Sunday, December 30, 2018

a little inspiration in the form of an elf

sweetie took a photo of our granddaughter on christmas morning that inspired me enough that I jumped at it and pulled out one of my new gift canvasses and got to sketching;

my sweet elf inspiration

and the start of my sketch;

there is more to do before I'm totally happy with it, but that will come with paint and time.  the impish grin isn't quite yet there, and the eyes are wonky, but I'm satisfied enough that if it looks close to this when complete I'll be good.  I'm thrilled that my muse came from California this year.  THATS where she was hiding!

right now my sweetie is cleaning up all the decorations and I will be bringing up my easel and paints to work with in warmth until the spring thaw.


we've been really busy with my sons family visiting.  we took the twins and one of our boys (not their dad) to the Boston science museum yesterday...

 ...and on New Years day we will be having folks over for a game day.  tradition to have a low-key movie marathon with hubby and myself on New Years day came out of my depression because we didn't have our kids around.  they then started coming to watch the movies with us.  with the California crew coming, though, it seemed wrong to be watching a screen all day instead of visiting.  since we always gift the whole family a game or two for christmas we decided to do a game day with them last year when they were over.  it will be tradition to do so when the out-of-towners are here, with a movie marathon if they are not in town that year.  a good compromise.

as soon as things settle down and my class starts up I know I will be getting my creative juices flowing again.  I just needed a little elf (and some great kids all giving me a push with canvasses under the tree) to get up and going again.

until later,

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

thinking ahead...

I hope you all had a good holiday season.  we had a houseful on christmas morning, so I was busy in the kitchen making treats for 3 days beforehand because I had been stalling the dreaded tasks.  it was too much for me to do in that short amount of time, so in the future I need to remember to not let the depression win.  it just makes the anxieties worse in the long run when I need to hurry to make all the goodies.

 Lucy pup had to get a kiss

back, l-r: daughter-in-law, son #2, daughter, son-in-law, hubby in back bugging s-i-l, son #3, son #5
front, l-r; granddaughter, me holding Lucy, grandson, momma, aunt
son #4 is in photo above, but taking this photo

my son (#2) and his family from California were in the area doing the family rounds and it's been wonderful reconnecting with them.  it will be hard to see them off again in a few days, but we still have a bit of time to get visits with them.

the kids all gave me packs of canvasses this year!  in total I received a little over 70 canvasses of different sizes and a nice sketchbook to add to my arting adventure!  I think there is a general consensus and push for me to get back to work in the studio and just let the art happen, however it wants to come out.  it's hard for me to work this time of year, as the house is always very chilly and the studio especially, even with the little heater going.  I think some of my materials will be brought upstairs into the house for a while, unfortunately.  it's the only way for me to get back at it without losing some toes to the cold.

that pile beside me?  mostly canvas packs!

one goal I have this year is to complete (or at least work on) most of my classes in lets face it 2019.  it sounds like an easy goal, but for some reason I have a hard time feeling like I can complete one class in a week, so they pile up, I get frustrated, and my 'all or nothing' perfectionism comes forward.  I have many classes from last year that I'd love to explore, but I cant miss the classes coming up this year, so they wait.  (I guess I have a bad case of FOMO as well).  I have a day planner I would like to get again this year that focuses on goals and has you decide on one goal per month.  I think (assuming I'm able to buy it again this year) I will make my big goal of the year my artwork, with LFI as my main goal, with smaller, but still important goals as side quests.  it will be good to make plans again and not just stew in my own juices like I've been doing for the better part of the year.

a couple gifts we gave this year were my totes.  we gave my mother-in-law "Chihuahua Love", and my niece received my "Play Time" elephant.  it was great to see my art being used again, and they look so beautiful enlarged with all the detail, layers, and textures on the large, sturdy canvas bags!  seeing them gave me a thrill I wish to have again.  I'd love to get back to making the mini paintings as well.  those were fun to do, and were a big hit.  tiny little treasures that are affordable even for people like me.

