Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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My First Two Weeks With Flora

As promised, I wanted to share with you my progress in Flora Bowley’s Bloom True online class. This class focuses on painting intuitively. That is, listening to your inner voice for direction, practicing non-attachment, getting rid of expectations, and playing. Lots of playing.

Believe me, it is not as easy as it sounds.

Listening to my inner voice isn’t hard. I’ve been doing that for a while now. Practicing non-attachment, not wondering what the final painting will look like, not letting the inner critic get too loud. Those things are much trickier to put into practice. Even playing with paint on the canvas can be a challenge at times.

Our first couple of weeks have been spent getting to know our canvas, putting lots of layers on it, playing with the paint and textures and shapes. Here is my progress so far.

If you have a cat or dog at home, you know they want to help out in the studio.

"I wonder if Mom will let me help her paint?"

“I wonder if Mom will let me help her paint?”

We experiment with how to apply the first layer of paint. Wet on wet and then blindfolded. (Um, just me. Pippin did not participate. Really. Have you tried to blindfold a cat?)

Three Canvases Ready to Go

Three Canvases Ready to Go

After this approach, we work on adding layers. Warm layers, cool layers. Lots of layers. There is no right or wrong way to add layers of paint. Nor is there any magic number for how many layers to put on the canvas. It’s all about play and listening to your intuition.

First Canvas Progress

Here is the paint progression and transformation of the first canvas. (Click on the first image to start the slideshow.)

Second Canvas Progress

I work on at least two canvases at a time. While one canvas is drying, I can paint on another canvas and stay in the flow. (Click on the first image to start the slideshow.)

At this point, the paintings have gone through the “Wow, that’s cool” stage and the “Ew, that is really ugly” stage. Several times. Toward the end of last week I was getting better about practicing non-attachment and allowing myself to say “Wait until tomorrow” before passing too much judgement onto the piece.

Many times, seeing the painting with fresh eyes in the morning has been all it takes to appreciate the process.

I still have no idea where either painting is taking me or what they will look like in the end. And that’s okay.

I’ll leave you with another cute cat picture. Pippin decided if he couldn’t help paint my canvas, he’d get creative with the drop cloth.

PippinGetsCreativeWithFloorTarp


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Expressions of Love Exhibit-Handworks Gallery of American Craft

I took a leap this month and entered one of my Ornimals into an exhibit. I haven’t entered any art into an exhibit in over a year due to some less than favorable experiences. But the exhibit at Handworks came at the right time.

The Expressions of Love exhibit focuses on art made out of love. Love for a family member, a friend, an acquaintance. Someone or some event that represents love in its many forms. Each piece is accompanied by a story. Some are funny. Some bring tears to your eyes. All are heartwarming.

I entered an Ornimal I created in honor of our first cat, Ren. We adopted Ren shortly after getting married and moving to Massachusetts. She was a beautiful calico who traveled with us to five homes and brought us years of joy.

Ren (1985-2010)

Ren (1985-2010)

Ren Remembrance Ornimal(Amy Crawley, 2013)

Ren Remembrance Ornimal
(Amy Crawley, 2013)

Here is the story I wrote to accompany this piece.

I caught your eye at the shelter as I rubbed the cage door. “Take me home” I said. And you did. I cried all the way to my new home.

We lived in a couple of apartments. You let me play in the sink water and sit on top of your fish tank. I told you I was a good hunter.

I cried when you tried to keep me out of your bedroom. You gave in and I slept on your head. From then on we always snuggled at night, keeping each other warm.

Sometimes you would take me on road trips to visit your family. Remember the time I sat on your lap and stared into your eyes while we waited to pay the toll? You got the message.

One day we moved into a big house and I had more places to run and hide. That other cat you adopted scared me. But I forgave you and still slept on your bed.

I got older and my body changed. Some things inside weren’t working right. You found a nice doctor and he tried to make me better.

You were good at giving me shots and feeding me whatever I wanted. But over time, it wasn’t enough. My body was telling me something. It was getting close to my time to leave.

