Friday, March 30, 2007 8:26 PM

Illustration Friday: Snap

My favorite album of all time: Rubber Soul. I prefer the American version, which some critics (and I!) think is superior to the British release.

FEEDBACK TIME: While this was incredibly fun to paint, it's hard to get four people to look like they're supposed to, especially when the album photo is distorted. So: I invite you to tell me something in particular I could fix on any particular Beatle. And you also have to tell me one thing you like about the painting or that I did right. Or just tell me how much you like the Beatles.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007 9:51 PM

Illustration Friday: I Spy

Coffee and pencil. Can you spy the singing bird?

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Thursday, March 22, 2007 8:19 AM

Create a totem.

Part two of the "Exorcise a creative demon" exercise (ha! how often do you get to use those two words together in a sentence?) is to make a creatitivty totem. Because of the deep connection I feel with this painting of mine, I thought about how I could interpret this into something 3d that could sit on my desk or drafting table, and not be so fragile it would fall over.

I thought, a doll! I need to sew! But then I realized I wanted it small enough to sit in the palm of my hand, so I stopped mid-iron (I didn't want her to have wrinkles!), unplugged the iron, and ransacked the house for any kind of modelling material. You would think with 3 preschoolers I would have lots of stuff, but all I could find was brightly colored Play-Doh and I wanted white. All I could find was the world's tiniest can of white. I was so frustrated! So I sketched out what I wanted to make, and waited, rather impatiently.

Finally the weekend came, and even though there wasn't really any time for me to go to the art store, I threw dinner in the oven, gave Paul instructions on what to do with it, and ran (with his blessing). I can't really explain this whole thing except to say that there was another force guiding me and urging me to create. As long as I listened to it, things were good. When I denied it, I got cranky. Very cranky.

I grabbed 10 lbs of clay at the art store and ran home just as dinner was cooling on the stove top. We ate dinner, put the kids to bed, and I escaped upstairs to my studio to GET TO IT. I am by no means a sculptor, so I decided ahead of time to forgive myself and all my mistakes, and just go for it. I spread out all my newspapers and supplies, and opened the box to see that I had not, as I thought, bought 10 pounds of white clay, but instead, bought 10 pounds of brown clay. I took a deep breath, decided that for whatever reason, I was supposed to have brown instead of white, and dug in. Wrapping it back up and returning it to the store was not an option.

I let go of any preconceived notion about what this was supposed to look like, and just started. I thought, dryad. Nurturer. Mother. My figure initially was too girly and I added more and more curves so that she was more fertile and weighted. I made the bird separately, originally so that I could paint the figure better. But now I think that the bird won't always sit there. I want to fill that lap with flowers, shiny rocks, acorns... whatever I find on my walks that speaks to me for the day. When I finally stood up and looked at her, I realized I had created a fertility goddess.

I'm quite pleased with her, but she's not done yet; I plan to paint her vine-y hair green and brown and those tiny leaves bright green; her legs and lap dark brown and black, and paint tree branches growing up her front and winding around her arms.

Or maybe I'll just live a spell with her as she is, naturally. It really doesn't matter because I simply can't mess this up. This is all about the act of creating. As long as I'm creating, and honoring my creative spirit, there are no mistakes.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007 8:09 AM

Exorcise a demon.

So my demon is that I constantly compare my work to other people's -- if I'm not in the perfect frame of mind, I see how everyone else's art is so perfect, well-known, ground-breaking, acknowledged... and I can't create anything, it just freezes me up instead of inspiring me and lighting a creative fire under me. I sit and watch bad TV and eat potato chips instead of painting up a storm.

So.... what I did was take a stock photo promo that had come in the mail with lots of other people's work on it. I cut a monster's shape out of it, with horns, big claws, a pointy tail. (My kids, by the way, were fascinated and wanted ones for themselves.)

Then I painted green over him (for envy, natch), and splashed some red paint in the general vicinity of where its heart would be. And a little coffee.

I wrote all over the back of it with my feelings of jealousy and inandequacy, hole punched him a few times in the heart (take that!) and then burned him and watched him writhing on the fire. HA! We made a little ceremony out of it.

Not only was it fun to create this little demon, it was quite fun destroying it. I could have buried it in the snow, ripped it to shreds, spit on it, run over it with the car... my only complaint about the fire was that it burned rather quickly, for all that effort!

But isn't what this is about? I put in all this effort into whining and feeling inadequate, when I really had the power to banish all of that in an instant.

