Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Little Light

A tree after all!

Even though we will not be spending Christmas in our current house, a little tree managed to squeeze inside among all of the misplaced furniture and cardboard boxes.  My husband and daughter decided to get one while I was down in Virginia visiting my father.  This tree was decorated by my daughter and 10 of her friends at her going away party.  I was very pleased to return from my trip and see this inside the front door.

If anyone wants a Christmas tree, this little fellow will be out on the curb on December 23, looking for a new home for the holidays.

My sister called late last week to say my dad was not doing very well.  I left for Roanoke, Virginia, Saturday morning and spent a couple of hours with him.  I visited him twice on Sunday.  Saying good bye to him on Sunday evening, I tried to sound upbeat, saying I would return in a couple of weeks.  We both knew that would be too long.  I called him on my way home Monday to let him know the trip was going well.  It was the last time I spoke to him.

Tomorrow, I make another trip down to Virginia for his memorial service.

There are far too many lasts lately.

And way down the road (ok, not too far now) is my new life in Charleston.  A light at the end of the tunnel.

Kermit Hogan March 20, 1928-December 3, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

First List of Lasts

Right now, I am having some trouble looking forward to the move to Charleston.  Maybe it has something to do with my father's health.  Perhaps I think to much about ALL OF THE STUFF that needs to be done.  Or maybe it is just in my nature.  Whatever.  I can't get to thinking about the firsts that will happen with my move.  I'm concentrating on the lasts.

1.  Last day without my house being filled with packing boxes.  That day has already come and gone.

2.  Last year I will see my Japanese maples in their fall glory.

3.  This morning, I completed the last piece in my studio.

4.  Last Christmas in my house.  I did not know until last week that Christmas 2011 was the last Christmas in my house.  We have decided to move on out of here before Christmas, visit family and divest and accrue presents on the way down, and greet the movers on December 27th.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Almost Here (or Almost There)

Today is another lovely day in State College, PA.  Possibly as lovely as yesterday.  October in my neck of the woods can be quite lovely.  It is coming to an end very soon.  In a few days, the high temperature here will be in the 30s.  Then the long, long winter begins.

This year, however, I get to experience an abbreviated Pennsylvania winter.  After the first of the year, I will be residing in Charleston, SC.  Jeez, I can't believe I just wrote that.  Just eight months ago, I had never set foot in Charleston.  Early this past April we went there on vacation.  By the end of our fairly brief visit, I knew that this was where I wanted to live.

And so, there we are in front of our home in downtown Charleston.  Contractors all over the city are dancing with joy.  Just look at the smiles on the faces of those suckers.  At least the toilets flush (for now).

Now there are two months of packing and planning ahead of us.  What to take.  What needs to be left behind for renters. 

We will be meeting lots of new people:  contractors, painters, electricians, plumbers.

I can't wait.

We're almost there.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Returning from Something Almost Completely Different

Tools at the Ready

Yes, it was an inspirational week at Art & Soul in Portland, OR.

I arrived early afternoon the Saturday before last.  Coffee, register for classes, empty the suitcases.  Less than an hour later I am heading for the train to take me to downtown Portland.

Eat.  Explore.  Coffee.  Wine.  Beer.  Powell's Books.

And the adventure of getting on the wrong train.  How was I to know that a new train line would be added last month?  Certainly was not on my old map.  But an hour spent going and returning in unknown parts of the city reminded me of my love for bridges and trains and my need to move on every now and then.

Monday and Tuesday, I attended a class taught by Jesse Reno. Wow! What I thought could be an extremely intimidating class taught by a pretentious ass turned out to be the experience of a lifetime. Have you ever mixed paint colors in the palm of your hand by splurting gobs of paint from gallon-sized jugs of paint topped with pump dispensers? I have and it feels damn good. And then to smear it across a clean surface, or a recently painted surface that you are just not happy with? Jesse is an enthusiastic and engaging artist.  I was way wrong to assume he would be a pretentious ass.   Wednesday and Thursday, I did an about face and took a class thought by Donna Watson. Time to slow down, plan ahead, and restrict the color palette. Restraining yet freeing. Calming. Until my precious, painted rice papers get yanked up into the brayer. I learned much, but didn't learn how to be patient. Perhaps that is better achieved in her 5-day course.

 A similarity between classes: in both I can learn from and even use my mistakes. This works well for me.

 Now, to translate what I've learned into my own art. A little difficult right now. We will be closing on our 'new' home in Charleston, SC, very soon and packing and organizing must begin. I've carved out a little time to create, but mostly what I've done so far is organize a few tools for the photo above.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

And Now, Time for Something Almost Completely Different

Destination II, 12 x 12" collage on board ©2011 Kim Hambric

Always squares!
Squares within squares!

