Grace and Gratitude

This is one of those personal posts.  Just warning ya.  However, I can not let the week go by without acknowledging this milestone event for our family.  I've mentioned before that my hubby is a State Representative.  He represents approximately 71K people.  Whoasa...that's a lot of lives to be serving the best interests of, no?  I try not to think about all that stuff too much because it gets me all stressed.  He has served 8 years now....since Mailey was 2 and William was 4.  It's what they know.  It's what they think of when they think of Daddy going to work. 

Now, it's not like a movie star status thing in this state.  Nah.  No special treatment or fancy trips.  So get that outta your head.  Rather it is a quiet honor in our house that he serves.  Come session time it's really quiet actually.  Long hours, long meetings, long periods without seeing Daddy/Hubby.  Yep.  But it's a life we've grown accustom to and we just do it.  Ya know?  In fact most of our friends probably have NO idea what type of hours we lead during session.  How stressed we are about the bills that come across the table.  How his vote may affect the community and state...it's big stuff to have to think about.  He gets real moody and quiet during this time, and I let him be.  I can not imagine the stress he's under and the tug in his heart and head to make the right decisions.  (this also may be why I am beyond exhausted right this second come to think about it....)

On the upside though, we've had some supercool opportunities.   And we've made friendships across the state from many walks of life during the 8 year journey. 
Last night was day 40.  They call it Sine Die.  Which in Latin means, "without day".  Basically it means "we are outta here!"  I always go up for this night because it's exciting.  There's hustle and bustle of last minute bills, lots of busy bees behind the rope eager for one last word before a vote and good-bye speeches.  And last night Billy had his.  You see, he's retiring.  Yep. 
His speech lasted 2 minutes and 30 seconds.  It was amazing.  I had the most amazing swell of pride for him during those few minutes of the clock ticking away.  He didn't even have a word written down, it all came straight from his heart.  You could have heard a pin drop during his speech too, because everyone was listening....holding onto every word he said. (normally it is a noisy house floor at all times, reminds me of the scene in hunger Games where she shoots the arrow through the pig?  that kind of noise)  Of course he made me cry.  He called me his best friend in the whole wide world.  I kind of puffy heart that.

So this is the scene at 12 midnight.  It's like a giant ticker tape parade.  Like snow...like magic.  And then comes the calm after the storm.  And we go back to a sorta normal life until the next session starts.  But last night was our last Sine Die.  And he left with such Grace and Gratitude.  It was one of those moments when I knew exactly why I was drawn to him 20 years ago.  Why we fell in love and why we've lasted through all the storms.  Because he lives his life with such grace and gratitude.    And for that I am in awe.  And am thankful to call him mine.


On the Table

Some of the happiness on the table right now.  They need the final step, filling the lines.  My favorite part.  Swooning in the studio peeps!!  Be back later this week to show some finished pieces. 

Did you notice all the hearts?  I know.....like my last post happiness is abounding in the yellow studio these days!


Happiness..A State of Mind

I have bought a nice amount of clothing from this amazing company over the past year.  Love the patterns...cut of the clothing....and the feel good manner behind the business.  In fact, a recent order took a wee bit too long to get to me so they sent me a gift card to apologize for the lengthy delivery of my skirt.  Seriously?  Who does that?  I wasn't even upset I was just checking on it because it wasn't like their delivery to be so long and I figured it was headed to my old house by accident.  Ahhhh...Boden.  So when this catalogue came in the mail I had to tear the cover off and place it in the studio.  A little gentle reminder.  That if I'm not happy, well my paintings aren't happy.  Period.  That's how it works for me.

Speaking of being happy, I know that when it comes I better just ride the wave.  I'm not talking about a freaking roller coaster of emotions, I'm talking about the creative mojo happy wave.  I get on that wave and ride it out.  Then paddle back out and wait.....then ride it back in.  And so it goes.  And pray that A.  I don't get bitten by something waiting, B.  land the wave in a not so fabulous wipe out and C. never find the wave to begin with. 

