Going to Emerald City

So here's what I've been thinking about..... The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy and her three new friends joyfully made their way to Emerald City in hopes of seeing the Great Wizard of Oz. Each thought they needed something they didn't have. A little courage, a little heart, a little brains, and a way back home to family. Only that darn Toto revealed from behind the velvet curtain that the Wizard was really no wizard at all. Just an ordinary man. And yet, this man revealed to the friends that what they were searching for rested within them already. Now, he did give them each a token to remember this....I think it was a diploma for Scarecrow, a badge of courage for lion and something hearty for Tin Man (I've watched that movie literally 40 times and can not remember what he gave Tin Man.) So this jewelry I've been making, it's a little like the Wizard has revealed himself to me from behind the velvet curtain. The words are gentle reminders for you to wear....you probably already know these things about yourself. But it's nice to see the words and be reminded.

I do hope you like what I've been creating here for you. It's my way of expressing my inner self. Because every time I pound out a word it just reaffirms for me what I already know is inside and gently reminds me that I can be more........


Not Another Nest....

So as I promised, I did make some jewelry that had nothing to do with nests. Although I do love to make the little woven nest! So these little babies are all about taking a journey. I found the truck charm at a local craft store. It was super cute, but super silvery. No worries, I have my new magic potion that can dirty up anything. Man I love that stuff!
Then the words came. I've 8 of these truckin' on charm necklaces. Some are headed to -Birmingham, others staying here at The Vintage-Flea. If you are interested though, please email me!!

Sometimes it's good to just "See for yourself." Don't you think? So don't be afraid, take the journey. Whether it's a physical one to another city or just trying something new. Put your fears aside, put your hand out the window, feel the breeze and GO!


My Car Does not Define Me?

So you've heard that before right? My ......does not define me? I've been telling myself this for several years now, "My car does not define me." You see, from the day I turned 16, until the day I turned 38, the car I drive unfortunately does say a lot about me. When I turned 16 my parents wrapped up the keys to the adorable creamy 320i BMW 2 door in the driveway. Yep. And that statement would be.....spoiled 16 year old. A year later, I fell in love with a Jeep CJ-7. And two years later, a Mercedes, year later a Jeep Wrangler, two years later a new Pathfinder. After marriage it was a sporty Saturn 2-door, white cabriolet convertible, teal Infinity J-30, gold Chevy Tracker and then.....the mini-van. The mini van. The red Dodge caravan mini van. That was generously given to us by my husband's parents when we were having the not so good financial days and really needed a family car. Since 2006 I've driven this van. And secretly I loved it. Shhhhh..... I started covering the boo-boos with fabulous sticker graffiti. My goal was to fill the back window. (There's also an O crap magnet back there. Get it? I am Republican, remember?)
So the hubcaps.....they sorta fly off when you run over things, did you know that? BTW, there's another one is missing too. hehehehe....

The peeling started a year ago.....now that's not my fault. The top of the van is completely peeled at this point. And there's a piece of black rubber loose on the roof rack that swings around in the wind and makes fabulous music as you drive down the road. And the wheels when you turn right sound like a heavy metal bass. It's great. Seriously. I just turn up the music and pray that the noises I am hearing are the beats to the music and NOT another financial scream.
And then it happened. I lost it with my van. The money pit. I added up all the bills from the year and lost it. It was time to give it up. Now, we've not had a car payment in years.
If you've ever read the book about the millionaire next door, you know that they do not own the sparkly new cars.....in fact those with sparkly new cars according to the author are probably in so much debt that they can't see straight. But my children and I were at risk in the red mini-van. So I bought myself a new one.......on Saturday. All by myself too. And I lovvvvvve it. See the paint job can actually reflect amazing landscapes:
And it's ORANGE!!!!! Seriously it is orange. ORANGE! Spicey yummy orange! My favorite color!!! It's of course used, I am responsible now with our money and know our financial limits (let me tell ya, some of those car people are so pushy they could care less about your budgets!). But it's fabulous. So I had to share it with you. Because I knew you'd be happy for me too. And look, it has hub caps. Wow. The little things that make a momma cry.

