Monday, June 28, 2010

Real short post (as if I could....)here's some eye candy for all you artists out there....

I'm working on a transfer technique. It might help if I read some directions...I had some, I made a copy and I keep it...somewhere...

Last night I was thinking..."I really need to buy that image transfer book I saw at the bookstore!" But then Stern Self spoke up and said "No, you don't need to! You need to watch your pennies! Or else, you'll end up in debtors prison" Stern Self added.

Disbelieving and Unimpressed self yawned "Yeah, right, develop self discipline now...tell that to your the way they don't have debtor's prison timely of you.."

Whimiscal self said "Maybe you could take your books with you and do crafts with the other guests..."

Disbelieving and Unimpressed self snorted "Maybe you could go to the same prison that Martha Stewart did! They're probably missing her these days! You could be the next art diva in orange!"

"Shut up, guys!" Said Regular Self "She made the best out of a bad situation, she's got guts!"

"Mom....who are you talking to?" Said Brooke
"No one, honey, it's time for Mommy to come upstairs now."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Helen's neighbor ladies

We always used to say that- "the neighbor lady 'cross the street" to differentiate from the one next door or the one next door on the other side. If you are wondering what these creatures are- no, they are not some mal-formed gingerbread cookies- nibble at your own risk- I'll tell you.

Its not unusual for me to start a new project before the current one is finished. Ms. Secret Gardens is just about done and so these guys are next. I may hit up my friend Cheekygreen designs to be in a booth with her at a Christmas show or perhaps finally start that Etsy store...or neither...I'm over booked, ya know! These ladies are an interpertation of a sketch. I still have a few bugs to work out as they do not quite resemble the drawing.

As they are supposed to be an ornament I felt they should also carry a message (surprise! Doesn't my work always carry a message? Maybe I am a know-it-all?) I imagined sending one to my aunt which led to the thought I should reference my mother, her sister, in hers. Which made me think of that stack of letters I keep in my dresser. My Mom's cousin had given them to me, tied with a ribbon, sometime after her mom (Aunt Hazel)passed. People of my mother's era wrote letters on a regular basis- a lost art as far as I am concerned. I wonder if blogging is similar, in that it is an artistic release of what hovers on the mind.

Because my mother died at a time when I was too young to come to terms with the issues that lay between us I was not able to get past the first letter I opened. They have sat, wrapped in that ribbon, next to other things that are sentimental me in the top drawer of my dresser. Why is it that we keep things that are close to our heart in our dresser?

Tonight I had the inspiration of finding some text in those letters to use on the bodies of these ladies. While I didn't know beforehand, these ladies have always been a reflection of my mother. She was in so many ways trapped in an era where neighbors were like family. Where churches were your community, where recipes were traded like e-mails. I never fit in her era. I never wanted to, but, I also never had the luxury of making those niceties my habits. I was too busy surviving the reality that my mother never shared in her letters to Aunt Hazel.

While I found some good material to celebrate Helen I also came across several passages like the one below. Her fight with cancer is one that that all of can identify with. No family, anymore, is untouched by cancer. We all suffer the pain that comes with the loss, the pain that comes while you suffer along with the person. We all fear, quietly, that we may be next and hope fervently that we are not. We would all take on that burden, though, before having it visited upon our children.
I share this portion of her letter with you not to make you sad but rather to illustrate the journey of someone going down this path.

I found that her description of her day- laughing and crying, working and putting away clothes, creating cards... could be a description of any of our days. Cancer did not change who she was.

My employer of 5 years has a sister who battled cancer. Over the last few years she has apologized numerous times when her discussions of her sister have brought tears to my eyes. "Don't apologize," I tell her "its OK that I cry, really." I know she won't understand for a couple of years yet, but really, its not a bad thing to be empathetic when memories are brought to the surface.

I think that for every tear shed my daughter has given me ten times the experience of true love. I can't trade one part of my life with out losing what I am today. My past experiences help filter what comes to each day. I can gauge, more accurately, what is important (still- I need to work on this) because of my experiences. And I often ask myself- Would you have as deeply appreciated the gift of your child- the joy-if you had not already understood the depth of sorrow? I will never know for sure but am grateful for the lessons I have learned about life from the loss of my mother.

Its a path that we all walk, the loves and losses may be encountered at different intervals for different individuals but for sure- we all do. My art reflects and sometimes deflects my experiences. I suspect I am not so different from all of you.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Let's give a shout those cheek and lip muscles!

