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Articulation 10/20/04 - "Painting Over Blueprints"
October 21, 2004
Hi ~

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"Painting Over Blueprints": A Mini-Article

Today I'm writing about what happens when things don't go as planned.

A while back, I wrote an Articulation article which shared my new, passion-filled intention to bring a better sense of balance to my life, take more down time, and take better care of myself, in general. Articulation readers such affirming feedback to me - it truly warmed my heart and helped me know I was moving in the right direction! Thank you!

BUT things didn't go as planned. AT ALL. I got sick. I went out of town. I got sick again. My dear kitty Lily got very sick - in fact -- it looks like we will very sadly have to let her go. My computer crashed and I lost five days of work, not to mention a good number of files and emails.

ACK! What happened to my vision for a more balanced life? And more importantly, what can be done NOW?

Having a plan -- a blueprint, a treasure map -- is very important. But it can seem that more often than not, things just DON'T go as planned. This is true in creative projects, too. How often have you found that a color combination you had your heart set up just doesn't seem to "click" like you thought? Or the adhesive that a friend swore by just doesn't seem to do the trick for you? Or your characters in your short story go off in a totally different direction...leaving you behind, rendering your carefully executed storyboard quite useless?

When things DON'T go as planned, it is up to us to re-draw the treasure map, and paint over the blueprints in new colors. In both art and life, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Move on and bounce back. If life turns chaotic, we really only have two choices. We can either be miserable in chaos, or optimistic in chaos. And one of those is far more likely to help fuel us OUT of chaos, and move on to face what is next.

2. Laugh! Find the goofiness in the situation and laugh as much as possible.

3. Keep perspective. There are tons of ways that the situation could be much, much worse.

4. Look for grace. When things don't go as planned, there often are golden opportunities lying in wait for you to discover. Such opportunities range from simple discoveries to life-changing openings. Take these examples:

- When Artella's Creative Projects Manager Deb Silvacouldn't get a page to look the way she wanted in an altered book, she decided to paint over itwith acrylic paint, and then closed the book. She got a "smooshed" effect that looked like peeled paint...she loved it! When our Admin Assistant Zura Ledbetter wanted to start over on a collage, she applied gesso to give herself a "fresh start". Instead, she discovered a muted effect with the gesso - a technique she's used many times since!

- When my friend (and YOU * U grad) Alicia Forest didn't become pregnant as quickly as she had hoped, she decided to channel her energy in a new direction to launch her Web site, (See today's Artful Links for a special discount on one of Alicia's new courses, just available to Articulation readers.)

- When my mother-in-law was cooking stewed plums for dessert, and accidentally used a hot spice instead of sweet lemon peel, she ended up with a surprisingly delicious spicy sweet-and-sour sauce.

- When my goals for being a published writer and artist didn't pan out as quickly as I wanted, I found my true passion in catalyzing the creative work of others -- and Artella was born! Who knew? :-)

5. Share your experience. I think we all give ourselves such a hard time when things don't go right. We live with an idea that we have to be "perfect" all the time. By talking about REAL LIFE with other people - the things that went bad and how you overcame them - we are sharing a communal attitude of acceptance and wonder in the unexpected. You can never know how your example will inspire someone else!

So...following my own advice, I'm still here, getting caught up from Life's plans for me, laughing lots, listening loudly, and looking for the light. Come join me! There is hidden grace in uncertainty.

"Life is what happens when you're making other plans."
-John Lennon

"Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless."
-Thomas Edison

"They thought blueprints were too sad so they painted them yellow."

THIS WEEK'S ART-SPLASH!This week's ArtSplash is called Painting Over Blueprints..

I hope you enjoy it.

Love the mix of words 'n art? Take a look at the Art-Splash archives, or send a free eCard featuring Articulation artwork!


1. Artella's Birthday is Next Week! Next week is Artella's 2nd birthday! I'll be sending out a special Articulation notice with some fun opportunities for YOU, as a way to celebrate along with me. So look for that early next week!

2. New FREE e-Artella! Birthdays are time for reflection, and we've been looking back at how Artella and e-Artella have evolved over time. Until this week, we've been giving away e-Artella #e-2 as our complimentary issue. Our Birthday is the perfect time to switch our free issue to a more recent one that more accurately reflects how far e-Artella has come! So....we proudly unveil e-Artella #e-5 as a FREE issue to anyone who wants to claim it! All the instructions are here.Please, please spread the word and invite all your creative friends to grab this free gift!

3. New Database for swaps, trades, round-robins, and more! You asked, and we answered! In our "Spring Fling" survey this past spring, one of the popular requests was a centralized database for all kinds of collaborative art projects...a one-stop where people could list their projects to get new participants, and artists could have access to information about a variety of different swaps and trades. Our Art Project Database is now at ANYONE can list a project, so be sure to spread the word! And there are three NEW Artella ATC swaps listed in the database, currently. We hope this new resource will make swapping projects easier than ever! Be sure to take a look.

4. New Artella eBooks! This week, we've released THREE new eBooks:
  • Optimize and Awesome-Ize Your Web Site
  • The BusinessBlitz Intensive
  • MoneyMorphosis: 10 Things Butterflies Can Teach Us About Money
I won't take up space, here, to write about them in detail --- but if they are piquing your interest, be sure to follow the link to read all about them!

