Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Heart

I have to admit that my heart fluttered when I learned that this week's theme over at Illustration Friday would have us rushing to check our pulses for signs of creative life. Thankfully, it wasn't related to actual health concerns. After all, I try to show a bit of restraint when I order that small cone, not double- dipped in chocolate, no matter what either I or the devil desires. ;o)
Motifs associated with hearts and love figure prominently and obviously on Valentine's Day, weddings, anniversaries or any joyful occasion or expression of endearment, so this should be an easy topic to conceptualize!
But I don't intend to go overboard emoting, wear my feelings on my sleeve and get all touchy- feely- kissy- face with this one. Messages sent from beneath the surface are often ambiguous anyway, open to interpretation, good or bad, clear or murky.
Do you see disappointment here in this picture? A sinking heart? Heaven forbid, is love something to constrain, to slowly drown underwater? Or is it something steadily anchored, yet easily let loose from deep within your heart?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Pointy

Pointy
Certain descriptive terms seemed odd to me when I was a kid, like "prickly heat," for one. I envisioned sharp pointy things protruding from a person's skin, much like the spines on a cactus or  the scaly hide like one might find on the back of an alligator.  I don't recall ever knowing anybody who actually suffered from this condition, at least not as I imagined it to be.
Pokey things just seem to be a part of the scenery in a desert landscape such as southern California. Things are still pretty dry, and somewhere, someone is probably experiencing the symptoms of varying degrees of heat rash here and there. But mostly "there," as in that place where my mind seems to be wandering off to today. It could be that the heat is getting to me, but let's not focus on thorny barbs and brambles, OK? It's making my skin crawl and this is beach season, after all...
When Illustration Friday provided the prompt "Pointy" this week, instead of sharp objects, it made me think of enjoying this summery sunshine while it lasts and maybe an ice cream cone to cool off.
It's still August, isn't it? Let's enjoy it while it lasts!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Treasure

One Man's Trash is Another Cat's Treasure

Hey all you flea market junkies, thrift shoppers and garage sale addicts out there! Are you the type who can't walk past a great bargain or a see the potential in something that can be repurposed? Do you worship the junker's patron saint, Fred Sanford? Or do you just love to see old objects live out their lives 'til it hurts?
Illustration Friday posted the word and "One man's trash is another man's treasure" immediately came to mind. Not admitting guilt by any means...Ahem. But do you understand how the concept of spring cleaning can morph into a four season, life long affair?
Gotta go now- I have to throw a few things out today. Swing by and see if you'd like any of it! ;o)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Garden

Hanging Around In The Garden
I've been thinking (again). And sometimes that can be a dangerous thing. 
This week over at Illustration Friday, they posted the theme, "Garden." That's a nice word, conjuring up images of lush, beautiful green spaces, happy scenes of watering cans and pretty flowers. I've done some of those illustrations for various products over the years, but they won't appear here today, as they're mostly tucked away and covered up in the past tense now.
Excited as I was about this theme, I sat down and quickly banged this one out, but it sat on my desk for most of the week once the nagging doubts began. ("Why did you put THAT in it?" "You shoulda..." etc.) I struggled with the decision whether to even publish one this week. But really, this little watercolor might be more representative of the word "garden" for me. Not as a noun, but a verb. 
Gardening here at my place means planting, weeding, watching, watering. OK, maybe not so much watering during this drought! 
In the years I've been here tending my little patch of landscape, it's been a process very much like painting. Sometimes things just work and everything's beautiful, and sometimes the results are haphazard with much less success than anticipated or hoped for. But all in all, it's always an effort or expression that nobody else will approach in the same way. Sometimes it has to be done quickly, down and dirty without any real instructions or recipe for any of it. It's ongoing trial and many errors, and that in itself is what brings the joy. 
Here's a sampling of a scene from my backyard, just throwing it out there like nobody's looking. This isn't the Garden of Eden- no need to be embarrassed for me. That "shame" thing isn't going to work on me today!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sharp

