Saturday, February 26, 2011

Coming clean

Understatement of the year: I am EVERYWHERE but here.


A little more than a decade ago I was working as a case manager in insurance management for a MAJOR mover and shaker in the nonprofit and healthcare industry in a discrete little office without windows. There were strings of days when I did the kind of work that was so alienating at times I didn't talk or see anybody for days aside from when I would ride up the elevator in the morning or leave at night and say my farewell to the security guards. It was my first real job out of college and when my dad came to visit me he was even impressed by the fact his car was valet parked before security let him through to see me!

I guess I could have been happy with what I had accomplished but that just wasn't the case. I mean, it was a really good job in a time when so many people had such a thing as a "good job" and I was doing really well for myself for being only in my mid-20s. Still? I went to work everyday, closed myself in my office, worked diligently to be better at my job everyday of the week AND Saturdays for reasons like "just because" and actively hated myself for becoming a person who was essentially just a walking suit. It was my boss who looked at me during my second annual review and told me, "You are awesome at what you do! I don't know what we ever did without you! YOU ARE AMAZING. But... I know you have talents beyond what we call on you for when are you going to leave and do the things you actually like doing?" I went home and really thought long and hard about what she said because she was right. I was wasting away in meetings that went on for hours upon end and doing ridiculously beautiful but totally unnecessary visual design work on powerpoints and spreadsheet books. *SMH* (By the way I just learned what <=that meant and I know I'm on the other side of the generational divide but I like using it just the same.)

The punchline of all of this: Six months after my aforementioned performance evaluation, I hatched a new plan my life to be lived in a way that was fueled and thrived from my own visual creativity, submitted my official resignation, and started packing my bags to be the entrepreneur I believed I was made to be from the very beginning. I lined up commercial/retail space for myself and had some serious business plans for a creative art venture that made Art something that was both for the people and BY the people. It was going beautifully!

And then a few more weeks passed and I came to a serious crossroads that forced me to make a decision ultimately resulting in me walking away from what I believed to be my dream forever.

Flash forward about three years and I find on some newsfeeds that there are new and promising businesses popping in major cities across the country. I read about them and confirmed that what people have all of a sudden discovered as major successes for themselves is MY IDEA from years ago. This both frustrated me and spurred me to action to enact the plans I had abandoned so long ago.

Well... the time has come and I've finally done what I set myself out to do! It's just in the beginning stages but I know in my heart that the Lord has given me this dream to both realize for Him and to push out into the world to be shared with as many others as possible - believers or not!

I give you my creative "baby"... say hello to "Make and Take Masterpieces" - A fully functioning but completely mobile and traveling art studio that promotes visual art creativity for artists as young as toddlers to those who are still completely young at heart... (click the image to get to my flash website)...

Here is the business blog as well...

And I've even designed and printed an official t-shirt design for both promotion and the fun of wearing art as much as making it!

Since I'm currently a one-woman show, I've been extra busy doing all of the graphic design, web design/publishing, boring but completely necessary administrative tasks, business plan polishing, and just plan making things happen to pull this business further out of my dreams and more and more into reality.

I don't know know where this business venture will end up taking me but I do know it's something that I'm supposed to do and have been poised and prepared to undertake since even the hint of it was seeded inside of my heart and imagination over half a decade ago. I LOVE art. And I LOVE teaching. And I LOVE creativity. And all I want to do is just art all the time and as much as I can. And I want to share that with the world. And that's that.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lesson idea: Paper rose sculpting

I'm a huge fan of projects oriented around holidays/seasons/special occasions. It's something that I guess is really more often done for younger age groups (elementary specifically) but I always feel like it's fun even for my high schoolers. Usually I plan long in advance for specifically timed projects but this year I forgot about Valentine's day until it was just about upon me and so brainstormed and pored through the supplies inventory to find something that could/would work and NOT look thrown together.

Enter: the Infamous Paper rose.

I call it infamous because in my world? It is. I have been twisting paper roses for as long as I can remember and have shared them with folks during every major stage of my life...

  • Working on the geriatric floor at the psych hospital right after college
  • On dates/while being courted by wonderful gentlemen during my college years and after
  • In my college dining hall or dorms for almost any of my friends' birthdays or when they were dealing with messy/ugly/sad breakups with boyfriends
  • When I have been at any number of restaurants waiting for my food to come

You can sculpt and twist a paper rose out of just about any flexible/pliable paper material. I usually use napkins or paper towels since that's what usually seems to be on hand but those certainly don't make for the prettiest roses in the world. What is ideal is (of course) tissue paper in colors common to roses. And if you're really lucky, you also might have some floral tape, green duct tape, or paper tape on hand that can be painted the appropriate color for the stem and leaves.

Since I'm in an art room and am largely the controller and orderer of the raw materials supply I knew that we had more than enough brightly colored tissue paper AND paper kraft tape (adheres when you moisten in) to sculpt both parts of the rose. The hardest part? Showing the kids how to sculpt and model the rose by rolling and wrapping and twisting the tissue correctly and then wrapping the stems as snugly as possible to look the most realistic.

I don't have a picture of the dozens of roses they made but here is an example one that I had for them. They twisted and sculpted the blossom and covered the stems last Friday and they will paint the stems green today to be able to pick them up by the end of the day...

This is a really fun lesson that could easily be adapted to younger kids and even larger roses.

BTW - Happy Valentine's day!! Thanks for stopping by and loving this blog enough for me to have a reason to keep posting! (Even though I don't post nearly as often as would be worthwhile *wink*)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It all starts here

Yesterday (last night especially!) was big for me. Not only was it the start of my 32nd year, it was also my first fine art gallery showing EVER.

Months ago I was "networking" to drum up interest in a visual art ministry endeavor I was trying to "hatch" (see here) and I gave a contact card to a person connected with National Community Church here in DC.  Weeks passed and nothing happened with it. It was slightly frustrating but I also took it as a sign from the good Lord that the time for things to happen with it just wasn't now.

Fast forward a few weeks and I get a seemingly random email from someone at NCC asking me if I was interested in participating in gallery night showing with other DC Christian artists. There was an application to fill out and slides to prepare to be approved and it had to be done within 24 hours because that was the deadline. All of those weeks and months of not hearing anything? Well, the answer was out there but it just wasn't meant to be revealed until then. God's orchestration is truly amazigood and ng.

To make a long story just a little longer, I applied and was accepted to the show and last night it happened at Ebenezer's Coffeehouse in NE DC...

My only grievance is that the lighting was terrible on three of my pieces when they had promised to bring in more to correct the situation. *shrug* Live and learn and I'll make sure it won't happen like that again.

The opportunity to show again in this venue was presented to me at the end of the event but I might pass in favor of pursuing a venue that offers a more classically defined gallery environment showing that is a lot more permanent - what I showed yesterday was put up and taken down in only hours.

My dream since I was a little girl has always been to be a real and working fine artist. Last night was a small step in that direction but all great big changes start even with the smallest steps.  Now that I have this under my belt I'm aiming for something bigger. I'll let you know when it happens. Not IF it happens. ;)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Series: Negatives of Positives II

This one has been finished for quite a while but I just never posted it. Not sure why it worked out like that but it did.

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