The OMG! Mystery Card

I’m feeling like a challenge. Yesterday was a hard day, but that was yesterday. (It’s the beauty of rapid cycling—nothing lasts long.) So I added a different kind of listing to my Etsy shop this morning, and I’m excited to see if anyone goes for it.

Basically, I create a card based on whatever info the customer wants to tell me—like a custom order with overtones of mystic mojo. I don’t know if it will be a regular-sized card, a Penny Positive, or a Teeny. Or maybe I’ll dream up something new.

It’s exciting. And a little scary—which is exactly what I need today. It’s been a while since I stepped out of my Comfort Zone, so this is overdue and also good for the brain. And I’m all for finding new ways to keep my brain happy.

Here’s the link, in case you’d like to take a chance with me.

And Now For Something Completely Different…

(Gosh, Monty Python fits Everywhere)

Last month a magazine put out by our local paper sent a reporter and photographer to my house to interview me about my art.  This was wildly unexpected, but turned out to be a fun day.  Anytime I can talk about my art and what it means to me is a Good Day.

The article came out in Green Country Living on Sunday (“Green Country” is what this part of Oklahoma is called).  At yoga class on Monday, lots of the ladies beamed at me and said they’d enjoyed the piece.  I hadn’t seen it, but my yoga teacher brought her copy for me (It came out as a Sunday supplement).

The story was pretty lame, considering all the things the writer and I talked about, but the photography was lovely.  I’m glad to have these professionally staged shots of my work.  That makes the unfortunate prose worth it.

If you really want to read the article (starting on page 60), you can do that here, but I’d give it a pass.

 

The Weekly Penny Positive

(It was fun stuffing the fluff in their ears)

A friend posted an idea on Facebook that I’m absolutely doing.  Scribble a little note about something GOOD that happened once a week and stick it in a jar.  At the end of the year (or anytime needed), you can fish out positive proof of a better life than your brain paints (well, at least my brain).  I love this idea for so many reasons—to fill in the holes of my Swiss cheese memory, to counter the bipolar negativity, to help me start LOOKING for the good stuff (it happens more than once a week), and for the oodles of art journal pages that might be inspired.

I started immediately, cutting up all the old papers that I don’t use anymore, and dropping in recent miracles I don’t want to forget.

The Weekly Penny Positive

It was my birthday on Wednesday. Just a regular day, but it was a good day.  Brain-wise, that is.  I’ve gotten a lot of response from the boxed set of Teenies.  I never thought about this being the beginning of the Christmas shopping season—it’s been a while since I worked retail—so I was overwhelmed by folks wanting up to four sets for Christmas presents and willing to be on a waiting list for them.

I had to step back, breathe, and kindly (I hope) say no.  I figured it took me about 5 weeks to put together that first little boxful.  And making those Teenies is a source of joy.  Part of the joy is opening to the piece, bringing in the right scrap, the right color, and delighting in the outcome.  I need to take my time.  I also need to set them aside and make other things that call me.  I was grateful and humbled by the response.  As I am grateful for my Skunk Totem for reminding me to maintain my boundaries.

That was my birthday present to me.

Void

Slowly, over the past several months, the desire to make dribbled out of me until yesterday I couldn’t stand to snip one more little piece of paper.  After an SOS to my art friends, they reassured me that this happens to them, too.  They suggested changing mediums, lying fallow for a time, or taking up something radically different.

I started a drawing class at our local art guild, hoping for social contact and a reconnect of some kind with an old skill that I used to love.  Neither wish has been granted so far, despite sweaty effort to clear a path through my mental minefields.

I’m frightened.  Arting is my last, best safety net, the place I can always go when the bipolar demons scream the loudest.  It’s gone for now, and I can’t imagine what to do with this void or how I’ll manage.

I’m bone and brain tired, so I know enough not to make more of this than it is.  Something will present itself.  There’s plenty of room for it to wander in.  Until then, I guess I wait with empty hands.

The Weekly Penny Positive

(Fish seemed to be a theme for a while.  Pisces dreams?)

Synchronisity Rocks

I love when the Universe throws random shit together and plunks me down in the middle of it.  It’s kinda what I live for.  Here’s the deal:

A few weeks ago, when I had nothing new to bitch about with my therapist, she said, “Let’s play a game.”  Since she works mostly with kids and teenagers, she’s used to sullen silence and keeps a cupboard full of games to sneak in a client’s back door.  She apologized for not having anything for adults, but we found a box of questions (does anyone remember The Ungame?) and took turns asking each other get-to-know-you questions.  It was fun and definitely perked me up.

