Thursday, June 23, 2011

Going in Circles

Anyone else feel like they are going in circles this summer? Here are a few pieces of my Silver Circle Jewelry to help you keep pace!
Silver Circle and Daisy Chain Necklace

Textured Silver Circle Bracelet

Silver Textured Double Silver Earrings

Silver Textured Triple Earrings

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Photo Fun!

Just wanted to pop in and share a few of my photo's from the photography classes that I am taking.

I am really enjoying learning about my camera and just playing with the photos. It's keeping me busy that's for sure! Hope everyone has a wonderful first day of summer.

"The only treat that is healthy is art" by Madi

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Reading List

Summer's here at the Spencer house! Today was the last day of school so we welcomed the kids with silly string and ice pops. They were very happy.

With summer comes the "Spencer Summer Reading Contest".  Every year for the past 6 years we have held this awesome reading contest. The rules are a bit crazy, but I'll share them with you anyway in case you'd like to try it or your own version of the contest. First off there are two different sets of rules for my kids, one for my 9 yr old and one for the 14 yr old. Basically it's Mom against each kid. For each 50 pages (100 for my 14 yr old)  my 9 yr old reads, $1 goes in the book contest fund. For each 50 pages (100 pages) Mom reads $1 goes in the book contest fund. At the end of the summer whoever reads more pages between Mom and each kid, they win 75% of the money. With their 75% winnings they can spend half on whatever they want and half on books. We then go out to dinner to celebrate and spend the evening at the book store. The loser (a.k.a. Mom) gets 25% of the winnings and can only spend it on books. It's a great motivator for the kids to read. My son read 8,500 pages last summer!

If you're looking for a few good summer reads, here is a list of some of my favorites.

The Girls: A Novel
A Fine Balance (Oprah's Book Club)
Olive Kitteridge

Shantaram: A Novel
To Dance With the White Dog
Breakfast with Buddha

Nobody's Fool
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Bridge of Sighs
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
The 19th Wife: A Novel
In the Woods
Sing Them Home: A Novel
The Forgotten Garden: A Novel

I also have a bunch of books on my book shelf that I haven't had the chance to read yet. Has anyone read any of these? I need a bit of motivation, especially on a few of the classics.
The House of the Spirits: A Novel
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (P.S.)
New York: The Novel
The Lacuna: A Novel
The Brothers Karamazov (Bantam Classics)
Anna Karenina

Just finishing up a good, but disturbing book A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier.  The next book in line for me is Bossypants.  I figured I'd need the laugh!

What are some of your favorite books? Let me know. I'm always looking for new ideas.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Photo Silly Class

Just started my Photo Silly Class today. I'm already having fun and learning a bit about light and photography. Our Number Zero assignment before the class even started was to take photos of your lunch as you ate it.
Next we had to find a spot that appealed to us, study the area for 5 minutes, then close your eyes and take 20 photos! It was actually pretty cool. My neighbor and friend Rene has this amazing patio with a gorgeous garden. Since they are out of town and I'm in charge of watering the garden, I decided it would be a perfect spot to take photos! (I did text her first!) After we took the photo's, we were to study them and select only one to post on Flikr. Here's my favorite:
I like the lighting and shadows. And of course love the garden and patio! Hope you have a wonderful day!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

End of the year frazzles

Does anyone else feel that end of the year frazzled feeling? It seems as the school year comes to an end the kids get wound up and over emotional. I think this and the fact that they seem to have end of the year celebrations for each and every activity leaves us parents feeling a bit overwhelmed and just pain old tired. Or just old!

I was reading through all the blog posts and just catching up, when I stumbled upon this great post by Kim Klassen. She shares this great list of choosing happiness. I thought I would share it with you just in case you are feeling that same frazzled feeling.

Ten ways to live a happier life by Kim Klassen

If you have time stop by Kim's blog, she teaches awesome Photo Shop classes and shares great free textures. Speaking of Photo Shop, I'm starting a new class tonight at the local college called The Digital Darkroom. Very excited. I started my other digital photography class at the college too this week. I am also signed up for Kim's new class called Photo Shop The Essentials that starts later this month. I should be an expert soon!

And since I'm actually a bit crazy, I signed up for Photo Silly by Steve Sonheim. Ok, so maybe my kids crazy schedules have nothing to do with my frazzled feeling!! Well, off to yoga to relax and shake this frazzled feeling. Hope you have a relaxing day!

"Your body is a flower, it needs food and love to grow" by Madi

Friday, June 3, 2011

Toe Rings?

With summer just around the corner I've been thinking of creating something different...toe rings. I was taking a yoga class the other day and while holding a pose, I glanced at my teacher's toes and saw several pretty silver toe rings. So, I thought why not?

