Saturday, December 10, 2016

"Embellishing" our Home for Christmas

Well, here we are into December and I'm already overwhelmed, and wondering why I do this to myself every year! I truly enjoy Christmas and the activities before and after but I seem to add more and more deadlines on myself! So, I am trying to "Be Still" and listen to the meaning behind Advent and take time to ponder it all.

As I decorated our house in my usual "overdoing it" method, I really tried hard to consider each piece and its meaning for Christmas. This made the decorating so much more meaningful. The fancy nativity scene that has been a part of my our life for a long time, took up its special spot in our living room. The kings and Jesus shouldn't be there yet, but they remind me of the whole story of Christmas.

There are angels on the mantel - they are such a huge part of the story. From the time that the angel appeared to Mary to say she would give birth to God's son, to the announcement of his birth...angels were there and so they are represented in my home. Some have wings that move, some have music boxes, some are still, some look like they are flying.

The Christmas tree in this room is my favorite. Filled with mostly gold ornaments, white lights, music symbols and an angel in needlework that my mother made many years ago. The music symbols remind me of the sound of the angels singing praises to the newborn king....the sounds we will hear in heaven....the sounds that we hear in churches on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day when our voices joined together sound like one.

This year's decorating was so much more meaningful as I really tried hard to concentrate on the meaning of this season for me and my family.

Even though you will also find a collection of Santas, nutcrackers, dolls and animated carolers throughout our home, and colorful lights on the front of the house, this time of year means so much more to us. In the middle of the lights you will find a lighted nativity scene as we center our celebration on the birth of Jesus, God's gift to us.

May this season bring you peace and joy. I wish my fellow Christians a wonderful Christmas! May everyone reading this have an incredible 2017!


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Graffiti in Detroit

I have always enjoyed seeing Graffiti even though the nasty language is way more than I want to see!! This slideshow of images is from a recent trip to downtown Detroit. I have NO idea what any of it means, so if anyone thinks I should take it down, let me know. I've admired graffiti in Italy, Argentina, tunnels and bridges across the U.S.A. and the walls of Detroit.

I just wonder about those who created the graffiti....are they frustrated artists? I imagine they are irritated with their own lives ...could the graffiti represent their voices shouting loud?   Do the locations have a special meaning or are they just convenient with no one to stop them?

It's baffling how some graffiti appears in precarious locations....did they climb there by themselves or was a team of people involved? So many questions behind these expressions.

Wonder what a convention of graffiti artists would look like? We probably stereotype these people as street "urchins." Wouldn't it be funny to show up at a convention and find out that they are "suits" - college professors, business people, high school coaches? Or maybe they are "starving artists" yearning to be seen! Sadly, I realize that many of them are probably parts of gangs, their so-called "family." The graffiti may have just been done on a dare. I sure wish my handling of a spray can of paint was as good as some of these people!

Destruction of property isn't  cool but I still enjoy seeing the layouts of the painted walls and saying a silent "good job" to many of these creations!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Eco-Printing Addiction

I call it "cooking leaves" but it's officially Eco-Printing. Mine is done with heavy weight watercolor paper but it can also be done on fabric. 
Paper is my first love in the art world, so that's my choice for this technique of sandwiching materials such as leaves, twigs, rusty nails, etc. and steaming the package of goodies for 2 hours.

I have a really nice two-tiered vegetable steamer - it's now my tool of choice for steaming the paper.....vegetables will get steamed in the microwave now. My steamer is not too large but it's perfect for me for now. I enjoy making mini-albums, cards, postcards, and small works on canvas so I'm happy staying small.

There are lots of techniques on YouTube for doing this and wonderful artists who teach. and create beautiful prints, such as Jacqueline Sullivan, Trish McKinney. Check them out.

It's very difficult for me to walk past my steamer and not get something "cookin'"!! I even have leaves and bits of flowers in my freezer to get me through the winter. My 7-year-old granddaughter was enlisted by me to collect materials from her yard in North Carolina and a friend fulfilled my request for magnolia leaves. I'm using them in another project but one or two will end up in the steamer.
The reveal of each paper is intriguing and I've re-steamed them with other materials if I didn't like the first one.
Give it a try and post what you've done! Now I need to put more of my finished ones to good use.

Happy steaming!