i need rules.

it’s easy to be really involved with a creative idea in the beginning. ultimately a road block appears where the project is avoided. it just isn’t fun anymore or it’s too complicated/time-consuming to complete at the moment.

the most disappointing part is, i rarely pick it back up. and if i do i wait forever to finish it. life has changed gears for a season, and my aim is producing more with my time. producing more of whatever it is in that moment for me. producing an intentional and finished product. one day, it’s a random craft with repurposed bottles. rearranging our den as a playroom for V. the next day, owning a task at work. organizing a junk drawer. designing a gallery wall. i’ve penned lists in my notebooks: projects at home to conquer, and project tracker with goals for work.

in order to be intentional about working through my grandiose list of possible design projects, i have defined some new personal guidelines…or something like that.

1. choose one project from the list only. enjoy thinking about the project in advance and divide the project into clear-cut steps.

take one of my latest piece for example (pictured). i wanted to do something a little different and fun with V’s birth announcements. don’t ask me why, but i had 12 different cards printed that i wanted to collage on a canvas with some sort of handpainted work included. i started by ordering the cards, obviously, and picked out canvases from my stockpile to use. then i took time to envision the piece and imagine the arrangement, colors and tools i would use. after planning out the timeline, i felt confident and excited about my upcoming craft.

Canvas with paper cards, acrylic paint and modge podge.
Canvas with paper cards, acrylic paint and modge podge.
Canvas with paper cards, acrylic paint and modge podge.
Canvas with paper cards, acrylic paint and modge podge.

2. house must be clean and all work-related tasks completed before i start to art.

my OCD mind will wander to what’s unfinished or undone, and then I’ll inevitably be juggling 15 chores with my designated project. making sure things are in the order before i step into my realm of peace with the piece.

3. communicate with the art.

quite possibly the lamest way to put it, but the most enjoyable part of any creation for me. it sounds nuts (and maybe it is). for years i have pondered God as an artist and how He must delight in the artform of nature, space and humanity across decades and dimensions. could you imagine…? i don’t [think i] have a god complex, but i appreciate the idea of imagining my blank canvas as a creation i’m breathing life into as i work.  so, i enjoy “getting weird” while i paint. fluid patterns and strokes that follow the imperfections of a specific tool. mixing colors to massage their best pigments and making sure they feel good on the canvas. that no stroke or pen mark feels completely awkward unless agreed upon between me and the brush. call me crazy, but those are my favorite pieces. they get the most of me in them.

4. let the stuff sit out.

the house is clean, so i intentionally leave my craft necessities out in a designated, but obvious, space until i finish the project. ‘not wanting to drag the supplies out’ can’t be the excuse not to finish. barring a visit from important company, i allow my supplies to get some fresh air mid-project. why not? my living room, my life. and who ever got much done without getting a little messy? (these questions aren’t rhetorical. i have to motivate myself that a little of art supplies gathered by the bookcase and gallery frames on the table are not the end of my clean house.)

 

so those are my new four rules for myself, the ultimate procrastinator. this lazy artist with all ideas and not much product to show for it lately has been churning out some stuff recently.

the creative process ebbs and flows, of course –but i’m maturing my processes to get the most out of my creative time, at least until Baby V is stealing the paintbrushes out of my hand.

image(which she can totally get away with being this cute.)

 

nursery full of bows

i was scared vayda would be a boy even after several confirmations she would be all girl. that may be why i started creating a gender neutral nursery. but just like everything else i planned for the baby during my pregnancy, things changed.

when i first found out i was pregnant, i went to target. isn’t that thing to do? i’m pretty sure they puff some scent into the store’s air that make maternal hormones rage, because my cart mysteriously fills to the brim (with things i probably don’t need) during every visit. elephants were popular for baby room decor at target during my pregnancy, and we happen to love elephants at the andrews house since we cheer for the crimson tide. cue everything elephant. i incorporated a little “where the wild things are” inspiration, too, with greys, light blues, yellows and burnt oranges.

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you’ll see that pink has inevitably made it’s way all over the nursery to compliment my initial color choices, but i fall more in love with the wild array of hues as time moves on. it’s a mix and match of all the people and experiences of vayda’s life thus far. her crib and dresser are from the baby’s dream enchanted collection. it will convert to toddler then double bed for lifetime usability. we got our set from brooks furniture (great local baby section) and are ever so thankful to robert, who included some great extras as a gift to my parents, who got V the set.

