Thursday, October 25, 2012

Overcoming blocks

Today is Thursday, 9:17 am and I lay in my cozy bed while writing this blog post.  I love to lay in bed, it's my haven.  I especially love it when it's cold and drizzly outside, which it is right now.  So week one has started of The Artist Way, I have been doing my morning pages, have you?  I just did my artist date last night, I went to REI and took a class on bird drawing.  It was fun, free and really informative.  I didn't even know REI had classes, but I looked on an email they sent and decided to try something new.  I am glad I did, it was really enjoyable, and the teacher had great charisma.  He is going to form a group that meets once a month in different locations to gather, draw birds, and encourage people to share their drawings.  All for free.  How great is that?
I am glad I tried something new, thanks to doing The Artist Way, I exposed myself to another outlet.  That's what it's all about.  What did you do for your artist date?  I know the week isn't over yet but I would love to hear from those of you who are joining the party.
The topic of this post is overcoming blocks, the reason I choose this as my title is I have had a big artistic block for sometime and I thought I would share it with you.  I tend to surf the net and take online classes a lot.  Too much I think.  I think it's inspiring and helpful to learn new techniques and see other aritsts work to help inspire my own art.  But it doesn't.  It actually does the opposite.  I feel like everyone else is knocking it out of the ball park, that I have no style of my own and that if only I could paint like so and so...then I would be happy.
One of my favorite artists to date is Robert Burridge, I love his energy and passion for painting and his paintings just resonate with me, here is his website for those who are interested...  He is a fun, charismatic painter and I bought his workbook and DVD which are full of amazing tips on how to be a good painter.   Here is one example of his work.  I simply love his palette and use of color and shape.
He talks a lot about working on a series.  So I decided to work on a series.  Except it was creating some angst because I couldn't think of what the heck to do a series on.  Should I paint horses, trucks, landscapes, the ocean, people, what?  On top of it I was trying to paint abstract for the first time in my life, while also implementing his color wheel.  It was all very frustrating, and yet good on some level that I was trying something new.  Well, a funny thing happened in this process, I figured out what to do for my series, and it's been right in front on me all along.  Tutus.  Of course.  Why WOULDN'T I think of tutu's is the better question right?  I will tell you why I didn't want to paint tutu's.  I thought how cliche.  I was afraid of being cheesy, of being too cute.  This prevented me from trying.  Then my friend Darlana came by the shop last week, I was going to give her all my tutu fabric because I was just done with it.  She said, "are you sure.  don't you just want to keep some of it? ", and we talked and played with the tutu fabric and created a tutu on canvas in like 15 mins.  I had to admit it was kind of cute.  Almost too cute for me, but not ridiculous.  It got me thinking, I am the tutu lady, these tutu's have  come to me and have something to say, why not listen?  I realized the tutu's need to go on canvas.  I need to put all the things I love together: Tutu's, canvas, paint, collage. I boldly dipped a tutu in paint then glued it on collaged canvas, adding shellac, and more paint and kept going until I liked it.  I added a paper towel that had beautiful ink from another project as a bow and "VOILA", I had my first tutu painting!  Here it is.
The first of my series.  Yay!  I have overcome my block and I am going with this, I don't know how many  to do, or what they are all going to be,  but I am inspired.  I want to see how many different ways I can manipulate a tutu on canvas, and I am sure this will keep me busy for quite awhile.  I also set a goal to get my tutu pictures compiled into a book, this is another big goal I have avoided due to the tediousness of the project.  It requires patience and time.  YUCK, I am all about a quick fix so this has been on the to do list for YEARS.  No more.  I am breaking it into manageable chunks, one photo at a time, one page at a time, and eventually I will get there.  It feel so much better to be in action around these things that had me stuck then to avoid them.  This is my lesson.  I am better when I am structured, when I implement goals.  I was floundering for a while there, absorbing everyone else's process instead of working on my own.  It's so much easier to watch others create, to take a class, read a book, look on pintrest and facebook , then it is to do the work.  I also bought the book, "Do The Work" by Stephen Pressfield, it's a must have for the art studio because he nails the demon resistance big time. "Our enemy is not lack of preparation: it's not the difficulty of the project, or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of the bank account.  The enemy is RESISTANCE.  The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications and a million reasons why she can't/shouldn't/ won't do what we know we need to do."  This is just the front inside cover to his book, there is a lot of meat inside.  I need to refer to this book whenever I feel resistance rear it's ugly head.
I best be getting to the studio, it's Bob day, I pick up my studio mate Bob every other Thursday and bring him to the studio so he can paint.  Thank you for taking time to read my post, please share any experiences or insight you care to, I love hearing how we are all in this together.  Have a great week, I will be writing again soon.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Artist Way Again

