Hopping with Liberate Your Art 2015

It’s been kind of a tough month — busy building my stand at Seaport Village and updating my materials, busy trying to navigate through paperwork and organizing things so I can settle my mother’s estate next month, still slowed down by grief.

But getting postcards every week were bright spots — even if I couldn’t get myself together enough to blog or post on facebook about them…

The first one to arrive was from Chandra T. Mountain of chandralynn.wordpress.com

Chandra's old car deserved a ride on a vintage carousel...

Chandra’s old car deserved a ride on a vintage carousel…

Next to grace my mailbox was a lovely scene from France by Ma’ (manuelles.canalblog.com)

A countryside from France visits a California meadow...

A countryside from France visits a California meadow…

Then a strawberry arrived just in time for Easter breakfast! (from jpeeksphotography.com)

A digital strawberry joins real strawberries for Easter breakfast...

A digital strawberry joins real strawberries for Easter breakfast…

Then came some lovely shells by Cathy Hubmann:

A gift from the sea spending a day in the desert...

A gift from the sea spending a day in the desert…

Then I got a card from a friend I met a few years ago through LYA:

Sheila Delgado (www.sheiladelgado.com) shared a lovely few quotes with her card:

“One eye sees, the other feels” Paul Klee

“Imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.” Brenda Ueland

Sheila's floral delight enjoying a morning stroll with my neighbor's roses...

Sheila’s floral delight enjoying a morning stroll with my neighbor’s roses…

Next came a romantic couple from Sherry Galey (sherrygaley.com)with the quote:

“To love yourself as you are is a miracle, and to seek yourself is to have found yourself, for now.  And now is all we have, and love is who we are.” Anne Lamott

Catching a kiss among the daily routine of life... at the grocery store...

Catching a kiss among the daily routine of life… at the grocery store…

And finally, the card from Kat Sloma signalled the end of the the swap.

When you liberate your art, the world is a better place.

When you liberate your art, the world is a better place.

Miss Cali is not sure what to think of her card!

Miss Cali is not sure what to think of her card!

Looking forward to next year’s fun!

 

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Liberate Your Art 2015

It’s that time of year again.  Time to liberate some art into the world! Kat Sloma has organized the Liberate Your Art event for 5 years.  This is my fourth year of participating.

Artists can share anything that can be printed on a postcard… paintings, photographs, photographs of sculpture, scans of silk painting…. the postcards can be printed at home or professionally.  5 postcards are sent to Kat, who then sorts and labels and sends them out.  Each participant gets 5 cards, plus one of Kat’s. Part of the fun is sharing the cards we have received by taking photos of them in our spaces.  I love seeing where my cards end up!

For the past 3 years, I have done collages that were heavy on henna-like embellishment.  This year I decided to try something different.

I inherited my mother’s cat this year, and she is very photogenic.

CaliCatI thought about using a straight photo, but wasn’t happy with the results.  And XnView, the program I use for editing is not strong with effects.

Then I took an art class with Suzanne Visor and was inspired by the constraining frame. I had originally thought to use the right side.

A close up

A close up

Not quite right.

So I tried the left eye.

The left eye

The left eye

More interesting.

And then I tried painting it… which is way out of the box for me!  I am a henna artist.  I work with lines, not brush strokes.  But after several hours of painting and leaving and thinking and more painting and more thinking and more painting, I ended up with something I liked. It doesn’t look exactly like the picture, but close enough!

The final painting.

The final painting.

I uploaded the image to Moo and am waiting for my postcards to return.  Once they arrive, I will send 5 of them to Kat, and then wait for the fun to begin!

I’ll have extras, so if you want one, just let me know and I’ll send you one!

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Making henna

Henna Cone with homemade paste

Henna Cone with homemade paste

Making henna paste is pretty simple — and is the best way to make sure you know what is IN your paste.  For this cone, I used 1 tbsp of finely sifted henna power.  I made my sugar sealant with 1/4 cup water, 2 packets of TruLime powder and 4 packets of granulated sugar.  (I used the TruLime because I am traveling and packets are easier to pack than bottles on lime juice.)  Then I added 1 tsp of sugar sealant to my henna powder and let it sit for an hour.  After that, I added 1 tsp of pure lavender essential oil and a bit more sugar sealant to make a nice, smooth paste.  I let that rest for 4 hours before putting it into my cone.  To apply, I just draw with the cone, then let it dry. One or two light dabs of sealant are all that is needed to keep the paste firmly plastered to the skin.

 

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This blog is hoppin’!

It’s the 2014 Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap Blog Hop! Be sure to follow the links to see all the artists and their amazing artwork — 209 artists from 10 countries liberated 1254 art postcards. It is such a thrill to be part of this huge event!!!

