Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dawn's Journal Journey Monthly Challenge/Torn Paper

I have been participating in Dawn's monthly journal challenge. I almost didn't get this one posted in time because of power outages and a very busy month. You all know how I carry a moleskine with me everywhere so I did this page in spurts. I already had a collection of paper stored in the back pocket of this journal and since the challenge was to create with torn paper I didn't have to have scissors. Yep, always have a glue stick in my canvas bag I carry around. And I can't help myself, I had to add drawings and add color with  Derwent Inktense pencils. I did part of this page at work, part of it waiting in the car, and finished it in my studio.
Click on Dawn's badge in the left column to join the monthly challenge.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

ArtAbandonment Group Hosted by Michael DeMeng

If you haven't joined the group "ArtAbandonment" get on over there and join the fun with abandoning art. Already 4,200 members world wide. I dropped my 5th piece today Gambier, Ohio, at the Deli. I placed it inside a menu. It is wild to know that thousands of artists are abandoning art for someone to find and enjoy. Such a spirit of peaceful-creative energy zipping around as a result.

Come join us at:

Front View

Back View

What do you think? Let me know if you join,

Monday, June 25, 2012


This is the 3rd art piece I left for someone to find. I left this on a column where fliers are posted. It is on Kenyon College campus in Gambier, OH. This group is hosted by Michael DeMeng. He has just posted the idea for monthly challenges within this group. Come join us at

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Jeff Gion's eBook....Free!

I have been participating in Jeff Goin's 15 Day Writer Challenge. As a result I am writing everyday and I bought his ebook, "You Are a Wrtier." Amazing material and if this ebook doesn't motivate you then perhaps you should put down your pen and give the dog a bath instead.

This weekend he is offering this ebook for FREE because he is so passionate about the work, plus he wants to see just how giving away something free rallies out for people.

Grab a free copy of @Jeff Goins' new eBook #YouAreaWriter-just this weekend! This offer ends Sunday at midnight.

Tell your friends,

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Isadore / Portrait Sketch

I'm gaining confidence sketching because I started this portrait at work. Hey, wait a minute. Don't you work at that convenience store with the constant parade of people? Yep, I do but I worked on it in 3 to 60 second intervals. I had 90% of it done by the time I closed the store. One of the most important things I've learned as an artist and writer is to work whenever and wherever you can. You can't always wait for a free schedule....Maybe tomorrow I'll set up an easel and take my paints.


Update on the Art Abandonment Project Hosted by Michael DeMeng

Michael DeMeng (Assemblage Artist) has started an Art Abandonment  group on FB. In less than a week there are 2,200 members. The group is made up of artists around the world making art and abandoning it in places for someone to find. See my other post showing what art I left and where I left it.

Join in:

Friday, June 15, 2012

"Still Pursuing Portraits"

I am getting more comfy with sketching these. Infact, I'd say I'm a bit addicted to sketching pencils and blending stumps right now. Deciding what hairstyle to give....also a bit afraid of the hair. My next challenge will be to sketch a 3/4 view.

These are sketches I'm doing as part of Pam Carriker's workshop titled, "Still Pursuing Portraits." Go to the left sidebar and click on the "Artful Gathering" badge to join her class. The registration STOPS ON JUNE 18th. Not sure if you have time right now? Solved. As a member of the workshop you can buy the DVD then work whenever you like...forever.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Art Abandonment Group hosted by Michael DeMeng

I left this at a convenience store in Delaware, OH.

I left this at the Kenyon College bookstore in Gambier, OH.

"Art abandonment is a group designed to encourage random acts of art, left in various locations around the globe. The idea is folks can make something and leave it for a lucky unsuspecting person to find. Artists can then post locations and photos of abandoned goodies...and finders can let everyone know that they are the lucky finder! O' sweet abandon!" -Michael DeMeng

Want to participate? Go to Art Abandonment on Facebook to join the group. Since Monday 1,395 members joined in on this adventure.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Portrait Sketch

She is asking, "Where's my hair?" (Tomorrow you get hair.)

"Still Pursuing Portraits"

Hey there, I'm working on a portrait workshop over at Artful Gathering with Pam Carriker. I cut out some hair for fun because many artists were chatting about how scared they were to add the hair to their portraits. This is a man's hairstyle from Vogue magazine. Not bad though, huh? The style magazines are a great place to find hairstyles, poses, even clothing ideas. I've started to cut out images of mouths, eyes, etc. I like for future reference. Kind of like a model posing for you of the paper kind. I'm also starting to get quizzical looks from people because I'm staring at them to see where the light and shadows play out on their faces.

Here she is with hair. I tried to add some of my features to this portrait. (I'll work on the double chin another time.) Have you visited Artful Gathering yet? No matter what art experience you're into it is waiting for you over there. A lovely, fun, and encouraging group of artists. (Click on the image in the left sidebar to go there....)

