Passions of an Odd Chick

Friday, December 9, 2011

Winter snow brings out the art journal.

Out my front door

It's  a little cold over here in southeastern New Mexico. We've had snow on the ground
for 6 days which is unusual for us.
My Sweet Farmer is almost good as new. Thank you for your kind wishes in the comments.
"Chill Out", mixed media  on watercolor, 16 x 20 matted

I'm enjoying my journal again. Did I mention that I ♥ faces. It doesn't seem to matter whose or what face it is. I think I'm into drawing personalities, emoting feelings from their eyes, the position of their chin, etc. They seem to come alive in my journal and look back at me. In a way, I guess I'm still playing paper dolls, only with paints and pencils. It's still an imaginary world where my mind plays creatively, yet keenly. It's like a great dessert for my brain.

Which face is your fav?

notes from a sermon on Psalm 23

my idea of a Venice carnivalle costume
i loved creating this one with only a pencil, black gesso and blue paint. 
Hey guess what?? "Yellow Goat" sold from the "Gallery" in Roswell.. I will miss him but I'm glad someone liked him enough to take him home.

Monday, December 5, 2011

You just never know....

I know it's a little late and I've since taken it down to make room for Christmas, but in my heart I'm still there. My Sweet Farmer almost died over the Thanksgiving holidays. Without giving too much gory detail or reliving it, he had some veins burst in his esophagus and nearly bled to death before he was air-flighted to Lubbock where he had a terrible reaction to the anethesia, so on and on, and spent 6 days in ICU and two more in a regular room.

HE IS fine now!! But wow, what a Thanksgiving. I can't tell you how many wonderful things happened during that week in spite of the horrific beginning, and since that time that made the whole experience very sacred and God-filled, and me GRATE FULL for my many blessings.

I've been drawing as you can imagine. It really is the most calming therapy in the world.

I'm pretty sure this is what Sweet Farmer's guardian angel looked like!
St. John Resting on the Bosom of Christ by
Master Heinrich of  Constance

And this is where I'm resting...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Flight to Florence made real.

" (I felt)... delirious yet tumultuous... I felt as if I sailed with long John Silver and first gazed on Treasure Island. Here was a place where anything might happen. Here was a place where something would certainly happen... "   Winston Churchill

Ponte Vecchio from the Uffizi Gallery window
Have you ever been to a place that everywhere you turned, everything you saw was out of favorite book or picture book? This was my wardrobe in the Chronicles of Narnia, this was my looking glass in Alice and Wonderland. This was my Treasure Island.
What can I say about Florence?
I saw DAVID, all 18ft of him. one huge block of Carrara marble. He ultimately represented that Florence would slay the giant of the Medici family and Michelangelo turned his back on his first sponsors by creating it. (Great STORY)

But I loved most the unfinished marble pieces of Michelangelo's that showed his way of sculpting- where the person actually moves out of the marble. UNBELievable!
WE had a fantastic, knowledgeable guide that has studied art all his life and he has not lost his energy for it. He talked as fast as he could to tell you details about the art and I totally crushed on him. I could have taken him home and I know Sweet Farmer would have understood. 
I saw the DUOMO. The story of Filippo Brunelleschi and Lorenzo Ghiberti is a fascinating one. Two creative genius' that truly sparked a Renaissance.

outside the Medici offices and Uffizi gallery. absolutely intimidating sculptures
they used outside their official palaces.

I LOVE THE history of the Medici family. I watched every documentary I could get my hands on.
They took the money they made as bankers and sponsored art for the city of Florence. They were the first to promote art that wasn't religious (on its face) but to think outside the box about creativity and new ideas and to push the boundaries of original thought! To heck with what the Pope liked.
But in the end the Medici's became violent and greedy and ultimately were thrown out of Florence. BUT the trail of art they left behind is a sight to behold.
Venus by Botticelli

I stood in FRONT of this piece. It was darker than this but so breathtakingly enchanting. I saw Primavera too!  So he created some long neck girls and let his imagination fly. I saw original Leonardo Di Vinci's! What can I say?

If you love the Renaissance, intrigue, history, and love art with a passion - and you only have one city to go to in your life-time - take Florence.

I wanted to cry because I had to leave. But I just kept remembering how blessed I was to even be there. You may think that sounds silly or over-dramatic. But my passion met it's match in Florence and it truly touched me.
I will go back someday. That's a promise I've made to myself.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lovely Orvieto

We left Rome, Italy and headed for the north. On our way, we stopped at an hidden jewel of a city named Orvieto. I don't have any of my own photographs because I bought a book.

