I’m Painting Up A Storm.

Greetings Dear Artists,

I have been busy, busy planning paintings, stretching watercolor paper, painting a painting a day and taking this time to say hello. I decided to give up my laziness and start on painting a SERIES of the same subject. 

This is the best way for an artist to grow. I used this idea in my art classroom. I had my students pick their best workk. They were asked to change one thing and then repaint it. We did this three times. They might change the composition in the first one. Next, they took the ‘remake’ and changed something in that too, like the value or color scheme, or deleting something in it. By this time they were cozy with the subject and felt comfortable with changing it. 

Then I asked my class to abstract it, and not worry about proportion. Many master artists like Modigliani used this. He elongated the figure proportions. Braque tried cubism.  A good starter is to teach about artists of the 20th century who stepped out of the box and experimented with new ideas.

I won’t be long with this post.  I spend about 6-7 hours a day developing a painting. My average is about twenty four hours in work time.  I put the art work away to get a new perspective of it the next day or two when I self-critique the work. Most of the time, I find imbalances in contrast or color or horizontal lines are dipped a little. Then my time is spent correcting.

When the painting seems perfect, I take a digital photo of it with my iPad and save it as a RAW file. The size from the device is seventy-two in resolution and looks great on my monitor which views things in 72.  However, for a painting to be printed,  it has to be bumped up gradually in my Photoshop app to three hundred. This is a big file and would slow up the computer and take a lot of storage space. 

I resolve that issue by making a file called Master Paintings. I save it on my 62G-USB drive. That saves me time later so I don’t need to take another RAW.  It is easy to reduce this file to a smaller size to send in an email or post online. Remember. The large file is just for printing purposes. Most of the time I use my 72 file. 

You can get a lot of info about this and in much more detail online. Google ‘ How do I convert a RAW file to send to a Printer?’ A free app that can do this for you is called PixLR. You can get it by searching in Google.

Happy painting!

I’m In The Mood to Clean Up and Throw Out!

For an artist, throwing out doesn’t happen often. Besides the local dump, we are in second place as the pack-rats of society. We collect. We never know when a spark of creativity will hit and we will find use for the thing we stored somewhere. SOMEWHERE is the key. Where IS somewhere? 

Today, I got a whim to clean out my studio because my organization talent was taking me over. My studio needed some reorganization to make more space for more stuff I might move in. Remember, I am a creative pack-rat.  Well, I found things I forgot I had.

I discovered some really cool art books, popsicle sticks to thin paint with water, candles (not to light) but to seal the edges of illustration board before painting, spray bottles of watered down paint in four colors, oiler-boiler bottles ( Look it up in an art catalog).  I found my ages-old printmaking tools  from college when l was learning to do drypoint etching on a zinc plate. I will reinvent them for some other process, but I am definitely NOT throwing these out.  I found my Goo Gone that  I was looking for two months ago. The biggest find of the day was my airbrush propellant but I never found the airbrush. I will save it because I just know the airbrush will turn up someday. 

I owned a ton of inspirational art books. I left most of them in my art classroom when I retired from teaching two years ago. My husband said, ” You cannot, cannot take all these books home!”  You know. Those books you leaf through at Barnes and Noble that “speak” to your inner child and say, “You need me. Buy me. Buy me because you like the pictures”. Then, before I finally gain control of myself,  I have four books in the cart that I NEED!

NowYears later, I say to this greedy artist person, “What were you thinking? You never lever did this kind of art!”.  However, as a pack-rat. I may someday like to paint like that. I moved out of my art room at the school,  with a forlorn sigh and only 3 boxes of art books, telling myself that the new art teacher will always let me back in  to ‘borrow’ one of my own books that I was so nice to give her.  I felt like I disowned my puppy! Worse, I felt like a selfish giver. Guilt. Shame. Ok Girl. Get a grip and move on.

I do not think I will ever change. I FEAR not having that hidden art supply, just when the creative idea of the century hits and the spell will be broken because I have to get in my car, drive  six miles to Sam Flax Art Store and spend my money for something I just know is somewhere in the studio.

The best thing I can do is organize my stuff into  logical ‘zones’ like a computer directory. Then I can look in the ‘region’ of where it might be. No need to look everywhere, yay! I’ll remember to try the left corner of the closet, third shelf in an organizing basket number two. Aha!

