Thursday, December 31, 2009


I've been offline for a couple of days due to the copying of all the files from the old computer to the new one that Santa brought me! And I'm getting used to the new operating system along with the newest version of Photoshop (another cool gift!). So there's been a slight learning curve for me with all of the new technology. I'm making progress and am LOVING the new setup.

While I'm learning my way around Photoshop CS4 I thought I'd make a little New Year's piece. I call this, "Anticipation" because I am looking forward to all of the great things I envision with the unleashing of 2010. I hope to really grow in my art, my journaling and my writing. I have some personal goals I want to reach in the coming year and plan to examine those more closely in my art journals.

So, here's to the New Year: may it be all you hope for it to be!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Heart Whispers

Here is the latest art quiltlet I made. I sketched the girl onto muslin and then cut fabric for her hoodie and roughly sewed it on. The hearts are beaded with glass beads. I painted the background in a bronze metallic paint which doesn't show up too well. I also painted the sun, her face and hair using Caran D'Ache Neocolor II crayons mixed with water. I left the threads hanging from the jacket because I like the uneven, loose feel of the piece.

I was inspired by the fashion sketches of Kat MacLeod. She is an awesome artist and I'm using her sketches as "models" while I try my own hand at skteching her style of faces in some fun little fabric pieces I'm working on now.

I've really missed working with fabrics and my sewing machine. These little quilts have been fun exercises in random sketching and embellishing. I've got some other ideas I'm trying out now and hope to have more to show soon.

The beading is what takes all the time but I love the random nature of the whole process. I sewed the piece onto black felt using embroidery thread and cross stitches. Lots of fun working with fabric again. Stay tuned for more little bits.

Monday, December 14, 2009

HeART Quilt: Part Two

After having the base of the art quilt set, I was ready to embellish. I spent the evening last night beading this as I watched the NFL games with hubby. After all the beading, I sewed the quiltlet to a big piece of black felt. I love the way this turned out.

I have another one in the works right now. I'll be doing the beading on it tonight. I've painted the face of the girl and the muslin background. I used acrylic paints mixed with fabric medium. It really helped the hand of the fabric stay soft. This is a new area of exploration for me, but I'm loving the results. I hope to have something to show of this one in the next couple of days.

The Shiva paintstiks are a dream to work with. After the 24 hours they are ready to heat set and then you can paint over them or do whatever you like. I've printed out a couple more of my latest sketches and transferred them to muslin squares. Now I'm working on designs for their little quiltlets.

Also in the works: I completed two collages today in Jamie Ridler's Soul Reflections course. This was a fantastic exercise that you can use again and again. I highly recommend it. I purchased the e-course but there will be a "hard copy" packet ready to mail in January. I couldn't wait for that so I ordered the e-version. ;) It's wonderful and so inspiring! I love Jamie's check it out. There is so much inspiration and support to be found there.

That's it for today. Back to work on the quiltlets. I am beading the squares for my wall hanging in between breaks I take from the quilts. Hope to have those ready to assemble very soon!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

HeART Quilt

It's been awhile since I've posted! Many things have been going on behind the scenes. I battled the flu some more and then managed to pull a muscle in my back and wasn't able to climb the stairs for a few days. Ugh!

I've been playing with fabric lately. I picked up the newest issue of Art Quilting Studio and that made me want to play with my fabric stash. Then I pulled all of my Sew Somerset issues and my Cloth, Paper, Scissors back issues and just started making notes. I've got Shibori dying on the horizon...really wanting to try my hand at that. But here is a little art quilt (about 5" x 7") that I experimented with. First I sprayed the fabric with Adirondack Spray Inks. Then I rubbed my Shiva paintstiks over rubber stamps of different sizes of hearts. After I heat set those, I stitched over them with gold metallic thread. This is a piece of muslin sewn to a felt backing. I think I'll mount this page into one of my journals after some more work. I want to add some beading and maybe something else; I'm not sure yet.

We had our Christmas party for hubby's students. I spent a lot of time getting the place ready for about 20 students, making them little gifts and assembling the gift bags. Here was the view from my second floor loft area right before we brought in the extra seating:

Here's the view from the first floor landing:

And, finally, from the bottom floor:

I painted each student a little ornament. I found some nice unfinished wooden ones at Michael's that had twine wrapped around them and a little bell at the bottom. They came in different shapes of snowflakes, hearts, a stocking and tree. Those turned out pretty good and then I decoupaged the Purdue "P" on the front and wrote their club name on the back with a date. I finished them off by edging them with an 18 kt. Gold Leafing pen. They seemed pretty happy with their gifts and that made me feel better.