So here's the nitty....it's a Chrysler town and country. Why is it named that? Guess you can drive in the country or the city and still look fabulous? ha. And my favorite part (other than it makes no weirdo noises) ALL the seats fold into the floor and lay totally flat. So when I do art shows my stuff will fit! Whooooohoooo for the little things that make life easier for the artsy Mom! Anyhoo.....that was my weekend. Buying a new van. And loving it. Anyone up for a road trip now?


Branching Out

It seems lately that I am really "branching out" with my bird sculptures. The plaster bird heads, new bird inspired jewelry on the table, and these beautiful bird babies: I am always on the lookout for materials I can re purpose. Especially bird cages, birds, and nests. I found about 20 of these paper mache birds around Christmas at Resurrect in Opelika. They were nestled in a glass bowl all chalky black with wild wiry legs. I had no vision, but the price was right so I bought them all. And now that my vision has come full circle, I am wanting more! So here's what I had to do to get to the finished product:
Step 1: paint the birds with my favorite color palette. Colors too bright...hmmmm Step 2: Apply a dark wood stain. Better now. (Now before step 3 I attempted to make some cool bird cages from fabric and Paverpol for these to perch. They failed terribly. And I was ticked. My vision was at a deadend. And then....)Step 3: Head to Lowe's and buy dowels for perches. Step 4: cut dowels, glue into T shape and stain with wood stain. Step 5: head to Phillip's wood shop and cut bases from his amazing pile of bead board. Drill holes in bases for T perch. Step 6: Add dab of wood glue and insert T to hole in base. Step 7: Attach birds to T perch by wrapping their wiry long legs around and around. Step 8: Step back and say WELL DONE!

So I love them. I've done a lot of felted birds in and out of cages. But on perched little stands, and paper mache....this is something new. And I like new. Sometimes I find that getting out of the comfort zone and jumping into new materials is just what an artist needs to kindle the creative energy again. So I'm on a roll............and the jewelry is in the works now. Like I've said before I work on lots of projects at once. And this time, unlike the old me, I AM GOING TO FINISH it all. Yep. All. So I better go now. I'll give ya a hint though, not ALL my jewelry is about birds.....think about what else I love to paint. OK, I'll give you a hint. It starts with the letter "T". hehehe.....
These will be landing at The Vintage-Flea tomorrow if you are interested. There are 8 right now at $25 each.


On Being Inspired

"INSPIRED..........You open up all windows and you can see forever. The ideas float in and crowd out your worries, your details, and fill you up with words and colors and wings." from the book BE INSPI(RED)

I just love that definition of inspired. As an artist, sometimes my head gets so FULL of potential that honestly I get cranky about it. Seriously. During the surge before I start creating something new I get totally and utterly cranky. And then I create......and create....and explode with energy and complete joy. Especially when the inspiration turns into something so, well good.(everyone should pat themselves on the back every once in awhile. Don't you think?) So do you remember the foamy cupcakes above from a past blog entry? Now look at them: When I returned from Art and Soul, in my bag of creative tricks was fabulous new sculpture technique. (remember my plaster bird cage?) Now, I'll tell you right now this idea is not originally mine. Nope. Stephanie had these bird heads for sale in her vendor night booth and did a quick demo on them during my class, however we did not make them in our class. And they kept crowding my head when I got back. So I made them, my way. It was part of that crankiness....trying to figure out how to make something someone else does and making it my own. I love....love....love the texture. They totally remind me of my paintings!! In fact, I have a new idea crowding my head where I use plaster on the canvas board to acquire the same texture affects. Can't wait to try it!

So I literally have 2 dozen heads. All with different hats, charms and some just plain. They have the cutest personalities already. I may have to keep one, or two!
So this has been what I've been hiding away and creating. They were very time consuming. but well worth it now that they are completed!


