Thursday, April 29, 2010

Unwritten, Blog Title

As I spend more time with my blog, and other's blogs, I've been asking myself, "Hmm, is the title of my blog appropriate?"  At first glance, it seems to be an oxymoron, or contradictory to blogging itself.  After all, writing is at the heart of blogging ~~ writing to share with others, and having others share, in turn.

Then I think of why I made the choice of the title "Unwritten."  I began my blog shortly after returning from my first-ever art retreat, Creative Escape 2009, in Phoenix, Arizona.  I feel that this retreat was a life-changing experience for me; an experience I want to always remember ~~ the people, the techniques learned, and the life lesson that I discovered within the retreat.  The theme song for the retreat was Natasha Beddingfield's "Unwritten," and this song is the inspiration for my blog title.  I loved the song the first time I heard it, and a year later it still resonates with me; I connect with many of the words within this song.  The lyrics are as follows, with the words I most connect with being italicized:

I am unwritten, can't read my mind, I'm undefined

I'm just beginning, the pen's in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you,
Open up the dirty window.
Let the sun illuminate the words that you can not find.
Reaching for something in the distance,
So close you can almost taste it.
Release your inhibitions.
Feel the rain on your skin.
No one else can feel it for you.
Only you can let it in.
No one else, no one else,
Can speak the words on your lips.
Drench yourself in words unspoken.
Live your life with arms wide open.
Today is where your book begins.
The rest is still unwritten.

I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines.
We've been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can't live that way.

[Repeat Chorus]

As I sing these words (I'm glad you can't hear me, as I have no sense of tone or tune!), I am inspired to reach for my dream of creating art and an enjoyable life, without inhibition, to make the most of each day, to feel the rain (and sun!) on my skin, to share the words in my heart, to wake up each day and embrace the day as a new day ~~ the beginning of "my book," or life ~~ putting the past behind me, and living life fully, with my arms wide open. 

I'm also reminded that my life does not always follow "the norm," but instead I follow my own path and "break tradition," reaching "outside the lines" in my actions ~~ sometimes this is good, and sometimes it's a mistake. But I now see that I learn from these experiences and thus should have no regrets, as today's a new day. A day where my book begins! I'm living and sharing "my book" here, within this blog.

So, in short, it is my belief that "Unwritten" is the perfect title for my blog!  Perhaps it's not "the norm," but it fits my goal and is a much needed reminder for me to live my life with arms wide open, and to cease the day and everything possible within it! 

When I began my blog seven months ago, its purpose was personal; a "journal" to track my personal growth, as well as the growth of my art, and thus I didn't even consider the perceptions of others.  Today, I am thrilled to see others viewing, and sharing my blog, and my viewing and sharing their blogs, and thus I felt I should share my blogging inspiration with you.

I think back to the first time I heard of blogging, and recall my having no comprehension of what it was.  That wasn't too long ago!  Today, I think of my parents and grandparents and can only imagine they would have no comprehension what blogging is and why we blog.  I can hear my Grandmother saying, "what happened to letter writing, and why is that not enough anymore?"  During my childhood, she would write me weekly, and I would respond, even though we only lived one hour away from each other.  She had beautiful handwriting, in my humble opinion, and I always looked forward to receiving her letters. 

On the other hand, if Mom were still living, she would definitely be reading tons of blogs and considering starting her own, if not already mastering the art of blogging, ;).

I believe blogging is an awesome way to share and learn with others, and I'm thrilled to have discovered blogging.  While I'm still a huge "Facebooker," and check in several times a day there, I am quickly growing to be more and more focused on blog land, checking in to see what others have posted on their blogs, commenting on their posts, and checking to see if I have received any comments on mine!  It's a heart-pounding moment when I discover "I've Got Mail" [a comment] on my blog ~~ it's the same feeling I used to get when I opened the mailbox and found that weekly letter from my Grandmother!  I'm also discovering I could spend ALL DAY reading blogs, commenting on them, and finding a world of sharing of information, life experiences, art inspiration, and great ideas in blog land!  My most recent "blog passion" are those blogs that post their "junkin' finds" from antique shows, yard sales, flea markets, etc.  I love to see what they've found, 8-)!

