Passions of an Odd Chick

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tearing It Up

"Deep inside, I think drawing and writing help me remain whole in a world that feels so broken apart" - Rick Beerhorst

You're looking at a small art sketch that totally resonates with me and it's mine. That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone....especially me, but it does. I practiced a technique I learned last summer in an art class in Cloudcroft. You randomly tear up pages in magazines and then put them back together in a composition that pleases you. This happened to be a very reflective glass and a flower.You then tape everything together and then frame it with small pieces of straight paper. And then paint what you see.

Tearing it up and then putting it all back together again. Taping over the gaps. Re-framing. Taking something destroyed and creating something new. And just like the pages of my art journal, everyday we have a new chance to make something... better.. out of what we had before.

And still, sometimes, I'm self-limiting by my own need to control. What happens to this image when I let go and get messy with it? When I goo-ify it, soften the lines, add circles and smudges? And let the grays go to a beautiful turquoise?
Only endless possibilities.
I'm a possibilitarian.
WOW- that was a blast!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Kaleidoscopic Mind

The older I get the more multi-dimensional I feel about myself. My art is all over the place and it shows no sign of focus on one particular subject. I admire people who are able to focus on one particular specialty like a sport, hobby, job, etc. and get really good at it- like the Olympians. But, I will never be that kind of girl - alas.......but I will have stuck my feet and hands and mind in a hundred different passions that made my life an incredible kaleidoscope. Like that beautiful toy, I find that all my interests begin to overlap the other and enhance the process and the design is ever evolving as my years roll round and round in the hands of God. Sometimes you want to stop the kaleidoscope and hold on to certain perfect symmetry or that moment in time, but only a breath can change the view -and there you go again. I'm not going for balance anymore. For me there's no such thing. But I do believe I'm achieving a measure of wholeness and contentment with the skin I'm in. I realize a creative mind is never at rest. It's always changing- there's a new design everyday within the brilliant tunnel of my own kaleidoscope because I'm handled carefully, yet often by the Master's hand. You can't really argue with what He's just roll with Him until He lays it down.
original art journal sketch

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Still-life and Real Life

This was a quick little still-life for my art journal. I'm trying to draw something everyday. Drawing in my sketchbook is like drinking a cup of tea- very calming.
Sweet Farmer and I have both been a little antsy, the feeling of unnerving calm before the storm- gearing up for spring farming and some other new projects on the horizon. Also, it seems there are so many people we know who are sick or who are breaking up or who have various financial problems......I've felt a sense of uneasiness and anxiety in others, as well. I read this quote today:
"Faith and courage have to be practiced. They have to be experienced to be strengthened. Do one uncertain thing each day. Depart from your safe routines regularly. Take some risks. Chase off your monsters. Recapture your own mental backyard." Dale Andrews
When these feelings come over me - I know what to do. My parents gave us kids the greatest gifts when they taught us how to comfort ourselves and to look to our faith during uncertain times. My mental backyard has a big GOD to watch over it and I rely on Him to guard my heart and my mind. It's not a mindless giving up of control - it's more like an intentional choice to work with Him and experience the day through His eyes -to look at the world from a spiritual unveiling instead of just accepting the world's physical point of view. It changes the landscape for me and I have a more hopeful outlook.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Interpretive Painting

Yesterday, Sweet Farmer and I had a good day. We went to church, out to eat, and then out to watch some mounted shooting competition. I had my camera and caught this photo of a friend.

So today I wanted to interpret the photo. This is a hard concept to get across to my family and friends who are mostly non-painters (you notice I didn't say non-artists) They are impressed when you perfectly draw a photograph. But then why did you need the painting if you had the photograph I ask?

Anywhooo..I'm trying to paint what's in my head regardless of the critics or admirers around me and that's not always easy - just to go to that place...alone....undaunted.....with a raw drive to create my own art.

So, it starts in my art journal. Then I take it to Flickr and manipulate it. How can I improve on this design? What does it lack? And in the process I learn things about design, color, softening edges, adding wavy lines that increase my appeal toward the image because I have no real art education, no mentors (other than my blogging friends) and basically, don't know how to get to where I want to go. But nothing will stop me. It is my photograph, my art, my designing process and there is no failure in finding my own expression. The art will most likely end up in my own home. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
And now, I can see the painting on a huge canvas, in acrylic, over my bed- with little adjustments here and there. That is interpretive art as far as an odd chick knows

Friday, February 20, 2009

My cat

We have a cat that always looks pissed off. Maybe she is but I think the markings on her face give her a sour faux demeanor. But her eyes are incredible. It took her about 3 years before she decided she wanted to be a lap cat. Otherwise, she will tease you for attention and then bite you and run away - her favorite game.

