Beautiful Abundance

Happy Thursday! I hope that this blog post finds you doing well and enjoying life. I’ve been relishing my weekly assignments from LifeBook 2013 and am thrilled that the course has me returning to my table frequently to play as I work on the current assignment. While I am currently behind a week–if I get week 6 done before Sunday, I will be back on track again–I find that it’s an amazing catalyst to keep me creating and exploring. It’s also brought back the joy to art for me and for that I am incredibly grateful. Thanks to Tam and all of her fantastic co-teachers!

So, this week, I worked on lesson 5 which involved creating a game board for my life in 2013 and some playing cards with my goals on them to keep me mindful of what I hope to achieve. We were supposed to choose a theme word for the year and I originally thought my theme would be “balance.” However, it seems that was not to be…the words “beautiful abundance” appeared on my page and it quickly became clear that this was my theme for 2013. It seems to me that, more than anything else, 2013 is my opportunity to see the abundance of beautiful goodness that surrounds me and makes itself available to me, if only I accept it. Super cool realization and some deep stuff if you start to think about it.

A year ago my life looked pretty bleak, I was feeling pretty low about everything, but especially about myself, and while I knew I would survive it, I had no sense of what my life would look like a year later. I’m happy to report that a year later my life is pretty well filled with sunshine, even when the skies outside are overcast with heavy, snow-laden clouds.

See, all that change that I was going through a year ago left me rather uncertain about things. Through some very painful events, I quickly realized that I needed to learn to value myself and redefine myself on my own terms. I’d like to say it was easy and that I’m done with all that messy business, but that would be untrue. Because of who I am at the core, I must work on my self-value and self-definition every day for the foreseeable future. But that’s okay because the work I must do every day  and have done for the past year has drastically changed my life.

The moment I started valuing myself, defining my own life course, setting my own definition of success and beauty and “ideal,” some very amazing things started happening to me. In short, the Universe started sending amazing people, experiences, and opportunities my way because I was standing up to be myself without flinching–and because I was open to the possibility of goodness and that I was worthy of good things.

Here’s the game board for you to peek at:

board

 

Super fun, super messy and totally stretching the edges of my style! Usually I lean toward crisp and clean and not a lot of “stuff” going on in the background…not on this one! Definitely a bit more grungy than the pieces I’ve done before, but I LOVE IT. Still lots of bright colors…more stamps, more layers, more risk taking. (I don’t think the “clean” backgrounds I have done thus far is a deliberate choice. More along the lines of not knowing how something will turn out and wanting the result to be “good” and so I don’t do anything at all.) Anyway, it was a blast to create!

Now the cards that go with the game board…

Cards

 

So my goals this year are to:

  1. Recognize beautiful abundance. We’ve already talked about this one, but it’s so important. Really see the abundance around me that is mine for the asking, if I am willing to accept the goodness that comes to me.
  2. Redefine beauty. Finding myself super tired of the air-brushed, Hollywood starlet, hyper glamorized ideal of beauty out there. Who looks like that? And better still, why do I want to be a plastic version of what everyone else thinks is beautiful? Yeah, I don’t. I want to be beautiful ME and encourage others to be their very own kind of beautiful. End rant.
  3. Art every day. Make some sort of art practice a requirement for my own personal sanity. Even if it’s only 5 minutes of lettering on my lunch break. I will make art every day.
  4. Meditate daily. So, this is going to be a tough one for me. Not that I don’t enjoy meditation–I do. And it makes me feel SOOO much better about the world and my place in it…but I find it’s really hard to carve out 5 minutes every day to sit in silence and simply be.
  5. Yoga. Yeah. It’s the stuff that makes me feel like a million bucks when I do it but I fight myself the entire way to the mat. Working on that in 2013. Even if it’s only one Sun Salutation, I commit to doing some yoga daily in 2013.

Anyway…that’s my art update for today. I hope that you enjoyed my ramblings and if you have the itch, I highly encourage you to join LifeBook. It’s about $100 or so for an entire year of art instruction and community and it’s not too late to start! Join us…

This week I challenge you to see the beautiful abundance around you. What could be yours for the asking if you are willing to accept it?

