What would I really like to learn?

December’s topic, for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is “What would I really like to learn?”  I think I want to embellish this topic by adding there are areas of my life where I would like to improve and increase my skills.

I find this a tough question, because there are so many things I want to study and master the techniques.  2014 has been a great for me, because I took a couple of metalsmithing classes that challenged me and invigorated my creativity.  Along with that learning spurt, came the realization that I need to focus on and practice the new techniques I learned.  Of course, that makes taking on a new task not only difficult but a bit impractical in my mind.

However, in 2015 or sometime in the relatively near future, I would like to learn how to do some of the following, along with improving what I already do:

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1. Granulation.  I want to learn how to do this.  In my opinion, Harold O’Connor is the master.  This is a technique where very small gold balls, aka granules,  are fused to the metal (usually sterling or pure silver).  Just look at the detail in this ring that Harold did.  It takes a ton of patience and is a tedious process, but as you can see, the end result is stunning.  One of the many key success factors is:  do not melt the gold!  Let the components reach the right temperature where the fusing takes place.  For the past couple of years, Harold has scheduled classes at a Denver studio.  It seems like each time I have a conflict with my schedule.  Maybe things will be different in 2015?

2. Meditation. I want to improve my meditation practice.  Unfortunately, I just don’t make the time.  That’s the problem.  I know the benefits of meditation.  Now I just need to incorporate it into my daily routine.

3. Drawing.  My ability to transfer imagery from my mind to paper via my hands needs work!  The designs I create for my metalwork are rough sketches of what I would like to create.  Fortunately, those sketches give me enough to complete the metal works.  However, I want improve this skill.

4. Focus.  Do you have a hard time eliminating distractions that keep you from getting things done?  I do.  I think it’s also known as procrastination.  I know how to avoid it, but some days, the computer beckons or the dogs want attention or I just want to veg in front of the television.  Yep.  Do anything other than the task at hand.  Then when I finally focus and put my mind to it, I finish things and realize it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  The end result is satisfaction with the accomplishment.  Nice.

5. Marketing.  In addition to my day job, I have a business.  I make Art Jewelry.  I love working with my hands.  Creating what I call personal forms of adornment.  I am so grateful that several galleries represent my work.  However, I am ready to expand and find new venues.  That’s where marketing comes into play.  I’d like to think I’m pretty good at this social media stuff, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like.  My conclusion is I need to improve my ability to market what I do so my work can be represented in other art venues both inside and outside of Colorado.

There are plenty more I could list.  As I look at these, they almost seem like goals or resolutions.  My preference is to think of these as commitments I will make to myself for my future.

Namaste.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers have discussed on this topic:

Andes Cruz:  http://andescruz.wordpress.com
Catherine Witherell:  http://happydayart.typepad.com
Pallavi Gandhi: http://studioat605.wordpress.com/
Tosca Teran: http://wp.me/pigO-up

Seasonal shifts….Do you enjoy the changing of the seasons?

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I’m getting back on track with the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank this month with the topic “Seasonal shifts….Do you enjoy the changing of the seasons?

I truly enjoy the change of seasons, especially when I live in a place where these shifts are quite evident.

Spring’s arrival announces the rebirth.  I love to watch buds form and new life burst forth.

Summer signals maturity.  The fruit of spring’s blossoms emerge.

Fall brings a wonderful transformation. I am fascinated by the beautiful colors of leaves changing.

Winter provides a time for restoration.  It is as if everything is at rest, preparing for what is to come in the spring.

Now let’s see what my fellow Think Tank participants had to say on this topic:

Andes Cruz:  http://andescruz.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/seasonal-shifts/

Pallavi Gandhi: http://studioat605.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/october/

Robyn Hawk: http://flyviewsandreviews.blogspot.com/

Catherine Witherell: http://happydayart.typepad.com

Tosca Teran: http://nanopod.me/2014/10/20/seasonal-shifts/

Shelagh Blatz http://www.designsbyshelagh.com/blog

Namaste

The importance of animals in my life.

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July’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is: “The importance of animals in my life.

I suggested the topic to our group because it came to me one morning as all three of our basset hounds were on the couch with me.  Some way, some how, each one managed to be touching me.  One on my lap.  Now realize bassets are not lap dogs, but they think they are!  And the other two laying so they were touching my side or had their head on my knee.  All I could think of was how blessed I am to share my life with these wonderful dogs.  I have earned their trust and love.