Wow, it's been about 4 months since I blogged.  I admit I burned out.  Trying to keep up with blogging and facebook, my website, the shop, and be creative and produce art is a heavy load.  I ended up just posting on facebook as it's fast and easy, what can I say when it comes right down to it this is my M.O.   I am blogging today to challenge myself.  I encourage you to join me.  I am reading The Artist Way, again, in the hopes of it unblocking me and getting me to another level.  For those of you who don't know about this book, here it is.  It's my bible.  I love this book.  It really transformed my life back in June of 2008.  It lead to exactly where I am today, the owner of Hip Chick Designs.  Now I am ready to see where it will lead me from here.  I have been in a bit of a creative funk.  I want to make a series, have lots of art to sell and show and yet I am frustrated as heck as to what to paint.  My space is wonderful now, having added some square footage for my art area, and yet I am still blocked.  I have tried brute force.  I have not tried quitting.  I will never get to where I am going by abandoning the path now.  But it's not clear.  So I am recommitting to what worked before.  I am also mentoring Laura Garcia of The Elegant Nest in her journey.  She came to me (synchronicity) out of the blue looking for inspiration, and I recommended The Artist Way.  Before the first week was up I realized I needed to join her and do it again myself.  So I am going to blog this experience, as a means to show what happens when you take action, and to help any and all who want to join the party.  There is a real movement of creative women doing all kinds of amazing things right now.  There are no end of possibilities for classes, retreats, Facebook groups, pintrest, blogs, you name it.  It can be overwhelming for me sometimes, I want to do it all.  But what I will do is what works for me, and this book really speaks to me.  So if you are stuck, if you want to see what you are capable of, I encourage you to get this book and follow along with Laura and I.  I will be posting often, and if enough people show interest we could create a facebook group just for sharing our experiences.  It will be fun, free and enlightening.  Week one begins Monday October 22nd.  Start now, read the introduction, and week one to be ready for what your week will look like.  I am excited.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Last happenings

Its been almost 2 months since I have done a blog post, wow.  I am sorry for those who check this and wonder what happened?  I have been neglectful.  I do facebook daily and I guess that works best as it's quick and easy, the blog I was using for stories, events, bigger things basically.  Guess nothing that big has been noteworthy?  But alas it's not true.  Things are changing as they always do and this is the latest.  Since my last blog post I have been co-partnering with Michelle Barton at the shop.
We met at Annie Sloan's San Francisco workshop and clicked right away.  She was loving everything about Hip Chick Designs and wanting to help out and be a part of it.  My hands make light work, and I thought "let's give it a try".  Its been a good fit.  She works Tuesday and Wednesday and every other Saturday which frees up my time quite a bit.  She also has a great eye for design and can add her own style and twist to the over look of the shop.  If you come and meet MIchelle you will be charmed by her Southern hospitality and smile.  She is simply delightful.  As well as acquiring a partner we have acquired more space!  My studio mate Bob comes only once a week and has the most desirable space in the back with nothing but delicious light.  We agreed the space is underutilized and have de cluttered, painted and "Wa-La" transformed the place!  I can show you a sneak peek...
I can't wait to really get this going with cute furniture and play and host classes in the future.  I just want to hang out back here it's so inviting....what is going well is Chalk Paint.  I love it, customers love it, everything looks good in chalk paint and I am glad I am able to sell it.  The best thing about chalk paint is the quick fix, you can slap on this stuff and in less then a couple hours have it totally transformed and fabulous.  It goes on anything and makes it look amazing.
on the creative fron I have been busy with some commission projects, I painted an outdoor mural and pet portrait as well as I like to work on my own creations when I have time.  I made this piece called "She Soars" lately and I want to create a series of women silhouettes in various modes, they resonate with me.  I love using all that I am, a woman, a seeker, a painter, and putting it together on canvas.  I get in my way too much over thinking what to paint instead of just letting it happen. I am learning and this is an ongoing process for me.
I am very critical of my art, usually wishing it were somehow 'better', my biggest obstacle is me and my critic, and I wrestle with it constantly.  I tell you this so you know I just keep at it, and that's the hardest part, to just do it anyway.  I want to break through the things that get in my way in life, be it people, circumstances or my own negativity.  By gently, and sometimes forcefully acknowledging the block I can work towards removing it.  I am reading a wonderful book about this topic called, "Trust the Process"by Shaun McNiff.  It helps to know that I am not alone, that many other people struggle like me with the same issues.  I don't have a lot of creative people close to me to bounce this off of, it's usually me, myself and I in the studio and sometimes that's a dangerous combination!  I love the creative energy that exists among artists, the camaraderie and non competitive nature that we want to help each other see what we need to see.  
Today is Father's Day, I never liked this holiday as I had bad vibes in the Father department growing up.  Now I get to celebrate my husband being a good father and today we are going to Santa Cruz.  My favorite.  I love the beach, it's where I feel most grounded.  My goal is to be living there in two years, and I will have to find a sweet spot to relocate the shop.  But for today, I will just go enjoy the sound of the waves and watch Abby ,my daughter and Ben , my husband, surf.  Thanks for checking in on me.  A heads up for those who go to the shop.  I will be closed from June 30th to July 7th for 4th of July summer vacation.  Nothing like Bass lake and s'mores to celebrate independence. Thank you for all your love and support with Hip Chick Designs, it's you who care that help me keep doing what I am doing..

