Day 12/29 Days of Giving is…

I can’t wait for you to see today’s giveaway!…

 … not one, but 2 BIG prizes .. you’ll love them

 first I wanted to address something though…

.. bear with me for a moment please?

"Collecting My Thoughts" Journal Page by Pam Carriker

"Collecting My Thoughts" Journal Page by Pam Carriker

i’ve been asked recently, why I feature other artists here…

… asked, don’t I mind that money I could potentially have

is landing potentially in someone else’s pockets….

Ummmm. Nope. Not one little bit.

… firstly, giving isn’t about what you receive in return

naturally, i’m thrilled with whatever the universe sends my way …

… however my humanity often comes before my business sense

that doesn’t mean I’m a poor business woman …

…. it simply renders me a moral one, or more accurately

one who is able to lay my head down, feeling good about the choices I make …

The thing is this: In part, I chose teaching, writing, painting, photography etc. — this spectrum of creative goodness as my career path –because of the community we have formed. It tickles me every friggin’ time I see how intertwined we are. I revel in that delight. It’s actually pretty darn EXCITING to watch others succeed as well. It fuels me, I draw inspiration from it.. it’s my escape. Besides, nothing pure, or satisfactory was ever gained by greed.

“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.”
— Jane Addams 

"One Wing" by Pam Carriker

"One Wing" by Pam Carriker

I believe the more we hold one another up, the bigger our communities grow – the more successful each of us become. Success — is measured independently. It’s not a universal thing.  For some it’s a steady career, others it’s being published, for someone else it’s a gallery show, and for someone else it’s merely finishing a page in a journal. Success. It’s as unique as we are. It can be had by all of us. Especially, when we nurture one another.  Creativity is far too powerful, too far reaching to be held closely & guarded. It’s a treasure and a gift … one that unites us. One, we all share.

ZNEis a community that is dear to me. It was a place I had found online — that i fit in. Before Mixed Media became mainstream — that was difficult to do. ZNE celebrates all things creative which is a natural compliment to who I am. Through ZNE I have met some of the most gifted artists, the kindest souls, and friends I will treasure always… and friends I am just beginning to know even better.

“In our hectic, fast-paced, consumer-driven society, it’s common to feel overwhelmed, isolated and alone. Many are re-discovering the healing and empowering role that community can bring to our lives. The sense of belonging we feel when we make the time to take an active role in our communities can give us a deeper sense of meaning and purpose.”
— Robert Alan 

"The Promise of Love" by Pam Carriker

"The Promise of Love" by Pam Carriker

Pam Carriker is one of those women I have been blessed to meet through ZNE, and just beginning to know as a person, not just an artist. I have watched her grow, develop her style, become published, and follow her dreams. I’m watching her succeed and my heart just leaps for her! I was fortunate enough to win 2 of her prints through a blog giveaway of her own – and I was actually impressed at the quality of them. Yes, Me! I’m not typically a fan of prints, having been burned one too many times on poor quality ones people print themselves from substandard printers. If I pay for a print, I want it to last. I want it to look good. I want to be proud to display it!  I was beyond thrilled with Pam’s! So I Invited her to take part in the 29 Days of Giving. ( which as a sneak peek, will become a weekly thing here… )

"Grow" by Pam Carriker

"Grow" by Pam Carriker

Grab an indulgent beverage of your choice, pull up a seat and take a few moments to get to know Pam, right along with me! We’ll reveal the amazing prizes she donated soon, don’t worry! Patience! Good things come to those who wait…

(as always, I’m asking the questions, Pam’s words are the responses.. duh.)

One of the things I am so drawn to in your work, is the authenticity – all of your pieces have this vision into a soul. It’s evident they come from that magical place within you. What drives you to create? Have you always been creative, or is this something you have pursued only in recent years? Tell us a bit about it!
 