You can read all about it if you love old old places. This walled city dates back to the Estrucans (800 B.C. stuff!!) It sits on top of a volcanic mountain and has quaint and lovely shops where we drank Orvieto wine and had eggplant and cheese on focaccia bread for lunch. It has a beautiful cathedral based on a haunting relic.
(*my opinion only)
It seems each town needed a Saint or relic to bring others to their town for commerce and their own religious unity. They wouldn't have used secular objects because their religion was almost their nationality. These cathedrals housed objects that people came from all over to see and then subsequently pay for local lodging, food and local crafts. The locals knew that it was a boost for their town and that's one of the reasons they funded these projects so liberally. It wasn't a bad deal.... we are still going there today 2500 years later, spending our money in their lovely town, to see the history now revolved around those sacred decisions.

I could have lived like this. It had a fairy-tale, peaceful, secret garden feel to it. It was secure behind the great strong walls, beautiful old trees and winding paths through flower gardens, unbelieveable scenery from every direction, and a quiet artist mood about the place.  AND the ART ....

I saw old Byzantine frescoes by Lippo Memmi in the Cathedral. This very painting (Madonna dei Raccomandati). It's at least 9 ft. high. The gold was dazzling, and the designs and color made me want to get home and try my plaster work again.

"In our own time it has been seen... that simple children, roughly brought up in the wilderness, have begun to draw by themselves, impelled by their own natural genius, instructed solely by the example of these beautiful paintings and sculptures of Nature."  Giorgio Vasari  

I saw original frescoes that covered huge walls by Luca Signorelli. It is said that Michelangelo copied some of his ideas for the Sistine chapel. Remember common people couldn't read so paintings told stories and probably kept the fear of God in people's hearts and minds (along with Papal power and religious leveraging, and commerce).

For whatever reason, artists left their heart and skill here for millions to see and you can't help but walk away feeling visually and soulfully shakened awake.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Let the Games Begin

 Who can see Rome without seeing the Colosseum?? There were riots there the day before but we saw no sign of any problems. Americans knew much more about that news than Romans!

My photographs are a disappointment.
NO. 1- you can't set up to take photos because they don't give you time.No. 2- there are always tourists in the way of perfect shots. No. 3- it's burdensome to carry different lens. No. 4- you want to really see the things you're looking at and listen to the guides and taking pictures becomes somewhat of a distraction. Plus, I'm just not a good photographer. Sorry.

The Colosseum originally had 3 outer walls but fires and earthquakes and time have destroyed them over the years.
Emperor Vespasian (72 A.D.) began the project to placate the people of Rome after Nero's selfishness. Fifty thousand people could enter this sport's stadium pretty efficiently. Did you know nearly 9000 animals were killed in the first inaugural games? There is something horrendously sickening as you stand in the center and think about the brutality of the times and that it was all about entertainment for men, women and children.
Creeped me out when I realized I was wearing an animal print as I stood on the floor of the Colosseum!

Did you know if you leave a door open anywhere, Romans ask you "Were you born in the Colosseum?"
Vestal Garden right below the Colosseum
This is what's left of the garden and temple of the Vestal Virgins. They got front row seats at the Colosseum and other luxuries for keeping the sacred fire burning for the homes of Rome. They couldn't have sex for 30 years but they also didn't have to live under the crappy rules for Roman women under men's authority.
 Aww. And the colossal arches. Whenever an emperor won a battle some monument had to be built. And each wanted one bigger than the last one!

".... I began to regard the earth under my feet as skin draped over ancient bones." Fran Davis

Monday, October 31, 2011

All Roads lead to Rome

Pieta by Michelangelo
 Yes! I was there. My nose was right up against the glass (now protected because years ago some deranged geologist repeatedly struck it with a hammer and broke Mary's nose. They fixed her with a piece of marble from her back). It was hard to walk away. The folds of the gown fascinated me and the rib cage of Christ and skin on the face of Mary- and this was made early in Michelangelo's career.
above the entrance of the Vatican- Belini and Michelangelo on either side of the
Papal Tiara and coat of arms
tapestry in the Vatican Hall of treasures

"I am still listening to inner sounds, still divining, trying to get a hold on Italy. Instead, the hold - part poem, part dream, all enigma- is on me..... there will always remain something unknowable about Italy" - Camille Cusumano
Looks carved but it's not. It's trompe! 

I had no idea about the treasures housed in the Vatican! It would take you years to see everything.

The trip was beyond my expectations. The only regret was that I couldn't linger, couldn't grasp everything, couldn't understand all the things we walked by without explanation.
But I just tried to stay in the moment. Hear, smell, feel, touch when I could so that I could bring the image back in my head and follow whatever path it may take me from here.

