A Patchwork Fall

A Patchwork Fall
"A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art." ~Paul Cezanne~

March 26, 2015

'Twas the Night Before Workshop

Twas the night before workshop
And all through the house, 
An artist was scurrying, 
As fast as a mouse

Paints and paper all packed
Anticipation abounds
Palette, cardboard and towels
No scraps of paper left to be found (okay...maybe a few...)

The hour is late
As she checks her list twice
Do I have all my supplies?
Missing some wouldn't be nice

Morning will be hurried,
Make sure things are ready
Tuck the kids into bed
With a blanket and teddy

The artist is tired
She hopes all is done
Tomorrow she's off 
To learn from Nancy Maxfield Lund!

Paints, palette, papers all packed for workshop. This is my "empty" studio space. :)

I'm registered for a two-day collage workshop with the awesome Nancy Maxfield Lund that starts tomorrow. This is another "mini workshop" sponsored by the Utah Watercolor Society. I am super excited! Hopefully, I will have some interesting art to share afterwards. :)

As always, thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you have a great weekend!

March 15, 2015

Spring Approaches!

What I love about mid-March in Utah are the sure signs of Spring that seem to appear almost overnight. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets. SUN in general! Daffodils blooming, buds appearing on my lilacs, leaves on my butterfly bushes, and tulips poking out of the ground in my flower beds! Our house is West-facing, so the tulips are always coming up later than most of the neighbors, but they also bloom later, so I have flowers longer. :)

I have found, over the past few years, that I increasingly crave the sunlight and find the gray days and dark nights of Winter to be increasingly depressing for me. There are some sunshine days that are beautiful in Winter, and I see the beauty there. But, the lack of light and the prevalence of gray make the overall season more and more difficult.

So, as Spring approaches, the light increases, the flowers start popping out, and the weather starts warming up, I feel more cheerful, more energetic, and more inspired! Today, the temperatures are warm, my kids are playing outside in the fresh air, and I am feeling excited for the promise of Spring and Summer.

Tulips popping out of my flower bed

Time to go get my paper, brushes, and paints out!

I wish each of you a cheerful, healthy, productive, and inspired week. As always, thanks for stopping by my blog.

March 9, 2015

Monday, DST, Cream of Wheat, Art Sales

Random topics today? Perhaps. 

It is Monday. First day of a super busy week for me. Day six of my personal "No McDonald's for breakfast" challenge. You can follow my daily challenge at my Instagram account or @JenniferLoveArt on Twitter if you want! Or follow JenniferLoveArtwork on your Instagram app (since that's really what Instagram wants...no websites for those folks!) 

My challenge is the daily count-up (how many days can I go?) of replacing my usual McDonald's breakfast meal with oatmeal or Cream of Wheat. I am trying to cut out the extra calories, time, and money that my McD breakfast cravings have created in my life in the past few years. Small steps towards getting healthier...and long life = more time for me to create art! 
#savingmoney #eatinghealthierbreakfast #21daystochangeahabit

Instant oatmeal instead of Sausage/Egg McMuffin!

Here in Utah, we moved our clocks forward one hour at 2:00am on Sunday morning in observance of Daylight Savings Time. UGH!! I wish the country would do away with this time-changing silliness. Pick a time (Standard or DST, I don't care), and stick with it! Days naturally get shorter and longer with the seasons. Our bodies naturally adjust. The time change always creates havoc with the sleeping patterns of my little boys, not to mention my own! Not fun! 

March Paintings 4 Parkinson's came to an end yesterday and I was excited to sell another little painting. This was one of a series of three Impasto-inspired acrylic abstract paintings that I created using my palette knife, titled "Blue Palette" It was one of a series of Red, White, and Blue. The "White Palette" painting sold in January, and you will likely see the "Red Palette" in April's Paintings 4 Parkinson's event. "Blue Palette" is packed up and on its way to a new home in Silver Spring, MD!

