Saturday 21 December 2013

A Merry Thank You Christmas Message...And A Sharpie Discovery

Hi guys, I have been reflecting a lot this month and just resolved on quickly doing a blogpost to say a 
HUGE thank you
to everyone who has sent me love, of any kind, this year. 
I really, truly, appreciate all of you who follow and support me whether I am churning out art like a mad woman, or equally when I'm sharing some deeper rooted feelings that go along with being artistically inclined. I feel so much support happens in our wonderful community and I just want to protect it, appreciate it, add to it and help it thrive in 2014. While I was in this gushy mood I thought I’d do a vlogpost, thinking it would be easier to convey via talking, but that didn’t really happen. I don’t think I actually said anything I was meaning to but hey, time constraints put on me never do me any favours, hence why I always hated examinations lol (and due to being rushed I can't add annotations that may be would fill in some of the gaps from my brain that my mouth left out lol sorry). I did however include some arty time just as a reward in case you choose to watch this rambly mess, including a new Sharpie technique discovery…of sorts lol

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, see you on the other side of Christmas
Happy Holidays To All

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Michelle Bukowski

Hello beautifuls, I hope your run up to the holidays is smooth, cool, calm and collected?? Yeah, me too :/ ...cest le vie, but we still have one week (she says trying to make that sound like a long rather than short time lol). I'm thinking this will be the last TAT before Christmas, given that the next will be Christmas Eve and we'll all be still running around like crazy people (except more so with that 'one day left' feeling). Then the week after it will be New Years Eve so I'm thinking I'll do as I did last year and pick it up in the new year, so till then enjoy the last TAT of 2013 eeeek!

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
My name is Michelle Bukowski and I live in Nashville, TN. I’ve been here six and a half years and I’m on staff at a large private university. I am fortunate that my position allows me to be use my creativity on a daily basis (I am the social media coordinator for our school among other things). I have been an artist as far back as I can remember. My first love, photography, was a gift from my dad. I think the first camera he gave me was a 110 (I guess I’m dating myself). I used to love to go shooting (photos) with him. Painting was another favorite medium. As a young child, I recall watching my mom getting out her acrylic paints and creating works of art. I even remember being inspired by a book called “Painting With Elke Sommer” and copying her painting style. A little over 3 years ago, my dad passed away unexpectedly. For about a year, I was in a bit of a fog; I felt like my creativity was zapped. But as time wore on, I started feeling itchy. I needed to do something. I discovered mixed media and art journaling. It was, in part I believe, my salvation. And maybe the final gift I’ll receive from my dad. I primarily use acrylic paints but also dabble with watercolors (I avoid oil because I don’t have the patience for it to dry) and I utilize a lot of recycled materials. I create canvases out of snack boxes or cardboard boxes. I love creating tools out of recycled materials; for example, I hand cut stencils using discarded chip-board that my husband gets at work. I utilize bubble wrap, lids of every size, old batteries, corks and (my favorite) old gift cards as pallet knives. All my “tools” are used to create rich backgrounds. Finally, I use all types of recycled papers to create the focus of each piece.

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I face is not allowing stress and anxiety to affect my creativity. My desire is always there, but getting passed the stress is something I find difficult. One way I’ve learned to overcome this is a tip from artist Dina Wakley. She suggests starting with a creative practice. For example, using shipping tags and adding color to get your juices flowing. I also find allowing myself some grace a helpful mental practice. Realizing that some days it’s better to stop than trying to force the project saves me a lot of frustration and time. 

What advice would you offer to any perspective new artist?
Don’t get upset when things don’t turn out the way you pictured them in your head. Sometimes they turn out better; sometimes you cover it all with gesso and start over. Don’t compare yourself to others. Your talents are unique to you. Always create for yourself. Art is subjective and not everyone will like what you’re creating. And that is ok. As long as you like it, keep doing it. 

What is your heart’s greatest desire for your life as an artist?
I want to create a welcoming space where I can help people realize their inner artist and creative capabilities. I’d love to help people develop creative practices they can use in their everyday lives. I hear people say they’re not artistic but I believe we all have a creative spark inside. Sometimes we just need help finding it. Creativity for some may be less obvious: the ability to be a good leader or a fantastic public speaker is just as creative as being able to put paint down on paper. I’d love to have a creative co-op with space for workshops and of course an area for my own work.