For well over a year, I've worked with nothing but squares.

I've greatly enjoyed working within the confines of squares.  I'm not done yet.  I've got a long way to go.  I see myself as progressing within these squares.

I've turned inward lately.  Not sure why, but I know there are plenty of possible reasons.  My dad's health.  Long, cold Pennsylvania winters.  Complete lack of art sales.  My blogs have been pretty much tossed to the side.  I'm not doing those things on Etsy I'm supposed to be doing.  I'm not networking or connecting.  I am still making though.  That seems to be the point right now.

Last year at this time, I was going over my mother's death from 2010.  As autumn began, her health began to deteriorate.  By Christmas she was gone.  Last Christmas was better, yet things had changed forever.  Another winter passed in Pennsylvania.  I created and my finished art sat at home with me.  By March of this year, I knew something had to be done.  I had to go somewhere, even if I would have to return after a week.  Where could I go?

I had some money saved and my husband had stockpiled some frequent flyer miles.  I wanted to go to the last place that had made me happy.  Last summer we had visited Portland, Oregon, and my mind had been obsessed with ways to return.  Briefly we had thought about moving there, but decided against that as our friends and family are on the east coast.

So, the only solution seemed to be an Art & Soul retreat.  In just a few days I will be taking a 2-day painting class with Jessie Reno, followed by a 2-day collage class with Donna Watson. Could this be just the thing to wake me up and get me motivated? If not, there's always another solution. Shortly after signing up for these classes, my husband and I took our first trip to Charleston, SC.  Gorgeous city.  Incredible art scene.  Fantastic food.  On our last evening there, we sat in the lightly decaying courtyard of Kudu Coffee (and Beer).  I mentioned that I could, perhaps, live in a place as lovely as Charleston.  My husband agreed.  Then he said, somewhat quietly, "I'll see what I can do."  Six months later, it is done.  His work has been stretched and tweaked and expanded and altered in numerous ways.  A home has been purchased.  Vast amounts of stuff must be dealt with.  And in early January, a truck will come to pick up our belongings, and we will climb in our car and go.

More on that story later.

 Now it is time to pack for Portland.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The First Gold Leaves

Streets of Gold, 12 x 12" collage on board, ©2012 Kim Hambric

Yesterday, I noticed the first gold leaves dotting the sidewalks and streets.  Soon the trees on my street will be gold.  My favorite fall sight is a golden tree against a brilliant blue sky.  Hopefully the central Pennsylvania autumn weather will permit such a sight.

Here comes my favorite season!!

This piece is available in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Better Late than Never . . .


48!, 6 x 6" collage on board, ©2012 Kim Hambric

This piece was completed sometime before July 14th.  After that, I would have put 49! on this piece.  Every now and then, I will include my age in my pieces.  Just to remind myself that I'm in the midst of a mid-life crisis.

2012 has been a slow year for me.  Hopefully with the coolness of fall, my energy will return.  If not then, I'll find something else to blame.

This piece is available in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The American Way

American Way I, 12x12" collage on board, ©2012 Kim Hambric

American Way II, 12x12" collage on board, ©2012 Kim Hambric

American Way III, 12x12" collage on board, ©2012 Kim Hambric

American Way IV, 12x12" collage on board, ©2012 Kim Hambric

What?  I haven't blogged about these before?!?

Well, here they are, and what a great time I had making them.  Ah, the pleasure of scissoring into old geography books and taking my revenge.  I was never an outstanding student of geography, but I was, and remain, very interested.

Here in the United States, we are a varied people.  Yet we often like the same things.  We like our grand buildings, we enjoy romanticizing the past, and the labeling of individuals is quite important to us.  We crave the wide open road and broad views.  We like gambling and railroads, circuses and speed.  We are gregarious people, but we need the privacy of our houses and property.

I'm loving the graphicness of these pieces.  They are strong.  I intend on making more.  But first, I need to gather up another load of vintage geography books.

Three of these pieces are for sale in my Etsy Shop.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Flight of the Suburbanites

Flight of the Suburbanites II, 12x12" ©2012 Kim Hambric

Yes, I fell in love with green again.  It may be a short affair.  Time will tell.

This is the second in a series of three (so far).  Flight of the suburbanites is a tale of those who go in search of the newest place to get away.  Is there a place to live where nature still exists?  How far out can we go?  Should one just return to the city?

