It's Almost Moving Day

Wow, I see that it's been a whole month since I last posted and that's just not right.  But, when you're packing to move and things are displaced. . . well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.  Anyway, the update on the house is that the carpet will be installed on TUESDAY and I'm so excited.  That's the only thing stopping me from getting in and setting up my studio.

We've gone from too much rain to record heat.  The sprinklers are out, grass and weeds are growing, growing, growing, but so are my creative urges.  When I'm finally in my new and really 1st studio, I have friends who have volunteered to come and help me take my 20some tubs of fabric stash and UFO's, and help me sort, fold, divide and conquer!  This is the space I'm leaving: 

Actually it rarely looked that clean and organized. . . see that pile to the right, that's more like it.  I'll bet when I took this photo I had to move huge stacks of paper crap off the surfaces and they were probably hiding on the floor where you can't see in the picture.  What I really need is 3 friends who will come weekly and sort, file, and put away all that stuff that I habitually pile on flat surfaces.  Oh my.  But I did recently find some articles that may help me in the future and maybe you too if you're a little bit ADD like me.  Check this out: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/6528.html 
As of this date, everything is off the walls and about 1/3 of the light stuff has been moved down to the house.  I'm storing it in the bathroom, even the tub and you can bet that as of Wed. there will be a flurry of activity and I promise to post photos as I move in.

Warm hugs and always a smile,  chris


Alsea Art Farm - Dreaming of Retreats Being Held Here!

. . . . as promised on Kelly Rae's e-course, I will post more info about my proposal to have 1 or 2 nearly free creative retreats (6-8 people) here at what I like to think of as "Alsea Art Farm".  Probably by tomorrow you can expect more information.  Here's one photo to show you what a beautiful drive it is to our property!

From Corvallis to Alsea, this is going up Mary's Peak and there are only 2 miles of curvy road (for those that get car sick)

This is the new home we've been building for the last 7 years and we're almost ready to move in.  I will have a studio upstairs and I'd love to have some play date weekends / small retreats!

This is one view of the river from the back deck.

And this is the deck. . .

We've even hosted 3 weddings so far.

This is the great room (much will be unfinished even as we move in next month)
Below are just a few small shots of the landscaping and special places I love.


Here's the island and a view of the front of the house as you drive up.

The second dwelling on the property is a MF home and it will be empty in about a month. . . so before we get it rented, I'd like to offer it as a place to camp out. . . . it can sleep 8.  It really would have to be like camping (but fancier) you'd have to bring sleeping bags and mats or blowup mattresses, towels and personal stuff.  There won't be any furniture - so just a place to crash.  I'll keep the TP supplied!  There's also a washer and a dryer, a dishwasher (oops no dishes - guess you'll only have the snacks you bring).  A fridge and a microwave will still be there too.  I imagine simple meals will have to be arranged.  Alsea has no restaurant at this time because it's closed and up for sale.  There is gas and a store.

This is one of our two shop kitties - but they're a little shy with strangers.
Our homes are smoke free but animal friendly.

So that's our place - a little piece of Heaven and people who come out here absolutely love it.  The other special spot I don't have photos of just yet is the creek that runs along side the lower end of the property and the patio sitting area.  You can literally sit there with a cool drink, hear stereo creek sounds from two sides as is winds through, the birds chirping like crazy and you just melt away into bliss.  It's my favorite spot to relax!

And there are endless ideas for what to play with, fiber, paints, papers, stamps, photos, you name it.  I also like the idea of renting a workshop from  www.artworkshops.tv
 , oh and here's the best tip I can give you. . . .if you sign up for their newsletter you will get to view free videos with every newsletter.  This weeks newsletter has this video free to watch.  "Beeswax Collage with Claudine Hellmuth"  And I've watched free videos of Sherrill Kahn and Ann Baldwin - both ladies that I've taken workshops with.
If you teach workshops - you need to know about this company!!!!!

