Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Words in Art

I'm I the only one who is captivated by words in art? Not just Words AS art, but also IN art. And, do you need to be able to read them if they are there or can they be there just obviously enough to see that they are words, but not decipherable? I met Lisa Tornack, a great Calgary artist, this past weekend at a show we did together, and I was instantly fascinated by the work she is currently doing.

In fact I am now the proud owner of this piece of hers. While obviously a landscape, what I was enamored with the most was the tangle of words that run throughout the horizon. Thankful that she was there to ask, I inquired about what was there and a bit about the process. As I understand it, this series grew out of an artist's residency she did in Spain last year and particularly from the prolific journal writing she did while over seas. What I learned about myself was that while I didn't necessarily need to know what was exactly being said in these words, I did want to understand where she was at, perhaps what she was thinking when creating this. And, of most importance was the energy behind the words. In this case she told me the word "friends" was there as well as another phrase which I can't remember now, but the gist of it was positive.....I interpreted it as "words with a good vibe". And, maybe the place she was at wasn't particularly "good"...I don't know that, but I felt the intent was "good or positive"...or maybe just genuine, heartfelt and honest. Perhaps she was just simply in the midst of her own journey exploring her own soul while in a strange land. It was odd in a way to observe my own reaction and to see what was important and not important to me in a piece of work. Had I not had this experience, I would have guessed that it was absolutely necessary for me to read the exact words - I'm just that darned curious....I want to KNOW everything. But, in this case, I surprised myself - I didn't need to know everything - each word. I am just content and feel blessed to now be sharing a glimpse into another artist's life - a small piece out of her journey through this earthly experience. A piece of her story is in there...somewhere. And that's really cool.
How do you feel about words in art?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Where Did My Art Come From - 2

I have long had a fascination with the written word and with beautiful lettering. So, much so that in my teens I began collecting and saving poems and quotes for using later in calligraphic work. And, before I ever owned a proper calligraphic pen, I was attempting to create a poster from a poem I loved with lovely script lettering....all with a regular felt pen. After that experience, I actually spent three entire days in a library going through back issues of Readers Digest looking for the "Quotable Quotes" page and copying the whole thing by hand. I'm still a quote junkie now. My Dad, who is not known for doing his own gift shopping, noticed my fascination and orchestrated the purchase of a calligraphy pen and paper set while I was still in high school, and I went on to create the program and place cards for over 300 people who attended our graduation. I still can't believe I never opted for a single art class in high school! Crazy. Of course, eventually I did take several calligraphy courses from a number of artists who belong to the Bow Valley Calligraphy Guild in Calgary.

While I don't really do much calligraphy anymore, words and beautiful letters do manage to creep in to my work on occasion whether it be a painting or a piece of jewelry. (This piece to the left is part of a larger wall hanging collaborative project I did with a group of people.)

Perhaps I just always feel like I have something to say, (those who know me certainly wouldn't argue with that!),,,,a soap box to get on, or a deep desire to inspire in some way, or to provoke reflection. I'm not sure, but I do know I love words in art and have been recently inspired by others to look at incorporating that more in the future.
More on that tomorrow.....

Monday, November 23, 2009

Where Did My Art Come From - 1

My good friend, Michelle has been writing a great series in her blog about where her art came from. I have enjoyed reading about her journey so much that I thought I might just be a copycat, although I doubt whether I will be as thorough as her in telling the story. However, the occasional post or two reflecting on this topic I thought might be just as enjoyable and certainly meaningful for me as perhaps for the occasional reader.
This is my Dad, working away on a piece at the last Emma Collaborative. I've been following him about and hanging out with him since I was old enough to do so. And, consequently I ended up trying most of the crafty things he did. It started with cutting and polishing stones, then a silversmithing class, then painting the signs on his stock car, and then blacksmithing. I've tried wood turning a time or two which is one of his loves. If nothing else I managed to pick up his, "jump-in-and-dig-your-way-out" attitude when it comes to attempting a new thing....which is probably how I've come to enjoy so many different creative mediums. I'll try anything once!....which, come to think of it, is probably a line I heard from him too.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A New Home

A favorite piece of mine, found a new home this past weekend.  I realize that for me, this is one of the greatest blessings of selling my work - knowing that it goes to just the "right" person.  I don't always get to see where they go or to whom they are for, but I do believe that every piece is made for someone in particular, and sometimes it takes awhile for that person and the piece to find one another.  Once it does happen though, the connection seems quite obvious to me.  A dear friend bought this necklace for a family member that has had a really rough year and is in the process of re-centering and re-defining herself and a fresh new life.  I know my friend chose this with such care and deep love, and as I watched her make her choice, I knew just how much this was meant for her loved one.  This piece is is all about finding a place of peace in the center of one's being.  It includes semi-precious stones, and of course silver and glass.  In particular there is a circle - symbol of perfection and completeness or wholeness, and a heart for perfect and unconditional love.  Knowing the story of my friend and her family member, I am both thrilled that this is the new home it is going to and it makes perfect sense to me now that this is whom the piece was made for.  I just love when that happens.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Here's Another "What The Hell Was I Thinking" Moment...

