Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I've been working in my small book, "Dreams and Small Passions" and am quite pleased with it! Sometimes after time has past I look back and wonder why I was so excited about a particulare piece. I do tend to "fall in love" with what I am working on at the moment. Jill, my sister, called it the "Pygmalian complex." I can't hardly bear the thought of selling it but also want to sell it so others can enjoy it too. I am afraid to show it for fear of rejection but crave acceptance.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

My Story About the Little Folk

There is a long tradition of tales of little people in Europe: fairies, elves, and leprechauns. It is a little known fact that at one time little people had large thriving communities in the New World. The arrival of the European Small Folk to these shores predates the permanent settlement of the large Europeans in America by at least 500 years. It has been theorized that Vikings or ivory traders who plied the northern waters more frequently than commonly supposed, may have unknowingly carried small pioneer families to this land. The small folk’s own oral traditions and earliest recorded ballads speak of a great migration utilizing bird transport. How ever it happened, and perhaps it was a combination of means, either before or after their arrival they had a major schism which exists to this day but without the former animosity. Authorities disagree about root causes and chronology. My research seems to indicate that the division or clan formation was not racial but philosophical. For ages some among the fairy folk had practiced magic, though they never called it that, but magic even when used for good, always carries the danger of dragging one into evil. So, over time, maybe gradually, or maybe at a time of calamity, there came to be a large minority of small people who chose to renounce any practice which might possibly be used to control another’s action or gain any kind of advantage unfairly over another. Some historians believe that this shunning of “accomplished power” was the motivation to move west.

You may well ask, “Why have I not heard of little people in America and where do they live now?”

The little people go to great lengths to avoid detection. Their very size makes hiding easy. Also, this is a vast continent with huge, sparsely populated tracts where they have made their homes. They never congregate in large cities but prefer scattered farmsteads and small villages which they conceal creatively.

I began my study of the Little Folk as a result of a diary I found in a hot dusty attic in central Texas when I was a young teen. My great aunt Jane, a keen amateur naturalist and old maid school teacher of the early 1900’s, had made a discovery when she was a young woman which doomed her. Though thought to be quite pretty, the locals would always think of her as Questionable, a bit crazy but harmless, (and the best school teacher they ever had because no one would dream of marrying her so there wouldn’t be the constant turnover in teachers!) Actually she married when she was 28 which was considered old at that time. This caused an uproar and the surviving stories still suggest scandal and mystery.

I found her diary and it changed my outlook from that of a fairly normal kind of shallow teenage girl to one obsessed with history, literature, observation and keeping of nature journals, and general improvement in all academic studies.

This is a painting entitled "West Texas Sunrise" that I painted a few
years ago, sitting on the ground early in the morning. It is a picture of Hope!

I love lists. Have I said that already? This relates to creativity.

My pastor talks about “spiritual and physical realities,” things we need to invest time in each day. This is how I have come to see it in my life.

Spiritual Realities:

Relationship with God based on grace through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross

Daily communion with God through prayer and meditation on Bible

Spiritual food- Bible study, slightly different from the above

Life in a community of other Christians

Physical Realities: (These have impact on mental and spiritual health but may be suspended in times of extreme need: crisis, persecution, war, famine. God’s grace, in these times is sufficient!)

Food (hopefully healthy)

Adequate sleep/rest

Meaningful work


I want to add an Additional Reality for some people or maybe for all:

Creativity- I believe that the desire to create is God given and stems from being made in His image. Maybe this fits under the topic of Meaningful Work.

Disclaimer: I would be lying if I implied that I do all the above faithfully every day! But I notice the lack and it affects my attitude and can result in a downward spiral until I change some priorities!

This morning I'm clearing workspace so I can do some gluing. I thought of some additional favorite tools and supplies, some simple others more complex (and expensive):

Bone folder- shaped like a popsicle stick but slightly pointed on one end and made of bone, for smoothing folds and burnishing edges etc.

Porcelain seven-well palette – I use it when I paint with dyes or inks

Japanese screw punch – this is a wonderful tool used for precise placement of various sized holes through multiple sheets of paper or cardboard

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Here is an update on the faux brown bag book. It now has fringe on the spine and on the tags with neat dangles.

The "studio" is especially messy right now! I've been preparing for childrens' classes and working on the "Faux Paper Bag Album." I admit it; I am a messy person when I am being creative, which is almost all the time!

I'm also trying to learn how to use my new camera. And it is painful! I was so comfortable with the old one. I've had the "new" camera almost two weeks and only today installed the program and downloaded a few pictures. Here are some more studio pictures and a sample photo of an accordion flag book like we made with the kids on Friday, see previous post.