Home Sweet Home

This weekend was such a great time for Mailey and the other 17 little girls on the camp out! We made lots of new friends..... Did a little hiking and canoeing.......
A little tye-dying (I was wearing a white hoodie and managed to NOT get any on that, but our hands will likely be stained for days!).......

A camp fire and mashmallow roasting both nights, with lots of fun camp songs.................

And of course a lot of time to just be KIDS! By the way, all my cooking went off without a hitch. I am however, beyond tired. In fact I think this is what one would call exhaustion. So this afternoon I took a very hot shower and plan to get into the studio tonight to do some mindless painting (base coating stuff). Deadlines are up on the horizon and I am thinking today is a great time to get started slowly


A Little Brownie Smile......

This weekend my daughter Mailey and I are headed to Camp Meriwether with 19 other little girls and their Mommies for our first Brownie camp experience. We are beyond excited. Tonight we finished packing literally everything but our kitchen sink. You see.......I am a cooking "kaper". And let me tell ya, kaper is not a yummy spice for cooking but rather a fancy Girl Scout word for "chore". Yep. I'm cooking breakfast with my new buddy Jenny (no not my multiple personality, but another Jen) AND dinner. I've packed pots, pans, utensils, sponges, can opener, knives, oven gloves, timers, tongs, bowls, serving platters, skillets, surge strip, two coolers of food and beverages (unfortunately no adult beverages), 75 sausage links, 5 dozen eggs, 5 pds brown ground beef, Ragu, bread, 6 pds of noodles, 2 gallons of OJ, 3 gallons of tea, salad, salad dressings, bananas a monkey would kill for, cheese, coffee pot and ALL the essentials for that and more!!! Now I've been to this camp site. And we are in cabins, and there are bathrooms. But we are eating and cooking under a pavilion on Coleman propane stoves. And washing dishes in Rubbermaid tubs. Yes, please laugh and then wish me luck! This is our troup at Christmas. They are the cutest stinkin' group of eager girls. I am not totally sure about the agenda other than when I am cooking, but I've been told we are definitely making smore's, canoeing, tie dying, and making lots of crafts. Woooowhooo! Of course, I kind of wish we were camping in one of these:
So unplugged for the weekend...can I do it? Yikes. Even have to leave my Nook at home. Double yikes. I may be up all night with the crickets. Can't wait to share my photos when we return Sunday afternoon! Have a fabulous weekend! I am sure we will!!


Art Workshop Offered

I love to paint bikes. It was the first wheeled subject for me after the birdies. So when I had to decide what to offer during Spring Break for an art workshop, this subject became my inspiration! So, if you are in the area, have a child between 1st grade and up, join me!! Here are the details: Wednesday, April 7th at Hobby Lobby in Newnan, GA. You can choose morning session 9:30-12 or afternoon 1-3:30. The cost is $35 to moi. We will be making a 12"x12" canvas painting of a bike using acrylics and of course a little collage! If time allows, we'll explore a little with oil pastels.

Just email me if you'd like to join us! artsyorange@yahoo.com.


Spring Housecleaning

I love to start spring with a house cleaning overhaul. This Saturday marks the official start of Spring. Unfortunately, it's still cold as all get out here in Newnan. Seriously I am so wind chapped on my face and hands that not even the gooey lotion I paid too much for is making the needed repairs. So what's a busy body to do? Well, overhaul the blog and etsy shop!! Notice the new banner? And here's the etsy banner below. I really loved this painting. And just taking a slice of it was enough to make me feel like spring! So what are your spring cleaning habits??

My etsy shop has new prints in it now! whooo...hoooo

Another house cleaning item.....I added a "Follow Me" button with help from sweet Tiffin. So follow me guys and girls......I hope to get us lost. Because the fun is in getting back!


