Thursday, May 26, 2011

Goodbyes and Surprises....

Kyle was home for a little less than a week, but fortunately, part of that time fell over the weekend!

He spent time with us, his brothers, his friends and his dog, Wonka.

We ate well. We had some good laughs. We heard some good stories.

Then the time came for him to depart. Great! Here come the tears and red, swollen eyes. I can't help it! I try to think of things to distract me, like bugs, cleaning the bathroom, traffic, etc., but the dang emotions ALWAYS win!!!

Even Wonka knew he was leaving and wanted to go....WONKA NEVER gets in a car by himself...He knew....

I can keep it together, for the most part, during the first hug and good-byes, but it's always that SECOND and later rounds of hugs that get me, cause I know I'm running out of time!!!

Well, I cried. He welled up. ***GEEZ, WHEEZ! I'm welling up again!!! He's been gone for TWO days. Two days!

That's only the beginning of a LONG, LONG, LONG separation.

ONE YEAR in Korea.

Boot camp was long.... 2 months.

AIT training was longer... 4 months.

ONE YEAR!!! That will feel like forever!!!

EVEN more so, since he won't be coming home AT ALL during that time.

In the last hour before taking him to the airport, I asked him if there was anything he needed or wanted. He said, "Salt Water Taffy!"

We were siting outside of Carl's Jr. eating a quick bite in his car (yeah, that's just how we roll!) and I racked my brain...where to find Salt Water Taffy - FAST???

Hmmmm....I called Harry and David down the street and they had it! Score!!!

A mixed bag of taffy - not exactly sure how many would be black licorice or banana, as he prefers - but I got him a good sized bag and three bags of assorted licorice. That should keep him in candy snacks until he hits Korea...LOL


For balance, yesterday, I checked the mail and Somerset Studio - Gallery magazine was there!!! Yaa HOO.....

My House 13 was there, but the big surprise came when on page 32 ... SO was my Life of Charlotte - 1688 canvas!!!

I hadn't expected that.

I actually had to do a double-take.

My eyes recognized it, but my brain was clearly lagging behind a bit.

This photo is a bit blurry, and for that I apologize, but my phone, sometimes has a mind of its own.

I originally had submitted it for their FEARLESS call for art. Here is the article I submitted, to explain the meaning behind the art....

Title: The Life of Charlotte - 1688

Category: Fearless Challenge


When I think long and hard about the word Fearless, I begin to wonder if any of us truly are?

I am a woman who is brave, stubborn, headstrong and capable of overcoming many obstacles, but does that make me fearless?

Recently, I came across this page in an Outline of Literature journal. It outlines author’s Jean de La Bruyere’s circa 1688 book, Characters, poignant reference on women – a woman, much like my imagined dear Charlotte. Using phrases like “wishes she were a man”, “women are ignorant”, and “sluggishness of their minds”, really moved me. I found myself reflecting on how much has changed over the years and how thankful I am to the many generations of women before me that were truly fearless enough to have their voices heard. They overcame condemnation, defeat, and prejudice enabling me to explore who I am as a wife, a mother, a business partner, a sister, a friend, a daughter. Ever changing. Always dreaming. Continually moving forward on my life’s journey, while still looking back...

I have fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of inadequacy.

Will I be judged by what I am wearing? Or by the fancy label I am not wearing? Where I live or how I live? Will others have negative opinions of my art? The answer is yes, but I will never have to fear being a woman in 1688.


Over the last few years, I have created numerous keepsake canvases with photos of my family. This, The Life of Charlotte, is the first art canvas I have created. Inspired first by the reference text, I envisioned an imaginary life of a woman named Charlotte living in the year 1688. I added a Memoirs element to further my imagination – I wonder what she would have written in her life journal?

Usually, I paint my canvases with acrylic paint. This time, however, I experimented with a new technique – no paint at all. Instead, I used a moss green pigment cat’s eye ink pad and walnut wash dauber. I lightly dragged the moss pad over the surface, daubing the edges of the pad in places, creating oval markings. Next, I added more to the edges to darken them. After that was dry, I used the walnut dauber to add another layer – light on the surface, darker on the edges – leaving some of the white canvas to show through. This gave the illusion of multiple colors.