PS: I'm going to sleep with my sketching pencils under my pillow tonight.


Artful Gathering Workshop with Pam Carriker

Okay, lets state upfront that if you follow my work you know I like to draw flat images. (Yes, on purpose.) I will maintain that style (because it's me inside and out) but am trying something new, which is always good for growth. I am currently taking an online workshop hosted by Artful Gathering. The instructor is Pam Carriker, "Still Pursuing Portraits." Pam is a fabulous teacher. Couldn't get any better than if she was seated next to me as I sketched.

See the left sidebar and click on Artful Gathering image to sign up. There are two sessions (6 weeks each) of different workshops to choose from: June and July. Many intriguing courses that offer a DVD to purchase, plus many talented instructors with the creative host Zinnia. You've heard me talk about the site "Roses On My Table." Zinnia is the founder of this lovely site, too.

My first finished sketch. I am already addicted to sketching portraits. Practicing over and over is the key to developing your style and technique.  Maybe next time I'll draw her a bit happier, huh?


Monday, June 11, 2012

Published in Somerset Studio Gallery magazine

Hooray! It is very satisfying to be published in this wonderful art magazine. This is my third magazine publication this year. I sent in five submissions and three were accepted since January 2012.....Cloth Paper Scissors, Art Journaling, and most recently Somerset Studio Gallery. I decided that I would stop lurking in the shadows and send some art out there.  I have also entered some art contests for  my canvas paintings. And even applied for a grant for my picture story illustrations. It feels scary but good to get the momentum going.... to actually take the steps to reach for goals I used to just think about doing. 

When I would see friends and they'd inquire how the art and writing was going I found myself always saying that I was producing work but I needed to work on the marketing aspects. Months later I was saying the same thing. Years later I was telling the same thing to friends. Finally I asked everyone I bumped into to hold me accountable for marketing my work. I defined 2012 to be the year to make significant changes. I certainly wouldn't know what the results would be, but at least I'd be following the yellow brick road. 

This is the page in the magazine showing three mixed media collage pieces. Two are on wooden placques and one is on a recycled toilet tissue cardboard roll. Moni from "Hands and Hearts" has a tutorial on how to prep this cardboard to paint on.

Kiss Cat Lips

Kingly King is also the character in a picture story I wrote and illustrated.

Kiss Cat Lips
Aren't furry kisses the best?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Waiting for the Muse to Show

This is a chapter from a book I am writing titled, "No Bra, No Teeth, No Service." The book is essays based on my job as a cashier at a convenience store/gas station and my attempts to balance that job with art and writing. I have posted this chapter as a result of a challenge from "15 Day Writing Challenge" by Jeff Goins. (Click on the photo in the left sidebar to go there and join.) Hey, he got me to resume working on this book again and to find the courage to post it here.  

