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AEDM Day #30 – Working On The Snow Peoples

So, it’s the last day of AEDM (Art Every Day Month) and I’ve had a pretty pathetic showing this year. I have no excuse. I just didn’t make it a priority, and as a result, I really disappointed myself.

I can’t change that, so I’m not going to dwell on it, but I AM going to try and make up for it by kicking my creativity and productivity up a bunch of notches in December.

For my last “official” post of AEDM for November, 2014, I’d like to show you the progress I’ve made on the snow people ornaments I showed you yesterday. BTW, did you know “snowoman” is not a word? What’s up with that? Humph!

So, I started with four hand prints using just plain ol’ acrylic paint…a little messy, but I can work with them.

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I cleaned them up a little adding extra paint in the empty areas of the palm prints and around the bottom for the “ground” the snowmen are built on.  To that I added “snow-tex” for a little extra dimension, and began adding detail.

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Somehow, Lexi’s ended up with 6 fingers (how did I miss that while the paint was wet???) and when I tried to remove the dry paint, messed up the finish on the ball. Yikes. What to do, what to do? So, plan “B.” The 6th finger became a package in the snow. Not bad, huh?

If I don’t run into any more problems, I should be able to finish painting them, do the pen detail, and have them done tomorrow! Woohoo! Looks like I’m going to actually finish a project!

Now Josh wants me to do one for his cat, Bootsie. Mama is game to try! Heeheehee! THAT should be interesting!

AEDM #25 – On a Roll…

Today was my art group.

I knew I wanted to work on my London album, but I was a little panicked before leaving the house, trying to think of everything I could possibly need to take. Then I decided to make it easy on myself and just START by getting a few pages laid out, then worry about getting them embellished at home. Turned out to be a good plan.

I dove in, and by the time I came up for air, almost 3 hours had flown by! I’m sure a messy scrapper!

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Once I got home, I still had some more left in me, so I spread it all out again and got back to it!

I ended the day with 5 basic layouts (very few embellishments, so far, just photo placement) plus 2, 2-page collages. Half of them document my visit to Highclere Castle. I confess I went a little overboard on photos, but given my obsession with Downton Abbey, it was to be expected, doncha think?

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Whew! Productive day. And a fun day. As much as I’m enjoying putting the album together, the best part is reliving the trip.

 

Art Every Day Month – 2014

In my life, art takes many forms.

I dabble in many mediums, a “jack of many arts, master of none…” And as much as I would LOVE to be really, really good at some art form (maybe even famous!) it just won’t work in my life. I am a creative magpie. I keep getting distracted by another shiny medium, and off I go, pursuing something else. And, as fun as that is, it doesn’t allow me to put in the hours, days, months, years necessary to hone my craft.

And really, that’s okay with me. I am happiest when I flit about. When I do one thing for too long, I get bored.

So. My “art” these days has been photographing and reporting on my travels to Europe. I take all the iconic photos that everyone would expect to see. But my eye is constantly scanning for an odd view, or a piece of something more interesting.

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I’ve just about wrapped it up – just a few days to go – and I’ll be getting back to doing more traditional art! Hope you’ll join me as I get back into “Art Every Day.”

30 Days of Gratitude:

Today I’m feeling very grateful for having the means to travel!

Day 25 AEDM – Pretty Please, Leah?

Let me start by saying that it is now a month before Christmas. Yikes! If that isn’t enough to put a damper on the day, I don’t know what is. From here on I start deleting things from the “I’m hallucinating about doing this for Christmas” list, and adding them to the “ain’t gunna happen (again)” list. It’s getting a little scary.

WHERE has this year gone? If I had been keeping up the scrapbooks like I should, I’d know!

Anyway. I’m starting to get sad about AEDM coming to an end…think Leah would extend it another month if we asked pretty please? I am SOOOOO much better at actually allotting time to my projects when I have adult supervision.

