Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Giveaway

My new book is hot off the press and C&T Publishing is giving away a copy at the end of the month.  You can read a review of the book and find out how to enter on the C&T blog . Good luck to those of you who enter!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Simple Pleasures

A cool breeze on a hot summer day. A sunflower in full bloom. Watching kittens at play. These are a few of the things that have given me pleasure in the past week. I've been trying to reconnect with the  little things that bring joy into my life. It's easy to let them slip by unnoticed. I often become too wrapped up with what's going on in my head.  Thinking about all the "stuff" that's going on in my life. Getting out of that trap and noticing the world around me helps relieve my stress and brings me a sense of peace. 

What are your simple pleasures?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Father's Legacy

My father is joyful, optimistic and loves to talk to strangers. He really loves to talk to strangers. Waiters, grocery checkers, business patrons and random strangers in the street are all regaled with his tales.  As a kid it drove me crazy. Now I just figure, if it makes him happy, great!

We did not have a close relationship when I was young.  He was a driven entrepreneur, working long hours with frequent travel. And when he was home we were most likely yelling at each other. ("Stop yelling at me, Dad!"  "I'm not yelling! I'm just trying to make my point." It's rather comical, thinking back on it.) For years, I lived too far away to see him on a regular basis.  When I moved back to Texas eight years ago, he was within driving distance, so now I am able to see him more often. We have been able to develop a relationship that wouldn't have been possible when I was young.

A few years ago I understood that he had more of an impact on who I am than I had realized. There are the similarities born of genetics  - positive outlook, goal oriented, quick-tempered.  But I think his biggest legacy to me was believing in the power of one's thoughts. He had this philosophy long before it became popular. I had a strong role model in the impact of visualization, positive self-talk and believing in oneself. He didn't explicitly teach me those beliefs, but I absorbed them nonetheless. I believe that a lot of what I have accomplished over the years is a result of that foundation I received when young.

So, thanks, Dad!  For that and everything else you've brought into my life over the years.

What legacy has your father left you?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Slowly Breaking Through

A month ago, I dedicated a week to an art retreat at home.  My husband was out of town, so it was just me and the kitties. I feel as if I haven't been very productive over the past six months.  Technically that is not true - I have created a number of pieces.  But I have gotten so used to working in a series, I feel that single, stand-alone pieces don't count. 

The retreat provided me with much needed time for walks in nature, meditation, reflection, playing with kittens . . . oh yes, and studio time.  I had a flash of insight about a series I want to work on, but the work has progressed slowly.  Since the retreat, I've felt torn between a number of ideas. I have had difficulty choosing which direction to go. Another flash of insight two days ago - it doesn't really matter which direction I go, as long as I do something!

Amazing how freeing that realization has been.  I have created two studies for larger pieces I'm entering in an exhibition later this year.  And although they didn't turn out exactly as expected, I know I'm on the right track. Each day I clarify my vision just a little bit more. Oh, and if you are wondering if I've kept my commitment to show up every day - the answer is yes.  I have spent at least several hours each day in the studio since June 1 (except one Saturday - it's ok to take one day off - or am I just rationalizing?!)

Below is a photo of one of my studies.  It is not complete, but I do like it enough to finish it.

What you you do to help you through periods of indecision and lack of inspiration? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Working with Resists - Tip #7

This week I'm winding up my resist Tuesdays series with my final tip - Have fun!  Isn't that why we create? Yes, we are expressing ourselves, adding beauty and/or meaning to the world and perhaps even healing ourselves in the process.  The time spent exploring and playing with new techniques allows us to do those things even better.

I hope that these posts over the past two months have inspired you to try working with resists. I would love to hear about your experiments. And if you are inspired to buy my book and try out the techniques, that's great, too! Please bear with me for a moment of shameless self promotion.  My book will be available next week (finally!) My shipment is on a FedEx truck at this moment, headed to San Antonio. I created eight silk scarves for the book using the different resist techniques. Anyone who orders the book from me before the end of June is automatically entered into the drawing. Below are photos of some of the scarves.

Happy Resisting!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Working with Resists - Corn Dextrin

Corn dextrin is a great all-purpose resist.  It is very versatile - you can stamp it, screen print it, stencil it, brush it.  It looks a lot like potato dextrin when mixed, however it doesn't crack once dry.  If you have tried working with cornstarch, it is similar, however I find it easier to mix. As with most resists, a heavier coating ensures a stronger resist.  Here are a few photos of cloth created with corn dextrin.

Corn dextrin works great with stencils. It is just the right consistency to spread with a scraper.

I love using the free-form "drip" approach. I guess this piece is more structured than free-form, but you get my point.

This piece reminds me of pine cones.  The dextrin was brushed through a lacy cloth. You can see the lighter areas where the brush (fully loaded with dextrin) brushed over the cloth.  And the areas with more definition when there was less dextrin on the brush.

Brayer printing deposits a lighter coating of the resist, so it has a softer effect.  This piece was brayer printed over a textured mat.

Here's another brayer print, over the ubiquitous bubble wrap. Again, a nice soft effect.

How have you used corn dextrin?

Read my tips for working with resists

Read about working with sugar syrup

Read about working with acrylic medium

Read about working with flour paste

Read about working with oatmeal

Read about working with potato dextrin

 Read about working with soy wax

Read about working with commercial resists

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