Tag Archives: creativity

Back to Work

Okay, I’m getting closer to painting again. A few days ago, I went to a book store and bought, not only a copy of The Artist’s Magazine, but also a copy of Plein Air Magazine. I’ve already read a great article about squinting. That’s as far as I got because I had tie-dye things to do.

New Reading Material

New Reading Material


This morning, I cleaned out my Sta-Wet Palette. I had to use a new sheet of Acrylic paper. The old one had dried out completely, with a whole lot of paint on it. The paint had dried out, too, along with the sponge underneath. The Sta-Wet Palette does not stay wet if you leave it alone for three months. Good to know.

Now my Sta-Wet Palette is wet again, but I just had time to get it to that point and then I needed to do tie-dye things again. The problem with having a successful Florida Folk Festival is that a whole lot of tie-dye goes to new homes, and then we need to make more tie-dye. It happens every year, and every year we think we’re going to go straight home and get busy replacing all the things we sold.

We manage to forget that we are exhausted when we get home from the Florida Folk Festival. We manage to forget that we can’t even begin to replace the things that sold until we order more blanks, and we can’t do that until we know exactly what sold. We shouldn’t even try to replace things until after our end-of-June inventory, but then there are the special orders.

When we run out of a certain style of item, we could just say, “Sorry, we don’t have any more of those” and leave it at that. It’s hard to leave it at that when someone says, “Can you make one for me?” and agrees to pay in advance. When we’re in our happy festival mood, it seems reasonable to accept these special orders. We love making tie-dye and we love making our customers happy.

Then we get home and remember that there are only two of us and we are exhausted. At least one of us has usually injured something at the festival or during the pack-up or while we’re unloading the van. We want to get the special orders done as quickly as possible, but we need to recover first. We’re sorry. If you ordered something from us, we are determined to get it to you. If what you ordered is in the Blue Raspberry color palette, we will be mailing it out tomorrow.

If it’s in Rainbows, Fruities or Greens, we’re working on it. We promise. I just hope I can get back to my Sta-Wet palette before it dries out again.

Road Trip

I think I’ve figured out how Wednesday became my regular weekly blog posting day. I’m pretty sure it was related to a folk festival. I had been posting on Fridays and then on Sundays for a while, but then I must have seen a folk festival coming. I normally drive to a folk festival on Thursday and then I’m without wifi all weekend, so I can’t do blog posts.

I’m thinking about this because I’m getting ready to go to a folk festival. I have festivals where I perform and festivals where I sell tie-dye and one festival where I do both. The one coming up this weekend is the Will McLean Festival, where I am a tie-dye artist and not a performer. It’s my tie-dye partner’s favorite festival because I don’t have to leave her alone in the booth while I go somewhere to sing and yodel. It’s also the one where we don’t bring extra family members. It’s just the two of us, with a tie-dye booth and camping equipment.

We love this weekend, but we sure are exhausted before we get on the road. It’s eight o’clock in the evening as I’m writing this and my daughter is still checking all the lists to make sure everything is loaded up in the van. Everything that’s on a list, anyway. I try to improve my lists by reading Morning Pages from last year to see what I forgot to bring. When I did that this year, I saw that every single day of last year’s festival, I was wishing I had brought art supplies.

I still can’t remember when I found myself with enough down time to want art supplies, but I wrote it in my Morning Pages every day, so I am not leaving them behind this year. The art supplies are in the van. So are a lot of other things, taking up every inch of space, but we’re probably still forgetting something. When I find out what it is, I will write about it in my Morning Pages and we will remember to bring it next year.

I guess I’d better not forget to pack my notebook after I write tomorrow’s Morning Pages.

Ready for Morning Pages

Ready for Morning Pages

Application Procrastination

Today is Wednesday, October 1, 2014. All performer applications for the 2015 Florida Folk Festival must be postmarked by today to be considered. I have been performing at this event since 1971 and I still find the application process intimidating. Back in those days, my mom was the contact for the family yodeling act, so I had no idea how intimidating the application could be. My Mom is gone now, but we still have five family members who want to perform at the Florida Folk Festival. Somehow, everyone agreed that I would be the new contact. They say it’s because I’m the one who lives in Florida year-round, which really makes no difference, since I can’t complete the application without contacting all the other group members, no matter where they’re living.

