Friday, September 2, 2016

Detours: PART 1

Detours. I’ve just noticed that I haven’t posted here since January! Oy! There have been a lot of detours this year. Some I've unknowingly run into over the course of my journey, some I've created myself. I had so many plans. 

In early March we received a notice to vacate our rental home. It was a nice two-story with a loft I used as my studio. I wasn't much for cleaning the three bathrooms, but I enjoyed having the more than 1700 square feet to move around. Not to mention the covered deck I spent many an hour listening to the birds, playing in my planner and reading.

Rental costs have skyrocketed in our area, and finding a new rental that would allow us to keep our cat and dog was virtually impossible.

Should we buy? 

For a variety of reasons, it wasn't something I'd ever thought we'd do. We didn't plan for it, or save for it.

The buying process was an extremely stressful experience that went beyond the paperwork and financing. In the end it worked out and we were able to vacate our rental before our deadline.

Our new home is barely a tad over 1100 square feet and is in need of a lot of love. This small three bedroom-one bathroom does not afford room for a studio. It's a little cramped.

There is a laundry list of things that need to be cleaned, fixed or replaced and the list keeps getting longer. I managed to get the essentials unpacked, but couldn't bare to do anything else. No studio. Ugly walls. Dirty windows. Nasty carpets (even after a professional cleaning). Enter a myriad of pity parties.

Where do I begin? 

I sat paralyzed with depression, my brain working overtime trying to figure out where I was going to store my studio supplies. Where am I going to make art? What am I going to do with my three custom desks? Every time I thought I had it figured out, I'd open another box and start moving things around again. Sit. Stare at the walls and watch tv while I cursed the carpet.

I hate these walls. I hate this carpet. I hate this house. I need a studio.

We've lived in a smaller space before, but this transition back into a smaller space has been challenging. I purged a lot before the move and have continued to purge as I go through boxes. It's been a much longer process than I'd hoped it would be. A mix of "I think I got this figured out" to regular visits with procrastination and depression because things don't always go as you would have liked. 

Now what?

Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I had to start painting these walls. I decided on paint color for the dining and living area. By this time, we had decided to purchase a small dining set that would fit in the kitchen nook. This opened up the dining area for my creative space. It wasn't nearly as big as my previous loft (approx. 120-130 sq. ft.), and certainly was not optimal, but its 49 sq. ft. would have to do. 

My husband kindly purchased a new piece of plywood for me to create a slightly smaller desktop. I purchased new decorative canvas boxes for my cube storage units so the ones facing the living area looked nice and blended with our living decor.

Ahhh. That's better. A nice Sweet Curry with dark purple accent walls now surround our living and creative space. Break out the wall decor. 

The funny thing was that my husband was fine with the wall color; a light brown, sort of coffee-with-cream color, I guess. But it was flat and dirty. He came home from work while I was in the middle of painting one of the accent walls and said, "Ugh! That brown is ugly. Love the color!" I couldn't help but laugh and reply, "That's what I've been saying."

The new color on the walls cheered me up. I began to see some potential. I still didn't know how I was going to put everything together, but the fresh, bold color on the walls helped me to see the potential of our little home. 

As I looked through the threshold to the hallway I envisioned some kind of blue. It's now a dark turquoise on one side, and a blue-tinted white on the other. I also decided that the accent wall in the kitchen nook would grace the dark turquoise as well.

After painting my daughter's room, I decided it was time to take a wall painting break and set up my art area. My husband kindly purchased some items from IKEA and helped me to assemble them. But wait....

The wheels were turning in my head again. If I had one more of the smaller IKEA storage units I could purge one of my three desks and move another out of my husband's mancave-office. So....he stopped back at IKEA on the way home from work to snatch another.

By the time he did....I'd developed another detour to setting up my art space. Curiosity got the best of me. 

The wall to wall carpet is nasty. I won't walk on it stocking-foot, let alone barefoot. The previous owners had three dogs and it doesn't appear that they were house trained. They were looking even nastier now that the walls had fresh paint.

Did I have to live with them until we could afford to have new floors put in?

I was moving things around to begin organizing my art space when I decided to pull back a corner of the carpet a couple feet from the wall. Damn! They painted them. Wait, no. It's just along the edges around the tack strip. I wonder if I can sand that off? My husband suggested I try to wash it off first. I googled. I found a biodegradable, water-based latex based paint remover called Motsenbocker's Lift Off. I tried a small section. Yes! It worked. It was farking hard, but it worked! 

As we pulled the carpet back to expose the entire area we found that whomever painted the interior didn't bother to cover the floors and there is paint everywhere. There are footprints of paint and outlines of stir sticks in a thick layer of paint. This was going to take days to clean up and if it is representative of the rest of the house....well, I don't want to think about that right now. I just want my art space set up. For now.

And that's where we are. Or, rather, where I am. Squatting, bending, scrubbing and washing away paint on our hard wood floor so I can get to the business of refinishing them.

I don't know how long I'll be able to live with the carpet in the adjoining living space, but hours of labor later and almost five bottles of paint remover, I am in the midst of brushing a nice gloss coat onto the wood flooring of my art space. Add in new base boards and I'll spend this next week (well, two weeks) organizing my supplies and preparing to make art. 

I can almost feel myself breathing again.

Friday, January 1, 2016

#52motleyjournalpages: 39-52, Mixed Media

I have been making a conscious effort to art journal the past few months. In October of 2015 I decided to forgo the bound book and began using loose pages I'd cut to approximately 7" x 10" size. It seems to be working and makes art journaling a lot easier for me. For now the pages hang on a beaded wire I have strung across my art loft. I will bind them myself...eventually. I haven't decided if I shall bind them monthly or quarterly, or seasonally....time will tell. I'll know when I know.  :)

Without further ado, here are my final 14 art journal pages for 2015.

it's really hard NOT to put words on a page 
one of my favorites

another favorite

i drop a lot of balls...obviously. :)

#52motleyjournalpages: 21-38, Digital Art

Happy New Year! 

Welcome to 2016! It's been a while and I haven't been sharing my art journaling journey with you. I feel the need to wrap up 2015 before I begin a new challenge.

Back in May of 2015 we welcomed a new puppy into our home...Mister Deeks, a delightful little Yorkshire Terrier. I'd forgotten how much work a puppy was with crate training, potty training and the constant supervision that was required. It kept me from my studio for quite some time. But I needed to art. During that time I opted to art journal on my iPad using a variety of applications: Procreate, Pen & Ink, ArtRage and Paper 53.

I enjoyed experimenting and playing with each application; checking out the tools, seeing what I could and could not do. Digital art is a completely different ball game. It feels different and takes practice. I'm still practicing. :) It did allow me to release my angst and tension though. There was a lot of chaos and you can see that in these photos. These were all about letting go of it all and getting a good night's sleep.

Next up, the final 14 pages I created in the Motley Art Loft!