In my last post I talked about arting. A person left a comment asking me about arting. This inspired me to talk about arting. Arting is being creative. Any type of creative activity is arting. There were lots of reasons for this tag I use and I am going to share with you my thought process. I hope you will give me a few minutes to share my thoughts on arting.

When I was a child I went to a school where we had an art teacher. All children had art activities twice a week from first grade through fifth grade. This is where my art instruction began and ended until adulthood. I consider myself lucky because thousands of people will never even get that much art opportunities in public school. I don’t remember much about those days, but I wasn’t left with the idea I was untapped potential. As a result I never felt I had creative ability or skill.

Oh the power of a child with a few crayons.

When I left home after high school, I moved to the city. I lived in a brownstone near the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA). Thursday nights were free nights. Perfect for a young person who was living on the economic edge in my first apartment working my first post college job. I was there every Thursday and got to know not only the permanent collections but also got the opportunity to see so many visiting collections. I was exposed to the fine arts. I got to see the Old Masters, Picasso, painters from the Hudson River School, traveling exhibits from other museums, sculptures, textiles, and so much more. It was here I began my art education. The exhibits were inspiring even if I could not imagine myself ever creating anything near such a talent level. As I got older, I found I could afford community education classes. I started to dabble in the arts because of the evenings I had spent at MIA.

When I took a class, the teachers considered to be the artists, and we were the students. The more classes I took I discovered that art was broken down into fine art and craft by most folks. People had personal criteria of what made art and who were the artists. This threw me for a loop. Who decides? What makes them the decider? I had seen traveling exhibits of historic art that included quilts at MIA, suddenly quilting was classified as craft no matter how intricate the work. Yet there were paintings that were great art that I never understood. Who decided Andy Warhol was a great artist? I found it fascinating and some pieces very interesting to look at, but never met my criteria for great art. Yet it was.

The rebel in me looked up the definition of art. I pull the most recent definition from the online dictionary for this post and it hasn’t changed much. Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. By this definition there is lots of art out there. Most of it is not great art, but it is art in its purest form. It was at that moment that some things changed for me.

I create art. I work in watercolor, paper and fabric for the most part. Most of my art is a creative output that brings some emotions with it for me. None of it would come close to qualifying as fine art. I am not comfortable saying I am an artist. When I create I refer to it as arting. It brings me joy to create. Sometimes I am happy with the output, more often I am looking at my work seeking to improve my technique, design or other facet of my work. Yet by definition is is art and I stick to that.

I work in a studio. My studio is where I keep my creative stuff and the stuff I use to create art. It has space for my stuff to be organized in a way that works with my creative/analytical brain. I surround myself with things from friends and family that make me smile, let me know I am loved, or that someone cared enough to share something with me. It is a haven of encouragement. It is where most of my completed work is at. I never refer to my room as a craft room. Two reasons. One, somehow we as a society view the results of crafts as something lesser or possibly more disposable. Anything created there could never be more a craft. I get to decide the personal value of what I create, not some outward definition. Two, I have never heard of the corner of a garage referred to as a craft room where a man putters in wood. It almost universally is called his workshop. I think of this as a gender stereotype I refuse to perpetuate. If it is a workshop, I get to have a studio.

So now you know about the word arting. Here is my second word that there was a request for further clarification. Racetrack Art. Almost every fine art class I have taken has had the students do warm up exercises. I have done them many times and wonder other than getting my supplies all out and ready to go and starting my creative juices running, what is the purpose? I can never remember looking at them and saying….yeah my contrast of light and dark is working, that green I mixed on my pallet is perfect, no the #8 round is not the right brush today…now let’s get going and make real art. I make cards using up paper scraps not thinking much about the design or what is working and what is not. It is an exercise of creativity that I don’t think much about before and almost never afterwards. All of this is racetrack art. Art you made, but when you were done, you moved on without thinking about what was the purpose, did I learn something, did it expose a shortcoming, did I finally master that problem…. Race track art is one and done. Something you make and let go of not to really think more about it. It is one of those things that can reinforce bad habits. It on the reverse it can help develop new positive things if you are a little more conscious and purposeful of what you are doing and use the exercise as such. Lots of classes I have taken recently talk about intuitive art. Most of the times for me it is a hot mess. Because I let something go and don’t consider color, texture, contrast or anything else. I assume my brain is right. It could be, but it could be lost and not right at all. If you haven’t learned the elements of the medium then I am not sure you should be marching to your own drum yet. Here is a place where I fully understand Picasso.

This may be too much information on arting and racetrack art. It may even be considered a rant, but I was asked a question. Here was my answer. In my eyes all you creatives are making art. Embrace the joy and emotions it provokes and march to your own drum.

Spreading Yourself a Little Thin

I am one of those type A personalities who functions best when have 2 or 3 more tasks that I can reasonably do.  Right now I have one of those moments going on in my blogging life.   I took on challenge in the blogging world to post each day a new letter.   I chose to do this on my creative blog thinking it would be the easiest place to follow some kind of them for 26 posts.   I have just finished the half-way point and I am happy to report I have managed so far for the first 14 letters.   It has been harder than I imagined, but  it got me posting regularly there and also got me thinking about the whole idea of creativity.