I’m so glad for today, Five hours of moving stuff around has made my life easier. I’m glad I took the time to do it. Now, I will use my label maker to tag my stuff because I will never remember which basket or drawer I moved things to.

I feel so good, so productive!  I did myself a great favor taking the time to organize.  Kiss, kiss me.

 

Okay! I’m Revved Up but Canvas is Expensive.

I’m now a full-time artist!  We are ’empty nest’ parents and the explosive tumult has become quiet luxury. Since I am a visual learner (no surprise here), sounds interrupt my thinking processes. I now luxuriate in my thoughts. I envision new experiments with all the art materials that overtake my studio. I visualize the paint layers I might try. I imagine the colors. This really gets my creative ‘battery’ charged and I can’t wait to dig in on my selected support.

In art lingo, a support is what you choose to do your art on.  It can be a stretched canvas, a wood panel, a panel with a sized canvas surface, even something you found in a pile of trash.  The preparation of the support depends on the medium you use. A very generic one is gesso (pronounced with a soft G). This is usually white and seals the under-surface so that it is less absorbent. Another prep material is acrylic matte medium.  It can be used for oil paint  although gesso is most preferred. The basic rule to remember is, “Fat over lean but no lean over fat”.  If you are using an linseed based medium like oil paints, you can use it as accents on acrylic.  However, acrylic over an oil painting will not bond and is non-permanent. Acrylics can be used over a watercolor  support.

Caution! Oil based products like linseed oil will cause oil seepage on your paper supports. To use oils on a paper support like illustration board, first seal the surface with gesso. 

I actually found paintings that were thirty years old, rolled up in my attic loft. I did these in art college and they were still framable. To save money because of the frequency we painted, we coated good quality Kraft paper with actual white latex house paint. The latex worked just like gesso and a gallon went a long way.  I painted hundreds on it with both oils and acrylics, cut to size and taped to a gator board.  Because they were rolled up and stored in the dark, the colors were still vibrant.

If you are playing around trying new ideas and practicing my Kraft paper thing is great. Also, when you are developing a series, it is a cheap way to try your ideas and then do your ‘serious’ painting of it on canvas. Plus, they are easy to store for later reference and you don’t have stacks of practice canvases to crowd your studio.

I hope this little tidbit helps you understand about painting surfaces so that you can make the right choices for more archival art. We will not be around for a hundred and fifty years but our art will!

 

Did You ever Get a ‘God Kiss’?

You are probably asking, ‘What is she talking about?’  My ‘God kisses’ are a very unusual and favorable event or response that would only happen in  a million years… maybe.  It catches our attention because the event is so unique and it is so joyful.

This happened to me last night in JFK airport in New York City.  This huge international airport exchanges about a million people arriving and departing every twenty-four hours. (Not official data, please.) It happened to me while waiting at my gate for close to five hours. If you travel often, you know what it is like to w-a-i-t until you want to scream!

My traveling companions consisted of my nephew with a leg cast, my husband, my daughter and yours truly. We were exhausted because ours was only a 24 hour trip to the Big Apple for family business.  We were finally on our way home to our familiar beds. Ahhhh!

This is how the God Kiss began.

We were at the last gate at the far end of the Jet Blue terminal in JFK and my husband noticed about four seat away, a mother lovingly concerned about her daughter who felt ill. My husband asked the mother if he could pray for her daughter to feel better and she agreed. A few minutes later, her mom walked over to where I was seated and I commented on her beautiful tunic which seemed hand embroidered.  She said she had done the handy work on the tunic and as an artist, I was so impressed. Then my daughter made a comment that I did a lot of creative things too, and began to tell her that I was an artist and an art teacher. I shared some of my art work on my iPhone and gave her my business card for this web site. Now it gets really interesting!

The woman and her daughters and her sister and nephew were going to Orlando to visit family. They were from Pakistan. Her english was impeccable.  She was also an art teacher in her native country. We were both astounded to be seated just 4 seats apart waiting to board a late flight, out of thousands of departures in this vast airport terminal. We did what was natural for new friends. We exchanged names (I will call her Shemah’  to preserve her identity). Next we agreed to share art lesson plans and continue to communicate when they got back to Pakistan.