5. Raves about Artella 7! The colorful praise about Artella 7, Theatre & Cinema: Beyond Make Believe, just keep coming in! Here are a few favorites:

"I don't know how you do it. This is the most fabulous magazine I know of. It exceeds expectations, is filled with delights that invite irresistible participation, and best of all, it makes creativity HIGHLY contagious."
-Jill Badonsky, author of The Nine Modern Day Muses (And a Bodyguard)

"Artella 7 is a lush, lavish visual banquet; that astounding box-office smash that comes out every 10 years around the holidays and takes your breath away, sparking Oscar buzz and ticket lines and compulsive repeat viewings (popcorn optional). Applause! Applause!"
-Karen M. Jones

"This is my first issue of Artella, and I wasn't sure what to expect, but I can hardly capture my excitement and awe!This issue was so colorful, I spent most of the evening looking at the art over and over - and the writing - the poems are so inspiring. The one word I could use to sum up this gorgeous smorgasbord of images and words is TALENT."
-Christi Conley

"I just received my first copy of Artella and in all of my nearly 85 years, this is the first magazine I have ever read every word from cover to cover! I found it so interesting, deep at times, funny, serious, thought-provoking, bringing back memories long put away. So many different feelings in such a short time. It was AWESOME."
- Bob Estell

"How Artella issues keep getting better and better, I'll never know. But issue 7 is the most sublime magazine I've ever seen in my life. It is full of passion and power and inspiration that actually seems to drip off the pages. Unbelievable work and fascinating presentation!"
- Jayne Wilson

See MORE reader responses, and view sample pages, at

6. New Poetry Winners!Here are this week's winners!:
1st Place - Jonathon Ambrosino for "And the wind left me"
2nd Place - Carole Trickett for "The Potato Harvest"
3rd Place - Okwudili Paul Nwankwo for "Our Birds Mourn"
4th Place - Kim Gelinas for "The Dance"

Congratulations, winners! You can read the winning poems in The Poetry Gardens of Fame at

7. See DAILY updates to the Artella site! Keep up to date with all of our new additions to the Web site! Whenever we add something to the Web site, I post it on the Artella-News blog, just so you don't miss a single opportunity or free resource. Visit the blog at And Bookmark it to visit it often!


Our current featured artist is Rita Nelson, product line includes some of the most unique art supplies and creativity inspirations that you'll find anywhere! From handmade glass letter tiles to collage and altered book kits, Rita's goodies have been getting raves from all over the world.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Frances Norton Honich has placed a 2-for-1 sale on her stunning Butterfly Woman tote bags and T-shirts . Keep one for yourself and give a gorgeous gift to a friend, in honor of brave, luminescent women like Frances who have lived with this disease. I have one of these beautiful bags -- in fact, I use itjust about every day to bring Artella issues to the post office!

Here are a few more fantastic Shoppes items to check out:
  • I must point your attention to the new products from our featured artist from last week, Lorraine Pettit. Her funky new pins and jewelry are absolutely delightful!
  • Christine Anderson's Halloween Cuties pins are PERFECT gifts for Halloween goblins of all ages! Each pin is just $2.50 (or $6.00 for 4), so you can't beat the price!
  • We have a new e-course offered in the Education & Services shoppe -- Mary Gray's Doing Haiku, which received raves in the last YOU * U focus groups!

    Check out all of the weekly specials by clicking the sunflower on our home page.


If you've never tried the shaving cream paper marbling technique, you must give it a whirl. It's so fun and easy and the resulting papers are extraordinary for backgrounds.

Squirt shaving cream in a flat pan, and smooth it out with a spatula. Drop ink for dye re-inkers onto the top of the shaving cream and create a marbled design in the cream using a comb, hair pick, toothpicks, or small paint brushes.You can experiment by swirling the inks around in different kinds of designs. Place a piece of paper over the shaving cream and pat it down. Pull up the paper and then use the spatula to scrape off the excess cream with a straight edge. Return the excess back into your pan to use again. The resulting designs are beautiful!Watercolor color paper is perfect for this, because of its absorbency, but this is also fun to try with any papers you'd like to give new life to!


This idea is from The Creativity Book by Eric Maisel, and is something that I rely on to help make my writing more personal. Keep a nostalgia notebook and fill it with entries that recall memories in great detail. Write about a memory for pages, really diving into the details. Refer to the nostalgia notebook to paint vivid pictures in your writing that are based on your own experiences. Or, as Maisel says, "Whenever you feel as if you've lost the past -- and with it part of your creative legacy -- return to your nostalgia notebook and do some remembering."


1. Alicia Forest (see article) has launched a new Web site,, for Moms who run businesses from home (or WANT to!).She is offering a special $20 discount for Articulation readers who enroll in her upcoming 8-week program, Polished, Planned, and Prepared! Email Alicia directly at before you sign up to get instructions on how to use the $20 discount. Just tell her you're an Articulation reader!

2. Some of Artella's verrrrry favorite collage artists arefeatured in the new ArtPlay calendar by Amber Lotus Publishing. It's beautiful!

Have a great week!

~painting layer upon layer,

Artella Founder/Editor

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