Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What is going on....6-29-10

© Dan Swinson.  Colin as Benno
Another week is almost half done and I feel like I have been spinning my wheels.  We are getting ready for a family reunion up in Williams Bay Wisconsin.  It is only for one night and part of the next day.  I feel like I will be there for a month.  The preparation has been insane.  We are cooking all of our meals and so all that food and assorted stuff has to be carried along.  Bag chairs, beach bags, bug spray, sun tan lotion, charcoal, lighter fluid....you name it. Mandy, one of grey hounds, is coming with and she requires special meals.  I have this fear I will forget something major.   I just hope I get to visit with my cousins.  I have another journaling class coming up and have not even started the art yet. Oh yeah, and this computer, the one I am typing on now, is slowly dying.  We had a blue screen this AM and my soft ware engineer husband spent a goodly amount of time trying to figure out what the bleep is going on.  Perfect timing, just as I am trying to finish Kelly Rae Robert's e-course! Art time...forget it.  I am hoping to get into the studio this Friday. 

I thought I would leave you with one of my favorite photos of my son, from Swan Lake.  No visual arts today, just performing :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Peaceful Retreat, Journal page 6-23-10

This has been another of those week in which I have not been all that inspired.  The e-course is going well, family time is going well, we are very busy indeed but that's OK, I think part if it is the monsoon season we are having.  One day a ton of rain, the next, a little, the next downpours and all through this are my headaches.  I am learning to let go and just take the time to put cold cloths on my head and literally chill out, but I have the fact that I my productivity is 0.  I really need to finish up my journal pages for class this Friday but I am so totally not motivated.  At least all the textured background are done and I have actually finished 2 of the 4 pages.  At the left is that hide glue background which I totally love.  I really want to experiment some more.  You know, playing with transfers, what can I put on top of the glue, will acrylic polymer media have a hindrance on the effect etc...  Sigh, one of these days.  For now, I am making this background as simple as I can because I really want the class to be successful.  So here is what I did with the background.

One of my prompts this weeks theme is a peaceful retreat (from the theme places you have visited).  I actually gave this some thought.  One of the first things that popped into my pea brain was my experience in the Catedral de Sevilla.  That was way back in 1992 but I have never forgotten the feeling I had when I first set eyes on the altar.  I waded through photos I taken of the cathedral and found one of a facade. The original photo was taken in bright sunlight.  I popped it into photoshop and played with the filters and what you see is what I got.  One can't visit a place like that and not feel an immediate connection with our Lord (or some force more powerful than us).  The cathedral was cavernous.  Bigger than any cathedral, church etc...that I had ever seen.  And yet, that connection that was made when I entered through the door made it feel so intimate and familiar.  Even with hundreds of tourists milling around, there was a reverence and quiet that is hard to describe.  The prayers I said there still ring in my soul and I am so blessed to have experienced it all. 

Here is a little video I found on YouTube of the Cathedral.  The quality is so so but it will give you an idea of the beauty, the grandeur, and the holiness of this monument to God.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Journal Pages in progress

What a weekend it has been so far.  I never seem to catch a moment for my creative process addiction.  I spent some precious time with my hubby and twins on Friday.  It was great reconnecting with my 15 year olds.  No talk about dance, no performances, no school work (obviously) just plain talking.  We visited the Cuneo Museum in Vernon Hills Illinois. http://cuneomansion.org/ , this link will take you to the story of this beautiful old mansion.  If you click on the media gallery, there is a 6 minute video on the history of the place.  I have been to the Cuneo Mansion several times before this.  The history is interesting and the art and artifacts at the mansion are beautiful but what was really gratifying to me was watching my twins expressions as they toured the grounds and inside the mansion.  The place captured their imagination and I was so lucky to share it with them.  We talked about art, and the historical timeline that led this family to Vernon Hills.  They loved all the beautiful pieces of art that the Cuneo's amassed in their lifetime.  It was so wonderful to just chat with them about this period of time.  Of course afterward, we hit the shopping mall that was maybe inches from the mansion.  And then my "old" twins were back talking about video games and all the stuff they were going to buy with their money from babysitting and cutting grass. Sigh.....

