Thursday, October 30, 2014

When October Goes

Looking Up

Happy almost Halloween!  Normally I hate to see October go but today I feel like November will be arriving at just the right time.  It seems that after eight years together, my garden has finally trained me to appreciate the beauty and blessings of each month and every season.

I hope you enjoy the photos below which I took in my yard and garden this week.  Have a safe and happy Halloween weekend.

This Oak is just starting to show it's Fall colors

More Autumn color in the backyard

Autumn leaves frame a view of our reblooming Irises and miniature Roses

The fading but still lovely forms of our Limelight Hydrangeas

Saint Francis in the afternoon Autumn light

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Art: Hopes And Dreams

"Hopes And Dreams", Acrylic on Canvas

I painted my "Hopes And Dreams" painting during a couple of cold and gloomy days last February.  I was feeling a bit discouraged, a little "blue" you could say, so I grabbed my orange paint, the opposite of blue.  I added details with a rich, warm purple.  I had some fun with playful pink.  And when I was done I was a lot happier, just not quite as happy as the face I had created on the canvas.

I wondered what her story was.  What could possibly be making her so happy?  Were all her dreams coming true? I didn't think so.  That would be an eyes open, wide smile happiness.  This was a more secret happiness, a from within kind of joy.  Her eyes were closed because she was dreaming, her slight smile was the involuntary side effect of hope.

And that's when I realized that our hopes and dreams make us happy long before they come true.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Slave To The Muse Manifesto

When I first started working for my muse I had sort of a love/hate relationship with her.  I was grateful for the inspiration and creativity she brought to my life but I also thought she was too demanding, unreliable and confusing.  I wasn't all that sure she liked me either.  I was afraid that being a slave to the muse was going to be the kind of thankless job that the title implied. 

Fortunately I have gotten to know my muse a lot better over the last few years and, perhaps more importantly, have gotten to know her evil twin the anti-muse as well.  I now have a new appreciation and affection for my boss and my job title.  So to define and celebrate what being a Slave To The Muse means to me these days, I created the following Slave To The Muse Manifesto:

I Believe that my muse knows me best and knows better than anyone else what is best for me.

I Believe that what is best for me is also best for those around me.

I Believe that chasing butterflies, pursuing dreams and courting inspiration are sacred responsibilities and should be carried out with gratitude and joy.

I Believe that my muse only shows up when I do and only does her job when I do mine.

I Believe that by doing what the muse tells me I learn what is possible and what I am capable of.

I Believe that good things happen when I put creativity first.

I Believe that trusting my muse is trusting the wisest, kindest parts of myself.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

30 Things I Learned From 30 Days Of Blogging (Part Two)

Before I continue with what I've been learning, I just wanted to say that it is my hope that what I share on this blog is meaningful to someone besides me.  That perhaps, if you are an artist, or a homeowner, or a cat mom, or a recovering perfectionist, you might see yourself in some of my daily struggles and victories and feel a little more inspired or a little less alone.

By the way, if that's ever the case, please consider leaving a short comment here to let me know.  Just a simple "me too" would really mean a lot to me.

Now back to my 30 days of blogging saga:

16. I Can't Rush Creativity

My muse isn't very courteous.  Sometimes in the middle of one project or another she will just abandon me without any warning.  She doesn't seem to care that I have given myself a deadline or that I have a blog post to write.  So I have no choice other than to take a break and wait for her to return.  And that is why the universe created Pinterest.

17. What Is Good For Me Is Good For My Art

I think my art is inspired by a certain amount of chaos but I never find that to be in short supply.  I'm starting to suspect that what I really need to reach my creative potential is more calm.  Meditating, spending time in nature and writing my morning pages each day help me to create more calm and that is good for me and good for my art.

18. One Butterfly Is Worth A Thousand Words

19. I Actually Enjoy Cleaning

When I have time to do it right, cleaning gives me a tremendous sense of accomplishment and enjoyment.  I just wish the results of those efforts could last a little longer.

20. Multitasking Is Stressful

I remember a time when multitasking was seen as something to strive for.  Now there's research that shows that it actually makes you less productive and after completing this blogging challenge, I concur.  My tendency to take on too much at one time was detrimental to this project.  Eventually I learned that I made more progress by concentrating on just one thing at a time.

21. I'm Allowed To Set Attainable Goals

I don't know why it took me so long to figure out that there were limits to how much I could get done in one day.  Again, being too ambitious was making me less effective.  Choosing a more manageable creative task, like doodling, actually gave me a better sense of accomplishment.

22. Blogging (Almost) Every Day Is Good For Me 

When I first thought of this Create Art Every Day blogging concept I didn't think I was ready for it and I was right.  However, by going ahead and doing it anyway I learned what it would take to make myself ready to blog more regularly and more successfully in the future.  Part of that lesson was that blogging four days a week was my limit.

