Paperclay Crosses

Three months ago I decided to get out of my creative box a little and start some wearable art.  I have some polymer clay and paperclay, so I experimented and found that I liked the air dry paperclay more as it was non-toxic and my acrylic paints didn't scratch off.  Before I knew it, I had a gazillion small paperclay cross pendants all painted up and nowhere to go.  I had some beads, jewelry findings and such, so I made bag charms:





At first, I thought I would make a ton of them and then see about putting them in local boutiques for sale.....and then I started to assemble them.   Working with the tiny beads, jump rings, and things was/is very difficult.  I also found that after texturing and painting the paperclay I was getting weary of doing the same thing over and over.  Wow...God sure didn't make me to be a jeweler.    Clearly, I'm to focus on painting and get back into my painter box.....which I do with complete joy and gladness.   : )     On the upside, I have sold several of the charms and will probably give the rest away as gifts in the upcoming year.

As far as painting goes, I do have some studies that I'm working on, but not sure how I want to post them online just yet.  A little video?   Pictures?   Both?   Stay turned.





8/11/18 Update

I'm back to my old website!!   I can't express how happy and exciting this is for me. 

Last year I had issues with my domain and created another website, but was hoping to be able to get back to this format/site again.  I'm not very tech savvy, so creating a new website using a template on another platform didn't work well for me.  I had issues uploading photos, creating blog posts, updating blog posts, etc.   I'm praying that this change back to the old format will help me to do updates more frequently.     😊

Since the old website is down and the last post on here was of the studio reorganzition, I thought I would share what the studio looks like now.

I moved in 2017, so here is the new setup:


My entire living room is now a studio...like I've always wanted it to be.  What you can't see are my book shelves and my computer corner.  My studio manager/assistant, Brutus Cleetus McSpadden, sneaked into the photo.  When I noticed him up on his perch, I took another pic of him:


Brutus is a big tomcat...he weighs 20 lbs and loves art.  I have woken up several times with paint brushes beside my head that he has brought me during night.  Such a sweet kitty.

Speaking of updates... I have also refreshed the ART tab/page.  I am setup with Square now, so selling is much easier.  😎








Studio update

FINALLY....my studio is thoroughly organized. It sure did take long enough, but now everything is in place and I lived through it!  

I have several pics posted below that were taken in the evening, but I will take a few more this weekend with the blinds open…everything looks better in natural light.









The small easel to the left without a painting on it will be used for oil painting. I have a small table to use for print making in that same area, so I guess it will be the print and oil area. The large easel on the right is the primary work station for acrylic paintings and projects. In the corner, but sorta hidden, are rolls of copper for some small art projects. The white drawer stands beside the easels are full of supplies that correspond to that particular work station.

The black and gray storage cabinet was purchased from Walmart for about $80 and put it together with my friend Kelly. That cabinet holds some new canvases, smaller boxes of new supplies, and all of my tool boxes and Dremel are at the bottom.

The painting rack, that the cat loves, is a baby bed that has been turned sideways with mdf boards as shelves. I keep a few new canvases in there, but for the most part it is strictly for finished paintings.....I drape it with old sheets to keep dust off the new works.

My beloved treadmill is ready to go....wish I was. Guess what my new year resolution will be???

Studio woes....

The studio setup is STILL in transition.  It’s been very difficult living in a chaotic environment for the past 8 days or so.  I’m so used to an organized and peaceful home, so I can hardly wait to get things finished up.  

Two things are holding up my progress:
re-organizing my storage drawers & bins 
not having my new storage cabinet set up yet. 

Since I’m creating a new work station with another easel, I’m having to shift some supplies around so that I can be more efficient, but I never imagined that the process would be this crazy.  I was able to get rid of some furniture and that will help to open up the space some. 

Here is a pic of the chaos:








I also got the new business cards in:




updates...


New business cards are on the way.  They are very simple; just my name, email, and website.  I should be getting them in few days, so I will post pics. 

This week has been crazy….  I am reorganizing my studio space once again and living in an art disaster zone.  This time around I’m purposefully going a little more slowly and methodically.  Since I have tweaked things 2 other times this year, I thought it would be best to map out the area to find the best/efficient work flow setup before moving things around.  I also got a large storage cabinet that didn’t come with all of the stuff in the box, so getting that put together has caused a big delay in getting things completed.  Here are a couple of pics of things as they are right now….Art Chaos for sure!


