Saturday, July 30, 2011

Asteroids in Red Space

As I have the energy, I am continuing with my art classes/workshops and I am currently still in the Chaos and Calm, Over the Edge Painting Techniques. I don't think I really knew how much fear I have about painting till I took this class. Most of my art has been mixed media, which I still love the best, but I am seeing growth with these classes.

Halfway there........
(click for details)

Asteroids in Red Space
(click for details)

It was hard to photograph, I think because of the glazing I did on it. It's done with acrylic on canvas panel and I am pleased with how it turned out, for a novice like me!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Ten Minutes Tag; and a story: COME IN DICK TRACY

Today's tag challenge was to create one in just 10 minutes.

(click for detail)

For details on how I made this, or to join in on the challenge, please go to 

Come In, Dick Tracy
(26th in the Tuesday Story Series)

Growing up, I enjoyed reading Dick Tracy in the comics section of the Sunday paper. Chester Gould, Dick Tracy's creator, started out modeling the strip and the stories on the 1930's Chicago crime scene. The bad guys always had outlandish names (Flattop Jones, Odds Zonn) and the good guys always won. And the most fascinating item in his crime fighting repertoire was the "two way wrist radio".

For a child in the 1950's it was fun to think of being able to talk to someone by simply wearing a "phone". As the strip progressed, the wrist radio became a "2-way wrist TV". Wow, that was even better! If Flash Gordon (a 1950's TV show) could travel through space in a rocket with smoke exhaust coming out of the back, anything could happen!

Then in the 1980's came cell phones. Actually, the first commonly used phones were bag phones in a car - complete with a cord on the receiver. They couldn't be carried out of the car and you were limited in where you could call. Then of course, the technology started zooming and now we can do everything on a phone that we can do on a computer. And thirty years ago, (which isn't that long, people) it was all just a dream.

It's hilarious now to watch a movie from the 80's or 90's, or even after the year 2000 and see the differences in the phones. You can almost date a movie by the equipment the stars pull out of their vest pocket or purse. Some of them look so large and heavy, it's amazing they didn't rip out the guy's pocket!

In the 1950's, people usually had a black telephone which was installed in the central part of the house. There was even furniture which was made to hold the phone and also allow you to sit, so you could have a long conversation in comfort.

In high school, the cool girls were ones who had a phone installed in their bedrooms. Princess phones were considered the "in thing" to have. My parents thought that was ridiculous and so I was not a "cool girl".

I was thinking about this today when I "traded up " my cell phone.  Back when I used to own an antiques business, my cell phone went everywhere I did. Now because of my illness, I hardly use my cell phone and when I took it in, my friends at the Verizon store started laughing when they saw it. And it was only 4 or 5 years old! My husband has a Droid for his business and I have to admit it's fun to use the GPS but for me to have something that expensive would be ridiculous (thank you, Mom & Dad) so I was happy with a basic phone with large enough keys for me to see. I splurged on a red cover for it though.

Dick Tracy would be proud!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Butterfly; And a Story: CAN SHE SING?

The theme today was Butterfly.

(click for details)

For details on how I made this, or to join in on the challenge, please go to 

Can She Sing?
(25th in the Tuesday Story Series)

When my husband John and I married in 1981, we took a very simple honeymoon in the mountains of North Carolina. My husband is a man very adverse to debt, and since we paid for most of the wedding ourselves, we knew that the honeymoon had to be inexpensive, and of course still romantic. For us, being alone in the mountains, relaxing and spending time together, was something we both looked forward to. My roommate had a co-worker who owned a small A-frame mountain vacation home near Black Mountain, near the Blue Ridge Parkway, and gave us the use of it for the week following our wedding. We were very thankful for his generosity and even though it was June, the weather was cool and comfortable.

One of the places we visited that week was Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. We hiked some of the trails around the park there and afterward ate dinner at the restaurant that had just been built. It had a high arched ceiling of peeled pine logs and very large windows which afforded diners beautiful views in all directions. 

When we went into the dining area, I noticed that there were very few people at the tables, so we almost had the entire place to ourselves. We settled in and began looking at the menus we had been given. Our server, or waitress, whichever you prefer, came to the table with her pad and pencil ready and waiting. She was on the tall side, had long wavy hair and a young, narrow face. And she was Perky. And she was Chatty

She started right off talking to us and asking us where we were from and then began telling us about herself. She lived not very far from there, and had the distinct local accent and I think this was her first job. Hoping to head off more information than we wanted, I asked her what she would recommend from the menu. She enthusiastically replied. "Whah the rost beef is just wonnerful! Thayt's what thayt guy is having- right thayer" and she  pointed to a man dining alone about three tables from us. 

