Thursday, September 30, 2010

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Sally and Alice

Alice in Wonderland has gone home to Nova Scotia. Her two week visit has ended. My husband's Ham Radio/Skype friend Alice has returned home with one more of her "Bucket List" items completed - visiting Southern California, specifically San Diego.

Alice hold photo album gift from Bet

Prior to arrival, Alice knew that I have a group of friends that get together once a week at my home to play. A month ago in anticipation of said gathering, Alice sent a giant box to our home with instructions not to open.

She had been following me and my friends on my blog and said she felt like she already knew everyone.

When the play day arrived, September 23rd, we were all surprised that Alice did not choose to play along with us. I had provided paper and Suzi Blu, Crescendoh, Brave Girls Camp and Elena's Scrapbook Royalty Stamps plus ink for those who didn't have ongoing projects.

Kathie's hands and jewelry

Since we hadn't seen each other all summer, it was a time to share. Kathy had brought the jewelry she had been making recently with metal and wires.

Bet and Jackie working on their Kumihimo with Kathie supervising

Kathie taught Georgia, Diane, Bet and Elena - Kumihimo. She brought a bunch of Kumi looms she just happened to have around the garage. (You ought to see her garage)! It is an ancient Japanese braiding technique. Kathie once was one of the editor/writers of the now defunct Expression Magazine. It was such a great magazine and missed by all who know and read it.

Georgia hold glasses case she made with Kathie

Georgia and Bets besides learning Kumihimo from Kathie , did take time to take advantage of the stamps I had available. They are now ready to make cards whenever they have the need.

Cards Georgia made for me

Georgia brought me a hostess gift of some cards she had water colored and some cards made with bleach. Thank you Georgia!

Kat and Nina with Diane Standing

Diane showed us what she has been working on since her last Chris Cozen class. Plus for her birthday, she received one of Chris' paintings as present from her brother. We were so envious of Chris' painting and also loved the many colorful pieces Diane had completed.

Alice and Jackie

Jackie worked on four 4x4 canvases preparing them for 4 photos of her late husband, Frank, and his Memorial to take place in October.

Kat with Halloween Canvas in Progress

Kat completed a "kool" canvas with a Halloween Theme. She did a great job and we were amazed at how fast she worked!

Kat and Nina Sitting

Nina was very quiet this day. I don't think she had gotten a lot of sleep the night before. Everyone was happy to see her again and congratulated her on being back on the radio again! Nina did work on one of her canvases that she was dealing with flesh color issues and I believe resolved the problem.

Suzi came not to play but to get organized and make lists. She maintains that the book Organize from the Inside Out has turned her life around an made her much more productive. Even her refrigerator is organized! That's a win - win.

Elena and Sally

Elena came to eat bacon. . . and Alice didn't disappoint her with her little munchies made with Wonder bread, bacon grease, bacon and processed cheese. We also had Alice's delicious version of Sloppy Joe Sliders.

The Food for the Day

I had made what I thought was tons of the Barefoot Contessa's Mac and Cheese with 8oz Black Diamond Extra Sharp Cheddar and 12oz of Gruyere Cheese. Surprise, surprise, it was almost gone by the end of the day.

Everyone Hard at Work Doing Something

For desserts we had 5 different choices of Alice's homemade bars: Peanut Reeses Squares, Chow Mein Noodle Drops, Vanilla Fudge, Cashew Almond Bark, and Five Star Bars.. She had made them at home and brought them in her luggage carefully packed. They were a hit with everyone. I especially liked her homemade Peanut Butter Cup with dark chocolate!

Alice's Hand Writing and Acrylic Stamp

After lunch, Alice had drawings for bags filled with "stuff" Alice had brought to share. There had also been "goodie" bags for everyone when they arrived including everyone got an acrylic 4x6 stamp of Alice's unique handwriting. I had 12 of them made locally at Ready Stamps. It's a great way to support the Cerebral Palsy workers who make the stamps.

Sally and Suzi Blu and our stuffed Canadian Beavers from Alice

Kat with two of her "Goodies" from Alice

Early evening found just Kathie, Bet and me sipping Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio and drooling all over Bet's iPad! Kathie has an iPhone along with Bet's and we looked at all the free apps she has. I have the first Droid, so I just tried to find something similar for my phone.

Everyone will all have their own special memories of Alice. They also have all the mementos from Alice of things having to do with her Canada including little Bucky Beaver stuffed animals which Suzi and I got in our bags.

On Top: Elena, Sally, Suzi and Diane. Standing: Kathie, Georgia, Bet, Nina, Alice, Kat and Jackie

Finally for Alice - a group photo. Elena with her amazing Canon camera expertise, set up camera and then was able to jump into the group - not to be excluded! It was a success!

