Far Too Long

It’s been far too long since I sat down to write to you, dear readers. I’ve been dealing with a lot of changes going on in my life. I’m fairly certain I’m pre-menapausal and we’re adjusting to a new budget. The latter has always been hard for me but add to it the former? Yikes!

I’m in a creative slump. I’ve really done more with photography lately, simply because it’s handy. I almost always have my phone with me. I’ve started uploading my work to Redbubble and Society6 again. Looking back through my favorite pieces has really inspired me to restart and see what I can create.

Wish me luck, offer up a prayer or two or MANY. I need it! And I could use some hints, tips, and words of encouragement as well. Goodness only knows what it will take to jumpstart my creative mind. I know I want to get back into jewelry making. And I have a good-sized canvas waiting for me to fill it. My awesome Son and DiL bought an easel for me some time ago and I need to put it through its paces. 🙂

Here are two photos I took at our son’s wedding (and you can check them out on Instagram, too, if you like.) He was married in April. I edited these in my phone (Samsung S5) with the editor that came with it.

The photo of our sons was edited with the photo editor that came with my phone. I simply cropped the photo of our daughters and left it alone after that.

I hope to blog next week. I’ll be attending BayouCon in Sulfur, LA this weekend with my husband, John, of J.D. Kittles Photography. He’ll be doing a panel on his passion, storm photography, along with Andy Thibodeaux who is best known in our area as the Cajun Weatherman. Andy heads up our group, Cajun Weather Spotters, and will be talking about storm spotting.

If you’re in the area, you might like to check it out. Their panel will be at 3 pm on Saturday, June 25. (Yes, that’s this Saturday.) Just click here to find out more about the event.

Just A Quick Note

I may not be able to post regularly in the upcoming weeks. I have a lot on my plate that needs to get done. I’m still working on my steampunk coat, 4 sets of pajamas, a birthday party today, and more!

The new art gallery in our town is finally open. Yea! If you’re in the area, do stop by Niche Art Gallery and The Eunice Community Art House. The grand opening was held last night and we had a wonderful turn out. It was great to see people coming out in the chilly autumn weather to support local artists and artisans.

Before we went to the grand opening, John wanted to stop at a little fair and get some photos of the lights. You can see his blog post on that here. While he was photographing the lights, I was photographing him. I hope you like the photo! I used Pixlr Express to edit this photo and used the stylize tool to make it look like a painting. The photo came out very clear but the painting effect was truly nifty, in my opinion. This photo isn’t for sale or download but you can click on it to visit my deviantART page. You can check out my work there, and if you are so inclined, perhaps purchase an art print for yourself or a loved one. Christmas is coming soon and I know I’m not ready for it.

"Watching Him Work" - This photo is not for sale or download. Please click it to see my deviantART page where you can purchase prints of other artwork and photography I've done.

“Watching Him Work” – This photo is not for sale or download. Please click it to see my deviantART page where you can purchase prints of other artwork and photography I’ve done.

 

Progress! I’m Making Progress!

I can’t post much today but I finished a steampunk waist cincher for Starshine yesterday. I subbed interfacing for a heavier burlap, skipped the boning for comfort and used smaller eyelets than the pattern called for. I’m really pleased with how it came out. And I have to thank John for editing the photos into one for me. I’m now working on my steampunk airship first mate sleeveless coat. It should partner John’s fabulous coat I created in May very well. I hope so, anyway! I’ll post pictures when I can. I’ll be sewing into the late hours again tonight but I’m pleased with the progress so far.

Starshine announced that she wanted to be a Ranger for the Steampunk and Makers Fair. I taught her about the difference in time periods and how a bounty hunter might be a better option. She was really pleased with the idea so we are going with that.

Starshine announced that she wanted to be a Ranger for the Steampunk and Makers Fair. I taught her about the difference in time periods and how a bounty hunter might be a better option. She was really pleased with the idea so we are going with that.

“Bound By Fate” Art Challenge

I recently joined an art group on facebook, Your Daily Art Challenge. I plan on doing only the challenges that strike a chord in my heart and spur my creative spirit. As soon as I read the challenge theme for today, “Bound By Fate”, ideas started flying around in my head. I used the canvas I’d intended for the last artwork in the Mask series so Number 8 will have to wait a little longer. I thought I might be able to incorporate them into the challenge but it didn’t feel right.

The first thing I thought of when I heard the theme was my husband and my belief that God put us together and did so for a reason. The second thing I thought of was the red string of fate I’m always reading about in manga. John created an absolutely beautiful photo earlier in the year and it played a big part in the inspiration for this artwork. Please click here to see his beautiful photographic art.

