God, artwork, dreams and reality….

Wow, time seems to be having quite a bit of fun with me since my last post on the 3rd of April. My work schedule seems to reflect this. I had one day off on the 3rd, worked 1 day, then 2 days off, worked 1 day, then 2 more days off, then worked 8 days. During each of the two days I had work done on my car, my windshield replaced, and multiple recall items replaced. Thankfully, my insurance covered the windshield and the recall items didn’t cost me anything. While the car was worked on I worked hard doing a much needed cleaning of our home. I still have a bit more to do, however, it feels good that a majority of it has been done. In the midst of all of this I did some artwork, art journaling, designing and focused on a class and some other studying. I’m going to talk about these but not necessarily in that order.

I’ll tackle the studying part first, and if you aren’t interested feel free to skip down to the next topic.

STUDYING:

I’ll give a bit of background. I grew up protestant with a leaning towards Baptist and later non-denomination Christian. The very first church I remember going to wasn’t either one of these, and I’m not sure what denomination it was considered. I remember enjoying Church there because there was no preacher, just elders who ran the church and on occasion invited speakers to our Sunday services. Generally, Sunday service for the family was conducted with someone reading a passage from the bible and different members standing and reading from the bible, intermixed with singing gospel songs. There wasn’t anyone to tell us how to interpret the scripture. Even Sunday school for the kids was an adult reading from the Bible and then talking to the children about what was read, generally they were well known stories, like Noah and the Ark. I believe this early introduction to this type of congregation influenced my opinion of churches later on. I’m not sure what led my parents to switch from that church to a Baptist church but they did. The difference between the two was extreme though as a young person I wasn’t adept at working out why when I had been taught from an early age to not question my parents or adults. I just know I couldn’t fully integrate into the way these later churches were run, not even the non-denominational churches and I tried several of them. This was no reflection upon my belief in God, only in the very nature of how Churches are run and Preachers preach their sermons.

With this being said, it has been years since I stepped into a church. It never fails though that each time I have, I felt there was something fundamentally wrong, because every time I walked out of church I felt worse than when I walked into it. As the years passed I stopped attending church even though I didn’t stop believing in God. I have developed different names to represent God, such as, Universe, which usually is my way of saying Universal Intelligence, or Greater Being, or Great Unknown, and so forth. This is just my way of accepting that there is something unknowable that is greater than all of us. I consider myself spiritual and not religious.

When I am faced with the need to understand something, I don’t rely on what other people say or believe. That has never been my way. Consequently, I research, I observe, I experiment, and I do whatever I can to satisfy that need to understand. It doesn’t matter the topic. Whether it is how a certain art supply will work with or not work with another art supply, or if it is what makes certain people tick or respond in the way they do, including myself, and yes this includes understanding God.

I am often confused as to why I am driven to the need to understand something when I am not at other times. For instance, creativity has always been a part of my life. Throughout my life I’ve used various ways to bring creativity into it. Art, such as drawing and painting, were not part of this between the end of high school and until a few years ago. Oh, for brief periods of only a day or two or a week at the most I might have tried to get back into sketching but I was never driven to understand my need for it until a few years ago. Just as I’m driven now to understand more about God or more importantly my beliefs after years of being absent from any church.

I used to think those years were absent of all desire to understand. When I look back on it now, I believe those years were my period to observe and sometimes experiment. Experimenting was rare however. Observing takes years, at least my way of observing takes years because I’m observing everything around me and storing up inside, my response to what I have observed. Once enough is stored, it then drives me to research, and study whatever I can find, in order to understand what I have observed and continue to observe.

You are probably wondering why or how all of this is related to my belief in God. Well, I’ve spent my whole life observing and storing up information. Now, I am driven to try and understand which means research. I often make this decision subconsciously which the World or Universe, or if you prefer, God responds to. I had no sooner made this decision subconsciously when a resource was made known to me. That resource is a 5 year journey called “Thru the Bible” which contains five years of recordings with Dr. J. Vernon McGee where he takes you through the whole Bible. I tried several times to read the Bible on my own but usually got discouraged and stopped. I don’t think I made it through more than a couple books on my own.

