Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Home Sweet Home

So who receives adorable and great swap artwork from friends and sticks it in a drawer for a year? Okay, guilty. But rarely do I not find a way to display my swap treasures. In this case I had high hopes of finding tiny hinges to attach this row of an artist's dozen of matboard houses I received in Jeri Aaron's Row House Swap last spring. I would look at them wistfully, actually not in a drawer, but in my art supply cupboard slash armoire slash entertainment center slash holding spot.
Finally, I gave up on hinges and used that master of all adhesives: duct tape. The top two photos show the 11 houses I received plus one of my own, now on display in my studio. The bottom two photos show some of the houses I made and sent for this fun swap- one of my favorites ever.
I almost didn't join the swap because I don't have a good cutting tool for matboard and had visions of the very crooked B- mats I had cut in my art class in college back in the day. But like a hostess with the mostess, Jeri offered to cut out the house shapes for me in exchange for a trade of western US ephemera (old postcards and such) which I sent to her. So it was a win-win.
Jeri hosts wonderful art retreats in Texas and other areas, including the Smokey Mountains this fall. Check out her Artful Gathering blog for more info and lots of great art!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Facebook? D.I.Y.

I've been on a crazy doodling kick lately. I think it might be a stress reliever! The last photo- a zentangle- is definitely that. This one is 3" x 3" and doodled on watercolor paper with an extra fine point Sharpie. You can read more about Zentangles on the Web, and see many varieties on Flickr. It's fun to turn them every which way to see what you can see.
The face doodles started when I met Kellie Rae Roberts at Art & Soul, Portland, and had her autograph my copy of her book Taking Flight. I just love her solemn-faced girls, and have been practicing the techniques in her book. So, some of the these faces are her design, just tried by me.
The painted girl 'Fly' is in my regular art journal and done on a Twinkling H2O background with watercolor crayons.
The other faces are mostly charcoal pencil or graphite pencil. See anyone you know? I think I accidentally made Chloe from '24' and Alexandra Steele from The Weather Channel! I started doodling these after getting Journal Bliss by Violette.
I decided I will dedicate one of my journals to being a 'Facebook.' Grown-ups certainly can be and are on the 'real' Facebook, but I've got enough sites to maintain as it is. So, I'll just keep all my face doodles in one place. I can't wait to make a cover for it. So, Facebook? I say: (Do)odle it Yourself.

(Spr)ing it On!

Finally! A blast of color for the property and some evidence we might actually be crawling out from winter afterall. Even with some kind of wacky sleeting hail balls hitting my car Tuesday morning, I still managed to find my garden spirit, apron and trowel by Saturday. I LOVE my pineapple plant! I've never seen one before. Supposedly, with lots of sun and water it can be harvested off later this summer.
The rest of the pics are just a few vignettes around my house. My solar lights worked like a charm the first night, and the landscaping looks light an enchanted fairyland at night. The grass is green and freshly striped by mowing. The trees are blooming. The cats have the crazies. I feel inspired. Yep, it must finally be spring.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Time for the Big Reveal; My Relationship with Art and Other Dramas

