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“The Heart of the Conversation” series continued

This idea occurred to me while in church. Someone was speaking about how whatever is in our heart comes out of our mouth. Or who we are INSIDE will show up eventually on our OUTSIDE. I drifted into thinking about the prickly thorns on a cactus coming from the integrity of the cactus to produce those prickly thorns. Does a cactus have a thorny heart? What if the cactus was a man…would the hurtful thorns he spewed be evidence of an unsympathetic heart? A missing heart? Wouldn’t it be interesting to actually know where thoughts are drifting off to among the congregationalists at church, lol?!

The sketch in my journal for the painting, "Missing The Heart of the Conversation".

The sketch in my journal for the painting, “Missing The Heart of the Conversation”.

The final painting, a 9 x 12 inch oil on board. "Missing The Heart of the Conversation".

The final painting, a 9 x 12 inch oil on board. “Missing The Heart of the Conversation”.


“What Does A Line Inspire” Instructions

Supplies: 8 1/2 x 11 inch black cardstock, pastel, chalk, or prismacolor pencils, origami paper, tape, and glue.

1. Use the black cardstock as your base. Colors really “pop” on a black background. Cardstock is stiff enough to survive the art-making process and still be hangable on the refrigerator door.

2. Roll a piece of origami paper into a tube and tape it closed. If it is hard for some fingers to roll the paper, roll it around a pencil to help you get started. This tube of paper is the main “line” of your art.

3. Glue the tube of origami paper onto the black cardstock in the position you want it-straight, bent, or flattened. We just used simple Elmer’s glue. Glue sticks are not strong enough to hold the “line” to the cardstock.

4. Use pastel pencils, chalk, or prismacolor pencils to color in the rest of your design. (Markers will not show up on black very well.)

5. This project could be done on white paper with any art supplies you have on hand. The concept is to see how “line” is used in art and “What Does A Line Inspire?”

This was a demonstration I did of bending the "line". Inspired me to use it as a nose in a face.

This was a demonstration I did of bending the “line”. Inspired me to use it as a nose in a face.

 


What Does A Line Inspire?!

The textures of the butterflies' wings are pastel pencil, prismacolor pencil, and chalk on black cardstock paper.

The textures of the butterflies’ wings are pastel pencil, prismacolor pencil, and chalk on black cardstock paper.

These children saw a tree trunk in their "line".

These children saw a tree trunk in their “line”.

Another butterfly!

Another butterfly!

This was a demonstration I did of bending the "line". Inspired me to use it as a nose in a face.

This was a demonstration I did of bending the “line”. Inspired me to use it as a nose in a face.

Seeing the "line" in the body of a butterfly or the trunk of a tree inspired seven young artists as seen by the attached photos.


Pushing The Envelope: What Does It Take To Do That?

Driz and Siz revisited

What do I really, really love? Halloween! Fairy tales! Every October, as I was growing up, my dad decorated for Halloween with enthusiasm. Coming from a farm background where harvest time holds a nostalgic and small town Sleepy Hollow place in my heart the make-over of Driz was pure pleasure. The re-do of Siz came from that book of fairy tales I read every morning while eating breakfast before school, compliments of my mother making sure we had books in the house. Fairy princess and zombie vampire – so much more interesting! Then I sat down to edit my stories and found that my “new and improved” characters lent themselves to WAY more interesting story lines. A whole new world and definitely more work just opened up!


An inexpensive and creative children’s art project! Or for you moms and grandmas out there, an activity that is “Creative Simplicity Itself”.

On my way back from the 3 Woman Show in Logan I had the great privilege of spending a few hours with my grandson, Jayson, and his brother, William. I love these two little guys and am grateful to their mom and grandma, Melissa, for their generosity in arranging for this time. We played treasure hunt, hide and seek, Sorry (the board game), caught up on their latest karate moves and ate from a vending machine… Then William asked, “Are we going to do an art project?” I was in the middle of explaining that I hadn’t brought my “craft/art box” with me when this idea popped into my head (I am sure I got this from some other creative person somewhere). Following are the instructions for “Creative Simplicity Itself”.

1. A piece of 8 1/2 x 11 inch white printer paper for each person participating.
2. A color for each person. We chose a crayon each because they had crayons handy. Markers, pencils, paints or any other way to use color would also work.
3. Each person starts a drawing of anything with their color. We set a time limit of a few minutes to work on it and then said “Stop!”
4. Before passing your paper-with-started-drawing onto the person sitting next to you, you write a word (any word) at the top of the page.
5. The next person uses their color to add to the drawing you started. With a time limit. Also adding a word (any word) to the top of the page.
6. Keep rotating papers around the table until all have added to the drawings with their colors and words.
7. Then it is story time! Each person tells a story about the art work on the paper in front of them using all the words written at the top of the page.

I was really impressed by the creative stories that William, the 8 year old came up with. Even Jayson, 5, got into the swing of it, if mostly to use the drawing as a mask, lol.

William, Jayson, and Grandma Melissa at the Sorry board. How does that game live on and on?! I remember playing Sorry with my dad and sisters at Christmas. Lots of fun.

William, Jayson, and Grandma Melissa at the Sorry board. How does that game live on and on?! I remember playing Sorry with my dad and sisters at Christmas. Lots of fun.

The work of "Creative Simplicity Itself" begins. Each has a piece of paper and a crayon color. The timer is set and off we go!

The work of “Creative Simplicity Itself” begins. Each has a piece of paper and a crayon color. The timer is set and off we go!

Yes, the final art could be used as a mask. Jayson is modelling the possibilities!

