Category Archives: Just Thinkin

Ho Ho Ho – Art Journaling We Will Go

artjournalbags

A couple of months ago, on a whim, and because the Santa Fe Art Journaling Retreat was coming up, I did a post about my favorite artist-made art journaling bags – which I sell at my gallery.

I said I would place a custom order and you all blew me away with your enthusiastic response. I also blew the artist away by placing such a large order. But she recovered.

I then reordered for my gallery, but the Retreat students wiped that order out before it ever got to the gallery.

These are GREAT bags that weigh almost nothing.. See the full description in this post:

http://www.wisdomwoman.com/whatever/?p=1710

Now, I am getting requests for more bags because they make great gifts for artist friends.

I have just gotten a new shipment of two each of the bags you see above and one green fern bag is already sold.

I also have orders for some other color combos, so I will be placing one big order early next week for the holidays. Because poor Corrine has to actually make these by hand – even printing her own fabrics – this will be the only order I place for the holidays. Turnaround will be 2-3 weeks if I don’t have what you want in stock, but we will get them to you in time for gift giving.

This is also a fabulous iPad bag. Fits the iPad in a folio – with lots of extra room for stylus etc.

Here’s the Shopping Cart Link

Custom Made Art Journal Bag

http://www.dotcalmvillage.net/item/Custom-Handmade-Art-Journal-Bag-100738

Feeling Like An Idiot . . .

We all know how a new art form can grab us by the heart strings and pull until we say yes.

I have really tried to fight that lately – in the interest of concentrating on just my painting… and journaling… and photography… and jewelry making… and . . . you get the picture.

Anyway, a couple of weekends ago, when Lynn was here, Betsy and I took her to the Galisteo Studio tour. Galisteo is a lovely village, very scenic, and home to several of our most treasured artists around here. In fact, I am going to share some photos next time, but on with this story.

We walked down a long, tree shaded path along the river to the studio of Judy Tuwaletswia. Judy works in natural media and does amazingly beautiful works that may take her 5 years to complete. There are fibers and textures and there are stories.

When I saw these pieces on her wall, I loved them

TuwaletstiwaJ_CatchingLight

TuwaletstiwaJ_CatchingLight2

The first piece looked like paper and the second like corrugated copper with a “strange” glow to it

Judy said it was glass.

“Glass on what?” I asked?

“Glass on nothing.” she replied.

PING went the heart strings!

I was in trouble.

This is fused powdered glass fired directly on a kiln shelf. I can’t even say how much this excited me! My mind just about exploded with possibilities.

But I know NOTHING about glass. I don’t even LIKE most fused glass that I see.

Judy gave me the name of our local Bulls Eye Glass Resource Center (there are only three in the country and we have one here!). When my DFFL, Valerie, was in town last weekend, we trotted over there. Valerie is a potter and owns some kilns, and owns a fabulous gallery in Durango, CO, so for all those reasons, she was interested.

There was a workshop on the schedule about how to create these sheets of glass and also how to screen print on them with more powdered glass.

Valerie and I always get in trouble together and this time, we signed up for an expensive workshop right there on the spot. It’s not ENTIRELY our fault, They told us there were only two spots left. Who can resist that?!?

So, she is coming back to town tonight and we will be in class for three days. I’m excited.

I was SO excited, that I signed up for a short and inexpensive workshop yesterday – on how to cut glass sheets.

Here comes the IDIOT part . . .

On my first try, I dropped and SMASHED a large sheet of glass. OMG.

Lots of noise – glass smashing and the other students’ jaws dropping.

Something in my brain had not gotten the concept of hanging on to a sheet of glass WHILE you dropped it on the table edge.

“Someone does that in every class,” said the instructor kindly. (I bet she says that to all the idiots.)

So, I was the SOMEONE for that class.

At least my feet didn’t get cut up.

They FORCE you to wear shoes in these classes, and it was a good thing. My flip-flops would have led to my wiping out the large supply of bandages they have close by. LOTS of bandages.

Maybe someone DOES do this in every class.

The teacher said they had felt foolish putting the closed-toe shoe requirement in their class description at this time of year. Who WOULDN’T be wearing closed-toe shoe?!

