Saturday, 31 May 2014

Art Auction for the Beautiful Lorraine Lewis

I'm so excited about this wonderful initiative for our beautiful friend, art buddy and beautiful person, Lorraine Lewis.  Bidding opens at 9am on 14th June and ends at 9am on the 15th June.
I know I'll be bidding!  Please click on the link on my side bar and please share and support this special auction!  

#InMyStudio - Finishing my SunFlowr Angel Faces

I have been housebound with the girls studying for exams - which is wonderful especially with winter in full swing!  The fire has been going and I've decided the only way to have real growth to reach those deep places, is to actual have time in the zone!!!  So in between the wash cycles and duties, I've had my paintbrush in hand.
Before I start a new piece, I really want to finish my Sunflowr Angel piece - it's so big that it's completely overwhelming every time I go back there and with the long gaps in between each session, isn't helping.  I have to face myself and finish this otherwise I may never finish this canvas.  {On that note, I've had this canvas for about 4 years - this is my 3rd attempted painting on it but I've never been able to finish it, I do believe because of the size... so I'm pretty determined to finish this one}.

Friday, 30 May 2014

#InMyStudio... getting my head straight when a painting kicks you in the butt

I have been avoiding my studio a little this past while - I've been a little frustrated with where I'm at.  What is stumping me is how to apply the wonderful lessons I've been learning in class to be wholly part of me.  Where it's coming from the inside of me, out as opposed to walking through tutorials and doing pieces verbatim.  How do I climb out of the safe lines and get out of the box, I often place myself in.  To keep pushing myself to deeper places and keep pushing myself to grow.  At times I still feel like my art portrays that good little girl always abiding.  I'm desperate to have enough time to find myself get lost in the creative and see what comes out.

I don't want this to be a life long struggle for me... 

 So this is where I left off yesterday - I am feeling much better about this piece.
I'm not sure why exactly this piece was such a struggle - but my lines were off, I struggled for creative ideas.  Where I started was so disappointing - I was feeling hopeless of ever finding my way.  This piece has given me a hard time and I'm not sure it's finished yet.
If nothing else this piece has made me question a few things.  To look deeper inside myself and its definitely challenging me to push back against myself.  To challenge my fears and face them, head on.  And I guess that's never a bad thing.  Let the journey continue - no matter how uncomfortable!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

#InMyStudio - trying to dig a little deeper

Do you ever just feel like you are not growing, even though you probably are - but it doesn't stop how you are feeling about your abilities.  That's how I've been feeling.  When I look back over May, I made a conscience effort to be available and present #InMyStudio and now looking back, I realized I actually did quite a lot of art and a variety of different things too... from drawing, hand stitching, sculpture and painting!  So why am I feeling so frustrated.  I guess I just want to dig deeper with the quality of my work - but I also know that will really only come with hours in front of my easel.  Allowing myself enough hours to get to the good stuff.  To be, to creatively play, write and practice, practice, practice.

So here's some of what I've been doing...

 I've been thinking about this piece, all day - I originally didn't want to focus too much on the image because the assignment was actually about the background. But today I realize I was ready to build on the faces.

I'm absolutely in love with this transformation!
Because I had been thinking about this all day, when I got home, I was just so ready to paint it!  I love how the angle of the girl on the right's head changed completely.  Not sure if you remember, I called this piece EternalSisters because it's what my daughters call each other and it's just so lovely!  This piece is going to be part of an auction to raise funds for beautiful Lorraine!

I'm so nervous and excited about this!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Sown with Love... for Beautiful Lorraine

Beautiful Lorraine - Pic from Lorraine's blog.
I was invited to participate in a small group called "Sown with Love".
It was a group that came together to sew a patch or two of quilting for our dear sweet friend, Lorraine.  As a gift of love for her.  She's just found our her cancer has returned after 3 years!  I know we are all reeling and totally devastated by this news.  It has currently been consuming my thoughts, my heart and prayers.  I'm totally heart broken at how unfair life can be.  Seeing this incredible online artist community rally around her and support her, love her and walk along side her, has been truly remarkable to watch.
And I know this is a great source of comfort for her and I have to say for me too - I'm so far away and there isn't much I can do from here but knowing she's so supported helps!

