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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More Time than Money

Day 3 of my Reorganization Project:  I have gone through about 35 issues of Cloth Paper Scissors and Somerset.  That's a very heavy stack now ready for the recycling bin! And I have new folders of articles, with labels like Techniques, Christmas, Inspiration, Color Palettes.  Yes, color palettes!  I realized as I was looking at some of the art, I was responding to the combination of colors more than anything else.  I do tend to always revert to my favs of aqua/lime green/black & white.  So now I have a handy reference.  Along with what I now know about color theory, I have new options.

Another tip I came across that resonated with me, was design prompts.  When I am putting the finishing touches on something, I tend to do the same things--add dots or circles, or add text.  By selecting a random design prompt (such as add a strong horizontal, or add something sheer), I will be expanding my bag of tricks.

And I've decided to add an Inspiration Board to my studio.  After reading an article on it, and thinking about how that could help jumpstart my art, I am incorporating that into my new scheme.  But for the time being, I have more time than money, so I will continue on the course I have set, adding a list of "things to get when I have some extra $."

Also, I now have 94 colorful, artsy envelopes, made from beautiful pages of these magazines.

This first step was time-consuming, but it has set the stage for the rest of this project, and I'm so glad I started there.  Next step:  Purging--making piles of Throw Out/Recycle/Give Away/Donate.  I feel lighter already


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Nothing to Show

My camera is broken, so I have no pics to show. But that kind of sums up my whole art life lately: nothing to show. Many reasons for this: spending time at the river this summer, things happening with my adult children,the holidays, my studio being a huge mess....So now that I have more time at home, I have been wanting to get back in there. But every time I would walk in, I had this sense of dread. (If you could see it, you would know why!)

And I have been wanting to reorganize, and maybe even paint the walls, for some time now. But it has always seemed OVERWHELMING. Where to even start? Yesterday I sat down at my work table and took a good look around. Hmmm, I don't think I'll ever use those dolls or doll parts again. There's stuff all over the floor--why? Some are "future projects," but most are remnants of past projects that I've never bothered to put away. And if I love to paint, why are my paints not beautifully displayed? Oh, and look at that jumble of mediums up on that shelf. So I started jotting down ideas as I sat there.

One of the ideas was to go through my old art magazines (some as old as 3 years), and glean what I wanted to keep; recycle the rest of it. So since yesterday, this is what I have been doing. And it's the perfect way to begin! It is forcing me to organize my ideas: here are products I want to try, here are some color palettes I like, here are some techniques I want to try, here are some ideas I like....

And after a couple of days of organizing my ideas, I will be ready to tackle the physical re-organization. And to make it even more fun, I'm creating an art journal of this experience. So stay tuned for the outcome. Just like art itself, it will be a process.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

50th Anniversary Altered Book

Here is the cover of the altered children's boardbook I made as an anniversary gift. The text says "So Many Years in One Yesterday." The cover is canvas that was texturized with gesso and then painted in a freeform flower shape.
This is my first commissioned book! The theme was to be peonies. I chose a softer color palette than my usual, and spent a lot of time "aging" materials.
I was told that on the day of her wedding, the bride rode on her bicycle down the road and picked peonies for her wedding bouquet. A simple story, and yet it seems so sweet and touching to me. In today's world, brides choose these elegant, expensive bouquets, months before the wedding. But I'm sure the bouquet of peonies was just as elegant and beautiful.
On the left are actual dried peony leaves from my peony bush (which has long since blossomed!)
A 50th wedding anniversary is an accomplishment, indeed. I'm sure there were many ups and downs in a relationship that endures that long. And compromises and growing and sharing.

I hope they enjoy their little book of well wishes. Congratulations Darrell and MaryJean!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

whispers--finished piece

Detail showing wood icing and collaged items.
Detail showing tar and a handmade cloth bead.
Detail showing handwritten text on cardboard.
Here are the finished pieces, a diptych titled "whispers." These were practice boards we used to learn various techniques. I am happy with how it turned out, although it was a challenge to unify the whole piece because of all the techniques.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Valley Ridge Inspiration

