Friday, January 3, 2014

Word for 2014

This time of year, I, like many artists, select a word to remind us of a mindset we would like to focus on for the year.  This year my word is move.  Yeah, I am actually going to try to be a bit more active than I was in 2013.  This is because my age is manifesting itself with little painful reminders to my joints.  Hips, lower back, that sort of thing.  So, I am trying to slow it down a bit through the use of movement.  I did a search for exercises that concentrate on the areas that hurt me, picked the ones I felt I could do without major training, and started out.  I also set my timer on the iPhone that let's me know when it is time to get up from my book or the computer and move about a bit.  The muscles I did not have amazed me.  But what I discovered is that just a bit of workout a few times a day and they respond...so it takes more and more to actually give them a workout.  So, for three or four times a day for most days I am doing a few leg lifts to strengthen the muscles around my hips and the little twinges of pain have gone already!  Yay.  I am also doing some shoulder muscle strengthening and that led to a couple of underarm flab busters.  I feel better-more alert.  I tell me "for health" just do it. I am not one to return to doing the same thing over and over and have never felt I wanted to exercise to lose weight so I am not sure how this is going to work out but I am moving and that is good.  For now.  Hope your word of the year works for you!


Sunday, September 29, 2013

At Last

One of my favorite songs of all time is Etta Jame's version of At Last.  Today, the title is stuck in my head, as finally, FINALLY, I can say, my "house" improvement journey is ended at last!

 It started three years ago, this journey, with wanting to give the house a bit of an upgrade.  Keep it looking loved and cared for, you know?  The first step, which happened two summers ago, was to paint the outside.  Since we are retired, but like to do everything we can for ourselves, we painted, painted, and painted.  Not like "art" painting, just methodical coverage of area by area.  Three colors!  The house in a burnt sienna to blend in with the "desert" type hills we reside in and on.  Then, a lighter tan for the trim.  Then white for next to the windows and the doors.  After several months, finished!  Deep breath...the outside looks terrific, but the painters very tired of painting.  So, we took a break.

Next step, the interior.  Since we bought the house already completed, we did not have input on the paint on the inside of the house.  I fell immediately in love with the white walls (formally I lived in wood inside and out of the house so was dark) and all the windows, and LIGHT!  But, after living in the house not very long, I discovered the paint inside the house was more like flat primer.  YOU COULD NOT WASH IT!  Well, I come from the old school of enamel painted walls, where every early spring, starting in late February, spring cleaning started, and all the walls were washed down, giving the home a clean new smell, and look.  This practice came from the time when people used coal stoves to cook with and coal and wood heaters to heat with.  Had to wash the grime from everything!  But, after spring cleaning the interior was beautiful and good to go for another year.  We, again, started painting in January, was able to get the main living areas done before April, and decided to wait until fall to finish, as we want to be out in the yard when spring allows.  Again, put off until January, and then the painting continued, and then April happened again!  Finally, shopping for carpet and flooring and a date for installation forced us back to the painting, which was completed in August of this year!  Paint that is much more washable!

Then the complete moving out of all the furniture so new flooring could be installed.  Whew...that was quite a feat for two oldsters, lol.  The week after labor day, the flooring, new vynal and carpet was installed clear through the house.  Beautiful.  Since then, I have been slowly moving things back into the house, being very careful about what was returned.  Much has been rejected.  I love the new clean minimalist look now.   And very happy to say and think...AT LAST!

Now, I need a new project!  LOL

Here are the basic colors I have use inside...


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Thoughts About Time


Thoughts About Time

Youngsters play without thoughts of how
Time should be spent.
Teenagers wish for speeding up time so
Time and adulthood can reward them.
Adults are so involved in living life and
Time is not their focus.
Middle-aged people begin to yearn… for
Time to do more than work.
Seniors dive into retirement ecstatic for
Time now can again be spent, as they desire.
Retirees eventually see the long long days as
Time that must be endured to the end.
Time ebbs and flows
Shrinks and grows
Depending on your age.

A Story

A Story

I found this story I wrote a few years ago.  I am trying to clean up my files on my computer so I am deleting lots of old documents.  This one I decided to share here.  I am not sure now why I wrote this nor when I wrote it.


