My blog’s title is Art, Faith and Life. The last couple of days have been a wild, crazy mixture of both. If you have looked at my Faith Art and book or read some of my blogs, you know that I am a Christian. I have hope in the good times and in the bad times. Being a believer does not mean a trouble-free life. Yesterday and today have been filled with calls to the doctor and to the local animal hospital. Human and cat both needing help. Add in art, mentoring classes, teaching, learning to drive a new car and all the hundred-and-one things of everyday life, I have had it. I want to run away.
Then it happened. As I was taking the cat (again) to the animal hospital for treatment, this song came on the radio: Tobymac and Help is On the Way! Isn’t God’s timing great. Here I was, fussing and stewing, when I heard the lyrics of this song. I changed from complaining to praying and praising. Although I have to confess that I did tell the Lord I wasn’t very happy with certain things. I also had a few more lapses, when I caught myself whining. The important thing is not that we have these thoughts and feelings, but what we do with them. Dwell on, stew, fret, and accept the negative or refuse to dwell, stew, fret and reject those thoughts and feelings? Substitute the negative with praise, music, prayer, Scripture, or in my case, writing this blog! Try it. You will see a difference in your life.
TJust like a traditional collage artist, I build my digital collage compositions layer by layer. An important component is texture. Since my art is digital, I cannot go out and buy paper or embellishments to use in my collage. That means I need to create “papers” to use for depth, color and texture. Some textures that I create are very simple and others end up as a multi-layer piece of art. I rarely have an exact idea of what texture I want to end up with. I start playing with photos, brushes, blending modes and filters.
Some of the textures or backgrounds take almost as much time to create as one of my digital collage pieces. I have to confess that part of the time I just cannot stop playing with color, blending modes, filters, or brushes! I’ll create a cool and warm version or a light and dark version of the same texture and save both versions because I just cannot decide.
You do not need graphic software or even be an artist to have some fun creating your own unique papers. Use mixed media or watercolor paper if you are going to use anything wet as it will hold up better. This doesn’t have to be expensive. Use what you have around the house. Paint, crayons, food coloring, coffee grounds, colored pencils, stencils or anything else you can think of. This would be a fun project to include the whole family. When finished with your “paper” here are some ideas for you: make your own collage, take a photo and post it on social media, frame it, make an old-fashioned card and snail-mail it to a friend. I am sure you can think of others projects! Have fun.
The digital collage below is called "Hidden." It started out as a background texture layer. The more I played with it, the more I liked it. I decided to have it printed on white metal, which gives it a richness and depth of color you have to see to really appreciate! This is one of my art pieces that has been in a local gallery.
According to the calendar, it is supposed to be Spring in my part of the world. Gray skies and rain pouring down this week does not feel or look like Spring. However, it is tulip festival time at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm. I probably won’t make it this year, but I have been there in the past and taken multiple photos.
I do not claim to be a photographer, but I do try to take my own photos to use in my digital collage art. I love nature, especially scenes involving water and plants. Tulips are so colorful and varied, I cannot help taking way more photos than I can possible use!
I challenged myself to pick a photo and create something new with it. Maybe a textured background to use in another collage or maybe something abstract. The most difficult thing about this challenge was picking one photo. I finally chose the one below, taken in 2019. I will be posting what I did to complete this challenge on my Facebook page: LLeeM Digital Collage Art.
I am challenging you to take a photo and turn it into something different. Turn it into a family project and involve your kids or do it with a friend. Email me a photo of your project and I will post it on my blog. (Subject to my review. Family-friendly only please.) If you would like to use the same tulip photo I will be using, click on Download File below for a free download.
Do you keep lists? I do. Sometimes I actually write down on paper (yes, good old-fashioned paper) things I need to do. Usually, I just verbally go over what I need to do or hope to do and yes, I am one of those people that talk to themselves. I have a calendar in my office where I write down the REALLY important things, things I would like to forget but cannot. Think doctor appointments, bills that are due, you know, things like that.
March seems to be full of Things I Must Do, but Don’t Really Want to Do type of stuff. All I really want to do is lose myself in my art. Hours and hours of creating whatever I want. Taking ordinary items and photos and turning them into something unique and original. Except, I cannot. I have duties and responsibilities. Meetings to attend. People to meet. Housework to do. The weeds in my garden mock me every time I go outside. They are everywhere.
I can only put off things for so long. Like taxes. You can ignore doing your taxes for months, but you cannot stop time. April 15th is coming. So, what do I do? Ignore everything for my art? That works for a while, but eventually life goes on. Instead, I use the reward system. Do something I do not want to do, then reward myself with some digital collage art time. Yes, I am an artist, but I also have responsibilities. We all have things we need to do and things we want to do. Why not have a little fun and play the game of Rewards. You know the game. Do something you do not want to do, have been procrastinating in getting done, ignoring, whining… Put together a list of rewards. My list includes my art, reading a book, a cup of tea, playing 3 games (well, probably a dozen) games of Spider Solitaire (almost mindless clicking), well, you get the idea. I get the jobs done I need to need and get to do what I really want to do without any guilt involved.