So now that the annual party is over, I can get back to making art! So many projects are sitting right here in front of me and for the first time in about three weeks I'm feeling strong and healthy enough to start playing again!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Color Me In Watercolors

After making it through the holiday and then having to cope with a very bad cold, I was finally able to return to the computer today. Thanksgiving went very smooth and things are working out just fine (see last post).

So today I was able to sit down (for a very long time) and try to work my way through this Photoshop tutorial that was featured on Digital Whisper. It is a watercolor effect that you apply to a photo. For some reason I was just not getting it. Aaarrggghh! I was determined to sit here and try it until I was at least on the right track. It's still not quite there but is much closer than my first tries.

Mary Oliver's poem, "Wild Geese" keeps showing up in different places lately. I love these particular lines from it and decided to use them here with this old photo of me. These lines just ring true in so many areas for me. I love their brutal honesty and I try to remember them whenever I beat myself up over anything. These are the second and third lines from the poem; the first says, "You do not have to be good." LOVE that! I have this entire poem posted right above my worktable. It is such an inspiration.

On other things: I am working very slowly on my wallhanging but making progress, I'm making more journals using Teesha Moore's method (after finally getting some hot press watercolor paper), and I'm making a different sort of journal using old book covers and other watercolor papers. I've also been experimenting with some image transfer techniques for my journals. I hope to have something to show from all of this very soon.

I've been battling this cold that at times feels like a flu. Some days I just haven't had the energy to get upstairs to the studio. We are hosting a Christmas party for hubby's students on Dec. 10 and I have so much to do to get ready for that. I am trying not to let it overwhelm me but on days like today I am losing that battle.

I did another watercolor effect with my favorite photo of Andy Warhol using one of his quotes. I'll post that along with some other goodies next time. Now play time is over and I have to get back to the real world and start getting this place ready for 18 college students. Wish me luck.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Waiting To Heal

I believe in posting about everything that is going on in my life: good and bad. Not that this is bad. It's just bittersweet, I guess. My dad told me today that he is getting married Dec. 26. I haven't met her yet; I am going to do that Thanksgiving.

Of course I said all the right things, congratulated him, and even spoke with her on the phone. It's wonderful to see him happy and hear the genuine joy in his voice. That is something that has been missing ever since Mom died five years ago. I have been worried about him and knew he was lonely and depressed. This person came into his life soon after his motorcycle accident. They've known each other for years and she lost her husband a couple of years ago.

So it's great that he's moving on, he's happy and he seems like his old self. I'm very thankful for that. I will always struggle with my grief from her passing and I miss her every day. I remember she laughed and said that if she died first she hoped he would remarry but doubted if any woman would have him. ;) She knew he would struggle and he has. But this has just reinforced the fact that she is gone and we all have to move on with our lives. I'm sure I'll be journaling about this as I work through it.

I'm just going to have to wait for time to heal my wounds. It seems to be taking a little longer for me...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Make Your Mark

Ever since I made the five journals using Teesha Moore's instructions I can't stop playing in them! Here is a page I just finished. I'm obsessed with this photo of Andy Warhol right now. I don't know why but it begs to be used in my journal. The image surrounded in white is a transfer onto rice paper that I then adhered to the journal page. I added white oil pastels around his head to give it a dreamy effect.

On the top of the page in the background you can barely see a transfer of the same photo onto an old book page. I picked up this tattered copy of classic poems in the library throwaway bin. The spine is loose and the cover is cracked and coming apart. I'll use that in another project. I tore a page from "Paradise Lost" and transferred the image onto that. This time, the image was colored in Photoshop before I transferred it. After I adhered it onto the page I used the oil pastels to bring out the color more.

The little figure of Andy Warhol in the upper right corner was so much fun to make! That is a cartoon figure I cut from a magazine. I made a packing tape transfer from it and I love how it turned out. It's transparent but the colors on the figure are really vibrant! The face on the left in the top frame is also a packing tape transfer. I've been doing a lot of those and they will be showing up in my future pages.

I do have to confess that once I uploaded this page into Photoshop to resize it I couldn't resist adding a few digital items. I added the polaroid frames around the two faces and the film strip stamp in the lower right. I wish I had rubber stamps of these but for now I'll use the digital stamps. Other than that, the rest is the actual journal page. I'm really having fun with the Portfolio oil pastels and the pan pastels that Teesha mentioned in her video. My fingers are constantly different shades of blues, yellows and pinks (my current faves)!

I've been experimenting with every technique I can think of in these journals. I'm glad I made so many because while one is drying I can go to another one and start a new page. Some of the techniques have worked out very nicely and some, not so well on the watercolor paper. More will be coming soon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Journal Jammin'

In between my recent bout with the flu I have used my energy spurts to play in my art journals. This top page is a work in progress. I haven't journaled on it yet and I want to add a few more things. This is a homemade journal. I used Teesha Moore's instructions from her blog and made this one out of 140 lb. watercolor paper. The pages are 8 x 9 (I didn't have a wide enough sheet to make it 8 x 10) but this will do for now. I use this journal for trying out techniques.

