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 computer that Santa brought me! And I'm also trying to get used to the new operating system along with the newest version of Photoshop (another cool gift!). So there's been a slight learning curve involved in all of this new technology. And I'm a slow learner...

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 that I want to achieve 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!

Wednesday, December 23, 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 with a bronze metallic paint mixed with fabric medium. I painted the sun, her face and hair using Neocolor II crayons mixed with water. I left the threads hanging from her jacket because I like the uneven, loose feel of the stitches.

I was inspired by the fashion sketches of Kat MacLeod. She is an awesome artist and I love the loose style of her fashion sketches. I'm using her sketches as "models" while I try my hand at sketching in this style. I have a few other little fabric pieces in the works right now. I want to experiment more with this type of look.

I've really missed working with fabrics and my sewing machine. These little pieces are fun and there's no pressure to get the stitches just right; they are intentionally haphazard and uneven. I like that. I've got tons of threads, yarns, fibers, etc. that I'm playing with in another piece that I hope to post soon. The beading is what takes the longest. I'm no expert at it. I just pick beads I like and sew them on however they will fit. That works just fine for me. ;)

On another front: I finally received my Moleskine notebook for the Fiction Project from Art House Coop. Yay!! Here is what I was sent:

You can click on the photo to read more about the project. I have to fill this notebook with a story and accompanying artwork. The majority of the book needs to be the story since they are emphasizing the fiction aspect of the project. We are given a loose guideline for our story and I love what they gave me. My theme is "A Million Little..." . So many possibilities for that!

So I'll be mulling that around in the back of my mind while I set about creating my little story. This book will be mailed back to them and sent to a library along with the other entries they receive. There they will be housed in a permanent installation that people can check out and read while they are in the library. Very cool! I have another Moleskine that I'll be using to make a duplicate of this book. That way I'll have one to keep. Obviously we won't get these back if they are to be housed in the library. The Art House Coop has a great site and there are always little projects to sign up for. Check them out if you get a chance.

That's it for today. Everyone have a safe and happy holiday!

Monday, December 14, 2009

HeART Quilt: Part Two

After having the base of the art quilt ready, I set about embellishing it. I spent the evening last night beading this as I watched football with hubby. After all the beading was complete, I sewed the quiltlet to a piece of black felt. I love the way this turned out. You can click on the photo to get a better view.

I have another one started and will be doing the beading on that one tonight. I've incorporated one of my sketches in this one. I painted the face of the girl and the muslin background with acrylic paint that I mixed with fabric medium. It really helped to keep the hand of the fabric soft and pliable. This is all a new area of exploration for me and I'm enjoying the experimentation. I hope to have something to show in the next couple of days.

The Shiva Paintstiks are a dream to work with. So soft and buttery! After 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 few of my newest sketches and transferred them to muslin. Now I'm working on designs for their little quiltlets.

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 art quilts. Hope to have those ready to assemble this week.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

HeART Quilt

I've had quite a busy last couple of weeks. After battling the flu some more and getting rid of that, I managed to pull a muscle in my back. Ugh! Hopefully all of that is behind me now and I can get back to making art!

Lately I've been itching to play with my fabric stash. This is the base of a little art quilt I'm working on. It's just a 5" x 7" piece of muslin sewn to a felt backing. I sprayed the muslin with Adirondack Inks and then rubbed a Shiva paintstik over some rubber stamps that I held under the fabric. After heat setting the paintstiks, I stitched over the heart outlines with gold metallic thread. This isn't finished yet. I still want to add a few beads and maybe some words. I'm still thinking about it.

I have a series of these little quilts started. All of them will have at least one heart in the design. The next one incorporates one of my latest sketches. It's curing right now. The paintstiks have to sit for at least 24 hours before you can heat set them. Hope to have something to post in a few days.

We made it through the annual Christmas party for hubby's students. That was Thursday evening and also the day that I pulled the muscle in my back. Everything went fine. Here is a view of our Christmas tree right before everyone arrived. This is taken from the 2nd floor loft area:

Here's the view from the 1st floor landing:

And here it is on the ground floor:

I think it went pretty well. We had a good turnout and everyone seemed to like the ornaments I made them. Now that all the hoopla is over for another year I can get back to work in my studio. Yay! Stay tuned...there are some interesting experiments going on behind the scenes.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Watercolor Warhol

There was this awesome Photoshop tutorial using watercolor effects posted at Digital Whisper and I had to sit down and try it. Unfortunately it took me a very long time to get it to work. It's still not quite right but at least it's close. I used my favorite photo of Andy Warhol and paired that with one of his quotes. I'm still going to tinker with the last few steps until I'm happy with it.