I had the honor of meeting this beautiful lady in Italy in 2012 and we have stayed connected online.  I wish I could say I had more.  But I'm counting down the days till I see her again... (120 days to be exact).   Occasionally you come across beautiful people who touch something deep inside of you!  Well that's how I felt about Lorraine, Ted and Maddy, when I met them all in Italy!  They were connected!  Deeply connected, in a way that you were blessed by encountering it.  To see other genuine family connection like this - is rare.  I love meeting beautiful, precious people, whose actions speak of love!

Pic courtesy of Judy Wise - Check out -Anything for a Friend - for Lorraine
Being part of this beautiful group and gift, for this beautiful soul, was truly an honor for me.  And I can't tell you how grateful I am to be included!  For no other reason, than when I heard the news - I just wanted to do something!  Something to help, something positive, something beautiful, something for Lorraine.  The mom in me, just wanted to do something that would fix it!  If only it were that simple!

The ladies who were involved are some incredibly gifted and seasoned quilters and artists from the US...  Renee Plains, Jackie Cate, Jenny Wentworth, Misty Mawn, Stephanie Lee, Katie Kendrick and Judy Wise.  I was lucky to have Jackie help me through some quilting and stitching questions I had, Renee made a beautiful label with all our names on it and Judy collected and assembled this beautiful quilt for all of us.

Again and again, I'm blown away by the generosity, community and love!  And I'm totally blown away how this quilt worked out... too beautiful!  This has inspired me to make more squares and maybe one day I will have enough for quilts for my girls!  What a beautiful gift and message of love.

I don't think there is a single day that passes that Lorraine isn't in my heart and mind!!!!
If you are reading this - please can you support us all by keeping her in your heart and prayers too.  I'm truly trusting and believing for a miracle!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Beautiful Gifts from a far....

Can you believe a beautiful friend from a far, sent me this incredibly generous gift?
A handcrafted crochet dress from Chile.  Constanza was selling it in her Etsy shop and I mentioned how much I loved it but felt afraid to buy it because I wasn't sure of the size.
I had ordered a beautiful handcrafted pinnie from her shop in the meantime, while I contemplated the dress.  Shortly thereafter, I got a message from Constanza, to tell me that she's sent me the dress as a gift.  I'm always so blown away by the level of kindness and community that I've found in and with my online art buddies.  The sharing of knowledge, gifts, art and kindness has at times taken my breath away!  I love that we share this together.  Always playing it forward!  It's called me to exercise generosity and kindness constantly too - which is so important to me!  Rallying around each other with care, compassion and generosity!!  I see it acted out daily!  And once again, I'm blown away!!

I have to tell you - it's a perfect fit!  It is so beautifully handcrafted that I've hung it up in my room so I can see it everyday!  Little reminders of kindness acted out!

As for my gorgeous little pinnie - it finally arrived and it's stunning!!!  I have been carrying it with me everywhere - I am sentimental like that!  Today, it's #InMyStudio - where I get to glance up at it every now and again...  Inspiration for my next needlework project!  Thank you Constanza - I hope to be collecting more of these sweet pieces.

Monday, 19 May 2014

#InMyStudio - Angel of Love...

Exodus 23:20 - "See, I am sending an Angel ahead of you to guard you along the way
and to bring you to the place I have prepared."

I can't tell you how thrilled I am with my sculpture.  And that she's finally finished.  Each time I thought I was done with her, she called me back to do more, literally!  Yesterday, I just wanted to fix some cracks and before I knew it I was adding more flowrs and hair.  And I absolutely love her.  Oh yes, I also fixed all the cracks.

She's now dried and already wrapped up and heading to her new home.  She's on her way to a very dear friend of mine, with a message...  A message of love and a message of hope.  And I am hoping with everything in me, that she will love her as much as I did making her.  I will share more about this later!

I have to tell you that I absolutely loved working with paperclay!  And I definitely want to do more.  It's beautiful and to use your hands like this... is wonderful.  I really got lost in the process and I found the more I worked with it, the more I started to understand the layering.  And I hope to learn much more as I continue to discover this new medium!

Monday, 12 May 2014

#InMyStudio - "Dreaming of Orvieto"... gets a make over

Well, I thought I had reworked all the pieces I owned and that I had nothing left to "fix".
This piece has been up #InMyStudio since I got back from Italy and I guess altering it, just hadn't come up.
But this weekend - I took it down to put up my beautiful new Reindeer head that I got for Mothers Day.
So I thought... "what the hell"...  Everything I am doing at the moment, is about practice!