The background is a dyed paper towel that I glued to the watercolor paper. I love the look you get when you dye those towels. I use Adirondack Color Washes when I dye the towels. They give such vibrant color!

The lady in the middle is from a wee little rubber stamp I picked up recently. She's part of a sheet of those acrylic stamps you can buy now. I just love this stamp. I bought the whole sheet just so I could get her. I scanned her into the computer and enlarged it about 200%. Then I colored her in using some water soluble markers. I really like the way she turned out. I repeated her image at the bottom. That is the original size of the stamp. Those are stamped onto granite-finish paint sample cards I picked up at Lowes. I'm in there a lot just to get the paint chips and other little free samples. :)

These next two pages are from another journal. These are my first attempts from Dina Wakley's class I mentioned a few posts ago. I love her art journaling style and want to take more of her classes. The challenge in this lesson was to make at least 10 layers and use a silhouette 3 times. I used another dyed paper towel as part of the background here. Then I journaled around the central bird.

This next page isn't finished yet. I used the same bird silhouette. I printed out an image of a bird I had in my files (after I enlarged it) and used the cutout as my mask. I don't think I'll do 10 layers on this page. I do like the colors:

I mentioned Teesha's journal instructions earlier. She shows you how to make a 16-page journal with one sheet of 22 x 30 watercolor paper. My sheet wasn't quite that wide but I managed to make one. Here is my journal. I used a sheet of my fabric paper as the journal cover and glued it on, wrapping it around the front and back cover of the watercolor paper:

And here is what the inside looks like:

This journal has 16 pages counting the inside and back covers. Lots of room to play and experiment with all of these techniques I'm learning. Hopefully my energy will return full force soon and I can really get busy.

I've made a few more sheets of fabric paper for my ongoing wall hanging project. I'm almost halfway through with beading the squares. I have a few more things in the works right now and will post about those soon.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Scene From A Dream

Doesn't this just look like something you'd see in a dream? Well, it does for me. I have been having the worst bout of insomnia. I hate laying there wide awake watching the hours tick by... and if I do manage to doze off, I often end up in a place like this!

I think it has to do with brain overload. There is so much I'm involved in right now. My brain races all of the time from one project to the next. I'll be working on dying some fabric and then think about a technique I want to try in my journal. Then I'll go and do something else and get distracted because I'm not organized (despite the cleaner studio area) and I have to spend time looking for something. And when I finally get to bed my mind really speeds up. It's a phase that I go through from time to time. I've read that some people in menopause have bouts with insomnia. Better look into that...

But I'm taking notes as fast as I can. Today I spent a lot of time giving myself permission to make bad art. I wanted to try some techniques in my journal that I'd been thinking about. And I even made up a few of my own. I let myself ask the question: what would happen if I did... and I'm finding out. I found out that I LOVE the gel transfer technique. I took an old photo of me as a child and transferred that into one of my journals. I'm still working at getting the right amount of gel for it to look like I want but now I know the technique can look cool. I finally found some fabric foil to play with and am foiling all kinds of snippets of my fabric paper with beautiful results. I'm trying it out with scraps first before I use the nice pieces. I also played with dying some paper towels that turned out so vibrant I can't wait to cut them up for collage work. I made some clay tiles using an old package of air dry clay. I even did some of my own experiments with crackle medium. Some worked, some didn't. But now I KNOW.

So today was very productive. I'm sitting here looking at all of these little experiments feeling pretty good about them. I even managed to get out today and take some cool photos for my photojournaling class. I love taking photographs and I don't know why I procrastinate about doing that. I need to build up my archive for LK Ludwig's class. Often, she'll say to search your archive for a photo about something and I have to admit my archive of personal photos is very low. This week she wants us to shoot tons of photos so I'm making myself do that. Now, if only I can get more than a couple hours of sleep at a time, life would be perfect. ;)

By the way, credit for this cool background room goes to Norbert Lov. He has an amazing flickr site full of these kinds of photographs. Check him out.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Emerging From The Fog

This is another digital collage I put together using the Manga tutorial I mentioned in my last post. Credit to Intano-Stock for the background (before manipulation).

It's also how I feel lately...emerging from the fog. October was a bad month for me, healthwise. I keep a calendar to document my migraines for my doctor. Last month I counted six migraine headaches and I went through a whole package of Sudafed for the sinus problems. Ugh. I feel like October was a big fog for me. I was so thankful for the days I didn't have either a migraine or a sinus headache. Let's hope that was an aberration and I can start November with a clear, pain free head!