I instantly loved this woman like a sister and knew it was God’s love poured into me.  We shared how people stereotype those from other cultures when we actually we are so individually different from their ideas of who we are perceived to be.  Really? Yes.  Americans and  Christians also suffer this same kind of bigotry world wide.  Shemah’ is a Muslim. I am a Christian. We both know what bigotry is first hand. Yet, there was no enmity between us.  There was love. We agreed all we wanted was PEACE to raise our children safely.  I asked Shemah to show me how to write ‘Have peace’ in Arabic so that I could inscribe it into a painting I was doing.

So according to God’s plan, I entered this huge New York City airport,  exhausted from a 24 hour round trip to wait hours for  a departure time that was moved up because of a late arriving flight, so that God could give me more time to make a friend and bring me joy after grieving at my sister-in law’s funeral.  It did not matter how different Shemah and I worshipped, because we both shared common experiences. She trusted us enough, caring much for her daughter, to let my husband pray for her. When we disembarked in Orlando, the young girl seemed better.

We  both hated that we are cast into a role by others that is unfairly generalizing and untrue!  Yes, shemah’ became a sister to me, bound by a common vocation and negative experiences due to the bigotry of others. Yet, God did this to teach us both about His LOVE.  All the glory goes to Him. Thank you Lord for this new joy in the midst of our sorrow! You are so good!

Yes, I am still alive and well.

I realized that I have not blogged since April.  Actually, I was deciding the direction I needed to take with this blog.  I live my life in many arenas. I am no longer a teacher of advanced art in high school. My first year out of teaching was an adjustment and I felt displaced for the whole year.  I missed my faculty friends. I missed my students. This August 2018, when I would be back in my classroom, I was actually glad that I had no more faculty meetings, curricular events, lesson plans and tons of academic social events to chaperone. I do not feel displaced anymore but now have all those fond memories of my students who went on to study art in some of our nation’s prestigious schools like SCAD, Cal Arts and Parsons School of Design in Manhattan.

So,  I am settling my feet on new ground and trying to get back to painting full time. I also do volunteer work at a Pregnancy Center where I can use my experience as an RN in Women’s Services to help women with parenting. There was a time in the ’70’s and 80’s when the art budgets in schools were dropped and the money was shifted to math and science studies. I went back to college to get my Nursing Degree. However, I still was active painting part time and trying to do some juried shows.

The circle comes around again. After years of hardly painting because I spent my creativity in the art classroom and had nothing left in the evening when I came home,  I lost my “edge”.  I was frustrated.  I thought I couldn’t paint anymore. I painted what I thought was junk.  However, I persisted and then something in me clicked like riding a bike. I found my “zone’.

Runners know about ‘zone’. Artists do too. It is the place where everything around us disappears and we lose our sense of time. We become totally absorbed in what we are doing and then something emerges that is like a Eureka moment.  I think I am slowly getting back what I lost those years of teaching.

First, I need to work on this web site and add my new work. So stay tuned. I have two paintings I finished this past week. They actually were painted over 2 old works I hated. One has 3 layers of paintings on the canvas. It will probably get a 4th!  I enrolled at Crealde in Winter Park, FL to take an advanced class and to get back with camaraderie of other artists. I am encouraged. Please hang in with me. The best is yet to come.

 

Becoming Good at One Thing

I tried every medium. I had to. If I was to be an art teacher in a public school, I needed State Certification. I needed to be proficient in all media so that I could teach it.  I had to know my art history and art movements throughout time.  It doesn’t mean that I LIKED to work in all media, I just had to know enough to teach it.  As I explored each one, I would experiment to see how far I could take it by combining one medium with another technique or using it in a way that was never done before. I came to the conclusion that there is nothing new under the sun. Someone tried it before me! So where do we go from here?

