Tag Archives: Writing

In which there is a Most Unusual Discovery

  

Here’s another Flea Market Find–a small rectangular footstool or bench with a paper rush seat. It looked fairly old and well worn when I found it. I rescued this little gem for practically NOTHING at the sale. It will be just the right thing to use once I repair the torn and sagging seat.

And so, I begin to cut away the old worn-out pieces of paper fiber. A piece here, a piece there; I remove the old dusty newspaper the furniture maker used to shape and support the inside of the seat. The pieces are packed in there pretty tight and hard to get to. As I work my way through and the pieces begin to grow larger, I find a section of newspaper that doesn’t turn to dust in my hand.

  

The print may be really small to read and hard to see, but here is a section of The Atlanta Journal, which “Covers Dixie Like The Dew” in Atlanta Georgia, even as far back as June 22, 1941. That’s the date on this piece of paper anyway.

There were other pieces of paper I found with dates at about the same time advertising fabric, cars, clothing, tools, and appliances at 1941 prices. The social section I found had a few wedding announcements with pictures as well as news articles of the day. My favorite was the miscellaneous section in which a reader could purchase a fine double door, all porcelain refrigerator in A1 condition for the price of $79.50, an extra large crocheted bedspread with a daisy pattern, used building materials, a stationary bike, a Hoover vacuum cleaner and a Luger pistol. If I was looking for a place to sleep, I could call the six digit telephone number and find a room with a meal for about the same price I’d pay for a specialty coffee today.

And then I did the math. I’ll estimate that it was at LEAST seventy-plus years ago when this little bench was restored or built. Creative possibilities for story ideas and My, oh….MY….!

I’m saving most of the paper scraps to look through and glean some story ideas from, because this was just like finding a little piece of history in a most unexpected place. As I work on repairing the seat of the bench, I’ll select some headlines of my own from a stack of newspapers in my recycling bin and pack those into the padding for the seat as well.

Maybe seventy plus years from now, if someone should discover this little bench at a yard sale or flea market find, they will have a Most Creative Experience, too!

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The Drawing Board

The weather out here on the farm has been challenging, to say the least. First there was freezing rain. Then ice. We had snow a few days later. Wonderful, white, fluffy snow which was fun to explore and beautiful to see for a short time.

Since my main studio space is out in the barn, I really couldn’t see spending long amounts of creative work time out there–I mean, seriously? It is COLD out there! I moved into the house in an enclosed office space which used to be a garage. It was a little bit warmer in that room as long as I turned on the electric heater and allowed it to warm up for an hour or so before I began to work. That was fine until the temps dropped REALLY low. Dressed in layers and covered in a blanket worked for a while, but ….Okay, so the office space isn’t as well insulated as it needs to be.

Working on sketches for a new project!

Working on sketches for a new project!

I moved my workspace again. This time, my laptop is on a rolling tray and attached to a digital drawing tablet. I will use this time to learn something new. I’ve been encouraged by other Illustrator Friends (hey, you know who you are) to try creating artworks digitally so I’m giving it my best shot. I’m making progress, I think. And I have created a few images that I’m excited about. Slowly–I’m taking “baby steps”– and I learn a little something new every day. Figuratively speaking, I’m probably one of the few people I know who can go from the twenty-first century back to the nineteenth century just by walking out of my house, through my back yard and out to the barn.

Is it a problem to like to do a great many creative things? Not for me. I make stories and poems. I spin yarn, weave, knit and crochet. I like to draw, paint and make collages from recycled papers. Photography is fun too. I can’t choose just ONE thing to do–and not at all sorry; I want to do it all! I call it “research” and move on. What a great opportunity to have those experience(s) which I KNOW will transfer into my writing and illustrating.

I’m happy creating. I hope you are, too!

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The Snowy Day(s)

and the snow was all around me......

and the snow was all around me……

I DO look forward to winter and the possibility of snowy weather. Not the actual cold or icy road conditions, so much as it is the opportunity to hike out in the woods and enjoy the sights of winter. My path may be the same, but the view is different.

Remembering the blackberry jungle of summer.

Remembering the blackberry jungle of summer.

My friend is still in the garden.

My friend is still in the garden.