This is the art that I sent out into the world. It represents a phoenix surrounded by Tiare flowers, also known as the queen of flowers or Tahitian gardenia or Monoi in Hawaiian.

MHPostcardFinal_2

The quote I included for my card is from Ursula K. LeGuin: “It is good to have an end to journey, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”

The first card I received was from 5th grader Olivia from South Orange, NJ.  I love it!

Hello! My name is Olivia Morgan and I live in New Jersey (USA).  I am in 5th grade.  I love to write stories and draw in my free time.  This drawing is a mosaic that makes a girl's face.  It's a lot of people of different races.  Hope you like it. --Olivia Morgan, South Orange, NJ

Hello! My name is Olivia Morgan and I live in New Jersey (USA). I am in 5th grade. I love to write stories and draw in my free time. This drawing is a mosaic that makes a girl’s face. It’s a lot of people of different races. Hope you like it.
–Olivia Morgan, South Orange, NJ

The next card that arrived was from Emma Bogush (at emmaisanartist.blogspot.com) It showed up the day before I had to return to the Mainland for a whirlwind trip so I was unable to showcase Ariel in her proper environment until we returned a couple weeks later… On the back of the card is the quote: “There is no point in growing up if you can’t act a little childish sometimes.” The Fourth Doctor…. I totally agree!  I find that at 50, I’m more childish (full of wonder, amazement and delight) than ever!

Ariel spends some time on Turtle Beach, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii.

Ariel spends some time on Turtle Beach, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii.

When I returned from our trip to the Mainland, this lovely story card from Lori Moon (lorimoonstudio.blogspot.com ) was waiting for me!  “May you find beauty in every day” was the request on the back… so I took it to Hanauma Bay for a little Hawaiian beauty…

Bringing the NY subway to the beach.... Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii

Bringing the NY subway to the beach…. Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii

The next card that graced our mailbox was from Jo Murray of Australia! (jomurray-art.blogspot.com.au) Since we have no dryer here in Honolulu, I thought I’d add her card along with the rest of the wash…

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see (Thereaux)

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see (Thereaux)

And then came Madeleine Jone’s wonderful abstraction from Grosse Ile, MI (but postmarked Washington, DC)!

Swirling crescents mark the silent presence Fringed stalks  of plummage

Swirling crescents
mark the silent presence
Fringed stalks
of plummage

And finally, all the cards together, including Kat’s card called “Layered Autumn”

All cards from the Liberate Your Art postcard swap of 2014!

All cards from the Liberate Your Art postcard swap of 2014!

This challenge really pushed me to focus on creating something during the first weeks of confusion in our sabbatical home.  While I was still acclimating to the weather, figuring out the bus system and amazed by the rain, the deadline of creating a work of art and turning it into a postcard to share was an anchor and a guiding light.  And when the cards from the swap started arriving, I could share not only the cards, but the amazingness of our temporary home, Oahu, Hawaii.  Now the swap has ended.  And it is almost time for me to return home.  But the magic will remain… 6 cards and the gifts of their art.


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The second card

The second card in the Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap arrived this afternoon.

LYApostcard2_ElephantEars

From Emma Bogush: emmaisanartist.com
“There is not point in growing up if you can’t act a little childish sometimes.”
–The 4th Doctor

I really wanted to take Ariel to Waikiki Beach, but since I leave tomorrow morning for San Diego — and I don’t have a car– I won’t have time to run downtown and back in time for my shuttle to the airport.  Sigh.  I might take her to the beach when I get back… just because…

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First postcard to arrive

The Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap of 2014 is now underway.  My cards have flown out into the world and other artist’s cards are winging their way here.

My first card arrived all the way from South Orange, NJ.

Hello! My name is Olivia Morgan and I live in New Jersey (USA).  I am in 5th grade.  I love to write stories and draw in my free time.  This drawing is a mosaic that makes a girl's face.  It's a lot of people of different races.  Hope you like it. --Olivia Morgan, South Orange, NJ

Hello! My name is Olivia Morgan and I live in New Jersey (USA). I am in 5th grade. I love to write stories and draw in my free time. This drawing is a mosaic that makes a girl’s face. It’s a lot of people of different races. Hope you like it.
–Olivia Morgan, South Orange, NJ

I decided to showcase it next to a glorious lobster claw ginger which grows abundantly throughout the islands.

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Life happens… an update

It has not been the most stellar time in paradise. Rain, fitful sleep, many early morning phone calls to the veterinarian in New York (6 hour time difference is not fun!), and a UTI have been the order of the week.