They hadn’t met me yet – grin.

But now they have.

So, I apologized the whole time the teacher swept up all that broken glass, and “felt like an idiot” while the other students all looked smug with their nicely “dropped” but unbroken sheets of glass on the table in front of them instead of on the floor.

I was telling Val all about it on the phone last night, and she was giving me lots of sympathy.

“You must have felt like an idiot,” she said.

“No,” I said, “I actually did not feel bad or embarrassed at all, now that I really think about it.”

“Sure you did – you must have.” she said.

But the truth is that you can reach a spot in life where you can find your idiot moves entertaining instead of embarrassing. My “feeling like an idiot” was actually fun.

And the best part was – I didn’t have to worry about doing something stupid. I already had that out of the way. I was sure to make other mistakes, but they would likely be quieter.

What a sweet thing that is

It’s taken a long time, but when you have made enough mistakes in life, you get pretty comfortable with yourself in your own skin, and it really doesn’t matter what other people think of what you do.

Are you there yet?

Can you have dinner alone at a restaurant without feeling funny?

Do you still get embarrassed if you do something like I did?

What’s the last “sheet of glass” you dropped?

 

Who Am I?

Costume-2

It’s Halloween.

I don’t like Halloween. I don’t like masks and have nightmares about people who take their face off and they’re someone else. I don’t like things dark and scary. I hide from trick-or-treators.

I know I’m in the minority, but I don’t care. My pumpkins go in pies and don’t have faces. So there.

While hiding from trick-or-treators 24 years ago, I met my wonderful husband, and that is the one thing I do like about Halloween. Now, I don’t have to hide from trick-or-treaters alone.

Anyway I did this journal page today because I got thinking about costumes. I don’t like costumes either.

It all started in my bathroom.

I always hang my clothes to dry because they are cotton and I don’t want them to shrink. You can tell when I do my laundry because there are clothes hanging all over the place – on doors and towel racks, on hooks and in crannies.

You know a lot about me when you see this laundry hanging. You know that I am NOT a fashionista. You know that EVERYTHING is either black or blue. You know Steve Jobs wasn’t THAT original with his fashion statement. You know I have multiples of the SAME black and blue things.

OMG, I’m boring.

Let me digest that for just a moment . . .

OK, so, it all started in my bathroom where I inadvertently hung one of my black shirts over one of my pairs of jeans because there happen to be two hooks on the back of that door.

selfportrait

I felt like I ran into myself as I was leaving that room. It was especially unsettling because I had just run into myself in a mirror in that room. Maybe there are more than one of me after all.

I looked at that door and thought “hmmm . . . that’s me, but I’m not in there.”

I hooked my reading glasses on the hanger and put my flip-flops on the floor below.

I brought Mark into the bathroom, and said “Look – it’s a self-portrait without me in it!”

He gave me one of “those” looks (you know the ones where one eyebrow goes up and the other one doesn’t?) and said, “You know, you really should start using the dryer.”

I don’t forget about these “Aha” moments so easily, however. I started thinking about how our “costumes” really do define us, and also how they don’t.

I won’t put you through all that, but think about it. If you hung your clothes on a bathroom door, would people know whose bathroom door it was? A bathroom door that isn’t in your house of course, because then it wouldn’t be much of a contest. Especially if you are the only female in your house, and your husband’s not a cross-dresser. But I digress.

I thought about having a clothesline, but with the wind and dust here, the clothes would just cycle between the washing machine and the clothesline, and there would be no time to wear them.

I needed an imaginary clothesline for all of this, so off to my art journal I went. Because it was imaginary, I got to add my bird to the self portrait and make the poles more interesting than ordinary poles (see above).

One of my friends, who will remain anonymous, is dressing up as Mother Nature tonight. (Let’s see . . . which of my friends is a nature lover? Hopefully, no more birds chase her around.) She doesn’t like costumes either, but she is being forced into this.

She’s off at a spiritual retreat.

“Why on earth would they make you wear costumes at a spiritual retreat?” I asked her.

“Because it’s Halloween maybe?” she asked.

Ahhhhhh. That.

How would I dress up like Nature if somebody made me? . . .