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jennifer Perimutter Interview

I met Jennifer at Hip Chick Designs one fine day a while back and liked her instantly.  She is such a sweet, warm woman and talented to boot. I admire her style, color palette and expressive abstract nature of her work. Here is a bio bite along with an example of her work....

Jennifer Perlmutter: Artist. Contemporary Art | Abstract Expressionism | Mixed Media Abstract
Working in abstract expressionism for 15 years, Jennifer Perlmutter creates contemporary art using mixed media on wood and canvas. Her artwork is distinguished by complex layers and a push-pull of color, figure and texture. Jennifer’s fine art has been featured on film & television and currently hangs in The Mirage in Las Vegas, Traum Haus in Seoul, S. Korea, and Toronto’s Casino Niagara. 

Jennifer lives and works in San Francisco’s East Bay.
5 Artist Questions for Jennifer Perimutter

How long have you been making art?
I have been making art since about 1997. My entry into art was through film and television creating props and transforming ordinary lumber into scenery. From Dusk Til Dawn, Quentin Tarantino's cult classic gave me the great training in paint and effects.  I was in heaven and learning from some very talented artists. But I wanted to work in the real world where the things I made could be felt and seen in person. So from there I went into furniture design. I took a series of classes at UCLA in Furniture making. Afterwards I started working for a high end furniture painter, learning hand painting techniques in oil and water media on antique reproduction furniture. In 2000 I opened my own furniture painting and design studio. I began painting on wood and scrap to test materials and techniques, turning the traditional designs in to contemporary abstracts. These paintings, hanging in our furniture studio, caught the eye of our interior design clients and started to sell. After we had our son, we down-sized and my passion for paint moved from design onto the canvas.

How long did it take for you to find your unique style?

The unique style in my paintings is still developing and hopefully always will. This is cultivated over time and changes and course corrects every day. When I look back at hundreds of paintings I do see a common thread. This thread or "unique style" has a lot to do with the surface, texture and warm colors of the paintings. Collage was added in 2010 and I am still very interested in using collage in my paintings.

Do you consider yourself successful?

Yes, I consider myself successful but I do not feel like "success" is a destination. Success is showing up to the canvas, listening earnestly, responding to what matters and letting go of the rest.  I have sold hundreds of paintings over the last 12 years, my images have been licensed to tapestry, posters and limited editions, commissions, TEDx talk, yada, yada... Painting and sharing the paintings, repeat this process for Success.

Where do you get your ideas?

The ideas for my paintings are always coming at me from music, memories, dreams, nature, feelings and impressions of people. I think very visually. It is very easy for me to imagine the colors of emotions and memories. Even friendships can be described with texture and color. So when I am painting, I tune into my heart and feel the colors and textures that I want to express. Sometime there are problems to resolve, sometimes there are things to celebrate.

Do you have a loud critic at your back, if so how do you manage it?

Generally I would not say I have a loud critic at my back when it comes to painting. I don't think of something outside of myself that feeds me negativity. It's just me. I taught myself that the painting is, "on it's way." In other words, chill out and let the painting develop. If I don't like it, it is not finished.
Here is Jennifer preparing her canvas
then she ends up with this..
For more information about Jennifer's art check out her website,

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Do the work...

