Monday, January 26, 2009

January is nearly'd that happen?

Here it is January 26 and I haven't quite gotten into my groove yet? Is this a good thing? Perhaps having a groove too early becomes a ditch or trench you can't get out of? Anyway, I am slowly learning how to do this blog thing and I have had a couple of visits, thanks!

No matter how fast January as has gone, we can't say it was a quiet month. The euphoria that has surrounded the inauguration has not only been uplifting but I really and truly feel there is hope to recover ourselves together. Whether one voted or not for President Obama, we all have to give him and his team the chance to make a difference and we have to help in small and large ways. We can't sit on the sidelines and wait and see. It is going to take all of us to bring this country up from the bottom of the barrel and over the top flowing with prosperity and joy.

I got the latest from Somerset Studios, "Art Journaling". A friend wanted it for Xmas so I got it for her. Of course I had to have a copy, too.
What a fabulous resource for ideas! Yet, I set it down, thinking - well if I do art journaling I won't have time to do 'real art'. You see, in my head to be an artist you have produce an art piece that is sellable. In other words, the only validation for doing art was to create something that can be hung on someone elses wall. My practical and logical mind agrees with this notion - there must be a purpose and outcome to all endeavors. Yet, in the back of my mind there has been a spirited buzzing that was fighting this idea. That buzzing became a louder and louder and is now a battle cry - creativity is not measured by the quantity of what you sell. Creatively is the expression of one's soul and the spirit of engaging with one's environment. To sell what one creates is not a reason to create.

Journaling is not new to me. I have written in journals off and on since I was a teenager...uhm, long ago. As a teacher, have kept special summer journals where I would write and record the fun things I did over summer vacation. I would paste in pictures from trips and other ephemera from travels and social events. However, journals focused on artistic endeavors is new to me. The time it takes was daunting to me. Yet, I want to use my journals to play with techniques and learn from the experiences. So, my goal is to make my journals a source of creative play and a resource for future "art pieces". I worry that I will not be able to carve in the time to do the journaling. I do journal each day anyway, so you'd think that it would not be a problem. Mmmmm...can I do this? If I get this off the ground perhaps I can follow Pam Garrison ( ) lead and keep several journals for different outcomes? Or maybe what Kari McKnight-Holbrook does ( may be a fun way to go - where she journals based on themes that she explores. In any case, I am excited to find a way to just get the juices flowing - to jumpstart my creative spirit. How about you, what way are you allowing 2009 to be a creative year?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Winter in California

Cloud watching is one of my favorite things to do. The confirmation of the clouds, their translucency or density, how they move with the air currents and play with the sunlight. These images are along highway 5 heading through the San Joaquin Valley on Christmas Eve day. The rain had stopped and the weather was icy cold - okay for California anything below 50 is icy. In spite of the previous rainstorms of the night before, the air was very dry. So much as changed due to global warming. Sigh.Capturing all this on camera is was fun and challenging in a moving car. However, one of the 'hobbies' I have picked up is photography - not for the sake of the taking a picture for art sake but recording my surroundings - it is the naturalist in me after all I was a science teacher for 18 years. In any case, I am trying to learn how to use my digital point and shoot for more than just pointing and shooting. The next step is learning how to massage the images on the computer? Although, I do prefer to draw and paint to computer manipulation, so we shall see.

Weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society -- things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed.
E. B. White (1899 - 1985)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

I have been planning to start a blog every since I picked up a copy of Artful Blogging. Through this fabulous publication, I learned that there is a huge community of creative people doing wonderful things. There are people like me out there enjoying their creativity and sharing it! The question for me was - Geeze, what could I possibly offer compared to the fabulous musings and projects that are already being documented? Intimidated was lightly expressing my feelings. My plans for a blog remained just that, scattered ideas that could not come to fruition - fear drove me away. However, that idea would not evaporate - like a bee in a bonnet it buzzed constantly looking for a way out. I searched and read blogs and enjoyed them. I even began to email the authors and got wonderful responses back. So, why was I feeling intimidated? These folks are wonderful and open! What was I afraid of? Thus, I finally decided that I wouldn't know what I could offer or share until I do it. Just like figuring out what color to paint my walls. Do I really want to paint that hall wall chocolate? What if it is over whelming? What if it makes my small condo cave in on me? Well as a friend said, "Do it. If it doesn't work you can paint over it." Of course she is right, So, here I am creating a blog in hopes of creating a space to connect with people and share my musings and works. If it doesn't fly, well, the blog is gone in a click and I move on. Yet, I hope that as my connections grow through you, I will learn how to share in a meaningful way and through you improve my blog.

So, 2009 is finally here! Hope infuses the air! 2009 is going to be my year. It won't be a beginning but a continuation of a journey long started long ago but derailed from time to time. As my profile states, I am what I call a born again artist. I have been a creative person all my life. I am fortunately surrounded by artists and creative people in my family and extended family including friends. But, I drifted in and out of art during my early adult life which began to include needlearts (embroidery, historical costuming and other needlework). However, the more I drifted the more drawing and painting began to wane.

I became a teacher at 32 and a lot of my focus and energy went into my practice - to teach middle school kids and to get them excited by learning. Yikes! Never a dull moment but it would leave me spent with no energy to do creative things on my own time. I would reach the weekends and have just enough energy to catch up with housework, pay the bills and the start but not necessarily complete the occasional sewing project. I found I was not feeding my soul - providing it with a balanced meal to repair and grow on. Then, cancer knocked at the door and I got my wake up call. Since 1992 I have been a cancer survivor and thriver but it has taken me this long to finally rebuild my spiritual and artistic confidence.

In renewing my artistic energy the old struggle between drawing and needle arts began to flare up. Which do I do? I love them both? Lo and behold, the new-age genre of collage, assemblage, altered books, art quilts and the like began to bubble over the art world and I was devouring hundreds of dollars of books and magazines. I discovered that my talents as an artist and a seamstress could be combined on many levels and thus my renewal began - I was born again. I now hope that I can consistently feed my soul through creative endeavors that are fun and enrich my life and those around me.

With that said, I had an inspiration to make Christmas cards to send to family this year. These are just a sample of the art cards I created. I used watercolor postcards for some and little 2.5 by 3.5 canvases for others. I have a stash of art papers and old Christmas cards and ribbon and I went wild with it. I made 15 in all - phew! I had so much fun and it brought the spirit of the winter holidays back into perspective for me. I use to, many years ago, spend from September to December making cards and gifts...I had lost that somehow.

I have been given a soulful transfusion with this little project and I am itching to try something else. So, once again, welcome to my blog, I hope to update at least twice a week so be patient with me as I get the hang of this. Oh, by the way, can anyone tell me how people get their sidebars loaded with pictures or links? Blogspot is pretty user friendly, but I am still a bit intimidated on how to develop my page. Thank you for visiting! Angela

P.S. The following words will be weaned from my vocabulary over 2009: intimidated, fear, disorganization.