September 25, 2012

Putting Art on Hold

I finally get the ball rolling, and now I have to grab the ball, wrap it up, put it in a box and move.  I'm not quite sure that reality has completely set in.  We have only one more full day in our house before the moving truck arrives to start boxing up our lives.  Scoping out the rental house again and again, I try to figure out just how much of my art-making goodies I can cram into the house before we break a law or someone breaks their neck dodging it all.  My desk with the sewing machine can squeeze into the dining room, and the printer can sit on the floor next to it.  OK, two printers.  I can put my cabinets with art supplies at the front of the storage garage behind the house so that I can easily access materials.  

The reality is that I will have painfully little time for art from now until my son graduates from school next June.  Having moved so often during my school years, I am willing to make the drive to our soon-to-be old town each day so that he can complete his last year with his classmates and lifetime friends.  This means I will be in a car for about five hours a day, depending on traffic.  Will I even find time to get any exercise or actually clean the house?  Am I back to choosing between mopping and making something?  Again?  Sigh.

Add to the drama of the move a beastly cat that has decided the temporary home is, in its entirety, her personal litterbox and destruction zone.  It's hard to be creative when distracted by destruction.  There's got to be a way.  Tomorrow we visit with a new vet, one that specializes in kitties and in kitty behavioral problems.  Charlotte will be staying with said vet for a few days while we traumatize her further with the addition of all of this furniture and stuff and mess.  She'll surely be plotting her revenge whilst growling her brains out in the carrier on the way to the vet. 

For now, I'll stick with making ATCs and trying to find time to sew and make more of my figurative work.  I can certainly sit in a car and sculpt a head or sketch on a tiny card, right?  There has to be a way to make art while practically living in my car.  We'll see.

September 21, 2012

Hits and Misses

As the chaos of trying to keep the house looking great for the final walk through for our home's buyers, I just couldn't put away the art work.  I figured they know people actually live here, so I continued to work in the studio and I'm glad I did.

Making ATCs is such a foreign form of art for me and I continue to push myself to just do it, just make something and not feel like I have to create a masterpiece.  I must pat myself on the back for a job super well done.  There are no masterpieces in the lot :-)  Some of them came out pretty darned OK, at least for a token give-away for a young child.  I figure the bigger the "miss," the younger the child that should get it.  Bahaha.

I have a small stash of different kinds of blank ATCs - both black and white heavy card stock, white lighter card stock, and linen finish canvas that the package says is for acrylic paint (Fibbers!  It curls like mad the moment it's damp.).  I bought them to use for experimenting since I had absolutely NO idea what I was doing.  Now let me remind everyone, I have confessed right up front that I'm a big cheater and, worried about lacking the skills to produce work that wouldn't cause me to die of shame, I purchased stickers.  These all have stickers.  I painted the background and added a few other touches, but the fish in this batch are all purchased. 

 This one was my favourite of the ones I made today.  I was a little zealous in my application of Judi-Kins Diamond Glaze to produce the "bubbles."  I love this stuff.

 The background for the seahorse card is a small portion of the most amazing quilt that I saw at a major show here in California a year or two ago.  I figured I wasn't breaking any rules if I printed a fraction (about 1/100th) of the image and used it for something I was giving away.  Hope I'm not wrong!

 Now we're getting close to the "miss" zone.  I used a bit of paper from a magazine page and another from a packet of origami paper and, yes, more stickers.  But I did paint the background!  Finger painting is NOT just for little kids.

  In an effort to make an ATC that didn't look too girlie, I just painted this dark background and attached vellum seaweed with gel medium.  Alas, it didn't look as tidy as I'd expected, but I'm going to stick with the story that the gel medium gives it texture because seaweed looks like this.  Yup, that's my story.  I live near enough to to the beach, so that should lend me some sense of authority on the subject, no?

 Now we start getting deep into the "miss" zone.  I stuck on the coral, then couldn't get it off.  So I just stuck on some fish.  I thought it looked too bare, and stuck on that other pink thingy on the bottom left.  See how much thought I put into this?  Good grief.

 I think I actually called this one "Two ugly fish" on the computer file.  Or maybe it's the one above that I called "Three ugly fish."  Again, once these suckers are on, there's no taking them back off.  It looks like they're burping.  I'm trying to figure out what makes one ATC work and the next one not work.  Composition?  Contrast?  Just the plain old ugly factor?  Well, some five year old my love it.  Maybe I should just write in a cartoonish bubble with the word "Burp!" on it to distract them.