OK, I need to get back to mowing and weeding!  Enjoy that link ;~)


Waiting For Success

I feel it again. . . . The energy inside is swirling like an encapsulated cyclone, ready to burst through, exploding into the atmosphere.  But my past, my hindrances clearly show that rather than exploding through and out into the wide open space of success, it quickly drops to the surface like a glop of heavy lethargic mass of dough without enough yeast to fully rise to even its anticipated potential.  All this repeats itself, over and over till someone quietly refers to the otherwise well known phenomena as half assed attempts on the road to know where.

On second thought, maybe it’s just the caffeine I just put in this decaffeinated body   ;-0
or the beginning of another elevated mood episode!  Who knows – but I better resolve it on my 3 day weekend, because it’s back to work on Monday.

What brought this on so early in the morning?  I guess it was getting Lesley Riley's e-newsletter last night and her reply this morning.  I've been a fan and groupy for as long as she's been out there with her "Fragments" on her first website!  A secret fan pretty much, but always admiring and wowed at her work.  Now she's embarking on a new venture, just opening the widow slightly for those of us who get her newsletter.  It hasn't been launched just yet, but I'm first in line.  Here's some of what she wrote:

Artist Success - Solutions for the Struggling Artist . That's it. That's the name for my new (ad)venture. There's no website yet but we're working on it. I just can't hold back any longer letting you know what I'm up to.
As an Artist Success expert, I'll be working with artists who are unsure of their path; confused or scared about how to get from unknown to known; artists who are trying to discover their voice, their style, their why; artists who are afraid or embarassed to show their art or even claim the title ofartist. From my years teaching and speaking with 1000s of students, I know there are many artists who take all the classes and buy all the supplies in the hopes of discovering their art, but then end up overwhelmed and unsatisfied.
Basically, I am here to help the person I was, so many years ago. I figure if I went through it, there must be others out there looking for direction, for a mentor, for someone to take their hand and show them the ropes, navigate the path, divulge the secrets.

And this is worth repeating here from an earlier blog post of mine:

. . .  a word of caution (to me!) I read a post called "Highs and Lows of Being an Artist" on Lesley Riley's blog today and it reminded me that sometimes what we wish for ends up being more than we wish for - if not monitored and occasionally assessed.  She has achieved success in my mind.  I admire her so much and I love her work!  Not only is she a talented artist but she has the most generous spirit.  I've followed her from nearly the beginning and I even have one of her "Fragments".   It's one of my favorite treasures!  I love everything about it.

We all need to make sure life doesn't overwhelm us and clutter our spirits!
We need to play often!!!

I'm anxiously awaiting further word about her new venture, because at 56 I know I still have time (I just learned about Julia Child's age when she hit the big time), but I battle the knowledge that it's not over until it's over -vs- feeling like I'm slowly leaning on that last leg, when it comes to success that is.


So - I Like Color

OK, this blog always seems to be a work in progress (just like me!) and after I changed the header image to this new one, I ran it by my graphic designer son.  I'm sure he said some complimentary things, and other things all taken as the constructive criticism that I was asking for. . . . but one word is still haunting me.  He thought the header colors a bit "Garish".  I blame my inexperience with Photoshop elements in perfecting a less than perfect image.  (can you see why I'm excited about my new book that I mention below :)  Anyway.

(Update 6/17/10 I removed the banner I was mentioning in this post.  I've posted it below.  I still like it, especially in this smaller version.  The one I have now is temporary - too simple.  I will play around with this one or the idea as soon as I have a bit more time.  If you'd like to leave comments, please do.

Something I should have done from the beginning is to take print screens of each design change I've made.  Oh well, too late for all past ones, but it's a good idea now!)

I already took away the two tiny purple sidebars and now I'm looking at how to make my header less garish.  I just took a class from Jane Davilla and one of her suggestions was to be consistent in branding.  I just don't know how I'm going to do that because I love to come up with new ideas.  Now I have to either simplify or change "Garish" or redesign something entirely different.  Now was certainly not the time to go back to work, even part time.  I simply have less time to play and that's no fun.


I Bought The Book!

