Archive for the ‘Creating’ Category

The hummingbird I rescued...a truly magical moment.

EncaustiCamp has ended and I am now back in Portland staying with friends. It was a fantastic art retreat. I learned so much and have so many new ideas. A big part of me just wants to go straight home and paint…but I have more exploring to do before then! I am in Portland for a couple more days and then onto Colorado. Excited to see the studios of two artist friends in the next two days. More on that later.

I posted about EncaustiCamp over on the SYC Blog, but I wanted to share a little more here about what I did there and what I did today.

making paper in Michelle Belto's class

hanging (encaustic on handmade paper)

I am leaving EncaustiCamp with ideas and confidence. I received a warm welcome from Trish and was invited to share with the attendees a summary of Seek Your Course on the first night. She also let me put SYC postcards in everyone’s welcome bags. It was great to start the retreat like this because it sparked a lot of conversations throughout the week and gave me plenty of opportunities to talk about Seek Your Course. I also got lots of great feedback on my work. It feels so good and right to sense things moving forward and to see opportunities emerging before my eyes.

It was really encouraging to be noticed and known. I usually feel like I know everyone but I’m not sure they know me. This time it was the other way around. Everyone knew my name and I kept forgetting some of theirs. It was different. It felt good to be known and a part of me embraces this as success. And then a part of me is very wary of playing the attention game and wanting so badly still to be “cool.” Do these feelings ever go away? The need to be accepted seems eternally strong.

So I am cherishing these encouraging experiences and sealing them inside for times of doubt. While doing this I am also trying to meditate on being strengthened and firm in my convictions, but not tainted by thoughts of superiority or popularity. I am trying to just be true to myself and the path I have before me. I am uplifted and it makes me smile.

Me and Bridgette Guerzon Mills, Instructor Extraordinaire

On my way to Portland today I stopped in Aurora, Oregon. I found some scrumptious shops including a salvage place! I walked around wide-eyed and giddy like a child.

Shopping in Aurora: Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage and Tarte!

Here at Erik and Katie’s house they have chickens and bees in their beautiful in-the-city backyard homestead. I am inspired once again!

Life with Erik and Katie: bees, chickens, dogs and a potluck


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I figured after my last post I should focus on something a little more positive. And I have plenty to be postive about right now!

My big project for the last few months has been to create an online application called Seek Your Course. I have been working with some lovely people to get it off the ground and last night we launched the Listings Manager back-end so that the database can be filled during the month of June. The public launch will be July 1! You can follow the twitter here and like the facebook page here.

Seek Your Course is a listing service for instructors and coordinators of creative ecourses and retreats/conferences. The goal is to better organize and promote all the wonderful learning opportunities out there. SYC will also include a blog that features our sponsors, people’s stories of life-changing experiences with creative learning, interviews with people living creative lives and book recommendations.

I first had the idea in January and right away emailed three people: Beth Nicholls, Dan Bercht, and Cheryl Burke. I had met Beth at Squam Art Workshops in September and she had just announced her Do What You Love site, retreat, and ecourse. Since she was focusing on creative entrepreneurship I knew she would be a great person to bounce the idea off of. She emailed back to say she would love to do some consulting via Skype as I worked on putting it together. I was thrilled! Dan Bercht is an engineering student at UMass that my dad recommended. Dan responded that he would love to work on the project. Cheryl Burke is a friend and graphic designer. She emailed back and said she would love to help with the design. Three positive responses to my three initial inquiries. I was jumping for joy and took it as a sign to go for it!

Less that five months later we launched the Listings Manager and are on track for the public launch in a month. It has been a great journey and I am looking forward to sharing the rest of our plans with you all. I just hope to inspire others in the same way that I have been inspired by all the creative people out there!

While loosely on the subject of hope, we have had fun watching the baby birds outside our door grow up and fly away. They were amazing to watch as they changed a little every day.

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On Giving Up

Haven’t written poetry in a while, but I felt like it tonight. It was nice to write and what came out was a good snapshot of where I am right now.

I am dangling at the end of my rope,
trying to pull the moon to earth all alone.
I’ve always wanted to be witty,
always wanted to be important,
always wanted a guide to lead me forward.
My net is full, but I fear
it may be full of junk.
Inventions once genius,
now useless.

Waves of doubt
crash over
me and my floating home.
The compass has fallen overboard.
My toes threaten to lift off
the wooden planks.
Somedays I am filled with wonder of a criminal sort.
What would happen it I let go?
Littered sea to shining sea.
The rest of the oceans are. Why not mine too? 

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We are off to Ecuador with seven high school students in a couple hours but I finally snuck in some painting right after I finished packing. This week I was sick and busy with trip prep so it was a frustrating week for painting. Glad to get to it before 8 days away from my supplies.

emotions (6"x6" encaustic)

This week’s assignment for Get Your Paint On was to play with color by finding objects you like, mixing paint to match those colors and then using those colors in a painting. I’ve had this assortment of buttons in this metal tin around for a few weeks just waiting to be inspiration so I decided it was time. The imagery for the painting came while thinking about emotional highs and that which keeps us from crashing afterwards. I am happy with it. Quickly done but it had been simmering in my brain for about a week.

color inspiration

Wish I had more time to talk about mixing the colors and show you my hot palette, but I must finish packing up all the bathroom stuff and drop the dogs off at the in-laws! We will be in the Ecuadorian jungle helping building a house for a school there. Very excited. Wish I had brushed up on my Spanish more, but I can’t do everything.

