Monday, May 29, 2006

some things I've found

As I was cleaning and sorting, I came across some pieces I've done in the past in classes. I did this piece in Lynn Whipple's 2005 Artfest class. What a great teacher and extremely talented artist! Her class was all about playing and having fun. I love that in a class! It's nice to have not only the pieces from classes I've taken, but the memories when I look at the art I did. We did some paper dresses in that class as well, but I can't seem to find them now. I know I kept them but where they might be is a mystery. I hope to come across them again; I'd like to incorporate them into a future painting.

I've started another painting, but it's still in the working stages. I'll post it hopefully in the next couple of days. I'd also like to do some journal work as well. We'll see what the next few days bring.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Ta Da!

I'm so excited! Last night we got the desks installed in the studio, and today I was able to set everything up. It's so nice, and I LOVE it!

I still have organizing and decorating to do, but the bones of the room are finished. I can't believe all the space I have! I actually have room left over, which is amazing. I will probably fill it up with rearranging and taking some things out of the closet in order to put them within reach, but I still have weeding out to do.

The room and particularly the desk area feels so spacious yet cozy. I think it's because of the shelving being fairly close to the desktop; it makes the space feel enclosed (in a good way).

I have to profusely thank my honey for all the help and back breaking work she put into the room. I truly wouldn't have been able to do it without her (I love you!). She's so great at home improvement projects, always seems to know what to do, or if not, figures out the right way pretty quickly.

So, following are other pics of the room. I've been enjoying Pam Garrison's blog
immensely and am getting ideas for decorating. I'm really getting into the glittery, girly, floral vintage thing. It's really resonating with me right now. I painted the room a soft lavender color, very feminine, and I want to do some things to "girl" it up even more. But first I have to sit with the space and see what it tells me.

Last night I couldn't get to sleep because I was so excited about getting up this morning and getting into the room to put it together. So am tired but happy. Now I can begin to work again, yah!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

relaxing in the sun

The day I did this drawing seems like a century ago. Sitting outside, a light breeze swirling gently around my chair, teacup in hand, enjoying breakfast and deciding to draw my legs.

Now it's far too hot to sit outside on the patio in the morning (east facing patio in Phoenix in the summer; not so good), and I haven't done a drawing or anything art-wise in over a week.

I've been so busy working on the studio and rather paralyzed by the chaos around me that I've just sunken into a stupor. Right now my dining room is complete chaos, the patio and garage are both filled with my desktops (still yellow; bummer), the tools we've been using, and other assorted junk. There's a big patch of water just outside my back door from the leaking water heater that was supposed to get replaced today but couldn't because it was too big for the space. I spent about an hour pulling a cabinet off the wall so the heater will fit, and the fellow's coming back tomorrow to install it. The guest bedroom and the master bedroom are both disaster areas due to remodeling in other parts of the house, and we still don't have a functioning master bathroom.

Today in addition to errands (grocery shopping as we had no food in the house, etc.) I did begin organizing and cleaning the studio. I started with the closet and made some real progress. I got some stuff out of the master bedroom that's been in there for months that belongs in the studio. I hope by the weekend to have the studio in some semblence of working order.

In the meantime, it's back to drawing something, anything, every day. If only I can find my pens....

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Furstrations of home improvement

Since I wrote last we've been working feverishly on my studio. My partner has had the last six days off due to a shift change at work, so we've been working steadily almost every day. Needless to say, it's been rather trying as all home improvement projects seem to be. Fortunately, my honey only asked for a divorce once!

We actually made great progress until today, when we polyurethaned the tables. They're a sickly shade of yellow, not the pristine white they were before we put the polyurethane on. Sigh. So, I may be sanding all three tables and starting over. We're going to let them dry overnight and see what happens. Maybe they'll magically dry clear like they were supposed to. I couldn't get to sleep last night because I was so excited about getting the room back together and getting back to making art. Looks like that may not be until the weekend, maybe.

At least we got the shelves up, so I'm going to start some organizing tomorrow and getting stuff up on the shelves. Slow progress, but progress it is.

Friday, May 19, 2006

of birds, spring and studios

I love birds. They are an endless source of beauty and inspiration. I love to use them in my art, so I take the opportunity to photograph them whenever I can. This little woodpecker was watching me as I took a walk in the botanical gardens a few weeks back. He stayed still while I took several shots, gazing calmly out at me from his perch in the tree. He will be part of a future art work. I altered this photo in Photoshop to make it look more "painterly".

Speaking of which, the studio is progressing nicely. We got the floor almost completely laid yesterday, and tomorrow are heading off to get more supplies. I think I'm going to build simple tables that will custom fit into the space rather than buy premade tables. I need to do a bit of price shopping and see which option is more cost-effective.