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
You can find me on my blog. I post most Saturdays and I usually show my work in progress so you get an idea of how my pieces take shape from start to finish. I am also on Pinterest.

Thank you tons for sharing Michelle. I love that you connect your art with your Dad in such a precious way and that he is part of this journey with you.

I agree with all your advice to new artists, but also with the creative practice to get the juices flowing and I want to pick up on that because thinking of what you're doing as 'just warm up' can really help release the pressure sometimes. I really believe in it, to the point where I keep a couple of journals just specifically for that (which I may eventually get around to sharing one of these days...though right now I can think nothing but 'Holidays' lol).

Do you want to be featured in an interview here?
Email me or click the link to find all the details here =)

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Brie Minar

Hello beauties, very inspiring TAT post for you today - you're going to want to read all of this, I I'll lead straight into it, enjoy =)

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
Hi there! My name is Brie. I’m 32 year old Texas girl, and I graduated from Texas A&M University. No, I don’t have a horse, and I detest American football. (Just to get that out there) What kind of artist am I? That’s a tougher one. For several years, I would correct anyone who called me an artist. I’d introduce myself as a crafter, since much of what I was doing fit more into the craft genre, and so I didn’t consider it to be actual artist. Then someone corrected me – if I’d bought a kit and put things together, that would be a craft. I was pulling things together with no instruction besides my own inspiration to create something – therefore, it was definitively Art. Given that definition, I do a lot of Art. From doodles to painting to cutting snowflakes, no paper is safe around me. I make polymer clay figurines, beads, and trinkets to use on my mixed-media canvases. I do nail art. I make jewelry – earrings, wire-wrapped rings, beaded barefoot sandals, bracelets. I love buttons & use them in pretty much anything. I guess ‘mixed media’ would be the best generalization? And I do love mixed media, but it’s only one of the things I make. My hobby, I think, is collecting new hobbies.

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
I’m a college-educated Type A personality – and a housewife. Believe me when I say I never saw myself here. If I’d decided to stay home to raise my children, I’d be totally ok with the situation… but I don’t have kids. Instead, I have MS. I was out of college, married, and moving up the chain of management in a big company when I started having weird symptoms that landed me in the hospital. First I had bouts of Optic Neuritis which left me temporarily blind, then with permanent degraded color vision. I also had an almost total loss of manual dexterity, balance, and muscle control. Within the space of a year I went from a “normal” life to wearing diapers and using a wheelchair. 2007 was not a good year. Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, my symptoms have been severely lessened. I can walk again, though I use a cane when I’m outside the house. A lot of time retraining my brain to make my hands do what I want them to means I can do fiddly-little fine motor tasks again, like beading – just not for long. Changing tasks seems to help a lot, and I’ve been assured that doing art is just about the best thing I can possibly do for a brain that’s destroying itself. By practicing hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity tasks, coupled with creating new things, its reinforcing existing damaged neural pathways and making new ones. As far as I’m concerned, this is the best Physical Therapy ever! I can’t work anymore, and I’m receiving Disability assistance. Believe me, there’s so much pride swallowing involved in that for me it just hurt. I assuage myself in that the Disability payments through the government I earned by the money I put into it for years. Also, the fact that the amount of money I get each year almost covers the cost of my insurance & prescriptions – and that’s it. My husband is supporting me, and my government is helping me treat the handicap. And when I can make art, I can feel like I’m contributing again. 