When that was dry, I used matte finish Mod Podge on the surface. Using a spool of naturally aged vintage thread, I wrapped and tied the edges like a gift box. Then I added a scrap of cotton lace vertically. The edges of image and the text were inked using the moss ink pad. Both were layered and Mod Podged directly to the canvas. I used a vintage word stamp and a date stamp – rolling a 16 and then an 88 – on a scrap of coordinating paper layered onto a scrap of chipboard. A tiny button was added to the centers of the paper flowers and in a vertical row underneath the vintage tag element.

Using the same moss ink, I inked a raw wood clothespin, wrapped the top with thread and tied on a miniature paperclip. Lastly, I added The Life of Charlotte, cut from the same book. The authors name was added to the bottom side of the canvas. I enjoy clipping text and images from old books, though not original antiques, and creating my own story.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Somerset Gallery Summer 2011

It's FINALLY time I can share!!!!

A couple years ago, over Mother's Day weekend, in our VERY chilly basement - with a concrete floor, unfinished walls and old hanging florescent lights - NOT up to WHERE WOMEN CREATE standards by any means - I was "playing" to create an assemblage to submit to Stampington, with their Somerset Studio Halloween challenge in mind. Well, that deadline had come and gone, but I knew that their Holiday and Celebrations issue was still open.

My inspiration was originally the Eagles song, Witchy Woman. Primarily the verse, "she drove herself to madness with a silver spoon"... That was my jumping off point. A silver spoon.

Then, I remembered I had an old, thrifted, wooden house....


I've been asked a few times what it takes to be published.

Well, it's a bit art, a bit committment, much waiting, and a whole lotta luck.

My very first submittal was a "why not?"

You could have heard me a mile away, screaming from my mountain-home kitchen - I was doing dishes - when my I-phone music blasting from it's charger/stereo port was interrupted by an email "bing".

I went to check my phone and there it was. An email from Stampington informing me one of my submittals was selected to be in HOME Vol. 5 2010.

Just like a giddy little girl, I called everyone I knew. I had to share! The dishes could wait.

Then, later that afternoon, my phone "bing'd" again...

Another of my submittals was going to be in the same issue....OMG!!! I had submitted both, months prior, and now all of a sudden BOTH were selected!!! I was truly on cloud 9...


Fast-forward a few...

My creation, HOUSE 13, has been selected for a one-page mini-article as an Artist's Spotlight, in Stampinton's Gallery magazine hitting newsstands on June 1 - page 118.

As a one page feature, a lot of the detail and my article was edited for space, so I thought it would be fun to blog the details of the assemblage and my original submittal.

Inspiration & Description

As a child, and even as an adult, I have had some nightmarish encounters in my deepest of sleep. Inspired by an old, house-shaped shadowbox found at a thrift store and armed with several pieces of collected scraps & cast-offs, I attempted to
re-create that terror-filled madness - within and without the walls of House 13.  

“A place where falling fast asleep in a starry, silent dream-land, turns into a descending pathway of a never-ending nightmare; filled with silent screams. Left to wander through the dark unknown; running for your life with no momentum. Hearing voices behind you, and enduring all things that haunt you in the darkness of House 13.”

How fitting, too, this assemblage was created over a couple of stormy nights in the chilly basement of our house using an assortment of mixed media – paper, rub-ons, paint, fabric, record, tree branch, jewelry bits, doll pieces, silver spoon, brass stencils, glass vials, wood, metal, game pieces, toys, miscellaneous hardware, and pure junk. Quite the departure from what I usually create from found objects, but perfect for displaying at Halloween.

I created this 3-dimensional piece to be viewed from all sides in three primary sections:

RECORD BASE - with the words “Echoed Voices” scratched into the record and the stamped muslin warning “Don’t fall asleep”

TREE – its starry branches whose leaves turn from white to black to signify dreams turning to nightmares and the ever-present “arms” of the big tree just outside your window

HOUSE - each room hauntingly distinct with references to the number 13, while others remain vacant waiting for the next over-night guest

This assemblage is truly one of my favorites to display at Halloween. I'm wanting to make it's polar opposite. One of dreams. All shades of white and cream...Now, I just need to find another HOUSE!
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