I kind of like this one.  It's simple and not too ugly and the fish aren't burping. 

In any case, it's just been fun to experiment.  I've learned to pay attention to the cardboard that I cut to attach these to for extra support (the curly cards do not yet have card stock added for extra support).  One must pay attention to whether one is gluing the ATC to the side of the cardboard advertising the once-contained vegetarian sausage patties, or to the blank side so that the person flipping over the card can read all about vegetarian sausage patties.  Lesson learned and cardboard now discarded.  Time for a do-over on those two.  Note to self: glue ATC to the side with the photo of the sausages.

September 13, 2012

Sticky Fingers

This ATC project of my sisters has turned out to be the best thing ever for me in terms of getting creative juices flowing.  Making a very small piece of art is so much less intimidating than the big high-pressure projects that I had take on in the last couple of years.  Initially, I feared that the single-subject of ocean themed would prove to be difficult because it is a topic I never, ever incorporate into the kind of art that I make.  But is has forced me out of my comfort zone and actually proven to be fun and stress free!

Today I got out some of the blank ATCs that I bought a long time ago, not really knowing how to use them.  One package said they were meant for acrylic paint, so I painted them.  This is such an experiment for me.  I feel like I'm cheating on some of the ATCs because these are for little kids and I remember what my kids liked at that age - sparkles!  I broke down and bought some of those Jolee's boutique stickers that are meant to be used for scrapbook pages, figuring it would help me get started.  I've painted a few backgrounds, collaged a pinch of paper and then used the stickers on them.  I'll work toward weaning myself off of the stickers, but at least I've produced a few ATCs for the project.  That's a step in the right direction.  They're silly, but I had fun with paper, paint, glue and glitter and that counts for something right now while dealing with the stress of selling and (eventually) buying a new house.

Saying no to making a big art commitment to the holiday auction this year was hard at first, but I just couldn't do it.  The stress of trying to balance creative time with keeping a house model perfect for selling would have caused me to burst into flames.  This is a manageable project with limited mess (not quite so limited since the house has now sold), and I can continue to make ATCs even when we move into our temporary little rental house and I'm having to commute with my son to his school here in our "old" home town. 

I'm a much happier mom and feeling more like an artist this week.  I'm making cheesy art, but it's art :-)

September 5, 2012

I Made Something!

It was hard to focus today.  We are at day 13 of a 30 day escrow in selling our house, the first house we've ever sold.  My nerves are shot.  Today is the day that the buyers had to either lift all contingencies off the house, or throw in the towel.  And at the 11th hour, they decided they wanted a camera inspection of the sewer line.  Really?  Since more people would be tromping through the house today, my wonderful husband got up early and, before his dentist appointment, cleaned as fast as he could so that I would save myself from further back injury and I would have time to maybe make something while dudes were scoping out the sewer line.

It was hard to work with men grunting and groaning as they dragged themselves under the house.  It was even harder to concentrate when they came in asking if they could flush the toilet a few times because there was bathroom tissue over the camera lens.  I chuckled in the studio for a long time over that one.

Distractions aside, I decided to try to make some oceanic-themed ATC's for my sister's friend's project (the one where the cards will be given to school kids as an award of some type).  At first, I regressed to old bad habits, Googling ocean themed ATC's.  Then I shut down the computer and dug out my box of blank ATCs.  What a happy surprise to find a few where I'd already applied paint as a starting point.  I finally had to admit that a bunch of elementary school kids across the country just weren't going to bust my chops about my work, and so I was just going to have fun.  I was thinking about when my daughter moved to Australia to study for a portion of her junior year of college, and all of her tales of jellyfish and barracuda and all other manner of scary biting and stinging beasts when she was getting her dive license in the Great Barrier Reef and I was inspired!  I'm an amateur, but an amateur having a good time making art today and not beating myself up because it isn't commercial.  It was just fun.  The only way I'm going to get better at anything is to keep trying.  Heaven knows they can't get any worse, right? 

Being creative in an area that is way, way, way out of my comfort zone is hard.  Sharing the pictures is even harder.  If I don't give it a try, I'll remain a scaredy-cat and I want to stop feeling so tentative and nervous about not being great at art.  What the heck.  I made something today, even though it was a tiny and silly something, and that's more than I've done in quite a while.