Costume1

No, I have not been drinking any wine.

Maybe I should.

Yes. I’m going to.

Right now.

Just one more Halloween thing to say.

BOO!!!!

Holding a Hummingbird In Your Hand . . .

rufus2

I think the most stress-producing thing in the world is to feel powerless in moving your life forward toward its goals.

When I get absolutely crazy about some things, Mark will say, “Relax. You’re not driving the bus.”

That makes me even crazier.

I like to know where I am going and I like to be in control.

Without boring you with details, we are currently in limbo about the timing of our gallery move. Our current landlord is playing musical chairs with tenants and we happen to sit in the middle of it all. Bunches of other people have to decide about their plans before we can make ours.

I can’t get any answers and it makes me nuts.

So I was sitting on the garden swing steaming and simmering over the latest non-answer.

I kept hearing a strange noise. 

I couldn’t place it but I just felt like it was some critter in distress, so I started searching all over. Couldn’t find anything. But I did find that the bird feeders needed refilling.

As I was going in the front door to get the birdseed, I heard the noise loud and clear – from above my head.

We have a skylight in the portal in front of the door, and it is set up into a box-like frame.

A Hummingbird had flown up into that box and was trying very hard to fly through the skylight, which she obviously could not do.

Those of you who have been online friends for a long time will think this sounds familiar. It did happen before and I blogged about it – in May, 2007. How time flies!

I got my big ladder and my leather gardening gloves and climbed up until my head was in the skylight box.

The Hummingbird really went bonkers then, of course, and flew into the skylight over and over. Can you just imagine how frustrating for her that the sky, which represents her life and freedom, was suddenly a barrier?

I told her that I would show her the way to go if she would trust me.

She did.

I held her in my hand and brought her down to where she could easily fly, and let her go.

She was uninjured and flew off to resume her usual nectar-gathering routine.

I climbed down off the ladder, and it hit me what an amazing analogy this was for the way I’ve been feeling – flying over and over into invisible barriers until the effort hurts.

Perhaps better to relax and trust that the hand of fate will carry you to the proper path.

I felt so much better!

And there is something so profound about holding that powerful a life force in your hand and knowing that as powerful as it is, it is also very fragile, and must be handled with extreme care.

The Hummingbird at the top of the post is not the skylight Hummer, by the way. It is the very first Rufous that I have been able to photograph in my garden, and I really love the photo. Hope you do too, and that this little story has brought a smile into your day.

Get an email announcement of each new post on this blog.

 

 

OMG and WTF . . .

lily1

I don’t text.

It seems crazy to do all that thumb typing when you can leave a voice message instead. I talk faster than I thumb type. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned. I don’t want to develop big muscular thumbs either.

Thumb typing is an arduous activity, and it takes a long time to become proficient enough to do it while driving. (Don’t look at me like that – I’m kidding!)

But, there is something to celebrate in everything.

Because thumb typing is so arduous, and because Twitter limits tweets to 140 characters, and because we are a ridiculous people who must make a hurry-up version of everything, acronyms have been created for many common phrases. You’re all familiar with LOL and BFF, of course.

My absolute favorites are OMG and WTF.

They have wonderfully rendered my favorite expletives harmless, while retaining all of their expressive power.

Face it – “Oh My Gosh!” just never did the job.

And uttering the F word as often as I felt it was called for, was no more ladylike than having big, muscular thumbs.

But I can pull out an OMG or WTF any old time without offending anybody.

However you choose to interpret it is up to you, but all I said was O.M.G. or W.T.F. (Both of these acronyms are even more potent when separated with periods, BTW).

Now, of course we had acronyms before smart phones and email came along.

We had the PTA and FBI and AAA, to name just a few.

But, IMHO, they weren’t good for much. No punch, no emotion.

I mean, you can’t get a big surprise and then exclaim “P.T.A.”, can you?

So, I am grateful to the texting trend for this gift.

Now, WITW (what in the world) does any of this have to do with that beautiful Asiatic Lily at the top of the post, you might be wondering.

Well, I’ll tell you.

Every rain we get this year seems to come with ice cubes.

We crave the water – our gardens love it.

We hate the hail – our gardens become salads because of it.

