Friday, December 14, 2018

Updated: 2018 Holiday Ornament Swap Hop

Beaded Icicle - 1" x 5"

When Karen Williams of Skunk Hills Studio announced a Holiday Ornament Swap for 2018, I said "count me in!"  You all know I love a good challenge and I couldn't wait to sign up and play.

I had the good fortune of drawing Judy Deshaies from New Hampshire.  Judy is a talented beader and she sent me this exquisite hand-beaded blue icicle with rainbow-coated white snow tips.  This piece is gorgeous and is going in my permanent collection of ornaments.

I don't have a tree for the Holidays but I do decorate with lots of twinkling white lights and soft white floral arrangements (with occasional pops of red berries).  I have this gem hanging on my mantle among the lights and it sparkles and glows.  Sorry for not taking a photo of the mantle but my living and dining room is being prepped for painting at the moment and let's just say it's not photo worthy yet.

I sent Judy one of my original fused glass ornament designs - the one I selected is shown below and is the "gifts" design, made with a black background from glass I purchase at Bullseye Glass.  The ornament measures 3" high x 1" wide and has a fused-in hanger. 

I'm not a beader (I lack the talent, patience and vision) but I am a fused glass artist who has been working with the medium since 1999.  I started designing my own line of Christmas ornaments in 2000, with a new design added each year.  Each ornament is made by hand, fired, then is signed by me.  My pieces have been sold in galleries and retail establishments throughout the U.S. and many of my collectors have been collecting them since the beginning.  Here is a photo of some of the designs I've made over the years:

I began teaching my "Cut & Sip" Holiday Ornament Classes in my studio about 5 years ago, and stopped adding to my line of designs 2 years ago after many of my retail outlets and galleries closed.  I also found several of my designs knocked off and for sale on ETSY and other outlets, and decided to take a break to focus on the "Cut & Sip" classes instead.

This holiday season I've taught 12 classes so far and I love every single minute. I learn so much from my students and let me tell you, some of the designs they create are stunning!! 

Thank you, Judy for being my exchange partner and I hope you like the fused glass ornament I sent to you.  And thank you, Karen for arranging the Ornament Swap Hop - if you do it again, please sign me up!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Finite! "Silence Between the Noise" - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

So here are 30 new paintings, created for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge put on every year by blogger, podcaster and fellow artist Leslie Saeta.  Leslie had to have surgery on her foot and is still on crutches so didn't get to even paint this time, but she was still there to root us on and graciously allow us to post our offerings.  Thank you Leslie!!

When I began this series I didn't have a clear picture in my mind what it was going to be like.  I had been gravitating towards the neutral colors, and hadn't picked up a brush in ages, so being back in the studio was refreshing, fun and cathartic.

People have asked me how I name each piece, because the words seem to be instrumental somehow with the finished design.  Well, the words and titles just pop into my head while I'm painting and it's my signal to stop and say "you're done."  In other words, they just tend to name themselves.  I have no idea why but the words seemed to be precognitive - mirroring events happening in my life or ones that hadn't even begun.

Painting in abstracted styles can get overworked and end up with muddy colors, so whenever I started feeling the painting was getting this way, I'd stop and start painting on another one.  At one point I had 7 paintings happening at one time!

These are abstract expressionistic designs, with asemic writing on many of them.  I used acrylics (Golden, Lukas, and Blick) along with powdered charcoal, pastels and graphite.  I used 140# Canson watercolor paper measuring 18" x 24" and I worked "intuitively" which means I just reached for things without knowing why, laying down designs with no conscious decision whatsoever.  The paintings just painted themselves.

Several of the pieces have sold already, but if you're interested in purchasing one, just send me an email:  They are $295 each which includes free shipping, and generous discounts are given for multiple purchases.

The title of the series "Silence Between the Noise" was actually another serendipitous naming because midway during the challenge, some personal things happened with my family and painting helped me think when my mind was a scattered mess.

I still don't have all the answers I need to resolve what lies ahead (my Mom is very ill now and looks like there will be some residence changing for her and myself coming up soon).  But I can tell you the painting was cathartic and healing, and reminded me why I need to have art in my everyday life.  Some people write; others play music or cook; and I make art.  Painting is my way of putting things right with the world again.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Channeling Grace - Day 28 of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

"Channeling Grace" - 24" x 18" acrylic on paper - $295
Only 2 days to go and while I'm thrilled with being nearly done, I'll miss the process of painting this series.  I may continue it later on, but have a family emergency I'm dealing with that is going to change my old "normal" into something yet to be decided.