We got an invitation to a wedding in the mail last Friday (a week ago).  The wedding was this past the Pony Express mail must have had it stuck under the saddle for some time.  Anyway....the invite was a postcard with  an Owl and Pussycat and the words "O let us be married! too long we have tarried" - a line from the children's poem.  The details of the wedding were on a website.
So, I prowl through the website and figure that this poem must have some significance for them, and I get this bright idea that I will do a painting for them as a wedding gift....rather than a boring old frying pan or something like that.  Ya, that's right - me, who takes MONTHS to complete a painting.  Oh yes.....all this while I have  jewelry pieces I need to complete for a show this coming weekend.  Rolling your eyeballs and shaking your head yet?

I started it on Monday, did a bit more for a couple of hours each day this week, and this morning I had it all complete except for the line work.  I finished it this afternoon.....two days early!!  Miracles abound!

Cute, eh?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ancient Love

Been thinking about ancient times....for lots of different reasons, I guess.  I've read several historical novels over the summer that make me feel like I'm re-living the past, been discussing ancient traditions and wisdom with friends, and enjoying blacksmithing all over again thanks to my husband Dan's brilliant video work he did this summer.  The result?...wonderful little medieval heart pendants destined for the upcoming Calyx show I am participating in this year on October 17th.  Hope you can come!

Now if I could just figure out how to take a decent picture of them!  *sigh*

Thursday, September 10, 2009

No Excuses...Summer is definitely over!

Ah, yes....there's no denying it any longer. My hiatus is over...the kids are back in school and I have jumped headlong into prep for an upcoming art show. So, lots to blog about, and as usual not much time for the computer. I thought I'd better stop long enough though to share this new little set I completed for a silent auction my friends are holding.

You can make meaning out of the smallest and silliest things. I love that. In this case, the challenge of finding courage in difficult times. I believe anything that can help is a blessing. Here's my attempt...
The lid of the box.

The inside cover.

The Bracelet.

The earrings.

Go on brave. You've got the balls, don't you?! ;o)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

WIP - and Baby Steps

I receive regular emails from TUT - Notes from the Universe. I just LOVE them because they are so supportive and inspirational, and cheeky and sometimes just silly...but always positive and uplifting. Here's todays which, of course, is timely and relates to my post yesterday:
Brilliant, civilization-changing ideas are a dime a dozen, Cheryl. Physically taking action to implement them, however, beginning with baby steps that seem to accomplish very little, is what gets the crowds here screaming like raving lunatics.
In the good way... that lunatics scream... you know?

Peanuts! Popcorn! Cotton candy! It's the show of a lifetime!
The Universe

And, upon reflection, it is baby steps that gets this journal cover closer to completion, and baby steps that finds a painting complete, and baby steps that gets a studio organized, and baby steps that.....well, you get the idea.

Monday, June 29, 2009

WIP...and thoughts on imperfection.

I shared a note from Christine Kane with my friends recently on "Glorious Imperfection", a message I need to be reminded of as I often get stuck in not doing things because I either don't feel I can do them well enough, or "properly", or in the case of blogging, "profoundly inspiring"...or some such nonsense. One way or another I have , in my mind, made the task overwhelming. It's a pattern I've recognized before - putting things off for painfully long periods, only to find the job not nearly as long or difficult or complex as I had imagined it to be. Silly really.
The same could be said for this little gem I'm working on I guess.

I've heard comments from people who have watched me work on this leather journal cover as I drag it around with me like, "You did ALL that??!!" or "I could NEVER do that - it looks so complicated!" I chuckle and tell them, "No, really, you COULD do this! I'm just letting it go where it wants. I only started with a simple squiggly line and then I doodle for a few minutes at a time as I go and just let the drawing do its own thing." I'm not sure I've convinced anyone of the simplicity of the process as I travel with it. It's not until I can get someone to sit down and try it that they come to realize themselves, just how simply it comes together when we just remove the end target and any judgment about perfection along the way. It applies to everything in life I think.

Sharing from Christine's article:
"Anything worth doing is worth doing badly."

- Julia Cameron

How many activities do you sit and think about doing? How many things would you love to try but stop yourself because you don't know how to begin? Do you avoid adventures because of the pressure to do them well?


