From Honoring Your Work

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Stacking Up (aka The Making of 2 Series)

I generally paint with no plan whatsoever.  Which means I have no idea of what subject I’ll paint.  I think the only time I’ve ever done that was for a class.

My plan is simple.  Choose 3 colors I’m drawn to, and add black and white.  That’s it.  Next, I begin smooshing the color onto the canvas in any way that feels good (expressive) in the moment.

I also try to keep my body moving and my head out of the game! Eventually a direction reveals itself and I go with that – until, and unless, it changes – and it often does.

So when I’ve stacked up a few paintings, it’s always a surprise to find similarities among them.  That’s how my “series” come to be.

I do recall painting the one below.  It was a dark and grey summer afternoon – a BIG storm was blowing in.  I had all the windows in my studio open to enjoy the breezes and tingly electric atmosphere.

It rarely rains in Southern California, so when it does it’s an event!

Newscasters excitedly repeated their “storm warnings” and bragged about their modern (but seldom needed) radar system.  No wonder “Storm Chaser” came into being.

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“Storm Chaser”

I remember feeling in my bones that my next way to paint was revealing itself as I blended the many shades of blue.

I was “in it” – the flow, that is.

That doesn’t always happen, but I always pray for it.

There’s no more joy-full feeling!

“Storm Chaser” framed (SOLD)

Since then, a few paintings have the same aerial feel.  As I paint, land and seascapes emerge from under my brush or fingers.  Hence, the “Bird’s Eye View” series is born.

(The painting below was four-different-paintings before this finally came!  I’m learning patience y’all.  Really – painting teaches you stuff.)

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“Thunder Island”

 

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“Indigo Harbour”

 

During this same time period (since June) another series is taking shape…..one probably influenced by my daily walks – during which I’m amazed by the beautiful vegetation in my neighborhood, or in the wetlands and beaches I frequent.

I’ve taken so many photos of flowers lately, I’m sure it is the inspiration that’s become visible on my canvases.

This series, I’m calling “My Secret Garden”.

"Under the Willow"
“Under the Willow”

 

"Honeycomb & Fae"
“Honeycomb & Fae”

 

Even my art journal pages seem to fall somewhere between the two series now.

It’s all a mystery to me.

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I never know what’ll show up!

If I’m not in love with a painting or page, I simply add another layer of paint the next day or flip the page.

Non-attachment is necessary, or I’ll make myself crazy – which is so NOT the point of creative expression.

“No worries,” I repeat under my breath.

“Breathe,” I tell myself.

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No worries.

It’s just paint.  

Let it go.  

Let it go.

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Tomorrow, I’ll share something new and exciting – I’ve been interviewed by Creative Life Coach, Jamie Ridler, for her weekly podcast!  OMGosh she’s about the most supportive and creative person I know!!

And guys – there’s 1 seat open for the upcoming art journaling retreat I’m hosting in Palm Springs in January.  I KNOW it’s waiting for just the right person…..if it’s calling to you,

Snag it here!

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The Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours

Live long enough and you begin to understand what “lights you up”.  I know that a bit of “adventure” and the delight of seeing creative spaces both really do that for me!!  Combine the two?  Forgetaboutit!

A few days ago, I stumbled upon such an opportunity when a new art friend told me about the annual open studio tours in a nearby desert area we’d never visited.

 WHAT!  I JUMPED ON IT!

Road trip with hubby + artful spaces = BLISSFUL DAY!!

Considering there were 95 studios open, this would take some planning.  There was no way we could see that many.  So we grabbed their catalog and map and charted our course.

We began our adventure in the farthest area (29 Palms) and worked our way back closer (Joshua Tree) to home.

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Some studios were easy to get to – as in paved roads and close the highway.   Others were situated far into desert dirt roads.  My jeep was built for this adventure!

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Half the fun is not knowing what’s around the next bend.  We were so lucky to purchase an incredibly beautiful painted drum from a Native American living in this deep desert “ranch” below!

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My favorite stops were where several artists used a sprawling “communal” space.  The high desert has wide open spaces to spread out, ya know?  Artists sure know how to make ramshackle buildings fun!

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I love all sorts of art, but hardly ever do I get to see where it’s actually created.  It’s really interesting . . .  I mean the studios themselves often become a work of art.

