Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition | Toolbelts and Daisies

My husband loves this word… Juxtaposition.  And by “loves this word”, I mean… he mostly likes to make fun of it’s common use in the artsy realm.  He’s got nothing against this realm.  He would just much rather build robots, or make stuff explode with his pellet gun.  And he likes to find any silly reason to use the word “juxtaposition” in his sentences and daily banter.  It’s part of his funny way of entering my world for a few moments in his busy day… where he might stop and hug me and make me laugh.  We bicker a lot, like any couple would, but it always comes back to laughter.

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We, him and I, are in fact… a juxtaposition… of epic proportions.  We couldn’t be any more so.  Him with his power tools, technical savvy, and “guy” stuff…Me with my paint brushes, and belly dancing, and “girly” stuff… we are just that.  Juxtaposed.  Our personalities are very distinct, but somehow complimentary spices in our recipe… our relationship.  It’s peanut butter an jelly.  It’s apple sauce and pork.  It’s red wine and pizza. It just works.  I am not sure if it works because we are opposite, or if it works in spite of it.  Maybe it’s because he can cook. And I am terrible at it.  🙂  But don’t get me wrong… this little juxtaposition we have going on here can be incredibly frustrating and utterly exhausting. 

PB & jellyIt terrifies me knowing that someday… one of us will inevitably go.  Yup… that’s just part of it all.  Morbid, I know.  But I hope until then, this juxtaposition will be strong enough to withstand life’s tumultuous, yet so very delicate nature.

In the end, it’s the one that matters most.

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This post was inspired by this weeks WP Photo Challenge.

Graveyard Photos: walking with my friend, also my belly dance teacher, in a cemetery near her house… Probably taken with one of my digital cameras. 

Other Photos: stuff in my house.

T’s Birthday Wish

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Hold a treasure close to your heart.

Close your eyes.

Then…

Make a wish..

Say a prayer.

Sing a song.

Twirl around.

Tell someone Thank You.

Tell someone I Love You.

Tell yourself I Love Me.

Believe in Peace on Earth.

Know that you are loved.

Then…

Go out into the world and follow all your dreams!

Happy Birthday Sweet T

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xo skyblue

Peace, Love and Facebook

I know you have all been sitting by your computers dying to know where I’ve been and what I have been up to.  I’ve been here, and there, not sure if I’m coming or going.  I probably have a dozen half finished posts and I can’t seem to finish a single one.  It’s always a photo I’m missing, or a paragraph that makes no sense.  Sometimes I just lose my nerve and I am afraid to post..  Afraid?  That’s silly.  Maybe my post is stupid, and nobody cares… but no one has ever really been mean to me on WordPress, or anywhere online for that matter. In fact most everyone has been super nice!   And I’m pretty sure I’m not going to cause much controversy or ruffle anyone’s feathers with my silly little blog about dragonfly’s, kitty cats, daisies, flea markets, cupcakes, holding hands, ice cream, willow trees, sunrises, dancing, cups of tea, love birds, rainbows, best friends.   Actually… i haven’t written about at least half of those items yet, so I better get to work.

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Speaking of getting to work… November came and went and I still haven’t posted the giveaway for the Sky Blue 2014 Yoga Gypsy calendar.  I’ve spent way too much time trying to make sense of the Facebook rules, trying to figure out if i need to use a third party app, worrying that only one person will enter… what i need to be doing is making some art.  Writing, and making art.  But unfortunately these are all necessary evils, part of sharing your art with the world.  I’m just going to do the best I can and get done what needs to be done, and hope I don’t get kicked off Facebook.

Tomorrow, Monday December 9, I will be posting a Facebook giveaway for the Yoga Gypsy calendar.  Does Yoga Gypsy have healing powers? I’m pretty sure she does. The longer you look at her, the more at peace you feel.  How did the calendar come about?  One day, I thought it would be fun to play with the original pencil drawing in my photo edit software, and I couldn’t stop looking at her in every shade of blue, and orange, and pink, and on an on… each color making me feel a bit different.   I thought others might enjoy her zen-like presence in many colors as well, and a calendar can offer that.  Besides… once the year is over, you are left with 12 adorable prints, with which you can make an Andy Warhol-ish collage, give to friends, or keep to enjoy her peaceful glow in a rainbow of colors every year.  Read more about Yoga Gypsy’s story from this earlier post.

I hope you will visit (and Like if I’m lucky!) the Sky Blue With Daisies Facebook page, and tomorrow, I hope you will be on the lookout for the giveaway post.

