Abstract Love

Abstract Love – 30×48 on Gallery Canvas


Abstract Love.

Instead of trying to explain the muse that drew me to recently create this huge abstract piece  – the largest, most “abstract” painting I’ve done to date – 4 foot wide (48 inches) x 30 inches tall – I will share this quote from one of my absolute all time favorite books….

A book I have read and listened to the author read several times – Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert:

Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree. You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.) You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud. You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons. You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with. You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You’re afraid you’re too old to start. You’re afraid you’re too young to start. You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again. You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life, so why bother trying? You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

The first stroke on a huge canvas can be so scary, yet so exciting and liberating at the same time.

The brushes and pallet knives and paints are art themselves!

The finished piece…

which is – for now – hanging above our bed.

Its temporary home?   Or its forever home?  Either way is fine, because I kinda love it!

If it speaks to you, it is available here.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Fireplace Makeover

Fireplace Makeover.

Hubby and I built our current home about 17 years ago.  It is the second home we’ve built, and it is the tenth place I’ve called home.

Growing up, I lived in six different homes.  Since being married, this is our fourth home.

So 17 years is a long time in one home for me.  The longest I’ve ever lived in one actually!

We’ve redone and updated things along the way, but one of the things I haven’t done much with in a long time is our fireplace.  It was in need of a makeover.

Our fireplace is a bit of a focal point in our home.  It is 9 1/2 feet tall and 6 1/2 feet wide.  It is one of the first things you see when you walk in the front door.

We burn fires in our fireplace every night from the first nip of Fall to the first warmth of Spring.  It is a place where friends and family enjoying sitting.   Being raised about 18 inches from the floor, it makes a great warm seat for a few people when a crowd is gathered.

I’ve been following a few home decor instagrammers and loving the clean look of white, so when my oldest DIL recently asked if I wanted to go to Hobby Lobby with her and my grandie girls, besides screaming, “YES YES YES” to a field trip to my favorite store with some of my favorite peeps, I knew just what I wanted to look for – home decor pieces for the fireplace makeover.

I found some pieces I really love – including this little white chipped mirror, artichoke on a pedestal, bird, cotton stems in a clear jar, and metal and wood arched window piece.

I love this new natural cotton wreath, which I placed over the only old thing I left from previous decor – an old chipped metal tile I snagged a while back at another of my favorite field trip shopping destinations – Construction Junction – a warehouse full of used and surplus building materials.  Some fun candlestick holders, another bird and a super cute bird cage that I filled with natural and white spheres in a variety of shapes and sizes finish up the mantel decor.

A serious statement piece now sits on the hearth in this awesome 3 foot tall vase filled with puffy white pussy willow stems.

I had so much fun choosing some new pieces  (especially since there was a 50% off home decor sale), and am really enjoying this cozy new creative space in our home.

As I type this, a warm fire is crackling, the snow outside is fluttering down.  Hubby has his nose in a book and one eye on the television from his cozy chair.  Our bellies are full from a Sunday supper served early – a lemon garlic pork tenderloin, roasted herbed spaghetti squash, and a beet salad.

I’m cherishing the moments – simple and satisfying – from my little space in the world I call home.  And no matter where it is, how it is decorated or what is served, the thing I love best about my home is who I share it with.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Lily the Llama

Lily the Llama.

Lily the lovely La La Llama
lived in a posh resort down south in the Bahamas.

There were not many llamas
that lived in the Bahamas.

But Lily, the queen of drama,
never did see the prob-llama.

She lounged in her pajamas
that were purple with polka-dottas,

and liked to sing sonatas
like Hakuna Matata.

With a floral headband she wore all the time-a
she quickly became part of the local fauna.

It sure was fun for a lovely llama
to live in the Bahamas.

It made a nice vacation for her Dad and for her Momma,
and even for her Grandpa and her beloved, silly Grandmomma.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Harper the Happy Hippo

Harper the Happy Hippo.

In a lazy, shallow river just outside of Ethiopia
lived Harper the happy hippo in a heavenly utopia.

The sun was always shining
while Harper was oft reclining.

Flamingos and pelicans and even a rare crane
shared and reveled in the balmy tropical terrain.

Harper loved to sing and play.
She smiled and chuckled and snorted all day.

She started a band
since her voice was in such demand.

She was surely the star of the show,
for who wouldn’t go

to see a purple singing hippo with pink painted toes
smiling and singing to the most beautiful prose.

