It’s here… sort of

Hi Everyone!

Hope you are well. Hope you are warm and dry. Lots of you seem to be getting snow, ice, cold. So sorry. Here we are just sinking up to our ankles in mud, with more on the way.

This is going to be quick because I’m running out of day and the list is long.

My online store is LIVE! Ok, it only has 6 items at the moment, but I am working hard to get more on there. I set myself a deadline of January 31st to get it running and decided since this will be an ongoing process, just do it.

Now, I’m not really sure if all the bells and whistles are going to work correctly right out of the box. Please bear with me as I work through stuff. Shipping will probably have to be tweaked yet. If you try it and have questions or think the shipping seems to be running too high, please email me at bloomtownstudio@gmail.com and I will see what I can do.

More than orders right now, I would appreciate you signing up for my email list. First, I need to see how it’s working and second, I can let you know when new items or features are added. I promise not to bombard you with emails! I’m thinking once a month will probably be all that happens most of the time.

Ok, I gotta go. Please go to https://bloomtownstudio.square.site/ and check it out and let me know what you think.

Have an awesome week.

Christel

https://bloomtownstudio.square.site/

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Sliding into 2023

Hi Everyone!

I am doing a quick check in before 2022 gets away from me. Several times I considered getting a post done here before Christmas, but those of you who know, know I would have only whined the whole time about how much I don’t like Christmas. Folks, I try. I try so hard every year that now it’s beginning to cause me some pretty serious anxiety. It’s Monday morning, December 26th and I already have half my decorations down. I am so over all the extra stuff in my house, the sugar overload (and the extra 5 lbs that goes with it) and the relative that has given away, thrown away, donated or returned every gift I have ever given them. Pretty sure I could give them the winning Power Ball ticket and it still wouldn’t be right. Anyone else have one of those?

Ok, I still slid into whining. Sorry about that. I hope all of you who celebrate Christmas had a wonderful one. I certainly don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer for the whole world. I also hope those of you who have been in the Siberian Polar Vortex path are beginning to thaw out and get to your family gatherings now.

I already have my 2023 planner filled out and ready to go. Even though January and February are bleak, I can at least start getting some seeds planted, the days are getting lighter and I have 6-8 months before I have to start dreading Christmas again.

We have plans to take our niece to see a college she is considering and that will give us a road trip to the mountains. I need to plan a visit to see my daughter and her family AND we have a wedding in the family this year. Ooops, we have two weddings this year. Happy things.

I am planning on finishing the studio, getting an online store going and lots of painting this year. Currently, I have three landscapes in the works. I don’t generally do landscapes, but am trying to work on some new skills. Below is a work in progress. Yes, it’s a little bleak looking too, just like the mud photo at the top. Gray and muddy is the state of being most of the winter here. Snow is rare.

Gotta go. Unfortunately I have to brave the after Christmas shopping crowds so the kid can finish her shopping and spend some of her Christmas money. Prayers would be appreciated. I will check back in next year!

Stay warm and safe,

Christel

Rainy days

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are well. We are having a cold, rainy day here. My least favorite weather. The upside to a rainy day is that I can’t get outside to work and can escape into my attic studio.

My current projects include trying to finish some unfinished paintings and work on this website. DH pointed out the other day that I don’t have any of my commissioned work on here. Over the years I have had little time to pursue shows or galleries because it has been hard to build a body of work to use. I have been able to consistently take commissions though. They have been my bread & butter artwork.

It is still a work in progress, but if you look under the MENU tab above you will see my Commissions page now. These are samples of work I have done in the past few years. Somewhere I have more photos of more work, but they seem to be MIA. Does anyone else need a better system of filing your photos? If you have a good system, PLEASE tell me how.

I have a table full of unfinshed work and some canvases I’m getting ready to start on. It has been an absolute pleasure to finally have some consistent time (did I mention that our niece got her license so my taxi business has retired) to paint. My minimum daily time is about 2 hours most days. Today I have been holed up here for almost 4 hours. Other than a lack of heat up here, it has been wonderful.

Trying to improve my website has proven just how scattered and fragmented my art time has been over the years. I have reference photos everywhere – digital and hard copy, photos of finished work stuck in weird places and finished work in equally weird spots. Finally I have one place for all my supplies, files, work, etc. Slowly I am cleaning out dried up paint, art that should be burned, craft supplies I will never use again and crazy stuff I wonder why I kept. Now if I can just get my studio construction finished, it might not be as cold and would certainly look better!

