Saturday, August 29, 2009

14 Secrets for a Happy Artist's Life

Be Last night I stumbled on a Yahoo group called “14 Secrets for a Happy Artist’s Life”--- The group is all about art making, art exchange, and making ourselves happy with art.

"14 Secrets?" I mused. I love secrets so I joined the group. Here are just a few:

--- Find three good things every day, whether they are experiences, or objects, or both. Find a way to use them in art.
--- Make everything special. Embellish your life.
--- Play more often.
--- Find something to love about where you are everyday.
--- Create beauty with what you have on hand.

They made sense to me.

Group owner Lani Gerity is an artist/art therapist/writer/puppetmaker who was raised in Taiwan, schooled in New York, and currently lives in a fishing village in Nova Scotia. A magical muse, she offers an on-line course starting September 7th called The Artist’s Happiness Challenge—An eWorkshop. The class seemed a bargain at $40 ($19.95 if you’re smart enough to click on the “Top Secret Discount for Blogspot Readers” which I wasn’t) and I signed up immediately.

Who could resist “three months of art challenges, current research, and happiness inspiring stories... weekly art challenges based on current research from positive psychologists... and exploring the connections between positive emotions, art making, and health benefits?"

Check it out for yourself at Lani also offers free downloads of an e-zine that is definitely worth the read at

I love retirement and time to dabble. My march has slowed, and there is so much to see and sample!

I Know a Little Bit About a Lot of Things...

I love the Information Age. What I know about IT---information technology---would hardly impress a kindergartener, but as a dedicated, lifetime IM---information monger---virtual access to the seemingly infinite world of ideas, opinions, and people leaves me breathless with anticipation as I boot up and head for Google Search each day.

No wonder collage art has surfaced on my radar and is consuming so many of my waking hours since June. It feels as if I am collaging my life, organizing what floats about in my head and grabs my attention, and then giving it a visual form. My computer is the intercept between what I want to express and how I give form to that vision. I spend endless hours revisiting the thousands of scanned photos from old family albums and those available in the public domain, considering why they call to me, imagining how they might be transformed. When something clicks, I open Photoshop and start playing on my computer screen. SAVE and DELETE are such powerful little keys. I keep what I like and discard the rest.

Sometimes I stumble upon some little program such as the one that created the word COLLAGE above. You can try it out yourself at What fun! This morning I plugged in my name, pressed enter, and voile! Photos of letters on signs from around the world spelled out "C" from a highway sign in France, an "I" on a graffiti-filled building in a city, and so on. I just love this kind of thing. It won't put bread on the table, but it brought pleasure to this grandmother in North Carolina on a hot Saturday.

What is your experience? Why not share it?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Generosity and Art

I look forward to checking the mailbox these days. Bills, flyers and magazines are always there. But if I'm lucky, I'll also find a neatly addressed envelope that contains a special gift---a tiny piece of art from a new, virtual friend!

The image above is a page from my ATC collection. The acid-free pockets, originally made to fit standard sports trading cards kept in a three-ring binder, are perfect for these tiny pieces of art. Imagine the generous spirit of the individuals from around the world who share their creative talent with strangers for the cost of a postage stamp and a card in return. Amazing, isn't it?

Some of the cards are cut paper collages, some doodled in inks or colored pencils. A few, like most of my own, are digital collages created from photos and images in the public domain, manipulated to create backgrounds for a dramatic effect. What they all have in common is the creative passion of the individual artists who create them and their generosity in sharing them with others.

Do you think you'd like to try your hand? Search "ATCs" on google or yahoo and see what comes up for you. You may be surprised at what you find!