Joyful Revival

For a moment in time I am putting my proactively focused brain on ice. Extensive lists are thoroughly chilled and pushed to the back of my priority freezer as beauty warmly makes its way onto the hopeful platter of my primary focus. The main course of beauty, in this case, entices the visual senses for its ethereally daring images otherwise known as the fashion blog, The Glamourai (http://www.theglamourai.com/).

The Glamourai blog elicits memories of a time when fashion was seeded in me long ago. My appreciation for fashion started when I was a little girl in middle school. 16 years ago I loved to shock those around me by wearing ironic t-shirts (before hipster was even a word), rimmed my eye lids with jet black kohl liner, sported glitzy necklaces made in the 1960′s (I still have those pieces and wear those) and I rocked Mary Jane style Creeper brand shoes with bright blue stars stitched in. You would never find me in anything trendy, but rather you would find me in things that were reflective of who I was, which still applies today. I did a bit of digging and actually found that the shoes I used to wear are still for sale to this day, which I retrieved from the Hot Topic store website (http://www.hottopic.com/hottopic/Shoes/Creepers/Hello+Kitty+T.U.K.+Black+Mary+Jane+Mondo+Creepers-10134765.jsp).

My mother encouraged my individuality and fearless approach to fashion early on. Her resume included experience as a J.C. Penney fashion buyer, so my experiences growing up were very different from most little girls. My mom and I bonded not over baking cookies, but rather over window shopping trips, searches through bargain bins, and adventures through seemingly ignored thrift stores with hidden treasures. I would not have had it any other way.

My style eye has shifted since my younger days, but it is still present, which is why I thought it would be a great option for me to apply to fashion related positions during my artistic lull. I found The Glamourai during an application process for a fashion related position, and it served as a great reminder of that originally flashy 13-year-old who is still very much apart of me. For some time I was unmoved and uninspired and when I found that I started to thaw. I felt vibrant…I felt alive reading it, like I was on an aesthetic safari, and I encountered images that challenged me.

As I have written prior, it’s no secret that my last art piece came to a stand still. I drew in my sketch book, went through old art books to jog that artistic light bulb along, all of which, dismally, did absolutely nothing. I’ve since grown a bit and I believe some of the wall I ran into was partially constructed by my own unreasonable expectations of myself, when I should approach myself and life as a learning curve and that when I humanly fail, that I, in turn, learn, and grow for the better.

I feel myself stirring again, and I’m finding that fashion, whether I craft it or view it, is at the helm of those stirrings. Since then I have crafted (and are still crafting) pieces such as my own bridal bouquet, bridesmaid bouquet, jewelry, and barrettes using materials such as silk flowers, antique earrings, antique brooches, jewelry wire, ribbon, well manicured jewel tone feathers, crystals, stark white feathers, and anything else I had on hand that would create great texture.

I have given barrettes and jewelry away as gifts, which is why I don’t have pictures of those, but I have pictured below some materials I’m using for my bouquet and my bridesmaid’s bouquet. Thankfully some inventive individuals posted videos that have helped tremendously. I’ve fused the methods of both of these examples from Domesticated Me (http://domesticatedmeblog.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/how-to-diy-brooch-bouquet-giveaway-announcement/) and PattyRollerDesigns (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0o1MTuge3PE).

Jewelry Flowers

shimmering pearl flower

White Rose

Joy comes in different forms to everyone. Whatever your joy is, whether it’s rekindling an old flame of a passion or discovering something completely new, it’s important to keep your joy burning. Joy makes life worth living, worth moving forward for, and worth loving.

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Angel’s Message

I feel a certain familiar stare from across the room. She bats her snowy eyelashes at me and waits with excitable breaths combined with snorts, hoping that once I’m done doing whatever it is that humans do that I’ll grab her neon pink leash and we’ll go straight to the park for a walk.

Angel has been with me through my dizzying college years, through the trying hurdles of life, and through my greatest joys and triumphs. Her darling gaze for the past 11 years have always seemed to say, “I love you Jenny, with ever follicle on my 16.5 pound body.” If I could speak Maltese dog, I would say the same to her.

Her existence most of her life has admittedly been extraordinarily difficult for her, and quite frankly, a lot of times, terrifying for me. Her Maltese immune system has always been incredibly fragile, which cannot be remedied.

She has suffered from unexplained seizures, non cancerous eye masses, cysts, skin infections, eye infections, an enlarged liver, and the list goes on. To care for Angel has been like caring for a baby who can never tell me in English what exactly is wrong.

My instincts kicked in a little over a month ago regarding a bump on Angel’s mammary gland that was the size of half of a dime and appeared to be blue. I decided to do research about it, and I horrifyingly found out that it was very possible that she had a tumor.