That’s the first thing I do once I realize it’s time to fill out the application. That gets a little tricky, because the e-mail address the festival organizers have is the one for the family act and it almost never gets any e-mail. I forget to check it. There is also the past history of the application process to trip me up. In recent years, the poor woman who has to organize the event has had way too much on her plate. The applications went out late and consequently, the application deadline was extended well beyond October first. I should have been paying attention. I should have been checking that e-mail, but I just didn’t realize time was getting away from me.

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you know that my own plate has been a bit overloaded lately. You also know that some days, I’m just not very good at coping. I hide out and avoid stressful things until I feel better. The Florida Folk Festival application is a very stressful thing. This year, someone took something off the festival organizer’s plate and she sent out the applications on August first. I wasn’t checking the family e-mail, so I failed to notice. My sister woke me up to the deadline after attending a meeting in the town that hosts the event.

That was a couple of weeks ago. I should have jumped on that application as soon as I heard from her, but I found myself procrastinating. I had good excuses, including two memorial services to attend during that time frame. Still, the biggest reason I procrastinated is that the application process stresses me out and I just couldn’t face it.

I know. Believe me, I know. It would be a lot less stressful if I would just open up the application as soon as I know it’s there and start filling it out. I do know, but I still procrastinate. I had to gather information. Would all the regular participants be planning to attend this year? Would they be bringing the same guests they brought last year? Were my sister’s granddaughters ready to join us this year? These are the important questions I sent out via Facebook messages and I did nothing at all until I heard back from everyone.

Well, I did a couple of things. I breathed and I waited. I needed to do those things before I could face that application. Then the messages were answered and I had no more excuses. That’s when the panic hit. I downloaded the application and saw that we needed a new recording this year. We didn’t have a new recording. More Facebook messages were sent. More procrastination occurred as I waited for my sisters and my younger daughter to tell me they didn’t have any recordings, either. I scoured my files again. I found something that would work, but I needed to get it on a CD and I’m technologically challenged.

My older daughter saved the day. She put two songs on a CD for me. I folded up the application, tucked the CD inside and put it all in a padded envelope. I sealed the envelope. Yay! The application was ready to mail. I decided I could get some rest and mail it in the morning.

That was last night. This morning, I realized I had never actually listened to the CD to make sure the recording was successful. I tore open the padded envelope, pulled out the CD and popped it into the nearest player. Yes! It worked. Then I popped it into a different player, because the application had asked me to do that. It worked there, too! Whew! I addressed a new envelope and sealed the application and CD inside. Then I drove to the Post Office and stood in line to mail it. I explained how important the postmark was and the nice postal worker stamped it twice, in different places, just to make sure.

A great weight is off my shoulders – at least until I check the tie-dye e-mail. Performer applications went out on August first. Vendor applications were scheduled to go out October first.

I did paint while I was procrastinating. It’s two pine cone lilies in a handmade vase.

Pine Cone Lilies

Pine Cone Lilies

We know it’s Autumn in Florida when the pine cone lilies turn red.

Baby Steps

This is starting to look like a series. Last week, I was looking around for something to paint and my eye finally fell on a cute little habanero pepper my husband had recently harvested. It was something I could paint quickly. That was important, since I had put off writing my blog post, hoping I would have a painting to write about, until after suppertime on Wednesday, which is my blog day. I painted an itty bitty painting and shared it in my blog post and hoped I would be moving on to something bigger – maybe even something painted on a day other than Wednesday.

Okay, so that didn’t happen. I’ve been having a lethargic week and the weather has not been helping. There’s a low off the coast of Florida that’s been bringing us rain, rain and more rain. This is not cheerful weather. It’s certainly not plein air weather. I still have a dream of painting outdoors, but I’d like to do it on a sunny day, or at least a day without actual water falling from the sky.