Today I made time to clean the garage with Mr. Tattered. I guess he hasn’t noticed that the house needs it more than the garage, but whatever. We lightened the load out there – some donations, some trash, and some pushing things from our piles to the kids (Hey! Whatever works!) I took before and after photos, but truth be told, the massive progress can only be seen by us! Still looks very cluttered to a casual observer. My back knows I worked hard, and the hub is satisfied, and those are the important parts.

On the art front, I returned to the scrapbook again. Another layout done. I think you’ve gotten the gist of my process, so I’ll just show you the finished product from here on out, unless there is a new technique I think you might find interesting!

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Today’s Gratitude:

Today I am feeling grateful for the simple fact that I am me. I don’t want to be anyone else, I don’t want anyone else’s life. I’m not perfect, and my life isn’t perfect, but I’m pretty darn content with both. Not COMPLETELY satisfied – I’ll continue to attempt to improve on both. But if life never gets any better than it is right now, I’m good with that.

Today is also my first week to participate in “Inspire Me Monday!” If any of you are visiting from there, I am a media media artist, photographer, and avid scrapbooker who is in the midst of the monumental task of documenting our last trip to Yellowstone. Feel free to roam around on prior posts if you want to see what I’ve been up to lately. I’m also working on a “Happiness” Art Journal, and sharing a daily gratitude. Whew! Lots on my plate. Thanks for coming by!

Day #29 Art Every Day Month – A Necessary Prep Day

Today I took a break from decorating to put all my Thanksgiving decor away and take care of some art “prep” work.

I am taking a class from Christy Tomlinson, actually two of them…SheArt #1 and SheArt #2. Her style is a little more ragged or unstructured than mine, but I’m liking it. She advocates the use of a lot of stamps and rub-ons, which I don’t have many of, so I needed to pick up a few things. I have been watching the videos, but not following along with painting, primarily because it will be easy enough to add her techniques to what I am already doing. I have been unable, so far, to find some of the tools she has suggested, so I’ll probably head out again tomorrow, but at least I’ve got a start.

I also picked up some more yard to start another scarf. AND, someone suggested that it would be easier going if I was using shorter needles, so I picked up some of those as well.

Then I took an hour this evening and got going on the scarf. I find knitting to be sooooo relaxing. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something when I can sit down for an hour and come up with something to show for it.

So, here’s to a relaxing day, and even having accomplished some art!

Day #28 Art Every Day Month – My Perfect Tree, a Tutorial

Yeah, it is a bit ego-centric to call it “The” perfect tree, so I’ll just call it “My” perfect tree, because it’s as perfect for me as it’s going to get!

My philosophy is this…”if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing beautifully.”  I like a combination of old ornaments we’ve had on the tree from the beginning (40 years ago, now!) ones the kids made when they were little, ones people have given us as gifts, lots that I’ve made over the years, personalized ones that I buy every year and put our names and the date on, and ones I adore that I’ve bought myself. While the vast majority are country,  there are other styles, and there is a mix of traditional and whimsical Christmas icons and religious things, as well. It’s not an easy task to combine all of that into something that doesn’t look like a total mish mash, and I’ve developed my technique over many years.

The secret is to build it layer by layer, much like a mixed media art piece, and combining all the different ornaments with unifying pieces that are carried over throughout the tree. Not everything jumps out and says look at me! Much of it sits in the background, peeking out here and there, adding texture and interest that wouldn’t be there if you just slapped a bunch of ornaments on and called it a day. My goal is that each time you look at my tree, you see something you didn’t see before, just like in my garden, and in the way my paintings are developing.

I start with an artificial tree. It’s the only way to have sturdy branches everywhere you need them. Next come lights, lots of them.

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Next up are the foundation pieces. These are the things tucked in that everything else builds on…big balls of red berries, giant wooden candy canes, bits of holly, pine cone, and greens cut from a garland, fake cinnamon and cranberry garland, macrame candy canes, cut out gingerbread men, wooden hearts.

Then comes all of the ornaments…hundreds of them. In 40 Christmases, I’ve never thrown an ornament away unless it got smashed to smitherines.

