Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Inspiration All Around, 2.24.16

I'm so grateful for the sudden bursts of inspiration I have been experiencing lately (and the fact that I have been writing more things down so I don't forget them!)- inspiration in the form of  new ideas about mediums and techniques... inspiration from other artists' work... inspiration in finding random branches on the side of the road... inspiration that comes from slowing down, noticing and appreciating, etc., etc., etc.  It really is crazy! I'm hoping that it leads to progression, cohesion and growth in my work that I have been struggling to discover over the past few years. I think I turned a corner in that department last fall, but lately, I have had a strong feeling that something significant is just around the corner for me. It's kind of a cool feeling, I'm not gonna lie. Whether or not anything significant actually does happen, only time will tell. But I am definitely enjoying the moment because these kind of moments don't usually happen for me, as my brain space is usually taken up by stressing, worrying or fretting about something or other.

So, a few tidbits for you. Stay tuned for specifics :)

*This. I have been wondering for YEARS about what I can do with  the excessive number of colored pencil tins I have hoarded in a cabinet at school. They are usually just thrown away after the set becomes less than a set (pencils inevitably get lost or mixed in with other sets and you end up with a set of three pencils instead of the original set of 12), but I started to feel guilty about the waste and started saving them.  When I saw Valerie Knapp's website and her boxed embroideries, the wheels started spinning and I couldn't wait to get home to start on some sketches. I even came up with a title for a series of these (even though I have no idea what the subjects will be yet): Secrets :)  Hmmm...

*This branch:

Pretty cool, huh?! I saw it as I drove through New Melle several times over the course of a few weeks and kept thinking, " I need to stop to pick that up." Well, one day, I did. It is now on my front porch, drying out a bit as I brainstorm ideas for a mobile. Here are some ideas that have inspired me:

stunning chandelier, which was crafted on a shoestring. Spray-paint a bare branch white. When dry, make it a perch for clip-on songbirds (available at crafts stores). Place removable adhesive hooks on the ceiling, then hang the branch above your table using two ropes. Tie hanging tea-lights or votive holders from the branch using fishing line. Light the hanging votives and watch the nature-inspired chandelier sparkle sans crystals.:

turn a baby mobile into a big kid wall hanging

*This quote, from one of my all-time favorite movies, Unbearable Lightness of  Being:

You can sleep. Sleep in my arms.
Like a baby bird.
Like a broom among brooms...
in a broom closet.
Like a tiny parrot.
Like a whistle.
Like a little song.
A song sung by a forest...
within a forest...
a thousand years ago.

I LOVE these words. (Watch the scene here. So good.) They will become part of the painting that I started a couple of weeks ago. The words will be layer number two and they will be stitched, so it will take some time to finish, but I'm pretty excited about trying this new technique. I'll be working on some small samples (as it is a totally new technique for me and I can't find any instructions or examples of it online) tonight and, hopefully, begin the stitching this weekend.

*This space, in my yoga room. As part of the course I took over the summer, with Kelly Rae Roberts, it was suggested that we set up an altar space to be used as a place to set your intentions each day. It sounds kind of hokey, I know, but I really think it's having an effect on me

I kind of love this. Some of my favorite things are here- a calming photo by MK Designs and Photography , a figure sculpture ( a gift from M.), small, meaningful gifts from each of my three kids, a photo of myself before I had any stress or responsibilities (a Kelly Rae suggestion), a candle (because any space is better with a candle) and the book where I write down my intention each morning and my thoughts of gratitude each night.

So, there you go. Just a few things that have been filling my brain lately and creating this spontaneous, positive outlook! haha!

Oh, and I can't forget to mention, another probable cause for this sunny disposition-  two, beautiful baby girls (Baby C. and Baby L.) who came into our lives a few weeks ago. Oh, my. Really. So sweet. So adorable. So everything good. And, of course, my boys, Peanut and Baby G., who also inspire me. Every. Single. Day.

Have a great week!  Juli

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Lately, 2.11.16

My "lately"...

Making: New ideas for paintings are crowding my brain at the moment. The first one, started today, is one that will not be for sale, but, hopefully, will be the start of many more to come. Building upon my more recent painting techniques, I'll be stitching text and adhering it to the canvas with gel medium as one of the middle layers. Again, combining my love of stitching and painting and hoping for a successful outcome.

Layer 1

Drinking: Americanos from Starbucks, Harney and Sons Pumpkin Spice herbal tea

Eating: Lots of turmeric added to my stews, soups, grilled chicken, meatloaf, etc. I'm convinced that it is one of the things helping with the pain in my hands :) 

Watching: A recent favorite- (even though it's an older movie) Seven Years in Tibet (LOVED it), and to honor Alan Rickman- The Song of Lunch (also really good!)

Reading:  I'm really making an effort to only read positive words, including blog posts, articles, status updates, etc. and stay away from anything that seems hateful, gossipy, sad, sensationalized, etc. I'm convinced that what you watch, read, listen to or engage in- you become. And I really don't want to be those things!

Listening to:  podcasts and NPR, as I haven't really been in the music mood lately. Boring, I know!

Thinking about: Continuing to think about my cousin and her family and hoping they find comfort and peace in the memory of their sweet boy.

Laughing at: M., laughing out loud through his latest book. It really is contagious- when he laughs, I laugh, even though I have no idea why either of us is laughing. And it happens all the time :)  I love that.

Disliking: Cutting my finger (pretty badly!) while opening a new knife with another knife (not my brightest moment). And, a couple of days later, cutting right through my new-to-me vest at school while using the paper cutter. (Another "bright" moment!) A bit of advice- always make sure the long pieces of your asymmetrical vest are swept back and away from, not tucked underneath, the paper you are cutting, when you pull down the guillotine-style blade! 

Loving: Watching my son become a dad. As I've said before, February 2, 2016 was one of the six best days of my life. These two girls are completely beautiful and perfect. And completely identical. It's really kind of crazy!

With what I have: I'll be using these in a couple of small paintings I have started. They will be similar to the one above, but different color schemes and subjects. These pieces were cast-offs of a project from a couple of years ago that I found while I was cleaning the studio.

And, I've been expanding my upstairs work space and was planning to go to Ikea for a new cabinet to store all of my hand-stitching tools and projects in, but I performed some re-arranging magic and came up with something I already had.  I pulled a wooden shelf from the studio and placed it next to the 70's couch so it is all within easy reach when I plop down to watch a movie (my preferred time to stitch). It still needs to be styled a bit, maybe with some matching baskets or boxes or something, but for now, it works.  Can you tell I'm getting used to being back in this house? :)

Grand dog, Finn, approves of the new arrangement :)
Have a great week!  Juli