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Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday Paint-Shmears

Happy Monday...

Studio Time...
I've been in my studio a lot lately.  The best thing about my studio is how it envelopes me – the space is relatively small, and there are shelves on every side, so the shelves of supplies form a circle around me, like my copic markers, stamps, cigar boxes and paints are all surrounding me with love and support, giving me a big bear hug.  If I turn around, myself, in a complete circle, all I see are my art supplies.  No windows, nothing but art.  I always feel like a kid in a candy store when I’m down there.

My theme for the studio is red, of course.
I like to surround myself with pictures and cherished remembrances of loved ones.  While I was sick, I lost both of my grandparents, whom I was very close to as a child.  My grandmother was an amazing seamstress and my grandfather was a spectacular tailor.  They always made me suits and dresses growing up.  To honor them, I keep my grandmother’s old laces in my fabric drawer – I only use it for truly special pieces.  
Ans, my grandfather’s big plastic bag of assorted buttons hangs on a hook, that I love to rummage through, and feel his touch.  
I made this in honor of my grandparents, who I can still sense with me.
Then there is a bowl of my mother’s costume jewelry from the 80’s, some old baby clothes that I use for mixed media pieces, and then all the trash that drops on the floor is subject to creative repurposing!
My bookshelf is a bit overcrowded!
I also look for creative books on art and mixed media, and I've found so many wonderful ideas and inspiration from these.  I have amassed quite the collection!

One of my favorites is True Visions Authentic Journaling, where several artists on interviewed on how they use art as a way to express themselves - there are some great exercises and ideas - I highly recommend it!

I was incredibly inspired by this article, where you can see photos of 100 famous artists in their studios.  Where do you like to create?  Art, food, taxes, anything - What inspired you?

So today, I worked on some more inchies.  I've been creating my "inchies" for years now, and have amassed quite the collection.

I love how each one is just a tiny thumbprint of an idea, a glimpse into a moment.  Really, anything goes - as long as they fit on a 1 x 1 square!  Sometimes having a limit like that can be less overwhelming and liberating, actually.  So this morning I put some old inchies to use on three interestingly sized smaller canvases:

A fun technique I do for some backgrounds is to spritz all the layers of paint with water or rubbing alcohol, then either passively let it drip or bang the heck out of it until it does.

I've really been wanting to do something with this background I painted on waxy paper - my idea is to cut it up into various size squares and arrange them in an interesting way where they can all interact and still stand on their own.

This was some lovely inspiration that I found:
You can visit this artist's shop here.
You can learn more about this artist here.
So I had an idea to put them on a washed out black canvas, with some layers of newsprint showing through.

Then I decided that I really like the backgrounds I created.  They were very intriguing to me and I hesitated to cover them up with more color and paint.
So I got another idea...

I think the key to pulling this one off may be the orientation.  Maybe rather than line everything up, they should be oriented in a square - or some kind of innovative and different pattern - any ideas?

Of course, if I had learned how to do paper sculpture already, I would have made that painted paper into something like this!
From Lushome
Or once I finally learn the art of paper-cutting...THIS!
From The Endearing Designer - this is actually toilet paper roll art!!!
And courtesy of, these are some more amazing paper-cutting examples.  Boredpanda, by the way, is an amazing source of inspiration if you want to find some ridiculously creative and unique artists.  And some fun random articles too!

Just by arranging and rearranging, seeing things differently, it can completely alter our experience.  I am always looking for new ways to experience my world.  I've done all the recommended creative juice stir-ups, like drawing with the opposite hand, etc.  Keri Smith has a wonderful book about art and life - it's been my bible for years:  How to be an Explorer of Your Own World.

These are some ground rules - straight from Keri's book:

  1. always be looking (notice ground beneath you)
  2. consider everything alive and animaye
  3. everything is interesting.  Look closer
  4. alter your course often
  5. look for long durations and short ones
  6. notice the stories going on around you
  7. notice patterns, make connections. 
  8. Document your findings in a variety of ways
  9. incorporate indeterminanncy
  10. observe movement
  11. create a personal dialogue with your environment, talk to it
  12. trace things back to their origins
  13. use all of your 5 senses.
I really resonated with this book because I love seeing life as an adventure - it makes every day exciting - or rather, it makes us realize how exciting life truly is!

Oh, before I left the studio, had to make a little something for Brandon of course :)
“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. ....get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.” 
 Abraham Joshua Heschel - (one of my favorite thinkers - a rabbi, sage, activist, and all-around great guy)

“The beginning of our happiness lies in the understanding that life without wonder is not worth living.” 

