Success!

The fundraiser was a success!  We were able to raise nearly two thousand dollars for the young woman who fell from the roof.   She broke both feet, ankles, legs in several places and four vertebrae in her spine.

It was a wonderfully fulfilling experience to help another person like that.  I always feel such a boost when I can participate in something so totally worthwhile and helpful.  Jackie is such a joy and lights up an entire room with her smile.  To help her was an honor and privilege.

Thank you to all who donated to this wonderful woman’s medical fund.  Every bit is very much appreciated!

Blessings to you all.

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Busy, Busy, Busy!

This has been a very busy couple of weeks for me.  I am helping a friend with a fundraiser, I am sorting and pricing stuff for the massive garage sale we are having tomorrow and Sunday, I am organizing my workroom-getting rid of lots of stuff, and I have been painting daily.

These things are great, but I feel summer has passed me by.  It began with moving my parents into their new home, and now it’s the end of August…Where did the time go?

Organization tips:

Make sure you have the space to put stuff before you move all the stuff into the space which turns out to be far to small for your plan.  This forces you to re-do your organizational plan, move everything again, and is a gigantic pain in the backside.  Learn from my mistakes people!

Books are wonderful, but take up a tremendous amount of space.  Better to keep those books which are special to you and get rid of the rest.  Read on your tablet or Kindle, which take up almost no space and will hold an entire library of books.

Your local high school’s theatre program might be very interested in your stuff.  Things like sewing patterns, fabric, furniture, household items like curtains and tablecloths, non-breakable dishes and glasses, etc. are all items used often.  Make sure you check with the school before you donate your stuff-they may not have the storage needed for these things.

Another idea is to donate your latex paint to the theatre dept.  You would be amazed at the amount of paint needed to paint sets and props.  I recommend donating only water-based materials, as it took me years to get all of the oil-based paints out of our scene shop.  If you have oil-based paints and solvents you can donate them to Habitat for Humanity stores in your area.

Quick DIY Stay Wet Palette

I have been creating acrylic paintings like a fiend.  I am, on average, making 3 16 x 20 acrylic paintings per day.  I am trying to find a way to use a wet-palette for my acrylics, as I am using up tons of paint each day.

Clive5art is an artist I really enjoy on You Tube.  He has a wet palette he uses, which is metal.  Here’s where the idea came from, as I have never used a wet palette before.

I have plastic boxes which hold 12×12 scrapbook papers.  They open up, but I have them in a storage container, which makes the tops frustrating for me.  I have removed them.  This removed top is what I used this morning to make the wet palette.

I would recommend using a cheap, disposable food storage box which you can pick up at the Dollar Tree for a buck.  I didn’t have one available today, so I used what I did have.

Cheap chamois-type cloths are available at the Dollar Tree as well.  It is called the Hardware + Mechanics Shammy.  I used this, cut to fit my plastic top.  I moistened this with distilled water.  On top of this I added parchment paper, also from the Dollar Tree.  My box top is larger than my paper, so I just put on two sheets and overlapped them.  I sprayed them lightly with my spray bottle of distilled water to moisten them before I added my paint.

Then I added my paint and created the ballet shoes, which is Cinnamon Cooney’s original design.  I am creating all these paintings for a fund raiser for one of my theatre kids who has been in a horrific accident.  She broke both legs, both ankles and 3 or 4 vertebrae in her back.  I contacted Cinnamon and asked permission to use her original designs for this purpose.  She was very gracious and agreed enthusiastically!

Here are some of the paintings I have made so far:

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Tardis, theartsherpa original design
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Red Riding Hood, theartsherpa original design

I will only sell those paintings, which are not my original designs, with the permission of the original artist.  I will not use anyone’s designs and sell them without permission.  Just so you know.

This is one thing that I find very important.  Respecting the work of artists.  They make a huge effort to create their original artwork and it is just flat-out wrong to take their designs and then sell it for profit.  (In my case I am selling these things for charity, but you take my meaning here.)  Please, when you are painting something from a you-tube video or from something you have seen on-line, do not sell that art work unless you have permission to do so.  This should go without saying, but it happens all the time.

I have to say I enjoy spatter painting.  This is a technique I have used many times, but never as an art piece.  I found I enjoyed the freedom and randomness of the technique and hope to continue creating more pieces this way.  I will share my original designs and art work with you, as well as the pieces I have been creating for the fund raiser.

Please share any of your art work here as well.  We are a creative group and encouraging each other in our art journey is a good thing.

Have a creative and blessed day!