Well, folks I need to wrap this up, go thaw out my feet and put some soup on for dinner. In case I haven’t mentioned it recently, I am on Instagram and Facebook under Bloomtown Studio. Usually I post the same stuff in both places so just pick one to visit. Also, check back here when you can. I am determined to get my act together (stop laughing, it could happen) and get this website in better shape.

Have a wonderful week!!

Christel

Getting back to it

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are well. Today is Election Day in the U.S. DH and I went out early this morning to vote. I’m old school and prefer to vote on Election Day instead of early voting. I always think of my Dad during elections. One of his favorite things was helping at the polls and he did it for as long as he could. When I went to vote for the first time at the age of 18, he almost followed me into the voting booth while he was instructing me on how to vote. You would have to have known my Dad and his side of the family. They loved to argue politics and they did it loudly at every family gathering. Guess what. They never got mad at opposing views and never stopped being a family. I always told my kids that they should appreciate the peaceful transfer of power in our country. My prayer today is that this country continues to uphold that process and that families don’t stop being a family over politics.

Moving on to artsy things and to start catching you up on our current crazy…

My studio is still under construction, but I am able to work fairly comfortably in here now. With all the other projects that have to be done, we are only working in the studio on rainy Saturdays. We haven’t had many of those in the past few months. While I am working away up here I do have to occasionally move around furniture and storage as we work on baseboards and painting. MOST of the boxes have been unpacked and I have purchased some shelves. I have a color scheme picked out for when I finally get to the pretty stuff, but I have decided that the wood floors need to be painted. They are hardwood, but they have lived a hard life and it’s not worth the time and money to try and refinish them. I also need more light up here and think a glossy white paint should reflect what light I have around more. Do I even need to mention that oil and acrylic paint has a strange way of escaping a paint brush and throwing itself around everywhere? White gloss paint covers a lot of ugly and messes.

The main photo above is a current work in progress. Lately I have been slightly obsessed with clouds or things that make me look up and have many photos for reference. I’m working small right now just to get back in the swing of oil painting. Maybe I’m the only one, but switching between acrylic paint and oils requires a major flip in my process.

Our niece got her license back during the summer and though that is a double edged sword for a parent, it has finally given me a little more time back in my life and my goal is to get in a minimum of 2 hours studio time each day. That does not seem like much, but when it has been more like 2 hours a week or even a MONTH, it’s a huge improvement. My attitude about life reflects the change. I am so much better mentally when I get my art time in. Hopefully I will have some art work finished by the end of the year and can update my website and add a little store onto it. Life goals.

You all have a great week, stay safe (it’s crazy out there) and do something creative.

Christel

Anyone still out there?

Hi Everyone!

Yes, I have been MIA for a very long time. There are several reasons for my absence. Primarily it has been an extended creative block. I have been doing some artwork, but was struggling to get into it. I decided to pull out the sewing machine and start making myself some much needed clothes. Maybe something about switching up my focus started getting the creative juices flowing again. I think it may take a different turn, but I will start sharing what’s happening and give an update on my studio construction (hint: it’s not done yet).

I have closed my Etsy shop. Maybe I will explain that decision later. Many folks have been disgruntled with Etsy and I was one of them. I am looking into just adding a shop here on my website if I can afford it. I am also considering starting a newsletter. It would only be sent out when I have a major update or important information. If you would like to be added to the newsletter email list please email me at bloomtownstudio@gmail.com and tell me you would like to be added.

That’s my update for today. The handsome pup is a recent commission that I finished.

Have a great week and I should be back posting soon.

Christel

Makers gotta make

Hi Everyone!

I am trying to sneak this post in quietly while the puppy is sleeping. Honestly it is just like having a two year old running around again. I can’t take my eyes off of her while she is awake because she will get into something and I try to cram all my work into her two hour morning nap. It’s exhausting.

So 2022 is here and I am juggling lots of things at once. How is your January going? Things are supposed to slow down in the winter, but I really don’t think that ever happens in my life. I am trying to do more cozy activities. The Scandinavians know how to do winter so I am embracing as many of their traditions as possible to get to Spring without diving into my usual Winter depression. Currently three pairs of socks on my feet, wood stove going, candles at night, more books to read and forcing myself out into the cold for some walks.