Just wanted to say that I bought the book yesterday "Digital Expressions" by Susan Tuttle!  Borders had a 40% off coupon that I used otherwise it wasn't on my "need" list.  But I've had a rough week, so it was a little reward for having endured that.  Now I just need to get myself to feeling better, (in order to thoroughly absorb it) while working my way through some of the exercises and attempting to use an older version (3.0) of Photoshop Elements.  But I am excited!!!!


Book Give Away! Late But Probably Not Last

I've just found this amazing Photographer and Digital Artist Susan Tuttle, who has a new book out!  I WANT IT . . . and I will have it one day, but I hope sooner than later.  I just popped on over to her blog for the second time (yes, I just found her) and discovered that she is doing a book giveaway right now, and it's almost over so my fingers are typing madly so that I can get my entry in.  Who cares about spelling and correct fonts right now . . . .
But do check it out on Amazon.com 
. . . . and watch for my new creations after I totally absorb this book!!!
Did I mention that I love the colors and design of this cover page.  Oh my!


Some Fun News

Even though I've been down with a nasty cold the last two days, I just got a burst of excitement energy by checking my email. . . . 
Hello Shannon, Kathleen, Angela and Chris!
I just wanted to let you know that the following pieces you created on our new Ultra-Light Lutradur® were selected to be printed on the packaging (close-up detail shots). Soon you'll get an email with the link to your images in the Troupe Flickr gallery, where the specific shot we used will be identified.
- Front cover:  Angela - Magpie quilt
- Back cover:  Kathleen - lampshade and butterfly card ; Shannon - Beauty collage; Chris - Excuses quilt 
This product will be released worldwide in July - in another month or so, we will be able to email you the full package image - and we will arrange to mail you a complimentary package as soon as our inventory arrives.
Feel free to share this news on your blogs, etc. and thanks again for being a member of the Creative Troupe!
Lisa Fulmer, Marketing Manager
C&T Publishing — www.ctpub.com
Here's the piece I created for C&T Publishing.  It's called "Hiding Behind Excuses"
Here's one close up

It's using a new lighter weight of Lutradur.  This stuff is great since you can paint on it, print on it and even burn it.  Which I did and it was fun.  I found it an especially useful application when wanting to show what's under it - sort of like a hidden image or message, but just enough peeking through for the observer to be curious enough to take a closer look.

Other news. . . . I've been taking Jane Davila's e-class called "Jump Start Your Art Career" and the next e-class that I'm taking is from Kelly Rae Roberts called "FLYING LESSONS: Tips + Tricks To Help Your Creative Business Soar"

BWS tips button  All of this just as I go back into the workforce!!!  But maybe, just maybe. . . this will make me work harder to escape once again ; ))


I Love Tutorials

Just a quick post about a great tutorial I stumbled upon.  And it's affordable!  Only $10.   One thing I've loved for some time now, is transfering images and text to fabric.  But I'm also looking to do more mixed media as well as exploring other methods of doing artwork.  Painting with watercolor and acrylics, encaustic, color enhancement on black and white photography, etc.  I especially like images of old barns, old trucks, windows and doorways.  Don't know why.  I just do.

So here's the information about this latest tutorial that I'm excited about.

And if you're like me. . . you'll be digging in your change purse to be able to view this treasure!  Oh, and her art is great besides!!!  Enjoy.


Thinking About Creativity

Here's a video that's message is timeless!  It's about being creative and that's all I'm going to say.  You just need to watch it (without distraction) and then please leave a comment and tell me what you thought!

To my friends and with love,  chris


Much to our surprise it snowed this morning.  Mike and I were reflecting back to an April 1st snow storm that dumped a couple of feet on us and we were without power for 4 days.  It's not a fun time since we don't have a wood stove or a fireplace in this rental.

See that long line of fir trees along our driveway. . . well at the end of that driveway is the new house that we've been building for almost 7 years.  The super good news is that yesterday we got our final inspection, passed and signed off with the county building dept.  Woo-Who!!!  So now we'll be able to pursue refinancing - Finally.  It took lots of little and not so little loans to get this thing close to completed.

Next step is laying the wood floor downstairs so the finisher can come in and make it beautiful.  Then we pick carpet, have it installed and move in.  Last step * * * P A R T Y  O N!!!

