Last week we went for a drive up in the mountains to see what fall had to offer this year. As expected, her color palette was spectacular.
We only live 30-40 miles from the mountains, but the dramatic difference from the landscape we see in town everyday (think flat, brown and dry) never fails to leave me in absolute, jaw-dropping awe at the beauty so close to me. There is only a small window of opportunity to see the aspens in all their glittering splendor. A week too early or too late will leave you disappointed. But if you plan your trip at just the right time, you will be rewarded with the most dazzling hues dancing before your very eyes.
On our drive my daughter asked, "So, Mom, are aspens the trees with leaves like sparkling gold sequins?" Yes, exactly.
Although it was a cloudy day with rain threatening at any moment, we were blessed with pockets of sun that seemed to set the entire forest ablaze.
My favorite part of the day was driving through a quaint, little mountain town admiring the leaf strewn streets and quiet houses. Especially this cute pink one with the lace curtains and the...odd garden decor.
Are those...really real? And how do I get one for my flower beds?
Recently I was commissioned for a journal by Ashley back in my home state of Texas. I love commissions because I get to personalize the journal for the client's specific tastes and personality while still keeping my own artistic vision in the mix as well. It can be a challenge and is quite nerve-wracking waiting to hear if the book's new owner loves it as much as I did, but they always do and the experience is more like giving a gift to a friend by the time it is all said and done.
Ashley was a good sport in answering my 101 get-to-know-you questions that more than anything gave me a feeling for her likes and dislikes as well as her interests and aspirations that I hoped to somehow magically conjure up and impart into the pages of her journal before she ever laid pen or brush to it.
It is easy to get carried away with selecting and arranging the perfect combination of papers for each journal (my favorite part of the process). By the time I was able to force myself to stop, I had 8 fat signatures for almost 2 hulking inches of journaling bliss. You can see why it is sometimes hard to let these babies go!
So many wonderful papers! Hand-painted and stamped, wallpaper, transparencies, graph and leger paper. Thick and luxurious watercolor paper, cut to size file folders, hand-picked security envelopes. Many of these I've been collecting for years just for such a special occasion.
Whatever journal I'm working on now is always my favorite, but somehow an extra big chunk of my heart was left in this beauty. It is probably my favorite journal I've ever made--including the ones I've made for myself. So much love and attention is put into every detail of each journal I make that I can't help love them like children. And as difficult as it sometimes is to ship them off to their new homes, knowing a bit more about where they are going and what adventure awaits them makes the leaving a little sweeter.
If you would like to have your very own custom art journal, email or convo me via my Etsy shop. It takes a little more patience, but is well worth the wait. If you just don't think you can wait longer than a few days to start your next journaling adventure (believe me, I know how it is), just check out the journals already in my Etsy shop anxiously awaiting their own inner transformation. Each one is just as painstakingly and loving crafted as if I had you in mind!
I'm kinda stuck in my journaling right now. For the last week or so I've tried to get lost in its pages, but just keep finding myself...stuck. I know what it is. I started this journal exactly a year ago (it isn't even half filled yet) and haven't strayed an inch. But a year ago's pages sound too much like yesterday's pages and I'm a little burned out of going there.
Don't get me wrong, I still love my huge, glorious...never ending...overwhelming book. When I thumb through the (many) pages that still await me, I feel excited, even giddy, at the possibilities. But then I browse the years worth of completed pages and they feel heavy with emotion, heavy with memories--not all of them good--and then I'm stuck again.
But I will plough through. I love the idea of looking back, a decade from now, at several years of work invested in one overstuffed book. But carrying the weight of those years can be burdensome to the creative process. Yes, it is good to look back at where you've been, but mostly it's better to look forward.
So, I'm taking a break from its overly familiar pages without any guilt (or without too much guilt), knowing I won't be able to stay away for long. Other creative projects are keeping me occupied for now. Lavishly beaded mobiles and necklaces. Wire wrapped feathers and a few last painted signs. Its good to keep working, to keep the creative juices flowing--even when they don't always flow in the direction you think they should go. And its good to remind yourself that pushing through the mental blocks is as much a part of the creative process as discovery, experimentation and play. Even if it is a whole lot less fun.
You've heard me mention my best friend and collaborative painting partner Shannon Almanzar before, but I couldn't fully show off her amazing talents until now. I'm super excited to share her newest project Through Painted Windows. Shannon is an amazing painter and such an inspiration to everyone who meets her. I know you're going to love her work as much as I do!
Check out this beautifully shot video to get to know a little about Shannon and her creative process. (And watch her paint an entire canvas right before your eyes!) I know you will be inspired! You can find more paintings in her Etsy shop here.
It won't be long before glimpses like these will be only a faint memory. Ordinarily fall - with its crisp, cool days, changing leaves, piled on blankets, and the promise of the holidays - is enough to make me giddy with delight, but lately I'm finding myself clinging tightly to these last slipping-away days of summer.
Our vegetable garden, extraordinarily lush the past few months, now looks as weary and exhausted as I feel, without the harvest we have come to expect from past summers (not including, of course, the 2,001 zucchini we finally managed to use up last night). I don't know what happened this year. She was all batting eyelashes and peeking cleavage before slipping away into the night. I guess you learn something new every year.
Already I'm having to take a sweater along on my morning walk, and last year we saw our first snow in early October. I should be looking forward to it, I know, but I've never been all that good with change.
Yet, I do have a few ideas brewing for fall crafting. And then there's the baking and the snuggling under piles of blankets. So maybe change isn't all that bad. But I think I'll hold on to these last warm days just a little longer. While I still can.
Has it been almost 2 weeks since my last post?? What a slacker I've been. At least in the blogging department.
So many things distracting me lately. Life, to do lists, anticipating the change in seasons, frantically working to finish up our unit on Ancient Greece so we can move on to Rome (and hopefully make it to the modern era before my kids reach high school), figuring out creative ways to use up the zucchini before they turn into compost, making as much time for art as I can scrape together, and all while trying to keep the stray dog we found from destroying our (already sad looking) garden until we find her a home. Staying up until after 1am nearly every night watching back to back episodes of Breaking Bad doesn't help either. (Anyone else as hooked on this as I am?? Or Prison Break?? Anyone?) I'm telling you, my brain is mush.
And before you know it, the holidays will be here. There's still light at the end of the tunnel, right?
There are six (six!!) new journals in my Etsy Shop this morning. Just waiting for a new home.
And these journals are fat. No skimping on pages here. Each one has probably close to 200 colorful, stitched and mixed-up pages - an inspiration in themselves - ready for pen or brush, glue stick or marker. Whatever your heart desires.
7 signatures bound in a coptic stitch. I'll admit that many unlady-like curse words were muttered under my breath binding these things. But they are oh-so-worth-it in the end.
If you would like to be added to my mailing list to be notified of new items as I add them to my Etsy shop, please send an email with "mailing list" in the subject line to littleblackkittyart(at)gmail(dot)com. Thank you!