A recent discussion with a Texas suburbanite set my gears in motion.  After living five years in a new house in an expansive new subdivision set among many other expansive new subdivisions, he informed us that it looked like it might be time to move.  Undesirables were moving in.  The buses were going to bring workers back and forth from the city.  Cultures were going to mix.  Onward and outward!  Or perhaps, he said, to a "used" house in a more upscale, established suburb.

Put on the top hat!  Grab the cane!  It's time for the turkeys to move on out.  Perhaps, once again, the birds will sing.  The trees will be green come spring.  Just remember, there are still going to be skunks, insects, and those pesky weeds.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Going Green

Not an environmental thing, though.

After two years of avoiding green, I decided I needed it in my artwork again.

So, the gathering of greens began.  However, there was no green paint in my collection.  A run to Michael's was in order.  I made a beeline for my usual paints, and, beneath the red clearance sign, was a smattering of bottles in a handful of ghastly colors.  Green not among them.  But there was a budget brand, and I figured that would be good enough.

But what about papers.  I would need some green papers.  I sponge painted a few vintage book pages, but I needed something else.  The something else was a vintage Better Homes and Gardens "New Garden Book."  Now, I don't hesitate long when taking the scissors to a vintage book, but this one was a bit different.  This book sat on my mother's desk for decades.  It might have belonged to my grandmother, who actually had an interest in gardening.  But, for my mother, it was probably an albatross of a book.  For some reason, she must have felt she couldn't throw it away.

My mother was NOT a gardener.  I'm not sure I ever saw her insert a plant or a seed into the ground.  When I was a child, I do recall a small grave-sized plot of land that was given over to petunias.  This teeny plot was located on the fringe of our 1/2-acre lot.  A nasty little stepchild type of garden.  Something you had to leave the house through the basement door to see.  I felt so sorry for all of the brilliant awning-striped petunias that spent their lonely days sizzling in the sun.  Perhaps my mother doted on them when she went out to hang wet laundry on the clothes line.  If so, I never saw that.

The garden book has sat among my chopped up tomes since my mother died and I brought the book home to live with me.  Every now and then I would look through its sparse information and dim photographs.  Then, as I was gathering greens, I gave the book another chance, and the book finally had a job to do.   Each chapter in the book has a divider page in a slightly faded rich green.  A stunning green!!!!  (see scraps marked "trees" and "shrubs" in top photo).  I convinced myself that my mother would approve of this book finally being put to use.  I've seen this book many times before in used bookstores and scoffed at its awkward three-ring-binderness and its mundane information.  If only I knew then of the rich green inside.

Now I am off to the studio to finish up this newest piece and begin another one with the pieces that did not make it into this first piece.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Destination II, 12 x 12", collage on board ©2012 Kim Hambric

Thanks everyone for the birthday gift suggestions for my nieces.  Something has been ordered.  (Actually one has shown up and the company neglected to send the second one.  Things must be resolved.)

Hopefully I will see them this weekend.  Typical of people their age, they move often and quickly, so chances are I will miss them.  They no doubt have destinations.  Temporary destinations.  Places to perch for a moment or so.  Bags to pack.  People to see.

I miss those days.  Wondering and planning (a bit) for whatever comes next.  Always on the lookout for the next destination.  Brushing off those pesky roots whenever they begin to emerge.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What to buy a whippersnapper

My brilliant, gorgeous, out-going nieces have just turned 21.  I have NO IDEA what to buy or do for them for their birthday.  We live about 6 hours apart & since they have gone off to college, I don't get to see them often.

I searched for suggestions online and haven't come up with too many inspiring ideas.  And the mere mention of sending them on a vacation makes my eyes roll and my wallet have spasms.

If anyone out there has been through this and can be of help, I would appreciate your sharing ideas with me!!!

Monday, April 30, 2012


What does it mean to be obsessed with squares?

I'm under the impression that it is not a good thing.  What kind of artist loves squares?!?  We're not supposed to like being hemmed in my any silly little shape, right.

I've worked within the square format for almost two years now.  No end in sight.

Highest Standards, 6 x 6" collage on board ©2012 Kim Hambric

This is my idea of free form - above.

This is my idea of total chaos - below.

Silent, 8 x 8" collage on board, ©2011 Kim Hambric

Yes, I know it is still contained in a square, but I don't think I could get any wilder than this.  Good heavens, the asymmetry!!

And now, I find I even prefer squares within my squares.

Destination, 12 x 12 collage on board, ©2012 Kim Hambric

Could I possibly do squares within squares within squares?