Never are they missed so much as when they don't work! Mine are taking a short break after a visit to the dentist today. Blog about a visit to the dentist? Why the poor girl must be pretty hard up! That is how I feel, pretty hard up and showin' a little wear- long in the tooth as they say! Ha! I amuse myself.

Root canal! The phrase that strikes fear in the hearts of many. Not mine. I'm too busy being afraid of the word- dentist. Yeah, they had me at "How can we help you- Mrs. ChrisChronicles? Not that we don't know what we should do given free reign but this being America and all- what problem do you choose to treat today?"

That's right. I am just old enough to have a past that includes a dentist who didn't numb up the area before giving shots. That's a neat technique- wish they would have thought of that- oh I dunno- DECADES ago. Also I have this freaky delay in my system that causes me to need just a few more than the reccomended minutes before the shot takes effect. I can remember being just a wee tyke- ok, a painfully thin pre-teen with the world's ugliest coke bottle glasses first in a lovely blue shade and then tortise- cool now but not so much in Rainbow, USA in the 70's but I was blind as a bat so I chose them twice- God help me! There I was in the dentist's chair having just endured about six bee stings to my tender young gums only to discover I could feel everything! I quickly let the dentist know and he responded by giving me about 3 or 4 more shots. Still I could feel everything but was not in for another round of those shots so I just gripped the arms tight and held on. After the procedure was done and the anesthesia took effect I spent the next few hours drooling. I'm sure it was attractive.

Now as adult I have finally forced myself to find a dentist that claims to be gentle. (Not on the pocket book folks, I am paying more than I should but if he claims to be gentle- I'm all in.) A young girl interviewed me. I told her how my last dentist lectured me about waiting so long between visits. What? Five years go by very quickly for for me! And that was the last time I saw a dentist. Now not only was I afraid of dentists I was resentful. So I explained that most of my experiences with dentists had been painfully hard for me and that in no way shape or form did I want to be lectured 'cuz that would just make it worse and I would probably never get up the nerve- ever- to walk in a dental office again.

Its a new age folks, I'm here to tell you. She took note. She promised I would not be lectured and that a lot of people are afraid. They are used to that, she said. OK, I think I am at the right place.

I had the first part of the tooth adressed right after a very busy period. I had to wait until after the wedding/cottage show week. I carried a bottle of Ambesol that last week and applied it generously to the "problem area." Mark is still recovering. Kidding!

Folks, don't go doing something traumatic when you are already in a state of anxiety, (which I was- hello, wedding flower side job and trade show in the same week!) please don't. I had a panic attack in the chair. It was awful. I was shaking like a leaf and wanted to run. I told the assistant and she was like "seriously?" No, I often embarrass myself in professional settings. I got through it. The dentist was very considerate- asking every 20 seconds or so if I was ok, explaining what he was doing, apologizing for 'the pressure' you're going to feel right- NOW! Truthfully I didn't feel much at all.

But after today's visit I wonder if his technique- this gentle dentistry- doesn't make things worse. There I was, eyes closed, trying to plan out my next art doll behind closed eyes and every twenty seconds there he was- all namby pamby- "You're doing great! Could you just open a little wider- so sorry - this is just kind of a crazy angle- You're doing great..."

DON'T tell me how great I'm doing! Tell me how great YOU are doing! That would make me feel real comfortable. I want the dentist to say "Man, this is the best root canal I have ever done! People are going to be asking you for my card, Damn, I'm good!" That's the dentist I want.

Further more I want the dentist who says "Look, lady, you and I both know this is no big deal. You're not dying here today. I'm gonna shoot you up so high you wouldn't know if I took all your teeth. Yeah, you're gonna hear some drilling and you'll know its from your mouth. You might smell a little something- its your teeth burning from the drilling. But Man Up! The guy in the next room over has got it much worse than you so sit down, put this bib on and let's do this and if you're a good girl, I'll send you home with some drugs- right after I snatch one for myself, of course!" Yeah, where's that guy?

I'm not going to sugar coat it. It was awful. Awful long, awful loud, annoying, my jaw feels like I've been chewing on tires and in general- it was awful. When the assistant came back in the room I was sitting upright, purse in my lap and I informed her I was ready to go. "Do you have to be somewhere?" she asked. "Nope, just outta here. Gotta bolt, no offense." But while she had been gone I had a minute to look at my file which was open on her very large easy to read screen. In the comments box it said "Chris asked who our interior designer was." What? Yeah, in passing! Thought I might know her, liked her work, how'd that end up in my file? That would explain his chit chat-chattery chatter at my first visit.