Animals have always been important to me.  I seem to have a special connection with dogs.  It’s hard to explain, but I can read them and they me.  There is a silent communication between us.

I love coming home to be greeted by enthusiastic howls and tail wags.  They bring a warmth to our home, in addition to tons of fur balls.

On those days when I feel a bit down, they sense it and do what they can to cheer me up.  Quorra will do her playful girl dance.  Newt has a quiet presence and just leans in to touch me gently.  Thor, the youngest of our pack, even has his way by batting at my leg with his ever so large paws.  It’s his way of saying “Hey, I’m here for you”.

My life is filled with laughter because of their antics.  I know a special love and bond that we share.

If medical studies are to be believed, they enhance my health.  Some days they can be a bit much as the manage to be speed bumps positioned directly in my path.  What that tells me is they want to be near me.  It is the basset way.

I cannot imagine my life without dogs.  I have had one since I was 5 years old with only a few years of absence for my entire life.

Of course, I have great affection for all forms of wildlife.  And I have loved horses since childhood too.  However, those who have had the greatest impact on my life have been dogs.

We have a stable pack.  They understand that Dan & I are the alphas.

When I read about people treating any animal as disposable, and even worse, abusing them, my heart breaks.  I know I cannot rescue every mistreated animal, which is why I think I spoil ours.  I want them to know how much they are loved and cared for and I know they understand.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers shared on this topic:

Andes Cruz: http://andescruz.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/animals-julys-blog-o-sphere/

KSkiles Studio: http://kaskiles.com/2014/07/20/animals-and-inspiration/

Catherine Witherell:  http://happydayart.typepad.com

Tosca Teran: short link: http://wp.me/pigO-sC

Shelagh Blatz http://designsbyshelagh.com/blog

Namaste

A Quote That Changed Your Life

June’s topic for our Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is: “A Quote that changed your life

I cannot think of one single quote that has been life changing for me.  However I do have this one that has resonated with me for years thanks to Henry David Thoreau:  “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

The first time I heard this quote, I was in my 30’s.  It symbolized hope.  I was working in the insurance field at the time and I was not very happy.  I knew I wanted to do something else and one day the courage came to go back to school and get my degree in a field that I love.  Throughout all of that, and even now, I know that if I take the necessary steps (advances confidently in the direction of my dreams), I will achieve that goal I seek (I will meet with a success unexpected in common hours).

Now that’s pretty darn cool!

Let’s see what my fellow bloggers shared on this topic:

Andes Cruz: http://www.andescruz.wordpress.com

KSkilesStudio: http://kaskiles.com/studio-updates/

Catherine Witherell:  http://happydayart.typepad.com

Namaste

Why do I love Spring?

The topic for this month’s Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank relates to our thoughts and feelings about Spring.

I will say that Spring is not my favorite season, yet it holds so much promise that I do love it.  All of the typical commentary about renewal and rebirth apply.

One of my favorite signs of Spring is the blooming of a small flower, the crocus.  I love how these determined little flowers pop through the snow at times, sort of saying “Enough winter!  It’s our turn”.

Living at elevation like we do, past 7,500′, it sometimes feels like Spring will never get here.  But it does and I do enjoy how it is mixed in between wintry blasts.  As we wait for Spring’s arrival, sometimes as early as February, my husband likes to say “It’s almost Spring!”.

Once it is officially Spring, according to the calendar, he will change it to “Last snow!”.  As of Monday 5/12/2014, this was the “last snow”….still waiting on that one…..

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The view from the front of our house of the ‘last snow’ on May 12, 2014

Eventually, inevitably Dan is right and we will have had our last spring snow.

As the weather does warm with Spring’s arrival in the Rockies, trees bud, flowers bloom, animals give birth to their young.  I love all of that and what it represents.  A fresh start, propagation of the species, and rebirth of the earth.

Out where we live, I get to see baby antelope, calves, and even geese.  Every one just as cute as they can be.

For some reason I thought a lot about how special Spring is this year and every year.  Savoring the freshness of things greening up and just enjoying the start of another season.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers had to share on this topic:

Andes Cruz: http://www.andescruz.wordpress.com

marie bell    www.pencilfox.com

Kirsten Skiles http://kaskiles.com/studio-updates/

Catherine Witherell   http://happydayart.typepad.com

diana bell: http://www.bellsprings.blogspot.com

Namaste.

