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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

On The Edge

And here is another piece I completed last week.  A friend gave me a ton of handmade papers that she had brought home from Thailand (thank you Lorraine!), and I decided to tear them into strips and "dye" the strips with fluid acrylics, inks, and dyes.  The horizontal strips are those papers.  The vertical strips are some handmade tissue papers I created a couple of years ago.

Gluing them to the substrate was tricky because of the weave effect, but I managed to do it without getting too messy.  I love the white frame and the white space between the strips.  It almost tells a story of its own. It feels to me that the edges of the strips is the important part here, and thus the name.

What Do You Expect?

This is a piece I finished last week.  I love the vibrant colors, and circles seemed to emerge from everywhere.  The more I looked at it, the more I "saw" a pregnant woman, so I began to bring out that form.    Then I added the collaged pieces of a woman's head and her hands entwined with grapes.  She is so fruitful! Her pregnancy shines as though it is holy.  Not sure if I will keep this title, but it is a bit of a pun, no?

Artist Coach - Career Coaching for Artists

Artist Coach - Career Coaching for Artists

I just read this fascinating article about being in touch with your art as a means to being able to sell it.  At first I thought, "Well, I DO just create art as though it were an out-of-body experience!"  But as I continued to read, I began to understand her point, and I do agree.  What do YOU think?

Friday, October 19, 2012


 Now that my art show is done and my "old" pieces are stored away, I have freed up space in my art head to  continue evolving.  I had a lot of fun doing this piece, using mostly my fingers.  "No brushes were harmed in the making of this art!"  I really like getting my fingers dirty and directly connecting with the canvas.  It does make for messy hands afterwards, but I don't mind that either.
I also completed this piece, recycling an old canvas that I didn't much care for.  I black gessoed the entire canvas, chose greens for the rough squares, and then collaged from there.

I am feeling inspired to get into my studio more now, and loving the creative energy that has returned.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Getting Organized for Art Show!

 This week I'll be busy getting organized for my Art Show on Saturday.  It's called "Offerings of Gratitude," and will be held Saturday from 1-4 at Grace United Methodist Church in Joliet, IL. I am so grateful for what Art has brought to my life, how it has touched me spiritually, and I want to share that with friends and family.

  I am going through all my art, altered books, and assemblages: cleaning up, pricing, packing, and making lists.
I'll be selling some of my newer pieces, also.  I really need to get my art "out" there, (as opposed to in MY house!) so I am trying to price very reasonably, and still take into account the materials and labor required for each piece.  Not an easy task.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back in the Saddle

 Now that the busy-ness of Summer is slowing down, I'm back!  Actually, I've been making Art during the summer, but haven't been sharing.  Here's a collage I did yesterday.  It was just one of those serendipitous days when all the pieces came together, with very little help from my brain.  It just flowed.  My favorite colors, too.  It's called "Grounded for Life."
 Here's a canvas I did last month. I had bought a 5-pack on clearance from Michael's, and they were sooo cheap!  Probably because the top canvas had a gash in it.  Twas simply an opportunity for a niche! .....
.... And here's a close-up of the niche. (I just love feathers.)
 This canvas I did in June. This is an example of my "new" approach to art, which is much more intuitive.  I simply play with paints on the canvas for a good long time.  Then I stop, go away for a while, and when I return to it, I look at it from a distance to see what seems to be emerging.  And then I try to bring out those images.  Kind of like looking for pictures in the clouds.  And just as fun.
 Another canvas I completed last month.  For this one, I played around with stencils and spray paint in the backyard.  (The grass stayed blue for a LONG time, since there was no rain!)  Then I brought it in and added acrylics and texture.
And here's another intuitive canvas.  This one feels very spiritual to me; not sure what all the images symbolize, but I will journal about it to discover the meanings.

It feels great to be back in the saddle!

Friday, March 30, 2012

My New Necklace

 While shopping in downtown Wheaton yesterday, we ran across a bead shop.  All the selections were nearly overwhelming--so beautiful.  But this pendant caught my eye; I thought it would be a perfect summer necklace.  So I found some chain that looked lacy and delicate, and  a clasp.  When I got home, I put it all together.
I just love it.  It looks like a seashell, but is actually (I think) Mother of Pearl, which I also like. Materials cost $20.  And now I have a beachy necklace for boating this summer.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Crayon Drippings

 I have seen these, but never a "how-to" so I figured I would just play around a bit and see if I could duplicate the effect.  It was quite easy!  First, I used a craft knife to slit the papers on the crayons.  I will save some of the wrappings for collage.
 I used an old canvas that had a painting on it that I no longer cared for.  I used black gesso to cover it up, leaving the textured circles that were part of that painting.  Using gel medium, I glued my selected crayons to the top of the canvas.  I did try to put pleasing color combinations together, but I think random would work just as well. Or even all greens and blues would look great on the black.
 I put the canvas on an easel, and used my heat gun to melt the crayons.  It doesn't take much, and it was fun to watch the drips.  If I angled the heat, I could get splatters across the canvas too.  Be sure to put paper towels or waxed paper at the bottom of the easel or on the floor to catch drips.
And here is the finished project.  Some of the ends of the "drips" are not quite attached to the canvas, but the overall effect is pretty cool.  Fun project.

