Friday, June 30, 2006

100+ Degrees...

Woah, it's hot here. Every day since I got home from Washington, it has been well into the 100's. Yesterday was 106, according to my thermometer... in the shade! And the forecast predicts more of the same.

Normally this wouldn't bother me, but this weekend Steve and I have A LOT of work to do outside. You see, I've created 43 pieces of art for sale this year so far. (Yea, me!) ALL of it needs to be photographed digitally as well as with slide film. Then we need to setup my brand new art fair tent for the first time. (We all know that's going to take some doing.) And then we need to put all of my art in the tent and photograph it! That's a lot of work. I'm concerned not only about us melting, but my art melting as well.

The plan is to start quietly at 6am (hopefully the neighbors won't notice). Then as soon as the sun crests the mountain behind my house and we have some decent light, we'll start taking the pictures. I figure we'll need to stop around 9 am or so. (10 am at the absolute latest!) Luckily, due to the holiday, we'll have Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday to get this all completed.

As for today, I'm working to finish up my final three canvases that I have in progress. They're getting there. But a trip to the grocery store and UPS derailed my morning slightly. Why must the baggers slam your produce around like they have a personal vendetta against it? I used to be a bagger, and I NEVER treated people's groceries like that! But I digress...

Tonight is the 8th anniversary of the night Steve proposed to me. He takes me back to the same restaurant - Inn of the Seventh Ray - every year. It's a very spiritual place and all of their food is listed in order of "esoteric vibration." It's just delicious... organic ingredients always are. "Our" table is perched atop the bank of this little creek. Twinkle lights fill the trees and more than once we've seen a coyote wander down by the stream to drink. Then when the meal is over, I make him propose to me all over again. Can you tell Steve is a wonderful man to participate in this so earnestly? Each year gets better than the last. I love you, honey.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Workin' Away...

This is a photo of the wrist cuff I made in Keely Barham's class at Fiberfest. Oh my gosh, what fun that was! The best part was that the project was actually doable in the timespan of one class! I can see myself making many more of these. It would be easy to do the shell part and then bring that along on a trip to do all of the embellishing. The interior is nothing more than fun foam. Pretty cool, huh?

I've been varnishing and finishing all of the canvases I've been working on. The biggest two aren't quite to that step yet, but I did make some major progress today. There's nothing better than really hating what you're doing and then somehow, miraculously, being able to turn it all around. That's where I'm at now. Hopefully now that I'm inspired I can wrap these up in the next day or two. I'd really like to begin work on another "batch" sometime next week.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Nuclear Art Disaster

Why does creating art thereby require one to simultaneously create the world's biggest mess? I'm not sure why the two must travel hand-in-hand, but they do.

I'm really trying to be diligent about unpacking this time... really, I am. I've made it my goal to finish putting *ALL* of my art supplies, including the little odds and ends I don't know what to do with, away by the end of this week. So far, I've been on pace to reach this goal.

Today I decided I needed to finish my fabric triptych from Kristin Steiner's class. I'm 75 percent there, mind you. It wouldn't seem that I would need to create a nuclear art explosion to accomplish this. But explode I have. Ribbons and fibers are tumbling out of their jars and onto the floor. Floss, thread, and an assortment of needles now grace three separate rooms. The sewing maching, iron, ironing board, and rotary cutting tools are all out. Drawers are open. Various patterned papers are strewn about the floor. Embellishments are piled here and there. Buttons are sprinkled over everything. Fabrics are pouring out of their formerly neat little cabinets. I think somewhere down deep is the notion that I must *SEE* everything I own in order to create. Where did this idea come from?

And I won't even go into the paint mess that is happening simultaneously in several other parts of the house. If the disarray is any sort of an indicator of the quality of the art, then at least I'm well on my way to being wonderful!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Building a Bridge

So often when I leave to go out of town, I race around trying to finish EVERYTHING before I give myself permission to depart. By "everything" I mean laundry, cleaning, watering plants, yard work, pool maintenance, packing, shopping, any other errand I can possibly think of, arranging pet care, making sure Steve has food options other than take-out, and completing every in-progress art project I may have going.

This time, as I believe I may have mentioned, not all of it got done. In particular, I didn't finish all of the canvases that I had started. And you know... I think I may have stumbled onto a new and improved way of working.

Yesterday was my first day back and it's often tremendously rough for me. I have all the household stuff to catch up on in addition to backed up computer work as well as my art. Usually, it's too much for me to stare at a blank canvas and be inspired to create something wonderful when I have the weight of my "to do" bearing down on me. But having something halfway finished allowed me to just pick up where I left off. No stress. No pressure. No fear. I knew right where I was and where I had intended to go. A little paint here, a little sanding there, and I'm back in the game. It wasn't hard, and it wasn't a struggle. It was actually an enjoyable first day back. Imagine that!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Fun at the Fest

Fiberfest was simply AWESOME! I had three wonderful classes with Suz Simanaitis, Kristin Steiner, and Keely Barham. All were inspiring. I still need to finish a few things up, but I'm promising pictures and more details shortly.