Urgently, I called a highly recommended vet, Dr. Dave Driscoll of the Irvine Boulevard Animal Hospital and made an appointment for as soon as possible. After Angel was given a needle test the doctor came out with a crestfallen look on his face. The next words that came out of his mouth were “cancer” and after that everything else started to blur.

She had surgery to remove the tumor, and after that her mass was tested to reveal how malignant it was. An entire week passed by before the results were in and I tried to keep busy. I planned for my wedding, and bought supplies for my bouquet, but to have such uncertainty hang in the air was absolute agony.

The results were that she had cancer, but that it was the least malignant kind. All of the cancer was removed via surgery and it was stated that the cancer could possibly come back, but the percentage of it coming back was low.

I am so grateful that my prayers were answered, and also that she was cared for by Dr. Dave Driscoll of the Irvine Boulevard Animal Hospital. I officially switched vets, and I am so glad I did. He saved Angel’s life, and did so reasonably. He also took a mole off of her that could have been problematic or turned into skin cancer eventually. If you would like more information about their practice please go to their website: http://www.irvineblvdanimalhospital.com/index.htm

I think that if Angel could speak she would have a special message for pet owners. Instincts are one of the most important resources that we have as human beings. If something does not seem right or strange about your pet please reach out to a veterinarian. That message is especially extremely important if you find a bump on a mammary gland, as that can be a sign of cancer.

Most of all, enjoy your pet while you have them. After such a frightening health scare, I am trying to take life one moment at a time with Angel and relish in her golden years while she snores and continues to inspire me artistically and otherwise with her endlessly easy smiles.

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Peace be with Art?

With the sweetest intention and her spirit like a fog comprised of holy water, she gently parrots to me, with an eager helpfulness, the same sentence she said numerous times before, “If you paint the Blessed Mary, things will turn around like you can’t believe, Jenny.”

An uncontrollable slight eye roll glazed over me coupled with a heavy sigh in response, which was not intended to be disrespectful, but rather was a reaction toward overwhelming situations personally and artistically. Do I believe in the Roman Catholicism I grew up with? I do, but I believe in my own way, and my thoughts about this holy themed proposed art piece are mixed.

The Blessed Mother I feel is currently working overtime, like an ethereal worldly girl Friday distributing blessings, messages, and miracles more than ever due to these troubled times. In my imagination, given where our world is at, I imagine that if I created such an art piece, (which would hopefully aide in an innovative artistic break through), she would, rightly so, turn on her heavenly auto responder which would read, “Away from my desk bringing light to the world. I’ll listen to and respond to your prayers when I can. Ookkaaayyy peace be with you!”

Peace be with me indeed, but I can’t say I would be too peaceful during the creation of such a piece for numerous reasons, but primarily because of the subject matter. If I painted something like a dog atrociously like a long legged horse with vampire teeth I wouldn’t think twice about it. However, if I did a painting of the Blessed Mother that did not turn out well, I would be concerned that my depiction would be viewed as (unintentionally) sacrilegious.

If the painting came out terribly, I would also, in a cartoon world mindset, wait for lightening to strike me, for me to accidentally run over a cliff like the unsuccessful cartoon character Wile E. Coyote, or for a baby grand piano to crash down on me from a faulty pulley system.

If I do ever decide to scale the artistic Mount Kilimanjaro that is The Madonna, I at least can refer to this painting. This interpretation of Jesus embodies a hamster in combination with the Edvard Munch painting The Scream. Not only that, the artist painted over a masterpiece created by Spanish artist Elias Garcia Martinez.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_162-57501085-503543/ruined-fresco-draws-attention-fans-in-spain/

I know it’s frowned upon to laugh in church (I have a history of unwanted inappropriate church giggles) but I would love to see this in person someday. Beyond my best efforts, I would probably end up laughing like Snoopy did when he went to the library like this:

The 81-year-old artist who painted over the centuries old fresco has been greatly criticized for her work, but she also inadvertently brought more business to the Spanish town and more visitors to the church. As overused and dusty as this platitude is, “everything happens for a reason” could not apply more sweetly than to that story, and perhaps, I’m brought to this point in my life for a reason. Or perhaps the saying applies that, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” Nah, all right, all right. I think I’ll stop myself short for now…

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Our love is here to stay… and so will the sweet perfume of May.

As I’ve said in previous posts, when I create art it imitates where I am in my life, so it makes sense for me to share in my art blog what personal things have occurred in my life that will greatly influence my art and have influenced my most recent artistic expressions.

Recently, I feel like I’ve been walking through life as though I am striving to keep beautifully promising books on my head. As I move along some of the books tilt and threaten to fall off, and I adjust those as necessary to keep going. At times I place those metaphorical books on a nearby shelf to come back to the next day. What are the latest books of my life that I’m currently focusing on?

