May Flowers and Whimsy

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Cheer! Happy New Year!

I never thought I would do a painting of a cheerleader. But there she was on my art table… she came out of nowhere.

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Cheer ~2013

… and the adorable note from the young girl who inspired her.

photo-2Since putting the finishing touches on Cheer in mid-December, I have not touched a paintbrush.  She made me super happy though while I made her, and looking at her brings back those butterflies.

What will 2014 bring?  And what will I bring to 2014?

Cheers!  Happy New Year!

xo skyblue

Brave Girl with Pink Handbag – Where are you?

I’d love to know where she ended up.  If she ended up anywhere.   I’m sure I’ll find out Monday.  Maybe no one would want her.  But I believed that at least one person would.  I had to believe it, or I would never succeed.  She was such a joy to create.  I was literally in another world when i made her.  Especially her hair.  I started drawing her two weeks ago today.  It was Sunday.  A sunny, cozy, Sunday.  Her top and bottom half were drawn on two pieces of scrap paper, and attached at the hips.

Just to clarify… when I say draw, I mean draw, erase, draw, erase, erase, erase it all, draw erase some more, erase the whole thing, start over, almost finish, erase the entire face 14 more times, look at the clock, realize its 3:30am, draw it once more, and…. done.  Well… as done as a person who makes art can feel.  Basically, I knew I had a deadline and the pressure was on.  In fact, she started as an entirely different painting, an entirely different girl, which I worked on all day Saturday, only to toss aside.  That canvas now stands with the other misfits and orphans that lean against the studio wall, wondering if they will ever be loved again.  They will.

But for now, I am focused on Brave Girl.  She was still just a flimsy drawing, detailed with colored pencils, carefully cut out, sprayed with fixative and set to the side, while I began to create her ground… her world.  Paint, glue, tissue, little scraps in my studio… Three canvases later, one milky blue, one awful pea green, and finally it started to emerge.  The whole time I was trying to stay away from a Pink background for a few different reasons, but I eventually I gave in.  Red, White, a little Titanium Buff, and off I went into her world.  Layer after layer, more red, some orange, lots of yellow… a little purple.  Cutting, gluing, drawing, gluing, painting… until the world was ready for her.  She settled in perfectly, with some minor gluing drama…OK… it was a disaster.  I am a mess with the glue.  How do I get it in my hair?!! Luckily I was able to overcome the glue monster… I took a deep breath, followed the gluing protocol, and laid her in place.  I knew she was home.  Still bald, but home.  I loved her. I didn’t “love my drawing”.  My drawing skills are mediocre at best.  A little shadowing and perspective I learned from Miss Mailette, but still drawing with the skill level of a first grader.  No, I didn’t love the drawing. I just loved her. And it didn’t matter to me if anyone else did.  It didn’t matter if she wasn’t perfect.  She was loved.

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During the week, I worked on her here and there.  The circles of text and music were originally cut out to be hair.  Crazy, quirky, pretty, bubble hair.  I thought about leaving her bald… she was pretty that way.  I do sometimes leave my girls bald, but she was going to have hair.  I arranged the shapes in dozens of ways.  The bubble hair wasn’t working for her though… I was trying too hard.  And I hadn’t even thought about the flowers yet.  There’s always flowers.  I was running out of time.  So I moved the bubbles of paper down to the bottom and i just said, heck, I’ll just make these into flowers.

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The flowers emerged, different sizes and colors…nothing too crazy.  I tend to get overly involved in detail, and I don’t really have time for that now.  But in no way did that mean the flowers didn’t have to be right.  I just had to work differently than I usually do.  I had to just go with it.  I groomed her flower garden for a few hours during the week.  And then Saturday… my favorite day of the week since I was four (in my day you could only watch cartoons on Saturday).. this day I would now go back to her hair.  No thinking, just grab your sh*t, fill the water and today we are going outside. 

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There’s nothing like working in a colorful, sunny studio surrounded by art supplies, furry friends and books.  But working outside with the sunshine tops that by far.  The morning light shows you colors you never saw before.  I set up my easel and all my supplies, and got straight to work.  The voice of my nerves tried to creep out of my brush.  Your running out of time.  Tick Tock.  You only have two days.  What if you ruin it?  You don’t know what you’re doing. What if you can’t finish it. You should start over.  This is cr*p. 