I have always had the need to create.  My first ‘artistic’ memory is of drawing purple polka dots on the newly painted lavender walls of my bedroom as a child.  My mom was Not happy about that one!  I took every art class offered all during school and afterwards expressed my creative nature through various arts and crafts venues, such as Tole Painting, Stamping, and Scrapbooking.  When I ‘found’ mixed media art about 2 years ago, I was making paper bag albums and selling them on ebay, hence the name, The Bag Lady.  While on ebay I noticed the same three little letters by work that I found amazing, ZNE, and so one day I asked someone what they stood for.  I wish I knew who that was, I would so love to thank them!  It lead me to the most inspiring place, and I have finally found art form that allows me to draw from the 20+ years of previous experience, combining many techniques into one piece of art.

As to what drives me to create, that I do not know.  I only know that I need to.  These past couple of years I have found such release in creating.  I feel as if I am pouring my heart into my work, drawing from the ever changing emotions of being a woman, a wife, and most importantly a mom.

Do you have a favorite piece you have created? If so, why?

I know this probably sounds silly, but each new piece is my favorite, until I create the next one.  I think it is because I feel like I am on a journey and each piece takes me one more step down the path to discovering my true self.

 In addition to your beautiful Mixed Media Paintings, I know you are also an avid Art Journaler. What advice can you give to those who see a blank page in their books and just get stumped?
 
Keep your journal out when you are creating art.  You can add leftover paint right to your journal, getting rid of that scary blank page right off the bat.  If you use colors and images that you are drawn to, you will create journal pages that speak about you.  I am very excited that my first journals are going to be part of Somerset’s Art Journals, due out January ’09 , so you can check that out for more tips from several different artists:-)

 Who influences you, both as a business woman and your art?
 
Wow, this would be quite a list.  I think that those who are ahead of me on this journey inspire me to set goals and take that first step towards seeing them realized.  I like to think of all of us on this artistic journey have one hand reaching out in front and one reaching behind helping the next person with what we have learned.   My husband is another huge influence every time I think how could I possibly do that, he just looks at me and says, ‘Why not?’.

So many of my readers want to be published but stop themselves from submitting to publications. You have gone through this process yourself, can you offer them any tips to overcome their fears? (proof is in the pudding folks, see Pam’s great article in my favorite magazine: Cloth, Paper, Scissors  July/Aug 2008 issue here)
 
They can’t say ‘yes’ if you don’t give them a chance.  Seriously.  It is scary, and even more scary the first time they say ‘yes, we would like you to write this article’, but the rewards are so worth it!  Last year I set a goal for myself to get something published, what happened was so much more than I could have hoped for and has lead me to make new goals for 2009.  I am a firm believer in writing down your goals and keeping track of your achievements.  It makes them real.  It makes you accountable.  Check out the Art Calls for your favorite magazines and start there.  Don’t be discouraged if they don’t use something, keep trying.  If this is something you really want to do then don’t let fear keep you from it.

What’s one artistic skill you’d like to cultivate in the coming year?
 
I have been concentrating on sketching in my journal.  I love collage, but want to develop my drawing skills further. 

You’re stranded on that proverbial island…. and can only take 5 artsy supplies with you. What are they?
 
My journal, charcoal, water soluble graphite pencil, aqua brush, and Caran d’ Ache water soluble crayons.  With these I could be happy for quite some time!

Do you have a creative routine/process? Things you do habitually before you sit down to create? Or do you just dive right in?
 
Well, I’m a busy mom, so studio time is squeezed between everything else.  I am always working on things in stages.  Put a coat of gesso on, go do the laundry, add a layer of paint, run the vacuum, you get the picture.  My creative process is more like multi-tasking!

As a devout fan of the random question, I have to ask: salty or sweet?
 
Now that is the hardest question yet!  I have to say I lean towards sweet, but OMGosh I just made the most fabulous candied pecans today, that are both salty and sweet and they are heaven!

It’s tradition here that our guest asks my readers a question to be eligible for the prizes.. what would you like to know from the crowd I have here?

Where is the most unusual place (geographically) that you have created art?  This way we get to see who are the graffiti artists out there-lol! 