Make Art Everyday Challenge

The “make art everyday” challenge continues for me.  I have been creating like crazy.  Today was the Eiffel Tower, Alice in Wonderland, and Sunset and Shadows.  Yesterday was the star ship, Enterprise and the Lion King, the Sea Turtle and a fire-breathing dragon.  The week has been packed with painting and creating.

We are having a garage sale to raise money for our puppetry group.  We hope to go to the National Convention, which is quite costly.  Our goal is to raise money for the trip and for the materials needed to create puppets.  The materials are expensive.

So, in the spirit of cooperation and joining together with my fellow puppeteers, I have enthusiastically embraced the garage sale idea.

What a joke-I just want all this crap out of my house!

Since Bill and Joe live about 40-45 minutes from my home, this is a significant undertaking.  I have brought a couple of car loads over there, but yesterday was the largest delivery yet.  A pick up truck and trailer filled with stuff has left this place and gone on to the garage sale at Bill’s.  The trailer will be parked here for me to re-load and haul back to Bill’s every time it’s filled.

I hope to fill it every single day.  We will have to store the stuff on the lawn, covered with tarps.  There is no where else for it to go.

Then on the 27th and 28th, Yard Sale!!!

Tornado, Part Three?

I can’t believe I am writing this again, but a tornado went through today.  This time there is a lot of damage to property in our area, thousands without power and we were, again, very fortunate.  Nothing was damaged for us this time around, but there is significant damage where the tornado touched down short distances from us.

I have lived here my entire life and I have never experienced a summer with this type of tornado activity.  In fact it is rare we have tornado sightings, much less have them touch down on the ground.  This is quite a shock for us all.

And, of course, our youngest daughter(who just got back from being a camp counselor in the U.P.) had things to do today and took off in her car.  Which promptly died along side the highway.  During the severe weather.  I was a wreck!

We just returned from towing it back home from it’s place of death along side the highway.

People are idiots.

There we were, attempting to get the dead car on the car dolly, and vehicles were flying past us at 85 miles per hour.

Inches from us.

It was unsettling and I have a tremendous respect for road construction workers.  What a harrowing experience that must be everyday.  I could not stand the stress.

 

Under the Table

Here we are, in the basement beneath a table, waiting out the tornado warning.  A tornado was sighted, moving straight for us at 25 miles per hour.

The weather around here has been weird.  Really weird.

It is dry as tinder, with almost no rain.

Days later:

Here’s an update.  While I was sitting here typing the above stuff, my daughter heard a noise in the other room.  She went to look and we had 4 inches of water in the half of our basement which holds my second daughter’s bedroom and our back storage room.  That room contains the furnace, chest freezers, my woodworking stuff, my husbands sign making materials and work space, my extra materials and supplies which won’t fit in this workroom, our exercise equipment and the kids extra toys.

All flooded.

To a rather breathtaking extent, really.

I phoned our insurance company and was told flooding is not covered under any home owners insurance policy in the United States and that without an added policy which specifies flooding, we were out of luck.

I explained the branch that broke the window which let the water in should surely be covered by our homeowners policy.  Actually, no, I was informed.

So I asked why on earth I have spent 30 years purchasing home owners insurance, if not to be protected from this exact type of situation.  I asked: “If the tornado had taken the roof off the house, that would be covered but the water damage caused by the lack of roof would not be covered?  Is this correct?”  Apparently, that would be a different situation.  But, not all things are covered under a typical home owners policy.

The woman on the phone said, “Well, you know we were struck by lightening and…”  I interrupted.  I said, “We have been struck by lightening 7 times since building this house and we have never pursued a claim for any of it.  I want to know exactly what I am paying home owners insurance for.”

Ignoring that, she said, “You also have a $1000.00 dollar deductible.  Do you really think you have more than one thousand dollars worth of damage?”

So I begin adding up the damage I can see while on the phone:

Busted window, all our stuff in 4″ of water, all my daughters books standing in water, the clean up and cost of repairs to the drywall and trim…So, yeah, pretty sure it’s more than a thousand bucks.

Then she said the thing that really ticked me off:  “Well, at least no one was injured…That’s a blessing.”

Absolutely, that is a blessing.  Absolutely, I am thankful no one was injured.  But I was also standing in a flooded home, with a huge mess and countless hours of work ahead of me to clean it up.

Sometimes things are bad enough just the way they are.

To have a smug office person instruct me to remember my blessings in the face of catastrophe was really more than I could take.  I wanted to get in my car, go to that office and indulge in a heated screaming moment.

