The art and science of aromatherapy – essential oils and Alzheimer’s Disease

I’ve studied and used essential oils since 1989 and was actually teaching workshops on their uses way before I began teaching art workshops. In the late ’90s, Dr. Bill Kurtin and I partnered in sharing research-based information about aromatherapy with social agencies and college classes, and set up our informational website, called Chemaroma, in 2006.

Bill is a biochemist who chaired the Chemistry Department at Trinity University for many years. We’re married now, and since Bill retired from teaching, he’s had time to do more research on current studies about essential oils. He’s just written an article for our Chemaroma blog summarizing recent research on essential oils and Alzheimer’s Disease. Here’s the link to the complete article, which I think is wonderful and encouraging.

In his article, Bill writes, “The research . . ., as well as much work not mentioned, strongly suggest that EOs may provide an excellent alternative, natural, widely available, and inexpensive treatment for AD, particularly for easing the symptoms of the disease.” He writes for a general audience, who, like me, have trouble with scientific complexities – whew! It’s a fascinating premises that could help millions.

If you have not any in-depth reading on the science of aromatherapy and need an introduction, here’s a good background article from the University of Maryland Medical Center. And, or course, you can always go to our website, Chemaroma, for more info.

I’ve always relied on Clary Sage essential oil for getting past creative blocks – the name in Latin means “clear eye” – and its smell is intoxicating.  Here’s another take on essential oils from an artist on the Craftsy site.

Bill and I are especially interested in essential oil research that pertains to our aging population – anything that will help all of us stay alive, engaged, and creative longer is worth pursuing! Read and share the article, Are Essential Oils Useful in the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.” It’s a good one.

Save

Who owns your work – and where did you find that photo, pal??

copyright

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of giving a presentation on the torturous, mind-bending subject of copyright in the digital age to an audience of first-rate artists at the Coppini Academy of Fine Arts.

Copyright issues are of particular importance to artists  – one, because a visual artist’s work can be so easily copied and distributed digitally these days, and, two, because most artists use or take photos as reference sources or use them in mixed-media pieces.

The presentation was limited by time and scope, but I created a Power Point slide show to illustrate some specifics. For this blog, I converted it to a video (who knew you could do that?? Live and learn!) because I wanted to share the presentation with you guys. It works just like a regular Power Point, but if you want to read a slide, you need to pause it. Of course, you won’t hear my not-so-brilliant comments, but you can get the main points.

Many thanks to Charlotte Cox and the Coppini for inviting me to present! It gave me a chance to brush up on those points that I used to teach at Trinity University in my Computer Science class. And, as I said in the summary, below, copyright is a slippery subject, rather like trying to nail Jell-o to a wall.

chectsheet

So get out there, create, and Steal Like an Artist – but respect the laws of copyright!

 

 

 

 

Last-minute gift tags

This is a quickie post – we’re all holiday-busy! Four years ago I designed some little gift tags for SHARDS readers, and I actually needed to print out some for myself this morning.

I found the old post from 2012 and decided to share it again with you guys. Here’s what the gift tags look like – you can just print out a sheet of six on card stock, fold them and attach them.

xmastags1 xmastags2

Get your tags here!! And happy wrapping!

Stack of books and other presents in basket. Christmas decoratio

Big problem, but I got it covered . . .

1

My nifty new ultra-cheap ultra-cool floor covering in the studio workshop room

So when I moved into the new Studio, two of the rooms had wood-grain floors that I was really afraid of messing up with paint and glue and art stuff. I tried a drop cloth, but kept tripping over it and saying bad words. I tried plastic sheets, and that was worse. Think Attack of the Saran Wrap Monster.

In desperation, I went to Home Depot and asked a nice guy named Dave what might work. He showed me this fantastic indoor/outdoor carpet that is a perfect solution!