New Work off to Birmingham

When I meet my Dad at Scott's today he'll be getting a box of goodies to take back to Birmingham for me. Vero requested some new paintings, garden art and jewelry. For the garden I made 10 metal sap buckets with giant flowers on the front for your front door or fence. Super cute. Several of the wall pieces are here: "This is the American Dream"
"Now I am Quite Happy"

"Little White Wishes"
"In the Winter Buds"

I've been asked by email by several people lately where to buy my originals. I've never really been a good etsy artist. tisk....tisk......My originals tend to either be at one of my two galleries or in a pile to go to a show. So here are the links for the two galleries if you are interested in an original painting: The Naked Art Gallery in Birmingham, AL and The Studio Gallery in Grayton Beach . Both are willing to ship to you! And upcoming shows you can always find on my sidebar. They tend to be in the Atlanta area. I do hope to meet some of you one day though! Hope you have a fabulous weekend!


Today I Will Celebrate

So today is my birthday. Yep. The big 3-8. Wow. Time flies. It's been a very special morning with the kiddos running in and piling on me in bed....and Daddy providing yummy cake for breakfast in bed. Of course we eat cake on birthdays for breakfast, don't you? It's a lovely morning here in Newnan. I can feel Spring around the corner. As I sit in my studio, which is a sunroom, I hear all sorts of noises that during the wintery months lay dormant. Oh how I love this time of year. Although the dog I now hear I wish would stop barking because he's drowning out the birdies who I know are singing "Happy Birthday" to me!
So today I am trying out a new fitness class at the gym...not a huge fan of group fitness, I prefer to sweat alone but I'm gonna buck it up and try. Then Mom and I are meeting to tour and lunch in beautiful Senoia. Tomorrow we are headed to Scott's Antique Flea market to meet my Dad and his wife. It's gonna be a big weekend for celebrating and enjoying family. And of course eating lots and lots of CAKE.


A Note From the Teacher

So this is a side of me I forget to share sometimes. I tend to blog about me, me, me. But I do teach and Tuesday afternoon was one of those days when I remember exactly why it is that I teach. So we've been working on a Tuscan landscape. I printed off the internet a rather cheesy typical Tuscan hillside (you've ALL seen it before in the hotel lobby) that I cropped into a long skinny landscape for our inspiration piece. Each child was given an 8"x24" piece of birchwood for the base. As a general rule I lead the class in the beginning on the white board. I like to draw the basic lines and shapes and have them follow along. When the demo is done I will walk around and offer assistance if needed. I have a very strict policy that my hands stay off their work. It's very hard sometimes....for them that is...they are like, "can't you just draw it for me?"...but I find if I guide them through words, they get an "ahha" moment and take lead. So this was a favorite. She totally took liberty with the color, and secretly it was my favorite. Love the orange and purple sky. This past Tuesday we added oil pastel details. Instead of adding simple windows like the sample, she added an elaborate staircase, red door, blue curtains and more. When I asked her about it she said very matter of factly,. "Who would want to live in a house if you can't get in it?" Oh my goodness. And she's 6. In fact all the little artists who made these paintings are 6, 7 and 8. Wow. I know. Love these kids.
I have a feeling we had happy parents that day. I know I was super proud of their skill levels. So next week they are being rewards with clay.....and not only clay, but they get to make whatever they want. Oh the fun we'll have!

Ok, so for me.....I've been playing around with some techniques learned at Art and Soul. Don't they look yummy above? And below.....they are all anxiously awaiting some paint and collage. That's next week's agenda. For now, I'll leave you guessing as to what they will become!


"Orange" You Glad it's Wednesday?

Did you know that my favorite color is orange? Yep. Yummy, citrus, tasty orange. Here are a few favorite images where I let my love of orange take over!

And today I am thinking orange flowers and birds are in order. So what's your favorite color?