A zebra was on the drums
while a cheetah’s guitar strings strummed.

Cymbals were clanged and clashed by a lively red-throated gazelle.
She was Harper’s closest girlfriend, and her name was Adele.

There wasn’t a happier hippo across the sea or land
than Harper the happy hippo and her Ethiopian wildlife band.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  Harper the Hippo is the second painting for my dear friend Pam (namesake, by the way, for Klaus’ friend Pam the Lamb).  Harper is the baby sister of Lucas – Pam’s two grandchildren.   If you’d like to learn more about my process or sales of paintings, poems, cards, pillows, and books, visit Sunday’s post here.

Harper the Happy Hippo Pillow

Lucas the Lucky Lion

Lucas the Lucky Lion OriginalWatercolor Painting – 11×14

Lucas the Lucky Lion.

In a faraway land that was known as Zion,
lived Lucas, the exceedingly lucky little lion.

No matter the game – played morning or afternoon,
Lucas the lion was always the most opportune.

He seemed to be blessed
with the very best success.

And never did he possess
even the teeniest bit of stress.

Lucas knew he was king
of kickball and juggling.

This extremely lucky lion was tops at kicking balls and batting.
He even stole the show when dribbling, dunking, and passing.

But the thing that made Lucas the luckiest of all –
the skill that made him so very exceptional…

Was Lucas the Lucky Lion’s quintessential charm.
For there wasn’t a friend or foe he couldn’t charismatically disarm.

************************************************

Lucas the Lion is a special surprise for one of my BFs.  I was looking for recommendations on what to paint after taking a little break for the holidays, and she requested a Lucas the Lion and Harper the Hippo for her two grandchildren, who are fans of Klaus the Mouse.

I thought you might like to see a bit of the process I go through for a painting.

First I draw a pencil sketch.

Once I am happy with a design, I either redraw in pencil on watercolor paper or use a light box to trace the basic outline.

If the pencil markings are too dark, I then use a kneaded putty eraser to lighten up the lines.  If needed, I use some masking fluid to preserve any areas I want to assure stay white.

I then consider colors using my watercolor swatch charts, choose a few brushes I may use, fill my water bucket, and assure paper towels and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge are handy.

I am then ready to put on my first wash of paint.

After the first wash is dry, I rub off the masking fluid, and I begin adding layers, allowing to dry as necessary until I am happy with the painting.

Once my original is finished, I take the best photo I can of it for printing.  Most all of my paintings are available in our McKinneyX2Design Etsy shop in prints (sizes 11×14, 8×10, and 5×7 – matted or not) and greeting cards, like below.  For those friends who are local, my daughter-in-law (who makes beautiful rustic wood pallet signs) and I also have our art on display and available at Berry Vine Gifts in BradfordWoods, PA.  You can find all of our information here.

  

Look for Harper the Happy Hippo in my next post here at The CreativeLifeInBetween, which is scheduled to post Tuesday.

By the way, if you are interested in a custom watercolor painting of an animal character for a child you love, you can order via our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop at this link.  Let me know the child’s name and the animal you would like.  It will be an 11×14 original watercolor painting.  If you would like an original rhyming poem to go with it, that can also be ordered for an additional charge.  It will come printed on an 8.5×11 sturdy cardstock sheet that can also be framed.  Please allow two weeks for any custom orders.

My artwork can also be made into pillows and clocks and coasters and mugs and tote bags and a lot of other fun things – all available at Society6.  Let me know if there is a piece you like that I should add there.

Lucas the Lion Pillow

I hope you are all enjoying the beginning of this new year and settling back into your normal routines after the busy holiday season.  It was good to undecorate from the holidays yesterday and find time to paint again.

Happy Sunday!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

R is for Reflecting

R is for Reflecting.

I was recently commissioned through our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY shop to create a special “R” watercolor for a sweet young lady who wanted one for the center of a family gallery wall she was creating.

She requested the R be in shades of turquoise and blue and entwined with some pink roses.

This painting is 12×16, which she plans to mat and frame to 16×20.

The poignant and provoking thing about it is her last name is Rodgers (the reason for the “R” painting), and that is my birth/family name.

Those who have been following this blog for any length of time may recall me sharing the story of my “reunion” with my “birth” father, which occurred eight years ago, or the story of  the loss of my brother two years ago.  Two “Rodgers” men in my life.  So, for some reason, painting this “R” for a “Rodgers” family caused many reflections as I created it.

