Sunday, May 31, 2009

Perfection is Paralyzing

When I started this sabbatical I thought it was to learn more about my creative spirit. To get in touch with who I am and why I paint the way I do and the subject matter I choose. In Kelly Rae Robert's book she speaks of listening to your whispers (see May 24th post) and I thought that listening closely would be the way to discover who I am as an artist. Interestingly enough she also mentions that the first whispers she heard were for her to start training for a marathon. God forbid that my inner spirit wanted to run anywhere because this 60 year old body hasn't moved past a stroll in 30 years :)

Last week I showed a picture of the first painting I thought I heard my inner spirit wanting to create. It wasn't exactly my style but I figured maybe the lines of communication between my subconscious and conscious mind hadn't yet developed to a point where it was easy for me to interpret those whispers. So I started trying to perfect the whispers I thought I was hearing and this piece is the result. To me it's a disaster. It's too perfect, too pretty, too NOT ME. So I thought I'd just heave it in the garbage and start over when a whispery little voice said "Wait!"
...there might be someone out there in blogland who could turn it into a piece that would please them. So this piece 9" x 12" in size and as yet unnamed could end up on your drawing table. To win, just leave a comment. Perhaps one that will encourage me to keep listening to my inner creative spirit...and on Sunday, June 13th, I'll pick a winner and this piece arrive in your mailbox for you to love as is or to turn into something special that will please you.

After that disastrous turn of events on Monday I said forget it..."I'm packing it in" and I did just that. I boxed up all the paints, brushes, textures and papers that I'd pulled out in preparation for my BIG sabbatical and stored them away. And that's when I went into what I call a 'baby blue funk". For 36 hours I sat around having myself one honker of a pity party. That's when I heard it. The whisper I'd been waiting for. It said to do something that I didn't think I had the talent for or the energy to accomplish. Didn't take more than 45 minutes to figure out what that was.

It was 22 years ago this month that my family and I moved into this house. The house wasn't my first choice but it was within the budget and I agreed to go along with the purchase if DH would do just one thing. Paint the master bedroom and bath something other than the hideous Navy Blue wallpapered walls that it was then and still is sporting.

Well, of course, you know the ending to that story already. For 22 years I've begged, screamed, ragged on and pestered my husband to get out the brushes and paint and make it WHITE! I figured that plain white would be better than living in a navy blue cave. Well of courses it never happened and never will, by his hand at least. So after making a list of possible items I might need I went in search of said items in my storage areas.

Sure enough...I had a 2 1/2" brush that I'd bought to do some paste paper with and a quart of white paint that was supposed to be put on window trim somewhere in here. And I also found an over the toilet storage unit that DH somehow never got around to putting together along with a fixture I'd pulled from the curb one garbage day and an old medicine cabinet I thought might work. Here's the cabinet and light that will be replaced this week:

In those moments of quiet contemplation I thought I must be out of my mind since the whole house makeover that I was planning could not happen without money. But the universe doth provide for those eager or stupid enough to believe it will and I've since fallen heir to three gallons of white, one gallon light mossy green and one gallon of fairyland aqua! Four of these gallons courtesy of my professional house painter Nephew, Matthew Lang. This poor, sad bucket will also find its way onto my walls.

My first project was of course the smallest. The master bath which I decided should reflect the look of a Tuscan toilette at sunset as the last rays of warm yellow sunshine kiss the walls. So with some lace and fabric and texturizing paste I started slapping on some lumps and bumps that I could paint over and then glaze.

The project is only half finished because I had to beg DH to use his 6'7" body to paint the ceiling I had no way of reaching. It took him 15 minutes with a roller and paint can. Hmmmmmmmmmmm...22 years to get him to spend 15 minutes working on the house...ok...can you tell that I'm still pissed at him :) Here's the proof of my words via pictures...they are all worth a 1,000 words.

My next post will show the finished bath, and perhaps the beginning of yet another project. I may not be stretching my creative muscles...yet...but I am getting done things I never thought I should or could accomplish. God Bless you all...have an amazing and creative week! Oh, and don't forget the contest. Just leave a comment on this post and you could win that perfect little angel!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sabbatical-Week One