She turned to him and said very loudly "Isn't thayt rost beef just wonnerful? Jus go 'head an tell these folks how wonnerful it is!"

We stared, first at her and then at the poor guy. He looked speechless for a second, and then shook his head slowly and shrugged. We heard him mumble "Uhh, no..... it's just okay."

His response didn't seem to deter her at all, in fact she seemed determined that we should have the roast beef. She began chattering about the chef, and how talented he was, and we finally interrupted her and told her that was okay, we really didn't want the roast beef and we settled on burgers and fries. After taking our order, she started off, then whirled around and said,

"Y'all know what else? Ah ken sing too! Didja want to har me sing?" which sounded like "sang" when she said the word.

"Well, umm," we replied, "that's all right. We believe you. You don't have to sing"

"But you'd love to har me, Ah ken sang real good!"

"Thanks, but that's all right, we're kind of hungry and...."

Without letting us finish, she began belting out Elvira. That was the summer of 1981 and Elvira was a hit song that year sung by the Oak Ridge Boys.  It wasn't a song we particularly liked, and certainly not as a solo before dinner! She even did the "oom papa mau mau's". I was expecting someone to come out of the kitchen and stop her, but no one ever came.

We never knew why she sang to us, I guess she was hoping to get a break into country music. Perhaps she sang to everyone that sat at her tables, or she was related to the owner, I don't know. This was long before American Idol was a hit on TV, and she wasn't that great anyway although she certainly had the twang. We haven't been back there, so I don't know if the restaurant is still open. If it is, she may still be in there serenading her customers!

In case you aren't familiar with the song, I found this on Youtube for your enjoyment! 

Enjoy your week!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Black and Orange; And a Story: HOLDING THE BAG

Today's tag requires the color combo of Black and Orange without it being about Halloween or Autumn.

(click for details)

For details on how I made this, or to join in on the challenge, please go to 

Holding The Bag
24th in the Tuesday Story Series

I was living on the Isle of Palms, one of the sea islands around Charleston, when my future husband moved into the old house next door. My roommate and I often had him over for dinner and he was always very good company. Right before he became our neighbor, there were three of us living in the upstairs of an old beach house, but as I related in another story, we lost our third roommate and with her also went a couple of items we needed to replace. She had the only vacuum cleaner between us, which was rather funny considering she did no housecleaning (see A Questionable Roommate) and after she left, we were reduced to cleaning the floors with a broom. When you are living in a sandy environment, it would sometimes feel that you never really got things clean at all!

We were bemoaning this fact one evening when John was visiting and he told us that we were welcome to use his vacuum cleaner. We were elated and arranged to get it the next day after he had returned from work.

John is a highly intelligent man who has a background in civil and environmental engineering and through the years he has had several papers published and as been asked to lead lectures at a national and state level. At that time, all we knew was that he was a smart and nice guy. And hey, he even knew how to clean a house - we didn't know too many men who owned a vacuum cleaner!

So, the next day, he brought it over and told us we could bring it back when we were through. Now, it may sound silly but we were excited to finally get all of the gritty sand off of the floors and rugs. My roommate used it first in her room, and I did some other chores. I finished before she did and waited for my turn with the machine so that I could clean my room. 

I could hear the vacuum cleaner running, and after a while it occurred to me that she was much slower than I expected. Finally, she came out with it and passed it to me. As I turned I noticed a somewhat perplexed look on her face, but I didn't comment.

I clicked the "on" switch, the little motor started up and I began to pass the nozzle over the floor. As I walked behind the hose, I could feel grains of sand under my bare feet. So I turned and redid the area, thinking I had skipped a portion of it. No, again there were still grains of sand, albeit not as many. Anyway, that's the way it was around the entire room- having to redo areas several times before it felt clean. After putting in more time than we had expected with the vacuuming, we both agreed that the problem was that it need a new bag, so we took it back to John's house. The ensuing conversation went something like this:

"Hey, thanks for the loan of the vacuum cleaner."

"You're welcome! I hope it helped."

"Well, we think it needs a new bag. There didn't seem to be much suction."

"uhhh, bag?"

"Yes, you know, the bag where the dirt goes - it needs changing."

Silence. Bemused look on John's face. Puzzled looks on our faces.

"Didn't you know you needed to change the bag?" I finally asked in surprise. 

