep everything you ever come into contact with.  But that's not true.  There's no shame in getting rid of something that's broken.  There's nothing wrong in passing something you are not going to use on to someone who will...even if you spent money to have it.  There's no one searching through my trash bag with a ruler saying that two inch scrap of paper was too big to just throw away!

I don't want to have that heavy feeling holding me down anymore...especially not in relation to my studio!  

I'm not done with the purging just yet.  In all honesty, I'm probably only about halfway there...but egads, if the ending brings me half as much relief as the beginning did, I'll be doing the happy dance for weeks!

In one of the Reverb14 posts, I mentioned that I'd like to have a house full of things that I love...that no matter where I look, I want my eyes to land on something that brings me joy.  And the practical aspect of starting on that goal is to rid myself of anything that doesn't.  So cheers to me for starting on that goal a little earlier than the new year!

To quote Mary Oliver, "I want to be light and frolicsome", and if getting down and dirty with cleaning is the first step, then I'm on my way.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Circle Back And Keep Learning

The prompt for JOURNAL 52 this week is "Circle".  This is the last prompt for this first year of J52...I can't believe it!  It seems like we only just got started!

Many thanks to Chelle (the generous lady behind J52) for all the hard work she put into this project!  She came up with some really awesome prompts, and I can't wait to see what she has in store for the future.  I can honestly say that I have learned so much and been stretched creatively and mentally/emotionally by this fantastic project. <3

Chelle mentioned in this week's post (linked above) the idea of bringing something to a close and the little twinge of sadness that goes along with it.  But she also called to mind that, as one thing comes to an end, something else begins...hence the "circle" prompt.

For me, there is a huge sense of accomplishment that goes along with Journal 52's inaugural year reaching completion...but I'd be lying if I said I don't feel that twinge of sadness here at the end of this first year!  (Thank goodness J52 will continue in 2015!)

One of my biggest goals in 2014 was to "not be a flake" other words, to see something through to the end.  And now here I am, with this last piece of that puzzle in my hands. In a day or two, I'll have completed my second year-long project (Documented Life).  All that's left of this year's J52 journal is to decorate my cover...and then it's's complete...I did it.  I reached my goal and I proved to myself that I can stick with something...I am a finisher...I can do anything I put my mind

Just wow.

And so, my friends, I present to you the last page of 2014's Journal 52 journal, a major milestone in both my creative journey and my personal growth:

Had to pick happy colors to balance out the blues that I was feeling over this being the last page!

I was thinking about those "Groundhog's Day" type movies when I did this know, the ones where the main character has to live the same day over and over until they get it right...

"It won't let go until you learn."

...I was thinking about how life really is like that in a we seem to circle back to things, how we find ourselves in the same situations we've been in before, feeling the same way we've felt in the past, telling ourselves we'll never let a certain thing happen again and before we know it we're right back at it...

And I came to the conclusion that we can't free ourselves from those circles until we learn...until we honestly learn.  And just like in those movies, it's not up to anyone else...we're Bill Murray and we're the only ones who can change things...and if we don't, we're the ones who are doomed to repeat the same things time and again for the rest of our lives.

This last page of my J52 journal is to lovingly remind myself, to keep it fresh in my mind for 2015, that I'm the one who has to change...I'm the only one who has the power to make life better or to let it be the same as it always has been.

And I choose change.

A loving little reminder...

Like I mentioned at the beginning, all that's left to do is the cover and 2014's J52 journey will be complete.  I'll work on it and share that with you sometime before January (I better get a move on...not too many days left!) and I'll try to include all the 52+ pages (some weeks I was an overachiever) in that same post, so be on the lookout!

For now, I'm off to watch a little Sherlock and finish off my Documented Life journal...