Wednesday, April 30, 2008

25th Pages Completed!

A group of Inspirees are doing a scrapbook challenge hostessed by Shimelle. The project entails taking photos of an entire day - the 25th of each month.

Then you scrapbook the photos using a template that Shimelle posts on her blog. I had a great time taking the photos last Friday. It took me a while to get into the groove but once I did, I was able to see my life in a different way. I found myself wanting to pick up the camera all weekend because I was more aware of memorable moments.
The hard part was picking the picture I wanted to use. I had some photos that were significant activities but not really great photos. I found myself considering how the photos would look together instead of the truth about my day and the sequencing of events. This was a great process to work through because I think every artist strugges with maintaining integrity in their work. I took the time to play with the layout and, as Tim Gund says "made it work".

The one thing that really compromised my layout was my darn photo printer. We recently got a computer that has Vista instead of XP and my Olympus P-10 won't print so I had to use the big printer -the colors ended up being washed out and dull.

I just love this challenge and am already looking forward to next month! I was dazzled by the work of my girls. Check it out!:
  • Aimee - my goodie page partner who spoiled me rotten
  • Cameron - she is sooooo talented!
  • Sooz - An inspiring artist and wonderfully warm person
  • Heather - my fabulous table mate who kept me in stitches! (waiting for her page post so check back soon)
  • Shani - my AMAZING apron swap partner (waiting for her page post so check back soon)
There are a few more gals participating but I haven't gotten their blog info as of yet. I'll be sure to add them as soon as I get it.

Monday, April 28, 2008


It was a beautiful weekend! I had such a wonderful time with family and friends. One of the highlights was quality art time with my a few of my closest friends. Maggie brought sushi and home made salsa -YUM-MEEE. We chatted, created and enjoyed one another. Andrea worked on some sketches, Maggie finished an album for one of her bff's and I tinkered with collage. It was so great to get back into the studio after the winter hiatus. It was one of my most gratifying art play dates ever! I totally went outside of my comfort zone - experimented without looking up the directions and I am so excited on the outcome.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My "Green Living" List

I have been putting a lot of thought into how I can make changes in my daily living to reduce my ecological imprint. I took a quiz at to assess my consumption and while I'm far below the national average, I am still beyond my share of the earth's capacity. Here is my commitment plan for greener living:
  1. I am going to walk or bike whenever possible.
  2. I am going to avoid leaving my car in idle. If I'm waiting for more than 30 seconds, I will turn off the engine and I will stop going though the drive through.
  3. I will keep the tires adequately inflated to maximize gas mileage.
  4. I have an energy efficient dryer but I am going to start drying clothes on a clothesline whenever possible.
  5. I will increase my food purchases from our farmer's market whenever possible and try to buy foods that have not traveled long distances to get to the store.
  6. I will purchase food from the bins or with minimal packaging to reduce waste.
  7. I will eat lower on the food chain—going meatless for just one meal a week can make a difference. Globally, it has been estimated that 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions are associated with meat consumption.
  8. I will use more recycled items in my art. Did you know that if about 10,000 people used recycled paper (scraps and paper headed for the trash) to make their cards there would be over 400 trees saved per year!? That's a lot of trees.
  9. I will buy more vintage and recycled (pre-owned) clothing, furniture and toys. It not only saves money, it is good for the planet.
  10. I will post green living tips on my blog.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Harmonious living

Yesterday was Earth Day and while I did not participate of any community effort or organized celebration, upon reflection, I see that I live a relatively green life. I recycle, bring my own bags to the store and skip plastic when at all possible, drive less, buy from the farmers market, eat organic when possible, carefully watch electric and water usage, grow my own vege's, compost and avoid purchasing items for my kids that will end up in the landfill. I cringe at gluttonous activities, talk about our planet's health with my kids and friends, carry a water bottle, avoid disposable anything and care. I'm not trying to toot my own horn because there is SOOOOOOOOOOO much more I could be doing. I just want to share my practices and make a commitment to increase my efforts in the upcoming year. I will be posting my eco-pledge later this week when I have it completed and I challenge you to do the same. Let's make a difference together.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Monday!

