Clementine the Bunny

Every once-in-awhile I get an itching to create something 3-D.  I love working with different clays.  And although I have access to a great kiln, I prefer working with paper clay or modeling clay.  I think because the armature you don't have to worry about so much with air dry clays.  For instance, the armature for this bunny was Styrofoam balls, aluminum foil, wire and toothpicks.  Most likely not materials that need to enter a kiln. 
I created Clementine one night while watching TV.  After constructing the armature and making sure she'd sit properly without additional base support, I began covering her with my new favorite clay.  It's called "Model Air" by Polyform.  It comes in 2.2lb packs at Michael's for I think $7.99.  And if used right can go a very long way.  This is the same material we used at art camp on the owl sculptures.  I prefer it over the DAS paper clay because it has a smoother texture and doesn't crumble as easy as the paper clay products do.  And it dries super fast.  She was dry in 1 day.  And only one crack issue around her ear joint.  I just had to remember to flip her over so the bottom would dry.
I will say in painting little sculptures like this I see why Doreen Kassel (the lady I took a Sculptey Clay class from) uses oil based paints.  The acrylic kept coming off in places when I'd touch it until totally dry.  Even now dry, it tends to flake off in places.  I bet if I sealed it with clear it'd be fine.  Also if I used Doreen's technique she'd look a little more vintage and not so much like a plastic toy.  Maybe I'll slap some stain on her.  Hmmm....  the ideas are bountiful!  Will I be making some more?  Not sure there's a market for orange bunny figurines just yet.  But she was super fun to make and got my hands making something.  And that's what matters these days for my creative soul


An Opportunity

Here it is.  My opportunity to show a lovely lady and her creative team who I am as an artist.  I followed the directions, interpreted the theme, and gave it one of my best little images possible.  Now I have to just wait.  She'll be posting the short list on August 1st on her blog.  Funny, this totally reminds me of show choir tryouts.  Mr. Ushery always posted the names on his door a few days after tryouts.  We'd have our tummies in knots waiting to know if we were going to get to actually wear the black velvet with blue crushed ice top and chiffon bottomed dress.  (I should so find a photo of this and show you. )  And just like then, even though I was one of the best female singers and dancers in the school I still worried my name wouldn't be on the list.

There is a heck of a lot of talent out there in the same competition.  It feels weird competing with my art.  I'm thinking this is why I had such a melt down last week.  The idea of not getting picked put me over the edge.  I've always made the team you see.  Always been elected president.  Always made A's.  Always been accepted to juried shows.  Always.....always can sometimes be a bad thing.  Because you don't know how to handle a no.  With my confidence a tad on the low side combined with the pressure of competing with something I am beyond passionate about sent me into a good old fashioned tissy.  But now it's done.  Can't take what I made back.  I think the interpretation of a vintage playground is sweet.  And if anything, it got me back into the studio and back to making.  Which is always a good thing.


Keeping Confidence

I'm not really sure how to start this post off.  As this is uncharted territory.  Admitting to something that I don't want to admit, because it shows I am weak.  But maybe by sharing it, you can relate.  I have chosen this path I am on.  Me.  Myself.  And I.  No one has been more a part of this creative journey than myself.  I've walked into this journey with confidence.  At age 18 I wandered into the Dean's office at Auburn University and said, "I want to be an art major".  Without one art class under my belt ever, and without a beautiful portfolio of images to share.    That's why last summer I said, "I'm going to run a half marathon" when I'd never run over 3 miles in my life.  I like lofty goals and usually this confidence I have deep within guides me to a successful finish.

This is how I've always rolled.  A loner by choice really.  I love being alone, independent and capable.  Sure, there have been times when I've lost the mojo.  But always there seems to be another door just waiting to be opened.  I have chosen this life.
Two years ago as you know I started teaching full-time.  I've taught for 16 years, but not many of those are full-time positions.  I am now teaching Monday-Friday all day, after school, adult workshops in my home, Art and Soul Workshops across the United States, Southern Circle Retreats and more.  It's a lot of teaching.  And I love it.   I enjoy sharing my gift.  As a general rule everyone leaves my class feeling confident and pleased with their paintings.