One of the books of my life happens to be my own love story. My boyfriend not only surprised me with an unforgettable trip to Santa Barbara, Monterey, and Carmel; he also shocked me with something beautiful and sparkly. He got down on one knee and proposed to me on May 22, 2013 overlooking a stunning seaside cliff in the Point Lobos State Reserve of Carmel, complete with sea lions and sea otters below us, and even a squirrel walked in front of us and looked at us curiously after I said “Yes!” like something out of the movie Enchanted.

To say that I am completely over the moon to become his wife is a huge understatement. I am so rich with blessings in my life, and I really think that new development, along with other developments in my life, will affect my art in a very positive way.

But let me back track to before all that happened. The month of May was responsible for added chapters to my life, and was also responsible for a bit of fresh artistic execution. May this year was a time when life was incredibly fruitful with celebrations. For me, it was a month of not only the greatest surprise of my life; it was also a month that celebrated many people in my life that I dearly cared about, and thus, fueled creative fires for me. To start, my younger sister turned 16.

At the young age of 16, my sister has received numerous accolades and awards for her acting abilities, and has a wealth of opportunities in her future. I am so proud of who she is, and what she has accomplished already. I decided for her birthday this year to create jewelry for her that honored her and the actress she has become.
When I created her earrings, it was the first time I had ever made jewelry. After I finished both pairs I gained a tremendous amount of respect for the time, effort, creative energy, and calluses that are needed for the creation of jewelry.

I purchased drama mask charms and Oscar charms from a local bead store and then went to work. For the drama mask earrings, I attached the charms with gold colored metal rings to the bottom portion of the pink and gold metal pieces so that the earrings hung vertically.

I then painted over the main pieces with gold leaf and bright pink acrylic paint to brighten the appearance of the earrings and create a very youthful color combination. I also attached brand new gold hued hooks to both pairs of earrings, and sprayed acrylic spray finish on both sets of earrings to not only protect those, but to make those incredibly shiny.

Then I worked on the Oscar earrings. I gold leafed all parts of the earrings except the new gold hooks before I attached everything, and I also removed pearl like stones from the main pieces and painted over those in gold leaf to give a very sleek Hollywood feel. Lastly, I connected the Oscars to chain links with small gold colored rings, and then I attached those to the ornate metal gold pieces.

Earrings for Shannon

After I completed my sister’s gifts I mailed those off to Colorado, and then Mother’s Day charged around the bend of my calendar like a runaway train. For such a day, I decided to do what a lot of daughters do. I made a card for my mother that accompanied her gift, except I created something artful for her that she could keep to remind her of how much I loved her.

I decorated her card organically, with feminine shapes and brush strokes, assorted paper, and, of course, glitter. I used paper and different styles of texts in combination with acrylic paint as means to create a lot of different textures, including magazine clippings, and a series of different types of paper with varying font styles, along with photos to create interest and a certain message in the card, which was “I appreciate the things you do, love the way you care, the way we laugh, and the way you have always been there.” A blank card was used as the base of the card, and watercolor paper was used to create a flat, sturdy surface to apply the primary message that was placed on the inside of the card.

Latest May Projects

Inside of the card.

Latest May Projects

Latest May Projects

Shortly after mother’s day, my mom thoughtfully gushed over her card and placed her card on her mantel. I’m glad that’s where she put it so it reminds her every day of how much I care. My anniversary with my boyfriend quickly followed after Mother’s day.

At first I wanted to do something artistically for him with a picture that was taken of us when we first connected at the place where we worked, but the pixels were too limited. Instead I decided to play with another photo that we took together five years ago at Disneyland. In the photo, I gave him a kiss on the cheek in front of the ride, Splash Mountain.

I told him for the first time the day we took that photo that I had feelings for him while we watched fireworks light up the sky, and happily found out he felt the same way. It was a Disney day in every way!

I decided to upload the photo to photo shop and I changed it to a black and white photo and added subtle amounts of blue to the black elements. Then I brightened it, and changed the filter system in Photoshop to film grain to make it look more like an old photo. I then took it to a local Costco photo center to have that image reproduced on a stretched canvas, which turned out even more beautiful than I expected.

Watermarked Disney Shot

His card was next. I saved a magazine clipping for an art class years ago, which was a picture of a plastic dinosaur toy at the feet of a glamor girl in sandals and odd colored socks. Funnily enough, dinosaurs fascinate my fiancé. At one point in his life he wanted to be a paleontologist, so I knew it would be a great creative element in his card.

I learned from the creation of my mother’s card that it was important to attach watercolor paper not only to the inside of the card but also to the outside so that the card had structure in which I could attach other pieces of paper and it would not make the base paper curl. Then I used a paper trimmer to trim the sides of the magazine photo, and then pasted that to the secured watercolor paper.