This morning I’m trying not to feel sorry for myself having to work forty hours a week at a convenience store. I think too much about what I could accomplish if I wasn’t giving this time away for the paycheck. I did paint a bit. A bit transfers to cleaning my art table, checking my email, organizing my tubes of paints, looking at old photos and coming across one that makes me cry for my oldest daughter whom I don’t see anymore. Then I drug myself to my studio (eyes still damp) and painted for twelve and a half minutes. I would’ve made it a full thirteen but the dog had to go out.
             Okay, I’ll forget the forty hours I don’t have to create or write. Don’t get stuck on what you don’t have. Humble yourself. What I’ve really done procrastinating all these years is to set up a “safe block” for not creating and writing. It’s far safer to stay in the dream state of wanting something rather than put the work towards achieving something. Did you know the actual work could be quite daunting? Also, the practicing of this work is what every artist and writer needs to bring to the table everyday. Everyday we need to simply practice. I think I wanted to produce fabulous pieces on the spot. No mistakes allowed. Finished product almost immediately. There that’s done. (Anyone who works like this wants the gold crown.)
 Instead, having the day job has trained me to work in those pieces of time I had available beyond the work hours. I’m actually very productive this way. Once I believed I was an artist and writer, and moved my day forward based on that concept, I started to produce work and ideas that I could hardly keep up with. So now I am absolutely true and mindful of the time I do have. I think of that more than I do of the time I don’t have in the studio, or at my writing desk. Besides, now I’ve learned to make studio spaces in the oddest of places. The counter at the convenience store, the vehicle (if someone else is driving), the cafes, bookstores, and even places like standing in a store line. I might not be able to paint there but I can take a photo, observe, eavesdrop on conversations, observe some more, write story ideas, a poem, or think a painting through in my mind. (By the way the mind is a wonderful place to hover.)
I carry into that time the talent and ideas I’ve been given from a source I can’t even define, but that now I know is inside me. (Thank you to Deepak Chopra, Thich Nhat Hanh, plus growth from personal joy, suffering and grief.)  There is a glittery-white space out there between here and there that I’ve found during meditation or right before I drift off to sleep. This is where the muse lives. This is where the wizards dance. The world is inside me and expands over all realms of time. Desire is life. Life is art. I only had to allow it to flow more freely through me for it to transform me. The transformation shows up daily in my art and writing. Now I mostly work in little bursts of creative spirit until I can afford to be a full-time artist and writer. (I signed up for the package deal. I think it comes with the gold crown.)
It’s not all zippety-doo-dah though. I still fall backwards sometimes and usually no one is there to catch me. For example, today I think I need more privacy to write. I’m thinking of moving a portable table to my bedroom. I could write there behind a closed door. The room has four windows that allow for plenty of natural light. Although these are the original windows in a house over one hundred years old so they are not airtight. Once winter arrives I’d have to move the writing table back out because the bedroom feels as if we are sleeping on the back porch. We wouldn’t be able to sleep in that room if we didn’t have an electric bed warmer. It’s that Stephen King kind of horror cold in there. I pass on the new space to write idea. Instead I go to my journal and write about why I might not be writing today. I also make a note to set a regular time everyday to write or paint. Everyday. Even if it is only for twelve and a half minutes. Every inspirational book I read about artists and writers state how they sit down at their desks or art tables everyday. In the Paris Review interviews…same thing. Documentaries…same thing. This sounds doable and exciting. Cool. I can do this. Everyone in the house will cooperate and if they don’t I’ll lock them in the cold bedroom.
Stephen King simply says, “sit your butt in the chair.” When Ray Bradbury has an idea he doesn’t do the dishes, or he doesn’t sweep up the cat hair first; he runs to the typewriter and zips out the story in one frenzied swirl.
In and out of the days I succeed. In and out of the days I fail. On the days I succeed I prance around with the gold crown on my head. On the days I fail someone laughs and asks me what that gold crown thingy is on my head. They imply that maybe I don’t know what I’m doing. Or I have this overwhelming duty that calls me to the dishes. Then just as I hang up the dishtowel, sit at the desk, and finally pick up my pen, Gary walks in and asks if I want to go out to breakfast. (Of course, because I don’t want more dirty dishes.) We drive fifteen miles to a little family-owned restaurant that makes home made pies and biscuits from scratch. Most of the customers are men who farm or work with the oilrigs. We all sit at tables squeezed into a small space and chat as if we’re family in Grandma’s kitchen. It’s a place that has your iced tea with extra ice sitting on the table as you walk in the door. Plus they have bacon to die for. So, sure I close my notebook and go out to breakfast. When I return Poe is feeling ignored so I sit and hold him. At least I can sit with my feet up, Poe on one side of me, and a notebook on my lap, open with the intent to write.
I don’t sit long because I have to clean my contact lenses a second time because one is scratchy. I can’t write with scratchy eyes. I have to make a cup of herbal tea. It’ll be nice to sip on while I write. I hear the mowers outside. I need to tell them to trim better around the grapevine. Is that a cobweb in the corner of the room? I get the swiffer to pull it down and while I have it out I might as well dust the hardwood floors.
I look at the clock to see if I might have time to take a walk or ride the stationary bike. I’ll get back to yoga today and I might sweep the porch before work. Did anyone get the clothes out of the dryer because I didn’t. Wait. I don’t think there are clothes in the dryer. Poe needs to go out again. I bend over and pull out a handful of weeds from the herb garden while Poe pees. I notice we need gravel for the driveway and the snow shovel is still leaning against the porch. (It is July.) This has become Poe’s favorite spot to lift his leg. It’s shiny and he likes to watch pee run down and puddle up yellow on the sidewalk. He looks up at me and says with his eyes, “At least I’m creating.”

Stop back in. There will be more to come about the convenience store world. It's crazy-funny stuff. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Moleskine Journal for "Writing Meditation"

The cover of my Moleskine journal.  I carry a Moleskine journal with me everywhere (and I mean everywhere). I usually decoupage a print of my art on the cover. This time I used a Gelly pen and a Glazed Gelly pen to draw the hand art on the cover. Anyone else use Moleskines? I have the sketchbooks, but I need to treat myself to a watercolor Moleskine next.

Here is an inside page of my journal. I mainly use these pages to write my thoughts, my fears, my surprises, my complaints, my plans, or ideas.  I also pop in little drawings and bits of color. Mostly it is a place to release thoughts onto the page. I call it "writing meditation." Lately I've been folding pages to add some interest. This is a page folded in half. I also folded the following page. The two open up to reveal writing and drawings. The folding makes it a bit more fun to interact with the pages. I may staple in some vellum paper for a different texture, too.

This is a a little drawing I made on Mother's Day. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself that I had to work on Mother's Day. So I pulled out my Derwent Inktense pencils (yes, I carry a canvas bag of supplies), and had a little creative fun in-between the parade of customers at the store. It was necessary and the spread of color helped to ease my frustration.