Sunday, January 31, 2016

Just Be You

On Wednesday I hung art in the halls at school. As I was hanging the kindergarten pictures I kept chuckling to myself and pretty soon was laughing out loud.  These make me happy. The kids work is as individual as they are.  However, only one was oriented in a landscape format.  The little girl who made that one turned her paper sideways on purpose.  When I pointed out that her owl could be taller if she'd turn her paper the other way, she said, "It's a little owl."  She had a clear vision of what she wanted and didn't need me to help her see it.
Here's the lesson for me: for years I would see the style of an artist who I admired and try to paint like they did. I tried out Claudia Nice's style, then David Vega Chavez, Howard Wexler, Edward Wesson, Robert Wade and on and on.  While I learned something from each of these painters, I never felt like I was saying what I needed to say.  I just didn't know what that was or how to find it.  
Finding my own style didn't happen until I learned to hear my own thoughts. It didn't come while I was looking for it, it came while I was busy painting.  In fact, I've found the more time I spend painting, the more clearly I can hear.  When a subject comes along that speaks to me now, I know.  I had to stop trying to learn to be someone else and lose myself in hard work.  There's still so much to learn, but I am making progress.  It'll change as I grow, in fact it will be a disappointment if it doesn't, but I'm working as "me" these days, and that's a great feeling.

Thanks for stopping by! Alice

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Tiny House

Recently I posted about reducing our lifestyle. Since then, we found a little house. Maybe it found us, but whether it's going to turn out to be a blessing remains to be seen. Really, how much house can one reasonably expect for less than $5,000?
We weren't actively looking, still just dreaming when this more or less fell into our laps. We bought it, but my remodeling professional (aka my spouse) is still questioning our wisdom. 
Now, understand, this is his speciality- taking old trashed houses and turning them to treasures- but this one is going to be a project like no other. It's trashed. 
Now and then I'll be posting pictures of our progress. Although this isn't a painting or weaving, what he does with an old house is an art. What we end up with will likely be pretty great. All 900 square feet of it! 

Thanks for stopping by- Alice

Thursday, January 28, 2016

New Artist in the Family

How delightful!  I arrived at our son and daughter-in-law's house to visit this evening and was shown DIL, Paula Webb's paintings. She is learning to use acrylic and a paintbrush with all of her energy. This is a new development in her life, one that she's quickly becoming possessed by. She's a talented storyteller already, but now is telling them in a new voice- that of a painter. 
A busy wife and mom, Paula hasn't had a lot of free time over the past few years for her creative side. What she makes has had to happen at night, after the little ones are asleep. She's had all-night sewing binges for years; now she's using that time to teach herself to paint. I'm filled with admiration. 

What really grabs Paula's eye is fantasy art. Her first two pieces are filled with images that tell a story. The third painting is a nice example of her bright color sense. 

I'm so tickled to have another painter in the family and will enjoy watching her work develop and grow. 

Thanks for stopping by!  Alice

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Looking at how this piece is coming along, nobody would accuse me of being an expert in hot-pressed watercolor paper.  I'm so used to the properties of 300 lb., cold-pressed paper that I may be ruined for anything else.  However, I do have to say that if you are using pen and ink with watercolor, this paper surface is a beautiful thing.
Sky wash, take 1.  Not so good, Al.

I've ruined more good drawing pens on bumpy watercolor paper than I want to remember. The fiber of cotton rag paper seems to be death to a pen tip.  While making a smooth wash on it has proven to be a skill I still lack, the pen glides over the paper perfectly.

Sky wash, take 2 and final round.  It will have to do.  If I add any more layers, it'll be too dark.
This is tricky stuff, but I'm enjoying doing this little piece quite a bit.  I chose this paper so that I could use it with pen and ink and get an "urban sketching" look, but in a larger format.  I actually like the blotchy look of the sky wash.  It has an immediacy that looks fresh to me.  It feels like a fun thing instead of a big project. A no-pressure sort of painting.

The answer to yesterday's question about masking hot-pressed paper is- it masks beautifully.  Comes off great.
Hopefully I'll get better at using this painting surface.  At least I'll enjoy trying.  Who knows? Maybe I'll learn a few new tricks that will add to my painting repertoire.  You never can tell.
Watercolor and ink on paper
11" x 8.5"

In any event, this was fun and relaxing to do.  Just what the Dr. ordered after a busy day.