 
Studio pic 1

Studio pic 2

ideas & prep-work



This week I ordered some oil bars and they should be arriving soon.  I have worked in acrylics for the past 20+ years, so I’m looking forward to dabbling in oil paints again.  The plan is to use a few of the larger canvases I have in my inventory for large scale heart paintings…I’m thinking they will be more along the lines of abstractions when completed, but that may change. 

The oil bars are a little different than using traditional oil paint in that the paint isn’t as fluid/soft as it is coming out of a tube and they can be used for drawing applications very easily OR they can be applied traditionally with a brush.  Here is a link to oil bars if you want to get a visual of them: http://www.winsornewton.com/na/shop/oil-colour/oilbar

I originally started off using oil paints in high school, but stopped after 6 years for two specific reasons: 1)  Paint thinners & additives started making me very nauseous and loopy when I used them and  2)  Acrylics seemed to fit the way I painted better, which at that time was in very thin layers.  I’m intending to use the oil bars more like markers and forego additives if I can.  There are “odorless” paint thinners and mediums on the market, but just because you can’t smell the fumes, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. 

This weekend I will be starting to get ready for Christmas by priming crosses that I will paint as gifts for friends and family.  (If they turn out ok.)   I should be able to post pics of the process as I go along.  It’s hard to believe how quickly the year has flown by, huh?

The Heart Series is still in motion, but no pics or videos are ready right now.  I was working on heart word/theme associations yesterday….here’s the list so far: hope, hopeful, hungry, thirsty, satisfied, calm, peaceful, tranquil, nervous, anxious, perplexed, doubtful, hard, gentle, kind, loving, love, soft, bold, brave, sour, bitter, sweet, rough, diseased, fast, slow, lost, courageous, smart, dumb, foolish, silly, beautiful, ugly, plain, exotic, humble, sad, happy, joyful, proud, evil, deceitful, bland, trustful, trusting, true,  cold, cool, caloused, torn, twisted, bound, wounded, hurt, hurting, healed, energized, loving, young, old, sympathetic, expressive, musical, purposeful, honorable, holy, perfect, light, brilliant, pure...

A Funny Realization

I hung out with my aunt over the weekend and as we were scanning chanels for something to watch we came across a Heart concert on MTV.  Without a doubt Heart has been one of my favorite bands for a very long time.  I remember listening to their albums my aunt and uncle had back in the early 80s when I was a little kid.  Several of their songs could easily go along with The Heart Series…as a soundtrack if you will. Hmmm…I may have to explore that more and look into copyright stuff for using their music.     ???

Time for a quick update. Or two…

  
This year has been quite fantastic.  I guess the best way to sum up 2016 for me could be done in one word: CHANGE

I have a new job (8-5) that I absolutely love at Cornerstone Relocation.  The team is awesome.  The office is 1.7 miles from my house.  My former place of employment had a much longer commute and a the work environment was more stressful, so this new job is a huge blessing for me.  I have a new cat named Brutus (Bruty) who was born on 3/03/16.  I got a new car.  My 2006 Lancer decided it was time to start having issues and since I was having the new car itch, I got an Outlander Sport at the end of July.

The studio has been rearranged.  AGAIN.  Earlier this spring I reorganized my art materials and moved things around only to find that I really didn’t like the new setup several months later.   It was a chore to go through everything again and move the supplies around, but I’m much happier with new configuration and hope that the changes will = creative drive/energy as I have a ton of things sketched and several works in progress that need to worked on.  


I’m hoping to get back into the groove with my videos…we’ll see how that goes over the next few weeks.       : )

Heart Project



The Heart series/project is advancing…


I’ve been working on the paper mache hearts a lot lately.  I ordered 40 of them online a few weeks ago and ordered another 30 hearts today.  I have tons of ideas for them and things that I want to experiment with, so I was excited to get a Dremel tool last week to start carving and cutting up some of the hearts.  I refer to it as heart surgery, but no anesthesia is needed and there is absolutely no risk of death.   


I started the Heart series by working on paintings, but now focus on the paper mache hearts.  So far, this series/project is really getting me out of my traditional working/creating methods, which is a good thing.   I typically have everything well planned out and stick to a certain schedule to make sure I reach my intended goals.  This time around, I’m being more flexible and taking detours here and there, not setting any “hard target” dates, etc.  I’m enjoying the journey and surprised that I’m more interested in the sculptural aspect of the project instead of working on the flat 2D painting surfaces constantly…extremely refreshing. 