So here is my newest mixed artwork, created in acrylics, ink, and fabric. I used black and red acrylic paints, watered down quite a bit. I also used some gold ink to add a little metallic flare. I asked John to choose the fabric to create his arm. He chose camouflage fabric, which suits him well as a USAF Veteran. I chose a gold metallic, diamond patterned stretch knit. I traced our arms onto some Heat and Bond iron on interfacing and affixed that to the back of my material to make sure the fabrics didn’t fray. Then I peeled off the paper backing, added a coat of Mod Podge to the back of each fabric arm and placed them onto my canvas where I wanted them. I used a bit of Fabri-tac to make sure the edges were permanently fixed in place. I used a very thin strip of a stretchy red fabric for my red thread and tacked it in place with Fabri-tac. For a nice addition, and something also holding a special meaning for us, I added an infinity symbol in the thread. I also must thank John for helping me add the red spots on the canvas. Here’s the finished project. I hope you like it!

~"Bound By Fate" art challenge ~ mixed media artwork by Melody Kittles

~”Bound By Fate” art challenge ~ mixed media artwork by Melody Kittles and John Kittles

Feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

 

Work, School, Theater, Repeat…

This is the cycle on Monday through Thursday. It can be quite a tiring cycle. But when it all comes together as it should, the end result is pure awesomeness. I’ve been charged with the job of gluing Swarovski crystals to fabric stripes at my sewing job. It’s a great job for me. It’s one of those, “Here ya go. Just do it.” Kind of jobs. And “random” is one of my favorite styles. 😀 I really enjoyed almost all of the job. The gluey fingers part, I did not enjoy, but it comes with the task. So that went well and the stripes I’ve completed look pretty good, or so my boss says.

School is coming along well, though today was only day 2. Considering the change in schedule and the addition of switching teachers for subjects, along with a slightly different style of learning, I’m calling it a success.

The theater production is still coming along nicely. So much progress has been made. I’m still working on that slip for Starshine’s costume. I’ll be making a nightgown for her over the weekend. My sewing skills will probably be pressed to the limit but I think I like it better that way, at least when I know it’s for one of my little family. I know their sizes well and adjustments aren’t usually too difficult to make.

People seem to want to see photos these days. I have to admit that pictures in a book usually make it better for me. I don’t /need/ them…but who doesn’t like a bit of color or some wonderful artwork to look at? So here are a couple of photos of things I’ve seen and things that inspire me.

He knelt down next to her. She propped her arm on his shoulder and looked him in the eye and said, "Just the right height," in a "matter-of-fact" voice. She's something else, is our Magiba. I took the photo at an upward-looking angle. I used Pixlr-O-Matic to edit it.

He knelt down next to her. She propped her arm on his shoulder and looked him in the eye and said, “Just the right height,” in a “matter-of-fact” voice. She’s something else, is our Magiba. I took the photo at an upward-looking angle. I used Pixlr-O-Matic to edit it.

These storm clouds moved over our area yesterday. They were pretty impressive! John got some truly awe-inspiring shots of this storm, as he did of the storms that passed through earlier today. You should definitely check out his blog. I took this photo with my cell and edited it with Pixlr-O-Matic.

These storm clouds moved over our area yesterday. They were pretty impressive! John got some truly awe-inspiring shots of this storm, as he did of the storms that passed through earlier today. You should definitely check out his blog. I took this photo with my cell and edited it with Pixlr-O-Matic.

To visit John’s blog, click here.

Not a long post today. No really creative work today. No real dedicated family time today, which was a bummer. But it was a productive day, so I’ll count it as a plain ol’ win. Thanks for stopping by to read my post today. I appreciate you taking the time to read about my work, art, and life in general. 🙂

Inspiration From Everywhere!

I’m inspired by so many things I have seen, heard, and experienced in my life. The mask series is an interesting sort of journey. Over the summer, I’ve found myself held hostage by fear, doubt, and low self-esteem. I’ve been in heights of joy, confidence, and success. I’ve seriously run the gamut of emotions this summer. I’m coming to the end of my mask supply. I’m not sure whether I’m interested in making more after the next one is done. I am going to take my time with this one. I want to try some new techniques and see what I can come up with. I have an idea in mind for the last two brocade masks and I want it to be just right. I also want it to be something true, something real, and hopefully, something epic. I’ll share some pages and videos of the things that are inspiring me at this point in my life.

This song has resonated with me for a long time. Several years now.

This movie is one of my favorites from Studio Ghibli/Disney. I’m not a huge fan of Disney films but these are different. They have a different resonance, a different sort of overall feeling. If I had to describe it in one word, I’d use the word “peace”. The movie is “Spirited Away.” The song is by Avril Lavigne and interestingly enough, I really like the song. I’ve not given over much time to listening to her music because it’s not really in my favorite genre but this song is really good!

Have you ever heard of mop painting? I knew about it but hadn’t really seen it done live. Check this out!

