Thursday, December 29, 2011

What A Year!

I'm over here working my buns off for the next online class (mixed media journaling) which of course will contain everything but the kitchen sink. I cut the stencil above as part of one of the demos; my father, mom and older sister from a photo taken before I was born. Daddy left for Guam shortly after this was taken; he was an airplane mechanic and it's probable that I was already in the oven here. That was all so long ago. 

The brown paper bag journal bug has bit again and hard. More about that in a moment.

I'm living in smoothie-ville now. I'm always the last one on the turnip wagon. There's a food revolution going on in the country (or is it just Portland?) and everybody's getting healthy. At least until the next trip to Mexico. The purple smoothie is red cabbage, blueberries, mango, banana, almond milk, nutritional yeast, chia seeds, lime juice and spinach. We're eating more vegetables than Bugs Bunny. 

I've been hunkered down low trying to get all the videos made for the March class before we take off in a month. It's been so dark and rainy here that we're really looking forward to breaking free and getting out into some sunshine. We hardly got to wear our summer clothes this year so maybe we can go where it's summer all the time. 

This long, sweet week between Christmas and New Year's Day is the perfect time to dream, count blessings, bid adieu to the old, and to conjure up the coming year. Like a good witch I like to think I have a hand in what happens; not that I'm in control of anything but that I can choose to help things in the right direction here and there. I feel like it's my responsibility as a pushy old gal. 

I used to choose words for the coming year but recently I've stopped at Grace. I don't think there are many better words than that. To be willing to accept what comes whether you like it or not. To hold it in your heart toward others, especially when they try your patience.   

I like to sit for long sessions with my journal and write it all out. How the miracles just keep coming. How glad I am to be a creator instead of a destroyer, politician or meanie. I have great sadness for those people and for the very wealthy. I think it would be a curse to be rich or famous. I love being a nobody. And I love other nobodies. I think we're the bomb.

See my little fingers conjuring up a wonderful new year?

Nathan and his new camera. Just because. Did I ever mention his beautiful hands? No? 

So here's the latest brown bag book. First the measured papers, soaked, scrunched, flattened.

Then dried quickly on the red hot woodstove between gulps of coffee.

The dried pages looking like a stack of tobacco leaves.

Ironed lightly and folded into folios.

And sewn with aqua linen book binder's thread into a coptic journal.

This is one of the other brown bag books that I wrote about here.

And the first brown bag book that I wrote about here. Long live the brown bag book. I'm going to try milk paint on the pages of this new one. White milk paint. I can't wait. And then I'll show you. Because it's so much fun to get excited and see if I can get some of you excited too. 

Happy New Year 2012. May grace, beauty, magic, and miracles follow wherever you find yourself in the coming year. xo

Friday, December 23, 2011

Blog on the Run

It isn't you, it's me. Having a lot on my plate just now as I'm sure you do too. Shellie has been coming over every day and hanging out with me. I haven't sent out my holiday cards yet but that's par for the course.  What's unusual this year is the number of projects I'm working on all at one time. I'm spread thin. 

I can't get the ceremony of St. Lucia day our of my imagination so I thought I'd paint the young girl in her crown of lights. The painting probably isn't done but at this point perfection isn't in the cards.

Happy Holidays to all . The solstice has crowned the year and once again we're looking toward a new beginning. I hope you light your candles and have some loved ones nearby to touch and be touched by. It's so good to be alive in 2011. Wishing you a joyous New Year and the gift of grace. May you be touched by the spirit of the season.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Little Painter

Okay, she isn't little; she's my grown daughter and she hasn't painted in ever so long but feeling the depression and sadness of a dark winter's day she picked up her paint brushes and painted this tender scene. Then she brought it to my house to show mama.

It takes my breath away with its tenderness. 

Maybe say a little prayer for the people out there who have a hard time in this season when everybody is expected to be happy. Give to the homeless, pay it forward, whatever you can do for the forgotten. If you're here I know you do that anyway. So thank you.   

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Olden Days

Is it even possible that 32 years have passed since this picture was taken? An old friend sent it to me in a Christmas card; precious memory. This was 7 months before we got married. Here we are in the first blush of passionate love; I'd just returned from 2 weeks in Japan and John is a week or two away from a job on a tuna boat that would keep us separated for another 5 months. 

Hey, if you've never had an afro you probably weren't around in the 70's. ha ha.

Friday, December 09, 2011

And the Winner Is ...

Wooden Spade from Bountiful, Utah. Please send me your address and I'll get it to the publisher who will mail you your free copy. And thank you to everyone who commented; you guys gave me some terrific ideas for personal maps. xo

Sunday, December 04, 2011

For the Love of Maps

Last year Jill Berry invited me to be part of her new mixed media book on making personal maps. I sat right down and made the map above, recounting my journey through a series of surgical "adventures". It was therapeutic to remember the progression of events and to make light of an unusual (thank goodness) experience.

This week my copy of her book arrived and it is a trove of fascinating maps by a variety of artists. I got many new ideas for making maps and in studying the various styles realized that mine is based on board games that I played as a child. Plus this is just the way my brain processes experience; always an area of fascination to me (how our brains work).

A handful of artists whose maps are featured in the book are participating in a blog hop to familiarize you with it and today it's my turn. Here is what the cover looks like:

And here is an excerpt from the press material: 

“ Personal Geographies gives you the tools and techniques you'll need to create artful maps of your self, your experiences and your personal journey. 
Inside Personal Geographies you'll discover:
  • 21 mixed-media map projects featuring artistic techniques like working with alcohol inks and pochoir, painting on a black surface and carving custom stamps
  • Insight into the world of traditional and contemporary maps and how they relate to and inspire personal mapmaking
  • A gallery of maps by contributors from around the world to spark your own creativity”
 If you would like to win a copy of the book, just write a comment on this post saying what you would make into your personal map and on December 9th I'll pull one name out of a hat and that person will receive a free copy.

On the other hand, if you can't wait to get your hands on the book, you can get a copy for $11.75 here until the day of the drawing. (free shipping!!)

And if you want to visit other map makers there is an interesting blog Jill has started here. I think you'll find lots of ideas for making a variety maps there.

Now I'm off to paint and make some more videos. Busy busy. Got the twinkle light tree up yesterday and feel the season advancing in a delicious way. The days are short but the art is long. Something like that! (Ars longa, vita brevis). I never could tell a joke or quote a saying.