Saturday, February 21, 2009

Treats and treasures in the mail

When I was little I used to chase the UPS truck as it drove through our neighborhood yelling "do you have something for me?!!!" There is nothing better than getting a package in the mail. Well this week I received two!! It was so wonderful to be the recipient of my very first UGRA homer. Translated, that means a project was created for me by one of the incredibly talented members of UGRA (Under Ground Rail Art) which she sent out to another Ugra-ite to work on, and they forwarded it to another and so on.

In this case, one of my favorite artists, Loretta, started a "slam book" for me. She sent it to Bonnie who forwarded it to Corvus, who sent it to Sharen, who passed it on to Bonnie who shipped it off to Jennifer (all the way in North Carolina), who sent it "home" to me. The book is absolutely scrumptious and I am so honored that each of these talented women worked in it! It has hand sewn signatures, pop out pages, and pockets and pouches filled with treats. I will treasure it!
On this page, you push on the labeled spot to the right, and the fire flies light up!

I also received an incredible prize package from my dear friend Jen. I was randomly selected after leaving a comment on her sparkle/shine/ shrink blog-a-polooza. She sent me 3 of her most favorite scrapbooking supplies and I am so very stoked (I'm doing the wave in my chair). I received a BIG ol' BOTTLE of Glossy Accents, Tim Holtz Distress Ink and the most darling array of fibers wrapped around the waistband of an old pair of jeans -(the girl is a creative genius!) How fun is that!

I've also been having an absolutely fabulous time in my Still Life painting class. It appears, I may have some skill peeking out which would be really great since I feel that my artistic abilities to this point, have been completely learned - that a natural aptitude or innate talent has yet to reveal itself. I don't want to jinx it by getting all "look at me, I can paint" before I have flushed things out, but I had to share this suspicion because it is a wonderful experience to feel you may have potential in something that you love to do. Most everything I have accomplished in my life has come from hard work or dumb luck. There have only been a few times in my life where I actually "felt" ("felt" being a critical word here) I was blessed with talent. Even if it turns out to be a short lived experience, I want to document it so I can come back and say "oh yeah - that was awesome!"

Here is the painting I did last week - my second oil and Still Life ever... It has a variety of troubled areas which taught me A LOT. My professor said "Jillene, I am impressed with your willingness to tackle tough set ups! Good work." She doesn't usually say things like that - she sticks to the instruction and critique so a personal comment like that made me feel really good.

I'm working on two new paintings right now, one of which I had to submit at the 50% stage. My Prof said "Jilliene, Good job and good thinking on your changed comp. Very good work, be proud."

Happy weekend!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Swirly wirly twinkling toes

I've been doing so many different things these days that I feel like I am dancing - that is good right? Although sometimes I get dizzy and I feel like I'm going to accidentally spin out of the window or something.
The picture above is for a button blooms order I just filled to match the photos of the client's daughter's room decor.
I finished my very first still life / my very first oil painting today. What is really wacked is that we were only allowed to use Titanium White, Mars black, Terra Rosa (an earthy clay red) and yellow okra (like a dark Dijon mustard). My painting focal point was a blue teapot, so I had to blend blend blend to make a dull grey blue. Remember, blue is a primary color which I thought meant that it couldn't be "made" - well now I know otherwise.

There are a few structural issues with my teapot handle but for the most part, I feel like it came together. This was as much, if not more, an exercise about mixing colors as it was about painting a still life. There were a few times when I thought I was never going to make it work. Last night when I went to bed, I was REALLY discouraged! But today I just fell into the zone - I hate calling it "the zone" it sounds so 80's - But it definetely is a different state of consciousness. I had no sense of time, no fear of failure and my mind was completely focused on the task at hand. There was none of the mind chatter that makes me nuts sometimes. I'll have to work on another name for it though. Tomorrow, I have to do another still life but now I can use cadimin yellow.

I also have made 3 new charm braclets which I need to post on Etsy and a Charm Choker which is HOT! My husband wants me to keep it but I want to post it because I don't think anyone else is making something like this. I'm thinking this could be a fun trend if it catches on!

I also have a fabulous new client and we have been busy getting her work ready for the world to enjoy. More on that when we are ready to launch. Oh boy - I had better run - my husband is started to grumble that he hasn't seen me all day!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Blog Slacker returns with shame

I don't even know if the world noticed but for the sake of my 10 followers, I must apologize for not writing in a few weeks. Its not that I don't have things to share, I just haven't made the time to collect my thoughts and draft a few paragraphs. I have been pretty busy since I started back at school. I am taking Still Life painting and Digital Photography/ Photoshop. I'm loving both classes and am thrilled to be back to my schedule.

I have been playing with oils and I am in love. From the smell -to the blending -to that unique feeling as the brush spreads the creamy hues onto canvas. It is wonderfully fulfilling and pretty darn intimidating. I'm in the middle of a four color palette still life and I am delighted with what I've put together thus far but very nervous about the next layer. My coach and I are working on finding the space in between "perfection" and "just getting it over with." I will have to find that center before I can move forward.
This is my set up for the 4 color palette painting

Last week I was super busy working on my "who am I" pages for the WASSIMA fabric album page exchange. I just loved this project but it was super duper time consuming. My pages were an expression, a work of creative freedom, autobiographical and experimental. It was satisfying on so many levels. I cannot wait to see what everyone else did!

I used fabric from old clothes and other household items to create this "fabric of my life" flower

Aidan also turned 6 last week which just blows my mind. He is truly an extraordinary person and I am so blessed to be his mommy. We had a fun filled family celebration at Round Table. My sister had just celebrated her birthday also so I gave her the jewelry set I had made for her in sterling silver. It is a handmade chain maille bracelet with Swarovski crystals and a matching set of earrings. I think she really liked it :D

This picture does not do it justice but you can see the design...

Are we really parents of a (gulp) 6 year old??

We threw Aidan a surprise Pirate Party on Saturday with old school newspaper hats and treasure maps with real buried treasure. The party was such a hoot. Everyone had a GREAT time and Aidan was the happiest little boy in the world. Even his sister said " Mommy, can it be Aidan's birthday again tomorrow?"

They didn't have any pirate cake designs so I used the Hawaii cake and bought a treasure chest and pirates separately.

Ahoy Matey!

My husband picked up a Chinese paper for the hats to make them look more realistically exotic...

This is Auntie Shauna helping one group read their treasure map

Arghhhhhhhh! Where's me cupcake Lassey?

I'm 1/2 way done with my charms for the DDINSPIRED charm swap. It is such a different experience this year. Last year I was really new to charm making so it took a long time with lots of boo boo's. This year has been a piece of cake. I did not have to buy anything - I had it all in my stash and the design came to me really quickly. I completed 20 charms last night while watching TV. That is all for now. I have more to show and tell but I need to get some rest....