Thursday, May 29, 2008

Art, Art and Away!

Art is everywhere. I have a lot of art-centric projects going on right now and it is so excellent. I am actively creating for two mail art groups, I'm taking a fabulous painting class, I'm preparing curriculum for camp this July where I will be teaching art 4 days a week, I'm working on Aidan's school scrapbook, I'm scanning, restoring and archiving photos for my client, and I'm doing my own stuff too! It is fabulous to be in the creative state so much of the time.

Yesterday, after visiting the creative chaos blog by the incredibly talented Sooz, I became obsessed with button flowers. She saw them on Kals blog and then made her own which were just stunning! I had to make these for my very special friend, Peggy. I used what I had on hand so the pot is a little large and the stems are pretty scrawny.

When my husband saw them he said "you should sell those!" I went off to Michaels (which is just a block away) to get a smaller pot and raffia to wrap the stems. They turned out pretty cute but I'm still tinkering. I need to find something to use as "ground cover" other than clay or moss. If you have any ideas, please post them! Anyhow, I sent the pictures off to a few friends and ended up with 2 orders. How cool is that?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tissue album and Organic Backgrounds

The last couple of days I have been working on a new project - a tissue paper album. It is super delicate and dainty and very different from my usual scrapbooking style. I used flowers and ribbon to attach three sewn tissue signatures together. I added transparencies, fabric squares and other papers for color, dimension and character. The lace came from a shirt I bought at the thrift shop for $2.00. I've got a lot more to do but I couldn't wait to post pictures because it has been so much fun to work on!

I am loving my organic backgrounds class with Paulette Insall. She is such a great teacher and it is such a delight to be encouraged to create intuitively rather than by principles and techniques.

I haven't had a chance to start our week 2 lesson, but here is the first layer from Week 1's lesson. By the time the class ends, my paintings will have 5 layers of paint, collage and detail.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Coffee or Tea?

I finished another UGRA project last night- a darling little coffee book created by the amazingly talented Loretta. At first I wasn't sure what I could possibly add since all of the coffee franchises had been fully represented.

I had already done a vintage coffee collage in another book earlier in the year so that was out too. Then I considered how watercolors might look on coffee filters - hmmmmm an idea began to develop. Twinkling H2O's, filter "pockets" and interactive tags!

It had been a while since I had played with my twinkling H2Os and I was once again dazzled by their vibrancy. I decided to use the colorful effervescence as a metaphor for the liquid energy that is produced by running water over bean vis-à-vis the filter. Once the paint dried, I went back over it with nib and ink to add the outlines and doodles. I adhered the two filters together than to a manila folder to provide some sturdiness.

To make the tags, I enlarged and printed clipart images of a cup, spoon and newspaper. I cut each image out then traced the outlines onto cardstock and cut those out. I inked the edges of all the pieces than coupled each pair, punched a hole in the corners and attached the sets with a brad. I did a web search for coffee quotes and selected 3 that made me giggle:

A morning without coffee is like sleep.
- Author Unknown

Way too much coffee. But if it weren't for the coffee, I'd have no identifiable personality whatsoever.
~David Letterman

I make serious coffee – so strong it wakes up the neighbors.
-Author Unknown

I printed them in fun fonts and adhered them to the blank under pages of each tag then tucked them into the pockets.

And on another note - TODAY IS THE 25th!!!

And that means lots and lots of pictures. Shimelle's photo prompts were focused around discovering the light and different angles within your home. A lot of still-life-photography-centric activities. I'm afraid I just couldn't get into it. We had a huge fire in our area so the sky was really mucky with soot plus I had both kids at my ankles all day -the best I could do was snap photos of a pretty hum-drum Sunday.

It started with oatmeal and the Nancy Drew movie, followed by a lot of housekeeping (good heavens, how does the house get so messy so fast!!), a nice visit with Corvus (She has been really busy creating AMAZING art projects!), a stop at Micheal's (I picked up "Scraptastic" with my 50% off coupon! Yah!!!!), immediately followed by some reading and creative scheming, then Connect Four with the little ones and Nancy Drew A-GAIN. I'll tell you all about the plans I have for several new WASSIMA projects tomorrow - "Scraptastic"is just full of cool, edgy techniques!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Its a Good Life

I was just moving some pictures from my camera card to the computer and I found the photos of our day at Henry Cowell State Park from a few weeks ago. It was so relaxing and easy. The redwoods are so still, stoic and serene. My whole world got quiet when I was there, even with the marveling chatter of our kids.

