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Creative Casey's Blog

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Watercolor Is Just Not My Thing

In my art therapy group with students a couple of weeks ago the directive was to challenge oneself by uses different art mediums then one typically uses. I used watercolor as it's always a medium that tends to frustrate me.  I ended up working through my frustration and creating an abstract piece that I was pretty okay with. So, when I was surfing The Brainery website for upcoming classes and saw there was a watercolor class on a Saturday afternoon (that I was actually free) I decided for $20 I would take the class and continue to challenge myself with watercolors. didn't go quite as I expected. The instructor taught about watercolors for the first hour (different kinds of watercolor paints, brushes to use, different techniques, etc...) and then we chose an image that we brought or that he had there and set about recreating a regular image into a watercolor image.  The instructor stated multiple times that we would not leave the class with a Mona Lisa but still I think I some how thought something would finally click in my brain and I would "get it".  This did not happen.  I spent two hours not necessarily stressed or highly frustrated, just more like disappointed.

During painting time the instructor went around helping people, but for some reason he didn't help me. I'm not sure why...other than I didn't really speak up and ask for help (which is something I'm good at doing, but didn't feel like it that day). I think I was just looking for the space to create and perhaps in the instruction learn the "magic" to painting watercolor.  When that didn't happen I just set about making the best of it and messing around.  I did walk away with learning some new techniques such as using saran wrap and paper towels to create some interesting texture with watercolor.


So life has been busy and I haven't gotten to do yoga at all for over a month. I finally made it back to Sunday morning yoga at Lulu Lemon. I knew something was up from the time I walked in. They had coffee, and Kind bars (yuck), and a raffle for a couple of prizes. That was unusual but the most unusual part was the wood floor was covered with mats and not the yoga mats of everyone but the kind that are puzzle pieces that you put together. Then everyone put their mats on top of those mats.  The place was packed.

It turned out that I was in for some acroyoga (acrobat).  The first half of the class was tough yoga and the second half required you to partner up with (your community) in twos and threes where you tried some pretty wacky moves.

I left there unsure about the yoga session. It was good to try something new but I like my personal space and having others walk and lay all over my mat didn't really appeal to me. Plus it was pretty uncomfortable trying to trust complete strangers to hold you up in these awkward poses and not drop you. Not to mention it was to close to comfort. Some people were sweaty and smelling a bit ripe since it was hot in the store.  It was my favorite kind of yoga, that's for sure.

Once again I feel that we as a society try to take things to far sometimes. What happen to just plain know something that's good for your body and mind...without having to twist it into something new and different?

Knitting Like a 90 Year Old

I purchased this really cute knitted cupcake hat for my niece and decided to make some matching baby booties. Problem is I only know how to do a basic scarf when it comes to knitting. However, my  friend Sarah is an awesome knitter and said she'd help me make the booties. So I reached out to her and we ended up having a Saturday morning knitting session with some other friends also. I told my sister I was getting together to knit and she laughed stating "Isn't that something 90 y/o women do."

I brought over hot cocoa and latte mixes and others brought scones. I love my friend Sarah's apartment. It's on the third story and is cozy and reminds me of a tree house for some reason. It's the perfect place to curl up and knit.

I felt a bit bad for Sarah as she didn't get to knit a whole lot herself since she was helping us to make/learn knitting, but she didn't seem to mind.  Anyway, Sarah taught me to follow a pattern, the right size needles to use and the correct yarn to use.  By the time we wrapped up our knitting session I had one cute bootie made and another one started. Later that evening I turned on the fireplace and sat down to finish knitting the second bootie.  Thanks Sarah!!!

Here's the cupcake hat that prompted it all!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mantra Art

I've been dealing with a lot of stress lately and I needed to create and express myself to remind me of my resiliency.  The fact that I'm a firm believer in standing up for myself and others despite the stress it might cause me makes me who I am. And I'm very proud of who I am.  However; this doesn't mean that I'm immune to getting exhausted when fighting a battle for what is right and fair.  

