Sunday, December 12, 2010

Journal Pages

I'm finishing the school semester, five days and counting! The bathroom remodel is almost finished, if I can just get the contractors back here for final details...like a mirror above the sink...! :-)
Lately, I've been working on creating journal entries for the "Journey of Journals Swap" at Coach Creative Space There are seven participants in a circuit who create spreads in each others' journals, and it's so exciting to think of your book coming home with all that creative lusciousness in it after traveling to places like England and South Africa. I can hardly wait to see my journal again.
Today, I was checking out Milliande's wonderful journaling videos and decided to play with mixed media just for myself. I love her experimental approach to art, and can always use a stress-free undertaking these days!

Hope your December holds lots of
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Celebrating Two Years!

Happy Blogging, Everyone!
I'm celebrating two years of blogging by sharing some ATC love from ShopGirl at Back of the Moon!
Thank You, Mary...I love the necklace and lavender sachet. The two ATCs are beautiful additions to my collection. I apologize for taking so long to post them. You have a generous, beautiful heart.



Hope everyone in the U.S. had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday.
News n pics on the remodeling coming soon...Yikes!
Thanks to all my readers for your two years of support.
Love & Laughter,
Dj

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thank You

Dear Readers,
I've been MIADTL.
Missing in Action Due to Life.
Work, Home, Season, and BrainStuff have been all piling up,
and I'm beneath the pile ~
There's light coming in from up there somewhere, though, and I'M DIGGING OUT!
All you prayer warriors out there, add me to your list.

If you don't see a recent post here, you can usually find me at Coach Creative Space.
It's a Ning group that's caring and supportive, and I was a member there a couple of years before I started my blog. There's usually a swap of some kind going on there, as well as a lot of positive comments on artwork.

Although I've been MIADTL, I have been painting. See recent work below.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Love & Laughter,
DJ









Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Update Coming Soon, Friends!

Hello All ~
I've not forgotten you. Just been on the hamster wheel of life! > pant, pant <
Long weekend coming up due to election day; will tell all & post pics after I sleep for twenty-four hours straight...Please pray for strength, decision-making, and being in His Will at all times. Nothing earth-shattering, just normal Life-stuff.
Thanks, Dear Ones, for checking on me!
You're all amazing in my book!
Love & Laughter,
DJ
See You Soon !

Saturday, September 25, 2010

September Transitions

We humans usually have some qualms about Change.
Knowing and Familiarity lull us into a state of Comfort.
Routine. Security. Control.

Conversely,
The Unknown is met with Trepidation.
Heightened senses. Alertness. Physical readiness for flight or fight.

Yes, you know all this. So, what?

Wellllllllllll,
my kitchen and bathroom are being gutted.
One right after the other.
Nothing makes my heart tremble like the prospect of someone altering my nest.
(Is that a woman thing?......an artist thing?....)


To say I'm stressed is an understatement.
People with crowbars and saws have entered my haven.
They mean well, but that's beside the point.


Yes, those are bare floor joists with ground beneath them.
Apparently, the people with crowbars didn't bring their own 2x4s to block the entrance, so they used my broom and shovel. Does little for my confidence, ya know?


Yes, I'm getting new stuff. (whee)
But will everything work? Visible and invisible?
Will dry be dry and will wet be wet when it's supposed to be?
Will electrical stay electrical and will nailed stay nailed?
Will something be covered up?
Will all my aesthetic decisions work together?
Stay tuned...
and say it will be alright...
right?
Excuse me while I drive to my mother-in-law's to take a shower. Ahem.


On another note,
Please allow me to ask for your knowledge.
Talk to me about your favorite countertop material!
Do you like corian, granite, or something else?
Any stains? Chipping? Joint seals not working?
Lemme know...
Before MY joint seals stop working. :-)

Love & Laughter,
DJ

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Yoohoo...Anybody There....?