I have yet to receive the Moleskine notebook from Art House Co-op for the fiction project I've signed up for. The site says to allow 2 to 3 weeks for shipping. I hate to wait on anything; I am not a patient person. *sigh* I've been playing with a few ideas for this project and hope to be able to start on it soon!

I've also been playing with making journals. I've made a few more using Teesha Moore's method and just started a couple of other journals using hardback book covers and watercolor paper. I did finally receive some hot press watercolor paper and I love working with it; definitely worth the wait. My image transfer experiments are working much better with this paper. So I hope to have something to show very soon.

And I'm still battling this cold/flu thing that won't go away. One day I have no energy and ache all over and the next I think I'm getting better. Then I'll get feverish and congested. This has been going on for about three weeks. Yuk! Hope to get this thing beaten SOON!

OK, off to work on the journals while I still have some energy.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Listening To My Muse ... Again

While I am enjoying my various projects with the fabric paper and my art journaling experiments, I have been wanting to branch out and do something else. I just didn't know what. Until today.

A while back I found a wonderful site called the Art House Co-Op and have been exploring the different projects they offer artists. I almost signed up for the sketchbook project. I was still kicking myself for not signing up before the deadline when I received an email from them today offering a new project. You can read about it here. This time I didn't hesitate to sign up. I wasn't going to let myself be talked out of this one. [A note about the link: sometimes it works and sometimes I get a message saying there is a problem with the gateway, whatever that means. I don't know if it's their server or mine (probably mine). When I try it later, it usually works.]

So I will be receiving my Moleskine notebook within a couple of weeks and I have until April to get my little narrative complete. I am curious to see what theme they send me. But they also added that you are not tied to the suggested theme. It's just something to nudge you in a direction. I am really looking forward to combining my writing and art skills in this project. I'll post updates to the book as I write it. :) I won't be getting my book returned to me since it will be part of the exhibit permanently, so I will be making a duplicate for myself that I'll keep.

Now back to my journals. Having NO luck finding hot press watercolor paper in this town, I had to order some online. I am hoping to receive it soon. I'm doing a lot of image transfers in my art journals (I'll post those soon) and am not happy with how they transfer onto the rough watercolor paper. Sometimes it is the look I'm going for but not usually. The images transfer beautifully onto a smooth surface so I'm wanting to get some journals made with the smooth paper!

I've also got an experimental journal started in a really nice size. It's an old atlas and the pages are so's wonderful to play in them. I've been busy trying some new (to me) art techniques in this new size. I just finished spending a day in my studio using the Nevr Dull technique on oversized fashion magazine pages. Ewww does that stuff smell...but I love the results. I'm working on one of those pages today!

Lots going on now and I think my Muse is happy that I'm listening to her...ideas are pouring out. I'm just about 2/3 of the way finished with beading the fabric paper squares for my wall hanging. Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Journal Journey

This is a journal page I'm working on. I love Dina Wakley's idea of using silhouettes on journal pages. This was a mask I had used for another project so I decided to use the back of it and adhere it to the page. I like the way it turned out with my inky blue fingerprints all over it and the white smudge in the center. I thought it looked like a heart so I filled it in a little more to bring that out.

The photo is a gel transfer (another of Dina's techniques from her class). It's a very rough transfer and there is still some paper adhered to it but I decided to leave it that way. This is a photo of me as a toddler looking through the railing on our front porch. I love this old photo. The original looks just about as bad as the transfer! It has a lot of scratches and dents in it for some reason. I don't know what happened to this photo but it's been through a lot!

I'm still experimenting with finding the right pens that will write over layers of paint, inks, etc. I had to switch a couple of times doing the journaling on this page but I was finally able to make it work.

Here is another page in progress:

I loved this little stamp when I saw it. The original size is shown at the bottom of the page. I enlarged it in Photoshop, colored it in with water soluble markers and adhered it to the page. The background on this page is a dyed paper towel. I love the way the dyes sink into the towel. But it is hard to write on! The little stamps around the central image are all stamped onto tissue paper from an old sewing pattern. I still have to do some journaling and see what else I can come up with on this page but I like the beginning so far.

