Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Sketching: Making It A Practice

Well, it didn’t take too long before I faced potential boredom with my sketching. In the days after returning from France, I looked around my house and thought “what is so interesting here that I’d want to sketch it?”

There-in lies the rub. It isn’t so much a matter of what looks interesting to sketch, it is a matter of making it a practice no matter what the subject matter. If the only reason I sketch is because the subject is interesting, I would’ve quit long ago. (And, in fact, I did quit sketching, several times in the past.)

This is when I had the bright idea to use themes or topics as my basis for sketching. Deciding on a theme or topic is a challenge in itself, however, it seems to be working for now.

The “What Do I Want To Sketch?” Phase

Glass Vases

Pear

Remote

Meals

Sunday breakfast

Salad

Breakfast bowl

Place setting

Cloth Napkin

Flowers

Sunflower

Globe Thistle

Did you know that Globe Thistle are made up of multiple tiny five petal flowers, like tiny stars? One of my favorite flowers and I never looked so closely at them until I tried to draw one.

Bee Balm

Another favorite flower whose petals sparked an idea in my head for an art doll.

Until my next post,

A bientot.


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Sketches from France

Before I left for France, I bought a small sketchbook. My intent was to draw in the sketchbook each day during my trip. I covered the sketchbook with a photo of a modern look French woman, packed my micron pens, and packed the sketchbook in my back pack.

We arrived in France, I move my sketchbook from the backpack to my purse, and there it remained, untouched, for 3 days. (I recall an art teacher telling me that she didn’t encourage students to take a bunch of drawing supplies on vacation because you put pressure on yourself to draw, which usually doesn’t happen, and then you feel guilty.)

As the end of our field trip to Albi drew to a close, we met Dayle at the appointed location. Dayle was sketching in her sketchbook. I promptly announced that I had also brought my sketchbook. Dayle asked, “Have you sketched anything?”

“Um, no. I haven’t used it.” I said.

Half jokingly, Dayle tasked me with sketching the facade of the St. Cecile Cathedral that stood a short distance from us.

Settling into my chair while we waited for the rest of our group to gather, I deferred Dayle’s challenge and opted instead for a set of shutters on a building directly across from us.

Shutters in Albi

And thus began my journey to sketch on an almost daily basis. Doing the first sketch reminded me, once again, that I do like to draw. In my senior year of high school, I was told during a critique with my art teacher that I couldn’t draw. Once I graduated high school, I avoided doing anything artistic.

Eventually, I came back to the arts and I’ve since forgiven that teacher for her cruel, nonconstructive words. I’ve tried the daily sketch task in the past, but it never stuck. After all, how many sketches can one make of their teacup, their breakfast, or the cats that never hold a pose.

But in France, it worked. And I’ve continued this practice now that I’m home. Though now that I’m home, I told myself that I’d like to do a sketch at least three times a week. That keeps my intention from feeling like a burden. I also received a little bit of advice from Dayle (paraphrased) that makes sketching a bit more fun: “Don’t worry about your sketch looking like reality.”

Below are more sketches that I did during our time in France. I’ll also share some of my sketches from home in future posts.

La Cascade Dinner Bell

Dining Room Chair

This sketch taught me that I’d completely forgotten how to draw perspective. An a-ha moment. Be a better observer.

Wicker Basket on Stool

This one is my favorite. Maybe I should sketch at night instead of first thing in the morning?

La Cascade Door Knocker

Hotel Night Table Lamp

Buddha Head

Until my next post,

A bientot


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Monday Reflection: Loving Kindness

The following is one of my favorite mantras. It is calming, brings you to your center, and simply feels good when said aloud or silently.

May I be filled with loving kindess.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May I be happy.

Begin by saying the phrases directed to yourself. Begin with yourself because without loving yourself, it is almost impossible to love others.

Then, expand the mantra as follows by directing it to others:

May you be filled with loving kindess.
May you be well.
May you be peaceful and at ease.
May you be happy.

May we be filled with loving kindess.
May we be well.
May we be peaceful and at ease.
May we be happy.


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Monday Reflection: Begin The Journey

It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work,
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.

~Wendell Berry


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The End Times

“This is the end, beautiful friend, this is the end.”
-The End by The Doors

So you’ve probably heard about this little “event” that is supposed to take place today; the end times, the beginning of the end, or the rapture. In fact, as I write this, calamity should be coursing its way around the globe, beginning in New Zealand at 6:00pm local time. I didn’t realize that God conducted His business by time zones.

At first I was both amused and annoyed at all the attention this has received. Amused at people’s humorous take on these predictions, such as the CDC’s Zombie Apocalypse blog post (which does include beneficial information on preparing for a natural disaster), the Post Rapture Looting page on Facebook (absurd but not something I condone; looting is looting and not funny), choosing your song for the end of the world, and the Rapture Prank, which advises leaving clothes strewn about on the sidewalk as if someone just went “poof.”

My annoyance came at all the attention this particular group has received. I was concerned that the media and social networking promotion of this alleged event only reinforced this group’s beliefs. Then I thought of other extreme groups like Jim Jones and the Jonestown Massacre and how I would hate to see anyone who supports this prediction of the end times kill themselves. (The Jonestown Massacre was not related to an end times prophecy. However, I do believe one must be concerned about how someone potentially reacts when they realize the prophecy did not manifest itself.)

