Thursday, November 29, 2007

What to say today?

It's a wind chilling Thursday here in Wisconsin. The locals are struggling with the isolated television coverage for tonight's Green Bay Packers football game. I'm preparing for tonight's Girls Night Out event at Indigo Coffee & Tea. Crash, the dog, is reclined on the floor next to me with a tennis ball in his mouth--hoping that he'll get some more play time in before he goes to his crate-based den for the rest of my workday here at home.

Crash is starting to turn into a much more mellow guy than when he first came home with me in August 2006. He's a beautiful German Shepherd rescue dog who spent quite awhile as an abandoned dog in an apartment in Milwaukee. As a truly emaciated guy, he was brought into a foster home that worked really hard at getting his physical health back in shape, but his mental health wasn't great and his manners, well, he didn't have many. As a nearly full-grown 2-year-old, he was mouthing things (like my arm) as though he was still an itty bitty furball. He was completely unaware of things around him (hence his name change from the foster name of Malachi to Crash), and had to be led to the water bowl to get him to drink. Everything was too much stimulation for him. The TV. People (especially men). Dogs. Bikes.

I honestly didn't think we'd make as much progress as I now realize we have made. The first 6 months were really difficult, but eventually we learned enough about each other to work through the toughest times and reach understanding. Two of the best things that have worked with Crash are ample exercise time and for me to learn how to act as the alpha dog to a dominant dog who had been master of his own domain for such a long time. Plus, learn to be the alpha dog even on days when I feel vulnerable, tired, or ill.

I know that I used to practice these things when my son was much younger and living with me...but I also know that upholding the alpha position day in and day out is extremely stressful for me, and with outside stressors on top of that, I know that I lost the alpha position from time to time, and sometimes for extended periods of time. Now my buddy Crash can deal with a lot of things, but this summer as a guy rode his bike out in front of my home as he was running a dog on his leash, Crash still perceived this triple combo as a bit of a threat. But, relatively speaking, barking for a minute at something that is a known trigger is soooooo much better than a 5-minute anxiety attack.

Thanks again to Crash for bringing a little bit of spark back to my life and for challenging me back from some extremely difficult and depressing times. I think he's got a bit of Bittersweet spirit in him...

Friday, November 23, 2007

More designs for the Post-it Purse Paks

I've been optimizing the design of these Post-it Purse Paks. Of course, I realize I have to NOT use the "Post-it" name, primarily because not all of the notes are official Post-it notes from 3M, so I'm thinking Posty Purse Paks might be a valid new name. Then again maybe something like Sticky Pak might work just as well. I'll have to think on this a little longer...I'm proud to say that all of these designs are prints from my original pastels.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Waiting to Croak... the title of my latest ACEO. This lovely green frog is rendered in soft pastels featuring a somewhat Christmas holiday color palette. Have I mentioned lately that I've really enjoyed getting my hands dirty with pastel dust?

Most of my ACEO drawings have been (at least at one time) placed on eBay for sale. The most popular items are the (nude) figure studies, but they're great practice for me in terms of composition and improving my life drawing skills. One of the classes that I REALLY wanted to take when I went back to art school was life drawing, which was part of the curriculum when I enrolled, but got dropped out of the requirements a few quarters after enrollment, so I feel that is the biggest part of formal art education that I've not yet had. Someday...I'll take that class...somewhere. Until then, I'll keep practicing!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

They Loved the Post-it Purse Packs!

Yippee! Another successful home show this weekend. We like the events where hundreds of people come to events and bring $ along with them. Patrons of these events are especially generous when they're looking for stocking-stuffer gifts, and my artwork reduced to a 2 inch square Post-it note cover with an elastic band closure sure went quickly. I came home with only a few, and practically none of the original alcohol ink versions of these made it back. Happy holidays to all!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

On Making Donations of Art

I love being able to donate art pieces to help others raise funds--it's a great way to translate my talent into something useful for others. This year, I've supported Wisconsin Public Television, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison Area Open Art Studios, and others, and now have chosen to honor former Mount Horeb High School student Sara Hime, who recently passed away after a long-term battle with cystic fibrosis. Other local artists have made donations, as have members of the Mount Horeb High School Art Club.

The DECA Silent Art Auction for Sara Hime will raise money for the Ronald MacDonald House that helped Sara and her family. The event will take place at Sole Sapori, 304 Main Street, Mount Horeb on Friday November 16, 2007 from 5 to 9 PM. Read more and watch local TV spot.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

On Being the Lioness

I am born under the sun sign of Leo. Therefore, I "jump headfirst...without worrying", possess a "great create" and a "natural pride and stubborn streak". I am "very independent", will "make a difference in the workplace and help to keep the parts moving in sync and iron out any problems before they arise", love "the new and extraordinary". "Some Leos even have hair resembling the thick mane of the Lion"...well, that certainly explains my hair! "What you see is what you get" also happens to be one of my mantras. Yes, there are many characteristics of my sun sign that I am proud to own--even if they happen to annoy others.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Yippee--I Finished a Website Design today!