The next day I learned why Alice wasn't creating at the table with all of us. She had been taking literally hundreds of photos of all of us . Thank you Alice. Without those photos, there would have been no blog because to me blogs need photos!

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. She has returned to her beautiful beloved wonderland of Nova Scotia.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Art Saves Again

"What a caterpillar calls the end of life, wise men call a butterfly," says a Chinese Proverb. This belief along with Jenny Doh's Crescendoh mantra "Art Saves" have helped me through this sad summer.

On My Way

I was able to use art to help me come to terms with my younger sister's death.

Tammie, Michele, Tonya, Christina and Lana in the middle
photo taken 4th of July 2010

Below is a photo of she and I on July 5 of this year. On August 18, she passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her family. She had just been diagnoses with Pancreatic Cancer the week before our photo.

Going Home

What to do? I had just started a new large journal at a Suzi Blu class. Plus, I had photos I had taken during the night when I was helping one of my nieces care for their mom. When she was first hospitalized around August 1, I had been staying across the street from the church/school where I had attended while growing up. Since I was right there, I began to attend daily Mass and offer up my prayers that my sister go "gently into the night."

Incarnation Church Altar

After her Memorial Service, I returned home and got to work. this is the art I created while trying to come to grips with my sister's untimely death.

I printed on plain computer paper the photos of the altar at Incarnation Catholic Church and a picture I took of my sister in her hospital bed at home. After adhering them to my sketch book pages, I just began to put down color and blend the images as best I could. Then add items and words that came to me at that very moment.

The Girls

The sketches of Lana's four daughters are not likenesses. Their hair is about as close as I got to anything resembling them, but it made me think of them. Again, I used Golden's gel medium to place my sketches and then began to add color, both colored pencil and paint.

The two pages with my girls up in the sky flying, I actually started in Suzi's class. This must have been my subconscious working since I had just gotten word of my sister's illness advancing quickly. Theses girls then became about Lana and the events that were unfolding before our very eyes.

Lana Sleeping Peacefully at Home

Theses pages are not done. As I post the photos I can see so many things I still need to do. As a side note, I have found scanning any of my art and then looking at it on the computer screen, things jump out at me that need correcting that I might not notice otherwise. I seem to be able to view my art more critically this way. I'm not so connected to the screen as the tangible paper in front of me.

Jackie's Call to Art

After Lana's Memorial Service I got word from a dear friend who had started a once a month The Art in You gatherings at her home. "Come one, come all" is Jackie's mantra. Such a generous lady truly loved by everyone who knows her. (I know I have posts on my blog of photos taken at theses gatherings).

Since I had met Jackie, her husband Frank, had always been ill. This summer he got a lot worse and sadly passed away a couple of weeks ago. Even though I really didn't know Frank other than to wave hello to him when I came to play at their home, his death touched me deeply. You see, Jackie is the first friend I have whose husband has die.

Time to pause and reflect. I am quickly reminded that I will be 66 years old in November and that the one thing I have to be so very thankful this Thanksgiving is my health!

Jackie puts out the call

In coming to some sort of terms with her husband's death, Jackie put out a call to her friends to please stop by and gather materials and photos for her to assist her in putting up a photo display for Frank's Memorial Service in October when all their friends and family will come together.

That day, I was not able to stay and create with our friends, but gathered up photos and decided on a theme of Christmas with Frank.

Since I was taking it home I decided to take advantage of Photo Shop and play and manipulate her photos. With the original's scanned I could now do anything I wanted including enlarging all the photos and leave her originals untouched.

I took my time and gave this project a lot of thought. This was very therapeutic for me. I was doing something positive in the face of adversity and doing it slowly (an adjective very foreign to me),

Below are my two 12 x 12 pages for Jackie to use. You probably can't see any of the dimensional stuff I did. Some of the magic included putting Jackie's face where Mrs. Claus' face had been with Frank in Mrs. Claus (now Jackie) lap..

First page of two page spread

On the second page if you open the door where the "Do Not Disturb" is hanging you will find Frank having Breakfast in Bed.

2nd page of two page spread

Frank behind the "Do NOT Disturb" sign

By the way, about the 3rd week in October I will be the featured "Guest Curator" for Jenny Doh's Crescendoh. This blog is NOT my article for my detailing how "Art Saves" in regards to my life. It just came up that here is one more way that Art stepped up to the plate and gave me a helping hand to get through one eventful summer's end. Next month my article will be about Art affecting my entire life and all the good things that have happened to me and can happen to you when you let Art in the door to your life!