Here is my newest drawing. I used Paulette Insalls "Longing" as my model this time. I just love how she is able to capture so much emotion with very few lines. Paulette is such a talented artist! I had sent her an email on Friday about the classes I am taking with her and she wrote back:
"...It was so sweet of you to post about my classes on your blog! Thank you so much for doing that! And I just love the piece you posted on your blog today inspired by my "Follow" painting! You did a wonderful job on it!! :) Copying really is a great way to learn. All the masters did it, so why shouldn't we modern artists? :D"
That put the biggest smile on my face!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Oil pastels and watercolor pencils

Gosh I have been blogging a lot. I am bubbling with creative impulse and I want to capture the details so I can can conjure it up the next time I can only see gray. So today the kids and I played with a bunch of different stuff. I selected Paulette Insall's piece Blessings Abound to copy. Paulette's work is so amazing and each time I try to replicate her beautiful images I learn so much.

I started out using oil pastels on watercolor paper. This was my first time doing a face with pastels and I was completely clueless about the properties I'd be working with. I wasn't very far into things when I realized that outlining the sketch in black pastel was a BIG mistake. Every time I tried to fill in, the black smeared and distorted the color. I only had 12 pastel sticks to work with so I was relying entirely on blending to achieve the angelic coloration of the women's face. Oil pastels seem to be limited in their blending capacity. After a while the waxiness started to clump and I found I had very little control over the distribution. In the end, I decided to shade in the background with pencils rather than pastels for fear that the colors would smear into one another. It was a great learning experience but the picture isn't a very good replica. The poor woman looks like she has the plague.
Later in the day, the kids wanted to do some painting so I gesso-ed a page in my art journal and opened a new package of water color pencils. These were not high end pencils - I got 16 for less than $5 but the guy at the store said they were OK. There wasn't a skin tone or pale pink in the package but I was able to get them a la carte. This was my very first time working with watercolor pencils so I was a little hesitant to get started. What if I did it wrong? There was my committee holding me back again.

I went light on the shading at first not knowing what to expect. When I brushed over with water the result was sort of sudsy and erratic. But when I pressed hard on the pencils, then added water, the result was much better. I got rich colors and a thick consistency. The lighter shades were more challenging because it was difficult to keep the tones even, but I imagine I will get the hang of it with practice. I wasn't thrilled with the end result on this project either (see up top)- this time she looks like she is retaining water. I am, however, excited about working with the watercolor pencils -I can't wait until I have time to play again.

I am obsessed

I can't stop. I just HAVE TO create. The sketches are especially wonderful because I can work on them while spending time with the kids (I know, I'm not giving them my whole attention). While they are busy playing in the sand box, doing puzzles or playing with blocks, I can sit with them but sketch too.

Last night I had a hard time drifting off so I did this drawing for Tim as a birthday gift. I wish I could say it is my own design, but it is a copy of one of Paulette Insall's amazing pieces entitled "Follow"

I used colored pencil (some Prism - I only have 12 colors -and some Crayola I borrowed from my kids) on watercolor paper. Lessons learned: The Crayola pencil does not blend so it is worth it to invest in good pencils. The watercolor paper holds each pencil stroke impression so not the best substrate. Noses aren't as complex as I thought - Yeah! Copying other's work is a great way to get practice and learn techniques. Hoping to do some more today!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

and one more thing...

i just had to post this. i had the best time working this out. it isn't perfect by any means but i'm learning and i'm having fun! I'm still struggling with the nose - i just don't get them. ironic really since i just had major re-constructive surgery last month.

I used a nib with black ink to outline the lettering and it bled through in some places. I should have gessoed the page - the writing was a last minute impulse to counterbalance the drawing and to detail what I learned. I ended up damaging the pencil sketch I did last night which i hadn't photographed yet. It was an ode to noses. The text reads:


Inspired photos!

Friday, April 18, 2008

How Many Licks Does it Take to Get to the Center of a Tootsie Pop?

I have nothing to really say about this post title other than I have wanted to lead with that headline for as long as I have been blogging so I finally decided today was as good as any. Life seems heavy right now and I needed a little childhood skip-ped dee-doo.

I've been dabbling. Stretching. Exxxxxxxpanaaaaading.