As for the front of the card, I decided to write out in pencil “5 years later” and I also drew a heart in pencil to create some contrast. Then I used colorful pieces of paper as accents around the heart that I drew, so that the heart looked like it beamed like mine does every time I see him.

Latest May Projects

Then I decided to use my own handwriting along with some magazine clipped text to create a very corny but cute message which was, “You’re still the raptor of my eye.” I also printed some words diagonally and vertically and used that to frame some of the words in the card. The message, along with some other paper accents, were then pasted to a piece of watercolor paper that I drew a playful eye on.

Latest May Projects

As for what the primary message was that I wrote inside the card, it was a message from the heart. As Meg Ryan adorably said in the classic movie You’ve Got Mail, “Whatever else anything is it ought to be personal.”

In every painting I create, gift I construct, card I make, and in everything else I do in my life I share pieces of myself and I give what I can from my heart. My heart has never steered me wrong, no matter if it’s been bruised, or, like at this moment, overflowing with love. I wouldn’t be where I am without the support of people I love in my life, of which I am very grateful, and I’m so happy I could celebrate some of them during the month of May. Because of their love, and my abundance of hope and optimism, my appetite for life is ravenous.

I’m hungry for more.

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Itty Bitty Teeny Tiny Update

It’s a “rather blustery day today” as a coldish Winnie the Pooh would, I’m sure, properly mutter under his teddy bear breath today. Even for someone who positively detests wearing socks and shoes at home as much as I do, today is a work day in which I have to, at the very least, wear my red fluffy socks.

It also doesn’t help that I have the blood circulation of an anemic vampire. My unusually small feet can creepily turn purple if temperatures drop even a bit below 70 degrees. I’m sure you didn’t need to read that before you eat your breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Anyway! Enough about the weather and my poor resistance to cold. I know I tend to make my updates very lengthy, but I promise that today I will try to make it brief.

The rewards for being in the Sawdust Art Festival continue to trickle in, as I received some interest from an out of state festival, and I also made a genuinely kind new friend, Vicki Kaufholz, who is not only a pleasant person to have an ice blended mocha with, but is also an  immensely talented jewelry artist. I’m very glad I met her. Her newly refreshed Etsy account is as follows: http://www.etsy.com/shop/victoriakaufholz

I’ve also experienced some powerful personal changes in my life recently that have been eye opening and gratitude inducing. I have a piece I’m in the midst of mulling over that is inspired by such changes.

The concept of the piece is also slightly inspired by one of my favorite movies, “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” in which time powerfully changes things in ways that one would never dream of or imagine. Even the familiar landmarks of our lives can transform to the point of being unrecognizable.

Such changes in our lives can either be agonizingly impossible to accept, or such changes can be embraced as refreshing alterations, like splashes of cold water in our faces, that wake us up and opens our spirits to new experiences and adventures. I have decided for myself to embrace the latter, and I have thankfully been rewarded in a number of ways.

That’s it for this not too lengthy update! Unfortunately I have to compute my taxes, try to stay warm, and hopefully, in the very near future, actually paint and create again and  work on the new piece I explained. If I don’t post again sometime soon, Happy Valentine’s day :) !

 

 

 

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A Leap of Faith in Them & a Leap of Faith in Me

Like a winsome elf caffeinated and sugar high on pixie sticks, children’s laughter, a triple shot espresso, and Christmas cookies, I ecstatically prepared for my debut at the Sawdust Art Festival the last time I wrote a post. In other words, you can think of ecstatic Scrooge from the famous Charles Dickens’ story A Christmas Carol as he recited the following line after he found out he was gifted with a new life full of promise and hope:

“I’m as happy as an angel! I’m as merry as a school boy!”

Like Scrooge, I feel I’ve received a new lease on life. It is truly remarkable how powerful dreams can be and how much those can change the course of life, especially when those dreams come to fruition after much hard work, faith, and help from others. Happiness takes a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and the growing pains of change, but the rewards are bountiful and can lift the soul in ways one would never think possible.

The festival ended and I have to say that being an exhibitor of the Winter Fantasy Sawdust Art Festival 2012 was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. To experience the festival itself as an exhibitor was one of the happiest times of my life for many reasons.

I learned so much from the very talented artists and staff I was surrounded by. Not only did I feel moved by the art I was immersed in there, which was a wonderland of exotic ideas, but I was amazed at the encouragement and positive energy I received.