I will try to post from down there, but not sure what internet access will be like. If not, pictures will come when we get back March 1st!

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I did it! I painted a non-flat, “painterly” painting. It has dimension and I couldn’t be prouder.

mountain home (10"x10" encaustic)

This week’s assignment from Mati and Lisa was to find a painting by an artist you love and let one aspect of it influence your painting. I had an image in my mind that I had to paint. It is a combination of various views of the Holyoke Range from both North and Southbound Route 91. So I must confess that I didn’t pick one specific painting to let myself be influenced by. I particularly wanted to work on producing a painting that actually showed dimension and perspective. So using some of the wonderful inspiration and examples Mati and Lisa provided I went from there.

mountain home, in progress (applying oil to incised lines)

I chose to use encaustics again this week. Addictive and I have so much to learn. I started with layering the sky over and over with black, clear, Payne’s Grey, and white until I got it the way I wanted it. That took forever and I wish more of the layers were actually visible but it’s all part of the process and I am happy with it. After the sky came the formless white land. All the trees and corn rows were incised into the cool wax. I started with putting blue in the far mountains, adding brown on top and in the foreground trees. Then the corn rows were filled with yellow. As soon as I put the first blue paint down I knew I had got something right. My distracted driving staring at the mountains over the past few weeks had paid off. I had achieved at least some sense of dimension.

And then the house. Storm clouds behind it, the home is rooted to the mountain. With the home again as a symbol of my personal world, this is a hopeful painting. Despite the storm there is a foundation.

Thanks everyone for the feedback! That is what makes the class extra special. Mati and Lisa have certainly attracted a lovely crowd of supportive people!

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I had such a wonderful time with the Get Your Paint On prompt this week. The inspiration was Gee’s Bend quilters of Alabama. I decided to follow the prompt in encaustics rather than acrylics because I still feel like I have so much to learn and practice with the medium…and the hot palette warms up the studio nicely. Cheers to higher electric bills!

This is the first painting I did. I wanted nice straight lines and figured I should practice masking with tape and wax anyway. I like it, but it feels very rigid and technical.

For the second painting I decided to dive in and plunge through all my fears of messing it up and hating it. I just started applying the wax in as straight lines as I could, which were not very straight at all. I’ve also been really struggling with my color choices. So I stuck to the colors I mixed last week and kept playing. After getting the messy pattern and blocks down I used incising (scraping) along a ruler to draw the nice straight lines that I couldn’t get with just the wax and brush. I almost filled the lines with white paint but then decided on mixing a teal instead. I’m glad I went with the teal. Part of my plan to make my colors work has been to be more monochromatic but the teal actually worked. I also scraped down some layers to reveal small amounts of bolder colors that I had partially covered to tone it down. And I think it works. So I was very pleased.

growing home (6"x6" encaustic)

Friday night I also finished a home painting that I had started. Over the last year I have been using a little home as a metaphor for my sense of self, symbolizing both my struggle to find safety and acceptance there and security and retreat from the world around me. Most of the home paintings come from my not-happy feelings and experiences, but this painting represents a sense of growth within myself. Some long-awaited seeds have begun growing in my life and it feels good. It is a hopeful painting and I like it.

Thank you Mati and Lisa for a great first week. I just want to continue forever and ever! Excited to see what tomorrow’s prompt is.

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Today is the first day of February and I have just finished a whirlwind month of Louise’s Big Dreams, Small Wonders eCourse. It was so nice to have a kick in the pants to get 2011 started on an inspired note! I feel like I’ve been showered in sparks and suddenly I am going strong.

vision board from week 2

During the first week I had my idea flash for my new venture, so I used Louise’s course content as a framework for building a roadmap for it. Timing was perfect! Sometime all the doors open at once and your path seems so clear. Times like these give me strength to continue holding onto hope that there is a greater plan at work.

the monthly roadmap wall i constructed for the class. brilliant!

Louise uses giant post-it flip chart paper for her monthly planning, but my wall space does not allow for such things so I used 8 1/2″x11″ paper. And since I wanted to be able to focus on the tasks, not critiquing my horrible handwriting, I stamped out the months and years on each sheet. It was a good time. Love the way it looks. She suggested using little post-it notes for the monthly activities that might move as life changes. I wrote in the big stuff like travel, retreats and eCourses. Then I have Sarah‘s little clipboard calendar to the right. The perfect set up.

Its another snow day here. Tomorrow too. Loving the time to work on the new project and be in touch. I am thinking I need to do some posts to be scheduled for the future so I can keep up with all the things I want to share.

Here are some shots from the studio (and the couch).

got some tea bags ready for experimentation

Inspired by Bridgette Guerzon Mills with her recent tea bag experiments. Loving her blog. Her class in July is going to be a highlight of the year I think.

got to think more about what to do with the tea...loving the colors of these buttons

my boys...warm and snugly

Time to sleep. (Even though I’ll be snowed in again tomorrow!)

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