Monday, September 28, 2009

i caught the bug . . .

"joy and her bird hope"
mixed media collage
14 x 14 x 1.5 canvas
(c) 2009 julie king

. . . that wonderfully fulfilling gotta paint all night creative bug!!!! i spent part of saturday and sunday immersed in paper and paint in my art room. i loved every minute of it. it was soul nourishing, heart healing, frustration-releasing therapy. yes, my friend, therapy!   the piece above titled "joy and her bird hope" has a watercolor pencil background, acrylic paints and collage. i wanted to do something very light and joyful and i was pleased with how it turned out.


"she journeyed far"
mixed media collage
12 x 18 x 3/4 solid aspen
(c) 2009 julie king

i've been wanting to revisit a style and theme i did a while back (click here to see the original she journeyed far). i loved the original she journeyed far piece that i did but had ideas on how to do a similar piece. this one is bigger and she has a lace collar on plus vintage lacey bone-like buttons. i still want to do some work on her face, especially eyes and her hair needs some detail and highlights. can anyone recommend a good online class about sketching and painting faces? i'd like to explore this genre a bit more. i particularly suck at noses.


here's a work in process that i'm really enjoying. i had a few pieces of tall thin 3/4" thick poplar and was enthused to come up with a skinny concept. can you tell what it is from the photo above?


maybe this will help. the blue is shiny scrapbook paper that i will glue down for the kimono of the japanese lady in her poppy garden. i have no idea how this will turn out but i'm having fun with it. tomorrow evening i hope to start painting her face and hair. it's one big experiment; there's no telling how it will end up. i'll post photos soon

what bugs have you caught lately?!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

life's choices

driving home from work this evening i was thinking about how life is one long line of choices. there are everyday little choices. cereal or toast? sweater or jacket? scenic route or fast route? our mind asks and answers these questions in rapid-fire succession all day long. for the most part, we're not even conscious of of the multitude of seemingly insignificant choices we make.

then there are the harder choices that require more thought and always a sacrifice of some sort. read a book or take a walk? watch grey's anatomy or start a new art project? snap some photos or take a nap? maybe i'm still feeling the press of time that i talked about here. lately i don't want to choose between these options . . . i want to do them all.

some choices require a long term commitment so soul searching. should we get a new dog or try to live happily without a pet for awhile? should we get a puppy or an older dog? should we get a dog now or wait until spring? i'm lonely without presley and i miss him terribly but there is also a feeling of a burden lifted. the worries and the knowing that i would have to decide to let him go weighed heavily on my heart for months. i'm just not sure what to do with all this bottled-up love i need to give away.

for years now, i've offered up the advice "it's all about the choices" in life. no matter what life throws at us we have a choice about how we receive or reflect the garbage. we can choose to let our anger, frustration, grief or jealousy eat away at us or we can choose to let those emotions fuel positive changes in our lives or the lives of others. it's really just a way to look at life and feel empowered to steer our own course when we feel like a boat tossed in the swells.

if you think for a second that i'm writing this because i've excelled at making smart choices in my life, think again. like every human, i've made good choices that have carried me far and other not so good ones that i've lived to regret. but i own those choices; they are mine alone. and that i can live with!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

hopeful award

there is so much hope and inspiration to be found in blogging. on any given day, you can read a post that makes you laugh or cry. you can be inspired to try something new or pass on a few thought-provoking words. i can get lost in the nuance of words, the heart-touching stories, the lovely images and the wealth of creativity. i am touched by so many and so much in my blogging journeys each day.

i created the above photo as a blog award -- the hopeful award, to be given to blogs that are filled with hope, that touch and inspire me. this week the hopeful award goes to:

cindy at treasures in my heart has taught me about the heartbreak of loss and the battle to continue to live a life of hope. i'm humbled by her hopeful spirit and giving nature. always sending hugs your way, cindy!

trish at nana's living the dream posted this week about some serious health problems she is facing and how she is starting down a new path to get better. her attitude and request for prayers filled my heart with belief in the wonderful healing power of a can-do attitude. bless you, trish!

who is filling your heart with hope and inspiration this week? please feel free to accept this award and pass it on to others. let's get it going and keep it going, friends!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

nature's graffitti

nature has a wonderful way of carving its own grafitti. here if you look close you'll see that nature carved a heart just to the right of these two knots.