Perhaps even more inspiring than those fantastic classes though was being surrounded by so many creative individuals. The work that everyone produced was out of this world! And I'm speaking about work folks did in their classes and work folks did just for fun - in their rooms, in the hallways, and in the asylum. There is so much to be gained from opening yourself to this sort of energy. I feel like I'm failing miserably, trying to put this into words. Let me have another go...

At retreats like Fiberfest, I finally feel like I am home. I have found my tribe. I can allow the truest essence of me to burst forth, without fear of judgment or scrutiny. It is a moment in time where art and the individual become one. My heart is open and filled to brimming with the vibration of an energy that can only come from a collective creativity. It is a feeling like no other.
Now, it's quite possible that this sounds too "new-agey" and "out there" for you. But if you "get" what I'm trying to say, you must be a member of my tribe. Thanks for taking the time to journey with me...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Fiberfest, Here I Come!

I'm excitedly counting down the hours now until I leave for Fiberfest. Tomorrow morning, my plane will take me to Issaquah, WA where I will spend5 fun-filled, art-immersed days. I just can't wait!

My bags are all packed save for a few toiletries. Unbelievably, I've managed to fit all of my clothes AND all of my art supplies into the smaller of our two suitcases. Summer helps lighten the clothing load. And fabric/fiber helps lighten the art load. It seems sewing-related things are much more condensed than paper, paint, and glue. I want to pat myself on the back here as well, since I've been tremendously organized with prepping for classes. I've spent some real time thinking about each project in advance. And I think I've packed only what I will actually use. Each class has its own ziplock bag full of the related supplies and nothing more. We'll see how this approach works for me as opposed to my normal "grab-everything-within-sight-because-I-just-may-need-the-kitchen-sink" way of packing.

I'm also anxious to meet all the wonderful women from the Mini Art Quilt swap that I hosted recently. These 22 people are truly an amazing bunch. I just can't wait to spend some time with them in person. The photo (above) shows the quilt I made for this swap. Each player created 5 or 6 quilts and I assembled them all into vertical wall hangings. I'm really pleased with the way they turned out, and if I can believe what I read, everyone else is too!

As for my canvases, well... I'm proud to say that I finished 9 out of the 12. (And by finished I mean that the main artwork is complete. I still need to paint the sides and varnish when I get home.) I should finish one more today... that will leave just two (the biggest two, of course) to work on when I get back. That's fine by me though. Having something midway done will serve as a bridge to get me back into the studio after this break. Sometimes when I have to start a new piece from scratch after a break, the initial going is a little rough.

I'll see you all in blog-land again when I return next week!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Blogger Help Anyone?

Okay... if you're reading this, you know I'm new to blogging.

So many of you have written such wonderfully supportive comments about my "What Dreams May Come" box. My gosh, I can't tell you how they have lifted me up and made me smile.

I want to respond to your comments and questions. I know I can just publicly say what I have to say in my next blog entry, but I would much rather respond personally via email or something similar. For the life of me, I just can't figure out how to do that. So I'm sending out a plea for help... Comments, anyone?

A Collector of Quotes

I fancy myself a collector of quotes. I really enjoy using words and text in my art. Not only is the written word visually appealing to me on the basis of shape, but I feel that it helps me bring my viewer even that much further into my own world. I have a notebook full of my favorite quotes by famous and not-so-famous people alike. I will often spend hours searching the internet or one of my many books for just the right words to add to my piece. Sometimes this process can be frustrating and unproductive. Not to mention, I lose myself in the search and precious hours go by that could otherwise be spent painting.

Then it occurred to me: I am an artist. By definition, that make me creative. Don't I have any fresh and riveting comments to make about my own art?!? That's when I felt the walls of my "tunnel vision" begin to crumble. Perhaps it's not as news-worthy as when the Berlin Wall came crashing down, but it's just as exciting to me! I can create my own poetry... imagine that!

And I'm here to report that that's just what I did... and am doing. It's so incredibly freeing! And I'm much more apt to convey my precise feelings for a given piece than any stranger ever could. No tag line... no searching... no making a fit. The words just flow and I am free to move on to the next thing. Sometimes the obvious is so hard to see. But thank heaven when we do.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

What Dreams May Come

This is a special little box I created recently. It's entitled "What Dreams May Come". The construction is fairly complex as there are several door and drawer variations involving a glass slide, wood, chipboard, and a mint tin. I created this box as a way to honor my innermost hopes and dreams. The mint tin houses slips of paper on which I record the whispers of my heart. Whichever desire is most pressing gets rolled up and inserted in my magic bottle. I firmly believe that there is tremendous power in the simple task of writing and creating art about my dreams. It paves the way for them to become reality.

