Monday, January 31, 2011

What Color is Your Pair o’ Shoes?

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun.  Last summer I did a small painting for my friend Tricia’s show.  The theme was “shoes”.  I have been drawing and painting shoes from way back, and so I delighted in this opportunity to try something new.  I have a pair of toddler jellies that I found at a yard sale several years ago and this was a good time to play with that image.

ten women shoe two

Too Coy  2010 10” x 10” Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas

I had fun drawing the image and filling it in with color, but nothing beats my fabric, and I wondered what it would be like to blow the shoe image up and re-create it in fabric.

boogie shoes one

Boogie Shoes 2011 36 1/2” H x 31” W

This piece was done on whole cloth that I painted using SetaColour paints.  It was painted on a hot August afternoon, and I sprinkled salt on the wet paint and let it dry in the summer sun.  The batik was something I picked up just because I liked the color.  I love when things work together to help create a piece of art.  It’s almost like it creates itself.

boogie shoes detail three

Here’s a detail of the stitching.  The grid quilting was done with a combination of YLI Candlelight thread (used in the bobbin) and Kreinik machine quilting thread.  This was my first experience with the Kreinik machine thread and I was really pleased with how well it worked.

You might have guessed from my last post that when I find an image I like, I like to create it multiple times.  There will be more shoes in my future, including this one, in process:

twelve step detail one

Twelve Step, in process  hand-dyed and hand painted fabric, silk screen, applique

Are there any images you like to revisit over and over again? 

Friday, January 28, 2011

What is Your Definition of Success?

This topic came up in a friend’s LiveJournal this morning.  She wrote how she didn’t view success in terms of how much money she made from her work (whether as an artist or her previous career in social work), but rather in how she made people feel (through her beautiful work or how she helped her clients).   I don’t think it has to be an either/or type of answer (and neither does my friend), and I believe it is possible to have both, and in the case of some people it does seem that the better they make people feel (whether through their art or writing, or other pursuits such as being a sports or movie star) the more money they make. 

Last year one of my goals was to submit for a grant from the Ohio Arts Council.  I have learned over the years that when writing goals you need to make them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.  Which is why the goal was to submit the work, which is an Achievable target. Actually getting the grant is another thing entirely.

With that in mind, these are the images I submitted for the grant application.  All of the pieces had to be created within the last three years of the application.  I chose to submit the work from my water tower series.

Gaffney SC

Gaffney, SC 2007 40” H x 28” W 


Route 33, Summer Morning  2008 47” x 44”


Marilyn 2008 62” x 76”


What Lies Beneath 2009  76” x 42”


White Lies  2008 83” x 48”


Night Moves 2008 32” x 31”


Abundance 2008 15” x 22”


Winter White 2009 60” x 50”


Ophelia’s Sisters 2009 22” x 40”


Garden Party 2010 44” x 45”


Twilight 2010 38” x 40”

Andrews AFB

Andrews AFB 2010 80” x 54”

Because I had consistently created work over the past three years, filling the required image part of the application was easy.  Writing the artist statement, which I usually find painful and difficult, was easy, thanks to techniques I’ve learned using Havi Brooks’ Dissolving Procrastination book. This year I actually had the application in two weeks before the deadline, and I felt really good about it.

Then I got the email on January 4th, telling me I did not get a grant.

Was I disappointed? You bet.  I feel this is the best application I’ve submitted for this grant in the ten years I’ve tried for one.  I love my artist statement and I love my work.  It would have been nice to have the validation (not to mention the money) of receiving one of the grants.

But I still consider myself a success.  Because I put the work out there and applied. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Building a Good Foundation: Journals

Keeping a regular written record, or a journal, is the best way I’ve found to keep on track with my various pursuits.   I doodle, glue in pictures that interest me, and (gasp!) even write in my journals.  They have ranged in size from this small Moleskine shown below to a super large wire bound sketchbooks , but the one thing they have in common is that the only rule is that there are no rules.

journal foundation list one

Lists help to keep me on track.  I started this practice when my youngest son was an infant.  Each Sunday I sit down with my journal and make a list of what I’d like to accomplish that week. Sometimes I go back and check off projects as they are completed.  Other times I list the projects or actions I took that day or week.  This was a real sanity saver when I felt overwhelmed by my duties as a mother.  I could look at the page and see that I had accomplished something that week, no matter how small it may have seemed.  Little steps added up to bigger work.


journal foundation list two

Lists can be used to brainstorm ideas.  This page was from the year I was going to attempt the “Art by the Inch” challenge.  I wrote my options for the time period and listed what supplies I’d need to gather to work on the projects.

 journal foundation list three

This page was done in preparation for a class I was teaching to the Art Quilt Alliance in Columbus Ohio.  I wanted to make sure that nothing was forgotten, and I had a little fun drawing the contents of the table I was sitting at while I brainstormed what was needed.


journal foundation list four

And a goofy collage combining watercolor, colored pencil and a list.  So many options for something so mundane helps make the task fun.

Monday, January 17, 2011

How Do Your Ideas Grow?

One question I get a lot is “Where do you get your ideas?”  My initial thought upon hearing that question is “Where don’t I get ideas?” because ideas seem to come from all directions, at any time.  Of course it is because I also do a lot of what Julia Cameron calls “filling the well.”  This can include the activities listed in her book “The Artist’s Way” (morning pages, artist dates, regular activity), but I also find that other things also fill the well and help nurture baby ideas.

growing ideas my sample one

With that question in mind, I went to the local coffee shop with my journal and markers on hand.  This is the image that came to me.  Creativity as a garden, with all the elements that help to fertilize the process and help in the development of ideas. 

As a child I remember reading the story of Squanto, and how he taught the Pilgrims to fertilize their crops using fish, so that is why the fish are in the image (that I like drawing fish is a happy plus).  Each fish and mineral underground contains an element of what feeds my idea plant.  You can see here that my fertilizer includes reading, movies and dreams.

Actually putting the ideas down in some form grows from this fertile ground, including blog posts and working in my personal journal.  The harvest includes finished work, which can also be used as fertilizer to start the process all over again.

I also feel that self care, symbolized by the sun in this drawing, is of utmost importance in developing ideas.  If we are tired and depleted our bodies and minds can’t help but divert all our energy into just surviving.  My self care includes such things as rest, yoga, friends and good food.  Play is also an important part of the process.  Allowing some time to just goof off can help more than anything sometimes.

What nurtures your ideas?  I have put a link in the sidebar to a blank copy of this worksheet  (How Do Your Ideas Grow) that you can print out and play with on your own.  Feel free to share it with your friends (please link back to this post, thanks!) , and I would love to see what your garden looks like.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Come Sail Away

Safe Harbor 72 full

“Safe Harbor” 15.5” x 15.5” 2010 available at my Etsy shop

New year, new blog.  Or as Cobra Bubbles put it, (in the Disney film “Lilo and Stitch”) “New job.  Model citizen.” 

I’m not sure how I will fill either of those criteria, but I felt it was time to change things up and become a bit more focused.  I had outgrown the “AndiBeads” label, and, let’s face it, most of my blog posts there had nothing to do with beads. 

So what are my plans for this new start?  Well, obviously, to share my art with you, but also to provide some tips and tools to help you along in your creative journey.  Look for downloadable worksheets, some step by step “how to’s” and more on our travels together.

I am a firm believer in free-range creativity and allowing things to develop organically, so for now there isn’t a set publishing schedule.  Over time as themes develop, days may be designated as “time management Tuesday” or some such, but for now, just sit back and enjoy the ride.