Monday, July 30, 2012

FILM26:: The Letter P

32 weeks of taking film photos. 
16 letters under my belt
20 rolls of film
480+ prints
4 film cameras

How lucky can a girl be?  A pink poodle just happened to be out on a walk in Pike Street Market area.  I only had the old Ricoh to grab a photo with - point and shoot.  I had used up my other roll in the Nikon as was heading back to the car to go home.  It was a split second opportunity and it came out.  Would have been a lot more fun to really grab a good photo here.  But, I'm happy

Had to take this one... had to show the beautiful clear blue sky in Seattle.

One last - Me and P.  I never know if my selfies will turn out - so I take at least a couple per letter and cross my fingers that one will work out.  This time, I got both.

Film is growing on me.  I love the grainy quality.  I love the anticipation of getting the prints back.  I love that I have only 24 or 36 tries.  Hit the button and check out some other lovely P photos.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Encaustic Zentangles, Inspiration, and the First Week of Playtime

Encaustic Zentangles
a la Allgra Hicks
What a week.
I don't know about you, but I really look forward to PPF because there are so many talented people who participate.  Fortunately, many of them share techniques as well as their wonderful artwork.  Personally, I find huge inspiration each week by seeing what everyone is doing with their different mediums.  At first, I often think that it really doesn't translate that easily to working with encaustic - 200 degree wax.  But, with my new playtime outlook for the month, I have a new perspective.   Last week, I walked away from PPF with some great inspiration.  Over at Tracy Fletcher King's blog, she walked through her process. She talked about using a micro pen to tidy up her artwork from the ugly child phase to finished in the end. Well, micro pens are not on the encaustic workbench, but... with a cup of coffee under my belt and full brain synapses clicking away... aha! an exacto knife can make some very precise lines that are then filled with oil paint thus simulating a micro pen - OK, I'll give it a try!   I set to work to try the zentangles that I also see on PPF.  And, to top off my inspiration gathering at PPF last week, I even started a 21 day meditation challenge over at Deepak Chopra's place. What a week! And... gee, thank you all for sharing so much wonderful information that we each can take and make our own.

The first week of no agenda, studio play time is now behind me.  I actually did pretty good with my goal.  I'm not going to say that it was easy for me.  I'm can be a little uptight, in that I feel I have to paint SOMETHING - anything, but something recognizable.   I have to admit that its been a bit hard to end my studio time with really not much to show.  Its been a new hurdle for me to climb over, but its getting easier.  I have stumbled on some pretty cool stuff.  But, in the end, I'm not really sure what to do with this cool stuff I'm discovering.  It doesn't seem to fit into what I do - or should I really say - what I think I should do.  However.... its cool and its fun.

I'm intrigued by shellac.  Its totally unpredictable, which is what makes it interesting.  A light touch with the torch works best.  Its easily over done, so I have to be patient.  I am discovering ways to slightly control it by scoring it with lines before I put a wax layer over it.  I'm loving tinting it with powered pigment and/or graphite powder.  I'm finding ways to recreate the bokeh effect that I so love in photography by using shellac.  I've been playing with embedding some really cool handmade Japanese papers cut into shapes and then tinted shellac over them.  Lots of good stuff going on around here.  This is all stuff I know, but never really spent a lot of time getting to know.  There's a difference. 
It's interesting... not so long ago, I never would have shown these paintings.. the play, the not so perfect, glimmers of good stuff but not really kinda photos.  So, this in and of itself is one step closer to scaling that wall that I talked about last week.   Party Time - hit the button and see some greatness.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Expectations, Playtime and Bits and Chunks

