Believe in the Garden

Mixed media piece of butterfly on a rose and heavily detailed background

Though it is winter, and the garden is covered in snow, I know things are happening at the root level of all my plants. They are dreaming of spring and bursting forth into the sun. yet even during the winter months the exposed branches give structure to the garden, highlighted by snow and occasional bird. For many January can be a hard month. It is cold, dark, the weather can be unpredictable, the celebrations past, and resolutions sounding hollow already. Plus this year, still, we have the pandemic continuing to throw monkey wrenches into daily life. Both sides of that issue are feeling irritated about that, though some won’t dial it back which only adds to the general annoyances we are all experiencing.

I decided to start my year off with regular trips to the gym to keep both my physical and mental strength up. To get outside in the fresh air when I can. And I decided to take part in Creative Jumpstart 2022 to keep my creativity flowing. I have just finished the first week of lessons and it is a blast. It is providing me with the same sort of benefits as the gym and nature. It’s a trifecta of goodness to ward off any January blahs that might come my way.

Strength

Mixed media with butterfly , bright circles, jewels and “strength” chop mark

As part of the Creative Jumpstart 2022 course I am taking through Nathalie Kalbach’s site there are daily creative videos from wide variety of artists. Each one is designed to encourage exploring new materials and techniques. It is proving a great way for me to get into the studio every day and dig into my supplies. I am determined to expand creatively in every direction I possibly can this year, and this course came across my screen at the perfect time. It is fun to stretch myself in this way and see what I can do.

Tiny wonders

Four 2 inch bright mixed media pieces

When I work small I have to approach the piece differently. Different decisions have to be made from the start in order not to overwhelm the final balance. One thing I enjoy about tiny art is that I get to use up my tiniest scraps, all the bits I have hung onto “just in case”. When I do 1” size the restrictions are even tougher to work within. If you want to try making small scale pieces like these, go ahead and dive in! You will likely enjoy the process and feel encouraged to make more. Start at the 2” size first so you can get used to the scale, and then try some 1” ones.

Four 1” bold mixed media pieces

Here are some 1” pieces, commonly called “inchies”, so you can compare the two sizes. You are working with the littlest scraps you have for this size. But, much like bonsai, it is what you choose to leave that makes it work.

Sailing on

Mixed media with Polish postage stamp

The sun still has a red glow to it in the mornings and evenings due to the wildfire smoke drifting across the country. All the rain we have received would be welcome to the west, but the weather doesn’t work that way. Those rainy days have meant more studio than outdoor time, which is a good thing as I have been able to explore different materials and techniques as a result. I gave myself this summer to redirect and reset my art goals. It has meant a lot of work, and out of my comfort zone thinking, but I have stuck with it. I have kept my excitement up and figured out each obstacle that arose, even if it meant I had to admit ignorance and ask for help. It has been an expansive summer for me as I have done this, and though I don’t want to rush fall, I am ready for this next step.

Brush it up

Brush it up, mixed media piece with vintage elements

A rubber tooth brush. In 1899 this was likely quite an amazing item to find at your local shop. it is easy to forget how our ordinary day to day items were once considered new fangled contraptions. The descriptions in these old ads often result in raised eyebrows. In this one, the line “Bailey’s celebrated bath and flesh brushes” seems like an odd choice of words. Wouldn’t it be presupposed that with bathing you would use a bath brush on you flesh? They surely can have meant to imply the brushes were flesh. And the word “celebrated” denotes a certain touch of renown was attached to the Bailey line, even if just as ad copy.

As I work my way through the tinkerlab monthly challenge I am having fun going through my paper stash and finding gems like the ad I used in this piece. It is both fun and frustrating to try and winkle out what the word each day will bring to mind. But that is the point of a challenge, to push the boundaries we enclose ourselves behind.

On the go

Mixed media piece in bright colors with text “you go girl”

I think I have been busy. I have lots of notes and prep work underway, but it doesn’t feel like progress, just busy work. And while I know the journey starts with a single step, it can feel as if not much has been achieved, the end goal is over the horizon. There are so many tasks I have to tackle and figure out. Building an email list, writing content for the new site, increasing engagement etc, it can all feel overwhelming. It also feels exciting, a whole new direction to head off in. I need to let both sets of feelings have their space as I stay the course towards my goal. And calmly breathe in and out.