artaboutthoughtsjournalfun
Tuesday, March 16, 2010 8:38 AM

crocus-minded

(I'm posting an older entry from 2005 today - it still really speaks to me. Maybe it's something you need to hear today as well.)

Crocus-Minded
by Jo Sorley


It takes courage to be crocus-minded.

God, Iíd rather wait until June,
Like wise roses,
When the hazards of winter are safely behind,
and Iím expected,
and everythingís ready for roses.

But crocuses?
Highly irregular.


Knifing through hard-frozen ground and snow,
and sticking their necks out,
because they believe in spring
and have something personal and emphatic to say about it.

God, I am by nature rose-minded.
Even when I have studied the situation here
and know there are wrongs that need righting,
affirmations that need stating,
and know also that my speaking out may offend...
for it rocks the boat...
Well, Iíd rather wait until June.
Maybe later things will work themselves out,
and we wonít have to make an issue of it.

God, forgive,
Wrongs donít work themselves out.
Injustices and inequities and hurts donít just dissolve.
Somebody has to stick her neck out,
Somebody who cares enough to think through and work through hard ground,
because she believes and has something personal and emphatic to say about it.

Me God?

Crocus-minded?

Could it be that there are things that need to be said, and you want me to say them?
I pray for courage.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010 2:41 PM

Last chance to see my watercolors at the library

There are only a few days left to get to the Westfield Memorial Library and see some fairies up close and personal! I'll be taking down all the artwork this weekend to let some other lucky artist hang her work up.

For those of you not in the area, the lovely people at the library graciously recorded a short movie so you can pretend you're there, having a walkthrough. Grab a book and settle in a comfy chair for the full effect.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010 8:29 AM

Me and Mr. Spock



I've mentioned a mindshift for 2010 - and this year, I have a mascot.... more like a mentor. His name is Spock. Mr. Spock.

You see, this is the way I usually tend to process things:



I'm not even exaggerating here, I wish I was. So now, by thinking WWSD (What Would Spock Do?), instead of freaking out and completely losing it, I'm taking my cue from the pointy-eared one and will first process things with my head instead and let sheer logic consume the over-emotion I would normally react with.



My parents seem delighted with this (Dad thinks it's hysterical), but Paul was sort of horrified. "Don't you think you have to be careful not to swing too far the other way?" he cautioned. I shook my head at him. "Not possible."

And really, my hope is that the Spock-ness will tame the feelings-monster so that everything will even out more like this... (which on some reflection bears a strong resemblance to the flickr logo):

So now when I something goes amiss, instead of throwing up, I channel Spock. I do what needs to be done, explain to myself that I have done everything I can and there is no need to worry about it further, and busy myself with something else and put it out of my mind altogether. Do you think this would work for everyone? Heck no. But so far, it's working for me.

Live long and prosper, everyone.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010 7:17 AM

painting for haiti relief (part one)

With everyone else in the world, I'm struck by the news from Haiti and the desperate desire to be able to do something, however small, to help. In the past, I've auctioned two new paintings for charity and donated all of the proceeds to help those in need. It's time to get out my trusty paintbrush again.

Here are three sketches - I know I want to paint something calm and peaceful, and to me trees show strength, safety, and stability. Right now I'm leaning towards sketch #2 but I figured I'd show a little bit of the creative process too.





Anyone else have a preference one way or the other?

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Thursday, January 14, 2010 7:21 AM

a giraffe (and a half, to make you laugh)



Continuing the reveal of finished Christmas paintings, Angela's giraffe and baby. Eating leaves, as per her art direction, she was very firm on that.





I've enjoyed painting giraffes in the past... check out this one and this one (both on paper bags, for some reason).

(Throwing this into the Illustration Friday queue as well for "Wilderness". Hi i-Fri-ers!)

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Monday, January 11, 2010 8:29 AM

it's like lightning



I've been super-remiss on posting the in-progress paintings as I went along, but once it got to crunch time, I had to just paint as much as I could, whenever I could. You know how it is.

If Lambey was my favorite painting, this was my least favorite. I'm pleased with the way it came out in the end, but getting there was like pulling teeth.