The winner will be announced later this week!

xo skyblue

2014 Yoga gypsy Calendar Image

Brave Girl with Pink Handbag – Where are you?

I’d love to know where she ended up.  If she ended up anywhere.   I’m sure I’ll find out Monday.  Maybe no one would want her.  But I believed that at least one person would.  I had to believe it, or I would never succeed.  She was such a joy to create.  I was literally in another world when i made her.  Especially her hair.  I started drawing her two weeks ago today.  It was Sunday.  A sunny, cozy, Sunday.  Her top and bottom half were drawn on two pieces of scrap paper, and attached at the hips.

Just to clarify… when I say draw, I mean draw, erase, draw, erase, erase, erase it all, draw erase some more, erase the whole thing, start over, almost finish, erase the entire face 14 more times, look at the clock, realize its 3:30am, draw it once more, and…. done.  Well… as done as a person who makes art can feel.  Basically, I knew I had a deadline and the pressure was on.  In fact, she started as an entirely different painting, an entirely different girl, which I worked on all day Saturday, only to toss aside.  That canvas now stands with the other misfits and orphans that lean against the studio wall, wondering if they will ever be loved again.  They will.

But for now, I am focused on Brave Girl.  She was still just a flimsy drawing, detailed with colored pencils, carefully cut out, sprayed with fixative and set to the side, while I began to create her ground… her world.  Paint, glue, tissue, little scraps in my studio… Three canvases later, one milky blue, one awful pea green, and finally it started to emerge.  The whole time I was trying to stay away from a Pink background for a few different reasons, but I eventually I gave in.  Red, White, a little Titanium Buff, and off I went into her world.  Layer after layer, more red, some orange, lots of yellow… a little purple.  Cutting, gluing, drawing, gluing, painting… until the world was ready for her.  She settled in perfectly, with some minor gluing drama…OK… it was a disaster.  I am a mess with the glue.  How do I get it in my hair?!! Luckily I was able to overcome the glue monster… I took a deep breath, followed the gluing protocol, and laid her in place.  I knew she was home.  Still bald, but home.  I loved her. I didn’t “love my drawing”.  My drawing skills are mediocre at best.  A little shadowing and perspective I learned from Miss Mailette, but still drawing with the skill level of a first grader.  No, I didn’t love the drawing. I just loved her. And it didn’t matter to me if anyone else did.  It didn’t matter if she wasn’t perfect.  She was loved.

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During the week, I worked on her here and there.  The circles of text and music were originally cut out to be hair.  Crazy, quirky, pretty, bubble hair.  I thought about leaving her bald… she was pretty that way.  I do sometimes leave my girls bald, but she was going to have hair.  I arranged the shapes in dozens of ways.  The bubble hair wasn’t working for her though… I was trying too hard.  And I hadn’t even thought about the flowers yet.  There’s always flowers.  I was running out of time.  So I moved the bubbles of paper down to the bottom and i just said, heck, I’ll just make these into flowers.

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The flowers emerged, different sizes and colors…nothing too crazy.  I tend to get overly involved in detail, and I don’t really have time for that now.  But in no way did that mean the flowers didn’t have to be right.  I just had to work differently than I usually do.  I had to just go with it.  I groomed her flower garden for a few hours during the week.  And then Saturday… my favorite day of the week since I was four (in my day you could only watch cartoons on Saturday).. this day I would now go back to her hair.  No thinking, just grab your sh*t, fill the water and today we are going outside. 

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There’s nothing like working in a colorful, sunny studio surrounded by art supplies, furry friends and books.  But working outside with the sunshine tops that by far.  The morning light shows you colors you never saw before.  I set up my easel and all my supplies, and got straight to work.  The voice of my nerves tried to creep out of my brush.  Your running out of time.  Tick Tock.  You only have two days.  What if you ruin it?  You don’t know what you’re doing. What if you can’t finish it. You should start over.  This is cr*p. 

“Shut up”, I told the voice.  So I just sat there and got to work.  I played with the flowers, mushed colors around in the background.  I was still procrastinating a bit, not sure what her hair was to look like… the hair is important.  I started to sketch around her face in yellow chalk.  A little curly, a little stringy, down pasted her waist.