23. I Want To Paint More

I think a part of me saw this project as a way to prove to myself that I didn't have to paint all the time to be an artist.  It turns out that's true.  I don't have to paint.  And as soon as I accepted that I realized that I really, really want to.

24. There's Always Time For Housework

I don't paint for hours at a time.  I take regular time outs to give myself a break from all of that concentration.  It turns out I can get a good amount of vacuuming done during those breaks.  Things just have a way of getting done when I put painting first.

25. Art Is Fun

Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned through this process is that the more time I spend creating art, the easier it is to remember how much I enjoy doing it.

26. Music Is Motivation

I don't always feel like creating art but I always love listening to music.  Having my best sounding music player in my art studio is great motivation to get myself back there.  

27. I Have Accomplished A Lot

As much as I resist, procrastinate and otherwise wrestle with my anti-muse, I still have a lot of paintings and other creative projects to show for myself.

28. Try, Try Again

Not everything I attempt is going to come together on the first try but if I keep going, eventually I figure out how to make things work.

29. I Still Have A Lot To Learn

I am always aware that there is so much I don't know.  This frightens me a little but excites me even more.

30. The Best Way To Learn Is By Doing

This was a difficult truth to arrive at for the girl who never used to do anything without consulting a book, a panel of experts, some tea leaves and the wind first but after forty something years here I am. Ready to try. Not ready to be the most perfect, most put together, most popular blogger ever but ready to trust myself enough to keep going on this journey of being a slave to the muse.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

30 Things I Learned From 30 Days Of Blogging (Part One)

I probably check my blog stats more often than I should.  I am only human.  I am encouraged by page views and comments and Facebook likes and retweets, as I assume most bloggers are.  Once or twice,  I may have even given in to the temptation to click onto articles that promise something like, "10 Ways To Get More Blog Readers" or "23 Tips To Get More Retweets".  According to those articles I am doing a lot of things wrong.

The problem is that if I follow all the expert advice out there, I just wouldn't be me anymore and I wouldn't be learning anything and I really value learning stuff.  So as much as I would like even better stats and enjoy the empathy that likes and comments imply, I have decided that when it comes to blogging, learning is my bottom line. 

According to that standard, it is my conclusion that my Create Art Every Day 30 Day Blogging Challenge was very much a success.  Here's just some of the things I learned from it:

1. I Can Do Difficult Things

Note to self: If you can remove and replace the walls in your wonky 94 year old kitchen and install a mosaic tile backsplash, you can handle a 30 Day Blogging Challenge.

2. A Little Bit Of Effort Goes A Long Way

As was the case with my Day 2 hand lettering project, sometimes the difference between ordinary and art is just a little more time and a little more effort.

3. Done Is Better Than Perfect

I took over three hundred pictures of those chairs for my Day 3 post.  I could have (and should have) quit at thirty and gotten the same result.  I realized that if I was going to make it to 30 days, I would have to do a better job of picking my battles and managing my time.

4. Blogging Every Day Is Insanely Difficult

Okay, I know I tiled the backsplash but doing something creative, photographing it and blogging about it every weekday for thirty days? While having a life? What was I thinking?

5. Absolutely Anything Can Be Art

Is decorating Elvis really art?  Is making guacamole or watching football wearing officially licensed NFL socks art?  It's my blog, so I say yes.  (Hey, give me a break here.  This is difficult!)

6. My Life Is More Routine and Repetitive Than I Thought

I realized when I wrote about working on my Zazzle shops that I could pretty much write that same post every day.  It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be to come up with or make time for the variety of projects I needed for this challenge.

7. I Have A Tendency To Over-think Things

In the midst of planning and executing all of these various artistic projects to blog about I kind of forgot for awhile that art was art.  Imagine my relief when I remembered that I could actually just blog about painting!

8. Sometimes A Picture Is All You Need

Enough Said

9. Creativity Makes Everything More Fun

Thank you pancake pen, for transforming the chore of making breakfast every Saturday into one of my favorite art projects.

10. The Blogging Is About The Art, Not The Other Way Around

Around Day 10 is when my anti-muse really started to chime in.  Her chatter seemed to be all about convincing me that none of my art was "blog worthy".  It took me awhile to see through the web of her manipulations but, with help from some very supportive people, I finally remembered that I don't do art just to blog about it.  I do it because it brings me joy.

11. My Garden Is Art

Of course I already knew that but it's always nice to be reminded.

12. I Don't Need Every Craft Tool Ever Invented

My muse sometimes demands that I do a lot of different types of crafting projects.  In the past this has left me with a lot of surplus supplies and tools that I will never use again.  Fortunately, I am getting wiser as I get older and learning that there is often an alternative, more cost effective solution.  In the case of my butterfly banner project it meant choosing to use the tools I already had creatively rather than invest in a new one.  However, I still would really like an eyelet setter so I added it to my Christmas wish list (I said I don't need every tool ever invented but I still want them all).

