Monday, October 12, 2015

The Odyssey Bedford

This is the day I set off on my personal odyssey!  As an artist/retiree/student/aunt, I've been having all kinds of good adventure, but today I actually get on a plane and head to Europe!

Before I go to far down that path, I've been enjoying the last week in my hometown, Bedford, Pennsylvania.  I realized early on in the visit that this is where I'll eventually settle down.  All that European travel and South Carolina schooling is going to be fun, but sitting here at my parents' kitchen table in their amazing old house is the best.  October is my favorite time of year here...just check out the morning temperature.  It's sweatshirt and slippers to start out the day with a cup of coffee but it easily moves into short sleeves and sandals once the sun comes out and lights up the autumn trees.

I have some cutie nephews that spent the weekend with us while awaiting the birth of their little sister.  My first niece, Isabelle, joined the family on Saturday afternoon, the day before her biggest brother turned eight!  I don't have kids of my own so it is always a shock how loud and sticky they can be.  We walked a couple of blocks and enjoyed the Fall Foliage Festival downtown and then spent the afternoon carving jack-o-lanterns.  They did a great job getting the pumpkin gunk out and saving the seeds for Grammy to roast as a snack.

Since I'm going to spend all winter here at home, I brought the cats up from South Carolina with me last month.  I was worried that they'd be out of sorts for a while, but they love the big huge house and race up and down the hallway. I should say a couple of them do, Brando, the big white one, has taken up various sleeping positions in the living room or in the sun in the kitchen.  This is Grammy's chair and they are happy campers.  They take after their mom since our family loves to nap.  

I captured one of Brando's many sleepy moments in my art journal:

There won't be many naps in the coming weeks for me, though, since I'll be hitting the ground running in Germany (hopefully!) tomorrow!  I made these plans months ago to celebrate my retirement and I can't believe the day is actually here.  If all goes the way I hope it will, I'll be taking advantage of military space-available travel and landing at Ramstein Air Base in the morning to visit with friends for a few days before I head over to Paris!  I haven't been to France before, even though over 25 years ago I speculated in my senior high yearbook that I would study French and then go to France.  Better late than never, I suppose.  I'm hoping some of that French I worked on so many years ago comes back!  

While looking for the perfect trip, I found an artist retreat in Paris with Jane Davenport.  

I'd heard of her through some of my mixed media art buds and her classes/books came highly recommended.  So, I'll be joining a small group of ladies for a week of inspiration, drawing, painting, touring, and fun.  After that, I figured that since I'm already going to be in Europe, I might as well make the most of it, so then I'll be meeting a dear childhood friend in Venice for a little cruise around the Mediterranean!  Neither of us have been on a cruise or been to Greece, so it's the perfect trip!

After being in the peace of home and autumn, this trip is going to be a whirlwind and I'm ready!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Potential is Huge

It's official.  I have an awesome studio.
Sure, it's tiny, but the potential is huge.

I like to think that's kind of like my life right now...the potential is huge.  I am in the midst of some massive transitions, so keeping the focus on all the right things is challenging.  

Just yesterday, I was part of a formal ceremony at work called a Change of Command.  It's a military formation that involves the transition of power and responsibility in command of a unit from one person to another.  I am very proud to say that after two years, I am the one handing over the flag to someone new.  On a personal level, though, it has been very emotional as I experience the loss of my normal day-to-day existence and my squadron family.  There was no crying on stage yesterday--I had to screw my face up a few times, but made it through my remarks with all eyeliner intact.  I've shed a few tears at home alone since then in honor of those losses, but I'm trying to focus all that emotional energy on setting up what will be my new day-to-day existence.

It's hard, and I've crashed into the nap zone a couple of times already today, but we're getting there.  I went to the beach this morning and got some sun and sketched a bit.  When I think of the seeds that sketchbook can possibly generate in the studio I get excited.  Now, I just need to get up off the couch and go to the studio and work!

Shelby loves the big backdoor with the view of the deck.  She has to dig through a zillion half-finished ideas, but it works.  We planted a few flowers last weekend to carry the bright color and energetic feeling through to the outside.

Even in the evening, as the great light from outside dims, we can still make a nice mess inside.  Tonight, for instance, might be a good time to get on the six-pack of 12X12 wooden substrates that I have sitting in the middle of the table and start some collage work.  I need to capture the feelings of this weekend and since the cat's aren't very chatty, some fun glue time might be just the ticket!

It's time for me to exploit the potential of this space and the raw materials within.  That's what I want my new existence to look like, so I guess I just need to get up off the couch and make it happen!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Palm Trees or Palmettos. Whatever.