I sat, I listened, I looked, tilted my head.  Nope, that’s not it.  Listened some more.  And then the wind came out of nowhere.  It was probably there all morning, and I just hadn’t noticed it, but when the wind blows in my yard the trees make some serious noise. I am certain it would register on my husbands trusty decibel meter.  I stared at the painting, I looked up at the trees for a while, closed my eyes, then I saw her hair blow. This would be her hair. The hair that evolved over the course of the day was trying to capture that moment.  That obnoxiously (but beautifully) loud gust of wind that almost knocked her over but she stood firm with her handbag.  Everything she needed was in that handbag.  Her strength, hope, family, friends, love, creativity, courage, cats…a little money for food, coffee and health insurance…  they were all right in there.  The wind was powerful.  She was definitely more so.

My parents came over and hung out while I worked, and then I finally packed it in for dinner.  One more day.  She was getting there.

The next day I woke up and I was pumped.  I couldn’t wait to spend the day with her.  First things first, coffee and couch time.  Then I put the music on, I got my yoga on, and we did our thing.  Brave girl and me.  Girl time!  We hung out all day and well into the night, until there was nothing left to talk about.  Later girlfriend. She was complete.

I don’t usually write play by plays detailing my paintings in progress.  This is possibly the first.  Photos are easier to share since you can always say “I know it sucks, it’s not done yet”.  It’s definitely strange putting this side of my art out there though. I guess some people will think I am utterly weird creating the way I do, but this is pretty much how it goes every time.  Except for the “finishing” part.  Signed, sealed, varnished, ready to hang.  Very. Rarely. Happens.

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There are two jewels that were added at the end, which had their own separate gluing challenges.  Apparently gravity is still stronger than mostly dry glue (meaning, you must lay the painting flat until glue COMPLETELY dries, or her ruby necklace might end up as a belly button jewel).  But it all worked out in the end, and I was ready to let her go.  Let’s do this. 

I boxed her up and sent her out into the world.

xo skyblue

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Brave Girl was created for a fundraiser which would raise money for breast health initiatives including the Beekley Center for Breast Health and Wellness, and a free mammogram program, in Bristol CT.  I couldn’t make it to the fundraiser this year, but my heart was definitely there.  Literally. She hopefully went home with someone last night.  🙂

Update ~ Brave Girl ended up going to a wonderful home and resides with a private art collection in Bristol, CT.

 

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Connecticut Folk Artist Skyblue is Erica Lubee (formerly Erica Moreland).  She writes this blog from her studio in CT to share her love of art, creativity, photography, nature and all creatures big and small, real and imagined.  Her passion is for mixed media, whimsical folkart, illustration and the feminine portrait.  Visit Skyblue’s gallery for more of her paintings and artworks.  Some prints available at Redbubble.  Original drawings, paintings, and more will become available soon!  Follow or subscribe here or on Facebook for updates and more artsy fun. 🙂

 

 

Blogapology…

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Hello Bloggeritos and Bloggeritas!  My blog literally has cobwebs all over it.  And i think i can hear crickets.  So for that, i apologize.  I know you are supposed to keep these things going… otherwise people are like, “wow, she just vanished!”… or worse, they don’t even realize you are gone.  (I have been loving reading all your posts though!)

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…Meanwhile, my Instagram and Facebook accounts are on fire, and i have been making lots of art.  I have recently been accused of having a “problem” with Istagram.  It’s like 30 years of a unrequited love for photography, and failed attempts to learn how to operate a camera… all spewing out on Instagram, because I can actually say what I meant to say with the images I am able to create with smart phone apps.  I am not ashamed of my skillz with Instagram Filters. (-:  Besides, it gives me time to focus on other things too.

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Land of Misfits – Instagram Earlybird Filter

In the past several months, I felt that needed to super-focus my energy on creating, drawing, painting, etc. Oh, and don’t think i have gotten very far.  Baby steps made in stolen moments… a few paintings almost finished, some tattered sketchbooks.  Some of which, I post pictures of here and there, some that will get banished  to the basement probably. Much of my journey expressed in glimpses on Instagram.

Being home on vacation this week, with time to really stew in my creative juices, I realized how much I really miss writing.  It really is not separate from my art.  It’s all, entirely, intertwined.  I have probably said that before, but i need reminders once in a while.

Well I think i will ease myself back into it with a reblog of this link, celebrating Instagram Artist, Jeremy Veach and his sweet dog Norm.

Photographer Scores a Viral Hit with His Instagram ‘Pug Shots’ of His Dog Norm.

xo, skyblue

Holy Land USA and theTimeExpo Museum – Some Easter fun in Waterbury, CT

If you do a Google search of Waterbury, CT you will probably get a pretty generic list of fact sheets and local services.  Why would someone Google Waterbury? People around here do not say the nicest things about it.  I have been guilty myself of the trash talking. Living in a suburb of the “brass city”, i have to pass through it quite often, and i do most of my grocery shopping there.  Sometimes it annoys me…Waterbury… but i have decided it deserves a little love.  Especially on Easter.