I have been such a clever girl devising protective cover for what is planted in the ground (will share in a later post), but for the containers, I use the old fashioned way, which is to carry every GD (gol darn) one of them into the house or green house – and out again after the danger of getting mulched has passed.

I watch the RADAR, dontcha know, and when it looks like this . . .

radar

The plants come in. See the Red pin in the middle? That’s me.

Sunday night, the plants were in the house – all over the place.

Monday morning, one plant was partially mulched on one side anyway.

“WTF?”, I said. It had to be the cats.

Then, I realized it was the Asiatic Lily.

Better look it up – just in case.

lily2

Then, it was time for “OMG!” And a call to the vet.

Most lilies are highly toxic to cats, and this Asiatic hybrid is one of them. In fact, don’t mix your cats with any lilies because there are only 3 or 4 that are not toxic to them (Calla being one).

This is serious toxicity – can cause kidney failure and death.

Luckily, my cats did more mulching than actual eating and did not develop symptoms.

Now I know – and now you know – and the lily stays outside from now on.

This was my second poisoning scare of 2013.

Back in March, we came home from a party to find that one of our three dogs had emptied a package of sugar-free gum containing Xylitol, which can cause severe liver damage in dogs, and also critical drops in their blood sugar. Who knew?

We did not know how many pieces of gum were in the pack, nor which one of our pack had eaten them. The most likely culprit got blood tests right away.

And we lucked out then too, because nobody consumed enough to make trouble. They are big dogs. But a little dog could be in big trouble from just one piece of gum.

That’s something else that few people know. Xylitol is all over the place – used as an artificial sweetener. It is in most sugar-free gum and candy and also any products made to treat dry mouth. Make sure any product that might contain it is kept out of reach of the pups.

Here is a very helpful link for the Pet Poison Help Line

http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/lilies/

If more people were aware of the everyday things that are harmful to animals, our furkids would be a lot safer.

Gotta go take the plants out. The sun is shining.

TTYL

Commercial Art . . .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As has been my strange habit lately, my photo is a little disconnected from what I want to talk about, but there are some allegorical possibilities, as you will see.

This photo was taken inside the beautiful spa at the Herb Farm in Fredericksburg, Texas. I have lots to share about Fredericksburg, but at the moment, I have something else on my mind.

Basically, I want to rant about something that drives me nuts . . .

The biggest obstacle to amateur artists becoming professional artists is the very industry that makes a fortune by selling them supplies and tools.

Here is the phrase I hate more than any other:

For Personal Use Only

This has been driving me nuts for awhile, but I just bought a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine, thanks to urging from my good friend, Jerrie, and my frustration got re-enlivened.

The machine itself is a wonder. For anyone who does not know, these are desktop versions of the vinyl cutting computers used by sign makers.

They work guided by vector art files, which are the type of files you create with software like Adobe Illustrator. Vector art is different from pixel art because it is really just a formula for the shape you draw. A printer, or in this case a cutting machine, reads the formula to guide its printhead or cutting blade.

I bought the Silhouette to create cards, lamps, and other products for my gallery, because outside of my own art journal, I have no idea what art for “personal use” might be. I have always sold my art and have made a living doing that for most of my years on earth.

I have also been creating Vector Art for 30 years, and having owned a San Francisco design firm for 24 years, I have at one time or another, created just about every box, bag. package, card, envelope, etc. known to man – for client projects.

But, I am pressed for time right now. So, I thought I could save some time, by purchasing ready made cutting files.

Imagine my surprise when I found that about 90% of the cutting files out there are “copyrighted” and rights are granted for “Personal Use Only”.

First of all. most of this stuff can’t be copyrighted.

You can’t copyright letter shapes because they are iconic symbols. You can’t copyright words either.

So, how about the design for an accordion book or a swing card, or a box with a cover? I could go on and on.

These templates have been around for a LONG time. If you don’t believe me, look through some of the Communication Arts Design Annuals published in the last 30 years. If there is actually any NEW template out there for these structures, I’d like to know about it.

Does creating vector versions of these patterns make them copyrightable? No – professional designers have been doing that since Illustrator was created.