My Sleeping Aid

For Christmas my husband bought me one of these:It's a Nook. I really, really love it. I am an avid reader (betcha didn't know that about me!). However, it's only at night that I read because I have a very difficult time going to sleep. I've been this way my entire life. It's the daydreamer in me and the constant creative brain activity that makes it very difficult to get to sleep. Now once I fall asleep, a train could run through the house and I'd not hear it! I am scared to death of sleeping pills. So this is my natural sleeping pill.....a great book. And last night I finished this:
All 1500 pages. Geez louise it was long. But good. I tell you this because I mentioned I was reading Dan Brown to a gentleman who said, "Is that like his 3rd book?" Yeah...NO! He has written several others and in fact one of my favorite books to date is Deception Point. It's about the government. Ooooooo...It's a good one. So if you are having difficulty sleeping put down the Tylenol sleep aid and pick up a good book. It helps the dreams flow and promotes a restful nights sleep!
So today I am hoping the weather holds out for some plastering. I really do not want to dirty up this house I cleaned yesterday. And my body could really use some sunshine. I set up a table in the driveway yesterday for the base of the birds......today they take a little more form....and then I paint and add loads of personality. In Stephanie's class the birds were the most intriguing of the projects to me. Gosh I wonder why? hehehe......So have a great day. Probably won't be back until I finish up some projects to show.


And the Winner Is.....

We did this the very old fashioned way, put all the names in a hat and Mailey pulled the lucky winner. And that winner is......
Yipeee!! So, email me your address so I can send this little necklace on your way.
The weather has been amazing the past two days here in Newnan. I've been a busy beaver today with house cleaning and making some super fun bird head sculptures I learned at Art and Soul. The insulation foam kind of went everywhere, so I am definitely going to need to practice.... but in the end I am going to be super excited to show them off! They are a little flock of fun.


I'm Giddy with Anticipation!

So have you ever felt so much anticipation that you could bust? Well that's me today. Because last night, or maybe it was really early this morning, I woke up and decided that yep.... I'm going to do it! Yipeeeee!! What you ask? Apply to be an instructor at Art and Soul in Portland, Oregon for 2011.
Now I know it seems like ages away, and perhaps I won't even be accepted, but there has been an underlying urge in my creative journey to share lately. Since being published in Somerset Life I've had an overwhelming response...people have emailed me their stories of inspiration and their stories of overcoming hurdles to create after seeing my work. Last night in particular I had a very personal email from someone about my art and how they were inspired to try again. So of course this was on my mind as I slept. So when I woke at the weee hours this was my thought process on the matter.
I think people are drawn to different types of art for various reasons. My work is very simple. I know that. It's what is in my heart to paint. At vendor night in Las Vegas several people asked me this very question, "How do you know what to paint?" And seriously I can't answer that in simple words. It's just in me. Does that make sense at all?
So what am I going to be teaching? I have to mull this over a bit more. But in Lisa Kaus's workshop series I noticed that the common thread was her technique, the subject just changed. In fact I used my own subject in her class. I do have a unique technique with the texture....my problem is drying time. I have been working on a new technique though using Golden paste instead of joint compound. It dries faster and could work. I have to work all those kinks out before applying obviously. I just was so excited when I woke that I wanted to share....and possibly get some feedback on if you were to take a workshop with me, what would you like to learn? Because I think one of the biggest common questions I am getting in emails and through contact is basically how do you find the subject....how do you know what to paint? So maybe I need to work on the idea of guiding you towards finding your own creative voice. There are a lot of workshops out there where you leave with a clone of the artist's own work. I am not sure if that really helps you to find your own voice, although it does allow you a chance to explore your creativity. Like in the class I took with Lisa I LOVE that everyone created something so different in subject matter, we were just using all the same materials. Anyhoo....I have some things to mull over, and perhaps will ask your opinion again. Living where I do we do not have a large community of crafters (not that I know of anyways and I've been teaching 14 years in this area more fine art skills than things like at Art and Soul). In fact, while having coffee with some creative friends the other day we decided that our area is more artsy snobs. What? Yep I said it. It's all about fine art, large price tags and fancy galleries. I yearn for a slice of just good old making art for creative sake and not having to worry about what the gallery wants. OK...tangent for another day. Sorry about that. So feel free to comment your thoughts on what you'd love to learn. I know that teaching is at the core of my creative journey. I just can't help it. I love to try new things and am never afraid to say this is not for me! But at least I try and know in the end that it is my authentic self that made the effort.
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