So suffice it to say, I'm "Channeling Grace" at the moment - and lots of it while we figure out what our next steps will be. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Angels - Day 27 of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

"Angels" - 24" x 18" acrylic on paper - $295
There are definitely Angels walking among us - I see it every day but especially more than ever as my Mom continues her healing journey.  She's still in the hospital but doing a little better every day.  I know the Angels were by her side when we trekked to the ER last Saturday - and please don't think I'm crazy but I feel them by her still.  I don't feel it's her time to leave quite yet, but I do feel they are lining up their forces to ease the journey ahead - one we all have coming one day.


Monday, February 26, 2018

Inspire - Day 26 of the 30 paintings in 30 Days

"Inspire" - 18" x 24" acrylic on paper - $295
I only watched a small portion of the Winter Olympics these past couple of weeks but Sunday night I watched the closing ceremony for the event and literally choked up with pride and admiration.  What an accomplishment these young athletes have achieved!

I can't begin to imagine the years they've trained to be where they are today.  All of the pain, sweat and tears simply for an event that is generally over with in minutes.   

Where do they go from here?  I'm sure some will move on to huge endorsements, fame and fortune.  Others will continue to train so they can compete again in another Olympics.  Most will go home a hero to their nation, family and friends.  And others may leave feeling huge guilt from defeat, not knowing their presence changed the lives of so many people watching from afar.

For me, each and every one of the participants are gold-medal heroes and have every reason to be proud, because getting where they did was a huge feat.  The years of training sacrifices have paid off and led them to the zenith of athletic events.

What true inspirations, each and every one of these amazing athletes, and I thank them all for sharing their journey with us.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Faith - Day 25 of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

"Faith" - 18" x 24" acrylic on paper - $295
I've noticed when I create these paintings the word that pops into my head tend to be precognitive. 

This painting was created two days ago and I thought to myself "Yay - I'm getting ahead again!" but little did I know at the time that "Faith" would be exactly what I needed in the days ahead.

I literally spent the entire day yesterday at the ER with my 88-year old mother who was finally admitted to the hospital with highly contagious RSV aka Respiratory Syncytial Virus.  I had been pretty sure when I took her in that it was pneumonia, but when test after test came back negative, the doctors decided to do a nose swab and found the virus present in her body.

To be honest, I was thrilled all the tests were negative, but I was scared to death they were going to send her home and she was struggling to breathe.  I am honestly not equipped or prepared to handle that, and was freaking out over what to do.

So I just called in a few Angel pals of mine and said "handle this" and shortly afterwards, the doc came in and said they were admitting her.

So "Faith" came in pretty handy yesterday, and now I'm out of paintings so I need to get thy bootey back into the studio!  I can't begin to imagine what words will be popping out of my mind over the next few days, but I'm thinking "Heal" and "Don't You Catch It Too!" might be good options. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Fate - Day 24 of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

"Fate" - 18" x 24" acrylic on paper - $295
Do you believe in fate?  That you have a predetermined destiny in life or outcome for a situation?  I am a believer, and have been for most of my life. 

I know I was born to be an artist, and when I neglect that part of my being, I become stressed and overwhelmed.  As soon as I get back in the studio or am doing something creative, whether it be cooking or rearranging my cupboards, it's like the valve on my inner pressure cooker is released, and the steam can escape.

I equate it to falling in love at first sight.  You know there's a deep connection to the other person and you just have to join together.  If you don't, you find you can't stop thinking about the person and it will drive you crazy until you are finally able to meet again.

This is my relationship with art.  I love it - I know I'm supposed to be doing it - and I'm in my element when I'm making it.  Whenever I ignore it, or let life take precedence over my artistic inclinations, I get anxious and out of sorts.

I basically took the last 6 months off from making art, and this challenge has propelled me back into my artistic zone once again.  I can't begin to tell you how wonderful this feels! 

So I feel it's important to make friends with fate, and for me it's critical that I listen to fate when it whispers in my ear "do something creative." 