Today I spent the entire afternoon at my artist reception.  It was pretty lackluster.  I did meet two other artists who shared the gallery space with me and they seemed nice but our conservation was pretty formal.  They knew each other and pretty much kept to themselves.  I was in no mood to be friendly so I did not intrude.  I need to vent about this event but have not decided if I want to share those ventings here.  Maybe if I sleep on it....
Corrugate Texture

So the few minutes I did manage to steal for myself, I finished one journal page and have 3 in progress.  I have a class coming up on the 25th and the clock is ticking down.  We are going to "experiment" with a variety of stuff to add 3d dimension to our substrates (journal pages in this case).  This finished page actually started out with a hefty amount of corrugate glued down.  I added tissue over the corrugate for additional  texture.  Then I decided I hated what I had done and drew all over it.  Funny how that works out.  Our theme for this upcoming class is places we have visited.  I have a series of prompts for written expression with one being: "a place of fun."  Disney World was my place of fun, twice :).  I have journaled on the spokes of the Ferris wheel. 

hide glue texture
I also wanted to share this hide glue texture once again.  I really love how this page turned out and I believe I know what I want to journal on this page.  Can't wait to get back to it.  The other two textures will include light molding paste and plain old cheese cloth.  I love building texture and I do hope the class will have fun with it.  Still much to do on these pages and I have to write up instructions as well.  I hope I remember what I did.  I always start out my creative time with the intention that I will document what I am doing as it is getting done.  I even keep a pad of paper next to me.  So do you think I ever follow through...ha that will be the day!

Hope you have a wonderful father's day celebration tomorrow and a creative day as well.

Friday, June 18, 2010

WooHoo I figured out how to make my blog button

I made a promise to myself to improve my blog and work toward a more professional look.  I spent 2 precious hours this AM working on this little button (see right side bar) and I am thrilled that I figured it out.  Hmmm what other buttons can I make!  Here is the tutorial I followed and I am so appreciative for instructions that I could actually follow!  http://strategiconlinemarketing.blogspot.com/2010/06/how-to-create-grab-button-blog-box-with.html.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

In the Sutdio 6-15, 16 and 17 2010

Hide Glue texture on water color paper
These past few days I have been able to find a good chunk of each day to work in my studio.  I am still cleaning the pit (guess I should post a picture sooner or later) but after my 15-30 minutes of cleaning, I hit the work bench (which is really a nice swivel chair and card table).  No new works have been started but I have been setting up backgrounds for journal pages (that will translate into finished pages for my next journaling class).  My Collage Crate course was cancelled...only one person signed up.  I am hoping that the lack of interest was due to it being summer>vacations>family gatherings>graduation> sport events  etc...  I think that we will reschedule in the fall sometime.  I would be lying if I said it doesn't matter to me, it does, at least some.  I put a lot of time into that crate and was hoping to share it with everyone.  Oh well, I am moving on.  And that would be to the next journaling class.  I settled on 3-d textures for experimenting with on the journal pages and our written words will be about places we have visited (I include prompts for the written part).  While I do not have any finished pages, I have been playing with a variety of textures.  These include using corrugate, hide glue, cheese cloth, and light molding paste.  No finished pages yet but here is an example of the effect one gets with hide glue.  I spent the better part of Wednesday looking for this glue and finally found it at our local Ace hardware.  The folks at Home Depot had no clue what I was talking about.  That is really OK because I often don't know what I am talking about!  Anyway...here it is and I just love the effect.  As I type this I am experimenting with a transfer followed by the addition of hide glue.  I should be able to share those results tomorrow.  I do know this...the paints I used for the result seen above are Golden fluid acrylics.  I have no idea if it will work with other acrylics so it is up to you, the reader, to take it on if you are not a Golden user. 

If you live in my area, I will be at a meet the artist reception at the Cafe Luna on Saturday the 19th from 2-4pm.  I am looking forward to it.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Checking In 6-13-10

Two Swans in the dressing room.  My Claire is the black swan.
I have resurfaced (no pun intended) from Swan Lake.  This weekend has been unlike any other I have had in a very long time.  What we witnessed was an event that in my mind was near perfection.   My husband and I spent many blissful hours watching Colin and Claire perform.  I have never seen my children perform so well.  Maybe it is because they are just that much older...maybe it is because of their passion for dance, or maybe I have dreamt this all.  I had these feelings of pride, love, joy, and hope.  My head was spinning with all the images from the ballet followed by comments from complete strangers.  Thank you Colin and Claire for being my inspiration, my hope for the future, the loves of my life, and my pride and joy.