I examined the progress I had  made in each medium. Which of the dozens of art supplies felt natural to ME? Which one was I more eager to play in? Which was more of a struggle? Which medium fit into my ideas of expression. For instance, if my style uses line and shape, would rough lines made with chalk speak to me more than using pen lines? Or would a thin liner brush to create line feel more like my style?  What if I like the impressionist style that uses overlapping short strokes to give me a pixelated painting? Then my natural medium would be pastels, even oils, acrylics and gouache or tempera.  I would want a more opaque medium than watercolor, which is free-flowing and transparent. If I enjoy ‘happy accidents’ where I have to pull an idea from the way the paint flows on my paper, watercolor would suit me.

After experimenting with each one, I worked in watercolors for a long time. I like the way it flows into watery brush strokes and it does its thing. I like the  spontaneity and  transparency when the white of the paper comes through the paint and illuminates the colors even more. I like the challenge of conquering smooth washes by overlaying layers of color. After I became really good at my technique, I needed to expand my ideas. The worst thing for an artist is to get stuck in the same old, same old.  I would be missing a lot more like experimenting with light and how it falls on objects at different times of day. I found that I like combining collage with my watercolors.

How do we incorporate collage in our work? I have two drawers full of parts of prints, magazines pages and even painted paper and the paper towels I used to mop up paint on my table. Yes, I dry them and save that too. It is fun for me to dig into that drawer and most of the time my selection of collage pieces, forces me to solve my problem another way.

Used when I am ‘stuck’.

Thus, the painting turns out so different than I planned it. This also frees me from my preconceived idea and sets me in a new direction.  I am using my creative instincts to solve a problem. I might correct a problem that I was unable to erase with another coat of paint, by gluing something over it. Ha! Where there is a will, there is a way, my mom used to say!

Once, I actually tore apart a watercolor I hated and used the scraps to create a new painting. King’s Garden was the result. It is in my gallery.

King’s Garden  Watercolor Collage, 24×36

Every work I do is dedicated to God. I thank Him for my talent and for Eternal Life because I believe by faith,  in Jesus dying for my sins. I am forgiven and at peace. How can I explain the JOY I have inside me except to say it is because of my personal relationship with God, not due to  religious doctrine or because I may belong to a church. Those are good on their own, but they do not replace knowing God in a personal way like you know your best friend. It is a deep trusting, true relationship that I have with Jesus. This is always available to you also. Ask Him to reveal himself to you personally then believe He will do it his way.

Expressing Yourself in Your Art

Hi again and celebrate spring with me!

I am happy to note that you have been progressing in understanding the nuances of more substantial art making.  You see, art is not just a pretty picture.  It needs to ‘say something’ to the viewer and communication is meant to draw them into your art by triggering their emotions. So maybe we should start here. What is emotion in art making? How do we use it?

What are you feeling at this moment? How can you express that feeling  to me on a canvas or paper? If you are feeling  confused, how would you show confusion in your art? Would you use the same directional lines or a bunch of different ones like thick, thin, jagged, pointy, wavy?  What colors would you choose to represent the feeling of confusion? A bunch of primary brights will do it. How would you represent ‘calm’?  Warm colors? Cool colors? Certainly not intense bright  colors. You would think of ‘gentle’ colors like aqua. pinks, peach, light blue.  Your brush strokes would be calmer, more horizontal, longer.  Was there a  color scheme that you liked in a magazine photo?  Even these photos are planned colors that are meant to attract your attention. Just do not do all ‘boring’, like the same old, same old. Using all cool colors needs a bit of warmth to add interest, like a peach or orange.  Start with just a smidgen of the main color’s complement (opposite on the color wheel). Using too much of a complement breaks the color balance.  Think ‘unequal’. If you use a lot of texture with your paint or as a collage, have a smooth spot to rest the eye for a moment.  I try to think  of ‘opposites’ to utilize in my work. This is an art principle called variety.  Art principles are how we use our art elements like line, shape, form, color, texture, value and space. The caution is to not use so much of one art element so  that it results in confusion or equalization.

I personally love to use texture and create it on the base canvas with tissue paper or modeling gel. However,  I incorporate a few smooth spots, not more than three, and never  in the same size. (Think mama, papa, baby when using size and group them spaced apart.) The eye will naturally follow. I do the same with color.

 I might use a bunch of cool colors and pop in a warm one in one or three places, but mini sized, so that they attract and not dominate the painting. This is called the principle of balance.  A dark or vivid color visually weighs more, so you need less.  Think of a small black box on one end of a seesaw with a white large box on the other end. The black box is more weighty than the larger bigger box, even if it takes up more space. Dark, vivid, weigh more.