Sharp As A Tack
Late spring and early summer have taken me here and there and everywhere. With many family obligations to meet and related opportunities for tasks, to do's and related errands, there's been a lot of multi- tasking in the way of happiness, sadness, hellos and goodbyes, much soul searching in mind but not a lot of "free" time for just staying put, blogging or participating in the weekly Illustration Friday challenges.
On one of the trips I recently took, I had the opportunity to take my dad to visit his aunt, a retired schoolteacher who celebrated her 100th birthday earlier this spring. As the younger sister of my grandmother, there was a noticeably strong family resemblance. Even her soft voice reminded me of her. We couldn't stay for too long, as it was difficult for her to speak, but her quick responses to our questions and comments made it as clear as her blue eyes, that her mind was as sharp as ever. Up until recently, she was still able to drive around town, and wasn't relying on glasses in order to read during our visit. So mentally alert, with a complexion smooth and unlined for a woman who's seen so many changes in a century, I'm guessing there's something good in the water that she's been drinking, or could it simply be years of wholesome living in and among small towns and farms that compose the prairies of the midwestern US?
Whatever it is, I doubt I'll ever discover her secret for longevity. But one thing's for sure, that listening to my dad's detailed accounts of incidents that happened so long ago, there is at least a family gene for memory, tucked somewhere deep in the creases of our brains. Hopefully, I'll be as alert and retain the ability to edit some of what's been stored in mine, if I'm ever as lucky to be so blessed with a long and fruitful life!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tense


When I was in elementary school many years ago, Friday afternoons were set aside as "Art Days." The whole class was able to put aside all of the books and lessons for a determined amount of time and work on creative projects of a semi- structured nature. That might have been one of the many defining moments when I decided that I might like to pursue art as a career. All the pressure was off, we listened to records (yes real vinyl records, if you can remember those) and immersed ourselves in a "no rules" zone as we began to shut down the week and prepare for a weekend away from our studies.

Continuing with my art studies, I eventually found myself working in the creative field. I know there are people who say that they love working as artists, that when you do something you love, that it's not like working at all. That might be true to a degree, but this Libra gal feels compelled to share a little reality check. Actually, I can write a whole other series of blog entries on this topic, the flip side of all that "play time" but I'll try to keep it brief. While art is fun, it is also work, especially when money is being exchanged. There are sometimes insane deadlines, bills to pay, colleagues, clients and employers (some also insane) and their expectations, all the while juggling assorted family obligations (which always come first) and doing it all with a smile on one's face and with as much grace as can be mustered, even if through gritted teeth. No wonder they call it the daily grind!

Maybe that's what I love about Illustration Friday- The name in itself brings back fond, relaxing memories of "Art Day." No real pressure, all are welcome to participate or not, and nobody gets all bent out of shape when some of us go off on conceptual tangents. For anybody who frequents this blog, they might have noticed that I take that to heart- I don't always post as regularly as I could, sometimes I veer off course, style- wise, and color the way I want, with or without rambling narratives. Today I decided that I was just going to put the obligations aside and paint for the fun of it (minus the vinyl records, but music is playing in the background). The soft gray, introverted mourning dove sitting among the sometimes menacing cactus pads was chosen to illustrate this theme-  Familiar inhabitants of our yards, they seem to like it here, but always appear wary,  a little bit tense and poised to take off, depending on the circumstances.

Hope your "Art Days" are purely for fun!


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Soft

Soft Drinks
I didn't raise the alarms when the nice folks over at Illustration Friday got around to changing the week's word a little late. In case you missed it that was "Warrior," and I was enjoying a little break in the action. Not the most inspiring topic when there's plenty of fighting going on all around the world, you know? Depending on who's being asked and when, it's been noted that I can be stubborn- But that's just when I need to hold my ground in my own small scale clashes. Some of those same people will also say I have a very quiet voice. As a whole, I prefer things to be low key and peaceful. 

When they switched the theme over to "Soft," you could almost hear the "Whew!" as I breathed a sigh of relief. To celebrate, I thought I'd offer up a batch of old fashioned soda pops- As in soft drinks. Cheers!