I’m sharing this with you guys in case you need something cheap and durable for your workroom floor. It’s called Elevations Indoor/Outdoor carpeting, and it comes in 12″ and 6″ widths. They cut it for you with a giant machine to whatever length you want. I got enough to completely cover two big rooms for less than $100. I kid you not.  Cheaper than canvas drop cloths.

This is where I taped a seam together with clear packing tape - works great.

This is where I taped a seam together with clear packing tape – works great.

The sheets of carpet lie flat and are light enough that I could lay them down by myself – I moved half of the furniture to one side of the room, lined the carpet up and rolled it out part-way, moved the furniture back on that half, then – well, you get the picture. No glue, no tape – when you move out, you just roll it up!

3

You can see how nicely the edge of the carpet meets the door – it’s not glued down and it still lies flat.

4

It has a tightly-woven grain – not bad looking at all!

 This carpeting comes in four colors – I picked “Stone Beige”, of course – Neutrals ‘R’ Me – but they also had a pretty blue, a grassy green, and a nice gray. It’s worth the purchase just to see them cut the stuff with the 20′ long cutting machine. Rowwrr.

And that’s your Studio Tip for the Day, kids – by the way, don’t you just love the way Home Depot smells when you walk in? It makes you feel all strong, like you really want to buy a chain saw or a flat of Sheetrock. Yeah!!

Elevations at Home Depot – great for art studio floors – yay. Hmmm, wonder if they’ll give me a discount for this free advertising  . . .?

Save

Save

Save

Product review and freebie

I’m always looking for new products that aren’t too gimmicky and have multiple uses – this Metallic Creative Medium seems to fit that description.

I ordered some of this CM Metallic from Imagine Crafts, thinking it would work well on my earthenware face shards. Here are some pics and comments:

Here's the Metallic Medium - kind of a creamy paste in a jar. It comes in bronze, copper, gold, and silver.

Here’s the Metallic Medium – kind of a creamy paste in a jar. It comes in bronze, copper, gold, and silver.

1

First, I sprayed the fired earthenware faces with Walnut Ink, as usual, and wiped it off to emphasize depth and detail.

3

I applied the medium with my finger to the clay surfaces, trying out all four colors. It is very transparent on the clay and I needed two coats. It also seals the surface – that may be a plus in some circumstances.

2

Left to right – copper, gold and silver – very subtle on the clay. I added pigment and applied onto some stamped black paper – again, very transparent.

6

Finally, I added acrylic paint and rubbed some Pearl-Ex into the surface while it was tacky – lotsa bling.

Verdict for using CM Metallic on earthenware – 6 out of 10. It’s a little too transparent for my purposes, although two or three coats work well.

Best quality – it dries super quickly, so you could stencil it on a surface and go over it with watercolor or (of course) walnut ink almost immediately.

I checked on Amazon and somebody was selling it for $18 a jar – EEK! But  JoAnn’s has it online for about $6, which makes me think they might have it in their store as well for that price.

This is kind of a cool project using the medium that would lend itself to lots of spring-off ideas – I like the notion of covering the blocks with vintage pages – and maybe vintage photos?

Creative Blocks

Click image for directions

Freebie time!! I have four extra jars of this medium, one in each color, that I’m happy to share with you SHARDS guys. Just leave a comment for me and the first four people can have a jar to play with.

The only catch is that you need to be in San Antonio to pick them up at the Studio, because I don’t want to box and mail them. Yeah, I know – chintzy. Sigh.


I may not be pretty, but I work!!

I may not be pretty, but I work!!

SPEAKING OF FREEBIES and such, and because we all help each other out, I have an artist friend who is in need of a cheap car. Really cheap, just reliable transportation of any kind or condition or color. If you’re getting rid of an old vehicle or can donate one, please email me and I’ll pass the info along to her. She can afford to pay $1000 toward getting some wheels, but that’s about it. Help!

Thanks, as always, and stay tuned for more Studio updates – in the meantime, go out and play!

