Saturday, February 25, 2017

Creativity and Aging

I only got three collages done this week, because I was focusing on mail art/snailmail.  I have about 15 new penpals now, from places far and wide, in addition to the dozen or so peeps I've been corresponding with for a few years.  My plan is to stay current so I don't have a huge backlog of mail to respond to at any one time.

One of my readers asked about being an artist and getting older.  Thought I'd respond here, with how I see things anyway.  Other artists will likely see things differently.

I came to the conclusion a few short years ago that I am more of a general creative person, although I do call myself an artist, than I am an Artist with a capital A.  This distinction probably has a lot to do with how I manage creating and aging.

Despite the fact that I've been making art for over 40 years, I never devoted myself so wholly to one medium as to make a career out of that, to grow and develop in that one medium, to make that one thing my life's work.  I was always more interested in trying new things, new media, new techniques, new tools, and changing up what I was focused on every so often.  I think that's because I've always been attracted to a wide range of creative endeavors.

But I never have felt a deep compulsion to make art, like a "make art or die" kind of thing.  I do it because I enjoy being creative, I love making things, I feel a sense of accomplishment when I've made something that I really like.

Until just a few years ago, I played the art marketing game as well as I could ~ art shows in the 1990s and early 2000s, Etsy and sales blog for a number of years, a variety of other online venues for brief spans of time.  And then I eventually stopped doing any of that, and making art just for myself.  I just stopped caring whether or not people bought what I created.

And that removed a lot of pressure for me to constantly be striving and competing.  And of course, this all coincided with my aging, particularly in this decade of my 60s.  I think this big change in my attitude toward creating really began when my body started to speak out ~ it became too painful to sit at a loom, to bend over to warp the loom, to swing my arms way to the side manipulating a shuttle; my wrists gave out from spinning far too much and too fine silk threads; I could no longer stand at the sink and rinse out dyed fabrics, nor could I easily lift 5-gallon buckets of water or big tubs of dye liquor on and off the stove or in and out of the sink; sitting at the sewing machine for hours on end stitching art quilts, or even sitting for hours hand stitching relatively large projects became too painful for my back and my hands.  So I gave these things up, for all intents and purposes.

I used to look at other people's work and feel envious that it wasn't my own work, or I'd think I should be or could be doing work more like theirs.  It was an internal competitive thing for me.  Now I can truly enjoy others' work and applaud them for how beautiful it is, without feeling I need to do that too.  I can be inspired now by others to do whatever I manage to do, and let my work stand as it is.

I also no longer feel as though I have to do everything there is to do.  I gave up on that a long time ago.  If there's something I do want to try, I'll do it now instead of waiting for that mythical time in the future.  And if something doesn't work out to my satisfaction ~ some tool or material or medium ~ I'll drop it and move on.  Or I'll come back to it later with a different perspective.

All I can say for relatively certain now, is that whatever I do create from here on out will likely fall within the range of my endeavors over the past few years: collage and art journaling; book arts; mixed media; painting; and small hand stitching projects.  I'll do one or several things for a time, then switch up a couple areas.

Do the best you can, with what you have, where you are.  And let the rest go.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Sixty Eight

Another birthday for me today.  They sure come around quickly these days...seems like I just had one.

This first collage is one of my very favorites in the current series. It has a particular design/arrangement that I like a lot.  What look like old photos are actually images from pages of an old book about Massachusetts.  I love the overall vintage look of the spread.

I'm spending the day being online, which for me means I'm at my computer doing various things rather than just using my phone to be online.  Otherwise today is just a normal Saturday, and I might even take a nap later.

Not much else to say.  The seesaw quality of life continues ~ most days good, some not so good, like yesterday.  The plot keeps thickening, the screw turning tighter, the depths of the coverups and the corruption more obvious daily.

What can one do to manage it all inside one's own head and heart, but take it one day at a time...and try to keep your head up and keep moving forward as consciously and mindfully as possible.


Saturday, February 11, 2017


My emotions have been all over the map lately, due to the ongoing political upheaval in this country.  One day I'll be in or very close to a depression, the next day I'll be laughing at the absurdity of it all.  Today I'm in an up mood, which is where I am mostly, actually.  But those down days can be dark.