I've made a few journals over the last couple of days using Teesha Moore's instructions from her blog. Ooh, the possibilities these hold! The bottom photo is from one of the journals I made. I used a sheet of my fabric paper on the cover and am pretty pleased with the way it turned out. I'll post a picture of it next time.

Teesha mentions a product called Pan Pastels in one of her videos about the inkwork. I had to order some when I saw her use them. They arrived today and I can't wait to play with them! More to come later.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Playing In Paint

I am so enjoying Dina Wakley's art journaling class. One of the assignments was to go outside of your comfort zone and create a page with at least 10 layers and to use three silhouettes. This isn't something you'd do for all of your journal pages (or, maybe you would...who knows?) but it was a great motivator to push myself to see what else I could come up with for the next layer.

I love the silhouettes of the fashion models that she uses on her pages and I plan to use those a lot in the near future. I have so many fashion mags laying around here it won't be hard to find some great poses to use as masks. But I wanted to use another mask for this exercise. I had some scrapbook paper that had outlines of birds on it. I just cut one out and used that as my mask.

There are paints, dyes, inks, oil pastels, dyed paper towels, etc. on this top page. I still have blue fingers from the spray inks. I didn't pay attention to where the nozzle was so I missed the stencil the first time and sprayed full force on my hands. No worries, I made a great imprint on a paper towel and will cut that out at some point to use on another page. But my fingers are definitely stained blue!

I had a great time with this lesson. Here is the opposite page in the journal. It's not finished yet. I may not do the whole ten layers for this one. I like how there's some white space here and there. I will add some more to it later but I want to think about it some more:

One of the next lessons she wants us to do involves self-portraits. Ugh! I am NOT photogenic and I was already thinking of reasons not to do it. One good thing about the lesson: I read the manual for my camera and have figured out how to use the self-timer. I'm ashamed to say I've not taken the time to figure that out before now! It was so strange taking photos of myself...such a weird feeling. I've already taken over 100 photos and out of all of those may have three that are usable. Even then, I will probably use only part of my face. But I'm going through with the lesson, just for the experience.

The class has definitely made me want to journal. So there's a plus right there! OK, off to figure out this next assignment.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Graffiti Journal Page

I am taking an art journaling class online taught by Dina Wakley and I love it. This is exactly the type of effect I want to have in my art journal. OK, here it's done in digital, but I wanted to do it digitally, too! Next I plan on getting my hands dirty and doing it for real. :)

There is a poem in the background that I saw on someone else's blog recently. Sorry to say I forgot whose blog it was. But here's the poem:


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

I especially love the last two lines. Now, off to play in the paint...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Treat and a Tute

I recently came across a Photoshop tutorial called Manga Doll. You can take a photo of a face and distort it into some really creepy-cool results. Here is how the witchy woman in this piece originally started out:

I created this collage for this week's challenge at Digital Whisper. I call it Black Magic. I love the tutorial and think I may be using it a lot! It's so nice to see artists who are willing to share their work and their knowledge for people like me who could use all the info we can get.
Happy Halloween, everyone! :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Before The Storm

This is a photo of my Dad (far right), aunt and uncle as children. I mentioned in my last post that my aunt had passed away Friday. I created this piece after thinking about their lives and the diverse turns they took. In their adult years they haven't been close and have rarely talked. I still find that sad but there are circumstances that figure into the equation.

I was looking through old family photos and this is one of my favorites. They grew up having very little and had to make the best of it. I named this piece Before The Storm because here they look like a happy trio out having fun, before the complications of life as an adult set in; these just seem like better times. And that's how I'll remember my aunt: happy with two brothers who loved her.

Saturday, October 24, 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 response on her blog. People are to 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 wonderful site and is such an inspiration to me. While I'm not one to join a lot of the challenge sites publicly, I do enjoy 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 just that subject, how timely was that? I wasn't aware of that particular wishcast until after I'd posted about Letting Go. Just another example of serendipity at work again!

My aunt passed away Friday. She was my Dad's younger 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 reunited 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 who 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

I participated in a webinar Tuesday night that introduced Photoshop actions. Oh my... I never understood the actions feature and, frankly,didn't think I could figure it out. I still don't know how to create my own actions but I have a little better understanding of how to download and run them. There are tons of free Photoshop actions on the web available for download!

Basically they are a saved set of commands that produce some awesome effects on your images. For example, here I supplied the image of the dock going out into the water. The action took that image and created the water/sky background. I adjusted the ripples in the water and chose the time of day (dusk). The background colors were different, depending on the time of day you chose. I added the girl later.

Needless to say I spent the better part of the day hunting for these jewels and downloading them. Ooh, the possibilities! So no more fear of that particular unknown! I am trying to push myself to learn new techniques and try new media in my art. Now I have another tool to play with!

I just realized that the figure in the last image I posted is very similar to this one. Hmm... something about those outstretched hands and leaping into the unknown is weighing on my mind. I'm exploring that in my art journal too; no finished page to show yet. For now I'll go with this theme and see where else it leads me!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This and That

OK, are you in the mood for Halloween yet? It's coming! It's very cold and rainy here today and that put me in the mood to create a digital piece reflecting the season. I've used the image of the hooded doll before but I love her! She's just perfect for haunting scenes!

Other news: Here are my latest sheets of fabric paper that I'm making for my wallhanging. First, though, is a finished square! I decided they will be 3" x 3". This one is cut from a sheet I showed previously. I added some bronze seed beads and now all I need to do is put in the eyelets:

Here are the two sheets with the color added:

I think I'll add the gold spray webbing to these. I really like the look and the texture it gives. I may add a few more bits of color in spots. We'll see.

I'm not having a whole lot of luck in taking my own photos for the photo journaling course. So, I'm still using free images that speak to me. They fit the theme and this allows me to keep up with the course. I plan to take some photos today as soon as I find something I've been looking for all day! Eventually I will find it and then I can at least have one of my photos in a journal spread.

I did originally print out a few photos that I had in my archive for this latest assignment. These may still work; I'm thinking about it. They were photos that my Mom and Dad had taken, so technically I guess they're mine. ;) I'm working on the background now and hope to post the spread by the end of the week.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fabric Paper: New Sheets and An Embellishment

Now I'm starting the sheets of fabric paper that I'll be using in my wall hanging. Here are two sheets that I made today. These are in the raw state right now (no color). Actually they were still wet when I photographed them. I'll leave them to dry overnight and tomorrow will decide on a color scheme. I love both of these! I took some of my favorite scrapbook papers and cut the designs out of a whole tablet. Yes, this took a couple of days. But the beauty in that is you decide the design of your own fabric! Here is the second sheet:

I also took one of the previous sheets and added some gold webbing spray paint to the top. I love the look of that webbing spray and plan to use it my journal, too! It's a very cool metallic gold color. Here's the result on a portion of the paper:

I may add more. I didn't want to overdo it since I've never worked with spray paint before. Love the effects of this so I may give it another swipe.

Today I'm also working on my next photo journal assignment and hope to paint some in my journal after I pick my photos. Thought I'd show you my latest fabric paper, though. These sheets will be cut into squares of approximately 3" x 3". That's all I'll say for now. I'll get a copy uploaded of the type of thing I want to make so it will make more sense to you in my next post.
Right now, back to work.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fabric Paper: The Next Step

Today I colored the base fabric pieces that I made yesterday (see yesterday's post). Here are the results from my experiment so far. The top photo is my favorite. The pink is just the right shade for what I think I want to go for in my huge batch I'm going to make for my wallhanging.

Here is the second piece. In this one I used more of the butterscotch color than the pink. But I like this one, too:

This last one is very vibrant. I used the butterscotch and plum spray inks at full strength. For some reason the plum shows up as more of a red color here. It's really more of a dark purple:

Overall, I like all of these samples. I am still going to add something to this last one. Also will start tomorrow on a big batch for my wallhanging squares. I'm thinking about doing most of them in the design of the first two. I used scrapbooking paper, wrapping paper, tissue paper with iridescent dots, wallpaper border and plain, white tissue paper. The inks I used were Adirondack Color Inks in Butterscotch and Wild Plum.

Today I wanted to spend more time on a new batch but somehow ended up destroying my Yahoo email account and now am unable to access it. Spent way too many hours trying to figure it out to no avail. So I opened another one and spent all afternoon trying to change my email address in all of my Yahoo groups...big headache. Hopefully my mail will get to me via this new account now. I couldn't access my old email addresses to even tell people that I can't read it anymore... Needless to say I'm not loving the computer today.

Anyway, tomorrow I will spend working on a new batch and adding a little something else to the bottom piece. I highly recommend the Stitch Alchemy book. There are a ton of ideas for embellishing your base fabric paper. I'll keep you posted on any new ones that I try.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fabric Paper Revisited

If you've been following my blog, a while back I made a big batch of fabric paper for a fat book swap. I really loved the process and still have some of that paper. Now I'm experimenting with taking the fabric paper a bit further.

These photos are just the first step. Basically, I've made a raw batch of fabric paper without adding any color yet. What little color you do see is from the collage papers. So I have my muslin backing, my collage papers and my tissue paper all glued down and dried. Here is another sheet using the same collage papers:

Here is a larger sheet using different papers and more variety of tissue paper:

I belong to a Yahoo group called Mixed Media Art Friends, led by Belinda Spiwak. We are doing a book study following this book:

The author has taken fabric paper a step further and applied all kinds of techniques to the basic layer. So, first things first: make a raw batch with no embellishments. That is what you see here. I'm going to let these get really good and dry and leave them be overnight. Tomorrow the fun begins. There are a ton of ideas in the book for coloring the paper with dyes, paints, inks, etc. and embellishing it with everything. First, I'll color these and then will show you the results of that.

What I'm wanting to do, eventually, is make a really nice, huge batch of these sheets colored the way I want and then cut them into squares (size yet to be determined). The book shows this awesome wall hanging with squares that have eyelets in them. The squares are connected through the eyelets by wire. That is what I want to do but on a larger scale. First I need to make a batch with the colors I want. Then, I'll figure out how to proceed. Stay tuned...

Friday, October 2, 2009



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.

Speaking of journaling, I found a wonderful journaling class on LK Ludwig's blog. If you aren't familiar with her work, she is a very inspirational photographer, journaler and author. She has written some very good books on art journaling and keeping a journal. I was thrilled to see that she had just now started this class (Oct. 1).

Serendipity is at work. I was just thinking yesterday about how much I love journal prompts and how they can really get you thinking about so many different possibilities for a page. That's one reason I'm trying to get my studio space finished up today. I'm itching to get back to the journal and try some new techniques. I also want to write more in my journal and was looking through a couple of books on the subject. Then I started blog hopping and lo and behold there on LK's site was the class. Coincidence? I think not! ;)

So today I'm going through my photo archive and picking out some photos for my first spread in this class. I'll post a few of the pages as I go along. Another serendipitous finding: browsing through a thrift store I came upon a blank, hand-made journal filled with the nicest watercolor paper just waiting to be filled... the gods are speaking to me! I'll include a photo of that, too, in my next post. I just now thought about it or I would have included it here.

So, enough talk. Time to play.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Autumn Magic

I made this digital piece for this week's challenge at Digital Whisper.ning. The challenge was to take the autumn forest scene that was given and make a piece incorporating your favorite Fall poem. I added the park bench, the fairy and the girl looking out of the fogged window.

I don't really have a favorite autumn poem but I did a search on the web for poems with the words "autumn" and "magic" in them. I found this poem:

Autumn Magic
Lysia Holub

On a cool autumn night,
When the air is still,
You can see a great sight,
Just beyond the mill,
The place where leaves dance,
In the still air,
There Fairies will prance,
With the seasons in their hair.

The greatest sight you may ever see,
Even still you will believe,
Because they live with you and me.
Only on an autumn eve,
Will you see them there,
Sneaking out of sight,
Only the trees know where
To find them at night,
But, in the morning through the dew,
And beyond the trees,
You may see them peeking at you,
Hanging on a breeze.

Never overlook these sneaky fairies,
They may look like leaves,
They may be hung up in the black berries,
But their only joy comes to tease,
So spare them the time,
And chuckle on the wind,
To complete the rhyme,
And bring it to an end.

Just something fun that I thought I would post today!

Friday, September 25, 2009


I've been neglecting my digital art lately and when I found these awesome images, I had to get back into Photoshop! So, what to put into the 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 and wanting to change so many things, physically and mentally. I like where I am with my art. I like that I'm branching out and experimenting with different media, all the while learning and growing.

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 space as well as the entire upstairs. I've been avoiding my studio because it is so cluttered with current projects, past projects, future projects and a lot of items I've held for too long "just in case". So, today I begin the purge. I need to clear my space (and my head) 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 the 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've 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

Taking A Deep Breath

This is my latest painting (11 x 14, Acrylic). I finished it yesterday and it's called Sunday Morning Mist. It must have about six layers of paint on it. I kept painting over it until I figured out what it was I wanted it to be. That's why I love abstract art; so much freedom to experiment and bring it along until you're satisfied. I think it looks peaceful, almost like a mist rising. I didn't intend to create anything like this when I started. What I originally had in mind will come out when it's ready. I haven't given up on that idea just yet. :) This one is hanging in our living room and every time I look at it I just want to take a deep breath. Hubby was very complimentary on it, too.

I want to finish the paintings I've started before tackling the 18 x 36 size that we'll paint in the next class. Here is Mountain of Mine which is from Jared's free video found here:

This one gave me a few fits but I was happy I finished it. I'm still working on Black Ice and hope to have it up soon.

I finally joined FaceBook. I'm slow to come around, but I'm glad I did. I'm discovering lots of my friends on there and it's like a little party whenever I hear from them. *waving to you all*

Other projects in the works: I've got a couple of face sketches that want homes in a digital background so I'll have to tend to them next. Then there's the big (for me) canvas to start... Jared's painting is 18 x 36 but there was no place in town that carried that size canvas so I ended up with a 24 x 36. We'll see how it translates. And I've been neglecting my art journal so I need to give it a little love. So, busy trying to juggle all of these at once. I'll post whichever one I finish first!

Saturday, September 19, 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. They all seem to look alike. :) 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 am 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 preconceived idea of an 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 acrylics. And my new best friend is titanium white. I have gone through three tubes of it so far. I found out you can actually order it by the gallon online so I did. In the long run it's cheaper than buying tubes every few days. The next painting we will do in class will be 18 x 36. That will be a blast!

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 it around 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...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Inner Storm

This is my first finished painting from Jared Knight's class. It's 11 x 14, Acrylic, and I call it Inner Storm. This was not the painting that you do along with him in his video. This one is from inside of me. It's funny because I started painting his painting Black Ice along with him in his video and when I got to the best part of the painting (the knife work) I couldn't get it to turn out like I wanted. So I've started three more Black Ice paintings in hope I'll get one of them right. It's just my perfectionist taking over. I let myself off the hook and decided to start my own painting and use the knife however it turned out. I really like this one and am hanging it in our living room. Hubby said it looks exactly like the title says. You see all that unrest below the surface, churning away, and eventually it rises and explodes. :)

It's been fun challenging myself to do something that, for me, is totally different. I love the freedom of abstract painting. I had Melissa Etheridge blaring in the background and just went at it, painting my soul. There are lots of paintings in the works now in various stages. This particular one started out as different shades of violet. There are probably four or five layers painted over in this one. I kept changing my mind as I went along. What a rush! I told Jared that now it's time to make a new class video and he said he's working on one.

Other things I'm working on: I have a bunch of new sketches that I'm playing with. I've been scouring the fall fashion mags for pretty faces to sketch. I don't make up my own faces very much.; a few have been and I've liked them. But there are so many different looks and poses in the fashion mags that I'll just pick a girl and concentrate on her facial features and sketch her. I'm working on giving them more emotion. Looking over the earlier ones they all seem to have the same frozen expression. So, hopefully, you'll notice more emotion in these later sketches.

That's it for today. Off to paint and play.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rebel Spirit

After sketching this gal I noticed right away that she had an attitude. I liked her rebel spirit so I placed her in an appropriate atmosphere. Part of the background is from the super-talented Christine Honsinger (Fidlette Designs) at This is from her black and white collage kit. I added a bunch of brushes and lots of color, a cool font, etc. but the black and white background was a great starting point.

So it's with this attitude that I'll start my painting with Jared Knight's videos (see previous post). I've done a couple of preliminary warm-ups while following along with him on his videos. Now I'm ready for the real thing. I don't have any expectations of doing this perfectly. I just want to experience the freedom of the abstract design. I acknowledge to myself that I am a beginner and I will only learn by doing. So I'm off to do just that ... bringing with me a little bit of this rebel spirit!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


This little lady was a sketch I did last week and she certainly proved to be ... how I'm feeling right now! Have you ever just had so much stimuli coming at you at once that you didn't know what to do first or what direction you should follow? That's where I am right now.

It's all good! So many new things I'm learning and being introduced to and now my mind is reeling. I was recently introduced to a new artist through Kimmie, the awesome artist and host at her website, Digital Whisper.ning. She introduced me to the art of Jared Knight through his website at Jared He's a fantastic, energetic, awesome abstract painter. I loved his work as soon as I saw it. And, guess what, YES, he teaches classes.

