Saturday, June 30, 2012

June in Seattle

mushrooms by megan_n_smith_99
mushrooms, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Well. It's wet. We are at very low risk for fires, and about no risk for having to water your lawn. There are lots of good things about that and I am trying to be grateful. I am guessing that many of the wild lands fire fighters who work in Washington state are currently on loan a few states over. I wish we could send you some of our rain.

As for this photo - even mice need umbrellas. (The mouse is about the size of a walnut.)

Enjoy your Saturday....

Friday, June 29, 2012

Beaded Brooches

beaded brooches by megan_n_smith_99
beaded brooches, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

My art life seems to be interesting lately -- colorful beads, and black and white everything else (with sometimes a little grey and brown throw in.) I've been working with pencil on paper, ink on paper, 2--3 colors on variously colored papers and white colored pencil on black paper, we'll see what comes next. Actually, I expect to continue this art path for a while. Though there will be watercolor soon because I have a commission.

i have so many ideas that sometimes i wish i did not need to sleep, though i actually like sleep. tomorrow i am taking a class all day that I am excited about, I will blog about it in the next couple days.

These pins are available on Etsy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Emerging from the lines - How to Live a Life

I was sitting on my bed drawing, and pondering the meaning of life, or something like that. I took this little iphone photo of my sketch and then manipulated it in the Instagram app, because somehow I have not gotten tired of doing that, in spite of the fact that quite possibly no one but me actually wants to look at them. That's fine, I'm doing it for me. Oddly sometimes I can see things more clearly in a photo or scan of my art than I can looking at the art itself. I think it helps me step back a little and look at the "big picture" - whereas normally I am so detail oriented that it takes a conscious effort to derail that and bring all the details together in a coherent way.

What I was thinking about life, and the title I chose for this photo - Emerging From the Lines - dovetailed nicely. Life is like that a lot. My subconscious mind is always way ahead of me. something is down there, aware of the big picture before the rest of my mind can catch up.

I was raised to value intellect and quantitative reasoning. This was further enhanced by all the science I took in school. I do strongly value that approach to life. But I've found it does not actually work for everything. When it comes to anything too complex to analyze or anything subjective, my intellect leads me astray. Possibly partly because I can construct a rational argument to argue myself into or out of so many different things. If I go with my feelings or my "gut" I tend to come out better on certain types of things.

Like how to live your life. My brain generally does not give me very useful guidance in how to live my life. My feelings do better.

Take something like media. The way I feel after an hour of media exposure is very different depending on what that exposure is. Some of that seems fairly logical but some of I can't explain. I respond differently to:

An hour of TV
An hour of reading
An hour of listening to music
An hour of listening to an audio book
An hour of walking
An hour of drawing or painting.

It seems sort of obvious in a way but when you break it down it's not. If I spend an hour of reading about how Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced by a double, I feel completely different than I feel if I spend an hour reading a book. Even reading something more literary online still does not feel as peaceful or satisfying as reading a book. (I recently read Helen Keller's 1st book online. That was, I will admit, more satisfying than reading about Paul's clone.)

If I spend an hour watching a documentary or a really good movie I feel better than watching anything on TV (I should clarify - I feel better than watching TV shows on DVD. I don't have cable and never watch TV other than occasionally local news show on my television. I do watch a few televisions shows on DVD. I got rid of cable to save money and I have not really missed it. At first I missed lying around and watching documentaries but I've started getting them from the library and making sure to try to always have a few on hand.)

An hour of listening to an audio book might in theory feel the same as an hour of TV / DVDs, but it doesn't. It's more peaceful. Maybe engaging fewer senses at a time leaves one more relaxed. Music is about as peaceful as an audio book but leaves me in a different mood.

Walking is always good, probably partly because it takes me out of my head and gets me literally grounded, and partly because I live someplace so beautiful. It's amazing how utterly exhausting it is to walk from one end of the mall to the other, compared to how hiking feels. Not that I hike often, but I used to more! Hiking can be exhausting, but in a different way, and it takes longer to get exhausted than walking around a mall.

So I think I will continue to endeavor to figure out what feels right, and try to do it. That sounds completely simple, so why isn't it? It's so easy to go through your day doing what you happen to do, or what you think "one does" or "one ought to" and never actually consider what would actually feel good. Especially because doing what would feel good often seems to involve a tiny little effort to get past the inertia before it feels natural. And it's so much easier to read about how laptop computers cause arthritis than to make that little effort.

(Note: I do not think Paul died in 1966. I have no reason to think that laptop computers cause arthritis. I can't help noticing arthritis predates the invention of laptop computers. I can't rule out the notion that they could POSSIBLY be a factor but I am not convinced they could be related to arthritis any more than desk lamps or toasters are.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Beaded Rings

beaded rings by megan_n_smith_99
beaded rings, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I wish I could send some of Seattle's rain to Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming and Utah. I got drenched walking to the tea shop today - 6 blocks. But at least there was a pot of english breakfast tea and a gluten free brownie waiting to revive me. I had tea with my former college geology professor. it's so hard to find people who want to talk about earth / life science. or maybe i am looking in the wrong places.

i am looking forward to a quiet evening of sketching and reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and probably drinking some more tea - though decaf. for evening.

These rings are available on Etsy if you are interested.