I remembered I saved some art journal prompts out of my magazines and took those the next week to see if they might be appropriate for an adult version of the Question Game.  Sonya loved them, so I asked if I could make a game for her.

I tend to make things for my caregivers.  They give me so much, and I love making something that I can pour all that appreciation into in a healthy, non-creepy, all-boundaries-intact way.

So I dug around in my stash and pulled out a full box of Pictionary cards that were the perfect size.  I gathered the prompts from all my books and magazines, then went to Pinterest to find a gazillion more.

Meanwhile, I’d been thinking about finding rocks to paint for my little garden.  At Lowe’s I found Egg Rocks (perfect), then wandered the store a bit.  Searching for masking tape, I stopped in front of the paint sample display.  I’d always wanted to try using paint chips in my collage work somehow, seen how other artists had done cool things with them, so I grabbed up one of each and added them to my stash.

I noticed that the larger paint chips were the exact same size as the Pictionary cards.  Boom!  The perfect substrate was born.

So, now I’m whiling away these sultry summer days surrounded by color, creating a fun tool for my therapist, while binge-watching Six Feet Under.  Sonya told me once that the artistic daughter on that show reminded her of me—the final loop in the thread that ties all this synchronistic, yummy juju together.

Like I said, I live for this shit!

Bits of Art for Each Month

I’m enjoying making collage cards for each month of the year.  As is my modus operandi, lots of research, organizing and gleaning was involved, discovering plants, animals, colors and specifics for each month, then throwing them in a bulging three-ring binder.  I’ve discovered that when I’m organized, the actual Arting becomes seamless and automatic.  I love that.

Even with all the prep work, making the actual collage takes most of a day since I use double-sided tape instead of glues or mediums to adhere the images and bits.  It’s kinder to thin magazine paper and creates a cleaner image, so cramped hands from all the snipping is worth it to me.

I loved July’s colors—Coral, Red and Green. And though the background paper gets almost completely covered, I know there are layers of vintage almanac pages, pretty party napkins, chiffon, tulle and stenciled paint.

I’m finishing up August now, and moving on to September and October.  The background papers for November and December lay on my kitchen counter, ready for their next layer.

I’m grateful my mind comes up with these projects as a way to keep itself distracted when the Black Days come.  I’m always stunned by the results and thrilled when someone else loves them, too.

They are a product of my brain saving itself.  How miraculous is that?

The Adventure Continues.

Wax On, Wax Off

Our little Art Journaling Round Robin group is still arting strong. The theme for the journal I’m working in this month is Tales from the Kitchen.  I figured this might be a stretch since I forsook (verily!) cooking many moons ago. (In fact, I should clear out all those thirty-year-old spices in my cupboard and make more paint storage. But I digress.)

How-some-ever, during that magical time between sleep and waking one morning, a path back to the kitchen presented itself through my family’s rinderwurst. This is a meat sludge made from the left-overs of butchering, a recipe known only to my Gram and never written down.

It sounds gross, but we considered it a special treat, layered on hot pancakes. As food is wont to do, this gray delicacy carries my family’s DNA in the muscle memory of helping turn the meat grinder, listening for the canning lids to pop, and digging in together around the big kitchen table.

So, I created A Genealogy of Rinderwurst, tracing the Sorta Sausage back to my German immigrant ancestors. I used bits from Gram’s journals (yes, she broke the Journaling trail for me) and indulged in a decades-old desire to try my hand at encaustics. The golden glow of liquified beeswax gave the spread even more vintage deliciousness and puddled nicely in the paper’s dips and hollows.

I loved hooking a disgusting bit of farm history to my cache of family pictures and being brave with a new medium. I love the outcome. And I am, once again, revitalized and grateful for my Round Robin group—Tanya, Lori, Carina & Cindy—the Art Angels on my shoulder.

The Weekly Penny Positive

I pick this one for me—touched by small kindnesses and sudden pops of beauty while swinging from high to low, from lethargic to frantic.  Watching for joy even as I mislay and forget details (like this post), dig out from the mess, and create new ones.  The robin swollen with eggs to come, listens closely outside my window for the worms beneath her feet.  The neighbor’s car gleams lapis lazuli in the parking lot sunshine.  Art in progress sings a whispery siren song.

It’s good to be reminded to watch and listen, because Joy is all around, waiting to be welcomed in.

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