I ended up creating this piece of artwork. I chose to work with watercolor because it's challenging for me and I don't consider it a medium that I am competent in.  I continued to work on calming myself down when I got frustrated with the medium and kept working with it. I then chose to put positive reminders all over the painting. I decided to hang it up at work in front of my desk so that when I need a reminder to keep up the good fight.

I then decided to sign up for a watercolor class at The Brainery this coming weekend to continue to challenge myself with watercolor.  

I had time after completing the watercolor and felt like creating a mandala. I wanted to not think and just go with patterns. The color is the positive things in my life but the thin black is the stressors. They always tend to be interwoven among the positive things.

My Awesome $2 Find

I was able to stop by the May Day event a couple of weeks ago. I loved this event as it's a ton of artist booths set up with their artwork for sale at the Village Gate.  I found the artist CircuitBreaker who I'm going to donate my burnt out laptop too and in return I get store credit to her shop. I'm uber excited about this as I've been wanting to get a piece of her jewelry.

While there I found this awesome vintage plastic cup. It's dated 1987. I like collecting old glasses from when I was a kid. Like the McDonald's ones and jelly jam jar glasses.  This was a super find and they person only charged $2 for it!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Art of Hand Lettering and Chalk

I was excited to sign up to take The Art of Hand Lettering and Chalk Class that was offered at The Brainery last week. I've been wanting to take this class for a while but always seemed to have a conflict on the dates it was offered.  I still ended up having a conflict but chose to take this class instead. I really needed to be in a place where I could create for a couple of hours. So even though this made for an extremely long day I sucked it up for my mental/emotional well being and signed up.  It didn't disappoint.

The class was jam packed with about 30 people there. We were given a piece of chalk, a chalk marker, pencil, and a piece of wood that had black chalk board paint on it.  We were shown and practiced 3-4 different styles of lettering and got to practice them.  Then we were shown how to place quotes and modern designs to go with quotes such as the banner and wreath.  We then outlined a phase and design that you wanted to put on the chalk board. The next step was to use chalk to create the lettering and design on the board (this part was annoying and difficult). The final step was to go over the chalk with the chalk marker (this too I found challenging).  I think my marker was a bit off and kept not working. Then I didn't like the streaky aspect of the finished project but I think that is the affect it is suppose to have because it's suppose to resemble chalk.  I also didn't like that the marker didn't have a fine point to it which is really difficult when your doing lettering.

I did enjoy creating, meeting new people and learning something new. I think it is definitely something I will continue to try and work on. Now I just need to find the time. :(

Postcard Swap

It's hard to believe the Art (Therapy) + Happiness Project is coming to a close after participating in the project for the past year.  The final community art swap has started. We have to create postcards related to the theme "community and connection".  I found a bunch of postcard paper and a couple of photo postcards I had made about a year ago.  I brought the postcards into work and throughout my lunch breaks I've been working on creating them. I focused on using minimal materials and simple designs so I stuck with a black ink pen, black sharpie, and gel pens. On one postcard I used crayons.

Overall I like the way they turned out. Simple but neat designs. Most importantly they helped me to take time during the busy stressful days I've been having and take care of myself.  Hopefully those I swap with will like them.  This final swap has a majority of my postcards going overseas to Hong Kong, England, the United Kingdom, Canada and  France. I'm excited to see what postcards I receive in return.  I'm very happy that I participated in this this general project even if I didn't end up using the project to its full potential. In the end I got out of the project what I really wanted to and that was to create art and be able to communicate with others on a global scale.

The second photo bottom left is actually suppose to be vertical. I find it interesting that I didn't know until viewing these pictures that I created each image to be viewed horizontally instead of vertically (except for that one).

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I won a gift basket!

We had an event at work last week to get to know other departments.  As part of the event you got to fill out as many question cue cards as you wanted, find the correct answers and put them in the correct boxes. Those who filled out the most and had the most correct won 1 of 3 prizes. I came in 2nd with 19 completed and 19 correct. I won an awesome hot chocolate/tea gift basket.  Made my day!