Well, then, it might be time to explore one of my favorite success principles:

Glorious Imperfection!

Glorious Imperfection means that doing it badly is better than not doing it at all. As my friend and mentor Lisa Sasevich says, "Build the plane as you're flying it!"
And further......
Why Does it Work?

Because Glorious Imperfection is a way of setting intention. It lets your ego know that you would rather do the activity than wait until you can do it flawlessly.

When you begin a project and you lower the bar - or better yet, remove it altogether - then you're free to create without any grade. Ironically, this allows for such freedom and joy that you often end up doing a great job. (Or at least having a great time.)

When you demand perfection from the start, then your attention isn't on the activity itself. Your attention is drained in the perpetual "how'm I doing?" analysis.
And so with that, I think I'll try to just blog imperfectly.....and organize my studio space, imperfectly...and exercise imperfectly, and....well, off on my bike (instead of the car) to do some errands now.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It's All Good

I have been receiving "Blessing Way Challenge" emails from Kate Nowak who is the creator of the Blessings Experiment among many other inspirational works. It's funny how you always get the message you need at just the right moment...
As I actively engage in my own spiritual development, I notice that life has a way of way of bringing to us opportunities to evolve. Not all of them are comfortable. In the past few weeks one of the things that has surfaced is "judgment". I first recognized this theme while participating in a spiritual healers training weekend. What occurred that weekend and in the following few days were numerous events that allowed me to experience the feeling of being judged by others and my subsequent reaction, as well as being in the position of judgment towards others. What was interesting to me was my immediate observation of what I was experiencing in the moment. I was able to be the observer and notice that I moved through a series of thoughts and emotions in a matter of minutes, ultimately getting to a place of acceptance and peace...relatively quickly. In the past I may have held on to the feeling of hurt and resentment for a long time before coming to some kind of resolution and understanding. This, to me, is a sign of personal spiritual growth.....ever closer to living in the moment the Divine self that I am rather than in ego. Hurray!....progress. Right as I was experiencing these events, I received an email from Kate with the subject: Non Judging. Of course - how fitting. I share her some of her words here:
Whenever we judge anything, we tend to place a negative interpretation on it. We judge it as bad or evil or wrong and, in so doing, obscure whatever good might be inherent in it. If you decide, for instance that because your house has burned the ground, the quality of your life has been totally diminished, then you've judged the experience as a bad thing. And in so doing, you've essentially placed a limitation on the amount of good you're willing to let rise out of the situation. What good does come forth will first have to push past the mental barriers your judgment has placed on it. The time it takes for the positive aspects of the experience to be revealed will be totally dependent upon how much negativity you allow to build up around the situation. Essentially, you keep your own good from happening by your refusal to see it.

We do the same thing every time we pick up a newspaper or watch a television newscast and decide that the reports we've read about various people and events are bad. We place a judgment on them and feed into the negative energy already surrounding each situation. And sadly, because we live in a world where what we focus upon increases, our willingness to see only the negative aspects of any situation give it the energy it needs to continue.

That doesn't mean we're supposed to go around pretending that everything is wonderful and our world is trouble-free, however. It just means that we must be willing to refrain from categorizing the experiences and people outside ourselves in only negative terms. It means that we must be willing to look at every challenging experience, person and experience in our lives and tell ourselves, "There is good in here somewhere. And I will find it."
Kate signs her emails appropriately, "It's better to bless....and It's all good." These words and the events of my last few weeks inspired the piece at the top. What do you notice about how judgement impacts your life?...and particularly... how you judge yourself.
"This is the power of blessing: It elevates us beyond the trap of the rightness and wrongness of what has happened."
— Gregg Braden

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Trust Yourself

I was fooling around with some metals and new letter stamps today - thought I would do a quick little project. Over 3 hours later, as usual, I had gotten a little carried away and this little trinket grew on it's own as the ideas flowed. At the top is a small print of one of my paintings soldered beneath a glass pebble. The metal piece that started it all is in the middle - patina on brass and textured copper. This was inspired by the book Life is a Verb by Patti Digh. (A moving read by a favorite writer.)
And, at the bottom another angel that manages to creep into many of my pieces. This one is a birthday gift for a good friend and is meant to hang on her wall as an inspiration. Hope she likes it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Riding the Artfest Wave

