Friday, December 30, 2011

Crunching the Numbers

One more day left in the year and it's time to reflect and review- to see what was accomplished and what still needs to be done (or improved).

I did some number crunching and compared what I set for goals at the beginning of the year and what happened in reality.

1) One of my goals for 2011 was to average 15 hours a week (based on 48 weeks of the year) working in my studio on art.   This year I averaged 12.78 hours/week.  This was an improvement over last year's average of 10.47 hours/week but short of my intended goal.  I was hoping to make a goal of 20 hours/week for 2012, but I might need to reassess to see if that is reasonable. I might need to stick with 15 again.

2) Another goal was to average 3-5 hours/week working on the business part of art.  I hit that goal this year averaging 4.375 hours/week.  Although the majority of those hours came toward the end of the year. For 2012, I need to work on being consistent from week to week taking care of business, so to speak.

3)  I did not have any goals for volunteer time but this year I spent around 93 hours volunteering, which was more than last year's number at around 70 hours.

4)  I did not break even with my art income versus art expenses.  Part of this was because I counted my new computer and software as a business expense.

5) Of a list of about 20 art goals, I achieved about half.  Is that good or bad?  I think it is neither - it is just a fact.  There are a few things that were more important than others.

I only had a few specific goals for applying to shows or venues.  One was to create an artwork for the Deep Spaces show, which I did and it was accepted.

As for venues, there were three local ones to which  I wanted to send in applications.   One application I did send in before the deadline.  It was accepted and I will have a show in 2012 at the BSU special events center lobby.  The second venue I decided not to apply yet, as I wanted to have more work completed before doing so.  The third venue, I think I have changed my mind about.

Although not having many specific goals about shows, I did have pieces accepted into four different juried shows, two of which are out-of-state.  I also had work in several of the Treasure Valley Artists' Alliance exhibitions and participated in the Leftovers print exchange again this year.

Another accomplishment was applying to create a traffic box design and getting accepted and paid to do that.

Another pleasant surprise was being asked to curate the Trey McIntyre Project art fundraiser this year and getting paid to do that.

Overall, it was a good year art-wise for me.  I accomplished some goals and improved on my overall time commitment to my art.  There is still much for me to do and I will set new goals for 2012 and, hopefully, continue to improve on accomplishing them.

Keeping track of all the numbers may be a bit nerdy (at least I'm using my business degree, too), but it really helps give me a good picture of what I accomplish, keeps me accountable to my goals and helps to create realistic goals for the next year.

Here's looking forward to an awesome 2012.  Happy New Year to you!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Little Bird

I hope you all had happy holidays, and perhaps still are.  We had a nice quiet Christmas.  On Christmas Eve, we played another round of disc golf at Eagle Island State park; our first time there.  We enjoyed company of friends, worked on puzzles, had a fire and ate chocolate.  What more could you ask for (besides some snow)?

I got several lovely things for Christmas.  One is a drawing pad mouse for my laptop, which I hope will make photo editing easier and drawing on the computer more likely to happen in the future.  Another gift was this lovely drawing by my talented daughter, Anna.

She worked on this piece last year in her art class.  It had a large background of which she did not get completed.  When I finally saw her portfolio at the end of the year, I asked if she could finish just the small area around the bird so I could crop it and frame it.  I asked for this as my birthday present in June.  The bird stayed nested in the portfolio.

When Anna asked what I wanted for Christmas this year, I again mentioned the bird.  I was so happy when he flew into my hands on Christmas morning!  Now, I just need to get it signed and framed.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Disc Golfing

Yesterday, we decided to get outside and enjoy the brisk air and the unfortunate reality of no snow by playing disc golf at the park - the first time in years.

On the second "hole," I threw my disc over some trees and a canal.  I also proceeded to throw it in the water.  Eventually, I got better.  

Anna wanted to do the course twice.  As we were approaching the second hole again, Frank was teasing me and giving me a hard time saying something about what kind of crazy person would throw their disc over the canal.  