Friday, February 24, 2012

In its own Time

 I just completed an art journal that I created TWO YEARS ago!  I made it at Valley Ridge, in a class with Michelle Ward.  I adored the look of this journal, and still do, but I could not come up with what to put IN it.  After cleaning up my studio, I decided to revisit it, and as with all my favorite work, it pretty much created itself. Sometimes a piece just has to wait for its time.
 The pages were actually created from a single roll of paper; Michelle would guide us through a couple of techniques, and then we would try them on our rolls of paper, let them fall to the floor, and move to the next part of blank paper.  When we accordian-folded the papers, the effect was stunning.  Here I've added various tapes and my own "stickers."
 I love, love, love these colorful squares on the black.  And the little cardboard rectangles mimic the shape in a textured way.
 I had several of these hearts left over from a Christmas card I created years ago, and it is so striking here.  In the background you can see various stencils that were used with watered-down gesso.
Even the simplest techniques--such as the dark lines dragged through with a comb, are super cool.  I will definitely be playing around more with these techniques.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Camera/New Studio!

 I finally purchased a new camera so now I can take photos of my newly-organized and painted studio!  It took about 3 1/2 weeks to do this (not working on it every day), and I am so very happy with the results.  It's a joy to work in here now, amidst my aqua walls, which are both calming and refreshing.   This wall contains letters, numbers, collage clips, tapes, various background papers, my stash of books to alter, my library of resources,  fibers, feathers, and to the right of the lamp is my "works in progress" section.
 Here is my purple hat!  After all, I am Purplehat Artist.  Yes, it looks like a pimp hat, but I love the goofiness of it.  I bought it in Key West, so it has great memories attached to it.  The drawers contain my stamps, and the bookcase houses all my paints, pastels, watercolors, and inks.  Very handy--right behind my work table.  To the right of the bookcase is my Inspiration Board and my Artist's Prayer.
 And here is my work table, right next to the window that overlooks my (now sorry-looking) Pear Tree.  I love the carousels that contain all sorts of tools at my fingertips.
 I created this piece of art specifically for my new studio.  I had the sign already; now it rests inside a drawer that helps inspire me every time I enter the room. On the shelf underneath are my markers, pens, and colored pencils.
 The closet now stores less-used items such as my metals, beads, beeswax & pot, ribbons, and sponges. I also now have a great way to store my collage necklaces, so they don't tangle.
 My craft paints are now easily within sight, and the colors help inspire me from my worktable.  I did throw out a bunch of very old paints, so I will gradually need to replace some colors. My brushes are also here. The drawers hold 3-D embellishments, as well as background papers sorted by colors.  On the wall are charms, tiles, brads, buttons.  EVERYTHING is clearly labeled, which makes it much easier to put away.  It's as if each item has declared a "home," and  I actually enjoy putting things back in their homes now.
And here's a look at my worktable and what I'm currently working on: an art journal about Joy, and an altered book that is waiting for its theme.

I am so glad I spent the time and effort to revamp this room.  It's a pleasure to sit at my worktable now, and I feel more "present" when I do.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Back in the Studio Again!

Yes!  I am back in my studio again, and so delighted with how I can now create.  I am designing some magnets for a few special people for Valentine's Day.  And it amazes me how I am working differently now.  There were some basic materials I was planning to use, but I am also finding embellishment options that I wouldn't have thought of before.  For example, I realized I needed something silver to repeat the silver in the background, and as I scanned the room, my eyes came upon my stash of fibers.  Hmmm, did I have something silver in there?  Sure enough, I did, and I found it quickly.  And what about those little wooden hearts I had?  I knew exactly where they would be stored.  I opened the bin, and they were smiling back at me.  Ahhh, I am in a happy place.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Almost There

I think I will be finished up today!  All I have left to do is to glean pages of text from about 20 books I have been saving.  And why do I need to save the whole book?  I can't possibly use ALL these pages!  Yes, they are pretty cool books; one is a math textbook with lots of diagrams and numbers and formulas, one is an old atlas, one is a very old child's book of poetry.  But to save the entire book is a waste of space.  So I intend to tear out a few pages and then recycle the books.  If I can't bear to tear the book apart, then I will save the book, but keep it in my library.  Now THAT makes sense.

This whole experience has taught me a lot.  I had to make decisions about how to store things so they would make sense to me. For example, I had a lot of circle shapes in various sizes and of various materials.  And they had been stored in 4 or 5 different places.  Now I have a bin of "Circles and Circle Makers."  How cool is that?  If I want to add a circle, I can find one the perfect size, paper or metal or wood--OR I can use a template to make one OR I can use a circular shape dipped in paint to make a circle.  All my choices in one place.  (big sigh)

I also have an area dedicated to Works in Progress.  It holds substrates and frames, but it also holds partially completed projects and altered books.  Previously, these items were scattered in various places.  Now I can instantly jump into a project if I'm in need of inspiration.