My art booth was nearby a great cast of characters. Patrick Moran was the mad scientist genius of art who came by and kindly showed me different variations of sketching. Vicki Kauflholz was a witty fellow Leo, and a jewelry designer with a flair for primitive shapes reminiscent of ancient wall paintings fused with elegant precious stones. Lastly, Karen Williams Smith was a delightful, soulful rock artist who healed kindly through the power of her rocks. Other immensely gifted artists were housed in that little corner with us, and all of us glittered with our own strengths and contributions alongside the tranquil water wheel that all of the guests were transfixed by.  I believe in what Picasso once said which was that “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” I felt like in our own ways and through different vehicles of expression we swept the souls of many who visited our little corner.

Not only did I learn a lot from the artists that were there, but I also learned, truly, that my art has a place in the world. I was overjoyed and blown away to encounter so many people who loved my artistic voice. I felt validated to find out that my artwork did hit nerves and that others understood and connected with my work. I loved to look in the faces of some of my clients and know that my artwork made them feel understood because they found themselves in whatever I created. Those clients would say to me over and over “This painting embodies exactly how I feel.” It was incredibly rewarding and moving to know that my work, in its own small way, made positive thumbprints in the lives of those who encountered it. It made me feel alive to connect with such wonderful people, and to receive feedback like, “Your work is so incredibly unique and beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

As if those weren’t tremendous gifts enough from the Sawdust Art Festival, I was also interviewed by the Laguna Beach local newspaper, “The Coastline Pilot,” which was absolutely incredible. My geeky gratitude leapt great heights off the second page of the Coastline Pilot article. If words could do cartwheels it would read something like this: http://articles.coastlinepilot.com/2012-11-15/entertainment/tn-cpt-1116-sawdust-winter-fantasy-20121115_1_cynthia-fung-star-shields-children-s-art-spot

The only negative component to the experience was how much pressure I put on myself to achieve absolute perfection for the festival. I’ve learned my lesson to take my natural perfectionism and try to shelf it (as much as possible, anyway) when I prepare for festivals.  If you’ve read my blog at all, you would know that stress does strange things to me, and when I prepared for the festival it was no different. I murdered a humongous spider with a hammer, developed a semi concussion after I hit my head on a wood table, had anxiety ridden sleepless nights, and plenty more Calamity Jane moments. When the festival opened, I looked about as fresh as if I had just slept on a fire ant hill with a deranged Kodiak bear, but it didn’t matter. Regardless of the fact I looked like dreadful road kill from sleep deprivation and stress, I was thrilled to be there and to have that opportunity.

I can’t wait for what’s ahead and the adventures I will be taking. I am so glad I took a chance not only on the Sawdust Art Festival….but also on myself.

If you’re looking for gorgeous, bohemian fine jewelry pieces that echo a time long past, please visit Vicki’s website at  www.victoriakaufholzjewelry.com. To experience Patrick’s lively event centered works please go to www.morangallery.com and if you would like to encounter the earthy, nurturing works of Karen Williams Smith please to go http://www.touchstoneartwork.com/

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Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Sometimes when we’re so stunned with emotion there is only one word that even remotely comes close to how we feel. The delightful characters Mary Poppins and Bert from the movie musical “Mary Poppins” said that it’s best to use the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious as something to say when there’s nothing to say.  

I will define what happened that leads me to use such a magnificent word in this post. I will never ever forget what happened on Wednesday, August 22nd 2012. Ever. A dream came true that I’ve had ever since I was a little girl and I was old enough to hold a paint brush. No other word could even come close to how  I felt when I found out this grand news other than supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Nope, I didn’t find a unicorn.  

No, I didn’t find a DeLorean time machine, gun it to 88, and go back to Europe during the Renaissance period to live the rest of my life as a princess or queen.  

No, I didn’t scientifically prove the existance of Bigfoot (or Sasquatch, if you’re fancy). 

As you can see, I had some strange (mostly unrealistic) dreams when I was a little girl. Because, well, I was weird and am still weird or as my mother nicely describes me as “eccentric.”  I think my weirdness in thoughts, actions, and artistic expressions have paid off though because…..

I was accepted into the exclusive Sawdust Art Festival of Laguna Beach!!!!!!

My mother took me to this festival when I was a little girl, and this thought always popped into my head, “I think my artistic voice has a place here! I want to be here!” I never verbalized this dream to anyone. It was always in the back of my mind though every time I visited this festival. To see this dream come to life is more than amazing. Not that long ago I was scribbling doodles with a desire to get back into a creative place in my life. Now I’m at this point and I’m so overjoyed and grateful I can hardly see straight.  

I will be in the “Winter Fantasy” edition of the festival, which is amazing, because, hellooooo (pardon my “Clueless” movie moment)…Santa Claus will be there, they serve delicious food, there will be live entertainment, and amazing art all within a whimsical atmosphere that feels like it was ripped from the pages of a J.R. R. Tolkien book.  It sounds really magical, and it really is! I should know. I’ve attended this festival almost every year for the past 20 years.

