As my artist's statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance. -- Calvin and Hobbes

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Graphite! You'll poke your eye out!

So, I was in a mood the other night. I really felt the energy to stay up late and work. And you know when you have that good vibe, you just can't go to bed, because that's when good things happen.

I sat at my extra large drafting desk, which always lays flat for the utility of the monstrous table top, (but mostly because I inherited it from a local glass studio and one of the incline knobs is missing!) I cut up some Bristol Smooth because I am working with pencil on these next couple of projects, and went to work. As the first hour passed, I was struggling with my proportions, but I hadn't begun to swear yet. My drawing was looking very juvenile and I thought, "Well, it'll come together as I continue. At 1:00 am, I finally went to bed, and I had exhausted all the expletives that George Carlin ever used. Time lost; can't get it back. That piece is in the trash.

Anyway, the next morning, I got up and started again, and finished this little portrait of an 11 year old Pomeranian named Zoe Bear. She apparently knows 200 different toys. I can't imagine having that many toys, but I do know this: When Zoe goes, she wins!

The very first media I remember using was a pencil. We didn't have much growing up, but there always seemed to be a pencil and paper lying around. My Dad would give me those flat construction pencils to draw with and tell me they were special!

I started babysitting at the young age of 8, (believe it or not), and I found my thrill copying photographs out of Time or Life Magazine to pass the time. (No, not the naked tribal pics!) These were my humble art beginnings. The first person I drew was a beautiful woman with a scarf or hood framing her face and her brilliant green eyes! I don't think it was the "Time's" pent ultimate photo, you know the one I'm talking about, but it may have been, it was the mid 70's!

I remember that my brother, who was 3 years older than I, was already drawing well! I wanted to emulate him. I would take his drawings and finished them or try to do what he was doing so I could be good, too! He was a great person to have for a big brother, because it didn't seem to bother him that I always hung around! We are still inseparable in spirit and behavior, even with 3000 miles between us.

I used 12 different grades of graphite for this piece, so I wouldn't have to apply any pressure. What a joy it was, and how different from my early days of just pressing really hard to get the dark lines, which would emboss my paper with lots of shiny dents! It was nice to remember back, anyway.

On to make a French press pot for the last of the afternoon splendor!


Flying and the art of doggy snoring

"Poppy's Adventure" Watercolor on Ampersand Aquaboard

Carmen wanted to remember her special friend, Poppyseed, so she asked me paint a portrait and imagine the scene...

Tiny fake excerpt:
"Poppyseed was an adventurer, a mountaineer, to be certain. Where ever Carmen went, Poppyseed was in tow (and hand!) Carmen would climb with Poppyseed, including the most challenging hikes, where Poppy would have the delight of getting lifted to the next shelf to patiently await the arrival of her buddy who would sweep her up and repeat the exercise until they reached their summit. After the workout, they would relish in the view and little refreshing snack before heading back down on the trail.

Together, Carmen and Poppyseed saw many mountaintops, and went on many adventures, and created a treasure box of memories for Carmen to cherish. Theirs was the truest and purest friendship with unwavering loyalty and affection.

Poppyseed is now on her own spirited journey; more than a worldly trip, as she now has limitless flight in her colorful balloon. Just maybe, if you look very carefully in the sky, in just the right place, as the suns' rays shimmer on the snowy mountain tops, you may see Poppyseed and her balloon, happily surveying all that is beautiful and magical."

My own dogs lay at my side in my studio, insistent on staying near me, even at the expense of their own comfort. Peanut is older, though, and will usually go upstairs and lie in her own bed after a while, where it's warm and cozy. But Haley is the real trooper. She is always there with me. And, regardless of the time of day, her sweet curled up little body, happily snoring away, with the dedicated valor of a soldier in the trenches, makes me feel important somehow, and always makes me smile.

Order your own Custom Portrait!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Late, but not forgotten

Ok, I finally got my iMac back from the shop. Here's the picture of the canon I couldn't post before for the photo contest! There were no winners this time. Maybe it'll be easier this month!

With all the cold wet weather we've had to endure in the past few months, it was nice to go outside today and experience the bliss of sunshine and warmth on our bodies. The rest of the city had the same idea, and we all crawled out of our holes and exposed our skin like reptiles in the winter sun.

The cold weather and lack of sun can really play with your brain chemistry, too. Luckily, science and restaurants support our feelings. Comfort food isn't really on the Summer menu, is it?! (Although, the Gelato shop was swamped today)

Today, Sunday, is even nicer than yesterday, and I'm participating in the other common human nature activity: Spring Cleaning. It may be a little soon, but when you're cooped up for months, a lot of yuck accumulates in the hen house.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A total knockoff, but a goody!