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Anything can become a “canvas” – walls, tables, furniture, even large storage containers!

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Look – this guy lays out a large stained glass installation.  Wow!  I never imagined that he would design and draw the piece first – of course he did.  Duh.  Then he makes, colors and cuts the glass!  Wow, that’s a lot of skill.

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Such an artful adventure does require hearty sustenance.

We heard the best burger in town was here at the Joshua Tree Saloon.

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The place had been overtaken over by LOTS of women bikers!  Pretty fun people watching dontcha know.

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I can hardly wait until next year – there’s so many studios we weren’t able to visit.

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It all had me dreaming of the “compound” I would create (if I could).  Some day!

I hear that the real estate prices are pretty darn reasonable in this neck of the woods.  Hmmmmm.

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BTW if YOU are up for an artful desert adventure of your own, there is 1 seat that has opened up for The Creative Nomad art journaling retreat I’m hosting in Palm Springs.

Print

Details are here.

Do join us!


detail from "Under The Willow"

My Sacred Vows (To The Creative Life)

I’ve find that insight and inspiration comes in waves.  I’m there right now – atop a monster wave!

I’m recently back from an indescribably-wonderful-5-day-retreat with Angi Sullins – in New Mexico – my “soul’s home” – the place I find MOST inspiring.  Angi is truly a MUSE!  Do attend one of her retreats if you can – I highly recommend it!  Afterwards, my husband and I took a beautiful road trip through the desert southwest.

The day I got home,  Elizabeth Gilbert‘s latest book was released.  It’s called “Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear” and it is so so rich!  I ripped through it!  

MUST. RE-READ. VERY. SOON.   

AND this week, I returned to the warehouse studio I share with my super-talented-artist-Mom.  We had a loooong hot summer’s break.  Woof.  

A day of cleaning the studio + a bit of reorganizing + a day of painting = CREATIVE BLISS!

All of this has sparked an urge to re-commit to my creative life – officially – like with a written contract.  Which admittedly, felt like a strange thing to do.  Then, my husband reminded me that we enter contracts with employers, spouses, landlords, etc.  Why not make an agreement with the way of life I MOST CRAVE?  (Yeah – I’m talking to you M.R. Bird.)

In Ms. Gilbert’s book, she writes of committing to the writing life at a very young age – her vows were concise and reasonable, and they still apply to her work today.

My call is towards a broader creative life . . . I write, I paint, I art journal, I now host art retreats, I sometimes teach, I love interior design and gardening and fashion…..all of it!  It’d be impossible to narrow it – but I suppose my emphasis is on painting and writing.

I thought I’d share my own creative commitments with you here – ya know, to make it officially official.  Here goes:

  • I will follow my truest curiosity – allowing it to lead me to MY most creative life.
  • I will honor my ideas – gathering, harvesting and acting on them regularly.
  • I will always make the physical space for my creative pursuits – whether that’s in a studio or a corner shelf!
  • I vow to never put pressure on my creativity with expectations of money or accolades.  I will do it for love and support it however is necessary.  Anything else is gravy.
  • I will wholeheartedly pursue my creative passions through near-daily-practice.  I will build my creative muscle.  I will show up.  I will remain teach-able.
  • I will nurture my creative soul through inspiring experiences, books, classes, people and more “just doing it”.
  • I will care for my “instrument” with proper self care.
  • I will share my process and results often – being brave on my creativity’s behalf.
  • I will do my best work without caving to rampant perfectionism – of which I am totally inclined towards!
  • I vow to be light with my process.  Serious art making seems joyless and is NOT the life I desire.  If serious art comes of a light process, then so be it – but it’s not my goal.

Well that’s it – for now . . . hahaha I hope there’s not more!  What do you think?  Is there some commitments you’d like to make for your creative life?  Do share……

 

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Art-On-The-Go “Kits”

I do have some mad organization skills!  That, combined with a lifelong purse obsession, a tendency to hoard art supplies and a desire to tote them everywhere is the “perfect storm”!

It’s manifested in an crazy array of “art to go” kits.  Perfect for jaunts to desert or beach, art journal picnics or attending yet another art retreat.

I thought I’d share them with you today.  I’ll put some links to various supplies in case you’re interested – and BTW the links do NOT earn me affiliate fees.  They are things I really use and love.  Almost everything can be had on Amazon.