To Kill the You Are Not Wanted Haze

My contribution out in the world is not important.  I thought this because I had been told so probably a kazillion times. .  I lived mostly alone, except for my mother. As a little girl I lived in a confining grey haze of what seemed to me to be freedom but was really isolation and loneliness.  I did not realize, however, that the grey haze in my world was caused from, I was told, all the people around me.  The grey haze emits from them each time I think I might want to go out into the world and join them and it keeps me away from them.  The grey haze is there because they do not want me to be part of their world.  So, my world is really rather small and confining.  But one day, I decided; I am going to remove the grey haze from my world and maybe their world too.  My first task is to come up with a plan.  I have to find a way to stop the haze from blinding me to what is going on in the world.  I need some special glasses, I think, that will let me see through the grey haze.  Since, I have used the methods of stained glass in the past, I find my glass stash, and my glass grinder.  I grind lenses from all kinds of glass; trying each time I make a pair of lenses to see if I can see through the haze.  No, that color doesn’t work, nor that one, keep trying.  I keep trying.  And one day when I put on a pair, I could see, I could see past my little small world and out into the wide, wide world.  I could see all the people out there.  I approached this world step by step.  How amazing!  I talked to a few people.  They talked back.  I talked to lots of different people.  They all talked back.  I said, "Why have you never wanted me? " They all looked so surprised.  “We don’t even know you,” they said.  “We have not kept you away from us, this is the first time we have known you.”  I said, “Why do you emit the grey haze then? “  They all looked surprised again.  “What grey haze? We don’t emit any grey haze.”   I said, “Well, I couldn’t see you until I made these special colored glasses because you emit a grey haze each time I tried to join you. “ “Oh, no,” they exclaimed, ”It is not us that emits the grey haze.  That comes from your teachings, discouragement from your childhood. You are actually the one spreading the grey haze.  If you wanted to bad enough, and if you would have had encouragement, you always had the ability to be in our world and be successful in our world.”   Of course, I thought, and the world got a bit clearer.  Now, each time I see the world a bit grey and hazy, I just pull out my colored glasses to remind me.  I can be as big a part of the world as I want to be.   

Reminds me of the "moral of this story is" stories I read as a child, lol.

Monday, August 5, 2013


 Visiting My Blog

I haven't been here for a very long time, so this is rather like visiting a stranger's blog.  I am afraid Facebook is just too much faster and easier to access, sorry my friends!  But, I have been busy practicing the art of minimalism.  I totally cleaned out lots of things from my studio, and almost everything that required maintenance in my house.  The result of this purging resulted in me not creating much...which is really a strange thing for me.  I used to create everyday, then started this clean out thing the first of the year, and sort of just stopped, for what ever reason.  But, the last week or two...I have started creating again!  I have made five steam punk dolls, a bunch of paper dolls, a little painted fabric doll, and today I started another found object doll.  I guess my psyche dec
ided six months of being less creative was enough!  I agree!  It is fun to be out in the studio just playing!  Here is a couple of pictures of my latest ones:

The mermaid was a fun new paper doll.  The little "Heidi" looking doll is fabric dressed.  

I am working on a "mapping" project (Jill K Berry would be proud of me) which I hope grows to completion.  The problem is it depends on a collaboration from many other people and you know how that goes, if you have ever tried something like that...but if I get some returned maps, I will be sure to show them here!  

A bit about my life is we have two stray cats that seem to have adopted us.  We are happy for them to be here if they stay outside cats.  Our old Blueberry can't seem to make up her mind if she likes them here or not.  At first she would not go for her usual daily outing.  Finally, she decided she would and we thought they might be making friends.  Now, the last two days, she has started standing in the windows and yowling at them...very angry sounding, lol.  I will be glad for that phase to get over with!

All the purging and such will be complete the first week in September when we will have totally new flooring laid through out our whole house.  After that, I will begin my fall activities...DOD come to mind!



Saturday, April 6, 2013

Back to my Face Book

I haven't played in my face book for quite a while.  The last few days, I have returned to it using colored pencils.  I wanted to move away from typical face and hair coloring.  I wanted to loosen up.  I think these four new faces worked.



The hair line is pitsy...but the style is right on, lol.



Again...I need to work on hair line...but the wild colors are cool.