And my Amen to that, is a song I recorded - I forget who wrote it, but it wasn't me! - called Hello World.  (you can listen to it at this link!)

Selling things update...
And on a Yay note -  I ordered a few coasters of my art...and they came out great!
Hope to be selling many fun things off of within the next few months!
Before I go...
So I hope your week is off to a good start!  What can you do on this chilly Monday to find some magic somewhere, anywhere at all?  I try to keep a bit of me wherever I go to last me through the day.  Here's a poem I wrote about IT.

By Amy Oestreicher

Keep it tucked into your pocket
Keep it warm inside your heart
Keep it plugged into your socket
Keep it close every part
This is hope that life gets better
This is faith that you’ll find strength
If you summon these together
Love survives at any length
Cherish it with every sunrise
Cherish it with every raindrop
Cherish it with every surprise
Cherish it – it’s all you’ve got
This is the moment we’re given
This is the earth where we stand
This is breathing, this is living
Cherish dearly while we can
Face it when the world turns on you
Face it when your hands grow cold
Face it when your point of view
Grows smaller when it gets too old
This is fear that stalls and shocks us
This is worry that we can’t win
These are thoughts that freeze and lock us
In the same place we’ve been in
Love it when you feel a void
Love it when you’ve nothing else
Love it when all else is destroyed
Love it dearly – love yourself
It’s your body who support you
It’s this frame that lets you feel
This shell protects and comforts you
Love it as it learns to heal
Teach it to accept and love you
Teach it to adapt and grow
Teach appreciation of you
Teach it everything you know
This is the child that lies inside
This is the child who asks tough questions
As you teach her not to hide
She allows your pain to lesson
Dive in it when you are unsure
Dive in it when you need direction
Dive in it to feel more pure
Dive when you long for connection
It’s your soul that warms and saves you
It’s your soul that keeps you yearning
It’s your soul that keeps you brave too
It’s your soul that keeps on burning
Breathe through it when life’s a battle
Breathe through it when your chest tighten
Breathe through it when your thoughts rattle
Breathe when your face starts to whiten
This is pain that suddenly hits
This is pain that won’t subside
This is pain that with your own wits
You can’t fight it or survive
Know it fiercely, know it boldly
Know it even when things are slowing
Know it even if it’s only
This that is what keeps you going
This is trust that there’s a lesson
In each struggle and each hurdle
This is trust that there’s a blessing
In angst that makes your blood curdle
Embrace it when it all gets too much
Embrace it things shock and scare
Embrace it when you need to touch
A solid thing that keeps you there
This is YOU that needs sensation
This is YOU that needs affection
YOU need your appreciation
You are your own deep connection
So Keep it, Cherish it, Face it, Love it
Teach, Dive, Breathe, and Know it too
Embrace it when you are far from it
Whatever this “IT” means for you
IT is my sweet melody
IT’s my anchor, it’s my shelf
It is what will set me free
It’s all I have; IT is myself.

Random Inspiration...

While you're at is, these are french fries you have to try too - my dad loves Thrashers, so he'll approve this list.

The best Jimmy Fallon clips from this year.
And - these are 40 websites to make you significantly "cleverer" - I've bookmarked quite a few of these, actually!

“Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.” 

Have a great day...
My first ever attempt at inchies :)



  1. Your art work is beautiful! I would love to be able to have a room dedicated as my artistic space!

    1. Thanks so much! Believe it or not, it started out as a room for just storage, pipes, etc. - we had to do MAJOR DIY - but I think my parents' motivation was that all of my messy materials were constantly all over the kitchen :)

  2. What great creations! I create best when I have a little quiet time to think!! It doesn't happen very often!

    1. Yes - and that's why I love that my studio is all the way in the basement which is virtually sound-proof - no windows, so you can really lose sense of time - which isn't always the best thing :)

  3. I love the idea of inchies! Tiny things always appeal to me. Maybe that's why I collect crystal figurines. I've made some tiny art on 4x4 glass squares that I'll be posting soon on my blog at You should come by and say hi. Right now it is mostly a life diary and scrapbooking stuff, but I love to post things that are sparkly (and stuff about art and books!)

    1. Can't wait to check out your blog - thanks for writing! I love anything tiny - I used to love making little clay figures :)

  4. What a lovely post. I got swished away to another world for a few moments there. Your artwork is beautiful.