What's Happening Now

Greetings Friends,

Well it has been a while since I posted anything so in a burst of blogging guilt that just happens to coincide with some late night creativity, I thought I would tell you what's been on my agenda these days.

I have caught a case of the quilting bug. 

Planets have aligned, sewing machines have been unearthed and I have made a quilt.  Let the choir sing.  For years I have taken my vacation from work to happily attend one of the most exciting quilt festivals in the country, the one in Houston.  But I had other projects to work on so I never made quilting a priority.  Now I guess I have.

No pictures today except to share this pic I made from quilting scraps.  I took a photo, did a little Photoshop and here it is to brighten your Monday.

Hope to see you again soon, Diana

Hope to see you again soon,

Diana

Welcome Fall

We are having a magnificent fall day here in the land of Bald Hill.  We even had a little rain yesterday that preceded this spectacular weather and the poor plants and grass seem grateful.

Fall invigorates me after the long hot sultry season that seems to go on forever in Texas.  It makes me want to actually go outside and wallow around in the environment.  I remember my brother and I playing in what seemed like mountains of leaves, covering ourselves, willing ourselves to be still, waiting for Old Brownie, our dog, to walk by so we could jump out and surprise him for the hundredth time.  Where does the time go?

I did buy some apple cider the other day and since I have already slurped down my two cups of coffee, I want you to know I am enjoying a cup of hot apple cider right now.  And since it is morning when I write this, I will refrain from indulging in the toddy part of a hot toddy.  

When I was a little kid, my Uncle Roy would come home from Houston and he would stop by this little stand on the side of the road and buy cold apple cider to bring to the family.  They would take it out of their coolers and wrap it in newspaper to keep it cold for a while.  They also gave you those tiny little Dixie cups to drink it out of.  It was such a treat, both when he came home and when he brought the lovely cider to share.  He sadly passed away this year and I wonder again where does the time go?

Is it a sign of my age that I am remembering past times longingly or is it this weather that pulls me backward to times when simple joys seemed abundant.  So today, I am going to make some more memories that I can look back fondly on when I am ninety.  I hope it is a beautiful fall day where you are too.

Thank you for stopping by.

Hugs, Diana

P.S.  The apple image is one provided by the sweet lady Karen of Graphics Fairy.  I tweaked it a bit in PicMonkey and added the lovely quote by Jane Hirshfield.  So no, I did not paint it, but maybe apples will by my next subject.  

 

 

 

Welcome Visitors

This weekend I am participating in the Lufkin Art Guild Fall Art Show and Loft Sale.  I have a few paintings and collages in the show and I am selling some creative things upstairs in the loft at Abrams.  The event is Friday October 14th 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Saturday October 15th 1:00 p.m. -5:00 p.m.

Lately I have been making altered wine bottles.  Unfortunately the ones I am selling are empty, but my efforts are keeping them out of land fills and hopefully will make you smile enough to take one home to alter your desk or wine bar.

Here are a few examples of the altered wine bottles I will have for sale.

Altered Wine Bottle

Altered Wine Bottle

 

I also have some delightful small colleges for sale that come with handmade envelopes made from old dictionary pages in case you want to gift someone with some original art.

ticket home 1500.jpg

I hope you have a chance to visit the Lufkin Art Guild Show and you will come up to the Loft to say hello and see if some of my art needs to go home with you.

Hugs,

Diana

 

Oh Snap!

Dear Creative Friends, 

Just a note to tell you, I am taking a little blogging break for the summer and maybe into the fall.

I did this collage in response to my friend who moved far away.  I am sad but technology will keep us close.  

Have a great summer.

Hugs, Diana

Abundant Art Show

Dear Creative Friends,

I am excited to announce that I will be participating in the Abundant Art Show 8 Day Challenge along with many other artists. When you click on the hash tag, #abundantartshow you'll be taken to works in progress or recently completed works by nearly 300 artists and you'll have an opportunity to buy.

I will be hoping to meet the challenge by selling one of my art pieces online.  Usually my cats are the only ones who are up to any kind of challenges, like sleeping the longest on my keyboard without the computer crashing or seeing how many times I will actually get up to let them outside or let them back in.  So here is a piece of something I did a while back that I hope to have prints of for sale, but I think it needs just a little something else, so we'll see.  What do you think?