“Shut up”, I told the voice.  So I just sat there and got to work.  I played with the flowers, mushed colors around in the background.  I was still procrastinating a bit, not sure what her hair was to look like… the hair is important.  I started to sketch around her face in yellow chalk.  A little curly, a little stringy, down pasted her waist.

I sat, I listened, I looked, tilted my head.  Nope, that’s not it.  Listened some more.  And then the wind came out of nowhere.  It was probably there all morning, and I just hadn’t noticed it, but when the wind blows in my yard the trees make some serious noise. I am certain it would register on my husbands trusty decibel meter.  I stared at the painting, I looked up at the trees for a while, closed my eyes, then I saw her hair blow. This would be her hair. The hair that evolved over the course of the day was trying to capture that moment.  That obnoxiously (but beautifully) loud gust of wind that almost knocked her over but she stood firm with her handbag.  Everything she needed was in that handbag.  Her strength, hope, family, friends, love, creativity, courage, cats…a little money for food, coffee and health insurance…  they were all right in there.  The wind was powerful.  She was definitely more so.

My parents came over and hung out while I worked, and then I finally packed it in for dinner.  One more day.  She was getting there.

The next day I woke up and I was pumped.  I couldn’t wait to spend the day with her.  First things first, coffee and couch time.  Then I put the music on, I got my yoga on, and we did our thing.  Brave girl and me.  Girl time!  We hung out all day and well into the night, until there was nothing left to talk about.  Later girlfriend. She was complete.

I don’t usually write play by plays detailing my paintings in progress.  This is possibly the first.  Photos are easier to share since you can always say “I know it sucks, it’s not done yet”.  It’s definitely strange putting this side of my art out there though. I guess some people will think I am utterly weird creating the way I do, but this is pretty much how it goes every time.  Except for the “finishing” part.  Signed, sealed, varnished, ready to hang.  Very. Rarely. Happens.

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There are two jewels that were added at the end, which had their own separate gluing challenges.  Apparently gravity is still stronger than mostly dry glue (meaning, you must lay the painting flat until glue COMPLETELY dries, or her ruby necklace might end up as a belly button jewel).  But it all worked out in the end, and I was ready to let her go.  Let’s do this. 

I boxed her up and sent her out into the world.

xo skyblue

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Brave Girl was created for a fundraiser which would raise money for breast health initiatives including the Beekley Center for Breast Health and Wellness, and a free mammogram program, in Bristol CT.  I couldn’t make it to the fundraiser this year, but my heart was definitely there.  Literally. She hopefully went home with someone last night.  🙂

Update ~ Brave Girl ended up going to a wonderful home and resides with a private art collection in Bristol, CT.

 

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Connecticut Folk Artist Skyblue is Erica Lubee (formerly Erica Moreland).  She writes this blog from her studio in CT to share her love of art, creativity, photography, nature and all creatures big and small, real and imagined.  Her passion is for mixed media, whimsical folkart, illustration and the feminine portrait.  Visit Skyblue’s gallery for more of her paintings and artworks.  Some prints available at Redbubble.  Original drawings, paintings, and more will become available soon!  Follow or subscribe here or on Facebook for updates and more artsy fun. 🙂

 

 

Yoga Gypsy – Art and Inner Peace Part II – Link Included!

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Sorry to my lovely friends and followers… I had trouble adding a link to my last post – I am not very good at posting from my I-Phone.

Anyway, here is the link back to the original post: Yoga Gypsy

And here is the link the the store if you’d like to go straight there!  Yoga Gypsies for sale!

Thanks Again!

xo skyblue

Yoga Gypsy – Art and Inner Peace

When I drew Yoga Gypsy, I was coming off of a year of some serious health challenges… I knew I needed to be creating art again, but i just couldn’t find the energy to do much at all.  I pressed on the best I could, doing daily(ish) yoga and gentle exercise in my studio… I was not ready to let my body fall apart. It was absolutely amazing how much better I was feeling, just using the most delicate movements from yoga and belly dance.

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Soon I became stronger, and sketches started to emerge from my journals as I started to find energy in the art.  I used that energy to get more energy and I remember feeling some of that energy in my yoga.  It was at that time that i realized that both of these parts of my life were not separate… they existed within each other… because of each other. I knew movement and art would heal me.