Monday, June 25, 2012

ivory and white beaded guest book

I have been doing some beading over the last week. I've done beaded guest books in the past, for gifts, and recently did one for my sister's wedding. I decided to do some for sale. I've listed two, a white / ivory one and a purple on on Etsy. I also can do custom orders. For custom orders I need 4 weeks notice. Also if the item is to match a specific color, I need a sample of that color. I can't work from a digital image if I am matching a color since all monitors display color differently.

I've done some other beadwork too and I'll be posting some more later this week.

Of course I am still drawing too....

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wooded Layers

06172012art1 by megan_n_smith_99
06172012art1, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Where ever you are right now is a good place to create from.

You don't need a fancy studio, a special room, expensive supplies.

You don't need huge blocks of time, the right time, the moment of inspiration.

In my former life, I sometimes was a backup receptionist. I have made art, "real" art, on post-its with a ballpoint pen. i've made art in the margins of notebooks in classes and meetings. i've made art in the sand and at bus stops.

all you need to make art is what you have right now.

wooded layers
5 x 7"
graphite on paper
created: in a coffee shop, in a park, on my couch while listening to music. with one piece of paper, 1 pencil, and 1 eraser. that's all.

wooded layers is available on Etsy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Interconnectedness of All Things

06132012art1 by megan_n_smith_99
06132012art1, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I've been kind of quiet but I have been having a creative time and am working on several projects you will hear more about in days to come.

This is one of my most recent drawings:
The Interconnectedness of All Things
5 x 7"
graphite on paper
available on Etsy.

I have also started a mailing list, and will be sending out a news letter about art and creativity soon. It will include little projects. You can add your name to my mailing list my website.

Happy Creating!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


060812doll5 by megan_n_smith_99
060812doll5, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

"The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery." -Francis Bacon

another art doll available on Etsy.

Meanwhile I am continuing my adventures in pencil and pen and ink.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Feathers, Flowers

06082012art1 by megan_n_smith_99
06082012art1, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I'm still drawing a lot with pencil. This drawing is 12 & 1/2 x 10 inches. Needless to say, it took a while. I'm having a good time, though.

Yesterday was a really good day, but I am really tired today! I went out to Vashon Island with friends and spent some time beach combing at Pt. Robinson lighthouse. Beach combing is infinitely more exciting with a 4 year old and a 2 year old. The 2 year old made many mad dashes for freedom and the 4 year old found many interesting rocks and shells. We even found some little jellyfish. I had a good time collecting tiny tiny shells. I like the itty bitty spiral shells that are about the size of a head of a pin. You have to be really patient to find them!

Anyway that did wear me out, so I think it will be a somewhat quiet day. I do have a doctor's appointment so I can't stay in my PJs all day, and it's also sunny out so I hope to enjoy that a bit.

Happy Creating!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Winter Beaded Doll

060712doll3 by megan_n_smith_99
060712doll3, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

This is Winter. She is available on Etsy.

Title: Winter
Dimensions: 5 & 1/2 inches tall
media: beads, Ultrasuede, sequins, silver charms, freshwater pearls, and carved bone face.

This gorgeous beaded doll depicts winter, with subtle shades of white and ivory. It incorporates vintage and contemporary glass beads and sequins, Swarovski cut crystal beads, freshwater pearls, a carved bone face enhanced with tea dye and walnut ink, a vintage glass scarab bead, and three sterling silver charms - 2 snowflakes and an igloo.

Each bead has been hand sewn onto Ultrasuede and then assembled and firmly stuffed. The hair is added last, many strands of fringe sparkling with crystals.

I have a few new projects I am working on and I will be ready to tell you more about them soon!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

graphite strata and thoughts of the toxicity of art supplies.

06022012strata by megan_n_smith_99
06022012strata, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I have just uploaded this drawing and 2 others to etsy.

I am working on a bigger one now - 11 x 14". i keep having to get up to wash graphite off my hands. i am trying to smudge as little as possible. when they are done i spray them with krylon workable fixatif (i really hate that cute spelling of fixative.) well, anyway even though it is workable i don't like to work over it if i can avoid it. it just feels different. i am really allergic to this stuff so i spray them out on my balcony. if i was a famous artist someone (and i am not naming names!) someone would do this for me. actually i have sprayed drawings for the artist in question myself but it was not generally my task, as i did not have a respirator and asthma is nothing to joke about. actually i much prefer avoiding toxins to using a respirator which was why i never got fitted at my old job. did you know you really need to get fitted for a respirator and not take it off the shelf? not sure where you can get that done but maybe a safety supply place. and i think osha may require it, plus it is really in your interest. and even if you don't you a respirator it is smart to use at least a paper mask if you are working with anything dusty or powdery. some of that is not stuff you want in your lungs, and some pigments and dyes and things are so fine that it's really easy to breathe them in, paper masks are not as good as respirators but they will help with particulates if they are not too fine.

this is also why my art supplies of choice are all non-low-toxic - pen and ink, watercolor, pencil, and occasionally acrylic. no oils. no resins. nothing too crazy. for my beadwork i use annie's tacky glue and then bead around whatever the item is so that the beads form a bezel and hold it in place. that way i can avoid using the really nasty epoxies and things one might otherwise need. the tacky glue might eventually fail but i have not had anything with a beaded bezel lose its cabachon.

well. draw and paint carefully out there.