Is Your Brain feeling a Little Tired?

This week my brain was tired. Do you ever feel that way? 

Believe it or not, painting is hard work. Yes, it's totally enjoyable, but it is hard work all the same. I have discovered that it takes about four straight hours of staring hard at something and trying to copy the colors and shapes before your brain starts to get tired and yell for caffeine or sugar. (Maybe that is just my brain... some brains probably yell for carrots). This week after painting so many days in a row my brain decided it needed a nap and a little switch up.

Instead of painting I decided to make stencils to use while painting. (art geek)

Everywhere you look there are patterns. Your iPhone makes it easy to record them. If you like playing around with mixed media or if you like playing around with scissors you might want to try and make your own. This would be a fun exercise to do with kids, how can you replicate the world you see around you?

I used a plastic folder with pockets (left over school supplies.) I drew the design on the folder with a sharpie then cut it out. Totally easy and now I have my own stencils.

This is only the beginning of pattern collecting. Tomorrow I'm back to painting! 


Finished stencils. 


Photographic inspiration while walking the dog. 


Balcony railings. 

Not sure what decade this is from... 

Not sure what decade this is from... 


The painted stencil. 

Explaining Inspiration

This week I spent a little time exploring a new creative process that turned out to be a blast. I want to share it with you because whether you make art or not, we all have the choice to look at the world around us and see what peaks our interest and create a life that's beautiful.

This process was taught by Tracy Verdugo on Tamara LaPorte's "LifeBook 2016," an online course I have been taking for the past two years. As an artist I am often asked where do I get my inspiration. Usually, I respond with "I don't know" or the equally vague  "life, I guess." But really, inspiration is everywhere - you just have to be willing to pay attention to the details. 

In this process, Tracy teaches students to make inspiration bundles as a creative prompt. The task was to go through 6 or 7 books or papers you have collected and tear out a random image (don't over think it) so that you have a stack of about 7 to 12 pieces of paper. Taking each piece of paper one at a time see what appeals to you and incorporate that into your piece. Below is my finished painting that, in the end,  I was very happy with. BUT - like everything in life - there was a catch...


"Little Details" 9 x 12" mixed media


This is my first image and it is not hard to see where the figure is represented. What WAS hard and what you do not see is that underneath all the layers there was a beautiful, painstakingly  painted re-creation of this woman in black and white. Then I came to my next image and had to  decide what to lose and what to keep. What to paint over and what to incorporate.

In the end it turned out to be a much more interesting painting because of what was kept and lost. That is how I see life. We can try as hard as we can to be something we think we "should" be, to hang on tight to those images and stories we want to tell about ourselves. However, the real beauty is in the details. What we observe, discard and layer. That is how we take our world and create a life that is authentic and worth living.

Each image below is represented in the finished product. Can you spot the inspirational details?

Yes, even a #10 envelope can be inspiring if you really look at it.

Yes, even a #10 envelope can be inspiring if you really look at it.