The answer the second time around was Frank.  At least I did not throw my disc in a dumpster!  Afterward, Anna says, "Dad, I think that was some kind of karma."

We had fun.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Text Messages

Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood
hand dyed fabric, colored pencil
hand embroidery, machine appliqué, machine quilted
19-1/2 x 16-5/8"
©2011 Lisa Flowers Ross

Just in the nick of time.  I finished my piece for the text messages deadline.  It is inspired by Robert Frost's poem, The Road Not Taken.  The poem is written all over the background.  Here is the entire poem:

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim 
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there 
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay,
In leaves no steps had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads to way,
I doubted that I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

So, tell me what you think- all feedback welcome (even if you don't like the piece).  Does it just look like yellow snowflakes to you?  Would you get it without the poem or the title?

Thursday, December 15, 2011


This week the preparator at the art museum, Ron Walker, is retiring after 22 years.  I wanted to make him a little something.  So I made a batch of fudge last night.  And Terry Grant had perfect timing by posting a tutorial on her blog on how to make some boxes.  (These were easier to make than some I've done before).  I used some 12 x12" scrapbook papers to make these.

I really like the idea of fudge when I see it in a store somewhere.  We usually only buy it when we are on vacation, but I am always a little disappointed that it doesn't taste as good as I hoped.

I think the best fudge is this recipe that came from my husband's aunt.  We call it Aunt Polly's fudge.

Aunt Polly's Fudge
4-1/2 c. sugar
1 large can evaporated milk
1 c. butter
18 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (Here's my secret change to the recipe:  I use 12 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 6 oz. of dark chocolate chips.  I think it gives it a richer flavor.)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. chopped pecans (I don't usually add the nuts)

Grease 9 x 13" pan.
Mix sugar and evaporated milk and cook over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and boil approx. 7-10 minutes (to soft ball stage).
Remove from heat.  Add butter and chocolate chips.  Stir until melted.
Stir in vanilla, salt and nuts.
Pour into pan and cool.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


The year is winding down quickly.  Shoppers are counting down the days till Christmas.  I wish this bug I have that is making me feel bad would wind it's way out of my system, but it hasn't yet.  It is also wearing me down.  After November, I thought things would slow down for me.  But December has kept up the same busy pace.

Every year, I enjoy getting out the Christmas decorations and the Santa collection to decorate the house.  When everything is up, one of my favorite things is to just sit in the dark with the Christmas tree lights on.    We get a fresh tree because it is so nice to have a little bit of nature in the house and to come home and smell the pine scent.

We got our tree this past weekend and the lights are on it.  Nothing else is.  The ornaments are still in the boxes and so are the Santas.  For the very first time (and I will even venture to say "ever"), getting the decorations out seems like a chore instead of something to enjoy.  I'm sure it is because I have been so busy and this cold/sinus/sore throat/ear ache thing is keeping me so tired.

So, I'm thinking it will be o.k. to just hang the ornaments on the tree, set up the little tree downstairs and just enjoy some down time.

I've been working at the museum this week, helping install a large selection of the permanent collection for their 75th birthday celebration (officially some time after the new year).  One piece that was considered to be in the show, but ended up edited out is a garden journal by local artist, Chris Binion.  Years ago, he did an installation in the sculpture court where he had a large number of Amaryllis bulbs (100 bulbs maybe) potted in a display and visitors would watch them grow and change during the exhibition.  He kept a journal about the process and changes occurring.

The journal was out and as I was glancing through it today, I found his list at the end of the journal about what he learned from this garden installation.  There were twelve things listed and the last resonated with me right now.

"If you're quiet enough, beauty will speak to you."

I think I will be quiet this holiday season, let the boxes lie still and just enjoy the beauty of the season.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Around Town

One of the owners of Zen Bento asked if I would come back and paint some words around my Winter Fortune Cats.  Yesterday, I did that.  It was a little unnerving painting the words free hand in a curve.  It's kind of hard to do that sideways. Some are a little off, but it makes it more "charming", perhaps.