 Speaking of prizes – I think we have kept them in suspense long enough! Tell the readers a little bit about the amazing donations you are giving to the lucky recipients today!
 
(For Recipient 1:)  I would love to share two prints, your choice, of my mixed media portraits.  These are 5×7 prints that I had professionally done, and would be perfect matted and framed to an 8 x 10 size.

(For Recipient 2:) A free registration to my Visual Journalism 101 workshop.If the recipient has already signed up for the workshop I will issue a full refund of their workshop fee should they win! It is a 5 week course, that will help you get started keeping a journal or give you a jump start if you have tried but not kept up with it. More info below: 

Visual Journalism 101 Workshop taught by Pam Carriker

Visual Journalism 101 Workshop taught by Pam Carriker

This will be an 5 week expedition into the world of visual journalling.. If you have ever wanted to start keeping an art journal, or started one, only to have it fall by the wayside, then this is the class for you! The class will cover journal techniques, putting together a journalling kit, completing at least 7 journal pages, and answer some road block questions like, ‘How do I get over the fear of the Blank Page?’, ‘How can I possibly fit another artistic pursuit into my schedule?’, and ‘Where do I start?’

TOLD you this was another generous and amazing gift! Seriously – one winner receives two – count em’ – two prints of THEIR choosing, and another a registration to Pam’s wonderful class. Um Hello, Can I enter my OWN giveaway? Please? 

 I know you’re anxious to enter; just do the following: 

  • Answer Pam’s question: “Where is the most unusual place (geographically) that you have created art?” and/or tell me what success means to you – if you totally hate those, then go for this one: Salty or Sweet.
  • Do this by: Sunday, December 21th, 2008
  • PLEASE keep Spreading  the word! Blog it, Tell your friends — the works! I’m amazed daily at the impact this project is having on people. I want it to be contagious, plus it fuels me to make it bigger & better!
  •  Enter Day 0 Day 10 & Day 11
  • Check out the first batch of winners!
  • Check out the newly posted – second batch of winners! Is it you?
  • Vist Pam Online: Her BlogHer Workshop, Her Etsy Store

I can’t wait to meet Pam in person at the ConvenZioNE next year ( I’ll be teaching!), and she’s doing a make & take I believe!

Warmly, Chrysti

Day 1/29 Days of Giving is…

drum roll please…..

….. sparing you the link to a you tube drumroll

i should be commended for that…..

… it’s terribly difficult for me to restrain my cheesiness sometimes

which reminds me of a story…

… ok. FINE!

i’ll get on with it already…

… i proudly present you with ….

The Final Mystery

(That self-portrait is a clue folks!)

….. an interview with the fabulous Cate Coulacos Prato, author of Mixed-Media Self Portraits, Features editor extraordinaire of Quilting Arts Magazine & Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine as well as the editor of Cloth, Paper, Scissors, Studios Magazine (we’ll talk about that in another post…) and one of the infamous Quilting Arts Go-Go Dancers (ya gotta see that video)! She’s also a mother, wife, flea market connoisseur…hmmm… this is really beginning to sound like a personals ad. Sorry Cate’s hubby!

As I mentioned before ( here & here ) I was fortunate enough to be a part of this seriously amazing book (something I really don’t say lightly) and obviously jumped at the chance to be a part of Cate’s Blog tour. Kelly Rae Roberts, ArtGirlz, Studio 490, Random Arts, Janeville, & Cheryl Prater  are some of the folks who have also taken stops along the blogosphere.

Besides, who else but moi – would tackle those ultra-important, pressing questions – like what’s in your fridge? I had to participate; if merely to stand up for those of us who are far too curious and secretly peek inside people’s cabinets and fridges. (I totally just lost dinner invites now eh?)

If you haven’t figured out today’s giveaway yet, read on. Even if you’re suspicious – you’ll need to , since we’re making you work a lil’ for this one! Plus – Cate shares some tips on getting published, getting past ‘blocks’ and more – I think the information and insight alone is a ‘giveaway’ to us all!