Now I look forward and wonder what will follow blogging.  Will we eventually not even have to type the words, lol?  Will we simply think something, and it will automatically be shared in blog land?

(Pic from // with interesting article)

I would love to hear from you, as to what inspired you to begin blogging and what inspired your blog titles.  Did you begin blogging to share with others, or for personal reasons?  What do you enjoy most about it?

Happy blogging, creating, and discovering today and always! ~~ Jeanne

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sewing Seeds

Welcome to my blog!  I hope you will find something of interest here.  Admittedly, I am fairly new to blogging, but am growing to truly enjoy the process of sharing with others whom are potentially all over the world, learning the "blogging ropes" from you and your blogs, watching growth happen within me and through your sharing your own growth, and finding some lovely friends with beautiful blogs.  If you find something that interests you here, please leave a comment; I love to hear from you!

I lead a very simple life, but enjoy finding beauty in the smallest of things.  During the past week, I have been planting flowers at work ~~ something I was dreading even one month ago, as I know from past experience that, with planting comes many following months of maintenance in watering, weeding, dead heading, and fertilizing.  While I do not take much pleasure from weeding and watering, I love to see the flowers grow, and have learned that all the maintenance is worth the effort as it encourages growth.  So, as I began to plant last week, I was surprised to find myself engulfed in the process, and enjoying it.  Now I'm hoping The Shop (River Twist; it can be found on FB) will order more flowers for me to plant, as we are running low after last week's planting.  Here are a few pics of some of the things I created this week.
It will be fun to watch these plants grow, begin to trail, spread their wings throughout the season, and hopefully find someone to fall in love with them, and take them home!

When I arrived home from work yesterday, I took a moment in my own garden, and discovered my first iris bloom, and an azalea with blooms beginning to fade.

Most of the perennials in my garden have "a history" to them, either coming from my ancestors, or being given for a special occasion.  As they bloom, I am reminded of the occasions and/or relatives whom they came from.  The white iris came from my DH's Grandmother's home, and this azalea was a gift from me to my DH for his 30th birthday...many years ago.  The wisteria arbor (pictured in an earlier post) came to me from my Mom's garden, while she had obtained her original cutting from my Grandmother, whom obtain her cutting from my Great-Grandmother ~~ quite a legacy this beauty holds, IMHO!  Now I enjoy sharing these plants with friends who also enjoy gardening.  Each year, it seems there are perennials that need dividing, and it's a good way to share with others.  This year, I will be dividing the white irises and lambs ear ~~ if you would like some, please let me know!

As for my love of gardening, it was something I had to "grow into."  I recall, as a child, watching my Mom and Grandmother getting dirt all over their hands while doing their gardening while I was thinking, "WHY do they say they ENJOY this???"  My Grandmother would tell me that she felt closer to God while playing in her garden, and Mom would say that she found much peace and serenity while working with her flowers.  It took me many years to comprehend their sentiments about gardening.  Now I "get it," as well!  While I still hate having dirty on my hands, and especially under my nails, I've learned that I can have water readily available while planting, to wash that dirt off quickly, so I can enjoy the process!  It is amazing to see what one seed can become when sewn in the right soil, and nurtured with some TLC!

May we all find time to sew seeds and nurture them, somewhere, somehow!  Until next week, happy creating, and living, to each of you ~~ Jeanne

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Venus On Fire

Eureka ~~ Venus, of my soul, has been discovered!  I'm in LoVe with her, ;), and I believe she's complete...once I beeswax her.  The letters and "flourishes" are from one of Marah Johnson's Rub-On sets, and they seemed to be made for this piece!  I completed the flames two nites ago, and last nite I was pondering, "what else does she need to complete her?"  My first thought was, "Suzi would tell me to drip some paint on her face, or blend her with the background, and that just doesn't feel like what she needs, to me.  Then, I had a "Duh!" moment as the idea hit me to get out Marah's Love Struck Rub-Ons and see how I could incorporate them into her!  I waited until this morning to do so, and, Viola, they worked together like bread and butta'.  Best part of this discovery, from my own perspective, is that these Rub-Ons came to me directly from Ms. Marah herself [big smile]!  So, to me, it feels like I truly have a piece of Marah in this work of art ~~ LoVe me some MARAH (you can find her in my blog roll/listings!)!  It feels so good to complete a work of art, and feel like I have created something that others can appreciate...almost as much as I do.  My heart is shining today with happiness, contentment, and joy, and my hope is that your heart smiles, also, when you view Venus!