This last video is from a wonderful artist who I was introduced to by my husband. Carrie Hilgert blogs here and she has a YouTube channel. She has really inspired me to look within myself and not give in to the fears that constantly try to hold me back. She’s not the only person who’s inspired me, though.

My husband, John, has been a huge help in my life journey to overcome and be set free from the cage I kept myself in. His determination to keep taking photos every day, his zeal and gift for capturing nature’s beauty in his camera, and his constant, gentle nudging and encouragement helps so much in keeping me moving forward, sometimes in spite of myself.

I know this post is a bit out of the ordinary but I did say I’d be posting about what inspires me in one of my previous posts. I really enjoy learning and I’ll post my findings of the new techniques as I am able. My schedule that was already pretty packed is about to be packed completely since the play we’re working in is going to be opening in 12 days and we start school Monday. Please stay tuned, though. I’ll post something here every day, even if it’s only a snapshot of something I’ve seen that day. Thanks for stopping by today! Please feel free to leave a comment or ask questions.

I took this photo at Chicot State Park.

I took this photo at Chicot State Park. I couldn’t get close to the lilypads and my zoom feature is not the best but I remember the feeling I had looking at these.

Interesting Note

I find it very interesting how encouraging it is to have one’s work on display, and actually enjoyed. Our local cafe is such an awesome place! The owner allows local artists of Eunice to display some of their work. So not only can you get a fabulous cup of coffee (locally brewed in Louisiana), you can also grab a pretty awesome sandwich, check out what the local artists are creating, and sit and visit.

This is our wall of art at Cafe Mosaic Coffee House. Bottom left to top right: 2 of my mask series, John's fleur-de-lis photo at the bottom and peacock feather macro at the very top, Starshines watercolor, Magiba's paper art, another of Starshine's watercolors, 2 more of John's photos, and another mask artwork. I tried to get as many of them as possible in the frame.

This is our wall of art at Cafe Mosaic Coffee House. Bottom left to top right: 2 of my mask series, John’s fleur-de-lis photo at the bottom and peacock feather macro at the very top, Starshines watercolor, Magiba’s paper art, another of Starshine’s watercolors, 2 more of John’s photos, and another mask artwork. I tried to get as many of them as possible in the frame.

I know I’ve mentioned it before but for new followers, our family has a dedicated wall at Cafe Mosaic Coffee House where John can display his photography, Starshine (our oldest daughter) can display her watercolor artwork, Magiba (our youngest daughter) can display her paper art (or any other art she creates), and I can display my art. (Our oldest child isn’t a child anymore and he is an artist of another kind: musically gifted and mechanically inclined.) I was torn for a long time, wanting to leave most of that space for John and the girls and just thinking it would be cool if there happened to be enough room for something I created. For the longest time, I didn’t know what to create.

I tried straw painting. I loved it! My lungs did not.

I tried straw painting. I loved it! My lungs did not. I painted the rocks using a big sloppy paint brush and some watered down acrylic paint.

 

I doodle a good bit. I doodled this design for my next tattoo. You can see where I made some obvious mistakes. I used a pen. ;)

I doodle a good bit. I doodled this design for my next tattoo. You can see where I made some obvious mistakes. I used a pen. 😉 I colored it with watercolor pencils. I think I was using those incorrectly. *wry grin*

But, I didn’t actually have anything to display there. I think I kept telling myself I was supposed to step back, that I was in the supporting role because it was where I’d been all my life. It was what a good wife and mom was supposed to do, right? So that’s what I did. I rarely pushed my own art. I’m not one for the limelight, anyway, though, so it wasn’t like I made a decision that I was forced into. It just “was what it was.” John has really encouraged me a lot in getting my work out there where others can enjoy it, too. I do what I enjoy doing. I enjoy making costumes for my family. I enjoy writing songs. I enjoy singing. I enjoy creating different things, things that make people stop and think…or wonder what I was thinking…or just wonder why. I don’t know if I’m any good at it unless I put it out there and get some opinions from the viewers. I figure people will like, follow, comment, pay attention, etc. if they like what they see. And each like, follow, and comment, each attention paid, really helps me know my art matters to someone in some way and it was the right thing to share it. Even if I never sell one piece, I love these artworks I’m creating. There will be a place for them, a good purpose.

I know I probably went overboard with the words tonight. This post was supposed to be about how interesting it was to find I’m having an easier time posting every day now that I have let go of ‘having’ to post every day. I guess it helps, too, that I gave my blog a facelift and a narrower focus. Tomorrow, I hope to have more photos of the current Mask project to share with you. It’s coming along but I have to work slowly on days when I have my part time work and theater work to do. Until next time…

“You already have every characteristic necessary for success if you recognize, claim, develop and use them .” ~ Zig Ziglar