We all are who we are as a result of a compilation of our life experiences.  I am proud to be a “Rodgers,” and I was honored to create this special “R” for another young lady who shares a connection with me.  A connection I didn’t even mention to her.  But an experience I am reflecting on as I add it to my collection of events that shapes my life and who I am.

May you find time to Reflect and Reminisce about your life,  about the people you love, and about the experiences and events that have shaped your story.  May you Remember to be good to yourself and to be kind to others.  May this message Reassure you of your worth and your Relevance as a human being.

Rejoice in your Reflections.

Cherish the Moments.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Liz the Lizard

Liz the Lizard Watercolor – 11×14

Liz the Lizard.

Have you heard of the lizard whose name is Liz.
Classiest lizard in the desert she is.

With pearls and diamonds and sparkly pink nails
She daydreams often of being in show biz.

She practices rhymes and humorous lines
as if she was preparing for an audition or pop quiz.

Nailing them every time – she surely is a wiz.
She’s a modern-day lizard, so be sure to call her Ms.

Yes indeed, Ms. Liz
that is.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  Liz the Lizard was made especially for a friend’s grandaughter, who loves Klaus the Mouse – my very first published illustrated children’s book.  Granpap asked if I could make an Alex the Alligator and a Liz the Lizard for his two special little grandies.  I hope they all enjoy these two characters as much as I enjoyed creating them.

Alex the Alligator

Alex the Alligator Watercolor – 11×14

Alex the Alligator.

In a swamp near the equator,
lived an alligator named Alex.

Alex liked to jump and kick.
Doing fancy tricks
was part of his famous schtick.

Alex was often the very first pick
because he was so doggone slick
in the eyes and hearts of the alligator chicks.

For not many gators could be so quick
doing fancy acrobatics
and even arithmetic!

So if you ever find yourself near the equator
and see a slick jumping and kicking gator,
Say Hi to Alex…

Alex the Alligator.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  Alex the Alligator was made especially for a friend’s grandson, who loves Klaus the Mouse – my very first published illustrated children’s book.  Granpap asked if I could make an Alex the Alligator and a Liz the Lizard for his two special little grandies.  This is going to be a surprise for him.  I can’t wait to create Liz next.

 

 

 

Getting Ready

Bunny’s First Woodland Christmas Watercolor – 11×14

Getting Ready.

My DIL and “biz partner,” Colleen, and I have been busy getting ready for an event this coming weekend for McKinneyX2Designs – the Mars Craft Show.

For those of you not from Mars :), it’s really a bigger event than you can imagine, and we are fortunate to be a part of it!

Colleen is been busy making these adorable little trees and festive holiday signs.

While I’ve been busy painting

Dancing Penguin Watercolor 11×14

and printing

and folding

and boxing.

We are excited to share our joy!  The Mars Craft Show features hundreds of local artisans spread out between the Mars Middle School and Mars High School (where you can find us – in the Auxilliary Gym).  A shuttle bus runs all day between the two buildings between 10am and 4pm on Saturday, November 17, 2018.

In addition to this event, we have two special birthdays coming up for a Pap Pap and granddaughter who share the same birthday.  I also have a short overnight business trip this week, so a lot going on.

I’m going to take a few days off from blogging, so if you don’t hear from me, know I am just busy and having fun and will be back soon.

If you like what you see here and are local, we hope you will visit us at the Mars Craft Show or Christmas in the Woods at Berry Vine Gifts this weekend.  If you are not local, please visit our Etsy shop or our website for more information.

Back to getting ready!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

All is Calm

All is Calm – Snowy Winter Watercolor in Blue – 11×14

All is Calm.

We have just begun experiencing frosty mornings
and the flurry and dusting of snowflakes here and there.

It is well past due in our little corner of the world,
and I always look forward to it.

I am dreaming of the beauty of snowy, moonlit winter evenings
curled up with a warm, fuzzy blanket and a crackling fire

When all is calm,
and all is bright.

So I painted this scene in watercolor,
and it takes me to that place and that feeling.

The gift of creating.
The joy of art.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

P.S  This painting, like most all of my paintings, is available in our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY shop as an original or in prints sized 11×14, 8×10, or 5×7 as well as boxed greeting cards.  It will also be going with me to the Mars Craft Show on Saturday, November 17th!