 

Save

Save

Rainy day re-discovered books, and FF winner

Does this sound familiar? You’re looking for a particular book in your overcrowded art book stash, and you find one or two that you forgot you even bought. You check them out – hey, wow! These are good! Just what you were looking for and didn’t even know it! Serendipity strikes again.

That just happened to me on this rainy stay-in morning, so I’m sharing these with you – the first one is Mixed Media Books by Gabe Cyr. It is a treasury of mixed media ideas, and not just for re-imagined books.

The Tools and Material section alone is worth the price of the book, including a great page on adhesives with a chart comparing and contrasting different ways to stick stuff to other stuff. And the photos are drool-y.

Mixed Media Books by Gabe Cyr

Mixed Media Books by Gabe Cyr

 

It's about more than just altered books

It’s about more than just altered books

 

There's a nice section on collaboration

There’s a nice section on collaboration

 

The second is a book published in 2010 by Annie Lockhart called Objects of Reflection: A Soulful Journey through Assemblage. Annie Lockhart’s recent work is based on Soulful Painting, but this is all about collections and construction.

This book is wonderful for anyone doing assemblage because it has maps and legends of the components. And it has another invaluable section on joining things together. The book is printed on tan paper with monochromatic photos – interesting.

Prompts and inspirations

Prompts and inspirations

A legend of components

A legend of components

Objects of Reflectin by Annie Lockhart

Objects of Reflectin by Annie Lockhart

One big fat request: I’m giving you the Amazon links so you can “look inside” but if you want to order these books, please PLEASE check first with your independent book store and see if they have them or can get them for you!!  If you’re in San Antonio, here’s a link to The Twig Book Shop.

And now – tah dah – the winner of the Cat Starter Kit Friday Freebie is – – – – – Carlos Haun. Carlos, email me about how to collect your Shaman Kitty kit.

kitphoto

 

Anatomy of an art purchase scam

karma

Here’s how it works – or doesn’t, in this case. You get an email from someone who is interested in your work:

Dear Lyn,
Hope this message finds you well. I saw these creative works on

your website and i will like you to get back with more details if they
are still available for purchase. I will appreciate an urgent reply.
Best Regards, Betty J

Sounds a little weird, but what’s the harm in following up, right? I mean, who purchases art online without knowing the size or price?? I was curious – and a bit  suspicious.

 Hi, Betty,
Thanks so much for your inquiry. Some of the pieces are available. They are on display now at a gallery in Kerrville As far as I know, 2/9 and 3/9 have not sold. I’ll be glad to call the gallery and make sure.  What else can I tell you about them that might be helpful? Sizes? Price? Thanks again,
 Lyn

Good old Betty writes back, her grammar slipping a bit in her excitement to purchase my “creative works.”

Hi Lyn,
  Thanks so much for your response to my query about those creative
  works. I will like to proceed with the purchase of both pieces . Can
  you pls confirm the actual size and  price  of the two pieces so I
  can know how best to proceed.  I will also like to know  what inspire you
  to make the pieces. I will look forward to hearing from you soon.
 
  Best Regards,
  Betty.

Obviously, there’s something fishy here – I’m getting more and more curious about how it will play out. I give Betty the info about the pieces and what “inspire” me – I’ll spare you that part. I tell her that both pieces together will be $900. She writes back.

 Hi Lyn,
 It is nice to hear back from you. I will like to proceed with the
 purchase of both pieces. I think they are lovely works and I hope to
 give them a good home. I am presently away on vacation but I should be
 back in few days.

 1481 NE 104th St
 Miami Shores, FL 33138

 Meanwhile, can you pls get back with your mailing address and phone
 number so I can inform my husband on where to forward the payment. I
 can have him send the payment asap. About shipping, you can handle it
 from your side to my mailing address above or I can forward your
 contact info to the local cartage company handling my shipment. They
 can arrange FedEx or UPS pick up of the artworks from your studio.

