Welcome to My World, Art & All

My long range goal is that you'll find INSPIRATION for your Soul, your Artful Endeavors, your Outlook on Our World, and Warm, Enduring Friendships. Welcome to my world.

Friday, July 29, 2011

All in a Day's "Work"

I would love to talk about my art right now, however, in the spirit of letting people in for a "closer look" at what's going on in Brenda's World, I'm gonna bypass the art for the moment, and deal with the most frustrating part of my life. After all, THAT part of my life controls and dictates EVERY OTHER part of my life. So, welcome to a little snippet regarding my Not So Great Health.

It is absolutely NO FUN dealing with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, and the continued downward slide of "Failed Back Syndrome" from Scoliosis so severe I had two major surgeries as a teenager to try to stop the progression of the double curve, with rods put in my spine and fusion starting at T-3, all the way down through L-4. There is NO DAY without pain. It's just a matter of how severe it is and how much can I still do of a given day. Yep, I'm on LOTS of meds, and have various Day Surgery procedures aimed at keeping me up on my feet and functioning. I live by myself, so it is imperative that I am able to get up and function each day.

This Spring/early Summer I've gone through different Day Surgeries, and am currently enjoying (yes! I said enjoying) the benefits of the greatly reduced pain all through my lower spine and legs! Even though it's not permanent, I am GREATLY PRAISING DADDY GOD for these new modern procedures that help people like me. That's about all I'll say about that particular issue for the moment.

Yesterday I had to go back to my Rheumatologist for my quarterly check up, Blood work and the like. Appointment for for 10:30 a.m. It was 12:40 p.m. before I got called back to an exam room. I got out of there at 2:15 p.m. Unfortunately, this is routine. I happen to have a "much sought after" Doctor. Which is a good thing in that she knows the latest treatments, but a bad thing in that you go knowing it will be an all day visit.

I walked out of there with new Scripts for Meds, Orders for Nerve Conduction Tests on my wrists because my fingers and hands go numb a lot, Orders to see and ENT, the knowledge that once all this is taken care of I will be started on an IV Drip every few weeks at the hospital with a stronger treatment for the RA and PA, and this:
Looks even worse tonight! My Lab Tech, Marie, is soooo good with the needle that I hardly felt anything (not always the case, unfortunately, with other Lab Techs), so I was shocked that I bruised up so bad! The bruise runs up the vein another 2" from the main bruise!!! This "battle scar" will take almost 2 weeks to go away. I had another doctor appt scheduled next Tuesday for follow up with my spine doctor. But today, I called and postponed it for 3 weeks. Sometimes I just feel sooo completely "overdone" with all the doctors' appointments and needles. I wouldn't wish all this on my worst enemy, if I had one. Well, OK, I vented. Off to bed. Pool time and art tomorrow. Things to look forward to. ;-)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Way Too Long of an Absence

For a LOT of different reasons, is my "answer" to the title. The Roller Coaster of my health, in and out of doctors' offices, hospital medical procedures, etc, all to keep me up on my feet and going; The frustration of having only this desk top computer access to this and everything else "internet" related; the feeling that I have nothing to share of any importance to anyone. No need to continue on that rabbit trail.

I've been listening to my different "Art/Art Business" mentors, notably Lesley Riley of late. ALL OF THEM echo the "You NEED to have a blog" and "You NEED to blog regularly". A funny thing happened yesterday that "underlined" everything I've been hearing from my various Mentors.

Saturday started the ball rolling, actually. I spent considerable time doing "new to me" glazing techniques on some canvases I had already gessoed and texturized earlier in the week. Since I'm craving to be outdoors as much as possible during my best season of the year physically, I had set up a portable studio on the covered back patio, and finished the last bit of work Saturday night with the back porch light on. Additionally, all that day I said, "Self, tomorrow is Day At The Pool day".

Yesterday I got up, chomping to go to the pool, but ALSO wanting to paint on my canvases. Sooooo, for the first time, I packed my easel and everything I needed, and went to the pool. Had a GREAT afternoon laying down the beginnings of a beach painting. A neighbor friend, Lisa, took a couple pics of me working. At the moment, I was sitting there enjoying a cold beer, and contemplating what colors I was going to use to paint in and blend for the ocean, and also thinking about when I wanted to take a break and so swim for a while. As Lisa and I talked, she asked if I have a blog. I confessed to her about my blog I hadn't posted to in a VERY< VERY Long time, and why. Haaa! Lisa told me, "YES!!! We LIKE to read about what's going on in the life of the Artist, Musician, etc. It makes us feel more connected to that person." Well, my Mentors are correct, then! Lisa told me, from her perspective, what my Mentors have been telling me. OK, well, I'm gonna strive to get more "postable" on here. For now, it's way past my bedtime.

Friday, April 30, 2010

How to Tell When You're Really Tired

One way for me is when I realize I forgot to proof read for typos before hitting the "Publish Post" button on my blog. "Exhibit A" is in my "Message In The Bottle" post just now. SURELY there's a way to get back in to that post and make it look like I really can spell! But heck if I can figure out how.