So here it is Wednesday again and I was looking around for something to paint again and there on the kitchen counter was another pepper. My husband is really proud of this one. This is the first time he’s ever grown a Ghost Pepper. These little things are so hot, they make habaneros look like sweet peppers. Seriously, they rate almost double on the Scoville scale. These are demonic little peppers.

Ghost Pepper

Ghost Pepper


If you ask me, they even look evil. Look at that shape, so much longer and sharper than the habanero. It even has little points all over it. It’s evil, I tell you – eeeeevil! Of course, I may be projecting. It unnerves me to realize we have these things growing in our back yard.

Anyway, I have another itty bitty pepper painting. Maybe next week, I’ll do something different. Maybe the rain will stop and I will paint outside. Maybe I’ll find some other sort of pepper growing in my back yard. Or a carnivorous plant from outer space.

You never know!

Quests

Blog day is upon me and I have not painted. I did accomplish something this week, though. I won Camp NaNoWriMo.

Ta da!

Ta da!


I may not have finished the novel I started last November, but I did write thirty thousand words in the month of July, and I did it without counting my weekly blog post or my daily morning pages. I actually hit thirty thousand on Monday, July 28th. My daughter saw that I broke twenty-nine thousand the day before and couldn’t believe I went to bed without going for the goal that day. There was no need. I had plenty of time and I was enjoying myself. I had already discovered that pushing myself too hard was not fun and I wanted to continue to have fun. It was easy to finish the next day and my daughter was here to help me validate. I never can find that little button when it’s time to go for the win.

It’s good that I was so close on Sunday because my other daughter came over to visit that day and she brought me a great temptation. She’s letting my borrow her 3DS and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. If you know me at all, you know how hard it was for me to do anything else once that game was in the house. For those who don’t know me, I should explain that I tend to become obsessed with video games and that The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was my favorite Nintendo game of all time.

I loved the first Zelda game, on the original NES. The second one, also on original NES, was not their best effort, but it was Zelda, so I played it anyway. Then they moved on to the Super Nintendo and came out with A Link to the Past. It was faithful to the original Zelda, but the graphics were so much better, it was like living in Hyrule. Hyrule was in danger and needed a hero. I had to be that hero.

The game my daughter is letting me borrow is the direct sequel to A Link to the Past. It’s a different story but everything in it is so familiar, it’s like coming home. I get to be a hero again. I get to go in search of the pendants which will prove I am worthy of the legendary Master Sword, hidden once more in the Lost Woods. Seven Sages, seven dungeons in the dark world, rupees, arrows, bombs…

Oh, my goodness! Bombs were the clue to solving a very difficult puzzle in A Link to the Past. I was stuck on it so long that, even now, when I’m worrying about any problem in my life, my husband will say, “Try throwing a bomb at it!”

I’m not kidding. That game was part of the fabric of my life as a young mother. Now I have the sequel in my house and I’m expected to accomplish other things? Hyrule is in danger again! It needs a hero!

I can’t believe I’m writing a blog post instead of swinging that Master Sword.

Fun With Writring

I am caught up on my word count for Camp NaNoWriMo. Now I can meet my goal by doing about nine hundred words a day for the rest of July. As I suspected, the process did require pie.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie


Also cookies.
No-bake Cookies

No-bake Cookies


And my favorite flavored coffee.
Jamaican Me Crazy

Jamaican Me Crazy


And more pie.
Custard Pie

Custard Pie


And one big painting.
Flame Azaleas

Flame Azaleas


The scan is a bit fuzzy and it washed out the sky, which is blue, not white, in the actual painting. This is the biggest one I’ve done yet and it’s different from the rest in other ways, too. It was based on a photograph. I prefer to paint from life, but we saw some beautiful things when we were in North Carolina and I didn’t have time to paint on the Craggy Flats trail. That’s where I took the picture of flame azaleas on which this painting is based. The other difference is that I painted it in stages over several days, instead of all in one sitting.

Of course, the result is not all that I had hoped it would be, but it was a great learning experience. I tried new things. I can’t expect new things to work perfectly the very first time I try them. It’s called “trial and error” for a reason. I am happy that I was able to allow myself to make errors.

