Monday, January 13, 2014

Today I Choose Joy

wendy k 011114 finished canvas 2

I spent Saturday morning at Starbucks working on a canvas for a friend of mine. She likes “simple”, trees, and the colors blue and green, and we have recently been talking about choosing to live in joy and peace. This isn’t exactly a “simple” piece, but I’m hoping she’ll enjoy it anyway.

01 paint the background02 background03 adhere tissue paper with mod podge04 tissue paper tree 105 tissue paper tree 2

I followed the same basic process I typically use, and took pictures of it:  paint the background, use mod podge to adhere tissue paper in the shape of a tree (above); cut and adhere the grass shape (I also used some Staz-on to ink the edges), stencil images in the background (below).

06 cut grass shape07 adhere grass shape08 stencil background images09 background images

I also painted the tree using my finger, trying to make some areas darker than others, and used stamps to create images on the grass and in the background (top below). Then I punched out leaf shapes and layered them onto the tree in four layers (bottom two below).

10 paint tree11 painted tree12 stamp background images13 stamped pattern on grass14 stamped background images

15 punch out leaves                                               16 piles of leaves17 leaves layer one18 leaves layer two19 leaves layer three20 leaves layer four

Once I was satisfied with the shape of the leaves I stamped the sentiment and used Thickers to emphasize the word “joy”. And there you have it, quick and easy.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Six Words and The Purpose of Art

week 1

Here is my first page for the art challenge this year. The four prompts were:  choose six random words from a book, birdcage, resist technique, and a quote from Pablo Picasso. I’m not quite finished, I want to write something using the six words, and I need to add Picasso’s name after the quote.

The background and the photo of myself was part of a page I made for last year’s challenge, addressing the prompt “Celebrate me,” so I wrote around my photo. I didn’t finish the page last year (it was also supposed to have “sew scraps together”), so I decided to add to it. I really liked the colors, and the bird on my t-shirt, so I went with the same combo for this week. (The words on my shirt are backwards because I took the photo in the mirror, but it says “Be free with me”).

For the first part of this week’s prompts, I used the book “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini. I opened it to page 168 and randomly placed my finger on the following six words:  man, humble, became, joy, and, wiped. I then changed the order to say “Man wiped joy and became humble.” It sounds very profound at first, and I’m sure I could take it in many intriguing directions, but for now it’s just words on the birdcage. I’ll post a photo of it when I add more.

For the second part, birdcage, I found an image online and printed it out, cut it out, and just used my finger to put paint on the white spaces. Other than the bird on my t-shirt it doesn’t really relate to anything on the page, but I’m ok with that. The essence of the quote could be related to it if I wanted to write more about it, and it’s just a fun image in general. That’s one of the great things about art journals – they sort of grow with you as you experiment and play.

For the resist technique I used one of my favorites, modeling paste. I left a space where the word “art” would go in the quote, and after gluing the rest of the words down I just spread some modeling paste there. Then, before it dried, I took some alpha stamps and pressed them down. I may paint them turquoise….

For the quote, I just took some small alpha stamps and used aquamarine ink on yellow paper, then cut around the words. Nothing fancy but I like the look.

All that’s left now is to journal, and add those few elements I mentioned. For this next week, the four elements are:  use mixed media (my goal is to use at least four different kinds), do an image transfer (lots of videos online to help if you’ve never tried one), earth, and the quote “Not all that has beauty is good, but all that is good has beauty.” I will be using another page from last year for mine, so I already have a good start. More to come soon! Have fun, be creative, and play safe friends!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Love Layered Textures

week 14 finished (053113)

Today is the end of the first week of the 2014 Art Challenge. I’m curious to know if anyone else worked on a page with the four elements I shared last Thursday. I’ll be sharing my page tomorrow; tonight, I wanted to share a photo of one of the pages from last year’s challenge.

The two prompts for this one (it was week fourteen) were “LOVE” and “Layered Textures”, but as I was flipping thru the journal, I realized it also fits three of the four elements for this week:  6 words, resist technique (I used modeling paste), and a birdcage. All that’s missing is the quote!