**rabbit trail for full disclosure here: unfortunately, vayda does not use her crib often as she still sleeps in a co-sleeper beside our bed. with a little reflux early on, she is most comfortable in her fisher price rock-n-play sleeper (and mommy likes her close by, too). during the day, she is constantly held, napping in my arms or being worn. [this article shares many –but not all– sentiments i do about baby wearing and my philosophy on holding vayda as much as possible: natural childshe will be using her crib and room more for naps soon, but we have found vayda to be more even-tempered and secure in her surroundings with our current methods.**

i opted for style on a budget for the rest of the nursery. all the nursery art was hand painted by me, which was a fun way to help make the anticipation speed along as pregnancy days grew longer. the area rug came from IKEA at a bargain, changing cover from etsy (with back-ups from target), floor length window panels from target – then i filled in with decor from hobby lobby, etsy, our new baby! (my favorite baby store – currently) and sweet gifts we got from family and friends. this includes a sweet toddler-sized bear rocker that was justin’s when he was little:

justin's bear rocker now in V's room
justin’s bear rocker now in V’s room

several sweet, very pink bears are keeping the seat warm for vayda when she gets old enough to sit in it.

along with those pink bears are many BOWS! my mama used to have me in outfits with matching bows. a proud moment for my mom was when my art teacher told her i was the best dressed child at deerfield in grade school. i guess that bow obsession seeped right into my own veins. i had to get creative with ways to display the many bows and headbands that mommy has gotten addicted to buying. seriously, people – it’s a problem. i never thought i would be one of those mamas who creates a bow child. but here’s the real situation:

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might as well face it, we’re addicted to bows. and i have totally embraced being that kind of mama. i got the cylindrical headband holder from etsy. many shops make these and there are many tutorials on how to make your own. it is so convenient when hurrying to dress an infant. plus, there is extra storage inside the cylinder – much needed at this house. the blue bow holder is handmade by me (along with the canvases). i also got two hanging ribbons at livi & company for our ever-growing alligator clip bows.

some of my favorite bow/headband/crown vendors: bloomies handmade (flower crown, pictured on V, lower left), tulip + olive, fancy free finery, gigi and max, cora baby wraps and mary madison boutique in thomasville (where i got these and more awesome bow clip-ons:)

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just wanted to share a little piece of erinish mama life. happy friday, all.

fingerpainting

here is a mural i fingerpainted on my bedroom wall growing up. i’m so grateful that my parents supported my creativity and allowed me to paint all over their home. this piece really means a lot to me because i painted it over the course of several years. it doesn’t have a lot of intrinsic meaning, really, but each fragment of the piece came from some song lyric i enjoyed or a memory i enjoyed musing over. then my friends started adding to it with notes and drawings, and i never even had the opportunity to feel alone or unloved when i had my friends’ colorful stuff on my wall and my parents down the hall. it really means a lot to have a family who supports the arts. thanks, mom and dad.

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turquoise & green

 

as i have previously mentioned, i worked in a ceramics studio through college. i got the opportunity to learn how to throw some simple things, and i hand painted them too. they are totally flawed, as far as balance–but that’s what makes them so fun and memorable. i will never be a potter, but learning the art and the difficulty of the trade made me appreciate the art that did come so easily to me.

i wrote a blog about the impact my pottery instructor had on my life. check it out here:
http://erinwhatley.com/2012/04/10/like-a-bull-in-a-china-shop/

brown ceramic bowls

as i have previously mentioned, i worked in a ceramics studio through college. i got the opportunity to learn how to throw some simple things, and i hand painted them too. they are totally flawed, as far as balance–but that’s what makes them so fun and memorable. i will never be a potter, but learning the art and the difficulty of the trade made me appreciate the art that did come so easily to me.

i wrote a blog about the impact my pottery instructor had on my life. check it out here:
http://erinwhatley.com/2012/04/10/like-a-bull-in-a-china-shop/

candlewax

this old container collected dust for a while. then it collected my colorful candle wax. 🙂

hobby shmobby

i got an aa in fine arts a few years ago before i went on to get a bba in marketing. it’s only been recently that i have realized how much i didn’t appreciate that time fully. i was always annoyed with being forced to create, and it would frustrate me into making pieces that weren’t truly my best.