The painting above can't say it better...this is where my story of a struggle begins.  You see I have a heart that wants to please.  A heart that wants to share, needs to share and loves to share.  But after 2 years of teaching and sharing and giving others the confidence they need to move forward somehow along this path I appear to have lost mine.  It's like my well has run dry.  I'm just plain old tired.

And this folks, is how I know this to be true.  You see, I entered this "thing" (I have to call it this because I don't want to share at this time what the thing is, but it is big.  Do I have a chance to win?  Just as much a chance as anyone else.  That's my glass half full attitude.)  I entered this thing without hesitation and with joy actually.  I was excited.  And then the first assignment came over.   I read it, and thought I can do this.  And then I thought about it too much.  And then I got upset when I saw another artist's sketches floating with some of my ideas in them (she was not by any means copying me, we just had the same ideas as many artists do since there are no new ideas to be had just new versions of ideas.)  And then I thought about it some more.  And looked at all the computer generated art being made these days.  I have no computer art skills.  Ask me to make a PDF and I'd say "You want me to make you a peanut dough fluff what?".   I can photo my art perfectly, edit and make it the right resolution.  But I can not take my art, put it in the computer and manipulate it into let's say a bolt of fabric.  I've no training in this area.  So all this....thinking....and computer crap put me over the edge.  To be completely honest with myself it's not the kind of artist I want to be either.   At this point I jumped head first off the high dive.  And haven't emerged from the waters yet.

You see, just like everyone else out there I have struggles.  I just hadn't thought about how all my sharing and teaching was really affecting me and my own art.  I have to admit this entire summer and well really....since I finished the 52 canvases project I've not painted anything.  Sure, I did the bike for over my sofa (which actually sold so now I've got to paint another one) and I started another big one.  But in actuality I've not sat in my studio and created in a very, very long time.  I just haven't felt like it.  Seriously.   I've lost my confidence.

It's funny, as I've been writing this post and looking for images to use I am amazed at the amount of art I have in this Dell computer.  I don't even remember painting this bike above.  But dang I love it.  And the words are very true on it.  I am spirited.  And eventually I'll get back to myself.  The pattern is emerging.  I've been sketching again.  Taking it everywhere I go actually.  Usually this is how my creative confidence starts.  I draw, draw, draw....clean out the studio....then gather supplies.....then paint.  So perhaps this is just the start. 

I like sharing these things with you here.  More than anything this blog is my personal recollection of living a life as an artist.  It helps me to look back and see a pattern of more confidence and less confidence.  It helps me to see where and perhaps even when the weakness crept in.  I just haven't had this kind of struggle in a long time.  I don't really like this side of me.
So, did I decide to submit?  I'll let you know later. The deadline is tomorrow.  I've got my submission ready, it's just a leap of faith that no matter the outcome I am confident in what I made.


Summer Art Camp 2013

I am totally about to photo bomb this post and just let the photos do all the talking.  Enjoy!!  I hope to see many of these kiddos back next summer.  Art Camp 2014!

OK... yes that's is mine on the right and her BFF Grace on the left.  I had to put this in first.  Just 'cause they are so pretty and very talented artists.

So in case you are wondering, the camp was for kids entering K-6th grade.  It was a mix of all ages, but more older than younger.  We also made these really cute folksy fish but they kept uploading sideways and I'm not in the mood to figure out why.  haha  We met Monday-Wednesday 10-2 and Thursday 10-1 with an Art Show reception complete with cake to finish the week off.  Based on the projects completed, I'm thinking it was a great week.  I am in total awe of the clay owls.  Yeah for finding an air dry clay that rocks!  And although one little group of boys were either constantly talking or moving around the room (where do they get that energy???)....it was a talented sweet group of kids I am very glad came and experienced the week with me.

