Monday, October 24, 2011

Behind the Mask *Finished*!!

Now that summer is gone and Halloween is nipping at our heels I feel like I'm running out of time. I'm not sure what I am racing against, but I've gone from speed-walking to a sprint.  I think this is the "make-the-most-of-what-is-left-of-2011" stretch before New Years and new resolutions.

I need to remember to take QUALITY time for myself ... watching junk T.V and feeling guilty about it because there are things I want to get done isn't taking time for myself.  Being creative is a great way to take some quality time for myself.

Anyhow, I had scheduled myself for a 12day work-a-thon (on accident) that really didn't allow for much artistic expression. I did what I could when I felt inspired and finally on Friday I was FREE!  Here is how the piece transpired.  

Just in time for Halloween : Behind the Mask

                               I wanted to create a character who while in costume had a story to tell
                               and didn't want to hide behind the wall or the personal mask she had
                               Not sure where the blue hair came from, but I was thinking of the crazy
                               poofs of the 1800's and also had visions of the masquerade party from 
                               Romeo and Juliette. 

                                Originally I imagined a castle, but then when I laid down the teal color I
                                wanted to layer white over it and suddenly I began thinking about the 
                                birch trees we had in our yard while growing up ... so I went with it. 
                                I used to peal the bark, this was like pealing away the mask, showing
                                the many layers that lie beneath. 
                                A couple days later I learned that birch trees are a symbol of renewal
                                among other things, so my subconscious really did lead me in a good
                                Here is the final product. There are bronze colored stamps and blue 
                                stamps that really don't show up well at all via photo, but I love the grungy
                                look it provides.
                                I was afraid the mask would take away from the rest of the picture, but 
                                I don't feel like it does... my eyes seem to roam about which is what I want.
                               A close up of the face shows the "writing stamp" I used. I was 
                               scared to put it on her face, but I used some distressed ink and applied
                               it lightly ... it turned out JUST like I wanted. 
                               A mask, like a cover should never be judged. The words on her being is
                               HER story. 
                               I used that stamp in other places too. :)

This was done on water color paper with water-soluble crayons, acrylics, acrylic dabbers, pearl spray stain, gel pens, black pit pen, stickles, feathers, gems and distressed ink. 

I'm glad its done, but I don't know what I am supposed to do with it ... I don't feel like I'm creating at a "selling" quality. I rarely keep anything I make, but not sure who would want this ... anyone? :)         

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Being Myself = A Creative Journey

As a child I often talked about what I was going to be when I "grew-up".  For a long time the answer was fixed on one thing ... an Artist.  I had little influence in that area outside of the TV.  I knew of two artists; Bob Ross (The Joy of Painting) and Mark Kistler (Secret City) who I followed diligently on PBS.  Mark Kistler taught me perspective and proportion; how to make things look 3-D such as looking at a box on the floor or standing in a room.  Bob Ross ... well he was just magical to watch. His talent radiated from his being and reflected off of the canvas' in front of him. Bob made me want to create and Mark showed me that I could.

As an only child living on a Christmas Tree farm (how many kids can say that?) my world was full of observation and imagination. My days were full of creativity ... it might have been displayed in my art projects, my tap-dance routines or the mini-plays I'd make-up and perform for family. It was freeing and fun and helped to develop who I am.

I was the one who decided what I was capable of and what I wasn't ... I could be or do anything I wanted and I felt proud. That eventually changed and the outside world was let in. I suddenly cared what people thought. I found myself in a vacuum, doubt and rejection flooded all that I had known. 

I remember one day in particular when I had come home from school and showed my mom and grandma a picture I had drawn and I was immediately yelled at. I was accused of lying. But I didn't lie, I drew the picture from my own imagination. My brain created this character that I could visualize and then my brain sent signals to down my arm, into my wrist, through my palm and extended into my fingertips. The signals were fast and precise, circle here, straight line there on and on until the pencil marks mirrored the image in my head, I was really excited ... I was in first grade and my mom and grandma were yelling at me because they thought I traced the picture.  

I was in tears, a call to my teacher was made and confirmed I had indeed drew the picture and had not traced it. They came to me with apologies and wanted to hang my drawing on the refrigerator. It was too late, I was hurt and picture ... I tore it up and threw it away.  As much as I loved what I had drawn it wasn't worth being accused of lying. I don't lie and I don't forget.