I feel the need to experiment with that.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

No Photo. Just a Memory

Sometimes I cry about what seem to be the silliest things.  Today I wanted to show my favorite photo from my trip to Charleston, SC.  But it’s gone.  For me, this photo says (said) so much about me and the way I see life (and my teeny part in it).  Amazing how something can so easily disappear.  And amazing that I am so easily brought to tears.

The photo was taken through my hotel window, five stories up, of a little plant that had grown in the windowsill.  I noticed it on the morning of our second day.  It was cool and breezy and the little plant swayed and bobbed.  It looked to be some kind of fern.  Something tropical and unknown to me.  Obviously, no one on the hotel staff had seen this plant or it would have been unceremoniously removed.  Likely, I was the first and only to see this little out of place plant.  I felt an instant kinship.

How can this little fern thrive here, I wondered.  There could only be a miniscule amount of dirt and moisture in that crack in the wood.    It couldn’t possibly know nor care that thousands and thousands of its kind were flourishing five stories down and in garden after garden until the land meets the water.  No one has ever read this plant the adage “bloom where you are planted.”  It is not telling itself that it has overcome all kinds of obstacles.  It is only the result of a wind-blown spore meeting a tiny crack.  It doesn’t yearn to live among the other plants down on the warm ground, protected from the wind.  It just is.  Or was.  Chances are just as likely that it is gone as it is that it is thriving and doubling in size every week.

I suppose I am obsessing about this little plant (and with the city itself).  The suggestion to return to Charleston and room 528 of the Hampton Inn would be met with an immediate packing of toiletries in small bottles into quart-sized baggies.  Yes, I would be greatly disappointed to find the plant dead or removed.  At least I would be back in that city.  Among other artists, warm-weather lovers and intoxicatingly fragranced vines (five stories down and until the city meets the water).  This time, however, I would quickly grow roots so I could not be unceremoniously removed.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Places People Go

Places People Visit, 5x5" collage on board, ©2011 Kim Hambric

We spent a long Easter weekend in Charleston, SC.  I have been feeling the NEED for a southern city for a long time now.  As soon as I saw my first Palm tree (or was that a Palmetto) something inside of me shifted and I felt right with the world.  It very seldom happens that I feel right with the world, so I decided to enjoy that feeling as long as possible.

I did take some photos, but since I used my iPhone instead of my "old" camera, I am unable to post them yet.  I do not know how to get them from there to here.   I'm SO embarrassed to admit this.

It was an eating vacation, as most of our vacations are.  When presented with good restaurants we go weak in the knees.  And then we go in.  And eat.  And when a quaint little street strings together coffee, gelato and croissant shops, we don't discuss or negotiate, we just go into all of them.

In just a very short time, we discovered our place -- Kudu coffee and beer.  One can visit in the morning, when it is chilly and get a latte and read a magazine.  Then, one can return in the afternoon for another coffee.  Then one can return before dinner and get a beer sample and chill out in the beautiful courtyard while gazing at crumb-dining birds and gentle decay.

I am easily enamored with places where I can say hello to someone and get a hello in return instead of a frightened or sour look, and where a three-foot-square plot of land can be turned into a stunning garden.

When can I go back?!?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Living Vicariously

Vicarious Voyage, collage on board, 16x16" ©2012 Kim Hambric

Often (too often), I prefer being a spectator to being a participant.  I am an observer, not an adventurer.    Those messages to get up off of my butt and get out in the world fall on deaf ears.  Maybe, just maybe, when I don't think anyone is watching me, I'll put myself out there.  Briefly.  Not wanting or waiting to be judged.

This piece is now in my Etsy shop.

I wonder if I added the houses to this piece because, after a couple of days away from home, I long to return.  Or, no matter where I go, I always want to see the homes of the natives.  Could be that I'm just obsessed with real estate.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Pulse of Mixed Media

Yep, my secrets and passions are in this book.  Not in great quantity however.

There are plenty of secrets and passions of other artists, though.  I have carried this book with me everywhere the past couple of weeks and I have read and reread it.

I have also written a review for Amazon:

While I enjoyed looking at the mixed media art in this book, I must say it is the text that I found most compelling. This is not a how-to book. There are no projects and no exercises. This book is a look into the minds of the artists themselves. We get the see the artists in their personal environments -- the inside of their heads and hearts.
After reading an earlier review, I do have to say many of the artists here have been in other books. In the Pulse of Mixed Media, I have learned far more about them than I have in those other books. However, there are MANY "new" artists here that I have never heard of before. I'm enjoying my coffee breaks from my own art studio while looking at their blogs and websites. 
My only complaints: I wish there were more photographs (some artists do not have photos of their work), and I wish the book could be longer.
Hopefully Seth Apter will come out with another edition?!?
Yes, I purchased my edition from Amazon.  I live in a retail-challenged area so I had no choice.  Remember, support your local bookseller!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How To

How To, 4 x 4" ©2012 Kim Hambric

I sure could use a "How To" guide for life.

