Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Newest Ornament on the Tree

Do you remember this? Please notice the perfectly decorated Christmas tree with all of the ornaments placed so carefully... That was our tree pre-children. This is our tree post-children. 

Do you see it? The newest ornament on my Christmas tree? I'll give you a hint... it's most likely to be mistaken for a billboard. A giant cardboard billboard. And you know what? It's my favorite one... because it came into the house (sort of) hidden behind the back of a very excited giggling seven-year-old. Our Christmas tree has never looked better.

As a side note, please notice that Mr. Burgundy has continued his love affair with the tree.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ornament art 2012 continued

More of these... I'm not very wordy lately. I'm going to blame that on the fact that I now say more words in the morning while getting the boys ready for school prior to work than I used to say in an entire day. So I'm running low on words. At least I still have the photos, right?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

Feature Art Friday: Pacman

Some paintings happen so quickly that there aren't a lot of photos taken. You couldn't pry the paintbrush from my hand to give me the camera... Pacman was one of those paintings. Next Friday I'll be featuring Franky, who is Pacman's partner in crime.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Getting back on track

Part of getting back on track for me is having a plan. Some sort of schedule... even if it is subject to change. And I don't want my "plan" in my iphone, because I have really bad technology karma. I want it on paper, where I can see it. Besides, the act of writing something down helps me remember important things- much more so than typing it.

After spending a couple of weeks walking around with things clipped to my bag & post-it notes trailing behind me, I finally bought a new planner. A bigger planner that has room to write down mama-ish things. It even has a wee bitty sketchbook in it. Not mama-ish, but artsy, which is the next best thing.

So now there is a place to write down plans. Once I figure out what they are.

Speaking of plans & getting back on track, there are 12 posts in mind for this month, 6 of which involve new art. 12 posts... at least that's the plan. I know this, because I wrote it down. In my new planner.

Friday, November 30, 2012

An emotion sandwich

Over the last month I have felt more emotion than at any other point in my 38 years. Just ask anyone who has spent more than an hour with me early on in the adoption process; I developed this strange habit of randomly bursting into tears without warning... in the middle of laughter, standing in line at the post office, or on the phone with a stranger. It is an odd thing to feel so many different overly intense emotions all at the same time about the same thing. Happiness. Excitement. Nervousness. Fear. But more of each emotion than ever seemed possible. Emotion sandwich anyone?

It has been both the best & the hardest thing. We are finding our way, one day at a time... sometimes one moment at a time. Slowly but surely inching towards some sort of new normal. 

On Saturday, something happened that made me feel a little more like myself. For the first time in what seemed like forever, I realized that there was some sort of peace that had fallen on our home. Everyone was okay. For the first time in two weeks I could feel that everyone was, even temporarily, feeling the first bits of acceptance about this new normal. So I sat down at the table & picked up a paint brush for the first time in a month... and then I started to feel normal too.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dear Greta

Dear Greta,

Hi, I'm Aunt Sherry. Your Mom & Dad are two of my best friends. So sorry that you have been around a few days & I haven't met you- I recently became a mama myself & haven't had a moment to lay eyes on you yet, but I have been thinking about you. As I mentioned in the letter to your big sister, I'm not sure how babies get matched up with parents but you have really hit the jackpot so you should definitely take credit for the choice. You didn't do too badly with your big sister either- she is amazing.

That's actually what I wanted to talk to you about... from one baby sister to another. Listen, your big sister Gemma is going to undoubtedly be great at her job. I have seen her pick up her toys & she is incredibly focused for a 21 month old. For real. She will show you around... let you know where the toys & books are located, how to get the dogs to make noises, what to do to get your Mom & Dad to do what you want- you know, the important stuff. She will eventually show you around school, maybe cheer you on while you learn to drive & give you all sorts of advice. But somewhere in the middle of all of that, she will find her special power. Her I-am-the-big-sister-and-I-was-here-first power. Don't get me wrong, she is wonderful... but there isn't a person alive who can have that sort of power & not abuse it every now & then. I mean we are all human, right? That's what my big sister would say, anyway.