In case it needs to be said -the bold questions are all from lil’ ol’ me, and the responses in the reddish-brown are Cate’s. Not that I think anyone didn’t get that, just ya know… making sure.

Mixed-Media Self-Portraits was an ingenious topic for a book (I’m still mad I didn’t think of it first!), and had never been done before. What inspired you take on this fascinating project?

First, the 2005 Creative Self-Portrait Challenge in Quilting Arts Magazine. We got hundreds of responses—funny, poignant, beautiful, strange. It was wonderful. Then, blogging became a thing, and the weekly Self-portrait Challenge tookoff among artists and we thought it was the right time for this book.

One thing that really struck home with me when reading this masterpiece (particularly pages  92-99 *cough* ) is how it really is an exploration of self, creative journey (like Donna Anderson’s piece)and the effects that has on all different facets of our lives. The glimpses into the contributor’s souls are so present within these pages – What did you discover about yourself through the creation of this book?

About myself? I discovered that writing a book is hard work! And that as self-centered as I am, when it came to do my own self-portrait, I went through all the stages the contributing artists went through: Denial, bashfulness, indecision, hand-wringing, cringing, and finally, acceptance and enjoyment.

 Just because I enjoy a good random question: what would we find in your refrigerator right now?

Milk, mayo, sliced turkey, about 8 containers that read “cottage cheese” or “cream cheese” but actually have various leftovers in them, a drawer full of vegetables waiting to be made into minestrone, and a single piece of strawberry rhubarb pie (unless my teenager ate it last night).

Mixed-Media Self Portraits has an amazing array of creative prompts and exercises to jumpstart folks when they are feeling ‘blocked’ or otherwise just need a fresh perspective. What rituals do you have when creating? (and yes, writing IS creating.) How do you get the words to flow when you feel stumped?

I get up and move around. Do something mindless like taking a walk or even just putter around the house doing random chores I would otherwise not do. Whatever is the opposite of sitting in front of the computer, so long as it’s not reading or watching TV. When I move and think about something else, the words start to move around in my mind, first aimlessly, then they start to glomtogether, swirl around, and take shape. Then I race to the keyboard to get it down before the words evaporate. When I start to get on a roll and in the zone, the writing just flows. But if I get stuck at that point, it usually means a trip to the kitchen for a snack, preferably something that I can keep popping into my mouth, like popcorn or raw baby carrots or–OK, ya got me—chocolate-covered peanuts. Somehow, that slight distraction jars me off the “stuck” track and gets the thoughts flowing again.

Aside from how amazingly inspired and original pages 92-99 are, what do you most hope readers  will gain from this book?

Well, I’ve always been into self-help and self-discovery, so aside from the practical aspects of the art techniques and forms, I hope that readers will use the exercises and the process of making self-portraits to learn something about themselves.

I love the creative fearlessness this inspires – was it at all scary opening yourself up and going through this process? Do you have any irrational fears? (I’m afraid of fans. And of whatever might lurk deep inside the dark mailbox. Someone really needs to invent a mailbox light. Seriously, sumthin’ could bite one’s hand off in there! ) Oh – back to you- Irrational fears? Process Scary?

Well, here’s the funny thing. In people’s reaction to the book I detect an irrational fear of being self-centered. “Who me? A self-portrait? What would people think?” Like that. But, you know, you don’t have to show anybody. It can be just for you. Plus, isn’t art a form of self-expression? So what’s so different about making a self-portrait? As for me, I have an irrational fear of vacuuming at night. Someone might sneak up behind me. Really. I only vacuum during the daylight hours.

Speaking of scary. The piece featured on page 95 is rumored to have scared a child. What was your reaction upon seeing it?

Well, by the time I saw the mask that appears on page 95, I knew what to expect. I had already seen the one on page 93, and I have to say, I was a little taken aback when it emerged from its obsessively packaged cocoon. The red and black? Hmmm. But it grew on me, once I really looked at it and saw all the layers and the writing. I especially like the view of it partially open. I think it’s one of my favorite images in the book.

