Friday, October 11, 2019

Off the Wall Friday

Sorry this is late, I'm traveling the next couple of weeks.  I will make sure though that OTWFri is posted next week too!

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Friday, October 4, 2019

Saving Sadie on Off the Wall Friday

15 years ago, I started a piece in a class taught by Cynthia Corbin.  Now we all know that not all pieces started in class merit enough to be finished.  Some are started with bad ideas  and bad design, some are just samples to learn a technique, and some are just techniques that you just don't like to do.  But not this one.  I've  written about Sadie before because more than once I said I was going to save her.  

In the past, people have offered how to save her... change her initial shape since its not realistic
enough, add more thread painting to give her more definition, add shading to Sadie to make her more realistic, take out Sadie all together etc. etc. 

I knew there was something wrong but I didn't quite know what and Cynthia whose work is mostly abstract thought that Sadie just detracted from the great complex background.  But I love Sadie and I wanted to save her and have the great background compliment her.

I think now after all these years I can make my own critique and finally save Sadie. 


                 Things That I Like
  • The subject matter....its a woman walking home toward a town on a hill at dawn...after a long night of dancing
  • The interesting non realistic shape of Sadie....its not suppose to be too realistic
  • The complex background she's walking toward

Things That Need to be Resolved
  • The two elements are fighting against each other  - Sadie and the Town
  • The over all intensity is the same  - all saturated 
  • The focal point is not defined enough and there is not clear path for your eye to move
  • There is no quiet space in the piece
  • There isn't enough texture and needs a stronger line

Just writing out this list gives me a better idea of what needs to be done.  Most times, when a piece is not working it needs things to be eliminated rather than added. I am still intrigued by Sadie and want to get her home. 

This is from my daily Bible study that popped up this week that got me thinking about Sadie again...It seems just as relevant today as it when it was written.  And yes it is from Ecclesiastes 3 and not The Byrds (grin) ....This is The Message Version

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.

I'll keep you apprise of where Sadie really ends up!! 

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Friday, September 27, 2019

Friday, September 20, 2019

25 Ways to Find Inspiration on Off the Wall Friday

So I got an email this week from a reader who was feeling a bit dried up creatively.  She asked me where do I find inspiration.  My response really was "Where don't I find inspiration!!" It really is everywhere.  The problem is that today's society is so busy and loud that those little creative sparks are hard pressed to make themselves noticed.

Over the years, this has been an on-going theme for me since I seem to find my best inspiration in the common mundane things in life that are often overlooked.  For you though it might be different.  With this emailed question though, I thought it might be fun to come up with some new ways....well 25 to be exact.

25 Ways to Find Inspiration

  1. Your family history
  2. A Dream Diary
  3. Art Shows in other Media
  4. A Political Statement
  5. A favorite Vacation
  6. Mediate
  7. Childhood Memory
  8.  Pop Culture
  9. List of our favorite Words
  10. People Watch
  11. Close your eyes in the Woods
  12. Children's Art
  13. Read an autobiography 
  14. Change your Environment
  15. Tour a Museum
  16. Try new ethnic foods
  17. Make Lists of things you hate
  18. Emulate your favorite Artist
  19. Talk to a stranger
  20. Take a new class
  21. List why you're grateful
  22. Join a critique Group
  23. Go take random pictures
  24. Redo a failed piece
and finally ..... 25. Unplug for a while

You notice that I didn't add read books, listen to music, go for a walk, check your pinterest board, look at your friend's work etc etc because let's face you should have already tried those things and probably wouldn't have come up with anything new.  Hopefully this list will help you step that toe out of your normal creative box and lead you a new path.

Do you have anything that helps you
 find new inspiration??

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Friday, September 13, 2019

Excuses Mentally Strong Women Don't Make - Off the Wall Friday

I thought it was time to get back to the series I started based on Amy Morin's book 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don't Do.  Since we did all of Amy's, I came up with my own spin something mentally strong women shouldn't do.  They shouldn't make excuses.