When the end came, you held me close and that nice doctor gave me a shot. My fur felt warmer and my breathing relaxed. And then you helped me cross to a place where I run freely, catch fish in a big tank, and wait to snuggle on your bed again.

Ren Ornimal & Story

Ren Ornimal & Story

ExpressionsOfLoveExhibitEntry

The Expressions of Love exhibit at Handworks Gallery is on display February 2-24. The opening reception is Sunday, February 3, from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. If you’re in the area, stop in to see all the great pieces.

Note: Pieces in the exhibit are not for sale.


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A Wednesday Full of Woody

My deepest heartfelt thanks to everyone who left a comment on my post Preparing to say Goodbye. I appreciate your kinds words and compassion. My friend passed away peacefully on Friday. It was an honor to know her and to have been a participant in her life.

Mr. Woody is recovering and is progressing in the right direction. A change in antibiotics for an underlying infection seems to be working, along with sub-q fluids to keep him hydrated. He must be feeling a bit better because he has carried his toy mouse from one floor to the other and back again.

And I’m back working in the studio making art and working on the business side of my art. A return to some form of normalcy.

I hope to get back to some regular schedule of blogging in the near future as well. Until then, enjoy these pictures of Woody taken over the past few weeks. (Click on a picture to enlarge and to scroll through each image.)

What can I say. The cats are my kids. Spoiled and they know it :-)


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Preparing to Say Goodbye

The spirit of death weighs heavy on me this week. A friend who has been battling cancer for nearly 3 years has entered hospice in preparation for her final days. At home our dear, sweet oldest cat also appears to be preparing us for his last days. I am heartbroken. We knew these times would come. Someday. Yet all the mental preparation in the world really doesn’t prepare you.

Run

I want to run. I want to run hard, fast, and away from the pain that grips my heart. I feel it ache and tears well-up in my eyes. I want to scream and push the pain aside. I want to tell death to F.O.  And then I find a moment of calm. My heart relaxes and relief washes over me. I don’t like this roller coaster. I want to busy myself with something else. I cannot. I must embrace my fear.

Time is Precious

I look back on the days when I would visit my friend. A group was formed after she returned home from surgery. We would take turns visiting, providing food, conversation, helping around the house. Whatever we could do to be of service. It was a bit hard at first. What will I say? What will we talk about? There were good days and not so good days. Months of good health in spite of the situation. Laughter, jokes, walks, and ice cream. Sharing of art. Sharing of spirituality. On the days when I really didn’t feel like going, I was glad I did.

At home, I find myself missing Woody cat, even though he is just one floor below me curled up on our bed. He has fought kidney and thyroid disease for more than a year, but less than two. So many blood tests & pills to give. Through it all he has been our Zen kitty. So tolerant. So accepting. I wonder how I would’ve put up with all he’s gone through. Changes in his health were mostly gradual. And then one day you notice something isn’t right. This latest change happened over last weekend. It is the one I’ve dreaded.

Preparing

How does one prepare to say goodbye? I honestly do not know. This isn’t like “goodbye, I’ll see you later.” This is the final goodbye. I know you won’t be coming back. You tell yourself you’ll be alright. That this is the circle of life. Then you tell yourself that is a bunch of BS. The pain grows stronger inside. The grief. It swells and then I burst.

I’ve spent most days this week in silence. No music. Some TV. Meals are quiet with some conversation. A pall hangs over us. This has been a pretty sucky week. Sometimes it hurts to be a heart-centered person. I know my heart center is large and it absorbs much of the pain and sorrow around me. That is why my heart breaks so easily. I feel it down into my hands and all around my chest.

I wake each morning and thank the Universe for another day. I thank the Universe for bringing my friend and my pet through the night. I spend time thinking of good memories and the joy these two beings brought into my life.

I don’t know if I’m truly prepared for what comes next. I only hope that when it comes, I can let it wash over me. Welcome it. Then let it go.