And now.....2 weeks and two days until the real deal starts back.  I know, don't say it!  My kids are ready and secretly I am too.   Tonight I am totally looking forward to my wine, favorite shows ever:  Renovation Addict, Renovation Raiders AND a new Project Runway season.  See you later!


Homemade Reece's Cups

So I showed these yummy treats off on instagram the other day (artsyorange) and several of you asked for the recipe.  I'd share the funny story behind these babies, but it wouldn't be as funny to you.  That sounds mean, but you know when someone is telling you something about a funny situation but you weren't there so the entire time you are thinking, "what the heck are they telling me this stupid story for?"  Yeah.  That's the story.  Bottom line is....after you make them you'll understand why my NOT wanting to share these with strangers on a scrap-booking retreat is a funny story.  Because you won't want to share them with you own husband or children.  Just sayin'

I'm not really sure where this recipe came from.  At some point in my childhood my mother started making the delightful treats that contain 3 full sticks of butter.  I'm sure she has a story, but I don't want to get into a conversation with her about it right the second.  You think I'm long winded?  Apple doesn't fall far from the tree.    Here goes:

Homemade Reece's Cups
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 sticks of melted butter (I buy unsalted.)
3 cups of powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (I choose Jiff because "choosey Mom's choose Jiff."
12oz package of  semi-sweet chocolate chips
another stick of butter (I told you there were 3 sticks right?)

Blend first 4 ingredients with a mixer, then a fork.  Pat into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.  Mix the last two ingredients on the stove in a double boiler. (Disclaimer here, I do not own a double boiler and not sure they even make them still.  I just keep stirring in a pot on the eye until melted.  I also think this recipe is pre-microwave days.  You could just melt it in the microwave.  Don't tell my mother that.)  Pour the melted chocolate over the peanut butter mixture and spread evenly.  Cover and place in the refrigerator.  Wait until chocolate has hardened to cut.  Then go ahead and cut a rather large piece for yourself.  Because you will want to after one bite eat the entire pan in one sitting.  Yep.

Okey dokey.  There ya go.  A family recipe shared from my kitchen to yours.  Next week I might share the famous graham cracker brownies.  First I've got to work off the 5 pounds I've gained from these Reece's Cups.


Telling A Story

I realize lately that I am more and more drawn to instagram.  Do you instagram?  It's like one giant viewfinder.  No words, just photos.  Click...click...click.....You make up the story like you did as a child with the plastic viewfinder.  Well, some tell a tid bit under their photos, but as a general rule, you just get one tiny slice of life.  Of their moment.  Of their story.  I am drawn to the story and the story telling.  With every aspect of my life honestly.  Even the furniture I buy has to tell a story.  It's funny the other day I was in a friend's beautiful home that is very new, shiny and has lots of new shiny beautiful furniture without peely paint, nics and scratches.  It's really pretty in her house.  And smells nice.   When I got home I looked around my house and realized about the only thing under 30 years old were my kids, animals and sofas.  And when it rains it brings out all the old smells from the furniture in my house.  HAHAHA....I love that my furniture even has a story to tell. 

I am a story teller.  By nature. Some say I reveal way too much about myself here and there.  But its my story.  And I like sharing it.  It allows you to connect to me on a deeper level.  It allows you to understand why I create as I do.  It's a rich deep story.  Hopefully it draws you in and makes you want to get to the next chapter.  I think its why you are here.
Ok...onto the photos.  I often say "I'm not going to make this anymore because....."  and then I find treasures like above.  You see, much like buying the furniture in my home, or hearting photos on instagram, my jewelry tells a tiny tale.  I made the above stamped piece years ago.  He's been #12 since about age 6.  I made these discs for all my girlfriends to wear to the games.  Unfortunately as much as I love the 6" button with William's photo on it, I wasn't really in to wearing it.  But this, with its daintiness was just enough for my neck in 100' Georgia heat at the ball field.  I added the brass heart made by my dear friend Laura later.  I wear it to all his games.  Because #12 has my heart always and always.   And one day, maybe I'll let his girlfriend wear the # too.
I made a giant batch of leather cuffs for the Country Living Fair 2011.  I'd made the gentle reminder bracelets for a spell and decided to try the same concept out on leather.  Well, they sold like hot cakes.  With their simple words, ladies were drawn to the magic the words said to them.  Tiny chapters some love to share, some like to forget.  