The digital collage below was created during my reward times. My reward for doing Things I Have to Do. It is called World Throne.
I was a registered nurse for 40 years and a charge nurse for about 30 years. I had to remain calm, be able to set priorities and delegate. Dealing with patients, staff and other departments was never easy. In fact, there were many times when I felt like crying or screaming, or both. I never did. At least not at work.
You would think my training would carry over to other areas of my life. I would be able to deal with any crisis in a calm, logical manner. Critical thinking, use of resources, planning-need I go on? Well, some of that did rub off, but I have a confession to make. I am absolutely terrified of any electrical problems and any car problems related to strange fluids showing up where there shouldn’t be any or loud, abnormal noises.
No electrical problems, at least, not lately. Not the sparking, is it going to catch on fire, should I panic problems. Just had to take my computer in just after the power came back on after the ice storm. Not too thrilled about that. Need my computer and software working as I am a digital artist. No computer, no art. No online connection, no mentoring or art classes. Got my computer back yesterday. Working just fine, thank you. Happy artist here.
At least, I was happy until I moved my car and noticed a rainbow where there shouldn’t be a rainbow. On my driveway. One of those strange fluid leaks. Call shop and get emergency appointment. Drive car one block and hear loud (and I do mean loud) grinding and clattering noises. Stopped and pulled over immediately. Very thankful no one right behind me, as I would have probably been hit. What to do? What to do? Afraid to restart the car, but I had at least 12 more miles to get to the automotive shop.. Totally clueless and facing one of my worst fears. I did the only thing I could do. I started praying. I prayed all the way over to the automotive shop. I did not hear any more noises nor did any warning lights come on.
Did the sense of panic go away immediately? No. I fought to change the focus from how I felt to God. I was honest about my feelings. (God knows what we feel and think, but we have to admit to a problem before we can get help.) As the miles went by, I continued to pray, reaching out to Jesus as a child would to a parent. I am still waiting to find out about my car, but I am not going to spend the time worrying. I am going to go and do some digital collage art!
Below are some words from the Lord given to me during church over two years ago. I just "happened" to come across them in my journal while I was looking for something else.
There are storms caused by the weather and there are storms of life. I have been dealing with both the last several days. The outside storm was that of snow, freezing rain and ice. That meant power outages, which meant no internet or smartphone. Cut off. My world became cold, dark, and silent. I experience a world without social media! Not always a bad thing, except when you are an artist with websites, a blog and social media business sites.
Well, my power is back on, but not my internet connection. My Mother has a different internet provider, so I am “borrowing” her computer to post this. I feel so blessed to finally have heat and a cold refrigerator. The neighbors bought a generator and let us put our food in their extra refrigerator and kept bringing hot food over to us. One day I hope to get caught up on the ordinary things that most people grumble about doing, like dishes and laundry. I made a promise to myself (probably a foolish one) that I would not grumble about doing those household chores again.
However bad the weather gets; the storms of life can be equally devastating. Health problems, dealing with Covid-19 restrictions, making connections with service personal that are dealing with the storm aftereffects and Covid-19, pets that do not understand why their comfortable routine was interrupted, not knowing when I will get my car back (long story), and… Need I go on?
Yet through all of this, there have been blessings. Rays of light in a dark time. A neighbor coming over with a plate of hot food, a personal heat source in the form of a cat sleeping on my lap, having a solar/crank radio for music, a late Valentine’s Day card from a friend. The greatest blessing and ray of hope through all of this has been the Word of God, especially Psalm 23 and 91. To know that I am never alone, not forgotten and loved by God has been my strength in all of the storms I have gone through.
In the mentoring program I am in, it is suggested you find a mentor to help you develop as an artist. I have been thinking about my art and trying to put a more descriptive label on it so that I can find a mentor. An artist I know called my Digital Collage Art “surrealism fantasy.” I said that sounded good to me. I did a Google search for artists doing digital surrealism fantasy art, and guess what? I found art that came the closest to what I create.
Then there is my Inspirational Art. It is a little more traditional, but still different from other art I have seen called inspirational or spiritual. It is not popular quotes or Scripture combined with lovely photos(nothing wrong with that), although I do use photos in my art. The words are from my book, messages written during my worship times with Jesus or they are prayers coming from my heart. I create the digital collage art to go with the words, but unlike my “surrealism fantasy” digital collage, here I want the words to be the focus. Even though I do not fit the mainstream of inspirational or spiritual art, I love what I create.
What is the point in today’s blog? The point is that even though my art is not traditional art and does not fit the popular conception that art is painting, it is my choice. I have tried to do other styles or mediums*. It is like a door that is locked, and I do not have a key. I did a study on abstract art once. I searched the internet for abstract images. I used oil pastels or colored pencils and a 100-page sketchpad and filled that whole sketchpad with abstract designs. When finished, I only liked about 2 of them. I put the pad away and forgot about it. Years later, I threw it out. Since then, I have done some abstract digital art, not deliberately, but because of experimenting. I know abstract art is popular, but it is not my choice.