I've always heard that showing up is half the battle.  To often, I fail to show up.

If I don't show up, I'm in the studio painting and pacing and gluing and dancing and making mistakes.

Or on the computer, wasting far too much time.

This piece is available in my Etsy shop.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Pulse of Mixed Media

It is finally here and I am happy as a clam.  My first picture and words in a book.  A real book!!!!  And a pretty darn good one at that.  I love beautiful photos of artwork and I love reading about how things are done.  But what I REALLY love (and just didn't know it before I received my book) are the inner feelings of those who create the artwork.  Somehow, Seth Apter has encouraged 100 artists to dig down deep inside themselves and offer up bits and pieces never before revealed.

And now, could someone please tell me how to insert larger photos from Amazon into Blogger?  Please help the technologically challenged.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Optimistic,  6 x 6" ©2012 Kim Hambric

This is not my most optimistic time of the year.

Optimism runs low when it is cold and cloudy.

So I made this in what I consider cheery colors.

Originally, I was going to showcase a different piece for this post.  I pulled a few photos off of my camera of a piece I had photographed step by step.  Yep, there's the very beginning, the next step, and then another coming close to the end.  All were photoshopped this morning.  But  .  .  .  where the heck is the final photograph???!!!???

I checked all of the computer directories.  I went through all of the studio drawers.  I cannot find a trace of this piece.  Did I paint over it?  Did I finish it and take it to the artisan boutique?  Perhaps I would know the answer to that if I could find the folder that holds the inventory list.  That is gone, too.  And so is my favorite scarf.  I've looked everywhere for that.

I feel as if I'm losing my mind along with everything else.

I'm not optimistic about finding any of these.

This piece is available in my Etsy Shop.

Monday, February 27, 2012

There's just something about little houses

Little Shanty, 5 x 5" ©2012 Kim Hambric
Yes, I'm still working with house shapes and maps.  I guess you could say I'm obsessed with both.

There's something so comforting about a simple house shape.

While I'm frequently heard to say that I would just loooooove to have more room, if granted that wish, I'm sure it wouldn't take long for me to regret asking for that extra space.

My small home is somewhat restricting.  Yet it is also freeing.  No pesky servants to get underfoot.  No 20-foot-long dining table to polish.

I would much rather have my home than trade in for Downton Abbey.

This piece is available in my Etsy shop.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Way Excited!!!

I've been walking like an injured dog.  Circling.  Circling.  Trying to get away from whatever it is that is hurting me.  A dog will just keep circling.  A human, such as I, will finally throw up her hands and scream at the sky.

That's when the hubby comes in and says:  "Why don't you find one of those art retreats or courses and go somewhere to try something different?"

"Huh?  I don't have any money, that's why."

And then he says, "We'll take some of the money from the last course I taught and send you somewhere."

I'm thinking he actually wants to help me and not just rid of me and my black clouds.

So, I do some searching . . .

Surface Design in Columbus, Ohio.  Maybe.  I could drive there.  That would be the reasonable thing to do.

"Didn't you once mention something in Portland, Oregon?"

"Uh.  Yeah," I stammered.

"So check into that."

And I did.  And I whined that it was too far from downtown Portland.  And I said it would be too expensive.  And then hubby got on the computer and looked up flights and costs.  And then I got on the Art and Soul Portland website and then I found it . . .

. . . a class with Jessie Reno! This is something I have DREAMED about, but never had the guts to do. So now, I'm registered for the class. Now I need to figure out the logistics of travel, child care, moving money and what not. I also need to figure out how to extend the trip to take Donna Watson's course also.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Me Also (am I becoming my mother?)

Me Also, 6 x 6" ©2012 Kim Hambric

In some way, this piece is about my concern(?) over slowly becoming my mother.  Am I trying to avoid this?  Am I giving in to this?  How fast can I run away from this?

The big "CH?"  My mother's initials.  The two similar houses?  My house is very little like my mother's house, yet are (were) they both traps?  And the meaning of everything else in this piece?  The shapes and colors are just a small selection of what was littered around my table on the day this piece was created.

This piece is available in my Etsy shop.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Line a Day

My mother's diary.

She was not happy that I took it.  However, it was necessary.