I think they do look a little more festive now.  Two of the greetings don't match the tummy characters because the owner wanted something specific.  So "tranquility" got turned into "laughter".

I didn't have my camera, so all these pictures were taken with my not-so-smart phone.

The rest of these pictures are just things I noticed on my way to and from painting the window.  Maybe the post title should be Downtown Details instead of Around Town.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Beautiful Piece

I posted previously about a piece made by Christine Raymond that is in the Trey McIntyre Project fundraiser this year.  Here is an excellent picture of the front of the piece and the information for the opening event if you would like to attend.

Last week as Trey was back in town, I finally got to meet him.  He wanted to do a little re-arranging of the work, so it is slightly different from some of the images I showed you previously.  You'll just have to come see for yourself.

Friday, December 2, 2011


The Treasure Valley Artists' Alliance has a show coming up entitled Text Messages.  We (the exhibition committee) set the submission deadline for Dec. 23.  I don't really have any textile artworks with text in them (I have some collages).  But I am planning on entering the show.

I've had some ideas floating around in my head.  But I haven't had any time to work in the studio for weeks.  It's making me a little cranky, that, and the fact that I have been sick for over a week and don't seem to be getting better.  (Yes, I have been to the doctor and she told me to rest.  Right.)

With the deadline fast approaching, I managed to get started on a piece this week.  I wanted to get some text all over my background fabric.  I thought I would hand write the text and have it made into a thermofax screen (by someone that provides that service) and then use that to print all over the surface.

I am using Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken as the text.  I wrote it over and over to try to get it to fit in the dimensions of the screen.  Then I thought that I need to get this done fairly quickly and I don't know how long it would take to have a screen ordered and mailed.

So, I decided to write directly on the fabric.  There are many people that use hand writing as a design element in their work.  Deborah Boschert uses hand writing in most of her pieces.  I like how she can write so that you see the curves and lines, but can't necessarily read what it says.  Here's a post on her blog that you can see the writing toward the bottom of the artwork.

Judi Hurwitt creates "stacked journaling" using paint that when repeated over and over creates patterns that don't even look like writing.

Troy Passey, a local artist here in Boise, also uses hand writing as a simple, effective element in his black and white pieces on paper.

All these artists make the hand writing a graphic element more so than as readable text.  That is what I would like to achieve, but all my practice efforts are still fairly readable as words (not that you can necessarily read my hand writing).  I decided to write on my fabric with colored pencil.  Here is the first layer.

I like how this looks.  Then I tried another layer of large letters with a yellow pencil going perpendicular to the first.

I'm definitely more comfortable writing small.  It is also interesting that the yellow shows up better at different angles.

I am hoping that by the time I finish the stitching on the piece that the words will become more abstract.  I've coated the fabric with some matte medium.  I also have that poem memorized, I think.

I do like the hand written look as opposed to stamping on letters for this piece.  Do you think hand writing is becoming an endangered art form?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The First

It's the first of December.

It's a new page on the calendar.  And speaking of pages, I wanted to share with you a book I found at our local library sale that was in October.  I found this lovely book (among others).

You can see I paid two dollars for it.  This book has illustrations, poems, quotes and diary notations by the author.  Here is the blurb about the author:

"Edith Holden was born in Moseley in the parish of King's Norton, Worcester in 1871, one of seven children of a Midlands paint manufacturer.  The family lived in Warwickshire in the village of Knowle and it was there that she started to write and illustrate this book.  She moved later in 1905 to the small village of Olton where she wrote Nature Notes 1906, published as The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady.  After attending art school, she worked as an illustrator, with her drawings (often of animals) being published in several books."

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady was first published in 1977.  My version says 1989.  Each month has it's own full page illustration along with other smaller ones of animals and plants.  The cover illustration also happens to be the December one. I took some pictures of the illustrations to show you, but I'm not going to post them because I think it might be copyright infringement if I do.  However, you can see many of them at this site.

But I will quote one of the mottoes she had written in the December section.

"In December keep yourself warm and sleep."