Question for you ~~ on this piece, as well as all of my "face" pieces, I learned to draw faces from The Ms. Suzi Blu (also in my blog list!), and thus use her method of drawing my face in an artist's sketchbook, using Prisma colored pencils to shade it, cut it out, and use Matte Medium to attach the face to my background/board.  Thus the face has a "raised edge" that bothers me, but blends in nicely once I've beeswaxed the finished piece.  However, I would LOVE to find another medium to use, instead of beeswax, to accomplish this blending and finishing of the piece.  I haven't experimented with any other mediums to finish a "face piece of art," but would love to hear from others whom have had success with other products!  I hope to eventually build my courage, and paint my faces directly on my substrate, but currently I have the best success with the colored pencils for shading a face, and don't think I'm "there yet," as far as being able to paint a face directly on my piece.  And, while I love using beeswax, I do noticed it can be effected by light, and needs to be "polished" frequently; thus my desire to find another medium to use.  (For example, I had a piece of artwork that had been beeswaxed and displayed at work, on a table under a lamp, and the heat from the lamp lighting seemed to "melt" and dull the wax quickly, :( ~~ not a good thing!  I would not be happy to give, or sell, as piece to someone and have this happen.)  So, if you have had success with another medium to finish such a piece, PLEASE SHARE YOUR TIPS!

K, I've been sick (with various ailments), for the last 4+ weeks, and haven't done one snippet of housework in weeks, except for laundry, cleaning toilets, physically gathering up the shedding dog hair that collects on the hardwoods, and keeping the clutter picked up.  I'm feeling better after Ms. Venus' completion, so I better use the rest of today to get some vacuuming and dusting done!  I could most definitely stand to do some weeding in my garden, but my sinuses are telling me that they are not ready for that just yet, ;).  I've determined that I do NOT make a good patient, and do NOT like being sick ~~ both require following "rules" (in taking medications, resting), and otherwise keep a spirit down.  So my heart goes out to all whom are sick, temporarily or chronically, as I see how tough it is to keep going when your body says "stop!"  It takes great strength, determination and persistence that tires a body even more than the illness itself many times.  My hat's off to anyone suffering from an illness, however small or large, temporarily or permanent.  I hope that you find strength to carry you through the day.

Lastly, I give a HUGE shout out to "my mentor and inspirer" ~~ MARAH JOHNSON!!!!  In my humble opinion, she RoCkS CrYsTaLiZeD StOnEs, and inspires me beyond belief!!!!  It is my hope that each of you have someone whom inspires you, and "fires your engine" like Marah does me, <3!  K, so Tim Holtz holds a close second place for me, but I do not have the "personal" connection with Tim that I do with Marah.  She has overcome such odds, and PREVAILED, and I connect with that on such a personal level, and feel that I am following in her footsteps, in a small way, today by having the courage to move forward, leave the past behind, grow, accept my talents, and attempt to share them with others, if even in a small way.  May we all have courage today!  Big Hugs To All ~~ Jeanne

Monday, April 19, 2010

Charming with Solder and Fire-y Love Goddess

Saturday, I was fortunate to participate in Chandra Thomason's soldered charm class at River Twist.  Having attempted to teach myself how to solder charms previously, Chandra offered some absolutely simple tips and tricks to make the process go much easier, and offer a much-improved outcome ~~ tips I would have enver thought of without her professional guidance.  While I have much room for continued improvement, the charms made Saturday were so much more "professional" appearing than my previous ones.