Creatively yours,

Rachel

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Made of Stars

“Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars.” ~ Serbian Proverb

It’s been a whirlwind of a couple of weeks…and so, I have some art to catch up on for my LifeBook weekly assignments. I did last week’s lesson–working with white media and shading techniques on a black background–this week because it appeared that it would fit into the time I could allow, which wasn’t much. I originally passed this lesson up last week because my response was, “Meh.” (Insert shoulder shrug here.) Not an averse response, just no response at all.  (I think this is because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to work with lots of color, so a monochrome piece felt “flat” to me.)

At any rate, it didn’t appeal to me and so I skipped it. Then I was pressed for time this week but still wanted to do some art, so I decided to complete the lesson after all. I found that when I actually sat down to do the lesson, I was thrilled by how fun it was. And it wasn’t as plain as I thought it would be. Apparently you can do a LOT with just white on a black background. Goes to show you that you can’t judge a book by its cover–or an art assignment by what you think it will be like. The lesson is to DO THE WORK before you make any snap judgements. Okay, Universe. Point well taken.

So, the assignment was to work on black paper with white media. I chose to use a white Prismacolor pencil and a white Signo pen. SO. MUCH. FUN.

And pretty cool results, I think. Check it out:

hand

 

I didn’t set out to make anything specific, just intuitively started creating. What appeared on the page before me made me think of a lovely Serbian proverb, “Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars.” I love the final product and I’m planning on doing a few more white on black pieces because of how fun they are. Touche, Universe. Touche.

I’ve also been working a “secret art” project for my honey for Valentine’s Day whenever I have a spare moment. The finished project is done and is safely tucked away at work and while I can’t share pictures now, I thought I would show you a piece of it that won’t give too much away. There is too much lovely color to not show it off a little. (Can I just say that I LOVE watercolors? Okay, I just did. I love water colors. Who knew?)

secret art

 

 

Anyway, there’s my burst of color for the week…this weekend I am going to try to sneak in some more art somewhere…not sure when yet, but we will see.

Remember this week that you are made of stars…act accordingly.

Rachel

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Blooming and Changing

It’s been a busy week for me at work with long days and some time over the weekend spent in the office, which means less time for art…so, today is a “light” art day. The good news is that work is going well even though it’s busy–a win on all fronts and I have plans to spend more time in my studio tonight, so that’s good.

Anyway, I just completed the third lesson in LifeBook 2013 and I was absolutely THRILLED to try something that I have never done before. Our guest teacher this week was Christy Tomlinson and we focused on the idea of “new bloom”…creating a flower unlike any I’ve ever created before. Here’s a picture:

New Bloom

It’s constructed with repurposed paper from bill envelopes for the background, washi tape, Golden fluid acrylics, tin foil, tissue paper, repurposed paint covered paper towels from my studio, a variety of adhesives, marker and a super fun library stamp. You know the ones that the librarian used to stamp the due date on the little card in the back of your book? Yeah, that kind.

The flower is three dimensional and it really pops off the page at you. The background had me finger painting with the fluid acrylics, which is quite the change from my usual approach. I loved the way Christy created her background in the lesson with creative abandon and so I did my best to do the same. It was incredibly fun and freeing! I plan to try this technique again soon–although not tonight as I hope to tackle the second project from week one instead. I have the background created…but am stalling out on drawing a car. Tonight I think I will just do it and see what happens, stop worrying and censoring myself so much. Results next week. (gulp.)

This week’s lesson has me thinking about how in order to bloom, the flower has to change. Since change scares the daylights out of me on most days, I created this piece to remind myself that without change there would be no blossoming. Being in bud form is safe and cozy, but it’s not the full expression of the flower without the process of opening and changing. A metaphor for life, no?

I think Anais Nin said it the best:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Embrace your own blossoming this year…

Rachel

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True Intentions

It’s the beginning of the New Year and people everywhere are setting resolutions. By now, some have already given up on their resolutions no doubt. Rather than set resolutions or berate yourself for not achieving them, what if you spent the next few days thinking about your true intentions for yourself over the next year?

Dictionary.com defines “intention” as follows:

1. an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.

2. the end or object intended; purpose.

3. intentions. a. purpose or attitude toward the effect of one’s actions or conduct: a bungler with good intentions. b. purpose or attitude with respect to marriage: Our friends are beginning to ask what our intentions are.

4. the act or fact of intending.