What is your greatest personal achievement either in your art, or because of it?
Getting back up and trying to see what I COULD still do made all the difference in the world. I started playing with all the craft supplies I’d amassed over the years and moved into mixed media. I’ve picked up enough new ‘mini-hobbies’ over the years (and I have packrat tendencies, so I still have all the supplies for them) to make an impressive craft hoard, and jumped into mixed media with horns a-blaring - and in so doing reclaimed my interest in getting out of bed. Slowly, and with persistence & practice, I’m regaining a decent amount of fine motor dexterity in my fingers. It’s nearly back to normal now, most days. I’ve regained the ability to distinguish colors, though everything is somewhat muted, as with seeing color through smoked glass. From always being drawn to neutrals and subtle shade differences, a switch was flipped to being drawn to bright, eye-catching neons and glitters. Where my favorite colors used to be muted moss greens and rich mahogany browns, it’s now the in-your-face glowing snot greens and anything with glitter. And I’m making something – Anything – every day. Sometimes it’s a flop. Sometimes, it goes on the walls in my house. And lately, at the urging of friends & family, it’s listed on Etsy. To date, I’ve made one sale. And I don’t care, because it’s fun. And I can pretend, to myself at least, that I’m participating in this whole ‘part of the economy’ thing. And it’s so much more fulfilling than watching a movie for the hundredth time, or sleeping. There are days I can’t get out of bed. And while I know they’re going to be more frequent and more severe as time goes by, for now, I’ve got something to do on days I can’t get up. I plan. I put ideas together from the things I’ve made or seen or heard about, and jot them all down, and the next good day I have a whole list of ideas to choose from

Do you ever lose your mojo, and if so, how do you get it back?
I periodically go through phases where I’m frustrated with myself. Unsurprisingly, they usually correspond with times I’m physically not doing well. It can be hard to get excited about getting up to do anything when you hurt. It can turn into a vicious cycle if I let it get going strongly: Hurt, so stay in bed; staying in bed means nothing gets done; getting nothing done makes me feel useless. This in turn feeds the pain, and ‘round and ‘round we go. I’m still learning where the balancing point is for myself, how much pain I can deal with before resorting to taking medication that will knock out pain, but also put me to sleep. And don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a good sleep! But after a while, it gets old. So I’m finding a middle ground to knock pain back to discomfort, which in turn lets me find something to focus on to take my mind off physical feedback. I can then get involved enough in the creative process that it’s all I’m focused on. And when I need reminding, I just flip through my art journal and see that there are still blank pages, and I still have things to say.

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
I have a nail art blog that I update sporadically, and have posted a few tutorial videos on YouTube also with the handle nailsbybrie. The jewelry & baubles I’m making I’m posting on Etsy, at the repeated urging of friends & family. The name (MindlessLuminary) comes from the whole idea of my having a shop. Mindless, because I’m kind of literally losing my mind, and Luminary to show that even in a dark place, you can find –or be-- a light to guide the way. Thanks for listening to me ramble. Now go do art!

Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us Brie  - if this interview doesn't touch everyone that reads it, and make them admire you for your perseverance in doing what you love, I'd be very shocked indeed. As it is you represent a valuable lesson to us all I think, and I for one and now inspired to go off to do art - well kinda, I am on a lil full-blown art break so it'll be in my own finding-a-solution-to-a-problem-by-hitting-the-recycling-bin-way, but it's all creativity ;) wish me luck, if I shall succeed in my plans I shall do a post about it xoxo

Want your art here... ???
Email me or click the link to find all the details here =)

Sunday 8 December 2013

Take a Break...From Art! ~ Coffee Chat Vlog

Hi guys, so there's been ch-ch-ch-changes happening lately to me and my artful practice. There are multiple reasons for this, though perhaps it's somewhat more exhausting looking at the root of all the causes, rather than just going along with what's happening and making it right for you. If you have been a follower of mine for any length of time you may know I 100% believe in following your gut. I do it in my art, and I do it in my life. And I am doing so right now. 

While I know I have many people wanting me to be 'on it, on it, on it' in terms of art, so they get some inspiration for their art (and that they may be the people worried by this vlog that that's gonna seize up) fear not, I'm not going anywhere...and I don't want you taking from this vlog that I am! I am simply being who I am, and from that can only ever come good things!

It may mean I physically put less paint to paper right now but who know what progress it will make me do in the future? - but one thing is for certain, it WILL make me progress. Being truthful to yourself and following your gut down your own path may not be a path of least resistance in terms of society, or what other people may expect of you, but it is a path of least resistance towards yourself...and from that can only come peace, and growth. So I see anything I am doing at the moment as growth in my art too, aren't I and it one and the same after all? Changes in ourselves reflect changes in our art whether we like it to, or intended it to, or not. 