We are still working on the studio, but I now have three tables up there full of creative endeavors. Yours truly is spending at least an hour a day in her UNHEATED studio. I have one space heater and will probably move another up there soon. Yesterday I had my three pairs of socks on, a hat, fingerless gloves and three layers of clothing while just happily working away on three different projects. When it’s your thing you just do it!

The 2022 plan is to revamp my pitiful Etsy shop and hopefully my website. I am thinking in April I will have a one or two day sale of original paintings and drawings. I am also trying to post current work on Instagram and my Facebook page a few times a week (search for Bloomtown Studio both places) so you can see what I am actually doing in my attic hideaway. Currently I have two drawings in the works and a couple of unfinished paintings I need to get to. With it being so cold I don’t think the paint works as well as it should so I have been concentrating on my drawings. Here is a video of the beginning of one. Yes, to many people this probably seems pretty boring, but I’m processing what I want to do with this piece and pondering life.

I am also working on a knitted sweater for DH and sewing myself some much needed clothes. Yes, I know there are stores that have these things. First, I extremely dislike shopping (hate seems too harsh). Second, I “inherited” boxes and boxes of both yarn and fabric from DH’s Mom and Grandmother. Both ladies were talented makers and left behind very nice fabric and yarn. I kinda feel like it should be used and not wasted. Grandbabies have been getting blankets, DN is learning to crochet with some of it and I am using all of it that I can. There are also several quilt tops and quilt pieces that I am planning to finish.

I suspect many of you that read this crazy blog know exactly what I’m talking about. Makers gotta make. It’s our thing. It’s our sanity. It’s our duty to use our talents. Yes, those folks who don’t have this blessing/curse don’t understand why we will spend hours and hours making something. Something that may or may not be actually good or usable in the end. Something that may not be appreciated when it is received as a gift. I quit worrying about it and you should too. Don’t try to explain it and don’t get your heart hurt when a gift isn’t appreciated. Hopefully they will realize that if you put so much time into something it was given with EXTREME love. We don’t give people these things if we don’t love them! We can go to the mall for a gift for those people.

The grandbabies are wrapped in blankets made by my hands from yarn that belonged to their great-grandmother. DH will get to wear a sweater from yarn that his Mom bought probably hoping to make him one herself (the colors screamed DH). I get to wear clothing I made, that I like (can we admit that some of the styles out there are yucky and the quality is awful) from quality fabric and if it falls apart I can only blame myself. Making things is therapeutic, frustrating and satisfying. What’s not to like? You are going to spend that time doing something. I would rather be making than watching TV and not accomplishing anything.

Gotta get going. The puppy will be waking up soon.

Have a great week!

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace, Peace,

Christel

Settling into winter

Hi Everyone!

What can I say? 2021 is so far giving 2020 a run for its money in the crazy department. I know we all hoped it would be different even though I think most of us knew it wouldn’t. I waffle between avoiding what’s going on out there and checking frequently on what’s going on out there. Balance, I guess. Not sticking my head in the sand to pretend all is well, but not dwelling on the “what is going to happen next” thoughts.

Now that the holidays are over and school is back in session, I’m once again attempting a schedule and settling into the slower winter pace. The slower pace is about the only thing I really enjoy about winter. It has been wet, cold and gray here most of January so far and it is so depressing. Thank goodness for our fireplaces, candles and soup.

Here are some recent paintings that I am working on. They are not quite done yet, but close. I’m still working on these wood scraps from our barn and probably will be for a while though I’m itching to get my oil paints back out. Unfortunately I do not have a safe place for oil paintings to hang out while they are drying right now.

I seem to be leaning toward birds at the moment. The kayaker is an outlier for me. I usually avoid landscapes, but I saw a lake and an island or mountains in the wood and decided to work with it. I’m finding that the wood picks my subjects sometime. Same thing with with owl. Today I am sanding and staining more wood to prep for next week’s paintings. Hopefully these current paintings will be in my Etsy shop soon. DH is really liking the owl and I’m kinda attached to the rooster. We are already overrun with my artwork now so we can’t keep everything. Some of it needs to go live with other people and hopefully they will enjoy it as well. I finished painting our hallway on Saturday. That is where most of our family photos and some of my artwork will live. Once I sort all that out there may be a big sale and/or a giveaway through Facebook or Instagram. I will keep you posted on that.