Your big sister will be able to reach things you can't, eat things you can't & appear to be magic someday when she goes whizzing by on a bicycle with no training wheels. It will be infuriating. She will get dressed up one day & everyone will take photos on her first day of school & you will wonder why she got picked & you didn't. Everyone will tell you that you will get your turn & you will... but it won't be first.

So this is the important part; the part I wish someone had told me. She may get to be the first, but that means you get to be last... which carries with it a certain sweetness. You will very likely get away with things that Gemma never could. Your parents will want to rock you until your feet are touching the floor as you sit in their laps. They will be willing to carry you a little longer. They will linger longer with the camera as you go off to your first day of school... because you, dear girl will be their last first day of school. Their last first dance. Their last first day of college. Because you are their baby. And you always will be.

Just ask my big sister.

Welcome to the world Greta, I am so glad you are here!

Aunt Sherry

Monday, November 19, 2012

What to expect

The flash cards are the closest I have come to making art over the last couple of weeks. Oddly, I am okay with this. Not forever, but for now. Priority number one has been getting three little boys on a schedule so that they can know what to expect, which is especially important if you have been shuffled to 7 or 8 schools in your short little life. If you have lived with different families with different rules. Knowing what to expect is important, but also confusing. Yes- you read it correctly. If you are used to moving and changing and being told one thing while another thing happens, and suddenly that stops... it is confusing.

After a little while, it will become something comfortable, this knowing what to expect. It will become something to reach for. Life feels a little less "out of control" when you know that you get a bedtime story every night. You know your clothes are clean and in the drawers. You know who will wake you in the morning and how you are getting to school. You start anticipating things and appearing to be very pleased with yourself because you knew what to expect. We are having moments of this pleased-with-yourself business and I love the slow smile that comes along with it. We also have moments of not-very-pretty-angry-at-the-world mutiny, but let's not focus on that... let's just think of the smiles for now.

At the conclusion of the days of trying to follow through with absolutely every word that has come from my mouth, I am still too mentally exhausted to paint... although this won't always be the case. But for now, I'll stick to the flash cards. Because there is a six-year-old expecting them.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Where I've been

I realize that I have some explaining to do & I'm not really sure where to start. We have been jumping thought the proverbial hoops with the state for about 18 months & recently found out that we would get to be the lucky adoptive parents of 3 little boys. Once things started happening it was like holding on to the wing of an airplane as it goes down the runway... there has just been a crazy, happy, hard whirlwind of activity for the last few weeks. Not one day has passed that I haven't ended up in a puddle of tears over how happy & scary it all is... & I am astounded & completely humbled by the kindness & support we have received. 

You might wonder why you haven't heard about this before- it's because there needed to be a space where I could come & not think about it, or be asked about it or wonder if it would actually ever happen. So I came here & talked about art & painting & other things that I love.

I'll still be talking about those things- once everything settles down. Right now I just want to be with my new family. Adoption is a crazy thing. Especially when you are willing to adopt older children & have no idea how old they will be or if they will be boys or girls... or any of the other million things parents wonder about. We made ourselves a little crazy sometimes wondering where they were, who there were & if they were in a good foster home. Was someone reading to them at night before bed? Did they feel loved? Luckily we now know that the answers were yes... at least for the last while. We have received more than kids, we have also received their foster parents who are now part of our family as well.

Sometimes I would silently say to myself "we are here...we are here..." because as much as I wondered where the children were, I couldn't help but think they might be wondering the same thing about us.

I will talk about them... eventually. It's important that you know that I will not talk about how they ended up needing parents or even their names... because how they ended up in foster care is their story to tell. Not mine. It is also not my place to tell you their names because once I put things out here on the Internet they can't be taken back... & they have had enough of their little lives discussed by adults who don't know them. 

