Thursday, April 14, 2011

Getting back into the swing of things

Good Morning!

Life is starting to get back to normal or as normal as it ever is around my home.  Molly Cat is lazing in a pool of warm sunlight and I am, well, I am digging through boxes trying to organize my art supplies into some semblance of order that will make artistic ventures easier to jump into because I will be able to pull out the supplies from my nicely organized closet.  The art closet which looked huge when I saw it empty, is in reality, a good sized closet, but by no means would I consider it a room all unto itself.  It will hold a lot of supplies once I purge it of the empty boxes that somehow found their way in there to make room for full boxes that needed to be sorted through to remain on the floor of the actual studio.

The chaos on the floor was such that I could barely make my way from the doorway to the front of the room to work on the bookcase.  At one point, my foot got lodged between some boxes and the only way out was to abandon my shoe and try to retrieve it at a later date.  Some friends were over this past weekend and helped me make a good sized pathway through the room and I am hoping to work my way through all these boxes and house all similar components into one box, maybe two.

My best find through all this process has been what I refer to as plastic shoe boxes.  I found these sold in bundles of five and bought several bundles.  This way, I can categorize my rubber stamps according to holidays and house the ink pads in another.  Another grouping of these boxes is set aside for coloured pencils.  I have a love of coloured pencils and have them in great quantity.  So, I have separated the artist quality ones from the general ones with each box being labelled with the appropriate tag which lists the brand and any other information.  Another kit contains items used with the coloured pencils such as burnishing pencils, sharpeners, sandpaper, cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol.  For my acrylic paints, I have resorted to using the plastic bins that kitty litter is stored in and which make wonderful containers to hold an ever growing number of tubes of paint.  The lid of the container can be used as a palette.  I tape a piece of waxed paper to the lid so that I have a disposable palette which makes clean up easier.

In the actual storage closet, I have an old shelving unit to hold all these plastic bins along with cardboard boxes originally designed to hold photos, but since they are the perfect size to hold items used in making journals, that is how I make use of them.  Other boxes hold beads, writing tools, rulers, erasers, scraps of paper that will be used in future card making ventures. 

Did I mention my stamp collection?  I have a vast number of rubber stamps along with the clear plastic ones that need to be mounted on acrylic blocks.  I have a box of stamps for each holiday i.e. Birthdays, Hallowe'en, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Get Well, Thinking of you, and then a box of stamps that are just plain interesting and can be used for any number of holidays or just because situations.  I am like a kid in a candy store when it comes to rubber stamps.  I will walk up and down the aisle looking at individual stamps, packages of stamps, and try to decide which one will be my pick for that particular trip.  I am always in the supply store for at least two sometimes three hours.  Warning!  I will be heading that way on Sunday.  So, anyone trying to find me late in the morning might just as well save their energy.  I am going to spend some time looking over any new arrivals in the stamp department and seeing if there are one or two that are begging to join my happy little family.

Ribbon is another item that I feel you can never have too much of on hand.  I wait for sales and stock up on 1/8 of an inch to 1/4 inch ribbons to use on my cards.  Ribbons with wider widths are generally set aside to be used on wreaths that I make for my door.  Since I came across 3 lovely wreaths in my unpacking, I suspect that I will be making a spring time wreath, perfect for this lovely time of year as well as to celebrate Easter which is not too far off.  That means that I had better move into high gear and get my Easter cards done this weekend and into the mail.  So much to do and only so many hours in the day. 

This is what I love about an artistic life.  I can make it as full as I crave or kick back for a bit and just work on specific projects.  The problem with that is, too many people have told me that they have started collections of Rutheemac cards and that they look forward to receiving one for each holiday.  So, that means the card project must carry on.  One tip here - never make just one of a particular card.  Always make at least six.  Put one in your sample book with notes about the colours and techniques used on it and the rest of the cards are for distribution.  If you have a few left over, place them in a study box and file them for reference.  That way, the next time you need a card for that particular occasion, you already have some to choose from.  It really does not take much more time to make six of one type of card than it does to make just one.  Making the extras means you are saved in a pinch and have a card on hand to use with a hostess gift or for a co-worker's birthday.  Another little hint is that making collections of cards as a gift is not only thoughtful, but lets others see your work. These might be people who would not normally see what kind of cards that you make and you never know where that might lead you.  Perhaps you might consider selling a package of greeting cards for a reasonable price.  Each package could contain three birthday cards, one get well soon, and two generic cards that would be suitable for any number of occasions.  Closer to the holidays, you might even do up packages of Hallowe'en cards, cards for any of the December holidays and New Year's cards.  It is just a thought, but getting your artwork out in the community for people to see can be difficult.  When someone sees your cards, they often ask if you do any other type of artwork and that opens a door for you if you choose to enter it.  So many possibilities if you take the time to consider them.

So, today is all about organizing and seeing what supplies I have on hand that might be made into something of value.  My autumnal door wreath was sold right off the door, so maybe I had better get a move and make a spring time wreath quickly.  Just so happens that I have a love collection of silk flowers that would make a wonderful display on my rattan wreaths. 

I advocate looking through your treasure trove of goodies on a regular basis to see what you have and to see what you may be secretly hoarding.  Both my sister and I love the Japanese papers to the point where we are hesitant to use them in any artwork.  But, we bought the papers with the intent to use them, yet there they sit, increasing in their numbers whilst still not seeing daylight.  I am firmly telling myself now that I must use them or I will not allow myself to purchase any more.  So, I have better get working on some collages or cards and incorporate some of these beautiful pieces if I ever want to purchase some again.

I am dreading going through all these boxes and yet I am eager to start the task just for the joy of finding things that I may have forgotten about.  Who knows where this little journey might take me?  But, I can work at my own pace, jotting down notes in a book as I move along and make order out of chaos.  It will be a pleasant day, probably two or three days to get everything set up the way that I want it to be.  But, my studio will be a reflection of me.  It will be colourful, diverse in its number of different supplies and the art work that they will be used in, but it will definitely yield some interesting results in the upcoming projects that I plan to work on and complete.

Not to worry!  I am not abandoning my painting.  I could never do that, painting is my all time favourite de-stressor and vital to my well being.  So, painting will always be something significant in my life and there will always be projects propped up around the room, all in various stages of completion.  And I will get to them, but for now, I just have to answer to the call of whatever art form has caught my attention and work with it to learn whatever it is that it feels that I need to learn.  Sometimes I learn that I must become more patient with the process.  Other times I learn that I need to be more daring in my choice of colour and in my choice of technique.  It is all about being open to what you have sitting  before you and making the best use of the materials and learning something about them in the process.

That is a pretty fair exchange for someone who is planning to tidy up their storage room.  I get a  plethora of ideas by looking at what I have and the supplies are housed in protective casings to save their beauty until I get the time to put into practise some of the ideas that I have learned while traipsing about on my artistic journey.  Now, that I have psyched myself up, I had better go and make good use of the time left today to sort out my goodies and see what tempting grouping will appeal to my senses.  What a perfect day!

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