The thing that I dislike about trying new things is that I'm not good it, until I am. I won't go into the torrid details but I can tell you that my pencils need sharpening, my middle finger is stained with ink at the nail and top knuckle, there is a 1964 photo on my desk wearing a funny hat, I don't understand noses and I sent Golden an email inquiring about their free lecture demonstrations.

sigh. I'm gonna get better - just you wait and see!

Maggie came by for a little show and tell - she is such a talented woman with the most incredible soul. I am so lucky to share creative passion with her. She was crazy about the book I made in Stephanie's class. I just new she would be. I do believe "Whimsy" is her middle name.

I showed her Paulette Install's classes and she wants to take them too! I have signed up for both. I just can't not take them.

I spoke to Corvus and she is in the midst of an art'ing bonanza. Transfers, gesso, cardboard - oh my! It sounds like she has created some amazing new treasures.

I'm getting the studio ready from summer classes. I have decided to leave the sewing machine up and to put out my painting stash. No point in keeping it out of reach, right?Aidan and I played with packing tape image transfers. He LOVED it! I let him pick out a couple of pictures from daddy's magazine, we put the tape on and he peeled the paper off under water. They turned out great!
I did a sheet of My Minds Eye heavy cardstock and an 8 x8 sheet of girlfriend paper. Rubbing the paper off reminds me of peeling the glue off of my hand when I was a kid (Ok - who are we kidding, I still enjoy doing it!)

Hi Cheryl,

Thanks so much for leaving a comment - . I use Dr. Ph Martin’s Bombay ink. Ali Edwards (sorry for the name drop -) and I chatted about the joy of nibb’ing at Inspired and she said that good ink is essential and that Dr. Martin’s was good. My friend Corvus, just used twinkling H2O’s in her nib (sparkling watercolor paint). She recommends licking the nib before you use it the first time – the acid ph in your mouth makes the ink stick better. Yes, the ink writes over pencil and surprisingly, oil pastels too. Happy Arting!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Growing wings

I did some exploring yesterday and discovered a few really cool art workshops and classes coming up in 2008. I haven't decided if I can make any of them work but I'm really feeling like an angel just sprouting her wings and I am hoping to take flight before the year is over... and I know that all is as it should be and the rest will happen in God's time. Here is a list of neat happenings - let me know if you are thinking of attending any - maybe the universe will put me there too!
By the Sea...Art and Soul Artist workshops in Portland Oregon, October 1-6, 2008

Paulette Insall's Online Mixed Media Painting Classes and Workshops:
Organic Dimension (Backgrounds Class) - $55 (5 weeks) - class starts May 19th
All About Faces (Portraits Class) - $80 (6 weeks) Class starts June 30th
Art Fiber Fest (Teesha Moore) - October 22-26, 2008 - Port Townsend, WA

ConvenZioNE (ZNE) - Friday Aug 22- Sun Aug 24, Pleasanton, CA -$225 Early Reg.

Creative Photography Retreat (CPR) - Aug 28-30 - San Jose, CA - $550

I'm REALLY hoping to take both of Paulette's classes - at least I won't have to find babysitting :o)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What now?

Gosh, now that Inspired has come and gone I find the quiet disarming. No swaps to finish, nothing to buy, pack or sort, and, (sigh)... no grand adventure to look forward to. For 6 months we chatted about, played around, dreamed of and prepared for Inspired and now that it has come to pass I am... exhausted! - yes and also, a little sad.
I just finished cleaning up my work space - I had intended on doing a little photo transfer - but instead I looked at the various charm prototypes I put together before I settled on a final design. I cleaned up the scraps of paper left over from my 8 x 8 pages and the ribbon bits from my art journal pages. I put away my sharpies, found a place on the shelf for my "isn't she lovely" dress form, and hung my "word" from Kal's class. As I looked at the ridiculous amount of of stickers, paper, flowers and ribbon organized in my studio I realized that I am no longer a scrapbooker - I have evolved. Into what you ask? Well I'm not sure yet - I guess I'll have to sign up for another workshop to help me find out....wink.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Artist redefined

Wow, wow wubzee - Inspired was truly amazing. Both Corvus and I were blown away by the amazing classes, incredible students and the event as a whole. I truly feel redefined as an artist. I explored so many new mediums and techniques, that it will take me weeks to share them on my blog but I am thinking I will start a mini series to that effect.

