Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Marie Antoinette

This artwork was done for SuziBlu's "Petit Marie" class. I had a fantastic time working on this and really allowed myself to take my time and enjoy every layer without rushing to the final project. She is waiting at the bottom of the grand staircase for her beloved puppies. I think they're getting ready for a serene walk through the rose gardens. The mushroom birds are twittering in her ear that they are anxious to be in the sunshine. She cant wait to see the sparkling reflection of her new diamond necklace glint back at her from the pond. Her molded paper underskirt will surely twinkle as well since it has flakes of gold for embellishment.

I have always loved Vanessa's paper molded dresses and have wanted to try them out for quite some time. Marie seemed like just the over the top fashonista who would simply adore such a creation. The technique was lots of fun and I'll be continuing on with it employed in new work to see what else might evolve from this start.
In the real world away from art play, my studio is back to its full capacity and I'm really excited about this years students. Only 1 lesson that is a bit trying sometimes. Thats pretty darn good. I think this will be my favorite group of students as a whole that I've ever had. I have 3 adult students, who I adore teaching, and only 1 true beginning level child so we're going to be able to tackle some real music and have lots of fun instead of just learning how to read notes and rhythms. Very fun!!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Breast Cancer 3 Day Cleveland 2009

I spent a wonderful weekend working as a route safety crew member for the Breast Cancer 3 day event in Cleveland. If you've never heard of, seen or participated in one of these events I suggest you have a look for yourself. If you're close to an event think about going out and cheering for the walkers. If you want a personal physical challenge consider trying to walk 60 miles in 3 days. If you want to help find a cure commit to fundraising and walking for the cure. If you cant do any of these things, consider giving a small donation to someone who is taking on the journey of their lives. The events truly are life-changing in so many ways I'm not sure where to start. They not only support a cause I feel strongly about, they show you the true goodness that lies within everyone. Every 3 day event I have ever done exemplifies the way each of us wants to live their life. Kindness, love and helpfullness shine out in a magnitude that just isn't witnessed in our normal lives.
My top photograph shows most of the route safety team. We decided on a pirate theme and had a great time telling bad pirate jokes to make the walkers smile. As you can see we really got into the costumes this year with cool pirate skirts that even the guys were willing to wear. Fancy pirate hats covered our bicycle helmets (although the motorcyclists couldn't do this!) Our job on the event is to help make sure walkers are safe when they cross through busy intersections. You would think a mass of 1000 walkers would be visible to drivers, but its amazing how distracted some of them can be. (Especially those driving, eating, and talking on the phone :(
The walkers walk about 20 miles each day. There are pit stops where they can get snacks, water and gatorade, and medical help, and of course there's always a long row of porta-potties every 2.5 to 3 miles. The walkers and crew eat lunch in one of the biggest picnics you'll ever see. Its always amazing to see the community support along the route as little kids pass out lemonades, freezer pops, ice, candy, and make great supportive posters, or simply set out a sprinkler for the walkers to cool off in. Its also very
emotional to see survivors out with signs thanking the walkers for their work and fundraising.
My second picture is our camp. Thats right, we stay in a sea of pink tents, shower in the back of a special semi-trailer, eat lunch under the biggest tent I've ever seen, and can even get massages, watch tv, send emails, or shop at camp. Of course there are also the fine people who man the medical tent and keep everyone healthy.
The 3rd picture is of the flag raising at the closing ceremony. At this point a small circle of survivors clasp hands and raise them in victory surrounding a flag that states "A world without breast cancer". I truly cannot express the emotions experienced at closing ceremony. It is something someone can talk about in detail and until you attend one you just dont get it.
My last picture is of my friends Amy and Rob, and that is Craig and I in the middle. I am truly blessed by a husband who supports the Breast Cancer cause just as much as I do. It is so much fun to be on event with him and work together in a small way that just might someday lead to a world where our neices can grow up without seeing their friends and family suffer from this horrid disease.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Enjoying life

