acrylic on illustration board. 8x10.



Yes, sharpie, not mehndi. About 3 yeas ago I bought a mehndi kit, but have not yet used it. Last night I don't know what came over me. I very impulsively starting drawing on myself with my new fine tipped sharpie. If I used the traditional mehndi materials it would have felt sacred. Somehow writing on myself with pen felt improper, almost deviant. 


Return to the Water Garden

I started this painting back in September. It was set aside and forgotten for months. Since I determined it is, in fact, random chaos I've decided to stop fussing and trying to paint it neatly. My new approach is much more enjoyable since I've loosened up my brushstrokes a bit. Still a work in progress.
60x40 acrylic on canvas


Dealing with Tension

What has perplexed me the most about my sewing machine this week is that the last time I used it - it worked just fine. Since August I've been promising Ellie a dance bag that looks just like Gracie's tote full of birthday goodies. Every Saturday I realize a week has past and it would only take me about an hour to whip it up. This week I was finally going to do it. So I've spent hours and hours trying to figure out why the top thread breaks and the bottom thread loops up in a tangled mess. I am using the same thread, same bobbin, same fabric and same needle. Nothing is different. What could have happened? Ellie is waiting and hoping patiently.

Now I remember sewing this. A sewing machine scribble on card stock. The machine worked fine when I did this, but could I have messed things up by doing it? I'm hoping a little cleaning and oiling will help. Any insights? Chris, are you out there?


Shattered to Pieces

It seems ironic that I received the Lemonade Award this week as I have been dealt quite a few lemons as well. Since my focus for this blog is to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative and latch on the the affirmative I'll refrain from a long rant that could have begun last Sunday. Instead I'll put all that behind me and begin again, as I say I do. Strangely, someone at work mentioned that he thought I might be more patient and more tolerant than Job himself. I assured him that I am not patient, nor tolerant, only that I suppress my feelings until I can no longer stand the pressure. Then, I explode and fall to pieces, like the rear window of my mini-van.

Yesterday when I got in my mini-van to leave work, I shut the door and the window shattered. Pretty freaky. When the kids got home from school, Maya said "Are we going to be like those crazy people who drive around with a piece of plastic duct taped to their car." I said "No. We're going to have it fixed." As soon as Darrin got home he called around and chose to take it to a nearby shop where the guy on the phone was quite helpful. He said he'll fix it first thing Monday morning but said if we dropped it off on Friday he had plenty of garage space. Very good. The mini-van does not fit in our tiny little garage. I guess in 1954 they built houses with mini-mini garages. In hindsight I thought I should have driven around just for the weekend like one of those crazy people with the duct tape because now I don't have a car. [Maya, those people aren't crazy. Some people are less fortunate than us and don't have $350 lying around for such unexpected circumstances like these.] I'll be missing out on at least one fun activity that was planned for this afternoon, but other than that I'll settle in for a winter weekend at home. I feel I could benefit from curling up with a good book. Maybe the Book of Job.

On a happy note, I was forced to read the instruction manual for my sewing machine after having spent an evening fighting with that darn thing. I found many cool features the machine has that I never knew about including an automatic needle threader, a double needle that sews two colors of top-stitching thread at once, and a little cutting tool on the side that snips the thread after each seam.

I'm still trying to focus, balance, and roll with it.


Grateful for Lemonade

My very first Blog Award. Thanks Jennifer!

Just when I think no one is reading or just when I wonder to myself, "why am I blogging?" Someone pops up and says "I love your bog." This is what keeps me going.

The Lemonade Award is for blogs with attitude/gratitude. So, I will now give the award to ten other bloggers, so take time to check out their blogs.

1. 'becca at bluehighlights
2. Geninne at Geninne's Art Blog
3. Amy at Life Craft
4. Mike at Baby Blue Spider
5. Heather at Stoplights
6. Annie at Annie Get Your Glue Gun
7. Abigail at Abigail Halpin Illustration
8. Sally at Aprovechar
9. Irisz at Artista Blog
10. Jannie at Chickengirl Design

Thanks for all the Inspiration!

