Monday, September 12, 2011

How do you figure out you made a wrong decision?

As I am sitting here watching the news coverage of the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedies, I am witness to the kaleidoscope of change our nation has gone through.  Watching the emotions of the people as the names of the victims were called was hard and I found myself crying with them.  I empathize with the people and their losses and the process of rebuilding their lives.  And not just people – our nation, the city of New York and even the geographic space where the twin towers were housed – all needed to figure out what their validity and purpose would be.  The rest of us, we had to figure out what to do about the massive hole in our hearts and the sense of despair that was so prevalent throughout our nation.

David Brinkley said today during the news coverage that we have to be constantly in a state of renewal of our values, of our institutions and of our securities.  What matters to us?  What do we believe in?  What makes us feel safe?

This summer I made a massive change to my life, as most of you know.  I quit the security of a job that pays really well, has better bonuses than I’ve ever had before and has a benefits plan to make most people jealous.  I was so sure that I wanted to leave a position that I was good at for the insecurity of no job and trust that my brain is adept enough to master the demands of going back to college full time. 

I am proud of myself for making such a radical change but I have to be prouder of myself to have the courage to make a change when I feel something is not working.  College is hard.  Classes are stressful.  Deadlines are plentiful and consequences are great for failure to meet them. There is no time for a down day.  There is no time for aches and pains and headaches and fibro fog. 

Then there are also the pressures of life outside the classroom.  There is not a possibility to have school be my job.  I won’t go into details but let’s just say the economy hasn’t been good to us and I will start a new job shortly.  My new teammates have already told me the pressure of this new job and the challenges we will be fighting.

So, my heart is heavy and my brain won’t turn off – much like it was immediately after 9/11 – as I ponder what is right for me. I am in that constant state of renewal David Brinkley talks about.  I know there will be people disappointed in me and I can’t help that.  Whatever I decide, I will be at peace.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Is There a Method to the Madness?

On the second day of 2-D Design class (Monday), our instructor Dr. Hightower, gave us an assignment due for the next class on Wednesday.  Homework isn't a bad thing and since it is an art class I thought that it would be fun.  As she described what was due, I swear that smoke started coming out of my ears because my brain went on overload!  The bottom line was that we had a total of 72 thumbnail sketches -- eight were to be 4" by 5" and to show the transition of one word to another (my words were empty to full) and the other 64 thumbnails were to be 2 3/8" x 3" rectangles, 3" x 3" squares, 3" equilateral triangles and 3" diameter circles.  Just drawing out the grids for the thumbnail sketches took me all night!  Not to mention that I actually had to put some creativity behind it too.  Oh and did I mention there was going to be a quiz too?

Word Transition Sketch - Empty to Full
Well, I didn't finish the optical illusion thumbnails but spent a lot of time working on the word transition sketches which weren't really conveying what I was thinking, yet.  When I got to class I felt like a horrible loser.  Here we are on the third day of class and I'm already slacking off.  When I got to class though, I wasn't the only one! My heart and spirit lifted and then I got another sign. 

sample photo shopped version
I traditionally like to sit in the back of the classroom.  As Dr. Hightower was going through each of the sketches done by my classmates, the clock kept ticking away.  By 6:10, she was no where close to my desk.  She stopped and told us what our next assignments were.  Those word sketches that we had done, now we were to take the one that worked the best and expand it into eight more 4" x 5" sketches and from 32 sketches that were done for the square and rectangle illusions, were were to reproduce the best ones that represented that illusion through cutting out shapes in black paper to put on white paper.  Thank goodness we had the weekend to do this.

In yesterday's class, we had to take the second set of sketches we did for the word transition and scan them into the computer.  You all know I'm a not-so-closeted computer geek so I was really excited to get to play with this.  Then we played in Photoshop!  I'm still playing but interesting and fun stuff!

So there does seem to be a method to the madness.  Dr. Hightower is teaching us to solve design issues in our art.  My takeaway from this process and from art in general is that I need to slow down and let my brain work the process.