The Marie canvas of which I posted a sneak peek here, left Indiana for sunny California and recipient Kathy Jacobson a few days ago, so hopefully it is safe to post the finished piece now. This was my canvas in Maria Rodarte's "Marie Bits & Baubles Swap." The idea was to use an 8.5" x 11" canvas and create 12 different sections, although it was completely open to interpretation. I used a bit larger canvas and there are 12 sections, although irregular in size.
There's a pocket wherein I stuck a Marie-inspired tag, an artist trading card and some Marie ephemera. I also love the old glass bottle in the lower right corner. I wired it on to make it a vase. The turquoise pin is a brooch I bought a few years ago and seldom wore. There's vintage millinery from an old hat I took apart (the turquoise velvet leaves and buds), a ceramic bird, lace, ribbons and lots of great stuff. It was fun to make!
But that was last weekend's work. This weekend started on Friday when I got some great beads half price at my LBS: Bead Source in Fort Wayne, IN., which has been in business well over 10 years. I went for pink and that's what I got. In fact I had this bracelet in my head, and spent several hours last night making the various dangles, then cutting and wire wrapping them, and then attaching them with jump rings to the bracelet. There are more than 25 different stacked dangles with glass and resin beads, vintage buttons, sterling and other metal bits, crochet beads amd ceramic beads from Earthenwood Studio. I can't decide if I will sell it or keep it, but if I sell, you can always find it in my Etsy shop!
I also stopped by my LSS: Stamping Day and Night in Fort Wayne, to pick up the latest Catch Up magazine from Stamper's Sampler and while I was there sweet Sarah showed me a new old technique which uses alcohol inks and blending solution on glossy paper to make some cool backgrounds. I couldn't wait to try that either, so sometime after midnight I let my tired jewelry-making eyes play around with that. I'll cut these examples up for backgrounds for greeting cards or artist trading cards (ATCs).
At the bookstore I got two exciting books, Journal Bliss by Violette and Painting with Watercolor, Pen and Ink by Claudia Nice. The journaling book is just a RIOT of color, and I couldn't wait to start doodling, so in the wee hours, when I had finally settled into bed- sort of- I started doodling faces in my sketchbook. Can't wait to play with that later today!
Meanwhile, after getting to sleep at 4 a.m., I somehow sprung up at 8:30 (yes, a.m.) to go buy flowers and plants. Although we had sleet, snow and hail in northern Indiana just Tuesday, we have now had two (count 'em, two) days in a row of sunshine and 80F degrees. There's definitely an Indiana (and maybe even a redneck) joke in there somewhere about planting too soon, but I just couldn't stand it another minute. Everything was looking so bare, plain, ugly, drab, blah, you get the picture.
So I loaded my little car at Wal-Mart, Lowe's and the local greenhouse and came home with a huge fern, a couple of hanging plants, filler plants, geraniums, pansies, and dirt as well as a dozen solar lights for the landscaping after running into an acquaintance who said the $2.99 lights work like they cost a million bucks. At dark, we'll see. If they do work, I have a feeling I'll be making a return trip. With a graduation open house looming, 'sprucing up' takes on a meaning of astronomical proportions. And since it is only April 25, this won't be the first year I'll probably be dragging plants in and out of the garage each day, to protect them at night.
One of my purchases was a real pineapple plant, with the cutest pineapple ever growing on it! Photos next post-if it doesn't snow. Ack. I feel the gardening muscles coming back to life after half a year and starting to ache already.
So about Art. No, not Art the college algebra instructor who was barely two years older than my flirty 18 and who at 6'5" was extremely more interesting than 'x' and 'y' unless you were talking chromosomes 'back in the day' at Ball State U.
No, not local car collector Art Gakstatter and his wife Cookie, to whom I sold Longaberger baskets for a time. I just got a kick out of saying their names. Of course, my children use 'gak' as a verb to alert me to partially-digested cat deposits about the house.
And no, not Art M., one of my all-time favorite customers from work: the kind of person who makes doing business a pleasure, who enjoys a good chat about families or business, and who shows you he gets that having a life and having a job are two different things.
So about my art: I was thinking while I was doodling random heads that my faces weren't half bad. No, not Picasso good. Not even like-my-famous-art-friends good. Just good 'for me.' See, I never thought I could draw. In fact, I don't think I could when I was a kid. My drawings from imagination were nothing special, no perceptive perspective, no amazing use of colors. But, by junior high school, I must have shown either some kind of talent or perhaps just amazing organizational skills (OCD, anyone? Yes, just a little), or maybe just enthusiasm, because a couple different art teachers took me under their wing, not necessarily for drawing, but for creating stuff.
Suddenly, I could do 'it.' And the more I believed I could do it, the better my 'stuff' seemed to look, at least to me. I remember being asked by the librarian to make bulletin boards when I was in seventh grade, and it got me out of some other class. I remember making an album cover in eighth grade that was a highlight because I learned to score paper. Big deal, right? By ninth grade, drawing all those biology cross sections was a breeze, and I still remember with pride my frog done in pencil that the teacher gushed on about.
So, my question is: could I do it just because I believed I could do it? Or did I/do I have some artistic talent that comes from a gene pool that just needed to be let loose? Could I draw those faces last night because I believed I could, fully intended to, before I even got out my pencils and sketch pad? Or was my right or left brain (whichever side isn't still thinking about algebra class) just properly engaged with all the drawing neurons from eye to finger firing?
I don't know. But either way, I like it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Just Leave Me Alone...

Lester sez. But sometimes, I can relate.