Hi, dear readers. (If there are any left...)
Guess what I've been doing?
Oh, you're so intelligent; I like that quality in my friends. You guessed it:
School's back in session.
This old art teacher has been given new life: a brand spanking new school building.
Bright. Shiny. Complete with all the bells & whistles. Technology up to our earlobes, too.
I've been unpacking books and paper and reproductions and paint and brushes and yarn and easels and scissors and crayons and pens and still life objects and clay and glazes and more...
My back was really affected by all the lifting during the unpacking, to the point where I woke one morning and couldn't stand up straight. Fortunately, I have one of the best chiropractors on the east coast. After a few appointments, I've returned to my normal activities.
I've also been working late to prepare visuals for classes and meet all the deadlines.
Stop yawning; I'm not to the boring part, yet...Meetings.
Meetings, meetings. And more meetings.
There are new procedures for everything, since we're in a totally new environment. The administrators must gather teachers to explain procedures for lunch, hall passes, morning duty, and contacting the administrators if you have any questions about these procedures.
Then, there's training on all the new technology. My desk is not a desk; it's a cockpit. I feel like a rock star wearing the new microphone system. Funny how those tech trainers think you already know how to transfer your computer image to the 76" flatscreen LCD television. They skipped that chapter in my classroom management course back in the Dark Ages.
Of course, everyone wants a tour of the new facilities. Some of those everyones are community or state v.i.p.s who must be entertained or handshook to some degree.
One night, I arrived home early. It was about five-thirty pm, but I just crawled into the bed, and slept until eleven-thirty that night. Tired? Maybe.

So I just needed to tell someone that's why I haven't been blogsurfing in a while.

Students? Oh, yes. I've made time for them, also. Not sure yet what they're thinking about the new digs, but they keep coming to my room to talk about their latest problem and share artwork produced over the summer.
Thank goodness some things never change.
And after all, the things that stay the same are the ones that are most important.
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

You Know and I Know You Know

Yellow! It just had to be yellow, didn't it?
I had a red series going, and should have done two more red canvases.
Nooooo. I began painting with yellow.
And now, the camera won't pick up the warm "golden" yellow for a photo; it shows it as a bright lemon yellow. Yes, I'm painting in layers and glazes and mixing it all up. It's what I do.
Please tell me how to fix this. I know you know. You're smart, experienced, and you photograph your paintings all the time; I know because I drool over your paintings constantly when I visit your blog. And none of them look like the neon yellow in my golden yellow paintings. Lighting? Camera? Settings?
Go ahead; dish! Spill it. Whisper it in my ear...


2010 Yellow Series 1 Planet Flyers by DJ oil on 20x16" canvas

2010 Yellow Series 2 Pansy 2 by DJ oil on 20x16" canvas

2010 Yellow Series 3 Couple in Shelter by DJ oil on 16x20" canvas

How's your studio time going? Tell me about it. I wanna hear. Really. Please.
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bedtime Story

Sometimes a woman just needs to talk...so I'm going to do some uninteresting gabbing and aimless semi-polite venting, and you can go to sleep peacefully while reading this. Just don't fall out of your chair and injure yourself. :-)
I've tried to keep this blog about art, but you know what? The best art is about life.
Life feeds our art, does it not? And I experience such joy when I'm experimenting with colors, textures, and forms. Then, I experience joy when I'm with family & friends & gardening, too. So, in my little mind, it all plays together. Some of you do this with your blogs, as well. I can count on you guys to comment on my blog more than other types of blogging folk.
And if you commented on my last post of paintings, I just replied to you in the comments there. I'm the crazy type who loves to comment several times on someone else's blog to have conversations with them, so feel free to talk to me.
Also, life sometimes interrupts art-making. I wish it didn't, but it has been doing that a lot to me lately: home repairs, health issues, work responsibilities.
I passionately love art and all of its processes. But I have another love in my life: PEOPLE.
There are artists who can blog by simply posting a painting and a price. Can't do it. That would make me totally insane.
I need to connect with people. I want to talk with people about art, making art, looking at art, and also, their lives. Or it's just not fun. I wanna know what an artist did before they went to the studio at ten a.m. I wanna know what they were thinking before they painted that still life. I wanna know what color they're going to paint their studio walls. Because I just painted mine a pale yellow, and I need motivation from you guys to do the white trim work later, when life stops interrupting.

Also, I've noticed that some people look down on bloggers who relate personal events, such as what their cat did that morning, or pics of their grandchildren. Some have deemed themselves the Blog Police and call such blogs "cat blogs" or other condescending nomers. Pshaw~ My furry art director is sitting on my computer table, purring for scratches right now; if I dis him, he's likely to get his feelings hurt. Honey, have you ever had a 15 lb. tabby pout and give you the cold shoulder?
NOT a pretty sight, lemme tell ya...
And woe to anyone who puts down a new grandmother's love for her second-generation offspring! You might as well cut off your nose to spite your face, or she'll do it for you...
As long as I'm holding who's pictured below, do you really think I care what you call my blog?