This is quite a ranty vlog I feel, still isn't that what a vlog is? It is the most personal I have done & explains my headspace right now...though I already feeling it changing back into art ~ as you might imagine it would lol ;)

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Offers at My Etsy Shop and an Offer for Yours

Hi guys just a heads up that I will be closing my shop on Sunday. But before that I've an early Christmas gift of 20% off everything in my shop (no minimum order) until Sunday, when I will close my shop until the new year. So if you want something as a gift please get it now using the code 'XMAS2013' during checkout.

& plenty more at the shop.

Also if you are thinking about opening your own Etsy shop but haven't taken the plunge yet Etsy have started a friend referral system that gives away free listings, to both the new shop opener and the referrer. So if you want a shop but don't want to pay for your first 40 listings, please use this link to open your shop and make both of our wallets breathe easier =)

Happy Christmas shopping & creating ;)
Much love

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Niina Niskanen

Hi guys I've finally managed to figure out a temporary solution to get TAT up this week - I did a post about journal ideas last week as my computer has decided to simply say no to downloading, saving or copying pictures of any kind to be used alongside the interviews (she can be stubborn - yep, my computers a girl!). The solution involves a LOT of extra effort but worth it to have TAT back yaaaaaaaaaaaaay! This week's featured artist is a fantasy artist, enjoy =D

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what kind of artist you are.
My name is Niina Niskanen. I'm 26 year old fantasy artist living in Finland. I started to paint and draw at very early age. My first drawings were done on my school drawing book and they presented little houses full with little rooms and people doing pretty much everything...watching tv, sitting in a sauna or knitting. I drew every little detail and enjoyed so much what I was doing (I guess it also explains my fascination for miniatures). After high school I studied one year in a free art-school and after that three years in the school of Lybecker graphic art and design. After degree in arts I went to study teaching and instructing. At this moment I´m on a business course and hope to start my own web-shop in the future and sell my cards and posters here in Finland (and abroad) I'm also going to start keeping lectures and courses about creativity and spirituality within art.

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome with it?
At this moment with my business studies biggest question is time. How do I fit my "artistic time" to my working time. When I run my own business beside painting and creating new artworks I'm the one taking photos, scanning, running to the post office, making the marketing plans etc. I know I can handle all that because it's all part of job I love and that is doing my own thing.

What message do you try to portray in your work and do you feel you achieve it?
My art is mostly inspired by fairy-tales and myths. My favorite subjects to paint and draw are fairies, unicorns, dragons and fairy-tale illustrations. In Finland fantasy art is mostly found in children book illustrations. There is a new generation of artists rising that paints mythological subjects and I'm very happy about it. My art is very connected to my inner spiritual world. You could say that these fairies are my spirit guides. I also wish to raise awareness about our cultural history by painting subjects of Finnish mythology like different gods, goddesses and nature spirits. Beside these mythological themes I love to paint animals, tea cups and overall just things that makes me smile. Of course I hope they bring smile to the viewer's faces as well.

Do you ever lose your mojo, and if so, how to get it back?
Artistic mojo can get lost sometimes. For example I'm now in process of illustrating a story written by my sister. It tells from an elf and presents all the four seasons. In the end of the summer I was supposed to start illustrations of the chapter that takes part on Christmas. Well... since I wasn't mood for Christmas that time I started to look up Christmas magazines and decorations to get me to the holiday mood and suddenly creative juices were flowing again. One other way is to have a break from painting/creating process and do something completely different like going to a walk or to read a good book.

Tell us where can we found out more about you and your art?
Everyone is welcome to my artblog and my originals and other goodies can be found on my etsy-shop and let's not forget facebook and my fan page there

Thank you Niina for sharing your art and allowing us to dig around inside your artistic brain =)

I love that you feel your roots through your artwork, and that that in turn shares them with others via your artistic expression. Good luck with your course and future business plans, I'm sure you'll make them hugely successful =)

Do you want to join the TAT-ed??
Email me or click the link to find all the details here =)
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