The paper mache hearts are from Hobby Lobby and come 2 to a pack and are manufactured in the Phillipines.  I’m not sure what kind of glue is used or if it’s toxic, so I decided to contain my workspace as much as I could by putting up some plastic sheeting to keep the dust particles from getting all over my house/studio.  Since safety comes first, I also used a mask and goggles.     : )


I’m also “planning” to make a new video this coming weekend, so stay tuned! 

just about to start


the aftermath









Youtube Channel....

Happy Sunday Everybody!!

I'm slow to announcing on my website that I have FINALLY created a youtube channel.  I have started a new art series and wanted to document the process as I go along.  Be sure to watch the intro video as it has lots of info on why the series was initiated.  I'm sure as things progress I will dive into other "reasons" for creating this series and plan to write about it as well.

 www.youtube.com/channel/UCRCi-R4BNRnxIHCtS4tQpWQ


2015

Well... I'm a little late in posting this.  I put it out on Facebook on 12/31/14 and wanted to have it here too.

What an exciting and extraordinary year 2014 was been!!!  During this time of year, I like think back over the previous months, savor all of the blessings and then pray over the upcoming year. How about you? 

For me, the biggest surprise of the year came about 2 weeks after my annual spiritual retreat in October when my life was literally put on a new trajectory….more about that later. For the 2014 retreat, I went back to Cross Ministries in Groom, TX for a day of rest, reflection, study and prayer. (It’s a wonderful place to visit, pray, study and just be with Jesus.)

The replica of the empty tomb at Cross Ministries had a huge impact on me during this visit. I sat in that space for quite some time thinking on Jesus’ resurrection. IF He never came out of that tomb, I would have no peace, no joy, no laughter, no hope, no promise of Heaven….no salvation. Because He lives, I have all of those things and much, much more. Anyways, after a couple hours of study and prayer in the garden area, I felt drawn out to the empty tomb again, so I went back. Resurrection was put on my heart once more and I pondered it prayerfully with Jesus…why was He pressing that word and that concept? Did something need to be resurrected in my life?? What needs to be resurrected Lord? Here is the partial revelation I got that day: In order for a resurrection to occur, something has to die….completely. Something has to be dead and buried…only to be raised up by the Lord in His perfect timing…not yours. Hmmm….

Prior to the retreat, I had been serving a lot at church and had a great feeling of anticipation of change coming, but I had no idea that Jesus would be tapping the brakes on where I thought I was going for the remainder of the year or beyond. I was eager to get the ball rolling as I sat in that empty tomb, however nothing happened, no ideas, etc., so I decided to wait for the “thing” to be revealed at the right time instead worrying about it. The very next weekend, I went to serve at church as I was in the custom of doing and it felt so very “off” to me. After serving for so many months, the drive/desire was completely gone and I felt soooo very tired that day…thoroughly exhausted. The deep peace that I had from the retreat started to slowly slip away and I knew that was something I needed to pay attention to. I reached out to the pastor and let him know that I was going to take a break from serving.

The next Friday, 10/17, on the way into work, the “thing” was put back on my heart…an idea/inspiration from 2003-2004 that was too huge for me to even begin trying to work towards back then…I made some sketches and put them in my art book and put it on the shelf.

Over the course of the next 11 years, Jesus has been filling my toolbox with key experiences, honing talents, and blessing me with new tools that are needed in addition to faith. I never stopped to connect the dots during those years, I just followed Him to the next place He led me to and dove right in and when a season was over, I just moved on to the next stop along the journey. (Here lately, He has also been reminding me of that saying that I’m sure ALL Christians have heard: God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips those whom He has called.) Anyways, a great flood of ideas came that Friday on 10/17…wowzers!! Since that day, I have been taking time to rest from church serving, but I have also been switching gears…making my lists of things to research, people to contact, and things to do & create in the first quarter of 2015. It’s a ton of things…a lot of work, but definitely a labor of love, so at every step, I’m trusting Jesus to lead and provide. I’m so excited and wish I could tell everybody more right now, but I can’t. Perhaps before the 2nd quarter of 2015??? Stay tuned….

April 2014

Wow… it has been a long time since I have posted anything out here.   I haven’t had much going on regarding art since I finished my board term with Art Love Magic in early fall of 2012.  I felt that it was time to step back and focus in on a few other things and just wait for more leading from God in the area of art…after being in several art shows/festivals and producing art shows, doing business planning, etc., I guess I just needed to chillax for a while.  Over the course of 18 months or so, there have been several family issues, sicknesses, etc., so I ministered to and served my family as much as possible and created another website that I’ve been adding content to for a while, but it isn’t ready to be public yet…whew – I’ve been busy!    I also had a major life change as I started going to another church in late January this year.   (  http://gracerev.org )     Changes…they can be wonderful and difficult at the same time.
 