Monday, April 20, 2009

ATCs, ACEOs and Sneaky Sneak Peeks: It's All Code for Art

First off, I hate how my camera angles make my ATCs look crooked, but trust me, they're not! They are perfect rectangles as prescribed: the size of baseball trading cards. I made 24 of the little buggers this weekend for no reason. Usually I do a batch for swaps when I'm headed to an art event, but I had all this good collage art from some folks that I wanted to use. By the way, in case you don't know, the 'collage art' means they post or sell or give-away images for other artists to incorporate into their own images, like I have done here. Often 'their' images are from vintage photos or vintage cards, which they have enhanced digitally with color or other effects. Then they have made the work available for the next round of artists (like moi) to cut up, embellish, digitally alter more or whatever.
I have had a project looming, which I'll describe in a minute, but to ease into it I started playing with images and ended up making artist trading cards (ATCs) or ACEOs: art cards, editions and originals. ATCs are always traded, not sold, and ACEOs are considered miniature works of art and may be sold (or traded).
So I gathered some of my newest favorite images from Teesha Moore, Sandra Evertson, Lisa's Altered Art and iTkUpiLLi on Etsy and began creating. The Dresden foil trims I used are from both ArtChix Studio and Paula's Kit Club.
The bottom picture is a 'sneak peek' for Kathy Jacobson of an altered art canvas I made for her and will be mailing this week. Kathy was my assigner partner in Maria Rodarte's Marie Canvas Swap. The task was to divide an 8.5" x 11" wrapped canvas into 12 sections with Marie Antoinette-inspired art. Like Marie, the assignment was intended to be 'over the top.' And I think I did that.
This little sneak peek contains a copy of one of Kathy's own pieces of artwork, a Marie-inspired altered letter 'M' that just appeared on the cover-no less- of the April-May 2009 issue of Stampers' Sampler magazine. It was also featured on page 37.
After painting the canvas in shades of blue, green and cream, I used vintage ephemera like an old postcard, old prescription, French book pages, Marie images to make a collage. I sectioned it off with new and vintage trims and added an old bottle for a vase, vintage jewelry bits and baubles, new and old buttons, lace and fabric scraps, rhinestones, a key, a keyhole, vintage millinery and of course, lots of glitter.
I'll post a full picture after the swap is complete. Of course this means I have something yummy coming from Kathy, too. Can't wait!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Swaps bring out the best in friends and art

Random swaps sometimes bring the nicest surprises. Recently I was assigned to swap a spring artist trading card (ATC) with Rachel Christy in our Flickr group that I help moderate, The Faerie Zine. I was not familiar with Rachel or her work or our other partner for that matter, Patty Porter.

When I checked out Rachel's work on her Etsy site, I noticed she embellishes trinket boxes. Like me, she covers them with paper, tissue, glitter, baubles and other goodies. So we agreed to swap a paper box as well. Ironically, our box swap resulted in nearly similar boxes. I sent the pink box above shown with the Cabbage Queen ATC I made for her; she sent turquoise, and we both used a face image from Sandra Evertson.

But lucky me! Rachel was generous enough to send not one but two! boxes. Today was a great sunny day in the Midwest to photograph these. In the heart-shaped, mermaid-embellished box she tucked a bunch of ephemera/art supplies to keep me creating. Visit her Etsy shop for more goodies like these.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Off The Shelf: Check my Latest Review for Vintage Indie

I just read and reviewed this doll of a book for Vintage Indie by my sweet blog friend Rebecca Ramsey of Wonders Never Cease. Click on the hyperlinks to check it and her out!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Published Again- Always a Thrill!

I was excited to find this greeting card I made on page 54 of the latest Stampers' Sampler magazine by Stampington and Co. (April/May 2009). It is one of the first pieces of 'art' I ever made back when I started this blog nearly two years ago. The Mona is a rubber art stamp by Tim Holtz stamped with Staz-On ink onto a heat-resistant transparency. It is layered over various papers. There's a couple more layers to the card that you can't see here, so....go buy the magazine!
There's so much art I've been waiting to do: I am in a Marie Antoinette swap hosted by The Junkk Drawer's Maria Rodarte and I am partnered with the talented Kathy Jacobson of a Bit of Serendipity, who is also featured on the COVER of the stamping magazine I just mentioned. Intimidating? Maybe!
The 12 ladies behind Creative Therapy on Wordpress have also asked me to be a guest artist for August 22, so I have a piece of art to create for a prompt they will supply that will in turn prompt their readers to create art from my art/prompt. Follow that?
Book reviews are due to Gabreial, the heart and soul of Vintage Indie, for my friend Rebecca's French by Heart, and The Artist Within: A Guide to Becoming Creatively Fit by Whitney Ferre'.
I celebrated my first Passover, and I have to say, matzoh and I have to get better acquainted. I hear there's chocolate-covered. That would be a good way to start!
Meanwhile, my art journal is gathering dust. My beads are not being beaded. I did plant some pansies, and whipped my crochet hook a few rows through a new afghan, but there's so much to do and so little (free) time. If time were for sale, I'd like to buy some! I guess I'll just have to adopt Mona's mellow countenance for now. Enough blogging! Off to the studio.