Wednesday, October 31, 2012

30 Days of Holiday Cards Revisited

Last year around this time I began a project for this blog called "30 Days of Holiday Cards".  It started out as a way to take inventory of my card designs and share a little more information about them with you.  It ended up becoming somewhat of a different experience than I had intended, bringing up thoughts, feelings and remembrances from my past that I had not expected.  It was quite the learning experience for me and, while I don't think any of these posts would rival Dickens in any universe, I like to believe they helped me find my voice as a blogger (though that is still an ongoing process).

I would like to do a similar project again someday but with so much already on my plate, now is not the time.  Instead I thought it would be a good time to revisit 30 Days Of Holiday Cards.  I will be tweeting out and sharing these posts on Facebook once again in the next 30 days or so and I am also providing a little table of contents below so anyone can skip ahead or find one they missed or particularly liked.

Thank you so much for reading and your comments are always appreciated.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Blues and Other Colors

If you think you have defeated the negative voices in your head, think again. To be an artist or to chase any dream often means that you have to fight that battle over and over again, day after day, moment by moment.

This is my way of saying that to spite all my fiery talk of courage and expressing myself and listening more to my muse, I still have days where the blues of self doubt find me. 

This past Wednesday was such a day.  For some inexplicable reason that was the day when I decided everything I have done, was thinking of doing or will ever do was not good enough. I stood in my studio and tried to will myself to create but my critical mind shot down every idea I had before I could even begin to pursue it.

I was just about to give up and go do the dishes or something when I noticed my inner child standing in the corner looking sad.

“Hi sweetie,” I said, happy to see her. “What's wrong?”

“I'm bored.” She replied quietly. “Will you play with me?”

“Sure.” I answered. “What do you want to do?”

She walked over to my desk and picked up the quart of lime green paint that was lying there.

“Can we play with this?”

I hesitated. I had bought that paint with the initial plan of using it to paint the interior of my studio door but then I began to have second thoughts, such as, “Do I really want to add more lime green to a studio that already looks like a child's bedroom?”, “Won't I get sick of that color eventually?” And the ever popular, “How will this effect the resale value of my home?”

“Please.” The much younger version of myself added politely.

Oh, what the hell. “Okay,” I finally relented. So we put on an Elvis CD and got to work.

The glowing green door
5 coats of paint and a day later, little Vicki and I stepped back from our glowing green door and gave each other a high five.

“It's awesome!” She said and I couldn't help but agree.

Then she gave me a hug and said, “Thank you soooo much. I had sooo much fun!” before skipping away into thin air.

Long after she was gone I still had a smile on my face and I was once again proud of my creations and inspired to create more. My inner child had reminded me that I don't do what I do to impress or prove anything to anyone but because it's fun and I love doing it. I love shapes and lines and color. I love canvas and paper and wood. I love paintbrushes, pencils, markers and crayons. I love paint! I especially love lime green paint and every time I look at my lime green door I am going to remember all of this again.

You can see why my inner child might feel at home in my studio. 

So maybe a lime green door isn't good for the resale value of my home (I'm not moving any time soon anyway) but it is good for fighting the self doubting blues and, for that ongoing battle, I need all the weapons I can get!

Rainbows In Progress iPhone 4 Case
Rainbows In Progress iPhone 4 Case by time2see
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bewitched By My Muse

The Immortal Endora

There are many muses that have visited me at one time or another in my life. Friends, Family, artists and celebrities; characters both real and imaginary who have been sources of inspiration and motivation for me and who I continue to look to as guides and gurus. However, there is one apparition who appears to me on a regular basis, especially when I am trying to squelch, delay or reason away a creative impulse and she closely resembles a character who was brilliantly portrayed by Agnes Moorehead from 1964-1972 on the TV series “Bewitched”.  Yes, that's right, I am being haunted by Endora!

I don't know why but it is only recently that I thought to question this phenomena. I mean, why can't I conjure a muse in the form of a cool rock star or a swoon worthy classic movie actor to encourage me to embrace my creativity? Why is it a smart ass immortal witch from a sixties sitcom who was seemingly sent to harass me into submitting to my every creative whim?

So the last time I saw her floating around in my mind's eye commanding me in her “exasperated with mortals” tone, I decided to ask her.