9 Simple Solutions for Procrastinators
by Christine Kane

Irony: As I started to write this article, I thought, "I'll just go play one Sudoku game first." I caught myself in the act and marched to my laptop.

People who say that procrastination is about laziness are probably the same people who think that anorexia is about not eating enough.

Procrastination isn't about laziness. It's about fear. It's about perfectionism. It's about overwhelm. We all experience it, and there are some tricks to help you get moving again.

Here are 9 ways to break the procrastination habit:

1 - When you get an idea, do some little thing to begin.

When I read Stephen King's book On Writing, I noticed something. I noticed that when Stephen King gets an idea, he writes it. Immediately and imperfectly.

Most people get an idea. Then they sit there. They wonder if it's a good idea. Then, they wonder if it's a good idea some more.

Got an idea? Begin it now!

2 - All hail small chunks of time!

Lots of us complain about having no time. My guess is that we all have lots of time. It just doesn't happen to be all at once.

Are you waiting for many hours of spare time to begin your idea, your project, or your taxes? Stop waiting! Learn to use the spare half hour that comes up here and there. (I gave myself 45 minutes to write this article just to take my own advice.)

3 - Agree to do it badly.

Set a goal to do it badly. Set a goal to show up. Let go of doing it ALL, or doing it WELL.

Some of my coaching clients' biggest victories have a lot more to do with getting over perfectionism and fear, than they do about getting it all done perfectly.

4 - Commit aloud.

Call a friend and say something like this: "I'm going to spend the next half hour working on my Law School Essay." Then go do it.

Call the friend after the half hour and make her congratulate you. Repeat daily.

5 - Define quantities.

Nebulous goals make for nebulous results. "I'm gonna get my office organized" is a lot like saying, "We oughtta do something about Global Warming."

Most procrastinators have a hard time defining quantities. We think everything needs to be done NOW.

When are you going to do it? For how long? Which part of your office? The file cabinet? Or your desk?

Define the goal and acknowledge its completion.

6 - Install this System Upgrade into your Mental Hard Drive: Less is More.

Have fewer goals. Have no more than three priorities for a week.


Because you're not lazy. You're just trying to do too much.

Find out what it feels like to accomplish one thing instead of not quite getting to everything. Wow - what a difference this makes!

7 - Do it first.

My first coach made me write songs first thing in the morning. He told me to schedule the 2-hour chunk as my first activity upon waking.


"Because you're telling the universe that this is your priority. And then the universe lines up everything to align with your priority."

Action grounds your priorities. It makes them real. It also makes your day easier because you're not wasting energy thinking about this thing you're supposed to be doing.

8 - Avoid nose-bleed activities.

Email, voicemail, web stats - any activity that bleeds itself into your whole day becomes a non-activity. It becomes a nose-bleed.

When you do it all the time, you never complete it. You just let it slowly drain the very life force from you. Define times for these activities. Then, turn off your email, your cell phone, your web stats, until that time comes.

9 - Don't ask how you "feel" about doing the activity.

Have you ever committed to getting fit? And then when the alarm goes off, you lie in bed thinking, "Do I really feel like going to the gym?" (Like you even have to ask!)

Change this pattern. Make your decision the night before. Commit to getting up and going right to the gym, the computer, the blank canvas. Don't have coffee and sigh and think, "I'll probably feel more like it at lunch time." You won't!

If it's a priority, don't waste time asking yourself how you feel about doing it. Feelings are an easy out.


There. I did it. I wrote this article. And now, I don't even want to play Sudoku! How about that?


Please do! Just be sure to include this complete blurb with it:

Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her 'LiveCreative' weekly ezine with more than 11,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"It's a Sweater!!" Actually, it's a canon.

Ok, the guessing game ended on January 31st. I would like to announce a winner and post the full picture of the item, but I am lame. I am a little lame. I sent my Mac in for service last week, and put all my files on backup storage. Well, wouldn't you know it, but Steve Jobs made sure I wouldn't be able to access my files on anything other than a Mac! So, I cannot get to the picture, which is, believe it or not....

a canon.

No one guessed correctly, although you all really tried!
Christy, you get the most creative award, and I will swap a Valentine with you, if you are up to it!
To the rest, thanks for playing!

You will have to wait to see the picture, unfortunately. Meanwhile, the painting above is a portrait in progress. I will have the whole progression of this portrait on my Facebook page and Flickr.
You can view the progress up to 9pm here: Poppy's Adventure.


Things to Ponder

Don't pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches. -Andy Warhol

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
-Walt Disney
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