there is a little store nearby that is full of handmade items from artisans in the area.  the little store has many, many artists displaying their work and I've been thinking of adding my name to the roster.    my sister-in-law has some of her wood items in it from her business and she told me about the prospect.  I'd display my minis and some larger but still small paintings, maybe add a few totes, stickers and cards to the mix to show what my online store sells.  people would have to pay a little extra to leave with item in hand instead of waiting for shipment since we would have to pay for these items and the shipping.  we would need to make up the difference to take home a little money.

just some things I have to think about.  is it worth it for me to buy a few designs on totes to leave at the store?  would people pay more for a tote if it was there to purchase instead of waiting for shipping?  would being able to touch one of my totes at the shop bring more customers to my online store, creating more sales there?  I think it may be worth it to have a few there for those reasons.

wishing you a blessed holiday season, 
waiting for the sunlights' return, 
enticing a prosperous new year full of joy and peace for all!

until later, Jenny

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

not much art lately, what I've been up to, and freebies I've found

hi there.  just touching base.

I've been in a stall with my art since last I've posted.  what I've posted is what I've created with paint.  last entry in early September with a background and sketch of grandma and me for a class that I never finished, and some sketches hoping for a comeback of some creating.  not so good.  not so good.

I had been very busy organizing my sweeties 50th birthday bash that I held on November 3rd (a full month and a half before his actual birthday, hehehe).  that took a ton of creative, mental and physical energy out of me!  I was working on this 2-fold event for him for 5 months, and keeping something this huge from him was wearing me down.  I tell him everything, and the stress and worry with no outlet and not getting comfort from my rock was a bit more than I could take.  I was SO ready for it to be over and done with, but was getting pretty creative with finding lies at the drop of a hat.

the first surprise that got sweetie out of the house that morning so I could get the hall ready was one of our kids faking a car issue an hour away that needed his "help".  in actuality it was the bunch of them getting together to play laser tag.

here are some photos of things I worked on to decorate the hall (I deleted my photos of works in progress, concerned he might find them);

50 years of memories collage.  I cut out the numbers out of foam board and collaged the photos onto them, hot glued thin wood strips to the back of the collages to stabilize them, covered a plywood board in white fabric and stuck on the sticker letters to say 'years of memories'.  my sister in law attached the collage to the board for me at the venue while I worked on getting the rest of the details delegated and finished what I could.

I had many old photos of him over his many, many years, so made two more collages on foam boards.  one of them wasn't photographed.

I had 50 quartz crystals for party favors

a dr. Seuss book as a guest book

candy, quotes and photo centerpieces

"nothing better than an old nerd"

other candy/quotes;
- skittles; "marks 40's skittles away"
-chocorocks; "50 rocks!"
- smarties; "mr. smarty is 50"
- fun sized halloween candy; "marks humor is fun sized in a big way"
- jellybeans; "mark is full of beans"
- starburst; "happy 50th burst-day"
- hersheys kisses; "mark kisses his 40's goodbye"
- peanut m&ms; "celebrate the nutty guy"
- milk duds; "this dude is no dud"

we had a dessert table with cupcakes and a sundae bar which was a huge hit with about 30 toppings to choose from

and a "pin the 'stache on mark" game

everyone had a great time!  sweetie was surprised twice in one day and will never trust me again.  the only bummer was I was so stressed and swamped with too much to do and not enough time that I didn't eat from 5 am until 5 pm and by then I was in the middle of a hypoglycemic crash and didn't realize it.  I went to the car to rest, as my head was pounding and felt nauseas, and thats when I realized it was going to end badly if I didn't get back inside and find some protein.  I nibbled on a meatball and was able to enjoy a bit of the rest of the evening.  we had a lot of help cleaning up, thank goodness, and then the kids all came back to chat about the laser tag event and how we 'got him good'.  and I learned my lesson to never plan something that big as a surprise and by myself!  and to eat, no matter how stressed for time I am!

