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,