Monday, August 29, 2011

I Don't Remember Drowning...

I don't remember feeling this over my head the first time I was a full-time college student!  I'm thankful that my ever watchful lifeguard, Andy was on duty yesterday as I was close to tears trying to keep my head above the water.
 I don't think I ever embraced studying then.  I was always working and trying to stay afloat financially.  Maybe I have just wiped it out of my memory but I don't actually remember doing homework.  By the time I was a junior, I adeptly managed for my assignments do double duty.  Either I tutored someone on the literature that we were reading or I wrote articles that I got paid for AND could turn in as writing assignments.  I don't remember studying for anything.  Either I got it or I didn't and more often than not, I got it.

I have five classes I am taking.  Yes, I realize that is a lot of classes!  Yesterday as I was making sure I had everything done for my classes today, I fully realized that five  classes -- 15 credit hours -- was a lot.  My almost-ready-for-AARP brain doesn't absorb so much.  I am more like oil cloth then I am cotton.

Time management is critical for me at this junction.  I can no longer meander through the days, especially when I start to work (which I expect to start something in September), and do the home work and reading and thinking when I feel the motivation.  Motivation will now have to live on a time table, most likely between 6pm and 11pm.

Maybe by week four, I'll have mastered the art of swimming, on a time-table, and someone will give me a cotton towel.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First Day of School or How to Gain the Fresman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior 15!

I have a three hour void in the middle of my day on Wednesdays from 11am - 2pm.  I think most days I will be able to utilize this time for a quick lunch and study time but today is the first day of class at KSU so we haven't even had a full class.  Lot's of review of syllabi and short classes so I've caught up on my pleasure reading and Facebook game playing and now I am in pursuit of my favorite hobby...people watching.

This semester, because I am a full-time student, I have had to purchase a meal plan.  This is a good thing for people watching because it is like feeding time at the zoo.  There aren't a lot of folks who look like me...mostly teens and early 20-somethings with a plethora of styles.  Lots of tanned bodies, short shorts and knee high boots.  Not sure what style that is! 

I love the girl in the A-line skirt and simple white t-shirt.  Her only accessory is her waste long, blonde dreadlocks and simple Mary Jane style practical shoes.  I wonder what her major is.

As I sit and observe in this mecca of food and fashion, I wonder how all these folks aren't pudged out.  I had a nice salad and some turkey breast for lunch but I am also sitting next to the dessert bar where I can see donuts and cream puffs and muffins.  And of course soft serve ice yogurt. 

A kid just walked by with a service dog.  I wonder how I can qualify for that program?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Today is the first day...

So here i is about 7:35 am and I am in a conference room on my last day at SAP. For some reason I couldn't sleep. I don't know if it was the excitement of having a new life ahead of me or the nervousness of leaving the corporate world (and corporate paycheck).

There are a million cliches running through my head. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Even the best laid plans... Why put off today what you can do tomorrow? A door closes and a window opens. A bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush.

I have had friends declare their admiration for taking this big leap like knights vowing fealty to a queen. So many people possessing secret talents and passions and dreams of taking the same giant leap out of Corporate America.  The paralyzing reality of the paycheck makes tethers most to stay put and wish.  Some have called me brave...and some have called me stupid! 

My journey started long ago and just kept inching and pushing and shoving its way into my consciousness. Frequent thoughts over that first coffee of the morning, "how did I get here in my life?" and then came the dinner conversation that changed everything.

"If you could not fail, what would you do with your life?" asked my boss innocently. OK, in addition to being my boss, she's been a great friend for over 10 years too! I'm not sure I had an answer that night but the question festered in me and I thought about it every day.

And here is my big conclusion...sometimes you just have to take the risk. There may be success or there may be failure (that's why it is called risk!) but failure is just a temporary condition. It is not a finality.

