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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Artists/Creative People Think/Live Differently?

A mail art pal forwarded a link that brought up an article enumerating twenty characteristics of "Highly Creative" people, and I was both shocked and comforted to discover that most of the twenty apply to me.  So I guess I'm not the only one with some of these characteristics.  I'll paraphrase, and include the link (scroll down) so you can get it straight from the horse's mouth.

1.  They are always curious, analyzing options, considering different ways to do things.
2.  Their driving questions are "What if?" and "Why not?"
3.  They don't want to compromise who they are just to fit in or be popular.
4.  They are easily "distracted" by the excitement of new challenges and ideas.
5.  Their creativity fluctuates between almost manic activity, and then 'dry spells' or slumps.
6.  They need to recharge, regroup, refresh, even withdrawing for a time.
7.  (And a very obvious one,) They need their own, undisturbed, peaceful, dedicated space in which to create.
8.  They have a tendency to tune out the world while they focus on their projects.  This may prevent multi-tasking, and they can be thrown off by interruptions.
9.  They have the capacity to feel deeply and create out of that experience.
10. In their sensitivity they may shift  from positive, uplifted emotions to feeling "down" quite easily.
11. They 'tell a story' in their creating.
12. They struggle between the need, the push to grow and create, and the fear that they aren't 'good enough.'   And if/when that never goes away, the successful person has to learn to deal with that tension.
13. Their work is very personal, an expression of who they are.
14. They compare themselves to other artists and feel like they might not measure up, although other people see and appreciate their talent and potential.
15. They know how to go with the creative flow which can not be explained, just experienced and explored.
16. What seems like procrastination is actually a time of simmering, mentally preparing, planning.  Many artists work better under time-constraints as the challenge of pressure brings on a 'rush.'
17. Many experience an addictive reaction to the excitement of the creative process.
18. They are constantly lured by the excitement of starting new projects and often find it difficult to complete the "old" ones.
19.  They can see patterns before others do, and/or notice things others miss entirely.
20.  They retain a childlike outlook with their refreshing appreciation of the wonder all around them.


Here's the link:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Distractability Factor - What's Cooking?

Today the coffee staining process was again calling my name.  This time instead of just soaking the papers , I heated the oven to about 250' F.  Putting two sheets of crumpled/straightened stationery in rusty cookie sheets, I wet them with coffee water and left them to bake in the oven.

While I was in the craft room/art studio looking for envelopes, I promptly found a new quest: searching for some photographic nature greeting cards from a former business venture.  Perhaps I could offer them through Etsy.  Along the way I came across my syllabus for two quilt-making courses I taught some years ago through Cornell Cooperative Extension.  Why am I saving those? When I eventually walked back into the kitchen I remembered- the coffee papers.

As you can see, they are indeed darker when baked, especially for a half hour or more.  Yikes!

Does the term "Burnt to a crisp." come to mind?

The two photo's below show the backs of some of the pieces, not too bad, um, well?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Postal Art Theme- Spoiler Alert

Yesterday, a day before the deadline for mailing out any swap pieces, the ideas finally came.  I seem to work in sets, multiples, or series much of the time, so it was no surprise when eight, instead of four, cards resulted from today's three hours of effort.  Now, to decide which four to send in for the online mail art group exchange.  And to get these into the postal delivery system a.s.a.p.  Today!

Isn't there something iconic about the patina of rust?

Does anyone remember RFD:  Rural Free Delivery?

The rest of the world seems to have much more interesting mail drop boxes than we do!

I remember going with my grandfather to pick up the mail.  His post office box had a glass door with gold lettering.  I can still hear the clink of the key turning in the keyhole, the snap of the door shutting afterward.

I don't know how these polka-dots crept in here... Wanna' be's from the previous Dots and Stripes Swap?

Don't you just love a mail box stuffed with letters and art?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Java-Soaked Note Papers

"Wake up and smell the... paper???"

Maybe it was the cooler weather last week, but I had this urge to do some Coffee-Staining.

I selected Caramel Pecan coffee beans offered by a New York State company.  After grinding the beans at the grocery store, it seemed a shame to simmer them in hot water.

The papers I started with were a gray premium smooth surface, heavy weight Legacy stationery by Strathmore, and a beige smooth finish 32 pound Professional Series paper by Neenah.

Laying papers in rusty cookie sheets, I spooned hot coffee water and a few grounds over them until they were covered.  After letting them sit a while,I pulled out and drained the wet papers on paper towels. Perhaps the color would have been darker had I baked the papers in the oven during the process.

The smooth papers took on almost a hardened skin feel.  The papers I crumpled strongly first, then opened out, took on more 'texture.'

Finally, I added rubber stamp images with black ink.  Cutting the papers into note-sized paper made them go further.  (Would they feed well through a computer printer?  I don't know if I'd try that!)

Note that the color intensity is not uniform from piece to piece.  Some pieces soaked longer than others.  And the finished results do not lie flat.  They might if ironed out.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

After Last Night

My heart is saddened for those who lost loved ones in France last night. The television has a magnetic attraction as details are being released.  And with the same disbelief and horror many of us felt fourteen years ago September, I can only cry now, as then- God, help us all!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Blueberry Pastries

Yesterday was a rainy, rainy day, a bit dismal and dark.  Something nudged me to put on an apron and bake.  Comfort food?  These little mini-pies, of sorts, (haflings?) were quite simple to construct.

I had frozen blueberries on hand from a berry-picking foray in 2014.  I was in a large blueberry grove, for want of a better term, when mid-morning as the late July sun began to beat down, I watched a man leaving the picking area.  Perhaps he was staggering a bit as he carried out over-full containers of fruit.  He groaned right out loud, "OH! I can't eat anymore!"  I just had to laugh.  Good thing the proprietors don't weigh the customers before and then  after they spend a while picking berries!!!

The ingredients for this pastry included sugar, clear baking gel (similar to food starch), a little lemon juice and a pat of butter.  While cooking this combination down, I rolled out two pie shells and, pressed the rim of a smallish metal bowl into the dough to cut out circles.  After placing a dollop of berry filling near one edge of each dough circle, I folded half of the the circle over the top and crimped the semi-circle edges with a fork.  Right before baking them, I brushed the tops with egg white and sprinkled with sugar.   On a lightly greased pan, they baked in the oven at 375' for about 12 - 15 minutes.

Yes, they tasted as good as they look.  All that's missing is a cup of tea...  And a friend to help me eat them!

Monday, November 9, 2015

When All Else Challenges, Get Out The Gelli Plate Printer!

Needing more envelopes (again) and having some card stock pieces in various stages of completion, I had a good session with the Gelli Plate printer and several stencils.  These one-fold envelopes resulted:

If I keep experimenting with art media and technniques, maybe I will find "my style."  (What if I have more than one style?)

Two Watercolor Post Cards

Am I afraid of watercolors?  I can not answer that.  I do have a paint-brush phobia.  There, I admitted it- in public.  I suppose it's because I was never trained to properly use a paint brush, and I have not experimented enough to become comfortable with it.  I do not trust the paint brush to do what I want it to do.  So, I paint- with my finger, with the end of a paint brush, with a crochet hook, with a scrunched-up paper towel.  (Someone is laughing right now, or shaking his or her head...)

In order to complete a "window" challenge with one of my new swap buddies in a foreign country, I made a garden scene, covered it with clear packaging tape, glued it to the back of a cut-out window frame, trimmed it, and then attached it to a backing to simulate wall paper.

The piece above started out as a blue drip experiment.  I began adding grasses, then more grasses, a sad little tree with only one leaf, and a few birds in the sky.