 My name is not listed on the list of artists for the Sawdust Art Festival yet, but it should be soon. If you would like to come visit me in all of my excitable/spaztic glory, my booth number is offically  #435. The dates of the Winter Fantasy Sawdust Art Festival will be November and December. The November dates are 17 & 18, 23, 24 & 25 and the December are 1, 2, 8 & 9.

For more information please go to http://www.sawdustartfestival.org/

To say I’m in a frenzy of disorganized bliss like a cartoon squirrel that found a treasure chest full of acorns would be a great understatement. Only a highly defined google calendar can help me keep focused on what I need to accomplish to get ready.

Off to sing the day away while I work, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocioussssssss….”

 

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Heat Wave & New Art!

At times such as this, I think to myself, “It has finally happened!  I’ve turned into a sour, cantankerous old man or a real version of the Grinch, evilly enhanced with severe PMS.” My monster transformation is always temporary, but I’ve remarked to my boyfriend quite often lately, “Sorry I’m scary lately.” I have my own personal definition of scary. My definition of scary includes that I’m not as delicate or tactful as I could be and that “I need some chocolate. You better get the Hell out of my way.” Or as Harrison Ford fiercely proclaimed in “Air Force One,” before he punched a terrorist in the face and saved the day, “Get off MY PLANE!”

As a high spirited (soon to be) 28 year old woman, who rarely has these spells, I think I have an understanding as to why I feel this way.

 Today, like many other days prior, is a disgustingly sticky summer day in Southern California.  As a practically translucent person (in person, you can probably see my prominent freckles and veins from 20 feet away) heat makes me physically sick, feel faint, and fogs my mind as if a sugar high toddler decided to play with a fire extinguisher inside my cranium. Needless to say, I’ve never been a fan of hotbox summers, especially when I’m desperately trying to write, run errands, execute public relations strategies, coordinate art applications, brain storm new works, among many other things all while the blistering coals of another Southern California summer steam up my glasses like nerdy Velma’s from “The Adventures of Scooby Doo.”   

 Thankfully, the good Lord created things like the air conditioned local library and the Coffee Bean so all is not lost in a dog day haze. If not for places such as these, I would hopelessly melt into a Salvador Dali clock puddle, and then transform completely into the Bride of Frankenstein, to the dismay of my boyfriend. If only I could bring my acrylics and canvases to such places without getting thrown out.

Onto why I’ve written this post! As I’m sure you can tell by now, new paintings don’t spring forth from me like expected constant sunrises or sunsets that are timed by the hour. Each piece I create comes to life in its own unique way. I’m a very organic artist and I’m excited in regards to the direction of where my life is going right now and the direction of where my art is going.

I don’t treat my art desk like a candy factory that quickly produces sugary empty pieces with no heart, which is why you don’t find new art from me constantly. Any time I create something and send it out into the world, I’m excited and nervous like it’s the first time all over again. I only publish pieces that my perfectionist brain and spirit connect with, otherwise I will store it in the dusty garage or keep working on it until I feel like it is worth being shared.  

My most recent two pieces, along with a lot of old favorites, I’m happy to say, might be shown at the Sawdust Art Festival at their Winter Fantasy edition this year, if they accept me as an exhibitor. As a fan of the festival for over 20 years, I’m crossing my fingers and toes that my work has its place there.  Below I describe two of my works that may be shown there.

The latest painting of mine, “Aspiring toward Equipoise” was a painting that hatched from a dream I had that stirred me.  I dreamt that I was in an oddly abandoned town in the 1950’s, and my vision was in black and white.  There were people around me who tried to force me to ride a biplane, which was fashioned like a carnival ride. I refused to give into what everyone else wanted, and did what I wanted instead. They flew in the biplane, and I was content with my decision because I didn’t have a good feeling about the town and the biplane itself.

My position of power in the dream encouraged me to create this piece. The biplane in the piece soars toward the viewer in an attempt to be “present” where it is, as it leaves the dreary, sometimes painful memories of daylight behind. The next stage is night, which is muddied because it is an untouched realm.  The biplane is haunted by two things; the memories of what were, and memories of what will be.

The question of whether or not the biplane lands safely to its next destination is unknown, but the biplane proactively attempts to secure acceptance of where it is in the present and takes flight from there. 

Aspiring Toward Equipoise

 The next piece I’m excited to share is “Compelled but Hushed.” This piece, like a lot of my other pieces, was inspired by personal experience.  During a certain time period, I felt unable to express myself fully without having to confront dastardly aftermath beyond my control. This painting confronts the complexity and the yearning behind those feelings, and the power that lies just below the surface of the face. I’ve discovered in life that not everything is black and white. I struggle sometimes with what cannot be categorized, defined or solved easily, and faith can sometimes be the most difficult thing for me. 