“I'll make you a deal,” she replied, “I'll stop being like Endora when you stop being like Samantha.”

Whoa. Almost instantly I understood exactly what she meant. I remembered that as much as her doppelganger acting as muse annoys me now, Endora herself was always my favorite character on “Bewitched”. I suppose that was partly because she was just so darned funny but it was also because she wasn't afraid to use her magic. It was Samantha that was always trying to fit in and be normal and actually use the vacuum cleaner when all she really had to do was wiggle her nose. I mean, God bless Elizabeth Montgomery but how annoying was that? It was Endora who was always encouraging her daughter to be herself and use her gifts. It was Endora who essentially seemed to be saying, “Use your magic, stupid.”

I guess that is also what my Endora is saying to me whenever she pops into my life. I can truly see how she, who no doubt has infinite powers and wisdom, would be scratching her head whenever she sees me wrestling with mundane activities or problems when I could be using my magic, not the nose wiggling thing because I haven't gotten that down yet, but the closest thing to magic we mortals can have, creativity!

So maybe if I stop listening so much to my inner Samantha and listen even more to my muse I can graduate from Professor Endora's class and move on to a gentler, kinder muse who looks like Jim Morrison or Errol Flynn.

Probably not, but a girl can dream...and I'm going to keep working on that nose wiggling thing too, just in case.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Express Yourself

The more things change, the more they stay the same. When I was a teenager I used to draw and write poems and song lyrics on the walls in my bedroom. Now here I am years later and I have essentially done the same thing on the new giant chalkboard Hippie helped me make and install in our living room.

My Classic Rock chalkboard mural

I worked on it all week and I can't tell you how much fun I had listening to music and creating something that was mostly just for me. Of course, Hippie likes it too, as evidenced by his breaking out his air guitar upon first seeing it completed the other night.

Hippie's Impromptu Air Guitar Concert in progress

This probably won't shock you but I am somewhat of an intense person. At times this has resulted in my being misunderstood or made fun of but I have never let that stop me from expressing myself because that is just who I am. I think as a teenager I used song lyrics and quotes from my favorite books to convey things that felt difficult or awkward to express in my own words. Now as an adult I have learned to channel my stronger emotions into and through my own art.
Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that I can hide behind my work. I never feel more vulnerable as I do when I show someone something I have created. And it often annoys me that my best work seems to be that through which I have shared more of myself than I ever intended or wanted to.
I guess the bottom line is it takes courage to express ourselves no matter how we do it. It's hard enough finding the words, sounds or visual forms to describe our innermost thoughts and feelings without the risk that we will be ridiculed for sharing them. Ultimately, however, I think we risk more when we allow our fear of what other people may think to silence us. Just think of all your favorite music, books and art and imagine how much more lonely the world would seem without them. Chances are no matter what we're feeling, somewhere, someone is feeling the same way. Imagine the relief they would feel to know they aren't the only one.  I think that is worth the risk, don't you?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Red, White & Blue Halloween

Politics Can Be Scary - Political Halloween Buttons available in my Zazzle shop

I have to admit that I find politics kind of scary. I do take very seriously my right to vote and try my best to educate myself about the candidates and the issues I will be voting on. However, when it comes to debating political topics, I avoid it like I would a brain eating Zombie. It just isn't my area of expertise.  Besides, I seem to have attracted a lot of endearingly stubborn people into my life who have a habit of making up their own minds.  Talking politics with them would either be preaching to the choir or a sure fire way of making them angry.  So for the most part, if I happen to disagree with someone about some political issue, that's cool with me, I'm sure we have plenty of other things in common we can talk about.

All that being said, I have nothing against knowledgeable people who speak their minds and attempt to educate others on political matters. I understand that this stuff is important. I just don't like to see people take it so personally that they become divided over it.

So when I thought about creating some political designs for my main Zazzle Shop I asked myself, how can I make this stuff fun without being derisive? And that's when I thought of combining politics with the most fun day of the entire year which also happens to fall very close to election day, Halloween!

I was not attempting to make any political or personal statement with these designs. I designed them for both presidential candidates and no witches, zombies or vampires were harmed in the making of them. You can see all of the products with these designs by CLICKING HERE. I hope you like them.
I Vote For Kindness Tee Shirts
I Vote For Kindness Tee Shirts by kchippie
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