Then there are the "gentle reminder bracelets".  My favorite to make.  And up until today I'd worn my "artsy mom" since I'd made it.  Rarely even taking it off for about 7 years.  I guess this post was prompted by that bracelet because today I noticed it missing.    Which made me a little emotional.  How stupid, it's just a bracelet.  But to me, it's part of the story.   So it made me sad.  

I suppose there will be new chapters to my story as the years go on.  I'll add new readers and loose some readers along the way.  But hopefully you'll continue to stop by every once in awhile to see how the chapters end.  Of course, if you want just a viewfinders peek, follow me on instagram (artsyorange).  I promise I'm less wordy there.  hehehe...


A Painting in Progress

I thought I'd share a little...I mean rather large painting I finished up last week for my home.

 So now I just have to get it hung properly above this sofa.  It needs a pop of red too.
This is what was above the sofa.  It's a favorite so it'll find a new home somewhere in the house.  But it was just a tad too small for the space.
I've another large painting in the works I'll share with you next week.  Have a great weekend!


Running the Peachtree Road Race

The Peachtree Road Race.  I ran it.  Yep.  For the first time, last week.  I'm not sure why, but this race has always been high on my list of must run before I die.  Kinda like the marathon.  You hear about the race, especially living here in the suburbs of Atlanta.  It seems a bit magical.  And the t-shirt is the revealed upon race completion, which I understand is the biggest deal.  I read up on it a little and found out that the first race was run on July 4th, 1970.  That's before I was born peeps.  110 people gathered at the corner of Peachtree and Roswell and ran the first 6.2 miles event. The event is still every 4th of July in the deepest heat we have here in Georgia.  And it still draws people from all over the world!
This year however, it's been raining a little here in Georgia.  hahaha....understatement right?  In fact, I left my house that morning in the pouring down rain.  I was ready to run no matter what.  But by the time we got up to the start line, it wasn't raining.  And it didn't rain at all the entire race!  So how do you run with 60,000 people?  Well, thanks to modern technology they now have what's called "chip time".  Usually its this little device in your number bib.  When you cross the start line it activates the timer and ends when you cross the finish line.  They also sort you into waves.  So instead of "on your mark, get set, GO!" they have you in packs according to how fast you run.  This year there were 20 waves.  I missed my wave because of the potty line, but somehow caught up to my pack.  Oh, and I should also mention this race is based on a lottery system.  Basically they open registration and you put your name in a hat.  I didn't even try this year not really knowing where we'd be this 4th of July. (It's our first not being a State Representative and having events to attend all day.  I thought we might be at the beach)  A friend from church offered me his number.  So I ran as a 52 year old man named Jon.  I upped the bar for his time next year.  hehehe...And he looks really hot and blond this year in his photos. 
After the race we all piled up into the mud bath, I mean Piedmont Park.  There was a huge stage with music and hospitality tents everywhere.  I was solo, so felt kinda stupid walking around.  So I headed back to Marta and went home.  I found out later that my time was 1:06.  And that was stopping a couple of time to take photos, because I am cheesy like that.  I was tickled with my time!  Next year I won't stop for photos and see how fast I can run it.  This was my 2nd 10K race to run.  I kinda like this distance.  Enough to make you feel it, but not so far that the recovery sucks the life out of you for a few days.

Well....summer is flying by.  I'm taking it very easy on my body.  Healing slowly.  I've more good days than bad now.  The doctor decided that my final diagnosis is just IBS.  Which kinda sucks, but I'm learning to manage it.  The fact that I ran that race in such good time without incident makes feel even stronger.  I'm sleeping well....nesting in the house...making art.....getting my work into new places....and most of all just enjoying my family.    As always, thanks for visiting me here in my journey. 

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