shortly after this event I was planning for a small working vacation for hubby that he was bringing me along on, just to get me out of the house.  he had a 3 day class to go to in Austin texas, and decided to drive there with me and Lucy pup, as he knew with the christmas season upon me I would not be good with him away.  I started my list making for the 30 hour drive with pup in the car, and it all went without any issues (except for boredom and travel weariness from driving 12+ hours each of the 2 days there and back).  our pup, who hates the car, was a trooper!  she had anxiety meds in her, and needed them (we tried without), but was still 'with us' and conscious thru the drive.  she amazed us with how well behaved she was!

pit stop somewhere on the drive home

we left for Austin from Massachusetts Saturday December 1st, at 3am and travelled two days, stopping only to gas up, pee breaks, and over night sleep.  we had Monday 'off' (sweetie was still on call, though) to rest and get food for me for the few days at the hotel.  we found a cool 'island' that day that is an off leash dog area, and Lucy enjoyed herself through allergy issues and anxiety meds.  

Jerrys artarama was on the other side of the highway from the hotel, but I was too tired the one time we had free for me to explore it (alone, with mark in the van with Lucy.  traveling with a dog is HARD!)

sweetie had class Tuesday-thursday, and pup and I rested at the hotel.  it's a big city and I dont drive in our small town, so was fine staying and recovering, even though it felt strange being in Austin and not doing any sightseeing!  we were up at 3am leaving for home on Friday, December 7th.  the ride home was just exhausting, we were all ready to just be home already!

and, now we're home and it's cold.  I'm itching to do some art but it's way too cold in the studio, even if I were to have the heat going.  I'm also in the christmas depression, even while anticipating my son from California and his family visiting for the holidays.  I'm trying to decorate the halls with boughs of holly and all that jazz, but I'm sad and anxious and cold.  

so, in the spirit of wanting to art, and in between my lets face it 2018 class and 2019 class (which begins January 7th!) I've been watching some free art videos.  

- Katrina koltes has several free tutorials on her site
- shel c does paper collage on youtube, I like this one of a pup
- anything by flora bowley
- Michelle kral has this intuitive mixed media piece I love
- Betty krause has many mixed media videos on youtube

hopefully I'll be able to get back to painting/drawing soon.  I bet I'll be bringing my mess upstairs to the main house shortly after the holidays.  if not, it could be a very long spell without any creativity for me!

in a much warmer texas

until later,

Monday, September 10, 2018

class work with vintage photo, and sketches to date

a new-to-me artist has a style I love and has recently opened a class called Vintage Hearts.  her name is ce duff, and she layers her canvasses with paper and different mediums to create lively portraits, but she utilizes her family's vintage photographs as her reference photos, so she winds up with lovely heirlooms.

as soon as I saw she had a class, I had to jump on the early bird price.  I watched the series of videos for the first lesson and was immediately inspired to find a photo I loved out of my meager stash of old family photos.

I found this one of my dad, sister, grandmother and I at ocean city, MD, and knew I wanted to crop the iconic image of grandma in her scarf to protect her hairdo.

when cropping, it became a blurry mess with no real detail for me to follow but I wanted to depict this sweet moment between grandmother and grandchild.

I created my background and sketched my subjects as well as I could with the information I was given 

and then I hit a little wall of weekend plans and a health hiccup.  but I've been still sketching, so theres that!  you saw my first sketch of the afghan girl, here are the rest so far;

this was a loose single-line sketch, barely looking at the page

so, there has been artistic movement, and for that I am extremely grateful!  I cant wait to get back to the painting of my grandmother, hopefully I can get the paint to work it's magic so I feel it represents her a bit better.

until later,

Sunday, September 2, 2018

slight progress

I have not done any creative work for about 4 months now, but I can feel some lifting in the creative mood at times!  a couple of days ago I found myself on looking at copyright free images to hopefully bring the muse out from hiding.  that was the moment it seemed I might be trying to feel the urge to create.  it was a little step, but for me it made me tear up.