At first Kitty was literally having heart failure that I was going to alter this...
But she eventually came around!  As for me... I'm completely blown away!!!
To me it doesn't even look like the same painting.

I originally did this piece in OilPaints - it was before I had learnt how to use Acrylics,
so my makeover would have to be in oils too... mentally - going there can be a challenge in itself.
Don't get me wrong, I love oils!!!  It's just a gearshift sometimes.

I was seriously trying not to freak out, esp at this middle stage.
My oils are getting old and a bit stogy.  I need to update some of them.
I was working with it thickly and it was messy and I was covered in OilPaints.
But I sat for about 5 hours straight and it was truly amazing when she started to appear.
(Funny, my girls always say to me - "Mommy, don't panic - she will come to you!")
And it felt so true with this piece.

What these two pieces look like together - what a transformation.
The soft naples yellow background just works so much better - it terms of a softer dreamier feel
and probably more in line with Italy!  And I'm loving the softer lines.
Totally stoked with this new/old piece.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

News flashes...

Mother's Day - it's never a big affair in our house! That being said we kind of celebrate it for the sake of the girls - it's precious to them.  I love that they want to spoil with extra loves and care - I love that it reveals more about their hearts than it does about Mother's Day.

Being a Mother has been my greatest accomplishment to date!  I love being a Meme, a Momma and a Mama from the moment they put those precious girls in my arms.  Having my girls has given me a deep sense of purpose, hope and understanding!!  They are truly part of my soul.

My beautiful Corksy had a steady flow of soya lattes coming at me through the day with my Lindt dark chocolates (that I shared ;-)) and she took us on a route in our beautiful forest too!

My baby girl bought me this Reindeer for Mother's Day - it's a real glimpse into who she is - I love that she isn't conventional - because neither am I.  She just gets me!  And that Reindeer just looks like she's always belonged with me #InMyStudio - super stoked with my awesome people!

Making time to be creative - is so important to me.
It's my aim to be creative everyday... from blogging, drawing, photography, writing, painting, stitch work, sculpturing - so that creativity is my way of life - as opposed to something I do on the sides.
And May has been beautifully creative, so far which totally = happy heart for me!!

Improving and growing is always my heart - so to me time #InMyStudio is key!

We are in for a busy time - we have exams coming up, a 50th birthday celebration, school camps and have a trail running long weekend away coming up later in June.
My girls and I have also registered for our local ParkRun and we will be starting that soon too. 
We are also fully into winter now... the days have been okay and pretty manageable but the mornings and evenings are rather cold in our old house!  But so far, I'm managing.
Feels like we are finally settling into this year.  It was a rough start!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

#InMyStudio - the Sunflowr Angel Journey continues

So my SunflowrAngels have been hanging out in my room because it's been the best place to store this big canvas in between my painting sessions.  Which has given me time to study this piece when I'm lying in bed before I fall asleep.  And I study it first thing when I wake up.

When I had all my 5 angels in place - I thought their faces were finished... and all I had to do were the final sunflowrs.  In a way I'm glad I've been dragging my heals on those last flowrs - because it's given me time to see things... and the more I looked at them, the more I knew they weren't done!  So I grabbed my canvas on Saturday and the work started.... again.

The puzzling thing for me is that my last update on this piece was about a month ago!
I always seem to come back to rework my faces but not usually within a month.
It's a constant reminder to me to to keep working and keep practicing!
It doesn't make perfect - because what's perfect in art but it does = growth!
And to me that's more important than anything else.
It's all about layers, deeper layers and digging deeper... and even in saying that - I know I'm still only skimming the surface and I still have so far to go!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Running again...

So a year ago I hung up my running shoes for various reasons...

One because I wasn't having fun anymore.  My hips were killing me and so were my feet - blisters and loosing toe nails became the norm.  Secondly, probably the biggest reason was that no matter how much I ran - I never shifted any extra unwanted kilo's.  I was running around 40km's per week and working hard - but it made no difference.  If anything, at times it felt like my weight was increasing but I know for sure, it wasn't decreasing.

