Sunday, August 26, 2012

Welcome to My Little World...

The theme for Every Inchie Monday this week is world, and since my little world is the only art I was able to finish this week, it took front and center today!

This is it. In an entire week; one square inch. That's just so wrong...

I am sure any of you that are gardeners understand, the garden just went nuts! I thought I planted small this year, I tried out the Square Foot Gardening technique, and it really did make a difference. The plots are tidier, the produce is spaced adequately, the single zucchini plant is producing just one or two at a time, easy to use up as they appear. But this week, it just so happened that the beans, the basil, and the cucumbers are all ready right now. If I want to make my dilly beans, pesto and sandwich dills, they have to be done NOW!

That isn't necessarily a problem, except, and isn't there always an except, there are a few other things happening at the moment. My nephew is back in town, and this time he is my helper, rather than Mr. How2's, at least for a little while, until he gets stolen away. This means that we have started tearing apart the garage, the side garden and the tool shed, sorting, cleaning and purging. Since he is only here for a limited time, I've got to make use of every minute. We are also heading off to our family reunion this weekend, which is a camping trip, therefore requiring a LOT of prep work.
Last but not least, tomorrow morning, at the crack of dawn, we have to drive up to a very remote piece of property and pull musk thistle. I realize that if you don't live here in the Okanogan Highlands, you probably don't understand the significance of this activity. Let me explain.

 We have something here called the Noxious Weed Board, and they have the task of governing how property owners handle the presence of dangerous or noxious weeds on their own property. A noxious weed isn't necessarily something dangerous to living things, it is usually a designation assigned to a weed that can become invasive and threaten native plant species. The weed board sends out representatives all over the county looking for these criminal plants, and if they are spotted on your property, then you get a phone call. In the goverment's infinite wisdom, they gave this agency the power to demand that you eradicate the plant. If you are not compliant with their demands, they have the authority to bring a crew onto your land, spray and/or pull the weeds, then send you the bill. If you do not pay up, they are then allowed to put a lien against said property. As you can imagine, the fees charged are exorbitant, so we take care of the issue ourselves. It means an entire day in the broiling hot sun, hacking down stalks with a machete, and then nipping the blooms off and bagging them. If left on the ground, the seeds will continue to develop, turn to fluff, fly away and start the whole cycle all over again. I am all for taking care of my own properties, but there is no system in place, it seems, to clear these plants from public lands, most likely because there is no one to charge for the work. Because of this, we can never truly eliminate the threat, as the seeds for next spring are borne in on the wind from unattended land.

So that will be my day tomorrow, but I will be with family and we will likely treat ourselves to lunch back in town when we finish. It is a huge interruption in an already busy schedule, but there is nothing much I can do to avoid it. On a lighter note, I am already packing my brushes and canvases, looking forward to getting some art done on the camping trip. I am hoping to leave my first piece of abandonment at the local farmers market we always attend during the reunion. I can hardly wait! In case you are interested and haven't heard of Art Abandonment, go check it out. I am brand new to the group, and still learning the ropes, so they can explain better than I.
 Until next time...enjoy!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Gift of Flight...

I know I have mentioned them frequently over the course of the last year, these amazing women that have come into my life. But on this, the one year anniversary of our gathering as a community, I find myself with a heart full of gratitude.