So for now, I just wanted to explain where I have been. And that I will be back. But not today- because it's almost time to pick up my kids from school.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Art class 2012 week 4

The 2x3 canvas is finally starting to look like something, although it still has a long way to go. A loooooooooooooooong way.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Feature Art Friday: new prints on Etsy

The Tangerine Lotus prints are finally available here. The Carnival House & Seashell prints are finally listed as well. I love this painting... I will miss it if it sells at the art sale in November!

Monday, October 15, 2012

What was supposed to be art class week 4

I skipped art class this week but picked up the canvases from the Art Center & brought them home to do a little painting. The larger canvas isn't here because I wanted to focus on the Capitol painting which is getting close to being finished. I'll be back in class this week with (hopefully) lots of progress to show you next Monday.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Feature Art Friday: getting ahead of myself (again)

I know, I know... Christmas ornament paintings in October... it's really too much. I get to participate in the art sale this year for the Arkansas Arts Center & thought it might be good to have something festive because the sale is the weekend before Thanksgiving. Clearly I got a little ahead of myself. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

thoughts on the 37 things list

37 things to do before I’m 38
1.    Play game with kids
2.    Give a homemade gift
3.    Go on photo walk
4.    Send a surprise by mail
5.    Do something creative everyday
6.    Ride a roller coaster
7.    Participate in a blog challenge
8.    Make homemade cookies
9.    Take sketching e-course
10.  Watch less TV
11.  Join Pinterest
12.  Leave happy notes for strangers
13.  Play in the dirt
14.  Pay off my credit cards
15.  Make smores
16.  List 100 items on Etsy
17.  Have art night with friends
18.  Update website
19.  Visit new junk store
20.  Paint a piece of furniture
21.  Make paper snowflakes
22.  Squish my toes in the sand
23.  Make new art each month
24.  Sew a pillow
25.  Try something new (again)
26.  Befriend twitter
27.  Do something unpredictable
28.  Make art for the bedroom
29.  Wrap gift in homemade gift wrap
30.  Make guacamole
31.  Throw a party
32.  Commit a random act of kindness
33.  Submit work to art magazine
34.  Decorate a birdhouse
35.  Paint stairs
36.  Order Moo cards
37.  Take photography class

So here’s where I stand on the list as my 37th year comes to a close; 22 items marked off my list. Some of them, although completed, will be carried over next year- such as ‘perform a random act of kindness’ & ‘try something new’. As a creature of habit, this list even inspired me to ‘do something unexpected’, like putting on superhero underpants over my nice Christmas outfit & prancing around a house. It wasn’t even my house. Let’s not discuss the fact that I was only able to finally do something unexpected when it was written on a list first. Yes, I get the irony.

Some of the things that fell by the wayside this year will make next year’s list as well… how I went an entire year without making smores is really beyond me. I’m also determined to get 100 things listed on Etsy. Third try is a charm, right? And paying off my credit cards… I have 2 cards & one is almost paid off. I don’t use them & really haven’t in a loooong time, but because I spent a couple of years running them up, it’s probably going to take a couple of years to pay them off. That’s ok, at least the balance is headed in the right direction. Leaving happy notes for strangers will also be fun.

All in all, it’s nice to look back at the list & enjoy the feeling of accomplishment & how happy some of these things made me or other people. I’m looking forward to making my ’38 things’ list for the next year. Please check back next Wednesday to see what I come up with.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Art Class 2012 week 3

This class flies by- it feels like we are painting for 30 minutes instead of 3 hours. You know you are doing something you love when it causes you to lose time.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Moo love

My new business cards arrived from Moo & I LOVE them. They have your information on one side & a bit of your art on the other- you can actually design them any way you want & it is super easy. If you are considering new business cards for any reason you may want to check them out, especially if you are a visual artist of any sort. I ordered the glossy finish because it really captures the brightness of the colors, but I have seen the matte finish & it is also beautiful- just a bit more subtle. I'm not subtle, so why would I have subtle business cards? 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Art class 2012 week 2