I can tell spring is here because I'm so fired up to do projects around the house, get things done and brighten everything up. And I'm seeing that other people are feeling the same. Jane Wynn, a wonderful artist and jeweler, is redoing her studio as well. I was perusing her wonderful blog today - check it out! It's nice to know that we are all moved together by the rhythms of the seasons. Of course I'm also motivated by the fact that I can't do anything artistically other than simple drawings until I get that room back together. So; back to it!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

harsh beauty

The Desert is Blooming

The desert is a harsh place, but it contains much beauty. I found this cactus getting ready to bloom and admired the bright pinks of the blooms next to the rich green of the cactus.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

step one is finished!

Well, it doesn't look like much, but I wanted to put a photo up of the painted studio, just waiting for flooring, furniture and shelves. I love the color! It's very peaceful, yet vibrant.

I've never been much of a purple person, but this color just called to me when I looked at the paint chips. I got tempted by some neutrals and really pale pinks, but the lavender won out in the end, and I'm really glad.

I also have been trying to figure out how to put a photo of myself in the "about me" section of the blog, but sadly have not discovered the secret. I have photos on flickr, and tried uploading from there, but it didn't work. However, I think a copy of the photo I want to use is going to end up as a post...sigh. The wonder of computers.

Tomorrow it's off to Lowe's and IKEA. After the flooring goes in, the fun part begins!


Originally uploaded by zizzy550.

Monday, May 15, 2006

taking a break

As I write today, my hands are covered in white ceiling paint. I decided to do a quick post as I wait for the first rolled coat of ceiling paint to dry.

I always forget the renovator's rule of thumb...expect everything to take three times as long as you think! After I got back from Home Depot today, I looked at the room and thought, "oh, this is going to go so fast!" Then I realized that I had to cut in on the window, the closet frame, and the door and door frame into the room (sigh). So now it's almost three o'clock. My goal is to finish the ceiling, then the cutting in for the walls. Then tomorrow morning I only have to roll the wall paint.

I also have to look for and purchase flooring this week as my S.O. has several days off coming up and said she would lay the floor for me. I'm going with the laminate that looks like hardwood flooring. We have that in most of our house and love it. And it will be perfect for a studio - just dust and mop.

I also want to look for some furniture for the room, shelving, etc. That's the fun part! Thankfully we now have an IKEA in Phoenix, so I'm going to check them out first. My goal is to have this project completely done by the end of next week. We'll see.

I did this drawing of my Starbuck's coffee cup several days ago on a Saturday morning after my honey and I walked down to get our cups of coffee. We sat on the patio and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, after which I drew my empty cup. Just looking at it gets me itching to draw some more. My creative efforts right now are focused on getting the studio room done. Wish me luck!

Friday, May 12, 2006

buddhas, drawing and purging

This is a drawing of a Indonesian buddha head statue I purchased a couple of weeks ago. It's made of a wood composite type material, and is kind of a bronze color. I love the facial expression; so peaceful. The hard part of this drawing was capturing the texture. I'm not happy with the way I portrayed it and will draw the head again to see if I can make it look better.

Meanwhile, work in the studio continues. Today we move out the furniture so I can begin painting on Monday. I'm still up in the air on color, but I'm leaning towards a light lilac color. The rest of my house is sort of Santa Fe/Southwest-y kind of colors which I love, but I'd like my studio room to be frilly and super feminine, since I don't have that anywhere else in the house. So, lilac walls, white shelves and furniture; sounds good.

I hope to have the room back together in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, expect to see lots of drawings till I can get back in with all my supplies and play.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A little of this, a little of that

Photo from the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, AZ

I've been cleaning out my studio this morning, and needed a break to have some water and organize my thoughts, so I figured I'd post as well.

Played with the above photo in Photoshop this morning and had fun. I like the look of it, though the color is not terribly realistic. It looks like it was done with the old method of painting the actual photos with the photo inks. I have a ways to go before becoming a pro with Photoshop!

Now on to a completely different topic; home decorating magazines are dangerous. We've been working on our patio lately trying to make it a nice space to hang out in. It's coming slowly, but has a ways to go. I was perusing through Better Homes and Gardens last night and saw THE COOLEST patio a woman in Portland, OR had done. Her patio looked like a sumptuous hideaway, with soft chairs, turkish rugs, antiques and beautiful plants. It got me thinking about our patio, and how I'd like to make it look as beautiful and inviting as this gal's. However, I'm on a serious budget! I'm going to browse in thrift shops and the like to see what I can find that I can fix up for out there. If I end up with a patio half as nice as hers, I'll be happy.

Well, enough relaxation...I'm putting the IPod back on and heading into the studio for more cleansing and emptying.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Inspiration and thankfulness

I sell books online through as a part-time business. It's a lot of fun, especially if you're a book lover like myself. I take advantage of local sales, thrift stores and the like to find merchandise. A very dear friend of mine also sells books, so we decided to head to Tucson, AZ to the Tucson library's big sale today. It's about a three hour roundtrip drive, so I brought along "The Story of My Life; an Afghan Girl on the Other Side of the Sky", an audio book I got on a discount table at the local Safeway for us to listen to.

