Saturday, March 31, 2007

The word is Process

Our weekly artist's group word is PROCESS. Egads, this is a hard one for me. I had to look up the definition of the word process, because while I might use it in a sentence...it's not a word I would normally think about. I thought about "processing information" and I thought about the "process of creating art".

But when I looked up the word this is what jumped out at me, "a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result."

I had a conversation this week with my mom about age. She and my dad are 75 & 77. They are smart, retired self-employed business owners, in good health and do for themselves in all ways. But the other day my dad asked my mom to get on the speaker phone with him, as he had to call a company's customer service for information and he needed her to help him understand what the person on the other end told him. Not because he is feeble minded, dumb or hard of hearing. Here is what he told the customer service rep. "young lady, you are good with giving me the information I need, but you talk so fast I can't understand what that information is." My mom said, old age is hard, these young people all seem to speak so fast.

I had my own call to a customer service department just that morning. For me these days it is a dreaded call. Why do I dread them? Because anymore what I usually get, no offense to anyone, is a person usually in their 20's or 30's who talk at the sound of light, or someone with an unintelligible accent because my customer service call ended up in someplace that is not of my native language. Or I get someone who must really dislike their job. How can I tell? Ummm, I think it's the sarcastic/snotty attitude I get from them the moment I ask a question that starts with "why" or "I'm sorry, I don't understand what you're saying". Or "I'm sorry can you slow down so I can understand you". And, oh lordy, heaven help my blood pressure when I reach someone who has all three of these wonderful customer service attributes.

So, between my own frustrating call, and listening to my mom's frustration I realized something.....process to me this week means aging. Day to day living is a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead to a particular result...and that result is the act of aging and growing old. I have a birthday coming soon and I laughingly told my mom, I think maybe I've finally crossed that line somewhere between being middle aged and finally becoming old, because I think young people talk to fast too and a lot of times I can't understand a word they're saying either and I feel that technology has left me in the dust, and I still haven't a clue about mp3's or ipods. ;-)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spring Fever

Goodness, I'm in the midst of a very serious case of Spring fever! All I can think of is flowers, birds, butterflies, and pretty pastel colors. I put a new auction up last night that I call Spring Hatchling.

I'm the first to admit I have a terrible time taking photos of anything glass. Spring hatchling is beautiful in person. It's hard to tell but she has just hatched out of an egg which is behind her as she lays on a nest of flowers.




You can find more photos and information here:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=007&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&viewitem=&item=170096096584&rd=1&rd=1

COLLAGE SHEETS & SUPPLIES

Later this summer I'm hoping to change the direction of my website. I want to delve more into the world of selling supplies to fellow artists. And to that end, my first dipping of the toe into the pool are some laser printed collage sheets.

What I really would like to do is gear myself more toward the kind of items you won't find everywhere else. I'm working on packets of my own digitally designed papers. I plan on scouring flea markets, estate sales etc for fun "stuff" we can add to our artistic creations...myself included. ;-) And I would love input from anyone on this idea or even thoughts on the kinds of supplies you as an artist would like to find for sale online.

My first two collage sheets, you can find them in my Etsy store and on Ebay.





Sunday, March 25, 2007

Flower Garden Paper Bag Album ~ Hello Spring!

Here in the mountains of Tennessee, in our little valley, everything is starting to awaken, lift their heads and say, aaahhh.....Spring has arrived.

A couple weeks ago the daffodils and hyacinth started to poke up their sleepy heads and right now they are in full glory. It seems overnight the Bradford Pears have sprung forth in all their beautiful white glory. And today, driving along the lake, I looked up onto the mountains and weaving in and out of the still brown grey trees, little peeks of wild white dogwoods. The forsythia are smiling in glorious yellow. Soon the pink red bud trees will bloom and our valley will be beautifully washed in a mantel of Spring's colors.

And so, I did this album in honor of our greening and preening Spring.


You can see more of this album here: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=007&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&viewitem=&item=170094431711&rd=1&rd=1

Enjoy! And Happy Spring!





Friday, March 23, 2007

Expectations

This week's word is expectations. Gosh, we get SUCH good words! This is a word that could take us many places. But I think I'd like to say for me, today, in this time and place, I've been told sometimes mine are to high. And I would suppose that just as many times I've been told that, they are probably right.

I seem to have a propensity to expect things to be where I put them. Or to expect that if I'm nice and respectful to people they will return the same attitude. I expect that when I purchase an item from a company and have a problem with said item that the company will have customer service people actually trained in the art of "customer service" and have real knowledge of their product.

Some of my highest and most disappointing expectations are things like, expecting something that should work...to really work at all times. And, horrors, to work easily and correctly. I have a bad tendency to expect things to "not" break on me at the exact moment when I need them the most.

But my highest and yet worst expectation...... I always expect people to understand what I'm saying! I am so silly.

So, sadly I must say, yes I do have high expectations, and they are repeatedly dashed to the ground. But at this stage of the game it's to late for me to change who I am and so I suppose I shall be continually disappointed that my high expectations have led me astray yet again. ;-)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

So What is Mediocrity? Really?

Our art group decided this week our word is mediocrity. I've thought about it all week. I've gone around to all the other blogs and read everyone's posts...what great posts each and every one was by the way! And because lately, as an artist, I've been feeling such a big fear of that ole mediocrity, I found myself intimidated. Such great posts, what in the world would I write about! So I was just getting ready to go tell the group that I copped out this week and didn't get mine done.