So, yes, I'm a proud "cat-blog" blogger!

(Did you see the dimple in that chin????)
And big brother gets equal blog time...

Twenty months ago...

Yes, they're two boys less than two years apart. And yes, my car knows the way to their house by itself. And yes, they can have anything they want. And yes, I have a million photos I'm restraining myself from showing you, so feel fortunate. And yes, I want to see your grands' photos, too.

You'll also notice I have a gazillion blogs featured on my blogroll. (Please see above where it states that I love PEOPLE.) Some bloggers feel it unnecessary to have too many blogs on their blogroll; they have four, maybe five. That's fine; call me an equal-opportunity featurer. :-) I like craftspeople, watercolorists, environmental land artists, cartoonists, illustrators, oil painters, art-journalers, mixed media people, photographers, textile artists, sculptors, stampers, and have you noticed? = Some folks over there on the right sidebar don't even make art! I just like what their blogs have to say. And I'm looking for more all the time...there are interesting blogs listed that have very few commenters...please pick a couple over there and check them out; they're quite lovely.
Tell them Grandmama DJ sent you...with lots of Love and Laughter, of course.

Monday, July 19, 2010

One Canvas, Three Paintings


2010 City Inferno by DJ oil on 16x20 canvas

2010 Fleeing Fire by DJ oil on 16x20 canvas

2010 Red Haired Lurking Temptress by DJ oil on 20x16 canvas
The City Inferno was my third Red Canvas painting. I was trying to resolve my application of paint instead of simply drawing into a background color, which was becoming a worrisome habit. So, I used my fingers to smush paint around to obliterate the drawing and attempt a less-than-literal effect.
After posting it, I tried again. In the second painting, I was again, drawing instead of painting with the blue-clouded woman in Fleeing Fire. It may have been a step backwards; but it didn't worry me too much.
There's always turpentine and more paint.
In the third attempt, I abandoned the blue and painted over the canvas with red to begin again. I finger-painted yellow waves across the horizontal canvas and looked...I scratched through to the blue below in shadow valued lines and kept looking. Water? Mountains?
Ahhh...there you are...I turned the canvas vertically and carefully added her features.
Another Lurking Temptress...lurking there beneath the paint...
At the posting of this succession, I have already altered her further, but due to lack of camera batteries, won't share at this time. (So professional, DJ! Bleh~)
Suffice it to say that her features are now even more hidden than the photo here, making her reason for lurking even more mysterious.
Is she hiding in fear as a victim?
Is she lying in wait for her next victim?
I'll let the viewer supply the storyline...feel free to comment with ideas...
If I decide to paint over her, I'll keep it to myself. I'm sure you're tired of seeing this canvas, so I'll move on. There are three paintings past her in the Series now, and I may have a seventh Red Canvas painting lurking in me...
But Dear Reader, I'd rather you not lurk...please leave a comment...
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Heat: The Red Canvas Series


"Explosive Sunset" oil on canvas by DJ

"Sci-Fi Battle" oil on canvas by DJ

"Fiery Female" oil on canvas by DJ

"Fleeing Fire" oil on canvas by DJ

"Red Dustbowl" oil on canvas by DJ

"Twin Forest Fire" oil on canvas by DJ

These are in the order of creation. Please click to enlarge images and let me know what you think.
What do I think? I think the summer heat's getting to me...
Love & Laugthter,
DJ
ps~ Six of my older lovelies are in a local art display. My recent work doesn't have frames, yet, so they'll have to wait. But still, I'm pleased.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Mecca of Becca


"Waters Majesty" by DJ oil & cold wax on cradled wood panels

"Earth Moss" by DJ oil & cold wax on cradled wood panels
Please click on images for details ~

"Crystal Links" by DJ oil & cold wax on cradled masonite

The weekend of June 18th thru the 20th, I attended an Oil & Cold Wax Workshop with Rebecca Crowell at the West Main Artist's Co-Op in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
What a fantastic experience it was for all involved.
Rebecca is a kind, gracious person who freely shares her techniques with her students. For three days, twelve artists of various backgrounds worked through layers and mixed colors and texturized panels.
Some participants shared previous artworks at lunch together and we exchanged tips in the studio as we worked on our panels to achieve the results we desired. We were all given the same information and watched the same demonstrations by Rebecca, yet each of us created unique artwork that reflects our personalities and styles.