Thanks for stopping by! Alice

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hot Pressed Paper

Every time I see a scene that catches my eye, usually a bit of a vignette, I try to get a photo or sketch of it.  Old buildings, rough textures, worn surfaces- all pull my eye to themselves like a compass needle to the North.  I've been keeping a file of these images for "someday" when I'm ready to do a series of them.

Ready to transfer the image to the painting surface with a favorite tool- transfer paper.
Lately, my mind has been going over how to make working in the studio more practical while I'm running this crazy schedule I find myself in.  I loved doing the last painting, but feel that some instant gratification would be helpful right now.  As I puzzled over how to make this happen, my collection of odd bits and pieces occurred to me.  Eureka! I can work on a small piece and try something new all at once.  It must be "someday."

That is mask you see; who knows if it comes off of hot-pressed paper?  I guess we'll all know soon as I made a mistake and have to remove it and put it back on right. 
After supper I sat down to draw out the first one.  Waiting for the mask to dry, I realized I'm pretty pumped about this.  In fact, I think I'll get off of the computer (my great time-waster) and look at how I want this thing to go.  Being on hot-pressed paper makes it a big experiment.  Not having used it much, I have a lot to learn.  Here we go, off and running.  Well, off, at least..


Thanks for stopping by! Alice

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Visit to the Slaughter Ranch Museum

Along the Mexican border in Southern Arizona lies what was once the ranch headquarters of John Slaughter, sheriff of Cochise County during the days of Apache troubles, cattle rustlers and bands of outlaws. We had never visited it before and decided to stop and take a look.  It was well worth the time.
The stone ice-house was the first thing that caught my eye 

Not only is it a peaceful oasis in a dry and rugged land, there is a sense of calm there that pervades the whole place.  It first soothed my stressed out spirit then began to take hold of my imagination and inspire my mind. I'm really not trying to wax poetic here, but we wandered for over 2 hours and by the end of them I was back in the right frame of mind. It's a place to return to, I'm thinking.

The view across the pond toward the house
An adobe structure, the main house is cool and shady and well laid out for a frontier home.  The rooms are generous and gracious and it is easy to imagine the life that was lived there.  The Slaughters built a pond on the East side of the house which is kept full by artesian wells.  If I had to live in that country during pre-electricity days, the favorite part of my life would be that pond.  The breezes would blow moist air over the house and one could cool off with an afternoon swim.

The "bath room," so called because it had a bit, tin bathtub in it.  Outhouses were the order of this day and time. I am thankful for indoor plumbing! 
When I tour an old place like this I am reminded that we people-things don't live simply anymore.  All of the wonderful labor saving tools we have in our homes have freed us up to be busy busy busy.  We work to pay for these devices so we can be more busy and the busier we get the more things we need!  Hmm, there is a cycle happening here and days like this one help me see that I want off.  Come get my junk.  I'll keep driving my old car and do without the new shoes.
Cool rooms with big windows make this an inviting house.

I'm thankful to live in a day when I have access to modern medicine and electricity, I really am.  I think we've lost something, though. And I feel the need to get it back.  When I paint old buildings I am always surprised by the reactions they draw out of people.  I think the sense of nostalgia they evoke are based in just what I felt at the Slaughter Ranch house- a desire to live a life less centered on things that don't matter and instead a life that is slow enough to savor the little things that were sacrificed in a quest for bigger, better, more. And I think it's possible.

Thanks for stopping by!  Alice

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Where the West is Still Wild

Today was an adventure day.  It's been ages since we took time to dink around and relax and this day was just the right one for it.  Nearly 70 degrees today, (I know, while the Eastern US is getting hammered with snow) the sunshine was delicious and the air was clear - we grabbed our jackets and ran.
The road on the Arizona side is well maintained.  

There is a dirt road, long and empty, that stretches from Hidalgo County in New Mexico to Douglas, Arizona.  It more or less follows the Mexican border and is where Mexican cartels, drug smugglers and illegal immigrants haunt, not paying much attention to an international boundary or the law.  While nearly nobody in the world takes this old road, the US Border Patrol agents are there.  They spend days at at a time down in this wild and rugged country on horse-back, four wheelers or foot, working to stem the tide of contraband and humanity that streams through.
On the New Mexico side one crosses this creek several times.  I always have to get out and meander; water here is such a treasure, it seems a shame to just pass it by without a second look.  