I wanted to try my hand at animal hair again and I'm closer than I was the last time I tried.

Actually this is one of those times when I should have just left well enough alone and been grateful that I got a great photograph. Instead of the red-eye reflection, I got her golden orbs - all without re-touching. Pretty gorgeous, huh? Could you believe she was a very sick little kitten that Sweet Farmer found in the road?

This is a good time to show you a little sketch I did from an interesting wine label. I believe it says "Castle of the New Cat" once translated from French.

As anyone knows who has a cat knows- su casa is gato's casa - that's Spanish for "it ain't your house - it's the cat's" -


Do you like her better than yesterday's painting?
Just curious.....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Conquering the Mountain

It all started with this darling picture of my daughter.

You see, she was afraid of snow skiing because she had a really bad experience when she was young. But this year (she turns 30) it seems as if she will let nothing stop her from conquering her goals. That look on her face says it all.

Well, my new art journal was calling my name and so was the delightful smile in this photograph.

I was pleased with this sketch. I wasn't going for an exact likeness, but I was going for the spirit of the photograph. And I feel like I captured that.

So then I wanted to make a painting. Now that was my mountain to conquer.

And frankly, I'm a little discouraged after the effort but pleased at the learning curve I attempted today. I felt this one needed to be an acrylic painting and I still don't know what I'm doing although I have several books and have been teaching myself for awhile. It needs more work but I'm tired and not sure anymore about what to do.

I put it out there even though it didn't turn out as planned in hopes that someone who knows better than I can give me suggestions.

I couldn't help but add the words.

And play with the original in flickr.

I wanted to honor my daughter's courage.
And I found some of my own in the process.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I love a goat

This is the last page of my 3rd Art Journal. If I continue to keep up at this pace, I should finish about 4 a year. Every now and then, I take the other two and look back as I will with this one. I have seen measurable growth in my drawing and use of watercolor. It's amazing though- every time I start a drawing - I still feel, as if this time, I won't be able to draw- that the ability will have just disappeared.
It's funny that this exercise of writing and drawing in these little moleskins was to be a private exercise- no thought of ever sharing them with anyone, much less strangers.
And again I wonder- how much of your influence has encouraged my art habit? And pushed me past my fears so that I could show up at this page with something- be it ever so humble.
Don't you just love the way animals look at you when you are watching them?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On Friendship

To see the need nor pause to seek
As one all-wise in right and wrong,
Why he has proved himself so weak
Who had his moment to be strong;
To give, nor ever think to learn
What shall be given in return.

To hear a cry for aid and run
All haste from whence that summons came
To do what plainly must be done
And bother not to fix the blame;
To serve the need and never pause
To know whose fault and what the cause.

To play the friend whene'er I can
With all the power that I command,
Knowing the blow that fells a man
Is quite enough to understand;
To see him down and lift him up,
Hungry and fill his plate and cup.
-Edgar Allen Guest

Monday, February 16, 2009


Where did this journal piece come from?

I was feeling a sense of unrest, a stirring you might say, within my mind's stew-pot.

I am unwilling to let my playful, creative mind die a slow death, to comform to a quiet flat-line of no energy, no growth, no life. So how far can I push this piece?

I want to do art that RINGS and Sings and Flashes and Crashes and -Clashes -
that changes my heartbeat ^^^^^^^^^^***UU

"Chase down your passion like it's the last bus of the night" -Glade Byron Adams

I want to live electrified, connected to the Power Source of all creativity! -

Friday, February 13, 2009


If my readers are still with me after yesterday's shenanigans, I want to thank you and wish you a very happy Valentine's Day and send you this rose. I created it in my art journal and then re-created it on Flickr just for everyone of you that I've grown to care about and that have encouraged me along this artful journey.

"....but there's another kind of that gives
you the courage to be better than you are
not less than you are. One that makes you feel that anything is possible. I want you to know that YOU
. I want you to HOLD OUT FOR IT. I want you to know that

-quote from Nights in Rodanthe , italics mine

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Story About Being Sheltered

(Forgive me Aunt Freda)

I got a brazillian wax.

As she ripped the sticky tape off, I said, "What the f*@%, holy s@#%, ^#$@!! (Those are not cuss words. They were the unintelligible verbiage that came spewing out of my mouth along with some spastic sign language I was making with my hands and feet in the air).

I don't know why I did it. I guess I felt pressure from some woman's magazine. Like I'm the last woman left who hasn't done it or something. Or maybe it was the porn I happened upon one day, :)- and all those girls had done something interesting. And I just wanted to be more interesting.

So I ripped out virgin hair that I swear has been there since before I thought about not being one.

I told my bookclub. (well, I had to.. it was only hours later and I was cupping myself like a baseball player whose hand was super-glued to his crotch) And either wise, intelligent women don't do that kind of thing or they don't talk about it.

