The Return of the Muse and other things

I was painting in my dream last night!

I’ve had only one creative dream since Indigo Dreams months ago. So this was huge for me.
Two nights ago, I had this dream I was in the store my in-laws owned. (They did own a store decades ago before I met them but not now.)
There was a revolving rack of greeting cards in the store. The rack was a mess and I started organizing it. Some of the cards were bent, faded and some of them even had dates on them from years gone by. They needed to be removed. I had an idea that this rack could be mine. I could make cards and they could sell them at the store. I was pretty excited about the idea and when I woke up, I realized I was happier in the dream than I had been about anything in my art in a couple of months.

Last night, I was painting in my dreams. I’ve been painting a little in my waking hours, but in my dream, I was elated. That feeling stayed with me.

I had been trying out some photoshop watercolor brushes for a while. They really are amazing and I love the idea of painting digitally. Working in-house for so long, I can’t tell you the number of days and weeks in total spent cleaning up edges from purchased and licensed art. And then, to also have to re-create parts of motifs because they were either painted flatly or flatten in time consuming. And while the brushes were doing a pretty good job, I was not really able to “feel” the painting. It was stiff and not flowing.
Like sometimes, typing in a journal is fine. But there are times when I just need to write it out with a pen and paper.

I felt that my dreams where saying I needed to paint with watercolors, brushes and paper. The way I felt in my dream was a connection that I need to feel in my art.

I have some old, inexpensive watercolors and thought maybe it was time to buy a better set. I recently purchased a watercolor round brush to try out. I did a little price searching online and that’s when I realized my lovely brush is actually from an animal.
With a little more searching, I found that watercolor set I’d been looking at, as well as many of the papers use animal products. :-(
I’m not a strict vegetarian but I just don’t want to paint with anything from an animal. I found that Windsor Newton makes synthetic brushes. There are a couple of companies that produce non-animal watercolors. I also found a non-animal watercolor paper. So that’s the way I’m going when I do purchase new items. If I am going to paint with my whole heart and soul, it needs to be with products I believe in.

Two companies I found with non-animal watercolors. I haven’t tried them yet.

"Annoyingly Optimistic"

It’s part of my tagline on Twitter.
Yes, I am annoyingly optimistic. I actually work really hard on it. Not the annoying part, the optimism.

If I can find a way to look at a situation that causes joy, why not choose that point of view?
Maybe it’s the countless Dr. Wayne Dyer books I’ve read and listened to from Audible, but I do believe that when you look at things differently, the things you look at change.

For me, the quickest path to being happy about a situation is gratitude. Once I find the gratitude in a situation, I am almost always able to find something good in the situation.

But I have my moments where, frankly, I just want to complain. I feel I am pulling myself out of that mindset quicker than I used to. I heard somewhere that when something that feels bad happens, sometimes you just have to tell your story over and over until even you are tired of hearing it. At that point, you can move beyond it.

There are times when even the first time I say “it” (what ever the “it” is at the time), I’m already over it. When I complain, I feel I’m giving my power in the situation over to someone or something else. And my complaining only enhances their power. So I’ve been trying to look past the issue to the solution faster than I used to. Sometimes I am more successful than others.

I am admitting that while I haven’t been complaining (much) about a situation, I have allowed it to keep me stuck creatively. I’ve spent many hours working on new collections. And I don’t like any of it and have no plans to show it. So while outwardly, I’m pretty up, inwardly, I’ve been less than optimistic.
But I know it’s not gone. It’s just under the surface and, like the tulip bulbs in the yard, it will come back in time.

When did I realize I was a geek? ;-)

I have a confession. I love computers. Well, that is to say, I love how they work and what a person can do with a computer. (After all, we aren’t supposed to love things.)
And I am a geek. And proud of it.
When did I first realize it?
When I learned enough code to realize that it’s really poetry?
Was it when I was over the moon happy that a new release of Illustrator came with .0001 accuracy when the previous version only had .001?
Was it when I bought my first mac (second hand) that had a 20 MB (not a typo) hard drive?
Was it when I took a computer graphics class and learned to write the commands to draw a simple circle?
Maybe it was when the first commodore computers came out and I couldn’t be torn away from them in the store.

Maybe it was a gradual realization.

On my 20MB, which was a Macintosh SE, I was able to run QuarkXPress. One night, very late, I hit some strange combination of keys which should have deleted the box, but instead, an alien marched slowly out and zapped my box with his laser gun. I asked some tech guys I knew about it and they had no idea what I was talking about. I think this was my first “Easter Egg” and to this day, it still makes me smile to think about it.
I had a very early version of Photoshop on one of my early computers. At that point, it was just a little more complicated than a kid’s paint app is these days. Or at least that how it feels looking back. Keep in mind, prior to Photoshop, the only way you could digitally retouch something was done by a machine made by Scitex that cost like a million dollars and the closest one to the agency where I worked at the time was hundreds of miles away. It was that or have someone hand retouch a photo with an airbrush. I remember the example they showed was from Miami Vice. Crocket was sporting a shoulder holster and the publication didn’t want that on the cover, I believe we were told, so they sent it to a company who owned a Scitex to remove it. This was really cutting edge at the time.

We hand painted our surface designs and used rubber cement for type paste-ups. Changes (and aren’t there always changes?) was tedious, to say the least.

So maybe all this history gives me a real appreciation for what I can do with my iMac. And I love it. Color change? No problem. Add some code to a web page? I can figure that out.
And if someone needs a wardrobe adjustment in Photoshop, I can do that, too. With a smile.

Art available as cross-stitch kit!

It’s always exciting to see your art out there in the world!

It takes me back to the very first time. I was working in-house at the time for a company that designed gift wrap, gift bags and cards. A group of us went out at lunch time to trend shop and there, in the front of the store was one of my designs. Having my co-workers there added to so much to seeing it. I was still the “new kid” and I think they were as excited for me as I was.

When a company licenses my art, I check their site often to see when it becomes available. Sometimes it’s a long time before I see it out there.
But it’s always exciting!

Here’s a link to one of the pieces of art that Design Works Crafts licensed.


Indigo Dreams

I’ve been working on this collection for quite a while now.
It started with this obsession for all things indigo. I stumbled upon the Shibori technique of hand dying fabrics and wanted to create a whole line around this beautiful tradition. You could say I was obsessed. ;-)

I bought a box of Indigo dye and a large bucket. I torn yards of fabric into manageable squares and studied the ways to fold, stitch and bind the fabric. I also added a few of my own as I went along. I mixed the dye and started dipping the fabric into the dye. With they type of dye I purchased, the fabric looks bright green when you remove it from the vat, then oxidizes to a deep indigo.

The process-one
Fabric has been folded, stitched and banded, ready for the dye.

Fabric pieces are soaking in the vat of dye.

Fabric comes from the dye a bright green prior to oxidizing.

In various stages of oxidizing.

After I removed the fabric from the bindings, you can see the oxidation still in progress.

A finished piece.

Then, these fabrics were dried, ironed and scanned. Using Photoshop, I placed them into repeats so they could be used for a wide variety of purposes.

I wanted to create complementary pieces of art for fabrics and show how they could be mixed and matched together. I was so focused on these, I started dreaming about them at night and waking up with new designs.
So I called the collection “Indigo Dreams”

You can find the finished collection under “Collections” on this web site.
Thank you,