Thursday, March 31, 2011

A-Z Blogging Challenge

I'm starting a challenge tomorrow for the month of April, where I will be posting 26 times -- the topics will start with each letter of the alphabet, starting with A. Over 900 other bloggers from across the world are joining me. You can find the complete list of participants here. I've gone through a lot of the list, which is heavy with fiction writers. I'm an artist, and I follow a lot of artist blogs. But since I'm a blogger, then I'm a writer, too (yes-- and you are, too). A lot of the writers post entries about marketing your writing, developing a following, and sticking with the task of producing written pages. All artists can relate to that: keep making art, use your social networking and other venues to get noticed, and market your work.

Please go through this list and visit some new blogs. You'll likely find something very interesting. Please leave them a comment.

Stop by my blog this month -- I'll be posting every day except Sundays, which will amount to 26 posts. And if you want me to stop by yours, send me a link.

As I watch the news and see that the northeast part of the U.S. is gearing up for more snow, I'll leave you with a recent photo of a brilliant sunset where I live.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mai Tiki, Your Tiki

I was just visiting my hometown of Cocoa Beach for a few days, and I ran across these tikis while on my walk.

The artist at Mai Tiki has created these in Cocoa Beach for over 35 years. Over time, people have placed them in their yards, the city has put them out at parks. I don't have one in my yard, but I'm thinking I might need to add one.

They are all hand-carved from palm trees.

They used to be left natural, but now you see them painted bright colors. It really is great artistry. Here's a gallery of a few I came across.

Have you seen any unusual art lately?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I'm a Failure as a Morning Person

It's confession time -- and I am the only artist out there with this confession, apparently. I owned Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way. I thought her habit of writing "Morning Pages" was a way cool idea. I tried it, and made it through about one day. A raise of hands, please, how many of you out there embrace morning pages, write their three pages a day, and are consistent with it day after day?

How many of you have stacks and stacks of completed morning pages or filled books? How many of you want to keep those pages forever or throw them away or shred them to create art?

Sorry, I just couldn't do it. Do I write in a journal? Absolutely, and I've written in about ten in the past year, grouped by subject. But I just can't do it as an assignment. I think that's the problem with me. I have so many things on my daily to-do list, I can't add another one "just for fun." I can write in my journal, when I feel like it, which is quite often, but not on a regular basis. If I'd miss a day, then I'd feel guilt, and I can't add more homework or guilt to my life.

So all you wonderful, disciplined artists and writers: keep writing in your regular, same way, and I'll keep writing randomly in my short-attention-span way. We all make the world go around.

Last month, after many years of sitting on my shelf, I finally gave up forever and gave the book to Goodwill. I know where you can get a copy real cheap.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Happy Zine Day -- Judy Merrill-Smith

For my final review of the ten zines I received in a zine swap, I present Judy Merrill-Smith's zine called Something Extra Number 3: The Invitation. The cover of Judy's zine is 6" x 12", and is collaged with book pages, painted, and she hand-stitched lace pieces and edging to the paper.

When you open it, you see that Judy has re-purposed a 12" x 12" calendar page for the cover. She kept the back side of the blue stitching exposed, which is a nice touch. The pages of the book are folded over 8 1/2" X 11" pages, with typed text and full-color photos.

Judy's first article is about "guerrilla art," and how she recently created some of her own. She explains that guerrilla art is free art placed in public places, often anonymously. The fun for the viewer is stumbling upon it and wondering about its source. She tells a story about being on vacation, and becoming so moved by news of a death, that she decides to create a piece of art as a memoriam. Amazingly, she spies the family of the victim as they discover this art. It really is a beautiful story, and she's a beautiful woman for creating it.

Judy has written a how-to article as well. She picked up some vinyl street signs that were destined for a landfill, and created beautifully painted flowers. That's a great example of making beauty from trash. Her step-by-step instructions are detailed enough, with accompanying photos, that most readers would be able to re-create the flowers. I only wish she included a photo of the original signs so I could get some perspective on the starting point.

Her next story starts with the question, "Ever heard of a zine library?" I have, and have been to one in Portland, Oregon. I haven't found one in Florida yet, but Judy discovered one in her hometown of Spokane, Washington. What a great story to include in her zine! A lot of us in this zine swap are creating zines for the first time, and many have never seen one in person before creating their own. It's great to know there's a whole world of zines out there. Be aware, though, some zine subjects may not suit your tastes. If you find a library, just put the oddballs back and keep looking, because you'll see there's a wide range of topics and zine styles.

Her last story is about her practice of writing "Morning Pages," a ritual popularized by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist's Way. I know this is huge with many people, but I've never been able to keep up with it. She's quite brave and includes a couple in her zine.

I don't want to forget the nice little gift that Judy included with her zine. She's generously given the zine reader their own embroidery floss, fabric, and edging so we can incorporate them in our next project. If you like what you've seen of Judy's art here, please be sure to stop by her blog, Cheery Tomato Productions.