Cheering you artfully on, Diana

Cheering you artfully on,

Diana

 

 

 

Happy Mother's Day

Every day should be Mother’s Day but you and I know that’s not going to happen.  Even when the kids or (dare I say it) the husband make clumsy attempts at celebrating Mom, she is supposed to be grateful and overlook the clumsiness with her usual sweetness.

“Oh yes darling, I’ve always wanted a swiffer mop.  And you wrapped it so cleverly in the afghan from the sofa and tied it with an extension cord in a bow.  Aren’t you creative?”

“Oh how did you know I needed a new bathroom scales, Dear?  Yes, selling my old one in the garage sale did turn out to be a mistake.  Here let me take that box of cellulite cream and march it to the bathroom before I start dinner.”

I could go on, but I am just as guilty.  I am a crafter from way back in the days of macaroni covered cigar boxes and hand painted rocks.  I think one of the worst things I ever gave her was an unfinished hand painted floor cloth to go under the dining room table.  It was big and decorated with sunflowers which never got finished and now that sunflowers are about four motifs ago, it never will.  Sorry Mom.

My mom is so gracious.  She overlooks my many inconsistencies: how I get dates confused, my lack of enthusiasm for housekeeping and yard work.  And my cooking.

I burnt the toast two times in a row this week and she just takes a knife and scrapes the off the burnt stuff.  My husband calls it Cajun Toast.  Like blackend-catfish only for bread.  I doubt the trend will catch on.  Sadly, I did not inherit my mother’s love of cooking or her abilities.

So in honor of Mother’s Day and my sweet Mother, Dorothy, I am including a poem I wrote.  It's not macaroni or an unfinished floor cloth, but it ain't a day at the spa either.

I guess some things never change.

Home Made Bread

 

I can smell it in my sleep

A sourdough dream come true

 

Bread kneaded by arthritic hands

Rising early to meet the day

 

We wait in the kitchen

Like expectant fathers

 

Pacing, drinking hot coffee

Counting down the arrival of the prize

 

Setting out butter and mayhaw jelly

My mother feeds us loaves of love.


 

Happy Mother’s Day Dorothy,

Happy Mother's Day to all you Mothers,

Love, Diana

Hang In There, My Pretty!

When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on!” ~Author Unknown
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” ~Henry Stanley Haskins

My good friend Audrey is an experienced quilter.  She does beautiful work and she completes many complicated projects.  When you see her finished work and her smiling face, you think it must come easy for her.  But you would be wrong.  

She and I have had the same discussion many times.  We have both come to know that creative work cycles through stages.  We agree that one of our most uncomfortable stage is when work that we imagined would beautifully look one way is starting to unfortunately look less appealing. (Plainer stated: like crap.)

I call it the ugly stepchild period.  This is when your creative project has inherited the characteristics  from a gene pool not of your choosing, but definitely of your making.  I just hate it when I am face to face with downright ugly that came from my own hands.

Oh the temptation is great to quit -- or at least whine, curse, complain, or worse; procrastinate.  Some people arrive at this stage and begin listening to their inner critic who is keen to make them do something else less risky or difficult.

I am here to testify that if you hang in there, this too shall pass.  Plodding forward has it’s rewards, not the least is getting out of the quicksand that insists that you will never make good art again, you are a worthless hack and you should trash-can what was once such a good idea.

Happily for me, I am usually not willing to waste art supplies, the great time investment or the energy I’ve spent getting this far to quit now.  Besides, what if I died and all that was left of my art was the stuff I gave up on? What kind of legacy would that be?

Here are a few things to try the next time you find yourself needing to hang on until it gets better:

  • Squint.  Sometimes looking at your art through squinted eyes allows you to see it in a different form, giving you hope that all is not lost.

  • Take a short relaxing break.

  • Ask for help.  YouTube, Pinterest, and Google can help you solve a lot of problems that others have solved before you.

  • Accept where you are in the creative process and know that you will one day be in the place where you are satisfied and content with the project.