The best part is, I didn’t do it on purpose; it’s totally random that it has those three things. So it was a fun surprise.

Anyway, tomorrow I will share my new page. Well, it’s not completely new – I’ve decided to add this year’s to the pages I made last year so I don’t have to buy a new journal. Plus, I only got thru week twenty-six so I won’t be able to do that all year, but I have some fun pages planned already. More to come!

Monday, January 6, 2014

This is me….do you like what you see?

I long to be understood. Even deeper than that, I long to be accepted for who I am, every piece of me, by the people I have deemed most important in my life.

This is a very human desire, one that we all share, and there’s no shame in that. And yet, most of us won’t allow ourselves to acknowledge it, let alone take steps to fulfill it. Instead, we see it as weakness. Or we put too much stock in the belief that what’s important is how we see ourselves, that self-esteem or self-confidence are the keys to being truly happy and healthy. Or maybe we did take action, back in the day, and our hearts are scarred by rejection.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do agree that how we perceive ourselves is ultimately more important than how other people perceive us. I just don’t think we should deny our basic human desire to be understood and accepted by others. These two concepts aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, you really can’t have one without the other. (I believe in psychology this is called “co-dependency”). Humans were created for relationship, to know and be known.

This includes knowing yourself, understanding who you are, why and how you became that way, and coming to a place of acceptance; which is really the first step to being known and understood and accepted by someone else. After all, how will you know if someone understands and accepts you if you don’t know who you are?

I have spent a great deal of time over the past year and a half exploring who I am and how I came to be me. One of the most significant aspects of this introspection is the fact that I have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (I’m an Aspie). There is no way to separate this from my identity, it colors everything about me – the way I think, the way I act, the way I speak and the words I choose, and most basically the way I interact with everyone around me and my world.

It’s been a fantastic journey so far. And naturally, the more I learn about myself, the more excited I become to share those things with my closest friends. (Just the fact that I can have close friends is one of the exciting things I want to share!) So I’ve decided to write them down.

I don’t have a title yet, but the format will be similar to an encyclopedia. This is actually an idea that has been rolling around in my head for the past couple of weeks; I was calling it a “friend manual” and making a list of things I want to include. Until earlier today, when a friend told me that I don’t need to make a book for other people to learn “how to deal” with me. So now I’m going to refer to it as “a guide to my cultural differences.” What do you think?

Or think of it this way:  when you put on a pair of colored glasses, the world becomes tinted by that color (let’s say blue, since that’s my personal favorite). When you look around you, everything is blue. Well, being an Aspie is kind of like wearing a pair of Aspie-colored glasses; the difference is, you can’t take them off.

This is the part where others come in. If you’ve never put on a pair of these glasses, you have no point of reference for understanding the world the way I’m trying to describe it to you. Unless I find ways to use points of reference we both share, like tinted glasses for example. This book is going to be filled with definitions and metaphors; it’s going to be a road map of sorts – not to understanding Autism but to understanding me. And it’s as much for my own benefit as it is for yours; maybe even more so.

Also, I firmly believe that my relationships will become stronger and more enjoyable if my friends come to understand me on an “Aspie-level” the way I’m learning to understand myself. This book is going to be my way of saying, “Ok friends, this is me….do you like what you see?”

Sunday, January 5, 2014

“Right 2 B” (1994) Cauzin’ Effekt

Life begins with an embryo
The time of conception is the beginning of human growth
Don’t you dare believe what they’re telling you
Society’s lies is nothin’ but sellin’ you
Saying that it’s simply a mass of tissue
Pretendin that this is not a life and death issue
Like Dr. King I speak for the human race
Intelligent black man, I say what I want to say
The content of my rhyme is intelligence
Nothin’ is keeping me from disclosing the evidence
Twenty seconds pass by
Another victim’s last cry
Somewhere in the distance I can still hear the lullaby
My beats are in overdrive and I’m seekin’ to override
Laws that were passed in favor of surgical genocide
It doesn’t matter the race, the color, or creed of the mother
But the children….
They got a right to be