I've been dreading picking up the pencil and paintbrush again.  thinking that I might have lost the talent I have acquired in the last few years.  that I would have to struggle to gain any ground again.  I became more depressed thinking that I might not get it back.  it might have been a fluke that I had been able to paint something that resembled what I was going for.  I had been circling the drain for too long, and I couldn't find my way out of danger.

going online to even look at reference photos was a minute of celebration for my creative urges!  I couldn't say I was back, but I was tip-toeing my way there.

and, today, the urge struck!  I got out my journal and pencil and sketched out 'the afghan girl', which is a favorite subject of mine.  this was a quick, loose sketch, with my hand at the end of the pencil to make it even more loose.  my sweetie even noticed the new pencil hold.  and it worked!  it was a fun way to put feeling into the paper.

it's not perfect.  thats not what I was after.  I needed to play with it, to not care about the outcome but to feel the creative juices flowing in me again.  to see where I stood.

did I lose anything while in my artistic deep freeze?  I lost 4 months of flow.  I lost some self esteem in the moment.  but talent?  no, I didn't lose my talent.  it's still there.  I dont have to worry.

I might not get out the brushes and canvas tomorrow, but I am yet another step toward that jumping in point.  I put my toe in, and it felt good!

we'll see how this season goes.  September is when I normally go downhill, only to come back up when spring lengthens the daylight again.  this year, what is usually a short depression in June/July turned into this huge dark scary storm.  I'm hoping that this years SAD depression will be slight, but I'm still roughing it.  it's still scary at times.  the depression and anxiety get to be this living breathing being that sits beside me on the couch with my pup.

today I beat it!

( this post is not perfect, either.  I'm being loose with my writing, too, I guess.  I'm getting it out of my head, and thats good, so I'll leave it be.  'done, not perfect'.)

until later,

Monday, July 23, 2018

in the void

it's been TWO MONTHS since I've picked up a brush and been creative.  a very long two months of an inner blank-ness that has been threatening to overcome my life.  it's been worrisome.  fearing for my sanity and yes, my life at times, but also feeling like I know myself and my beliefs enough to not fear my harming myself.  although, one can never really know when it comes to mental illness how far it can go, how bad it can get, until you are staring it in the eye.  coming face to face with my inner demon is nothing I really want to get to, so thats where my fear comes in.

I have survived a milestone anniversary of the death of my oldest son, winter-orion, who drown 20 years ago with his friend, christopher.

my brain doesn't want to process the number of years

 i am now coming to the 5 year anniversary of my sweet daddy.  July is a rough month, guys!  but, I suffer from instability the rest of the year as well.  I've always been unstable, this isn't new, it's just 'enhanced instability' with these losses.  even though I believe in the afterlife, and believe their energies are around me, helping me, I am still human and grieve the physical loss of arms to hold me and voices to comfort me and give me their advice and views of their perceptions of the world.  I'm forgetting the sound of winters voice, and that kills me.

I've been going easy on myself and my goals and to-do lists the last two months, just trying to get thru each day as best I can.  self care can be difficult.  and, I'm pretty unhappy that I'm not an artist that can fling paint thru their painful periods.  how prolific would I be if I were able to paint my pain?!  I've been in the studio a couple of times with no goal, just to find something, or to close a window, and am saddened by the state of things.  the floor is unswept, cobwebs are forming, paints are laying in wait...

I've been making it a goal to be in the studio to tidy for a couple of weeks now, and just not being able to get to it.  it's just too much with my low energy.

I may be anxious that the muse has fled.  she's a fickle one, and she may have had enough of my unwillingness to work with her thru my mud.  I fear the work I'll have to do.  I'm tired, with my depression, and if I pick up a brush or a pencil I'd want it to flow, to be easy, and I know I'm going to have to work to get back to the point I was at with my art.  I'll have to train my hand again, and I dont have the energy right now.

the idea to start an art journal;  painty and drippy, and without judgement, just getting it out, just doing *something* in order to get back into it.  I won't just jump back into canvas work, as the perfectionist in me will be disappointed.  an art journal will be good, too, since I've not been writing out my feelings thru this desert period.  incorporating words with images will be beneficial to my healing... if I can just DO it!