After her mother died, I found my grandmother's diary in my mother's basement along with a few other belongings.  I decided to have a bit of a read.  In those 5 minutes, I discovered more about my grandmother's life than I had known over the course of 30+ years.  I won't divulge the family secrets or set the skeletons out by the curb, but my grandmother's trials of overcoming a not-so-perfect past touched me.  I wanted to know more.

I should have shut my mouth.  Alas . . .

I mentioned to my mother that I found her mother's diary and I was quite interested in it.  I should have taken it with me that very day.  I did not.

Upon my next visit home, I searched for the diary again.  After a weekend of no luck, I asked my mother what happened to the diary.  She told me she had thrown it in the trash.

My mother is quite well known for throwing things in the trash.  Every few years, we had to purchase another set of cutlery, as with every few meals, she would toss a fork, knife or spoon into the trash.  Accidentally, of course.  If I did not clean my room as a child, she would head in with a trash bag while I was in school and eliminate what she thought I no longer needed.

So, when her diary presented itself, it went into my luggage immediately.

I informed her what I had done.

Then I proceeded to make a few pieces of art with some of the entries.

Mother:  Venus and Mars, 10.5 x 10.5 SOLD

She never did see the few pieces I made from her entries.  I did tell her no family secrets were revealed.

My mother was a prolific knitter and seamstress.  She made most of her clothing as a young married woman.  I recall Easter was not Easter without a new dress sewn by her.  As my mother was not much interested in cooking, the household appliance I most associate her is the iron.    A symbol of the seamstress and a symbol of the life of a housewife.

My mother passed away December 22, 2010.  I miss her every day.

However, I still have the urge to take something when I see it and not take the risk of it being thrown away.

(sorry for the repeat if you have already read this on My Little House).

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Highest Standards

Highest Standards, 6 x 6" ©2012 Kim Hambric

Strange Title?  Sure is.  It comes from the little blue circles cut from the packaging for the gesso board which is the base for this piece.  Ampersand states that its product is produced to the highest standards.  I love the little house.  It is cut from a piece of drywall tape and painted black.  I hope no one is getting tired of circle outlines.  I still love them, so I'm still going to paint them.  Seems to complete the piece.

This piece is available in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

And Another Thing

And Another Thing, 6 x 6" ©2012 Kim Hambric

There is always something else to be done.  Something else to be said.

I'm having fun with those little Lego circles!

This piece can be found in my Etsy shop.

Anybody out there use strange objects as art and craft tools?

Monday, February 6, 2012

. . . .

I can't believe it's been a week since I've even thought of blogging.  No. I'm not gone forever.  Just taking a little break.

My father-in-law died last Tuesday after a long illness.  We've been out of town and busy with family.

I'm wondering what my studio looks like.  Perhaps squatters have moved in.  I'll take a look today or tomorrow and hopefully I'll have something to report soon.

Monday, January 30, 2012

New Orleans: Roux

New Orleans:  Roux, 20 x 20" ©2010 Kim Hambric

Another "new" piece in the New Orleans series.  This series represents the rebuilding, the languishing, the heat and the lush growth of the city.  Roux also represents the cultural mix that makes that forms the city -- for good and bad.

This piece is now available on Etsy.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Little House

My Little House, 4 x 4"

Like I've got just loads of time piled up around me, I've gone and started another blog.  Pay a visit to My Little House and see what's going on. I'm not sure what kind of blog this is going to be yet. I'm not too much for planning ahead. Some photos, perhaps. I'm not that great of a photographer, but maybe this will give me reason to improve. There will be little glimpses into my house. The goal is to show myself what I already have. I'm one of those people that is always wanting something more than what they already have. I'm hoping my new blog will help me to get over that.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Beast, 6 x 6" ©2012 Kim Hambric

Finally, one actually created this year!  I love the more open and playful look.  (At least it looks that way to me.)

Too many things are taking me out of the studio this week.  A new 4x4" piece was finished today, and one 6x6" piece is taunting me and becoming totally obnoxious.  I've threatened it with a wash of gesso.  We'll see what comes of it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

To Print or not to Print

One of my favorite blogging artists Andrea Pratt, has been grappling with making prints of her artwork.  While I have never seen one of per pieces in person, I can imagine it would be thrilling.  Her trees practically crackle with energy.  That got me to thinking about prints.  Again.  And that thinking got me to the same conclusion.  Again.

I do have some prints of others' work.  There are those occasions when the interest in an art piece wanes, and when it does, for me, it's always a print.  Sure, I'd love to have an Van Gogh.  Not going to happen.  So I settled for a framed print.  While I still enjoy looking at it, it no longer draws me in.  I see its flatness.  Of course it must be flat.  Texture does not convey.  I am still drawn to the original pieces of art in my home.  I've tired of the content of a couple of pieces, but the rest have stayed with me.  Their textures still draw me in.  Yes, I've been known to run my hands over these pieces.

