Friday, January 15, 2016

Just Be

There's nothing like ending up in the ER to help you set your priorities. I've been on auto-pilot for a while trying to keep it all afloat. Getting my studio into working order. Cleaning and organizing the houses. Taxes. Identity theft. Dog. Classes. Juggle, juggle, juggle... Then, suddenly, I'm in the ER trying to figure out what is really important. Well, of course DOG is important. He does take up a lot of my time and I'm more than willing to be his caretaker human.
Color mixing -- French ultramarine blue, permanent Alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow.
I had quite a bit of time to reflect on my uncomfortable hospital cot. No TV or radio. Just me and my journal. This is what I learned: I need more joy in my life. By nature, I'm a very serious person. Chester has helped me find the goofy in life. His favorite saying is that everything is funny given enough perspective. He's helped me be able to laugh at myself. That's important in life. Still, I've been wrapped up in guilt recently because my To-Do list seems to be getting exponentially larger every hour.
Color chart for Jane LaFazio's watercolor class on recommended hot pressed paper.
My life need to change or at least rearrange. I have started to allow things to resolve themselves without my intervention. This goes against my helpful nature; but, I need to start taking care of me a little bit better. I'm stretched too thin especially for someone with a heart condition.
Color chart on my favorite type of watercolor paper: cold pressed.
I've started sketching again this year. I haven't done it since I was in middle school which was about forty years ago. Except for one year of engineering drawing, the only sketching I've done is jewelry. Forty years is a long time to abandon a skill. I've got a lot of practicing to do before I get back to where I was in middle school.
Brushes, pencil sharpener, water soluable pens and pencils, Schmincke travel set watercolors. 
Twenty years into Gingrich's Fiber & Metal Art, I'm finally investing in a skill set without an immediate monetary benefit. In addition to my daily sketch (you can follow my progress on Instagram -- Gingrich's Fiber & Metal Art. I'm also taking a watercolor class from Jane LaFazio. So far, I've done the first lesson. Both the sketching and class progress were interrupted by my little hospital stay.
Winsor & Newton watercolors, pencils, waterproof markers, erasers.
For the watercolor class, I've done swatches and played with color mixing on various watercolor papers. This is the first time I've actually used professional watercolors. The swatches were done with Winsor & Newton professional series with the colors specified by Jane for the class. I also bought some Schmincke and Daniel Smith watercolors. I'm looking forward to playing with them too. I'm sticking to the W&N for the class though.
Watercolor paper we're using in class.
So, my life is changing and rearranging. I want the joy to stay. Other things are going to be left behind. Most of all, I'm just willing to let things Just Be and let them resolve of their own accord. I don't need to fix it all. I can just be in the moment... at least I think I can...

Ashley Jana -- Just Be
Just Be

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Looking at 2016 -- Focus

I don't tend to make New Year's resolutions. I have an unrealistic view of how much I can accomplish and the amount of interest I have in doing certain things. New Year's resolutions only make me angry at myself for failing to meet my unrealistic expectations.

Instead of New Year's resolutions, I have a series of goals I to attain this year. First on my list is improving my drawing skills. As an action towards this goal, I'm taking Jane LaFazio's Sketching & Watercolor class that starts in a few days. If anyone is interested, here is the link for the course:

Jane LaFazio's Sketching & Watercolor: Journal Style ~ January 2016

In addition, I have been doing sketches in preparation for the course. So far, I have been doing a sketch a day, but my actual goal is to simply do a lot of sketches. No need to stress out if my life interferes and I miss a day. If you want to follow along and see my progress, (like you have nothing else to do, of course), I'm posting the sketches on Instagram. I'm gingrichsart.com_ if you don't want to click on links.

Instagram account for gingrichsart.com_

This brings me to my personal word for the year. I was going to go with two words -- Just Be. It struck me that you're supposed to pick just one word. So, this year's word for me is FOCUS.

My life is completely run by my 20-year-old dog, Smokey. He's quite the demanding task master. Bark, bark, bark and mommy springs to action. It's hard to focus with the amount of sleep I'm getting and I seldom get more than 20 minutes of uninterrupted time. It doesn't matter. He's worth it. I appreciate the very long time I've been his human.

I know that the personal word for the year is supposed to give you focus. However, since my biggest challenge is the ability to focus, I'm just going to choose the word Focus. Focus on my life and stop spinning my wheels. Focus my studio into an efficient and inspiring place to work. Rid my life of unnecessary distractions so I will be better able to focus. Read more which will help me focus.


Friday, January 1, 2016

Quixotic White

Typically, my New Year starts with resolutions that are quickly broken -- mostly because my resolutions are idealistic, unrealistic, and impractical. That’s how I view the color (or non-color) white. It takes me only seconds to get white clothes dirty.  Here is my interpretation of tying up loose ends.

Tying Up Loose Ends -- Mixed Media.
Our little farmhouse is painted quixotic white. It’s probably never really been truly white for more than a few minutes. Dirt is part of life in the country. From the road, our house looks pretty dingy. The gray shutters blend seamlessly with the supposedly white house. It's still a white house. Just not the white you expect to see in a white farmhouse.

Quixotic white farm house.
The fancy word for white is achromatic -- color without color. It is mixture of all of the colors in the light spectrum that magically cancel out each other leaving no trace of color. In theory, I love the concept of white walls because it would keep the colors of my art collection true to the artist's vision. In real life, white walls make me uncomfortable. I keep seeing all the marks and all of the imperfections in the walls.

White flowers of a castor bean.
I find it hard to make white jewelry look anything but cheap.  Well, unless I'm using high-end pearls. I tend to think of white jewelry as wedding jewelry or a throwback to the 50's plastic parures. I have a drawer full of white beads that I bought before I figured this out. I do have some gorgeous white beads made by Amber Ballad that don't look cheap. They're covered in pixie dust and quite fun. I will try to do justice to them one day soon.

Field of Queen Anne's Lace overlooking the barn.
There are an astonishing variety of white flowers in the wild. White in nature is almost always accompanied with a variety of green. I love our meadow with it's sea of Queen Anne's Lace. It's always a bit sad to have it cut for hay for the neighbor's sheep. At least until you meet the sheep. They're pretty goofy.

Neighbor's sheep.
White reflects and amplifies surrounding colors. It has an wide range of tints that are all considered to be white. In the end, white is an honest color. It is what it is. Other colors like pink are more duplicitous... But, that's another story.
Various tints of white.