I will bring you more. But it all started in Rome.

"All roads indeed lead to Rome, but theirs also is a more mystical destination, some bourne of which no traveller knows the name, some city, they all seem to hint, even more eternal"  - Richard Le Gallienne

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Feeling Blessed.

It's no surprise if you visit here often that I like to paint faces and Jesus is one of my favorite faces to paint. This is actually a take on an old painting of mine but I added a collage background.
Now the photograph bothers me just a little with the two different eyes- in the actual painting, it is not that noticeable.

I'm feeling very blessed as you can imagine as I leave for Italy in 2 days. (Big thanks to Artfully Oogleboops for the article about Florence) I wish my Sweet Farmer would quit being so sweet and sad about our two weeks apart as it is bittersweet to leave him and our lovely little farm, my family, kitty-cat, Sam, the dog....etc.

"Ships are safe in harbor but that is not why ships were built"

Sweet Farmer says I was speaking Italian in my sleep the other night. I laughed and said, "how would you know?... it was Italian I mean?"

I wouldn't be surprised as I have marinated in Italian everything with my IPOD and Modern Scholar lectures.

I've learned that prior study really enhances my travel experience.

Wish me safe travel and blessings if you think of me, a little prayer. I hope to come back with lots of inspiration to share.
a copy of the painting collaged into another graffiti painting

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm dreaming of my Flight to Florence

"Take Flight to Florence" mixed media on watercolor paper

I am dreaming of my flight to Italy. It's less than 3 weeks away!! Did I raise all the money with my paintings???? (for those of you who are new here that was my goal)

No. But a little more than half. About $2600.  Which is more than I would have raised had I not tried at all.
But if you count the clothes, and the spending money I'm taking with me, I think my farming actually paid for my trip. But YAH! anyway.  Every year I want to raise a little more money with my art. And I did that this year ...again.
Of course, I started out the first year with like- hmmm...$85.00.

I've never told this story but one of the first paintings I sold was actually a painting I did after reading an article on Kelly Rae Robert's art  in Cloth, Paper Scissors magazine. Once someone said they wanted to purchase it (exciting day)... I wrote Kelly and asked permission to sell it as it was practically a copy of her original (a bad copy) and she graciously said "yes". Since then, I've learned that a lot of artist start out that way , I mean, copying other people's stuff. I've always been glad that I asked permission and I also gave her credit on the back of the painting and told the girl that purchased it about Kelly and her art in case she wanted other things.

I am really enjoying my Layered Impressions class with Katie Kendrick . She is the QUEEN of creative texture and artistic play. If you want more of that in your art take her on-line class, or order her DVD or buy her book. It has been very freeing for me and I am exploring new paths and loving my paints again.

Big woop that Nourish Your Mind was entered in the Eastern New Mexico State fair by a friend who purchased the original and it won a section (mixed-media) prize ($25.00) and so has a chance at Best of Show. 

I hope you're finding ways to enjoy your art and enhance your life.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Come to Autumn

mixed media

I want to come to autumn with the silver in my hair,
And maybe have the children stop to look and me and stare;
I'd like to reach October free from blemish or from taint,
As splendid as a maple tree which artist love to paint.
I'd like to come to autumn, with my life work fully done
And look a little like a tree that's gleaming in the sun;
I'd like to think that I at last could come through care and tears
And be as fair to look upon as every elm appears.
But when I reach October, full contented I shall be
If those with whom I've walked through life shall still have faith in me;
Nor shall I dread the winter's frost, when brain and body tire,
If I have made my life a thing which others can admire.
        Edgar Allen Guest

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Odd Chick paints a rare bird.

Okay. I did a little painting that I can say I'm proud of - finally. It seems most of my time with my art is spent in practice and then one day, I put some new skills together and make myself do an actual painting. It's so easy to never risk anything and just play in my art journal.

It makes me realize that special things in my life actually happened a long time ago. First, in my imagination. Second, in my preparation. And finally, last of all, something happens extra-ordinary. We spend most of time thinking and wishing about the latter. But really most of our time is spent in the first two steps.

It's much like farming. You plant the seed but you don't get the crop until months later.

We have pumpkins but we had to plant them in JUNE. Who thinks of pumpkins in June?? They are no fun in JUNE. But everyone is getting excited NOW about our pumpkin patch.

I took the photograph to Picnik and added the text.
I printed the painting on fabric (use muslin with no sizing taped to a stiff sheet of paper and send it through your ink jet printer. Enhance the colors or go for a more watercolor effect as it fades a tad on white muslin) and made a pillow of it and gave it to a special girl-friend. I could see it printed on an apron or magnet or coffee cup. Zazzle is a fun site for all that.