Okay, enough with the cheesy metaphors.  Here's what I am saying.  Right now, this second I am a creating maniac.  And I'm not letting fear, or the whattheheckyadoing monsters get in the way.  I'm finding a rhythm with creating, working and mothering (and wifing, but that's a weird word, right?).  It's a like this amazing veil has been lifted.  And perhaps it's the happiness, yeah....probably so.  But things are falling into place nicely and I can not wait until the Acworth Show coming up in April.  So get ready....and put it on your calendar!  Because I've got a slew of new work to sell.  All very reasonable and all very fresh....and HAPPY!


Little Paintings

A few months back I ordered all the canvases for the 52 Canvases project.  You know I have that buying in bulk issue...and since I knew I was painting 52, decided to just buy them all at once.  I also tacked onto the order a few in sizes 6x6 to 8x10.  I never paint this small.  Ever.  It's actually harder to me for some reason to think in small compositions.  But alas, show season is creeping FLYING upon me, so I gotta do what I gotta do!  Here's just one of the dozen I've gotten finished:

The fun part of painting with encaustics is the playing part.  I'm not very versed in this medium, but I do like the vast techniques.  I can carve, mask, layer, paint, scrape and more!  It's fun.  But I am finding that the common thread I like to weave is getting a little unwoven with all this playing so soon I'll be back to my old ways.  It's been a wonderful break from the regular painting though.
Speaking of regular painting........all my real paints have been at school for 2 weeks.  We (as in ME and every student in the school) are doing a humongous art auction undertaking.  23 paintings are almost done.  You are going to flip out when you see what ALL the students made (you may even want to plan to attend our Spring Fling to bid on them)!!!!  So when I get my paints back, I guess that's when the encaustic playing will cease.  And I'll show off our paintings.  See ya later!

This post has been linked to the ever sweet blog 52 Mantels!!


Another Class at Art and Soul!

Ok.  I am so behind with the Art and Soul postings!!  Here's another class we took together at Art and Soul.  Crazy fun day I tell ya!  These two teachers are the sweetest couple/teachers ever!  This is Mailey with her finished product and our fun teachers Ty and Marsha Shultz.  They used to be movie special effects makers....and decided to leave that rat race to join the artsy side.  And boy are we glad they did.  They offer a wonderful, diverse group of classes at all the Art and Soul Retreats.

This was a sculpture class.  We were super excited because it was something we'd never worked with, and was pretty sure we'd both be able to take home a finished piece.  And maybe even translate it into something I could teach at camp this summer. 

Our structure was made with wire, foil and tape.  Lots of tape.  The trick was getting our birdies to stand!  The class was a critter class, but we wanted to make birds of course.  Oh and our new peep Sandy was with us.  She made an amazing pink dragon!  She's uber talented.  :)
 Here we are starting the day off with wire and foil.  This was not easy or really that fun.  But Mailey kept me positive and determined!
Then the entire piece was covered in tape.  Hockey tape actually.  Love that stuff now that I know about it!  (We don't play much ice hockey in these parts of the world.)  My bird has ballet shoes on.
I had to cheat and make my bird have a long tail so she'd stand.  Mailey's is more ambitious and has a fluffy sassy tail.  And stands on 2 feet!
After lunch we used the crazy gooey product called paverpal to basically paper mache fabric onto the structure.  This was the fun part.  When the day was over though, the sculptures were all still wet and white.  It's not until they dry that the color of the fabrics are revealed.  I used Amy Butler, of course.  She's not done though, she still needs her tutu and crown.  Mailey made a purse and hat we need to attach too.  I'll post fun pics of them once we get them finished.  Maybe this weekend??

Mailey loves this bird....below it's not quite dry but you can see the fabric colors coming through.  The end result is an amazing hard sculpture...not anything like mache.  It's awesome!
 I also just have to give a shout out to our new artsy BFF's below Sandy(left) and Michelle(center).  They both took my art class and afterwards swooped Mailey and I into their little fold.  Mailey asks me everyday, "Hey, did my friends text me?  FB me yet?"  Yeah, Mailey's is smitten with you two chicks!!  Me too....you gals were super enthusiastic about art, life and my Mailey.  I can not publically or personally thank you gals enough for embracing us.  I can not wait to meet up again next year!
We did take one more class...maybe next week I'll get it into the rotation!  Have a great afternoon!