There are so many projects I'm involved in right now and want to dive into. First, I've beaded 58 squares for my fabric-paper wall hanging. I'm a little over 1/3 of the way finished with those. I need a total of 144 squares for what I envision. So, every night while hubby and I watch TV, I bead my squares. I look forward to that time; I spend time with him and make good progress on this huge project. I'm loving the latest batch of fabric paper I just made. I cut the squares last night after the dye was dry. They are a mixture of indigo blue and plum. They turned out gorgeous and I added just a hint of gold webbing spray to the sheet before I cut the squares and started the beading. The beads are indigo, purple, and bronze seed beeds. I'll post a photo of these later. Not everyone gets as excited about beaded squares as I do. ;)

I'm also taking a Photoshop course called Visual Poetry from Susan Tuttle. I love Susan's work with photomanipulation. This class just started yesterday and I'm very excited to learn some new techniques in Photoshop.

I'm also taking an art journaling techniques workshop with Dina Wakely through her blog. She had a gorgeous spread in Art Journaling Magazine and I was thrilled to see her share the techniques from that spread in this class.

So, lots on the table right now. I'm continuing into October with LK Ludwig's excellent class on Point and Shoot Journaling. She has some awesome techniques for making your photos more interesting in your journals. I hope to have some finished spreads to show you very soon. I ended up getting a larger journal for this class. I find that I need big space to work in. By the time I had printed out my photos and put them on the page, there wasn't much room left for journaling or technique in the old journal. I can still use it for smaller journal pages, though.

Now, while my head is clear and November's chill is settling in, it's time to get busy on some serious work today. Hope you all have a great week! I'll check in again soon with some results.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Treat and a Tute

Today's wishcasting question from Jamie was "What treat do you wish for?" Well, I wish I could learn some new effects in Photoshop. I love the possibilities for printing out my art onto fabric, canvas, etc. and embellishing it even more. But I want to learn some new techniques and not have to spend ANY money. That would be a super treat for me.

Today I found just the tutorial. It was free and it was from an amazing artist. It's so nice to see artists who share their work freely in hopes that you'll learn something. Often, they won't even ask for a link back or a mention. I always try to mention where I learned something so I can keep passing on what the artist is teaching.

This tutorial was from Pareerica (Flickr name). It's called the Manga Doll Tutorial. I LOVE that look of the big eyes, the exaggerated features of the face. It's sort of creepy-cool and right now I really love the possibilities that this look can bring.

I made the piece at the top of the page for this week's challenge at Digital Whisper. The challenge was to use the raven in a piece. I call mine Black Magic. The witchy woman started out as a mannequin. I found her at Fontplaydotcom's Flickr site. Here is how the lady at the top of the page started out:

How cool is that?! The manga doll tutorial took a little practice but this was my first attempt. I really like how she turned out.

Rubyblossom is another fantastic artist who has tons of free images, backgrounds, etc. for you to use in your art. She does ask for a link back to her site, but who wouldn't give credit to such a generous spirit? So check out her albums. They are pure eye candy.

So, yes, I felt like a kid getting a special treat today when I happened upon these sites. Wishes really do come true! ;)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saying Yes To...

On Jamie Ridler's website she has a wonderful weekly feature that she calls Wishcasting Wednesday. The idea is you respond to her prompt on your blog and then place your blog's link in the comment section of her blog. People then read what you wish for and leave you a comment that says, "As (your name) wishes for herself, so I wish for her too." How cool is that?

The topic for this week was "What do you wish to say yes to?" That's a great one! After a very tough week physically and emotionally, I thought I'd reply here. So, I wish to say yes to...

Taking better care of myself
Not giving my energy to negative people
Having more compassion for those I don't understand
Showing my friends how much they mean to me
Supporting my family more with positive thoughts and actions
Healing my heart

What a great exercise to participate in. Jamie has a fantastic website full of inspiration. While I'm not one to join a lot of challenges publicly, I do enjoy participating in them. This one, in particular, struck home for me. By the way, do you know what the last week's subject was? "What do you wish to let go?" Considering my recent post on that very subject, I'd say that's just another example of serendipity at work again!

My aunt passed away Friday. She was my Dad's youngest sister. She had led a very hard life and made some bad choices along the way. She hadn't really kept in touch with the family much but Dad always seemed to keep tabs on her. During the last few years she had reconciled with her daughter who was able to arrange for her care. I'm sure she was thankful for the love and forgiveness her daughter gave to her in her final years.