play time #1
encaustic and shellac
working with the uncontrollable, unexpectable and randomness of shellac, carving and inlay, overheating and just letting the wax run with gravity
Overall - nope, don't love it - bits and chunks.. yeah, good things
The small victories here:: I love shellac and it makes great trees.  I love the way the black wax feathered on the background and created grass.  hmmm... wonder if that is repeatable.  And for those of you who participated in SOC2 - that pink and yellow - you got it!  That's a repurposed board from a train wreck for strawberry lemonade.
Expectations - my own, of course.  I'm struggling with this a bit these days.  I am an aim high girl.  I mean, why not!?  Its good for me to stretch myself and to try hard, try harder.  But, when I continually fall short of the expectation that I set, it makes me weary.  Not only does it make me weary, but it also makes me question - why am I doing this?
I feel like right now, there is a big brick wall between me and where I want to be - or feel I should be.  I've tried climbing it, running at it, and banging my head on it.  But it doesn't want to budge.  I've actually gotten a bit bruised lately with my attempts.
I'm a golfer - but think of this in terms of anything for which we set expectations.
When I play, I set in my mind a goal, a score, an expectation.  I set out to reach and exceed that goal. I have high hopes at the beginning of each round.  However, lately, I have been failing miserably.  I just have come off three days of tournament play.  I was horrible, beyond horrible - miserable, upset,  and heading to give up land.  Was I really that bad?  Stacked up to my expectations - yes, horrible and hugely disappointing.  Yet, when I take a step back (after I have licked my wounds) and I break it down - there were some really good things that happened.  I made some clutch putts, I came through on a few holes that I really needed to, and I hit some good shots.  Overall - ugly.  Bits and chunks - there were some good moments.  However, at the time - the bits and chunks were totally lost within the overall.
playtime #2
working on carving and inlay, embedding paper, printed tissue paper, using oil sticks and saral paper
Overall don't love this one either but some of the bits and chunks are pretty good fun.
The small victories here:: love the printed tissue on the rabbit, love outlining with an exacto knife then using R&F oil stick to fill the line with oil paint.  Gives it a drawn effect.  Love making leaves :)  Oh, and the dotty saral paper line made with the dress maker's tool is pretty cool too.  
This past weekend has made me rethink.  I'm feeling like I need some successes, some small victories on which to hang my hat.  I definitely need some feel good moments.  This not only applies to my golf game but this struggle has also spilled over into my artwork.  I need to find a way to get over this wall - A trampoline? A pole vault? A shovel?  Or maybe in bits and chunks rather than the entire thing - aiming for the small victories that are still a stretch but are more easily achieved at the level at which I am currently playing.  Or perhaps... practice - the real dedicated kind versus a short little warm up before heading out.  There's ways.  I am determined and combined with the fact that I am a Capricorn  makes me a bit stubborn that way.  I'll keep the aim high, but I will also focus on notching my stick with the small victories and concentrate on them for a while.  I'm feeling, if I can achieve these small steps on a regular basis they will fuel the fire and get me going up and over this wall.  I'm in, I'm all in. I've turned my back on give up land.  Why?  Because the answer to the question - why am I doing this? is... because I love it.  I love art and I love golf.  And, I'm not going to turn away from something I love just because its difficult.   
What are the small victories that I am going to focus on for my artwork?  For the next month these are my goals - 1.  play.  I'm going to revisit some old techniques and focus on working on these and just playing with them and getting a feel for what I can do with them.  I am not going to try and turn out anything that is "worthy" this next four weeks.  Its all just play and techniques.   2.  practice.  Every day - something.  I will draw, paint, sketch, whatever... every day - something.  Even if I only have 15 or 20 minutes of spare time in day - I'm usin it for practice.
Anyone else want to join me in a month's worth of playtime?  If you do, let me know and I'll figure out how to make that work.  Happy Paint Party Friday everyone!!  Can't wait to see what wonderful art is out there this week.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Liberate Your Art!