Miss Java at the Pet Hospital

Miss Java at the Pet Hospital

Java (and her “sister”, Sahara) have been under the care of my patient Mother-in-Law.  Sahara has been the problem cat — jumping where she shouldn’t jump, knocking things off shelves, opening doors and snooping in closets.  Java was the sweet one… until she started drinking excessively… which lead to peeing excessively… not necessarily in the litterbox.  The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was when my mother-in-law returned home to find all her towels had been knocked down out of the closet — and all of them had been peed on…. and there were also puddles in the bathroom.  The volume was incredible — even if both cats had a peefest.

So, last Friday, Miss Java went to see the veterinarian (thank goodness, our friend who was helping out with the litterbox changes just happens to work at a veterinary clinic!).  She had a mouth ulcer and was dehydrated.  They put her on an IV and ran a full range of tests. She started a course of antibiotics for the ulcer.

The tests all came back negative — including the one for kidney disease which she had tested positive for back in October! The vet is at a loss to explain her excessive drinking. But the antibiotics have been working well to clear up the infection and after a few days of subcutaneous fluids, she is back to normal.

But she can’t go back to my mother-in-law’s house.

And she can’t come to Hawaii (very strict quarantine laws).

It’s been a sleepless week working through all the options. And yesterday, we decided to take a week to go retrieve our cats from New York and bring them back to a cat’s only hotel in San Diego, The Purring Parrot.

Located in lovely Point Loma, The Purring Parrot features very attentive staff, views of an aviary, and lots of climbing space.  And webcams. It won’t be home, but it will be close enough.

So now the travel arrangements and reservations have all been made.  Family discussions have started.  And it will all work out.  Hubby leaves for a conference in Arizona tomorrow. When he returns to San Diego, I’ll fly out to meet him and we’ll fly to NY at the end of March.

Now I just need to figure out what the best place is for Miss Java for the next 2 weeks.  Sister-in-law is contacting her list of catsitters for options.  And I just need to stay calm, get enough sleep, drink a ton of cranberry juice, and know that by Monday when Java is discharged, we will have a plan.

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March (music) Madness

I am in love again…

csj_ukelele
With an ukelele… and singing lessons.

I stopped by the Manoa School of Art and Music because it was in our neighborhood shopping center, the door was open and I thought I might ask about art lessons. It turns out that there are no art classes at the moment, so I impulsively signed up for both voice and ukelele…

This is not as crazy as it might sound. In a previous lifetime, I used to sing and fiddle in both early music ensembles and Celtic bands.  But since we moved to San Diego in 2000, I just wasn’t able to find the right combination of non-neurotic musicians and a synchronicity of schedules. So for the past decade or so, I’ve just focused on other things.

I wasn’t sure how things would turn out.  It’s been more than a decade since I’ve sung and I’ve never played anything that is chord-based.  But it turned out that I wasn’t very rusty at all — things came right back and my vocal range is still fairly close to what it used to be decades ago.  AND, although the ukelele tuning and fingering is very different from a violin (or mandolin which I can also play), I picked the basics up in our first lesson.

Teaching an old dog (or lady) new tricks

I’ve been doing some reading on aging brains and the capacity to learn.  I have noticed that I don’t remember things as easily as I used to and that I have to use tricks (like a basket for the housekeys) to keep some things running smoothly.

According to an article in the New York Times, older brains have a hard time remembering new things because they have a hard time forgetting old things. It is crucial to have BOTH the capacity to learn new ideas AND the capacity to weaken old memories. And the older we are, the more memories we have.  So that explains why I forget the Japanese phrase for good afternoon that an exchange student taught me last week, but I still remember a number song in Spanish that I heard when I was 7… those old memories were laid down when I had little else in my brain to get in the way.  But now, I can blame all those other things crowding the language file in my brain for interfering with my ability to recall how to say, Good Afternoon in Japanese. (Konnichiwa is good day… Ohayo gozaimasu means good morning….I learned those words in college, but good afternoon?.)

But brain overload does not explain why when I took a class on Art History a couple of years ago, I sailed through with very little studying even though I had never taken that kind of class before.  The explanation for my good grade in Art History is precisely because my brain is filled with memories.  And the older we are, the better we get at making connections.  So while my young classmates were just trying to absorb all the names and dates and countries, I was making connections between art styles and historical events, between music and architecture and politics… and since I had context already, the art pieces just fit into what I already knew and enlarged that picture. A+

AND, there are other researchers who have noticed that adult learners still have the capacity to learn, and learn with precision and accuracy, albeit at a somewhat slower pace than children. They postulate that the main difference is focus. Yes, younger brains are more plastic and have less junk cluttering up the filing cabinets, but they also benefit by the quality of focus given to what they are learning.  The average child learning a second language is in a classroom, has homework, and spends a lot of time just focusing on learning.  The average adult might take a class, but also have to go to work, make sure the bills are paid, the garbage goes out, the car has enough gas, the groceries are taken care of… the average adult has more on their plate to divert their attention than the average kid.