"Well, no, not really....."

"But where did you think the dirt went??" I blurted out.

He shrugged, looking embarrassed and then we all burst out laughing. My sweet, bright, highly intelligent future husband had been given the cleaner by his mom when he had moved out of his parent's home at the beginning of Grad School. He had used the vacuum cleaner in the several years since then and not once changed the bag or knew he had to! After we had calmed down from laughter, we opened up the cleaner, and pulled out the bag - jammed to the brim and hard as a brick. He bought new bags the next day, but the poor motor had been strained and never worked very well.

My husband has had to put up with me retelling this story down through the years, and his good natured smile is a reminder that it's a blessing not to take yourself too seriously!


Monday, July 11, 2011

Not what I wanted

A few days ago, I posted some painted canvases at their beginning stages. I worked on one and it morphed into something I now classify as a "lessons" painting.

 (click for detail)
Before painting with blue tape masking areas

Cosmic Blossom
 (click for detail)

I'm not that thrilled over the transformation, but I learned a lot and see it as teaching me several valuable lessons about what works, how it works and why. It's a bit overcrowded and some of the red in the upper left corner needs to be on the right somewhere to balance it.  But I'm OK with that and look forward to growing with the next painting.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

From Carl King's blog.......

I was recently sent a copy of a post by Carl King, a creative guy living in Los Angeles. I found it fascinating because it has a lot of insight and I see my daughter, my husband and lately, more of me in this description.  I am interested in any feedback from my readers!

          From Carl King's blog:                                      

I was lucky enough to discover a book called, The Introvert Advantage (How To Thrive in an Extrovert World), by Marti Laney, Psy.D. I feel like someone has written an encyclopedia entry on a rare race of people to which I belong. Not only has it explained many of my eccentricities, it helps me to redefine my entire life in a new and positive context.

Sure, anyone who knows me would say, “Duh! Why did it take you so long to realize you’re an Introvert?” It’s not that simple. The problem is that labeling someone as an Introvert is a very shallow assessment, full of common misconceptions. It’s more complex than that. 

A section of Laney’s book maps out the human brain and explains how neuro-transmitters follow different dominant paths in the nervous systems of Introverts and Extroverts. If the science behind the book is correct, it turns out that Introverts are people who are over-sensitive to Dopamine, so too much external stimulation overdoses and exhausts them. Conversely, Extroverts can’t get enough Dopamine, and they require Adrenaline for their brains to create it. Extroverts also have a shorter pathway and less blood-flow to the brain. The messages of an Extrovert’s nervous system mostly bypass the Broca’s area in the frontal lobe, which is where a large portion of contemplation takes place.

Unfortunately, according to the book, only about 25% of people are Introverts. There are even fewer that are as extreme as I am. This leads to a lot of misunderstandings, since society doesn’t have very much experience with my people. (I love being able to say that.)

So here are a few common misconceptions about Introverts (I put this list together myself, some of them are things I actually believed):

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

“You cannot escape us, and to change us would lead to your demise.” <-- I made that up. I'm a screenwriter.

It can be terribly destructive for an Introvert to deny themselves in order to get along in an Extrovert-Dominant World. Like other minorities, Introverts can end up hating themselves and others because of the differences. If you think you are an Introvert, I recommend you research the topic and seek out other Introverts to compare notes. The burden is not entirely on Introverts to try and become "normal." Extroverts need to recognize and respect us, and we also need to respect ourselves.
Let me know your thoughts.
P.S. If you're interested in reading more of my ideas, I've written a book called So, You’re A Creative Genius, Now What? It’s a creative career survival guide (artists, musicians, writers, directors, actors) written from the perspective of an extreme introvert.

Friday, July 1, 2011

And uh..... what are these??

In continuing the Chaos and Calm painting class, I did some canvas panels as the base for 2 pieces of art. I'm using blue painters tape to mask out different areas; on the red one, I put tape on before I painted and on the blue one, I am masking over painted areas. I will go back in now and add more paint to build on these, so stay tuned.......

Click either one if you want to see it closer.

I am finding as I do these classes just how much I love color and free form painting. I know that when I do tags or ATCs, I often have a rich color background and it just doesn't look right to me until I get it that way. Color is so expressive and it just makes me smile. I like to think that a bit of who I am on the inside is coming out and going on the canvas. I can't wait to finish these and see what the end results will be!

And tomorrow's my birthday! I hope I will have enough energy to celebrate with my family!! I'm glad I have people to celebrate with - yay!