It takes time to not only write a blog post but you commit to visiting five or six other folks who are participating in this challenge.   This has been a very good exercise because I have found lots of other neat bloggers, writing about lots of fun and new things out there.

The thing that I did not imagine would happen during this challenge is that it would leave my brain a little dry over here on my primary blog.   It was like I already shared something today and now you want me to share again?

So if you are looking for something a bit of of the box, or wonder why I have not been as active here are in the past stop over and visit my creative blog: Creative Play Without Limits

Novel Progress Report

Well I am nine days into this adventure and still going strong.   I have written just over 14,000 words.   This is good in that I am on target to finish if I continue to write like I have been.    But when I think about my goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month it is true that I am not very far in the process.  I sometimes wonder what I have written so far, and RangerSir has hinted he’d like to read it.  I have started this process before and not finished each time so am going to write until the voices in my head tell me it is over or the end of the month whichever comes first.   No getting diverted by early editing.

The good part of all of this writing is that for the most part my real life has not gone down the toilet or put on hold because I am spending all my time writing.   I still have a my job and show up and work each day.   I am carrying my load around the house, not letting RangerSir do a disproportionate amount of the general household chores ( I have a white chicken chilli in the crock pot, my last load of laundry in the drier, and manged to go to down and grocery shop before the mega storm arrives).  I still have carved out time to enjoy some of my other creative ventures including teaching a class, making some cards, blogging a little and reading some for pleasure.   Now that it sounds like I am having it all that is not true, my exercise program in almost nonexistent and I have two Christmas gifts to make that are not even started.    Life isn’t perfect but it is damn good and someday who knows I may call myself a novelist.   You just have to write one not publish one to call yourself novelist, but if I get lucky I could do both.

Now it is time to close this off and get back to the business of writing.

I Get My Best Work Done While He Sleeps

10 am isn’t too late for RangerSir

My husband is not a morning person.    The only times I have known him to look forward to getting up early is when he is either going fishing  or trying to experience some wilderness/wildlife that you can only see as the sun breaks in the morning.    I on the other hand am up at the crack of dawn and ready to go.   Though this can be a source of constant frustration after over 35 years together I have learned to embrace the man who is still sleeping.   He relishes his extra time in bed and I relish my time alone.

Yesterday while he was sleeping I spent the morning in my studio space making cards.   I had five cards I had created the base for, but they somehow became a mind cramp.   I had put them aside hoping they would once again move me.    They had sat there for several weeks.   I had received a new die packaged on  Friday. Time to pull those half-finished cards out and top them off with new creativity.   I listen to music and watched the world come alive outside my windows. It wasn’t long and my cards were finished.    I had not only used my new dies but finished off some odds and ends in my stash of trash and tried some techniques I had seen on YouTube.

This morning I spent some time again in my studio space, purging some things that needed to go.  I used to teach quilting and have quite a collection of reference books and patterns I used over the years.    I am finally ready to let go of some of them.   I also did some more dusting and cleaning as I found more corners that the chick dust had settled in.    It  got my creative juices going.    It was time  to spend a few minutes with all of you.  I knew what to blog about.

This is desire to sleep in is not to say if we have plans he can’t be up on a Saturday morning, but you need to decide on what time you need to be out the door the night before  in order for it all to work.   RangerSir takes a minimum of  an hour to join the living in his own special way.    So if we decide to go to the city to shop big chain stores  at  8 am it  means he sets his alarm at least two hours before that and we don’t talk until we are in the rig driving down the road toward the interstate.   He gets ready in ways I can’t imagine, while he after all this time he is still astounded that I can go from bed to door in 15 minutes including a shower.

As I sit here writing about all of this I think he could be writing about how I am ready to be quiet each night by 8pm.  I am not a night owl when I don’t have to be.   He enjoys when I check out for the day it frees him to pursue things I don’t get.    If I had my druther we would not have TV while RangerSir finds it to be an unwind tool.    RangerSir  really enjoys good sci-fi of several different genres in books, movies and TV.  He looks forward to the time I curl up in my chair or bed, listening to my end-of day-playlists on my iPod.   He then drags out either DVDs of favorite series he is watching for the umpteenth time or streams a series that he has not had the opportunity to watch correctly (in order/without commercials).    Like my morning time it is his time to do just what he wants how he wants.

While we do so much together, our lives have naturally somehow have a built in time for each of us to recharge alone.   It wasn’t something we planned.   Life just worked out that way.

Women with Power Tools – continuing story of fountain making

Time for an update on the quest making an original water fountain.   My main piece of slate has been trimmed down and is fitting in my pot.   It all looks pretty good at this point.  I had this idea of it being slate mounted on stones between each layer.   At this moment I am not so sure.    It maybe that the stones I have are too thick.   I will have to survey the  river rocks the next time I am at the mall parking lot and see if there are some that are very thin that may serve my purpose better than any of the stones  I currently have.

