picture post

out of the zone.

this semester has made me very anxious so far. most of my hesitance lies in my arts 118 class, where we have to speak in each class and give a presentation during the semester. for someone with an anxiety disorder, this is a huge obstacle. you might think it would be easy to just say, “okay, self. just shut up and do it.” but it’s not that simple when you have a legitimate issue with anxiety. there have been many times when i’ve had something to say during this class, but as soon as i start to plan it out in my head, my heart starts to pound, my breathing speeds up, and i start to shake. the beginnings of a panic attack. it sucks big time, because i know that what i say will contribute a good point to the conversation. it’s a reflex. it’s not easy to just push myself through it. but sometimes i have to. of course it almost always turns out okay in the end, but getting to the end is difficult.

anyway, i only wrote all that to explain how i’m trying to step outside of my comfort zone in other areas this semester. last night, i dragged my friend chelsea to the semester’s first meeting of the visual arts club. i was iffy about it at first. but once everyone started tossing around ideas about what activities to plan, things starting to sound more appealing. we’re going to have tutorials and fundraisers and some community outreach projects. i think it’s going to be fun, and hopefully i’ll get to make some new friends.

the club has a student run gallery, and they’re asking for submissions for the first show of the year. the student gallery consists of the walls on the first floor of the cato/simons center, which make contains the studio arts, theatre, and music departments. after seeing previous works that have been featured there, i don’t honestly expect to be chosen, but i want to submit something anyway. you never know until you try, right? or as my papaw says, “can’t never could do nothin’.”  heh heh. even if my works is not chosen to be hung on the walls, it could still be featured on the visual arts club’s website.

so here are the ones that i’m considering submitting for consideration. it would be awesome if you would vote for your favorite, or the one that you think would be most likely to be considered, that would be so great. the titles are tentative. i’ve never been great at coming up with titles. you’re welcome to suggest alternatives. i’m still a newbie at this, remember…


Natural Selection, 2011 dimensions: 16x20



Obstruction, 2011 dim: 8x16



West Fall, 2011 dim: 12x16


any suggestions? thanks.  🙂


to be or not to be…offended by art?

this semester, i’m taking a required course called “issues and images in contemporary art.” i knew as soon as i saw the title that it would be a class filled with heated discussion and conflicting viewpoints and opinions. and it is. as i said on facebook and twitter during the break of my first class, i’m not sure if the people in my class are way smarter or way more pretentious than i am.

why can’t i just appreciate art for its aesthetics and not have to read so deeply into it? i don’t like ripping apart a piece of art until i can’t appreciate its beauty anymore. i like the feeling i get when i first see a work for the first time. i like to appreciate that part the most.

anyway, the interesting thing is a question one of the professors (there are two for this class) posed to us. we were looking at some paintings by john currin, which were a complete turnaround from his previous work. DON’T click on the link if you are easily offended. this brings me to the point of the post. the professor asked us how many of us were offended by the images he showed us. no one raised a hand. then he posed this question to us: how many of us are saying we’re not offended because we want so badly to *not* be offended? how many of us aren’t offended because we’re artists, and we’re not *supposed* to be shocked or offended by images we see? we see some pretty gruesome things on an everyday basis, right? we’re offended by things in the news and things we see on the street. but when it comes to art, anything goes, right?

that was the most interesting thing i’ve heard in a while. i had to ask myself how i actually felt. when i looked deeper, i found that i actually was not offended at all. unless something downright mean is said about me or my husband (or some close friends or family), i don’t get offended easily. it’s true. i think a lot of things i see are ridiculous (such as the amount of butt cheeks i’ve seen on campus this week under the shorty shorts girls are wearing lately), but i’m not offended by them.

john currin, the artist we were viewing at the time, changed his style completely. his recent works were inspired by danish pornography. yes, they are pornographic images. but they’re painted in an almost renaissance style. to me, the contrast is amusing. renaissance painters painted nudes all the time. but they were presented in a much more intimate way. currin’s paintings are full-on, like i said, pornographic. when we came back from our break, we studied an interesting contrast among three paintings to get an initial reaction.

