Friday, May 1, 2015

A quick and easy little craft

It's happened to all of us at one time or another. We've been to one too many Pinterest pages and we have that terrible combination of feeling super-inspired to do amazing things, and yet crippled by a bad case of artist's block. My advice in this case is to take a deep breath and start small. If you are busy like I am, you don't always want a big project that will take up half the day and the whole dining room table, am I right?

This little project is a manageable size, you can use bright colors that will fire up the creative spirit, and you'll be so proud to have made something you can use. It is a watercolor paper "purse pad."

All you need is some watercolor paper, a stack of regular all-purpose printer paper, a sturdy rubber band and a very basic set of watercolors.


1. To make the cover, you will use the watercolor paper. To determine the size, first decide the height. I think 4 inches tall is a good size to fit nicely in a purse. Then decide how wide your mini journal will be when it's finished and double that. (Because you'll be folding it in half.) I think a good folded width is about 2.5 to 3 inches, depending on your preference. If the folded width is 3 inches, your cover would be 6 inches wide and 4 inches tall.

2. Cut a stack of the copier paper so it's about a quarter inch smaller all around than the cover. These will be your inside pages. I wouldn't recommend using more than 10 sheets, because when you fold them your journal will have 20 pages. Also, the more pages you have, the harder it becomes to fold neatly.

3. Take your watercolors and just go wild painting a design on the cover. Be free, not stopping to plan what you're doing or think of a pattern. If you are not comfortable making art yet, random polka dots are totally not intimidating and can result in a cheerful, colorful design. The most important thing is that you put down color and shapes that makes you smile. I am a big fan of purple; the yellow and green shown in this photo help to make the purple flowers "pop."

4. Fold the cover in half; fold the inner pages in half. Nest the pages into the cover, and "bind" them with your rubber band. Presto! A nifty purse pad. Every time you use it, you will be reminded of your creative awesomeness.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I got this idea from Aimee Myers Dolich over at her Artsyville blog, several years ago. She's a pretty impressive lady; go check out her work!

Free to just BE! Free to be ME....

Do I sound happy, and as though I've just been freed from something? I have. As of April 19, 2015, I am no longer moderator of a parenting web site. The publication I did this daily contract work for (for almost 5 years) had a change of format and they no longer need me. And I have to say, it's a relief. My art will sink or swim by my own efforts now; I have no "day job" to blame for being too busy. It's truly a wonderful feeling to wake up each day knowing that if I want to earn any money (and trust me, I do), I can do so by doing what I love.

It took me a few days to decompress. I'm still not used to it, and my schedule still isn't fully my own, since my son's homeschooling and social endeavors take up quite a bit of time. However, I am learning to navigate the new freedom and struggling mightily to accomplish something rather than just run around in my slippers all day drinking coffee!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

When you've been away too long...

I've been away too long in many senses of the phrase. It's been ages since I posted here, but that's because I've been away from myself too long as well.

Blogging is a very personal thing. It involves putting one's feelings out there for the world to see, and for a relatively private person that can be very hard. Writing articles isn't the same thing. Articles are easier because blogs are by their nature personal and are supposed to reveal the writer's thoughts and feelings. I find it difficult sometimes.

Several years ago I got a part time job that involved weekly blogging. Between that and the burnout of having that job, homeschooling a young son and trying to keep the art business going, something had to go and this blog was it!

But I do like this blog. The creative life is worth living and worth talking about. And having to write about it regularly is one way to make sure that it never slips away from me in favor of the mundane and soul-sucking "shoulds" that we can find ourselves surrounded with.

I'm glad to be back. And since I am never one to put up a post without some art attached to it,  I will attach something new to this one. This picture of a dog was inspired by a photo that a Facebook friend posted recently. The dog was looking at the snow as if to say "Where is my ball? I can't find my ball!" (The snow has been way too deep for way too long lately.) So I used Photoshop to make a little digital painting of it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Another custom pet painting

This one is a small custom pet painting. Just 5x5, and 1.5" deep so it could either go on the wall or stand by itself on a table. The customer got it for her dad, who likes to walk the beach with his dog, so the background is the sand and water of the beach.

Custom pet paintings

I love to do custom work! And admittedly I don't put them on my web site because web design takes me so darned long. But I can share one here. One at time! That's how all great things get done, right?

This one, I think, is sweet; a friend had me paint it for her in-laws for Christmas. They had recently lost their beloved beagle. Here, it is shown as an angel flying peacefully over their house.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Flower Every Day Month - Last Day (Day 31): Passion Flower

Well, January has drawn to a close. I am disappointed in myself for missing several days of painting a flower. But I won't dwell on that. Doing a flower on (almost) every day of this month was my way of meditating on Cathy Walsh, our local florist and beloved member of the community, who was such an inspiring and joyful person before her untimely recent passing.

Flower Every Day Month - Day 29: Hanging Lobster Claw

Day 28 was another missing day.

Here is Day 29. I had been getting bored with some of the options, so I searched for tropical flowers. They're crazy! Here is one: