Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tribute to Starry Night

I've been away visiting my mother-in-law Lydia these past three days. One thing I wanted to make sure I did was get a photo of the gorgeous art quilt she made called, "Tribute to Van Gogh's Starry Night." Isn't it AMAZING? You can click on the quilt to get a better view. Just compare it to the photo of the painting shown underneath. It's just awesome!! Great job, Lydia! :) This is one of my very favorite art quilts that she's made. Her fabric choices were perfect in the quilt. I had an ulterior motive in mind, too, for taking this photo. I want to make one! I'm gathering bits and pieces of the perfect fabric (the hardest part!) and have a pretty good poster to use as my template.

Of course, this project will have to take its turn behind the ones I've already committed to. Speaking of which... I have so many ideas for my zine that I have found I need to pare them down. So today I need to decide just what will be on the ten pages. We CAN have more than ten pages, but I'm going to try to stick to that.

Being away from the zine for a few days has given me a fresh perspective. I find that comes in handy in any art project. Sometimes just stepping away from it for a little while clears your head and you can see the entire project more clearly. So, I start today's work more focused on what exactly I want to include in the zine.

I was a little intimidated when I read on the Artella site that one person is actually almost finished with her zine. Yikes! But, the deadline still remains in October. Whew! So, enough talk. Back to work. Stay tuned...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Secret Door ATC's: Part 2

Here are the remaining two ATC's I was sent in response to the Artella Secret Door ATC Swap. Aren't they gorgeous? While I LOVED them all, my favorite is the top photo. The front of the card looks like a glass door. I don't know what the paper is that the artist used; it's like cellophane. Then, when you open it you have that beautiful image behind it. Very creative! The bottom card has moss adhered to the inside with a silk flower. Very cool! All of the artists really showed their creativity with this swap. I'm getting a nice little collection of ATC's now, thanks to these ongoing swaps. How fun!

Worked a little on my zine yesterday, but didn't make as much progress as I liked. The weather was beautiful and I needed to run some errands. That stretched out into a few hours out and about yesterday afternoon. So, today I must stick to the task and get the painting of the covers to all ten zines finished today.

I found some beautiful fabric that will add nicely to some part of the zine. It would make a nice little art quilt, too. I made sure to get enough to do both! :) Enough for today. I hope to have more to show you soon.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Secret Door ATC's Have Arrived!

They have arrived! Right after I posted here yesterday, I went out to check the mail and there they were. I really LOVE this batch! I know I always say that, but these were especially well done! On the Artella website everyone is gushing about the cards they received. Now I can see why. Here are the first two. You can click on the image to get a larger view. I'll post the other two tomorrow. Hubby's favorite is the top one. I do love that one, too. I think my very favorite is one of the cards I'll show you tomorrow! :)

I didn't sign up for the next swap, but I'm thinking about signing up for the one later in August. They are offering some really cool swaps now. I don't want to over commit myself, but I'm wishing I had signed up for the inchies swap. I think it will be ongoing after this first go round, so maybe next time. Inchies are little one-inch pieces of art. You adhere them to cardboard or cardstock. Just one inch. Not too large a canvas. What do you do with them? You trade them with other artists and use them in your own art. When you create an inchie, it's usually something you'll incorporate into another piece of art. So, it's a "part" of a larger piece. It can be anything. Rather than create a whole face you could make a really elaborate eye. Then, the artist can use that in HER collage of a face. Or, some people create a ton of inchies and adhere them to a canvas in a collage. I, personally, like that idea. Hmm.... Oops, I digress.

My zine is keeping me busy and I don't want to fall behind in the flow I'm in. I ran out of ink in my cartridges yesterday so I need to make a trip to the supply store today. This little project may take a couple of cartridges. Why is is that when you print out ten of something, everything is fine until that last one. You just KNOW it's going to jam the printer or some other headache will occur. Yep, that's what happened to me. Meanwhile you waste precious ink trying to get it to print! I've decided to keep the "duds" and incorporate them into my personal zine. Ah, the sacrifices we must make... It's fun, though. Today I am painting the background of all ten zine covers. They are made of Tyvek so the paints and inks and whatever else you throw on them adhere really well. Then, I hope to attach the butterflies to each front. That's a lot to get done today, so I must get to it. I'll post one as soon as it's finished. It will look a lot better than the rough draft I posted yesterday. The colors will be more compatible on these.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Eye Candy and the Zine Cover

As promised, here are two of the gorgeous quilts my mother-in-law Lydia has made for me. The first photo is called, "Isabella's Window". I had seen this fabric in something else she had done and mentioned that I really liked it. Next thing I know I was blown away by the beautiful quilt. Talk about stargazing and daydreaming! Perfect window to stare out at, wouldn't you say? The second photo shows a closeup of the window portion.

The next quilt is "Isabella's Dream". Ahh, the photo does NOT do this quilt justice. My bad! This is truly a work of art. She modelled this after Monet and the Impressionist artists. These are my colors: purples, greens, blues...This is a lesson in perfection from a master!!! When my mom first saw this she wanted to take it back with her to enter into the quilt competition at the fair. But I said no because the year before there had been some quilts stolen from the fair barn. I just could not take that chance with this quilt. It would have won hands down. But it stays at my house!! :)

I took these photos standing on the second floor bridge over the entry way in my house. I wanted to show just how huge these quilts are. A ton of work went into these and I LOVE every quilt she had made me. These are truly family keepsakes.

She has also done a beautiful little art quilt that is a remake of Van Gogh's Starry Night. I want to get a photo of that and show you. It is also a beautiful work of art. Hopefully hubby can snap a few photos of it on his next visit! He's a better photographer than I am.

Although it isn't fit to be in the same frame as the gorgeous quilts, I also included the mock up of my zine cover. This one will be my personal copy of the zine. I'm still tweaking colors, size, etc. but the gist of it will be something like this. I wanted to show you a closeup of the butterfly that will be on each cover.

I knitted little samples from this gorgeous yarn that I thought looked just like butterfly wings when you knit it. This color is called trellis, I think. Anyway, I have been making little samples with the fabulous yarns I'm collecting and thought I'd make a bunch of these for my butterfly wings. When I get a better cover more true to size, I'll post it. This is just a ROUGH draft, and since it's my personal copy, I thought I'd throw it in, too.

Now, back to work...I should be receiving my ATC's from the Secret Door Swap anytime now. I've seen on the Artella website that a lot of people have already received theirs. I'm waiting anxiously for those and will post those when they come in.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Zine Snippets

These are just a few of the goodies I will be including in my zine. The top photo shows paper dolls that I made with fabric. Since we have to make 10 zines, there was a lot of cutting and adhering of the fabric to the templates. I toyed with the idea of giving them faces, but left them blank for the art doll look. There may still be some embellishments to add, but for the most part they are done. They will have their own page in the zine. I have an idea of how to adhere them so that they can be removable. I was glad that I had enough brads for their "joints". This zine is going to make me use up some of the overabundance of supplies I've gathered over the years. That's a GOOD thing! :)

The bottom photo shows an ATC that I created a while back in my gallery at Artella. You can click on the images to see a larger version. It's theme is "fantasy". The butterfly fabric at the bottom has a special use. I'll show you what I've done with that when I get all 10 finished.

The little notecards will be mini-zines adhered to a page. The image of the lady with a wing mask is one I digitally created and will be printed out on canvas paper and adhered to another page. So, the page planning is going pretty well. I have my dad visiting this weekend, so not much work will get done on these until Monday. Just thought I'd give you a little peek of coming attractions. I can't wait to get started painting and embellishing the background pages for this zine.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Real Life Fairy Garden

The Fairy Garden is in! This is what hubby and I have been working on all week. Actually, hubby has done most of the work. But, yours truly DID do her fair share of shovelling gravel. I like to do that, strangely enough. :)

When I was photographing the garden, the stones didn't show up, so I had to give them their own closeups. There is a stone on each side of the fairies. I have such a collection of fairies that it was hard to choose which ones to set out. I can always alternate them in and out if I choose. So, this is my magical spot to gaze at each morning. The sun rises on this side of the house, so they are bathing in the light when I first see them. I'd say that's a good way to start the day!

I'm making steady progress on my zine. Tomorrow I'll include some of the "stars" that will make their appearance in each zine. My imagination is really having a heyday with this big project. Luckily I have a couple of months to pull it all together. I will need every bit of that with all of the things I have in mind.

I'll keep it short today. Stay tuned for further developments...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Secret Door to Wonderland: ATC 5

This is my favorite of the ATCs I created for the Secret Door ATC Swap at Artella. I LOVE Alice in Wonderland and have found some great little art goodies with that theme. These were little mini playing cards of different Alice in Wonderland characters that I hid behind the three doors shown on the first photo.

The second photo opens the first door. Behind it lies the The Herald. His door reads: Believe. The third photo opens the next door. Behind it sits the Hatter. His door says, "Twinkle, Twinkle says the Hatter." You can't have an Alice in Wonderland theme without the Hatter! And, of course, behind the final door is Alice herself! What else would her door say but "Adventure"!

I liked the contrast between the rusted out old doors and the fantasy of Wonderland that is hiding behind each one. The back cover is a digital stamp of different characters from the story blended into one.

These are the cards that I've posted over the last five days are what I've submitted to the swap. I can't wait to see what different artists' interpretations of Secret Door I get back! When they arrive in the mail, I will post them.

Still searching and printing out images for my zine swap. Had a short detour last night. Hubby and I decided to landscape a neglected corner of our home. I'll post pictures as soon as we put on the finishing touches. Teaser: I now have a real-life fairy garden! Stay tuned...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Secret Door to Creative Imaginations ATC

Here is the fourth ATC that I made for the Secret Door ATC Swap at Artella. I love this image of the little girl in the clown outfit. The colors are so soft and she just looks like she's imagining all sorts of fun things! Again, the color didn't come across too well in the scan.

One thing I hope to improve on is my photography skills. I thought it would be fairly easy to snap photos with my digital camera, but once they are on the screen in the image editing program I see where the lighting or the angle is off, or I've moved the camera and it's blurry. Frustrating!! The color isn't quite right a lot of times and trying to manipulate that in PhotoShop can be a challenge. So, there's much room for improvement needed in that area.

I spent a good portion of yesterday afternoon gathering papers together for my zines. I am hoping to save myself from having to buy a few ink cartridges by having colored background pages already in place. Then, my content can just be added to those. I'll show you what I mean when I get a sample page finished.

I'm still debating what size to make the zine. I've got examples that go from small pamphlet sized zines to larger ones made of construction paper. It's really a matter of choice and needing to know what you are including on your pages. You need to be able to accommodate any large art or envelopes for goodies. I have LOTS of goodies to include, so the fun is in deciding which goodie goes into which zine!

This is giving me a welcome opportunity to use up a lot of my huge stash of art papers, scrapbook papers, embellishments from kits that I receive monthly. Today's goal: decide on the size and cut all the papers so I can start the collaging and writing!

After much consideration, I've decided the theme for this zine will be: Wings...
Stay tuned to see what all I do with this idea. ;)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hopes Take Flight

Here is a little painting I was inspired to work on. One of the poets at the Artella website (see sidebar) wrote a little poem called "Red Balloon" that inspired me to paint this scene. It's a paintover of a little girl I found in my image file. The rest of the photo is painted over just to leave a background. I added the balloons (large sequins tied with white thread). You can click on the photos to get a larger view. Here is the original poem by Ramona Davis (PoeticJava):

Red Balloon

I dream and hopes take flight
like a long tailed kite -- or a red balloon
whose basket holds
treasures; promises,
colored stones or words
to live by. Such
sacred wonders.

Published Jul 06, 2008, by Ramona Davis

I love poetry and need to get back to writing some more. I go through creative spurts in each area. Right now I'm in a huge creative spurt with mixed media collage. This painting is titled, "Hopes Take Flight" from the first line of Ramona's poem. It's a mixed media on canvas board. Hubby said the little girl looks sad. I don't know, maybe. I think it has a haunting look and a carefree look at the same time. Is that possible? ;) When I posted this is my gallery at Artella, Ramona said she loved it. That's what I was wanting to hear, so mission accomplished!

Below the paintings I've put my third ATC. This one is called Secret Door to Magic. The reason I was so excited about this ATC swap is because I LOVE photos of old doors. I have a computer file of images of nothing but doors. Something about them draws me to wonder what's going on behind them. Or, if they are really old, I wonder what happened there in the past.

Anyway, I loved this door image and decided to make it a magic place when you enter it. This also gave me an opportunity to include another of my current obsessions: fairies! I LOVE fairies, as you know if you've read this blog for very long. (Click on my digital altered books in the sidebar) The second ATC photo says, "Secret Door to Magic". The gel pen didn't scan so well.

Today I am getting serious about starting my zine. Time will be gone before I know it. The search is on for images to fit my chosen theme which is... I'll tell you tomorrow! :) Until then...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Secret Door to The Past: ATC 2

Here is the second ATC I created for the Secret Door ATC Swap at Artella. It's called, "A Secret Door to The Past". I found an image of an old scrap book and thought that would be a good place to start. I apologize for the quality of the scan. It didn't translate too well after the image was copied.

I attached a small key charm to use as the "doorknob" into the past. The writing on all of my ATC's is done with a gold jell pen. It looks much better in person than the scan shows. The second photo is an old cabinet card photo I have in my collection. I wanted to add to the vintage feel of the scrapbook. And the last photo is the back of the card.

I've been pouring over my zines I won from the ebay auction awhile back, trying to come up with some ideas for page layouts in my zine. They are all so unique so it's a great source of inspiration on how to write up little stories, what sort of things to attach in the zine. Most of the zines have little goodies attached to them. They use either a small envelope with a charm or some other prize tucked away inside, or they even attach smaller zines to the page!

My mind is racing with so many ideas, I'm going to have to hold back on some of them or I'll be creating a book! ;) I have my theme set and am now in the process of searching for the perfect images. Stay tuned for further details.

I'm working on a little painting that I hope to finish today. It's totally different than anything I've done so far. I'm all for trying new things in art! I hope to have it finished by tonight. That's all for now. Off to work...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Secret Door to Fantasy: ATC 1

I finished my Secret Door ATC's! And, I even got them mailed off EARLY for a change. After missing the deadline for the Shakespeare ATC's I was very disappointed in my lack of time management, so I vowed that I would finish this set early. Here is the first ATC for the Secret Door Theme. Also different for this set of ATC's: I did NOT do them digitally. They are all made the old fashioned way with cutting, gluing, pasting, painting, etc.

I created each card with a door that opens up to a secret destination. This card depicts a fairy cottage in the woods (first photo). When you open the door (second photo) you see the fairy inside. The third photo is the back of the card. I finally remembered to sign and date my cards! I always signed them, but kept forgetting to date them. I'll post one a day so you can check them out. They didn't scan as well as I would have liked, but after resizing them in Photoshop this is the best I could do. I think they look much better in person. The actual size is 2 1/2" x 3 1/2", which is the standard size for ATC's.

I mailed these off yesterday to the person hosting the swap at Artella. They aren't due in to her until July 15, so it will be a little while before I receive mine in the mail. When I do, I will post them here.

I've also signed up for my first zine swap! I am really excited about the one that Artella is hosting. I've been itching to create my own zine, and now I get my chance. The swap is just now forming, so people are in the signing up stage right now. For those of you who don't know what a zine is, it's basically a homemade version of a magazine. You design it, write it, print it and distribute it. They can be any size, any theme, anything you want them to be! We have to mail ten zines for this swap. You can create ten copies of an original zine you create or you can create ten original zines and mail those out. I guess it depends on how creative you are!

For this swap the only "guideline" we are given is that we have to create ten zines (and we'll receive ten back), and they should be at least ten pages (front and back). The pages can be made of any material (paper, fabric, metal, etc.), can be any size, the sky is the limit! I'm mulling over some ideas right now. I'm working on a little mock up to see how it will translate onto some of the material I've chosen for my background pages. I'll post a few pages when I get going. It's a big time commitment and a lot of work, but the rewards are so cool! You get ten zines created by other artists in the mail! You actually create eleven zines, because you certainly want to keep a copy of whatever you create for your own files after working so hard on them.

That's all for today. Tomorrow I'll post another ATC and maybe some more surprises! ;) Stay tuned...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Art Doll: Moon Dance

~ It's a marvelous night for a moondance, with the stars up above in your eyes, A fantabulous night to make romance, Neath the cover of October skies... ~ I've been listening to a lot of Van Morrison lately. I LOVE the song Moondance, and can't get it out of my head! So, I decided to make a little dancing art doll. She's made of fabric, dominoes, yarn, beads, clay, whew! I think that's all. Oh, and mounted on paper to cardboard. I'll find a suitable frame for her later. She's dancing down the hall now, so I must go get her before the cat pounces! That's all for today. Just something fun. ~ One more moondance with you in the moonlight, On a magic night, La, la, la, la in the moonlight, On a magic night...Can't I just have one more moondance with you, MY LOVE!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Miss Glamour Princess

Straight from the red carpet, here is Miss Glamour Princess. She's seen here admiring her jeweled tiara. She's wearing her new sapphire blue taffeta gown, complete with a dramatic gossamer ruffle and her white arm-length gloves. She was recently crowned Miss Glamour Princess and she is savoring her moment in the spotlight. You can click on the photo and get a larger view.

She was a lot of fun to make. I'm not happy with a few things, but with each doll I learn a little more of what to do and NOT do next time. Right now I'm working on a woodland fairy doll taken from an idea project sheet I saw at Hobby Lobby. I also have some ideas for future dolls that I'm sketching out. My e-friend Lori was right when she told me that once you start making dolls it's addictive and you sometimes never go back...

It's time for my next ATC swap and the theme for this one is "Secret Door". I have to finish these by early next week and get them mailed off to Artella. I'll post those when they are finished. For some reason, I thought the theme was Secret Garden. I'm glad I checked. I like Secret Door better; more creative ideas came to me with that one. :)

Also in the works is a painting I'm attempting. I'm not ready to talk about it yet, as it's still in the early planning stages, but I'm very excited about it. Hope you all enjoyed your July 4th holiday. I will post that gorgeous quilt I mentioned in my last post very soon! I haven't forgotten. Right now it's back to work. Until next time...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Paintovers Revisited!

Here is the latest in my series of bridal paintovers. You can click on the image to get a closer look. Oh, how I wish I lived closer to Lisa Bebi, the artist who introduced these fun paintings! I saw in her blog, "Pimp My Spleen" (see sidebar) that she held a class on this technique. I would have LOVED to take part in that! But, she lives in California so it would be a bit far to attend. And, in the latest issue of Somerset Studio I saw that she is hosting an art retreat in Italy with another artist! Oh, how fun that would be... Someday I would love to go on a little art retreat somewhere. But first I would have to overcome my fear of flying! :) For an art retreat, I may just be able to endure it ...

These are a lot of fun to play with. I have a whole folder of bridal images (that's my latest obsession for paintovers) so I'll be posting them as they are completed. I'm really loving these metallic paints that I picked up in Wisconsin, so I thought I would jazz up her eye makeup with those.

Today I hope to work on glamour doll's gown. I found some gorgeous sapphire blue taffeta yesterday. I kept staring at her trying to figure out what color would do her justice, and she kept whispering, "I want deep blue..." but I didn't have any. I showed her all of the other gorgeous colors, but she kept shaking her head NO and whispering, "deep blue". So, I promised to look for some blue material when I was out yesterday. Then she insisted on taffeta. What? In this small town? We'll see... Lo and behold, there was some absolutely fabulous sapphire blue taffeta at JoAnn's Fabric. Now, we are all set to try and configure a little glamour gown. Wish me luck.

On the Artella site (see sidebar) I have some dear e-friends who always comment nicely on my work. One of the artists there, Harqn2, suggested I make my own doll out of my swirly girl paintover. I may just take her up on her suggestions for how to accomplish that. She also told me that once you start making dolls they become addictive. She has created some beautiful art dolls, so she knows what she's talking about. There is such an abundance of talent at Artella. Check out their galleries sometime; beautiful work and a wonderfully supportive bunch of artists. They are a Godsend! There is also a daily Musepaper containing all things artistic. So much fun! I read it every morning with my coffee. And sometimes, yours truly is even featured on the front page. :)

A quick shout-out goes to my absolute GEM of a mother-in-law Lydia! Hi, Lydia!! I hear she's been spreading the word about my blog to her friends. Thank you so much! Lydia is a tremendous quilter. She has created such beautiful works of art with her quilts. I am fortunate enough to have a few of her beautiful creations. The crowning jewel is a Monet-inspired masterpiece that I will post on the blog in the next day or two. I must take a photo that will do it justice! Maybe hubby can help with the technical part of that. It's absolutely breathtaking and was one of my mom's favorite pieces to ooh and ahh over while she was alive.

Well, time to get to work. Thank you for your kind notes and e-mails. I love hearing from you. Stay tuned for glamour girl's debut and a little fairy that I'm working on...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sneak Peek At WIP's

I thought I would post a couple of photos of my works-in-progress and some of the materials I am thinking about using. I don't like to post to the blog if there isn't anything to say but I did want to show you some of the things I'm working on behind the scenes.

The first photo is my newest doll. She's a glamour doll. I don't have the eyelashes glued on yet, but they managed to stick for the photo. The hair is just as I imagined it to be when I started knitting it. I LOVE this "Dream Girl" yarn by Yarn Bee, and the color is "Tiffany". I think it is my favorite of all the yarns I've tried to date. It's so silky soft, just heavenly to touch! ;)

The second photo is my newest bridal paintover. This is how it starts out. I painted a background in colors I like, added a few swirls when the paint was wet and adhered my image. Now she's ready for the paint. I loved this picture when I saw it in the bridal mag. We'll see how it turns out!

The next photo is my prize find from my trip to Wisconsin! I have looked high and low for these Angelina fibers. They are shiny, gorgeous little fibers that you use to couch between layers of fabric; usually something see-through like organza. I was all set to order some from the internet, when we happened upon these in the best craft store I have ever been in. Thanks, Carmen, for taking me!! I was one happy camper when I left the store with these and another item that is just not out there: doll eyes! It creeped my husband out when I showed him all of these different sizes of blue and brown eyes, but he's getting used to heads, eyes, hands, etc. in various stages of production when he enters my studio.

The next two photos are some fabrics I'm thinking about for glamour doll's gown. Again, some gorgeous finds in Wisconsin. I can't decide which ones I want to use. I'll see which ones she starts to favor, then we'll go from there.

We had a great time visiting Carmen and Richard on our Wisconsin trip. We agreed it would be so cool to live closer to them. We visited the University of Wisconsin campus right on the lake. That's one of my favorite places to go. Carmen and I had a whole morning of shopping: quilt shop, fabric store, beading store (ooh, the goodies in there!!) and the craft store from heaven. Maybe it's a good thing I don't live there. Could get into trouble buying up the goodies. :) Another added bonus: we went to Borders and Carmen and Richard had Border dollars to spend. I ended up with a coveted book I've always wanted on doll making. Thanks, guys!! Now, back home, I'm eager to get started with all of these goodies. Stay tuned...