this early morning mother nature created a crayon-colored sky.

i see the head of a snake. and you?

here i see an aerial view of the earth with mountain ranges and rivers. it's really a close-up of a huge boulder in my dad's yard as is the one immediately above it.

it's fun to look for these little hidden surprises thru the lens of my camera.

enjoying coffee this morning and about to go out on the patio with my hubbie who returned from his nova scotia business trip yesterday afternoon. his warm hug and wonderful sense of humor were just the medicine i needed!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


i'm feeling the passing of time today. it is heavy on my heart. there's just never enough time to do everything i want to do. i don't worry too much about the things i need to do. my need to do list is fairly manageable. it's the things i want to do that are making me melancholy. remember when we were kids and it felt like the summer was so long. we had all the time in the world to run and play and leisurely hang out. no responsibilities never felt so good as in those innocent days.

as much as i adore fall, i do think that it intensifies this feeling in me. i find myself trying to do it all, drink it all in, savoring every nuance, taste, and sensation that is fall. it also has me asking why we didn't kayak more this summer. why didn't i have jenna over to play in the little pool on the patio? i try so hard to live my life without regrets but this sensation that time is spinning past me is well, just annoying! big sigh!

i just laughed out loud as i thought what my daughter megan would say to me right now. she'd say: "get your butt off the computer and go out and take some photos or a bike ride!!" and, as always, she's right! i've given in to this melancholy and i just need to fight back.

our local homemade custard shop closes for the summer/fall in 9 days. i'm off to have a double chocolate! nothing kicks a sad mood better than chocolate, right? what do you do when you're feeling sad?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

dayton's best-kept secret

labor day weekend we tooled around dayton with our cameras and stumbled into carillon park. i'd never been there and was simply delighted by the history and vintage ambiance. there are exhibits dedicated to the wright brothers, transportation in the early days of dayton and ncr corporation. i've decided it's dayton's best-kept secret. i've lived here for over 10 years and had no idea how cool of a place it is.

bill and i have matching nikon d-60's and a young man asked if we were with the newspaper. we got a kick out of it and joked about making up our own business cards for a high brow newspaper with fictitious names. we were asked the same thing in downtown dayton that day. when we tell people no we're just amateur photographers they look at us with just a hint of suspicion. kind of sad but i guess it is hard to have a trusting nature in the world today. i think i'll make myself a press badge that reads "dorky amateur photographer (harmless)". i often think how fun it would be to get paid to ramble around and take photos all day. that badge would read "hopeless romantic".

take care, all!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

sights & sounds of autumn

i'm savoring every minute of this glorious season! wish i could walk in the woods and play hooky every day with my camera! the sights, the smells, the sounds make me feel alive! i found this video on youtube and i love it. the song is falling leaves - song for autumn . . . wonderful!

Monday, September 14, 2009


i've always prided myself on being able to entertain myself. i like my own company and am rarely bored. there's always something interesting to do or read at my house. although i love my hubbie dearly it is always a nice break when he's gone for the evening. but, this week finds me completely alone for the first time in over 16 years. bill left friday morning to fly to nova scotia on business. the trip to the vet and the heartbreaking decision to say goodbye to presley saturday morning were done alone. the drive to indiana and digging his grave were done alone. i've been strong and hung in there fairly well. but i've learned that it is not fun to be alone. after 16 1/2 years of having presley at my side constantly and then the year of helping him get around and eat, i feel very lost. coming into the house today and not having him here waiting for me was almost surreal. i keep thinking that i've forgotten to do something and catch myself "checking in" on him as i did constantly for months. i humbly vow that i won't ever wish for a few minutes alone again. i've learned that alone is a most lonely word.

heartfelt thanks to each of you who left sweet words of comfort on my last post. they meant the world to me.

tomorrow will bring a cheerful post full of hope and music. "the best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up." --mark twain--

Saturday, September 12, 2009

goodbye little buddy

rest in peace
little buddy
your pain is gone
your tired old body
light and free
you were
true to the end
a friend

rest in peace
little buddy

presley sue higinbotham king
1993 - 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

me & creativity

bill snapped this photo of me hanging out in downtown dayton last weekend. i loved how i was standing on creativity; it seemed like a perfect expression of how i'm trying to live my life these days.