I would love to make some sturdy key chains using this process...if I can find glass that will stand the abuse our key chains receive ;).

After the class, I came home and worked on my Fire-y Love Goddess, a work in progress (WIP).  This one began when I found a previous sketch I had made of a heart with a couple of flames coming out of the top of it.  I thought, "can I draw a face on this, and make it work?"  Well, she's not "working" yet, but I will continue to pursue her and see where she goes.  My friend, Jan, offered some very helpful criticism to let me know I was painting my eyelashes backwards (curling inward, instead of outward), so I corrected them Saturday, and I'm loving the effect!  Now I need to narrow her brown dress and see if I can obtain the "high collar" effect that I was going for, as well as continue to build the flames.  I love the handpainted background.

I've also been working with iron and rust paint and LoViNg the results!  Pics to come.

As for life in general, it's moving right along.  After Chandra's Saturday class, she and I were talking, and discovered that we both would love to create art 24/7.  How many others feel likewise, I wonder?  Creating art is so fulfilling ~~ a way to express and share our inner selves freely, and find total enjoyment in the process.  However, creating art full-time is such a risky step to take, especially in today's downturned economy, when a steady income has become even more important.  I admire anyone whom follows their dream of doing so.  Admittedly, I don't have the courage to do so currently and, truly, I'm not sure I want to take a step that could possibly turn my art into a "chore," or add pressure for me to create.  I love the experience of creating with different mediums, without pressure for the outcome ~~ if it flops, I can rework it or throw it away; if it turns out great, I can keep it, give it away, or attempt to sale it!  If you are a full-time artist, I would love for you to share your experience with me here; do you still enjoy the process of creating art, do you feel pressure to create, do you find yourself cutting corners to speed up the process of creating productively, what has brought you the most success?

Happy creating to each of you!  May your days be filled with blissful creativity in whatever way makes you happy!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Make A Difference!

Ironic, or fate?  One Artful Soul whom has made a difference in my life had a small mixed media canvas up for auction on ebay last week; the piece included the phrase "make a difference!"  With funds low, I knew I shouldn't bid on it, but I just could not resist the driving urge.  So I did . . . and won it!  It arrived safely on Saturday, and I've inspected it time and time again, finding new details each time ~~ I'm in heaven!  It inspires me to create new art and, more importantly, to Make A Difference.

Today, I ask myself, "how do I make a difference?"  For me, I believe the answer may change frequently in the days ahead ~~ but I am determined to keep this goal in the forefront of my mind and pursue it.  It may be as simple as holding the door for someone at the supermarket, showing compassion to a hurting soul, giving a piece of myself (or my art) to brighten another's day, recalling that I have a fairly easy life, and few worries, and thus can share myself more freely than many others can, and being willing to do so.  I do not have large financial resources, but I have myself, and my art!  However, today I am realizing that in order to give of myself, first I must work on removing the piece of wall that remains between myself and others.  I feel like Ronald Reagan, as he so boldly stated, "Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"  What a large acknowledgement this is!  Within my soul becoming bruised through the years, I built a wall as a defense mechanism to the hurt that came my way, mostly from family; "my wall" became my tool of survival to protect me from being hurt, but it also has kept me from sharing with others.  Through the work of years of therapy, today "my wall" is much less tall, but still a partition.  However, today my soul is healing, and thus the partition can come down!  I'm sure it won't be easy, nor a natural feeling initially, but it is the most effective way for me to Make A Difference.

I don't know where this is leading, and admittedly I'm fearful; change is never comfortable, for me.  But I look forward to finding a new way to Make a Difference.  May I share a smile, a hand, or help someone find peace and contentment, in my own unique way, today and always.

Just as an Artful Soul has Made a Difference in my life, I want to Make a Difference to others.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Steampunk-ish and Goddess Goodness

I couldn't resist sharing the "final" (most likely!) results of my latest piece.  I'm loving it ~~ the colors, as well as the use of watch parts that give it that "Steampunk" feel.  In fact, if I change anything, it will most likely be the addition of more watch parts!