***note: i debated whether to post the images of the following paintings because of their natures. it was a hard decision to make, since some people may actually be offended by the images, and a lot of my family members read my blog… i’m going to post the first two, but not the last, since currin’s works are actually modeled on pornography. as long as you don’t mind renaissance or impressionist nudes, then you’re fine to proceed from here.***

the first painting we viewed, pictured below, was italian painter titian’s venus of urbino (1538). it’s a painting i’ve seen many times in art history and other classes.  something that i like to point out is that the venus of urbino was actually based on the painter giorgione’s sleeping venus. it was completed by titian after giorgione’s death. mark twain actually wrote about this painting after seeing it in the uffizi gallery in florence. he was highly offended, not by the subject matter or the fact that it was a nude, but by the placement of the hand (is the hand placed there for modesty or for some other reason?). but most of us will look at this painting and think, “this is a renaissance painting. it looks real, and it looks beautiful.”

the second painting presented to us was edouard manet’s olympia (1863). not a surprise, as it is usually studied, compared, and contrasted with titian’s venus. it’s a bit more confrontational, as the woman (a prostitute) sits up and looks directly at the viewer. her posture is comfortable, confident, and open, whereas the venus or urbino’s posture is more coy and demure. note, however, that both have their legs crossed, and that the vital parts are not visible. the shocking thing about olympia, when it was first painted, was that there are several items in the painting that clearly identify the subject as a prostitute. notice the difference in hand placement and the tension there. olympia’s hand seems fiercely protective. the venus of urbino’s hand seems more delicate and demure in its protection. there are lots of symbolic items here. google or wiki them if you want to. it’s very interesting.

on to the next:  john currin, contemporary artist (born in colorado, raised in connecticut). his painting anniversary nude (2008) was the third we saw in this part of the lecture. it was kind of like, “oh. okay. well, that’s different.” it’s not that i was offended, but yeah, i was a little shocked. the obviousness and provocative nature of the painting is divergent…yet still similar to the first two. think about it: society today is largely about sex. “sex sells.” and it’s true. sex is present in some form everywhere we look. the openness, the extreme provocative nature of the subject…it’s like she’s just putting it out there for all to see. there’s no sense of modesty or decorum whatsoever. is this bad? is it the objectification of women? or is it empowering?

are you shocked?

are you offended?

if you aren’t, is it because you don’t think you’re supposed to be shocked in this day and age?

i still can’t decide. even if i’m not good at reading a work of art the way some people can, i love the way art makes me think and ponder.

what do you think?

***ETA: the previous link for anniversary nude did not show the full painting. the new link will.***

things i love sunday…art journal edition!

since i’ve been journaling so much lately, i thought i’d share a top ten with you on this subject. 🙂

1. i got these yesterday on a short shopping trip. they were the only things i bought. the book came from tj maxx, if you can believe it! it’s just a plain novel (ken follett), but i thought the book was too beautiful to not buy for $4! so now it’s an altered art journal. i bought the little notebook because i love the cute drawing on the front, and it’s the perfect size to keep in my purse for spontaneous journaling.

2. my new favorite pen: the papermate flair. it’s great for doodling, and it doesn’t bleed through the pages.

3. my box o’ crap. i mean supplies. 😉

4. the cover of my journal for the online ink blots class i’ve been doing. i’m sad that it’s over, but i’ve come away with some great ideas and advice!

and a few of my favorite recent pages:







hope you had a fun weekend! here’s wishing you a great week. 🙂

yarn hooker.

i’ve been crocheting like a fiend lately. i’m not even exaggerating when i say that on wednesday, i crocheted from the time i got up until i went to bed. it’s just so calming and satisfying! i’ve joined ravelry, a knitting & crochet community where you can share patterns and keep inventory of your yarn & stuff. it’s fun. here are a few of my newest creations:

a baby panda hat! i'm thinking about embroidering eyes and a little nose, but i'm not sure yet. what do you think?