So, – what are these people thinking?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am all for people making cutting files and selling them. Yay – another way for someone to take their art to market.

But, why in the world would you not sell commercial rights? It makes you MORE money because people like me are willing to pay more for the convenience of not having to take the time to make the vector art ourselves.

Why would you want to sell a creative tool and then block other artists from the chance to sell something they created with it? Do you not want other amateur artists to become “professional” artists too?

As you know, I came into the “new artist” world about 12 years ago – from a lifetime in traditional, professional arts. I was excited that new doors were being opened into the art world that were not intimidating for beginners, and tools were being offered that afforded some instant gratification – like rubber stamps, for instance.

But, right away, these new art vendors put a locked door on a person’s potential to take their new found art to a place where they might make some money back on all the supplies they purchased.

Not only did this industry repackage thousands of pre-existing products and techniques, and market them as “new” and proprietary, they attempted to make sure no new artist could go out and sell their creations, and maybe realize their own dream of becoming a professional artist.

Rubber stamps, by their nature, are tools for reproduction of an image, but use them on your cards, and you better not sell those cards, unless you jump through whatever hoops the stamp maker decides you should jump through.

But, worst of all, the new “artists” themselves have perpetuated the problem – by slamming the door behind them right after they get through it.

The tight little paranoid attitude about copyright manifested by the new and huge population of self-taught artists on the internet, demonstrates not only ignorance of how a professional artist might create income, but also an inherent misunderstanding of copyright law.

Do I think I can change anything by writing this post? Probably not, but I had to say it.

A very positive thing is that there are so many new avenues for artists to create to make an income. As the blog world replaces traditional publishing, there is more and more demand for photos and other graphics as stock art. New tools needing new types of files, like cutting files, open a new revenue stream to those who invest the time to learn how to create them.

But if these creators themselves are going to continue the idea of closing off possibilities for other artists, the real potential of these new markets will not be realized.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Pinterest, Copyright, Confusion . . .

Mother-and-Child---Sheep

This Mother & Child photo is the lucky result of a roadside stop to take a photo of this horse . . .

whitehorse

It took 15 minutes to get her to turn around, and meanwhile, a little sheep family ran up in the field across the highway. They wanted tp know what I was saying to the horse.

sheepfamily

Of course, once I spotted the baby, I grabbed my telephoto lens for the portrait of Mom and Baby.

This all took place along a highway on the way to Fredericksburg, Texas, and a Llama and Shetland pony were involved too.

So what does this have to do with Pinterest and Copyright, etc.?

After yesterday’s post, I got email from many of you who are excited by Pinterest, got a request in Comments for a little how-to, and another reader sent along a link she found while searching for Pinterest, which brought up some copyright issues.

I thought maybe, I could address all that, but could not think of any photos to go with the topic, so you get to meet the folks above.

And, I guess these photos are on topic because, when I post them in this blog post and have given you permission to Pin them, they enter the fray of confusion about copyright and Pinterest.

The confusion is well founded because, in the act of pinning to a public board on Pinterest, you are republishing an image without permission – unless, you have been given permission via a Pin It button on a website, or a statement of permission as I posted last time.

Now, the Fair Use section of current USA Copyright Law says something like this:

Copyrighted work can only be used without permission when someone is criticizing it, commenting on it, reporting on it, teaching about it, or conducting research.

I am no lawyer, but it seems to me that when you Pin an image, and type your comment to go with it, you could be doing any of the above. Certainly, you are commenting on it, and I have yet to see a Comment that was not singing praises (although I have read that there are snarky folks on Pinterest too.)

I have said this in conversations we have had about copyright in the past: Copyright Law is about money. It takes a long time and a lot of money to get a copyright case to court, and when you do, you have to show that economic harm has been done to you in order to win it – that someone else is making money with your image, and therefore, harming your ability to make money with that image. End of story. Nobody gives a hoot about your pride of ownership or hurt feelings. Were you harmed economically? Otherwise, go home and quit wasting the court’s time.

Having people come to your blog or website or Etsy shop because your image has been shared on Pinterest, would not be considered economic harm. Quite the contrary, in fact.