Art at its finest is inspired and divine.  Getting it to look that way is, in my opinion, attributed to a keen ability to problem solve and the willingness to sit in the discomfort of being where you are at the time, knowing that eventually you will reach the other side.

When all else fails, take the advice of a good doctor:

“I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead and some come from behind.
But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”
~Dr. Seuss

 

Cheering You Artfully On!

Diana

 

Living on the Edge

I think fear is what keeps us from going over the edge. I mean, as a race car driver, I don’t think what makes a good race car driver is a fearless person. I think it’s somebody that is comfortable being behind the wheel of something that’s somewhat out of control.” -Jeff Gordon

Oh, I’d like to think I’m edgy, push boundaries or buck the status quo.  I got game.

But let’s get real:  I live with my sweet mother - in East Texas.   I haven’t been out in public after 11:00 pm in years.  I buy my shoes at PayLess because the price of women’s shoes pisses me off.  I watch HGTV if I ever have control of the remote and I know nothing about zombies or the apocalypse.  I refuse to get in political or religious debates on Facebook and I don’t have a tattoo.

My art is about as edgy as a Thomas Kinkade calendar.  (No offense meant, Mr. Kinkade.)

So how does a person like me live on the edge, other than eating something spicy without Prilosec? 

The short answer is by doing my art at all.

When we participate in the creative process, we are on the leading edge of creation.  Doing whatever your art is brings into the world what was not there before.  It acknowledges and expresses what is OUT THERE and brings it into the HERE NOW.  

Bringing a performance into being instead of not auditioning, letting the music belt out of you instead of remaining quiet, cutting out paper dolls with your kids instead of doing chores; it is the act of turning your back on the mundane that brings you ever closer to an edge experience.

The three cats I live with have an agenda for me.  They don’t care if I get a chance to work in my art journal, gesso some canvas, or have a gelli printing session.  They want me to open the door and let them out or open the door to let them in.  Repeat ad nauseum times three. They can find no better place to walk than in wet paint or no place better to take a nap than on my keyboard when I am trying to write a blog post.

I don’t take it personal.  But I can’t let my love for them and my desire to be a good pet parent keep me from doing the work of my art.  Ignoring these ungrateful little darlings while I do my art can frankly be living life on the edge or at the least, make me feel edgy.

This past weekend I entered the local art guild show with three of my paintings; a first for me.  I put on makeup, carried snacks for the reception and introduced myself to people who slowed down in front of my work.  Talk about living on the edge!  (I am a card carrying introvert.  I really need to have some printed up so I could hand them out in extrovert situations.)  Putting myself and my art out there to risk judgement is paramount to jumping off a big cliff.  It was good for me and my art in so many edgy ways.

Here are the three entries:   (Thanks for asking.)

Industrial Bloom

Industrial Bloom

Take a Number

Take a Number

Fleeting Moment

Fleeting Moment

It is tempting to believe that living on the edge art-wise is only relevant if we live it as if we are  Captain Kirk.  I paraphrase his most famous statement below:

“Art, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Artship (YOUR NAME HERE). Its daily mission: to explore strange new ART, to seek out new mediums and new outcomes, to boldly go where no artist has gone before.”

Yes, it is good to push your art in directions that only people who watch Star Trek can understand, but it is also good to overcome the everyday rigors of life getting in the way of living a creative life on the edge.

How do you live life on the edge?

Cheering you artfully on,

Diana

We live at the edge of the miraculous.” -Henry Miller

Tool Time

A determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop.
— Robert Hughes
A bad workman always blames his tools.
— Proverb

Hello Creative Friends,

How is your spring going?  It is lovely here in the Piney Woods.  My mother is out in the yard right now trying to beat the grass back from taking over the flower beds. Her weapon of choice is a swarthy hatchet and some well placed jabs with a garden trowel.  Trust me, she knows which end of the tool to use.

It is important to have the tools you need for the job at hand.  I wish I had paid attention to this rule a long time ago in my art career, I might have spent my money more wisely.  However, it is also true that making do with what we have can prompt our creativity to fill in the gaps when an expensive trip to the art supply store isn't possible.