When Dad told me she had died I just thought about how even those whom we don't understand need to know they can always come home. I hope my own siblings always feel they can come to me for anything. I plan to make that very clear to them immediately! :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

No Fear

Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid of only standing still.
-- Chinese Prover

I just realized that this piece and the previous one that I posted are very similar. The girl with the outstretched arms seems to be calling to me. I'm exploring this in my art journal,too. I didn't intentionally set out to create two such similar pieces. The Muse is at work...

I loved the look of this water/sky background. Tuesday I participated in a Webinar on Photoshop actions. I always thought they were too complex to try. I probably will never have the expertise to create my own but I was thrilled to learn that there are tons available on the internet free for downloading. I am so new with this tool that I had to manually write down how to download and then use them. But the results are worth the extra time. I used this image of the dock going out into the water and hit the "play" button on the action. After prompts to adjust certain settings and choose different themes I ended up with the background I wanted. I added the girl later and that's when I realized that I'd just used a similar motif.

So I'm thinking about the young girl in the first piece and the older one in this piece and what my Muse is telling me. Don't be afraid to let go ... have no fear ... these are big issues for me and I wrestle with different fears all of the time. I'm deliberately stopping myself when I hear the words, "I'm afraid..." in my head. Stop! I'm so accustomed to writing things off out of fear and I guess I've finally gotten tired of it.

I am expanding my art, my knowledge, my circle of friends...and I want to keep growing in all of those areas. If I fear anything, it would be as the proverb says: be afraid of standing still. I think I've done that too long!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two Hauntings

OK, I admit I'm in the ghoulish mood. It could be because most of the art sites I belong to are issuing "haunted" challenges. So I thought I'd take care of two of these in one post. The top one is from my friend Kimmie's Ning site at Digital Whisper. This week's challenge was the theme spooky and we were given just the image of the graveyard in muted tones. I lightened it up a little, added some blues, purples and greens, which I liked much better. Then I found my ghostly images in my archives. These were regular photos that I changed using the Invert command. Love the look of them!

This last one I made today just because...just because! I was still in the mood to create something dark. There are so many different images layered onto this one that I lost count. After looking at it awhile I called it "Atonement":

I am trying to learn the gradient map tool in Photoshop (with limited success). I still can't get the effects I want even following the directions in the tutorials! Experiments are fun, though, because you end up with things like this! ;) I like the colors and effects I ended up with here. Next time I need to write them down so I'll remember how to duplicate them.

I made three new sheets of fabric paper today and have now beaded 18 squares for my wall hanging. I won't tell you how many squares I figured that I need for that thing. Hint: over 100. Meanwhile I crank out the sheets, decorate them, cut them and bead them...the beat goes on. Will post some of my prettiest squares soon.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Letting Go

When I set out to make this digital piece, I was thinking about how much I miss my Mom and my bout with grief. It's a long journey that I'm working through in my journals and my art. Today I came upon this poem that really spoke to me. It's not about grief, specifically, but about letting go of the past. It made me feel a little better and I love the words:

You Must Let It Go

You cannot erase the past; you must let it go.
You cannot change yesterday; you must accept the lessons learned.
You cannot stop time or stand still in a world racing around in circles,
you must dance with the wind and sing with the songs that are playing.
Let whatever mistakes you have made remain in the shadows of time gone by,
and let love be the answer to the mysteries of life.

~~ Author Unknown ~~

Friday, October 16, 2009

Abstract Painting or Fabric Paper?

Here's a new take on the fabric paper. I covered the entire sheet of muslin with magazine images. I chose images with lots of color and interesting shapes. Then I covered the entire sheet in white tissue paper. When it dried the tissue paper really stood out as a white film over the entire sheet so I tried to figure a way to color it, while still leaving some of the magazine images showing through.

The top image doesn't show much of the magazine pages but I like the color blocking. I used a lot of water soluble oil pastels for color. I rubbed them in really good and then used a brush dipped in water to work them in further. Then I just barely spritzed some Adirondack Color Wash on certain spots. I love this paper. It's almost like an abstract painting just as it is!

Here is the second sheet using the magazine paper:

You can see that more of the images from the magazines are visible in this one. I don't like the dark middle, though. As soon as it dries I am going to cover it with something. Those were circles from the magazine and I wasn't too happy with them after I colored them so I'll just glue something else there.

To color this one I used the same things as above but added Metallic Gold and Bronze Lumiere paints. I love the shimmer that they give. I also spritzed on some Turquoise fabric dye. I like this sheet, too, and will cut it up to use in other projects after I figure out what I'm going to do with the middle.

I originally made these sheets way back when I did my first batch of fabric paper for the fat book swap. What I had failed to do then was add the top layer of tissue paper. I really didn't like the plastic feel of the sheets and I almost threw them out. But I held on to them thinking I'd be able to use them for something.