This is the second year for Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap hosted by Kat Sloma at Kat Eye Studio
Kat got this great idea to combine launching art out into the world and receiving fun mail.  This year there are over 300 participants which is more than double from last year.  The idea is to pick 5 of your pieces of art, take a photo or a scan of it and have postcards made*.  These postcards are then sent to Kat who collects 5 cards from each participant and a few other things like postage and self addressed mailing labels.  She then redistributes them out into the world.  I send 5, I get 5 different cards back in the mail throughout the month of August.  You can see the wonderful collection that I received last year HERE.  Its fun to get "real" mail and meet some new artists out there in the world.
When I wrote this last night, I thought there was still time to join in the fun.  But, I am sorry to say that the swap entry has closed for this time.  I'm a little late with my promotional post - shame.  You can sign up for Kat's newsletter so that you can be informed of the next event as well as all the fun things that Kat has going on in her Studio.  Follow along here and there will be links to the artist's websites for the cards that I receive as well as a blog hop in the end to celebrate Liberating our Art.

*I made my postcards at Costco Photo Center online.  They took about 4 days to come in the mail to me.  There are other online options such as

Monday, July 16, 2012

FILM26:: Letter O


Its time for the letter O over at FILM26.  Its so nice to get out and shoot a roll of film in the sunshine.  Seattle is really a beautiful place in the summer time.  I tried a new film this time - Kodak Ektar 100.  I was pretty happy with the color.  Next roll, I think I will order something expired or interesting from 

I took a morning and went down to Pike Street Market.  I hadn't been on a photo jaunt there for a while.  Last time I was there I was shooting black and white.  The area was packed with people and there were quite a few fellow photographers around as well. 

I was really wanting to find an octopus for my O photo.  None of the fishmongers had any octopus for sale.  But, I did come across this one.  This photo was taken with my Ricoh camera.  It has a light leak... but I kinda like that. 

One Love - that'a way --------->

Wouldn't be complete without an Open sign of some kind.

And definitely wouldn't be complete without Orange.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Watermelon Sherbet, Leaves X5 and Ideas

Leaves X5
encaustic and paper on birch 9x12
I have this idea in my head that I want to paint a large tree and have the leaves be made of paper scraps and photographs.  I don't really know exactly how it will come together but its in there, in my brain, sitting and waiting to be born into a painting.  Ideas like this just come.  Sometimes they are action items and I know exactly what it is I need to paint and how to go about it.  Other times, its a thought that just keeps turning over and growing a bit here and there.  It wanders around in the corners of my mind and keeps popping up and asks to be acknowledged.  Then it goes away and grows some more.  Most of the time with these kinds of thoughts, there is no "ta da" moment where I see the whole picture.  Sometimes I just play around with the idea and see where it takes me.  The process of playing seems to help these kinds of ideas.  By not having an agenda, I can just let myself play.  I really don't do this enough.  I get a little bent on the idea that I have to make something that is worthy (whatever that means).  The art of playing allows us to create badly and just have fun with it - fun with the artful process.  Play time is about finding the little things that work and we can then build upon their foundation.  Play time = Happy time. 
An artist friend told me that she is often asked how long it takes her to paint a painting.  She says "the process itself takes about an hour and half - but really this painting took me 30 years plus and hour and a half".  I love that answer, because it is so true.  Sometimes we just have to think about an idea and let it churn around, growing and taking shape into what it is meant to be.  I'm not really sure that I have this idea of mine at a point at which I am happy.  I love the process of making the leaves and I love them individually, but I 'm not sure yet.  I feel they need a little more sophistication for what I am envisioning.   This idea needs more time to grow and take shape.  I'll send it back to ponder some more. 
Its the final week over at Summer Of Color2.  This is the last challenge - Watermelon Sherbet.   Its been a wonderful event.  Many thanks to Kristin over at Twinkle, Twinkle for hosting this fun summer challenge.  Happy Paint Party Friday everyone!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Little Bird, Wild 'n Reckless Sherbet and Stretching

