Monday, November 22, 2010

she pushed through the pain

she pushed thru the pain and tried to keep up the pace set by her two little rugamuffins. they were tres excited to be out for their first walk of the day, noses to the ground, tail stubs raised and warm breath puffing out in steamy clouds. she held tight to the leash and reminded herself to take a couple motrin after the walk. a gentle breeze brought whiffs of a nearby farm to her nose while the sun seeped into her stiff morning joints.

catching the inquisitive spirit of her walking companions, she admired the dewy glisten of all she passed. what a lovely morning! most of fall's bright colors were faded but the sun and dew were partnered up this day to reveal a magical wonderland to be enjoyed. she'd been so caught up in the changes in her life that she had not truly enjoyed all of nature's fall bounty. she thought about how many things in life are like that -- there for the taking but overlooked by stress and confusion and the business of life.  one of the reasons she'd started this new journey was to simplify her life and have time to enjoy all the nuances and well, to just slow down.

eventually the girls tuckered out and she herded them toward home. thinking that she had to put her intentions into action, she made a fresh cup of coffee, grabbed her nikon and loaded the girls into the car. she smiled to herself as she thought what a delight it was to have nowhere to go and everywhere to go all wrapped up together. retracing her morning walking path she stopped the car frequently to capture all those images she'd admired. each one was a testament to her commitment to slow down and savor each moment. it had been some time since she'd allowed herself the freedom to simply live.

and as she clicked away she realized that those aches and pains that had slowed her down earlier had flown right up into the sky, fading away as quickly as her spirits soared. these were the life lessons she needed to grab onto and hold dear -- act on impulses, get out and enjoy nature, never feel sorry for yourself. live, just live!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

need it, want it, gotta have it NOW

need it • want it • gotta have it
mixed media collage
8 x 8 x 1.25 wood panel
(c) 2010 julie king

funky fanny has been feeling a little down in the dumps lately. her mojo is down, way down. there's no kick in her step or air fanning her tail. she has the blues, a case of the slumps, a lessening of the proverbial flowing juices. faced with this depressing dilemma, she does what every sassy birdie does in time of need. she flits to the mall for a bit of retail therapy. you know the kind -- the need it, want it, gotta have it now adrenaline-pumping kick in the pants each and every one of us girls needs to experience now and again. look at her -- she so full of mojo, she's glowing.

hee hee -- loving this new series i'm working on. it is fun, fun, fun. my mojo is glowing as well -- but with me, it's from creative happiness. fanny is available in my etsy shop!

what gets your mojo going?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

happy cake day

happy cake day
mixed media collage
8 x 8 x 1 wood panel
(c) 2010 julie king

i'm wonderfully, creatively, joyfully, colorfully inspired these days, my friends and i'm loving every second of it!

"happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open."  ~john barrymore

Monday, November 1, 2010

little seeds

little seeds
listen closely as i share
my message of hope 
with you

little seeds
hope is enduring
and soulful
and the future for us all

little seeds
wear hope like a cape
that will keep you
warm and secure

little seeds
fly, fly away now
and deliver our message of hope
to the world

Sunday, October 31, 2010

halloween eve

i couldn't imagine a better place to spend
this halloween eve than the cemetery. 
there were no costumes
or bustling crowds of children.
only me and the shadows
and the sound of the wind
rustling the crispy leaves.

this lone angel kept watch
while my nikon captured
mother nature's
late fall beauty.

one of the things
i love most
about this particular cemetery
is the vast variety of headstones
from old to new,
from modest to grand,
from big to small,
there's intricate detail
to be admired all around.

this halloween eve
i did not wear a costume
or beg for candy
or dip for apples
but i did stand tall
in the cemetery
paying homage
to all those who
peacefully rest
surrounded by

Friday, October 29, 2010


dear, sweet, nellie, the moment i saw you i knew you were coming home with me. hidden away behind an oversized armoire your essence of small perfection was a siren call of friendship. i saw your beauty shining thru despite the dust and years of misuse. in you, i felt a kindred spirit, a knowing that our journeys had been similar. once smooth and shiny in youth, your scrapes and worn edges revealed character that had developed over time. leaning close, i heard your soft whisperings and yearnings for a home to be at peace, a home to simply be who you were always meant to be. touching the soft patina of your side, i said come, come home with me. i will help restore your beauty and you will encourage me to spread my wings and fly free. free to be joyously creative at my pace and in my own way.