We sat, riveted, listening to this girl's incredible story, the highway rushing by us, the familiar terrain all but unnoticed. Her story is filled with the worst about human beings and conversely the best. About the horrors of war, of deprivation, of devastating loss. But also of kindnesses and gifts received from other people, strangers many of them. What she went through, what she deals with now in the aftermath of her experiences, is overwhelming. And she's only 19 years old. Listening to this account of Farah Ahmedi's life brought into focus how incredibly fortunate I am to live where I live, to be in a country that, for all its problems, is a wonderful place. I can't even imagine the conditions under which she lived for the first 16 years of her life.

My worries were put into perspective, and I felt chastened. I have so much to be thankful for; a wonderful relationship, a family that loves me, sweet little animal beings that I love and who love me, food on my table, a warm, safe, happy home. These are all incredible blessings that I am thankful for every day.

I also felt deeply inspired by her story (which we didn't finish completely; she and her mother have just arrived in America). How the human spirit is capable of suffering so much yet still holding onto hope. How people endure, what they survive, is incredible. And I will be sending blessings and good energy her way, my wish for her to have a happy life despite all she has endured. And continue to express my gratitude for all the wonderful blessings in my life, things I take for granted that we forget to be thankful for.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

buddhist bell

“The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.”
Buddhist quote

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Computer day

So I survived the beginning stages of cleaning my studio. These journal pages came out of that effort. I found a really cool black and white photography magazine that I didn't remember I had (what a surprise, huh?) and it got me inspired.

Back to the studio...right now it's even worse than it was before I started, mainly because I began pulling drawers apart and organizing. It's quite a job. I have big pieces of paper, little pieces of paper, tiny bits of collage material (some of which I used yesterday in my journal so I could get it out of that room!), pieces of fabric; oh my. I have company coming over this Saturday for dinner (can't wait to see you, Ed and Heidi!), so I'm going to wait until next week, then clear the entire room out and paint it. Then we'll do the flooring, shelves, furniture and I'll organize and move it all back in there. I'm very excited! It will be so nice to have a pleasant space to work in and not a junk room.

Today I've spent the better part of the day on the computer. We have a fridge we need to sell, so I had to get a photo of it and list it on Craig's list, then I set up a store and listed a few items on, and I added my website and etsy site here. Listing takes awhile as I had to take photos of the work, adjust them to work for the web, do a banner for my store (and someday I'll figure out how to add a banner to the blog...anyone with tips, let me know!), etc.

I found a lyrical figurative painter today called Caroline Magerl. Her website is Haunting, spiritual work. Check it out!

I'll close today with a quote:
I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.
::: Marcel Duchamp :::

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

confessions of a studio slob

Well, here it is. The ugly truth. I am a studio slob. My studio is completely unworkable. I can't find anything, I don't use half of what I have because I don't know where it is, it's not organized at all.

I realized as I worked in my journal yesterday that I HAVE to do something!! I needed some collage elements to further inspire me and enhance the pages I was doing, and I didn't want to go into the pit that is my studio to look for anything. Just opening the door makes me feel overwhelmed.

There are bags everywhere, filled with stuff. I don't even
know what's in half of them. I'm ashamed to say I 've
bought duplicates of things because I can't find what I need.

Maybe it's a case of trying to fit 20 lbs of you know what into a 5 pound bag. Which means I have to clear out some.

I was inspired by Corey Moortgat's photos of her studio. Also check out her blog and site...her work's amazing! Anyway, she
has her storage up on shelves, leaving the lower part of the room free for tables and working spaces. I think that would be ideal for my space too. My studio is a small bedroom, about 10 x 12 feet, and the wall space isn't being utilized at all.

Wall shelving is a cheap option for organization; I'll take a trip down to Home Depot and buy some lumber and wall mounts. I think when I really get into it, I'll rip the carpet out before putting the tables in there. Eventually we're putting in the laminate that looks like hardwood in that room, but till then, the cement floor is better than the nasty dirty carpet that's in there.

Part of the problem is that I have so many interests, each requiring tools, materials, etc. If I just painted and nothing else, how neat the room would be! Just paints, brushes and canvases. Sigh. But I love collage, and knitting, and crocheting, and quilting, and, and, and...

And so I probably ought to walk away from this computer and go get started. If only I knew where to start!

An organizing guru in one of the women's magazines awhile back suggested setting a time limit to work in a space so you don't get overwhelmed. Hmm...I'll have to try that.

Ok, cover me; I'm going in...

Monday, May 01, 2006

drawing 101 continued...

Am struggling today creatively. The world feels kind of gray. After a wonderful weekend filled with friends, activity and fun, today feels lonely and quiet. I have been drawing this afternoon so it hasn't been a total loss, but nothing is working well, nothing is coming out the way I want. Part of the process for me, it seems. Ebbs and flows.

The drawing above is one I did at Artfest in Sas Colby's class. It was like an ink blot, in that we drew our image with a lot of ink, then folded the piece of paper together. It leaves all sorts of interesting marks.

One of my drawings that I did today bled through to the other side of the paper, and the bleed is much more interesting than the drawing itself. I'm going to play with it and see what happens, see if it just turns into a mess or morphs into something interesting.