(weird chorus)

Way back when in the 1970’s
The highest court ruled to legally let it be
Known to the world it was cool to kill at will
And cancel school for the numerous children
I’m glad my mother never bought the lies
Huh, if she had this brotha couldn’t testify
I’m bearin’ witness cause I am with this opposition to make the hit list
Hittin’ ‘em hard like lightning from a rainstorm
Blocking the doors, make a stand for the unborn
Gettin arrested, they say it’s nonsense,
But I don’t mind bein’ a prisoner of conscience
The perpetration of the crime boss won’t stop me from protectin’ the holocaust
Victims from the systems they made
Cause I don’t play and I don’t like to get played
The perseverance of my persistence will penetrate to make them listen
So open your eyes wide Clyde and then you’ll see
That the children….
They got a right to be

(weird chorus)

Ghetto magic, ghetto music, ghetto swing see
Ain’t no thing to me, I’m doin’ it constantly
Swingin’ it from the northside stompin’ in my boots
Chillin’ with my uptown family ghetto troops
Swoopin’ down on the subject for my little bros, and Jane Does
That no one knows cause they had to go

Didn’t fit your lifestyle, got it done quick
Doctor’s office on the table, yep you got it done quick
Thick with the cash, doc’s smilin’ as he sends ya out the door
Cause he got paid full and it’s over
But not for the woman shakin’ scared in her bed
With these thoughts of holocaust that be messin’ with her head
Let ‘em be
I’m clockin’ mad skills for the sake of the children,
My attitude’s buildin’, and I’m getting chills and
Feelin’ like I’m decking ‘em from the depths of reality
My strategy’s paralyzing their pro-choice mentality
Yo son, you wanna get wisdom?
The reason for killin’ brother’s and sister’s –
There is none!
Makin’ more ends cause killin’ is your sin
But you got to make the loot to cover the checks and cash ‘em in
Diggity doctor won’t you please set the children free?
God said like you and me that they got a right to be

ultrasound 1

Continue to Adapt

“You make observations every day, and without much thought you use what you have learned to define who you are. What are you looking at? What are you drawn to? What do these things say about who you are? ….Find your journal heroes…. Incorporate your heroes into your journey.”

That’s a quote from an art journaling book I have called Journal Fodder 365:  Daily Doses of Inspiration for the Art Addict by Eric M. Scott and David R. Modler. I’m not sure which one said it, but he’s absolutely right on. And it’s not exclusive to art journaling, it is true for every area of life.

Yesterday as I worked on a creative project, I considered my word for the day (adapt), and last night I wrote a short post about how it’s defined by Webster. I also began to explore it a little, about how it means change, how it’s an action. This quote from Journal Fodder continues along the same path; one of the ways we adapt (change our behavior to make life easier in any given moment) is thru observation. Which leads to the question “What are you looking at?”

Now, this could go in any one of several directions – are you watching movies you shouldn’t be? Do you secretly visit websites that have images you shouldn’t be committing to memory? I could go on and on about these things, but that’s not the path I want to take today. Instead, I’m more interested in the every day. Who are the people and where are the places you find yourself coming back to over and over? What images, shapes, symbols, words – what movies, colors, books, clothes – in what things do you find comfort? What are you looking at? That’s the first step. Make a list – mentally, or written down somewhere.

The next step is to consider what these things say about who you are. How do you use them? In what ways have you incorporated them into your daily routines? Why are they significant? How have you used them, continue to use them, to adapt? Be specific. Think about how what you see influences who you are in both positive and negative ways.

On a side note, I would challenge you to especially consider some of the negatives and ask yourself if you really need to change those things, or if that negative aspect somehow makes you a better person. Is that even possible? Might be an interesting discussion to have with yourself.

Something else I mentioned yesterday that relates to this idea of observations is that you adapt by changing your behavior when you enter an unfamiliar situation. This is true; however, it’s not the only truth. If you want to be precise, we adapt every waking minute of every day (and possibly while we’re asleep, but I won’t go there, it will just confuse the issue), because we move from one place to another, other people come and go, the weather changes….time passes and we aren’t idle.