I hope you've enjoyed my reviews of the zines I received. You can go back and look at my complete list of posts at the end of this one here. I'll be hosting my own zine swap this Spring. You can see the details by clicking on the "Zine Swap" tab at the top of this blog.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Random Friday

I saw a similar post somewhere, so I thought I'd throw out my random thoughts today. My hope is that my randomness gets a little organized as the day progresses.

Outside my is sunny and clear, but very cold for Florida this time of year. Yesterday we had a huge storm with hurricane-like winds. A cold front followed it and it’s only a high of 66 degrees today. It was 84 last week.

I am thinking...that I’m not dressed warm enough for this day.
I am thankful...that I live in this wonderful home.

I am wearing...jeans, long-sleeved shirt, sweatshirt. I’ll be adding a jacket when I go out.
I am remembering...that I need to balance my checkbook today.
I am accordion book. Two other friends are creating their own, then we’ll meet for coffee to compare.
I am Cocoa Beach this weekend for the kids’ spring break and to visit my dad. If the weather warms up, we hope to kayak, jetski, and/or stand-up paddleboard. I grew up on the Banana River and we can do these things right in the backyard.
I am reading...nothing right now, although I’m itchy to read a good book. I need to go to the library and search for a good biography or other non-fiction book. Any suggestions?
I am hoping/praying...that I will get a lot done today. Yesterday was a lazy day because the previous day was so ridiculously busy that I needed a break.

I am hearing...Alternative Rock on the music station on my TV. We’re new to the music stations, since we just got our cable changed with the purchase of a big HD TV. I’m loving hearing Modern English, INXS, and The Clash again. Although I often hear The Clash since I have a couple of their albums. I should buy INXS Kick on CD – I used to have it on cassette and I rocked it constantly. I miss it.
On my design a new business card that reflects my evolved artist mission statement.
From the kitchen...half my family is out of town for a school field trip, so I’m not cooking right now. I baked three kinds of cookies last week though, and I have frozen “cookie balls” that I can just pop in the oven when I want. I love to freeze the extra batter in cookie shape, on a cookie sheet, then transfer the frozen balls to a Ziploc. Then I’m ready for a fresh-baked cookie at a moment’s notice. I love the convenience, but the convenience means I’m eating yummy fresh cookies too often for my waistline.
Around the house...I have so much to do to get my art room organized. It’s still just a mass of boxes. I need to get back into that today.

One of my favorite hopping and “meeting” all these interesting people from all over the world.
A few plans for the rest of the I said, head to Cocoa Beach and get some fun in the sun.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy Zine Day -- Deborah Boschert

Deborah Boschert calls her zine Inspired by ... Architecture, with the tag line "A little zine with images, ideas and thoughts about creativity." She's right -- it's little in size, but filled with wonderful photographs of architecture from all over the world.

She's hand-painted her 4 1/2" x 6" cover, using brushes, stamps, and scratching into the paint. She's cut out a little door and a window so you can see through to the first page. All of her pages have full-color photos, all taken by her during her travels. She must always have her camera with her, and she has a real eye for details from her surroundings.

Even after Deborah's taken a picture, she still notices more details when she looks at it. In one photo, she points out that she is shown in a reflection in one of the windows. That's something I probably wouldn't have noticed.

Photography runs in Deborah's family, because she says her husband takes a lot of photos when he travels with his work. She includes one from Africa. I think it's base housing. It's a simple repetition of buildings. What a fine example of government formality.

Her final picture is a bit of an art quilt that was inspired by one of the photos. That final page is what made me want to visit her website where you can find many photos of her art quilts. I'm glad I stopped by. You can see her website here and visit her blog here.

I have one more of the zines I received in a swap left for review. You can see the complete list of zines at the bottom of this previous post. I'll be hosting my own swap. If you're interested in joining, click on the Zine Swap tab at the top of this page for more information.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Make Your Own Wall Art

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that we just finished a home addition and renovation. And I know you're still wondering -- when is she going to post some before and after photos? Yeah, yeah. When I say it's finished, I mean the PROFESSIONALS are finished. Our work is still ongoing. I still need to hang pictures on the walls; make a curtain for the giant window in the bathroom door (no, I don't know why we got a door with a big window in it for a bathroom, either); put shelves in the closet so we can empty the boxes on the bedroom floor back into the closet; hang other curtains (preceded by: buy curtains); touch up paint; figure out the configuration and plugs for the stereo, DVD player, Wii, and who knows what else. So just be patient. I'm still working very hard on this renovation!

Part of it is I've decided to paint a couple of my own paintings for my new walls. We've worked so hard on this house -- I want it to reflect my taste and style. I've completed two paintings, and here they are. Too bad I didn't take "in progress" photos of the splashy one, because it went through about 5 different configurations before I came up with this. I still didn't call it "done," but hung it on the wall anyway. When friends came over, and they raved about it, I decided I could call it finished.

Here it is -- I also call it Spring Storm.

I've place this next painting on the wall on your right after you enter my front door. When you're sitting on the love seat in the living room you look across at is. This one I call Field of Possibility.