For some reason, doing Samus was pretty easy - maybe because body armor is more forgiving to paint than a car? There were smaller bits? I'm not sure why, because I figured since they were both computer-generated colorful metallic surfaces I should be able to do a car pretty easily. But no. Maybe it was the extreme foreshortening, maybe it was the fact that Samus's armor was fragmented and Lighting has long stretches of shiny red, or that Samus is pretty un-charismatic and not only does Lightning scream "look at me!" every boy under the age of 7 knows everything about him already.

I think that once I started to add a little texture here and there - the tires, the end of the car, the lights - it started to come together. What matters is that Peter loves it, and that's the only part of it I really care about.

Mr. McQueen, are you ready for your closeup?




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Wednesday, January 06, 2010 9:14 PM

Lambey



I'm finally getting to post all the paintings I did as Christmas presents! (As opposed to last year, where I forgot to scan in any of them until after they were wrapped and I had to settle for snapshots of the happy recipients.) This is hands-down, my favorite of all the Christmas paintings.... Sophie's Lambey.

Anyone who knows Sophie knows that Lambey goes pretty much wherever she goes, except to school. :) He's been stuffed and re-stuffed, loved until his yellow gingham heart and embroidery have all worn away, and though his eyes are a flat black, he manages to keep a wise and patient look about him. When Sophie had surgery at 10 months, she came home and threw herself on Lambey and hugged him like mad, and that's how we knew for sure he was The One. When Sophie had surgery this past summer, Lambey got his own hospital bracelet and was allowed in the O.R. with her while she got anesthesia. Lambey is the real deal.

My challenges for Sophie's portrait of Lambey: well, first of all, it's Lambey. I had to get him just right. He doesn't officially have a mouth, but he has a very sweet expression all the same and I wanted to make sure I caught that. The dent under his nose could be a dent... or a tiny, sweet, smile.

I also was under time constraints - so this painting was completed, from original drawing to finished painting, in one day. A weekday, when I am ferrying kids around and have a regular day of work and make dinner and all that.... I still don't know how I pulled it off, but it's my favorite one so far.

The painting below is from 2005 (or possibly earlier?), when Sophie didn't have hair down to her waist and her big-girl two front teeth and a backpack full of books for first grade yet.

But she did have Lambey.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009 10:39 AM

adorable ornaments to make on a snowy day



Yesterday, while the weather outside was frightful, I finished up my ornaments for my CCD class (which of course, got snowed out! But of course, if I hadn't made them, we would have gotten 2 inches). The Nativity ornaments were for my class of Kindergartners and the Angels are for Paul's class of 1st grade girls.



I was inspired for the Nativity ornaments by a craft my twins had made in Mrs. Messina's class last year. They were so simple and so lovely, and I felt like they really captured the essence of what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. The kids painted everything themselves, which made it so much sweeter. These both would be fun to do with kids, letting them personalize and get as creative as they want.

You could paint these any way you like, and if I had more time I would have gotten way more detailed with them (arms on the angels, a star at the top of the "barn", maybe some glitter.... though I did add glitter to baby Jesus. He deserves some glitter!



How to make Nativity ornaments:

Use the hacksaw to trim the legs of Mary and Joseph to height. You can see in the picture at the top that Mary's are cut almost all the way, and Joseph's are slightly longer. You don't want to make them too long or you won't be able to make the top of the triangle close. Baby Jesus is made from cutting one of Mary's discarded pieces of wood in half. Use the sandpaper to smooth all rough edges. Paint all pieces as desired.



When dry, hot glue a bundle of spanish moss to the center of the large popsicle stick, and then add more hot glue and Baby Jesus. Glue Mary and Joseph to either side, making sure first that the other popsicle sticks will be able to meet at the top to make a triangle. Glue both sides of the other sticks to form the triangle, holding them until they set. Turn the triangle upside down to glue the top together. Tie a loop with your twine or ribbon, and personalize. You're done!

How to make Angel ornaments:

Paint a face and hair on your doll pin. When dry, get out your gold paint and paint on a halo and a band around the neck.



For the wings: cut both ends off a large popsicle stick on an angle, so that they form a heart when placed on top of each other. Paint both sides gold. (I also think these would look lovely painted a deep red, or in rainbow colors, or sprayed silver, or... you know. Have fun with it!)