Back to reality - we'll need to rent out this MH and that's something we don't look forward to at all.  I can tell you we've have more "bad" (or let's just say "interesting" renters than we've had "wonderful" renters.  Then there's the big idea I have rattling around in this mental maze of a brain, to turn the space into a workshop / small retreat type spot, all set up with work tables, etc. with room to sleep up to 8, full kitchen, two baths and a washer and dryer.  I can see quilters, painters, scrapbookers, mixed media artists, and girlfriend gatherings utilizing this space.  Most importantly it would be a place to escape to. . . away from the tv, the phone, the kids, the to-do lists.  A place to indulge ones-self in creative exploration or simply to finish a project.  And that's part of my vision for "Alsea Art Farm".                                                                              


I Love This Quote!

But a word of caution (to me!) I read a post called "Highs and Lows of Being an Artist" on Lesley Riley's  blog today and it reminded me that sometimes what we wish for ends up being more than we wish for - if not monitored and occasionally assessed.  She has achieved success in my mind.  I admire her so much and I love her work!  Not only is she a talented artist but she has the most generous spirit.  I've followed her from nearly the beginning and I even have one of her "Fragments".   It's one of my favorite treasures!  I love everything about it.

We all need to make sure life doesn't overwhelm us and clutter our spirits!
We need to play often!!!

Art Quilts and Wearable Art

A post I'll be working on soon - more art quilts and art-to-wear that I've done in the past and hope to pick up again.     Here's a sample of what's to come. . . .



Postcard Quilts

Last night at Mary's River Quilt Guild there were two speakers, one who did a slide show and a demonstration of postcard quilts.  Her's were actually mailable, which is so cool.  Although I've never mailed any of mine, I have made quite a few and I can't help but love almost all of them.  Which of course makes it difficult to part with some.  All are 4" x 6" finished little quilts with bound edges.  I sold them in black shadowbox frames that I purchased from American Frame Co., but last time I looked I couldn't find the same frames for sale, which is disappointing because I would love to pick up where I left off and produce these one-of-a-kind little pieces of art and sell them in galleries again.  The last gallery I sold them in was on the Oregon coast where they were priced at $70.  Of course, after commission and supply costs (mostly for the frame) I think I made about $25.00 each.

The thing from last nights speaker that perked up my ears was when she mentioned that she sends them to grandkids and how much they loved them - hmmmm my gramma heart was telling me to do just that and very soon.

But here's a sample of my quiltart postcards (introduced to me in a workshop 10 yrs ago, by David Walker )   I apologize - I'm still trying to figure out how to take great photographs.  Some are ok, but some are barely passable.   While I'm making excuses. . I'm having a heck of a time with blogger's photo placement.  Sometimes it just has a mind of it's own!

The first one above says "Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see"
The one on the lower left says "When someone you know becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure"  and the one lower right was made when I found out that I would be a grandma for the first time.  It was a reminder to me to pray for that little one because there were challenging circumstances!  There still are - and my granddaughter is 9 years old now.  

Above it says "Art washes away from the Soul the dust of everyday life"  And then there are the postcard quilts that are unfinished.  I posted two here.  To the right it says, "Complete forgiveness is Memory without the Pain".  

I unearthed several of them a couple of months ago and it was such a pleasant surprise.

When we move into the new house in a few short months, that's what it's going to be like when I can finally unpack everything that's been in storage for the last 7+ years.  I think we even have things in storage that were brought from the Philomath house's attic.  Mike has said for years that when we finally have a garage sale, it's going to be a BIG one!

And then there's this last one.  I think I like it so much I may be keeping it for myself!  "Creating my own reality with art"

I Can't Draw . . . . but if I practice I will be able to draw - so can you!

I use to say "I CAN'T draw" or "I even draw really bad stick people" and I had the drawings to prove it!  But I firmly believe that creativity and talent all start somewhere and if we have the desire, and we practice (a lot for some of us - me included) and keep practicing. . . then we develop talents we didn't have before!  OK so what about natural talent you ask?  Well, then I'd say that some people are naturally gifted and I don't have time to delve into that right now, but basically I put all gifts into one big God box!