But I read one more post I seemed to have missed.
http://northdixiedesigns.blogspot.com/
As I was leaving a comment for Dixie I realized I didn't have to cop out this week.

I spent 8 years teaching decorative painting. If life circumstances hadn't changed I believe I'd still be teaching (but that's another whole story).

What sells a student on a class is usually the subject matter. And seeing the actual painting, not a picture of it. So in order to keep my classes full, I always had a finished painting displayed in the class area to tempt my students to take that particular class.

When it came to teaching the actual class, since I already ahd a finished piece, I always painted on a surface that didn't matter to me. Usually something like a piece of mat board. The painting I did in class was strictly for showing the students how to do something, how to shade or highlight, what color to use, what brush movement they might want to do to achieve that particular result. In a classroom setting I was painting faster than I normally would do for myself and sometimes I was even painting upside down so the class could see the demo right side up.

When a class was finished I often would paint over what I did and re-use it for another demo, or even throw the demo piece away if it was something I was sure I would never use again. When students found this out they would literally be aghast. You see, since they were still in student stage and learning they didn't see my throwaways like I did, as a "so what",......they saw something to keep and treasure. Oftentimes I even had a student ask me for my demo board.

So Dixie's post made me realize that mediocrity, like beauty, is all in the eyes of the beholder.




Saturday, March 10, 2007

Imagine Flowers

Our weekly word is imagine. There are so many avenues open with this word and I wasn't sure which one I wanted to take. But yesterday it warmed up here in our little mountain valley and I was finally able to get out into one of my flower beds for much needed resuscitation.

This particular bed has been an eyesore to me since we bought this house and I inheirited the previous owners plantings. It is up against the garage and one of our little outbuildings. It gets weedy and overgrown and is hard to get into to do any work because of all the brambles. I can see part of it when I walk through my living room, most of it as I continue through the dining room and I can't miss it when I stand at the kitchen sink washing dishes.

Both of the buildings are ugly, bland and boring, white cement block. For five years now I've been unable to imagine that flower bed in my head (yes, I'm slow because I'm not what you call a "confident" gardener) . I waffled with first this, and then that idea and I've tossed away mural idea after mural idea for the sides of those buildings.

And finally a couple weeks ago I was able to imagine it! The sides of both garage and outbuilding will become a beautiful soft blue sky with wonderful pale clouds. I love painting clouds. I remembered a collection of old windows sitting in that little outbuilding and was able to imagine two hanging on the garage wall and one on the little outbuilding.

That will be the simple work. The hard part started yesterday as I began to clean out those old overgrown brambly raspberry canes. The only thing staying is a big white hydrangea bush.

Now I'm imagining Roses, Lilacs, and Peonies. All in shades of pinks, maybe splashes of yellow and of course the white Hydrangeas.

White Lilacs in another part of the yard
getting ready to bloom

A couple of my very old and established Peony bushes

Rose bushes from other partsof the yard

I know it will take a few years for all that to really fill in and be as beautiful as I can now imagine it will be. But worth the wait. And until then...I have my imagination to fill it in.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

An Ode to Sisters

If you have a sister, or sisters, and are close, you'll understand the sentiments in this book. I have one sister, younger, and we're pretty darn close. We've had our misunderstandings but they have been very few and very far between. Mostly what we have between us is a lot of laughter. My oldest niece once paid me the nicest compliment by telling me that my sister and I are very funny when we're together. Now whether she MEANT it as a compliment, I chose not to ask. ;-)

To me one of the very best things about having my sister is that we have the same sense of humor. We GET the same things. And sometimes all it takes is a look, a snort, a twinkle in the eye, to set us off. What better gift can one have than being able to laugh with someone! you love!

So this book I'm listing on Ebay tonight is all about having a sister. I hope you enjoy it.








Saturday, March 3, 2007

WInding Up

Our group post this week is our interpretation of "winding up". My first thought was of something like a wind up toy, or winding up a music box. Then I had a picture in my head of a pitcher on the mound winding up his arm and body to throw that pitch. Or a child winding themselves up to really pitch a tantrum. Actually I've seen a few adults so this also. ;-)

But what it all boiled down to for me was winding up...as in the finishing of or ending of something. You know, well... I'm finally winding up the week, looking forward to relaxing this weekend. Or..., finally, I'm winding up that project and whoo boy, I'll be glad to be done with it!

Makes me think maybe it's a "regional thing" and I love discovering different regional interpretations of words and phrases. So does anyone else, wind up their week by Friday?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

New Collage Items ~ Digital and non Digital

I posted a new auction on Ebay tonight and and a new listing in Etsy. My two E's and vastly different in all ways! ;-)

This first piece is a 6x6 Art Squared collage done on wood. This happened to be one of those pieces that started out as a question mark. I was trying to work through another piece. To keep myself from freezing up on it, I grabbed this one and pretty much blindly reached into my scrap paper drawer and pulled out 3 pieces of paper. Glueing them down, I glazed the heck out of it with about four different colors, used my favorite background stamp and all of a sudden I looked at it and thought...oh, hey, I'm liking that background. The other piece is still sitting on my worktable because this one was calling me and I wanted to finish it to see where it was heading. Ah, the mysteries of art!



My Etsy listing is a new series of mini cards ~ the Baby Collection~
Doing digital collage has opened a whole new creative world for me and.... like McDonald's.... I'm lovin' it! You can check out my Etsy store for closeups of each individual card in the set! Wouldn't these be great for baby gifts or thank you notes from mom and dad to be! I list them as an individual set in my shop but I can make as many sets as someone needs. They are completely orginal and absolutely affordable. :-)