So this month,  we have learned about expressing emotion by using art principles  of variety and balance. Too much variety creates confusion.  Equal amounts of the art elements creates boredom.

Everyone has a ‘balance meter’ inside them, so you will feel you want to equal things out,  like in one space with that one next to it.  Caution! That is when, as an artist, you need to fight that balance instinct and strive to be a little more creative. I carefully plan my composition so that the main interest is slightly off center or slightly lower or higher than middle. I think of opposites like tall/short, bright/dull, straight/wiggly, cool/ warm.  and just don’t use them in equal amounts. Do you get the idea? How about the following  along with the next one?

This is a great month for me as my spirit is  quickened as a believer in the Cross, that Jesus died on, for ME!   Wait!  Let me finish for it is for your benefit.

I have been renewed with the love Jesus has shown for me to choose to die for my sins!  Why me? I am not worthy. If I try to reach the north pole by throwing a rock at it,  I am likewise not able to be good enough to live in God’s presence when I die no matter how hard I try to be a good person.  I am no match for God’s holiness. I just cannot do it by being good!  No one is sinless except Jesus,  as He came from God and was born to die for us.  Then He rose from the dead on the third day and lives at the right hand of God the Father, interceding for us. Want peace in your life, tired one?

I accepted Jesus’ death by faith in His forgiveness. (Actually His resurrection was witnessed by many at that time.)   I am at peace with God, with myself and with others because His love is in me. He is risen and lives.  You say prove it!

God is Spirit so He cannot be proved like a thesis or by touch, or sight.  He is Spirit so   unless you have an open heart to ask Him to show you Who he is and  are willing to see the truth, you will never know God. Your inner spirit is dead. You need to choose to respond to Him.

So this is my challenge to you this April. It is my ultimate gift to you. The opportunity to have Eternal Life.  God may have gifted me to create, as He is the ultimate creator.  Yet, I pass on a greater gift to you, out of His love for you. All life is a risk. This may be a greater risk for you, an unbeliever. Ask Jesus to show you Himself.  Next be willing to accept His truth. You will know truth and the truth will set you free, I promise. You can pray simply to ask Jesus to forgive your sins because you believe He died to make an atonement for you. Then you need to choose to receive His life and peace into your spirit  so that He can take the burden of your sins and make them white and pure as snow. Then He is free to bless your life in ways you never imagined. This is my Easter gift to you. To BELIEVE. To RECEIVE. To be BLESSED.

 

 

Finding Your Art Niche

My art career had me going all around the block, figuratively speaking. I mean, I have done lots of different things in the quest to express myself. I started painting seriously in the 70’s and 80’s when we moved south to the warm climate of Florida. Previously, I had a studio where I taught painting privately and I had a regular crowd of students week by week. My college dual-degree was in Fine Art and Education. So, when I was raising small kiddos, it was the best way to parent and use my gifts for others, while working part-time.

Living in Florida, I decided to hone my skills so that I could compete in art exhibits on a professional level. A Masters Degree in Fine Art was not possible for me at the time due to finances and tuition costs. I had made the decision that my children’s education was more important. I already had two degrees at this point, strangely on both ends of the spectrum. I had earned an R.N in 1979. Here’s why! I had been teaching art in the public schools of north New Jersey in the’60s. Schools were beginning to drop art and use the funds to Math and Science programs. I saw the art programs in the schools as being easily disposable. This was now the age of NASA and space exploration and we aspired to make our kids scientists rather than artists.

A previous goal of mine was to become a nurse. Art was for my enjoyment. However, now I had to determine if I would still be in a job or should I follow my previous plan to go to Nursing School. Just as long as there were sick people, I would have a job. I figured out how I could work full time in nursing and still paint and keep my art career going. During the seventies through the nineties, I painted seriously and entered national juried exhibits. This venture really honed my skills. I had to deal with rejection of not getting into an exhibit without getting discouraged. I joined a professional group of women artists who got together for critiques one a week. This was one of the most valuable things I did!