Compelled but Hushed

 

As my art life propels forward, so does my personal life, full of new joy, experiences, and adventures. I look forward to sharing more of my art, pictures, and pieces of my life through this blog as it’s been a pleasure to do thus far.

 

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Love is All You Need: Adoptable Art Project

I’m convinced at this point in my life I’m like an ultra sensitive dowsing rod, connected to my maker, the earth, and to the energy of life itself in a way that overwhelms or exhilarates me. Being such an antenna of intuition helps me in a lot of arenas. It primarily pays off though when opportunities come my way.  

 If an opportunity is right for me, an internal fire of energy and passion is instantly ignited in my belly, and my heart leaps up, as if inflated by helium. Right then and there I know I’m meant to take a particular journey.  

 A few weeks ago I came across a heartfelt project on facebook that lit an internal spark for me, and started a new journey for me. My heart elevated past my rib cage and I thought, “I have to do this!” The project I stumbled across was Adoptable Art, which uses artists as vehicles to help shelter cats get adopted through public awareness, art, and socialization. Artists through Adoptable Art spend time with shelter cats to help socialize them, and then they create artwork of the shelter cat of their choice, which is then donated to the shelter. Then the shelter gives the work to the adoptive pet parents.  For more information or if you want to get involved please go to: http://www.facebook.com/AdoptableArt .

 After I received further details from the friendly founder of the Adoptable Art project I was glued to my cell phone.  After a few phone calls to a number of shelters, I was pleasantly surprised to find a receptive voice on the other end of the phone at the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter. I came by the following day, nervous, but excited. I was greeted by the friendly staff, who looked at me curiously, but kindly. Armed with drawing pads, pencils, my purse and a camera I was ready.    

 I was lead into the cat room and was greeted by 3 cats up for adoption. The names Peaches, Baby, and Linus were adorned on white boards beside the doorway. Linus, a 2-year-old domestic medium haired orange and white cat was the first cat who caught my eye. He sat comfortably in a nearby chair like it was his throne, with his yellow eyes at half-mast. I was especially struck by the beauty of his very regal, full tail that varied from a burnt copper to a milky white. It was almost like his tail was a decorative train to a luxurious coat. After I greeted a 2-year-old saucer eyed domestic long haired cat named Peaches who was in a cat kennel, I sat by Linus.

He allowed me to pet him, and I was struck by how incredibly soft he was. His coat was like a plush pile of down feathers. He closed his eyes as I pet him, and he flicked his ear. I could tell he had been through a lot in his life. To pet him was like I cast a comfort spell over him that made him feel whole. I looked in his sweet eyes and, in my own way, I could really relate. As someone who has not had a life of ease, and a share of life lessons fit with metaphorical black eyes, his presence brought me solace as I also brought him comfort.     

 After I visited with Linus I spent some time with Baby, a 1 and ½ – year-old Flame Point Siamese that spell bound me with her light blue eyes like the sky, and a white coat speckled with blushes of pale orange. She was a bit suspicious of me at first, but soon realized I was a playmate, not a foe, and allowed me to play with her red fish, which she curled her  four legs and little cat jaws around. She also loved to roll on her back where sunlight streamed in between the cat room spaces.  I found she was an artist herself, and her scratch post was her canvas. With artful precision, like a focused sculptor, she chiseled away furiously at it like a piece of marble.

 I then circled back around and observed sweet Peaches, and I found that whenever I put out my hand to her, she reached out her paw to me, like she would have put her paw in my hand if she could have. Toward the end of my visit I became teary eyed, as I often do when I’m touched.  The entire process really drove home for me the importance of projects such as Adoptable Art. Animals are defenseless and innocent, and projects like Adoptable Art create voices for them to be heard. I will do what I can to make my one voice ring out for them.  

 Pictured below are the cats I met, and the painting I did of Linus! If anyone is interested adopting any of these fabulous felines please go to http://members.petfinder.com/~CA25/CA25.html or call (949) 497-3552. This painting also goes with whoever adopts Linus :)

I will continue to participate in this project, as I’ve learned several things already. The shelter cats  reinforced something very important that the Beatles have already told me, which is that “Love is all you need.”  

 


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Flight Back into Life

This fairly empty blog has, unfortunately, up until today, fallen prey to my neurotic and overtly perfectionist tendencies. These unyielding tendencies have taken over the village of creative writing processes in my mind, like a deranged, murderous Viking. Births of eureka moments have been burned down unblinkingly like the thatched roofs of the innocent. Many nights I’ve frowned, and the super critical Viking of my consciousness screamed at the wheels that turned in my brain, “Not good enough!”  Inspired eureka moments have been destroyed by swift blows of unrealistic axes wielded by the unmerciful slayers of the mediocre in my mind.  