13.  Blogging Every Day Is Impossible

After day 12 I was exhausted and completely uninterested in coming up with any new ideas.  Fortunately, I'm very close to my boss and she was kind enough to give me a much needed day off.

14. I Have To Put The Kids First

Just because my kids have four legs and whiskers and say, "Meow!" instead of, "Mom!", doesn't make them any less important or any less demanding than anyone else's children.  They are absolutely my number one priority (shh, don't tell my muse I said that).

15. Keeping It Real Is A Full Time Job

Halfway through this challenge it occured to me that blogging every day would be a whole lot easier if only I were more organized and my house was less messy.  So I'm working on that but in the meantime I'm not and it isn't and it's too much effort to pretend otherwise (my inner perfectionist is having a fit right now but I will be okay).

Okay, I think that is enough for one day.  Click here to read part two!

(Not Crazy) Cat Lady T-Shirt
(Not Crazy) Cat Lady T-Shirt by Victoreeah
Find other Not crazy T-Shirts at

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

CAED Day 30: The Art Of Blogging

Create Art Every Day 30 Day Blogging Challenge Collage

I can't believe we are finally here at the last day of my 30 Day blogging project. Thank you so much to anyone and everyone who has accompanied and encouraged me on this journey.

One thing that was worrying me as I approached the end of this project was whether it will be difficult for me to proceed with blogging without this Create Art Every Day theme to organize my posts around. Then I realized that this journey turned out to be about much more than that theme anyway. After all, many of the subjects I blogged about were not exactly "art" in a technical sense.  It turns out that the real art I was practicing every day, however imperfectly, was the blogging itself.

Shortly after reaching this conclusion I came across these words from the poem Sometimes by Mary Oliver:

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

This is what blogging is teaching me to do. It's making me pay more attention to my life which has resulted in my being astonished in the best possible way and it has given me a way to tell about it. I'm extremely grateful for that.

You can expect me to post a lot more regularly in the future.

Create Art Every Day Spiral Notebooks
Create Art Every Day Spiral Notebooks by Victoriart
Browse Typography Notebooks online at

Create Art Every Day Clipboard
Create Art Every Day Clipboard by Victoriart
View other Typography Clipboard at

Create Art Every Day
Create Art Every Day by Victoriart
Check out Typography Pillows online at zazzle

Monday, October 20, 2014

CAED Day 29: The Art Of Autumn

St. Francis among some mums and pansies in my backyard.

Autumn has been slow to fully arrive around here this year.  Some leaves have already changed or even begun to drop while others are slower to turn.  I have a feeling that any day now there is going to arrive that perfect Fall day where everything is so brilliant I can hardly believe my eyes.  Of course, I'm too impatient to wait for that.  So I decided to go through some of the photos I've taken around this time in the last few years and enjoy Autumn right here at my desk.

Here are some of my favorites:

Autumn Bloom (Anemone)

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Portal

Autumn Chores

Autumn Road

Autumn Bridge

"Rooted" Tree Goddess Art Canvas Prints
"Rooted" Tree Goddess Art Canvas Prints by Victoriart
Browse Rooted Canvas Prints online at

Thursday, October 16, 2014

CAED Day 28: The Art Of Mantel Decorating

Some of my attempts at decorating my mantel.

Like our deck, the mantel in our living room is one of those aspects of our home that I haven't always taken full advantage of.  I was really excited about having it before we moved in.  I imagined decorating it every holiday and for special occasions.  However, when it came time to do that I found it more challenging than I expected.  

There have been only a few times that I've decorated our mantel over the last eight years that I was satisfied with the results, mostly with fresh flowers in the spring or holiday decorations in the winter.  I have actually never successfully decorated it for Autumn or Halloween.  Yet, when I saw the direction my latest painting was going, it inspired me to once again give that a try.

"What Never Was" Acrylic on 24 X 36 Canvas

With the painting as my inspiration, I went to work looking for items I thought might work with it.  Finding things I liked within the small budget I set for myself was not easy.  I bought a few new things, namely some feathers and my new friends Edgar and Allan, and then filled in the best I could with stuff I already had.



I still think it needs something but it may not be until next year that I find it or figure out what it is.  The victory for me is that I did my best and didn't let my perfectionism keep me from trying.   Another win against my anti-muse, happy Autumn to me!  And to you.

My mantel decorated for Autumn/Halloween.

Update 10/20/14:

I found some candlesticks over the weekend that are perfect for my mantel.  They are tall, giving this display more variations of height and more effectively filling the space on either side of the painting.  I think it looks so much better now, don't you?

Just Batty Halloween Scarf
Just Batty Halloween Scarf by Victoreeah
Look at Bats Scarves online at