toddler cloche. i'm loving making these big flowers!

baby bonnet. i adore this and will definitely be using this pattern again!

baby bear hat. i think these are so precious on newborns.

super soft newborns caps

baby berry cap. i think it looks like a raspberry! that's why i'm calling it baby berry. 🙂

cutie baby hat.

flowers in all shapes and sizes!

toddler hat, fisherman style

i’m all about the baby hats lately. i’ve done a few adult hats, but baby & kid-sized ones are just too cute. i’ve also done some headbands with bows (i wore mine yesterday!) and flowers, and i’ve got some other cute ideas in my head. ashley’s been crocheting up a storm too, but i don’t have any pics of her stuff yet. all of these will be available at our booth at her school carnival, and they’ll eventually go into our etsy shop. too bad we don’t have a baby to model them for us! lol

happy weekend!

fringe scarf tutorial

SO… in my “things i love” post, i included one of my favorite websites, ps i made this. i now have a list of things to try out. i started out with this amazingly simple fringe scarf and thought i’d share a tutorial with you. i swear, *anybody* can do this. a five-year-old could do it. as a matter of fact, it would probably be a fun project to do with your kids!

start with a t-shirt. i like the design on this shirt, but i don't really wear it, because it just looks blah on me.

start by cutting your shirt across the middle. you can make this as big as you want. the bigger the piece, the longer the fringe will be.


save the top part for a later project. turn your cut piece upside down so that the hem is at the top. begin cutting 1-inch strips starting at the raw (cut) side, stopping a couple of inches or so from the hem at the top.


here's what it will look like when you're finished cutting the strips.

start pulling and twisting the strips. you don't have to pull very hard to stretch them out, but the more you twist and pull, the better they look. 🙂


keep pulling and twisting the strips to make the fringe...


...and voila! a fringe scarf. you could wear it long or off the shoulder...


...or you can double it over like a traditional scarf. it's a little bit rock & roll, right? 😉

i hope you try this project out!  like i said, it’s super easy. if you can cut, twist, and pull, you can make a fringe scarf! i’ll be back another day to show you what i did with the remainder of the t-shirt. happy wednesday!

things i love tuesday…

eek! i had a little computer mishap on friday. it fell, and my screen went kaput. i had been gathering little things here and there for my “things i love sunday” post, and now…well, i don’t have them anymore. but i need to give you a things i love post, since i’ll be out of town next weekend (yay disney world)! so here are a few things i’m loving this week!

1. p.s. i made this is an amazing site that gives great ideas and tutorials. the motto is “i see it. i like it. i make it.” check out the youtube channel here for live tutorials. they’re so easy, you’ll find yourself making a long list of things to make! i know i did…

2. the gorgeous paintings by local artist mclean sheperd. i’m in love with her work.

3. yogurt mountain. yummm.

4. looks like a great day to me! one of my fave movies

image via we heart it

5. this is basically what we’re learning in my painting class. my professor takes such a *different* approach to teaching. at first, it doesn’t seem like he’s teaching us anything. but then…you leave class to find you’ve learned so much.


6. i still want to dye my hair a bright, pretty color. the problem is, i sort of like to blend in. i don’t like people staring, and i don’t like to be the center of attention. if i’m going to stand out, i want it to be for something i did. but colorful hair is just so pretty! i want. 

image via we heart it

7. boots n gus makes some really cool lighting fixtures out of found items like tupperware containers, molds, and mason jars. how cool! hop on over to etsy to take a gander at their truly amazing fixtures. they’ve also got tons of vintage items for sale.

8.  such a fabulous yet simple workspace! found via lonnymag.

9. i love hdr. i need so badly to learn photoshop so i can make my pictures lovely, but i have the attention span of a gnat.

image via we heart it

10. the sharp wit and eternal good looks of cary grant in pretty much every movie in which he appears. he is, by far, one of my most favorite actors ever.