In The Studio | The First Friday

A Review of the Past Month

2 April 2021

While reflecting on this past month I discovered an answer to a question I once asked my Mom, who wrote a weekly column for a couple of local papers, about how she was connected to so many people. She didn’t really have an answer so this is what I think. When we take the time to get to know even a little bit about another person the opportunity to forge new acquaintances and friendships happens. In February you got to meet Featured Artist Chaz Chiafos and last week you got to meet my Featured Artist for March – Sue Dill.

In both cases we have maintained some form of communication. Chaz made sure that I got signed up for his pages on Facebook and signed up for mine. We both follow each other’s progress periodically providing “likes and hearts.” When I drive past his workshop I smile when I see what he’s up to and that other folks have stopped in. Most recently he’s created a painted parrot and a pink flamingo!

In Sue’s case our conversations are via email as she has a voice disorder (why she retired from teaching) and I am hearing impaired. We both chuckled over my comment about “My aren’t we a pair!” She invited me to the White County Art Alliance page on Facebook and we have shared information about our families and things that fascinate us about creativity.

What I’ve actually been up to is mostly working on my Ramblings project (watch for an announcement) and trying to get a little ahead on future blogs so that when the weather is nice – and not muddy – I can spend more time doing the outside things I love such as boating with my hubby Tom as well as what I must do such as yardwork. Tom, Snickers, Lily and I have been taking some walks and learning our “good dog” commands. Last week Snickers got loose in the yard and managed to go down the hill towards our bay which is not fenced. She may have been unable to stop because she came up the shorefront steps soaking wet. She’s a Labrador and only aged two so it didn’t faze her much!

I’ve also been dreaming… there is a saying by Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” In a recent issue of The Artists Magazine there was an article about other artists who have created artwork depicting their current studio or one they have visualized. I spent a couple of days in my porch studio looking at tiny houses and sheds dreaming… configuring… and putting some ideas on paper.

Last year I commandeered Tom’s “mower” shed for storage…. decorations… furniture…. overflow art supplies… my garden tools… my hand and power tools making it my “she shed.” Needless to say, his response to my “Art shed” dream was “Why don’t you use your she shed.” Of course, my response was “No windows, no heat, no AC! Not enough room, it’s too small to be used as a ‘she’ AND ‘art’ shed!” However, this did give me some food for thought so I’ll be going back to the drawing board on this idea. Maybe I should give him back his shed and commandeer the 2 ½ car garage instead!

Lets Make Something Great Together!

In The Studio | First Friday

A Review of the Past Month

5 March 2021

In February I managed to write about four different topics that are interconnected by an artform. In case you missed them, here are the links: 1st Friday, The Zentangle Method®, Ramblings By Rose Mary, and Featured Artist Chaz Chiafos. In addition to my blogs, I spent quite a bit of time working on Zentangle and Ramblings related projects which I’ll go into more detail about in the next couple of weeks.

I also learned a LOT of new things during the past month. Where I live we got around 11 inches of snow so needless to say I’ve spent most of my time indoors!

Snowy Day

One of the new things was that I decided to try my hand a Paper Quilling also known as Paper Filigree which is an artform all of its own. I’ve always loved working with paper in all sorts of ways ever since I was a child. I can remember making home-made paper out of paper scraps… hmmm… maybe I should try that as soon as the weather is nice again. For the last ten plus years, in addition to drawing and painting, I’ve been scrapbooking and making cards. I often use a Cricut which means LOTS of scrap paper… at least in my world.

One of my Zentangle students, neighbor Gayle, got a chuckle the other day when I said, “Oh here! I have plenty of black scrap paper you can practice on” and opened a filing cabinet drawer of various paper pieces I’ve saved, all in their own folders.

As you can see paper side-tracks me easily! Snooperviser Snickers is showing me what true focus and concentration really looks like and telling me to get back on topic!.

Back to Paper Quilling… it involves using, at minimum, an awl to roll, bend or twist strips of paper which are glued on the end and then pressed or formed into different shapes. These shapes are then glued together to create an animal, flower, a filigree shape or really anything your mind can imagine. People then use the rolled paper to decorate cards, create artwork or jewelry. There are different techniques, tools, and paper strip sizes and colors that can be used. To learn even more check out this great article by Sara Barnes on My Modern Met.

I decided to go online and order a “kit” that came with everything I could possibly want or need to start learning how to do this, new to me, artform. I wish I’d known about the precision glue bottle years ago; I can see it being very useful for a lot of other applications.

Next I watched some YouTube videos to learn the basics of my new tools and quilling. Once I felt comfortable with the basics I found this video by The Paper Craftery and decided to make a heart wreath which was a blast! This is something crafty I can do in front of the T.V. which for me is bonus because while I do love to binge watch shows I can’t just sit there and veg in front of the tube like many people do.

I was pretty pleased with my first attempt at creating something with all of the little rolls and swirls. Time to decide what my next paper quilling project is going to be before the weather’s too nice to stay inside all evening!

The other thing I’ve been working on this past month is looking for local artists to do a feature on. I posted a request on the local Facebook page and was amazed at how many “friends” of creative people were tagging the creatives they knew yet only 5-6 artists contacted me. If you or someone you know is an artist or artisan located in White County, Indiana get in touch!

In The Studio |The First Friday

A Review of the February 2021

Last month I wrote about my year in review for 2020, The Zentangle Method® and the Artists who created it, my Mom, and her book “Ramblings.” In addition to my three blogs, I spent most of January getting ready for 2021, yes I know, it was a bit late but I’m a huge planning procrastinator!