yes, nellie is the old drawers i posted about here. isn't she just lovely? i'm sketching and planning the next step in her renewal (collaged drawer fronts, words of inspiration?!). despite the fact that i bought her for my bedroom she has wandered into my dining room and made herself quite at home, adding a bright spot to the middle of my little cottage home. she and i are settling in quite nicely, thank you very much!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the one place in the world

she slipped on her worn tennis shoes and headed out the door. a brisk breeze ruffled her hair as she stepped onto the sidewalk. this was her first walk late at night since returning "home". heading south she shuffled thru a large pile of crisp maple leaves, swinging her feet high to choreograph a whirling leaf dance of reds and golds. two fenced dogs snuffled their hello and she whispered back "hello, my neighbor doggies. isn't it a lovely night?"

admiring the twinkling pumpkin lights and lit jack-o-lanterns on doorsteps and porches, she slipped from darkness to light and back again. although it was closed, she hopped up the library steps wondering how many times her feet had climbed these very steps in her lifetime -- so many trips, so many books from childhood thru middle age. and now she was back and could enjoy this friendly literary place once again.

chuckling to herself, she slipped a couple of letters into the mail drop box next to the post office. the experience delighted her -- flooded by street light, sliding the letters into the slot, hearing the whoosh and then the soft plop. yes, these were the simple joys she had longed for, the kind of things most people take for granted. the essence of simple living was vibrating in her life like never before.

main street was deserted at this late hour allowing her to leisurely window shop and peek into closed doors. signs of construction work at willie and reds told her the grand opening couldn't be far off. a collection of antique bottles caught her eye at reed's antique store and a sign announced free painting lessons at the art center every saturday afternoon.

a lone pickup truck slid by as she prepared to cross the street. she liked how susan had the windows decorated at the old oak corner shop. she made a mental note to come browse on saturday. beachlers furniture store was now an antique mall. she wondered if she could find an old twin size metal headboard there. she also wondered what she looked like as she stood against the large window pressing her hands and face close for a better view. yes, she thought, i'm still weird my hagerstown neighbors, i'm still weird.

further on, she noticed a storefront for sale. it was small and cute and her mind raced with ideas for what she could do there. perhaps a bakery with home baked pies and cupcakes with art on display (for sale of course). maybe a small design firm (one creative woman strong!). maybe a consignment shop of homemade items from across the country. oh yes, she had dreams, this girl. she had dreams. and she felt in her heart that this was the one place in the world where they were sure to come true. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

the last hurrah

 each gorgeous fall day we've been having lately has me thinking 'oh this could be the last hurrah". we may not see a 70+ degree day for 7 months. that red rose is the last one on the bush, hanging on for dear life. getting to see the sunrise on my way to work (late) one morning this week was so bittersweet.

 so i try to spend some time every day with my nikon in hand, hitting the streets and country roads for some sunshine, fresh air and inspiration.

my nest-building is coming along nicely. i made new curatins for the dining room today and i love them. pics soon . . . maybe tomorrow!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"sweatered yellow bird"
mixed media collage
8 x 8 x 1.5 wood panel
(c) 2010 julie king

i've never really been one to sketch a lot. for me, the fun in creating art has always been about all the color. but a couple of months ago i bought a clearance sketchbook and already it is about 1/3 full of doodles and words and scribbles and art ideas galore. how freeing it is to simply let my mind and hand wander freely with no destination and no pressure to create a finished design. i've noticed one of the patterns in my doodling is accessorizing birds with cute hats, sweaters, scarves and boots. i've also been humanizing a lot of inanimate objects. i can tell that i should have been sketching all along as my creative mind is more free and original when in sketch mode.

maybe my creative burst is at least in part because i'm not watching tv these days. when i first moved into this sweet little cottage my daughter gave me an old hand-me-down tv that fit just perfectly on the $20 goodwill entertainment center i purchased. the first two weeks i watched glee and grey's anatomy and had it on for background noise a few times.  but alas on tuesday night it would not even turn on. thank goodness glee was a re-run. i may buy a tv eventually but for now i am quite content.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

simple abundance = old drawers

 "simple abundance"
8 x 8 x 1.25 wood panel
mixed media
(c) 2010 julie king

in my life, i've had it all.

blessed with loving parents and 4 wonderful siblings, my early life was humble and happy.  

raising 2 children as a single parent was a gift beyond measure.

i've had love, lost love, found love and walked away when love wasn't enough.

less than a globetrotter, i've traveled just enough to be in awe of god's vast creations.

i've had a new car, a new house, new furniture, diamonds, all the latest technology and enough clothes to fill 2 large closets.

yes, i've had it all, and my most profound lesson in life is that all i really need and want is simple abundance and the time to share it with my loving family and friends.

as i start my new journey as a single woman (again) i long for simplicity in all that i do and all that i own.

for example, i want old drawers. yes, you read that correctly. i want old drawers . . .