It wouldn't be the last time I was forced to prove who I was and what I was capable of. In the 6th grade I began playing the clarinet and I was a natural. My teacher was amazed at how well I was able to play and how I was able to to follow the book and teach myself to read music. I went to my grandparent's house to show them my new instrument. When I began to play my grandma stopped me and said it was a trick. She looked up the horn of my clarinet and then in the case that stood by my feet ... she was looking for a tape-recorder. There was no way that I could possibly be making music, I was after all 12 and a nobody special.

It took until I was 18 and had been sitting 1st chair for 3 years in my high school concert band and was accepted into the school of music to study music performance at the University of Minnesota for some people to finally realize I wasn't just hitting the play button the tape recorder, but that I had talent... for a variety of artistic outlets. 

Music wouldn't be where my career path lead me, but it definitely started the journey. I realized the world would always include those who challenged me and that I would need to solidify who I was if I was to stand against the wind of ridicule and speculation. 

That is a journey I am still on. It took me a long time to find my identity again ... I was more then the reflection in the mirror. I had to look for and encourage my soul. At 28 I was at a cross roads, I could either continue on the road to obscurity and self-loathing or I could head back to the tunnel and search for the light.

I chose the light. I hate to say I found a great life-coach when I feel like She found me, but however you word it she was able to give me the necessary tools, push, encouragement and all the things that "I" needed to get me to find myself.   I was able to overcome many road blocks and all the detours led me to achieve my goal of  becoming a nationally certified and working ASL interpreter! 

I found that I make a better ME than then me trying to be like you. I am much more sure of myself and once again reconnecting with the dream of becoming an artist. I feel like I am starting over in that area, but its grip is tight and I am accepting of the trials and tribulations it takes me on. I love making things and trying new techniques.  When I get in the zone I feel carefree like the kid I was when being a natural was natural. 
I'm unsure of what is to become of all of this, but I only see good things in my future. I'm nurturing my love of writing by blogging for a local blog called and am supporting my mixed-media love by taking some classes, one of which starts next Monday, How to Paint an Owl!!  

This little mixed-media piece I'm work on right now is titled "Behind the Mask".  I have not yet added the mask, and she was originally going to be in a castle ... but then the Birch Tree emerged out of the green teal color I had painted. I just learned today that Birch Trees are a symbol of beginnings, renewal and starting-over. In addition they are a symbol for communication (because you can peal the bark to write on it) and protection!! I painted this a few days ago (before I knew the symbolism).  We had birch trees in our yard on the tree farm ... I loved them.  

* I just wanted to add that my Grandma is a wonderful person and despite the speculation of my talents (as a child), she always meant/means well :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Supplies and a new Project

I got all this wonderful supplies at  Michael's for 70.37!!
I had a coupon for 40% off the entire purchase of
all paints and pastels (INCLUDING sets).
It just so happened that the water color paper was on sale for 40% off too!
I'm even more excited that I have a second coupon!
They were in the Sunday paper ... feel free to thank Christopher Columbus :)

This is the mixed media project I just started tonight.
I think I'm getting a little better with blending the water soluble crayons (maybe?).
Lets just say, I didn't feel the need to pull my hair out.
There is a lot more that needs to be done to this,  but I  really like where its headed :)
I'm thinking a deep purple for the shirt. The mask will be LOTS of fun and will POP! 


Sunday, October 2, 2011


   For the first time in a LONG time my Heart, Mind and Soul are in Sync and that is an amazing feeling!! I think everyone has something that causes such joy, and while you may not know what it is yet I urge you to keep searching.

   Mixed Media is the catalyst between me creating and me evoking emotion in you ... even if its just a smile.

   I have been gaining inspiration from all different directions and this piece was appropriately titled Thankful.
I was inspired by the fat blue birds on my galoshes, the little fat chickadees that feed at my grandma's feeder during the winter and "Tim's Sally Art (aka Mindy)" .  How can you not be inspired by someone who loves Strawberry Shortcake?!  I too love 80's toys, especially popples (remember those), Rainbow Bright (subject of my next project?) and Care Bears.

   I hope you find inspiration in those around you.

This was done on Canvas paper, with Acrylics, Water Soluble Crayons, White Gel Pen, Stamps/ink and random paper (for the nest) and ribbon from my "Tiffany's" box. :)