i don’t know if age would have helped me at all. however, now having a full-time day job that doesn’t offer me a lot of room to be creative throughout the day has put a big strain on my ability to be creative. i’m struggling more to find inspiration now that i must maintain focus on mundane work tasks, bills and chores than when i was forced to look for a muse at every turn in art school.

that’s the interesting thing about having art as a hobby. if art is in your soul, if it at the root of your passions–it’s hard not to admire the daily aesthetics. but seeing life in that beautiful and unique way for many years over time allows you to push away the urge to interpret that visual beauty into a work of art. i could push my art away for months or even indefinitely and still survive. but in doing so, my life has lost so much joy and i have fallen into that inevitable rut that keeps me from being myself–an artist, a creator.

i’m telling you all of this because i don’t think it’s so remarkable. most of us, as artists, are not fortunate enough to support ourselves on art alone (kudos to you that are that fortunate. ps: i hate you). we will always juggle the necessity of the day job to pay our bills and that yearning desire to create something from our wild, vibrant imaginations.

i’m also telling you this because it’s where i am right now. i started seriously painting–i define “seriously painting” as something beyond a sticky note sketch, something i would take care not to crumple up in the mess of my life–about a year ago. i’m like a baby artist. i still know all my techniques. my hand knows how to interpret with ink, lead and paint what i am intending on the page. but my brain and my hand seem to be at war. the once flawless duo has stopped doing what it used to do.

and that’s just where i am. i swallow my pride and my insecurity, and i just start making things. and i share them with people even if i’m afraid. i keep my art supplies out even though it makes my open studio apartment look like a total mess. but i don’t care. i don’t have the luxury of focusing all my time and energy on my creations. i don’t have the convenience i once used to in school of creating by deadline.

even if my brain and hand don’t get along like they used to, i think that now, with the passing of time and the inspiration of things i have seen and experienced, i am a better artist. an artist more aware of her flaws. more humble and willing to laugh my way through a piece. more hopeful that someone will relate to a creation of mine. and most of all, more “me.”

paintbrushes on concrete

i worked at a ceramics studio, and it gave me the best inspiration for photos and sketches. there were huge windows, so i could always play with light. something i still try to focus on is showing beauty in the mundane. there is always some irony in that. it makes people feel uncomfortable and ask,”is this truly art?” asking questions is always a good response in my book.

Below are some similar photos from the series.

(c) erinish

robot copy_wm

(c) erinish

(c) erinish

getting kicked out of grocery stores

a photo from art school. the next few photo posts will include photos that i developed myself in a darkroom. looking back, they seem like nothing spectacular as far as subject matter. but to me, i carefully selected aesthetically pleasing subjects that i hoped would translate to film. it’s all amateur, i know. but there will always be a special bond to these photos because of the time and care it took to develop them in the dark room.

(c) erinish

i actually got kicked out of the grocery store for this series, which made me feel like some epic photo grocery journalist at the time. below is one of my favorite photos. i really think it shows a different viewpoint of something as simple as a sugar container. it looks other worldly, at least to me. maybe i am partial since i spent hours staring it in the darkroom.

(c) erinish

hey kitty cow

i’ve been going through some old sketches from high school and my time in art school during college, and i thought i would upload a few fun scans. i remember so vividly having things spontaneous ideas and being not only able, but encouraged, to sit down and draw what was on my mind. it makes me smile looking through these and remembering that lucky feeling of constant inspiration. if onlyyyyyy i could go back in time. 🙂

so, here it is.

i bought erinish.com about a year ago, but i have procrastinated and been kind of nervous about sharing my ideas and creations with the grand internet abyss. it’s really intimidating. but i am attempting this whole thing, and i plan to give it a good shot. i’m not going to force myself to do anything extravagant, like a post a day. but i will be sharing things i’m doing or things i like. whether they be ideas or the creations themselves.

so, my creation for today is this blog and a facebook page: facebook.com/artishbyerinish

i’ll make a legit post soon, but for now i would like to say hello to you, the person who has happened upon my wild, brain vomit of a blog. if you want to know more about me personally, check out erinwhatley.com.

i’d also like to say hello to you, blog. now you are no longer empty!