If you are not publicly posting your images on the web for attention in the first place, then why are you doing it? So, the more attention, the better, right?

People are busting their humps trying to figure out how to gain followers and customers and visitors for their sites. Pinterest is a very good way to do that.

With those thoughts in mind, here are some tips on being an upstanding Pinner who is not lilkely to get in trouble:

Pinterest Tips

When Pinning from a blog or website, be sure there is no notice on the site or on the image saying that Pinning is not allowed. Those notices are usually quite evident.

Look for a “Pin It” button on the site or blog and you know it’s alright.

The biggest problems on Pinterest come from Re-Pinning. When you are viewing the boards you follow, there will be a Re-Pin button on each item. By clicking it, you pin that item to your own board. ALWAYS add your own comment to stick with Fair Use sharing principles.

Unfortunately, the source of that image may not have been pinned correctly.

BEFORE repinning, click the image to go through to the source. Make sure the source is a direct connect to the creator of the image – their blog, website, etc. If you click through and land on Google images, Flicker pages that do not belong to the originator, or Tumblr pages that are not the artist’s own page, DO NOT repin.

If you really like and want to pin the image to your own board, Google search the artist’s name and find the source of the image that way. Pin from that page and you will be linking to the artist.

DO NOT copy/paste the whole tutorial, recipe, story, article, etc. in your pin. That is prime territory for trouble. Remember that Pins are reminders and you are MEANT to click through to the source.

To make your boards really interesting – and to call attention to your own creations, Pin your own content. Strangely enough, many folks don’t realize how easy this is. At the top of your own Pinterest account page is an ADD button. When you click it, you have a choice to Upload a  Pin. Click that and choose any photo from your own computer to put on your board with a comment.

This is a good start. If you have more questions, please ask and I will try to answer.

NEW SESSION  - INKTENSE WORKSHOP

By popular demand, I will run another live session of the Inktense Soup to Nuts Workshop starting March 15. Here’s the page:

http://www.dotcalmvillage.net/derwentinktense.html

 

 

Which Seeds You Sow . . .

whichseedsIt is just past the first half of the first month of 2013.

I love New Years because, somehow, although it is just a date change, really, it feels like a chance for a do-over. The closest thing real life offers to an Undo/Redo key.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with the things I did in 2012. My God! I wrote 600 pages of iPad art instruction for one thing. One of many things.

But, I always think there may be a better method of doing the same thing.

For example, that iPad thing was a book of the month club, and why I thought that was a comfortable schedule, I’ll never know. It resulted in a fabulous body of knowledge that a person can’t find anywhere else, and which has the potential of enabling artists in ways that no one ever dreamed of, so it is a good thing.

But maybe I didn’t have to “hurry”.

I’ve been thinking about the phrase we ALL use ALL the time:

“In a Hurry”

Aren’t we all.

But I am thinking that’s not so good.

We are in a hurry so we can fit a lot in, get a lot done, feel accomplished.

But, in truth, we are not fitting more in.

There are a finite number of minutes in every day that we can fill.

We can fill them with intensive experience of a few things, but if we overload the things, we decrease the experience of each of them – because there are just so many minutes to go around.

Also, when we are “in a hurry”, we are actually “in” something. It’s an altered state that’s not so great.

Our physiology and psychology don’t like being in a “hurry”. It is not comfortable and ALWAYS produces stress, which is the worst “dis-ease” we can have.

Everything we experience when in a hurry is fogged over and shallow. It’s not as much fun, and we don’t remember it. How many times have you said “What!?! It’s Friday already?”

Where did that week go? I’ll tell you where. It went into oblivion and it won’t be back.

So, my only resolution for 2013 is to not be “in a hurry” about anything. Period.

So, far, it is working so well that I am amazed.

I finished the final workbook for iPad Studio and enjoyed the whole process. That workshop is now complete, and ongoing, and the best gift you can give yourself if you have an iPad. It is a self-paced workshop – in a classroom where students share their work, ask questions and get answers. You can sign up anytime and proceed at your own pace through the 11 Workbooks.

I have launched the Inktense Workshop (it goes 12 weeks so you can jump in anytime), and because I am not in a hurry, it has launched me back into real world art media in a big way. I am loving it. The sketch at the top of this post if from the first page of my new 2013 Journal. Done with Inktense pencils.