I'm just enjoying this Tuesday evening on the couch with my crazy cat, Brando, and a whole lot of craigslist browsing.  I'm trying to figure out exactly where I'm going to move next here in the Charleston area.  This is sort of a new experience for me since I don't actually have someone telling me where I need to live.  This one's on me.  I feel like I need to make the most of it since I'm here close to the beach and all the amazing life that Charleston has to offer, so I'm trying to slow myself down instead of just taking the option of the first one that seems okay.  I'm not a big fan of lots of options...give me one COA (that's an acronym for Course of Action that we use all the time at work) and let me go.

That being said, I'm going for something a little closer to the beaches and to downtown.  My house up in the Summerville suburbs is fantastic and has given me all kinds of room to create, but I'm ready to go someplace new.  Wouldn't it be cool to live in a place where everyday could include a sketchbook, some watercolors and a cold beer?  Hmmmmmm. So soon.

This pic is actually from a trip up to Myrtle Beach.  My dear friend Bette and her husband Brian go there every year to celebrate their anniversary. Luckily for me, they had an extra room to spare in their condo and allowed me to celebrate a few days with them.  The weather wasn't all that lovely, but just getting to spend time laughing, shopping, eating, and doing a little creating was perfect.  I look forward to many more days like that soon.  

It's going to be a hard transition from the workaday regimen I have now to that of student-artist-part-time-job girl, but as I take steps like finding the right place to live it starts to become more and more real.  On that note, I'm going to savor the joy of this little palm tree picture, think about trimming the palmettos in the yard, and dream about creating...for a living.  Wow.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Vegas Inspiration

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My first upholstery felted project!

It started in November 2013 when my lovely ma decided that I should use my new felting machine to come up with an awesome cover for the coffee table in my living room.  My brother and sister-in-law, Will & Julie were here for Thanksgiving that year and went to town starting on the felting.

By the time they left, all the needles--12 of them--were broken.  It took me a few months to get the new needles and a few more months to actually put them in the machine and then even more time to finish the felting.

It happened!  We used a military-issue grey blanket as the base and they came up with the linear pattern. I just finished a few of the lines this week.  I love that it's all about random and uses only (very expensive Ha!) scraps and recycled ribbon and a variety of textured threads and silks.

That table has been around for a loooooong time.  I think we played puppet shows around it when I was little.  It's not a good place to put feet up since it's not soft and even has edges (to keep the magazines and cracker crumbs from falling off).  Hence, my bitching about it and my mom suggesting that I actually use one of my crazy craft tools to solve a problem and not just make something that will sit in a drawer around here forever.

It's a cushy pretty table highlighting my awesome eclectic living room now!  I'm calling it awesome and eclectic even though a neutral party might call it unmatching and cat-hair-infused.  haaaaaaaaaaaa

Thursday, November 13, 2014


I happened upon artist Jennifer Mercede the other day.  Call me inspired.

A little bit of her energy plus a couple of books on abstract painting made for a wonderful morning with  more Yupo & alcohol ink.  I added a few other media/resists just to see how they'd play.  Oil pastels, water soluble crayons, nupastels and matte medium.  Can't pick a fave because I like them all!

My first attempt at a palm tree.  I live in South Carolina, after all. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wading in a New Medium

Just Another Evening in Summerville - 2014

Just what I needed:  a new medium to try (and then fall in love with).  And so the story goes with alcohol inks and Yupo paper.  Thanks, Bette, for getting me curious enough to actually find the paper and get started.  She took some classes from Cathy Taylor, a favorite instructor of mine, during Art & Soul this year and couldn't stop talking about it.  So, I wandered around Cathy's site, watched a few youtube videos (that weren't all that good...sorry, so I won't link to any) and got started.  As you can see from the worktable, it's not that messy...haaaaaaaaaaaaaa

I started out pretty simply making messes with drops and wipes, but then I saw my container of stencils nearby and decided to actually put a brush to paper with some sort of purpose.  A few simple squares gave me a chance to feel how the brushes worked and I played with blending color and then pulling it out with plain old 91% alcohol.
I have this heron stencil from Stencil Girl so I tried that one next and love the way the brownish, orange, blue tones came out of the "mushroom" ink. 
I decided it was time to break out a larger format.  Since the heron and the squares were still on the table, I decided to use a little bit of both to create a design that wouldn't look like a plain old sunset.  I actually took the time and put it down with the stencils in pencil.  When I showed it to someone at work, they asked me why I put the squares answer other than that it just felt right.  

I used the squares to separate the cools and least that was my intention.  :)  Blue is cool and yellow's warm, right?  haaaaaa  I've only read about a zillion books on art and color and painting.  Maybe if I retire and go to art school I'll figure it out.  Sounds like a plan.


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Charleston, SC, United States
If you saw me from Monday to Friday, you'd hardly be able to see me since I'm in camouflage...when I get home, though, I break out into my super craft nerd self and make pretty bits!!

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