We took this road today.  Even though it is a hotbed of illegal activity, we feel pretty comfortable as long as we are careful.  Neither the Americans nor the Mexicans there want to be seen by us.  We don't feel in any more danger there than in Albuquerque or Tucson.
The saddle where one leaves the Animas drainage and enters the San Bernadino drainage.  That's Arizona behind me.

This countryside is where the Chiricahua band of Apaches hid out and managed to evade the US Cavalry for so long.  It's easy to see how they managed it; you couldn't find a battleship here if it didn't want to be found.  Geronimo and Cochise knew these mountains and used them to slip into Mexico when events got too hot for them here.
Out in the absolute middle of nothing, nowhere, nohow we passed this delightful attraction.  Whoever took the time to put this out there is someone I want to know.

Our goal today was to fill ourselves back up with creative inspiration.  I've said it before, but it's still true: getting out into the wild places can fill me up with ideas and soothe a hectic schedule clear away.  And it worked.  I am full of ideas and energy again.  I can face another week.  The best part is the sketched records of the day.  Raw material to work from.  I'm purring like a cat.

Thanks for stopping by! Alice

Friday, January 22, 2016

Painting From Photos

To paint from a photo or to not paint from a photo; that is the question- Let's see, did Shakespeare say that?? I'm sure he meant to! 

I've had both college and private teachers stand everywhere on the issue from "No real artist would paint from a photo!" to "Everyone remember to bring a photo to class next week." Why the debate?  What's the big deal, and who gets to be the art boss that says whether it's right or wrong?  And most of all, does it matter?

As I did this piece I was able to look at the reflections from more than one side as I moved around the arrangement so I knew exactly where the reflections were hitting the metal. A photo would have flattened the reflections out and I'd have missed the red bits on the side of the cup shape.  
Actually, it matters.  Of course this is my opinion and worth every cent you've paid for it.  I'll tell you why I say that and- since this is art and there is no art sheriff who gets to be the ultimate authority on what is true and what is not- you get to say what your take on it is for you.  Isn't that nice? To me, the worst part of the art world is hearing from those who think they should be able to dictate what art is and what it is not.
Painted from a photo I took years ago, this is flat and uninspiring because I just copied the photograph

First, my list. I love lists.

The cons of painting from photos:

  • It's very hard to get the sense of space as I work if I'm just painting from a random photo like, say, a magazine picture  
  • It's very easy to become a slave to getting every detail just right and worrying that my work doesn't look exactly like the photo
  • I don't remember to interpret the scene instead of copying it- why am I painting it if I want it to look just like the photo?  I have a photo, who needs a painting of a photo when the real thing does the job so well? 
Although this was painted from life, by the time I got to the rose shapes, they had wilted.  Photograph to the rescue, although looking at it from a couple of years later, the roses are not as vibrant as they would have been painted in person. Maybe photo not to the rescue?
The pros of it:
  • Sometimes it is very helpful to get details that a sketch done on the scene didn't pick up.  Example of this: when painting cacti I am not familiar with, I am glad to get a close up look because otherwise I'd have to make it up and my imagination isn't nearly as clever as nature
  • I can attach a photo to a sketch to enhance my memory when I want to paint it
  • Measuring angles on roof lines, ect. when the sketch is too, well, sketchy, is a dream on a photo
  • Flowers wilt and fruit rots.  Getting a photo to accompany still life work can help me get the fresh look to my subjects after they flake out on me.  I can still get the look of the objects as I paint from life and the bloom on the rose at the same time.  Win/win
I made the mountains up, drew the train cars from a picture and then put it away, relying on my skill to get them painted the way I wanted them. 
To me, working from a photo is a great idea if it's used as a jumping off point.  Take the components I need and make the rest up.  I don't want to be a slave to the color, arrangement of the subject or even the size of the things in the photograph.  I get what I need from it and put it away and don't go back and look again.  This pushes me to use what I know about perspective, color temperature and composition, just to name 3 elements.  I have to use my painterly skill to pull it off.  Which makes me grow.  Which makes me, in my estimation, a better painter.  And isn't that whole point?  
This was painted from the back door of my studio and has a feeling to it that the one of the old churchyard above lacks.
Thanks for stopping by! Alice 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Gratitude Adjustment

The time finally came to teach the 5th and 6th graders a bit about watercolor painting.  Keep in mind that these students are 11 and 12 years old as you look at their work.  I'd been looking forward to this part all school year, but needed to wait till we had developed other skills first.  Like following instructions, for one...  