What a wonderful, blissful few days of creative fun with friends.  And, let me start by thanking those responsible for making it all happen - Teesha, Tracy and all the others who worked behind the scenes.  What  a huge undertaking to bring together an event of this size and scope.  And also a big thank you to everyone who shared such enthusiasm for my little "kissing fishes".  Thanks to my closest buddies (now dubbed the "Groupers"), I seem to have earned a new moniker as "The Fish Lady" - sheesh!  Anyway, the warm reception was much appreciated.
I didn't manage to get back for the show and tell night on Friday as we were too absorbed in finally exploring the lovely town of Port Townsend and enjoying a fabulous dinner.  So, here's a little show and tell of a couple of items I started in the classes I attended.  On Thursday I was in Sunny Carvalho's Plywood People class.  Really an impressive surprise.  Her paintings are so much more wonderful in person - they have such depth to them.  Mine still needs some finishing touches, but this is where I got her to before I left:
On Friday I was in Linda and Opie O'Brien's class, "Set in Stone.  This one was such fun to mess with metals, patinas, cold connections, and concrete.  I managed to get a couple of pendants complete and ready for chains which I will finish at home in my studio.
Now....what to start on first now that I'm back home and my head is swimming with ideas and creative energy??!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Would You Kiss These Lips?

Well....look at that grinning face...would you kiss him? I'm trading kisses at Artfest next week!...Well....Fish kisses, that is.
I have been having an absolute riot making these little babies for trading at Artfest. I'm taking some artistic license with the theme, which sea monsters. I figure even sea monsters need friends...and as we all know now, "Fish are friends, not food!" So, I'm making sea monster friends in glass - and kissing ones no less! I tell you, I've never giggled so much and so long in my studio while working as I have for this little project. As soon as the eyeballs and then the lips go on, I'm howling at their quirky little personalities that just instantly light up. Each one is completely unique. Such fun.
If nothing else I think I now have sufficient training in creating kissable lips, I might consider applying as a surgeon in Hollywood. What do you think?!

Featured: How Cool Is That?

Our local publication has run an article about me as an very neat!  I remember being a little girl at home and thought it was so cool that my dad was written about in our home newpaper about his stock car racing, and all the races and trophies he'd won.  When I was very little I said "I'm going to win trophies some day, just like you!"  Well....this little article kind of feels just like that.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Finally......a winner!

Many pardons for my tardiness in announcing a winner for the One World, One Heart project.  My excuse?.....I'm on Island time.  Well.... that's what I'm claiming anyway.  Between wrapping up a project at home, attempting to pack as fast as possible, and getting the family out here to Barbados...there just hasn't been a spare moment to get to my blog to announce a winner.  But, today...finally, we did it. 

With help of my little Caribbean Beach "random number generator", the winner is post number 96 -  Marva at Purple Paint Muse.  Congratulations!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

One World, One the Nick of time!

Well....I just love this idea of OWOH - the brainchild of Lisa Swifka. And, this is a great excuse to get back to the blog on a more regular basis. Funny how other work can get in the way of creative activity and blogging. So Kudos to Lisa for inspiring me. Here's how this lovely project works - in Lisa's own words:

I created this event in 2007. The original idea behind this giveaway event was to bring bloggers together from around the world who may never ordinarily meet. It closes the gap of the blog community and enables us to interact, discover new and wonderful people, and in the process possibly win a prize or many prizes along the way. 2007 had roughly 85-90 participants and many connections were made because of it......friendships that are still going strong. We had a strong showing the first year for sure, and then in 2008 we had just about tripled that number. This is more than wanting to win something.......that is only the the end it's about finding kindred spirits. Someone who may be fairly new to blogging, not sure how to navigate, find others and have others find them....Some are long time bloggers and in some cases well known in the art community. Whatever the case it brings all of them together. This is an INTERNATIONAL event that has and had participants from the US, Canada, France, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Malaysia, Brazil, The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Ireland, England,Wales, Slovenia and more. It transcends geographical location, socio economics, political affiliation, religious's a coming together like the giant community we are on this planet. If only it took a simple giveaway to create PEACE everywhere, in the mean time here we give from our hearts. We are not solving the worlds problems nor are we curing anything nor are we changing the world. We are merely generating a closer community between humans through blogging. What more could I ask for, my little idea has surpassed my wildest dreams of what it could become.

So with that I join in this fun adventure of giving and connecting with artsy bloggers and kindered spirits. On Feb 12/09 I will draw from all those who leave a comment on this post, and the winner will take home this lovely heart pendant. It is Lampworked Italian glass on a short sterling silver ball chain - appropriate I thought for a "One Heart" give-away...all hand made by me.

Here's what you need to do to enter:
  1. Leave a comment on this post
  2. Everyone is welcome to enter, just be sure your comment takes me back to you, if you are not a blogger, make sure to leave a email address where I can reach you.
  3. On February 12th a random winner will be drawn from the comments left. I will notify the winner and announce it on my blog. This little glass token of love will be sent to its new owner.
Good Luck Everyone....I'm looking forward to meeting some new art loving friends!
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