Lately I have been motivated to paint.  I rarely go long stretches without making something but after Artfest I have decided to try to do a painting a day.  I did manage to do so thus far here they are

Day 1 is this one

 Day 2 is this
 Day 3 is this

Day 4 this
Day 5 this
this last one is done with fat oil pastels and it was messy!  I like it but I recognize it isn't exactly right.  What I am happy about is my ability to be ok with that.  I had the meanest critic ever always harping at me until recently.  He isn't gone but he doesn't get listened to as much.  Instead I am focused on just doing the work.  Whatever we do be it painting, skiing, dancing, music, learning a language, whatever it is, we only get better at it by practicing.  There are a rare few like Mozart and others who are simply genius, but alas I am not one.  I need to do a lot of practicing.  Most great artists have done years of work before they get any recognition, and I simply must follow suit if I aim to get really good.  I do.  Aim to get really good.  People are really challenging for me and I have shied away from them out of frustration.  No longer.  I meet them head on (literally) and dive in.  The only way to do it is to do it.  I am so profound, it's scary.  Ha Ha.  I am focused and dedicated which are necessary components to success, and passion is the most essential ingredient of all.  I am passionate about creating,  I want to see what I am capable of.  It's only been a couple of years since I started this store/studio and it has changed constantly.  At times the store has been a bigger focus than my art.  Right now it's flipped and my art is a bigger focus.  So I am going to keep at it.  Just thought I would share, often I read how I am inspiring another and that makes me grateful.  I am fortunate to be able to go to the beach next week and get some ocean air in my lungs.  We'll see what this produces, hope you all have a Happy Easter !

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Artfest 2012

Words will not adequately convey the fabulousness of the Artfest experience.  The pictures will do the talking.  I shall attempt to narrate.  How did I decide on Artfest you ask?  I believe I found it via facebook or on Misty Mawn's website. She is my favorite artist, and I had just taken her online class in January.  Highly recommend it.  There were a group of women who all posted about taking Misty live at Artfest and I caught wind of it.  I thought, that would be epic and then I looked into it.  She was teaching on my birthday for crying out loud.  How could it be any better?  I went for it.  I am so glad I did.  It quite literally blew my mind.  I don't think my feet touched the ground the entire time I was there.  It was my first trip to Washington, it's cold there see.  I usually opt for warm and beachy.  But I decided to bring long sleeves and work with it.  It rained everyday, as expected, and was quite windy (48mph winds) but I overlooked the weather,  and took in the charm of Washington.  It reminds me of Maine, it has a seaside, quaint and historical look to it.  Brick buildings and colonial style houses.
 I arrived on Weds, March 28th and drove from the airport to Port Townsend with a friend named Lisa who I had only known online.

We chatted the whole way and stopped at some thrift shops on the way.  Then we were there, at Fort Warden, an ideal location to host the entire event.
It had dorms, houses, large gathering rooms for classes, a giant cafeteria and buildings big enough for the hundreds of women like me who were going to art camp.
The first night they welcomed us all and I got to witness a live exciting is that?
she said yes!  The next day was art class with Jesse Reno.  He is extremely artistic and wildly different from me stylistically.  Here is an example of his work.
but he taught me how to keep adding layers upon layers and keep working on something until it shows itself.
 I stretched.  This is the first piece I came up with.
He had us draw five eyes and connect them, and do all kinds of things to open up.  I had never done anything like it before and that is how we grow.  Then that night there was a bonfire at the beach with art journaling in the nearby shelter.  This was one of my favorite memories.

Adeola was a kick, and she had fun wearing my tutu and taking pictures.  I don't usually meet someone who takes MORE pictures than me.  She did. 
I laughed at how many, we would walk a step and take a picture...I met all these wonderful women, who all opened themselves, shared supplies and laughed together...Art has a way of uniting women without competing that inspires me.  Day 2 was Jesse again, doing two more paintings.  stepping outside our comfort zones and looking for symbols and imagery in our 'mess'.  These are my 3 paintings from his class, as yet unfinished.
really different for me.   Loved it.  That night was the artist gallery and all my favorite artists were selling their work.  It was so crazy to see them live after seeing their work on facebook, I truly had a hard time absorbing it.  I debated on splurging on original works, and ended up just getting a couple small things.  Good girl.  The next day was my birthday and last day of Artfest.  Saved the best for last, and Misty was all that I hoped for.  Sweet and mellow, so easy to talk to, I felt like I was in a dream when I saw her paint her demo and then play her awesome soundtrack while we painted.  When life is just that good it is challenging for me to chill and take it in, I am buzzing like a hummingbird..then I get a painting from Misty, for my birthday.  What?  I mean how can it just keep getting better? I bought one so now I have two Misty originals to grace my walls.  They are so much more special now that I have met her then if I bought them online.  She paints like she is, which is beauty and grace.  She humored me with a tutu picture or two too...
 birthday girls