I should confess that the other reason I am caught up on my Camp NaNoWriMo word count is that I’m trying new things there, too. I haven’t dropped my word goal, but I have given myself permission to write whatever I want to write. I know I said I wanted to finish my novel from November, but I was so stuck that I was starting to feel like Mozart in that scene from Amadeus where Constanze is trying to get him to work on the Requiem and he looks at her with hollow eyes and says, “It’s killing me.”

Yeah… not a fun place to be. I want to finish that novel, but I’m not going to kill myself over it. This is Camp; it’s supposed to be fun. It can be any type of writing, not just a novel. It can be nonfiction. It can be a collection of poems or short stories. It can be a screenplay if that’s what you want to write. It can even be revisions of a novel you have already written. I’m still writing. I will write thirty thousand words in the month of July. They will all come from my head; I won’t have a character in my own novel read passages from some real, already-published novel to pad my word count. My daughter, who spends time on the NaNoWriMo forums, says that is a tactic some people use.

I may now be a NaNoWriMo rebel, but I’m not that much of rebel. I just set my inner artist free, that’s all. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, says that the inner artist is a child. You can’t make a child happy by dragging her, kicking and screaming, to a word processor and chaining her little hands to the keyboard. As soon as I told her she could write whatever she wanted, she started jumping up and down, clapping her hands and saying, “Really, really, really?”

A little freedom was all it took. Well…that and a whole lot of sweets.

Still Writing

Week two of Camp NaNoWriMo feels a lot like week two of regular NaNoWriMo. I don’t have enough words and I hate every one that I’ve written. I’m convinced that my story is crap and that I have no writing ability at all. A voice in my head is telling me to give up but I will not give up. I know this is how week two always feels.

The first year I participated in NaNoWriMo, I got behind on my word count because I decided to rest when I caught the flu. It was a good decision, but it meant that I got to late November and still needed way more than my planned two thousand words a day. Fortunately, Thanksgiving came early that year and I was able to take a make-up day on Black Friday.

I don’t shop on Black Friday. My usual tradition is to eat leftover pie and watch Christmas videos. That year, I pulled out my netbook and worked on my novel while I was eating leftover pie and watching Christmas videos. By the end of the day, I had made up my word count. I was also full of pie and Christmas spirit. It was an excellent make-up day.

I’m hoping to find one of those at some point during this Camp. I set myself a goal that I thought would be easy: thirty thousand words. I wrote fifty thousand words in November; how hard could thirty thousand be? I should learn not to ask those kinds of questions. I’ve finished eight days of Camp NaNoWriMo and only one of them was a thousand-word day. Some days, it’s a struggle to write five hundred.

One day, I wrote no words at all. It was a holiday, so I figured I could take a break. Unfortunately, there’s no leftover pie after Independence Day. We make ice cream for Independence Day. There’s no pie and there are no uplifting videos to watch. I’m not in the mood to watch Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas in July.

There’s another problem. All I want to do is paint. I spent most of this past week doing tie-dye inventory (we like to count things every quarter) and trying to work on my novel. The inventory is finally done. That should give me more time to work on my novel, but all I can think of is grabbing a canvas and splashing paint on it.

No, it’s weirder than that. Suddenly, I want to make a big painting. It would be easy to do something with a tiny canvas, claim that I painted, and move on. When I decided to allow myself a little painting time today, I thought I would do that. Instead, I grabbed the biggest toned canvas in my studio (okay, I’m lying about the studio. All of my painting supplies are on the dining room table because my creative space is full of tie-dye) and I started to plan how I would paint it.

Yes, you read that right – I said “plan.” I did a detailed sketch, with color notes, before I added any paint to my canvas. All I could get done in the time I had left was a few bits of sky. It was the most boring painting session imaginable and I loved it. I can’t wait to get back to it.

Sketch

Sketch


I don’t feel that way about my novel, but I know that’s normal for week two. I will paint, but I will also keep writing. I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo. I chose to participate. I made a commitment. I will follow through. I will get my thirty thousand words, one way or another. I don’t know how I’m going to manage that right now, but I’m pretty sure the process will involve pie.

