Happy New Year!

It’s December 31, New Year’s Eve. It’s that magical time when I make promises to myself that I won’t keep. You know the ones: Lose weight. Exercise every day. Be nicer. Blah. Blah. Blah. OK, I will try to be nicer….and stress less about things that don’t really matter. Nicer is easy. Stress-free, not so much.

This is also the time when I’m thinking about my business goals for the new year. This year has been really good for me business-wise and as an artist. I feel that I’ve made some gains and had lots of unexpected opportunities drop into my lap, for which I’m very thankful. (I’m especially thankful to the support of friends and family, who believe in me and keep me going.) I think the good luck and blessings came about because I wanted and expected them. Asking and expecting to receive can be powerful in moving things forward—with God’s help.

So this year, I’m expecting even more—more opportunity to present my artwork, jewelry and handmade cards; more inspiration to better understand and express whatever my artistic voice may be; more courage to believe that my talent and my desire to touch people through my art will take me down all the right roads.

I will have a Happy New Year. I hoping the same for you.

Three-pointers count even when you miss

Hang In There

My 12-year-old son is teaching me a lot about persistence (even though he doesn’t know it). He’s on a mission to be the best basketball player he can be. Last summer he began working on his three-point shots getting ready for the fall try-outs for the city recreation league. He wanted to be better than he was last year. So became obsessed. He has spent every moment he can working at it. I watch  him working out in the gym at our Y. He gets as far away from the basket as he can and shoots. Sometimes the ball wildly bangs the rim and flies like a rocket across the room. Sometimes it silently falls inches near the basket without touching anything. Not pretty. But more and more often there are those beautiful, lovely swoosh-nothin-but-net shots that every basketball player and fan loves. It doesn’t matter to him which one of these scenarios occurs. My son keeps going. He doesn’t not agonize over the missed shots. Even during his  basketball games with his recreation league. He does not pause in celebration of the ones he makes. He does not wonder and worry about whether he will be making another one. He just keeps going. Guess what? This month he won second place in the local Hoop Shoot free throw contest. He was so proud, as was I.

I’ve been thinking about this as I’ve reviewed my art week of wins and losses. This week I was overjoyed because I showed my work to a gallery owner and she invited me to be a guest artist in her commercial gallery for the month of August. Wow. I’m honored. Also someone saw a piece I did and immediately wanted to buy it. Wow. Wow. I rock, right? On top of the world. Three-points! BUT, BUT  yesterday I got a rejection letter for a show I wanted to be in. Miss. I also found out that I didn’t get something else I wanted based on my work. Air ball. So I was stewing. Worrying. Wondering. Questioning my talent, starring in the role of the neurotic artist. Then I thought of my son and his lesson: Just shoot. You will miss the three-pointers sometimes. But they still count. The point is to keep trying and doing the thing you love, be obsessed with it, let it consume you and wrap you in so much joy that even the air balls are things of beauty. Wise boy.

Holiday how-to

A quick last-minute holiday how-to: A table centerpiece. Our office had a holiday pot luck last week, so I came up with a quick centerpiece using things that I had around the house and office.Take a round container, fill it with the shredded paper you can buy at craft stores for filling baskets. It looks like grass. Take candy canes and stick them in the shredded paper so they stand up. Wrap the round container with tissue paper (the color is up to you). Take a long piece of wired ribbon and wrap it around the vase and tissue paper so that it stays on. Tie a bow and fan it out. I tied one on each side so that each side of the table would have a pretty bow to look at.  You can use this as your centerpiece or take it as a hostess gift if you are going to some one’s house. The fun part is that the guests can eat it–one candy cane at a time.

SPARK 14: “Letting Go”

I participated in another round of Spark: Art from Writing; Writing from Art, in which artists are given written pieces as inspiration and writers are given artwork as inspiration. Each time I do it (this is my third time), I’m pushed in an unexpected direction in which I grow creatively–at least I think so. I usually end up with an image I might not have created or working in some new way. That’s the case for this piece “Letting Go,” a mixed media work on paper, which is based on the following poem. I spent several days just thinking about the words, which seemed angry at first, but slowly settled into a kind of peacefulness that I think comes when one lets go of something that has been hard to hold onto to begin with–especially relationships. There is anger, loss, longing, mourning and then release, letting go. If you look closely, you will see that I used ripped up pieces of the poem as the background. The next round of Spark happens in February, if you want to try it.