The accidental runs down the page thrilled the whole class when they happened.  Don't they look great?
The enthusiasm this project was met with surprised me- the kids were thrilled with the paints and how they reacted to water.  Nobody had taught most of them to use a simple kid watercolor set before.  Only two or three had some at home, or had ever had any.  Their delight was contagious. 

Hung and ready for a class critique 
The reactions of the kids made me stop and think about how I see my favorite medium.  Do I take it for granted? When the magic of watercolor happens and something cool is the result, do I still react with joy like I did at first?  I can't forget to live with gratitude.  If I do, I'll forget how amazing this whole world is and just feel "ho hum" when the wonderful little things happen, the things that would make a child feel surprise and joy.  Getting to see art through the eyes of my students is a regular reminder of how lucky I am to have art to love and practice, and I am grateful for it.  

Thanks for stopping by! Alice

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Meanwhile, a Chair is Born

While I've been trying to work my way through the last painting, my husband has been out in his shop working on his latest project.  The doors to our work spaces are just a few feet apart, so we make a lot of trips back and forth, asking for opinions or an extra pair of hands.  He's been getting a chair out of his system for two weeks.  And what a chair it is, too.

Waiting for the last coat of finish
Several years ago we built a house, and in the course of things, had a crew of plasterers from Mexico hanging around for a few weeks.  They were wonderful guys; I think they played cops and robbers with our boys as much as they plastered.  By the end of the job, we were sad to see them go.  Before they left, the boss of the crew gave my husband the gift of two fat slabs of mesquite wood he had milled in Mexico from huge trees. What a beautiful thing to do.

The little square cut-out details are, to me, perfect
That wood has been waiting for just the right project all these years, and it was worth the wait.  An Arts and Crafts style chair out of a southwestern variety of wood.  I'm so proud to have it sitting in my living room.  Another example of the boundaries between art and craft blurring- and of the beautiful work my man does.  

Thanks for stopping by! Alice

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

La Bella Durmiente, Finally

Today I dashed home from work as soon as it was time.  Usually I stay and get things ready for the next day, but this painting needed done.  Today.  It has dragged on long enough!
La Bella Durmiente
Watercolor on paper
22" x 30"

The finish was tricky due to problems I had with the mask.  I have never had trouble lifting mask from a painting, and believe me, I've used a lot of mask.  The top layer of paper lifted as I peeled it off.  I used two different brands and both kinds took paper away with them as I pulled them off.  It is Arches 300 lb. cold pressed paper, same paper I always use.  No idea why, but it made getting crisp edges along the fence shapes a real chore.  However, it is finished and I can toss it into the drawer and move on.

Thanks for enduring through this one! Alice

Monday, January 18, 2016

Finding the Name

As this painting has progressed I have had no idea what to name it.  The adobe building caught my eye years ago sitting on its hill, silhouetted against the sky and abandoned.  Every time I drive down that highway it calls to me- I've wanted to paint it for ages.

The vegetation begins, mesquites and tumbleweeds
To be honest, the thing that calls my name the most is to get inside and take a look around.  I have a thing for abandoned houses.  Old adobes like this are standing all over New Mexico, left alone to slowly crumble and die.  They often have peeling linoleum floors and scant kitchen cupboards filled with packrat leavings.  I love to stand in the rooms and imagine what life was like when the house was still loved and imagine how I would have furnished it.  

I never fail to be fascinated with how the foreground can push the background into its correct perspective
As I've begun to add the foreground, I keep being reminded of my favorite childhood movie, Disney's Sleeping Beauty.  Briar Rose's tower was behind thorns, inaccessible to intruders, and so is this house.   It's as though one could slip through that gate, cut back the mesquite growing there and find a treasure waiting.  I've decided to call this one La Bella Durmiente, the sleeping beauty- New Mexico style.  

