Catching Up on Art

It’s been quite awhile since I posted last. I’ve changed jobs and moved across town, which includes moving my sizable art studio. Needless to say, it’s been a bit nuts. The good news is that I love my new job! And my new home is fantastic…and close to the new job, which is a huge plus. Anyway, I’ve been sneaking in a bit of art whenever I can. I’m a few weeks behind on my LifeBook assignments, but I’m catching up!

I’ve got three new pieces of art to share today. The first is an ink and watercolor piece I call “Joyful Anticipation, Great Hope.”

joyful-anticipation-great-hope

 

I never thought I would love water colors the way that I do! There are great fun and hard to predict, so you never know what you are going to get. At least I don’t…not yet! I suspect there will be more watercolor works in the near future!

Here’s one of the two LifeBook 2013 pieces I finished this week. The first is a “paint over a picture” piece. Super fun…not what I would normally try. This piece ended up looking like a beautiful Middle Eastern woman to me in a silk veil.

veiled

 

The second piece from this week is a mixed media list of the heart connections that I am most grateful for…

gratitude-list

 

Super fun to do and stretched me a bit as I worked in semi-3D…

I’m tired and it’s time for bed…so, more soon. Promise.

Be creative. Be happy.

Rachel

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Trust-Yourself

Greetings Fair Reader!

I am posting this a tid bit later than usual because things are a bit hectic at work right now–namely, because tomorrow is my last day and Monday has me starting a new job! It’s a very exciting time for me, but change is change and, like most humans, change can be a bit, um–overwhelming? So, I have been wrapping up huge projects where I can, creating transition plans where I can’t, and packing up my desk in preparation for my next adventure.

I am super excited about my new gig–it’s a fantastic job working for a respected company–but I’m super bummed to be leaving a few of my work chums. We’ve been in the software trenches together for nearly three years…and while I know I will stay in contact with many of them, it won’t be the same day-to-day connection. That part is a bit hard. On the up side, I have a whole new group of people to get to know, learn from and bond with.

Anyway, here’s this week’s art…I think I rather like this one. The wee one in the corner is me…little Rachel…and the portrait is roughly a self portrait. (I heard somewhere that every portrait you draw is really you…even if you think it’s of someone else. Sort of Jungian, no? I digress…)

Here’s my newest piece…what do you think?

TrustYourself

 

 

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts about this new piece…it was super fun to create. And I’m totally starting to dig the messy, layered look in the background. I’m thinking there are at least 9 layers in this piece, more if you count all the layering and blending and shading and layering some more in the face…

It’s late and it’s time for bed…so, that’s all for this week. Wishing you a blissful night’s sleep, a rejuvenating weekend, and as much fun as you can stand.

Yours, creatively,

Rachel

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Courage to Leap

LeapHappy Valentine’s Day to my dedicated readers! And if you don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day for whatever reason, Happy 50% Off of Lots of Candy Eve! (hee hee!) Whatever your plans, single or coupled, remember to love yourself today! That is truly the most important thing.

Today I’m going to talk about courage and taking a leap of faith when needed. Funny thing is that “Courage” is the topic for this week’s LifeBook 2013 art project and the timing couldn’t be better. I have made a big decision that requires a leap of faith on my part. It’s a calculated choice and all signs point to the positive, but there’s still a bit of risk associated with changing; hence the leap. And when you’re wired the way I am for high-octane anxiety and asking the never-completely-answered “What if??” questions, change is change even when it’s GOOD change. So, this week’s art project is a all about courage and the times that require a person to tap into their courage. The image above–not my art, but lovely nonetheless–is in honor of that courage

In this week’s LifeBook 2013 lesson, I drew my very first full body since maybe the fifth grade when people’s heads in my drawings were big round-ish bubbles with noses that looked like upside down sevens. The goal was to draw a figure jumping with a representation of strength behind her–perhaps an animal totem. Apparently, I am not good at following directions–my girl isn’t jumping and she has a tree behind her. See below.

Courage

Often for me, the courage lies in the standing still with my decision and trusting that I have made the right choice. I am wicked good at questioning myself sometimes and because of this, my girl is confidently and peacefully standing with her decision, open to the goodness that is coming to her. Trusting.

I chose a tree as my totem for this piece since I’ve always loved an idea I heard a number of years ago that equated trees with wise elders or “wise ones” in Native American stories. Silently present except for the whisper of their leaves, steadfast in existing and yet always subtly changing with the world around them.

Not sure if the piece is completely done or not yet, but overall I’m pleased with it.

A week or two ago I mentioned that I was working on some secret art for my honey for Valentine’s Day…the gift has been opened and so now I can post a picture or two. Or three.

Val-book inside2 inside1

I made a little book…maybe 3″x3″ in size and has maybe 35 water colored pages with one of the things I love about my honey on each page…it was terrifically fun to make! (Have I mentioned that I absolutely LOVE watercolors?? Yeah, I do. Go figure. I would have guessed that I would be an acrylics girl…who knew?)

That’s it for this week–but one parting thought. If you are facing something in your life that requires courage or a leap of faith, trust yourself to make the right decision. Make your decision and then open yourself up to the goodness that is waiting for you!

Artistically yours,

Rachel

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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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