I am writing to you from Abilene, Texas.

My trip is to attend the Dallas Gift Show, but it’s a 10 hour drive to Dallas, and I decided to take two days and not hurry.

I was even all packed and ready to go ahead of time. That was really amazing.

And I am not hurrying off this morning. I am writing this post instead.

Do you think you could slow down and get more out of your life?

The Plan . . .

You give great advice and I probably should take it.

But, allow me to explain why it is I want to challenge myself to a daily blog post in December.

Because I don’t want to lose December, that’s why.

One of the pitfalls of a crazy pace (that I seem to just make crazier all the time), is that I am not really sure what happened at any particular moment or other.

Am I actually having fun running around like a chicken? Yes.

Do I remember any of the fun? No.

So, one thing I am doing is learning the practice of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which is something my sister is teaching out in California – to people in big companies with lots of stress. It should work for me here in a tiny company with lots of stress.

I will certainly talk more about this wonderful program in the future, but the basic premise is that it is best to pay attention to what you are feeling and thinking. It’s good for you.

I thought that if I checked into what is going on in my life every day in December, I would enjoy this season much more.

Why do it publicly? Because then, there is more incentive for me to do it.

And to tell the truth, my life is pretty darned interesting, and you might enjoy sharing some of what goes on around here.

So, the month of December will be “A Month in the Life . . .” here on my whatever blog. I have no idea what will be in that month, of course, but I doubt I will bore you. I surely don’t bore me.

“A Month in the Life” will help me take stock of where things are at the end of a very peculiar year, and perhaps become more clear on where I want things to be in 2013.

As we wrap up November, here are some of the things that are happening, and that you will probably be hearing about in December . . .

I am creating and purchasing as many wonderful things for the gallery as possible for the gift shopping season. As a consequence of bringing in lots of new things, Mark and I are moving everything around. And I realize I have never shown you photos of this location (our best ever), so I will be doing that – and sharing some of the creative process too. I have really been getting into creative displays and I will share that as well.

At LONG last, I have found a hosting solution for my video workshops and can bring them back from the hiatus they have been on since MobileMe went down in June. Like I said, this has been a peculiar year with Sheer Heaven almost disappearing in January and all my video workshops killed off in June, but the pieces are finally coming back together and I will be republishing those workshops.

December marks the final Workbook in the iPad Studio Workshop, which has been such a success that I am going to keep offering it. I will be taking the 2012 out of the title and continuing to offer that workshop through the coming year at least. There will also be several new Workbooks on iPad art offered separately, and an iPad Blog!

I am having fun making holiday cards for the gallery, using some wonderful clip art that comes from picture fonts (You can learn all about that in Volume One of Creativity Knocking), and yes, iPad students, I did create this art on my iPad.

Here are the first two cards I have created . . . the inside message is shown to the right.

And here’s good old Rudolph . . .

I need six different cards to fit my rack and make up the six-packs, so I am still scribbling away on that iPad. What a blessing to be able to sketch and paint and the file is already digital and ready to print.

Just an aside – I don’t know how many of you have worked much with making art and scanning it into the computer. If you have, you know all the problems with color shift and the texture of the paper surface showing up and having to be removed, and all the sloppy edges of ink and paint to be cleaned up pixel by pixel.

If you’ve been there and done that, you can imagine how wonderful it is to draw and paint on a glass “sketchpad” with a totally natural feel, and getting to skip all that trouble on the way to printing your results. Long live the iPad!!!!!

See you tomorrow . . .

Candles in the Wind . . .

My life is so darned interesting lately – I’m going forward and backward at the same time.

Some might call that “getting nowhere”, but I beg to differ. You should try it – it’s entertaining.

In the process of distilling my art life, I am purging and sorting, and exploring backwards to find what I want to bring forward.

It is interesting how much I once found interesting, that does not interest me now.

And how much does. And that is what I will share with you in one way or another. The stuff that does.

So, with this holiday coming up during which so many will share table space, I am bringing this idea back around. It’s a bit gothic, but extremely beautiful, and quite the conversation piece.