Cut your doily into quarters, and then cut a semi-circle shape out of the top of the pie shape. Put hot glue all around the neck of the doll pin, and place the center of the doily piece in the front under the face. Press and glue all around (doily will overlap in back).

To glue on wings: lay wings on table. Add glue. Press twine/ribbon loop to hang ornament, and then quickly press back of angel on top. Hold until it sets, then let dry flat until it cools.

Merry Christmas!

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Monday, December 14, 2009 8:58 PM

christmas present work in progress: angela's giraffes



I've been so crazy busy plugging along that I haven't even gotten to scan in or keep up with it all! So here is Angela's giraffes in progress. Angela was originally supposed to have a painting of Beethoven, but after looking at reference material with her, she started to get madder and madder that she couldn't find anything that looked exactly like what was in her mind. Hearing that I could take cues from different pictures and put them together only got her angrier so a diversion was needed.

Enter Panda Cam!

From there it was a short step to Panda Kopanda (or Panda! Go! Panda!), and for a while she wanted Papa Panda and Baby Panda with candy canes... and somehow we got to giraffes. I don't quite know how that happened, but I'm so glad that she chose something fun and relatively easy. She has a thing for giraffes (and zebras, and ponies, and unicorns, and unipegs, and in general cute four-footed beings).

I think this is close to being finished, just want to go over it all and give it the details. I think I'm going to look to Richard Scarry for inspiration on this one.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009 6:18 PM

christmas present: samus is done!



That's Miss Samus if you're nasty.



What really surprised me was that full-on body armor is actually easier to draw - and paint - than Cinderella's dress. My guess is that simple is harder. That and I didn't feel right about throwing a heap of glitter on this one.

Up next: Lightning McQueen gets his turn and we'll see how well a car translates in watercolour.

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Saturday, December 05, 2009 10:17 PM

Now at your library: lots of fairies, coffee, and glitter.



Oh hi. I didn't notice you there, I was so busy reading this book about Cezanne and sitting under MY PAINTINGS!!!

It's been quite an exciting day! I will post more photos soon, (and larger) but in the meantime, can you recognize any paintings that are up there? Every one of them has been on this site.

Meanwhile, if you're in the area: Westfield Memorial Library.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009 8:40 PM

christmas present: cindy's done!



So the first present is done - Cinderella's all ready to go to the ball! I was almost done, when I had a brainwave.

She needed some glitter!





It's hard to tell from the scan, but in person, she's downright sparkly.

(Note: this painting will not be available as a print.)

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009 8:31 AM

making the most of it

I'm a little bit nervous this morning as I get ready to go pick up 15 or so paintings I dropped off to be framed in October. I'm treating my dabs and splashes of watercolour (and coffee, and glitter) as Art, and I kind of don't know how to handle it. When I first met with the framer, and we were trying out mats and things, and I saw everything laid out on the table, I actually had a moment where I thought I was going to cry. It's the first time most of these paintings have been liberated from their sketchbooks where they get painted, scanned, posted here on the site, and then tucked away for what? - I don't know - safekeeping?

But while pretty much everything that's getting framed has been on the site, where people who like me/art/fairies/whatever have seen it, I'm now going to be showing it in public. Which I haven't done for a really long time. Before the art show earlier this year, I hadn't hung anything publicly for about 20 years.

This weekend we'll be hanging all of these at my library, which is one of my favorite places in the world (I say this as I sip coffee out of my mug: "It's your library... make the most of it" with a line drawing and the name of our library on it. I kid you not.) And that, while it's exciting, also scares the pants off of me. But in a good way.

I'm not hoping for anything from this. Nothing past hanging them up and seeing what happens. But to enjoy that they'll be displayed... hopefully for others to enjoy too.

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Monday, November 30, 2009 7:10 AM

christmas present work in progress: Samus + Cindy

Wow, a month of posting every day went by pretty fast! I'm going to keep posting as much as I can, hopefully still every day.

Stick with me?





