Thursday, June 23

Musings: New Beginnings

Last year I got to meet Michelle Lesniak, winner of Project Runway season 11. (Photo of us together with me featuring sad bangs and a fan-girl grin included for proof and story-telling pizzazz.) She's from Portland and had been scheduled to share about her creative process and experiences on the show at the Seaside library the week we happened to be in Oregon on vacation. I jumped at the opportunity to go because she was my favorite from her season.

In fashion design, apparently it's customary for each designer to produce two collections a year. (As of last year, Michelle sticks to one because it fits her life better.) Each collection should be a cohesive unit of individual pieces, but the individual collections can be wildly different from each other. Michelle shared about how she tries to capture a feeling she's experiencing and translate it to something visual and wearable.

In the winter/spring of 2014-2015 I was making bright, whimsical, inspirational watercolor/handlettering/doodle art. It was selling well, but I was staring to get tired of it. I didn't know what to do. Keep making more because it's selling? Try to keep making art in the same style while also trying to experiment with new styles? It all felt unnervingly indistinct and I couldn't see a clear path ahead.

Michelle's presentation came at the perfect time. I realized that as a visual artist, I can have distinct collections similar to a fashion designer. Fashion designers don't just keep making the same items over and over with the same colors and fabrics. They have a clear-cut time to draw the curtain on a body of work and try something new. I can do this too! I can enjoy a particular style until I'm ready to be done, and then I can move onto something new and different. In order to make new beginnings there have to be endings too. Being able to define those endings liberates me to begin fresh adventures.

(In real life finishing a collection--or making any change--and starting a new one is something rather fluid. It's a process, more of a slow fade than a sharp line, but it's still as much about ending as it is about beginning.)

Tuesday, April 29

color palette inspiration

Breaking an inspiring image down to a handful of core colors
is an an amazingly fun and eye-opening exercise.
I have always searched for inspiring color combinations
in humble, everyday places,
but this takes it to a whole new level.
(Do you want to try it? This is a helpful tutorial.)

Thursday, April 24

three all-natural scents for your home

I tend to get terrible headaches
if I use scented candles or other melted wax products in my home,
so I avoid them like the plague.

Usually this works just fine
because between doing a bunch of baking and cooking
and keeping things relatively clean,
my house generally smells okay.

when plumbing problems (sewage in the basement--ick)
and a little one with the flu coincide,
your house's scent definitely needs a little help.

I rose to the challenge
and created three delightful, all natural scents for my home
using ingredients that I already had in my pantry and fridge.
You'll find the recipes below.

Citrus Herb

combine in a small pot or slow cooker:
peel from 2/3 lemon
5 whole cloves
1 small sprig of fresh rosemary
1 1/2-2 cups of water

Warm over very low heat until your house smells better
or the water evaporates.

Apple Spice

combine in a small pot or slow cooker:
2 slices of apple
5 whole cloves
3 slices of fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 1/2-2 cups of water
Warm over very low heat until your house smells better
or the water evaporates.

Tropical Delight

combine in a small pot or slow cooker:
1 fresh pineapple core
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 1/2-2 cups of water
Warm over very low heat until your house smells better
or the water evaporates.
(By the end of the day
this one smelled like pineapple upside down cake!)

~Crock Pot doesn't know I exist, I'm just sharing links to what worked for me.
~Obviously you should always use caution when using heat-producing appliances, especially if you are leaving them on for long periods of time. Don't leave your house scents unattended!
~The scents produced by these recipes are not as strong as commercial scents. They are nuanced and subtle and work best in small areas.
~I wouldn't use these ingredients for more than a day or two. Since they are natural and fresh, they'll be prone to mold growth and decay if left indefinitely.

Wednesday, April 23

april happy mail--sent

I've been extremely fortunate
to find myself in a supportive, generous group
of artists who swap art and art related "happy mail."
Here are (most of) the things I sent out in April.

Color themed ATC's.

Color themed happy mail.

A little birthday surprise.

Tree themed mail for a fellow tree aficionado.

Happy mail is the perfect name for it.
I don't know what makes me happiest:
making or choosing and packaging pretties for others,
seeing their joy when they receive it,
or getting thrillingly pretty mail
in the middle of the bills and junk that usually fill my mailbox.

Thursday, April 17

blueprint art

My husband works at a hospital.
Last year he invested countless hours
into making sure that their move into a new facility
went as smoothly as possible.
Somehow he managed to score the new building's blueprints
as a souvenir.
Last month he gave them to me
and commissioned me to make art for his office
using the blueprint paper.
I was delighted!
I used watercolors, acrylics, and ink to make two options for him
--two options that actually ended up making a pretty cool set.
He's pleased, and I am too.