Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Distracted by Shiny Things

 I haven't posted in awhile.  But have been working on my sketchbook.  No fabric painting.  Just playing around with shapes and patterns using acrylic paint, watercolors and colored pencils.  Thought I'd post some photos and see if anyone has any tips on working with acrylic paint.  I'm using Golden Fluid acrylics.  And I just LOVE the shiny gold.  It's really easy to work with.  But some of the other colors...not so easy.  Anyway, below is my most recent painting.  I know, it's kind of busy, but I'm crazy about color and pattern.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Do Japan and A Fallen Tree Have in Common?

For many years my husband and I have had an ongoing debate over the philosophical question - "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound?" He says No. I say Yes. Obviously we think in different ways.

I've been thinking about this question for the last few days and it's relationship to Japan and the Media. The US Media is now almost completely focused on the emergency at the Fukashima nuclear plant AND it's possible effects on us here in the US. I realize that it's been almost two weeks since the earthquake/tsunami, that the US is now involved in the Libya excursion, that we have short attention spans and, "Hey, it's all about us isn't it?!?" but there are thousands upon thousands of people and animals who have been left to suffer in the wake of this triple disaster.

If a disaster happens and the Media leaves did it still happen? YES, and we can't desert the survivors. As best as we can, we all have to help.

Please donate what you can:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Climbing Out of the Rut One Step At a Time

I'm in a rut.  A deep, deep rut.  This seems to happen every time I start to work on a project.  I have lots of ideas and even get started on a project or two and then...hit the wall and become completely overwhelmed.

It's not as if I haven't done anything.  I've been working on designing a database at work for the last couple of weeks and have been learning to use Microsoft Access.  It's been really rewarding putting things together and then seeing that it works.  It's creative in a way.  But not creative in the way I want to be.

I'm in a deep, deep rut and keep slipping down the sides every time I try to climb out.  My husband thinks I need to get some exercise - he's probably right. I think I need to turn off the tv  - definitely true.  I've been looking at books in my library that always inspire - Twyla Tharp's "The Creative Habit" and Danny Gregory's "The Creative License."  They're helpful.  But then, I'm really good at using reading as an excuse to not do anything.  I need to find a class to take since I always do better when there is structure.  When there is homework.  When there are expectations.  Let to my own devices I will do...nothing. 

A while back I decided that to take a drawing class.  Have I looked for a class yet?  Not really.  So, this week I'm going to do one thing.  Look for a beginner's drawing class in NYC.  That shouldn't be too hard.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Making Art With The Skills You Have

Or to quote an unnamed politician..."You go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had..."

It can be intimidating to read other artists' blogs, books, articles...especially when your skill level doesn't "measure up" least not yet.  In my mind, I want to create beautiful realistic and whimsical designs like Judy Coates Perez or bold graphic designs like Jane Sassaman.  In reality I don't.

I spend my days as the only "non-creative" in a design firm surrounded by very talented artists.  That is intimidating.  In my dreams I have the drawing and design skills of my friend and co-worker Bill Hoffman.  In reality I don't.

But as artists we all have a choice.  We can do nothing because of the fear that we'll never measure up (and for years that is what I did) or we can make art anyway.  And that means working with the abilities we have and trying to improve them a step at a time.

Each one of us has a unique voice and story to tell.  No one  can tell my story except me.  So I choose to make art even if it doesn't always meet my "standards". That's my reality and that's the only way I will find my artistic voice.

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Picture, My Hair and Staying 35 Forever

My profile picture looks nothing like me.  It was taken a few years back when I decided to let my hair go grey.  Honestly, I hate dying my hair.  It's messy, takes time, and no matter how diligent I am, at some point (usually while out and about) I glance in a mirror and see...ROOTS.  Just hate that.  So I stopped dying and learned to live with the grey.  Got lots of compliments and had no intention of ever dying my hair again.  I was proud of being authentic, bold and unafraid of aging.  Well, you know how it is.  Pride goeth before the fall.

In 2009 my son graduated from high school.  Lots of pictures...was that his grandmother standing next to him?  Oh, was me.  With my short, grey hair.  I looked old.  Of course, it didn't help that I was wearing an Eileen Fisher ensemble which, although quite elegant, made me look and feel kind of dumpy. 

I tried to let it go.  I tried not to let it affect how I felt.  But it did.  It was a direct repudiation of the image I held of ME.  I'm only supposed to be 35.  No, Really!  I know I'm not but that's the age I most relate to and that hair was a constant reminder that I was a lot older.  I started to feel old.  Wow.  How shallow.  Unfortunately, how true. 

I held on to the grey for a few more months until one day I just couldn't stand it anymore and bought some hair dye.  So now I dye my hair again.  I let the bangs grow out, my hair is longer than it's ever been, and honestly needs a good trim.  I am even toying with the idea of cutting it really short and going grey again.  But probably not. 

I'll never be 35 again.  And I know I don't look 35.  But at least I can have my light brown hair.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Life as an unfinished project

Unfinished projects.  I have a lot of them.  Some don't interest me anymore, others I feel guilty about letting languish. But they're all sitting here in my head (or in the closet) mocking me.

Bigger picture?  Life.  Life is one big...messy...unfinished project.  Which is good because well, let's face it, no one wants a finished life.  I like to think I'm only half way through this great adventure - at least that's my plan.  But time is rushing and there's still so much to do...not sure what I want to do with my life.  Which, considering that I used to "duck and cover" in grade school, could be problematic. 

Oh, I've dabbled in a lot of things - went to college and majored in theatre in the 70's (dropped out...bad idea), worked as an actress/singer in the 80's (no money...lots of great friends), took up quilting and embroidery (spent a lot of money...still haven't made any), got married and became a mom in the 90's (good idea...really hard work...costs a lot of money), went back to school for Interior Design in the 00's (discovered Charles and Ray Eames-WOW!... realized that designing interiors for rich people just wouldn't cut it), and have managed a scenic design office for many years (living wage, lots of interesting people, no real artistic satisfaction, and the annoying 9-5 routine). big unfinished project. 

I used to be a glass half empty kind of girl.  I could find a dark cloud anywhere.  I thought the only things I could succeed at were the things I didn't care about.  Which was true.  Which is not true.  Which was only true because I let it be.

Need to shake things up a bit.   What to do?  Write a blog.  Put some ideas out there.  Get inspired to finish up old things and start new things.  Well, ok.  That's an idea.  It could work.  I guess.

So here's the deal.  A few weeks back I decided that it was time to make something.  I bought a couple of dvds about making whole cloth quilts by painting on fabric by Judy Coates Perez (  You can buy the dvds at
And I actually did something!  Here it is - just about finished.  I still have to add the binding (twisted and couched chenille thread, I think).  Considering that I've never painted on fabric before and that I haven't quilted in quite some time, I am pleased with the final product.  I didn't use the best piece of fabric in case I messed it up, I picked hearts because they are easy to draw freehand, and I had some issues with the free-motion quilting because I'm out of practice. 

But ok.  I did it.  And now I want to paint more and learn to draw better so that I can really put on cloth what's in my head.  Now, that's a project.  Better get started...