My heart has not been in this blog lately. I've been spending my time playing music and doing art instead of talking or sharing either. I actually have been doing lots and enjoying life so I'm not going to stress about a mismanaged blog.
I finished off my piano teaching "year" with the student recital and all in all it went well. I had 2 students who could have done better, but they did ok. One poor girl had a terrible memory blank but was able to get back on track, finish her first song and then perform her second flawlessly. I was so very proud of her. That is the hardest part of recital time for me. I really want all my students to have a good experience and it usually turns "bad" for 1 student a year. I can tell them that its happened to me before and share my horror experiences, highlight the good things they did, but its hard for me to get them not to focus on the mistakes they made. It is part of being a musician and they need to learn these things on their own but I always fear that it will put them off music and that would break my heart.
I'm gearing up to participate in 2 "Breast Cancer 3 Day Walks" this summer. We're going to Cleveland end of July/August and then doing Michigan 2 weeks later. My "Breast Cancer Pirate" was created in honor of our Cleveland Route Safety team. We are doing a pirate theme this year and having lots of fun designing costumes and thinking up piratish ideas that will make the walkers smile and brighten their long journey. Everyone needs to "protect and treasure their chests!" So please remember to do your monthly exams and your suggested mammogram screenings. Early detection saves lives.
My second piece of art was created as a possible baby shower gift for a second cousin who I don't really see now that we're all adults. I've never even met his wife! (Big families are like that which is so weird after being close through your childhood). Anyways, their registry was mostly filled and I truly couldn't afford the things that were left unpurchased. I think-if the pictures I used are fairly recent-the man and woman resemble the couple. I am nervous to give this to them, but I'm going to do it. I sure hope that if they hate it they at least dont tell me!
I dont have much more to share today. I'm working at a Breast Cancer Poker Run today. I've never been to one of these and am looking forward to seeing some old friends there. It looks to be a gorgeous weekend here and I hope all you have an equally nice one. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mother Henna's Hero/Shadow Collaboration

I've been struggling making my submission for Mother Henna's latest artist collaborative project. I had many things cross my mind while I considered my interpertation of both a hero and a shadow. At first, I really thought I would push myself and try my hand at a typical comic book style. I even went out and purchased my very first comic books. Well, after really digging deep and doing some further reading, I changed my mind.
I researched the shadow archetype quite a bit and the thing that kept grabbing me was that we all need to face our demons in order to conquer them and live a more fully developed life. I have faced a few of my demons, but know that I have many more to confront. My shadow art depicts me "uncovering" a demon. The text on the art says "Reveal your shadow, Acknowledge it and Heal." I think acknowledgement over conquering is more of what we must do. Our demons never really go away. We simply learn how to live with in a way where we know our weaknesses and can work around them, or even sometimes use these weaknesses to become better in certain areas of our life. I know I have used some of my "demons" that I have dealt with to help other people going through some of the struggles I've already faced. All aspects of our life, both we deem good or bad can be useful if we learn how to approach them.
My Hero art depicts women in my family. Four generations worth of feminine willpower, strength, courage, compassion, hope and most of all unsurpassed love. Each of these women contribute different attributes that, when combined, form the greatest hero one could ever hope to encounter. The main transfer picture is of my Grandmother, the head of the family. She has lived a life full of trials and tribulations. She has shown me that you can smile and find the good if you dig deep enough. She's also shown me that you're never to old to have fun and be silly. (Notice her wax lips in the picture!) Underneath Gramma is the group of us at our annual family "girls weekend". (Lots of wax lips donned for this pic) These women support me through good and bad and I know that they are always there when I need them. That's what being a hero really is. Good times OR bad, they share your life and make it a divine adventure.
This project did not come easily for me, but I met my deadline and sometimes that's what life is all about. Pulling through and getting what needs to be done- done. No matter what struggles you face.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mixed-media meditation

I think the latest girl for my class is surely the most in-depth mixed media piece I have ever done. I lost track of the numbers of layers involved with her and I used just about everything you could imagine. Stamps, collage, modeling compound, gold leaf, glass beads, glitter, mica powders, rhinestones, stencils, colored pencils, acrylics, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things. Once I got the initial layers down it turned into a theraputic project. I cant really describe it, but I had some music on and allowed myself to get lost in the process and not overthink anything. I just kept pulling out new things, adding them in and repeating. No worries over misplacement or misuse of material. I think it was a very freeing experience for me. Hopefully I will remember some of that freeness the next time I sit down to do art. I really need to be better about controlling my worries about it being perfect. Really nothing in life is perfect and by striving and failing I allow myself to become stagnant and afraid to make any move.
Here's to getting past our various fears, warranted or not, and finding enjoyment in trying new things.
Have a wonderful week.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More pretty girls