I have painted with q-tips, stiff bristled worn-out brushes, a real knife instead of a pallet knife and that old stand by that every kindergartner swears by: my fingers.  It is seductive to listen to the voice that says you must wait until you have everything you need before you can be creative, but I believe this can be a stalling tactic that can lead to a creative block.

Now that I live out in the county, the art supplies aren't as easy to come by as they used to be, so I am having to relearn that what I have is good enough for today.  That is why I love art journaling.  There are really no excuses not to find something to do on a journal page, even if you don't have the latest tool or supply.

I wish you all the best tools, but if you don't have them yet, I wish you a rusty monkey wrench sense of accomplishment.

Cheering you artfully on,

Diana

 

Some Bunny Loves You

If you celebrate, Happy Easter to You!

Are you ready to embrace your Inner Bunny? 

The bunny in the image above has learned the art of tooting one’s own horn and wants to be an example. 

If you art journal, I challenge you to find something about you or your art or your life that needs expressing in a positive way.  Don’t tell me about your kid, your pet or your bank account. 

Toot you own horn about an ability, a talent or a passion you have that the world should know about.  If not the world, at least acknowledge it in your journal.

Tooting your own horn will usually get a reaction from your Blockhead so be aware that you’ll get an argument from it but soldier on.Here is my entry for tooting my own horn.  I am a self-taught digital artist.  I do all my work on Pic Monkey and I figure out ways to make art without using Photoshop.  Not that I have anything against Photoshop,  I just have tried to use it and when I open it, I become so overwhelmed that I need to take a nap.

I hope you will take up the Toot Your Own Horn Challenge.

Cheering you artfully on!

Diana Meade

Happy Spring

Spring woman 1500.jpg
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was greater than the risk it took to bloom.”
— Anais Nin

Hello Creative Friends,

We had daffodils blooming when I created this image. One of the things I like about daffodils is that they show up every year without any effort on my part.  What a gift it is to be presented with all the beauty of spring just for the price of opening my eyes to it.

Don't you love days when your creativity is threatening to bloom like the buds of spring? Yes, I have days when my creativity feels buried beneath the weight of the world and my to do list. 

Those are the days when "doing it anyway" requires a set of skills like scheduling, routine, and trust for me to even get to my art table.  I am so familiar with those kinds of days that I know now that if I will just sit in front of my art journal, ignore Blockhead who is telling me I have more important things to do, the creative process will win out.

Other times, the creative urge in me is so strong that I am uncomfortable in my skin until I can allow it to come forth.  I believe ignoring this urge is dangerous to one's health, spirit and well-being.  The danger of substituting an activity that feels more appropriate than dragging out tubes of paint, that looks more fruitful than tearing up paper and pasting it back together and is acceptable as productive by others will lead me down a road of resentment. 

I don't want to feel resentful because I don't get to do my art.  We know where the path of resentment leads. The feeling of anger and bitterness and a vague sense of having been wronged is enough to spoil a whole lifetime of art making, but the substitute activities can be a death knell.

  • "If I can't do my art, I'll spend money." 
  • "If I can't do my art, I'll have another piece of pie." 
  • "If I can't do my art, I won't fulfill my commitments."

If you only used substitution activities once, it wouldn't make such a difference, but the danger lies in making it a habit to ignore the urge to burst forth creatively and habitually select activities that can become addictive.

I am not sure how this post became so serious since I started out just wanting to celebrate spring and the urge to let one's inner-self bloom. 

For the whole of spring, will you join me in taking the risk to follow the urge to do your art and bloom big.

The wisteria is showing off on the fence, in the trees and along the roadside here in our yard.

The wisteria is showing off on the fence, in the trees and along the roadside here in our yard.

My dear husband, Rod Tanner took these photos.  Aren't they just lovely?  I may need to paint something this color. Welcome Spring and Welcome Creativity!

My dear husband, Rod Tanner took these photos.  Aren't they just lovely?  I may need to paint something this color.

Welcome Spring and Welcome Creativity!

Cheering you Artfully on,

Diana

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy St. Patricks Day

Hello Creative Friends,

How in the world are you?  Is it spring time where you are?  We had a good rain last week and now everything is popping up green just in time for St. Patrick's Day. 