This Easter morning we woke up to another news story of a vacant factory in Waterbury burning to the ground.  There seems to have been a rash of fires there – all empty, run down houses and businesses which while standing, have been inviting plenty of seedy behavior.

One area that is particularly run down is that of the religious tourist attraction – Holy Land USA.  Although I don’t think there have been any fires there, it’s current state of neglect and disrepair attracts less than wholesome activities.  It is no longer the tourist attraction it was intended to be, and it is surrounded by an air of darkness.

In the mid 1950’s, a lawyer named John Greco built a miniature replica of Jerusalem and Bethlehem on a 17-acre hill in Waterbury.  It became one of Connecticut’s most popular tourist attractions in the 1960’s and 70’s, drawing in thousands of Bible readers every year.  I have not read the Bible, so I have no knowledge of most of the stories and passages, but I think this place on the hill must have been very special to a great many people…especially to Mr. Greco and the many volunteers and believers who built it.  It closed in the 80’s, shortly before its creator passed away, and since then it has been neglected and vandalized, with not much hope for restoration.  And only last year a young girl was tragically raped and murdered just beneath the cross.  The place has been mostly off limits, but I had read that people go up there to witness remnants of the tiny biblical scenes.

The other day I decided to go up there with my husband on a whim.  Now that I think about it though… I had probably asked him about thirty times if we could go up there, so it was more likely a result of my relentless nagging.  Anyway, I felt extra drawn to try to find it that particular day for some reason.  Maybe it was the gloomy, slate gray sky.

We found the winding dead end street, and hesitantly drove up to the rickety gates.  I couldn’t believe I was right there, at Holy Land… the place behind the landmark cross I remember seeing as a child when we drove up to see my second cousin’s in Ansonia once a year… The cross that stands majestically, but sadly atop a small mountain alongside I-84.  I was absolutely fascinated.  I was positively terrified.

I yanked my camera out of my purse, and started snapping from the passenger seat.  Of course now I just had to walk up to it.  Eventually, I ended up inside the gates and off i went with my camera, sneaking along the overgrown path.  My husband was begrudgingly escorting me, but I was definitely freaking out.  I photographed every inch of the place… or as much of it as i could, knowing we probably weren’t supposed to be in there, and knowing how utterly stupid we were, wandering around such a secluded, now sinister place.  We made it partially up the hill, just within site of the cross, when we heard voices behind the tangled bushes. (Hellll, no… we weren’t crashing that party.)  I managed to capture a few shaky images of the cross before we hi-tailed it out of there.  As we power walked down the bend, we came face to face with another group of “could be totally innoncent, could be gangstas” twenty-somethings. W immediately got that look on his face, which said… “I’ll be grabbing that rock Erica, and when I start taking people out with it, you run like f*ck!”  We safely made it to the car and I immediately inspected each photo to see the details I missed in our haste.  Cool.

As millions of people around the world spend their Easter traveling to the Holy Lands, take a peak at my snap shots… remnants of a dreamer’s once realized dream.  I do hope they will respectfully contribute to the memory and sad beauty of this abandoned place, doomed to be further destroyed or forgotten.  But I also encourage you to check out these great images from the years before its hopeless decline.

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… Later that same day, we ventured up to my favorite thing in Waterbury, the life-size replica of a Moai statue from Easter Island.  The statue, which can also be seen from I-84, guards the Time Expo Museum – its authentic versions thought to have historically functioned together with the sun as a primitive time piece. Easter Island, I have learned was named as such, by the Dutch explorer who encountered it on Easter Sunday, 1722.  I’ve never been to the museum, but i do adore its giant loveable protector.

If you happen to be driving through Waterbury, make sure you look up to your left and off to your right for these creative, Connecticut treasures.  Maybe you will decide to hop off the freeway, and venture up close.  Anyway, Happy Easter all, however you celebrated it.

Testing… is this thing on?

this is just a test post.  i don’t have the patience to post anything of substance at the moment.  i’ve been working on some posts, and i just can’t take it anymore!  the cursor in my wordpress is possessed all of a sudden.  does this happen to anyone else?  paragraphs are being erased,  the cursor skips all over and suddenly i’m typing in the middle of a sentence i wrote 5 minutes ago.  the cursor doesn’t keep up with my typing, everything suddenly scrolls into a crooked mess… it’s like someone else is typing in my post remotely.  a phantom… one who is terrible at typing!!

it feels like i’m typing in gooey molasses.

so no pictures tonight.  no cats.  no poems.  no art.  no words of wisdom (i can say that now, i’m over forty).  nothing witty…

not until i figure out who dumped the molasses in my wordpress!!