So I pulled them out yesterday and decided I'd try to add the tissue paper now. The sheet is much softer and very pliable. Now, to fix that middle spot and these will be ready to go!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Fabric Paper And An Embellishment

I've been furiously making sheets of fabric paper for the wallhanging I'll eventually start to put together. I decided the squares will be 3" x 3". Here is a sample of a square that has yet to have the eyelets added. This was from a sheet I posted earlier. I added some Gold Spray Webbing to it (love that stuff!) and thought some bronze beads would look nice.

I like how you can see part of the actual muslin peeking through the darker areas of dye. The stamped images are actually stamped onto sewing pattern tissue and then adhered to the muslin. That sewing pattern tissue just disappears once you wet it. I love the look and the texture! Gives me more ideas to use with my stamps in future sheets.

Now for the new sheets: These were still wet when I photographed them. This first one has some words and images all cut out from one tablet of scrapbook paper. I sprayed it with the Adirondack Spray Dyes in Butterscotch, Wild Plum and then some Walnut Ink:

Here's a second sheet using the same things:

And here is a raw sheet I just made before adding any color to it. I'll let it dry overnight:

All of the sheets I make from now on will eventually be cut down to 3" x 3" squares and embellished before adding the eyelets and wire to assemble the wallhanging. I bought two more huge bottles of Sobo glue and a bunch more muslin. Will keep you posted as the design changes.

Other things in the works: more journal pages, sketches and a few Halloween projects. Now back to work...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Playing With Fabric Paper!

I've been playing with fabric paper again! This is a photo of my first batch that I colored yesterday using spray inks. I belong to the Mixed Media Art Friends Yahoo Group, hosted by Belinda Spiwak. We are doing a book study on Kelli Perkins' book, Stitch Alchemy. This is an awesome book for techniques to use on your base fabric paper. I first learned about how to make fabric paper through the artist Beryl Taylor. Kelli takes the basics and goes a step further, adding different techniques and embellishments. I've made three sample sheets so far. Here is what the base looks like after it has dried and before you start coloring or embellishing:

It's just plain, cheap muslin with snippets of wrapping paper, tissue paper, wallpaper border, scrapbook paper glued down (tons of a Sobo glue/water mixture to really saturate the cloth and the papers). Then a layer of tissue paper over top of all of it. I used strips of plain white tissue paper to cover this piece. Then you let it dry completely. I waited overnight. Then comes the fun part. Embellishing! I used Adirondack Spray Inks in Butterscotch and Wild Plum, along with a couple of swipes from some pigment ink pads in various shades of pink. Here's the result:

I made this next piece much larger. You can see the various patterned tissue papers used here along with the other papers. I also used some tissue paper from some old sewing patterns that I then stamped onto:

Here is the fabric paper with the Butterscotch and Wild Plum colors sprayed on. The plum photographed more of a red color, for some reason. But it is actually more of a purple color.

This piece isn't finished yet. I'm still looking for some more embellishment. Kelli's book is a treasure trove of ideas. Think: beads, collage, oil pastels, etc. for further embellishing!

So what do you do with this? Anything you want! I can see uses in collage, art quilts, mixed media painting, just to name a few off the top of my head. I'm going to make a big batch of it using the same color family (yet to be decided). The book features this really cool (but small) wallhanging that has the fabric paper cut into squares, collaged with fabric circles, stitched around all four sides and then has eyelets along the top, bottom and side borders. The eyelets have jump rings in them and they connect the squares together. My idea is to do that type of thing on a much larger scale.

I'm pulling together the papers today to use for the base. I want to make a nice wallhanging (about 36" wide) for the stairway wall (two-stories high and BARE right now). So I need to make a huge batch of the base fabric paper and get it to drying. I can decide on my color scheme when it comes time to paint the fabric. I also need to figure out how big I want the squares to be. I bought a Crop-A-Dile (on the advice of Zinnia from Hands and Heart) to help with the eyelets.

So, big plans in the works. Always keeping a few projects going makes me feel energized! On today's schedule: getting more sheets made so they can dry overnight and starting on Lesson 2 of LK Ludwig's photo journaling class. Now I'm off to play!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hold Fast Your Dreams: A Journal Spread

I completed the first assignment of LK Ludwig's Point and Shoot Journaling Class. Ideally, you will use photos that you have shot for your journal. Unfortunately, I don't have a whole lot to choose from since I really haven't taken that many pictures in my life.

I do have a lot of photos from the family gatherings, etc. But they aren't what I want to put into my art journal. So, until I shoot some of my own, I'm using images I've got saved in my archive. These are images from free image sites that spoke to me at the time and were saved for the purpose of using in my art. With that said, I completed the assignment.

