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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The blessings of a background.

Something I made for my mother a very long time ago.
As I wrap up my studio work for the day, I'd like to honor my amazing mother - who I would not have such a lovely space without.
Me and Mom!

As I've mentioned, I discovered painting in the hospital, took a liking to it, and then ran with it.  Once I was finally discharged, I created obsessively – I didn’t let go of my paintbrush for hours, and soon canvases were stacked all over the floor and we were running out of places to store them.  

As my passion for painting grew, so did my accumulation of supplies.  Since I was unable to eat or drink for those miserable three years, painting was not only a passion I developed, but a vital distraction to keep me sane throughout a very uncertain time.  The kitchen was no longer a place to gather for meals, but a sacred space for me to create art.
My mother never thought twice about staying with me whenever I was stuck in the hospital.

Every week, my kitchen table stacked higher and higher with paint sets, fabrics, puff paints, and pencils.  Soon enough, clearing the kitchen table became a lengthy ordeal and I knew that my supplies deserved a better storage space.  More importantly, I needed a space for myself, where painting could be my sanctuary, unbothered by my harsh realities.
Thankfully, now the kitchen is just a place to eat and hang my still lifes about food - art is for the studio!
My poor canvases need to be stored better - but I'm running out of room!

Leave it to my mother to have the ingenious idea of clearing out a tiny storage room, filled with pipes, boxes and filth, and making it over into my safe haven.  We put in sparkling white shelves, got new lighting, a sink, and soon enough, our supplies easily fell into place.  I can stay in my studio for hours undisturbed – there are no windows, so I completely lose all sense of time.  I chose to accent the room with anything red I could get my hands on – red has always been my lucky color and reminds me of life, passion, and always painting from the heart.  There is no greater pleasure than to be snowed in, have nowhere to go, and hide myself in my studio all day.  

My iPod plays peaceful music, all of my art books are stacked on shelves, and supplies surround me.  It is a closed in space, but it feels comfy, homey and insulated.  I have pictures framed of my family, both from before and after my coma – I do this to remember the innocent child in me who always created with joy and carefreeness, and also to honor the woman I have become from all of this, who still has a creative innocence, but also a deeper knowing and wisdom.
So much to choose from!
My messy stack(s) of fabrics
I love playing with textures, colors and shapes and allowing them to form the sadness, frustration, joy, or whatever inspiration I am feeling at that moment.  I love acrylic painting, mixed media art, collage, clay sculpting – anything that I can fully immerse myself in and grasp a sense of who I have become, and discover my interior world.  My art is also my way of paying respect to my exterior world and love of nature and family.

A cherished box of my grandmother's old buttons
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.  And, my grandfather’s big plastic bag of assorted buttons hangs on a hook, that I love to rummage through, and feel his touch.  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 a little box of inspirational quotes that I draw from when I’m in need of something extra.

My grandmother is on the right, and her spirit shines even brighter than the glass over the painting!
I made this piece for my mother to honor everything that we have been through together.
"If we stand like trees, we can weather the storm"
So mom - thanks!  And always remember:
It's True!!!
In The Studio Today...

In the studio today, my only intention was to get messy, so I created a bunch of backgrounds:

I had some paper towels left over from smudging paint around, so I used it as sort of a dress!  We'll see how it dries tomorrow...
These were all created by lots of layers - newspaper, napkins, tissue, paint, glazes, gesso, etc. - I'll outline the process more in detail when I post my actual finished product :)

Part of me felt a bit unproductive because I didn't have a finished piece.  At the end of a few hours, I thought to myself, "What, just a background?"  But then I snapped out of my quite unartistic Type A tendencies!  It's process, not product.  And I had a ton of fun slapping paint around!  Painting backgrounds can be a nice and non-intimidating way to step into my studio when I don't have a specific idea in mind.  After all, creating a background is setting the stage for exciting discoveries that await...

So, today, I have set the stage for some wonderfully colorful events to take place on my canvases - events to be announced, till tomorrow :)
Dreamy Day
A snapshot of my life...

On another note - I know I share snippets of my "story" here and there, but I was just submitting a little snapshot of my life to Snap Judgment, who do a wonderful story-telling series.  Since I have quite a bit to share, I sent in a bit of me blabbering on about my own beautiful detour, as I've now coined it!  If you can translate my mumbles, feel free to watch it - 10 year recap in 10 minutes!
(I'm a bit silly.)

Random Inspiration...
That's it for today everyone - may today be your "background" for many exciting discoveries today!  But if you do need some inspiration...

These are some wonderful creative writing journaling prompts coming from all different angles - you definitely won't be stuck after this!

And, since I love looking at things in new ways, these are creative art ideas for cigar boxes.  Always on the lookout for different ways to make art!

What's a different way YOU can make art today?  It could be where you least expect it...

“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not. ” 



  1. I am humbled by your post today honey-and it is an honor to support you in every way we can-that's the definition of "family"

  2. I can definitely tell you have a passion for this! You can just see it through the words typed in this post. Love your work!
    Mikayla |

  3. Lovely post. I agree your passion for your art is obvious by the way you express yourself in your posts.

  4. So fabulous... and art is definitely one of my favorite ways to just center and find happiness. Love seeing your work! Lovely.

  5. Lovely post, glad you have somewhere where you can express your self and do something you love with passion.

  6. I love seeing part of your process and learning more about you!