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Showing posts from 2015

A Week in Art-making and Writing

This has been an interesting week. My art and writing came together more than usual. I headed out to a forest preserve and felt as though I could feel my character Yolanda lurking about there. The forest is her element. I was sucked in, wanting to learn how to enrich her story. While there, I drew this:


Many of Yolanda's Magical Realism scenes take place in the wood and since I grew up among them as well, I felt very drawn to this place. This piece is in chalk pastels. Upon returning to my studio I wanted to revisit my story of Yolanda in "No Barren Life." Quickly enough, I began revising some of the environmental settings for her.



Our weather has been iffy this week. Rainy, windy, cool and today very hot. My larkspur are starting to get beaten up and are losing their flowers from the stormy weather. This oil pastel was done before much of that happened. Hopefully, another larkspur plant will surprise me and bloom. I realize this is doubtful but it doesn't hurt to be …

Sunday's Brush with Nature

Yesterday, painting at Emily Oaks Nature Center, in Skokie, IL, was wonderful! The site is inspirational as you can see from these pictures:




I got nestled into this quiet nook and stayed there all morning, working on a single pastel painting.










                                          Cattails, a work-in-progress C. 2015, Stephanie Rose Bird



Drawn to Nature (Paint Party Friday)

When I look over my artist CV, I'm noticing a trend. There are primarily exhibitions with titles that include the word "nature." I'm glad to have found just the right niche to place my paintings and drawings, someplace that also resonates with my writing.

In a couple of days (Sunday, July 12th) I'll be demonstrating my drawing skills, while also enriching my portfolio at an outdoor event through the Skokie Park District, held at the Emily Oaks Nature Center called "A Brush with Nature." I'll most likely be perched near the wildflower garden. There will be around 50 other artists there, spread through the center's grounds. I can't wait to see all of their different styles and techniques. Fingers crossed it won't rain.

A week from today (July 17th) is the opening for "Drawn to Nature." It is an multimedia exhibit of artists working with diverse materials, while sharing an intimate experience they have had with nature. Here is the…

Getting Fed Up

A few weeks ago my family and I watched the documentary Fed Up and have had an ongoing conversation about it ever since. This is an important documentary, especially to those struggling with being overweight or obese. It was released in the spring of 2014 and was directed by Stephanie Soechtig, with Katie Couric and Laurie David as executive producers. Katie asks some very deliberately cutting questions in this film and it makes me respect her ever more than I did.

Fed Up came tumbling into my mind yesterday as I was partaking in my guilty pleasures that I really need to end: watching the Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten) followed by Ree Drummond, also known as the Pioneer Woman on the Food Network.

You may recall last year I wrote the post Inclined Towards Dessert, sparked by yet another documentary, from PBS Frontline, called All of Me. That documentary was about how a group of women went through the process of losing very large amounts of weight, mostly through weight-loss surgery. It …

Current Weather Conditions

Hmm. Current weather conditions didn't use to matter all that much. Now, they are controlling my work flow. I've always enjoyed sun and warmth but now all the variables in between are of keen interest. This is because I'm doing plein air painting.


"Tiny Clover Blossom" was painted on a sunny Sunday morning. Some how, because of the sunlight, it reminds me on some of Gauguin's work in the South Pacific. It uses a very warm palette with just a touch of blues.



"Garden Daisies" was done over the period of a month or so. It started in all warm colors, mostly red and then was over painted a number of times to achieve an impasto. The weather and light changed so many times during its painting that the light comes from within the painting, rather than from above.


Plein Air Painting at Emily Oaks Nature Center in Skokie, IL

Finding that Sweet Spot

One of the most invigorating and strengthening things for a writer is inspiration. I believe inspiration comes from the muses and enjoy actually writing about them in character form as well. They make a cameo in my work-in-progress, "Out of the Blue," a novel. I've had fun researching everything I could about the muses, as they are so essential to my writing practice. Anyway, when you are inspired as a writer, it is hard to feel insecure because you are in your zone--you own your sweet spot, and there words flow. In your sweet spot you are secure.

When thinking about blogging this morning, knowing it is the first Wednesday of the month, the designated day of the month that we bloggers involved with the Insecure Writer's Support Group, post, an old soul song with just a hint of gospel, came to mind. I'm leaving you with it this morning, as inspiration for your writing practice today. When the Inspirations lyrics refer to "her" I would envision your writi…

Reflecting on New Years Resolutions

I use to not participate in New Year's Resolutions. Well, first I did, when I was really young, and then I didn't. For the past couple of years I've taken on a couple of doozy's. Two years ago, it was to lose 90 pounds. I'm more than half way there. I'm still at it. That resolution is never as far away as My Fitness Pal app or a fork, from my mind. I had no idea it would take more than a year to accomplish my 2014 resolution but I'm proud that I haven't let it slip away.

The resolution for 2015 was to re-activate my art career. Let's face it though, in temperate zones like where I live, you're so busy strong shoveling the snow out of your path for the first few months of the year that most of us don't get to tackle our resolutions until early spring. That was the case with me.





There was something about the newness of spring that got me going. Flowers are so inspiring in shape, color, texture and scent. At first I started buying bouquets and …

Getting Back to Basics

Regulars here know of my weight loss journey. If you're new, here's some brief background. I decided to lose weight, using spirituality and calorie counting on My Fitness Pal about a year and a half ago. I lost 50 pounds. I felt great, gave away my big clothes to charity, celebrated and still planned to lose 40 more. I also embarked on writing the book "Mama Earth's Spiritual Guide to Weight-loss."