This journey I began on the 5th of April is different from all my other attempts to read the Bible from the beginning to the end. I’m not saying I agree with everything McGee says in the recordings but what I am finding is because these are recordings I’m able to slow down, listen to what he says about the chapter I read, and allow my own intelligence and spiritual guidance to come to my own interpretation. I write down notes which contains my questions, how I understand what I read or what I’m lead to understand.

When I say lead, I’m not talking about just McGee’s comments because more often than not his comments spark more questions which are often not in alignment with his interpretation. I’m finally understanding that I am quite literal. If McGee’s interpretation contains within it something that is not stated in the scripture I just read and he gives no supporting scripture, I tend to discard his interpretation or parts of it, unless I come across scripture that later supports his interpretation. I know he comes from years and years of study, schooling and experience but that doesn’t mean he is right in everything he says. In fact, I often find he has very condescending and what I feel are judgemental statements which tend to rub me the wrong way. I take that as a sign to explore more and so I do.

I have considered not listening any further to his recordings, however, if I did, then I would not have the catalyst I need. I know this because I start my study period by first reading the chapter. After reading the chapter I usually have little insight. When I follow that by listening to the recordings for that chapter while making notes, I gain more insight and understanding. It doesn’t stop there, sometimes the rest of my day I find myself often contemplating what I am learning. If I only read the chapter I would probably lose out on a good 75% of what I learn when I allow McGee’s comments to trigger the opening of doors to further understanding.

This will be a three to five year journey of studying the Bible (from beginning to end) and possibly other resources as I come across them. I am curious if this will somehow work its way into my artwork and whether it will become a life long journey. I do know this journey will not be an easy one because it has already created some amazing shifts in my understanding and reality.

When I enter into something that creates such major shifts, time flows strangely and the world around me alters in unexpected ways.

ARTWORK:

Last time, I started a page in my watercolor art journal, in an attempt to go lighter with the watercolor pigments that I did on my previous page. I had shown this picture of the first layer of watercolor:

IMG_1364

Though the image shows a light blue in the colors there really wasn’t any. It was the untouched watercolor paper or areas barely touched by paint that showed up with a blue tint. Seeing this in the photo made me want to play with adding other colors.

You can see in the below image where I added some blue and some more yellow. In some places where the blue touched yellow, the mix created a green or blue-green color. I let some of the blue run or drip. I then let it dry.

IMG_1365

Once it was dry, I used a graphite pencil to create some shapes, then used white acrylic paint around the shapes, trying to bring them forward. I didn’t want to cover the whole background with this layer of white so I left some areas alone.

It has probably been a week since I worked on this page. I’m still trying to decide what to do next. I’m thinking doodles. In the meantime, and in between my studies and art journaling, I was lead to focusing on a class.

CLASS & Journaling:

In December 2017, I purchased the Art Bundle for Good. I learned about the Art Bundle in early 2017 and made my first purchase. The Art Bundle for Good is a project created or organized by John Bardos which provides some amazing art resources at an unbelievable discount and portions go to a worthy charity. When I first learned about it, I wasn’t sure about it but gave it a try and now I’m so glad I did. Having purchased two of the Art Bundles I’m amazed and thrilled with all that is included. I have resources that will last me for years so even if I can’t purchase another art class, there are enough courses in the two Art Bundles to keep me busy for a long time.

From one of these resources I received an email stating that Dream Lab was shutting down. I had only glanced at this opportunity when I went through the process to acquire the courses provided from the Art Bundle in December. I quickly emailed the owner, Andrea Schroeder asking if I would lose access to the courses. She quickly replied, stating no, that she was just altering the free course she had available, basically upgrading it and changing its name.

What this email did was to make me look at the courses I received from Andrea in the Art Bundle to see how they fit in my current life. I admit, I have been struggling with attracting what I want to have in my life, so when I saw the email and reviewed the courses, I thought “why not”. It couldn’t hurt. The course I’m talking about is “Creative Dream Incubator”. Her approach is very simple and what I love most about her lesson is the simplicity of it. Her artwork may not look like what I would create but it shows me that it doesn’t have to be elaborate or a masterpiece. People with little to no art skills can use her methods and techniques in helping to bring about a particular dream they may be struggling with developing and want to have in their life. I do believe it is based on the law of attraction but she takes it down to a more simplistic level for those who are not accustomed to or understanding what all is involved in the law of attraction. She provides simple tools you can learn to apply in your everyday life. I am up to module three. There are six modules in total.