. . . this kind of old drawers!!! i bought this heavy old solid wood dresser for $20 at the salvation army family store. i love it! i plan to paint it and antique it and collage it and make it a personal work of art. maybe it will be a family heirloom one day. you know THAT piece of furniture that the kids and grandchildren will fight over when i'm gone. hee hee (my daughter megan is groaning right now!!)

simple abundance . . . treasuring old over new, slow and meaningful instead of fast and trite. living fully to be rather than working tirelessly to have. time in the art room to create to my heart's content. the little 8 x 8 wood panel piece is an experiment in a new simple style that i am so enjoying. more to come and an etsy shop update too!

what does simple abundance mean to you?!

Monday, October 11, 2010

october sundays

october sundays
oh how i relish
your vibrancy

your sunshine
fills my heart
with longing

few in number
your glory
fades so quickly

i cling
to your
bittersweet nectar

holding it
close to my heart
and soul

on cold winter days
i will recall
your loveliness

and yearn
for an encore
when october comes again

Monday, October 4, 2010

i am enough

i am strong enough
to carry the world
on my shoulders

i am vulnerable enough
to ask for help
when i stumble

i am proud enough
to demand the respect
i'm due

i am humble enough
to admit the mistakes
i've made

i am confident enough
to laugh at myself
on good days and bad

i am woman enough
to take it all
and give it all

i am enough

Saturday, October 2, 2010

seek rejoice

up at 6:30 this morning determined to get things organized around here. the above is what the sunrise looks like as it streams thru my front living room window. loooove! my art piece reads "seek rejoice" which feels so appropo in my life right now.

after a wonderful cup of coffee i started steaming and scraping the wallpaper off the bathroom walls. bluck on the color, darkness and vertical ugliness of this wallpaper. can't wait to get it done (TODAY!!) so i can paint and hang the pretty shower curtain i made.

time for a second cup of coffee and some more steam heat!

Friday, October 1, 2010

bright spot of the day

"bright spot"
mixed media collage
8" x 8" x 1 1/8" wood panel
(c) 2010 julie king

one of my favorite bright spots each day is that first wonderful cup of morning coffee. i drink mine a little on the weak side with lots of creamer and sugar. since i moved to hagerstown and i'm driving to dayton to work each day i don't have my coffee until i get to work. i'm confident that the hour-long drive paired with a full cup of coffee would not sit well on my old, too-small, overactive bladder. so i endure the caffeine-free drive anticipating that first smooth sip at my desk. heaven!!

"bright spot" is created on the first of several wood painting panels i bought from andrew's reclaimed etsy shop. i love these wood panels made from reclaimed cedar. not only are they smooth, lightweight and easy to work on, they also smell wonderfully aromatic. for this piece i used acrylics and india ink on the background and then used a few small pieces of that grippy, bumpy shelf liner to apply texture. i used a dark gray charcoal pencil to draw the cup and then i used acrylics and pearl ex pigments to add the cup and the tea color. tea is rubberstamped and the butterfly and words "bright spot of the day" are collaged paper.

i'm working on a shop update and this will be one of several originals listed soon!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

orange serendipity

"orange serendipity"
mixed media collage
(c) 2010 julie king

orange serendipity
azure-colored skies
floating on happiness
as the world flies by

i started this piece back in blah and showed you an early sneak peek here. i so enjoy serendipitous art where i have no idea what i'm going to create when i start and just let the muses carry me away. i used scrapbook paper for the wheels and then a palette knife for all the painted elements. in person this has so much texture since i like to layer color upon color with the knife. this is the biggest piece i've done in a while and it's going to hang in the living room of my new little cottage-like house. it will be a daily reminder to live each day with joy and let serendipity carry me away whenever possible.

where has serendipity taken you lately? i'd really like to know.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

coming home

she pulled her sweatshirt a little tighter, warding off the first evening chill. her bike whizzed by the ornate rock wall entrance to the town cemetery. she smiled to herself as she thought this used to be one of my favorite haunts. the last time she had ridden here had been well over 12 years ago. just like then, she loved the hush of the sleeping cemetery at dusk.  like nothing else since her return, riding in the cemetery was symbolic of coming home to her beloved hometown.