I'm still working on pretty girls by following SuziBlu's Petite Doll course. I'm not strictly following her instructions even though they are wonderful. I needed to get the girl in front of the piano out of my mind and onto paper/wood. She'll hang in my office for all my piano students to see on their arrival. The quote, from Plato, says: "Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything." Those aspects of communication are the reasons that music has been and always will be an integral part of my world. I have always expressed my emotions better through music than a spoken or written word. Unfortunatly, I feel that my spoken word truly deteriorated after my little mini stroke. I'm not truly complaining, I am very lucky at the mildness of the episode, but at times I truly cant find words, simple words, and it is very frustrating to the well-educated side of me to be lacking in this respect. Thankfully my musical skills seem to have withstood without a lasting negative effect. I can sit down and pour out every last drop of emotion. Happiness, sadness, grief, playfullness, just about anything can be articulately expressed through a song. It pours out any emotion and truly leave me feeling better, more level, like I've just been through some intensive therapy.
Anyways, once again my words are jumbling. I hope that each of you has that "something" that allows your world to be more peaceful and soothing. Take care.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rodeo Girl Class with SuziBlu

I finally had the time to sign up for one of SuziBlu's online classes. I've been wanting to since she introduced the Petite Dolls, but didn't have the time to commit. The Rodeo Girl class is a series of 4 videos that allow you to finish a complete piece. It covered everything from lining up a face, using colored pencils (which I desperatly needed help with!), collage techniques,adding "grubbiness" and finally coating with beeswax.
I had a great time with this course. Her instructions on using and blending the colored pencils was invaluable for me. I could not be happier. She provides a pdf of the sketch with the class, but I choose to sketch my own versus tracing her pattern even though I stuck with the exact same design. I simply wanted to push my drawing/proportion skills and try my had at the body and face dimensions. Anyways, I really enjoyed this project and would highly recommend her classes to anyone wanting a class in developing faces.

I have begun to get back into my art, mostly due to this class. I've been busy drawing and coloring faces trying to get my shading better and better. Its nice to be back into art and relax through the process once again.

I hope you are doing well. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sister Art Doll

I made this doll way back when Stampington & Co. first put out the challenge for "sister art." I decided to made a wonderful sister doll and I wanted her to open up so she could store all the secrets that sisters develope over their lifetimes. I started with a plain old wooden box from the craft store. I painted it a very messy blue/purple smear that appealled to me. I then went about collecting quotes on sisterhood from around the web. I formed legs and arms from polymer clay and used store bought molds to form her hands and feet. I shot wire through all her appendages so that she is loose and moveable. I painted the polymer segments and cut up quotes and glued them all over. Her torso, which includes boobs I sculpted out of a gluey paper mess, highlights the quote:
She is your mirror.
She is your mirror,
shining back at you with a world of possibilities.
She is your witness,
who sees you at your worst and best,
and loves you anyway.
She is your partner in crime,
your midnight companion,
someone who knows when you are smiling,
even in the dark.
She is your teacher,
your defense attorney,
your personal press agent,
even your shrink.
Some days,
she's the reason you wish you were an only child.
~Barbara Alpert

She opens up to show a mirror, words that brought my sister to minds, a paper heart that is multi-layered-just as my sisters heart, a locking drawer-because even sisters need to have some privacy, bottles holding precious shared memories and secrets.

Her head is made from a Mrs. Buttersworth syrup bottle. She had to be sacrificed and now I'm still using syrup stored in a tupperware. Her brain has the deepest sister secrets all balled up together with enough glue involved that those secrets will never escape.

She is embellished with many more quotes and topped off with some raffia type curls. I opted to not submit this for the magazine I originally crafted it for. Instead, I gave this to my sis for her birthday yesterday. I think she really likes it.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you're doing well.

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