Rebecca has a Ning Group for Cold Wax Painters to discuss experiments and possiblities. She also has a website where you can purchase her beautiful abstracts.

If you ever have the chance to participate in one of her workshops, please do so. You won't regret it. Although I may regret Rebecca seeing the title to this post! :-)
(Rebecca, you know I love you! I just couldn't resist...Thank you for everything. )

Love & Laughter,
DJ


"Winter's Coming" by DJ oil & cold wax on cradled wood panels

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Your Mortarboard

It's that time of year.
Mortarboards and gowns are donned by excited youth in school auditoriums or in the heat of football stadiums. As you know, a mortarboard is the "cap" in the cap & gown of graduation regalia.
Zorana posted about her son's graduation and, upon seeing the awesome photo of the grads, I was inspired to write you all.
I know that perhaps you, and your families everywhere, are celebrating your babies and nieces and grandsons who have worked for years in high school and college to "survive the hassle for the tassel" and attain the privilege of a diploma.
Congratulations!!!
As a high school educator, I had the privilege of assisting my students in securing those tassels to their mortarboards and holding their hands as they wept at thoughts of leaving the familiar for the unknown before walking those halls that final time before commencement. I thought of those that had college scholarships and would go on to wear another gown four years later.

But, I also know many kids who, for whatever reason, will not wear a mortarboard and gown...ever.

So, in that light, may I ask something of you?
If you are a parent of a graduate,
PLEASE be sure that you celebrate YOUR achievement of
raising your child in a manner that inspired this achievement.
I've been teaching for 25 long years, so I'm very serious about this:
PARENTS ARE THE DIFFERENCE.
It's what you MODEL for that child: reading, discipline, health, work ethic, goal-setting...
All of that determines the choices that child makes: To pass a test, to do homework, to achieve goals for themselves, to climb to the next rung of the ladder, to have fun and finish work at the same time.
Maybe grandparents did this. Maybe an influential aunt or uncle. Maybe a sibling.

So.
After the family has gone. After the graduate has left for the beach...
Reward yourself.
You did it!
If only in secret, take a moment, DO SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR YOU, and reflect upon what it took to get him/her there.
Know that you have my gratitude for all you did. Congratulations from a partner.

Then, go inspire a young parent to do the same.
Good parents hold our future in their hands.

May they do it all with
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oily Fingers = Happy Artist

One of my beautiful Canadian artist-blogger-friends,Shayla, asked her readers. "What is the strangest thing in your studio?"
I commented: "A CLEAN palette!!!!"


I was in the studio this morning and was puttering.
I had a clean palette.
I had a clean canvas.
Clean hands. Clean clothes.
I was puttering, alright. And nothing else. Blehhhhh....
So, I broke loose and started slapping some paint around in my frustration.
I'm no longer puttering.
Whee.

YES, they're just WIPs that need developing. A LOT of developing. lol~
YES, it will take me DAYS to get this oil paint stain off my hands and nails.
YES, I'm happy.
I did more imperfect paintings to show later, too...






AND, I have more Lurking Temptresses...or should I say more Temptresses Lurking?... in my studio?
Love & Laughter, (& paint-stained hands)
DJ

Monday, May 31, 2010

Rainy Monday in Studio


Lurking Temptress Oil on 20x16 Canvas by DJ

Detail of Lurking Temptress Oil on 20x16 Canvas by DJ

Detail of Lurking Temptress Oil on 20x16 Canvas by DJ
Nothing like a rainy afternoon off from work to send me into the studio.
I began re-working a bad painting and the possiblity of adding a partial portrait came to mind. Since she's supposed to be hiding-in-wait, I wanted to have the face emerging from the brown, so I'm not real happy with the almost white appearance in the photo, but it will be a WIP for now. And that glare on the right is making me absolutely nuts, even after I tried every camera angle to get rid of it.
Over twenty-five years ago, a former art professor mentioned in a critique that my work has a "sophomoric" quality to it. Unfortunately, I listened!
I'd love to shake off that curse this summer and develop a more sophisticated appearance. Any feedback is welcome. I'm thinking I need to paint more consistently and develop my color schemes to see real growth. This will happen after I retire; for now, I'll get in the studio when possible.
This Monday is a holiday in several countries, so I hope your day off is all you need it to be.
And may Peace prevail where you are...
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My IC is Trembling with Fright