A Little Peek Outside

Spring is literally in the air in our region of the world.  Like LITERALLY...pollen has gently made it's mark on everything in site.  It's like we are in a soft green haze around the house.  I was on the back porch last night and literally could write my name on the coffee table through the green powdery ick!  Our black truck is now misty green.  Lovely, no?  But with this rather sudden jolt of warmer weather comes a few exciting behavior pattens.  And new vignettes to share.  This time outside.
So every spring I notice a few behavior patterns I'd like to share with ya!

1. I get CRAZY clean out the house throw everything away in site and clean, clean, clean mode. I have energy upon energy. In fact Thursday night after working all day I came home and cleaned for 3 hours: the 2 fridges including freezers, organized the pantry goodies, organized laundry room...etc...etc...making you tired yet?  (I also made a pan of brownies and grilled steaks for kiddos and I)

2. I watch little to noTV at this time of year. I guess my winter hibernation includes a bit too much so come spring I can not stand it to even be on. So don't ask me about any show episodes, I've not seen them.
3. I get the itching to work in the yard. And set up pretty little vignettes. And plant pretty flowers. Now at the old house I had 16 years of planting, growing and manicuring. Grass...we had weeds galore. But flowers...it was amazing what I could get to grow in red clay. Friday afternoon I ran to Home Depot to find the most spectacular snap dragons ever. PINK...my new favorite decorating accent color no doubt.
The urns below I'd purchased earlier in the week from Michael's.

Since moving into the house I knew I wanted urns.  Don't know why really, just did.  And I'd looked and looked.  Urns, like outdoor furniture I have found, are seasonal items.  We moved at the end of the season I suppose because none were around in September. I happened to find these at Michael's the other day while not even looking for them!  They were the exact shape I wanted and 40% off...caaach-ing!  Once I got them home though I really didn't like them, dang.  They added nothing to the personality of the home.  Hmm....could I paint them?
Heck yeah I can!  Friday we were off from school, yes I love this job!  So I set myself up with some paint that happened to be in the cabinet.   Two coats later and a little sanding they were ready for the new flowers!
I also purchased a wonderful hammered black spray paint for the light fixtures outside and flickering bulbs.  Billy's been out of town..... me and light changing is not such a great idea.  I thought about replacing the fixtures, but honestly I really like them, but want them black.  And a $6 fix is much better than a $200 fix no doubt!  We have a team coming to estimate giving the concrete stoop a stack stone covering this week and new shutters have been ordered.  This little house is slowly becoming a dream spot to drive up to!!
I can't wait to show off the new landscaping.  We are softening it up a bit...lots of ferns and varying greens and flowering plants for the seasons.  And I'm on the look out for a bench.  I love to vignette inside and out!  See you later in the week with some pretty paintings too.  I got the fever on that and finished up about a dozen.

this has been linked up to:
52 mantels
The Lettered Cottage
Southern Hospitality


Studio Overhaul: The Reveal!!

I was tidying up the blog the other day when I realized I'd never posted this blog post of the studio!!   Evediently it was lost in the shuffle and I'd never dated it.  Huh...Well, better late than never, right?   

So here it is....my little slice of heavenly creativeness.  There's not one part I'd do differently.  The only other detail I have left are white curtain panels to hang at the doorways.  But upon second thought think I'll just leave it open for now.  It's also my little Nikefit room so I need to be able to run in and out upon command of the very fit lady who orders me around from my iphone..  hehe...
Twinkle lights and paper lanterns help disguise the exposed ceiling.  I've got the studio broken into work and chillax zones. 

 Lots of favorite goodies surround me in the space.  I've started a toy camper collection.  Aren't they cute?  And my children's art adorns most of the wall over the sofa as well as other trinkets of note.

Seriously I'd kiss the porcupine Mailey made if it didn't have so many toothpick spikes!  I've never fired this and hope to goodness it hangs in there forever as greenware.  Because he makes me SM ILE!!  And look at the green clay dragon trying to get in the photo!
Oh, and there is always an extra 4-legged animal in the studio with me.  Whether it's Lily, Ellie below or Graham Cracker (the evil side-kick).  They love it down there and fight over the pink sofa.