I'm not sure when it happened exactly... when my running became about burning calories so I could indulge over the pure joy of running.  Every session was about making sure I was burning.  But I stopped loving it for a long time.  Also running when you are 30lbs heavier than you should be, isn't fun!  It's damn hard work.  No wonder my hips were killing me.  So I guess in a way - I gave up.  Hanging up my shoes after 35 years of running wasn't an easy decision.  I've been running and training from a small girl and I've had moments of being unfit but mostly I've been fit my entire life.  I've spent many hours on the road and in the gym.  But making the decision out loud was huge.  I was done - period!

Anyway... to cut a long story short my daughter has fallen in love with running and is doing beautifully.  In fact, she made me sit up straight the other day when she did a road race and was the second female home in the whole field and she's 15.  Well - pure and simply that's my old turf.  I grew up on the podium and when I realised that she's heading down this road - I know I can train her, but I will need to be fit to do that and be along side her.

Well at this stage - I'm no where along side her.  She's dropping me good and proper and I am feeling the shame of letting myself go.  My weight is now under control - but my fitness is shameful!  It reminded me that - no I don't have to train to burn calories {because I know that will never work for me again} but now I can train for pure fitness and health but maybe, just maybe... for the love of it again!  My sweet girl has been gracious with me... and right now it's about the small victories - like getting to the top of a hill without walking... it brought tears to my eyes today and let me tell you, running trail with tears in your eyes isn't easy.  Kitty has been joining us too... she's far too sedentary and seeing her this unfit too has been a shock to all of us.  She's been so brave overcoming and we are all doing it together.

Next week we do a race together.  Well Corks will race and Kitty and I will team up to finish!  Having my shoes on again for different reasons, real reasons has made my heart soar to new heights.  Long may this be a way for me to stay healthy and to connect with my girls as they become young ladies.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

#InMyStudio - Bits and Bobs

Not sure if you remember my little SelfContained Book - a self Exploratory journaling assignment.
I have all the prompts ready and this weekend I started working in it and started filling the pages with images and stories.  I'm quite excited about it.  I'm not a huge fan of working in journals but I think I'm going to love this little book.  I worked with pencil and my stabilo pencils and I had forgotten how much I love pencil work. Plan to fill more pages with pencil sketches.

One of my favourite weeks from FullCircleWorkshop was the week when Misty did Icon Paintings.
I totally loved the icon I did previously and the embellishments that we made etc.
She did 3 or 4 lessons on Icon's that week - and this is my second attempt.

I've called this "With Grace in her Heart"

 I had a frame that I had planned to use around this image but it was to big and chunky and the image was a bit lost - so I decided to use the lace instead and it was the perfect finish to this graceful lady!
Again - I absolutely loved this lesson so much!
Not sure if you can see on this image but I wrote again up the side - it says "By Grace Alone"
It's a huge step for me.
Once my canvas board was finished - I mounted it onto a dark wooden frame I had!
It finished it off perfectly - a total 3D Mixed Media piece!

Friday, 2 May 2014

#InMyStudio - Eternal Sisters

Well I've decided to call this piece - Eternal Sisters because my two girls have been so close these holidays and because they have decided to be Eternal Sisters... Well, we all know they have been and will always be that - but the fact that they are choosing this for themselves speaks volumes to me.

When Misty gave this lesson in week five - landscape backgrounds... I grabbed a piece of Canvas paper, it was the first time I was using this brand and I loved it.  {I haven't been overly impressed with Canvas paper that comes in the form of a block pad but this one was pretty smooth and rather nice}.  I drew a line with charcoal right across the centre and then kind of left it there.  I've been shifting this piece from left to right for weeks.  I loved the lesson and I plan to do plenty more backgrounds and just keep them handy.
Misty was right - I got totally lost in the process...

Misty does this under her paintings and she demonstrated this often in our lessons.
But I'm not brilliant with writing on my paintings but I'm growing in this skill.
I wrote some song lyrics here and smudged them up.
Great lesson I'm learning in letting go....

And the paint is going on.
I totally didn't use a brush - just a large flat palette knife.
And I have to tell you I loved it!

This makes a pretty awesome painting all by itself.
Can't wait to get lost in my next background.

I started with the Sister on the right and felt she needed company.

I didn't want to get too caught up in the image.
I wanted it to be loose and free and more about the background than the Sisters.
Maybe my next one will have more details.