Sidenote from Chrysti: Actually, I couldn’t stand the red & black. I had envisioned the frame as an integrated part of the piece, but time & deadlines didn’t permit it. I had planned to alter it, once it was returned — and then I liked it. Weird how that works!

Why are manhole covers round?

I have an answer, but I don’t think you can print it.

One of the most frequent questions my blog readers ask me – is how to get published. What advice can you offer people who want to shamelessly promote their own pages 92-99? (Aside from having it done yesterday – ha.)

Just put yourself out there. We are always looking for fresh art, new techniques, or new results from old techniques. The worst that happens is that we’ll say “no.” If so, don’t take it personally. It doesn’t mean your art is bad. It may mean the editor has already planned a similar piece. We work months in advance. If we say keep in touch, or we want to see more, we mean it. Keep trying. This idea or piece of art might not work, but the next one might.

One thing I will say is, a lot of people get stuck in the trap of thinking, “Well, they just ran a piece on how to make gelatin prints, so I’ll send them MY gelatin prints—they’re just as good.” As a former freelancer, I’ve fallen into that trap myself. The reality is, if we just ran something like it, we probably aren’t going to want to do it again for a while. However, if you’ve got a fresh twist on the technique or your prints look like no one else’s, bring it on.

Another barrier I should bring up: bad pictures. The most beautiful, insightful, earth-shattering art in the world is not going to get noticed or accepted if you present it in photographs that are out of focus, too dark, too light, or the image is obscured by the glare of a flashbulb. If you can’t take good pictures or don’t have a good camera, find a friend who can and does.

Otherwise, blog, network, do swaps, send stuff to publishers. And if you have an idea for a book—don’t sit on it. Media moves too fast these days. Chrysti’s Note: Submission Guidelines are here!

Is it true you are giving away a SIGNED copy of this book to one of my lucky readers? Why wasn’t my copy signed? I think you should make them work for it and have them answer a question to enter – so shoot – what question would you most like to see responses to?

This is true! (Yours wasn’t signed because it came directly from the publisher; sorry!) I like the “work for it” concept. My question is: What’s stopping you from buying my book? Just kidding! Actually, my question is: What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?

So there ya have it my friends. To enter today’s giveaway –

  • Leave a comment on this post, answering Cate’s question: “What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?”
  • If nothing is stopping you from making a self portrait then answer one of these 2 questions: What is stopping you from purchasing this fabulous book? or Why are manhole covers round?
  • Do this by: Tuesday, December 9th. Winner will be announced then!

If you already have the book, enter anyway — this copy will be signed. Besides, that extra copy may just make a good giveaway of your own this holiday season! I love when people pass on the kindness – it may just be the one thing, we can’t over-indulge in.

I also thought Cate’s question “What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?” is an interesting blogpost all it’s own. So, if you are inclined – go more in depth with it on your blog – and leave the link in the comments as your response. What fun!

Next week, the behind the scenes peeks I promised you, and my thoughts will be put up here in conjunction with another giveaway .. so stay tuned. And, it’s not too late too spread the word about the 29 days of giveaways, or enter to win the $100.00 Gift Certificate! Just read here, and comment there to enter.

Chrysti …….. who is feeling extremely blessed, touched, and inspired by each of you today.

Oh Yeah! Baby Got Back(grounds)!

I’m bringin’ backgrounds back
Vibrant colors, layers, and paste with cracks
They rich with texture ….oh thats a fact
So sign up now and and I’ll teach you tricks that don’t lack..

That’s right! A month or so ago I finished working out all the wonderful details for my class at the convenZioNE! I really wanted it to be an ultra-special, super fun workshop that we all enjoy… and I wanted you all to go home with a wealth of knowledge, an excitement to play & create freely, and techniques you can use on almost any surface, with practically any project!