Unfortunately, this box was not accepted as a class for Artfest 2007. I received that news in yesterday's mail. But you know, I'm okay with that... strangely enough. Sure, the exposure and experience would have been terrific. But there will be other venues to submit to. I believe in this project, and I know it will find a home.

I'm discovering a surprising sense of peace and calm in just accepting what is and trusting that this is for the best. (And if you know me at all, you know this is an often-elusive attitude for me to achieve!) It's been difficult for me these past few months to find chunks of time to devote to my canvases. My focus has been scattered far and wide. Perhaps this is the Universe's way of giving me permission to let the extraneous stuff fall away and really zero in on what's most important. Perhaps it is my answer to what dreams may come...

Friday, June 16, 2006

Random Thoughts (possibly from a random mind?)

First and most importantly, Maynard is doing well!! The vet and her nurse took turns caring for him at home. Then earlier this week, he was strong enough to be moved to a Wildlife Rescue. He is now in an enclosed area with other birds, learning how to fly. Once he's good to go, he'll be released into the wild. The vet's assistant told me the chances for his survival are excellent. Isn't that just the BEST news!?!? Yea for Maynard!

Secondly, I've received a lot of questions about the Trimline tent. I'll try to address some of them here. Mostly, people are interested in knowing why I chose to purchase this setup as opposed to anything else. Okay, here goes...

Many, many artists (at least in the shows we've cased) have chosen to go with those carpeted panels. I agree they look tremendously professional. But I was concerned about inclimate weather. And I was also turned off by their weight and their size. Steve and I simply don't have anywhere to store them in our home. Also, on the day of the show, I would have room to bring my carpeted panels in our SUV, but no art!

I did consider the EZ-Up tent and other models. For starters, the EZ-UP has this huge metal framework on the underside, which didn't appeal to me. Not to mention, rain and wind could still whip through since there is no closure between the tent and your walls.

Trimline seemed to suit all of our needs in that the walls of the tent zip closed with the top. The Mesh Panel system gives you the ability to hang your art without being heavy or bulky. In the research I have done, I am getting much more for my money - the complete, high-quality setup with a lower shipping cost - than I would have spent buying all the components individually.

It is my understanding that most art shows have equipment for rent. That would certainly solve the storage and schlepping issue. But I feel that this is an investment for me, and I may as well put my $$ toward owning my setup rather than giving it away by renting. It is my hope that in time, the setup will pay for itself. Moreover, I won't have to struggle on the day of the show as I will be able to practice and get familiar with my tent and display at home.

That being said, this is only ONE approach. It is what works for me. And I don't even have the tent yet. I will post more when I receive it. If anyone does talk to the Trimline people though, tell them I sent you! (

Lastly, I got some terrific work done yesterday in the studio and hope today will be just as productive. Don't you just love it when things are "gellin'" and moving along smoothly?!?! I had to make my coffee extra early this morning because I needed to get some papers dyed and drying... how sad is that? My art's needs come before my own... Oh well, at least I'm dedicated.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


I read this article recently in my Art Calendar magazine entitled "A Paradise for Artists". The article talks about this art colony spread over 17 acres of Costa Rica's central valley jungle. They accept 7 artists at a time, generally for stays of 1 month in length. They refer to the experience as a "residency" or a "colony". I call it a retreat. To me, it's a withdrawal from virtually everyone and everything in order to focus your entire being on the song in your heart.

Can you imagine anything better? I picture awaking early each morning to the caw of some tropical bird or other. The heat and humidity from the jungle would already be pressing in on me. But I wouldn't mind, as this would be the biggest concern I'd face. I would work madly in my studio all day... forgetting to eat... stopping only in a crumpled heap of exhaustion when the light began to fade. Nature and all her beauty would drive me to paint my best and most passionate work. For that brief moment in time and space, I would be one with my art.

Okay... maybe this is a bit of a fantasy, but so what? That's my ideal retreat anyway. If you're interested in learning more about The Julia and David White Art Colony, you can visit their website:

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Blissfully Painting All Day!

Yesterday was pure heaven. I painted all day! I got so much done.... I'm currently working on 12 different canvases right now - all of varying sizes. These are all, of course, for my art fair "inventory". I hope to have them nearly completed by next week, when I leave for Fiberfest. We'll see... I can only do my best.

The wonderful thing about painting so many at once is that you can easily shift from one to the next while something dries. I swear, I need a revolving door out to my patio 'cuz I'm constantly going in and out to lay things in the warm summer sun. (I'm not sure how anyone in high humidity gets by as an artist!) I know one of these days a bird is going to fly by and leave me a not-so-pleasant critique. But maybe I can work it in as texture. Hmmm....