I do not want to sound vain, but I really needed critique from people who were at my level of art or higher. If golfers wants to get better, they play with BETTER players. They may lose a lot but they learn a lot too! Besides, you learn to grow a ‘thicker skin’ to take the contest rejections in stride. It was at this time, I had some of my work published in 3 art books by Rockport Publishers and received many art awards and Best in Shows. As I look back now, I see God’s hand in it all. How did this publisher find me to ask me to send them slides of my work? I have no idea except that it had to be God who gave me my gift in the first place and wanted to use it.

I realize many of you are not spiritually inclined and that is fine with me. However, if I am to share the truth of what happened to me, I have to be forthright. God gave me favor. God opened doors for me. Some of those doors would have been very unlikely if He had not done it. So through it, I learned to include Him in my plans and to even trust Him with my career. I let Him take the reigns by prompting me to explore different venues.

My Etsy Shop is His idea. I retired from teaching last June after 24 years in the teaching profession. Yes, I am older than dirt so there are not may jobs around for me. God gave me the idea to open an Etsy Shop since I have so many paintings to sell, but He also wanted it more for those who would buy my art. He wanted me to have a spiritual side in my art. He gave me the idea to start a canvas by paining a blessing that He would give me from Scripture, right onto the raw canvas. I mean, actually printing it out in paint. Then I was to paint over it completely and only allow parts of the blessing to come through the resulting painting. Somehow, this spoke to me because His idea was not about ME but about people who would be blessed by my art.

Truthfully, I am past the point in my life where I am looking for self-promotion or for a career featured in the limelight. I am satisfied with what I have done with my life. I have run a really good race. This was how ‘Artfully Blessed’ and this website were born. You can find my shop easily on Etsy.com and by simply searching ‘Gegerson’ or ‘MarshArt’.

What is left for me in my present venture? I want to improve MarshArt.Com. I have tons more artwork to post and want to improve my web page. Next, I plan to sell my bigger paintings as giclee prints. I am going to be 78 soon and I am not ready to lay down my paintbrush. I am studying the ins and outs of ‘search engine optimization’ and social media. I decided I really have to be a Renaissance Woman if I want to keep up with the times. It is exciting, baffling and somewhat scary as I venture into cyber world.

Perhaps my life ventures will help you find your niche of how to produce art and what you want to do with it. I hope so. The world needs artists and the color and beauty because everything is so gray and dark. Play in your art. Grow in it. Then begin to share it like I have.
Be blessed,
Marsh

My Favorite Season. What’s Yours?

Singing Christmas Trees of First Baptist Orlando
It certainly doesn’t feel like winter here in Orlando, Florida. All of my senses say ‘summer’. Lights in palm trees doesn’t cut it for this gal. You see, I grew up in New York City with ice skating outside at Rockefeller Center. It was C-O-L-D but we loved it because we could slide down piles of snow the plows left by the curb. I’m not referring to small humps of snowdrift. I mean six and seven foot mountains of icy cold white stuff.

What else could a kid growing up in the city look forward to? Warm chestnuts sold from carts by vendors. They also sold a thing called ‘Charlotte Russe’ which was a sponge cake and REAL whipped cream in a cardboard cup. Ahh, sigh. Those things are probably gone in our 21st century. I haven’t been back to NYC in winter for 40 something years so I am no longer an authority on that yummy stuff. At least the Rockettes are still around at Radio City Music Hall. Please, please don’t update its name to something like Virtual Pixilated Music and Light Review. If it ain’t broke, please don’t fix it. We need to keep some nostalgia for our kiddos and let the young’uns experience what their parents and grandparents loved.

It may be warm here this Christmas Eve but I definitely will try my best to imitate cold weather. My electric fireplace will fakely burn and we will celebrate with hot Wassil made by Trader Joe. We will tell our funny stories of the year or watch Jimmy Stewart in “It’s A Wonderful Life” for the umpteenth year while our grandkids play video games on their phones. For me, the best of all is to celebrate the birth of my Lord Jesus at the Singing Christmas Trees, with thanksgiving in my heart to God for giving His Son. The Gospel has set me free from myself and my sins and blessed me with joy and peace beyond anything I could ask or think. It is hard to perceive that that little baby was born to die for us. I opened my heart to ask Jesus in and make my life (and me) what it should be…like caring for others and not selfishly for myself first; by loving them by meeting their needs instead of mine, and sadly, praying for those who do not want to know Him. Their loss; their desolation so that they do not even know what they have missed for their life; mostly my prayers for their loss of eternal life with God and His Love instead of the eternal darkness they will have.
Yes! I am forever blessed to have Jesus in my life.