Which is the other thing I still need to finish--my inspiration board.  I had a bulletin board, hidden behind the door, that held all kinds of stuff I never looked at.  Now, after a coat of bright pink spray paint,  it will be behind my chair, and will contain visuals and words to inspire a new project.  Much more functional.

Speaking of bright pink, I was also intentional about what I used for storage.  I realized that I need to SEE what's in it, OR it needs to be bright and attractive.  And everything, absolutely everything, is labeled with either a sticker or a tag.  Just seeing the visual label will remind me what I have.  Yes, I found stuff that I had forgotten that I had.  Really cool stuff!  Now it will be readily seen and therefore used. If it wasn't really cool and I hadn't used it, it will get recycled.

As I sit in my fresh, new room, I feel a sense of order and calm.  And peace.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fresh Aqua = Fresh Studio

I so wish I had a camera so I could publish the color of my studio.  The painting is now done; finished the last wall today.  The color is refreshing.  That's the best word to describe it.  The room now feels fresh and alive and happy.  The color is called Teal Ice.  But I would have named it Fresh Aqua. (not to be confused with the toothpaste!)

I still have much, much work to do in culling, sorting, re-organizing.  But now that the background of the canvas is complete, so to speak, I feel motivated to make everything I put back, look inviting and clean.  Amvets is coming Thursday, and I have a lot to donate.  I also have a LOT of more artsy stuff, like paints & stamps, to donate to an art teacher.  Hopefully, I'll find someone who wants it all.

One problem I've run across as I go through all this stuff, is the fact that I never use some of this stuff (like game pieces, for instance.)  So the question is:  Did I not use them because I forgot I had them?  Or will I never really use them, so just toss them?  So far, I'm going with the latter.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Getting There!

Today I painted two of the walls!  It's a pale aqua, and I love the color.  It's enough to show that it's a color, but still light enough to be bright.  Wow, what a difference it's going to make for the whole mood of the room.  Previously, the walls were a dull khaki, and too dark for a studio.

When the walls are dry, I will spend the rest of the day vacuuming, dusting, and putting things back (most of which I've already cleaned out and re-organized).  Then tomorrow, I'll move everything on the 3rd wall and paint that one.   Unless I wake up tomorrow too sore!

It feels good to finally be making some progress.  Believe me, it's disheartening to see all my materials scattered all over the place. But the only way to get to the good part is to get through the messy part.  I feel like I'm finally starting to get to where I want to be:  which is back in the studio, happily creating in a fresh, organized, and clean room.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

slow and steady....

Today I applied primer to some areas of the wall, scraped the border off one wall (with hubby's help), and cleaned out 3 bins of found objects. When I found some of these things, I thought for sure I would use them.  But 3 years later, I had totally forgot them and would not likely use them now.  So out they go. Doesn't seem like a lot of progress, but things are still moving forward.

I've decided on a pale aqua for the walls.  I would have purchased the paint today, but I honestly did not want to go out in the snowstorm.  That's one of the perks of being retired:  I don't go out in weather like this unless I have to!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Organizers Revisited

Today I discovered how cool a hanger that hangs several pairs of pants, can be for storing rolls of ribbon.  Previously, I had been using a gun rack that I found many years ago at a garage sale; I put dowels where the rifle would go, and hung the ribbons from that.  But the whole contraption took up a lot of wall space. Now I can hang them in the closet, out of the way, and they take up minimal space.  The one by Closet Maid seems best; I saw some others where the dowels were bigger and may not fit the spools.

AND I found some tie racks that are now repurposed for hanging my collaged necklaces in my studio closet.  Also found some small canvas bins at B B & B on clearance for $3 each.   And a 3-tiered spice rack will help me see all my mediums better. Better visibility = more use.

And I picked up some paint samples in various shades of white.  And there are a LOT of shades of white available, which was news to me.  I have always avoided white on the wall, thinking it was too boring.  But in this space, I think I want the walls to "disappear" and the  supplies to stand out.

With all my running around today, I didn't get much work done in the room. But it's all part of the process, and it was fun.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Journey around the Studio continues

All this wonderful sunshine has helped kick this nasty cold, and I'm feeling more energetic now.  So BACK to the studio to continue my quest for a Clean, Organized, Functional Space.  Just threw out a bunch of sticks--bamboo, dowels, etc.  Yes, I may need a stick occasionally, but I highly doubt that I'll need 87 of them!  Also sorted through my stash of buttons.  Again, I find I use an occasional button here & there, but more the way I would use a charm.  So I don't need 4 divided plastic containers of them.  Now I have 4 divided plastic containers that I can use more functionally; perhaps to store my stash of single words cut from texts.  I can now sort them by size or color, which makes them easier to use than sifting through a small bowl or baggie of them.

Still undecided about whether to paint the walls.  I really do feel that a creamy white would make the space much brighter. Currently, it's a medium khaki color.  But I will probably be able to do only one wall at a time.  And there's a wallpaper border that needs to be removed.  So I will continue to think about that as I make my little journey around the room, cleaning and organizing.

It feels very good to let go of so much Stuff.