So today as I embark on the rest of my life I go on to make art, continue to teach people how to funnel their creativity -- even if they think they don't have any, and help the people in this world that need me. My path is not the straight and narrow but the crooked, winding twists and turns of life. I'll be driving but you ca sit back and enjoy the ride. Warning: fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Woman Has Three Hearts

"A woman has three hearts, one she shares with the world, one she shares with her family and one she shares only with herself."  Chinese Proverb

Hi everyone-

I wanted to tell you all about a wonderful online workshop I am taking from an incredible artist, Christy Tomlinson.  This is my second online workshop with Christy and I have learned a lot from her.  For this workshop, I am so excited to just have my very own art journal.  I have always felt that I presented a different Kasey to the world then what I do to my family.  I also think that I have not taken the time to have a heart to share with myself.

If you are interested in taking any of Christy's online workshops (I HIGHLY recommend She Art!) you can get more information from her website 3 Hearts/She Art/Scarlet Lime.  Her online store at Scarlet Lime has some of the best prices and she often offers discounts to her students as a thank you.  Believe it or not, the canvases I've bought from Christy, even with the shipping, cost less if I factor in gas and driving over to the otherside of Cobb County to go to Dick Blick!

Check Christy out!!!  We can share journal pages.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dive Bombed

I think I was being sent a message last night.  As I watched the dogs frolic in the moonlight before we went to bed last night, this exotic creature kept dive bombing me.  The two Labs thought it was a tiny bird and that they needed to capture it.  I was awed by its beauty and its size.

This creature only lives for seven days.  What is its purpose?  Does it live the best life it can for seven days?  It reminded me that everyone of us needs to find our purpose in life.  We aren't here to just exist.  What is my purpose? What is your purpose?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Admissions Portfolio for Art Education

So after two art classes, it is do or die time for my entrance portfolio to officially get into the art education program at Kennesaw.  The portfolio has to focus on pieces that were done in Drawing 1 and 2-D design and include some pieces that we've done outside of class. Here are the pieces I'm including:
(01.)  Shape Still Life, 23.5 x 17.5. Graphite on Paper. August 2010. Drawing I, figure study from direct observation.

(02.)  Observational Drawing,  18” x 21. Charcoal on Paper. February 2011. Drawing I, figure study from direct observation.

(03.)  Study of Pod and Cone, 13” x 11.5”. Graphite on Paper. January 2011. Drawing I, figure study from direct observation.

(04.)  Organic Still Life, 24” x 18”. Charcoal on Paper. March 2011. Drawing I, figure study from direct observation.

(05.)  Inorganic Still Life, 12” x 14”. Graphite on Paper. April 2011. Drawing I, figure study from direct observation.

(06.)  Values from Symbols Project, 18” x 24”. Graphite on Paper. September 2010. 2-D Design, drawing interpretation photo.

(07.)  Modern Color Wheel Project, 20” x 18”. Acrylic Paint on Canvas Board. October 2010. 2-D Design, Painting interpretation photo.

(08.)  Observational Painting, 14” x 17””. Acrylic on Paper. October 2010. 2-D Design, figure study from direct observation.

(09.)  Color Relationships Project, 10” x 10” (each piece). Acrylic Paint on Canvas Board. November 2010. 2-D Design, painting interpretation from photo.

(11.)  Observational Painting, 7” x 8.5”. Acrylic on Canvas. December 2010.  Figure study from direct observation.

(12.)  From Photo, 15’ x 11”. Acrylic on Canvas. December 2010. Experiment on perspective with acrylic paints.

10a.)  There’s a Pitbull in the Closet, 12” x 12”. Ink and Wood. November 2010. 2-D Design, Concept Art Book Cover.

(10b.)  from There’s a Pitbull in My Closet, 12” x 12”. Collage on acrylic paint. November 2010. 2-D Design, freestyle paint on paper with collage.

(10c.) from There’s a Pitbull in My Closet, 7” x 9”. Graphite on Paper. November 2010. 2-D Design, figure study from direct observation.