Maybe, then, all the attention is a good thing in an odd sort of way.

I’m not passing judgement on anyone for their beliefs. That’s supposed to be reserved for the Big Guy/Gal or whatever you choose to believe in (or not.) However, I’ve read that those who believe in this prediction plan to sit in front of their televisions watching the destruction. Another believer asked “Would you continue business as usual?”

Well, I have no desire to watch the destruction of others. My take away from all of this is to live life to the fullest. Express your love and gratitude for all that is around you. To me, that is continuing “business as usual.” I don’t think any ethereal entity wants us sitting around thinking about the end. We’re human BEings. We live, we love, we struggle. When the end comes, it comes.

And if this is the beginning of the end and the end is due to arrive in October, I ask that it wait until after my birthday :-0


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Art Studio Makeover: Before and After Part 1

The studio painting is done! Woo-hoo! I’m loving the color.

Now I’m dealing with the blank canvas equivalent. I call it empty studio syndrome. The new studio color is so nice and fresh that I don’t want to muck it up by hanging things on the wall and filling the studio with clutter.

I’ve been perusing Studio magazines, and the IKEA, Container Store, Home Improvements, and Solutions catalogs. I’m thinking about switching my regular work table for a work bench. My punch list has been written and I know I’ll be adding to it.

For now, I’ll share with you the nearly empty studio before and after pictures.

BEFORE

Rear Wall Studio Before New Paint

Studio Center Before

Studio Front Wall Before

AFTER

Studio Rear Wall After Paint

Studio Center After

Studio Front Wall After

I love how a fresh colorful coat of paint can transform a room. What do you think?

Looking for more art studio inspiration? Check out Libby Mill’s Studio Snapshot series. My studio was featured in this series in June, 2008


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Just Because I’m an Artist Doesn’t Mean I Can’t Be Color Challenged

Just because I’m an artist, that doesn’t mean I can’t be color challenged. That is definitely how I’ve felt in choosing a new wall color for my studio. I never thought it would be so difficult to choose a paint color. I’m an artist, right? I work with color all the time. I choose colors for my artwork, often working intuitively, mixing and blending until the colors evoke the feeling of the piece. This should be a piece of cake.

My studio is on the third floor. It has nice natural light but can feel a little cold in the winter. The current wall color is builder basic: antique white; a very light yellow. Flat. Dull. Boring.

I had an idea of what color I wanted for my studio walls. I love the Tuscan yellows and golds and thought they would warm up the walls. So I brought home a bunch of sample chips in that color family.

Then the clerk at the local Ace Hardware tells me they loan out the color books at the store. These books have 8″x8″ color samples. It will make choosing a color easier because of the larger sample. Hang it on the wall. See it at different times of day and in different light.

Right.

Next thing I know I’ve pulled 17 samples from the book that contained most of my color preferences. 17 colors stuck to my studio walls. This is not going to be easy.

After a process of elimination and asking artist friends for their input, I narrowed down my color choices to three. Then off I went to the paint store to purchase small cans of paint in my chosen colors, some small rollers, and a paint tray.

First, I thought I’d go bold. I tried out the sample called August Morning, a dark orangey-gold looking color.

August Morning Paint Sample

And this is how the paint sample looked on the wall:

August Morning (with camera flash)

August Morning (no camera flash)

Yep, it’s dark orange. It’s pretty bold and intense. My first warning came when I opened the paint can and saw orange sherbet.

Fail.

Next up was Golden Mist. Golden Mist was a wild-card choice. I saw it at the last minute in one of my many swatches. Still being in a bold mood, I gave it a go.

Golden Mist Paint Sample

The sample fit my original thought of something Tuscan-like. And then I put it on the wall.

Golden Mist (no camera flash)

Golden Mist (with camera flash)

This color was deceiving out of the can. It looked much lighter as I stirred it. But when paint met the wall, it became this deep gold color with a touch of magenta in the base mix. Initially I thought it was a color I could live with. Yet as the weekend grew longer and I tried to picture this color on all the studio walls, I started to feel claustrophobic and shut in.

Failure #2.

On Sunday I put Crisp Straw, choice #3, on the wall. I was a little leary because the base mix included orange, yellow, and gray!

Crisp Straw Paint Sample

When I look at this sample, it looks like straw; a light colored beige with a hint of yellow. And then I put it on the wall.

Crisp Straw

Crisp Straw is a soft peach! I couldn’t believe it. Since when does the color “straw” look like the color “peach?” In this picture, it looks a little fleshy.

But the third time was the charm. Crisp Straw presented as a soft, warm, feminine color. Just the right amount of warmth and color for the studio walls without being too bold or too dark. And it won’t make me feel claustrophobic.

I chuckled as my original paint idea morphed into something I really had not considered. And a wave of relief came over me as well. I had felt completely frustrated by the fact that I couldn’t find a color I liked. That little voice of failure was speaking up, mocking me as an artist who couldn’t choose a simple color.

While I had decided early on not to lose sleep over the situation, I was worried that the painters would arrive and I’d still be undecided. Or I’d have to go with a back up plan: something neutral, in beige.

So, there you have it. An artist can indeed be color challenged. Perhaps our love of color can also be a hindrance. Fortunately, I found a color I liked and that I can live with for the next few years.

Three Color Samples on Wall