Of course, I did not do that.  I, instead, went and rented the carpet cleaner.  I used it to suck up the vast amount of water in the basement.  Then we emptied the destroyed stuff out of the house, laid out the savable stuff to dry and put on all the fans we could get our hands on.

Then we fell into bed, exhausted.

My heart is broken for all those who are experiencing the tragedy of flooding across our country.  My prayers are with them all.

Artistic Expression and a Broken Tooth

So here’s the deal:  I am deciding which direction I want to go as an artist-which I don’t feel I am at all.

I am a hack.  A pretender.  An utter fraud.

And that voice in my head needs to shut up.

Because I am an artist.

I have ideas and plans for work.  I have passion and desire to create.  I have supplies and materials with which to experiment.  I want to make my living with my art, although that is not my primary motivation.  My motivation is to offer my own artistic voice to the conversation.

Why am I discussing this today?

Because there are skills I lack in areas I want to excel.  Because I began comparing my self and my work with other artists and I found my own lacking in every way.  Because I broke a tooth and am in quite a bit of pain right now, which makes me prone to negative self talk.

Side note:  for those of you living with chronic pain-I understand.  I really, really do.  One of the best ways I have found to combat the daily effects of debilitating pain is to be creative.  When I am creating something, my focus is not on what my body is telling me but what my spirit is releasing.  It is truly a spiritual experience for me.

There are ways I cope with chronic pain-without the use of narcotics.  I find them useless for even touching the pain I have experienced for nearly 35 years.  I have never actually had a pain medication get rid of my pain.  It just makes me stoned so I don’t care as much about it.  And why do I want to further destroy my liver and kidneys taking medications which do not work?  I don’t, so I don’t.

Back to coping with chronic pain.  Here are some things you won’t want to hear.

Get moving.

Using your body, in spite of the pain, will give you both a sense of accomplishment and will ease the pain wracking your body.

Truly.

I promise.

No one else can do it for you.  The only way to improve your quality of life is to make the changes necessary to do that.  The ball is in your court and only you have the power to make your life better.  Others cannot want it for you more than you want it for yourself.

Yes, there are days when the pain is excruciating and you want to curl up and die from it.  I have often been amazed that my body can continue to survive with the amount of pain I live with, but, apparently you don’t die from pain.  And my pain tolerance is off the charts, which comes from the constant endurance of it.  Your mind will eventually shut it off.  It simply won’t recognize the level of pain you are experiencing and you can go on.

This mental game can be exhausting and there are times when a new pain will occur, and it tumbles your blocks.  Levels your carefully constructed brain pain management.  Tips the scale.

Like a broken tooth, which may or may not be horribly painful in and of itself.  But that extra pain upsets your apple cart and you are then hit with ALL the pain you’ve been holding off with your brain game.

Which is today for me.

Which brings me to my self-abusing self talk.

When I am vulnerable because of the pain, I become my own worst enemy.  I will do just about anything to take myself out of the world of pain-even if that may be self destructive.   For example:  comparing myself and my work to other artistic people.  Very easy to do when you have the internet and are in so much pain you cannot escape it.  You can’t sleep, can’t find something to pull you from the anguish you are enduring, and you just end up wandering around the internet hoping for distraction.

And you will find it.

That is not necessarily a good thing.  Because in my quest for distraction, I don’t see and appreciate the beauty of another artists work.  I only see where my own does not reach that level and then begin the destructive self-talk I mentioned earlier.

Ridiculous!

Every artistic person has their own voice.  Their own way of expressing their creativity.  Their own unique style and perspective.  (Which brings me to another complaint about myself-actual perspective in a painting.  Perspective twists my brain into mushy spaghetti noodles.)

But I digress.

Another frustration when dealing with pain.  Inability to focus and concentrate.

Creative expression is not dependent upon finances either.  There are artists out there in the real world who can create magnificence from the burned end of a stick and a found piece of newspaper.

Some of the most amazing artwork I’ve ever seen is what rolls by me on a railroad track on the sides of the train cars.  Graffiti is amazingly detailed and wonderfully unique.  Since  I live in a tiny farming community, we don’t have graffiti around here.  I am awed by the talent these spray paint artists have.  Some of the work is absolutely breathtaking.

They have found their own artistic voice.  Their medium and their style.  Brilliant.

I am currently creating several paintings a day.  Three or four 16 x 20 canvasses.  This is both a way to distract myself and a way to hone skills I need to accomplish my goals.  Practice makes perfect, so I practice, practice, practice.

But I will never be great.  I will always be a person with a smidge of natural ability and a Dutch work ethic.

I hope it’s enough.