(10d.)  from There’s a Pitbull in My Closet, 12” x 12”. Colored Pencils on Paper. November 2010. 2-D Design,  figure study from photo.

(10e.)  from There’s a Pitbull in My Closet, 4.5” x 6”. Word Art on Photograph. November 2010. 2-D Design, photo taken with Pentax K-X with 55mm – 75mm lens, composed in Adobe Illustrator and mounted onto magnetic sheet (JAILO game and pieces in tin box).

(13.)  Mixed Media, 10” x 10”. March 2011. Photo transfer, ink, acrylic paint, modeling paste, decorative paper, gaffer tape.
(14.)  Neighborhood Hawk, December 2010, Pentax K-X with Pentax 55-300 mm f/4-5.8 ED lens.

(15.)  Yummo, January 2011, Canon T2I with Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom Lens.

(16.)  I am the King, January 2011, Canon T2I with Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom Lens.

(17.)  Observational Photo , January 2011, Canon T2I with Lensbaby Composer and additional macro lenses.

(18.)  Girl on Horse, February 2011, Canon T2I with Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom Lens

(19.)  Blue Morning in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. March 2011. Canon T2I with Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom Lens.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mixed Media Art -- Bailey

This weekend I worked on a mixed media piece using some collage techniques, transfer techniques, acrylic paints, water color crayons,  and texture medium.  First I took a picture I had of Bailey and manipulated it in Photoshop.  I took away the background and then added a filter to make the image look like a drawing.  I printed it on photo paper and then took the 8 1/2 x 11 image to Office Max and blew it up to fit an 11 X 17 sheet.

Next I worked on the canvas.  This is actually a 10 X 10 canvas.  I took some bright orange and bright pink scrapbook paper and randomly cut pieces.  I applied it to the canvas with a gel medium (you can also use Mod Podge).

I wanted to add some different layers of texture so I cut out a heart from a piece of Cosmo Cricket paper I had. Then, I took some modeling paste and added some Tim Holtz cranberry color wash to it. I smeared it on the bottom of the canvas (the modeling paste is white and the color wash turned out a nice pinkish color).  I then took an old prescription pill bottle and randomly applied the circles in the texture medium.   Next, I applied a variety of black rub-ons across the canvas.  Some were words and some were design elements like half circles.  The key here was random.  Last, I used a product that I received in a "kit" that I didn't think I would ever use but I love it!  It is the black and cream button "gaffer" tape on the left of the picture.  It is fabric but sticky and although you can't see it, I have applied this tape to the side edges of the canvas which really finishes it off and makes it so you don't have to frame the piece.

Now for the photo transfer...remember those copies I made from the photoshopped photos?  I took the blown up copy of Bailey and cut out the image.  Next, I applied gel medium to the photo copy and then positioned it onto the canvas where I wanted it.  To make sure I got full transfer, I used a brayer to make sure I didn't have any air bubbles.  I let this dry fully -- about an hour.

The last step is to spritz the paper with water and rub.  This rubs off the copy paper and leaves the image transfer on the canvas.  It is a little messy and takes a while but I think worth it in the end result!

Andy thought it looked very Warhol-esque!  What do you think?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dogs In Motion

My two girls, Phoebe (yellow lab) and Bailey (All American Mutt) love to play fetch.  Bailey gets down right crazy about it.  She will be so excited that her jaw will actually click.  Usually our ball sessions last about 10 or 15 minutes and my arms get really sore from throwing.  I stand on the deck and throw the ball and they fly down the stairs and fetch it.  If Phoebe gets the ball, she runs up the stairs and tosses at my feet.  If Bailey gets the ball she brings it back up the stairs, places both paws on top and "shoots" it to me by popping it out from under her paws.

A few weeks ago, I got this great idea to get my tennis racket and hit the ball out to them.  I can hit it way farther than I can throw it and the girls love it.  I can also last longer so our sessions are closer to a half hour.