Then life stepped in, in a big way. I got distracted. I started cooking my own food less, eating out more. Staying within the calorie limits I'd set (higher mind you), I reached for some "healthy" packaged foods.

Low and behold, weight started to creep back on, slowly but surely. It came a pound here and a pound there--until I'd gained 5 pounds back.

Recently I went back to the source. Back to Mother Nature for guidance and nourishment. I'd mentioned in a previous post how I'm eating more vegan and raw foods. That's a part of my movement …

Guest Post Featuring Author Chrys Fey

It is with great pleasure that I host author and blogging friend, Chrys Fey on Stephanie's Studio. Chrys is a prolific blogger, writer and published author. She shares her passion for the word, almost daily, as a blogger. She's also written some precious e-books, some cross a topic I hold dear--magick, such as her newest "Witch Love." So without further ado, here's Chrys. Please feel free to ask her questions and make comments. She's here to answer you today:

Witch Love
By
Chrys Fey

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with witches. Maybe it began when I was a child and my mom would dress as a witch for Halloween, or maybe it started with my love of the Wizard of Oz. Whatever initially triggered it, my passion grew with each year, every season of Charmed, and every book I read about witches. When I was thirteen, I even wanted to be a witch. Who wouldn’t? You could live mysteriously and magickally. You could plant gardens, cast spells, and become on…

Stepping towards Veganism

My husband said a brilliant thing the other day. In his light bulb moment, he said, with vegetarianism and its food, there is always the feeling that the recipes are trying to replace something. Then he went on to say that in veganism too, when people talk about it that aren't vegan, often they talk about what you can't eat, rather than all the wonderful things you can.

I've been involved with the vegetarian lifestyle since my teens. I've also eaten pescatarian for many years. Recently though, I've become excited about raw foods and veganism. I'm seeing past the rhetoric of what you can't eat and enjoying all the magickal goodies from the plant kingdom that you can.

Seeing how he, a dedicated carnivore, saw all the potentiality in veganism, I decided to add some vegan dishes to our Father's Day feast. I made spinach/portabella burgers and Asian sweet potato salad. Hubby made a vegan roasted eggplant salad. Then we had a number of other dishes, for the v…

Moonlight Beach Gathering

Gathering with family, being with friends and loved ones--what could be better? My in-laws are getting on in age. My mother-in-law just turned 85. I had the pleasure of celebrating her birthday with her, a bit early but still, along with the rest of the family. There is a gentleness and knowing that comes with age, at least in her case. It's very touching. I hope to get there.

In addition to celebrating with her, I also spent time with my husband's father, brothers and my sisters-in-law. His older brother and our sister-in-law came all the way over from England. We had fun reconnecting. All of my children, apart from one who is working on the film "Chirag," were able to join. It was wonderful to be together without time, distance and work constraints.




We were in the coastal region of northern San Diego county. While there, we visited the place where my husband and I were married. I spent time there drawing the torrey pines, overlooking the sea, on the numerous cliff…

Mother's Day Bouquet Drawings

I've switched gears and started painting and drawing a lot more in my studio. I tend to do this as the seasons change. Seasonal change is just to darned inspirational to ignore. Spring is lovely and lush with unusual colors worth celebrating.

Just in time my son Liam bought me this lovely, full bouquet of tulips with stock and some trumpet flowers, among other tiny delights for Mother's Day. It took all week to do these drawings. It felt like a race against time. That's what happens for me with direct observation still life. The light changes greatly from day to day and the subject transforms, if it is alive, as is the case with flowers.

So here's what I did.







I did approximately one drawing per day but then there was this stubborn one. I probably worked on it 15 hours all told. Ugh. I fought it and battled. I thought I'd lost it entirely because it wasn't saying what I wanted it to. It seemed like a hopeless waste of time and art supplies. Then I settled in to …

A Strong Foundation

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex Cavenaugh and has several dedicated administrators as well. You can read more about them and the group here. This group is designed to help writers overcome, deal with or vent about their insecurities. Writers who've come through the fire, share helpful tips for overcoming insecurities, which is what I'm doing in this post.

Today I'm examining insecurity in writing and sharing holistic health solutions. Insecurity has more of a chance to thrive in an unhealthy environment. Not having a healthy foundation cultivates and strengthens the shaky environment, producing the most undesirable effects.


                                     (Posted on www.wallpowerglow.com by Matt Willliams)
Spirituality Whatever your beliefs, it's a good idea to employ them as you begin writing each day. Spiritual practices may include prayer or sacred readings, meditation, yoga, mantras or peace-inducing mudras. I am into alterna…

Reflecting on Blogging from A to Z 2015

The opportunity to reflect as an integral post for the Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge, is a sign that this event is well thought out. Going through a challenging event with a large group of people lends itself perfectly to reflection. It is because of the organizing of A to Z from the Theme Reveal, through the 26 days of alphabetically organized blogging, through to the summarizing reflection that I decided to participate for 2 years in a row. In my "S" post Stick-to-it-ive-ness post I thanked Arlee Bird and the countless minions and assistants for their organizational work and support before and during the challenge. Bravo and thanks again!




Planning My regular readers know I'm fond of divination and am never too far from a crystal ball of one sort or another, I had no idea of the process or outcome of this challenge. I say this even though I participated last year. 
Process



With my life being incredibly full, to the point of being hectic at times, I had no…