I can still feel that stillness as I think about the wind in the tree tops and the change of temperature from sunlight to shade.

God (or the universal creator, mother nature, a higher power- whatever you feel most comfortable with), is the greatest artist EVER! His (her/it) attention to detail and ability to make everything a focal point blows my mind! I say this with a spark of humor but also with enormous reverence for the total beauty of nature. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, when standing among those giant trees, it is hard to deny that there is a grand designer of all things. I just find it hard to believe that this kind of beauty is a random assemblance of chaos.

The colors were completely honest and raw - I am amazed that my camera was able to capture the shot above!

We had a picnic on the beach and splashed around a little in the chilly river. The kids were completely filled with joy. Their intentions and wonder were uninhibited by distractions, social practices, safety issues or household rules.

I loved that we were able to play together. We followed their lead rather than the usual directing (and re-directing) one has to do with curious little ones.

I love this picture of Eva - it is such an accurate depiction of her inner spirit. She is a precious little soul - such a girlie girl yet tough as nails and full of mischief!

This is a great shot of Andrea and I. We are kindred spirits. It is such a joy to have her in my life - I can't believe that our kids have known each other since birth and they are still such buddies! I could post a hilarious montage of those two over the years but we are the probably the only ones who would be entertained.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Meet my new friend...

So ever since Inspired last month my artistic expression has gone in a different direction. I've been trying new things. I've played with pencil crayons, pastels and watercolor pencils. I've tinkered with collage, transfers and metal. I really had no idea that I was on a soul searching journey. I just didn't have that kind of clarity (or introspection for that matter). But over the last week, I became aware that there was a tension building up inside of me. A push, pull or internal pressure that was becoming more apparent with each day. To be honest, I thought it was PMS but on Tuesday the universe decided to give me a better understanding of what was happening to me. Through a series of completely unrelated and insignificant events that I won't get into, I began to see that I was on a path. Where it is headed, I do not know, but the awareness that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing is crystal clear to me now and I feel a sense of peace unlike anything I have ever experienced. Here is how it came to me:

On Tuesday night I had a VERY important meeting that I had been waiting for for several weeks and as I was about to leave, I could not find the paper with all of the information. The paper with the organization's name, address, phone number and directions was gone. I looked everywhere but could not locate it I am a pretty organized person- this kind of thing just doesn't happen to me so I felt really irresponsible. I had a hard time being in my skin that night and decided to go to bed early but I couldn't sleep. I played in my art journal for a while referencing a book on faces I had found in the garage. My work wasn't what I wanted it to be so I decided to write on the page to offset the troubled sketches. My words became a powerful statement. A truth that I had not conceded to. I had talked around it but I had never given it to the universe as an intention.

Once I did it I felt an incredible load lifted. It was remarkable. I tried to sleep once more but something was stirring so I turned the light back on and put pencil to paper.

That being said, I'd like to introduce you to my new friend...

I know, it is just a face, but it isn't one of Paulette's faces or Kelly Rae's- it is mine. It came from inside of me. I didn't copy it; in fact I wasn't even trying when I drew it. I was just sketching without any rules or preconceived ideas just like when I write in a diary. I guess it is one of those things that either makes perfect sense or it doesn't depending on where you are in your life.

I was worried I would not be able to replicate her, or at least a version of her but I did. I sketched the woman below. She has some Paulette's painting's qualities - this was unintentional but I think it is part of the process. I am really excited to do one on a canvas.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Goodbye and Hello

So I accomplished a lot creatively despite our jammed packed weekend. I completed a total of 20 cards to include in my mom's card album and presented it to her on Friday at her impromptu birthday bash. She loved it but said she isn't sure she likes anyone enough to give them one of the cards :D.
I had some fun decorating the envelopes I used to send out my ATC cards (which I forgot to photograph) and created fun little note cards to include using all of my sticker leftovers.