 For me, this journey began when I ran across an blurb about Kelly Rae Roberts e-course;  Flying Lessons Tips + Tricks to Help Your Creative Biz Soar! I love KRR's art work, and she was my first introduction to mixed media art. I had her book and had read articles about her in Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine for a number of years before I thought to go looking for her online. I was delighted to find she was offering a class on building a creative business and jumped at the chance to learn from her. The class was full of useful information, simplified enough for a internet newbie to grasp and utilize. I learned about promoting my self and my work, about different routes to take to sell my art, and about the importance of the the connections you can make using social networking.
  But above all, and no offense to Kelly, because her content is fantastic, above everything though, was the private Facebook group that was formed as part of the class. For some inexplicable reason, we bonded. We quickly connected and grew into a huge loving, supportive and effective community of fellow creatives. We have helped, advised and supported each other through our first stumbling steps in building our businesses. We have found a safe place to share our fledgling art, and received positive reinforcement and advice when something wasn't quite right. Terrible twos to troubled teens, we have shared parenting advice, and cried for each others pain. Divorces, betrayals, job losses and rotten bosses, we have shared it all, and are stronger for the sharing. There is always someone to give you kudos over learning a new technique, and someone to understand when folks at home don't quite get us.
My Flytribe has helped me find my artistic style, and increased my confidence in sharing my art. I thought I would learn some tips and tricks, and I did. But I also found a whole other family, a sisterhood of creative souls.
As this year draws to a close, we are still going strong as we each face new and exciting challenges. We are committed to staying together and continuing to share our successes and failures, and sending out words of love and encouragement every step of the way. To honor our Flytribe community, we decided to take up a collection to sponsor a future flier by paying the tuition for the 2012 Flying Lessons. This will be the last time Kelly Rae Roberts offers this e-course, so she offered to match our contributions. We are so pleased to announce that we gathered enough donations to pay for not one but EIGHT slots in the upcoming class! Along with Kelly's eight, that makes sixteen lucky fliers! We are all just tickled at the response, did I mention they are a wonderful and generous group of ladies? If you would like to apply for the chance to win one of these slots, please go to our Flytribe Blog, and follow the instructions. 

Oh, in case you were wondering if I did any actual ART this week, I did do my ATCs for our Flygirls ATC Group. This is a spin off of about 60 of us, from the original Flytribe, that wanted to experiment with ATCs. We started our monthly swaps last November, and last I checked, we have a hostess and theme set up through 2013! This month the theme was "learning" and as an added twist, and partially because of my participation in Every Inchie Monday, we decided to each add an inchie to our packets. Here are the results;

my "learning" inchie...
and last, but not least, the theme for Every Inchie Monday is "eye", and here is mine...
Thank you Trillian over at Every Inchie Monday for inspiring not only me, but some of my fellow fliers as well. Look what you started with your teeny, tiny art! Until next time...enjoy!

If you would like to read more about our group, and some amazing posts about the art of giving, here is the list of all the Flytribe Blogs participating in this hop;

Cat Athena Louise
Michelle Reynolds
Rachél Payne
Live Laugh Love Retreats

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Little Bit of Catching up...

Over this past week, I have had some interesting things happening, the first of which is I finished the painting I started of my Cinnamon Bear. I am still debating adding some inspirational words, like I do with most of my art, so I will live with it like this for a while, and decide later.
 Last week I posted about our vacation being cut short, and deciding to work on our log cabin to make it ready to use. I decided to share some pictures, I just love it's rustic charm! Here is the north side,
 and the south. It has two decks and entrances.
 The downstairs bedroom, the floor was scrubbed clean with deck wash, which removed the silver color and  then I oiled it to swell the dry wood and enhance the color.
 Here is the vinyl tile I installed in the bathroom, which now has running water,a sink, a toilet and shower. I love rustic, but I am old enough to appreciate some modern conveniences...
and here is the gorgeous view looking north towards our little town. The land lacks the typical trees, lake or creek I would prefer in a vacation cabin, but the view and isolation make up for that. I went up on my own this past Friday, and clear coated the floors, so we are now ready to place the furniture and start enjoying our little hideaway. There are two whole other floors that remain untouched for now, I have been focusing on the main living area so that we can use it. The ultimate goal here is to sell the cabin, along with the surrounding 77 acres, but for now, we can enjoy some quiet times, and staging it as a usable get away can only help it sell better.
Back at the home front, I was delighted to harvest my first carrots and green beans this week, and steam them up for dinner. I have never grown this multi-colored carrot variety before, and think it lends an exotic look to the meal. There are a few new potatoes tucked in there as well.
 Last winter, I posted about my participation in the Art-o-mat Project, where you create little pieces of art, the size of a pack of cigarettes, ship them in and have them placed around the country in refurbished cigarette machines... These machines are placed in museum gift shops, hotel lobbies and various other high traffic locations, and managed by the folks at Artists in Cellophane, out of Winston- Salem, NC.
Well, after I sent my box in, I waited a very long time to hear back from anyone, and was beginning to think that the whole thing was a bust. Either no one was interested in the art I had produced, or they were sitting in a warehouse because of a backlog of stock. Imagine my delight when I received a message on my Facebook page, from a young artist that had purchased one of my collages, and wrote in to thank me, and ask for advice on starting her career as an artist! I though it was very kind of her to write, and wrote back with some pointers on starting a blog and setting up a Facebook page.