It's been a week since I turned off the computer and turned back to my art. I have had a roller coaster ride of a week with everything from excitement to terror! More about all of that in a moment.
I've also started journaling...something I haven't done in a dozen least on a semi-regular basis. When I was doing the Artist's Way I was a devout writer but after 9 months it was painful because the OA kicked up in my right wrist the more I journaled.
So here I am with a mini report of my week. I'll only hit the highlights because as important as this sabbatical is to me, I know you have better things to do than read the minutia of my every day life.
5.18.09-I have heard whispers from my true artistic self for years. Now when I need her to shout out loud she seems to have gone off line. At 3 pm, emotionally and physically drained I decided to do something I never allow myself to do except in times of illness...I took a nap!
5.19.09-Lots of ideas spilling out of my head as I awoke this morning. Took notes for future reference and then called up my sister and said...I've got money and a 50% off coupon...let's go to ACmoore. When I got back after noon I dove into the work and about 3/4 of the way in I could feel an artistic tingle. An excitement for what was starting to "BE".
5.20.09-The sky is bright as a blue robin's egg today. I'm sitting in the shade of some mis-grown trees, birds squawking for having their feeding time interrupted. I see a jet gleaming in the sun overhead as it propels its passengers to places unknown. Always, always the sight of a shining silver jet overhead brings me pleasure...I feel the excitement of places I can only dream about.
5.22.09-I have never done art to express my inner feelings and fears. Every piece was done with an eye toward how much money it would bring. After 40 years and limited success I see each failure for what it was. A loss of interest because I was not painting to express my inner feelings.
5.23.09-My daughter asked if I would paint a piece for her home. Make it something that would express what I am always 'preaching' at her. I have never had a family member EVER ask me to paint a piece for them. But my daughter...She gets it!

Sunday night, dinner finished but dishes waiting until I blog the FIRST piece of art for ME.

Fear Kept Her Grounded

Week ahead includes a stress test for DH. But mostly it brings a test of my patience. DD has a roommate moving in and the cats had to move out. One sweet little cupcake, Willie, and one feisty, scratchy brat named Bella have joined my four cats and one Chihuahua. Bella got in a couple of good scratches and has yet to appear from out of my craft closet but Willie has settled in. What's not to love about this little cupcake!


Wishing you all a creative week. Until next Sunday...Blessings from Carolyn, a Jersey Girl

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I'm sitting here staring at the blank white screen and trying to figure out a way to begin. Someone brilliant once said...just begin at the beginning. And so I will.

For years I've been promising myself a May-September sabbatical. A time apart where I could find out what makes me, me! And every year the same thing stops me. Money, or the lack thereof. This year is no different. Money, as always is hard to find. But this year is different. I've found a way to escape and go on that longed for artistic retreat without changing my physical location. But to do that I have to change one thing. I have to leave the cyber world behind. Not forever because the lure of it is like a siren's song. But by changing the parameters of my physical location by turning off the computer I may be able to find the place that I long for each spring.
Initially I was introduced to cyberspace via a small intranet back in 1994. I was magically linked to the parents, students and administrators of my son's Charter High School, High Technology High School in Lincroft, NJ. This school, which continues to blaze a trail in the high tech world, opened a door to such a magical place that to even think of leaving it makes me doubt my resolve. The Net has always provided me escape and friends with whom I could visit as I chose. For these last 15 years, the computer and the unseen but very real world in the ether has been a huge part of my life. Subtly sucking hours of my precious time into its vortex. When I pulled the plug, literally, last Saturday I didn't know if I could live without visiting my groups on Twitter, Ning and Facebook. My blog has not been updated in two weeks and for that I felt guilty! It was then that I realized that something drastic needed to be done. That I desperately needed that Sabbatical that I have promised myself year after year.
Spending so much time on the computer has had me neglecting not only my physical world but my creative life as well. The artists that I have met thru eBay and Etsy have been wonderful but have left me in doubt as to my own creative abilities. Every time I saw a new technique or a new fad I would find myself running after it and trying to catch the wave so that I too could be in on the money that was being made. But the more I ran after the money the less I had and the lower and lower my belief in my own abilities has sunk. As I write this now I am at a crossroads. But there have been signs.
It seems as if the universe and all the fates converged in a single week. And it happened so simply! I friended an artist because I was intrigued by her avatar on Facebook. Following the links on her page to her website and Etsy shop I came to realize that this young woman had achieved in four short years what I have not been able to do in forty. And she did it by listening to her inner voice. That little whisper that nags at you to do something that comes from your heart and is not influenced by the emptiness of your pocketbook.
"Taking Flight" by Kelly Rae Roberts is now in hand. After reading the introduction I know why its gone into a second printing. This is a very smart and perceptive lady and she is following HER own muse, not one she has 'borrowed' from someone else. So I have decided that I need to stop running and looking elsewhere for my creative wings. They're here; within me and waiting to sprout and take flight. And so it is with a bit of regret but a lot of hope that I blog about this and lay myself bare for anyone who happens to wander by and stop to read.
To keep myself real and on track I am making this promise to you and to myself; I'll be stopping by every Sunday night to report on my progress of the week past and my plans for the week ahead. You, my dear friend and reader are what will keep me real with myself. Have a blessed and creative week and I'll check in with you Sunday, May 24th.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Mission Accomplished

It took several months to figure out how to do it, 30 days to do the first 30 pieces and 60 minutes to upload just two auctions to Etsy but I feel empowered today! I made a major change in my creative direction, set the start date and accomplished my mission. It doesn't get better than that.
These pieces were all made using recycled plastic archival inks and dyes and sketches from my journals that go back to the mid-70's. I am LOVING this new medium and I hope it shows!
You can get to Etsy by clicking on the photo above. I'll continue adding more and more pendants daily. I hope you enjoy them and please...feel free to buy a bunch to spice up your spring wardrobe!