The whole journal entry is centered around a poem by Louise Driscoll called, "Hold Fast Your Dreams". I had read about this poem on another site somewhere and looked it up. This page shows the first verse written out both behind the photo and onto the photo:

This next page uses the images of the girl with the pinwheel (echoed in the previous photo). I chose these images to remind me to re-discover my inner child and chase my dreams. Also, to explore that "secret spot" mentioned in the poem. I like the mood of these two photos; kind of magical, misty and dreamy.

I painted up the background for these two pages with that misty, magical feeling in mind. I love purple and violet and turquoise together so I just threw some paint on, added some metallic gold for accents and a little bit of texture with the snippets of mesh.

While these aren't pretty pages they are pages that reflect my mood and my dreams right now. I think that is what I'm getting out of this class: authentic journaling of your dreams, goals, wishes or whatever it is you are feeling when you sit down with your journal.

I do plan on getting out and taking my own photos. But I didn't want the lack of pertinent images to hold me back from starting. I'll search through my personal photos and may find some that I want to journal about in future lessons. For right now, though, I've started and I love it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Serendipity Strikes Again


And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to blossom.

-- Anais Nin

I found this poem on a great poetry website. I go through spells where I read a lot of poetry, write some poetry and just get immersed in it for awhile. This poem stuck with me and the images just came together pretty quickly for this digital piece. Lately I find that poetry has been very inspirational for my art and my journaling.

Now for the serendipity part! I mentioned in my last post about how I love journal prompts and wanted to get serious again about my art journal. I think there's a lot of material that can be sorted through in a journal that can be used to express myself further in my art.

So after writing that last post I did some blog hopping on my favorite blogs (see sidebar). I found a wonderful Point & Shoot photo journaling class on LK Ludwig's blog. If you aren't familiar with her work, she is a very talented and inspirational photographer, author and journaler. She has written some awesome books on art journaling and keeping a journal (I have them all). I was thrilled to see that she had just now started this class (October 1). Coincidence? I think NOT!

Serendipity further at work: I was browsing through a thrift shop a couple of weeks ago and I came upon a blank, hand-made journal, filled with the nicest watercolor paper, just waiting to be filled! Here is my little gem:

And look at this binding! This little jewel was less than $1.

It has tons of paper just inviting me to come and play!

I had to use my palette knives to hold the pages down so you could see them. This is so cool! Now I have my ready-made journal and a brand new class to guide me through.

The class focuses on taking your own photos to use in your art and journaling. We already have our first photo assignment. I am just amazed at how the Universe pays attention when you even whisper that you'd like to explore something... Try it! It works!! This has all fallen into place just within the last couple of weeks!

I'll post some pages along the way as I fill them. Let the adventure begin!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Forever Young

I was inspired by Zinnia in her weekly journal prompts to create a journal page around a song that gets you moving, makes you happy, etc. This is not technically a journal page but I thought a digital journal page would work for me right now. After I made this sketch, every time I looked at it I kept thinking the words young, young at heart, freedom of youth, etc. and all of the emotions that go along with that.

So Zinnia's prompt kept stewing in the back of my mind. And then the song came to me: Rod Stewart's, "Forever Young". I have always loved that song. It just makes me happy and brightens my mood instantly. So if I did make a tangible journal page it would include all of these elements.

I love journal prompts. Kimmie has some awesome journal prompts on her Healing Art Journal page. I find that when I don't journal my thoughts or feelings I can start to feel the blahs set in. So I'm really trying to keep at it either digitally or in my Moleskine on a semi-regular basis. I am almost finished with the de-cluttering and reorganizing of my studio space. Hopefully I'll finish it up by this weekend and be back at work in there very soon. My fingers are itching to get covered in ink, paint, paper, glue... all of it!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Free Falling

This is how I have been feeling lately: like I'm falling, falling, falling... I have had an inner ear infection for the past week or so and it is really playing havoc with my balance. I'm okay as long as I don't move my head... not so fun.

I've tried to paint without much success. I resorted to sitting in my chair and painting with the canvas on the tabletop. It's not ideal but I did manage to finish the latest class painting from Jared Knight. I am always amazed at how I can follow along with him each step of the painting and use the exact colors he's using yet end up with different hues and a totally different look.

Yes, he is an experienced, wonderful artist! He's painted all his life and I love his work. I'm a newbie. He says that you learn to paint by ... painting! So I stuck it out. First I'll show you his painting. This is what the latest class taught you to paint (or, at least, your version of it):

I love his colors and his knife work! I still struggle with the knife but am working on a few different tips he gave in this class. I love his shades and blue. His is size 18 x 36. Now, here's my version:

First off: there were NO 18 x 36 canvasses at all in town. Aaarrghhh! I tried every store. So I had to use 24 x 36. Maybe it was the dizziness but this one reminds me of outer space, looking out through the window of a spaceship. :) It also makes me dizzy just looking at it so I'm starting the paintover on it today. I thought I would post it now because it's not going to last.

