Thursday, September 29, 2011

SQUAM 2011— Just the Therapy I needed

My new Squam Friends!

I mentioned in my previous post before I left for SQUAM that I was in a bit of a funk. Whenever I got into a funk growing up, my Mom would say, "Life is tough. Life isn't fair." It always just made me more mad when she'd say that, but she's right. Life IS complicated! And just when I think things are going great, WHAM! Somebody throws me a curve ball and I've got to figure out how to deal with it. That's just life I guess. If we didn't have problems to deal with and challenges to overcome, then we wouldn't really appreciate the good times when they come around. 

My latest curve ball was thrown just days before I left for SQUAM. I actually called Elizabeth (the Director of SQUAM) to see if I could cancel my trip. I just didn't think I could go and enjoy myself. But it was too late to cancel, so I packed my little bags (actually it was one oversized bag that cost me $50 to check on Jet Blue) and left for the Great North. 
Suffice to say that SQUAM was just the therapy I needed. From the moment I arrived, I felt like I could breath and relax (Ok, I lied. It wasn't until I dragged my honkin' suitcase up the narrow rickety stairs and down the hall to my room and sat down on the bed that I could actually take a deep breath and finally— relax. And think. And just be me. Not a wife, or a mom, or a volunteer, just me. The creative me. That part of me I think I love the most. For three whole days that's who I could be and man, it felt good.  
It was a gathering of over 150 extremely talented women. No one knew me, but everyone genuinely wanted to get to know me. And I wanted to get to know them. We were all so different, yet we had the same creative passion. We talked. We laughed. We ate. Boy did we eat! And we created. Together.  
We displayed the art we created each day on the mantel in our cabin.

The Squam Art Fair

The view from our Dock

I'm keeping in touch with the uber-talented women I met at SQUAM and I can't wait to go back there again. What an incredible experience! Thank you ladies for getting to know the creative me. I kinda like her.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'm off to New Hampshire for SQUAM

I've been waiting all year for this weekend. SQUAM is an artists workshop/retreat held on Squam Lake in New Hampshire twice a year. I'll get to work with top notch illustrators, designers, artists and crafters from all over the country to help me hone and refine my voice and style through the joyful process of creative exploration.

I'm registered for three full-day workshops. And there will be some fabulous guest speakers there too. The person I'm most looking forward to meeting is Kayte Terry, who has built her career at Anthropologie and works at the epicenter of the creative hub (in that oh-so-very creative company) in their flagship Philadelphia office. She will share some insider scoop on just how they come up with those cooloi ideas for photo shoots and store displays, as well as share stories of her personal journey of carving out a thriving professional life steeped in wild creativity.

I can't believe it's finally here and now... I'm having cold feet. It's a long way to go and it has been quite an investment that I probably shouldn't be making right now. Can you tell I'm in a bit of a funk? Well, maybe this is just what I need to get me back on track and in a positive state of mind about myself, my family and my art.

So off I go! Can't wait to share what I've learned when I get back.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Latest Commission— A Chicago Home

"Chicago Home"
11"x14" Mixed Media Canvas
My reference

It was a pretty tedious painting that I got myself into this time. It must have been late one night when I started the brick because I decided to paint, cut and then place each brick with tweezers. Yeah, and as if that wasn't enough, I did the same thing with the shingled roof. Yes, I know. I'm insane. It took a lot longer than I thought, but I couldn't help myself. 
You can kind of see the 3-D elements from the side. I used old book pages and canvas with molding paste on the house and paper-pulp for the landscape. I think my favorite part of the painting is the house numbers and the shadowing on the garage. 

It ships off to the customer tomorrow. Bu-bye my little labor of love!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Weekend Project— Chalkboard Wall

I've been wanting to paint a chalkboard wall for ages, but just haven't had the time or the moxie to do it. I mean, to paint a little chalkboard square on a wall is one thing, but to paint an entire wall black is a huge change—especially in our little house. But I convinced myself that since it's the wall next to my computer desk and where the kids eat breakfast and do homework, it would be a fun and creative outlet for all of us. So the weekend before school started, I bit the bullet and started painting a magnetic chalkboard wall. And this weekend, I finally got a chance to draw on it!

I've been scouring Pinterest for Chalkboard wall ideas and picked some of my favorite quotes to feature for my initial design. Check out my Pinterest Boards here. By the way, I found that oversized ruler on Pinterest and ordered it on Etsy. Love it!
I used an overhead projector for most of the lettering, so I wouldn't end up with a bunch of type on a downslope. Unfortunately, my walls aren't perfectly smooth, so I couldn't be as precise as I wanted to be. A friend told me about Chalk Ink— a very cool product, but it's not recommended for use on chalkboard paint. Boo. I was also tempted to go to the craft store and buy a chalk pencil, but never ended up doing that. It's on my list to get though.
I love this quote. It's so cut-and-dry. Even my first grader gets it.
Ok, so I'm still working on having the "HAPPY KIDS" part, but I'm nailin' the other stuff!
Hoping this little diagram will help my kids understand the logic of true happiness. 
It makes me chuckle every time I read it.
PMA stands for Positive Mental Attitude. This drawing is a nod to my grandfather, who was a PMA fanatic and my idol, even more so now that he's gone. He was always giving me giving me things to read from Zig Ziggler, Tony Robins, Dale Carnegie and the list goes on. He would hi-light the heck out of everything and write me notes in the margins. I still have a box full of his stuff! Newsletter, books, cassette tapes, CDs, you name it! When we graduated from college he insisted that each of his grandchildren enroll in the 12 week Dale Carnegie course,  "The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking".  (The long and the short of that course is to engage your audience and present your information in such a way that it will make them remember you.) Anyway, I thought it would be something positive for Wesley to look at while he's eating his Cheerios in the morning. My grandfather always told me, "If you think positive thoughts, you will be positive."  

Jackson couldn't wait to start drawing. (FYI, that thing that looks like the sun under his right elbow is actually a dock for the pirate ship.)
Yep, I think they're gonna like this chalkboard wall. 

I'm sharing this post with  The Girl Creative,   Keeping it Simple,  Sumo's Sweet Stuff,  c.r.a.f.t.,  I heart Naptime,  


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