this post is an attempt.  it was my 'just one thing' that I was able to do today.  hopefully it's the beginning of my baby steps back into living.  it's me touching my toe to the ocean to see if the water is ok.

hopefully I'll be splashing around soon, but if I go running back to the sand to bury my feet, thats ok too.  I'll keep trying.

until later,

Monday, May 21, 2018

finding joy

I've been in the process with this newest painting on paper for a bit, now.  her name is "Finding Joy", and she's been hiding from me.  today I finished her, go me!  *edit- now that I've brought her upstairs, I see more that needs to be done

I'm very proud of a lot of parts of her.  her eyes pop.  her lips were a struggle, but I came out victorious.  her hair is fun.  and the bubbles... well, I didn't think they'd come out nearly as well as they did.  I love the bright pink I added in other places to tie in her hair color.  it really livens up the piece.

until later,

Monday, May 14, 2018

another painting on paper

last year on mothers day I was down and created flowers.  this year I was too weepy to move off the couch.  today I pulled myself up enough to go to the studio to work on my feelings.  I had a reference photo I wanted to work with, but the feeling wasn't right, so I chose a moodier pose and started.

 two hours in and letting her dry

"she came from the fire"
still in progress

she wears her heart on her sleeve; has walked thru hell, been tampered with, and still cares deeply for others.  but now she tries to protect her tender soul.  the cracks in her heart are mended with gold and make her who she is.  and she is more beautiful because she has loved and been hurt deeply.

working with her has made my heart a little lighter.  she is dark and moody, and thats what needed to be let out of my soul, even for a little while.

until later,

Thursday, May 10, 2018

some more work

I've been enjoying painting large on paper since my class last week.  I've worked on 3 more gals, to create a bit of a collection.

my class project
"The Dancer"

"Her Strength" 

"An Inner Thunder"

"Looking Deeper"

you can tell these women all have their stories to bear.  you can ask for them to tell you of their life;  witness them, fully.  the depth and layering you can see in person is a joyous thing for me!  you just cant see it all in a photo, on a screen.

I plan on making more.  so many more.

until later,

Thursday, May 3, 2018

class work

I did a class in Around the World Through Art today.  this is week 2 and we are in Spain with the artist Emma petitt!

I was immediately attracted to Emmas work, as it reminds me of my own style.  check out her incredible work!  she creates layers in acrylic with bold colors and textures with pencils and other tools, and mostly paints females.  her class had us painting a flamenco dancers face in wonderful shades.

I chose to look at other royalty free images of dancers and found this beautiful photo that I chose to crop so her face was largely the only thing in frame.  I wanted part of her hand in there as well.

photo by mojpe on pixabay

I didn't get any photos early on in my process, but dove right in with the juicy painting!

in process

 The Dance

I'm happy she came out the way she did.  in this class we used a bigger brush than I'm used to, to create a looser feel.  I let go of my expectations, so am thrilled to get this result.  I was hesitant at first, but I told myself "you've done this before, you don't need to go back over the video step by step, dive in!".  I was second guessing myself, not giving it a chance to come naturally.  as soon as I gave myself permission to be an artist in my own way, it came to me.

I love how soft her face is.  I'm glad I put yellow in the red background to soften that up a bit, too.  and I'm glad I didn't give up on her hand and added a pinky.

I need to buy better paper!  this was regular watercolor paper and it warped with the juiciness and layers, and a layer of paper came off when I took off the painters tape.  it's ok, I want to keep this one, but if I had wanted to sell it I would have been upset!  live and learn.

until later,

Sunday, April 29, 2018

new art in the stores

hi there.  we put up three new paintings in the stores for the world to see.  as always, click on the link below the photo to see which items are available for each painting.  just scroll down the page.

in society6

Busy One

Queen Bee

Red Flowers in Her Hair



drawstring bag

hardcover journal


travel mug

spiral notebook

pretty bees and flowers to brighten up your house for spring!

until later,