This first kit is for “traveling light”.  I use this set up most often – it’s great for road trips or for a sketch date at the beach.

In this hand painted clutch I can fit a travel set of watercolor, a sketchbook or journal, and a zip case full of pens, tape, scissors and glue.  I also love to include my portable photo printer.  It prints pics from my iPhone and even has sticky back paper – perfect for sticking straight into my journal!  

It’s not unusual for me to pack an inspirational book – this one’s about Dan Eldon – the guy who first inspired me to art journal!

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In my world, everything is an art project.  I love to take canvas or cotton totes and alter them with paint.  I use regular acrylic paints and find they do not fade or wash out.  The flowered tote below was originally a gift-with-purchase bag from Victoria Secret – it’s at least 5 years old and hasn’t faded a bit.

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What’s organization without a pen bag?  It holds more than I really can ever use – it’s awesome!  My husband’s bag (the green one) is filled with his cigar accessories and other man gear.  No, I do not smoke cigars lol!

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My second art kit has many more supplies to choose from.  It’s the perfect “portable studio” for longer travels or for an in-person art journaling class.

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The organizer is really cool!  It has a lift out tray for sketching or art journaling in my lap – and of course being plastic, it’s waterproof.  It holds quite a lot.  In it goes tapes, a sharpener, glue, water brushes, a spray bottle of water, standard watercolors, little jars of shimmery water colors and water-soluble markers and pencils.

There’s plenty of room for a sketchbook or two – I may even throw in a guided journal like one from Shiloh Sophia McCloud.  Again, I love to carry a camera for taping in photos.  This one prints self developing mini’s similar to the old polaroid cameras.

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This final kit is full blown!  This amazing box allows me to carry everything needed for a days long painting retreat, except the canvas itself.

In it, I can carry paints, brushes, paint pens, a painting shirt or apron, an art journal (or two), a full size camera and more.  Pretty much anything can find a place.  Well maybe not the humungous inspiration book . . . it’s an incredible collection of art journal images by Peter Beard – another favorite artist of mine.

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I bound the journal to the right of the white camera myself –  it’s soft and mushy which I love.  I ripped the cover to size from one of my own un-stretched paintings on canvas.  I filled it with luscious creamy 140 lb. hot press Fabriano watercolor paper – the best paper ever made in my opinion!!

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They even make the box in other colors and sizes.  I’m seriously lusting over the turquoise one. There’s even a cool fabric one (that I will not admit to owning – uh huh).  I believe this box may have changed my life – well, my creative life – a bit, anyways!  

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Tell me . . . do you HAVE to tote art supplies wherever you go too?  Am I alone in this?  Do you go on sketching dates and art journal picnics and painting retreats?

 

 

 

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White Space

At least once a month, I head east on crowded freeways towards our second home, Palm Springs.  After an hour or two of loud and harried, I reach my favorite exit – a long stretch of road in the shadow of the towering Mount San Jacinto.  It’s flanked by a wide expanse of blinding white sand and craggy mountains.

It’s here, I breathe deeper than I have in days.  The air is clear, the pace is slow, the stillness palpable.   In near reverence, I lower my window, quiet my tunes and let my hand roll in the warm breeze.  It’s my church.

My intense love for the desert southwest is as old as I am.  I figure it’s the closest I’ll ever live to the deserts of my Texas birthplace.

I’m here for over a week and it’s such a gift!  The temperature may soar to 117 degrees by this weekend, but that only means the desert is in it’s quiet annual hibernation.  So, I venture out at dawn for long coolish walks through town.

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The only people out so early in this town are sleepy dog walkers and casino shift workers.  But, I have spotted a familiar braided-Native-American-ranger bumping his truck onto a canyon road.  I so envy his turquoise bracelets!  He shows them off each time he waves my husband and I through to hiking trails during the cool months.

After my walk, a dip in the lukewarm pool is in order.  I float for awhile in the silky water, cloud gazing and day dreaming.  Before it’s too hot, I’ll run my errands.  The rest of the hours will be spent in much too cold air conditioning deep in page, paint and pen.  It’s a working retreat, you see.  I’m so fortunate to have my work feel like play nowadays.

The white space I’ve managed on my calendar is not likely to come again for a year, so I intend to make the most of this time.  How about you?  What are you doing in these last days of summer – are you finding some white space of your own?

 

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