 I will look forward to hearing from you so I can know how best to
 proceed. Cheers.

 

Husband’s assistant? She implies that there’s money there. Obviously, I go online and check the address – there’s no such person at that address, but it’s in a very swanky neighborhood in Miami Shores, Florida. Still curious, I send ol’ Betty the mailing address at my studio and then kind of forget about it for a week or so.

Lo and behold, last Saturday, as I’m talking to a friend at the studio, the mailman drops of an urgent delivery envelope with a check for $2300 inside made out to Lyn Belisle Studio. The check and the bank appear to be quite legit. I have no idea where it came from until I get an email from Betty that evening – hmmm –

Hi Lyn,
Hope this message finds you well. I am very sorry I have not been able
to get in touch for the past couple of days. It has been a very busy
time for my family with my sister’s wedding and a big move so I have
been away from my computer.

Anyway, I will like to confirm that the payment was sent by my
husband’s assistant this week and he was advise it will arrives on
Saturday or Monday via USPS with tracking number (
9405501699320079030307 ) so kindly be on the look out for it.
Best Regards,
Betty.

I write back:

Hi, Betty,
I received the check on Saturday and I am thoroughly confused about the amount. It is far greater than the price of the work that you requested. Can you clarify? I am grateful, but want to make sure the transaction is fair and accurate for you.Thanks ever so much, Lyn

And then . . .KA – CHING! What could possibly be wrong with this picture?

Hi Lyn,
I got your email now. Thanks for the update. I am so excited you have
received the payment and can’t wait to have the artworks on my wall. I
hope to give them a very good home and enjoy the pieces for many
years. Regarding the check , my husband made a terrible mistake and overpaid
you because he didn’t have full details of the transaction since I was
too busy when he sent it. I am very sorry for the confusion but I will
like you to go ahead and deposit the check, deduct the cost of the
pieces plus shipping to my vacation address below . Then you can
forward the difference back to him.

Kindly acknowledge this email as soon as you can. Thanks.

Best Regards,
Betty.

That rascally husband – don’t ya hate it when they make terrible mistakes? I told Betty that I was returning the check. I’ve heard nothing from her since. Surprise!

This is apparently a common scam, often aimed at artists. There are examples of it all over the Internet, but I was surprised at a couple of things – one, how quickly she befriended and flattered  me and developed a story line about her family, complete with personal touches.

The second thing was that the impact of a real check being delivered through official mail has a lot of impact even though you know it’s not a legitimate transaction – who couldn’t use an extra $2300? And it was not an exorbitant over-payment, just tempting enough to be plausible. Unfortunately, there’s really no way to prove anything without actually depositing the check and agreeing to the sale.

Anything like this happen to any of you? For me, it was interesting and merely annoying, but I imagine it could be devastating for someone who fell for it and ended up having to pay a lot of money back. Here’s a good link for artists about such slimy scammy matters: www.artscams.com/

So, does anybody want to buy these two fine pieces of art? They’re available 🙂

Have a lovely day – and be careful out there.

 

 

Want instant relaxation? Try this . . .

Candles

My theme word for 2016 is BALANCE – I’m gonna try to have time for art and workshops and sketching every day, reading more books, updating the website and keeping track of taxes in advance and writing real letters and relaxing and . . . ARG – I got tense and unbalanced just thinking about it!

So I turned to the all-wise higher power – Google! Lo and behold, I found this great guide to active relaxation that takes two minutes at the most and really works to help refocus and calm down. It’s on the Eastern Washington University site, and when I followed the steps, my whole body de-stressed and lightened up.

Want to try it? Here are the steps (and I’ve also made a printable version for you guys that has two copies – one for you and one for a friend – you can find it here).


Sit or lie in a comfortable place with your spine straight.

You may start with either you right side or your left side (most people prefer to begin with their dominant side).