turning out of the cemetery made her think of presley and the long walks they had together morning and night. she missed him and thought how he would have loved coming home as well. she remembered how she was once referred to as "the lady who walks her dog" by a young girl. she liked that description; it fit her quite nicely.

riding uphill toward north washington street she could hear mr. avery commentating the JV football game.  mr. avery, her senior english teacher, had colorfully commentated the games when she was a student here. it was comforting to know that some things never change, one of the things she liked best about living in a small town.

as she headed toward the cute little house she was renting, her soul sang along to the chiming of the christian church chimes. she'd missed that evening melody so much. as she got off her bike, her neighbor from across the street walked over to introduce herself and offer a heartfelt welcome to the neighborhood. she'd missed that kind of friendliness in the city as well. 

as she stepped onto her porch she whispered a little "i'm sorry" out into the universe for those she had hurt and disappointed by making this choice. but in her heart of hearts she knew her truth -- coming home meant being completely true to herself for the first time in a long, long time. and it was so right.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

she knew her path to happiness

she flicked the turn signal to right and eased her faithful black van off the too-busy interstate onto a rambling country road. rolling down the windows with relish, she breathed in the bittersweet smells of fall. oak leaves danced across her path as the dried corn stalks swayed along in the fields. sun streams infused her body with warmth and invigorated her soul.

at the sharp s curve, she passed an abandoned farm with a barn lot of ancient, rusted farm equipment. she kept meaning to write a poem about this combine cemetery of steel workhorses put out to pasture, forgotten, yet lovely in their own way. she longed to stop and wander the relics with her nikon in hand. one day soon, she promised herself.

almost-ripe pumpkins glowed in the sun reminding her of the fall activities she had missed the last few years. she made a mental list of the things she wanted to do this year -- the orchard, baking bread with her daughter, carving pumpkins, greeting trick-or-treaters in a funny costume. she’d missed so much as her joy had waned.

her mind turned to her life and the choices she was struggling to make. she’d always believed that every gain in life is balanced with a loss. sometimes the potential loss is evident but most times it sneaks up on you, slowly becoming an unwelcome anchor. she’d been weighed down by her personal anchor for way too long. she knew her path to happiness meant hurting someone else and that it would take a great deal of courage to be healthy again.

determined to enjoy the delicious day, she randomly punched #6 on her dashboard CD player, smiling in anticipation. it had been some time since she’d felt like singing in the car. the opening notes of keith urban’s “days go by” had her foot tapping and her fingers dancing. just like the old days she sang out loud, this time letting the years of hurt and isolation float away. and she thought, so this is what happy feels like.

so many changes in my life right now, all too personal to let out into the world yet. please know that i am feeling better, finding my way and rediscovering the blessed joys in the simplest things in life.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

sounds of autumn

most people love fall for its sights and flavors -- the brightly-colored trees, pumpkins in the field and fresh vegetable soup with warm apple crisp. i love all of that and more but this week i've been enamored with the sounds of approaching fall. driving with my windows down the wind makes a wonderful rustling sound thru the crispening corn. we've heard 3 large v's of geese fly over the house in the evening, their honks resounding over the roof and their wings makes a soft whoofing. chattering children on their way to the bus stop are soon followed by the screech of the school bus brakes and the creak of the opening door. sounds carry father and clearer on the breezes of the cooler air and my heart sings along with the crickets and cicadas as the sun sets.

i've had a rather rough summer, feeling run down, depressed and just completely out of sorts. hubby would describe me with 2 words -- grumpy and emotional. i confess that it's all true. i go the dr. on wednesday to get the results of some blood work i had taken last week. although i'm not 100% i have felt better with the cooler weather. i call it getting my fall fix -- the best medicine ever.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

the girls

zoe on the top and bella on the bottom -- the girls!
they bring our lives so much joy!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

mr. moon

one of my favorite things to do is sing songs with my grandkids. jenna and i like to sing the "ants go marching" song over and over. she thinks it's funny to come up with made-up nonsensical words that rhyme with each of the numbers. layla likes me to sing the mr. moon song to her as she swings her legs in the car or dances in our living room. ben likes to lay his head on my shoulder while i rub his back and sing just about anything as long as he's curled up in his grandma julie's arms.

the appearance of that big late summer, early fall moon in the sky this week inspired this mixed media piece. it's an old piece of pine covered with dap spackling paste. i used rubber stamps, binder clips and a pencil to carve shapes in the wet paste. the house and the moon are covered in tissue paper and then painted and chalked with pastels. i love creating like this -- all loosey goosey, adding lots of texture and layers and being totally spontaneous.