5. Logic. a. Also called first intention, primary intention. reference by signs, 

concepts, etc., to concrete things, their properties,classes, or the

relationships among them.

b. Also called second intention, secondary intention.reference to

properties, classes, or the relationships among first intentions.

Yes I know that “the path to hell is paved with good intentions,” but that’s not the type I mean. I mean definition #1 above: “an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.” Sort of like a goal, but more fluid. The prettier side of resolutions, which feels an awful lot like forcing things, doesn’t it? Having attended an all-girls Catholic high school, I am very familiar with prayer intentions–again, that definition from above, although your 2013 true intentions do not need to be prayers unless that feels right for you. This week’s LifeBook 2013 lesson was about true intentions and my work on that lesson can be seen below. Before I get into the art, I want to encourage you to think about what you really want for yourself this year…and set your mind and heart on it…and then make it happen.

Okay, here’s the art from this week…

Here’s my True Intentions “doll.” It wasn’t supposed to be realistic at all…so it was a stretch for me. Many of the artists in LifeBook used their stamps, but I’m not much of a stamper yet…so, I used collage instead. I created her face by drawing with one of my Micron pens and then using watercolor. The challenge for me was to move relatively quickly without thinking about the lesson too much…so I just created a basic face. No pencil and no erasing…so her face is a little imperfect, but art is in the imperfection, right?

intentions

My intentions are written around my doll. Here’s an picture of the entire piece.

intentions2

More non-LifeBook art from the past week or so…first, another fairy art mother character…

fam2

Then a few new lettering pieces…I love this one..I will be scanning it and then coloring it in, I think….

art

A reminder for those closest to me…that they are amazing!

you-are-amazing

A reminder to myself that I don’t have to be perfect…

giveyourselfabreak

Another lettering project with Micron pens and then with some new Tombow watercolor markers that I received for Christmas! It’s fun to dilute them and make them into a watercolor medium in a marker.

Bloom

Finally, a quick and playful attempt at playing with Tim Holtz dyes, with Copic marker and pan pastels over the top.

Wish

Thank you for stopping by this week and checking on my artwork…I hope you will spend time thinking about your true intentions for 2013 and take action to make those intentions reality!

Creatively,

Rachel

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Being Creative is a Way of Life

being-creativeFor me, being creative isn’t a hobby–it’s something that I feel pulled toward, compelled to do, and couldn’t stop if I tried. (There was a bleak, dark period in my life where I did, indeed, try to stuff my creativity and be “sensible” and “grown-up.” I was positively miserable and I certainly wasn’t a joy to be around. A vital part of who I am was missing. I suggest you avoid trying to squelch your creativity. It’s messy and painful and unnecessary.)

In the past six to eight months I have been working on embracing the title of “artist.” More and more I am realizing that being an artist isn’t so much about making money by way of your art (although that would be an enormous blessing in some ways), it’s about the act of creating, of making art. (The Negative Committee in my head has tried valiantly to convince me that “real artists” make money with their work…which I have over the years, but not so much that I could live off of it…and so somehow that doesn’t count to them. I disagree.) For me, being an artist is about the overwhelming need to create and allowing oneself to do so. Nothing more, nothing less. Huzzah! What a fantastic revelation!

In the process of embracing the title of “artist” as who I am, not what I do, I’ve started playing more, giving myself the freedom to create with abandon, trying not to criticize myself. (Note: Trying. It’s an ongoing thing.) I discovered mixed media art well over a year ago but only recently got up the courage to try it. It’s been a BLAST! In 2013 I am giving myself the gift of participating in a year-long online mixed media class called Life Book 2013 by Willowing Arts. (We just started and there’s still time if you are interested…it’s AMAZING and incredibly reasonably priced for what you get. I highly recommend it.) As part of the experience, I will be posting my completed weekly lesson each week…which will also help me get back in the saddle of blogging regularly. (Yay!)

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to in the past month….plus a look at my very first LifeBook 2013 lesson. Okay, first things first.

My most dedicated patron commissioned three mosaic garden frogs for the holidays. I spent most of December (okay, all of December) working on three pieces that look like this:

Frog

There are two more that I don’t have pictures of on my phone. (Not sure how that happened…) They were each unique…and are now living their new lives, waiting to go into someone’s garden when the weather warms!