… oh, ok!  i’ll insert one photo!  i can’t resist.

xo e.j.l.

p.s. there is at least a 50% chance that this molasses problem is user error, and i have accidentally done something to cause this.  I could use some help here people!!  Any ideas?  (-:

my husband keeps telling me, “just reboot!!”  ok.  i will try that.  see you next time.

There will be art… (maybe)

The more I blog, the more I get away from the reasons I thought i wanted to publish a blog.  My first attempt, Dancing Rapunzel, was pretty much started because I had some time to kill when chemo was kicking my ass.   I thought I should take advantage of my down time & learn something productive.  Blogging was a perfect way for me to keep busy and think creatively… from the couch.  I started writing with all intentions that it would motivate me to finish my art projects and that it would help me gain some confidence putting my art “out there”.  I posted just a few leather pieces and unfinished paintings here and there.  I soon discovered the unexpected extent of therapeutic value.  Overall, I continued hoping it would help me grow artistically, creatively, emotionally… regardless, I was supposed to be posting some art! 
After DR got hijacked, i had all but hung up my blogging hat (yes i actually have one), and suddenly I had a spark of energy to start over again with Sky Blue.  I thought that blogging again would help me put my creations out there in an anonymous world without too much discomfort.  As I continue my blog-therapy, I have been reminded how much I also love to write and take photos.  Since I can give you every excuse in the book why you haven’t seen much of my “art”, there will probably be a lot more words and amateur photography…at least for now.
I am working on my goal setting, and 7 Habits, blah blah blah for 2012, so my plan is to post some art this year!  I did a little painting this weekend, and that made me happy happy happy!  It’s hard to pick a painting to work on when i have so many in progress, and so few hours of daylight.  But I am trying to just focus on one at a time.  I’m working on a series of 3 paintings for my big blank brown living room wall – I wanted to do something insanely colorful and bold.  They were inspired by a blog post I saw about the Neon Bone-yard which I am completely obsessed with… I am dying to see that place if I ever get to Vegas so I can take my own photos, but for now I must paint from other people’s photos.
I hope I can share some paintings and sketches – finished or unfinished – in the near future. Until then, here are some more (sorry) cat photos.  My subject here is Olive on a sunny morning…

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e.j.l. xo
 

books and crannies

So maybe, I kind of hinted to some of my family members that i might enjoy one of those e-book readers come birthday/holiday time… and i haven’t felt right ever since.   I had never considered getting one… I never thought i would enjoy one, and i figured they were probably too high-tech for me.  But more than that, I thought they would probably be a passing trend because people would miss books, and their pages, their smells, textures, pictures, colors… But what the hell do i know because apparently everyone loves them. They talk about how much faster they are reading, and how convenient and compact they are… and this is all spoken with an extraordinary amount of enthusiasm.  I do not typically engage in further discussion over their changing relationship with books.  For a moment i may wonder, “do you miss anything about the books? Have any regrets?”  I assume they do.

So do I think I would enjoy this revolutionary gadget, given the overwhelmingly positive feedback? Sure I would.  Do I think they would be too high tech for me? Most Likely.  Would I miss books?  Of course i would! i would miss the sound of the pages when you flip them in the middle of the night. i would miss using my pink highlighters in them. i would miss being half done.   I would miss buying books for fifty cents at the second hand store.  I would miss stacking them in pretty little piles on shelves and cozy nooks in my house.  I would miss the graceful words curving over pages.  I would miss so many groovy book marks! i would miss the cute little fold in the middle! Aww.  What else? …Oh yes, libraries.  I suppose libraries have been centerpiece to some of the most special places in my certainly sheltered world.  The curious library next door to my house on Old Main St, only open on Monday and Thursday, with the Arrow heads and skulls upstairs.  The sailboat library that docked next to my grampa’s sailboat in the summer.  The orange town library that was orange inside because my dad designed it.   You probably get the point.

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So I am finding my place somewhere in the middle of this debate i’m having with myself.  I will love my e-reader (and boldly attempt to figure out how to work it) if i ever come across one.  and if i do, i will certainly never get rid of my beautiful, delicious books.

e.j.l. xo

What would you miss about your books?

What book would you miss the most?