My husband just felt really sorry for me... and petted it like a baby bald chihuahua, and said the only thing interesting about it was why I would put myself through it in the first place.

I'm just telling you so that you won't fall for any crap. There's a reason why some things should be sheltered - they're vulnerable. OKAY. And some things should just be kept a mystery. Trust me.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Keep Going

I'm enjoying the practice of these little illustrations or what would you call them?? I'm not that crazy about my little people (see yesterday's post also ) but I can evolve. I think everyone has their own unique little people. Like I can draw other people's people, and I like them better, but they are not my people. If you watch little kids draw who aren't copying somebody else, they'll have a very unique people. At some point we start trying to make our people look like other people's people and we can't- so we give up. It's just a theory of mine. I see it as a fingerprint, a signature - our own little people - sounds funny, I know but it's fun to play with. Some of us just can't give up.

I'm making chap-stiks, candles, air-fresheners, and filling tea orders today, along with all my other to-dos. I wanted to paint so that's why you're getting my little people -especially this one.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

It's Harder Than She Thought

"We cannot judge ourselves by ourselves or by anyone else; there is always one
fact more in every one's life that we do not know." -Oswald Chambers

I've always truly wanted to get a total grip on this truth. But for some reason it is the easiest thing to fall into, and the hardest thing to overcome - looking at others and their circumstances and making judgments based only on my own life experiences and limited knowledge.

"It's so easy to condemn a state of things we know nothing about while we make excuses for the condition of things we ourselves live in." Oswald Chambers

I'm certain that God gives me the gift of discernment about some people and some situations not to judge them but to pray for them or to serve them. Yet, I still take this spiritual gift and use it in my own human capacity for my own self-aggrandizement - and I lose the potential for the blessing and the potential of the gift that has spiritual significance for the greater good. Does anyone else struggle with judgment and how have you overcome?

Friday, February 6, 2009

You Never Paint Alone

The beginnings of this happened the weekend my grandsons were here. They always want to paint so I got out the watercolors and we painted together and because they are always unconcerned about what they will paint - they just begin, with no thoughts of failure - it's always such a lesson for me to watch them. So, I begin with nothing in mind but to add color like Linda at Vulture Peak Muse and then just let the painting tell me where it wanted to go. She makes the most amazing art by following her heart. So I just followed this friend's suggestion- an unknown path for me- feeling a little lost, but curious and unafraid.
Everyone saw the castle in my under-painting and so today I tried to paint it in. I didn't know what I was doing but that never seems to stop me..... you see, I don't mind being lost- as my friends can tell you. The only way I'm going to learn my way is just walk my path - listening to the other voices along the way. I guess you never really paint alone.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sad day

We lost our dear friend today.

She was a most faithful friend that walked a thousand miles with me.

That sat with me whenever I was sick, never leaving to eat or drink herself.
That watched me even after she became blind.

That guarded me against anything that looked menacing, small or large - she could be ferocious.

That kissed me only upon request.

That guarded little chicks, or kittens or babies like her life depended on it.

Everyone who knew Annie wanted a dog like her.

Very few people have the privilege of having a dog like Annie - so I count it as a great blessing that I was the one that she devoted her sweet life to.

Good-bye for now dear little friend.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Romantic Day Trip

Sweet Farmer took me on a romantic day trip (she says coyly) to Memphis, Texas to pick up tractor hubs and tires from a John Deere dealership there. I didn't bring anything to draw so I drew him while he drove and while he was deep in concentration about his task ahead. It's one of the only times I can catch him still enough and he's sporting a new winter beard that I just had to capture. He looks older in this picture than he really is.. I think.. but I don't know, because, you see my mind sees him as older than me (he's actually 7 years younger). But he's always been older to me because he's wiser in the left-brain way. I always tell him that he needs the benefit of my thinking because he's missing his right brain mostly.

Actually, I felt really honored that he invited me because I love day trips or trips of any kind. I take my camera, sketch book, books, day-timer, Bible, and look forward to whatever adventure the day holds - plus I get to eat out! But mostly, I love it because we talk and laugh and listen to old radio talk shows like the "The Life of Riley" who actually had a wife named Peggy. He could have taken one of his farmer friends who could have actually helped him make some decisions about the stuff and helped tie the chains to the stuff instead of his right-brainer wife who takes pictures and draws and practices calligraphy all over everything... . One time I asked him if he thought it was weird that his wife took a sketchbook with her everywhere (you don't see that around here much). And you know what he said? "No... really.... (he talks real slow) ....I think it's weird that .....more people don't do it" ...

He has a way of making me feel right with myself and the whole world. Come to think of it... it was kind of a romantic trip after all.