Allowing hair to be green...and working on eye socket bone structure.  The little blue person was me showing someone else the proportions of faces then I drew right over that.  This is a Facebook after all, lol.




Weird hairline but cool colored hair!


The stamps I hand carved but drew right over them. 

I used colored pencils over gessoed pages.  Made detailing difficult and the pencil underdrawing sometimes smeared and some times shows through.  Layering of the colored pencils did not work very well either.  I am going to try some chalk and oil pastels and other media next time I want to play in this book.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

February 14, 2013

I pick up "oddities" at the YSM.  Things that catch my eye because of how they look, or because they are curious, or because I want to understand how it works, because it is eye candy...you probably know all the reasons.

Sometime ago, I picked up a little hand loom, thinking it might be fun to play with.  It has knocked around my art rooms since then.  In January, when I was consolidating three art rooms down to two, I found the loom again.  I also, found a paper bag of off white scraps of fabric I used to make shabby chic flowers.  I decided to see what I could do with the loom and the scraps.


The loom was made by Loomette of California.  It is four wooden slats with tiny headless nails all around the edges...



The paper bag is full of old unusable scraps...


I tore the scraps into strips and wove them into some string I threaded onto the nails...


This is about placemat size...I have no idea what I will do with it...


I have found that I can weave about four inches before I start to scream...


I do not know how to finish the raggy edges...something I will have to figure out, if I finish the little weaving...

I am constantly thinking "what can I do with this as a foundation?"  If you have any good ideas...let me know!


Sunday, February 3, 2013

February 3/2013
What have I been doing this new year?  I am still trying to decide on my word of the year.  Last year's word I really did not do much with and I cannot really find a word that I want to manifest in my life right now.  I seem to be satisfied with the status quo, so to speak.

 My friend and mentor Carla Sonheim started a "year of the giraffe" idea where she is going to fill a whole sketch book of giraffe art.  I thought what a great idea, so I started drawing some giraffes too.  But, then, I suddenly thought I would  do owls, since I consider them one of my totem animals.  So, everyday, I am going to try to do some sort of art that includes an owl.  I used to be very good at sticking to and finishing a commitment like this, but I have notices the last couple of years, I start and things slowly fade.  But I am okay with that.  I refuse to cause myself stress over anything...so if I don't do it...no big deal!  Here are a few of the drawings I have done in January.

I started out playing with Carla's Picasso type drawings...they are really fun to do!



And then some blind contour drawings...always good to get you back into the sketching mode...





 The next drawings are modified contour drawings...


Back to blind contours...

Started doing owls instead...
 This one is a modified contour...
 Modified...
Just some birds I played with...seeing what I could draw without a model...
 Modified
 I am not really good at organizing the uploads so here are some earlier blind contours of giraffes...



And an owl drawing in another sketchbook which happened to be handy at the time...


So expect more owls in the future...


Thursday, January 10, 2013

January 10, 2013-Cute Little Book

Another Carla inspired art activity.  I started with three pieces of scrap paper.  I folded the papers at random trying to make sure each was folded at a different spot so so the pages would peek out from each other.  I cut the each of the folded pieces edges a bit rounding and waverly, again each one differently.  Using my water color pencils, I then scribbled at random on the pages using random colors.   I then used a brush to wet the scribbles and blend the colors.  Once dry, I then tried to "see" what was in the colored "clouds."  Here are the pages to my little book.  Littlest car girl and I decided to title it "Opal Gets A Pet."

                                                             Opal Gets A Pet Cover

Opal is looking for a new pet.  She looked at a cat but it was too unfriendly


and she looked at a doxy but he was too barky




She looked at hairy dog but it was too itchy


And yeow, she looked at an elephant but it was too big!


She looked at a puppy but it's tail was too short



                                            She looked at a bird but it was too noisy

And she looked at another cat but it was too lazy


And finally, she found a tiny little puppy that just right for a girl about to turn six!







Sunday, December 30, 2012

Biggest car girl loves her new jammies.  She was sweet enough to model them for me today.  She is a beautiful model!



Over all look...great to hang out at home in...


A bit of lace and a lacy pocket makes them much more feminine...


And a lacy pocket  on the bottoms for phone of course!

So glad she loves them!

Swallowcliff's Art

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