Some things in life we have no choice. A choice is made for us and we must accept it. However, there are areas where we can decide. The key is in knowing the difference and when to accept the situation or to try and change it. Will I change my art style, to be more mainstream? Maybe creating landscapes or do portraits (Scowls. That is a whole different story!) using a different medium No, I will not. Will I seek to grow as an artist, learning more about my chosen medium? Definitely. I have choices to make. I know what can be changed and what cannot, at least as related to my art! Are you facing some choices? Are you willing to make changes or are you unwilling? Are you unable to make changes? If so, how are you dealing with that?
*Medium: the material an artist chooses to create their art.
Speaking of choices... If you choose to become a Member, check out the free Valentine's downloads on my Member's page. See my Home page for Email Contact information.
Most people want some type of recognition, an acknowledgement of their contributions. Businesses certainly want recognition. They want you to recognize their product(s) and purchase them. As a new to the business world artist, I am working on building recognition of my digital collage art by setting up this website, with an Instagram page, and business Facebook page.
Recognition and acknowledgement of my art is important. All artists want to know that their art touches people, stimulates imagination, and adds that something special that you cannot obtain without that specific piece they have created.
Being accepted as a professional artist by a gallery is one way of being recognized. Another is by email. Artists love to get email about their art, especially if someone wants to purchase something. So, the other day when I received an email indicating interest in my art, I should have been happy, right? It made my day, but it is not what you are thinking.
When I read the email, I started laughing. Why was I laughing about a potential client, one that was interested in my art? I was laughing because this is a common email many professional artists have gotten. The details vary slightly, but it goes something like this: I am interested in purchasing your art for my……, at $ (usually above what the artist is asking). Would you sent me some prints, samples, etc.so I can make a selection? If you haven’t guessed it yet, this is a scam. It is a scam that targets professional artists. I have finally made it; I have received professional recognition…by a Scammer! That is why I was laughing.
Bad things happen. Bad people happen. It is how we react that makes a difference. The Bible states that a happy or cheerful heart is good medicine.Happy laughter certainly uplifts the heart. I don’t know about you, but I certainly need all the good medicine I can get! Even if it was from a scammers email.
I was listening to a video in the artist mentoring program I belong to and reflecting what I had learned over time. Then, one word leaped out at me-time. How time flies. What time is it? There is not enough time. It is time to…. I am sure you can think of a few more things related to time. Oh yes, time and the passing of days. It is Thursday today. What is Thursday? Blog Day!!! One week has passed since I last posted. Time is slipping by.
It seems like there never is enough time to create art. Lessons, business and everyday life seem to take me away from my art. I started thinking of everything I do in a day and soon realized something. It is not a matter of not enough time, but how I utilize my time. To say I do not have enough time is an excuse. I should be questioning my priorities. When I worked as a nurse, I had to be able to prioritize my tasks. It literally could mean life or death at times. Why should art be different? Oh, not the life/death thing, but the importance of setting priorities and goals? I used to have weekly, monthly and 90-day goals. I confess I have been a little slack in committing my goals to paper. If I do, then it means I have no excuses for not enough time. So, my next task is deciding on some goals, committing them to paper (well, a Word file) and sticking to my commitments. When you feel like you do not have any time to do what you want, stop and go over a typical day. Try keeping a time journal, to see where you spend your time. You might even try setting goals for a week to see if that helps you to organize your days. If you already have goals and successfully carry them out, congratulations. You are obviously a well-organized and efficient person. Give me some time and I just might become like you.
Speaking of art and time, several years ago I created a series related to time. I have kept all of those early files and I would like to share one with you today. This is called: Time's Ripple.
I have always had a desire to help and encourage people. I became a nurse and went into medical-surgical nursing in a hospital setting. When I retired early from nursing, my desire to help and encourage people did not stop. Now, the Lord has called me to walk a different path, that of an artist and author. I am using words and digital collage art together for spiritual inspiration.
Over the years, I have shared many messages of encouragement, comfort, and yes, admonition from the Lord at church, then started to publish booklets and finally a paperback book. Seeing other people encouraged is a great blessing to me. However, the Lord impressed upon me a few days ago that I should take these words to heart. That I am to minister to others, I understood, but I also needed to let those words minister to me. While I was going through some of the messages I had selected to illustrate, one in particular just seemed to jump out at me.
In my transition from being a nurse to being an artist, I have to learn many new skills. As a nurse, I never had anything to do with the business end of things. It has been a challenge and yes, often a source of frustration that I know so little about eCommerce, marketing, websites, email, and a thousand and one other details. So, when I was looking for words to add to my digital collage art, one message in particular seemed to jump out at me. It was a message from the Holy Spirit, given to me in May of 2019. I used part of that message in a digital collage inspirational art piece called “Impossible Redefined.” I am going to share the whole message with you here. If you would like a full-sized copy, suitable for printing, please fill out the Email Contact Form on my Home page and ask for the password to my Members page. The image below is a low-resolution copy, not suitable for printing. Once you have the password, you will be able to download anything I post there for free.
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