I will admit that even with the simple methods I’m still learning how to apply them every day. I need to find ways that work for me. What I find interesting is in the artwork in particular I have added some of the steps before I read the module where she suggests adding particular things. So for me the artwork for supporting my dream comes naturally while the rest of the supporting elements doesn’t. I believe this is due to my being taught to not ask questions when I was a child and due to my environment causing me to focus on the negative instead of the positive things in life. I am hoping these methods will help me to alter that aspect of myself.

I won’t be adding pictures of this lesson for two reasons. The first is I feel the need to keep it private but wanted to write about the class in case others might be struggling with similar issues and want to give it a try. The other reason is Andrea worked hard on these courses and the pictures would be giving away too much of her hard work. I am recording my progress in my journal, which is the journal I use almost daily and my version of a bullet journal. This class isn’t just helping me with learning how to create my dream but it is also helping me to learn ways in which I can use my journal to support those dreams.

OTHER:

For a while now, I’ve had a couple things on my mind. Stencils/Masks and stamps. I read an article in the March/April 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors called “Printing Lab: Carved Monotypes” by Dawn Emerson. Even before reading the article I have been wanting to find a way to make my own stamps. I have already made a few of my own stencils and masks, which I want to continue to do.

I don’t know why but this is something I keep putting off. There was a discussion in one of the groups on Facebook about copyright issues when using commercial stamps and stencils in artwork people want to sell. Like others I feel it is crazy when a product you buy can’t be used in your own artwork that you want to sell, especially if the person selling the artwork isn’t just selling a print of the image but has added their own artwork as well. I won’t go into the legalities of this. It is too complicated and too volatile of a topic.

I have in the past purchased some stencils and stamps. I use them only for my personal artwork. Since I don’t currently sell any artwork, it isn’t an issue. From the very start of getting into mixed media I have always felt the need to have everything in my artwork be my unique artwork. This is just one of the many reasons I also don’t do collage very much using commercially created items. I won’t get into that either. With wanting my artwork to be my own unique artwork it means if I want to use stenciling/masking or stamping techniques and collage techniques then I need to create my own. There is one benefit to making my own. I can do it cost effectively.

Below are two of my new stencil designs. I drew them on regular printer paper using pencil, then went over the final design in ink and scanned them into my computer. Scanning them serves a few purposes. It saves them in case the original copy gets destroyed. I can increase or decrease their size or even use just a portion of the design. I could potentially sell the design too. If printed at original size on 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper there is a small border around the edge which may not show up in this image.

Stencil1 copy

Stencil2 copy

I hope to use some of my images from Inktober 2017 to create stamps. You can see the images from Inktober 2017 here.  This takes me back to the article I read in Cloth Paper Scissors. In the article the artist created a monoprint from an image she carved into wood. This gave me the idea to try and use my wood burning tool to carve an image into a small piece of wood, seal it, and use it as a sort of stamp. I haven’t tried this yet but plan to in the near future. I also picked up some carving material used to make stamps so I can experiment to decide which method works best. It is possible one works best for certain applications while the other works best for other types of applications. I’m excited to give this a try and see what develops.

I often feel like I’m not doing much when it comes to my creativity. To alleviate me of this perception I started listing in my daily journal the things I have done that day. Sometimes, it is true, that I haven’t done any artwork but there is creativity in almost everything we do. Sometimes I have to get creative in accomplishing the mundane things in my life. Creating this list also helps me to see when other things have taken precedent and it is generally easy to see why.

I leave you on that note now. My studies call to me as well as those mundane things in life that need to be taken care of. Feel free to comment. Hearing from those who take the time to read my post is one of the more simpler joys in life.

❤ ❤ ❤

Selling art….

My journey as an artist had begun with just wanting to awaken my inner artist. This journey started by simply learning to doodle by following some simple step out instructions on tanglepatterns.com . This was simple enough and soon expanded into learning how to draw mandalas.