Apparently I need to simply get ready for bed and call it a day.
Ta-Ta for now.

Message in the Bottle (No, SB page!!)

If anyone looked at my "Go Green" Scrapbooking Art layout posted previously, their first inclination was probably that I was (in the picture) going for a "Vanna White" impersonation thing. Looking at the pic I can see how that could happen. It also makes me think of commercials on TV from my childhood, or even Lucy holding up the bottle of Vita-Veta-Vegamin before she got overloaded on the stuff. However, per the typed message hidden behind the picture (with the little half-circle pullout tab);

This ISN'T an endorsement of Granny Smith Apples. Frankly the only way I like these apples is baked. Red Delicious apples are my favorites, AND the msot nutritious of all the apples. I'm simply alluding here to all the many benefits of "Going Green".

As children, my borthers and I collected soda bottles thrown along the roads. We also collected newspapers from our neighborhood with the help of Mom and her late 50s station wagon. The bottles were turned in at the Rexall Drug Stroe for money to buy comics and candy. The newspapers were collected on a certain Saturday each month and taken to the Miami recycle center. The money was split between us, much of which was saved.

I started recycling early in my adult years. It's in my blood after all. Today I typically have, for one week's pickup, one bag of garbage in the bin and a recycle box with a few bottles and cans without their labels, and a newspaper or two. I've even drastically cut the use of paper towels and napkins by replacing with cloth ones.

Friends can't believe I have so little garbage each week! The truth is that when you decide to EAT HEALTHY, eat the FOODS DADDY GOD CREATED TO FEED OUR BODIES FOR MAXIMUM HEALTH, things like processed foods (and their cardboard wrappings) don't take up space in your pantry or freezer (and garbage bin), junk snacks (and their wrappings) can't be found in your home or garbage, and empty calorie sodas aren't taking up space in the frig to be "downed whenever" and then tossed out in the trash.

I am not at all a Fan of the "Politics of Gowing Green". And, I'm not a believer of the "Global Warming" crap. Too many people have cost a lot of others their jobs, in this country alone, with their demands to "save the planet", and they've made a heck of a lot of money in the process. "Going Green" is NOT POLITICS. It's an individual "Lifestyle Commitment", taking Personal Responsibility for one's self and actions.

I "Go Green" for the PERSONAL Health of it. In the process, I ccreate less waste to spoil my environment. And that's MY COMMITMENT.

Definitely a little sass (little???) in this layout.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Going Green: My Response

When it comes to my scrapbooking art I am not the "typical scrapbooker". My scrapbooks and wall frames do not have "Mom, Pop, Bud, & Sis", "Here we are at Thanksgiving", "It's Christmas Once Again At Our House", "Look, We're On VACATION", (I wish I COULD have a vacation), and all the various year after year subjects scrapbookers typically fill pages with. There's me, and my now 25 yr old Darling Daughter. Some holidays I am by myself, unless I have the good fortune of having an invite from a close friend. So, my scrapbooking art reflects UN-TYPICAL subjects, along with some typical Christmas or Thanksgiving layouts.

Such is the case with this piece. My friend, Bonnie Olson, took the pictures for my photo shoot last Fall (2009). Thank you, Girlfriend, for your help here. And I had been bagging the pieces (elements) I wanted to include. You see, I wanted to do a "Message" scrapbooking art layout. And this, dear reader, is the result.
OK, LOL, there are a number of "Recycled Elements" on here, purposely.
1) The netting is from a bag of Key Limes.
2) The Green Frame around the middle "go green circle" was the seal on the container of Buttermilk in the Frig.
3) The little Green "thingy" with the word "GO" on it was part of the packaging of one of those oil in the bottle with the reed sticking out air freshener things.
4) The Tan rectangle behind it and the tan "go green" circles were part of the outer packaging of the same air freshener thing.
5) I forget where I recycled the dark green ribbon from.
The scrapbook papers, brads, and chipboard letters, tag, and { } things have been sitting in my stash for, hmmmm, let's just say a good long while. And the "go green" rubber stamp I purchased for $1.00 because it obviously fits.

For scrapbookers in the readership, I used Tim Holtz Antique Linen Distress Ink on the papers, Shabby Shutters Distress Ink on the bottom tag, Shabby Shutters and Antique Linen Distress Crackle Paints on the chipboard and brads, and Stazon Black ink with the rubber stamp on the circle tags because the tan circles paper is slick.

My journaling is hidden behind the picture, with the little blue checked half-circle tag attached to pull it out. And THERE is the "rest of the message" of the layout.

Wanna know what it says? Tomorrow (I promise) I'll come back and share that!
Of course, you can always post a comment with your "guess" of what I might have written. LOL

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Pair of Pears

My favorite magazines these days are "Cloth,Paper,Scissors" and "Somerset Studio". And now I think I've added one more, "The Artist's Magazine". This one I just found and am learning some great art stuff. I really study my magazines as they inspire new ideas for me, teach, and set me on a road to more study in an area of interest. I'm still doing my scrapbooking art, and I do pick up a scrapbooking magazine every so often, however, I walked into this year wanting to really grow the artist inside that I'm becoming more and more fond of.