So what’s a busy adult with a full brain to do?

1. Do short bursts of study more frequently.  So instead of practicing the same chords over and over again for an hour, I should play the chord sequence a couple of times, then listen to the song I am learning, then do some fingering exercises, then do something else.  Apparently, when we focus too intently on trying to memorize something, we tend to push the issue and learning becomes harder.

2. Focus on the outcome instead of the structure.  So, for singing, one should focus on the sound quality rather than the placement of the soft palette or for a golfer to focus on the motion of the swing instead of the hand placement.

3. Find ways to incorporate your new knowledge into your daily life.  Seek out people to practice Japanese with. Sing those songs while washing dishes and make dates to play golf.

4. Enjoy the process.  If it’s not enjoyable, then why are you doing it?  There’s no test, no grade, no requirement to learn anything else once you graduate from school… so why bother?

Because it’s fun!

And that’s what I’m having now!

(This was previously posted on www.confessionsofaskincarejunkie.com)

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The postcards arrived!

My postcards arrived from Overnight Prints yesterday afternoon.  They look fabulous!  Professional printing really does look nicer than home printed cards.

MH_PostcardMailing

So I packaged them up and sent them off to Kat this morning.  They should arrive by Wednesday of next week — in plenty of time to meet the deadline!  Woo hoo!

Now that waiting begins! Postcards will get mailed out on March 17th and then trickle in to my mailbox any time after that!

 

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Getting ready for LYA 2014

It’s time once again for the annual Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap organized by Kat Sloma!  The deadline is March 15th.  Ordinarily, I’d wait until March to start this project and just print the cards from my home computer, but since we are in Hawaii and we don’t have a printer here, I looked at the shipping times and realized I needed to have my project at the printer’s by yesterday if I wanted it back in time to get to Kat in time for the deadline.

The idea for the piece came — as they always do — as a flash picture.  The whole.  A phoenix on a beach, dipping her toes in the water.  The first visions are never what the final product will be, but they do get me started.

So I started to sketch out phoenixes.

MH_Phoenix1SketchMH_Phoenix2_SketchMH_Phoenix_Sketch3I like the idea of a Phoenix — the symbolism of a bird transformed in Western culture and of an Empress in Eastern cultures.  And at 50, I am feeling in the midst of a transitional phase so I identify with this old bird.

The first stage of the LYA 2014 phoenix

The first stage of the LYA 2014 phoenix

She wasn’t in a pose suitable for being on a beach, but I had a flash that perhaps she could be in a rainforest setting.  We are currently living in a rainforest in Manoa, Honolulu and as much as I love the beach, I prefer the mountains…

The rainforest at the Lyon Arboretum, just up the street from our house.

The rainforest at the Lyon Arboretum, just up the street from our house.

Adding in some color; Phoenixes are warm, fire colors

Adding in some color; Phoenixes are warm, fire colors

Gift bag background

Gift bag background

Gift tissue background

Gift tissue background

Wavy fabric background

Wavy fabric background

Plain fabric background

Plain fabric background

Hawaiian print fabric background

Hawaiian print fabric background

I love the Hawaiian print fabric and played around with the placement, but in the end decided it was too busy and detracted from the Phoenix.  I also really liked the gift bag background, but wanted to change up the placement of the flowers.  In the end, I chose the plain background and started embellishing the Phoenix (which was cut out of watercolor paper with scissors!  My exacto knife is at home in San Diego…)

 

MH_Phoenix_embellishI used black acrylic paint in a henna cone to get the detailed lines I wanted.

In the end, I decided to add in some cut-out tiare flowers from the gift bag and also do some embellishment with white acrylic paint.

MHPostcardFinal_2

Then began the crazy process of sizing and creating a border for the printer.  The first version got rejected by the printer because the edges were uneven… yes, it’s a fabric collage; the edges ARE uneven.  But since I had a deadline and wanted to get it done, I just evened things up and sent it in.

And now we wait.  The prints are supposed to arrive on Monday… but this is Hawaii, so I don’t expect them until next Wednesday.  And then I get to bundle them up and send them to Kat Sloma to label, stamp and distribute.
It’s always so much fun to be part of this project.  I meet new people, see great art and get to push myself a bit further each time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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