i have several more of these spackle paste pieces in process. therapy -- art therapy -- who knew it came in a plastic tub of dap paste!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


this is the second in my fall sepia series shot at the arboretum. even though this apple tree looked rather scrawny and heat fatigues it had several nicely shaped and ripening apples.

hubby is building shelves in my art room to help reign in the chaos of  my large scrapbook paper supply. other than that, we're having an easy, lazy weekend.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


insomnia + restless creative spirit + 5,657 photos in archive = delicious late night photoshop creations!!

i can't sleep. my knee is better but still makes walking a bit tough. so i've gotten out the trusty bike. when the sun starts to set and the air gets a bit cooler i hop on my bike and ride like the wind. amazingly, my knee is just fine when i'm riding. in fact, i think the motion is helping to relax, soothe and heal the torn meniscus. after my bike ride i'm wired so sleeping is postponed until i've unwound with my main man mac and his trusty side kick photoshop.

the above started out as a full color photo i took at the arboretum at lunch on monday. it was 90+ degrees that day and let's just say i was less than fresh at work that afternoon. but that's another story. back to the photo -- first i turned it into a black & white photo. then i opened color balance and added lots of extra red color. i had no idea that i could create a sepia-toned photo that way but you can and i did and i love it! next i used the stylize filter to add glowing edges. the font is potrzebie regular with the opacity pulled back to 82 so that the text blends into the background a bit.

i'm thinking that this is the first in a series of fall-themed sepia photos. who can guess what object will be next in the series? hint: it starts with a and falls from a tree.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

i shot this photo on saturday! the first hints of autumn are peeking thru. now if we can just get a break in the weather and have some cooler days and nights!

hubby had the last 2 days off work so he did some sprucing up in the backyard and on the patio. he placed our patio firepit right in the middle so we're all set for a nice weenie and marshmallow fire the first cool weekend.

my high school class lost a wonderful classmate and christian family man this week. he'd valiantly fought cancer for a few years and was such an inspiration to all of us on how to live with grace and love and a lighthearted sense of humor. his passing at 57 has me thinking that we never really know if what we think of as the fall of our life will be the end of our life. hug your partner, tell your children you love them and live, live, live every day to the fullest! life is full of blessings to be had, for sure.


Monday, August 9, 2010


dawn kiss
soothing mist
garden bliss

my contribution to willow's magpie tales #26. click here to read more of the creative posts with the watering can image as the inspiration.


did you lay on the ground to take that photo
why yes i did
you're weird
why yes i am

i don't know anyone else like you
thank you very much
that wasn't a compliment
oh but it was

Thursday, August 5, 2010

bohemian girl

i like it when someone asks that philosophical question "what do you want to be when you grow up?" it seems to me that no matter how old we get we are still growing and changing and trying to become our ultimate selves. i want to be a bohemian girl, throwing out the strict rules of society and living free, just for me. i'll grow my own food, raise chickens, gather eggs, bake my own bread. my feet will be bare or in sandals; my body clothed in well-worn, multi-colored hand-me downs. what little money i'll need will be made by creating art, writing and taking photos. i'm working hard to realize this dream of mine. one day soon, one day soon.

the above is my original collage on 9 x 9 x 3/4 wood. i covered the entire top and sides of the wood in dap spackling paste, using an old credit card, a palette knife and my fingers. i left lots of ridges and bumps and used bottle caps, a pencil and some rubber stamps to press shapes into the paste. i let it dry for a couple of hours and then used a very wet brush to add acrylic paints -- rubbing the color right into the still damp dap. i adored how the colors changed as they soaked into the dap. loved it so much! after a couple more hours i was able to start adding the paper collaged pieces. i had no plan at all when i started this piece. i simply dug in and let the muse lead me where she may. the next morning the dap paste had cracked, giving this piece tons of texture. i added all the other elements with charcoal, pastels, more acrylics, rubber stamp images on a vintage dress pattern and some stamps.

it's been sitting on art table for a few weeks, just waiting patiently for me to pay attention to it again.

today i snapped a few photos and started playing in photoshop, using filters and backgrounds to add extra texture and pattern to the piece. the copy reads "living simply free to be". in essence, that's what i want -- to live simply.

in this version i used curves to brighten the entire image up and thena dded a layer from my gravestone texture collection. this one reads "let me wander free a vagabond life a gypsy filled with creativity".

i have 3 more of the dap paste boards painted, waiting on collage and inspiration to be applied. can't wait to get my hands covered with glue and paint!!!