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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Finding Home, Dancing on Canvases...

Wowzers, I've been in the studio for 4.5 hours and look what time it is already!  That's the drawback of having no windows in the studio and being too covered in paint to check my watch!  But - I did some fun work.

I am still determined to make the concept of putting a single "inchie" on a canvas work - since I tend to overdo my inchies, like everything else in my life.  Yet, they feel very  me.  So the question becomes...

How can I challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone and try something new, while still feeling connected to it and maintaining my own personal voice as an artist, and a person?

I think we all struggle with this at times.  Striking a balance between stretching ourselves, growing, but also feeling authentic in whatever we do, like it is still coming from us.  As humans, we change, and we need to change, otherwise life is static, flat and boring.  But how do we keep ourselves still with us as we grow?

So I experimented with this concept - in inchie form!  First I made the canvas backgrounds.  
My plate of gessoe had dried up from yesterday - so I scraped it off and used it as texture!  That stuff is too pricey to waste!
I chose a set of 9 (6 x 6) stretched canvases as my victims...

The dried gesso actually added a nice texture

I should start saving my tablecloths since I mix all my paint on them - when they dry, they come out pretty awesome!
Then I just had some crazy fun with colors in these backgrounds - lots of random paints, fork-prints, banging, dripping, swirling, smooshing, etc.
Then I painted some abstract backgrounds on some linen fabric to use at the base for my inchies.
Once the paint dried, I cut them into inch x inch squares.

Got out my little treasure chest of buttons, charms, paper, embellishments, and other random doodads...

 I made all nine inchies (I made an extra by accident actually, so I just cut it up and split it between two canvases!) But it still didn't feel complete.  It didn't feel me - but I wasn't sure what was missing.

Sometimes it just takes another pair of eyes - in this case, Brandon!  He felt like it still needed something more...

"What?!"  I was quite surprised, as everyone in my life is always stressed minimalism to me - not just in my art - in ALL aspects!  I tend to overdo quite a bunch!

Brandon felt like even something simple to tie everything together.  He liked how I had split up one inchie across two canvases and maybe I could do a bit more of that, or add a scene in the background...

And then it occurred to me - TREES!  Why not, since they've guided me throughout everything I do in and out of the studio!


I love it!!!
I really feel like in doing this, I was able to achieve the balance of stretching myself by trying something new, and retaining my authentic voice - something I hope to honor throughout my entire life.

And, in honor of my trees - who are always there for inspiration when I need them - I decided to add another painting to my Tree Series - and the trees have yet to be named, but I'm featuring them so much that they will need names soon!
I used one of the backgrounds I had made yesterday.
 Here they are!

Nothing makes me happier than painting trees, I gotta tell you.  I love giving them faces and embodying them with personality.  For me, that;s what they are.  Each tree is so distinctive on it's own, with it's own character, unique dance in the wind, and headdress of leaves.  Yet, they are also so beautiful when part of a larger whole - interacting in their sacred forest communities - intertwining and sharing shadows.  And, they give so much to the world around them.  Trees are the biggest saints out there.  And it's a wondrous thing that they are all around us - easy-access wisdom and inspiration whenever we need it, literally just outside our windows!!!

We are born believing. A man bears beliefs, as a tree bears beauty. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Then I made a giant background that I'll complete some time this week - I just felt like my cute little pair of trees needed a much larger space to romp around in all their unrooted glory - so I did this:

This took about an hour of layering, painting, dancing around with it, banging, dripping, "forking" etc...
I like looking at it closely once I'm done wildly improvising - subtle nuances in the textures and colors mixing together - oh the wonders when you don't think when you work!

So I'd say today was a great day in the studio - and it literally was a day I guess!  I'm done for now (as soon as I get this awful paint off my hands!) But am left pondering the question...How do you still feel your Self is home, even when you are growing and changing?  How do you stay "what" you are, but not "as" you are?  This question has come up over and over, since I awoke from my coma.  I needed to acknowledge that I was a different person.  And for a while I felt like a complete alien to myself - I could hardly recognize anything on my body, and thoughts in my head, and had no idea of my current place, situation, or people hovering over my bedside.  When your exterior is different, it's hard to locate that safe place inside of you.  I remember I was so desperate one day, I even googled "How do you find yourself?"

But I didn't find myself on the internet.

Really feeling like I had found my Amy-ness again took years.  But I think I can say very very recently that I am starting to feel that home inside of myself again.  I am different, but I am.  I am a mosaic of who I always was, reassembled after trauma, and I am growing into this skin.  But I like who that mosaic has become - and I think at the end of the day, that's what matters.  That's how you know you've come home.

A Little Song...
And speaking of, I recorded the song "A Change In Me" a few years ago, from the Broadway Musical version of Beauty & The Beast - I'd love for you to watch it at this link.  

The lyrics are especially relevant to the idea of finding yourself even after you've changed.  And for your viewing pleasure, it's playing during a slideshow of pictures I put together of me and how I personally have changed.

So that's my question for y'all today.  How have you kept your own sense of self throughout life's many ebbs and flows?  Comment on this post, contact me via, telepathy, whatever works!

Oh wait - HAPPY PURIM!!!  Amy Kritzer's "What Jew Wanna Eat" blog is an amazing resource and in honor of Purim, I think everyone should try this new recipe of hers - Irish Car Bomb Hamantaschens.  Intrigued???

Another one of her funky-fresh hamantaschen recipes is featured in this round up of sweet and savory awesome hamantaschens.  So off you go now, to the kitchen!  Man these look great...

That's all for today.  Would love to know everyone's thoughts.  Have a wonderful Wednesday - and Happy Purim too!


  1. Thank you so much for your post and for linking up on Wordless Wednesday!

    1. No problem Erica - looking forward to the next linkup!

  2. Love this! :) I love the trees - the way you stated that reminded me so much of Bob Ross and his ever so famous happy little trees! :)

    1. Thanks so much Breanna - believe it or not, I know who Bob Ross IS, but I've never checked out his art - I'll have to do that! :)

  3. You are so creative and have a wonderful eye for art! I love all the colors you incorporated!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words Mikayla! I'm glad you enjoy my art - if you think my artwork is colorful - you should see my sweater. Forget about getting it clean ever again :)

  4. Thanks for sharing your beautiful artwork. For someone who is not very creative, I love looking at what others can create with their incredible talent.

  5. I love how great they all look separate and then the impact they make together!

  6. Your artwork is beautiful! I didn't know what an "in his" was at first, but after seeing them all I understand. Art is something I don't know much about.

  7. Thanks for sharing at the sparks of happiness link up!