Saturday, February 16, 2013

Love Rituals

So, here we are, two days after Valentine's Day, that ubiquitous day each year when we succomb to consumerism and spend way too much money trying to show the ones we love how much we love them.  I believe that love should be expressed every day of the year.  I make it a practice to tell my loved ones that I do love them at every parting - even if it is only for a run to the grocery store.  Might sound morbid to some, but I never know if this will be the last time I see each person.
Sampling of Love Inspired ATCs featured in this post.
My kiddos are grown, and I still express my love for them every time I get a chance.  On evening or late night phone calls, I still go through their childhood bed-time ritual chant:  Good night, sweet dreams, sleep well, I love you!  They laugh and repeat it back to me.  And I know that they will pass this on to their children when they come along.

Another love ritual, as my children depart my home for thiers:  I kiss and hug them, say "I love you" and "Drive Safely".  This is my blessing upon them, and prayers for God's protection on their journey.

I Adore my Husband
My husband and I have our love rituals, too.  Although we keep separate schedules (he works nights and I work days), we always say "good night" with a hug and a kiss when one or the other of us goes off to bed.  I cherish each moment we have together, and I know he does, too.  This outward expression reflects the day-to-day little things we do for one another.

This little card is a hand-drawn heart done on an acrylic background.  I stamped the medalion-like message "Adore" on top of the dried paint, using black pigment ink.  I wanted to make the word stand out as a focal so I stamped it again on white paper, cut out the word, inked the edges and glued it on top of the original image.

How does art fit into these love rituals?  I try to incorporate love into every thing I make. Whether it be a journal cover, scrapbook page or ATC, a little bit of my heart goes into each item.  The photos in this post are some non-traditional Valentine ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) that I created this past week.  I used an old pack of playing cards, painting each with Gesso to cover the faces, and adding acrylic paints.  They are my ode to art journaling, and tell a story about my love for my family. 

A Non-Traditional Valentines Message
I used a stencil to create the butterfly on top of an acrylic background.  Then just lots of layering and experimenting with brush strokes, in gesso and acrylic paint, until I was happy with the results. I think I painted over the butterfly two or three times with white gesso, because I didn't like the outcome.  Never one to trash a project, I just keep re-doing it until I like it.

The dots are acrylic paint applied using a strip of sequin waste as a stencil.

Hand-drawn "Love"
Again, hand-drawn heart on acrylic background, layering acrylics until I acheived the look I desired.  The four little orange hearts are created using a heart-shaped paper punch, punched repeatedly on a scrap card, and stenciled using acrylic paint.  I wrote the word "Love" using black acrylic paint and brush.
This represents a love ritual of mine:  I like to represent my loved ones in my art, and those four hearts are my husband and children.

Blue Bird of Happiness

As a non-traditional Valentines message, this card expresses a wish for the blessings of The Blue Bird of Happiness in the lives of my loved ones.  I think Happiness should truly be expressed as Contentment, as we each strive for fulfillment in our daily lives.  This is the blessing I wish for everyone.

The bird in this card is acrylic paint applied through a stencil, then layered with a brush.  The background is white gesso, covered with Tim Holtz Distress Ink, using a sponge.  I applied the dots using acrylic paint on a sponge through sequin waste ribbon.

This says it all...

Hopelessly Devoted to you...  Acrylics, overstamped with script image and three flowers.  This card incorporates another of my art rituals: an image repeated three times, to represent my three children.  This is also visually fulfilling, as the human mind responds well to representations of three.  My children are so well acquainted with this ritual of mine, that if I don't include a "three-peat" in my art, they comment on its absence.  I love them!

As I thought about what words I wanted to use in this card, that song from the play/movie "Grease" kept repeating in my head.

More music-inspired love images.  Way back in 1987, Bryan Adams released "Hearts on Fire".  My heart is still on fire for my hubby, Lee!

What's the secret to this heart still being on fire after many years of marriage?  Don't let your love rituals become stale.  Every time you say "I love you", really mean it.  My heart still clenches and my pulse skips a beat every time he says those words.

It is lovely to be in a relationship with someone who makes you smile.  It doesn't have to be every day, and there will be tough days in life where it is difficult to smile.  But we don't have to let those days weigh upon our hearts, or define our existence.  During the trying times, think upon the things and people that make you smile, and remember that "this, too, shall pass".

I broke out my felt-tip calligraphy pens for the doodling on this one.  I wanted to set the word "you" apart from the rest, so I doodled round that one, too.

One word... Love
Yes, well, one word says it all.  Love truly is what makes my world go around.  Everything I do, I do for love.

Love doesn't have to be perfect, and can be composed of many layers - just like this card.  If you look closely, you can see images beneath the word, where this card started out as something else entirely.  As with this card, trials cannot be erased or blotted out.  However, they can be used as a base for a re-building of love and affection, a forever rememberance to the testament that is the many layers of love.