I love how they look when they run...I live vicariously in their motion.  We could all learn from the simple happiness of a dog chasing a ball!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Is Photography Art or Indulgence (on my part!)

So my Pentax K-X is a perfectly fine beginner DSLR camera...and mine is red! But as much as I liked my red beginner DSL I felt like I needed something with some advanced features.  So I got myself a Canon T2I -- 18.2 megapixels, shooting capability in "the RAW" (still not sure what that means yet except that it will be better to manipulate in Photoshop), and a bunch of other features that I'm still working through.  Photography is an expensive habit!  I could take a second mortgage out just on the lenses that I want!

But in addition to my new camera, I also invested in Lens called the Lensbaby.  This is a very cool lens kit that "bends" the image providing a lovely sweet spot of focus and feathers out the rest of the image.  There are multiple optics you can add to your Lensbaby.  I bought the "Composer" and several optics and special effects.  Check out their website and gallery for some very cool examples in their Gallery Lensbaby.
My favorite, the fish eye optic!

But as I struggle with the new equipment, I also struggle with photography as an art form.  I've always like to take unusual angles of things...more interested in the composition of a picture than documenting an event.  But what makes my shot better than someone else's?  I mean, if I get a great picture is it because of my artistic insight or is it because I have a great camera?  I struggle with this...

So here are some photos that are what I call my Seinfeld Series -- pictures about nothing...but I like them!  What do you think?
Macro 10x and 4x together
Macro 10x and 4x together

Double pane optic

Double pane optic

Macro 10X

Double pane optic

Double pane optic

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 -- The Year of The Crafty Girl Project

Welcome to 2011 Crafty Girls and Guys everywhere.  I've seen a lot of my fellow bloggers posting a year review on the blog and I thought I would remind my awesome readers of some highlights of my 2010. 

I would definitely say 2010 was a growth year for me -- or the beginning of the mid-life crisis as my husband puts it!  My main focus for 2010 was how can I live a more creative life.  I asked myself the question could I do something creative every single day?

Well, the answer is yes, sort of.  What I mean with this vague answer is that a majority of the time, I thought or did something creative.  Some days there was no tangible thing that said, "Look what I made!"  But there's been a lot of changes in my mindset to get me doing more creative projects.

Some highlights of my year include these major life events:

1)  Became a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator in January 2010

Not only do I get a discount off my supplies but I'm awed by the creativity of my friends at Stampin' Up!  Being able to go to the convention this past July was incredible!  I took home more ideas--both business and creative -- then I had room for in my suitcase.  Plus it was held in beautiful Salt Lake City and I've got some fantastic shots of the city.

I held regular Crafty Girl nights and was able to teach friends how to make fun projects...even if they weren't crafty! 

2)  I became Copic Marker Certified so I could start teaching beginning classes on copic marker coloring.  I love these alcohol-based, refillable markers.  I've created some cool mixed-media pieces using the airbrushing techniques as well as just had a blast coloring stamped images. 

3)  I went back to school and am hoping to get a Bachelor's in Fine Art at Kennesaw State University.  In April 2011, I will officially submit my portfolio to gain entry into the School of Art.  I'm going back and forth between a BFA focusing on photography and printmaking or a BS in Art Education but leaning more toward the art education.  Ultimately I'd really like to have my own business -- maybe an art supply store that offers classes in different mediums.  Right now if I want to go to an art store I have to head to Alpharetta, Buckhead or downtown Tech area.  It would be nice to have one that caters to us KSU and Polytech students!  But then I'd like to make art assessable to the masses -- to all the people who say they aren't crafty but would like to try. 

The Crafty Girl Project is far from over.  It is now a lifestyle rather than a project with a definite start date and end date.  What this journey has led me to is a clarity of my love and passions. 

What will 2011 bring?  More projects, more drawings, more paintings, more cards, more scrapbook pages, more workshops, more classes -- teaching and attending, more fun!

What are you doing to be crafty today?
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