Since I’ve been inside–most of the time anyway, I’m getting a lot of creative reading, writing and drawing completed. But a walk in the woods and around the garden is good, too. My muse is calling; I listen, and I begin to work……I hope you are getting something creative accomplished, too.

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Home For The Holidays

Home For The Holidays! Oh what fun it was to create a Gingerbread Barn instead!


Oh what fun it was to create
a Gingerbread Barn instead!

The holidays were a mixture of emotions for me, and I would like to propose a toast to the many people who have creatively inspired and encouraged me throughout my creative journey thus far.

Here’s to you! (And thanks, by the way, for your patience and understanding.)

Feeling philosophical?

Feeling philosophical?

Let’s consider these glasses for a brief moment. Half full? Half empty? What do you think?

The smaller glass was once a container for jelly. One of my grandmothers would fix my sandwich and then let me drink milk from a glass such as this when I was a child. I still love PBJ sandwiches and remember the younger me who used all of this grandmother’s umbrellas and a large cardboard box on rainy days for the most perfect of creative hideaways.

The other glass is a wine/water glass from the creative me of today. If you look closely, you’ll see that my fingerprints are on that glass. All. Over. It. I could’ve wiped them off, but….I hope to leave my creative mark on everything I touch.

I think both of these glasses represent what I will strive for in this creative journey of 2015. I have a few ideas about how that can happen. By the way, the amount of water in each glass is the same, so perhaps the gift of Point of View and Perspective will be the creative goal.

Happy Creating!

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From The Kiln Firing

When I create characters in my writings, I like to put myself in the setting or surround myself with objects my character(s) might have made or owned.

One of my characters will be a potter. I want to write several scenes in which that character is making bowls or cups and reveals backstory while they are at work. I remember a few things about making pottery from my college studio days, however, my memory being what it is and all, thought I’d like to update my pottery skills a bit. I worked with clay and children in the classroom when I worked as a teacher, but the emphasis was on what the children were doing, and not so much on what I could produce. I felt like I needed to jog my memory and brush up on a few forgotten skills in order to make the character come alive to a reader.

I was able to find a pottery class at a local college, sign up to take the class, and then proceeded to work/play in the clay. I started small and figured I’d work myself up to making some bigger items.

Here are a few examples of some of my finished pieces:

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Small bowls, small cups, and a wealth of experience(s) remembered. Now, to put those ideas on the pages of my writings as I begin to bring my character(s) to life. Time to get to work!

Happy Creating!

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Not too scary, anyway…

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We DID have at least one visitor to the garden..I can tell by a track left in the ground after the rain. I’m guessing it was a deer and perhaps it didn’t want to eat these greens, because they remained mostly untouched. Although it is past the end of the summer growing season, there are still a few reminders of warmer weather and summer veggies. This is a flower from an okra plant.

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I’ll gather firewood today. The weather reports a warning of colder conditions coming, and I can think of nothing better to do today than to sit by a cozy fire with a warm beverage, writing or drawing supplies close by, and to let my creative imagination SOAR!

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I wonder….if that little scarecrow DID scare something out of the garden or if it just found a warmer place to be?

Happy creating!

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Work-In-Progress

I think I’ll always find something new to learn.

The more I continue down this creative life path, the more things I discover. I look for new ways to stretch and grow from each experience. I think I know something about a few things and a little bit more about a few more. There are things that I’ve forgotten and have been relearning, and there’s nothing that I know everything about. And there’s a great deal of which I know nothing!

Maybe I’m a work in progress, too.

Watercolor sketches with a touch of colored pencils added.

Watercolor sketches with a touch of colored pencils added.

I like to sketch and paint. After a bit of a *layoff*, I’ve taken up the paintbrush again. Watercolors are fun and not at all easy. (Understatement, truly, especially if you’re a watercolorist.) I enjoy using acrylics and colored pencils, too. Mixed media, collages, photography, and… WAIT!! I’m getting distracted from the topic.

The *layoff* came about because I submitted a piece of artwork to be evaluated. I’d worked hard on that piece. I’d erased, rethought, listened to suggestions for revisions, revised, reworked, and wondered. It didn’t look like what I thought my original vision was by the time I completed. I sent it in anyway.

“Your style is not suited for our publication,” they replied. (Sigh)thought I.