I couldn’t stop there and soon developed into a full fledged adventure into all different mediums in the art world. I learned about mixed media art which appealed to my inner artist because, and to be quite frank, I’m just not a one medium girl. Even though I had some preconceived ideas that some mediums wouldn’t get along with me very well, I was soon to discover those ideas had no foundation to stand upon.

I ventured into all sorts of mediums and found some I am falling in love with. Acrylics and watercolors are probably my top two favorites right now. I’m also learning I love abstract painting as well as portrait painting. Who knew the two would get along? I sure didn’t when I first started this adventure of mine.

There are other things I am discovering along the way. As the saying goes, when one door closes another one opens and that couldn’t be more true in my case.

When I lost my job of 33 years, I was devastated. I worked in a field where the youngest in our field were all of retirement age. I thought this gave me job security since I was one of the youngest. I soon learned this wasn’t the case. Finding a job in the same field meant moving, uprooting, and still facing the same job insecurity.

I wondered if I could earn any money from my artwork. I was doubtful. I wasn’t a fool to believe my art was anything close to being a master piece or even desirable to be mounted on someone’s wall. That didn’t stop me from continuing to do my own thing and create art the way I wanted to. I had to have faith that something would work out for me.

The harder I worked at finding a job in mainstream typical employment world, the more I found rejection and disappointment which fueled my desperate mind. Even the government services couldn’t help me in my present situation. It has to get much worse before they will step in to help. So, I began looking at alternatives.

Once I agreed to make an important step into devoting the rest of my life to my creativity and artwork, things started happening. I wanted, really wanted to be able to sign up for Ever After 2016, an art course put together by Tamara Laporte. She is a phenomenal artist. Her style is whimsical. When I first came across her, though I loved her work, I was sure it wasn’t my style. But, I decided to take one of her free courses. Mostly because she also believes in using artwork to help heal emotional trauma. I had blocks from way back in my childhood I had trouble getting past and I thought, why not, it couldn’t hurt. So I took her Art, Heart and Healing course. You can find a list of her classes here, including her free courses.

I was blown away by the class. The amount of content she offered for this free class was amazing, so I signed up for some more classes. While I was still able, I signed up for Life Book 2017, thinking it would be the last class I could ever pay for until I had some steady income coming in. I also thought it would give me something to focus on for 2017, something good and uplifting, if things didn’t go well in the job search.

Then I heard about Ever After 2017. I had heard a bit about Ever After 2016, bits and pieces which at first had not appealed to me, until I had actually completed the Art, Heart and Healing class. Then while doing the lessons in Life Book 2017, I became hooked. The more I learned about Ever After 2017, the more I wished I could purchase the course. What I love about Tam is once you purchase her courses they are available forever. You can download all the videos and files and have access to them forever. Plus they will be available online in your account for as long as the site is kept up and running. The point is, I can download them and have them even if she chooses to close up shop.

I wanted Ever After 2017. I didn’t see how I could afford it. Tam is a generous entrepreneur. She gathers a lot of different artists to participate in Ever After and each instructor was given the opportunity to give away a free seat in the class. They did a blog hop to promote the course and to give away the seats. I decided to follow the blog hop and for each instructor, I followed the instructions required to enter the give-away.

When one door closes, another door opens, AND IT DID! I WON A SEAT in the course.

Then as I continued to work on my art and research ways to promote my art, I discovered something else. I discovered from some posts in a Facebook group I am a part of, a discussion about a few websites that allow you to post your art and sell it on their range of products. I looked into a couple of the sites but focused on Society6.

You may have noticed the picture on my sidebar of a t-shirt with Society6 across the picture. The t-shirt is covered in my artwork. This is my actual handmade abstract artwork that can now be purchased on various products on Society6 . I have other artwork available there as well. It isn’t just clothing. They sell, phone covers, art prints on canvas, framed or not framed, pillows, comforters, shower curtains, on and on. Go check it out. I am blown away by how well my artwork looks on the t-shirt and leggings, as well as blankets and pillows and so much more. I would love to buy my own but that will have to wait until I am earning an income.

If you love my artwork, please share this post, and my Society6 store with anyone you know and tell them to share it too if they like it. Here are two pictures of t-shirts with two other designs.

   

~Patti