(Tomorrow.... the Creativity Totem makes an appearance.)

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Monday, March 19, 2007 1:28 PM

Task: Perform an Exorcism

I haven't been blogging at all about "Walking in This World", mainly because I've been too darn busy doing the tasks and keeping up with the others in our group online to get to post much. We are just starting Week 10, which astounds me, because it means I'm in the homestretch! And what an amazing journey it's been!

Anyway, this task is too good not to share, and I invite anyone at home to try this and share your story here. I'll be sharing in parts, as soon as I can get my images off the digital camera and loaded here. I suggest you do both parts of this task.

1. Exorcise a creative demon: Reflect on a creative injury and make a creativity monster embodying all the nasty elements of your tormentor. Then destroy it! MUAH-HAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA!

2. Create a creativity totem: Make a being that embodies all the spiritual forces you would like to muster to your support. And then give it the honor it deserves.

I will be sharing mine here in the next few days. Can't wait to hear what others have come up with!

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Monday, March 12, 2007 8:50 AM

Illustration Friday: Wired

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Sunday, March 11, 2007 11:06 PM

You say it's your birthday... it's her birthday too

One week ago (it's been birthday party central around here!) it was Peter and Angela's birthday -- they turned the big THREE. THREE! How the heck can they be three already?!

Maybe part of my astonishment is due to the fact that there are large sections of their early childhood that I cannot remember anything about. I have huge blank sections of memory, I'm guessing from a combination of my post-partum depression and sheer exhaustion. (Go check the archives if you want to read the adventures of a family with preemie twins born 10 weeks early, with a one-year-old at home. I don't!) Luckily, nowadays things are much happier and slightly less exhausting, so I will share a few favorite snippets:

Peter LOVES Schoolhouse Rock. He insists that in Science Rock they are singing about a "Kermit" of electricity and even after we explained that it's a current, he will sing it extra-loud when we get to that part, and then give a belly-laugh that sounds like it's coming from an old man. He has thankfully switched from "No can!" as his catch-phrase to "I think not!" We also will hear, "Angewa! Yeave me ayone!" at all hours of the day or night. But if she's not around, he asks and asks until she comes into the room.

Angela can't leave him - or anyone else - alone. Anything Petey does, it must be good, and she wants to be doing it too. When the lights are off and it's bedtime, we hear her leading the singing over the baby monitor -- "Never Smile at a Crocodile" and selections from "Big Big World." She recently got glasses and we didn't think it was possible for one little girl to get more glamorous, but she totally is (and she knows it, too.) Angela's latest thing is to say "I love you!" to everyone around the table, in the car, wherever we are, and today, she added "I love myself!" I ran over and hugged her and said, "YES, Angela. Don't ever forget that." Life lessons, from a three-year-old.

So here's to my muffins, my big surprise, my daily dose of hugs. I love you more every day, and I pray you stay just as sweet as ever... and please God, keep taking naps, and just get up yourself when you need to pee at night and let Mama sleep, okay?


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Wednesday, March 07, 2007 9:29 PM

Illustration Friday: Hide

Hey, you've got to hide your love away.
Coffee, pencil, watercolour.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007 6:45 PM

Don't Eat the Pictures!

We drew a lot, watched this (above - a perennial Michelangelo's birthday fave), and as soon as the kids go to bed, I'm doing a new painting, with a coffee wash for the background.

So.... what did you do today?


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Friday, March 02, 2007 8:31 AM

The 3rd Annual Michelangelo Project

March 6th is Michelangelo's birthday! To celebrate the birthday of one of the world's most inspiring artists, I invite you to participate in this project.

What you do:
1. Do something creative this Tuesday, March 6th. It can be something you love to do, something you've forgotten how to do, something you've never done and always secretly wanted to try. Here's your excuse! Some ideas are:
- paint/draw/collage
- sculpt (like the master)
- write a poem, a short story
- take a photo
- visit a museum or art gallery
- sew
- cook something exciting you've never made before
- see an art film, foreign film, or movie about an artist

2. Come back here and share your experience!
Post a link to your creation, write about your trip or creative process - share your creative story with others. How creative can we get? (There will be a special post Tuesday for you to post to.)

3. Link back with the above graphic if you've written about it on your site.

4. Have fun, for goodness' sake! This is not about being perfect or creating the best piece of art. It's about embracing your creative side in whatever form it happens to take.

I'll be back to share my experience on Tuesday... can't wait to hear your stories!

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