A New Painting

I still have hopes of painting the sunflowers I mentioned in last week’s blog post, but this week, it’s been hard to find a good time to paint outdoors. The temperature is better in the morning, but the light is better in the afternoon. I know I don’t have the skills to actually capture the light, but the light moves me. I need to be moved before I tackle another outdoor painting.

At least, I think I do. Painting outdoors has lots of special challenges. Painting indoors under controlled conditions is easier, and a good way to build skills. I need to build skills. I could cut the sunflowers and bring them indoors but that doesn’t seem fair to the birds who planted them. The birds want them to go to seed, so they can eat them. Fair is fair, so I will only paint them if I can do it outside.

I needed to get back to painting, though. Because of the Florida Folk Festival and my husband’s heart attack (he’s still improving; thanks for asking), I left the paints alone too long, and I started feeling intimidated by them again. I needed to paint something – anything – to remind myself that the process is always fun, whether the result pleases me or not. I’m learning from my mistakes. I needed to go ahead and make some.

I clipped a hydrangea bloom from my side yard and put it in a small vase in front of a yellow background. Hydrangeas are more complicated than sunflowers but I did my best.

Hydrangea

Hydrangea


I was still working on this when my daughter called to ask if I would take her to Target to try and get one of the i-Pad Minis they have on sale this week. It’s a good sale, but there are limited quantities and no rain checks, so it’s not easy to find one in stock. I had driven to another county to get my own two days before. I got lucky; they had just had a delivery. My daughter had not yet decided she wanted one at that point. When she did decide, we drove to a different far-away Target because the internet said they had it in stock, but the last one was sold before we got there.

That was yesterday. This morning, our nearest Target was showing on the internet that it had some in stock. I wasn’t inclined to believe it and I was busy painting, for the first time in weeks, so I said I would take her when I finished my painting. Once the painting was signed, I picked her up and we drove to Target. We walked in and saw that the Associate in Electronics was on the phone, telling someone the i-Pad Minis were all gone. At that moment, another Associate walked up and said they had just received some more on the truck.

If I had not been busy painting, we would have been there quite a bit earlier, when they would have told us the Minis were all gone. My daughter would have been sadly disappointed. As it was, she arrived at the perfect time to get a new i-Pad Mini, fresh off the truck.

Painting is good!

Greens

There’s a giant collard plant in my backyard. I know it’s not going to be there forever and it’s so pretty I’ve asked my husband not to harvest it until I get a chance to paint it. The problem is, my skills are not up to painting my backyard garden. I did a small study about a week ago and it frustrated me enough that I immediately pulled out a piece of printer paper and tried again. I used printer paper in the hope that I could relax about the outcome, since it was obviously not going to be anything permanent. I was just trying to figure out that big collard plant. Here’s the small study:

Greens study

Greens study


Here’s the printer paper version:
Greens study 2

Greens study 2


That was as far as I got last week. I needed to breathe for a while and stop feeling so frustrated about my lack of skill. I could see some of the problems right away but others were just completely mysterious. How do I make the background agree to be background and stop trying to be foreground? How do I shut up my left brain, which knows exactly how big the trellis is, and just paint what I can see, which is a lot less of it than I know is there? How do I do that gorgeous collard plant justice?

I tried again today, with a real canvas, and I still have all my questions. I do like this one a little better than the study, but problems are pretty much all I can see. I’m sharing it anyway. It’s a painting and it counts, even if it was an exercise in frustration. I want to paint landscapes, so I have to try, but I sure have a lot to learn. Learning takes time. Even if I don’t much care for the painting, I am learning how to hold a brush and how to pick up paint and how to cover empty spaces with it. I’m trying things. If they don’t work, I’m learning that I need to try other things. It’s called “trial and error” for a reason. Even if it makes me uncomfortable (and oh, it does make me uncomfortable), it’s helping me learn how to paint. The important thing is that I am not giving up.