If you're awake and aware, you know all about what's going on.  If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.  I don't need to editorialize further.    

Most of these collages are in my latest Midori insert, one that I made by hand.  I used 6mm grid paper (the Midori grid inserts are 5mm squares) and 60# drawing paper.  After making this one insert, I decided against making more.  It's a bigger hassle than I want to go to just to save five to six bucks per insert.  This DIYer has limitations these days ~ it's not necessary for me to reinvent the wheel just to save a few bucks.

Our rain in northern CA has stopped for a few days, and it's nice to see the sun.  Floods, mudslides and road washouts everywhere, though.

Hope you're having a good weekend.


Friday, January 27, 2017


My collages since Monday.

I don't want to turn this venue into a political blog, and I'm beyond ranting.  But nothing is the same now as it was even a week ago.  We've entered into a new world, and we've got to be brave, strong, and clear-headed to negotiate it safely and with sanity.

The political has become very personal...because nearly every one of us, all of us except those at the top, are being and will be affected by the changes that have already begun to happen.  No matter who you voted for.

So I apologize in advance if any of you are offended by my even mentioning this new reality.  You always have the option to stop following me.  (If you're one of the two dozen or so who get an email from me with a link to each post, please email me directly and request to be removed from the list if you want off.)

Because I'm not going to be silent, I'm not going to pretend I'm not appalled at what's happening in this country, thereby giving my tacit approval.

I'd quit Facebook before the election, then came back very briefly right afterward.  Then disappeared again until last weekend.  I'm back full bore again, and the only things I'm following there now are political, but only trustworthy progressive pages, the voices of resistance.

And I've also begun following all the newly-hatched ALT Twitter accounts for government agencies upon which gag orders were placed earlier this week.  Federal employees going rogue, putting the truth out there, defying the new administration's attempts to control the narrative on everything that impacts our lives.

Instagram remains totally devoted to art (for me).

That's all I want to say.  I won't be silent, but I'm not going to rant and rave.  I'll work quietly, in the background, along with millions of others, to do everything we can to set things right again in this country.  We've got a long row to hoe.


Sunday, January 22, 2017


I had intended to write on Friday, but strongly felt I needed to observe another sort of Black Friday by wearing black and being in a state of mourning.  I'm still wearing black and I'm still mourning, but life does go on.

Then after seeing the millions of people who marched yesterday, virtually everywhere in the world, I'm feeling glimmers of hope for our collective situation.  It's not going to be pretty, and damage to life as we knew it had already begun not one hour after "that deal" got sealed.  But I have some degree of confidence that collectively we might be able to stem the tide of the worst of what's to come.  That's what I'm praying for, anyway. 

The only ways to get through these increasingly tough times are through activism and art.  I'm not much of an activist at this point, but I'm surely not going to give up on my art.  Especially with the likely destruction of the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts), now is the time for all us indy and outsider artists to make ourselves heard in all ways possible.  Making art just might save our lives.

Because life on earth is now in retrograde...


Friday, January 13, 2017

Moving Right Along

My creative roll of this year continues.  Collaging, brush lettering, and mail art, that's where my energies are going now.  And reading, of course.

For brush lettering, I purchased PDF worksheets from Jeannie Dickson, via Etsy.  I spend my evenings practicing. 

I bought several different brush-tipped pens from JetPens, but none of them really work well for me.  Instead, I'm using a round #2 paintbrush, as Jeannie does most of the time, and I have so much more control than with the pens.  I thought an actual brush would be way too difficult to master, but for me it's the way to go.

All my outgoing mail art now features brush lettered name and address.  I'm having a lot of fun with this.

We've had a lot of rain in northern California recently.  The Eel River flooded early this week, and although the river itself has receded, my guess is that much of the Ferndale area is still under water.  Fortunately there's no danger of flooding where I am.  Right now we're having a few days' respite from the rain; the days are sunny and c-o-l-d.  More rain coming in early next week.

Enjoy your winter weekend.  January is effectively half gone already.  Christmas will be here again before you know it!