You start with a candelabra of some kind, and some taper candles that are NOT dripless.

Then you burn them in a gentle breeze for awhile.

Gentle breezes may be hard to come by at this time of year, so a fan will do. You don’t want to blow out the flames, so take it easy on the fan speed.

After a couple of hours, you will have some fine wax sculpture.

OBVIOUSLY, do not leave this work of art unattended.

I first made these for our garden themed gallery in Santa Fe in the 90′s, and I have to admit it was an accidental discovery. We had two open doors in that gallery, which created a lovely breeze most days. I was burning candles and this is what happened.

One of those unexpected gifts of Nature, so I will pay it forward.

Interestingly, that was the same gallery breeze that invented Sheer Heaven – because it blew the handmade paper luminaria shades around, and I thought they needed more substance. You never know where your thoughts will take you – forward or backward!

From Somewhere Under the Rainbow…

Yes, this was amazing. And more amazing was that it was a full rainbow – brilliant all along its arc across my neighborhood. Even with the very wide angle of the iPad camera, I could not capture the whole thing in a single shot, so I took several – which I will try to stitch together in Photoshop, and share if I can make a success of it. The photo above, I shot with my DSLR.

Of course, I ran right over there and found a huge pot of gold.

In the pot of gold was a word . . .

SIMPLICITY

I don’t know if there is a greater treasure than the ability to live simply – even if you live a very complicated life.

To observe just one thing at a time.

To feel just one thing at a time.

To think about just one thing at a time.

To process just one thing at a time.

It’s downright soothing.

Think about this for a moment . . .

Only a hundred years ago, most of us lived in rural communities, and many of us on farms and ranches that were quite isolated from the rest of the world.

Every few months or so, a traveling salesman would come along and bring us the only news we got from outside our own small town. He often was invited to sit a spell and tell us all about it. We maybe picked up 5-10 “information bits” – in exchange for a cold drink or a warm supper.

And then, we had a few months to ponder, process, and figure how these new thoughts might effect us, before the next “news” came along.

That was pretty much how information got around for the the first 200 thousand years or so of homo sapiens history – word of mouth. There was no information highway – just an old dirt road.

And then came the past hundred years.

Back in the late 70′s, when I was teaching a high school sociology class, I asked my students to count the number of information bits they picked up in just one day. Encounters with other people counted, advertisements of all kinds counted, TV counted . . . etc.

The totals were in the thousands – in one day.

And that was before the coming of the digital age.

Now, we are constantly bombarded with info bits when our senses are open for business, and even our sleep time is used trying to process them.

It’s no wonder we feel so nuts.

But what to do about it? Here are three ideas . . .

#1. Give up on the idea of processing and retaining it all, or even most of it.

Never gonna happen.

We are the same biological critters we were a hundred years ago.  In other words, our hard drives and CPUs have not been updated to deal with all this. Our operating system is still Version 1.0, for heaven sakes. We haven’t got a chance.

It’s sort of like trying to surf the web on the first Macintosh.

#2. Forgive yourself for forgetting.

So you walk in the other room and have no idea why you went in there.

That’s not you losing your mind. It’s your mind’s attempt to divide one thing from another in some way, because it can’t cope with the confetti storm of info bits it is expected to gather and sort.

So, you have a different shoe on each foot or a different earring in each ear. You aren’t the only one.

Sit yourself down and count your fingers and toes. If you come up with 10 each, you are still processing ok.

Now, stand up and try to take one thing at a time.

#3. Drill down.

You can’t have it all and you don’t want it all.

So, choose an info bit that really has meaning for you, and dive into it. Immerse yourself in it, and process it then and there, so it doesn’t become part of your mental flotsam and jetsam.

If it is a creative idea, go ahead and try it – right then. Yes, you do have time because you are not going to pay attention to those other million things.

If you want to know more about something, research it – right then. The internet makes research an easy thing. You can learn more than you want to know about something in minutes. But be careful of all the other info bits that coax you to go into “other rooms” because you will certainly forget why you went in there.

A favorite quote of mine (source unknown):

“A genius is one who learns more and more about less and less until he knows everything about nothing.”

Sounds like bliss to me.