Welcome back, my dear friend fate - it's good to have you here again.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Growth - Day 23 of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

"Growth" - 24" x 18" acrylic on paper - $295
I've lost track of how many of these 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenges I've done over the past few years, but I can tell you that every time I do one of these events, I experience major personal growth.  And I've found there appears to be a pattern with my creativity process.  It goes something like this:

1.  Right on - sounds like a great idea so count me in!
2.  Figure out a theme and get 'er done.
3.  Start prepping all the substrates so I'm ready to roll.
4.  Set aside a place in the house where I can work uninterrupted for a month.
5.  Tell my Self I'm going to start making 2-30 paintings at a time so I can get ahead and not stress.
6.  Post my daily painting to Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days blog
7.  Plan a marketing scheme that includes uploading to ETSY, Artfinder, my blog, FB, Instagram, and Saatchi each and every day.
8.  Days 1-7 go very well - actually exactly as planned. 
9.  I get an out of town job and scramble, using each and every piece I made to "get ahead" and am up until 2:00 a.m. making more art to cover the time I'll be away.
10.  Get back from the job, working 12x as hard to play catch-up in my office then force myself to take a break in the studio to make art.
11.  The art is going amazingly well since I don't seem to care as much so I make a couple pieces using the wild-abandon approach.
12.  Almost caught up and looking forward to getting ahead again.
13.  Eureka!  Caught up and am one painting ahead.
14.  Friend calls to go to dinner so of course I go and have 3 glass of wine which kills my brain.
15.  This day is toast.  Brain is fried.  Upload my one extra painting and grin, thinking I won.
16.  Feeling good and head into the studio to knock out a couple more pieces.
17.  Score!  I've got 5 pieces done and am on top of the world.  Of course it's OK to take a break because after all, I've worked SOoooo hard.
18.  Friend calls to go shoe shopping - got to go.  Upload photos on the blog and figure I'll take care of the rest when I get back.
19.  Am back.  Tired.  I. Am. A. SLUG.  F.... art.
20.  Feeling better - back in the studio for a gentle session of intuitive painting.
21.  Apparently my intuition decided it needed a break too, so I'm stuck with finger painting like a maniac, finding new undiscovered colors of mud.  Not sure this is right.
22.  Tell my Self it's OK to fall behind.  In fact it's A-OK to just chuck the whole notion altogether to eat Twinkies and drink wine. 
23.  I'm out of paintings, and there's no where to go.
24.  Finally kicked my butt into the studio and am looking at all the work I've done these past 3 weeks and tell myself "good job - I didn't make crap."
25.  Start flinging gesso onto the paper surface to prep more pieces.  After all, there's only a few more days left. 
26.  Friends come by trying to drown me in margaritas.  I show amazing resolve and only drink 2. 
27.  I'm just painting now - the rest of the social media postings can just wait.  I'm busy.
28.  Somehow I managed to catch up and even made a little collage of some of my favorite pieces.  Ahhhhh......
29.  WOW - someone actually BOUGHT one of my pieces of art that I uploaded on one of my on-line galleries.  SCORE!  I run to the studio; pack up the piece and ship it out.  Then head back and start knocking out the final piece.
30.  DONE.  Finito.  Completion.  Such a feeling of accomplishment - I can't begin to express the feelings I feel when this is all done and over with.  I freaking just painted 30 paintings in 30 days.  And I sold one.  And there are several more in the cart (which means someone likes them but haven't quite decided to buy, which usually just means squat).
31.  Make up my collage of my 30 paintings and drool.  Doesn't matter what I make or how they look - the point of the matter is I finished creating 30 paintings. 

Now I need to play catch up and upload all the work into my artist's work is never done.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Laugh - Day 22 of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days

"Laugh" - 18" x 24" acrylic on paper
I was laughing when I started this piece, thinking of how excited I had been to start the challenge and confident I was that I'd be able to make a group of paintings at one time and be "ahead" of the deadlines.  I even set up my painting area in my glass studio where I have 10x more room to paint and could easily work on 5-6 or more pieces at one time.

But NOooooooo.....

I'm painting in one space in one little area with all my paints and supplies surrounding the paper, and doing each piece one at a time.

So much for staying ahead and making all of these organization plans.

But - I haven't fallen behind and that's huge.  So I'm cutting my Self a little slack and just laughing about my expectations that fell awry.

Such is life - apparently this is how I roll and try as I might to change it and be like my uber organized friends and colleagues, it's just the way I am.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Listen - Day 21 of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

"Listen" - 18" x 24" acrylic on paper - $295

......something we all wish others and ourselves would do more of.....

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Believe - Day 20 of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

"Believe" - 18" x 24" acrylic on paper - $295
I still believe in magic, unicorns, fairies and try to have faith that there is good in every single living Soul.  Sometimes it's easier to believe in the magic, unicorns and fairies than the latter, but I have to believe we all have redeeming factors, somewhere deep inside our psyches.

With so many events lately that challenge these beliefs, I often turn off the news and retreat into my studio where I can live in my own little fantasy world.  It's my escape from reality, and for me, it's a much happier place.