Since ZNEis near & dear to my heart – It was important I do something above and beyond for this magnificent event! So I took a few of the classes I already teach, and a few secrets I haven’t unveiled before and combined it into one workshop! In fact Iet me just quote a portion of what I wrote on the site I created especially for the class

I put together this incredible day long workshop – because y’all asked for it. Some of my favorite techniques, for creating backgrounds that have depth, texture and that totally scrumptious richness we all crave. I really wanted to focus on a process oriented class, that would give life-long, valuable skills; so that my students can apply them to paper arts, mixed media paintings, art journals, altered surfaces and so much more! I’m offering up some of my (until now) top-secret working practices too -including how to create gorgeous pieces simultaneously, how to really save money & stretch every last ounce of your supplies.

While these are all techniques I ordinarily teach individually, typically with a completed project — this is the only time you’ll see them offered in a class just like this. Only 20 spots are available — so act fast! I’m really proud of what I put together for this amazing extravaganza — and I hope you will be too.

I am BRIMMING with excitement over this class, and the entire event too!! I CANNOT wait to get the opportunity to meet so many of you, and create memories that will last us a lifetime. True to form — I am making sure that everyone who attends my class goes home ab-so-friggin-lutly spoiled rotten! My class registrants will receive incredible goody bags, The Create With Chrysti technique booklet in which full color photographs accompany techniques & easy to follow instructions; plus tips, tricks & more, use of the amazing all-you-can-use-art-buffet, discounts for my store — and a few more surprises I have up my sleeve!! I love to give — and this is the perfect platform to do so in!  

I put together a site that covers practically any questions you may have about the workshop! There’s a bunch of information, more sample photos and info on how to register! So go and check it out, and even if you aren’t attending my class — I’d love to hear what you think!

The feels-like-i-am-forgetting-something (dontcha hate that feeling?)… Chrysti

Join Me in California!

smaller.jpg

Breaking News!

The ink has barely dried – but i’ve crossed my t’s, dotted my i’s and i am positively, absolutely, t h r i l l e d to be joining the uber-talented Sally Jean Alexander, JoAnnA Piertotti, Missy Balance, Gina Gabriell, Lisa Kaus, DJ PettittBarbe Saint John, Deb Trotter, and Susan Tuttle as an instructor at the exciting ZNE ConvenZioNE in gorgeous Pleasanton, California this August!

ZNE ConvenZioNE Instructor

I am planning an exciting workshop, that I think just know you’ll LOVE! Of course, you are welcome to let me know what you think i should do too. True to form – All of my creative and talented students will go home with a plethora of goodies, treats, and supply delights too! However, the artsy goodness doesn’t end there -I will have a table stocked with supplies, kits, original art & prints at the Art, Paper & Pleasures vendor event! I am planning a special, secret surprise for those that come to my table and let me know they heard about it on my blog- stay tuned for details!

I am thrilled to be a part of this amazing event — or I wouldn’t fly cross country for it! Ha! I truly hope to meet many of you there – the kinship we have formed, is the most amazing benefit of all. Besides, I need to put some faces to your names!

This event will sell out fast! Early Bird Registration opens TODAY ~ register now and save $25-$50 off the General Registration fee + get first dibs on all workshops!

Go, register – Yes, that means YOU!

I am off to prepare for the artists table at The Tourettes Syndrome Association conference  in Historic Alexandria, VA this weekend! I hope to furnish more details tonight, or tomorrow – rushing now!

Arfully Yours, Chrysti

Art Mishaps 101 or…

Dream

“Dream”
6″ x 12″ Mixed Media On Canvas
by Raleigh, NC Outsider Artist ~Chrysti~
For sale here or at etsy, but you’d pay more there…

perhaps this post would better be called… why Chrysti is a big ol’ dolt.

With so many new canvas’s to post (and more to come), a big distaste for posting here just to sell, and too much on my plate to devote to a lengthy blog entry… I have decided to share with you some art mishaps that have happened upon me in the last few weeks. I swear – I have been all out of sorts. Like way out of sorts. I’m not sure a bigger airhead can be found!

