Do you pin?

When I logged onto my computer this morning and was and saw more grim news from Boston on my MSN homepage, I became determined to find a more cheerful way to start my day.  After all, I would much rather look at this :


Than this:
(Please pardon me while I learn the technicalities of blogging.  The photo of the journal page was by Wendy Cook on Pinterest)
And so two hours were passed joyfully as I found funny quotes, inspiring art, and beautiful clothes I will never be thin/young/tall enough to wear.  I feel much better now, and as a public service, I am recommending that you now go Pin!

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To the people of Boston

It has taken me two days to recover from process the horrifying events that took place in Boston on Monday.

You see, Boston is a city that is near and dear to my heart.  I attended college near Boston, and my friends and I would take the train in on weekends to hang out and shop.  I have family there. We visit often.  My daughter hopes to attend college there soon.  It has, in many ways, been our family’s’ home away from home for years.

The bombings on Monday have rocked our world.  The moment I heard, via text from my local news station, that something catastrophic was unfolding at the Boston Marathon, I called my sister who lives in the city.  She had been on her laptop, tracking friends who were running the race.  She learned of the horror via a banner flashing across her computer screen. When she answered the phone, she could hardly speak.  Despite the shock that left her unable to complete full sentences, she was able to let me know she was safe  Her husband, who ran the Marathon almost every year of his adult life up until a few years ago, was at The Boston Running Club, waiting for their friends to come in after finishing the race.  He too was safe.  But so many were not — women, children, visitors from places far and wide, will never feel safe again.

What has struck me about all the horrifying news I have seen and read since Monday, is the kindness, the generosity  the SELFLESSNESS, of the people of Boston.  Amid chaos, first responders, police, citizens and other runners, ran to help those in need of medical attention.  They ran TOWARD the chaos, not away from it.  Later, people who lived nearby welcomed strangers into their homes, offering clothing, shelter, food and phones.  Business offered shelter and free food to the displaced.  In short, the same New Englanders who have a reputation for being reserved, cool and sometimes a little snooty, opened their hearts to the injured, the shocked, and the lost.

From the bottom of MY heart, I say thank you, THANK YOU Bostonians, for showing the world who you really are.  You are kind, you are caring, you show your true colors when it counts.  You have shown the world that humanity still exists, in a world that is becoming increasingly inhumane.  You give us hope.

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Cute project alert!

For several years now, as my art has been developing, I have fought against Cute.  If you want to be taken seriously as an Artiste, you can’t do cute, right?  Well, the minute I stumbled upon Megan Suarez’s Whimsy Girls Workshop, I just had to join.  Her art is just to darn adorable!  This painting was inspired by the class:

For the painting, I found the coolest paper from My Graffico and printed it onto cardstock.

Since I have an inkjet printer I had to take the papers outside and spray them with a couple of coats of workable fixative so they wouldn’t smear when I laid them down with gel medium.

The next day (to allow drying time), I collaged both the papers onto a gallery profile canvas, colored the girls skin with copics, and stuck her on. I painted her hair and added more paint to the background and, voila!, a pretty Whimsy Girl!  I sealed the collage with another coat of gel medium and sprinkled on some glitter,’cause you know, every cute girl needs some glitter.  What a fun project!

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Let’s start at the beginning…

I cringe a little bit every time I hear someone say “I’m not creative.”  We are ALL creative in our own way.  My sister, for example, can throw together the best meal you have ever tasted and present it beautifully without cracking a cookbook.  She can also wrap presents worthy of a Neiman Marcus window at Christmas.  My honey took a debilitating back injury in midlife and transformed himself into a strong, healthy (and hunky) bodybuilder by changing his diet and joining the gym. To me, these two people are supremely creative in ways that I could never be (read: I’m too lazy).  I, too, believed I didn’t have a creative bone in my body until I was in my mid-30′s.  So how did I do it?  How did I find that ever-elusive quality in myself?  Let me tell you…

I remember vividly being in art class in Junior High and HATING it.  I couldn’t draw a straight line with a ruler, much less draw anything that looked recognizable.  I swear, the only reason I passed the class (barely) was out of professional courtesy to my mother, who was also a teacher in my school.  I decided then and there that I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up…as long as it wasn’t an artist.

Fast forward twenty years:  I was the mother of two children under the age of 3 and caught up in the daily frenzy of motherhood and running a household. In the rare (and I do mean RARE) moments when both children were napping, I needed something to do that would calm my nerves and didn’t require too much concentration.  Someone invited me to a Creative Memories party, back when scrapbooking was easy and only required you to cut your photos into cute shapes and slap some stickers on the page.  I thought, “I can do that.” So I did. Then another friend invited me to a Stampin’ Up party (we were big on parties back then. Any excuse to drink wine and shirk our responsibilities for a couple of hours.).  Stamp an image on paper and color it in? I could do that. And so it went.

Eventually I ran out of parties to go to and money to buy more pre-made stuff.  By then I knew that I enjoyed making things and had a little bit of confidence that I could do it.  I started playing around.  Discovered art journalling. Then altered books. Then mixed media painting.  It was at that point that I realized that I LOVED art, and that what I made counted as art even it would never (and I do mean NEVER), hang in a museum.  It was art because I said so and I’m standing by that decision. I highly recommend you do too.

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Feeling neutral about the whole thing

A few years ago, Carolyn and I met through an art journal swap on the Blissfully_Art_Journaling Yahoo group.  When, after a year’s time, the swap ended, Carolyn and I decided we were having so much fun that we should keep going. We have shared the ups and downs of life, and have held each other accountable for journaling through those times when we’d just rather not.  Our partnership has pushed me to try things that I might not have otherwise, and this month is no exception.  I tend to work in bright, vivid colors, favoring fuchsia, yellow and turquoise.  On this spread I challenged myself to try something different, using only neutral, earth-tone colors.  I like it!  What do you think?

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