On another note, I finished the bottom of the little crate that I was working on for my class this upcoming week.  I have posted here and on my workshops page. This was inspired by Kelly Rae's e-course of which I am now fully two days behind!  And my son also inspired this.  I said to him before his first performance to just be himself and everything would be fine. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

A week of Swans and Evil Magicians.

Oh  yes, my main duties this week revolve around my very talented twins. I am such a proud and boastful Mom, so please forgive me dear readers, if I gush just a little. 

First, I have been keeping up, well sort of, with Kelly's class and have added some simple buttons to my blog.  It is a snails pace right now, in terms of improvements, but hey I am at least moving.  I did spend some time in my studio yesterday and worked more on my Collage crate.  The bottom is 95% done.  It will be hard to use it for its intended purpose! I hope to finish it early next week.  The collage is in the "lets leave it for awhile to see what else I need to add to it or not" stage.  Today and this weekend will be all about Swans.  We are going to all 4 performances and that will fill our evenings and afternoons.

So here is my son Colin in his goofy wild hair and remnants of his evil makeup.  He is the evil sorcerer von Rothbart in Swan Lake.  This photo was taken with my iPhone late last night.  I think he was pretty happy with all the fuss that was made over him.  You see, my boy has his own stylist and make up artists (thanks to Tierney and Amanda and maybe some others too).  In addition to his evil role (he turns a beautiful girl into a swan), he also is Prince Siegfrieds best friend and man about town, Benno. I have seen photos taken by Dan Swinson of my Colin in mid flight and it takes my breath away.  Sigh...how can I think of anything else but my Colin and his twin, Claire this weekend.  Claire is in an Hungarian folk dance scene and she is a black swan.

If you are in the Woodstock IL area, please come out and see this ballet.  It is magnificent and so well done.  The kids dance with their hearts.  I haven't seen it yet of course (I will tonight) but the photos Dan has taken make it easy for me to recommend this to all. 

Here is a link to Dans photo album if anyone is interested (http://www.danswinson.com/Photography/JSSB-Swan-Lake, click on the June 8th rehearsal and Colin has an entire page to himself starting on page 23, he is the 15 yr old in black tights and white shirt)  and here is a link to the sotry of Swan Lake  http://classicalmusic.about.com/od/balletsynopses/a/swanlakestory.htm# .   Oh and here is the link to the Woodstock Opera house (just in case):  http://www.woodstockoperahouse.com/navigation/home.html

OK so off to study more of Kelly Raes Flying Lessons and then I get to see my own children take Flight!


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Reality Returns 6-8-10

Already this week is a blur. I feel completely drained as I wade through the mountains of info in Kelly's incredible ecourse.  I have made some improvements to my blog and thank you for the kind comments on that front.  I have a way to go but at least I have made the commitment to take small steps.  I think I spent about 3 hours on line today, reading, studying, changing, adsorbing...  The art will wait but not to long because I will need a fix shortly. 

My creative spirit was drawing me to my studio and I really wanted to go, really...However this week is dominated by everything Swan Lake.  My Colin and Claire are performing.  Colin has several big solo parts along with some corp parts (folk dances) and my Claire is a black swan and in the Hungarian folk dance.  As a ballet mom, I wash the tights dance belts, leotards, sew the new ballet slippers and pointe shoes, provide the ice and or heat for sore muscles, help with make-up (my Colin relies on me), feed the starving dancers, pack snacks, chauffeur them back and forth and oh yes, watch every performance.  Just writing all that poops me out!  But you know what, I would not trade this time for anything.  I am so proud of Colin and Claire.  No wonder I am drained.  My mind is being stretched to the max.  Notice the picture...These are Claire's pointe shoes.  They are a new brand for her and she loves them...I hate them.  I spent 3 hours today hand sewing the ribbons and elastic on these shoes and I had to fight for every stitch.  Lest you think I am incompetent, I have been sewing pointe shoes for about 8 years and I have rather enjoyed the process.  These new shoes are impossible.  I had to go and by a thimble (I am sewing challenged, no sewing machine either) because I could not get the darn heavy duty needle and special thread through.  These shoes are made by Gaynor-Minden and are beloved by many professional dancers who probably can afford to hire someone to do their ribbons and elastic! If anyone out there has some sewing tips for these darn things, I would love to know if there is a trick that does not involve a sewing machine.  And so I finished the shoes but not in time for my Claire to break them in.  The nice thing about these shoes (there are many positives if you wear them) is that there is not too much time needed to break them in and she should have no problem. So it is my Colin and Claire's time to shine this week and upcoming weekend...all else takes a back seat.  Sigh...


Monday, June 07, 2010

Of Whispers and Goals

I managed to finish week one of Kelly Rae Roberts ecourse, "Flying Lessons."  I've spent some very precious time in silence allowing ideas, random thoughts, dreams, and even visions pass through my consciousness.  I took the course because even though I did not realize it at the time, I allowed myself to listen to those little whispers that pervade our heart on a regular basis.  You know the ones that nudge you forward and keep nudging you until you finally realize that its time to act on them.  And that is precisely what Kelly talked about early on, listening to those whispers, acknowledging your fears and then get a game plan in gear.  So I promised myself that I would listen with my heart from now on because that is where my whispers originate. 

As I thought about those nudges that have moved me over the years, the list was larger than I realized.  I listened when my heart told me that I had done everything I could in my scientific career and now it was time to take care of my 6 year old and 4 year old twins.  I left Abbott to do just that.  It was really scary because our income dropped to half of what it was.  I had a 6 year old with a learning disability and 4 year old twins that were not yet potty trained.  I left anyway and have not looked back.  I listened  when my heart told me that I needed to explore my creative side.  I became a demonstrator for Stampin Up and sold product and demoed rubber stamp techniques for about 6 years until I felt that nudge again.  The time I spent away from home was draining myself and my family.  It was too much.  So I put away the inks.  Something was still missing and my heart told me to continue to pursue my creative side.  Out came the canvas, matte board and other substrates.  Sweet bliss...I was happiest in my little studio doing my mixed media and collage.  The nudges continued and I started to get my art "out there."  Through Found Art Tuesday, I left pieces of art around northern Illinois and in Chicago and soon my first gallery show happened.  More nudges had me entering juried competitions where I was accepted to some and not others.  More nudges, more shows, small sales but sales none the less, a new blog, facebook and twitter accounts, teaching mixed media and collage art at the Studio, taking ecourses.... And then Kelly's course opportunity came along.  I still had not considered art as a serious job, but that little whisper told me to take the course...TAKE THE COURSE.  And so here I am, learning so much and realizing that I am the only one standing in the way of my success (as defined by me of course).  What is next...well I need to acknowledge some more of my fears and begin to list practical goals.  I've already determined that I don't want a full time career.  I don't want to work as hard as Kelly has these past three years.  I still have teens and gosh darn, I worked my tail off at Abbott, always feeling I had to prove myself even after the prestigious Scientist of the Year award, but as an artist, I would still like to feel like I have made it.  What that "it" is, I still need to define but I do know what the "it" is not. 

As you can see, my blog has a new feel and that is one of the goal areas I want to tackle first.  The Internet has more potential than I probably will ever realize.  Stay tuned...I will be working on it!


Thursday, June 03, 2010

New Template Finally

I finally made a move to brighten up my blog and I have Kelly Rae to actually thank for the gentle nudge. Blogger in draft has been available for a while now and I had indeed played with the new templates but just couldn't wrap my arms around the changes that would have to be made to the content of a two column template to a three column template.  Kelly's most recent lesson is all about a blog presence on line so I decide just to do it.  I was so tired of the old template and I really did not like the "free" stuff out there.  Some of those templates are a little to distracting for my taste.  I just wanted something that does not take away from the photos etc... So now that I have changed the look, I plan on testing it out to see how I like it.  Thank you Kelly for the great class.  There is a lot on absorb and it may take some time...

Meanwhile...I have to finish planning for my class on Friday. 
If you like the look, please drop me a comment.