Yoga Gypsy was one of the first drawings I knew I wanted to share… in hopes she could help someone else find strength and inner peace.  And she is now available at my RedBubble store, in several colors and designs!  Kind of a big deal!!  🙂

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Greeting Cards, Prints, Framed Art, Canvases… Enjoy! and Thank you!

http://www.redbubble.com/people/skyblue32

xo skyblue

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Let’s stop for a moment, as Autumn light fades.

Summer is long gone.  Fall is nearly devoid of all color.  New England is known for its breathtaking foliage and autumn wonder, but the window is small.  It feels like i blinked and the color was gone.  Last weekend, I knew it would be my last chance of the year to enjoy the warm sunshine and colors in my yard.  Tiny still-lifes everywhere. I didn’t want these moments it to go unappreciated and forgotten.

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Sure enough, here it is the following weekend, and the grey veil has settled upon us.  The sky is drab, the blossoms are shriveled, and the trees are almost bare.  Sandy threatens to wipe out what remains.  It will be cold and grey for the next five months.  Goodbye color and light…for now.  This is where art comes in.

“Dawn’s Garden” sky blue

Stay safe in the storm.

xo skyblue

The Creative Daisy Art Project… first design finally revealed!

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Wow, we are well into October already… time for us to get out our PINK and raise some awareness. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is in full pink regalia.  I am not alone in my mixed emotions about all the pink fuss.  But I happen to be a hardcore fan of the color pink, and I fully support the donning of all its shades where intentions are sincere. 

An event, and cause, at the company I work for, is one such place this sincerity is found.  The other day, the first design from TheCreativeDaisyArtProject made its debut at this event.  Peace on Earth is now available, and 100% of the proceeds I earn for any item in this design will be donated to causes providing breast cancer treatments and prevention.

The card is available in folding or postcard style, and there are also matching stamps that can be purchased separately. We can create other products in this design upon request.

This is the first of many drawings, photos, sketches and paintings being created and collected for the sole purposes of raising some cash for various good causes, and spreading smiles and warm-fuzzies across the world.

Please visit the link below if you would like to make a purchase.   http://www.zazzle.com/skybluewithdaisies/gifts

My intention is to post periodically and regularly about the project, it’s target causes, and the people behind the art.  You can visit my dedicated blog, which will include updates on funds donated, and more details about the project.

Thank you for your kindness.   Please pass on the pink, and feel free to share this link, TheCreativeDaisyArtProject, with your readers… your colleagues… your facebook friends! 

Have a happy, healthy holiday season!

                                                                        ~ xo sky blue

If you have questions, or if you would like to submit a design for the project, please feel free to email me:  skybluewithdaisies@gmail.com

~ I encourage women of all ages to perform regular self-checks, monitor your breast density, and consider a mammogram when the time is right for you.  And please spread the word!

…make sure you wear a flower in your hair

Not feeling very pretty today.  Don’t feel like doing much.  Feel frustrated, ugly, trapped, stressed, fat, lost.  OK, so that’s my deal today.  It’s definitely not like that every day.  Many days I feel this way and I can just roll with it. Who doesn’t feel this way sometimes?  We must suck it up and move on.  And most days I do.  My life is full of much, MUCH more good than bad.

Today I just need a little extra boost.  So I will do what I often do to help me snap out of it. I will go in my basket, pick out a flower, and stick it in my hair.  Then I will just move on, and get going.  And I will say, holy crap… what is wrong with me?? It’s Saturday, my favorite day, and the sun is out.  I have a job, a home, food, decent health, two sweet kitties, a beautiful family, amazing friends, and coffee. That is what I’ll focus on today.  Everything else will come, and if it doesn’t… it’s not the end of the world.  (-: 

sky blue, xo.

the vase.

It is evident that I post an excessive amount of photos that include the inside of my home as either the background or as the subject matter.  If I have any regular readers (thank you, if i do!), then you are probably like, “seriously… is this chick going to post yet ANOTHER picture of her “studio”? Or no, let me guess… one of her cats!”

Well, I love to take photographs.  I don’t have much opportunity for travel, and generally I don’t get out much between my home on a patch of grass with some trees, and day after day in an office cubicle…  so the majority of my photographs get taken in or around my home, with much of the same subject matter.  The occasional day trip takes me to to a scenic forest, or if i’m lucky, a visit to Boston or New York City.  But until I am free from to live somewhere fascinating, or travel as I please… I invite you into my home, where I will do my best to entertain you.  I hope over the years these images of my home, my cats, and my humble life, will on their own tell a story of a girl who just wants to take pictures, make art, inspire people, make them giggle once in a while, and create beautiful spaces.