Life's Deepest Joy

“Life’s Deepest Joy”
6″ x 6″ Mixed Media On Canvas
by Raleigh, NC Outsider Artist ~Chrysti~
For sale here or at etsy, but you’d pay more there…

Lesson #1: When watching tv and creating paper scrap quilts, pay more attention when applying lip balm, as glue sticks have an eerily similar shape. Thank Heavens for the whole nontoxic thing.

Lesson #2: When feverishly working on backgrounds in front of the tv (are we sensing a theme here?) with a quart of matte medium open right next to your Venti Iced Mocha… resist the urge to unwrap your straw and push it in without looking. You just may find that the straw ends up in your matte medium instead.

Lesson #3: Since we’re already on the Starbucks addiction – when in your studio, and singing at the top of your lungs while applying gobs of gel medium to a piece… be careful not to rest the brush inadvertently against your Venti Cinnamon Dolce Latte lid, as when you next to go to take a sip you may get an unpleasant surprise vs. the cinnamony goodness you expected.

Lesson #4: Mason Jar full of dirty paint brush remained water next to your glass of water… yeah, not such a good idea. It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Full of Love

“Full of Love”
6″ x 6″ Mixed Media On Canvas
by Raleigh, NC Outsider Artist ~Chrysti~
For sale here or at etsy, but you’d pay more there…

Lesson #5: Gloves really may be a good idea when working with inks and dyes. Nothing is more festive then bright red hands though!

Lesson #6: If you decide to be girly, and take the time to do your nails.. don’t hop right up into your studio and paint. It’ll all need to be redone.

Lesson #7: Needles go through fabric, not skin.

Lesson #8: There really is a reason why you are warned about toxic fumes in closed surfaces. Nail Polish Marbling, indoors… is NOT an odor you want in your house, or head. Granted, that happened awhile back…but I am still recovering!

Go With Your Heart

“Go With Your Heart”
6″ x 6″ Mixed Media On Canvas
by Raleigh, NC Outsider Artist ~Chrysti~
For sale here or at etsy, but you’d pay more there…

I’m sure I am forgetting a few… but ya get the idea. So can you prove me wrong — Or am I truly the biggest ditz out there these days? Have your own ‘mishaps’ to share? Blog them and let me know in the comments, or just leave a comment with your own silly blunders! Art airheads UNITE!

Chrysti

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An Altered Birdhouse Tale

House of Dreams - Front

(clicking the photos will enable you to see them larger, and in detail in a new window)

July was a wonderfully hellish sort of month for me: deadline after deadline…. after deadline… after deadline… the grand opening of The Altered Abbey and fixing any minute problems that entailed, some personal stuff, adding inventory (still haven’t completed that!) etc. etc. etc.

House of Dreams - Front 2

House of Dreams - Front 3

House of Dreams - Side Front Close-up

House of Dreams - Front Close-up 2

House of Dreams - Front Close-up

Some basic frontal views of the house. The roofline is lined with glass beads, the roof made up of paper and faux copper leafing, the letter ‘n’ is covered in shimmer and also lined with the copper leafing, hand painted wood eggs & half eggs, nesting materials, stickers, mini mulberry flowers, mushroom birdies, skeleton leaves and more comprise this….

Which, is precisely why I swore off any swaps during that time.. until The Altered Birdhouse Swap came up over at The Embellished Circus.. once again, I let temptation have its way with me! I was absolutely THRILLED when I found out I would be creating a piece for my dear friend Nici… she is one of those gifted artists and kind souls that I just truly hope to continue forming a friendship with. Some folks, you just find a connection with… y’all know how that goes!

I decided to try and customize this piece just for her; I knew it just simply had to have a bit of shimmer, some kind of fabulous handmade paper, skeleton leaves and of course.. glass beads! When I think of Nici, I somehow always picture blues and greens … and that was the start of my idea.