Below is my new favorite lettering piece…a reminder to myself to always to what I can today to “do my future self a favor.” I think I should frame it and hang it in my house as a reminder!

future-self

A lettering piece of a quote by Galileo that I have always thought was beautiful. I am pretty sure I will be watercoloring this one…but haven’t done so yet.

stars

Drumroll, please! The very first “warm up assignment” of LifeBook 2013 was to create a simple Fairy Art Mother to accompany us on our year-long journey. Here’s my first attempt…and I must say, the Negative Committee in my head was super ACTIVE and more than happy to tell me that what I was doing wasn’t right, wasn’t art and that I should just give up. I’m glad to say that I didn’t…and here she is! The yellow around her eyes is much brighter in the picture below than it is on the piece…photographs interestingly, I guess. Doesn’t she have a kind face? I love it!

FAM-closeup

Here’s a whole body shot…

FAM-body

And finally, the full piece. I will continue to add her kind affirmations to the piece as the year moves on…hence the empty space around her.

FAM-full

Creating the Fairy Art Mother was a great way to start the course and was an enormous challenge in many ways–not in the creating, but in the not listening to the Negative Committee that tells me my art isn’t arty enough–whatever that means! I am pleased that I pushed on and created something that I love despite “mistakes” and “wrong turns” along the way. I created the piece that I was supposed to create…and I got to make a fantastic mess in the process! LOL (I love the messiness of mixed media…I find it intensely satisfying to “break the rules” a bit.)

Anyway, happy 2013, fair reader. I hope that you will embrace your own creativity in the new year and live your truth bravely and loudly, despite what others think. You are truly amazing…

Creative wishes,

Rachel

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Playing and Learning

I’ve been doing a lot of learning lately–in all aspects of my life, art included. I’ve also been doing a lot of playing, which results in inky fingers and smudgy results and some work I like a lot and other work that I don’t like at all. The important thing, for me, is to keep in mind that I’m learning…and playing. And both should be fun.

The reality is that art is imperfect–even if no one but the artist sees the flaws. And the beauty of that art lies in the imperfection. Art is one-of-a-kind. The imperfections–real or perceived–ensure that. So, here’s to learning and playing imperfectly!

I’ve been busy in my studio, even though I haven’t been posting here regularly…here’s some work to catch you up on what I’ve been doing!

First, two new faces…

 

 

 

Both of these new guys appear to be caught doing something they shouldn’t…maybe it’s the surprised eyes?

I’ve been playing with new supplies. Here’s some of the results. These are pan pastels (with ink on water color paper). Sorry for the blurry photo. The plus is that I take pictures with my phone. The minus is that sometimes they are blurry…

 

This is me playing with Ranger Dylusions spray inks…FUN STUFF. Although it does make your fingers inky and funny colors.

Here’s what happens when you play with alcohol inks and canned air! It’s got the silkiest, glossiest texture when it’s dry.

This pen and ink drawing has since been colored in with water color crayons (AMAZING things, they are), but it seems that I have not take a picture of it! Next week, perhaps? More detail has been added as well…

This one is for the Divine Miss N…truly an exceptional human being in every way.

This is “Believe” both in black and white ink/paper and then painted in with my new watercolors! I’m thinking of framing it…

Nothing like a reminder of the affirmative! Accept the good things that the Universe has in store for you!

This is a two-page spread from my art journal. Playing with spray inks again and Copic markers and silver Sharpie and all sort of stuff.

What have you been creating lately?

Wishing you blessings as we enter the crazy holiday season. Stay sane. Make art.

Rachel

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Learning to Walk the Whimsical Walk

I mentioned a couple of times that I am exploring a new artform called mixed media. It reminds me a lot of mosaic, only without the glass shards everywhere. Instead, the flurry of artistic precipitation consists of bits of paper, bottles of ink and paints, water color crayons, fabulous markers unlike any you drew with as a kid, and various types of glue. Sometimes there’s glitter and baubles too. And sewing. And nail polish. Seriously–nail polish.

Anyway, drawing and painting are not something that I’ve ever thought that I’ve been able to do very well, so it’s a challenge to silence my inner critic and simply explore and play. I’m finding that while I am not Picasso or Rembrandt or Escher or any number of the amazing mixed media artists that I’ve encountered on these here Interwebs, I’m learning that I am ME. And that who I am is JUST FINE. And my art is just fine–as it is.