With that said…  I have more pictures in my studio.  And more cats.

Today I thought I would, in the form of a blog post, memorialize a vase that has been in my home for years.  It has lived on many shelves, in many corners, of many rooms, but most recently it has held the big burst of colorful flowers you may have seen in my studio.  The flowers are fake of course, the vase really just a cheap thing from the craft store, but i remember when i first put it on this shelf years ago…how happy the vase of flowers made the room feel.

I am a believer that there is a lot more to a “nice house” than expensive furniture, and fancy things.  It’s not about impressing people… it’s about the feeling people get when they enter a room.  Calm, happy, warm, cozy, comfortable, clean, romantic… these are adjectives that describe an atmosphere that can be achieved with moderate physical effort, a few discount stores, and some creative solutions.

I just happened to take these photos about a week ago, featuring Stewie and the Vase.  I had recently moved the shelf and the vase to a new corner, and this quickly became his new “favorite spot” to oversee the studio activity.

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Now if I was smart, I would have known better than to leave a top heavy ceramic vase filled with giant daisies on a shelf where the cat frequents.  It was only about 48 hours after I took these photos, when at about 2 in the morning we heard the crash that brought certain intruders through the back door of the studio.  Heart racing, baseball bat and 911 buttons in hand we made our way to the studio and found the shattered vase on the floor.  Nobody had broken in…

Stewie tried to blame Olive.  Olive tried to blame Stewie.   Sorry Stewie Buddy… i think Olive’s got this one.  We have photographic evidence.  Licking yourself won’t make you look less guilty.

Oh well… I easily moved on.  It really wasn’t my favorite vase, and I was over it as soon as i realized we were not experiencing a violent home invasion, my cats had not escaped out the broken door into the darkness, and i could go back to bed.

This room still contains plenty of happy without a vase of fake flowers… but it’s neat that I have a few pretty pics to share.

skyblue xo

Thank You, Isabella

I first came across the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum while roaming about Boston back in the early 90’s with some [of my favorite] friends.  I don’t remember how we ended up there, or who’s idea it was to go in… but from the moment I caught a glimpse of the magical botanical courtyard, I knew I must tell others about it… and I knew I must someday return here.  Specifically (and secretly), I hoped I would return with someone I love.  You know…maybe with a husband or something.

Fast forward 20 years to last weekend…just having met what they call middle age… and I was finally making it back for a visit.  I was bringing someone I love too, which was cool.  (-:  My husband doesn’t much think about art and such things, but he made the two hour trip to Boston with me for my recent birthday.  Once in the city, we found free rock-star parking only one block away (and not in a tow zone!).  After taking a quick photo or two (or three…) out front, we found ourselves walking past the giant iron gates, through the “whimsical meets Gothic” doors and into a dimly lit corridor.  We were greeted by a friendly guard, and the grand four story courtyard… and showered by the most delicate light.   It was just as breathtaking as the first time i saw it.  It was better than i even remembered it to be.  I knew I was having a moment…I was pretty sure that we were having a moment.

[Although my husband would say his moment came later when we were having beer and bacon burgers]

We made our way through shadowy corridors and up marble staircases (butt workout…bonus!), around each corner greeted by a different viewing room, all with walls of vibrant colors, vintage leathers and fabrics, and all with brilliantly framed views of the courtyard.  Each room was filled to the brim with art and treasures from all around the world.  There were brief, but foot-stomping-temper-tantrum-make-me-so-stinking-mad reminders of the mysteriously stolen Rembrandts and Degas drawings (amongst works by other masters that some loser walked off with).  Every nook and cranny, every tile in the wall, every window, every piece of furniture – it all had a story to tell.  This was Isabella’s collection.  Her collection that she decided she wanted to share with all of us.  How lucky i felt to be standing there, again, on my birthday, with Isabella, and my husband.

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For twenty years, whenever someone asks me to close my eyes and envision myself in one of the most beautiful places i have ever been, I am immediately transported to this place.   Photography is not permitted inside (bummer), but you can see some sneak peaks if you do a Google search, or go to the official website.   Even so, I hope I have inspired someone to travel there someday, or to stop in if just passing through.

Thank You, Isabella!

e.j.l. xo

photo of courtyard : source www.gardnermuseum.org