Thanks for stopping by! Alice

Friday, January 15, 2016

Old Work- Sort of Like Old Boyfriends

Now and then I go somewhere and see an old painting I did and it surprises me because I've forgotten all the stuff I have done over the years.  These days I keep a record of where my work is, but it wasn't always so. Who knows what is hanging on someone's wall just waiting for me to stumble upon it? Sort of like seeing an old flame and realizing my taste has, thankfully, changed.  
Seen tonight hanging on someone's wall, dang it

It's kind of an uncomfortable feeling, knowing there are paintings out there that are well below my current standard being looked at by someone's house guests and found lacking. When I see one I usually go through the process of- I thought that was good enough to be seen?  Really?? If I steal it off of the wall, will anyone notice?  Would it be realistic to trade them out of it with a newer one?  Here's the worst question: will I hate the replacement in 10 years as much as I hate this one? Ahhh, life's imponderable mysteries.  Now, if I'd kept a record, I could gather them up and hide them away, or at least know where not to visit.  The moral of this little story is; keep good records people.  You're welcome.

Thanks for stopping by- Alice

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Foreground, Faithfully Doing its Job

Getting tired of looking at this thing yet?  I'm getting tired of not making more progress, so we're in the same boat.  I will finish it.  I will.

The lightest value foreground grass shapes are masked, helping me see how the vegetation will push the house back
As I have begun work on the foreground, I can see the background receding to take its rightful place in the distance. When the house shape is the only object on the page, it and the sky seem very important.  However, I can see how this will change as the vegetation in front takes shape.  An old, gnarly mesquite will be a fun thing to paint and should do the trick of putting the whole thing in perspective.  Now I use the word "should" on purpose.  If anyone can paint this to death, it's me.

Having fun making grass shapes with the mask pen
The ability to kill a perfectly good landscape is one of my specialties.  However, I keep coming back for more.  Cross your fingers, or yourself or the road or something- maybe this will be the one I finally figure this genre out on.

Thanks for stopping by- Alice

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

"Archisketcher" by Simone Ridyard

These past few days my evening reading material has been Archisketcher, by Simone Ridyard.  Although I'm not finished with it and probably won't be for some weeks to come, I wanted to get a review up in case you are looking for a fun art book to read.  Oh, by the way, the reason I won't be finished with it for some time is that it's a book to savor, not devour. Emphasis on savor!

Delivered by my trusty FedEx man, these came last week
Written about urban sketching, Ridyard doesn't take a lot of time to teach drawing concepts that go with landscapes and architecture, although she does skim over them to give a novice an idea of how to draw buildings and city scenes with some skill.  This book is less of an in-depth how to and more of an overview.  Well, an overview with some seriously delicious eye candy by way of the paintings shown.

One feature repeated throughout the book is a landmark painted/sketched by different artists.  Getting to see how each handles the subjects is fascinating and educational
For myself, the text is perfectly illustrated by the artists Ridyard highlights.  I'm learning quite a bit and generating some exciting ideas by studying the illustrations.  More, I think, than I would have from more words/less pictures.  These little paintings are real gems.  The only trouble I'm having is a bit of a struggle going to work instead of hopping directly into my car and heading for bright lights-big city with sketchbook and paints in hand.
The artwork featured is this quality all the way through

If you are looking for a motivator that doesn't require a big investment of your tired little brain in reading new concepts, find this book and own it.  A few pages and your mind will light up all circuits.  It's a quick overload for me because the work she chose to illustrate her points with is top notch- I don't want to just look at them and turn the page, I spend a lot of time on them.  And look at one or two more, then place my bookmark back in and put it away.  For an hour or so, then go pick it back up and drool some more.

You know you want to read it!  
Another bonus of Ridyard's book is getting introduced to artists who's work I have not seen before.  I love Shari Blaukopf and follow her blog religiously- one of the artists featured.  Tia Boon Sim, Josiah Hanchett and  Chris Lee's work have all caught my eye as well, not to mention some very nice work by Ridyard herself.  I'm excited to see more of their work on their websites.

This wonderful book will keep my mind spinning for weeks.  Well worth the money I paid for it.

Thanks for stopping by! Alice

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The "Scary" Brush

In Ray Hendershot's book, Texture Techniques for Winning Watercolors, he shows what he calls his "scary brush." It's a hog bristle fan brush he has cut hairs out of to make it shaggy on the end. After I read his book the first time I knew I had to try a scary brush. Not having a fan brush I could use, I dug around and found an old watercolor one I didn't mind altering.