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Monday, November 23, 2009 4:30 PM

the list

Last year's Christmas paintings (Hanukkah and New Year's too!) were such a hit, we're doing them again. This year, the requests have gotten more complex. Last year, I got things like "squirrels dancing" or "a soccer ball". This year, I have much more detailed instructions from my painting recipients, who range in age from 1 to 12. My nephew Joe even had his mom send me reference material and tell me exactly where everything goes! So it looks like tonight I will be working on his painting from Metroid: "He wants the planet painted in the background, with Samus on the left hand side and her ship in the sky." I like a boy who knows what he wants! :)

Also on this year's list are requests for:
- Beethoven - not a portrait, or playing the piano, he has to be standing around, doing nothing, Very clear on that.
- Cars - Lightning McQueen (and friends? I'll have to check)
- Cinderella - I'm trying to work in some mice and the coach too.
- A princess with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a turquoise dress, riding a brown horse through the countryside.
- A formal portrait of the beloved-and-on-his-way-to-becoming-Real Lambey
- A drum kit
- A black and white electric guitar
- Bunnies - the mother should be white and the baby pink, with hazel eyes.
- Dogs doing something interesting (playing poker? Nah, been done... )


And the answer to yesterday's joke: How did black eyed peas get their name?

They were fighting over the chick peas!

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Friday, November 20, 2009 8:41 AM

who....

paints on carboard t.p. tubes?



That would be me.

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Monday, November 09, 2009 7:05 AM

Illustration Friday: Blur



Most of 2004 was a blur to me. I had a one-year old who had recently undergone surgery, and then had preemie twins who were born 10 weeks early and came home with heart/lung monitors. I had a day job. And, unsurprisingly, a large case of post-partum depression. I had days where the only way I got through them was the fact that I knew that later on, when the dishes were in the dishwasher and everyone was in bed for a while, that my paints were waiting for me. I seriously have huge dark patches in my memory about that time. But I remember the freedom in those paints.

"I learned, again and again, the lesson of creativity: the painting I make today, the drawing I do today, the poem I do today, is meant to save my life today."
~ Judy Collins, Singing Lessons

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Sunday, November 01, 2009 8:23 PM

if the stars were mine



Today begins what I hope will be a full month of daily posting. Hello, NaBloPoMo'ers!

I was driving with Petey today in the car and was listening to my fave WNYC show when Jonathan Schwartz set up a singer I'd never heard of, Melody Gardot. Her story is so inspiring; at age 19 she was hit by a car and spent almost a year in recovery in the hospital, using music as her therapy. She learned to play guitar and wrote her own songs, and now performs and teaches about the importance of music in healing. And then the song started: "If The Stars Were Mine."

And I was totally smitten.

I loved the song so much that I scrawled her name and the title on the back of a business card at the next red light, sang it the whole time we were shopping for Peter's new sneakers, looked it up as soon as I got home, and started an impromptu dance party in my dining room with the kiddos. I so wanted to call Rich and play it for him because he absolutely would have loved it, and it made me so sad that I couldn't. It's such a great song - deceptively simple, catchy as all get out, singable to your honey or your kids.

What follows below is not the video for the song, but it's the best I could find. I totally want to paint scenes from this song, or make my own video, but for now I've got some stars in a jar for you. Enjoy!

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Sunday, May 31, 2009 9:45 PM

every day in may: thirty

I painted but some over-zealous gardening led to complete exhaustion... so I didn't post this last night.

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Friday, May 29, 2009 8:14 PM

every day in may: twenty-nine



Getting closer to the finish line... in many ways! I can't believe there are only a couple of days left in May - how have you all been doing in your Every Day endeavors?

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009 6:26 PM

every day in may: twenty-seven



Okay, so this is yesterday's bit of painting, as it was wet yesterday when I had time to scan. Some days I can paint in the morning, but lately it's gone back to when-everyone's-in-bed-time. That's fine too.

It's hard to see in this scan, but the new bit is in the upper left quadrant. I think the paint is so much more reflective than watercolour, the scanner just isn't picking it up properly (as watercolor is not shiny). I'm looking at the painting from across the room and there's so much more contrast there. Foo! I'll have to mess with the settings, I guess.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009 9:45 PM

every day in may: twenty-six

I am retooling an old painting that's never seemed quite finished to me. The only thing is, it's acrylic and it's still wet right now! So for now you get to see the way it looked in 2007, and you'll have to wait till tomorrow to see the rework-in-progress. It's getting outlines and details of dark brown/raw umber. I also want to take a pic of Sophie's face to get it just right (it's not Sophie, but she will have the right face for it.)