i continue to teach myself how to use photoshop. tonight i challenged myself to start mastering laying two photos on top of each other. it really is quite easy to do. the art is in selecting two photos that complement and coordinate each other. here vintage sheet music is layered over robin's eggs in a nest.

i titled this one "conflicted downtown dayton". it is a combination of a dramatic cloudy shot of a highway overpass and a blurred image of a woods taken from a moving vehicle.

this is the first one i did tonight and my favorite by far. a yellow hollyhock is layered with a field of dried weeds, mostly queen anne's lace. i just adore all the texture and subtle scratched or etched look the dried weeds give to the flower.

starting tomorrow my eye will be looking for shots to use as textures and backgrounds. some ideas i have are rocks, bricks, old pavers in historic areas, sidewalks, fences and of course clouds. i hope to build a library that can be quickly pulled and used in a variety of ways.

do any of you have tricks or tips on textures, layers or backgrounds? i welcome any feedback or suggestions.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

raiding the tomatoes

this is my mom and me raiding tomatoes out of my brother david's garden last weekend. this so makes me miss living in the country with a big random country garden. even the dilapidated old shed in the background makes me feel nostalgic. as a kid my parents had a huge garden filled with every kind of vegetable -- tomatoes, leaf lettuce, onions, green beans, peas, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, beets, sweet corn. we also had a separate garden with only strawberries which we sold at a stand out by the road. close to dinner mom would send us out to the garden with orders to pick whatever veggies she needed for dinner. i recall many rotten tomato fights this time of year when often you'd find more rotten tomatoes than good ones. of course, we did a good deal of the manual labor -- planting, weeding, picking, digging. it was a kind of labor i found most satisfying, always ending with the reward of a basket of goodies to enjoy or an organized, weed-free area. getting back into the garden with my mom filled my heart with joy!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

little bird

little bird
hidden away
in the leaves
of a giant tree
watching me
watching you
are you
as enamored
with me
as i am
with you
little bird
holding your pose
for my camera
a stolen moment
in time
to cherish
and pull out
on a silent
winter's day
i recall
how i befriended
a kindred spirit
a soul mate
a precious
little bird

words & photo
(c) 2009 julie king

Monday, September 7, 2009

brown eggs

when i was young and still living at home, my mom bought eggs from a local farm. they were always brown eggs which to me have the most wonderfully rich color and texture. i admit that for years i haven't even thought about buying brown eggs even though they are available in the produce section of our grocery. last weekend hubby asked why would someone buy brown eggs. he was holding a carton of cage free grade a brown eggs from vegetarian fed hens. i said they taste better, gently took them from his hands and put them in our cart. i'm sure they were more expensive but i didn't want to compare the difference in cost. i wanted the experience of holding those brown eggs in the palm of my hand, closing my eyes and imagining i was back home again in the kitchen with mom. i wanted to be stepping out of the old tan chevy and onto the back porch at blanche fuson's house to pick up the cartons of eggs. often they were still warm from when she pulled them out from under the hens. yes, they were that fresh.

this morning, cracking open that first large brown egg for an omelet i thought yes, you can go back in time. maybe only in your mind's eye and your heart and your romanticized memory but it can be done. and, it is a journey i cherish.

and, yes, the brown eggs DO taste better.

p.s. brandi asked why are some eggs white and some brown. here you go, btrandi: White eggs come from white chickens and brown eggs come from brown-ish chickens. Most of the eggs in your supermarket come from the following breeds of chickens: the White Leghorn, the Rhode Island Red, the New Hampshire, and the Plymouth Rock.