Let's face it....We all make excuses.  Some are perfectly valid, some not so much....all can be be big road blocks in our creative life.  The worse thing you can do is give into the excuses and let them over power your creative self.

Excuse #1 
 I Just Don't Feel Creative

Yep.  Been there.  Done that.  The truth of the matter is that creativity comes in cycles.  These cycles are influenced by the events in our lives.  Sometimes when things are good, finding inspiration and energy in your studio is no problem.  Then it seems like the world intrudes with stress and grey skies and the next thing you know you're in a creative block.  So are you just going to lay around and binge watch Netflix and never create again?  Or do you have already in place a plan that will help you climb over the wall of that block.  To give you a shove I'll give you a peak at my plan!

 Excuse #2  
I'm too Old to Try Something New

You are never too old...for anything (okay well maybe there are some fashions should be left to the  under 21 set)  As we get older, we gain patience and persistence.  Those are EXACTLY the traits one needs to start something new.  There are so many ideas out there, so many new techniques to try.  You are not too old.   I literally talk to ladies between the age of 80-100 every single day that are still vibrant and full of ideas  If they are you!

Excuse #3  I Don't Have the Time

Do you know when someone says they don't have the time to do something, they just are saying I don't want to prioritize this right now.  Of course there will always be things that will deservedly come before your creative life like family.  But most times, you can work around everything else.  For instance, once Tessa was old enough for me to go back to work full time, I made a conscience choice not to chose a job that would suck all the life out of me.  I wanted some time and energy to spend in my studio.  I wanted that good work/life balance you hear so much about.  So I came up with a plan for that too!

Excuse #4  
I'll Never Be Any Good

Okay, we've all had those are browsing through a book or pinterest and you think
, "OMG I'll never be that Good.  They must have had some special training or something.  So Why try"  Well not only is thinking self destructive, but its also plain wrong.  Most amazing artists have gotten to be amazing through a lot of practice and hard work  They practiced .....Then practiced some more.  That all said its counter productive to compare your art to other people's.  Everyone is at their own place in their creative journey and really nobody knows where its going to lead them.  If you give into this excuse, you will never find out how good you could have been.  ALSO remember, you are your own worse critic.  What you see is a lot of times not what others see.

I'll explore others in future posts....Funny how I have no shortage of excuses.  Still I could always use more if you would like to suggest some in the comments.
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Friday, September 6, 2019

Off the Wall Friday

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Friday, August 30, 2019

UFO's 101 on Off the Wall Friday

Paul:  Nina what are you doing?

Me:  Nothing?  Well, playing a game.  Why?

Paul:  Because its 2 o'clock on Saturday and you've been
          laying there since  11.  Weren't you going to sew?

Me:  yawnnnnnnn, yeah but I don't know.
         Maybe I'll take a nap.
Paul:  Maybe you should go sew.

You know, I knew there was a reason I married him (well besides that he's really cute!)  Now that I've woken up from my blue period, I'm really not sure where to pick up on my creative journey.  I mean I have so many false starts in my studio I feel kind of overrun.  So I thought before I started anything else I would start finishing some stuff!!  But.... What to finish??  And How???

That brings me to a video I recently watched Karen Brown, at Get it Done Quilts which really hit the nail  on the head from what was holding me up getting some of these things done.  I liked some of her ideas but wanted to give my own spin on....

A Remedial Course

So most of us are experienced quilters and have plenty of UFO's to prove it!!   Here is a quick course on how to organize them and get them off your To-Do list forever.  I plan on going into my studio over the long holiday weekend taking this course myself! 