As I've mentioned here before, I love creating my pieces.  I have loved working with textiles.  Then when I wanted more texture, I added beads.  Then paper.  Now I am working with paper and paint, and I add texture with those.  Sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.  I pet these pieces while I create them.  I pet these pieces when I finish them.  And since very few have left the house recently, I can take them all out and pet them when I need to reconnect.

These pieces still have energy.  I still feel the heat and excitement I felt when creating them.  Even though I am not creating the textile pieces right now, I still feel the same about them.  When I feel uninspired, I will take out my finished artwork and touch it.

There are cultures that believe to take a person's photograph is to steal their soul.  While I don't try too hard to avoid black cats and walking under ladders, I do feel there is something to that superstition.  I certainly feel that way about artwork.  My refrigerator is covered in photos, notes and drawings.  Many of the magnets are mini-reproductions of famous works of art.  I've got no problem with that.  And why not have a mouse pad Mona Lisa?  But to me, to truly feel the art -- its weight, meaning, significance, you've really got to be able to feel the art.  It's soul is lost when it becomes a photograph.

Art is not just a product.  It is also a process.  When I see my own art, I see the process.  I can still feel the process in my fingers.  When I look at art I've purchased I want to be able to do the same or to get as close to the process as possible.  I want to see the order the layers were applied.  I want to see and feel the textures.  I don't want a piece of art on my wall like a trophy.  Something once alive.  Something that I can't relate to and that can't relate to me.  I want the art on my walls to still be living and breathing.

I know that art is not cheap.  People will say that they love a certain artist's work and that buying a print is a close as they can get.  If there's some artist that you must have something, anything, by -- well sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.  But to say you can't afford original art is probably not true.  Come to think of it, my artwork is pretty reasonable. Etsy is chockfull of awesome art. Look in junk shops and flea markets. Even the side of the road. Check out local crafts fairs and art auctions. Check your granny's attic.

I've probably ticked off some artists out there. Perhaps their work DOES translate well into prints. Mine doesn't.

Now go and buy some art or pull it out of someone's trash. Love it. Touch it often.

And if you think I'm wrong, please let me know.

Monday, January 16, 2012


First, I would like to thank my readers for their inspiring and encouraging comments on my last post. It is nice to feel, even for a hermit, that I am not alone.

Next, I want to talk about rules.  I understand there must be rules.  Some folks believe in commandments, some believe that one should wait an hour after eating before swimming, some enjoy a life of anarchy.  I believe that in most cases rules make us safe or even out the playing field or make life a little easier for the government of a country comprised of hundreds of million of people.

After a point, rules can become a nuisance.  Rules are often used in place of simple encouragement.  And, too often, rules are made just because it feels good to somebody to make them.

Each year in January, many bloggers I read chose words or statements of encouragement to follow throughout the year.  They may use these words to create more art, deal with people more effectively, make more money, etc.  Sounds like a good idea.  I've never done this before.  This year, my personal statement is: follow fewer rules.

Sure, I might get into a bit of trouble.  I might lose a friend or two.  I might, inadvertently offend someone who might have been willing to give me a bit of help.  But for so long, I've followed too many rules in order to keep out of trouble and keep from offending.  And I feel this has keep me far too silent.

The new pieces in the photograph above are part of the new me.  You are probably thinking they look pretty much like the old me.  Maybe I'm the only one that will see the difference.  That's ok.  These five pieces were made in five days.  My goal wasn't speed, but just a freeing up of my mind.  I wanted to get something down fast.  I wanted fewer rules, even self-imposed ones.  While creating is normally fun for me, doing these pieces was a joy.  I actually laughed while making them.  Not hysterically and not the entire time, thankfully.  Sure, there was a moment of sorrow when I dropped a piece that had been painted and the board cracked.  But seconds later it was in the trash and another piece was underway.

Destination, 12 x 12" ©2011 Kim Hambric

Last,  here is my newest piece on Etsy. Definitely a more controlled piece, but fun just the same.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Quiet and Alone. What's wrong with that?!?

There are those out there that keep exquisite journals. Artwork. Clippings. Hugely creative doodles. These things get shown in national magazines.

I infrequently buy journals. I love paper. I love blank paper. I love a fresh book. I just don’t know how to properly deal with these things.

Now, if I buy a journal, I make sure it is quite small with few pages. That way, if I get a third of the way through, I can feel some sort of accomplishment.