On Saturday I had the honor of speaking on a panel to a group of 80 incredible women and then had a movie date with my husband in celebration of our wedding anniversary. We appropriately saw Iron Man - we love superheroes! Before going to bed I finished the last details on the card album I created for Stella for our WASSIMA group and packaged it up for shipping.

On Sunday I was in charge of the Crazy Hair booth at my son's school carnival . That evening, I created my entries in a "Slam book" project for UGRA. It was such a fun project and provided a ton of opportunity for creativity. I sent it off to the next player today (along with my ATCs and Stella's project) but have thought of several cool things I would have liked to have added if I still had it in my hands. Oh well - it was not meant to be...

Today my organic background class started with Paulette Insall. I am super excited! I was amazed that I had almost all of the class supplies on hand albeit they are 10 years old. I was so inspired to learn that Paulette has been painting for just one year. She is so incredible and it gives me hope that I will discover a voice - my voice - who knows where it will take me. I just feel this pull - maybe it is a push - I don't know - a type of tension and I am so grateful that my family is allowing me the time to resolve it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

ATC cards and collage

There is a particular joy unique to creating art and I am a complete junkie! I have this crazy craving all the time and when I have a chance to feed the hunger, I'm super greedy about it because the high I get from making something that I think is beautiful is incredible (and somewhat rare). I generate a lot of art whether it be scrapbooking, jewelry, drawings or altered items, and a percentage feel like a disaster, a percentage of them feel "OK" to me, and some even feel "pretty good." But every so often, I exceed my own expectations and I feel talented, capable and even gifted. Ironically, many of these projects are not as appealing to others which goes to show how subjective art can be. At any rate, I had one of those experiences last night (the second time in a month - Yea!!!)We are in the midst of a heat wave in the SF Bay Area and we do not have central air so our house was HOT (and still is). The kids were fussy, Tim was exhausted and I had a very short fuse. I had cleaned the house and the backyard, done a heap of laundry, cooked and cleaned up dinner but I was determined to finish my ATC cards for the UGRA swap. This project had been a little stressful because I felt I had to do something amazing to keep up with the accomplished artists in the group. My first set (we were to create 2 sets of 8) were not all what I hoped for so I had been avoiding working on the second set. I guess the sun and the moon were aligned because some how the design came alive and I am so delighted with the end result.

I'm very new to collage so this was a total stretch for me. Here is how I did it:

The standard size for ATC cards is 3 1/2" x 2 1/2". I used acrylic paper as my foundation. I stained the cards with a mixture of water and ginger alcohol ink by mixing the two (3/4 ink, 1/4 water) in a mister and spraying my craft mat. I dabbed up the puddle with the ATC card and then set it aside to dry.

Then I selected the images I wanted to include in the collage. Here is a list of everything I used and how I prepared it
  • I tore up some vintage theater tickets
  • I cut and inked pieces of a vintage sheet of music and a magazine article.
  • I distressed measuring tape ribbon bits with ink and the above spray mixture
  • I used stickers of vintage postage stamps
  • I cut up several sheets of "Graphic 45" scrapbook paper - the Times Nouveau collection - which provided me with the women I used as the focal point, the shoe images and the crossword puzzles
  • I used pieces of K and Co. paper lace adhesive tape (Saffron collection)
  • I stamped and embossed with Hampton Art "Paris Memories", then added color with water color pencils and a water brush and finally cut up the images into smaller pieces
  • I printed a Tessha Moore Image onto transparencies (1" x 2")
I adhered all of these items accept the women with modge podge. I then went over the collage with more modge podge to keep the corners from curling. Once the collages were dry, I adhered the women using American Craft's foam squares. They tend to be thinner than Zots or 3-D glue dots and I didn't want the focal point to be too separate from the rest of the collage. I really enjoyed making these and feel so good about the end result. I'm flying high today and like a good junkie, I can't wait for more!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Journal Revolution!