It wasn’t until today, in the bathtub no less, I happened upon an idea of what to write as a post that was not immediately slaughtered by my neurosis. Isn’t the bathtub where many greats in history had their genius moments? Anyway, although the right words eluded me, I’ve had an inner renaissance through art and in my life in general.

This renaissance was fueled by the fact that, for some time up to now, I was completely handicapped physically. I was wonder woman in almost every way before I was struck down with illness. Deadlines met! Calendar full of super important appointments! Errands done! Responsible dog mom, with doctor visits fulfilled! House cleaned for possible out of town guests! No energy? Coffee can fix it! The endless check list was checked obsessively. Opportunities hung on the walls of my future. I felt tired, but I thought oh, I need just a bit more iron in my diet. An hour or two more of sleep wouldn’t hurt either.

From all appearances, I portrayed an appearance of clear headedness, grace, and drive. All the while I felt clouded. I couldn’t concentrate. I pushed and pushed. I visited my boyfriend after one important appointment, and the look of concern on his face at the sight of me conveyed that I looked like one of the zombies from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video. I was so weary I almost couldn’t drive home. The next day or so, unbearable night sweats followed, and I was greeted by all over muscle pain and nausea.

I was handicapped by whatever it was I had. I went to the doctor and was shocked to find out I had mononucleosis. The doctor informed me I would be sick for a month or as early as 3 weeks if I was a good girl and rested. The doctor also said I would not have full stamina for a long time, and within the next 6 months I was going to catch every nasty bug that walked through my life. The doctor sent me home, with orders to rest, drink fluids and not to participate in contact sports. My tendency to be sarcastic almost jumped out when he mentioned no contact sports, “Yeah, sure doc. You’ll see me play football while I feel like this.”I was so sick that if the doctor had a window to jump out of to get away from me he would have. He stood so far away from me he needed binoculars to exam me. Then I got worse after I went home, which lead to a second appointment.  

It spread to my liver, which was inflamed, and my lymph nodes were swollen. To eat a small salad felt like I ate an entire lasagna myself like one of my childhood heroes, snarky cartoon character cat Garfield.  Steroids were thankfully prescribed. Ginger snaps eaten. I started to feel a smidge more human, but I still couldn’t do a lot of things myself. Fevers spiked all day, and to brush my teeth most days felt like the greatest accomplishment ever. I looked like big foot; my hair was a bird’s nest every day. To brush my hair hurt too much.  

The timing could not have been worse. I had a slew of things that hung on my calendar over me like a dreadful mobile that mocked that moment in my life. I could not physically do what was asked of me, or be around anyone for 3 weeks while I exhibited symptoms for fear that others could contract it. I went out for only one appointment during my illness, which I physically paid for dearly afterward.  After that appointment, I painfully made the decision to make it all stop until I recovered. The fear of nothing to replace my momentary ray of sunlight hovered over me like a darkened rain cloud until I stumped my fear cycle with these lessons.  I still have my moments, but the following lessons help me.

To make a long story short, during my mononucleosis haze, I learned many lessons. The first lesson I learned was that if I didn’t have my health I did not have anything at all. Opportunities are great, but if I was not well enough to embrace those it didn’t matter. I needed to take care of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually and I needed to have faith that God’s hand was at work in my life. I realized God wanted me to work for what I wanted, but He also wanted me to be balanced with trust in Him. He knew, just as my alarmed intuition told me, that what was presented to me was not right for me and would have lead me down the wrong road. I still have a journey ahead of me, one that my intuition, which is rarely wrong, tried to tell me.   

I also learned that I could be a prisoner of my own body again later in my life. I came to the conclusion I need to be more adventurous, and take more risks in my life. Even the smallest leaps can bear great rewards. I don’t mean that in a Peter Pan, irresponsible kind of way, but from an optimistic place that desires more joy in her life. I realized that pain and anxiety can happen whether I’m cautious, play by the rules, play nice, do the right thing, or not.  Anxiety and worry cannot change what is, what was, and what will be.

In my latest piece, which I will present soon as it is not yet finished, the past is shrouded by dreary daylight, which tries to haunt the biplane with drips that represent memories. The biplane flies toward  the next stage, which is night. Night is uncertain and mysterious. In the middle of those stages, the biplane tries to be present where she is. If she does not stay in the moment, she will not be able to fly to where she needs to be.

The uncertainty of the future and the pain of the past are bookends of our lives we all deal with in our way. Hopefully, I can fly through to my next adventure peacefully and healthfully.

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