This year, 2010, started with my written down goal of developing my abilities with two different mediums: Colored Pencil/Watercolor Pencil and Fluid Acrylic Painting.(Hmmm, OK, I'm realizing that's three different mediums. Whatever.) By mid-April I honestly cannot tell you which I prefer more. Both mediums are so totally enjoyable for me to work with. I am finding out, however, just HOW MUCH I love painting!!

So, back to my mags. The March/April Somerset Studio has this wonderful "how-to" article by Pam Carriker http://pamcarriker.com/ about painting with PanPastels and special sponges (pgs 105-107). Her instructions and accompanying photos are very well written, teaching how to use this pastel medium to paint a picture of two pears. I just love the colors she used, then realized as I studied through her article that I have all those same colors on the rack of Golden Fluid Acrylics I am learning to paint with. That's when I challenged myself to paint her PanPastel Pears with my Fluid Acrylics. After a couple emails between us to clarify a couple things in the article, I set about working on my challenge.

The drawing pencil was ready to lightly sketch pears onto my canvas when I thought, "maybe I better do a couple drawings in my sketchbook first since I haven't drawn pears in a while". That was a good decision, as I realized the need to work on balanced proportions of the pears. After three pages of pears in my sketchbook the confidence had grown enough to allow my hand and pencil to move to the canvas. Aagh, I kept having to move the pears up on the canvas! Every time I thought I had the balance right, I'd walk away, come back, and the pears still seemed to be sitting too low. Thank goodness I was sketching very lightly. Finally, my little self was content with the placement, and the painting commenced. I spent all Friday afternoon/evening working on this 8" x 10" painting while on the retreat. Had to wait until I got home to write the verse on the painted canvas - the recommended pen was here in the studio. Once that was done I mixed up and layed down two layers of the Golden Encaustic Glaze recipe Chris Cozen has in her "Altered Surfaces" book (pg. 29), letting the canvas dry between each layer. Here is my finished painting.
After having done research online I added a list of food prices above my mother's January 24, 1933 birthday in the "window" to go along with the Bible verse the Lord had given me for this painting while I was drawing in my sketch book; Psalm 145:15.

I've sent a scan of the finished painting to Pam, thanking her for this awesome "lesson", to Chris Cozen for her great teaching of Golden products, and to Somerset Studio for being a great Art Inspiring Magazine. I had no idea it would be a lesson when I made the challenge to myself, but, I learned a lot artistically. Like, I would have never thought to use Paynes Grey as an 'underpainting' for the shadows. And, it was an "encouragement" spiritually that Daddy God always provides without ceasing.

The Ultimate Artist created us in HIS Image, so go do something creative. Whatever it is, it will warm your heart and bring joy to your soul. And that's a fact, Jack!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Where I've Been

It's hard when I've done artwork that I want to share but I have to wait until its been published. It has to be treated like I'm moving it over to another burner to simmer. I haven't posted to my blog in a couple weeks, which could make a person think "she must not be doing anything". A wrong perception my absence might be giving out.

Actually I've been quite busy pursuing my "Art/Artist Journey", especially considering everything. I had another product review and artwork published last week at www.papercrafterscorner.com that has been well received. I did a lot of sketching last week in preparation for an acrylic painting that is now almost finished. The "Joy of Six" show at Tannery Row Gallery in Historic Buford, Ga was over on April 10, so the pieces for that show came home and are now on a Local Tour of sorts. Last week I got to meet Sean Hannity at a Book Signing, and that was fun. Then I also had to plan and pack for an extended Art/Scrapbooking Retreat weekend I went on. Got home last night and in true "Brenda Jean" fashion, I unpacked everything and put it all where it belongs. Today I am exhausted and have done next to nothing.

TanneryRowArtistColony.com sponsored their annual Plein Air Festival in Historic Burford this past Friday/Saturday, which I had planned to be a part of before the out of town retreat opportunity came up. Going down to Lake Jackson for four days though, I couldn't past that one up! The location, however, screamed out for some Plein Air painting on my part, so I spent a few hours Saturday having fun outdoors with my watercolor pencils.
If you go to www.ratcliffretreat.com you can see where we stayed, right on the lake. It's a beautiful place, and I did this picture sitting out in the back yard, facing the very brownish looking Lake Jackson. The house next door has this gorgeous area next to their boat ramp which I noticed Friday and just had to go capture with my watercolors. The sun flipped in and out from behind the clouds every few minutes, so I had to just do the best I could with the light.

I've gone swimming in the lake when I've visited here before, with my friends freaking out at the idea of swimming in water that looks like that (you can't see anything, Brenda!!). The water is way too cold from winter right now so I had to admire it from the shore. Would have LOVED being out on one of the many boats that passed by all weekend. One can't have everything though.

Anyways, I have more to share, but not today. Remember, do something creatively, seriously, because it truly warms your heart and gives joy to your soul.