Yes, the final art could be used as a mask. Jayson is modelling the possibilities!

Jayson, 5, and William, 8. Adorable, precious, creative, genius, sweet, fun . . . do I sound like a grandma?!

Jayson, 5, and William, 8. Adorable, precious, creative, genius, sweet, fun . . . do I sound like a grandma?!


Art Adventures: Dixon #6

Each year for the last six years I have journeyed with art buddies, Roxane Pfister and Barbara Edwards to Mt. Carmel, Utah for a week’s art retreat at Maynard Dixon’s home site. This year we went for the last week of June. Rox, Barb, and I have wandered in the world of art together since middle school. It is a precious long term friendship that has only deepened over the years. Paul and Susan Bingham, owners of the Dixon site and an accompanying prestigious art gallery have been very generous in providing this art opportunity for us and others. Even as I am writing this I am struck by my good fortune to have dear friends that I can share my passion for art and life experiences with, paint and draw to my heart’s content, adventure in the semi-wilds, laugh a lot, be under the influence of the ghost of Maynard Dixon, and be inspired by the quality art of the Bingham gallery. Following are bits and pieces from the week. This first sketch is of Diana’s throne. Waking up with a full bladder, hunger pangs, and the anxiety of making a living with my art, I climbed the 4 minute hike to an overlook that inspired Maynard Dixon. Sitting on a rock in the early morning quiet, amazed at the enduring magnificence of the landscape, the anxiety took a backseat and I started the day’s “work”.sketch of Diana's throne Dixon #6 001


Continuing to pursue the dream of publishing as an author/illustrator! Introducing Driz and Siz, little starlets of stories, “Around The Corner” and “It Is What It Is”.

Today, with trepidation and relief I clicked the “submit” button on my story submissions to a literary agency in New York. I am pursuing the process of getting an agent to represent me as an author/illustrator. It has been a year since I sent three publishers a rough outline of one of my stories, “Nightmare Roundup”. I never heard back from any of them. I am wiser and my stories are more refined this time around. I will start with finding an agent. I am reminded of a clever dialog that passed between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and her friend, Willow: “How do you get to be RENOWNED? I mean, like, do you have to be NOWNED first?” -Buffy. “Yes. First there’s the painful NOWNING process.” -Willow. It WAS painful. After the writing, rewriting, rewriting, rewriting . . . and drawing, redrawing, redrawing . . . I thought I had all that I needed to¬† submit my stories. Sat down to submit my stories online and remembered to make a copy to mail to myself for copyright purposes. Copied and packaged stories and sketches. Drove to post office and discovered I was 14 minutes past their closing time. Went back to the computer to attempt submitting again. Carefully worded and filled out the electronic form to the point of submitting when our cat, Frankie, chose that moment to jump up on the computer keyboard and erase all my work. I burst into tears. Composed myself and started again. Pushed the submit button and got an air message that said my 8000KB file was too big for their requested 800KB attachment size. Was really bummed. I am not so computer literate that I could fix that on my own. That was Saturday night. Was inspired Sunday in church with this line from a speaker: “Recognizing something’s potential and not giving up on it.” Monday I got help from a very generous Alphagraphics computer tech, Kathy, who reduced the sizes of my attachments. Have spent the day, today, Tuesday, submitting three stories for consideration. Now the waiting. I feel peaceful. God called and I have just been picking up the phone . . . pursuing the inspiration of these stories and the desire to be published as an author/illustrator.

Fearfully cautious Driz and bubbling blissful Siz. Seven year old sisters adventuring around corners and across playgrounds.

Fearfully cautious Driz and bubbling blissful Siz. Seven year old sisters adventuring around corners and across playgrounds.


Posters and cards we sold at our Garden Art Show and Sale, Sep 15. Some still for sale!

Rox and I entered the marketing world of posters and cards at our Garden Art Show and Sale.


Some of the outdoor paintings from the most excellent adventures.

Valley of Caves, along the Kolob Reservoir Road, May 29, 2012.

Barracks Canyon, Mount Carmel, June 5, 2012.

North side of Zion National Park, on a ledge a ways from Kolob Reservoir Road, June 29, 2012.

Along that same Kolob Reservoir Road on the way to Zion National Park, July 3, 2012.


The Most Excellent Adventure of Painting Outdoors

Often referred to as Plein Air painting, painting outdoors is always an adventure. The act of making art is, in and of itself, a piece of work: where to begin, which stroke next, what color, aargh-the model moved, etc. Painting outdoors intensifies the work load with heat, cold, wind, ants, gnats, mosquitoes, aargh-the light moved, etc. I was asked recently by a fellow artist, who paints exclusively in the studio, WHY I even want to paint outdoors. Two main reasons came to mind: 1. I love being out in the landscape. It’s a way to go camping for a moment (smell the trees, feel the wind, walk on dirt and rocks) without the work of setting up and taking down a full campsite, food preparation in the wild, and going to an uncomfortable bed dirty. 2. Seeing the landscape with my own eyes. There is dimension and color (especially in the shadows) that is lost in the translation from life to photos. I do use photos, of course, as reference to paint later in the studio. I am grateful for what is captured and disappointed with what is lost. Paintings I have done outdoors, or started outdoors, or had a small outdoor painting to refer to while taking it to a bigger size have color and energy that is not there sometimes when working solely from a photograph. Later, a third reason popped into my mind: 3. Why, the adventure, of course. Thought I’d share some of this year’s painting excursion moments with you all. Thank heavens for art buddies to paint with. Life is a rich experience.