In addition to “business tasks,” I started my inside spring cleaning. Some folks like to wait until it’s actually springtime, but my thinking is “if I’m stuck inside I might as well get my inside spring cleaning done now.” I live in Indiana where one of our favorite lines is “If you don’t like the weather, wait a few hours it will change!” There have been times where we’ve experienced all four seasons in one day. By getting my inside work done I have more time when it’s actually nice outside to work in my yard and do other things besides housework!

Picture of the lake with snow
Winter in Indiana

In addition to going through the stuff mentioned I clean out shelves, drawers, nooks, and crannies as I go. A couple of years ago, I kind of got organized and created a “place for everything and everything in its place” which I try to follow through with. However, when I’m in the middle of more than one project at the same time I tend to be a “stacker” until the project is done. One of my goals this year is to end each studio session by setting out the items needed for the next day and putting everything else away. The other is to create an inventory spread sheet and maintain it. We shall see! I’ve worked in the middle of studio chaos for so long that this may not happen.

For me, spring cleaning in the studio typically involves going through items like cards, magazines,  leftover papers, incomplete Zentangle® tiles and paintings that I’ve put aside during the year with the thought of “doing something” with them. As a result, I end up with a years’ worth of clutter to sort through. In my mind it’s kind of the same concept of “if you haven’t worn it for a year toss it.” I also have a “she shed” where artsy crafty things I’m not ready to let go of yet land during the cold weather to be sorted out when it’s warmer.

Besides the everyday life things, I’ve also made time to be in the studio this past month. One of my top commission clients had an abstract painting that was created by her deceased Mother-In-Law which had one of her least favorite colors, pink, in it. We worked together to find a replacement color she liked, and I touched up those areas with it. I’ve also been working on a new work series using The Zentangle Method® and planning a class which I will talk more about next week in my Zentangle® blog.

Thanks for hanging out with me this week!

In The Studio | The First Friday

Well….. really the second Friday because the First Friday of 2021 was New Year’s Day. Whew… WHAT a year 2020 was for me! I always like to look for the ray of sunshine peeking through the clouds and this year with COVID-19 I had the big thought of Yay! I have more time to whip my online “art stuff” into shape. Life and work happened, and I procrastinated right through December 31st, 2020 where online tasks were concerned.

Writing makes me think of my mom Rose Mary Clarke (columnist for The Weekly View) who was very dedicated about writing something everyday and had zillions of ideas. Me, I tend to be more dedicated to creating and less dedicated to writing. Oh yeah, and this is my very first blog…. Ever… and I miss my Mom. Sigh.

Rose Mary Clarke & Victoria Clarke

But! I am taking the bull by the horns and following Mom’s example. My primary non art goal this year is to create one themed blog per week. Some potential items… what I’ve been up to in and out of the studio, featured artists, The Zentangle Method®, and maybe some tips, tricks and “Ramblings by Rose Mary” with the illustrations for starters.

So, enough about the new blog! Let’s jump into what I’ve been up to with a quick year in review. For a few months, my Dad came to stay with my husband Tom and me at the beginning of the pandemic. In July, he went back home, and Tom and I adopted a stray Chocolate Lab, Snickers, (pictured second) from our Veterinarian Dr. Sam at Monon Vet Clinic. Tom had been wanting another dog every since we moved to our current home near Monticello Indiana and I had kept telling him once he was living at home full time we would get another one. I also thought our 12-year-old Lab Lily could use a little sister. In case you don’t already know me, Lily (pictured first) is our love child, adopted around the same time we were married and living in Fremont Indiana.

Dr. Sam informed us Snickers was about a year and a half old, able to jump 6 ft fences and was not leash trained. After messing around for almost 5 months trying to train her with some help from Dani Sosbi of DogWood Kennel we decided it was a good idea to send her to doggie boarding school for a month at Ruff Lyfe to work on her manners. Additionally, she is learning to be friendly to cats so that she can go on visits to Grandpa’s (my Dad) house. We pick her up tomorrow…. It should be interesting…. Fingers crossed.

Snickers in training to like cats

Besides getting to spend almost five months with my Dad and working on various acrylic painting commissions, another COVID-19 ray of sunshine was that I became a Certified Zentangle Teacher® (CZT®). For the first time ever the fine folks at Zentangle® offered the Certification online so I was finally able to attend. What a blast and what an awesome group of people! I’m looking forward to helping other folks start a new avenue of personal creativity. More on that next week! Look for my next blog titled “Zentangle.”

On New Year’s Day the “New Year, New Me” syndrome kicked in and… (fingers crossed) hopefully this will become a good new habit instead of falling by the wayside like so many New Year’s resolutions seem to. I hope you enjoyed spending a little time with me and my crazy life and hopefully we’ll get together again next week. In the meantime, if you want to follow my progress on various art projects feel free to look me up on Face Book (@vclarkeart) if you haven’t already and like my page. You can also find me on Instagram (victoria_clarke_projects) and just for fun on Pintrest (vclarkeart).

Have a wonderful week!

3 commissioned paintings. Each are acrylic on canvas board “Grand-Doggies,” “Pickles” and Dave

3 separate 5 x 7 acrylic paintings. Grand-Doggies, Pickles, and Dave

“Barcelona Flower Shop”

14 x 17 Acrylic painting Barcelona Flower Shop
Zentangle(R) Holiday Cards