White Leghorn chickens are white and lay white eggs. Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire and Plymouth Rock chickens are all reddish brown and lay brown or brown-speckled eggs.

don't you just love google??!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

lonely autumn tree

"lonely autumn tree"
mixed media collage
18" x 18" x 3/4" solid aspen
(c) 2009 julie king

some of you asked if i would please show more details on how i create my mixed media collages. as i like to say, "ask and you shall receive." the top photo shows my "lonely autumn tree" finished except for paint on the outside edges. in the photo immediately above i've covered the board with layers of several different scrapbook papers and vintage sheet music, etc. i then rolled on several different colors of paint and added a wide variety of rubber stamps in chestnut roan color. the circles to the left were added with acrylic paints -- i just dipped different sized bottles into the paint on my pallet and dabbed the circles on. next i sketched out the tree and built the foundation by tearing tissue paper into small pieces and applying it with mod podge. i made it very bumpy for lots of texture and added an extra heavy coat of mod podge to the top of the tissue. i set it aside to dry for several hours. i want the tissue paper to be very hard.

i stamped some brown kraft paper with lots of different rubber stamps using dark brown ink. i tore the paper into strips and mod podged it down onto the tissue paper. i use a great deal of pressure to force the brown paper down into the creases of the tissue paper. i want the bark to be very bumpy and fissured.

i tore small leaves out of different colors of scrapbook paper and then used this rubber stamp to stamp across the leaves. i love the details and extra layers this creates.

here i added the leaves to the branches; i went for a very sparse look.

i like to use the edge of a pastel to sweep over the top of the bark so that it picks up bits of color. i used orange, brown and just a touch of deep teal blue. i used a bit of paper towel to smooth the pastel lines out just a hair.

i used an old small paintbrush to add chestnut roan rubber stamp ink around all the edges and then a cretacolor deep brown charcoal pencil to add an edge around all the elements.

although the top photo doesn't show it, i used metallic gold and bronze paint on this piece which give a wonderful shine in the light.

off to indiana to visit family today!

Friday, September 4, 2009

put down your cell phones

put down your cell phones
and talk to me
look me in the eye
communicate face to face
make small talk
share a meaningful
story about your day
make me laugh
make me cry
make it real
human to human
not electronic
to electronic

put down your cell phones
enjoy the scenery
see the clouds make
sparkling reflections
on the buildings you pass by
see the shadows rolling
along beside you
commune with nature
sing a happy song
laugh at the billboards
live in the moment
free of attachment
to technology

put down your cell phones
the world wide web
will wait
your parents are aging
your kids are growing up
all too fast
you'll never get these
moments back again
facebook, twitter, you tube
won't hug you back after
a hard day at work
don't let the human touch die
let your voice be heard

put down your cell phones

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


loving this necklace i bought from kelly at the happy shack!! she is a sweet bloggy friend a wonderful photographer and artist. please check out her blog here and her etsy shop here. you'll be glad you did!

thanks, kelly for your inspiration and friendship!!

stamp of approval

have you ever thought about which things you've said, done or made would warrant a stamp of approval? what if you had your own personal stamp? maybe it says "i'm proud" or "good deed" or just "stamp of approval". what would you stamp? would the list be long or short? funny or serious?

if you've read this blog for any time at all, you'll know that i'm a list-maker. when i first started thinking about my stamp of approval list, i don't quite know. it's just a little hobby of mine that i use to wile away a few otherwise wasted minutes like when i'm riding in the car to work or brushing my teeth. usually when i think of something that i could potentially put on the list it is quickly negated by a regret i have. it's like a giant pendulum scale swinging back and forth between things i'm proud of and things i regret. mind you, these are fleeting, instantaneous thoughts. breezy and flitting rather than heavy and serious. just a pasttime.

if forced to pick just one accomplishment to stamp, it would be raising my two kids. i'm equally proud and fulfilled by that accomplishment. not a week goes by that i don't think how wonderfully they have each turned out. of course, like me, they are each a work in progress accumulating their own stamp of approval list and regrets list. i so hope they each feel the scale is heavily swinging on the approval side.

i posted a little poem here a while back that said "i did my best, forget the rest". for now, i'm taking that on as my stamp of approval. maybe i'll even have a little rubber stamp made that says just that. it would look cute on matt and megan's forearms. hee hee

how about each of you? what would your stamp say?


is what i want to be
easily hidden in the
pocket of a poet
a merry wanderer
along for the ride
the thrill of
magical words
spoken in sing song rhyme
seeing the lovely dale
as we top the softly
rising hill
stopping for a
simple meal
of hard bread
and cheese
an apple
snapped from
the bough of
a pregnant tree
sated with
food and fresh air
napping in the sun
a ballad spun
from the tongue
of my oh-so-clever
who views the world
as his
ever feeling