I like the blues in his a lot better but I'll keep some of the deeper blues in this one. I'll show you the paintover when I finish (if it's worth showing). I just know that I can't look at this one without getting dizzy so it has to go.

He says to substitute the colors you like for what he's doing and that may be my strategy. My colors tend to be more toward purples, violets, pinks, etc. (see top photo). So, along those lines maybe something more pleasing to me will emerge. And hopefully I'll be able to stand up and move around while I paint....without free falling to the ground!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Well, isn't this different! I was in the mood to create something digital and found some awesome free images here. So, what to put into this room? I've been playing with the idea of reflection, self reflection, the future self, etc. and this came together.

It's not my usual type of thing but it speaks to where I am right now. Taking a look at myself (no, that's not me. I wish!) and wanting to change so many things; physically and mentally. I like where I am with my art. I like that I'm experimenting with all the different media and finding out what I want to concentrate on.

But physically (both with my body and my living space), there is definitely room for improvement. I think it's time for another good de-cluttering of the studio as well as the entire upstairs. I'm avoiding the studio because it is so cluttered with current projects, future projects and a lot of items that I've saved "just in case". So, tomorrow I begin the purge. I need to clear my space so I can work in there!

I think a lot of this has to do with the arrival of Fall. This is my favorite time of year. Some people love the Summer but I come alive in the crisp air, the turning leaves and sweater weather. Bring it on! And I become more physically active; something I have neglected for way too long. I love long walks in the cool, or even cold, air. I am not a fan of heat, humidity and temps over 80 degrees.

So I'm having a little confrontation with myself; facing hard facts and finally beginning to act on them. I know the results will be worth it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Halloween Fun

Check it out! Get a head-start on your Halloween fun starting Friday, September 25th at Hands and Heart. Monica has planned lots of games, prizes, giveaways and, of course, fantastic classes! There are also free projects that will teach you some cool techniques. So join us on Friday and check out all the Halloween Happenings. See you there!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Exploring Possibilities

This is one of my favorite sketches so far. I found the model for this one in a fashion mag. I often use fashion models as the base for my sketches. I'm not real good at producing a face completely out of my imagination. I'm still having issues drawing the nose, as you can see. And drawing at an angle gives me fits but I keep practicing. I'm also trying to give them more emotion. I think she looks like she's exploring possibilities.

I'm certainly doing that. I'm enjoying the abstract painting. It really is fun! The whole idea of painting with no image is very freeing. You paint your emotion. Good stuff. I put on some music that reflects my mood for that particular moment and then go with it.

I am finding the artist tube paints very nice to work with. They don't dry out as fast as the Golden fluid paints. And my new best friend is Titanium White. I have gone through three tubes of it so far. Between using it for practicing with my knifework and then using it in my paintings it doesn't last long. I found you can order a gallon of it online and that's what I did. In the long run it will be cheaper. The next painting we will be doing in class will be larger: 18 x 36. That will be a blast! Hopefully Jared will have it up soon!

Another cool thing I learned about was painting with skewers. Who would have thought! My painting buddy, Kimmie, sent me a YouTube video showing how to paint Jackson Pollock style using skewers. You have to have liquid paint, of course, to be able to fling the paint but it looks so cool! You can vary your marks, drips, etc. I'll have to work that into something...maybe just painted backgrounds to scan for digital works.

Like I said, exploring the possibilities...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Inner Storm

This is my first finished painting from Jared Knight's class. It's 11 x 14, Acrylic. This was not the painting that we did along with him in class. I'm still working on those. This one is from inside me. It's funny because I started painting along with him in his class video called Black Ice. For some reason I can't finish the painting like I want. I'm having issues using the palette knife. The best part of that painting is the knife. I have the everything else finished but I don't want to mess it up. So I've been practicing with that knife on everything I can make a mark on. I hope to finish it by tomorrow.

I love this one. I'm hanging it in our living room. Hubby really liked it, too. Of course what else could he say? ;) It's been fun challenging myself to do something I've never done before. What a rush! I had Melissa Etheridge blaring on the stereo today and painted my soul. Lots of paintings in the works so things are moving along. Now it's time for Jared to make a new class video!

Other things I'm working on: I have a bunch of new sketches that I'm playing with. I am in love with one of these. She's so ... not spooky, but I can't find the word. I'm working on giving the portraits more emotion. Looking over the earlier ones they all have the same frozen expression. So, hopefully, you'll notice more emotion in these later ones.

That's it for today. I wanted to post this while I still had the nerve.