I’ve Been in a Cyber-Vortex.

Forgive me…I feel guilty that I have not blogged since September. I confess I forgot about you. The invisible vortex of life sucked up everything that was tidy, organized and non-chaotic and left me with my head spinning. Scientists call my imaginary vortex,’the black hole’. It is the place where we loose things. I am sure my car keys are up there. It is the place our thoughts go when another one intrudes, and we end up thinking, “Why did I walk into this room in the first place?” My good sense flies up into the black hole and rolls around like a pebble in a spinning jar.

You have also been there. Don’t deny it! It is called too busy; it is being dragged down by the needs of others; it is an unfocused mind. It messes up everything I planned. It seems like my thoughts are going in a hundred directions; my head is spinning on my shoulders and I want to just sit and rest with eyes closed and make sense of my nonsense.

This black hole also sucks up my computer files or messes with me so my finder can’t find (which is its purpose.Yes?) So, I call my IT son but he is too busy to answer. Finally, my nonsense makes sense, and I go to Search HELPS, which I should have done in the first place. Helps gives me an idea of what I need to do to unravel my ravel. Now, I have to interpret the directions to finally solve my computer problem. Only, I lost a precious hour or two.

Beware…this is the time of year that we need to slow down, so go to your studio and just play with your art materials. I said, “play”. Do nothing serious, just scribble lines and shapes. For me, there is only one thing that helps. Prayer and reading my Bible. That is my place of calm I seek. Usually, I will even begin to get inspiration.

Thankfully, I have begun to incubate a theme that I started years ago. It began with a painting in acrylics, that I completed in 20 minutes. It is the ONLY one that I painted in such a brief time. It is called “Ancient of Days” and is contemporary in nature. The painting has a kind of ephod that an old testament priest would wear into the tabernacle or tent of meeting. Actually, I had no preset idea on even painting this subject. It just happened. This painting won two Best in Shows and another ‘Women on Paper’ Award. I really believe God inspired it and then blessed it.

“Ancient of Days” lead to another one called, “Guardians of the Gate” and is my depiction of the two angels who sealed up the Garden of Eden after the fall of man. I am aware that many of you may not read the Bible, nor want to. I understand. We are all at different places and beliefs, and I am not being judgmental or proud, so please don’t let me lose you. It’s just what works for ME. I had discovered these two paintings in an old portfolio while organizing my studio. Truthfully, I forgot about them even though their awards hang on my studio wall. Suddenly, I had an explosion of inspiration to continue this Biblical Genesis theme. Now that I have retired from teaching visual arts and have time to create again, I need to get to it! While teaching, all my creativity was poured out on the students and there was nothing left at the end of the day. You know the feeling! Empty tank.

Just feed your creativity any way you can this season. Make holiday decorations. Design and print wrapping paper for gifts. Make creative collage book covers for your friends’ journals. Even do stupid stuff like walnut ornaments for the tree. (I apologize, crafters.) Just understand and honor the gift of artistry in you. It needs an ‘outlet’ or it dies. Trust me, I have been there and it is hard getting it back. If your time is still limited, use your iPad or phone to listen/watch creative YouTubes while you cook dinner. This idea really helped me in time famine. I know some artists that need to create because it pulsates in their blood. They are driven to create. The Masters were like that. Sadly, I am fickle. I would love to be so inspired that I long to get into my studio. I am diverse and have many gifts that I need to use. However, I create in many ways, even as I write this blog.

All this is to say, ‘honor your gift’ and the Giver. I really am at peace in this crazy season. I am filled with joy and love, and I am spiritually lifted above all this seasonal chaos because my peace doesn’t depend on myself to dig myself out. Instead, my faith is in a Good God who sustains me and gives me hope in this threatening world. So, this is the gift I want to present you with this November. Be blessed. Enjoy every moment. Time is short.