Thursday, September 27, 2007

The world was so beautiful...

It's been a month since my baby stepped up the stairs into the big yellow bus. I'm finally able to ponder it, absorb it, wrap my brain around what life really looks like now that we both have taken new steps. A dear friend sent me this card the first week of school and it put into words what could not even verbalize at the time.

We are in a new place. A new season. Full of challenge. Full of joy. Full of surprise and new opportunities. I'm not sure what it will look like-for either one of us, but I do know that it will be OK. I want to tell him...

"just concentrate on the next step"
"don't try to conquer it all in one day"
"this is only the beginning"

but, I know it's more for me than him. He has no fear at this point-only anticipation, only joy at finally being able to claim his place. "All I need to know I learned in Kindergarten..."

(If you love the artwork featured on this card as much as I do, check out the website of artist Brian Andreas. You can sign up for the daily email of Story People with a new story each and everyday. Story People

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What's next?

I have a table full of tulip collage paintings. I've been painting these tulips for about a year and a half now. I did a whole rash of these paintings a few weeks ago. I seem to work in spurts- for a few days watercolors happen all over the place, then tulips, then scrapbook pages, then I hang some new stuff around the house, then a random acrylic painting happens, then an idea for a new class.

What is up with this??? I wish sometimes I could just "settle", just decide what I "do" and then "do" it. Wouldn't that be nice, wouldn't that be tidy. I could sum it up and say "This is MY art. This is what I 'am known for'. This is my 'style'." How easy to be able to clearly define exactly who I am and what it is that I do. I am a painter of tulips. I am a teacher. I am a scrapbooker. I am a photographer. Well-I AM all of those. If I think about this too much, it could drive me to distraction.

But, when I study the life and art of other artists, I start to realize I'm not the only one. Grant Wood, known for his paintings, but when I visited the exhibit of the vastness of his life work I saw wood working, metal work, carpentry, a scrapbook, murals, charcoal sketches and...paintings. I am reminded of my high school guidance counselor who told me "Melynda you would die working on a factory assembly line. The repetition of the same thing day in and day out would be the end of you." Maybe it is that way with art making as well. If I do the same sort of art day in and day out, I might still be in danger of dying a slow creative death. I can tell...I'm needing a break from tulips. Needing to do something new. Needing a breath of fresh air. Will I do tulips quite like this again? I'm not really sure right now. Maybe I'm being called to something new-being led to new discoveries in paint and surface and thought.

I've got this new art journal right now... actually it is a bit of old, melded with the new. Old painted scrapbook papers-discarded for their imperfection but a perfect backdrop for something new. I've gathered them together and started adding words-words based on the new thoughts I'm being confronted with in my new leadership class. Old/new, fresh/tired, tradition/change, past/future, production/creation, conflict/resolution, invitation/response, problem/solution-the backbone of art.

I don't think I want to live any other way...

Old Friends New Memories

There is nothing quite so sweet as visiting old friends-the friends who "knew you when", who can start and finish your old stories, who know you in a different way than anyone else. And, when your dear friend has a beautiful new baby girl-the time together is even sweeter.

Welcome baby Camille into our lives. I knew your momma "when". Your momma and I-we have cried together-tears of hysterical laughter and tears of deep grief. We have grown together even though the miles have separated us. We have challenged each other and grown each other up.

We have seen each other develop our own unique gifts- Jen, with her gift of music and me, with my love of art. We have stood up at each other's weddings, moved across the country from each other and shared the most painful and joyful moments of our lives.

And-we are creating new memories-we scrapbooked together for the first time. Jen reading the instructions in my book to find out how we were going to paint our page. She was pouring over the book and said "the book says we should..."

I started laughing "Jen-do you need the instructions? I'm right here. I wrote the book-I think I can show you how!" That's what friends are for... I had never gotten a pedicure before-I guess I just needed someone to go with and Jen had never painted a scrapbook page before-she just needed someone to try it with and she was on the way. I could never make my path without my friends... so today- thank a friend who has made your life richer, go make new memories with an old friend (even if it means flying half way across the country), go get pedicures together, treasure the gift of friendship.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Get Inspired Scrapbooking Expo

Mark your Calendar-it's time for some INSPIRATION! Saturday, Nov. 3, 2007 at the 7 Flags Event Center (2100 NW 100th St. Clive, IA) from 9 AM to Midnight come join me for some major cropping fun. $45 all-inclusive, free lunch, supper, drinks, snacks door prizes and a "Painted Scrapbook Pages" painting class at 7:00 pm for the first 25 scrapbookers who sign up for my class. You can register for the event (and my class if you wish) at The Cozy Crop Wear website details all the vendors and teachers who will be at the event to give you a little dose of fresh inspiration. I'm definitely ready for a whole day of cropping and hanging out with my scrapbooking friends!

Monday, September 17, 2007

New work at Galerie

Molly, owner of The Galerie of Pella, came to the studio today and selected 10 new works to add to the gallery. She selected 3 fall watercolors, 3 new abstract purple pieces and 4 of my new palette knife tulips. Her gallery is located in downtown Pella (725 Franklin St.) next to Jaarsma Bakery.

I will be at The Galerie of Pella demonstrating my collage tulip techniques and talking about my work during the Red Rock Arts Alliance Studio Tour on Sat. Oct. 13 from 10-4. Please stop by to see the amazing collection of Iowa artists and beautiful art featured in the gallery.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Sorry for the "little"-OK... looooonnnnnngggg blog break. It sounds trite to say "I've been busy" but the truth is that I have been doing, doing, going and going with so much amazing stuff... It a good thing I love to travel!!! We have had friends and family members graduating, getting married, and having babies and we have relished celebrating with you all! I needed to take a break from a few things (my blog being one) and rejuvinate-focus on new places, new art, new thoughts, new experiences, and it has been an amazing ride!

We've been to Orlando, Pella's own Tulip Time, Sioux Center, Hawaii, Chicago, the Iowa State Fair, San Jose (CA) and Kansas City since March-making memories each step of the way. I've got LOTS of scrapbooking to do (the boys are back in school now and I have nowhere to go for some time...)

A few photos to catch you up...

Spring Break In Orlando with Grandpa & Grandma

June-Kyle & Caitlin's Wedding Day Oahu, Hawaii

The reception was on the beach-a gorgeous night

Our 1st trip to Hawaii (I CAN'T WAIT for the 2nd, 3rd...)

The boys all decked out in their Hawaiian shirts

The great thing about traveling is that there are so many amazing photo opportunities. It refreshes my creativity and fills my spirit. I will keep posting this week until we get "caught up". More photos and "art news" on the way...