It's been so long since I posted any new artwork that I was wondering if I should change the name of my blog from "Studio" to "Garden".
But, I guess I won't since I just threw some paint around on some cardstock to make some sunny sunflowers this afternoon. :-)
Since I'm progressively stuck when it comes to my oils on canvas, I've been creating ATCs for swaps and making smaller "playthings" I enjoy. I started the backgrounds pictured here with some cheap craft acrylic paint and no plans. When the dreaded Inner Critic shows up to block your artwork, there's nothing like playing to foil his efforts.

These will be used as either backgrounds for journal pages, or small works to inspire larger canvas pieces. The first one began with a brush, which I quickly abandoned for my fingers, combined with some stamps and collage.

Chosen tools for pics two & three are fingers and an alphabet stamp. Backgrounds are actually white, not blue. Click on images for details.
So, if your IC tries to tell you things like, "You know your work isn't up to par." or "You're not really going to SHOW that to anyone, are you?" then do whatever it takes to regroup and keep creating:
~Play with paint or paper or cloth.
~Get your hands dirty and finger paint.
~Mix that media.
~Make a few ATCs and mail 'em to someone.
~Scribble and color a journal page for your photos.
~Become that seven-year-old who needs to play with play-dough or glue or crayons.
Your Inner Critic will tremble with every stroke.
Pretty soon, your Creative Confidence will soar with the eagles.
Post the results to share with us. I can't wait to see what you're up to...
Oh, yes!: Before you run off to play, please comment & tell me which sunflower pic you like best.
Thanks for commenting~

Love & Laughter, (& lots of play)
DJ

Monday, May 10, 2010

Well, I Wanted Color


And I got it...
No, these are not from seeds. Those little green sprouts did not spring from my soil.
Yes, I confess: This is a shameless "purchase n plug" act, but I got color!

A new bed dug and planted in one afternoon...Petunias to greet me as I arrive home from work.
Remember this close up of my rose from the last post?
It's doing rather well. Unfortunately, I don't know the name. Bummer.

This plot desperately needs mulch, but the rose will bloom well with all the buds present now.

I'd love advice on pruning, mulching, etc. for roses.Talk to me. K?
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Blood & Sweat But No Tears


The old phrase says "Blood, Sweat, and Tears" but I'm smiling!
My backyard has presented many challenges over the years. Three extremely invasive plants had taken over a lot of my yard when I puchased the property about twelve years ago: Bamboo, Ivy, and Wisteria.
A Bamboo forest that spanned about thirty feet in length by ten feet deep was a kind of towering border on the right. Ivy claimed the left edge of the yard as a border gone wild. And the Wisteria...well, if you know Wisteria, it grew wherever it wanted. Since the previous owners had rented the property, no one bothered to tame these beasts, other than cutting the areas of grass that were trying to hold their ground.
Over the years, much blood, sweat, and tears have been shed in my attempts at taming my backyard. So, you see, when I post pictures of flowers, it's not just a nice picture; it's a Triumph of Spirit!
This Spring is finding me in my backyard once again...
A Wisteria vine was growing up through a Camellia shrub into my large Magnolia tree. My Magnolia tree was in danger, so on April 27th, I decided to do something about it.
(Click on images to enlarge.)
BEFORE:

AFTER:

DETAIL:

The Camellia's hemlines were raised, so I could get to the Wisteria's mother vines to cut off the supply to the vines in my Magnolia. There were briars and other sprouting unlovables that were making the Camellia their support system also. It took a bow saw, a pair of loppers, and a pair of hand-snips to cut through everything there. That long vine in the front is just one of the Wisteria vines that I disconnected, but can't remove without damaging my Magnolia tree.
But, I'm a patient person.

Friends, you know you're "in the zone" when you bleed from a cut on your finger, but the sweat washes it from your hands before you finish working and call it a night.
Opening up the bottom of the Camellia has opened up my backyard space, and inspired me to do more landscaping this Spring. I also love the sculptural look of the exposed branches.
I'll try to post a pic of the cleaned-up version when I clear out more around the shrub.
Right now, I'm too busy tending my wounds and smiling.
Hope you're getting to spend some time just smelling the roses.
Love & Laughter,
DJ