I began to work on other creative things and lay my drawing supplies aside for some time. Of course, I still thought about what the reviewer had said, and as time passed, a new thought began to develop: What WAS my drawing/painting style?? The time away from my drawing gave me the opportunity to look at the artwork I’d submitted with new understanding. It really wouldn’t work for them the way it was presented at all. I can see that now.

I pick up my paintbrush with a new determination and the focus will be on FACES for now. They’re not realistic, they have character, they have nothing AT ALL to do with the suggestions made by the reviewer of my work. These are just for me. You may see something that you like, or maybe not. I may do a hundred of them before I’m satisfied. Some of them I like. Others, not so much.

When I complete a new illustration, I’ll send it to the reviewer, and should they not “like” it, to another publication, too.

Happy Creating!

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Surprise, surprise!

Morning, Glory!

Morning, Glory!

There is something wonderful growing out in the experimental garden. Look! See for yourself!

Wire cages were carefully placed there in the early spring to protect my young greens from visiting rabbits. Tall wire supports were put beside those to support Cherokee Purple and heirloom tomatoes. Two varieties of eggplant and some herbs joined in this space, as did a colorful glass bottle tree for luck. Did I have a real PLAN for this area? Well, no. That was part of the fun and wild abandon with which I approached this area of my garden. I dug the holes for planting with the end of my walking stick–just to see what would happen. I covered the holes by scraping the dirt over the seeds with the toe of my boot. I had water containers available and hauled rainwater from the barrels when it got hot this summer. Sometimes. Admittedly, I wasn’t expecting much and purposely planted the remainder of those seeds in another location, where the trellises were intentionally built for the purpose of supporting vertical growth.

When that part of the garden had produced most of its bounty, and I got busy with other tasks, I didn’t visit that particular area as much as when it needed regular attention. Another part of the fun and challenge of the experimental garden was that I tried to embrace the method of weedless gardening, which works really well when you follow the theories and application. I did most of what I had read about, but still, felt guilty at not being there for a while.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered this wonderful show of flowers which have almost entirely covered the garden area. I’ll take it as a sign that nature truly does understand the characteristics of the creative spirit, which can grow and provide such peace and understanding when we most need it and least expect it. I’m planting seeds now for creative growth, and I’m hopeful the results will be just as amazing.

Flowers form over the garden supports.

Flowers form over the garden supports.

(I wonder…if I build my garden supports really tall, could I sit in there under the flowers next year?)

Happy creating!

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Back On The Trail (Again!)

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I’m getting ready to attend one of my favorite writing conferences–the Southern Breeze SCBWI Writing and Illustrating for Kids (WIK) conference, close to Birmingham, AL. It will be great to visit with writers and illustrators– meet agents, editors and art directors. I always learn SO much from these conferences and come away inspired and with plans for creative projects. Plus, I get to visit with long-time friends who are creative spirits, too. We share news, tips and talk about our individual creative “path.”

So I put on my hiking boots today to take a walk in the backwoods. It’s so DIFFICULT to pack for these conferences. There’s so much to think about!! I can’t decide what to take along with me, and you know I want to do a lot and all at the same time!

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By the time I got deeper into the woods, I could hear the sound of the water in the creek. No cars. No phones. Nothing to create a distraction. Just the sound of my own footsteps as I crunched through the leaves.

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I went as far as the tree house before I stopped to rest. The sun provided a nice canopy over the bend in the creek. I took out my sketchbook, fully intending to spend some time writing or drawing while I was there.

But I stopped. I just stood still and listened. To my breath and the beating of my own heart.
I hope to include that in my writing and illustrating.

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Happy creating to you, too!

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Road Trip About To Be Taken

Stowaways.  I FOUND them!

Stowaways. I FOUND them!

Almost every year I attend the Fall Writing And Illustrating for Kids Conference sponsored by the Southern Breeze Region of SCBWI. WIK 2013 has a wonderful line-up of speakers: Authors, Illustrators, Editors, Art Directors, Agents—wow! So much talent packed into just one location. I’m hitching a ride with my longtime travel buddy, author/illustrator/poet Robyn Hood Black (www.robynhoodblack.com) and critique group member, artist Kathleen Bradshaw.

As I’m packing to leave for the trip, I hear a muffled sound coming from somewhere around my suitcase.

There they are.

Yes, you can go, too.

You’ll have a lot of fun!

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