Since we all need to stay on top of our mental health these days, I thought I would share a few YouTube channels that I have been binge watching lately.

Streamline Art Video – I just found this one this past week even though it started with the lockdowns and has been posting almost everyday since March. Lots of quality art instruction from established artists. This old dog is learning some new tricks from these videos!

The Last Homely House – Kate may be my long lost sister from another mother. She is amazingly creative in everything she does. She quilts, sews, knits, crafts, cooks, gardens and is a beekeeper. She did a series where she cleaned out all the drawers in her crafting area. Never in my life would I think that would be interesting, but I found myself mesmerized. She tells stories about some items and I found myself trying to decide if I would keep an item right along with her. It helps that she has piles of creative junk like I do and I know the struggle is real.

Arne and Carlos – Even though these guys are knitting designers their channel is not just for knitters. I have enjoyed their “Sit and Knit a Bit with Arne and Carlos” series no matter what I am working on. They are funny, down to earth and seem like super people. They talk about their life and culture in Norway and just life in general. When Covid goes away and I win the lottery I am going to go to one of their workshops on a cruise through Norway.

Please comment if you have any stress relieving suggestions. We can use all we can get these days.

I’m going to wrap this up now. Currently I have DN practicing her flute here in the living room with me and Dear Son and Girlfriend running the vaccum in the back of the house. Concentration is severely limited! I will look back on this one day and think, “Those were fun times back in 2021”. Right now I am developing a headache. Oh, somewhere on here should be a new email address – christel@bloomtownstudio.com I think it is.

Stay safe out there.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace,

Christel

Wrapping it up

Hi Everyone!

One week until Christmas and I have been wrapping up 2020 literally and figuratively. It is not going to be a big presents under the tree sort of year, but we have a few for the younger crowd. The adults have decided a little Dirty Santa, food and time together will be plenty.

The last of these three drawings got finished up about a week ago. (I purposely made not so great photos of these because of the rampant image theft online). In my mind they are called the Pandemic Flowers. I desperately need better names. I started the first one in February when I was dealing with a kidney stone and the incoming Covid. Like many of you, I have a brain that never shuts up and I needed to focus on something other than pain and anxiety. These drawings were my refuge. This much detail takes getting into that flow where you lose track of time and thought. Whenever the 2020 crazy started to get to me, I worked on these and got my equilibrium back.

What got you through the year? Hopefully not alcohol or drugs, but I have heard their usage was way up this year. I have seen posts and had conversations that included quilting, bread making, wood working, gardening, uncluttering, home remodeling and decorating. Have you noticed that creative endeavors have been our saving grace? I have always declared creativity / art as therapy. Guess we proved that point this year without having to pay for a government research study! Let me know what cool stuff got you through 2020. Post pictures!

I am leaving 2020 behind with a great deal of gratitude. I am grateful that overall (we had a couple of scares this year) everyone in the family has been healthy. I am grateful that my son and his girlfriend completed their epic adventure bicycling across the country during all this, safely and with awesome stories to share. I am grateful for our home and all the projects that kept us busy during the lockdown. I am grateful for the family, friends and neighbors that we have. I am grateful for the three new, healthy grandbabies born into the family this year. I am grateful for the abundant crop of butternut squash. About the only thing that grew well this year… 50 butternuts from 4 seeds! We will eat Butternut everything this winter.

My heart hurts for the overwhelming number of people who have lost their jobs and businesses and are probably facing evictions from their homes soon, for the people struggling to pay the bills and find enough food. For the families who have loved ones in the hospital or facilities and can’t be with them, for the families who have lost loved ones to Covid and anything else and could not be there in the final hours. My heart hurts for all of us on planet Earth right now. We are facing, have been facing, and will continue to face daunting challenges. If you haven’t heard of The Fourth Turning go look it up. We are there and it’s going to take a while to get through it. It’s not all bad, but I believe it will be a tough adjustment.

On December 31st I will fill you in on 2021. Faith, Hope, Love and Grace are in my plans. Be safe out there.

