from my the house across the street

live, love, laugh, and remember to play everyday!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Open Studio

Inspire Me Thursday

This week's topic at IMT is Open Studio:

"Create anything you would like and share it with us, along with pictures of where you created it. "

Having a day off work when the weather is beautiful means one thing: working outdoors. I am erecting additions to the "stick" fence I put at the edge of my driveway many years ago. Over time, it has been repaired, and entirely rebuilt four years ago. Originally about 15 feet in length, I am adding sections to increase it to about 30 feet. The two sections at the left are the ones I began today. They are far from finished.........My method is to use only a few branches in each section then go back with what I have left to fill them in.

This is my open studio today!


Monday, June 26, 2006

Another Surprise...........

.........found in a box that had been unopened for years. The original invitation to my birthday party in 1987!

Funny thing is, thoughts of that party came to mind one day last week. I wondered what had become of this piece of work, and thought it might actually be gone. Over the weekend I crossed paths with someone who had come to this party.

There were other surprises in that box..........old birthday cards, comics that used to hang on my bulletin board, postcards from old friends, scraps of paper filled with doodles, images and memories of the past, memories of the times that filled the life that was mine.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sweet Saturday Surprise

Look what the mailman put in my mailbox yesterday! This sweet little ATC from Becky! I just love finding special little treats, and this one is just too cute. I luv the little critters on the heads!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Speaking of Family.........

.........I spent some quality time with my favorite 3 year old last week. For three days life was about daycare, potty training, playing, and finding every possible way to be silly!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Studio Friday: Family

Family in my studio
Studio Friday

"Family history, things that have been passed down from one family member to the next, family values, all influence me as an artist, whether I'm consciously aware of it or not.I wonder how others are influenced or inspired by their families---either past or present. What family treasures might be found in others' studios?"

In my studio is an old family album from my father's side of the family. It is filled with images of people who are anonymous strangers to me. They are all gone from this Earth, but their spirits remain alive in my studio. I look into their eyes, gaze at their faces, and wonder who they were, what they did, how we are connected.

The photo above is the only one in the album that has notation on the back: "Mary Cleveland. I am 16 here." Mary was evidently someone of importance to the person who kept the album; there are many photos of her. In one, she is holding a baby, with the word "mother" written on the back. Was it the photo Mary had earmarked for her mother? Or was that written by Mary's child at a later time? I will never know the answer to that question.

Mary, the mystery of her, inspires me. We are connected, not just by genes, but by the spirit that flows from one to another. Mary, and the album filled with images of anonymous strangers, reminds me that I am a link in the chain that comes from, and leads to, places I don't know. Those anonymous strangers helped create and influence who I am, and who I am will influence those who will come long after I'm gone.

Family.........I am part of its creation.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Down this road.........

The old Girl Scout daycamp. Now owned by a private organization, available to churches and other groups for retreats. My women's group camped there Friday night. The lodge, a one-room building lacking most amenities and comforts, is surrounded by woods. We enjoyed a fire, cooking outdoors and sharing potluck, talking and talking and talking. Saturday morning another fire, although entirely unnecessary, more sitting and talking with steaming cups of coffee.

There is a sweet-spicy fragrance to those woods, and the sound of cicadas and crickets filled the air.

A sweet taste of heaven at the end of a hectic week.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Studio Friday: A-HA Moment

This week's topic for Friday June 16th suggested by Pamela: A-HA MOMENT

" I'm sure we've all had a moment when we're creating something we've had in mind and then something totally different results by accident."Pamela

My A-HA moment came during a paste paper play extravaganza a few weeks ago. Tired of brushing the paint onto the paper, I drizzled black over my green and yellow. But, "Oh, no, what a mess I've created." The A-HA struck as I grabbed a comb and dragged it through, creating a pattern that was uniquely my own!

Gotta love those "mistakes!"


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Studio Friday: Fave Art Supply/ies

This week's topic for Friday June 9th suggested by mary ann: FAVE ART SUPPLY/-IES

This is a late entry for a couple of reasons: I was away from home quite a bit during the past week, and once I returned home I had a lot of trouble narrowing down my subject for this. Many people know that I have so many art supplies and tools that it's just plain ridiculous. So, in thinking about this topic, I considered what I have that would be extremely difficult to replace:

Three cigar boxes purchased at a tiny tobacco and wine shop on an out-of-the way street in downtown Columbia, MO. These boxes contain my collection of found papers, images, words, art from packaging, old postcards, stamps, wine bottle labels, pieces of maps, boarding pass stubs, tickets from various events and raffles.

I sift through these boxes to find images, words, and phrases to add to collages or to just get inspired.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Studio Friday: Space

This week's Studio Friday topic was suggested by Tracie: " Space? The final frontier? I have limited studio space, but not by the mere fact the room is only probably 9x10 but because of all the many things inside of that space! What consumes your creative space? Tell us about those infringements."

My guess is that we all have limited studio space. This is one corner of the room I call my studio. What consumes my studio space? Paper, paper and more paper. And books and books and books. Rubber stamps. Paint. Inks. Old books. Found objects. Sticks and feathers.