So this is the main studio area.  Though the open door on the right of this photo I have set up an fabulous jewelry making station, workshop for wood stuff and prepping panels and the heat pressing table.  It keeps the really messy stuff out of my pretty room.  All the photos seem a little fuzzy to me now that I am peeking at them but think it's the yellow walls.  That color plays havoc on my camera for some reason.  And there's not much natural light unfortunately.  But you get the idea.  It is my favorite spot in the whole house.  Best part is it's right in my home. 

I AM having studio paint-in's soon.  Just like the little workshops I teach at Art and Soul.  Too many of you have asked for them for me to not just do it!  And now that the room is ready how fun would that be?  So be looking for a Saturday workshop very soon.  And then in the summer during the week.  It'll run all day and include a lunch made by me.  Because I luv to cook too!!  See you soon I hope right in the yellow room.


Musings From the Art Room

Last session in after school art was all about clay.  I personally love working with clay.  It was one of my favorites in college actually.  I've never done a wheel, just hand building.  For some reason however, half the time I make clay projects with wee ones they explode, limbs fall off or otherwise they just turn out gross.  Literally in the kiln they tend to explode into millions of clay pieces.  It sucks.  And I know the exact reason why.  But no matter how much I explain it to the kids, they never get all the air bubbles out or score it enough, or dig out the excess like demonstrated.

Until this project.  I've got so many kids in the program that Monday is K/1, Tuesday 2/3 and Wednesday 4/5.  The Wednesday group is the oldest, and the smallest group in numbers, so I decided to go for it and seriously hand build.  And boy am I glad we did!!!  Just look below at our delightful cakes and pie treats!!


 In fact my sample is nothing compared to their delightful creations!  I've got Mailey's at home on a beautiful vintage milk glass cake stand.  I love it.


Jewelry Making with Jen

I'd almost forgotten to post some photos from our Art and Soul Classes!  tsk...tsk..indeed!   So let me say that originally I was attending this retreat alone and was taking a 2-day workshop with my dear friend Jen Crossley and teaching my one day painting class.  Jen and I met at Art and Soul Portland in October when we took a night class together with enameling Jean.  Jen had me at "hello".  You see, she's Australian.  Yep.  I could eat her accent up with a silver tea spoon.  She's uber talented with the jewelry making too, so I was ALL set to take her class and build some mad new jewelry skills myself. 

But then the world turned upside down at home and I decided to take Mailey with me.  A huge risk, since these retreats are geared toward women folk trying to escape children, husbands and other worldly things.  But me being me decided to just do it (I didn't really tell anyone I was doing this prior).  I emailed Glenny and said I needed to change my classes up a bit and then showed up with a cute little "helper" named Mailey.  Thursday night Mailey and I walked around and found Jen who was immediately drawn to my wee one.  So I asked, "Hey Jen, could Mailey and I take your night class tomorrow?  She's wicked with her hands....even a blow torch?"  "Sure" (in a fabulous accent mind you!)  And she gave Mailey a little clip Koala bear and candy treat.  And that's how it ALL started.  

After teaching all day, Friday night we appeared with no tools and a load of anticipation of what we were to make!  Mailey was up when demonstrations were made, asked no questions and just went to work.  She was a dream student.  I was the nerd running around wondering what I was supposed to be doing!  Of course this had a little something to do with my socialization issue....haha...

She had the bench pin attached to the table and was filing her metal before I'd even opened my goodie bag.  And where I had to wipe off my stamped image to etch several times Mailey had hers ready and in the etchant in no time.  We were making a little book necklace BTW.  I did have to tear all the paper, but mostly because at this point in the night Mailey was socializing.
I was in awe of her little spirit absorbing it all.  And when we were the LAST students to leave with our books I couldn't have been more tickled with what we'd made and how poised she had been throughout the class.  Those of you that really know Mailey, I AM NOT fibbing at all on this story.  It was freaky the way people were drawn to her.  How she could just carry on conversations with adults.  I decided she was determined to act all grown up because she was the only one under the age of like 18 there and she sure didn't want to look foolish herself.  So she rose to the occasion peeps.  She made me so proud!!!
So here we are with dear Jen below....whom I adore...adore...adore.  And after walking around Saturday and Sunday am kicking my backside for removing myself from her class.  Because they made the most amazing stuff.  New stuff I'd never seen before.  And honestly I think Mailey could have handled it.  And imagine the skill set she'd have a age 10!!  No telling where she'd be at 18 with that as a base.  Oh well, next time no doubt we'll be in her classes!
Here's a close-up of the necklaces.  We etched the metal book spine, hammered its' shape, attached all the pages with the rivets and topped it with a copper mesh sheet and a vintage tin type attached with wire.  Mailey carefully chose the top hat boy where I chose the two boys.  I intend to attach a little bubble gum  gun charm to mine.  It just says that to me....