(Inspiration piece)

Shades of Gray 

By Ray Sharp

I wrote you a poem

in a small and even script

words like bird tracks

in wet sand

but I inked them out

with furious black smudges

and set it afire

dropped it and watched

words turn to ashes

and float across

your view of the moon.

Cremation, phoenix.

Winter sparkle

The one thing I love about winter (the theme for Creative Every Day Month) is the encouragement to sparkle and shine at holiday parties. I went to a fabulous, fabulous party last night as the guest of my good friend and art buddy. It was at the Boston Public library on a floor that I have never been on–all marble, ornamentation, wall paintings and beautiful lighting. I felt like I was sitting in a work of art all night, and I so enjoyed watching the pageantry of women in their finest sparkly things and stilettos parading in the soft glow of colored lights. No stilettos for me. Instead I hand on sensible low-heeled slingbacks, BUT, BUT, they were (fake) diamond studded and fabulous. I also had on a sparkly necklace that I designed. This was a busy week of design for me. It began with a request to make a red necklace and wrapped up today with me making three more necklaces because I was inspired by beads as I started to put them back in their boxes. I couldn’t stop designing. Here, you see the results (I will put them in my Etsy shop soon). Happy Holidays!

TGIM: Thank Goodness It’s Monday

Thank Goodness it’s Monday. I can finally get some rest after my very busy weekend. Friday I had a craft fair from 11 to 4 p.m. Saturday I had another craft fair from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Both required lots of loading and unloading. At least I got some exercise. The craft fair on Friday was a great success; the one on Saturday, not so much. Live and learn. It’s all about the venue and the perspective audience. Regardless, I enjoyed all of the wonderfully supportive comments about my jewelry and handcrafted cards. One of my favorite parts of doing a craft fair is the time between customers in which I create little pieces of quick art. It makes the time fly in a very productive way. This little Zentangle-lish drawing (Sharpie marker on paper) is my version of snowflakes in keeping with the winter theme of Creative Every Day Month.

On Saturday evening, I had dinner with friends in celebration of a birthday. We all had a great time. And it was so nice to see my friend’s reaction to the Shrinky Dink angel I made to decorate her gift box and then to the two pairs of earrings I made. My friends are so supportive. They keep me going.

Sunday morning after returning from my son’s swim class I had to rush off to bead stores to get supplies to design some custom necklaces. At one of my craft fairs, someone asked me whether I had any red necklaces to show her. I did not. So funny, I love red, but I don’t seem to design with it very much. So I took on the challenge of designing some red necklaces to show–three of them by TODAY, Monday. That meant that I spent most of last night designing. I felt like I was on Lifetime’s “Project Accessory,” which fascinates me (on the first show contestants were taken to a dilapidated building and given a few minutes to basically go through trash to find materials to design accessories. They came up with fabulous pieces). Art under the gun. Love it. What I love about this request is that  it pushed me to design in a color that I love, filling a gap in my line of jewelry. The jury is still out on whether this very stylish potential client will like any of the three necklaces. I love them and plan to do more.

Whew! I’m exhausted. Goodnight, art project waiting on my craft table. Goodnight, laundry still in the dryer. Goodnight, dishes. Goodnight, moon.

Winter layers

The theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge for December is winter. Winter is absolutely not my favorite month, even though I have lived in New England since 1989. That’s because I’m from the south–where black top pavement melts in the sun and a “cold” day requires a light sweater. I will never get used to the cold, the snow, the darkness of the New England winter. I will always rebel against wearing tights and socks. So as I thought about this theme I just kept thinking about how much I like warmth and sunshine. And the idea of these layers came to me. So, here, I give you “Layered Lady” (in Sharpie marker). She looks pretty but pissed that it’s winter, don’t you think? Maybe that would have been a better title “Pretty but Pissed.” Nah.

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