So I've always wanted to paint.  The I discovered that to paint I'd most likely needed to draw or sketch.  I took one drawing class, oh somewhere around 1998 and found it challenging, but even I was amazed at what I could accomplish with a little instruction.  I look back at my classwork and for the life of me, I can't remember how I did some of those drawings.  But they look pretty darn amazing to me now.  Too bad I didn't continue to practice, because who knows I might be pretty darn good right about now!  Ah well.

Last week another opportunity to learn to draw came about by reading our local Alsea newsletter and reading that someone in our community was offering public art classes.  Every Saturday evening from 6-9 and for only $7 a class.  The fact that he and his wife had painted signs for local businesses gave me an idea of their expertise, but it wasn't until I googled him and checked out his web site  www.danandmaehitchcock.com/ (if you don't want to see nudes then don't click on "Dan's Art" but do check out the murals) that I saw what an amazing talent the had.  Actually it's he and his wife Mae's website and art.  His name is Dan Hitchcock and he's self taught!  I'm not sure about Mae, if she's self taught also.  Anyway, I couldn't wait for the first class.  So here's my class projects.  1st one is using a grid to transfer lines.  I liked the picture I picked out to use, but I think a face or a person's form would have been a bit easier.  With my picture I wanted to finish with paints or watercolor pencil, but I may do some of that later.
This second class sample of the first night we were suppose to draw a head form that was sitting in front of us on a table.  Mine looks ridiculous.  It looks like an alien to me!  This will not be finished!

OK, on to something I've been wanting to paint for some time.  My favorite coffee cup.  I call it my comfort cup because it's big and the colors really please me, every time I use it.  What I did was take a picture of it then change it to gray scale on Picassa.  After I printed it out, I remembered something from my last drawing class and I traced the cups lines with a graphite pencil.  Then I laid that drawing face down onto watercolor paper and burnished with an old spoon.  When I lifted that picture from the wc paper, there was a light pencil image of the cup.  Then I proceeded to go over the lines once again, then I used Staedtler watercolor pencils to color in the cup.  

After everything was colored in I used a fine tip brush and carefully went over the pencil and there I was Watercolor Painting!  It truly was just filling in the spaces and kinda like paint by number without the numbers.

After the painting was completed the last step for the cup was to go over the black lines one more time with a black pen.  I used a Precise V5 roller ball black pen.

It's not a perfect match by any means but it does give me the same visual satisfaction as the real cup.

Here's the completed painting.

The title was done with a Sharpie marker the exact same color as the inside of the cup.
And I can't tell you how happy this makes me.


Too Cool Not To Share!

I thought it time to share this cool resource that I stumbled upon.  It's called "Creative Catalyst Productions Inc."  I actually was looking for a past painting teacher Lynn Powers, from whom I first took a watercolor painting class at the Benton Center in 1998.  It's something I would like to do again.  So I googled her name and came across her new venture with her husband (they live in Albany) and wowza - take a look at what they are doing, right here in my own backyard!!!  http://www.ccpvideos.com/
I've known about this site for a couple of months and really thought I'd purchase a few of my favorite artists ( ANN BALDWIN / SHERRILL KAHN / LESLEY RILEY / CLAUDINE HELLMUTH ) DVD's, but not until I'm employed again and can afford even that.  But think of the tremendous opportunity this is. . . . workshops are getting increasingly more expensive and this option is affordable to say the least!!!

BUT. . . . the surprise that I had today is that you can also RENT these DVD's too, right on your own computer.  http://www.artworkshops.tv/  Check out the freebies!
The Sherrill Kahn screen-prints below are from one of the freebies that I watched today!
I think she's at the top of my favorites list!
I've taken a workshop from her in person and I've used her painting on fabric techniques more than any other.    She's also on of the nicest people you'll ever meet.

So what are you waiting for. . . .  go check out these DVD's.
Let me know if you find anything you like!


Quilting Magazines - Ooooh La La!

This is the quilt magazine cover I'm lusting over right now.  I want to create something with its feel, vibrant color and zingy style.  Simple huh, but oh so cute!