This was just ONE class.  We ended up taking 3.  Whew on the pocketbook.   I'd have paid a million bucks for the joy it brought us though.  More on that later.  For now I hope you enjoyed a bit of our first experience in the classroom as Mother/daughter.  


Today is My Birthday

Yep folks.  Today is my birthday!!  My 40th Birthday actually.  Very exciting, right?  A right of passage for many...a mile marker...a sign that we are half-way there....a sign it's time to grow up.  Nah...

So what are my BIG plans?  Today I'll be working.  Lunch brought by special peeps, maybe dinner out.   Laying low today.  Big plans are later.  Having your birthday fall on a Monday of all things kind of limits the partying. 

In case you haven't noticed on my side bar yet, I AM having a big cyber party in my new blog.  Uh, yeah.  NEW BLOG!!!!  It's called 52 Canvases in My 40th Year.  I know.  It's super exciting!!!  So head on over there and read ALL about it.  I am just beaming at the thoughts of the project and the end results.  Today is day 1, week 1 and canvas 1.  This is going to be good.


Puffy Heart

So many things to puffy heart about the image above.
1.   The round canvas I found is going to be a new favorite for many nesty paintings. 
2.   I love that I decided to keep my encaustic paints.  When we were moving I considered packing them up and giving them away, but something nudged inside me heart and said come back to this medium.  Oh so, so glad I did. 
3.  Lastly and most importantly, I'm so glad I gave into the studio last night.  Friday nights are usually spent chilling on the couch with a beer and asleep by 9:00PM (after getting Mailey to Girl Scouts and back and William to baseball practice and back that is).  I am pooped Fridays.  But for some reason when I got home from Decatur dropping off paintings at the new gallery, Wild Oats and Billy Goats, I decided to hop downstairs and unpack the suitcases from the trip before taking William to practice.  And then I got excited about a new etching technique from the jewelry class so I tried  that (which worked!).  And then I opened the boxes of new canvases for upcoming shows and found the round canvas and  thought to myself, hey let's try encaustic on this and the next thing you know it was 11PM.  Wow.  I finished 3 and started more....it was like a frenzy in the studio I tell ya!  It has been three weeks since I last painted.  And that folks, that is 3 too long.  No wonder I was beginning to feel trapped and grumpy!

So today we are off to a baseball tournament, but I have my sketchbook in hand to work on some jewelry ideas and painting compositions.  In about 4 weeks I have another outdoor show.  It's going to be tough to get enough work to fill the tent.  But this time I am thinking quantity may not be as important as the quality.  Sound good to you?


Yard Art

Every once-in-awhile I get an idea up my sleeve that literally take years to come full circle.  And these super fun butterflies are such an example.  Yep.  It was probably 2 years ago that I found the wire yard stakes at IKEA for a mere $1.99 for 2.  I snatched them up in bulk of course.  This habit is why at the old house we had 2 attic storage areas, three storage units and a 2-car garage full of  I gotta have it because one day I might need it and since I am buying it I may as well buy it in bulk junk right now.  Whew!

So onto the making.  While in a favorite antique mall in Opelika, Alabama (yes, the famous Angel's) I found the wooden spools and immediately thought, "butterfly bodies!!!!!!".  Of course I bought them in bulk.  And of all things, I bought just the right amount (that would be 24).  I had a pile of beautiful vintage buttons that became the over sized goofy eyes.  They are wired together with some icky black wire I bought (in bulk) at Lowe's.  It's way too greasy dingy for jewelry making.  Although when I bought it I thought woohoo me....cheap wire in BULK.  I know.  There may be an issue I need to work through.  But the wire is perfect for outside yard stakes!  The antennas are another wire I purchased....

Some got painted bodies and others I left plain.  Overall I just can not help but smile ginormous at their cuteness!!!