I put little sketches in them. Mostly designs. I cannot “draw,” so no portraits or still lifes for me. So a page of multi-sized dots may be the extent of my drawing. Often I will write a pithy thought or perhaps an excruciating line about my mother’s death. How about a short list of names I will never be called? Or a list of my five (at the moment) favorite words?

I am now taking an on-line creativity course. I am supposed to write down my dreams. I am supposed to write down my fears. I HATE writing this kind of stuff down. It makes me feel like a dweeb and I already feel like a dweeb, that’s why I’m taking this course. I’m searching for a way to creatively leave my dweebiness behind.

In picking up a journal to do a writing exercise I don’t want to do, I flip though a few scribbled pages, among many blank ones. One page simply has a single word. And this word makes me laugh hysterically.


What a fantastic place that would be! A city. A metropolis. Where one could actually be a hermit. Beautiful little apartments lined with books. Coffeehouses where hermits could infrequently meet or sit by themselves, lined with books, of course. Narrow little book-lined townhouses. Doors open on occasion to admit one’s closest friends. Little shops. Movie houses. Bistros. And then quickly home. Ahhhh, hermitopolis.

I’m not sure why I chose to write that one word down. No doubt I was feeling hermity. I feel that quite often. But I’m thinking I would like to live in hermitopolis. I’m sure it would not be a bad, cold, unfeeling place. Hermits care about others. They just prefer to peek through the curtains at what is going on in the street. If they even bother with peeking through the curtains. Perhaps they are damn jolly just working on a puzzle, doing some research, or perhaps having a delightful and saucy evening with another hermit of choice.

Tonight my daughter is going to a sleepover at 6:00. The hubby is trying to plan the perfect evening out. Dinner? A movie? A band? All three or just a combination? I don’t know. It’s cold. Snow is on the ground. I’m thinking of a cozy little restaurant. One with a fireplace. One populated with several other hermits having a rare night out. Then back home to do the hermit thing. Sounds good to me.

Monday, January 9, 2012

As Clean as it Gets

Looks like a pretty clean slate to me.  I reach this point about once or twice a year.  My own version of shock and awe.  It is quite temporary, though.  The studio no longer looks this way.  This is last Wednesday afternoon.  By Thursday morning, new projects were started and the bits started gathering and reproducing.

I'm not one of those people than be called an optimist.  I am not cheery.  Not enthusiastic about the unknown.  I hold grudges.  My least likely nickname is "bubbles."  Last year wore me down.  Family illness and death, lack of sales.  The usual central Pennsylvania gray and cold.  This year does not promise to be any better.  But, I've learned (finally) after 48 years of living that things cannot remain the same and get better at the same time.  I can't rely on the outside world to make any improvements on me.  Something must be done.

I have signed up for Stephanie Levy's e-course, Creative Courage.  I'm not a class-taker.  I think the last thing I tried was an 8-session evening painting course for absolute beginners about 11 years ago.  I want to have high hopes that this course will change my life.  However, I am a complete cynic and expect nothing of the sort.  But I have to be just a little bit open.  I have to crack the door.  I do not promise to give you any updates.  Perhaps I won't feel updated in the least.

But, here goes.  After I finish the dishes and put on some earrings.  Earrings?!?  Yep, I don't feel dressed without them.  And I know some jewelry makers out there that will NOT be laughing about this.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Clean Slate?

New Orleans:  Renewal, 20 x 20" ©2009 Kim Hambric

Resolutions!  Lists!  Plans!  Burning of sage!  Prayers!  Sacrifices!  Ceremonial burying of 2011!

I have done none of these.  But I do plan on a new beginning of some sort.

Today, I turned on the studio heater in preparation of working after 3 weeks of holiday activities taking me away from the studio.  What a mess!  How did I work in all of that filth for the past several months?  Now, I must clear my slate before I create.  I'm heading up with the vacuum cleaner after posting.

Above is one of my newer wall quilts.  I did a large series of New Orleans quilts beginning after my 2008 visit.  We visited in late 2006 and returned in the spring of 2008.  While much progress had been made after Katrina, still so much was left to be done.  But there was much inspiration to be gathered from the hard work and new beginnings so visible, to some degree, almost everywhere.  I had plans for these quilts, but these plans did not pan out.  Now I will be adding them to my Etsy shop. It is time for them to see the light of day.

Now, off the the studio with the beast.  Every time I touch that vacuum, there is an injury.  I hate the vacuum.  It hates me.  If I never return to this blog, you will know who won today's battle.

Happy 2012!!