Step 1:  Organize

Go into studio (aka your sewing room) and pull out ALL your UFO's.  I suggest you make two piles...Your LOVE IT or LEAVE IT.   Any piece you absolutely love goes obviously in the LOVE IT pile.  Any piece that doesn't speak to your heart goes into the LEAVE IT pile.  Now, like old boyfriends,  just because you are leaving those pieces doesn't mean you hate them.  Its just that they aren't a good fit for the person you have grown into.  Its really YOU not them.  So you can give themScrap Blocks Box"  If you don't have a Scrap Blocks Box yet, you should get one.  This is where all the odds and ends from projects go that had merit but no real use.  Someday though they could  repurposed into something else.  (Like I said - its you .... not them)
away, throw them away or take pieces out that you like and they go into a "

Now this is important....Any project that is put into the LEAVE IT pile should not be revisited.  This is final kiss goodbye.  You are also saying good bye to the guilt of not finishing it.  If you like some of the ideas with the project itself....get out your journal and write them down or better yet a blog post on what was good about the project but what ultimately made you decide that he  it wasn't for you! (Note to self: this is a good idea for another post!)

Step 2:  Evaluate

So now that you just have  the pieces you love, its time to take a closer look at them.  Where did you leave off on each one.  Do you have some that just need binding/facing/labeling? (Stage 4)  Do you have some that need quilting?  (Stage 3)  Which ones are still in the piecing phase? (Stage2)  Which ones didn't make it to your sewing machine (Stage 1) (yes I have some of those ....pathetic I know)  Put them in piles by STAGES.  (If you are a list me...make a list of each stage!  Those get put on your design wall or bulletin board)

Step 3:  Make a Plan
My suggestion start with Stage 4!  Pick one day a month for binding/facing/labeling...pick a good movie or audio book to help you get through them.  This is a good time to make sure the hanging sleeve is on too!

With the rest....I suggest you pick 2 or 3 that really are calling to you.  Maybe they have specific deadlines ....maybe its an idea that you think is really working....maybe its one that is nearly to the binding stage.....whatever.  You commit to work on those projects.  

When you get done with those... you pick 2 or 3 more.

Now if you're like me, I'm committing to getting them all done before I start another big idea.  I know that this "All In" plan might not be good for everyone.  For me though, these UFO's are starting to feel like dead wood in my studio when they were meant to bring joy and beauty.  Not to mention as I work through them inevitably I'll be struck with new jumping off points for my next great piece. Another note to self:  Write down ideas that jump into my head while working on UFO's but don't start anything new.

So I know what you are thinking, Nina, that sounds a lot easier than it actually is in practice.  NO KIDDING!!  There will be roadblocks along the way in this process.  I'll need to stay organized and driven to get these done.  

Also, there were some really good reasons why these pieces ended up on the UFO pile.  The biggest of which at one point (probably around Stage 1 into Stage 2) where the design wasn't working.  I mean REALLY "What was I thinking" not working.    So what to do then?

  1. Decide what is not working
  2. Brainstorm ideas of what will help 
  3. Add to the ideas cutting up the piece entirely
  4. Hang on Design Wall and Make concrete Deadline for Design Decision
  5. Audition ideas, Make Final Decision
  6. Commit to new idea before Deadline
  7. If you love it, continue
  8. If you love the piece but hate the idea repeat steps 1-6
  9. If you now hate the piece add it to the LEAVE PILE

Step 4:  Celebrate Your Completions!!  

I believe this step is super important.  I love, love, love posting a completed project.  I think I even love more checking one off my To-Do list.  I think I will even love it more seeing my UFO shelf totally empty!!

Now I've posted before about getting projects done on here before but I never had a clear idea on how to actually do it.  Its kinda like losing weight and getting in shape....yeah you know you need to do but if you don't have a plan in place  it probably won't get done.

Hmmmm maybe I should start a group called UFO Watchers.  We could strive to get  for PiecePoints for working on our unfinished pieces!!

I'm really committing to this plan for the next four days.  I hope some out there will join me and let me know how you're doing.  

You can always reach me at ninamariesayre       at       gmail   dot com.

So what are you doing creatively?

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