I got messy, created with feeling, escaped the hindering ideas that have held me back. I was validated. At times, I even felt admired. I watched, absorbed, learned from some of the most talented women I've ever crossed paths with. I was given permission to approach my artwork from an out-of-body vantage point. I am so excited to start creating with the new knowledge I brought home with me. It may be a few days though. I came home to sick children and a pooped husband. It is my turn to take care of business - the 5 days of freedom they gave me was an amazing gift..

Here is my list of my top ten people, places and things about Inspired (in no particular order). I would love it if you would share yours too!
  1. Writing with a nib and ink - AWESOME!!!
  2. Playing with CD, Heather and Corvus in Textile Anthology
  3. The Random Arts booth and their image transfer mini workshop
  4. The gorgeous apron Shani made for me in the apron swap!
  5. Stephanie's class (I wasn't sure about this class when I saw the picture of the project in our handbook but I was "Oh, so pleasantly surprised!" I loved the mess, the image transfers, the freedom)
  6. Having people recognize me from my picture on my blog and tell me they liked my work.
  7. "Freestyle" art'ing in Tena's class
  8. Watching all the talented women of group B at work and learning from their unique perspectives.
  9. Learning from Claudine. My poppets weren't my best work but it was a pleasure to be in her class and in her company.
  10. Seeing one of my best friends who moved to Charlotte, NC a year and a half ago. The event was nothing short of amazing and to top it off, I get to spend Saturday night and Sunday morning with a women who has "Inspired" and as a woman, friend and mother!
There were so many more things that were incredible but I'll leave it at the first 10 that came to mind. I must give an honorable mention to the 2nd leg of our journey home when Corvus's flotation device, (otherwise known as a seat cushion) shot out from under her and she was left sitting on a metal base covered with years of crumbs and gook. My stomach muscles are still sore from laughing. We decided that when the passenger in front of you's seat hits you in the face each time they adjust their weight, you are not sitting in coach, you are in a new category called "trunk" seating (or in airline lingo "the hole").

I will be posting many more pictures and sharing more about the projects and techniques over the next few days. I have to pace myself so I can ride this high for as long as possible plus I need to attend to my sick babies.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I am off to Inspired!

The day I have been waiting for has finally arrived - I am off to Inspired in North Carolina. I'll try to post updates!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Who would have thought?

Last night we had such a wonderful evening. It was really laid back, each of us doing our own thing and yet we were together. Who would have thought that the precious moments would be so uneventful.
Tim did a bunch of little chores in between playing with the kids. He fixed the loose towel rack in the bathroom, swapped out some light switch fixtures, and cleaned the kitchen after making a yummy steak and potato dinner. How lucky I am to have a husband that participates and finds his joy in our family!
Aidan got this really cool "video game" system from his La La -(Auntie Laurie) when she came for a visit. It is called Ion and it is an interactive, educational program where the child stands in front of a camera and his image is inserted into the game. Dad helped him set it up and learn all the techniques, then he played for almost 2 hours with Dora the Explorer and the characters from Lazy Town.
Eva is finally at an age where she can entertain herself for a while which was instrumental in our very relaxed evening. She pushed her baby around the house in the stroller, while wearing daddy's work boots and carrying a cute little purse. It was quite a sight - I wish I had taken a picture.
I had the pleasure of working on and completing two UGRA projects. I wanted to get them done so I could pass them on to the next players before I leave for North Carolina. The first project was a gorgeous book made from magazine pages and assorted paper in varying sizes.

It was a garden theme so I decided to decorate my pages with a Zen garden. Stylistically, the pages were different then my usual work. Much more clean and simple. I incorporated some really wonderful thoughts on life balance and living green that I cut out from a magazine.
The other project was a large puzzle. I decorated two pieces, again trying to go outside of my comfort zone, keeping the recipient's likes and dislikes in mind.

It was a lot of fun to play with - my husband even jumped in to give his two cents. He kept peeking in on my progress and would let me know if something didn't feel quite right. The kids would stroll in and out of my work area too and I'd stop what I was doing to give them my full attention. I guess you could say that we were all in the present and that is why our evening was so peaceful and pleasant. There were no expectations, no agendas, no negotiations. We just did what we did. Who would have thought?