Little Bird
encaustic and paper on birch 5x5
We often take on challenges because they are good for us.  They fuel the creative spirit.  Challenges ARE good for us.  They make us stretch.  We all know how good stretching is for our bodies.  It keeps us limber.  It keeps our muscles lengthened and pliable.  When our muscles are stretched, we can react faster, move freer and leap over tall buildings with ease.  So, how about the mental stretch?  Or the creative stretch?  These are equally as important.  It is far too easy to let ourselves fall into a pattern with our creativity, with our art.  I know this happens to me in the kitchen all the time - right now especially.  In fact, I move through my repertoire of recipes for dinner over and over.  It gets to the point that I dread making dinner because I've narrowed myself down to just a few things I make.  Gee.. chicken tonight....again.  I have countless recipe books for inspiration.  However, there is something that winds me down to the point that seeking inspiration even from opening a cookbook is too much work.  And, then... we eat the same things over and over without any flare or fashion.  It can become quite a sad culinary state around my house.
So, what gets us out of these ruts?  Challenges are a great place to start to get us to stretch a little.  The key to a good challenge is commitment.  Its an agreement with yourself that you WILL follow through and stretch a little and then perhaps a lot.  I've been playing along with Summer of Color2 and its luscious ice cream inspirations.  Last week was Strawberry Lemonade which totally tipped me over.  I could not get my head wrapped around pink and yellow.  I fell off the wagon and didn't participate.  I did have someone point out that pink and yellow are skin colors - that didn't even help.  This week - Wild 'n Reckless Sherbet - blue, pink and apple green.... really not my colors... at all.  This is where the commitment part comes in... I totally pulled a muscle on pink and yellow and it caused me to sit out and be sidelined for a week.  Injuries suck.  I made a run at it and ended up on the bench again.  This week... limping all the way, I decided that I had made a commitment to me that I would participate no matter how difficult... (the stretch).   I pulled all colors off my palette with the exception of pink, blue and green.  I was stumped and blocked myself into a corner and just sat there like a lump.  It was far too easy to just give in and sit out another week.  Then she came to my window- little bird.  There are no birds in the world that are this color - but no matter, its the stretch that counts and the commitment to the challenge of stretching.
As for the kitchen dilemma...  I recently took a cooking class and today I'm sitting down with a cup of tea, Cooking Light Magazine and pencil and paper to make my shopping list.  Happy Paint Party Friday everyone!! 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

June:: In the Picture, PHC and Recap

This picture sums up June for me.  Its one of the self portraits I took this month for Christy's {In the Picture} and its also my pick for Kat's Photo-Heart Connection.  The sun flare over my shoulder, the blue sky, the trees - crazy beautiful.  All are glorious.  This photo speaks to me of all things for which to be grateful. 

I don't keep a grateful journal.  Many people do.  I don't bother to write down the amazing things that come my way each day, or the things that make me stumble but hold valuable messages and lessons.  I've found what works best for me is to acknowledge the things as they happen.  Sometimes, I also run a mental list at night before I go to sleep.  Its a nice way to drift off into dreamland with thanks on my lips.

June was good for me.  It was filled with firsts, wonderful opportunity and yes... also things that caught me off guard and made me stumble.   

Thank you June. 
In The Picture

Monday, July 2, 2012

FILM26:: N is for...

Its time for the letter N over at FILM26.  It feels good to be on the downhill slope.  It feels good to know that I have stuck with it and will make it to the end.  I have gotten ahead on making the letter tiles which makes me relax a bit.  Running behind the ball is not fun and stressful.
Now, I'm waiting for some good weather which should be arriving here on July 5th.  That seems to be the case in the Pacific Northwest, summer arrives the day after our holiday on the 4th of July.  It equates to more outdoor time and more outdoor photography time.
Me and N
 I love wandering around Capitol Hill here in Seattle. Its interesting urban street photography. I'm starting to get over my phobia of taking photos in public. Its not so much a phobia as it is just feeling like I'm intruding.
Not Nike
I'm super excited... I bought a groupon for a photography class.  It's on July 25th.  Its digital, but I really hope to translate what I learn to film.  I opted for the Intermediate class which is a stretch.  Its goes with that Aim High thing I try for.  I was sent a list of things that I am expected to know before I come to class.  I've got some homework to do :) 
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