So take this idea of constant, continuous adaptation and overlay it with our observations defining who we are. If you let yourself think about this for more than a few seconds you’ll begin to realize the absolutely infinite depth and scope of what I’m talking about. Go ahead. Right now, take a few minutes, consider….

Ok, now come back. Awesome, yes? Truly awe-inspiring how incredible our lives are, how interwoven each moment and experience and our senses were created to be; it’s breath-taking and beautiful. It’s humbling and heart-wrenching, and near impossible to completely comprehend.

And it can suck you in and take over your life, so don’t allow yourself too much time to ponder these things. Just a bit. And then – here’s the key, my friends – do something about it! Use what you learned, discovered, realized, to adapt. Take action, change your behavior, redefine yourself. Grow.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Word of the Day: Adapt

The last few days have been very long ones for me. The night before last I got about three hours sleep then had to get up for an appointment with my behavioral health doctor (for my ADHD med consultation, nothing exciting); last night I only managed about two hours sleep, and then spent the entire day at the Pullman Quality Inn for a 14-hour crop with some fellow crafters! Honestly, I left an hour early; I was getting quite a headache and starting to move in slow motion.

I can’t share photos of my project yet – one, because it’s not quite finished, and two, because it’s a Christmas present for my friend Chelsea, and I want her to see it first. But I will be writing about it soon, and it’s turning out to be quite an epic undertaking! I’ll definitely be making one for myself!

Instead, I would like to talk about my word for today, “adapt,” as I was thinking about it while I was working. It’s really an amazing concept. According to my old friend Webster, there are three definitions for this one five-letter verb:
      1. To change your behavior so that it is easier to live in a particular place or situation.
      2. To change (something) so that it functions better or is better suited for a purpose.
      3. To change (a movie, book, play, etc.) so that it can be presented in another form.
Did you catch that repetition?
To adapt is to change….

Another key point:  “adapt” is a verb, an action word, something you do, continuously. When you enter an unfamiliar situation you change your behavior (adapt) to make it easier to exist in that place at that moment. Sometimes for you, sometimes for others around you. Most of the time this is not a conscious action, but rather something we do naturally, often without noticing. Well, most people in most situations come by it naturally. Others of us have more difficulty, require more effort, or in my case more intellectual exploration and question asking (which can sometimes lead to a change in the behavior of a friend, and not always in a positive, “adaptive” way).

Really this is just scratching the surface. I have some more thoughts to share on this concept but my headache is fast approaching full-on migraine so I’m going to leave you with this taste of what’s to come – chew on it, roll it around in your subconscious, and prepare yourself for part two (hopefully tomorrow).

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Dust of Daily Life

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off of our souls.”
- Pablo Picasso

For my weekly art challenge pages in 2014, I will be combining four elements:  an activity prompt, a technique, a tangible object, and a quote. I will post a photo of the finished page on Wednesday, when I share the new ideas for the next week. I made the first page yesterday, but didn’t share the new approach because I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to pursue the challenge this year. I took some time today to hammer out the details (a few hours and a green tea at Starbucks).

For week one, the four elements are:  open a book at random and write down the first six words you see (let your eyes wander the page, don’t copy a sentence fragment); use a resist technique; a birdcage; and the Picasso quote at the top of this post, about the purpose of art.

For the activity, you can use a dictionary, a novel, a phone book, a textbook – anything works, it doesn’t even have to be in English! The way you use the words on your page is then completely up to you. Be creative, think outside the box or ditch the box completely. Have fun!

For a resist technique, there are literally dozens of ways you to accomplish this; I would recommend typing “resist technique” in Google and reading about a few of them if you don’t have personal favorites. I’ll talk about the one I used when I share my page next week.

