from crayon box to powering my soul… color defines me

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Cut with Scissors Along the Dashed Line | from crayon box to powering my soul… color defines me

Cut with Scissors Along the Dashed Line | from crayon box to powering my soul… color defines me.


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Cut with Scissors Along the Dashed Line

My fascination with cutting things out started at a very young age. Long before the Internet, there were newspapers and magazines and contests to enter…. “free” no less! If a box had dashed lines around it and, better yet, an image of a pair of scissors indicating one should cut along the lines, I was immediately enthralled and in search of said scissors. I so loved the prospect of filling in my name and address on the form, writing out the mailing address and my return address on an envelope, adding a stamp and dropping it in the mailbox out front lifting the little red flag alongside to notify the postman of outgoing mail (yes, we called them postmen not postal carriers back in those days long before anyone worried about being PC).  I never won anything as I recalled, but it was the dream of the possibility that I just might win that kept me mailing off multiple entries. As I grew up and went out on my own, cutting coupons replaced entering contests, but the time spent to cut, organize, cull through and discard the expired ones, was most likely more costly than the intended savings and I eventually gave that practice up.

But, as I was checking out audio books on CD at the library that I had reserved online, I looked up and saw a poster about an Art Contest. Upon inquiring, the librarian brought the poster over for me to read. A contest – a challenge, what fun, oh my! The San Diego County Library is celebrating its Centennial with an Art Contest based on the theme 100 years of stories. I’ve always loved a contest, so…. I created this 11×14″ watercolor of a woman with some of the best first lines of novels written in the past 100 years throughout her hair. The line “Call me Ishmael” is the most popular first liner that comes to mind; so I googled others and ended up with this girl:

100 Best First Liners

100 Best First Liners

Imagine my surprise when playing back my answering machine messages this week to hear Sara from the library calling to inform me that my art won 2nd place in the Adult category! She asked whether my full name could be published with the art and I agreed. The entries will travel around San Diego County from one library to the next based on the schedule listed here, along with the other winners: Sara also mentioned that my prize would be available at the Poway branch within the week.

Prize? Prize? Who said anything about a prize? I had no idea. I’m just a sucker for a challenge and a contest 🙂 To be real honest, my hope was for a library version of the Get Out of Jail Free card in the Community Chest pile in Monopoly, where I could have late fees waived a couple times in the upcoming year… I always seem to have 3 or 4 chapters left to listen to on a book on CD when its due back and cannot be renewed because its been reserved by another patron, hence the late fees.  I’m assured, though, that it’s just a little prize.

Actually, I received a $50 gift card to Barnes ‘N Noble… no small gift there! I will love browsing B&N, deciding what to select, particularly if its a new book on creating art! The reference librarian who presented my prize told me about the Adult summer Reading Program. She said the Friends of the Library had really come through this summer and she had several gift cards for local retailers to present to lucky winners, so I signed right up. You only have to read 4 books between now and August 10th, and I will easily accomplish that. PLUS, the Read for a Reason program helps benefit shelter dogs – here’s how:  “For every extra hour you read beyond the goal, shelter dogs will receive one pound of dog food from Hill’s Science Diet, up to 5,000 pounds.” Since I am reading anyway, why not help the puppies out! They’re only at 625 pounds, so sign up and let’s all do some SUMMER READING!

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Coming Face-to-Face with the Public Critique

This coming Thursday, courage in place, I will show my art for the first time publicly. Sharing my work on-line allows me to retain some semblance of anonymity. This event, however, will put me directly in the line of fire, so to speak, with the public and all of their comments and critiques.

Sara, from RAW: Natural Born Artists, found my work in my Etsy Shop: Carla’s Craft. Looking at the profiles of the other artists is, well, intimidating, to say the least. Check them out at

Now, I am trying to convince at least 20 people I know to purchase an advance-priced ticket to the event, not to mention be willing to see them at the event and watch them see my art up close.  To add to the potential stress, I go back and forth as to which pieces to take with me to the artist showcase.

Faced with a 10-foot long by 6-foot tall free-standing chain link fence, S-hooks, zip ties, and a couple of clip lights, should I display my girl art with their brightly colored canvases and empowering phrases? My cool coffee-filter wreath, I think the lime green one would look good at the show, and/or my fleur wooden crate with six collaged glass bottles, baker’s twine and gerber daisies curved to flow welcomingly out of the top? My 3-D still life flowers, path to the beach, the newer girl art with facial features and head-shots only? Or my latest Beach Triptych:

Beach Triptych

Beach Triptych

Then there are the photos printed on gatorboard of many of my textured, dimensional, collage canvases. Having canvases reprinted allows me to sell multiples of the same piece while retaining the original. Or selling the original canvas while keeping the gatorboard-mounted photographs in their place.

So, here I am, faced with decisions, decisions, decisions… and to follow the great Steve Jobs’ advice: “Don’t let the noise of others peoples opinions drown out your inner voice.” I will face the critique and be stronger for it.