Woody


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Mothers, Don’t Let Your Kids Grow Up To Be Punk Kitties

A few weeks ago, I introduced you to one of my new Ornimals, the Graduate Owl Ornimal. This piece received good feedback so I decided to make more for the upcoming Graduation season. And then I hit a wee little snag. I couldn’t find any 2″ glass bases in order to make more Graduate Owl Ornimals. I only had two left in my studio and one of those bases was supporting my prototype.

Geez, I really hate it when a good idea comes along and then you can’t find the necessary materials to make more.

I hunted around online, talked to some friends, and finally found a source. Thrilled with finding an online supplier who had the bases in stock, I placed my order. A few days later a box arrived. I anxiously carried it to my studio, opened it up, pulled out one container and said “Oh crap, they’re the wrong size!” And I mean they really were the wrong size by a whole 1/2 an inch.

The thought of returning the bases didn’t cross my mind. I was sure I’d find a way to use these small glass bases. I accepted this as a challenge. Thankfully the creative muse was on my side and within a few days this new little guy was sitting on my worktable.

Punk Kitty

Because of the size of the glass bases, I thought they’d be perfect to make baby ornimals. But something happened on the way from inspiration (a picture of a baby kitten) to action. Introducing Punk Kitty:

Punk Kitty (Amy A. Crawley, 2012)

Punk Kitty Side View (Amy A. Crawley, 2012)

And don’t forget his paws…

Somewhere a proud Tiger Striped mom cat shakes her head and smiles.

And I won’t lay blame for this little guy on Robert Palmer, who happened to be singing away in iTunes while I worked.

As always, thanks for your continued support on this journey. And thanks for stopping by….

Have a great weekend.


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Welcoming a New Brood of Kitties…

Ah spring, when the flowers bloom and baby animals are introduced to the world. Here in my studio this spring I am “birthing” new artwork. So it seems rather fitting that today I introduce you to my newest brood of kitties.

Cat Ornimals In Progress

My large cat ornimals are sculpted with Super Sculpey clay over a glass base. There are several steps involved in the process from prepping the glass to the final curing of the paint. Here are a few in-progress shots.

Cured Cat Ornimal

Cat Ornimals after acrylic wash

Hanging out on the display

Cat Ornimals get some character

A New Brood of Kitties

Though I enjoy sculpting my animals, the real fun happens when I paint on their “fur” and add their eyes. Because each piece is hand sculpted, slight variations occur. That is the nature of sculpting for me. These fur balls were all sculpted in the same week, yet each one has a slight difference in its face that gives each cat its own personality. That personality becomes evident as the painting occurs. Between the sculpting and the painting, I hope to capture some of the humor in the animals.

Cat Ornimals 2012 Group Shot (Amy Crawley)

Grey Tabby Cat Ornimal (Amy Crawley, 2012)

Brown Tabby Cat Ornimal (Amy Crawley, 2012)

Siamese Cat Ornimal (Amy Crawley, 2012)

Tiger Striped Cat Ornimal (Amy Crawley, 2012)

Tuxedo Cat Ornimal (Amy Crawley, 2012)

This first group of five Cat Ornimals will be available for purchase in my ArtFire Studio in a few days. I’ll let you know when they have been added to my online studio.

Next I’ll share with you what happens when life gives you the wrong sized glass base and the creative muse is activated.

As always, thanks for your continued support on this journey. And thanks for stopping by….


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A Chicken and A Cat Walk Into A Bar…

Expecting a little adult humor?

Sorry to disappoint. I’m just popping in to share pictures of my newest Ornimals (Animal Sculpted Ornaments.)

Let’s start with that chicken…

Little Cluck

And the cat…

Tuxedo Cat (sold)

Followed by a bird…

Blue Jay (sold)

And bringing up the rear, a dog…

Golden Lab

Small ornimals (55mm) are $25.00

Large ornimals (67mm) are $30.00

Little Cluck, the Golden Lab, and more will be available for purchase this weekend at Artspace Maynard, my final holiday show of the season.

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