I have been continuing to work on my Life Book 2016 Class.  Here is a sample of the latest assignment.  This mixed media piece was done on watercolor paper, painted with water color crayons and some white acrylic under painting on the hair.  The background was stenciled with modeling paste to give it that raised effect.

  The class was taught by the lovely and talented Tam Laporte.

I hope you have the luck of the Irish today and get to do something creative that you love.

Cheering you artfully on,

Diana

I'm Confused!

Hello Creative Friends,

Well here we are getting in the daily index card groove and I am paralyzed with arty indecision!!!  I spent some time last night trying to catch up on my daily index card.  (Naturally, I am already behind!) 

But you know what?  I am having a hard time adding to or changing these already delicious (-full of gelli goodness) cards.  They are beautiful to me and some of the things I have been doing to them makes them look less delicious and I can hardly stand to ruin any more of them.

Here are some that I absolutely cannot, dare not touch with my little pens and colors. 

What was I thinking?

Then, there are some wildly terrible ones that I refuse to show the world that I tried to add to,to make them into an art journal page of sorts and instead of them looking better, they look worse and ruined.  Ugh!  I am considering abandoning this whole idea all together.

Bummer and relief at the same time.

Now I am wanting to make a college out of them.  Insert scream here....

Your friend,

Dazed and Confused Diana

Index Card Mania

Hello Creative Friends,

On Friday I posted the first part of my 3 x 5 gelli printing saga.  I am sure you all have been refreshing your computer every few minutes just to see what’s up next.  I feel the same way.

I want to know what the heck to do with this yummy stack of 3 x 5’s. 

In the recent past I have used them to cut and paste on canvas to make mixed media pictures like this one.

They are wonderful to use in mixed media but they are also little pieces of stand alone art.

In the spirit of art journaling, I am going to try to do one for each day of the year.  

There is something called:  ICAD that stands for Index Card a Day that is a challenge held each year beginning in June 1st - July 31st, 2016 started by http://daisyyellowart.com/icad/icad-faq.html. if you are interested in participating for 60 days in summer. 

I may be burned out by then and need a boost.  For me the point being that I can do a little bit of art every day that gets me out of myself and onto the page.

My hope is to use this avenue to lean and share more mixed media techniques as time goes by and as I lean them.  Also, a 3 x 5 card isn't such a waste if it turns ugly and you can't save it, you can still cut it up and put it in a collage.

Also I plan on writing on the back of them just a sentence of gratitude or a highlight of the day.  I should be able to get several years worth on these.  Eventually I can see these in some kind of book form so they will can be displayed and enjoyed.

Boy when I write this down it seems awfully ambitious. But why not?  If I miss a day of art on an index card, I will just catch up the following year. (I hope.)  The other thing I plan on doing is sharing more on social media.  I find this most challenging of all.  Sharing my work out in the world.

Join me if you’d like.  So what if it is the middle of February.  Start where you are is a great idea.  Do it until it until it isn’t fun anymore.  Art is suppose to be play not rigorous perfectionism.

Cheering you artfully on,

Diana

One 3 X 5 at a Time

Hello Creative Friends,

It is a nice day in the neighborhood where there are no cracks in the sidewalks, mostly because there are no sidewalks out here in the boonies.

Since moving here, my life has slowed way down.  Not that I'm complaining.  The reason I bring this up is because I have set a new challenge for myself that I hope to maintain for a while.  First a little background before I get to the point.

The company I worked for in Houston shared a warehouse space with another company whose business it was to make things out of plexiglass. I won’t bore you with the details but they went out of business and left a lot of junk lying around for pack rats like Moi to pack off home to be saved for a rainy day in Hoarder Land.  

When Rod and I did the big purge and got rid of the majority of our stuff to move to the country, some of that pack-ratty goodness survived the move and I have found a use for it in this lifetime!  I’d drink to that if the occasional bottle of wine survived more than a day around here, but alas I will have to write the rest of this post sober.

The plexiglass business had customers all over the country and they kept up with them by writing their names and address on the back side of a colored 3 x 5 index card.  They kept them in these tidy little file boxes.  I have this times three!

 

Anyway, these 3 x 5’s with writing on them are just perfect candidates for the gelli printing process.  I like how the writing contributes to the mixed media look. Here are a few examples.