Go figure.

Turns out that I CAN draw and paint–and that my style is very uniquely my own. Sometimes my faces look like aliens and sometimes I put a little too much paint or glue on something, but ultimately, it can be  fixed and, quite often, the results shock me. As in, “I did that??”

I’m having to discard what I think I know and create outside of 30+ years of repressive boundaries that I set on myself. In short, I’m learning to “walk the whimsical walk.” Let go. Be free. Play. And then play some more. Choose colors and pens because I like them and draw faces in blue if it suits me. Sometimes its easier than others, but mostly, I’m loving that art is becoming about expression for me again.

Here’s a piece that I worked on last night as an assignment for my Letter Love hand lettering class with Joanne Sharpe.

It’s not fancy and I’m still learning. The inner critic in my head definitely points out all the mistakes…but, I’m pleased with the result and look forward to trying my hand at another one tonight!

Here’s hoping you find joy in whatever your pursuit!

Rachel

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Happy Halloween from Seriously Whimsical Studio!

I’ve been quite busy playing with all sorts of mixed media art supplies lately and thought I would share a few pieces that I’ve been working on. In honor of today’s spook-tacular holiday, here are few little sullen goth witches for you.

The first one is Nancy’s Witch…the first little witch I created…she was just delivered to a certain desk in Minnetonka, MN this morning:

 

Here are two more little lovelies that I created as a spread in one of my journals. “Make Your Own Magic” and “Magic is Everywhere.”

 

 

Since I took this picture I added a bit more to the “Magic is Everywhere” image.

Now, here’s the funny face of the week. Drunken Pinnochio, anyone?

 

And this is progress on an art journal spread…not done yet, but currently on hold:

 

I am looking forward to finishing it soon!

Also, I am currently working on an order of three mosaic frogs for my most dedicated patron. Here is a snapshot of the first one, in progress.

 

Plus, the University of Minnesota Women’s Gophers basketball season kicks off tonight with their first exhibition game! So, needless to say, I’m a busy woman right now!

Make your own magic,

Rachel

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Making ART!

Have I mentioned that I love art? I do…especially if I get to get my fingers all smeary when I make it. I also love combining an eclectic hodge-podge of stuff that doesn’t necessarily go together but, then again, somehow does. Hence my new found love of art journaling and mixed media! And what a whirlwind romance it has been!

First, I want to give a little plug to a cool opportunity out there for those of you with Mixed Media and Art Journaling interests or tendencies…a group of super cool artists that I’ve been following online has gotten together to generate buzz and offer a super cool prize give away….including a seat in the online course I am determined to take this year, Life Book 2013! Here’s the details:

GIVEAWAY FROM WILD SOUL ARTS! FREE SEAT IN LIFE BOOK 2013 and FIVE OTHER PRIZE PACKAGES! It’s totally worth the click and they aren’t going to spam you….so, what the heck! Give it a try! You could win some super cool stuff!

Last time I posted, I promised you a picture of “Mrs. Knob.” Here she is! I love her shocked little face. She seems incredibly self-righteous to me…

Now, to my art journaling adventures…I am happily awaiting some acrylics and a new watercolor journal book that I plan to start working with. If I’m lucky I will get to pick them up tonight. In the mean time, here is what I’ve been doing so far in my reclaimed board book and in a mixed media paper journal…

This one looks a bit like Tyra Banks to me. Not sure if I’m done with her, but she is definitely not so darn alien looking as my last face. This is an improvement I think.

 

Here’s the first spread in my reclaimed board book. Water color crayons, fluid acrylics, rubber stamps and ink, glossy acrylic gel medium, gel pen, book paper, magazine pieces/parts, collage and water color markers.

 

 

Here’s the second spread in my art journal…

 

Fluid acrylics, water color markers, ink and stamps, collage stuff, GLITTER, and shiny gel medium.

YUM!

I love this stuff…it’s true. And I will be venturing back into the land of mosaics soon too since I have a special request for a few more garden frogs. Stay tuned!

Rachel

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Mr. Knob!

20120930-214317.jpg

Here’s a better picture of Mr. Knob. Watch for a Mrs. Knob next week!

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