For each step, hold the position described for 5 seconds and concentrate on the sensation of muscle tension. Then release the position and concentrate on changes in the muscles, noticing the sensation of relaxation.

  1. Foot – point and curl toes, turning foot inward
  2. Calf – pull toes toward head, flexing foot
  3. Thigh – push thigh muscles down, tensing muscles
  4. Repeat for opposite foot, calf, and thigh
  5. Stomach – contract stomach, making it as small and tight as possible
  6. Chest, Shoulders, and Upper Back – pull shoulder blades back and together
  7. Upper Arms – push elbow down
  8. Hand and Forearm – make a tight fist
  9. Repeat for opposite upper arm and hand
  10. Neck and Throat – pull chin toward chest and keep it from touching chest
  11. Jaw – bite hard and pull back corners of mouth
  12. Cheeks and Nose – squint and wrinkle nose
  13. Forehead – lift eyebrows as high as possible

That’s it!! I figure that if your body feels unbalanced, your mind is going to take a hike, too – sometimes just remembering to flex my foot (#2) and push my elbows down (#7) is enough to help me refocus.


OK, print out your relaxation tips and go have a balanced and happy weekend – become one with the serene seashore rock!

Stone

 

 

Pegboard studio storage spiff-up

1front

I love these new pegboard walls that I copied from Lisa Stamper Meyer‘s studio! They have made a huge difference in the storage space by providing hanging places and supply screening. Here is a side view and back view – you can see how well the pegboard walls hide a multitude of stuff!

2side 3back

And here’s what you need if you, too, want to make a storage wall shelf like these.

A metal shelf, 4’x8’x18″ – I bought mine from Costcohere’s a link. These shelves are on casters so you can roll them around easily if you need to. When I bought them, they were $98 each, very sturdy – I think they hold 1200 pounds.

A sheet of 4×8′ pegboard, primed white. I bought mine from Home Depot. Here’s a link for those. They are a little bit unwieldy to manage but if you have access to a truck, you can just lay them in the back. You will probably need a helper – Mike helped a lot with this project.

A bag of 8″ cable tieshere’s a link. This is the neatest trick. You just thread the cable ties through the pegboard holes and pull them tight to the shelf posts. We used eight ties per shelf, three on the sides (top, middle, bottom) and two in the center to hold them steady.

Lisa even attached brush holder to her pegboards using cable ties – she’s an organizing genius! If you have any questions about this easy project, send me an email.

010e8ab3ca6aefc71f099a7b0aeaf08e3940ddf0b7

 

Decayed Daguerreotypes and The Public Domain Review

woman

Portrait of Emma Gillingham Bostwick [between 1851 and 1860], by Mathew Brady’s studio

Part of having some leisure time over the holidays is discovering new Good Stuff, which, of course, I’m passing along to you guys. Look at that wonderful portrait, above – it’s an old daguerreotype that has been naturally distressed over time by scratches, dust, hair, etc, and particularly the rubbing of its glass cover. Isn’t it beautiful?? Artists strive to achieve those distressed effects in wax and paint – age and natural process has done it for us here.

It’s part of a collection from a site called The Public Domain Review: a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation. You can read more about these daguerreotypes and see many more fantastic examples here.

Reading the Public Domain Review’s mission statement makes me smile:

images“In particular, as our name suggests, the focus is on works which have now fallen into the public domain, that vast commons of out-of-copyright material that everyone is free to enjoy, share, and build upon without restriction. Our aim is to promote and celebrate the public domain in all its abundance and variety, and help our readers explore its rich terrain – like a small exhibition gallery at the entrance to an immense network of archives and storage rooms that lie beyond.”

 

The Public Domain Review has unbelievable treasures, and my personal favorites are in the images collections. Here are a few of the non-copyright images I came across in my first visit – it won’t be my last. I hope you have fun with this great resource. I plan to donate to their site (just as soon as I climb out of this rabbit-hole of digital discovery)!

3109982000_421d10b3fd_o