The rest is again only limited by your willingness to try new things – a birdcage and the purpose of art. Combine your elements and cater to your muse my friends! And of course, don’t forget to share your thoughts, ideas, comments, questions, and most importantly photos. After all, I’m a curious crafter!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

“Waiting for Superman” (2013) Daughtry

She’s watching the taxi driver, he pulls away
She’s been locked up inside her apartment a hundred days
She says, “Yeah, he’s still coming, just a little bit late
He got stuck at the laundry mat washing his cape”
She’s just watching the clouds roll by
and they spell her name
like Lois Lane
And she smiles, oh the way she smiles

She’s talking to angels, counting the stars
Making a wish on a passing car
She’s dancing with strangers, falling apart
Waiting for Superman to pick her up
In his arms, In his arms
Waiting for Superman

She’s out on the corner trying to catch a glimpse
Nothing’s making sense
She’s been chasing an answer
A sign lost in the abyss, this Metropolis
She says...“Yeah, he’s still coming, just a little bit late
He got stuck at the Five and Dime saving the day”
She says... “If life was a movie, then it wouldn’t end like this
Left without a kiss”
Still, she smiles
The way she smiles, yeah

She’s talking to angels, she’s counting the stars
Making a wish on a passing car
She’s dancing with strangers, she’s falling apart
Waiting for Superman to pick her up
In his arms, In his arms
She’s waiting for Superman

To lift her up and take her anywhere
Show her love
And climbing through the air
Save her now before it’s too late tonight
Oh, like a speeding light
And she smiles

She’s talking to angels, she’s counting the stars
Making a wish on a passing car
She’s dancing with strangers, she’s falling apart
Waiting for Superman to pick her up
In his arms, In his arms
She’s waiting for Superman

To lift her up and take her anywhere
Show her love and climbing through the air
Save her now before it’s too late tonight
She’s waiting for Superman

I’m skipping ahead in my alphabetical list of songs (that I started in September 2012 and still need to finish) because I have a new song to add to my list of all-time favorites, and I want to share it with you. It’s called Waiting for Superman, by one of my favorite groups, Daughtry. (That link will take you to the video.)

Like all the songs I’ve written about for this series, there are several things that stood out to me; first of all, I love Superman. He’s my favorite superhero. I won’t get into why (I wrote another post about it called My Hero! that you can read here), but he is. And I have superpowers. So there’s that.

Also, I love Daughtry. And. The music is pretty awesome. But most significantly, this song makes me think of myself. And God.

Bet you didn’t see that one coming! I didn’t either. At first I liked it because it was about Superman and it didn’t suck. But the more times I listened to it – really listened to the lyrics – the more clear it became:  I’ve been waiting for Superman. And you know what? The irony of it is that God is my real superhero. He always has been, and always will be. Whenever I need (and I mean actually need, not want but think I need) anything He is right there to provide it.

In the song he says, “She’s talking to angels/counting the stars/making a wish on a passing car/She’s dancing with strangers/she’s falling apart” – all of those things are considered “crazy” by society’s standards. This is a girl on the edge, waiting for a superhero to come pick her up and carry her away. How many people do we know who are in the same situation? They may not be as obviously lost as someone who dances with strangers, but how many of your friends, coworkers, family members, neighbors are waiting for someone to rescue them? An even more terrifying thought – how many of them don’t even know they’re lost?

Just something to think about as this new year begins. I’ll probably be coming back to this song a time or two, but one thought at a time for now. Blessings!

Plot Twist

Happy New Year!! I am very excited to be in a year ending with an even number, and even better, it’s a 4!! I already know this year is going to be awesome!

One of the many projects I will be writing about this year is a bit of a rewind to the beginning of last year, with a plot twist:  I would like to attempt the weekly art journal prompt cards once more; however, this time around, I will be combining them with something else.

I’m not going to share the details just yet, but it’s going to be fun, and challenging, and hopefully help me to add some much needed structure and busy-ness to my life for the months ahead. I know I’ve talked about it and haven’t backed it up very well, but I really want to try to create something every day.

I have a few other things going right now, too, so be watching for some random rambling about those fun projects – and maybe watch for something in the mail! This next year I hope to be doing a lot more for friends and family, and possibly finding a way to sell some of my art….

There is much to come my friends! And it’s ALL good because this year is a 4 and that’s my number! I’m off to make some magic! Play safe!