I have only painted a few times since 2012 and for the most part, I’m ok with that.   I understand that there are seasons that God moves us through, but I’m starting to miss my creative time and getting paint all over the place.   : )     I’ve been pondering starting a Cross Challenge – doing a series of paintings based on the rugged cross in different colors, settings, etc. over the course of a given time frame.   Maybe 20 paintings in 20 weeks in various sizes..    Maybe 30 paintings in 20 weeks all sized 8 x10.    ????     Just thinking about it right now….and that’s a GREAT start. 
 
On 4/17, I’m going with an art buddy to Ft. Worth to hang out at an art show for a while, so I’m sure that will add a little fuel to the creative embers.   : ) 

Spiritual Retreat 2013


I absolutely LOVE Spiritual Retreats.  This year I had two new aspects on my journey:
 
1.    I went on my yearly Spiritual Retreat in early October instead of late spring and found that I enjoyed it just the same. 
2.    I invited one of my mentors, Vee, whom I lovingly refer to as one of my spiritual grandmothers instead of going alone...and we had a wonderful time.      
 
I always have great experiences on my retreats....I get relaxed, refreshed, refocused and always hear from God.  The locations are normally within 5 - 8 hours of the Dallas area and the trip to the destination is actually part of the retreat journey experience in of itself because I listen to Praise & Worship all the way there to get my heart & mind prepared. 

This year, the first location we visited was Cap Rock Canyon State Park, which is just southeast of Amarillo.  It's a beautiful park that is very well maintained and is a nature lovers dream.   Since we went during the week it wasn't that crowded and we were able to find a nice spot to hangout for 3.5 hours without being disturbed.  After we unpacked our bibles, study materials and notebooks, we had prayer for healing, communion, and then separated for individual prayer and study.   I was surprised to find myself weeping instead of praying at first, but sometimes the tear ducts are like pressure relief valves of our heart and God knew that I needed that considering the events of the year and sickness and stress in my family.... It has been a hard year indeed and yet He is faithful to see us through it all and make us stronger in the end, so my tears quickly turned to praise and thanks.     It was awesome!!
 
The next day, we went on to Cross Ministries, which is east of Amarillo in Groom, TX.       WOW...what an amazing place!!   A man and his family constructed a HUGE cross beside interstate 40 that can be seen 12 miles away.  When you get there, they have life size bronze  Stations of The Cross, Last Supper, Calvary and the Empty Tomb.  Hands down, this is one of the best places for meditation that I've been to in a long time.  When you go to their store and restroom area, they have a large courtyard with big fountain and statue of Jesus.  The waterfall must have a massive pump, because the water pressure is extremely high and it’s LOUD…like a roaring river and it reminded me of John's description of how Jesus' voice sounded like rushing waters in Revelation 1:15.  

After we did a little shopping we returned to the courtyard area and stayed there for 2.5 hours and separated off again for study, prayer and praise.  Due to the peace and tranquility, I wish we could have stayed even longer, but we had to get back on the road to get home before midnight.  I definitely want to go back there again and will be telling all of my friends about it.   I love taking faith vacations/retreats…I'm always blessed for the next big thing/adventure that God has in store for me, I get to pray more intensely for friends and family AND I get my little spiritual love tank refilled.  
 
If you have never gone on a spiritual retreat, I want to encourage you take the time to do it.  If you go with somebody, make sure to get alone so that you can really focus in on God without hindrance.   If you're not sure on what to take or study, this may be helpful:


·         Bible - select one of the gospels to concentrate on.   
·         Journal/Notebook - you may get a big download from God, so you’ll want to take notes.  During this particular retreat I used my journal to write out the sensitive prayers in my heart so that I could revisit them this fall as they are critical to my next "season" of service unto the Lord.
·         Praise & Worship music - for the drive to wherever you're going - this helps to get the heart prepared and focused on God.
·         Study resources - I took a study guide that I'm doing in church with me and read through that at night back in the hotel room to keep the flow of the retreat going when I wasn't at one of our destinations.

During my spiritual retreats I try to keep outside distractions cut down as much as possible.  I don't like to have the TV on in the hotel and I try to keep the cell phone off.  This time around I didn't have to worry about the phone so much because we were out in the country and had really bad cell service.   I'm looking forward to my next retreat sometime next year....now I just have to find a new place to explore or perhaps visit Cross Ministries again.  
  