Then two areas down I saw another post. "Chris does not want to be lectured about waiting so long between visits...." There was much more but just then she came back in. I had to grin at that. They must think I am one strange girl. I bet they just can't wait for a reason to call me and request my design services. I'm pretty sure I came across as a real "stable" individual at both visits. I'm thinking I am a lot like "Kramer" from that show, you know, Seinfeld! Geesh, I think they took out my brain with that little drill!

I'm still grinning but only on one side!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sweet Little Girl

Did you know, sweet girl, that sometimes when you sleep your momma stares at you? That she tries to memorize every fraction of every inch of your face? That she knows as much as she wants to- next year she won't be able to recall your face exactly as it was this moment? That she is slightly fearful that you will grow and grow and grow away from her and that she's watching it happen with every breath you take?

Did you know that tonight of all nights your momma needed to look at you for a long time to drink in your beauty? That your beauty filled her and washed away the day's worry and angst? Did you know that you soothed her so that calmness could come and then rest would follow?

Did you know that she searches your face for signs of the woman to come and wishes her hard earned wisdom into your soul? That she vows to protect you and guide you, to shelter you and to shape you?

Did you know that for one last long moment she searches again- for signs of that tiny child she brought into this world. She searches the curve of your eyebrows down to your nose. She follows the shape of your lips and the line of your chin. She searches the shadows of your temple and the fall of your lashes curving to your cheeks. But seeing isn't enough and even though she risks waking you she presses one kiss on your cheek. And after this session of prayer she wanders off to her bed ending yet another long day.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

woe is me...

Art room, where art thou? Will I ever create again? Will I ever post again? I think not as a heartless employer (not really heartless) keeps me tied to my workstation and at the end of the day I have not even the fortitude to wait for my dial up to load the page.

My family agrees. Kayla had a talk with me about it. "Mom, you've been working too much and not spending with us!" "You are doing too much art- we never see you" Before you tear up remember this is the girl who came up with 'two gerbils and a rat' to describe the size of her mosquito bite.

"So this is what you wanted to talk to me about? Well, we could make the most of this time we are spending right now. How does that sound?" I considered discussing my job, my extra hours, all the reasons I need to work extra hours but it makes me tired to talk about it. I could tell her that I carve out time to do art as a secret revenge for having to conform to society- even if its at her expense.

"Not Good! I want you to watch me do a dance, its about me and how I was a princess in this castle but then.." "and then you can listen to my song..."

"LOOK, Kayla! Its a robin- over there in that tree!"
"Where...I can't see it, where?"
"Shh.....Just keep looking and be real quiet..."

Its a distraction technique. Feel free to use it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A teaser

I really like to share work in progress. I like to see other artists work in the in-between stages and love when they post the story as it develops.

So here's how I treated the head/hair and it feels right. Just swept over one shoulder.

Can you see the hinges I used to keep the skirt closed? They are from scrapbooking supplies. Very fun and functional.

All along I have struggled with this piece's shape- long and narrow, strictly straight up and down. So not me. It became about creating texture on the surface both tactile and visual.

I also struggled with content- what was she about, did she have a message, was she merely a study or statement? In contrast to all the other ladies I have conjured up she is highly decorative and well- clothed. So what did that mean? But what do clothes mean anyways? What does our style say about us? How much of our look is dictates of our society and how much truly reflects our self?

And then there was the whole....hole. What was that all about? Recently Kayla brought up a book she's been reading. She loves it, she told me. She plans to read it again and again. I loved it when I was your age, I told her. I read it over and over. The book is called- "The Secret Garden" do you know of it?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

This week's favorites

Meeting up with friends, loved and dearly missed- Joellen!
My friend since I was a junior in high school, husbands were best friends for many years- lots of stories to share. This girl has the biggest kindest heart and a smile for any and all. She works full time and then some to feed two teenage boys all on her own and finds her grace in it all.

Favorite conversations with short humans-
MOM! My back hurts!
Stop sitting like a pretzel.
NO, really it hurts! There's a huge bump on my back!
REALLY! Its as big as two gerbils and a RAT!
Wow, that's big. Lemme' see.
Kayla! It's a mosquito bite!

With Hubby, not knowing SHE hears everything-
Hubby- "I asked the teacher about her homework she's missed. She said not to worry, Brooke's doing fine"
Me- "Well, I have a sneaking suspicion she really likes Brooke."
Then realizing Big Ears was listening I added "Umm, because she follows the rules in class."
Big Ears nods knowingly. "yeah, and I tried my best not to puke in class today"
Me- "I'm sure she apprecieated you trying your best."

That's right folks- Day One with out Vomit, things are looking up! Definately my favorite!