In other news, I pre-ordered Beryl Taylor's "Mixed Media Explorations" from Quilting Arts (see pic.) It arrived yesterday. All I can say is: "OH MY GOD!" It is gorgeous and luscious and juicy! I've only glanced at the pictures, but I can tell you, the photography is fantastic. I've been a fan of her work for a long time, and I'm so happy to have this book. If you are into art quilting or fabric art journaling at all, you will be inspired by Beryl. I'm pleased to see that there are many examples of her work, along with step-by-step instruction for various stitches and projects. If you're interested in ordering it, here's the link:

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Leap of Faith

Well... I finally did it. I made my first *HUGE* investment into this thing I do called art. (Mind you, the tens of thousands of dollars I've already spent on every art supply imaginable doesn't count.) What did I do, you ask? I bought a booth setup for art fairs.

Steve and I have done a TON of research over the past few weeks. We've attended art fairs and scrutinized various displays. We've reviewed setups online. And I've been asking everyone I can possibly think of for help.

The bottom line is this: I am committed to making this work. And Steve is 100 percent behind me. I didn't want to get some mickey-mouse setup with an eye on getting the "real thing" further down the road. If I'm going to do this, I want to do it right. I respect myself and my art at least that much.

So, we decided to go with a Trimline tent and Mesh Panel display system by a company found here: Jim helped me figure out everything that I need. They're the nicest people, by the way, which made this purchase much more palatable. If any of you ever end up purchasing from them, please tell them that I sent you! Jim says I should have the entire shipment in about a week and a half. This is a good thing because I need to have photos of my booth setup in order to apply to the Beverly Hills art show in July.

I certainly would not have had the gumption to go forth with this if it weren't for one very generous soul: MaryBeth Shaw. She responded to a plea for help I made on one of my Yahoo Groups. She didn't know me from Adam, but she has patiently helped me, referred me, encouraged me, and answered every single one of my questions. I can't express my gratitude enough. Her website is: I'm going to post a link to her blog to the right, under "links". She certainly has fast become an inspiration.

Now that the order has been placed and the money spent, I feel a curious sense of calm and relief. Yes, I'm still scared. But I feel like I've taken one step further on this journey of mine...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Rose Bowl Flea Market

Steve and I went to Pasadena's Rose Bowl Flea Market on Sunday. I am looking for a free-standing shelf on which to place my paints and brushes. No luck with the shelf, but I did come away with some cool treasures!

The opera glasses were totally unexpected. I don't know if I like the glasses or the case better. When the seller agreed to $20, I couldn't say no. I thought they'd be wonderful in an assemblage.

I found a lot of different, old bottles. One of them is still half-filled with pills! (Don't worry... I'm not going to try them!) There are some buttons which might be terrific at Fiberfest. And there's also some old door and drawer hardware, which I plan to use in my mixed media canvas work. I bought 12 old photos, too, which aren't in this picture. Lastly, there's a great old box with the best patina ever. It has a sweet floral painting on top. It's one of the earlier boxes produced by a company in Italy called Borghese. No matter where I am, if there's a Borghese box, I will pick it up. This is the second one I've purchased.

All in all it was a fantastic day. I'm anxious to get back painting, however. I thought today would be productive, but I've spent *ALL* day at various doctor's offices. Ugh. Tomorrow should be better.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Well... here is my inaugural, virgin post to my brand-spankin' new blog! Please be patient with me while I figure everything out. (I'm slow with computers, but determined!)

This is Maynard. My husband Steve and I were walking our Welsh Corgi Bentley when we happened upon Maynard... all by himself in the middle of the street. Steve scooped him up and brought him to the sidewalk. We looked in all of the usual places for his nest and/or his mom. Nothing.

So we brought him home. Steve and I were able to feed him two worms. We made a little nest for him out of a box and some shredded papers. We kept him in the warm garage, away from our curious cats. I worried all through the night that he was too cold, too hungry, too thirsty, too lonely, etc.

In the morning I was able to find a vet across town who was willing to care for him until he's big enough to fly and healthy enough to be released into the wild again. Man, I miss him. I didn't do any art yesterday because of Maynard, but I think it was worth it. This picture is just the best. Could he be any cuter?!?!? I want to do an art piece honoring Maynard.

Anyway, in case you don't know me already, my name is Shari Beaubien. I am a full-time, self-taught, mixed-media artist. My website is:

I'd like this blog to be about my daily trials and tribulations as an artist. I hope that by reaching out, perhaps I can share a bit of my journey with those that are interested. I know that I have gained valuable wisdom and oftentimes tremendous inspiration through reading other people's stories. I hope I can return the favor. At the very least, maybe you'll find my adventures entertaining...

Here's to the launch!