Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Summer Heat

As with most of the nation, we have been in the middle of quite a battle with Mother Nature over whether it is appropriate to turn on the heater in the middle of summer. As we are finding out, she has control of that thermostat.

 It is baking here.

Temps hit over 110*F yesterday and I  can officially say I am tired of summer. All the heat has put a damper on my plans to get to the studio every day to paint in oils. but I have decided that on the days that I don't make the 45 minute drive to the studio, I will spend my time working on watercolor paintings and drawings. Those supplies and paintings I can keep/do at home since the cats do not seem to be attracted to them.

 I have been spending a little more time than is probably financially feasible at used books stores lately and have found quite a few out of print art book gems at crazy low prices as opposed to their secondary market value on Amazon. Score! After reading through my cache of goodies, one of thing has caught my eye and has really started to sink in. All of the artists in the books I bought emphasize doing detailed sketchbook value and composition drawings before ever putting the brush to the canvas. I usually just dive right in and work it out as I go along, which does not always turn out well. So in the future, I will keep my sketchbooks at hand and follow the advice of the other artists and make value sketches and comp sketches first. It seems so simple, not sure why this has not been a habit for me.

Also on the art subject, I have decided to add pastels to my "stuff that I do". It seems like a cross between painting and drawing and I have been intensely attracted to the velvety richness of the pastel paintings that I have seen, so I decided to give it a whirl. Given the fact that it is a medium notorious for producing dust and all kinds of pigment stains, this is definitely something that I will be doing at the studio. I ordered a 90 color set from ASW along with some clear Artspectrum pastel primer and a spray fixative, so as soon as the crazy business of this week is over, I plan to hit the studio to experiment. I was a little concerned about buying aerosol fixative in these temps--can you imagine how much fun that would have been if that package had been left on my unshaded doorstep for the day?! Luckily we were home when it got here. The cans were really hot even with just being in the truck. A friend of mine works for 911 dispatch and she said that this heat has been causing propane tanks to explode--I had visions of having a flaming box on my front porch.

School starts up in a couple weeks and I have to say I am really looking forward to it. The summer has been nice, but I am looking forward to the routine of getting up and being with people in a classroom every day. Since I am transferring to Wichita State University to finish up a BFA, I will have an art history and a foundational design class and lab. Lots of reading, I am sure. Unfortunately, only one art related class at Butler Community College will fit into my schedule. I will be taking jewelry design 2 since I was pretty sure I would not have time to get from one campus to the other in time to take any other classes. I do have to say I am excited about transferring to WSU. We toured their art department and it seems like it is going to be a great atmosphere for learning and growing.

On the home front, we are gearing up for the start of the school year for the twins. They are going to be seniors next year, which just doesn't seem possible. Where did the time go? It seems like yesterday I was the room mom in an elementary school classroom. Both boys decided they want to go military after school. Mark has gone with the Marines and Jeremy has gone Navy. Both boys are early entry, which mean they have signed and sworn in now, but won't go until after they graduate from high school next year. It just doesn't seem possible that they are that age...That means next year this time, my nest will be empty. Not even sure how I am going to handle that. I'm sure it will be interesting to enter this new season of life.

No pics today. My computer and Blogger don't seem to want to talk to each other today.

Monday, July 25, 2011

AND here we are again....

I'm not even gonna say it....oh heck, yes I am: Has it really been this long since I've posted?

Yep! So here is the rundown on what has been happening at Casa Crazylife I went back to school to finish an art degree. It is something I have wanted to do since before the kids were born, but life just got in the way. I have been taking classes at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas but it is time to move on to a 4 year college. I am really going to miss it there. I can't even begin to explain how much I have learned from the art professors there! However, I am at a point where there really are no more art classes that I can take so I have to get my rear over to Wichita State University to finish the degree. I will be working on a BFA (Bachelors of Fine Art) in Studio, with an emphasis in painting. It will be nice to have less of a drive, but I do still have a studio in El Dorado that I am hanging onto. It took FOREVER for a space to open up and I am LOVING the fact that I have a place to work now. When I took possession of the studio, the wall with the windows on it and the wall next to it were a dark pumpkin color. Pretty, but they were too dark for a painting studio. The built in desk had been used as a palette at some point and was quite dismal looking. All the walls were dingy, so after a couple coats of light taupe paint, the walls really look great. My husband stripped the desk and stained it a cherry color and it looks FABULOUS! He does such awesome work!
My two windows...On now has an air conditioner in it since we discovered that it is impossible to be up there in 100 degree and higher temps without getting really overcome by the heat. Cute Man aka. husband is stripping the counter top and the desktop in front. Love them sexy orange gloves!!!
More stripper action..I mean, wood stripping ...of course...
Now for the another funny quirk we discovered. When I got the studio, this carpet was already there. The director of the museum that owns the building said if i didn't want the carpet, just roll it up and leave it in the common area that is shared with the other artists. so, I lifted it and...
WHAT>?!!! Seriously. There are no tiles in the exact shape of the carpet..LOL...I'll throw down some inexpensive tiles and get rid of the carpet....

I haven't been up there as much as I would like up to this point, but I only moved into the studio in June, so I am still getting a schedule worked out. It is really wonderful to finally have a place to create! I will start posting paintings as I get them done. School starts back up in the latter part of August, so I am getting a schedule figured out and will start getting down to work!

To end--a couple things I did last semester. There were a lot more, I'll post more later.

Just a little of what has been going on at Casa Crazylife. Hope you have been having a great year so far too!

Friday, January 07, 2011

2011 Already?!!

2010 was an interesting and challenging year.

My family added 2 people when my oldest and his girlfriend moved back home in order to find a job here (he had previously lived 7 hours away), school kept me crazy busy but super satisfied, and I have had to come to terms with having a parent who is ill. My Dad underwent chemotherapy and radiation for cancer in several areas of his body at the beginning of this Fall semester, so it has been a really bumpy ride here at Casa CrazyLife. When you are younger, it seems like your parents are invincible and are going to be strong forever. Then life happens and you realize that they are just as human as the rest of us, which is a hard pill to swallow. Dad is still fighting the good fight. I'm not sure where this chapter of my life is going to end up, but I am also having to come to terms with the fact that we are not always the author of our life story. There is a bigger story being written and we do not always know the plot..

That said, I have been on a quest to simplify a lot of the areas of my life where there has been to much excess and lack of focus. I went back to school to work on an art degree. When I was younger, that is what I had originally wanted to do, then the reality of having kids moved in and I changed majors. My advice to the younger set is to keep with the original dream. You can always find ways to make a living and you will be more fulfilled in the long run and not have to backtrack. I have started taking classes at a junior college where the instructors absolutely ROCK! LOL...I have had a lot of learning and growing pains, but I am really excited about the progress and direction I've gained under their guidance. Eventually I will move on to the 4 year college here in town, but in the meantime I am going part time and focusing on growing and learning as much as I can from my instructors. It is interesting going back to school when you are the closer to the age of your fellow students parents--and in some cases, a lot older than their parents...But I will say that as much as I hear people complain about young kids in college, I've seen much more from this age group than bad. It is interesting to see someone just starting out and how their view of the world is untainted by the realities of life. I think our views and attitudes do change once we have a little dust under our saddle, but it is refreshing to see younger points of view. I am working on putting together a portfolio and trying to take some workshops this year with other artists. That will mean more travel in 2011, which I am excited about. I love to travel!

Other than that, life goes on at Casa CrazyLife at dizzying speeds. I'm sure it is the same at your home too! Happy 2011! May we all prosper and grow in the New Year!