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Monday, May 25, 2009 8:54 PM

every day in may: twenty-five



Done! I wasn't finished for Christmas, but the girl who requested this turns 6 tomorrow and I'm going to try to see if I can make a special delivery. :)

XFCO (extreme faery closeup):

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Sunday, May 24, 2009 8:49 PM

every day in may: twenty-four



I think tomorrow will be the last day on this... I don't want to overwork it!

Tomorrow Sophie and the Daisy Scouts will be marching in the Memorial Day Parade! I'm crocheting her a daisy bracelet to wear for it. I can't wait! And wait till you see the photos of the fairy house we've been building in the backyard... :)

People have asked what blues are in that background, and I am embarrassed to say I have no idea! Some of the blues are from my Windsor Newton tiny palette box, and I didn't fill them so I'm not certain what they are. And I really like the one because it gets very grainy very fast on the paper - not sure how to explain it, but it's a neat look. I'm also adding in touches little bits of a blue that's almost a peacock blue, and splashes of brown and purple. Oh - I might have thrown in some green too! See - I'm no good at this. I just sort of wing it. I am really enjoying (and I will try to take slices of each to compare) how in the last 3 paintings I've worked on, the backgrounds are predominantly blue and all of them are very different.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009 8:48 PM

every day in may: twenty-three



Today would have been my boss and friend Rich's 53rd birthday. I got up early and watched the sunrise, and sent much love his way. My heart is full. :)

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Friday, May 22, 2009 8:33 PM

every day in may: twenty-two



Today was Peter and Angela's last day at St. Paul's. They are kindergartners now! Where in the world did the time go?!

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Thursday, May 21, 2009 10:10 PM

every day in may: twenty-one



The last of the belated Christmas paintings. This young lady very specifically asked for a white lace dress, hanging on a blue wardrobe. The fairy peeking out was my idea.

And for those who care, tonight was The! Last! Night! Of! Recitals! (And there was much rejoicing.) Two out of my three kids performed, and it was a magical night. And, yea, verily, we are all exhausted and nigh incoherent so I bid you all goodnight.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009 10:08 PM

every day in may: twenty



Done-done-done-DONE! Done-done-done-DOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNEEEEE!

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009 10:02 PM

every day in may: nineteen



Soooooooooooooooo close.

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Monday, May 18, 2009 11:07 PM

every day in may: eighteen



Another day, indeed.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009 9:40 PM

every day in may: seventeen



I wasn't even going to bother posting today's effort, since i only had about 5 minutes to paint today. I'm very disappointed. And while I was painting, I had Peter asking me a million questions about why I was doing what I was doing with the paint, and Sophie trying to see and breathing on me and getting her head in front of me so I couldn't see. Not to mention the table-jostling. Not saying that the kids are the reason I didn't paint, but some days the process is smooth and other days it's soooo choppy. Tomorrow's another day.

Day one of recitals is done: lots of driving, cooking, cleaning, and organizing (which also doesn't leave much room for painting in the mix either). A hand slammed in the bathroom door (mine, right hand too) and after much ice applied and tears shed later, I figured today I just wasn't meant to paint. At least I tried.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009 9:12 PM

every day in may: sixteen



I'm really hoping I finish this one tomorrow, but as it's day one of Recital Week, we'll see what happens. Today I also:

  • Finished knitting my legwarmers! And tomorrow is cold enough to wear them! :)
  • Set up three tents in the cavernously empty living room and dining room for adventurers and their fluffies to play in - they will get taken down before recitals, no fear
  • Cleaned the porch and planted several containers of impatients
  • Read the kids a few chapters of Little House in the Big Woods (their favorite part is where Ma slaps the bear)
  • Made chocolate chip pancakes
  • Snuggled on the couch and watched some Old School Sesame Street
It doesn't get any better than that. Really.

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