Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ten Fold

I've been so caught up in the business of life and creativity I have neglected my blog and often my faithful fans and followers who leave kind and inspiring comments.  I decided that today I would  try to slow down for a minute to thank you for taking time out of your busy day and life to read or comment on my artwork and ramblings.  Often the words people write to me are what keep me going when I'm in a rut or feeling like not so good of an artist or person. I have a story to tell as well, one that I have hesitated to share lest I sound selfish, but it's a good story and a bit long, so grab a cup of coffee or glass of wine and sit for a spell.

As a young child, my mother taught me what it meant to give.  I remember often being the "delivery girl" with goodies for sick neighbors or friends, or sharing Christmas eve with an elderly woman she met at a restaraunt who had no family and hadn't seen the magic of Christmas for decades. My mother encouraged us as children to give and share, and we were required to always give a portion of our meager allowance or earnings when the plate was passed at church.  She would remind us that God would reward us someday and when he did so, it would come back ten fold.  As I child I remember mentally calculating monetary amounts in my head, not understanding that God's rewards didn't necessarily include currency and dollar signs, but as a child it was easiest to see and measure.  

Many of you know about my friend who has been battling cancer for almost two years and I spent the better part of my summer with fellow artist and friend Kelly Crosser-Alge organizing a fund-raising event to raise money for his family and a scholarship fund as a legacy for him.  It was hard work, and took up most of the time that both of us use to create artwork and sell for our summer show circuit.  At one point when we were both frustrated and weary, we questioned our wisdom of doing it, wondering if we were not taking care of our own families and priorities first.  Kelly's summer show income is essential to her family's budget, while mine is not as important, so I felt a bit responsible and sorry I had enlisted her help; help that she gave willingly, that I would not have been able to do alone, and I started to worry that I would lose her support. 

 It was then that I told her about my mother, and all the times that she promised "ten fold", and all the times it truly did come back to me. I even taught my children the same thing, and I shared with her the example of when my children looked at me in awe the time it came true for them.  Years ago, when I worked for the Boys and Girls club, It was Halloween,and I asked the kids at the club (inner city, very poor children, often with dismal home lives) if they were going to go trick or treating.  Most of them said they didn't go because their folks wouldn't take them.  I'm not sure why; I never asked, but I went home and told my children who have always had the privelage of a safe neighborhood, a mom who would help them make costumes, and a dad who would safely take them around.  I asked my kids to give their candy to the kids at the club since they didn't get go, and promised them it would come back ten fold.  I don't know about you, but I would NEVER have parted with all of my candy loot when I was 8 years old.  But my boys did, and never complained.  The kids at the club were thrilled of course, and a few even sent notes of thanks home to my kids.  Not a week had passed when my son came home after school with a big grin on his face saying that I was right, the ten fold worked!  It seems that at some point he had entered a contest at the library, a raffle, and his name was drawn as the winner.  The prize: a giant bag of candy.

I was thrilled that my kids were shown in such an obvious way about the rewards of giving, because they believe it to be true to this day.  They still tell the ten fold story to others as they were just as awed as I by it.

The event for my friend was a resounding success and Kelly and I went back to the business of life and art.  We had to play "catch-up" for all the time we had devoted to the event, and life went on.  We forgot about the loss of time and felt rewarded by the success and sheer joy we saw on our friend Scott's face during his fundraiser.  Then things started to happen, good things, for both of us in ways that mattered to our own individual lives.  I'm hoping Kelly will write her own ten fold blog and share her stories, but I can assure you, they are huge when it comes to what she wants for her career and life.  My rewards have been interesting as well.  First, I have been selling a lot more art work, and one collector (a complete stranger) did the unheard of.  She purchased my painting for my asking price and then paid me 4 times the price, saying that she felt it was worth it.  I was flabbergasted and grateful. Then I thought to myself: ten fold.   I have also been asked to do a workshop, my first ever, at the local college, getting paid a ridiculously high amount of money for the time I have to work  AND with a promise of a show in January in their gallery.  Yep, ten fold.  

I know instinctively that I am a giver, a helper, and I like to share, and I don't think of getting anything back when I give, but it sure is nice sometimes.  My friend Scott is not doing so well with his battle.  He has exhausted all of his treatment options and spends a lot of time in pain and emotional agony.  For a while I didn't visit because it was hard for me and I wasn't sure if I could handle my own emotions.  He has also been angry and bitter and I distanced myself from him because I didn't want be around his negativity, not realizing that I could have helped.  I realized I was being selfish and I needed to be a better friend.  Kelly and I took a day last week when the weather was gorgeous and helped him clean and re-organize his garage studio.  We brought art materials for him to experiment with, and had a much needed visit with our friend.  It's not easy to see someone you care about in pain, and we worried we weren't much help since he withdrew from his usual forms of social networking and communication after our visit.  Then, out of the blue, he was back.  He wrote on his blog for the first time in months and spoke about things most people just fear, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I could hardly read through my tears when I got to the end. If you read it, you too will understand.  Ten Fold.  