Here are the rules for receiving the Lemonade Award:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
3. Link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.


Leaves and Branches

While I want very badly to be drawing and painting, I find it much easier to play on the computer. I was very excited to find this great tutorial on Design Sponge. (So happy to have stumbled upon the whole blog). I was led there through this link on Life Craft, an art and inspiration blog that I enjoy regularly.

I was just getting ready to create some patterns and the tutorial appeared before me like it fell from heaven. I was surprised how much the style of the example art looked like the drawing I posted on January 9th. So - I was going to draw a little something then xerox it, like the tutorial said. But, I don't have a xerox machine, I do have a computer and playing around with these digital photos I took last year was so much easier than even drawing something. I used the same method, but in Photoshop. Lots of fun!



TOP> Acrylic on matte board. BOTTOM > Reference from magazine.


Skating Away

I've uploaded my outdoor skating photos to flickr. The girls both got new skates for Christmas and share Daddy's enthusiasm. The thought of skating, to me, is romantic, but in reality I am a little tense and need to learn to relax and enjoy. The whole family has to beg me to go and I am glad they do. The photo above is from a spot we call "Big Pond". It's a wetland area, pretty shallow but expansive. It has changed quite a bit over the years. This year we were disappointed to see that all of the trees have died. I'm assuming it's due to man's desire to control nature. The Army Corps of Engineers is building lots of levees in an attempt to reduce flooding. At this point in time, the effort is causing more flooding. The photo below is the golf course near our house - completely flooded. The ice was wet on top, but very, very smooth!

This whole section of the golf course was flooded, along with the walking path. We were sure to stay away from the ponds.


What's Next?

This is not a pattern. It does not repeat. It's a gathering of bits and pieces of patterns I have observed – mostly textiles in an issue of "Architectural Digest." I do love textile design, especially the floral and foliage patterns of William Morris. I would like to incorporate some more complex shapes into my circles, as well as look to nature for color and pattern inspiration.
I did not realize when I began my earliest work of mandalas, how much I loved pattern and repetition. It is in hindsight that it occurred to me how comforting it is to create. People seem to respond to my work with the same feeling of comfort. Life is an uncertain mystery. Sometimes is nice to know what to expect – what's next.

Looking to nature, I was excited to find this water garden at the Lincoln Park Conservatory. What a beautiful pattern? But, when I was transferring the photo to paint, it hit me... "This is not a pattern! It is random chaos!" I find that curious. The illusion of pattern lying on the surface of the reality of random chaos - maybe this piece is a self-portrait.

I did show up in my studio 5 days this week. Yesterday I quickly sketched a pattern idea inspired by nature. Part of me would like to work on this piece digitally and part of me wants to research the process used by William Morris. Oh, I guess I don't have to choose one of those two options. I could do both.



I said I don't really make New Year's Resolutions, but I continue to begin again and begin again throughout the year. January seems to be a fitting time to begin something. The hustle and bustle of the holiday whirlwind ends and we find that there is a little more time available. This past weekend I cleared and tidied up my little workspace "studio" in the basement. My goal is to show up there 5 days a week. Being an artist is simple. All you have to do is create art. Right?

These little playful abstractions that I have created in the first 3 days were inspired by lots of outdoor skating. I'll post the skating photos to flickr soon.


Tending the Fairy Garden

The moss I started the fairy garden with did not survive indoors, as I had hoped. I had to pull it all out. From the dollar bin at Target I grabbed a little pine tree to be grown from seed. I love growing seeds and cannot resist paying a dollar for a kit even though we haven't had much success after the sprouting stage.

I also bought the fairies a hyacinth from Trader Joe's. Won't it be lovely when it blooms?

Do you see Ellie's fairy jumprope made from embroidery floss and two beads? And, of course, the bottle cap blueberry pie.

I'm thinking about sprinkling a little grass seed in the garden. I have grown grass indoors successfully. Or maybe I could find some small or low growing indoor plants?