Coral Reefs Update

I completed sewing the 25 daily squares of the Coral Reef series on Sunday. The final piece is in My Shop. 

Here is how I describe it. Imagine the feeling of swimming underwater and seeing the coral reef healthy, colorful and full of life. This is the feeling I evoke with the Coral Reef series. This series is inspired by the documentary Chasing Coral. The documentary is available on Netflix and is a wonderful movie to watch with family over the holidays. If you are curious about how I make each piece, I sew all the daily squares in consecutive order from Day 1 to 25 into one big square and then wrap that around a 24 in.² stretched canvas frame. The impact of the blues for the water in the top row and the natural colors for the sand on the bottom row are a little subtle because of the edges being wrapped around the stretch canvas frame. But there are enough little hints of the water blue and sand color that I’m still pleased with the outcome. The Coral Reef series is now for sale my website. Click HERE to see he finished piece in my shop. 

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Imagine Standing In A Forest Looking Up Update

Last week I finished sewing together the Forest. It has become one of my favorites because this series taught me about the power of emotion evoked by the art and the idea behind the art.  As I state in the article below, "Art evokes an emotion. Then what does this Forest series say? The calm greens and blues remind you of the peace you feel in nature as you are standing in the forest yourself." Consistent with my new way of presenting my art, I wrapped the sewn pieces around a stretched canvas frame.  Since this was a larger piece, I was not quite sure how it would turn out. Happily, it all worked out. The Forest is now for sale on my website just in time for holiday gift giving. If you know someone who loves to be among trees and feel that calming presence, consider giving them the gift of original art. 

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Yearly Review and Friday Question Conversations

It is this that time again. December is my month to think about what went well this past year and what did not go well. I wrote about this last year in the article, Why do an Annual Review? This review and planning time is like a combination of a spa and brainstorming session smashed together. Everyone needs to feel relaxed to come up with good creative ideas. So I’m going to be figuring out that balance over the next month of December.

Another question I’ve been asking myself is how do I want to spend my time? One of my favorite creative business guys Paul Jarvis posed this question in one of his newsletters. His idea is to figure out this question and work backwards as to the kind of things you want to do to fill your day. Play to your strengths and focus on those type of activities. You will do them better anyway than forcing yourself to do something you do not really even want to do. These guiding questions will help me figure out my 2018 focuses.

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Power of Gratitude

Most people have heard by now about the power of gratitude. It’s almost a cliché. People say "Yeah, Yeah. I know I should write a gratitude list or be grateful for all the good things that I have in my life. " As with all ideas that become clichés, there is a profound truth embedded in them.

When we live in a state of gratitude you begin to see the good all around you. When you start looking for the good around you, you see even more and more good in your life.  The power of gratitude is that it appears to magnify the good in your life. Perhaps the good in your life has always been there and it’s a question of seeing and acknowledging it

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Looking for a Creative Boost?

Many people attribute the quote “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” to Albert Einstein. Based on my research, there’s no substantiation for this actually being said by him or in his writings. But it is true none the less, whoever said it. As an artist, it is easy to be overwhelmed by feeling we have either too much creativity or too little creativity. It can feel like a pendulum swing between two many ideas and creative block.

How can we get a creative boost when we need one?

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Every Day Project Goes Rectangle

This week I’m highlighting two additional Every Day Project series that are available for purchase in my online shop. It’s true as the title suggests. They are in a rectangle shape.  Here is the link...

My Shop

I mentioned last week that I have thought about using a non-square stretched canvas frame for my art. Well, here are the series I chose to display on a rectangle, to be precise a 16“ x 20“ rectangle. When I was deciding which series to use for this new rectangle form, I went back to one of my favorite series from 2015, Fractured Blue Sky. I wrote about it in this article . This was one of my most simple designs with the strong contrast between the white and the blue or green with the diagonal dark brown insert. This design takes on special meaning since yesterday we received an emergency phone call from our son’s college about a tornado warning and lockdown at his college. We were able to talk to him and he got to a safe space. All was well. Now I can add this to my list of worries about your children being away at college. Who knew that there were tornados in that part of the upper Midwest? When I originally made the series I wasn’t really thinking about actual storms per se but it was more about the sense of calm with the horizontal lines being disrupted and offset more like a metaphorical storm in your life.

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Every Day Project Art For Sale

If you’ve been following along with my Every Day Project for the past two and a half years, now is your chance to own a piece of it for yourself.

This week I am introducing small 10 inch square pieces of my Every Day Project series for sale in my redesigned shop on my website. 

If you or someone you care about loves nature-inspired, colorful art and modern design, this might be a good fit for you.

I am using the daily squares from three different series. I picked the Green and Purple series, the Blue Square series and the Compassion series. Each small piece includes four daily squares sewn together. I selected these series for the small pieces because of the simpler color palette and/or design. 

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Possible Solutions

Last week I talked about the challenges of Time and Focus in my Studio Notes. The majority of the responses to my previous Friday Question ”What are your top two challenges?” revolves around these two issues, Time and Focus. Not enough time to do everything you want to do. Difficulty in finding your focus and maintaining that focus. Last week I listed some potential solutions I have tried and ones I have been meaning to try. As I wrote last week, if you solve the challenge of time by deciding upfront to do less things, then the focus issue becomes easier because there is less to distract you. In my Friday Question series last week, I asked, "What is one solution for your top two challenges?" I am looking for ideas from people to add to this Solutions list. The more potential solutions the merrier.  In this article, I add the responses I received last week from readers to the Solutions list.

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Challenges and Solutions

One of my questions for my Friday Questions series on Instagram was, ”What are your top two challenges?" The responses came in quickly. It occurred to me that these challenges are issues that are "top of the mind" issues. It was easy to respond because everyone knew exactly what their challenges are because it runs like a loop in the background of your thinking on a daily basis.

There was plenty of overlap on the top two challenges by many of the commentors. People said it in different ways but it boiled down to Time and Focus were the top two challenges...too many things to do and not enough time to do them and difficulty in deciding what to focus on and maintaining focus on what you eventually decided to do. People said things like self care and choosing how to spend my time, wandering eye for new art forms, filtering ideas to get to the best ones, planning too much for one day, making a decision on a direction and then following through. Time and Focus are really related sequential topics.  One causes the other one which causes the other one. When we feel overwhelmed by too much to do, by definition it is hard to focus. Just like it is hard to be kind when you are angry or feel grateful when you are complaining. So the one thing that would help is to not feel overwhelmed.  Easily said, but hard to do.

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Why Coral Reefs?

Last week, I started a  new series called Coral Reef, Lizard island. The inspiration for this idea is a documentary on Netflix called Chasing Coral.

The documentary tagline from their website is... "Divers, scientists and photographers around the world mount an epic underwater campaign to document the disappearance of coral reefs."

I highly recommend this documentary. You can see a trailer in the link above. It is powerful. You see people who love and study coral reefs documenting the effects of warmer ocean temperatures. 

This documentary hits close to home. The last part of the documentary was filmed at Lizard Island, a research station on the Great Barrier Reef off of Australia. Our daughter spent 10 days on Lizard Island in 2014, the year before the coral bleaching events that occurred in just 30 days and are documented in this film. Watching her see the damage done to a place that she loves was heart breaking. A significant portion of the coral died, along with the ecosystem that relies on it.

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