I LOVE this book, I learn every time I open it
It was simple to make and has been a useful tool since.  When I remember I have it, that is.  I just splayed the brushes out on a flat surface and dropped a bit of acrylic medium onto the base where the bristles exit the ferrule, then held it there till they dried.  Once that stuff dries, it's permanent.

My scary brush
It makes vegetation pretty easy to paint, especially grasses and the kinds of things that grow around here.  I've been using it to get my middle ground in place in the latest painting. The vegetation looks like vegetation, which isn't something I can always pull off.  You know- those times I totally forget the scary brush and mess up yet another landscape.  Actually, I'm beginning to feel like I'm starting to improve on the accursed things.  Thank goodness.

The textures 
Tonight I managed to get the color and texture in place so I can start the foreground.  I'm chugging along on this one.  Like a snail.  But I am chugging!
Progress.  Well, not much, but some

Thanks for stopping by- Alice

Monday, January 11, 2016

Dry Spell

What to do when one hits a dry spell? I keep hitting them these days, but not because I don't want to be in my studio working.  It's more like life keeps pushing and pulling me in other directions.  I suspect I'm not the only one.  In an ideal art-centered world, making art would come first and everything else would just magically fall into place.  Mine, though, isn't an ideal art-centered world. It's a hurry-and-keep-up-with-everything-you-have-to-do sort of place, instead.
Looking at paintings I've done helps me realize I'll have time to dip that deeply again

This weekend was taken up with family, church and household duties.  Actually, family, church and home are my priorities, those are the things that matter most to me so they logically should take the front seat on the crazy bus ride that is my life. That said, when there is no time for creativity, I tend to get more stressed. How to balance everything is a big quest in my life. In most lives these days, don't you think?
These bright cacti paintings are from a period of time where I had time to grow fast.  I'll get that chance again, I just have to be patient till that happens.

I wish I had a formula to share, a list that would clear it all up and make it easy to stay balanced and reduce the stresses we live with.  I don't.  I do know this- there are dry spells where time is short and personal time is lean.  Then, along will come a period of creative fatness, a window where everything goes smoothly and there is time for all that has to be done.  If it weren't for the lean times, would I recognize the fat ones?  Probably not, so I'll keep up the best I can till things settle down and then enjoy the easy days more because of it.  Hmm, maybe I do have a formula, after all.

Thanks for stopping by! Alice  

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Font of Ideas

Ideas comes along now and then while I'm driving alone.  Walking or hiking are also good things to do when I'm looking for inspiration or trying to solve a problem.  However, for me, the most sure, most guaranteed place I can go is the bathtub.  A good book, maybe some snacks and water hot enough to scald me are the recipe for making my babbling mind shut up for awhile and let me think.  

My chamber of inspiration, the font of great ideas
On Facebook a few days ago I saw a photo of a woman's legs in bath water while a take-out box full of Chinese food was floating above them.  I nearly fell over laughing.  I realized I'm not the only one who uses the tub for a place to hide and eat contraband and soak her troubles away.  I was also impressed- whoever figured this out is a genius.  
If only I lived anywhere near a Chinese joint
Yesterday, two new books came in the mail.  I am using them to bribe myself.  Blackmail is probably a more accurate term.  If I can get all of the stuff on my list finished up today, I will take myself into my chamber of inspiration and glut on art books, dark chocolate and Lays Potato Chips.  You should see me bustling around the house getting things accomplished.  I'm a woman with motivation.  

Thanks for stopping by! Alice


Thursday, January 7, 2016

An Hour at a Time

Getting back to school has been a struggle this week.  The students and I have had to get back into the groove again, and that takes some doing!  

Close-up of the house area
Finally, this afternoon I felt like I had enough oomph left to spend some time on my painting.  It felt great.  Although I'm as slow as molasses, this painting will get done if I just keep grabbing a moment here and there to work on it.

Trying to find the balance between not giving enough attention to the house area and letting it get too precious
It's hard to make myself get started.  Funny thing is, after I've been at it for 10 minutes or so, the creative juices begin to flow and I forget that I didn't really feel like it.  Even though I'm tired and can't stay at it as long as it would take to finish, I can do something.  Anything, even.  Good end to an okay day.

Thanks for stopping by! Alice