The look isn't quite right yet, but the set up is completely flexible.

The look isn’t quite right yet, but the set up is completely flexible.

Now is the time to drill holes through the slate so I can run tubing up from my pump which will rest in the bottom of my bowl.   I love power tools and this is going to let me be in my element.   I used a concrete drill bit and and a hose with a trickle of water.   The water is used to keep the bit cool and to flush away the dust and bits of slate that come about as part of the drilling.


It worked perfectly.   I had concerns because slate is made of layers and is easily fractured.     I put my slate on a piece of 3/8 inch plywood when drilling.   It provided a support base and something for the drill to hit

Any one with a good drill, a concrete drill bit and a piece of slate can make a perfect hole.

Any one with a good drill, a concrete drill bit and a piece of slate can make a perfect hole.

I got so in to the drilling that I decided to drill a hole through a little bowl I got at a thrift store.   I am hoping to put a fern in the little bowl.  I felt that I may be able to include the bowl with a fern it as part of the fountain.   I used the concrete drill bit on the bowl because it was easier than taking time out to find a porcelain drill.  It was a matter of being in a big hurry.     It worked though the bottom of my bowl  though the hole was a bit crude.  Lesson learned in the future take time to  get the right bit for the job.

Using a concrete drill bit on pottery gives a little less than perfect results.

Using a concrete drill bit on pottery gives a little less than perfect results.

Now is time to clean up my mess from drilling   I need to drain my garden hose since snow is called for again and put Ranger Sir’s power tools all back where I found them.   I am getting close and my impatience will take me to the prototype phase very quickly.   Keep watch for the next steps.

Reflecting on Changes

Lately I have been noticing lots of changes in myself.   I spent the morning reflecting on that.  Looking out the window thinking and letting my mind wander.


I came to realize that I am being more true myself lately.   Withdrawing from that which prevents that, and moving toward that which allows me to surface.

My lifetime friend and her husband recently visited.   It was wonderful to see her and connect with her in person.  It is a wonderful kind of friendship that I only have a few of.   She is one of the very few people I can freely be myself with.  We spent time talking not so much catching up but talking about ourselves and our futures; what we are doing that brings us joy and what we should be doing more of.

I have come to realize that this visit broke the dam of being what I thought I needed to be and allowed me to move toward what I want to be.   I am sort of a crazy, creative, risk taking, free-spirit, earth mama  who remembers the days of being very short of money.    It makes for an oxymoron sort of way of looking a life.   As much as I yearn for and feel best when I am functioning on the wild child right-side of my brain,  I am  one who understands that you need a job for money, and money for shelter and food.   So there is a piece of left brain that does indeed work and overrides the right side, because I like to eat and don’t want to be homeless.   Sometimes that left side goes crazy with craving to provide that stability that I get bogged down.  They can both co-exist, work and play well together in my life.   I just need to help find that balance.

You spend roughly 1/3 of your day in bed, 1/3 working (likely more than that), and the rest is your time.

I can’t change the amount of time I spend in bed too much, my body likes sleep.  Most of us need a certain amount of sleep for good health.

The amount of time we spend at work used to be eight hours a day and now for most folks the number is moving up as we let work creep more in to our personal lives.   It is hard for all of us as we need money to pay the bills.   For most of us that is jobs. Times are hard and if you have a job you feel lucky.   Often time we let jobs become us, define us  because we spend so much of our life at our jobs.  Been there, done that and not going back.  For some becoming one with the job works, Steve Jobs famous quote makes me think he found it.   For most of the rest of us it is just a facet of our life.   If we are lucky we like our job and co-workers.   In reality though there is a certain amount of protocol that we abide to when working, because it is what is expected while we are at work.   Most of our co-workers we do not socialize with in our off hours, not that they are not nice people, just not much in common besides your job.   So for your workday you spend most of your time being a good worker bee, which may not have much in common with you, besides your amazing skill set that your employer utilizes.

What I can change is how I utilize my free time.   Maybe free time isn’t the right word for it.  It is a precious commodity and it is mine.   To be used as I see fit.  I don’t need to justify what I do with that time.   None of us should.   How many times have we been enjoying an activity when we say I should… fill in the blank.   And if you don’t do the should what will happen??   Is there really a dire consequence of not doing the should and staying in the moment of the activity we are enjoying?   If not, I challenge you to do more of what you are enjoying and do less of the should.   So moving forward I am going to share more of the wild-child, earth mamma creative moments.   Maybe they will inspire you to do more of what you enjoy but have been missing.

Three Years and Counting

3 PaintChip CottageArtsI recently passed my three year mark for this blog.    I am not sure I ever imagined that three years later I would still be blogging.

Writing has become easier for me.   I have blogged about topics I planned on and things I could not have imagined.      I have shared thoughts and got your feedback.

I have also learned lots about blog formatting.   I have changed my theme each year.   I continue to become more proficient with tools that have allowed me to become more creative on my site.

I hope you have enjoyed the journey as much as I have.   Thanks for all your support.