Then, I made some cards for my girlfriends and special females that have the saying:
You Are One Fine Chick
 Just for a little encouragement. Or when other artist send me their art cards, I have something to exchange. Qoop makes beautiful cards- they're a little pricey but still cheaper than a good card and they use professional quality paper and printing.

For me, it's another way to share and exchange my art. It's not showing off. It's adding a little more beauty and encouragement to the world. And that's the best seed I can plant right now for a future crop of blessings to come back to me.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Falling for FALL

I'm so falling for FALL this year. For some reason, this season is bringing an extra amount of joy to my spirit. I find myself smiling deep inside at the smallest things.

I wonder if it is my up-coming trip to Italy. The knowledge I have gained from my research and dreaming anticipation have added so much to my life.

It could be my new photography class. It's forcing me to use my eyes like a fine lens to scan and scourer my normal surroundings for the perfect photograph- not a snap shot. I want to take PHOTOGRAPHS in Italy.

My teacher came out to the farm and made us find something boring and make it interesting.

Sweet Farmer being loved on by the bar ditch dogs of  Krantz Farms!
of course, this was not boring and very interesting.

It could be that I feel better because I've dropped about 10 pounds of annoying weight that I've been carrying around for a ridiculous amount of time.

Or my new tan fingernail polish. ( i'm not usually a girl who gets into nail polish)

Or seriously. My faith is getting richer and deeper and the Spirit of Christ that promises to feed my soul like a spring is something I greatly rely on and it always makes me FEEL ... better.

I just WANT to feel.
I want to feel deeply about the goodness and the sadness in my world.
I know some people must take pills to feel MORE or feel LESS.
It's not always easy to FEEL. It's not something we should take for granted.
This FALL , I want to feel everything as if it were my last FALL.
I'm only a little scared of dying, getting sick and old or terrorist attacks. What I'm really afraid of?? Losing my ability to feel deeply in love with my life in every season of my life.

I choose to FALL in love with FALL and let it take my heart and turn it into a thousand different autumn hues.
This season of my life will
                                                            Unnoticed or Un-celebrated. I will decorate my spirit, not just my home, and carry the crispness of a new Fall morning in my heart. Will you carry it with me?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Gettin over it and around it.

Have I mentioned how much I love Joint Compound?? I took my plain ole moleskin and a stencil and joint compound and added some yummy texture. It even feels like carved leather.

I've missed my blog.
I realized I was trying to do great things before I presented them to you and somehow they never looked great enough all the sudden. (Well, you are really special after all....)

GEEEZ.  You'd think a girl would get over it.
And I am now. For now. Until that big mouth inner critic creeps up again.       SHUT UP ALREADY.
 "Life is like photography; you use the negatives to develop"
It's just me, odd chick, playing with her paints, her journals and sometimes coming up with amazing, but mostly just trials and errors. I can't let comparison steal my joy of learning to paint. And maybe, somebody out there feels just the same on this journey.

I went back to an old journal where I had made a pencil drawing and dressed it up with some paint, ink, etc.
I'm still into sparkles and magic and texture. I think I will call her: "Passion Seeker" until I find a better name. She looks like a MUSE of some kind. Any ideas? She could be fun Halloween art.

I took her to Picnik and I think I like her black and white too, cropped, with the deep red. I love taking my sketch art to Picnik and use their fun tools to take it further and further- I learn so much from playing with it and changing colors, intensities, applying different art styles. Try it. There is nothing to lose by tweeking your art a little. And you might find something that really ramps it up and you won't be so scared to try it.  I love finding ways around that scaredy-cat artist in me.
click to make larger cuz it's cooler that way

Check out this amazing blog: I heart shabby chic  and get you some fun, fabulous, ideas for fall decorations. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Finaly, finally got to get my mess out and paint. I started my 10th art journal. (My first one began on the first day I blogged).
WHAT a journey an art journal addiction becomes!!
AND I am having me some IPAD fun, yes I am!!
It comes with a PHOTObooth app and a built-in camera. I made this pic of my feet on my favorite rug and twisted up the above previous journal painting.

wouldn't this make a pretty valentine?
Playing with Nourish Your Mind
Other apps artist will love: Penultimate. Your IPAD becomes a sketch pad and all you need is your finger.

and you can let little kids draw on it in church. the best etch-a-sketch ever!

For lots and lots of  visual dreaming, with or without and IPAD- try Pinterest. My daughter got me caught up on it and now it is like crack to my inspiration addiction.
If you can share any fun apps with me in your comments, I would love it!