I’m blessed to be leaving this afternoon for a woman’s retreat at the coast this weekend, but all of a sudden I want to stay home and play.  That’s not unusual, but what is, is that I’ve been in a non-producing place for some time now.  So I collect magazines, peruse blogs, get inspired and frustrated all at the same time.  I know there are other people that can probably relate to this.  Maybe, there’s even a self-help group I can join?  If you know of one, email me!
I'm still dreaming & waiting for the day that I can move into my new room (a.k.a Studio).  We purchased the wood flooring last weekend for the whole house, which has to be acclimated to the interior of the new house before Mike can install it.  Then the floor finisher comes in to do his thing.  Then the last step before moving in will be to have carpet installed.  We're thinking another two months!  But wait, we have a nephew getting married here at the property on May 15th. . . maybe waiting till after that is a good thing (but I'm also thinking that we can use some of those young muscles to move some of the heavy stuff before or after the wedding.  A small price to pay for camping and spending the weekend here, wouldn't you say?)
I have been playing around with dryer softener sheets (I first used these in my 1st Starbuck's Quilt in 1997) but now I'm printing on them.  Also playing around with face wipes.  Seems like this is all coming around again right now.  I'm seeing it on lot's of blogs and in mag. articles.  Reminds me of the saying "Nothing is new under the sun", we just rediscover with a twist.
Speaking of the Starbuck's Quilt. . . I'm not yet ready to post the art quilts I started doing in 1997 while a member of Tactile Expressions, but if you want to see a few things I've done you can take a look here. . . . http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Fegles-ArtPlay/243989502476?ref=ts  go to "photos", then "other works"  There are a few things there, certainly not all the stuff I need to dig up (photos mostly, because a lot of   my quilts have been sold)  By the way. . . I'm about ready to put the first Starbuck's quilt up on Ebay with a minimum bid, in order to get the funds to trademark a term.  Yes, that's what I said!  We think we have a great idea and really want to market it asap, but not without trademark protection first.  And with me still being unemployed, I either need to sell plasma or sell a quilt to get the extra funds needed to pursue this frivolous idea.  And to end this post. . . these are the covers that I almost want to frame!  I love the colors!!!

Did I mention that these are all going to the retreat with me?
Of course I'm still dreaming!


Colorful and Different. . . I love that!

I was getting dressed earlier and thought of my new socks and had to post a picture.  Then that led to taking another picture, and then finding another one that I thought fit in the "Colorful and Different" category. . . . way side tracked AGAIN!!!  But let's proceed with the original thought. .. . .. . ..  Here are my birthday socks from my son and daughter-in-law.  I just love them for their outrageous design, pattern and of course the color.  By the way, if you love them as much as I do - you too can own them if you live locally.  I found them at "Sibling Rivalry" in Corvallis.
and they're much too special to cover up with any shoes, so that means I will always have to wear them with my black Birkenstocks.  Of course!

and thinking about color - I have to show you this picture that I took while playing around with my webcam as I was play acting.  Yes, that's what I said.  Here's a photo of me pretending to be a famous artist (why else would I have such a posed photo).  But let me explain a thing or two.  It started out to be an experiment with my hair.  Lately I've been sick of it and I thought that I'd try and do a hair-pulled-back photo (I haven't done that look since grade school) to try and analyze my facial features so that I might begin to have an idea of what I think I'd like to try as a new hairstyle (way too sidetracked that day too!) and down the wandering path I went. .. . .. . I ended up having too much fun and the resulting picture is part of that.  Oh, and the other photos. . . . only a few close friends got to see the whole slide show.  Anyway, I got out one of my funnest and wildest jackets that I wear in spurts, on occasion, and it made me realize how I love that jacket!  Why I love that jacket.  It's not a jacket that many people would wear, well except for an artist type/wanna-be-artist like me.  I love it's color, the design is wacky, wild and free.  That's what I love about it and that it's very different - like me ;~)

Sometimes I can't believe I'm putting this stuff (thoughts and photos) out there for anyone to see.  Yikes!