Cross Ministries
 

Cross Ministries

Cross Ministries

Cross Ministries

Cross Ministries

Cap Rock Canyon State Park

Cap Rock Canyon State Park

Cap Rock Canyon State Park
 

September 2013

The hot & busy summer season is drawing to an end here in North Texas and I’m looking forward to having more time to spend on creative endeavors this fall.        : )      I have some of the little tree studies just about completed, but feel much more interested in starting some Cross studies based off of earlier sketches and paintings.  I plan to use a very limited palette with those, so we’ll see how that goes.   I have been writing a lot of content for another website here lately that I will link to as soon as it’s ready to be publically launched, so the creative juices have been flowing well, just not in the area of drawing & painting.  
 
On a side note…I decided to take a vacation week next week to celebrate the start of my 40th year on earth.  I don’t think I’ve been too upset about turning 40 like other people I hear about.   No mental breakdown, sports car purchase or huge depression, so I’m very thankful for that.   I eagerly look forward to serving God more intently with whatever time I have left on the earth, so I have a 3 day spiritual retreat planned to get me out of the Dallas area and help me get still & quiet before the Lord to seek His direction and pray for others.  I will be taking my pens and sketchbook with me, so maybe I’ll get some cool ideas while I’m visiting Cap Rock Canyon State Park or the Cross Ministries meditation place.  I hope to get some good pictures on the trip, so I will post them when I get back.    Pray for a safe journey for me while I travel.      : )
 
This past weekend I started a small series of Tree paintings.   I'm not sure how many I will do, but I do plan to work on them about 3 - 6 hours a week.  Right now, my main concentration is on getting my back stronger and serving up at church, but I will try to post pics of the trees as they progress.   The one below is a 8 x 10

3/24/13

Looking forward to a little extra time after Easter to do some painting.  I've been surprisingly very busy these past two weeks with church and family stuff, so that leaves no extra time to get behind the easel these days.

Tree - Completed

Here's the little 11 x 14 tree painting.  It turned out a little more red than I intended it to be, but that's ok.     : )    



Tree Study 11 x 14  not for sale

 

A Tree

Here is a little abstracted tree that I'm working on.  I'm thinking about giving to my brother for his new house.  It's a 11 x 14 canvas and I'm about half way done with it....just need to add in highlights, darks and then a few glazes of clear yellow gold to warm it up some.


1/18/13

HAPPY New Year!!  

It feels like it’s been 400 years since I have posted anything out here.  I was planning to get back into the creative mode in November of 2012, but my back had other plans for me.     : (
I started having back issues back in the summer of 2012 after starting a new exercise routine and decided to go to a chiropractor in late September after enduring a lot of pain.  That helped a lot at first, but things started to get worse and in December I decided to go to the Texas Back Institute to see what was wrong and what could be done.   I learned that I have 2 degenerated discs and was told that the first thing to try would be physical therapy and if that doesn’t work, an injection would be the next option.    I’m currently at the end of week 3 in physical therapy and things are going ok. 

I’m not sure how long I will be in therapy, so it may be a while before I get back to painting again.   One thing I was thinking about doing are small gestural paintings from old photos.  I haven’t done any gestural work since 2002, so that may be fun.   Who knows…I may do one this coming weekend.     : )

10/14/12

Well, it's been quite a while since I have posted work out here.  I've been on a sabbatical from art for about 5 months and will probably remain so for about another 30-45 days.    Why you ask??     The summer months are our 'high season' in relocation, which is my day job, plus I've increased my servant leadership at church ( www.elevatelife.com ), have been counseling/mentoring others, and doing a tremendous amount of writing.     Whew!!   2012 has been busy and fruitful indeed!     ; )      I was thinking the other day about what direction I want to go in regarding the art.   Creatively, I was contemplating a year long series on the 'colorbook' style landscapes and throwing random abstractions into the mix here and there.   Professionally, I was thinking about how to show the works upon completion.  Do I REALLY want to do art festivals again?         Hmmmm.... decisions, decisions.  

A Study of Trees - Part 1

I've been working on some small (5 x 7) study paintings here lately. These 3 have the little leafless trees/bushes that I tend to put here and there in the desertscapes.
There are two ways to consider them: 1) that it's winter and spring is on the horizon OR 2) that they are dead. I'll leave it up to the viewer to decide.


Tree w/Moon

Tree Study 1

Tree Study 2