I hopped around Etsy for a bit to check out toe rings and other summer rings. I was unable to contain myself, I just had to do a summer ring treasury!
Ringing in the summer

I am hoping to steal away some time in the next few days to see what I can come up with for a toe ring design. I'll post a photo or two when something comes together in the studio. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

"Rainy days in your mind can be made into sunny days if you give them a chance" by Madi

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Artist of the Month - Belinda Fireman

I think that this first painting by Belinda says it all! She has an incredible passion that is very evident in her artwork. Bel is an artist and a mother of almost 10 year old twin girls and a 5 year old son. She lives with her family in Calgary, the largest city in the Province of Alberta, Canada.
Bel with her recycled sock arm warmers

The first thing I noticed about Bel's artwork are the vibrant colors that she creates with. I love the positive messages and the overall brightness of her work. A love of art started early for Bel, in high school she was heavily into art and music. She went to the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan for three summers in the late 80's where she studied drawing. Bel's talents were recognized and she won a scholarship to go back. She even had the opportunity to do a solo art show there. 

Bel then went on to study chemistry at the University of Western Ontario (London, ON) because she felt like this is what she "should" be doing. Well, her love of art won out again. After she got her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, she studied an unclassified year of arts courses at U.B.C. in Vancouver, B.C. then went on to get her Master's in Art Conservation at Queen's University in Kingston, ON. She thought that working as an Arts Conservator was perfect for her since it combined her love for art and her ability in science. But, after working for a few years in the field she found that it just wasn't her passion.

Bel said that she knew in her heart and soul that she was on her way back to creating art. Once she figured that out, her twin baby girls came along leaving her little time to create. She did a few projects here and there when the kids were young, but anyone with small children knows how challenging that can be.  Late in 2008, she had some troubles with her back. Drawing in her sketchbook became her way to help distract her from her physical discomfort and help her to heal and deal with things.

Bel participated in the Art House Co-op Sketchbook Project in 2011. Here are a few of her pages, to view her entire sketchbook follow the link above. Take a minute to get yourself a cup of coffee before you go to the link, you are going to want to spend a little time there. Really amazing!

I really enjoy admiring Bel's artwork as well as reading her honest words. It motivates me to get back into my art journal. If only there were more hours in everyday! Bel's work is also going to be featured in a book about Art Journaling. Stay tuned, I'll let you know when it is published.

I asked Bel what type of medium she prefers for her artwork, and here is what she said:

"I paint with acrylics and watercolors, and write and draw on my paintings with black artist pens, like PITT, or Prismacolor pens. I used to love using oil pastels - I'll have to give those a try again! I would also love to take a course in oil painting, because I only tried it in high school, which doesn't count, because I can't remember it!"

When asked about her most favorite thing about creating her art, Bel replied:

"I love experimenting with how different colors will blend together and then seeing the final result - especially if it's unexpectedly pleasing! I also love the crunchy feeling of paint on paper.

My least favorite thing is when materials aren't doing what I want them to do, and I can't figure out how to fix it! Mostly, I don't like when I start to worry about what other people will think of my work. Yep, that's probably the worst thing. I think a lot of people suffer from this! That's why I put a lot of affirmations in my work - to help others (and myself) deal with those inner critics!"

Stream of Positivity
Turtle Shell
I am Safe
All of her work is unique and motivational. Bel has an Etsy shop called Firemanbell where she sells her paintings, as well as magnets and greeting cards. Stop by for a visit, you'll enjoy her shop. I think that Bel's colorful artwork would be perfect for T shirts. I could see myself really enjoying wearing her work! When I asked Bel about that idea and what other ideas she has rolling around in her creative mind, here is what she had to say:

"Funny that you say that! I've had several people say they could see my work on T shirts! I purchased a lazy susan from a friend last year, then painted and collaged it, then he bought it back!! I have an interest in painting objects to give them some color and new life! Other plans? Hmm... I think I am on to some bigger and better paintings. The ones I have been working on are very small. I was trying to keep art affordable for people, but I think my paintings want to grow! I have also recently starting teaching intuitive painting. I jumped into this after being dared to do it. I can see doing more of this in the future!! I felt I grew a lot, and learned a lot just from the 3 classes I taught."

Here are a few samples of her magnets and greeting cards:

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Bel and her incredible colorful artwork. If you'd like to learn more about Bel, visit her blog Drawn From the Fire. Or take a tour through her Flickr Photostream Belknits'.
If you feel like you would like to own a piece of Bel's artwork, magnets or greeting cards, visit her shop on Etsy Firemanbell.

Thank you again for joining me for the Artist of the Month post. In closing, I will share one of my daughter Madi's quotes...

"Being creative is an adventure of joy."