"Blue Palette"  ©Jennifer Love

I was also pleased to complete a little Etsy transaction this weekend, selling a set of my Sea Turtles notecards! :)

I wish each of you a fun-filled and productive week. As always, thanks for stopping by my blog!

March 1, 2015

Creativity while dealing with life's curve balls

The last year and a half have been a challenge for our family and, in particular, the last nine months have taken much of my attention as Mom. Our youngest son was diagnosed Anxiety, causing ODD behaviors last June. We have been in therapy with him since that time. Weekly at first, then every two weeks, then three, then every six weeks - until yesterday - our most recent therapy session. Apparently we have "graduated" and that will be our last session (unless we have a major resurgence of problems). Admittedly, I am a little nervous going it alone, but the the therapist seems to have confidence in my skills to assess the situations and adapt our approach to his behavior in order to achieve positive results. I think child therapy sessions would really be more aptly named "parenting therapy." We have learned some great tools and techniques to help us better communicate with our little one as well as improve behavior and cooperation. But, there are always setbacks and weeks that are challenging. It's at those times that I have to take a step back and remind myself of how far we have come compared to where we started, say a prayer for some additional help and guidance from my Heavenly Father, and continue to plunge ahead and do my best.

I recently posted a blog entry called Recharging my Art Batteries wherein I mentioned the many hats we wear as artists, adults, and as parents. My "Mom" hat is the most important hat I wear. It is the role I cherish most, and the role that is the most most tiring, frustrating, and demanding. But also the role that is most rewarding. Frequently in the last nine months I have had to take my "Artist" hat off because there has only been room for the "Mom" hat, and that has been hard in some ways. 

I haven't created as much art as I would have liked to make in the past year. I haven't had the time to pursue my personal goals and dreams in that arena, nor have I been in a position where I can make time. Because, let's face it, when you are a parent, spouse, volunteering at your child's school, volunteering at church, and working full-time outside the home (not as a full-time artist), any time you "find" to paint is actually time you make. In my case, I will often choose lack of sleep in order to paint. But I can't do that all the time. Sadly...I'm not 20 years old anymore and my body doesn't handle  "all-nighters" without consequence! :)

However, as my previous post points out, I have tried to keep myself surrounded by the art world in other ways: by accepting a Board position with the Utah Watercolor Society, attending meetings and workshops when I can, and by just keeping in touch with my artist friends. I follow an artist mentorship online. I read art blogs and Facebook posts. I read art magazines. And now, as our family life has begun to improve, I am trying to carve out those days where I can make time for my art again.  

So, how can you be creative while dealing with life's curve balls? Well, for me, I am still working my way towards creating a regular weekly painting schedule. In the meantime, I am trying to carve out small chunks of time: 2-3 hours here and there - often late nights, and I make small paintings. Small is better than nothing! It gets the creative juices going! It reminds me of why I love to paint and why I choose to paint. 

I picked up my pencil and brushes a few weeks ago and was able to complete two more book illustrations. (It was one of my late nights...and then I got bronchitis two days later. Setback for another week!)

Additionally, after several months' hiatus from the contest, I got back in the Nibblefest saddle this month with the theme of "Black and White," and was able to create another butterfly painting for my ongoing series. This painting was up for auction for a week on eBay. :) To my pleasant surprise, the winning bidder turned out to be a dear friend of mine who now lives in Maryland. I was very happy to ship it off to him this weekend and hope he and his partner enjoy it for many years to come.

In the meantime, my brain has been buzzing with ideas for new, larger paintings, and I still have eight illustrations left to complete. 

How do I hold on to creativity while dealing with the unexpected in my life? One little painting at a time! It may not be as much or as large as I want, but I feel that every little work of art completed gets me one little step closer to my goals. :)

Here is my first new (non-book illustration) painting for this year...and I'm looking forward to making more time to create in the next 10 months!

"Flying Into Black" ©Jennifer Love

How do you hold on to your creativity through unexpected problems? I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

Have a good week! As always, thanks for stopping by!