This weekend, Kelly and I were at a workshop teaching her glass techniques and we had some time in the evenings to talk about the summer and the rewards that have come to us since then.  While we were talking, I glanced on the floor of the living room where we were staying and found this message. 

Ten fold. God works in mysterious ways.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Still Playing.....

Ink on Yupo paper 8x10 Winter Landscape 

A few of you have asked (or even wondered) about my "change" in style since I've posted my latest works with alcohol inks.  Let me explain.  I stumbled on the inks quite accidently while looking for a medium that would work artistically on white glazed tiles.  I was instantly drawn to the ease and fluidity of the inks and they bring me back to my start in art about 15 years ago.  When I was a young mom with 4 little toddlers running around, I dabbled in watercolor.  While the "daily painting" movement is fairly recent in the past decade, I'm certain many artists were already doing it, myself included, just not calling it such.  While my kids were napping, I had a small window of opportunity to paint, and watercolors were easy to pull out, clean up, and had no fumes.  I was attracted to a particular style of bright loose painting that is atypical of the light, layered look of many watercolorists, and I developed quite a following in the early years of Ebay selling my work starting at $1.  I remember feeling a bit uncomfortable when the bidding exceeded what I would have felt comfortable asking for the piece.  I also felt I wasn't a "real" artist since I had no formal training at the time and no degree.  Silly me.  I gave up painting and my huge following to pursue my art degree, which changed my style and thoughts on art.  My experimentation with the inks (and glass) recently are enhancing my understanding of what it is that I want to SAY in art.  I have struggled with the idea of how I can find my own voice in my art, and these exercises and diversions are helping me figure it out.  I will likely be posting random works of oils, inks, and glass while I continue to find my way.  Thanks for looking!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Work in Progress

This is a painting I've wanted do do for some time, since my son got engaged, so I attempted it on a 8x10 panel but I think I need to try it larger as I'm having problems with the face and hands.....

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Still Playing with Alcohol

I'm really enjoying these alcohol inks.  They are quite addicting despite their unmanageable nature.  I think the challenge is learning how to make them do what I want them to do instead of them taking control.  I know my last post about these inks was rather hurried so I will try to slow down and explain a little better what they are all about.  I stumbled on alcohol inks (brand name Adirondack) when I was trying to find a use for the obscene amount of 4x4 white glazed tiles I have at my disposal.  I thought I could use them for coasters or something of the sort, but hadn't yet found the surface treatment that sparked my interest.  I tried collage, oil paint, glass paint, you name it....it was boring and quite honestly, cheesy.   When I discovered that alcohol inks only work on NON porous surfaces, I decided to give it a whirl.....I was amazed at the vibrancy of the colors and how the movement of the ink on the slick tile surface was rather  soothing.  I even brought my creations to a show alongside my oil paintings and the ink tiles outsold my oil paintings 10 to 1.  Long story short and hundreds of tiles later I am still learning about all of the capabilities of these inks, but I decided to try some works on paper with this technique for ease in framing, and after googling enough times, I found that Yupo Paper is perfect for these inks (don't be fooled by the paper the craft stores sell along side these inks, and glossy photo paper doesn't work either.....Yupo is the way to go)  Here are a few of my creations from today, I like to do these when I'm in a rut with painting or just simply don't have time to start one.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Candy Apple

6x6 oil on panel click HERE to bid

 I've wanted to paint a candy apple since I saw one painted by fellow artist Kelley MacDonald some time ago.  We have a number of fruit trees on our property and this is the first year we took great pains to spray for bugs and blight and we were rewarded with a great crop of apples.  When I saw the candy apple making kit in the store I had to buy it.  Here's my photo reference, feel free to use it if you've always wanted to paint one too.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Covered Bridge

11x14 oil on linen board  Click here to bid 

Now that fall is finally here I am hoping to post and paint more regularly.  Show season is officially over with the exception of a December widget (craft) show (widgets are things I make that are low in price and SELL, like tiny paintings, magnets, jewelry, etc....Widgets are not real art but they help pay the bills especially around the holidays.  I like making widgets sometimes, it's a nice diversion from painting.)  This painting is from a painting retreat I went to last month in French Lick, Indiana compliments of a wonderful friend and fellow artist Marianne Van Rohr.  We met at a workshop last year and i attended another workshop this past spring with her.  She generously shared her timeshare with fellow artists and we had a wonderful week of fellowship, painting, and visiting.  We took many photos of this idyllic town so I'm certain you will see more of them in the near future.