And here is the latest, and again, most likely "final" version of my Goddess Of Dreams.

Now I'm off to the doctor to obtain some relief from the pollen . . . then I'll be playing with my art toys for the remainder of the day!  Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring Has Sprung!

It's here!  In Piedmont North Carolina, our pear, cherry, and plum trees have bloomed and are now filled with green leaves, the daffodils have come and gone, our Yellow Bell (Forsythia) bushes are in full bloom, and my Johnny Jump Ups are happily springing up everywhere in my garden!  I love this time of year.  However, with it comes that greenish-yellow powdery pollen that covers our cars . . . and everything else outside . . . bringing with it all the results of allergies ~~ sniffling, sneezing, coughing, stuffiness, and a desire to wash our cars daily, to no avail, as they will be covered with pollen again before the day is done.  However, without pollen, we would not have the beautiful flowers and trees ~~ so it's a great trade off!

Since my last post, my computer totally went "poof" ~~ it became infected with some terrible disease that computers can catch, and would not even load Windows ~~ yikes!  So it spent what felt like a month at the Puter Doctor, and has just now safely arrived back home . . . minus all of my document files and pictures, :(.  How many times was I told that I must back up my computer?  Did I listen, even once?  NO!  Admittedly, I am not very computer literate, and the sound of an "External Hard Drive" was cumbersome, sounding like I would need an entire second desk just to contain it; little did I know, one can be had that isn't much larger than the average cell phone today!  So, yes, I now have a back up system, so hopefully I will never lose all of my cherished documents and pictures again.  As I type, I have reinstalled my camera's software and am downloading all the pictures contained on my cameras memory card . . . and realizing there are 522 pics I'm "recovering," ~~ thankfully I'm no better at cleaning up my camera's storage device than I am at backing up my computer!

As for my art, I've been busy creating several pieces, but have realized that I forgot to take pics of a couple of them ~~ mixed media pieces done on canvases, and two cigar boxes.  The canvases were gifts already given to good homes, and I've taken the cigar boxes to work where I will attempt to remember to take my camera and get pics of them to post later.

I think I have completed my Lemon Lady collage piece!  I was told how great decorative napkins can be to use in collaging, and viola!
The proportion of Lady Lemon's head is a bit too large, but I kinda like that; to me, it says, she's confident that she can, and will, overcome all the lemons that creep into her life!

Most recently, I have been working on a piece that I'm calling "Homespun Nostalgic Loveliness!"  I have wanted to do an "inchy" piece (or what I call an inchy piece, where various sizes of squares and rectangles are collaged on a board) ever since I saw one done by The Great Tim Holtz at last year's Creative Escape.  I believe he also has one, or more, pictured on his website, if my memory serves me correctly.  I have used a color scheme consisting of red, turquoise, and yellow ochre on a background board painted with a good mixture of off white, black and brown.  Then I have used various papers, Tim Holtz Grungepaper, also some of his Grunge Board Elements, and his plastic Fragments adhered to most of the pieces.  It's not complete, but here is what it's looking like currently.
I still have to distress and adhere the three flourishes, and I feel the heart needs an embellishment at its center ~~ perhaps a watch face!  It's difficult to see in this picture, but there are 3 watch pieces adhered to various fragments already.  Yes, I love Tim Holtz Anything!!!

And here is my photographic helper!
While he is a great helper, he doesn't photograph very well.  However, he's the love of my life . . . or one of the largest ones!  He's a 3-yr-old black lab, and Mama's Boy.

And how can I forget my best news!  A beautiful lady in Texas, whom has a heart of gold, requested that I create a Mermaid for her . . . her only suggestion was that she have brown hair and eyes.  Miranda (the Mermaid) was a true pleasure to create.  I added gold and copper flakes to her ~~ something I haven't done with previous Mermaids, and something my DH feels makes her a bit "too overdone."  Poo on him!  I like how it turned out, and hope her new owner will also.

Now I'm off to blog hop, and see what is going on in blog land!  Wishing everyone a spring season filled with happiness and much creativity!