I manage to keep all of this fairly well organized in and around two great storage units that were some kind of store fixture at one time. I topped them with a seven-foot long piece of countertop, and hung shelves around the corner. Things are sorted into photo boxes, although none of them are labeled so I'm always going on a hunt. What this photo doesn't show are the three bookcases, wardrobe-size cabinet, and stack of 21---yep, that's right, 21---12x12 drawers filled with scrapbook papers and "in progress" pieces! I feel very fortunate that I have a large room for all of this, but there was a time when a corner of my bedroom served as my studio space. I obviously didn't have this much stuff at the time!

This is my space, my final frontier!

What I remember........

So funny the things I remember.........when I also forget so easily, not even having that "now what did I come in here to do?" experience. Totally forgetting! But I found this photo of myself the other day, and could recall with utter clarity having it taken.

I was visiting my Grandma and Grandpa White sometime in the summer of 1961. I would have been 5 when this was snapped. My Aunt Marcia took me out into the front yard and had me face into the sun. What I remember is complaining about the sun in my eyes. Whining and complaining enough got me a spot in the shade. I hope I was grateful for that concession.

Visiting grandma and grandpa wasn't an unusual thing during childhood and adolescence, because they lived just across town, about three or four miles. When I got old enough (about 10 or so) I was allowed to ride my bike there. It was there, during the summer, that I learned to crochet granny squares and watch soaps! Good ol' Days of Our Lives and As the World Turns! In the evenings we would catch lightening bugs in the front yard. And find places in the cool shade, among the ferns, to lay and watch the clouds.

These things I remember of summers past.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Self-Portrait Challenge: Introduce Yourself, final installment

The Self-Portrait Challenge for May was Introduce Yourself.

This is part of who I am:
A mother to two lovely young women who are creative, kind, caring, generous, fun-l0ving, talented, resilient, sensitive................I could go on and on, but these are the things I most admire in them. You can see that they radiate these qualities, can't you?

I am a grandma to a sweet and precious, amazingly brilliant three-year old who makes gifts to me of his boogers on occasion (a gift that only a grandma could truly appreciate!).

I am a daughter to two wonderful people who always did their best to keep me safe, to love me, and who put their children's needs before their own. I am the firstborn. My brother, less than two years younger, is someone I rarely see (although he lives but an hour away!). Our relationship is not particularly close or distant.......there is just little relationship there. My sister, nine years younger, is my best friend and I am hers. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. We see each other when we can, and we share a lot of adventures together.

I am a person who loves to be in nature..........camping, hiking, spending a weekend in a cabin in the woods, being near water. I like to explore new places, and return to old and familiar places.

Although I was totally oblivious to the 60's, had no clue what Woodstock was until a decade later, people often get the notion that I was a hippie. Is it my Birkenstocks? Is it my casual approach to life? What vibes do I give out that say, "I grind my own organic wheat to bake my own bread, churn fresh butter, and smoke pot on a daily basis!"??????? None of these things are true! I would enjoy having the time to grind wheat, bake bread and churn butter. But I buy my (sometimes) organic whole wheat bread at the grocery store. And the last thing I smoked was a Kool 100 back in 1994.

Things that excite me and make me feel alive are: hearing the song-like sound of foreign languages and unfamiliar accents in places like Pike Place Market. Walking in a crowd of people whose ethnicity and culture are far different from mine. Playing with my grandson. Waking up to the smell of the woods and the sounds of water and unseen creatures rustling through the trees. Seeing a hillside of dry grass magically turn to gold in the rising sun. Being dropped off at an airport terminal as I am heading out on a new adventure.

I am a therapist working with troubled people.........mostly children and their families. While I know that I can't fix what's wrong, I know that for the most part I have a positive impact. Sometimes I am the only adult who gives undivided attention to a child. Sometimes I am the only adult who ever plays with a child. Sometimes I am the only adult in a child's life who doesn't judge and criticize. Sometimes I am filled with anger........rage.......over the things people do to each other. There are times that I feel that I just can't hear anymore pain. But I take care of myself. I refill my own container with new life and energy as I make are, walk my dog, and connect with people whose lives aren't filled with pain. Then I can return with a container that will hold more of what others need to be freed from, even if just for a little while.

I AM............all these things and more.


And this is.........

The scrap paper that protected my work surface when I painted my papers for my Inspire Me Thursday "Word Art" post. I liked my word art piece. I was quite pleased with the simple one-letter word. I loved what happened when I put paint to paper. I did not have any preconceived concept of what the paint would/should do, or what my piece would look like upon completion. Everything was about play and surprise. But the big surprise was in what I saw beneath my "real" work.

This is AWESOME! It looks spontaneous (it was), fresh, and serendipitous (it was!), and amazingly incredibly filled with life energy. This is what I want to see in intentional creations.

I can always see the difference in pieces that I worked too hard on, things I forced, and those that just kind of happen. Some things just flow through me, almost as if directed by some other force. Those are the ones that leave me feeling amazed and in awe. Most of what I do, though, leaves me feeling disappointed. Most of what results from my efforts looks lifeless, forced, stiff. Those are the things that do not appear on my blog, those are the things others never see.

This wonderful piece of paper is a treasure.........and pieces of it will find their way into other work, it will become part of another energy flow!
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O, how easy.........

.........and o, how fun! Paste paper extravaganza-o-rama!

Water, paste, paint, paper, play play play! Stamp, scrape, scribble. Layer after layer.........

addictive excitement on a Saturday afternoon!
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