Thursday, September 30, 2010


Taoists believe that in order to be near God we must seek him in simple tasks like chopping wood and carrying water. This I believe. And I also believe that God is in creating things. At least that's where I feel closest to God. My art will never hang in an art museum, but doing it on a constant basis is, quite literally, necessary to my well being and my sense of oneness, whether anyone else ever sees it or not.

I've been working on a large painting for our new Sunday School classroom. If it turns out okay, I'll show you. Otherwise, I played one day with some really low tech media, including Crayola crayons, a travel iron and cheap shaving cream.

Encaustic wax painting is an ancient art technique; I've never been able to convince myself that I would like it well enough (or be good enough at it) to spend the money on real wax color cubes and tools, so the crayons and travel iron are a fun substitute. My canvas is a sheet of freezer paper. With a little practice, (or no practice at all) you can create landscapes, seascapes, and abstracts worthy of matting and framing. It's just a happy little exercise that gets your juices flowing.

You may have made marbled paper in elementary school art class. I like to make stacks of marbled card stock for later use in collages and note cards. Just pump the shaving cream onto a flat pan, drip watercolors, acrylics, or even food coloring onto it and pull a comb or other tools through it to make swirls. Lay your sheet of paper on top and press firmly enough to push it into the paint. Raise carefully, wipe away excess and let dry. It takes a lot of shaving cream, so don't forget to buy your husband another can.

........and then we decided 10 month old Marley needed to be neutered. Our perfectly house trained Shih Tzu was having testosterone surges and marking hither and yon throughout the house. He was also becoming more prone to run from us outdoors and even to growl at us if we picked him up when he didn't want to be picked up. All the signs said that our puppy needed his hormones reined in. Those of you who know me know it was a hard decision for me, but the deed was done on Monday, an interminably long day, and I brought him home about 4 PM and dressed him in a onesy to keep him from chewing at his stitches.

Long story short, we've had a rough rest of the week. He had more pain and got sicker than I expected, and I got a killer migraine. Along with the hellish, blinding pain, migraines (and the meds) take away my hope and my connection with God; I'm always sure that this one is never going away. When it's time for me to die, I hope I have a migraine, and I won't mind going as much.

The reverse side of the coin is that once a migraine is gone, I'm sure that's the last one I'll ever have. I woke up this morning with no pain but still drugged from the Maxalt, still worried about Marley and needed to make a quick run to Wal-Mart. On the way there, I got behind a white SUV with license plate "200 MMN". Maybe I was looking for something to pull me out of my pain induced drug haze, but I began to hum.....Ommmmm-m-m-m......... and to meditate as I drove through the morning school traffic.

Meditating is listening to God. I figure God gets tired of being told what to do. Be still and know that I am God. (Psalms 46:10) More than keeping my body still, it means to still my mind and my tongue and open myself up to the mind-altering majesty that is God, who has had some pretty spectacular ideas all on his own. By the time I got home, I felt the connection returning. Marley is slowly getting better, and I'm working on a couple more painting projects. Life is good. Ommmmm-m-m-m

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Best Medicine

If you drop by even occasionally to check my blog, you've no doubt thought I had abandoned ship, but no, I got some sort of stomach virusy-bacteria-creeping-crud-thing, and I'm just now feeling normal again. Some folks press onward when they get ill, but not me. I prefer to withdraw in order to savor fully just how sorry I feel for myself.....and I'm finding that when I'm sick, a fuzzy, happy puppy is the very best medicine of all.

Anyway, even when I'm not blogging, there's a tiny brain cell or two dedicated to scavenging ideas for the blog. This time, I was planning to show you how I've been organizing everything from my art room to my clothes closets and took pics of the Kia stuffed to the rafters with things to donate to Goodwill, including an Imelda Marcos-like box of shoes, some dating back to my teaching/counseling days. I've also been experimenting with painted canvases for another project I've got in mind, as well as a gelatin plate monotype technique, and I took tons of photos for a mini-tutorial, but I somehow managed to delete them when I was transferring some photos for Jim (Oops! I forgot he says I can't talk about him in my blog anymore. Forget I said that.)
These are some after shots of my closet. After all these years it finally occurred to me to separate dresses, shirts and blouses by color. When you're about to get dressed, what do you think of? I'm going to wear my new jeans and the pale blue blouse. Voila! No more searching for the pale blue blouse.
(This photo was in my other camera.) The gelatin plate monotype wasn't as messy as you might think, and I plan to try it again. The recipe is all over the net and on YouTube, using plain gelatin and water; just mix it up and let it chill in a flat pan overnight. Paint on acrylics or block printing ink and then apply sheets of paper. I used handmade paper and got some interesting patterns that I may use to make artsy envelopes.
The most fun painting I've done lately were these pieces of canvas (below). Earlier, I had used grape leaves and acrylic paints to stamp impressions on them, and then soaked the fabric with water and loosely painted Pebeo Seta Color fabric paint on the wet cloth and placed leaves and other found objects on them and set them out in the sun to let it do its magic. It develops in about 15 minutes, and when they were completely dry, I splashed Jacquard Lumiere metallic paints on them.

When I was taking these photos, Marley came in and said that's enough pictures of cloth; it's time to focus on me.

So I did. Follow your bliss everyday; mine happens to be all kinds of art. It's what keeps me going, along with my li'l fluffy shadow........ See you later.