Christel

Gifts Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Light through the fog

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to the weekend! I hope your week has been great. Next week I am going to skip posting here. Almost every day has an appointment for someone that requires me as driver and we are going to Charleston to spend Easter with my daughter and her family. Yes, more grandbaby snuggling. So Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate and I’m wishing all of you a great week!

I started this drawing the beginning of last week and I have been stuck studying it since last Thursday I believe.  In case you can’t tell, it’s a drawing of sunlight beginning to burn through the fog in a forest. It’s a pretty good visualization of how my week has been and maybe my mind frame is what has me stuck on how to finish it. 


Last Thursday night I picked up my son at the airport where he flew in from the Virgin Islands. On Sunday my daughter, son-in-law and grandson drove up from Charleston and we all got together for a visit and for my son, sister, brother-in-law and my parents to meet the newest family member. Those hours were the sun shining through the fog. Laughter, hugs, baby snuggles, good food and time together. 


Monday the fog began to roll back in as we went to a meeting with my Dad’s oncologist to discuss his upcoming treatment. It was a difficult meeting and I was emotionally fried by the time I got home. Tuesday my daughter and her family headed back south and I drove my son back down to catch his flight. It takes me at least two days to work through the sadness of their leaving each and every time. Add to this the fact that my nine year old, goofy mutt suddenly began losing use of one of his back legs and a trip to the vet revealed a spinal issue that doesn’t sound reversable and probably progressive. Right now there is way more fog than sunlight. 

I really don’t want to be Debbie Downer right now, but life kinda sucks at the moment and I’m struggling to stay positive so my apologies for the gloom. Prayers and good thoughts would definitely be appreciated. Dad starts treatment on the 25th, every day for five and a half weeks, both chemo and radiation. It’s going to take lots of time and energy for all of us to get through this so I’m not sure if I will be posting regularly for a while. I will do the best I can. Those of you who regularly show up here, thanks for reading and sending comments and encouragement. 

Hoping that life is being good to you, but if not, I will have you in my thoughts and prayers as well! Peace be with you and I will be back as soon as I possibly can. 

Spring!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are well and the sun is shining where you are. Spring has sprung FINALLY and though it’s still cool here, the sun IS shining. The flowers are starting to bloom and one of my bee colonies survived the winter to happily do honeybee stuff again. Unfortunately a 50% loss of our bees is the norm anymore and I lost my other colony. The humans around here and nearby towns are suffering from some nasty stomach flu. It hasn’t made it to our house and I darn sure hope it doesn’t. Fresh air and sunlight are desperately needed. 

We have kicked it into high gear this week. We have a goal of having our place ready to sell the first week of April. D. and I spent yesterday cleaning out closets (me) and barns (him) then taking another truckload of donations off to a charity store.  I have been working with Miss L. to clean out her outgrown (I think she grows an inch a month) clothes and donate items she no longer needs. This weekend we are having a new roof put on. That’s hopefully our biggest expense and the rest will just be minor repairs. Our lawnmower is in the shop so we hope it is done so we can get the grass trimmed by our deadline. I’m trying to keep a positive outlook on the selling process, but it’s in my top 5 stressors. 

That brings me to my hour a day drawing sessions. Best thing I have done for myself in a long time. I finished a pastel painting this week in three days! I got in an extra hour one evening, but that’s pretty fast for me. I started this still life to enter into a competition by the end of the month. It’s an online artist group that has a monthly competition where the prize is art supplies. That is as good as money. Art supplies are expensive! 


My hour is my meditation time. I have tried meditation. Can’t do it. But I can get into that flow state when I’m drawing or painting and honestly don’t hear or see much of anything around me. My hyperactive brain gets a break. If I’m working on a boring part I can listen to podcast, but I can’t always tell you what it was about. With a pending move and Dad’s health I need the mental break. This morning I started a new painting so here is a little detail.


This weekend I am heading further into the hills on a trip with my two best friends from college. We try to get away once a year but Life hasn’t cooperated the past couple of years so I’m very excited to have some quality time with them again. Then when I get back the whole selling, packing, buying or building adventure starts for real. Say a prayer for my husband. I’m not easy to live with when I have to be showing a house and constantly on edge to keep the place spotless. 

I highly suggest finding an hour to do something you enjoy and can lose yourself in. The benefits so far have been great. Now I need to quit kicking myself for not figuring it out earlier. Go. Go now and do your thing!