I’ve been thinking… a LOT of thinking! I really need to figure out some things. It has taken a lot of conversations with myself but I believe I’m coming to some valuable conclusions. I’m on a ‘Mission’ to make a Statement; A Mission Statement.
Hello, it’s me Barb; I am an artist. Yes, I have been one for decades (a couple more than I’d like to count). From what I’ve seen on the WWW most bloggers have some different objectives than I, so let’s take a look back for a bit.
Direction? which way to go?
Well, it’s now been a few years that I have been sharing my projects on this site. I don’t really like calling myself a ‘blogger’ for some reason. I’d rather put myself in a different category. Hmmm, why; well it might be the fact that I came into this creative venture from a specific direction. I want to have a direction; one that is clear to you and also me.
Being an artist; I had worked for many clients as an illustrator, specifically a technical illustrator. I spent many long hours hunched over a desk creating ‘flat’ art that explained things that were often in need of technical drawings. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of it (except the crazy deadlines and 2am’s) I worked from home even though there wasn’t a pandemic! It was pretty consistent work and always quite interesting.
This type of artwork means I have a good understanding of form, structure and architecture. Actually; I painted many concepts of buildings that needed to be quite exact to plans. It was very meticulous but also meant that there was a pretty consistent need for more. Detail and specifics is my nature even when I don’t want it to be.
I loved and still do love painting… but hate trying to sell in a gallery. Making pieces of art and having it hang for a long time without anyone jumping at it is hard to bear. That is why commercial art is so much better as they can’t get it fast enough. Once you put your heart and soul into a piece it’s hard to let it go.
My oil paintings hang on my walls… They are my specific scenes that have some emotional attachment to me. Lately I have been reflecting back and really looking at all that I have done through the years. When I flip through my extensive photo gallery I almost get nauseous from how much there is! ‘Busy’ isn’t quite the word. However, I’m seeing a definite common thread.
The feelings of sheer joy and calm when walking in nature comes out in my paintings. My goal is to capture the wonderful shadows and colours within the combination of trees, sky and ground with everything else in harmony. Somehow I would gravitate back to these themes each time.
In this post I am looking to see if I actually have a deliberate direction. Some days I feel like I am trying to head into too many directions and had wondered if I was too diverse. Let me look back and see how it will affect the mission statement.
Mother Nature Comes to help
How exciting it was to discover that there is a way for Mother Nature to actually aid in the printing of natural foliage! That has opened a whole new avenue for me. It is somewhat mysterious so that keeps one interested as well. This allowed me to be more active, use more media and get outside more often!
It feels much better to be in ‘nature’; observing all the species of leaves and learning about them and not just painstakingly using paint. It is sheer magic when all the elements decide to ‘dance’ together.! Through all the use of fabrics I also noticed my return to my love of sewing, something that is a staple in my life.
Pretty & Practical:
Yes, it’s nice to make pretty things but it’s extra great when the pretty things have a purpose! Again that must be something I absorbed from my mother’s wisdom of living through a war. And you do remember that Scarlet Ohara made a dress from curtains?! Well, I’m close; blankets becoming slippers and jackets.
Nature printed in another way:
Pottery was always something I loved in grade school but setting up a kiln seemed like too much. Well, it might not be a perfect substitute but I like a challenge so I’ve pushed the limits of using concrete, and boy has it been fun! I challenge the media in all directions without following any of the typical rules. My motto is; ‘try it and see’ and keep trying until it makes you happy.
Orbs and other simple forms become interesting with texture from nature. ‘We’ work together accepting of each other and in appreciation. There’s a sense of calm since little stresses of technology are not playing any part here. Yes I know… I should post on social media more! Honestly I really do hope to very soon.
From leaves to rocks to geodes… there’s so much bountiful beauty to inspire you. It’s almost like when you admire all the details of a gem but here you are the one creating the gem; you are in control.
If you have a good idea why keep it constrained? Often the greatest ideas come from ‘mashing’ ideas together. Don’t discount ideas before you give them a chance. Design in all avenues has always been my passion. I completely enjoy the opportunity to ‘design’ wherever I can. Watching and observing gives a sense of awareness, so that improvements can be made. ‘Observation skills’ in drawing and life are priceless; take the time to really being aware of what is around you.
What worked well in concrete seemed like a good variation to try with polymer clay. That makes it easy enough if you are limited in your work space or media. Using what you have instead of buying makes for a better world. Nature has a way of creating beauty without to much contrived perfection – I love that! It also makes it quite easy to simulate.
Don’t limit your canvas:
This is quite the ‘mash-up’ to combine geodes in upholstery and paint! They are holding strong for years now! Really, now you can sit on art work.
Yyou can be in control of the colours and patterns you want instead of looking all over for them sine they are easier to make than find. Yup, I am a bit of a control-freak in that sense;
No fancy painting skills:
As you may notice the skills needed to paint most of the projects are quite easy. Simple dry-brushing and antiquing will bring quite surprising results.
Can you believe it? No mold needed & ridiculous details. I can’t take credit for the textures; thanks to ‘Mother Nature’.