Gelli Prints 1.jpg

I love making these 3 x 5 prints and I have about a million of them since you can't print just one once you get started.

Since this post is getting long winded, I will show you what I am going to do with them in the next post.

Cheering you artfully on,

Diana

If All Else Fails, Wing It

Hello Creative Friends,

If all else fails, wing it.   That's pretty good advice when it comes to art journaling.

My friend and I talk about how different we are when it comes to making art.  She makes a plan first and tries to anticipate problems and solve them before she begins.  I just wade in and hope for the best.  We both manage to survive.  I can't speak for the art work.

For me, if I begin anticipating problems I will get locked up and never begin.

The blank page/canvas is a common issue.  I just took a class from Pauline Agnew and before we ever got started with the lesson she had us smear the page with random paint.  Not a bad idea if this is an issue for you.

I think winging it comes into play more often than not when it comes to being creative.  After all, most ideas are ethereal anyway.  I can use my imagination to "see" the outcome, but producing the end result as my mind would have it is another challenge all together.  To me, following where my heart and soul is being nudged is what makes for art that comes from, "The Universe of Great Ideas," and not from my critical monkey mind.

I hope you will try winging it in your art today.

Cheering you artfully on,

Diana

P.S.  This Winging it artwork was made by me for the lovely and talented Amara King who loves all things owl.

 

A Lesson in Letting Go

Hello Creative Friends,

This lesson instructed us to make an ink background.  Then draw a butterfly and Zentangle it.  We did some journaling of the things we want to let go in 2016 and then the sun is journaled with what we want to embrace in the new year.

I enjoyed this exercise so much that I dated it twice in the lower corner or maybe it was because I had my stamp upside down. 

It was a great idea for a mixed media piece and I will certainly file it into something I will try again.  This concept would work for a greeting card without the journaling.

Artfully cheering you on,

Diana

 

Blogging with Cats

Hello Creative Friends,

Yes, it's blogging with cats day.  One is asleep with his head across one side of the keyboard.  Another one, the jealous Gabby, has inched her way along my desk, put her paws on my chest and slid across my outstretched arms, promptly closing her eyes so she can't see the disapproval on my face.

And because cats come in threes at my house, the old grandma of the bunch, Schuester is on the desk beside me energetically grooming while knocking papers and pens to the floor so she can hurry and catch up with the team effort to DRIVE ME CRAZY.  Sigh.

Maybe I should just give up and crawl into a ball and take a nap too.  Seems like a good thing to do on a cold overcast winter afternoon.

Sleepily cheering you on,

Diana

 

                                                                                                                                                             

Lifebook 2016 Week 1

Hello Creative Friends,

This is my first lesson called the Happy Traveler.  We did a meditation before hand and these are the animals that showed up to travel with me during the year.  Naturally, I couldn't go anywhere without a cat companion, even if he does bear a striking resemblance to an alien baby! 

Out in the country where I live are a flock of Cardinals.  My husband faithfully feeds them and they faithfully entertain us.  They are so cheerful to look at on a gray winters day.

It is a challenge to take this class since I haven't had a lot of instruction art-wise.  I am especially excited to learn more about painting faces since the few and secretive attempts I've made have been dismal at best. 

But in the spirit of a new year and my new thinking, I am willing to learn new things.  I hope you have a creative week.

Cheering you artfully on,

Diana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year

Happy New Year Creative Friends,

I like New Years, don't you?  Even though it is actually just another day, it feels like it is the official day of the "do over".  I think of it as a time to begin again, to be reflective and to reconsider how things are going.  I'm not talking resolutions, just a small rethinking and maybe a recharge.

The new thing I am doing this year is I am participating in Lifebook 2016, an online art journaling class held by the lovely and talented Tamara LaPorte of www.willowing.org.   Besides Tam teaching classes, there are 25 other guest teachers who share mixed media and art journaling techniques.  

So I will be sharing some of the lessons as I progress along the Lifebook path.  At the end of the year, we will gather all the artwork and make it into a book, hence the name.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and are ready for a New and Prosperous & Healthy New Year.

Hugs, Diana