I love it when something gets "finished." Yes, of course, a website is NEVER finished, in that it is meant to be a dynamic entity that will reflect the changes of whatever it represents. However, putting it out there in virtual space still offers a bit of excitement and leaves me feeling a sense of accomplishment.

The website is for Indigo Coffee & Tea, a local Fair Trade coffeehouse and gallery where I also display eclectic pieces of my art. I've mentioned them in this blog a number of times...and, since having artwork over there has been a positive consignment adventure for me, as have my interactions with the owners of the shop, how can I NOT do whatever I can to promote them?

: )

Monday, November 12, 2007

From Our House to Yours

It's that time again. Saturday, November 17 from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday November 18 from noon to 5 pm is the 17th annual From Our House to Yours event!

Great art. Great crafts. Lane Bacon, Woodworker; Jimmy Balwit, Potter; Dorothy Davenport, Basketmaker; Diane Fleming, Fused Glass; Stephanie Funck, Basketmaker; Sandra Haspl, Painter; Lois Jarvis, Fiber Artist; Cynthia Koshalek, Jewelry & Mixed Media; Edna M. Kunkel, Mixed media; Barb Lazaris, Photographer; Laura Nordstrom, Handbags; Pholt Studio, Clay Artist; Rick Raschick, Potter; Rebecca Reed, Weaver; Barb Taber, Gourmet Desserts. Hmmm, did you say desserts? Yumm! Can you say great unique gifts for the holidays or any other day of the year? You betcha!

Great house on the hill in the University Heights area. Great architecture and history. Map your way there: 166 Prospect Avenue, Madison, WI

Preparing for another in home tour...

...but this one's not in my home, so I can work on art like my latest ACEO Dalmation titled Waiting to Play instead of working on cleaning, shopping, cooking, and reorganizing!

This upcoming weekend is the annual From Our House to Yours event, one that brings a group of talented artists, artisans, and craftspeople together to share their wares in a lovely antique house in the hills of Madison.

I've been completing three new quadrivet sets, purse post-it packs, miniature hand-bound book/journals, and gathering some other articles from the home studio storage space, including earrings, coaster sets, and larger art journals. This year, I'll be taking along some ACEOs, to see whether there's interest in this wonderful form of minature art, along with some of my photographic pieces. Of course, I'll take some boxes of my original Christmas cards and coordinating gift tags. Since this was the best show I participated in last year, I'm hoping for similar (or even better) results this year.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

UGH Daylight Savings Time

People used to wonder why I didn't like to travel. Among other things, my body is extremely slow at adjusting to time zone differences. And, with the recent time change, I'm again out of kilter, as is my dog, Crash. He's pestering me to get out of bed earlier in the morning and wanting to go out on his evening walk as soon as it starts to turn dark. Fortunately for him, I've been working from home and can still accomodate a late afternoon tennis ball chase game, otherwise he'd be absolutely unbearable!

We'll work it out though, we always do. And, with the writer's strike that's crippled the late night talk show circuit, going to sleep an hour earlier isn't such a big deal. That is, for those of us who live without cable or satellite TV services, whatever travels through the air waves is what we see.

So, you see, it will be time again to produce more and more art. The creation of miniature art in the form of ACEOs (artist cards, editions and originals) continues. And, the pieces are beginning to sell on eBay, so I'm VERY encouraged. The Bird of Paradise card is shown here, a creation with Pitt art brush markers and metallic Prismacolor pencils.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

On Taking Good Notes

When I know what kind of document I'm going to write, and have a general table of contents, I can write until my heart's content. I woke up today in a "must write" kind of mood, and so, that's exactly what I did. Collect research materials off the web. Print them. Read them. Write notes. Organize thoughts. Percolate. And now, for another important step: sleep on it, and start again tomorrow.

Much remains unread, and so I'm hoping for a similarily productive day tomorrow, and perhaps throughout the weekend...I can't quite decide if it's true inspiration, a visit from one of those invisible muses, or just a headache-free day after a week of on-again, off-again sinus/migraine style headaches. I could actually process a real thought...or two or three hundred.

I do take creative breaks when I'm doing intense technical writing. It's like a mental time-out that involves primarily using the "other" side of the brain. This doesn't always work, though. There are some days where it just switches the productivity from technical to creative, and then I need to throw in a sleep cycle to reboot.