The larger canvas, which is 2' x 3' has not changed much unless you look at it side by side with the photo from last week. Separate photos of each canvas can be viewed on Instagram... I am 'Meow Bark Art' if you want to follow me over there. The smaller canvas is 20" x 20" and is quickly turning into the Capitol. FYI... the Capitol building in Arkansas looks just like the one in Washington D.C. it's just much smaller.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Feature Art Friday: Nursery Birds in progress

 I was recently commissioned to make some art for a nursery. 
I was given a few colors to be sure to include, the canvas size & asked to make something including birds. The couple gave me some other ideas of what type of accessories they planned to purchase for the room so I could look at the websites & see the style of the nursery they wanted to create for the new baby.
It wasn't stressful at all- even though it is not my usual style, colors or medium. It was actually quite fun... probably because I had an assistant.
Photos of the finished pieces will be up next Friday.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Best of September

1. Weather change
2. Watching my nephews play football
3. Art class begins
4. Pumpkin spice latte
5. Dinner at Sushi Cafe
6. Fall T.V. shows
7. Tomato basil soup from Le Madeleine
8. Lots of new commissions
9. Being driven around Little Rock to take photos for new art
10. Daydreaming with a friend about her creative life

I don't know what it it about the weather change- each autumn as the temperature becomes manageable & the leaves start to turn & each spring as the sun starts to peek out & flowers start to bloom, it inspires me. I often face fall with a little dread because I know winter is around the corner. I'm not a fan of the cold... but this year I am welcoming it- all of it. Someone remind me of that when I'm whining in February.

There appears to be a running theme in this list... food. Sushi Cafe is a favorite all year, & they recently expanded so the wait for a table isn't as long- although it is certainly worth the wait. Soup from Le Madeleine is perfect when there is a little chill in the air- it might have been even better if I waited until October to have it. And what about pumpkin spice latte? It's basically a seasonal caffeinated dessert in drink form. My mouth is watering right this second even thinking about it. I had one a few days ago, for the first time since last year & I actually pulled out of the drive thru grinning from ear to ear.

My nephews play football, & although I don't really know all of the rules of the sport I scream like an idiot when they are on the field. I would prefer that they play something less dangerous, but that just makes me scream even louder when they are outrunning someone on the other team.

Art class... it is so inspiring to be surrounded by people who get as excited as you do about a new paint color or brush. I'm going to be looking forward to it every week.

There are all sorts of new shows on this time of year- I try not to sit in front of the TV unless there is actually something on that I know I want to see & this time of year there are plenty of those.

I'm not sure what happened, but I have had so many commissions for original art recently. I have  so much gratitude that I can't even tell you... I remember the first time a "stranger" contacted me about doing a commission. I was calm until hanging up the phone, at which point I almost injured myself hopping around in excitement & crashing into things in my office. It wasn't pretty. Now most of the commissions I get are from people I don't know- friends of friends, people who have seen my website,etsy or art, or have picked up a business card along the way... & I could just pinch myself sometimes to be sure it is real. I have so much gratitude.

You will be seeing some of the photos I took around town- bits of Little Rock are going to start showing up in my art over the next few weeks & I am really excited to see how they turn out.

This month has also afforded me the opportunity to daydream & brainstorm with a good friend about a creative venture in her future- an effort to follow her dreams. 

What a great month- I can't wait to see what October brings.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Art Class 2012 Week 1

The top canvas is 2' x 3' & the bottom one is 20" x 20". I started using a new color- Vivid Red Orange... and I have a huge crush on it. Prepare yourself for a lot of bright orange in the near future. Please check back next Monday to see how the paintings progress.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Feature Art Friday: Tangerine Lotus

I started painting this at a friend's house- I was meeting a group of fantastically creative people so we could hang out & paint together. My friend Eric prepared such a wonderful lunch that seeing this painting makes my mouth water because it reminds me so much of that day. I need more days like that- good food AND a room brimming with creative people? Yes please, sign me up. Prints will be available on etsy soon.