I'm so jazzed about this amazing book by Linda Woods and Karen Dinino: "Journal Revolution: Rise Up & Create! Art Journals, Personal Manifestos and Other Artistic Insurrections". It is one of those I-give-you-permission-to-be-fabulous books that releases you from perfectionism and encourages you to create with your life. I have this gigantic art journal that I sort of tinker in. I practice, I doodle, I sketch but I don't really experiment - I don't get messy. It is as if I'm creating for some invisible audience - I'm totally confined by a fantasy that I should be able to journal like Teesha Moore or else I must keep it simple - you know - tinker. How can I learn if I'm not willing to make belly flop mistakes? I know I've posted a lot of my art journal work that is (lets be nice)...problematic. I absolutely use my journal to play but not to this degree. You've got to purchase this book and get at it girl! It is truly liberating!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Flea Market adventures

Saturday, Maggie and I brought Eva and Alex with us to the flea market. It was such an adventure and an absolute blast! We were ready for anything - we had lots of sunblock, home filled water bottles (thinking green) strollers, our own shopping bags, big hats, small bills and a desire for vintage treasures.

It took us a while to get into the groove. There was so much to look at which made it hard to focus. Maggie snagged up the first buy of the day - a bird house full of potential! Once we got our hunting goggles on, we were able to scan, search and people watch all at the same time. We found most of our purchases at one booth - Old sheets of music and 1950's magazines including Life, National Geographic, and US News and World Report. Later in the day I found some old Golden books, a super old copy of Ivanhoe, a 1955 copy of "Now we are Six" and Walt Disney's "Story Land" - (I had this as a child). They all offer lots of potential for collage projects although I'm not sure I can bring my self to chop them up.

We left at 1:00 PM but I felt as though I had been gone for several days. It was like a mini vacation and a fantastic time! I can't wait to go again.

Mother's Day was very nice although busy with life chores. I spent half of the day grocery shopping - first the farmers market, then Safeway and lastly, Trader Joes. We ate a delicious picnic lunch in the backyard which included cherries, fresh homemade salsa and turkey sandwiches with Australian white cheddar and pesto. Tim cleaned the house in my honor and then he and Aidan went to play soccer while Eva and I took a nap. But this is most Sundays which is the perfect Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Still So Inspired Mail Art Project

There are a group of us from Inspired who are doing Shimelle's 25th challenge. We keep in touch almost daily and reference one another in our blogs. It is really fun. We just decided to start a mail art group - we call it SSIMA - Still So Inspired Mail Art. I know, I know that acronym is sort of lame - it seems most everything snazzy has been taken. I'm hoping Heather will give it a witty twist but she started Art school last week so she's pretty much all business right now. So I am almost done with my first project to be worked on by the group. It is for Stella, so Stella, if you are reading this, please close you eyes or click here to see what color Shani is celebrating.

Drum roll please...... Ta Dah! (just kidding)

As you saw yesterday, I did one for my mother also. I was debating on posting this one because I didn't want Stella to see it but I realized that it might be useful for the other SSIMA-bots to get their creative juices flowing. Stella said she likes pink, these: "{ }" and in a covert poll, revealed that she is a serial card sender. I will be sending the book out on Monday with 2 completed cards. Each SSIMA-bot who volunteers to play will add 2 - 3 more cards and are invited to embellish the book. I left the book relatively un-embellished so everyone could add some of their flare.

Well I better run - off to the flea market with Maggie to look for ephemera and other treasures. Life is really good today.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mother's Day Art

My mom's birthday and Mother's Day are very close together so I always have to go big with my gifts this time of year. She loves gifts that involve pictures of the kids and has really gotten excited about handmade cards in recent years. So this year I'm making her two things - a small scrapbook album and a Card album. I haven't done much with the album yet so I'll post those photos later. I have most of the card album completed though. It was really fun to make and I think she'll really enjoy it.
I have put together a few of the cards but I still need some more so she has a nice selection. I want to create several recycled cards made from items headed for the trash. It will also come with a coupon for more cards made to her needs. I still need to add embellishments and tabs but it is close to being finished.

She is out of town this weekend so I won't see her until next Friday which should be plenty of time.