 Then, in one of those amazing coincidences, I got a check in the mail from the Artists in Cellophane. It seems that my fears were unfounded, not only is my art work out there, but they have sold 41 pieces out of the original 50! As you can see on this activity report, they use an image of a vintage gas gauge to show my remaining supply, and it is almost on empty. I love the little message; "more please", and the smiley face. I also enjoyed seeing where my art was when it sold, North Carolina, Texas, Missouri, Indiana, Las Vegas and the Smithsonian in Washington, DC!
 I was so excited to get this, I may have made a fool of myself, but with only Mr. How2 to witness, I guess I am safe...So my next project, besides my "Learning" ATC's for this months trade, will be 50 more tiny bits of art, mounted on blocks of wood so they will dispense properly through the machines. Participating in this project is not about making money with your art, at $2.50 per piece, you are not going to be living off your sales, but it is about networking, getting your art out there and validation as an artist, especially when just starting out like I am. My work spoke to is good!
This weeks theme for Every Inchie Monday is "house" and here is mine. Until next time...enjoy!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Vacation Interrupted...

I posted last week that we were finally done with the extra work on our rentals and we were going to take a small, local trip in our RV, to relax up at the lake. All I can say is, "The best laid plans of mice and men"...

We got everything ready, picked up the food, along with a few extra treats we don't normally splurge on, and headed out. No more than ten miles up the road, about 12 more to our destination, BAM! We had a blow out! It sounded like a shotgun blast and scared the heck out of me! Mr. How2 carefully pulled us over to the side of the road, and we got out to inspect the damage. It was bad. There will be no patching this one, so there goes $400 out the door. Then the really bad news, we had pulled the jack out of the RV to use in lifting the house we built a foundation under...So even though we had a spare, we were dead in the water. Mr. How2 thumbed a ride back down the hill to Grandpa How2's house and returned with the truck, tools and the jack. I stayed behind to guard our home on wheels. No fewer than 4 people stopped to ask if we needed help, and stay to shoot the breeze, (sometimes it's irritating to live in a small town, sometimes it is comforting).

It ends up, the reason behind the blow out is bigger than simply replacing the tire, something about springs, alignment and shocks. So until the parts can be ordered and shipped, we are not taking the Flair out anytime soon. Not being folks to give up too easily, we hopped in the car and turned our overnight trip into a day drive up and around the Okanogan Highlands, revisiting our old stomping grounds and having lunch up at the Bonaparte Lake Resort. The new owners are old family friends, the food and view are fantastic! Mr. How2 was able to help them out with a little project, and we generally had a wonderful time visiting. While I was there, I saw that a local photographer was selling his prints in their lodge/restaurant, and I wondered if that might not be a outlet for my paintings. So I am starting a series of mixed media canvases showcasing assorted flora and fauna of the area. Here are the beginnings of my first piece...
 When we lived up there, we had a cinnamon bear come and try to steal our dog food every now and again. It was aggravating, but also kinda special to see this beautiful beast. So in remembrance of these nighttime dramas, she will be my first subject. Here the canvas is covered in pages from a vintage book about North American Mammals, I used the information about bears, of course...

 Then I rolled on acrylic paint in various colors, using a brayer...and then some stamping with white. Not too heavy, I wanted the papers to show through.
Here is the base coat for the bear, a little shading and then I can start inking in the details, at this point it seems like most of the background papers are not visible, but they are there, faintly through the bear image, and lend depth and texture...I don't want to rush this painting, so please "bear" with me, I will post again when I am finished.
In the mean time, here is my inchie, for Every Inchie Monday, the theme this week is "ceiling".

 Until next time...enjoy!