 

Road trips – Where would you go?


Portland, OR

February’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank writers is: “Road trips….. If you could go anywhere in the coming year; where would you go, what would you see?

Isn’t it funny how some things just keep circling back to what is going on in your life?  Let me explain.

My husband, Dan, and I have been researching areas we might like to live once we have retired from the corporate world.  That’s at least another 10+ years, unless some serious good fortune occurs, and since we are “planners“, we think this is the right time to be begin exploring.  This month’s blog post offers the perfect opportunity to share a bit about our future road trip this year!

A couple of the areas that have come up on our radar for where we may want to relocate are the states of Oregon and Washington.  More than a few cities in those states appeal to us.  For Oregon, we are interested in Portland, Salem, Silverton, and Eugene.  In Washington, Vancouver, Camas and Bellingham.  Now there certainly is some distance and variety with all of these.  Yet, we are in the planning stages of a road trip so we can visit a number of them and start evaluating the possibilities.

Vancouver, WA

Our road trip will involve air travel to get to Portland.  From there, we will rent a car and start the exploration.  I think that Portland and Vancouver could consume our entire time.  We want to visit a number of Botanical Gardens.  Coming from a semi-arid region like Colorado, it is quite the treat to see all the things that will grow in Oregon and Washington!  Course it helps considerably that they get so much rain!  And yes, that will definitely be a consideration for us…..can we handle that much annual rain fall compared to where we currently live in Colorado?

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Green Drinks Washington

Of course a strong art community is very important to me at this stage in my life and I think it will be going forward to the next phase of my life.  It seems like all of these places offer that and more.

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One of the things that we have run across as we have looked at Portland is the TV show called Portlandia.  We think it is an exaggeration about life in Portland and then again, maybe not!  This clip is the intro for the show and given our sense of humor, we have been hooked!  Real or not, we find it funny!

Salem, OR is the state capital and we do like the smaller size of that city.  It will definitely be worth a day visit.  Silverton is close by so we will visit the Oregon Garden.

We would love to see the coast.  Lighthouses, rock formations, maybe a glimpse of a seal or two and all the birds.  I don’t think we are planning our trip around prime whale watching season, but that would be so awe inspiring if it worked out.

a lighthouse2

Our plan is to go in the fall which will give Dan some photographic opportunities with the beautiful colors…..along with so many other things.  I think this kind of road trip will provide a ton of inspiration for my works too.

This will be one of our first vacation trips where we will explore residential neighborhoods to try and get a better feel for what life is like there.

So far we think each one has something unique to offer.  It’s just a matter of getting our feet on the ground and seeing what our intuition tells us.

Now let’s see what road trips my fellow bloggers are contemplating:

Andes Cruz: http://www.andescruz.wordpress.com
pencilfox www.pencilfox.com
diana bell www.bellsprings.blogspot.com
Catherine Witherell:  http://happydayart.typepad.com

And as the fictional characters in Portlandia say, “It’s art if you put a bird on it!“.

Namaste.

What is your definition of perfection?

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The quiet stillness of Zion on an April Morning 2013

November’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is: “What is your definition of perfection?

As with most of our topics, I tend to have an initial idea and then it expands.  This one certainly did, so here goes.

Perfection is a day, week, month, year or lifetime in The Grand Tetons.  It is heaven on earth for me.  I experience a tranquility and oneness there like no other place in this world.

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Dan snapped this photo of me as I was relaxing at the Tetons….I had that feeling that someone was watching and when I turned to look it was Dan, capturing the moment.

Perfection is life with my husband, best friend and soul mate Dan.

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Perfection is the time I spend with our basset hounds.

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Perfection is working at my studio bench, exploring the creative process and experiencing the zen of finishing that one piece that took my work to the next level.

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Perfection is a quiet day, tucked away in our home with a raging blizzard keeping us home bound.

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Perfection is being grateful for this life and the many blessings I have received.

Now let’s see what my fellow Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank members have shared on this topic:

Andes Cruz: http://www.andescruz.wordpress.com
pencilfox: www.pencilfox.com
Catherine Witherell:  http://www.happydayart.typepad.com
Diana Bell: www.bellsprings.blogspot.com

Namaste.