Art Experimenting

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Last month I wrote about how I started using cheap substrates to trick myself into trying more things and making more art. I’m happy to report that it’s working!

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With the cheap materials there is no fear of messing things up. I’m free to try out lots of ideas because it’s all an experiment. If an experiment turns out bad, then I’ve learned something useful. With this piece I learned that I liked it best when it was just a black outline drawing. Those white background lines that I love so much in the dreamy pastel works of other artists do not translate to the bold blacks and brights I’m pulled to in my own work.

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I’m doing a lot of quick drawings on index cards as well, inspired by the Index-Card-A-Day Challenge. Index cards are perfect for working out the realities of an idea.

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I’ve been doing a little something creative every day. And the more ideas I experiment with, the more ideas I have!

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Doing a little something every day means I have a couple of things in various stages all the time. And that in turn makes it easy to do something every day because there is always something that needs easy finishing work for those times when I don’t have the creative energy to work out a new idea or project.

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Each experiment also builds my confidence for the next project. These roses were an experiment for something I want to try on a bigger piece.

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And the best benefit of all this experimenting? It’s slowly bringing me back to my own work, to the work that is uniquely me. And that is really exciting!

Posted in creativity, drawing, mixed media, painting, practice | 2 Comments

A day in the life

Every year I mark my birthday as a vacation day on my office calendar. Sometimes I take the day off and other years I decide to work. A few weeks ago I decided to take the day off. I had this wonderful vision of spending some leisurely time on the patio working on art projects. And so I did exactly that.

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I slept in, cuddled with cats, treated myself to a fancy magazine, took a bath, watched some World Cup soccer, potted a few plants, had a yummy dinner with some awesome people and spent a ton of time drawing on the patio and doing other work on art projects. By “a ton of time” I mean “enough time to complete my thoughts” – something that’s been sorely lacking around here lately. It was just what I needed, so relaxing and lovely. Happy birthday to me!

Posted in cats, celebrations, creativity, drawing, family, gardening, life, mixed media, painting | 1 Comment

Birthday trips…they’re a thing now

We’ve done birthday dinners in my family for a long time. The birthday person gets to choose what and where to eat, including dessert. Lately we’ve added birthday trips into the mix.

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Mom, Dad and I all love to poke around in antique stores and vintage sales so our trips tend to focus on hunting for treasure. Here we are on Dad’s birthday trip last week. Their little dog Emily was our special guest. Wenatchee and Cashmere have HUGE antique malls!

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Mom and I fell in love with Bloomers floral and home shop in downtown Wenatchee. So pretty!

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I thought this was pretty funny!

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My birthday is Tuesday so my birthday trip was yesterday. There were a lot of intriguing choices around Spokane so I decided to stick close to home. Mom and I started at our favorite Strawberry Festival. Gotta love vintage shopping paired with strawberry shortcake!

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Next we headed downtown to Bazaar by Terrain, a new art market that we loved! Nestled into a pretty city block that’s closed to traffic, Bazaar had 50 artist booths, live music, food trucks and a beer garden. The artists were all local, mostly young and a bit edgier than what you traditionally see at the well-manicured traditional art/craft markets we have in Spokane.

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We loved Burgleteens cute plushies! Zach Grassi is the artist.

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Curse words and birds was another favorite.

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As were Bovey’s prints featuring local neighborhoods.

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This print by Chad Ramsey and Matt Bogue had to come home with me.

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And just to confirm that it is truly, gloriously summer, we finished up my birthday trip with a game at the local minor league baseball park. Lovely.

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On socks and being a beginner

“You can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.” –Barbara Sher

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Look! I made a sock!

Those of you who aren’t knitters can appreciate the magnitude of this accomplishment. I’m not a knitter. I still have to watch a YouTube video to remember how to cast on. But the idea of knitting socks has been nibbling at me for a couple of years now.

Usually when I start to think about knitting socks, I take one look at a pattern, remember that you mostly have to use 4 double-pointed needles and I run screaming. That is some scary stuff. But when the sock idea floated to the front of my brain in February, I stumbled upon a sock lesson that seemed sorta manageable. Lots of pictures and step-by-step explanations. I decided to give it a try. When I bought the yarn the cashier asked if I was a knitter. I told her no, but I believe it’s important to try new things.

I’ll be 44 next week and I’ve reached that comfortable point in life where I know how to do a lot of stuff. Gardening, cooking, quilting, preparing legal pleadings. I’m even pretty good at some of it. And it’s a lovely feeling to attack a project with confidence, knowing what to do, how to do it and that it will turn out reasonably well. It’s very easy to stick to what you know. But there is also a lot of satisfaction to be found in stretching, challenging yourself, being a beginner. Learning something new exercises your brain.

So I started knitting my sock with my beginner’s mind. And I loved it. It was like solving a puzzle. A few short months later I have a sock and I have greatly improved knitting skills. And I watched the video and cast on my second sock. Someday I might be able to wear them!

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Dearest, loveliest Farm Chicks

Oh Farm Chicks you never fail to delight and amaze us. What a treat to have the happiest antique show on earth right here in our hometown.

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Mom and Aunt Susie were my partners in crime this year. It’s so much fun to enjoy the show with people you love.

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As usual, we got caught up in the loveliness at JohnBob, the very first booth.

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And I’m always a sucker for Debi Bock’s beautiful combinations of antiques and plants.

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There is so much to see that is just so beautiful. This Madonna vignette was stunning.

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There are so many creative ideas. I always come home filled to the brim with inspiration.

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Mom treated us to Sweet Frostings’ delicious cupcakes. After all, Farm Chicks only happens once a year, like Christmas!

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If you look closely you can see that the white tulle ribbon from the cupcake box ended up in my hair. That’s the thing about Farm Chicks, the air is filled with fun and whimsy and happiness. It’s so much more than just another antique show. You can also see the most exciting innovation this year – if you posted photos to Instagram with the hash tag #thefarmchicks, photoboxx printed your photo right there at the show for free! The photos came out 3″ by 4″ perfect for Project Life.

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An oil painting, an old quilt, some glass bottles, some French ribbon. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular but I couldn’t help bringing a few treasures home, reminders of another wonderful weekend at Farm Chicks.

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How did it get to be June?

I’m a little stunned by the sudden appearance of magical June. I was just going along working and playing and resting and all of a sudden I’m in the midst of all this loveliness.

I’m trying to soak it in, spending long hours in the back yard with the cats, planting flowers and vegetables, grilling my dinner, half-listening to baseball games.

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I’m all in with the begonias this year. I’m always so jealous of all the beautiful peonies this time of year as I don’t have any good planting spots that get enough sun for peonies. But these nonstop begonias provide their own flashy beauty and they will keep doing so all summer. In the shade!

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I bought a big package of super-cheap mat board pieces to experiment on. It’s easier for me to experiment on super-cheap mat board. I don’t get all freaky about “wasting” good supplies and so I don’t get frozen and I end up actually making stuff. Sometimes It helps to trick myself into practicing like that.

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And speaking of practicing, it’s Index Card A Day time again! I’m playing along on Instagram at #icad. Check out all the fun art!

Posted in color, creativity, drawing, gardening, painting, practice | 2 Comments

I could paint backgrounds all day…

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