Ok, I know this fellow has made it around the world via the ‘net and he still watches over me every day. I credit him for being the first concrete draping project to get me started…
Well, the practicality of sewing and the knowledge of form allowed me to offer patterns. These patterns were specific to the pandemic but I did enjoy the challenge of mapping them out.
So many people have written to me about how happy they have been with them and I hope I’ve done a part in keeping people safe. I’m happy to say there have been 163,655 downloads as of today! I hope that means a lot of happy sewists. I’ve come to some conclusions through this backward journey.
MY MISSION STATEMENT:
To provide everyone the inspiration and knowledge to make unique creations that give a sense of pride.
Let me know what you think… How have I helped you?
This Post Has 56 Comments
You’ve certainly given me much pleasure from reading your posts, even if I haven’t tried many of the projects. I’ve also been inspired in my own creative projects by being more observant and breaking things down into achievable sections. For these two reasons alone I thank you for being you. and for doing what you do.
Keep it up, Barb.
It’s always interesting to hear what people take away from my instruction. Since I’ve had to teach via ‘zoom’ at the college I’ve come to see how/what some of the challenges are. I’m glad to hear how I’ve helped.
Creative. Genuine. Generous. Warm. Intelligent. Diligent. Trust-worthy. Brave. Sense of humor. Life in proper perspective. AND you have found your life’s work, perfectly suited to your talents. You are blessed. Truly blessed. And you have just taught me how to begin my own “mission statement”. It always seemed too difficult for someone who does a lot of different things. I guess I was too concerned about focusing on the “most important” THING and making everything else fall into line. Things change all the time; that’s great, I am changing, too. I need a mission statement that leaves room for growth. Thanks, Barb.
Oh my goodness! ‘Life in proper perspective’ – That is what I teach at the college; Perspective drawing! How uncanny! I feel so much better now that I see a common thread, and purpose to everything I do. Did I mention that it’s great to see how those around me have also taken to ‘making’. I was thrilled when my kids made me gifts for Christmas. Yes I am sure I’ll change in some degree but hope there will still be me in there somewhere!
I discovered your website/blog in 2020. I wanted to make cement mandala stones, and the whole mixing cement thing had me nervous. How do I do it, can I do it? (I didn’t realize until much later how much of my confidence had been slowly taken away from me over the years.) Well thanks to google I found your blog, I saw that you did it and you gave me the confidence to try it. I found out it wasn’t hard to do (don’t know what I was worried about, lol). I ended up making lots of Mandala stones during the winter of 2020 and 2021, and gave them away to neighbors and friends in the spring 2021. Everyone loved them, which brought me such joy. That simple act of making my first batch of cement has given me so much confidence to try other projects (craft/art and house maintenance) that I was scared to do. I now own power tools, lol. This week I am planning on making a picnic table for squirrels and am debating on purchasing welding equipment this the summer. I would love to try my hand a metal art. So thank you so much, for sharing your art, creativity and knowledge. I also am paying it forward by getting together with my neighbors kids once a month and we do art/crafts together. Take care, wishing you all the best in 2022. Hope your knee surgery happens soon and you recover quickly.
Such a great story! ‘And you know; I have often wanted to try welding! It looks like such an interesting way to again use old things to make new creations! You go Girl! I plan to teach much to my grandson as he gets a bit older… Yup, knees are so vital!
Barb, I think the first time I saw your work and met you was in the Hypertufa group and I have been following you ever since. Your work is beautiful and you explain how you do it beautifully. I have always thought of you as an artist without knowing you were. You work is inspiring and no one can mistake that you have a talent for all things artistic.
Oh yes! I remember! I’m glad you’ve joined with me in my journey. I keep coming back to concrete & ideas. Thanks so much
Thank you! Over 2 decades , I engulfed myself into my challenging and rewarding career in the entertainment industry. And then I retired. Oh no! I thought. What can I do that is both rewarding and uses all this extra time I have?
Then I saw your blog. I used my extra time to view your blog, and your art brought a smile to MY face. Now, my time is spent reinventing your projects and giving them away to put an unexpected smile on someone else’s face.
Barb, you helped me survive retirement. Thanks, again!
You practically brought a tear to my eye! That warms my heart and I hope they all appreciate your efforts! Enjoy your retirement!
You were the first blog I have ever followed. I was just starting out on Pinterest and found that your posts there were constantly coming into my feed and were always something I wanted to look into. I love all your projects and have tried quite a few. Your instructions are quite comprehensive and I have had lots of success in trying out the projects in your posts. Your mission statement fits perfectly. Thank you so much for what you do!
I feel blessed that you chose my site! I’m overwhelmed at all the positive feedback I’ve gotten today! Thank you
I can relate. I feel pulled in different directions with my art and wonder which path to follow. I guess it is the nature of being an artist, that wanting to explore the possibilities.
I love everything you do and wish I could do the things you do. See there it is! wanting to go try something else!
I love your mission statement and it inspires me to find my own. thanks.
Oh yes. It’s a bit like cooking, once you get going you use all kinds of ingredients! I can’t imagine always using the same. My mother always said; you can do whatever you put your mind on. (as long as I can lift it…) Your stuff looks like fun too! I’m inspired!