Friday, January 19, 2018

Fighting the Doldrums of Winter - Off the Wall Friday

Okay, I'll admit it.  January is ALWAYS  the hardest time of the year for me.  Its always cold and gray here on the shores of Lake Erie.  It always feel like spring is forever away.  I always feel a little bogged down by the mundaness of working at home.  What I don't feel is motivated to do anything creative.  Even this blog was hard to write today.

It has me asking where did all my motivation go and how do I find it again?  If you're in the same boat as me (well maybe not boat, because Lake Erie is nearly frozen over for the winter and we would be stuck in the ice), here are some ideas to recapture your creativity!

I'll tell you a secret. Some days I need to remind  myself what day of the week it days are THAT routine!   I  mean don't get me wrong, I love my routine  because it makes me feel secure,
buttttttttttt, it also  is very limiting.  So opening myself up to something new and "changing things up" should help me find my spark!

So, apparently, studies have shown that exercise stimulates the brain by creating new neurons in the hippocampus region of the brain. Physical activity helps us get out of our heads and stimulate new thought patterns.What I can tell you is that sloth begets more sloth.  I mean truly.  Once I give myself permission for a lazy day, one day turns into two and so on. So I guess I need to get a move on and get back on my treadmill!!

Despite the current decorating fascination with grey, its not the most inspiring color.  Bright colors
inspire and effect your mood.  So let go of the neutrals for a bit and get a little color!

Sometimes the world seems too complex to begin more less add the complexity of creativity to it.  Its overwhelming.  So instead of looking at a whole project, look at the very basic bones of a new endeavor.  Cut away all the clutter that surrounds you that might be bogging you down.

This is from my husband who is the most productive person I know. (Truly - that man is the energizer bunny incarnate!)  His rule is to do it for 20 minutes no matter what!  Everyone can discipline themselves to power through 20 minutes of a project.  After 20 minutes, if you don't  want to continue then quit.  But most of the time, you'll keep going.  He came up with this plan when he was having a lull in his woodworking so he started what he called his 20 minute Table.  Everyday he would work on it for at least 20 minutes and at the end  he had this gorgeous table which he gave to his sister!

Okay, its getting late and I should have written this last night......but alas......I was uninspired!  So hopefully this will help get you through the dark days of winter!


Friday, January 12, 2018

Off the Wall Friday

Friday, January 5, 2018

Mark Making - Off the Wall Friday

My sister in law, Susan blessed me with some new Gelli Printing Plates for Christmas and it really
has my mind working over drive.  I can't wait to explore the myriad of ways that this product can be used to make a mark.  Researching I found these great videos
and so on, and so on, and so on. . . . . . .

  Yes, I did fall down that rabbit hole known as youtube tutorial videos.  (As an aside, my brother in law Steve, has a saying that if it doesn't have a tutorial on Youtube than its not worth knowing.  We in this house, totally agree!)

Watching these videos, not only was I amazed at the ease and versatility of this product, but of the limitless ways to make marks.  I mean, I guess I realized it before, but seeing them flash in front of my eyes one after another, after another really brought to light how many ways you can make a mark and the type of marks is only limited by your time and energy and creativity.

So I start looking at different marks you can make on fabric and THAT was its own rabbit hole.

I really can't wait to practice trying some of these different marks  One of the things I like best is most of these are done with fabric paint which I can use in my cold winter house (rather than thicken dying of summer weather), use any kind of fabric with no need to prepare it and use very little  chemicals.

Like I said you are limited by  your time and energy and creativity.  Besides, what human doesn't like to make their mark on the world!

So what have you been up to creatively??

Friday, December 29, 2017

Happy New Year!! Off the Wall Friday

There are White Christmases and then there are White Christmases Erie Pennsylvania style!!  You might have heard, but this week we had over 5 feet of snow drop in a couple of days time.  It put a big damper on the holiday for a lot of families.  For us, we just sat and watched it snow. We broke all sorts of records and it puts us at 103" of snow already for this winter!   Just in case you wonder what that looks like . . . .

There is the pretty side of it . . . .

And then there is the not so pretty side of it. . . . .

sighhhhhh #LifeonLakeErie

Sooooo . . . . 

I took some days off this weekend to spend exclusively in my studio and it looks like the weather is going to cooperate since we are suppose to get a foot more this weekend.

Also -


Recently, I spent just over 5 hrs listening to an enormously amusing book, Tim Gunn, The Natty Professor:  A Masterclass on Mentoring Motivating and Making it Work.   I bought the audio book to listen to Tim himself read the book on what I thought would be insight on Tim, the Mentor. So I was surprised when  that really wasn't what the book was about.  It was a hodge - podge  of stories from his life that spoke to life lessons and his views on the academic world.  There were some wisdoms thrown in there on how to critique and encourage, but what I found so fascinating AND entertaining is  his down to earth look at his life. Also, I love the little inserts of stories of inspiring teachers.   I loved the book and I'm sure I'll listen again.  I mean, its like he sitting there talking to you!!  I would recommend it to anybody who teaches, mentors, or parents!  Plus since most people found Tim Gunn's Life Little Lessons much better, I'm going to read that one too.  Too bad that isn't in audio form too!

So hopefully by next week I'll have something new from my studio to show  since I got fabric, thread, Gelli Plates AND a new Rowenta Iron for Christmas!!

What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Off the Wall Friday

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Art of a Selfie - Off the Wall Friday

SelfPortrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird , Frida Kahlo
Rembrandt, at about age 60
As the snow comes down outside my window, its getting to be that time of year for self reflection.  I always try to carve some time out at the end of year to look back at where I've been and get an idea of where I want to go.

That got me thinking about the idea of self reflection  . . . . onto the idea of reflection. . . .and our society's new fascination of the selfie.   But really is it new? I started thinking about how many artists spend time creating their own selfies and what that says about them.

Some artist create several portraits of themselves.  Rembrandt has over 90 of them.  Yes - 90!!  They create a type of autobiography of himself since he painted himself as he really was.

My favorite self portraits are the ones that really depict more about the inner artist than what the mirror reflects.  Case in point, Gustave Courbet's  The  Desperate Man manages to blend the romanticism style of the time (1845) with the very real emotional struggle he wanted to convey.  Its the kind of portrait that makes you want to look at over and over again.

The Desperate Man, Gustave Courbet

Rockwell's Triple Self Portrait

Another one of my favorites, is Norman Rockwell's Triple Self Portrait.  As always, its Rockwell's mixture of humor and relatable subjects that is so interesting.  This time its him at work.    Notice the artist self portraits in the upper right hand corner, showing that even Rockwell was inspired by other artists.  As his assistant will attest to most of the features of the piece are real on how the artist actually worked.  Really its the cleverness of a the triple reflection that is so intrigued me in this piece.

How about Andy Warhol's self portrait.  For a man who courted publicity and walk in the limelight, you can tell with his self portrait that he really was a deeply private man.  It's him but he's still camouflaged to plain view.

I really could go on.  There are a TON of amazing self portraits out there  - to inspire and reflect on.   I might just have to start thinking about making my own.  Until then I'll just have to content myself with this selfie taken with my sister Laura.

So What Have Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Off the Wall Friday