There are many missing an arm or a leg, but if they have sentimental value, I keep them. My daughter’s 1st Christmas ornament got chewed by the (#*%@) dog, and it still hangs on the tree every year and we remember what a pill he was.

It is a scrapbook of sorts…even in my old age I remember the stories from most of them. I suppose some day I should sit down and itemize them and tell the stories so the kids will know which are the important ones when I’m gone.

This one Mr. Tattered bought me at a year ’round Christmas store in Alexandria, VA in 1978. We were living back there for a year when he was on loan from the State of CA to the feds…one of the best years of our life, and one of the few times in our marriage he has taken it upon himself to buy an ornament for me all on his own. I don’t think after all this time he knows just how much I treasure it.

And this is one of my favorites of all time…

Anyway, I digress. Once the ornaments are on, the final trim goes up…this amazing, sparkly garland…

…and then I finish up with sheer, sparkly bows and rafia bows, and it’s done. Maybe not the world’s most perfect tree, but most certainly, the perfect one for me.

Day #27 Art Every Day Month – Yep, Life Happened – a Comedy!

You remember yesterday when I said I’d have pictures of a completed tree today barring life happening? Well, it did.

My son and his family stopped by to say good bye before heading back up to the mountains, armed with cups of Starbuck’s Christmas blend coffee, bless their hearts. It turned into a little bit of a visit as Joshua entertained us with his hysterically funny 3 year old views of the world. We laughed and laughed, and it was well worth getting a late start on the tree!

I have a pre-lit artificial tree (the ONLY way to go if you expect perfection in a Christmas tree – which I do!) and it doesn’t have enough lights to please me, so I add about 5 strands of a different type of lights to give it the pizazz I NEED for it to have. I was busy going up and down the giant ladder (at great risk to body and life!) to add those lights, when I noticed that a big swath of the permanent lights around the bottom of the tree had gone out. They were on earlier, but now they weren’t.

You have to understand how completely anal I am about my Christmas tree to understand what a tragedy that is.

I stood there in near shock for a minute, before I sat down and started trouble-shooting the problem. I pretty quickly determined that it was a bad problem and was going to take many hours of work to remedy, and started mentally going over my options for gerry-rigging a simpler solution for this year. I was proud of myself for not having a meltdown. I just approached the situation methodically, and decided to go buy a couple of extra strands to put over the original lights, then I’ll pull out the bulbs that aren’t lighting up where they are visible. Then after the holidays I’ll take a day to re-light that section properly. No one will know my dirty little secret but me, and I can live with it for one year.

So, I figured that if I had to get pulled off task, and since I was so good about not freaking out, I would treat myself to a much needed mani-pedi while I was out.

If you have not yet discovered the sheer wonder of a manicure and pedicure, you have no idea what you are missing. If I could not afford one, it would be worth the humiliation of standing on a corner and singing for the money to get one, a humiliation only slightly less awful than standing nekked on said corner.

It’s not that the whole experience is wonderful. But the torture of having the bottoms of one’s feet scoured, for what seems like an eternity, gives way to the heavenliness of having those feet soaked in hot paraffin, then rubbed with lotion and oil and swathed in hot towels, while simultaneously having one’s arms and shoulders massaged as the spa chair kneads up and down your spine.

An hour and a half later, having been reduced to a pampered pile of wet noodle contentment, it was back to the real world, and dealing with the imperfectness of my perfect tree, but at least I was in a much better frame of mind! And, I had cute toes once again.

They are the ONLY part of my body I am happy with, but I still have a tendency to let them get pretty ragged-looking in the cold weather when they pretty much live in socks. Time management sometimes requires a compromise in one’s standards. Anyway, self care is a very important part of holiday preparations, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

So, back home, and back to the tree. To ad insult to injury, one of the strands of extra lights developed a short, so it was back to the store AGAIN. This is one of those times when I’m glad I live in civilization instead of the boonies! Another couple of hours and my decorating time has now been eaten up, and all I have been able to get accomplished is the lights and the addition of foundations greens – I’m telling you, this is going to be a work of art. Eventually. Fortunately, I have three more days to play if I need them.

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