House of Dreams - Back

House of Dreams - Back Side View 2

House of Dreams - Back Side View

House of Dreams - Back Close-up

House of Dreams - Roof View

Some views of the back of the house; The roofline is lined with glass beads, the roof made up of paper and faux copper leafing, handmade paper, paints, inks, mini folders, skeleton leaves, twigs, handmade mulberry flower heads, mini buttons, stickers and more comprise this…

Using an unfinished wood birdhouse, I set out to create what I hoped would be a treasure for her. It didn’t come out exactly as I had envisioned it as I had wanted to hand bead every flower on the paper sides… and a few other things went wrong… but when all was said & done, I was mostly pleased with the results. It is my sincere wish that she is enjoying it.

I will be posting a basic tutorial for this on my website, I am hoping this weekend to have worked out the kinks to the learning center, and have all the tutorials posted! Keep your fingers crossed!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, as I will most certainly be creating more! Not quite feeling like my long-winded self today, so feel free to fire off any questions you may have!

Always, Chrysti

P.S. I received an adorable little birdhouse from Maralena for the swap, she put so much thought into it… and I am ever so grateful to her for it. Check it out at her Blog!

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Polka Dots a Plenty

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So, Remember my brimming excitement about the Polka Dot Book.. and how thrilled I was to be working with paper backgrounds, vs. my usual painted ones? Well, suffice it to say.. this project got the best of me.. and has left me with a few regrets.

“If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world.”
Mercedes Lackey

I SO wanted to enjoy this book, and use all the potential that it held — however, I failed at that. I’m not quite sure, just where exactly the trouble came in for me… If i had to guess? I’d say it boiled down to time — I never enjoy cram sessions of art I ‘have’ to do … and this project.. sadly.. became just that. The timing was bad, and in retrospect .. I should have realized my limitations.

I never feel good about things that I have rushed to do, especially when I know I could have done better. I’m the kind of person that isn’t at all satisfied, with ‘Good Enough’. I need to know at the end of the day that I gave something all I had… and worked to the best of my capabilities… to truly feel good about it…. and I dropped the ball here. I hope, my pages don’t disappoint the other participants as well.

Polka Dot Book - 5 Polka Dot Book - 8

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Polka Dot Book - 4

“Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”
Sydney Smith

If I had it do over (and I’d love to try a circle book again).. these are some of the things I would change.

Time: That’s a given… I would have signed up for this, when I had the proper time to devote to the pages. Or I would use the time I had in a more productive way. This is one of the rare occasions that I believe designing one amazing page, and doing them all assembly style.. may have worked to my benefit.

My Comfort Zone: Oh how I wish I had realized the limitations of working outside of my comfort zone within a short time frame! Not only was the shape sumthin’ unusual, but I used paper backgrounds vs. my almost infamous painted backgrounds. The result was a not so pretty visual that often left me with my mouth open wide, awkwardly staring at a blank page while cussing under my breath. I was simply, just unsure of where to go with them… unlike my painted backgrounds which often times tell me what they would like to become. That kind of work, is more a part of me.. where as this, lacked that warmth. If there’s a next time, I’d stick with one lil discomfort zone, vs, several.

Thought: Until this project, I do not think I realized just how much of the allotted swap times I spend becoming inspired, and loosely planning my pages. I like a few months to simmer on the ideas.. then like a bolt of lightning.. BAM!… an idea hits and I sit down, and feverishly work through them. I think of the one thing I’d like to learn throughout the process, and apply that as well .. with this project, I didn’t do that. Truth be told — I was often thinking of everything else in my life that needed done — and it shows within my pages. They are as scattered as my mind was– blech.

Polka Dot Book - 3 Polka Dot Book - 15

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Polka Dot Book - 18

“Regret is insight that comes a day too late”

So there you have it — not my proudest display, but a genuine one. I’ve filed this into that lessons learned category within my brain. When I began my blog, I promised to share the good right along with the bad .. as we all have that range. Hope it was of help to someone.

But alas, despite the gloomy feeling I was left with on my own work, I cannot wait to see the completed project!

As always, I eagerly await your thoughts as well..

Chrysti

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Polka Dot Book - 2

P.S. To see the backs of these pages .. click here to go to my Flickr Set for all the Polka Dot goodness you can muster.

Polka Dot Book - 7

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