Greens

Greens


I don’t absolutely hate the whole painting. I do like the bird feeder, which is interesting because I hadn’t originally planned to include it. You may be wondering why I didn’t include any birds. That’s one question that’s easy to answer. The cardinals didn’t show up and there was no way I was going to paint those big, fat, greedy doves.

One Spark

Warning: This is going to be a picture-heavy post. It is also going to be a Jacksonville-centric post. Jacksonville, Florida is where I live and I don’t often get a chance to brag about it, but I’m bragging today, because today, my daughter and I went to One Spark.

What’s One Spark, you say? If you live in Jacksonville and you’re saying that, you really need to come out from under your rock a bit more often. One Spark is a huge crowdfunding festival and it’s happening right now in downtown Jacksonville. It continues through Sunday, April 13, 2014, so (if you’re reading this near its posting date) you still have plenty of time to experience it. You should; it’s awesome.

The point of One Spark is to give Creators a chance to get the attention of investors who can help them make their creative dreams real. Thanks to some generous sponsors, there are big pots of money to be won, but any and all people who attend have the opportunity to support any project that wows them. That’s where the crowdfunding comes in. One person may only have a few dollars to give, but there were forty thousand visitors there the first day. If only a fraction of them decide to give what they can to a favorite project, their contributions could add up quickly, and I sure hope they do, because we saw some amazing projects.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though. It all started with free parking at the convention center and a free ride on the Automated Skyway Express.

Skyway

Skyway


This took us to Hemming Plaza, where we checked in at the One Spark kiosk. You need to check in to vote and contribute, so by all means, check in. We saw lots of cool things in Hemming Plaza, including a tipi under a tree and a giant goldfish in the fountain.
Tipi

Tipi


goldfish

goldfish


It was hard to decide where to go from there. Art and entrepreneurs were everywhere. We saw art being made right in front of us.
Art

Art


We saw it passing by.
Bigwheel

Bigwheel


We saw the amazing new mural by Shaun Thurston in the atrium of the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Atrium Project

Atrium Project


My daughter plunked herself down on the floor to take it in. After a while, my purse started feeling heavy, so I told her I would sit on a bench while she finished doing whatever it was she was doing.
Appreciating

Appreciating


“Appreciating,” she said.

Once we were finished appreciating, we started to feel hungry. There were many options, including a food court, but my daughter had seen a restaurant with potstickers on the menu, so her choice was already made. It turned out to be a good choice. She had the potstickers and I had the tofu curry. It was almost too pretty to eat, but I somehow forced myself.

Pretty food

Pretty food


The restaurant was Pho – A Noodle Bar. As soon as she tasted her potstickers, my daughter started texting all her friends to recommend this restaurant. I don’t text, but I blog, so I’ll add my recommendation here. Go to Pho. The prices are reasonable and the food is wonderful. The service is prompt and friendly, too.
Yes, that's my reflection in the window

Yes, that’s my reflection in the window


Once food had been acquired, I went in search of coffee, which I found in the place my daughter calls the Temple of the Money Gods (the Bank of America building), which had some interesting Creators in the lobby. Then we went to another Temple of the Money Gods (the Wells Fargo building) to check out the Creators on the second floor. I kept seeing the word “EdSpark” and wondering who Ed was until it finally hit me that all these Creators were trying to to fund projects that were educational. My daughter homeschools her children, so we spent a lot of time at EdSpark. I found a great quote on the wall.
Great quote

Great quote


I also found a place where I could be photographed with deely boppers, a feather boa and butterfly wings. Sorry about my expression; I think I was trying to explain the camera to my daughter.
Cheer up, Butterfly

Cheer up, Butterfly


EdSpark alone had over forty Creators. Once we made it out of there, it was getting late and we needed to head back to Hemming Plaza so we could catch the Skyway back to the convention center. On the way, we saw this:
Yarn bombing and worms

Yarn bombing and worms


There was so much amazing art and enterprise at One Spark that we could only see a fraction of it in one day. While I was writing this post, my daughter called to ask me if we could go back tomorrow and take the kids.

Of course, I said “Yes.” We should really be making tie-dye, but One Spark only comes once a year.