It's been awhile since I posted. I have been doing art, but every once in a while, I just need to be recharged. This last weekend, I took a class at Valley Ridge Art Studio in Muscode, WI, with Mary Beth Shaw. And am I re-ignited! Learned so, so much, in such a marvelous environment. There is just nothing like an art class in a beautiful environment. Above, is a collograph I made in class (on left), and a print that it made (on right). I will be making many more of these!
Here's a side-ways view of the claybord diptych I am still working on. That black part is tar. Yes, tar. I will have a challenge, incorporating it into the piece, but there was a little chip on the edge, and I thought the tar would conceal that.
Here are two more boards where we practiced several new techniques. I have worked more on it since this photo, and it is just about finished.
And here are the same two boards, early on. Here, it's obvious I used grids. The challenge is to start out with them, to aid composition--then, to move out of them to make the work cohesive.
I had so much fun, and learned much more than I had even hoped.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sewn paper collages

Yesterday I spent time at my friend's house, using one of her sewing machines. (I don't own one.) She quilted while I sewed papers and fabrics onto cardstock. I just loved it!
Many of the papers are hand-made, while some are photocopies of fabrics or of other artwork I've done. I really, really like the effect.
Not to mention the COLORS! I feel so color-deprived after this long winter. Anyway, it was great fun to play with her machine. I must get one of my own now.
This shows some of the stitching detail. I wasn't very precise in getting them straight, but I still like the effect. Not sure yet what I'll do with them. Ideas?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wearable Collages

I worked on these for a couple of days and ended up with over 20 necklaces. Many of the charms I had already made, but had not done anything with them; others, I just made yesterday. I used a lot of wood and metal on these.
Some of the wood are small cubes, while others are the backs of Scrabble tiles. I either collaged on them as is, or glued a small background on & collaged on that.
It feels good to use up some of my stash of goodies! I didn't realize how MUCH I had!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Just completed this piece today. I worked on it, off and on, over two months. I knew it needed something, I just couldn't figure out what. Then, as I was reading MaryBeth Shaw's new book, chapter by chapter, it hit me like a ton of bricks--VALUES!! I needed more contrast. So I did that, made a few more layers of color on the figure, and now it feels finished.

I wanted to convey the importance of having gratitude. To me, gratitude begets peace. It's where I must start from, when I am overwhelmed or feeling out-of-sorts. So in this piece, although the figure is surrounded by bumpy rocks (lots of texture), she/he is aglow within.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Valentine ATC's

I made a batch of ATC's for Valentine's Day. This one is my fave. The background paper I used was from last year's Family Mixed Media Madness event. All my kids, significant others, and grandkids made papers. It was a lot of fun, and we all ended up with tons of papers.
Here's the bunch. I have always loved Valentine's Day. I suppose I'm a true romantic at heart. Or maybe I just like an excuse to use lots of pink and red. Regardless, my friends and family can usually count on some Valentines from me!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

a serving of poetry

Today, before throwing away a Better Homes & Gardens magazine, I decided to skim through and snip out words to which I was drawn. I placed them in a small bowl so I could carry them into my studio. I think it looks like a delicious serving of Words! I challenged myself to create a poem, using only these words. (I made sure I snipped the little words too--prepositions, "a" and "the", etc.)
Then I spread out all the words, and began formulating a bit of a poem....
and here is the final poem. (The word on the left that got cut off is "Tomorrow.") I pasted it into my art journal, and now I have a great little entry for a snowy wintry day!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

stencils and masks and fun, oh my!

It amazes me what things can inspire us. I've had a dry spell for awhile, with family situations and with our new cottage. But I've been aching to create lately, and stencils and masks have turned me back on! I needed to come up with an idea for our Creative Spirits group that meets soon, so I began leafing through Collage Lab, by Bee Shay, and spotted a section on masks and stencils. I've been curious about them since taking Michelle Ward's class last summer when we used them with spray paints. Then I began thinking about what could be used as a stencil/mask, and decided to leaf through some magazines in search of good silhouettes.

One of the magazines was the Fall issue of Vogue, which is jam packed with all kinds of artsy inspiration. I began cutting out figures of the models in various--sometimes comical--poses. I'm just beginning, but I will soon have a great stash of stencils/masks I can use in my art! Here's the first one I cut out.
I traced her onto a manilla file folder, then cut her out, using a craft knife. So I have both a stencil and a mask.
Here's a sample of using the stencil, with just some scrapbook papers I had handy. I added a few collage elements, and she's all done!
Here's another sample, again using scrapbook papers, this time using the silhouette as a stencil. I added a lacey skirt and some shading, and another quick fix for my creative need.
And another collage, cut out of some collaged paper I had made, glued onto an envelope I received from an artist friend at Christmas. And this is all, just using papers. Imagine what I can do with paint! Simple, yet effective. I think my dry spell has been healed!