Where are these cute yard stakes headed?  On over to Alabama....to the Naked Art Gallery Yard Art show.  Every year Vero asks me to participate and I always struggle with an idea.  I don't know why.   Do you have mental blocks when it comes to certain creative adventures?  Well, yard art is one of my blocks.  But not this year!  Not to mention very excited about finally using the metal wings and spindles!!


Teaching at Art and Soul

I taught one painting class at Art and Soul on Friday called, "The American Still Life".  It was a-m-a-z-i-n-g....really.  Truly.  Like puffy heart awesome.  I want to go back....now.

So, "the American Still Life".... I called it that because as a general rule my own personal work is like a giant still life painting of all things American.  I don't know if you realize this or not, but 90% of the images used in my paintings that are more "realistic" in nature have been photographed by moi.  I in fact set up a "still life" with a truck, camper, bike, or boat.  It's fun.  It's like I lay the composition out through the viewfinder on my Canon.  So this was the background to the class and the description on the website.   Anyhoo, back to the class which was a-m-a-z-i-n-g.  Seriously.  First of all, by the time I got to the room at like 8:30 half the class was in the room and ready to go!  I LOVE that!!  I'd also met a few registering that were grinning from ear to ear ready to start the day.  So how could it possibly had gone bad with that much happy energy in the room?
Since the class was full I'd already prepared the wood with black primer.  Which I think shocked a few classmates, well actually most of the class.  I talked about this and that, and am pretty sure I got teary because that's what I do when I talk about my work.  And let me just address that for a minute. Because I felt like a total goober as I was half talking and crying.   But then later that night I thought this, if I didn't cry when I talked about my work then ya know what, I shouldn't be doing it!  Now I know not all are blubbery criers, but honestly if creating your art doesn't make you "hear the angels singing" or get a little emotional when discussing it, then it's just not your thing.  Move on.  Find the one that moves you to tears.  And makes you hear the angels.  
Oh look...who's that darling artist below?  She's painting a photo I took of a toy camper in the small collection we have here at the Horne house.
I'd asked everyone to bring an American image that had meaning to them in photocopy form.  But I had also taken my personal files and printed them for use in the class.  I was tickled to see all the images they chose to bring and use!  Look at the vintage car below!!  We worked through a painting just as I do.  First tracing the image with white transfer paper.  Yes, trace.  Again, remember I am usually the one taking the photo or a friend has sent me an image to paint...so from start to finish it is an original piece.  Stop gasping.  And seriously, why re-invent the wheel?  After all the tracing was done I talked about paint, the palette choices out there and the style of my brushstroke.   I can't write it all down...spoiler alert for anyone wanting to take the next class!
Speaking of palette, Sarah here has the most amazing gooey yummy palette I've ever seen!!  And geesh she could paint.  And then I googled her.  See...good thing I didn't know about her wicked good skills before she got there or else I'd have been intimidated!  Cool fact, we were both in Somerset Home a few issues back!
 Recognize the truck below?  That's dear Ernestine.  She's my peep Laura's old truck. 
And the camper?  Well, they are always fun to take photos of on the side of the road.  One day I'll have my own to pose.
The day went by like a dream.  Everyone worked through their angst of the black background, especially when the "magic tool" was used and the final step was taken.  Oh, and I should also add that they each got a salvage wood frame, 16x20 to gently place their completed paintings into!  Yep.  I am thinking they all left feeling like the rock stars.  Most definitely.  Wouldn't you if you had this to show off for a days' work? AMAZING JOB LADIES!!!! 

I can not thank my classmates enough.  You all made the day special in so many ways.  I am beyond proud of you all!!  And as far as the entire weekend goes, well you'll have to wait and see.  We ended up taking 3 classes!!!!   It was the best Art and Soul I've been to yet.

And in case you are wondering, Mailey was like this little crazy charismatic person the entire trip.  I've got a whole blog post dedicated to it coming up later in the week.  I just wanted you to know in case you were wondering how that fared (she's not always easy peasy or pleasant).  Let's just say she'll be teaching at events like this before long....I am not fibbing. 

See you VERY soon.  I've got so much more to share about the retreat.  Wooohooo Art and Soul!!
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