 who could it be? none other than Misty Mawn..
come to find out her birthday was the very next day!! so connected.  After all that excitement it was show and tell where everyone put out the art they made and we all walked around and saw the stellar work produced at this event.  Mind blowing.  I am eliminating so many pictures and so many details as I am just too pooped to share them all.  Another gem of a girl was Miss Charlotte.  She made her wig and don't just think it matches my pink tutu perfectly?  She was thrilled to wear it, and pranced all over the grounds twirling, making everyone happy.  She was meant to have it and it now resides with her in Canada, I know she will do amazing things with it.
The last day was gorgeous and sunny enough to wear a semi short sleeve, we explored the town a bit, and bought fun souvenirs.  I swear I could go on but this Hip Chick is still recovering from all of the hoopla.  This is my Disneyland and I am so grateful to have found my people.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Anna Corba class at Hip Chick's

Today I got to hang out with the charming Anna Corba at my shop and facilitate her workshop on journals.  I admire Anna on many levels, mostly for being the real pioneer of vintage paper crafts.  Anna is a gentle soul and an elegant artist, everything she makes has her distinct style.  Today we had 7 lovely ladies surround the back work space and we all talked, laughed, crafted, learned and played.  One of the best parts of hosting a class is taking it myself, and I have a lovely keepsake to remember the fun day.  Here are some pictures to share..
we had lovely snacks and roses to make our day beautiful
 here is the lovely Anna Corba explaining the journal process

Here are Anna and Kae, two awesome women enjoying each others company

 here Anna is walking everyone through the waxing method
 Hip Chick Carrie and Anna Corba....
 our lovely group of students and the finished products
It was a glorious day and I am re-inspired to host and teach more classes.  I am going to host a Tutu Tea Party in May, with all students receiving their own tutu, tea cup and art project.  There are open studios May 5th and 6th so lots of fun on the horizon.  Monday is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint venue and I guarantee a tutu picture with her, until then...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chalk paint is my new obsession

I am addicted to chalk paint.  My name is Carrie and I'm a chalkaholic.  It's not a problem, YET.  I think it's like a new love all exciting and fun, vibrant and fulfilling,  I want to use it on everything, and I am.  I can't paint fast enough, I will be painting one thing and look over and see something else and start to paint that.  It's crazy.  But good, therefore, it's CRAZY GOOD!  I am all about seeing is believing.  Here are some is a gorgeous dining room buffet before chalk paint..for those who aren't aware here is the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint link, I am a licensed retailer partner and lover of the stuff....
 and this is after even though it isn't finished. (I couldn't wait to show you)
 here is a close up of one section I like...this is Paris Gray with Old White with clear and dark wax.
 these chairs will be even more fabulous after some chalk paint...I love them already.
 here is a mirror, mirror on the wall find before chalk paint...

 and this is after a coat of Paris Gray..

 this is after some clear and dark wax added to give it depth.  I love it.
 Mirror, mirror on the wall who loves chalk paint most of all???
 that'd be Hip Chick...
 here is a picture of the store, the table behind the sofa is painted Louis Blue and the chairs are also chalk painted
 Christine Kerr is a featured jewelry artist this month, her gorgeous one of a kind pieces are all made from copper and real gemstones...

this says gratitude and would make an amazing gift....

 this is my back wall, my painting "White Whisperer" is a Chalk Paint original and is selling for $400.00 it has a gorgeous soft palette and of course goes wonderfully with all my chalk painted furniture...
 various jewelry is hanging from branches and if you peak past the branches, to your left is my chalk paint and to the right is Tokyomilk, I sell perfume, candles, soaps, with lotions and purse packs coming soon...
 here are some angels playing music for us and some french text for collage or art projects...
 my ribbon lamp made from hand tie dyed ribbon
I have been so busy playing with my paint I nary have time for anything else...but I thought I had better do a blog post to keep you all up to date on what's going on at the shop. 

 We have the amazing Anna Corba coming on March 17th to teach a class and sign her latest book, if you would like to join the fun email me at Corba is the pioneer of vintage crafts and one of the most charming women I know..this is Anna's project, she will teach us how to make our own vintage journal.  

That's all for now, there is always so much to share and I am feeling so grateful for the chalk paint and Art is...and Anna and mostly that I get to do my thing and see that others like it too.  Thank you for all your support and love, it fuels me daily.