Friday, July 14, 2006

This has been a fast week. My 21 year old daughter and I have been teaching art camp for 1st through 6th graders at a local art museum. Teaching art to children is both exhausting and exhilarating! We have painted with tempera and acrylic, stamped with tempera paint, cut paper, glued, made an accordion fold flag book, butterfly/dragonfly mobiles, and drawn using chalk pastels, and Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels.

Next week we will go again with new projects: paper beads, altered playing cards for trading or giving to mom, stamping with foam beads, and making a tiny hand made spiral notebook to alter. These are the planned projects. These plans are subject to change!

The flag book stressed me a bit as time was running out on the last day. The youngest students were puzzled at first but quickly "got it." Their books were very sculptural and "suitable for hanging."

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I love books! I love to make books. A couple of years ago, my sister Jill told me about making paperbag books with children. Recently I saw a brown bag book that an art friend made as a travel journal featuring one short trip. I have been seeing some lovely nostalgic books on ebay with lots of old photos, postcards, and other ephemera. Yesterday I decided I was going to make such a book! I looked through the cabinets and found nary a lunch sized brown bag. So as I was going to several stores anyway I looked for brown bags. I finally found some but they were too small and of inferior quality. So, I gave up and am making a Faux Brown Bag Book.
For years I have been content to make art privately, to please myself, to give to people I love, etc. Now, I have a desire to share and comunicate with others what moves me emotionally, to conect on a spiritual level. Not just to make someone laugh, but sometimes to make someone cry!

Recently I heard a lecture by Peter Kreeft that put words to some of the feelings I have. He was speaking about Language and Beauty. He said tragedy is more beautiful than comedy and music in a minor key more beautiful than major key. I need to relisten to that lecture and I am looking forward to his new book coming out in August.
I'm not sure why I'm doing this! (BLOGGING) My favorite tool is a freshly sharpened pencil. Or, maybe my favorite tool is my little hand held metal pencil sharpener. But a good sharp knife works to sharpen a pencil, that's what my daddy used to sharpen his pencils. And a knife can cut onions! (He didn't cut onions with his.) Another favorite tool is the list.

needle and thread

LIST OF FAVORITE (most favoritest) ART SUPLIES (other than the above)
golden fluid acrylics
windsor newton watercolors
fabric, yarn, lace

What is the difference between a tool and a supply?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Trying to read the Bible daily has been one of my goals since childhood. As I was growing up I saw my parents’ priorities were God, the Bible, and Church. I am sure I learned the most important Biblical concepts by age twelve at home, in Sunday School, and Vacation Bible School. In my twenties and thirties systematic theology and verse by verse Bible teaching increased my knowledge of Scripture. It was exciting to learn about God! But there was a growing frustration at myself that knowledge does not equal growth and good activity does not equal obedience. I was actually having trouble spending time doing the most important thing: Loving God and Worshiping Him.

Quiet, personal Bible reading and prayer took a new dimension when I began to journal each day about what I was reading. At first it was making lists: God’s attributes seen in a particular passage, His promises, descriptions of who I am, and my possible responses or responsibilities. I would then use these lists in my prayers for praise, thanks, and requests. I am sure that countless other Christians have used such methods through the ages but it was revolutionary in my life!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I Love Flowers

I painted this last summer. It is a portrait of two friends and a beautiful stranger. Purple basil, petunias, and an unnamed dark red flower that has since died.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Whew! I cooked out for my kids for the Fourth, today. I doubt I've cooked out except on camping trips in 3- 4 years.

First, I put off going to the grocery store till the last minute. It was packed! But we really needed Dr. Pepper. Never mind the hamburger buns, grill, and charcoal the main thing, to my boys, is their D.P! We grilled little pieces of beef wrapped in bacon, sweet onions from grandparents' garden, red "green peppers," fresh pinapple chunks, and huge 'shrooms. Also, burgers with Grandma's bbq sauce, and a marinated salad. The icecream sundaes will have to wait. Its a good thing I ate when I did... I'm not hungry now.

It is just possible that I may not, at this moment, have anything to say.

Creativity can take some surprising turns. I sometimes have an attack of ideas when I have too many other responcibilities or at the end of the day when I'm worn out and need sleep. If possible I write in one of my journals. One such journal is just for book related ideas: books I want to write, books I want to construct, book classes to teach, sketches of ideas. Then if I have a bit of time and need an idea or reminder I check that journal.

I've been making ACEOs and listing them on ebay. What fun! It is a kind of creative excersize. ACEOs are 3.5x2.5 inches small. I have always enjoyed working small but this is ridiculous or wonderful! How to communicate an idea or personal vision of beauty in a small formate is a challenge at times. The fact that people buy them, or not, is like having my work juried or validated. Of course, I believe art can have value and never sell; it has been important to me all these years. But at this moment in my life, I turned 50 this year, I desire an audience. And an occasional sale would help too!

I learn by doing. So here goes. do i want to use capitals and punctuation? will I worry about spelling.