So I watched his intro video and am completely hooked on his process: action painting. I've just ordered my first class and plan on starting it tomorrow. Yes, yes, I know, I'm in so many different classes right now going in so many directions. Where do I focus?

I don't know. All I know is to follow my heart and what I want to do. I want to do it all! I want to draw, paint, do mixed media, and I'm doing all of that. I don't see anything wrong with multiple interests. Someday what I really want to "concentrate" on will reveal itself. I've got a passion for all of these things right now and am pursuing all of them with the same zeal. The more, the merrier.

So, in addition to more faces (Yay! Monica's class this week is on drawing the mouth), a new SuziBlu class on Marie Antoinette, and a Frida Kahlo shadow box (you didn't know about that one, did you?), you will see some abstract art thrown in just to mix things up.

So, to answer the little lady in the above piece, indecision isn't a bad thing. You don't have to decide on ONE thing! Go where your Muse leads... and follow your bliss.

Friday, September 4, 2009


This is my latest sketch. I told myself I wouldn't make any more until I finished painting the ones I have mounted on wood first. But my Muse didn't listen, as usual, and I started this one a couple of days ago. So now there are three faces mounted on wood waiting to be painted. ;)

I wasn't sure what to do with her after I looked at the raw sketch. I just stared at her for awhile and I thought she looked like she was waiting on something...or someone. A secret meeting? A rendezvous, that was it! Scanning the sketches into Photoshop does open up a lot of possibilities. We'll see where she goes when the real painting begins.

I like this color palette. I can't take credit for the poppies (aren't they gorgeous?) I got them from Scrapbook from their Labor Day kit. There are some awesome digital scrapbook kits out there that make gorgeous backgrounds for digital art. I don't scrapbook but I love the papers, embellishments, etc. that they have. This paper is just a plain peach background with the poppies. I added some overlays, brushes and some other elements but I loved the soft color of the peach and the contrast with the poppies. Another favorite site for digital collage kits is Scrap

I also told myself I wouldn't sign up for any more classes until I finished the ones I was in. Wrong again. Suzi Blu has a new Petite Dolls workshop starting Saturday: Petite Marie (Antoinette). I wasn't going to sign up for it at first but then I saw Suzi's painting. Now I have to do it. My obsession with faces and fashion keeps growing. I had so many ideas for things I want to try with these paintings that I woke up twice the other night to write them down in my bedside notebook so I wouldn't forget them.

Ooh, speaking of classes, Suzi also has a Petite workshop coming that has something to do with Tarot. I'm already planning for that one without even seeing what she's going to do. And I think there's one that has to do with the circus...and then there's the Goddess & Poet 2 in December. I may as well just get a permanent spot in her little school! Plus, Monica's class should have the next lesson up any day. I hope it will be about drawing the mouth. I seem to keep drawing the same mouth; I want to learn different looks. So I'm looking forward to that lesson.

That's it for today. College football started last night and tomorrow is the first full Saturday of games. Hubby and I LIVE for college football! I wanted to post this today because I probably won't be around the computer for a few days (except to register for Suzi's class). Ooh, how I miss going to the Ohio State Buckeyes football games! Go BUCS!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dancing In The Moonlight

This is my entry for this week's digital challenge at Digital Whisper.ning. The theme for the challenge was moonlight and we were given the image of the moon reflecting on water (provided by Stock Exchange). I added this incredible background from a kit I bought a long time ago that I keep coming back to again and again. It is from Madame Mim and Milla Designs and it's called Enchanted Forest. It is an awesome kit; tons of gorgeous, magical elements. Love it!! The kit and her designs can be found at in their shopping section. The dancer is an image I cut out of a fashion magazine a couple of years ago. I just loved the silhouette and have used it in some of my other digital art. I added some more moonbeams coming from the moon just to highlight her a little better.

I've got two face sketches mounted on wood that I am starting to work on today. I always get a little nervous when I start these paintings. I'm afraid I'll "mess up" the sketch. I need to get over that; the worst thing that could happen is I do mess it up. I still have plenty of options. The sketches are saved on my computer and I could print out another one and mount it. Or I could go with the "mistake" and keep painting to see where that takes me. Suzi Blu said in one her classes that procrastination is fear. I can relate to that! I've been putting off working on these pieces because of my fears that they won't turn out like I want.

Also on the agenda today: mail out the Artist Trading Pin I made for a swap in the Art Techniques Yahoo group I belong to. I've said before that I am not a jewelry maker but I love jewelry. I've got a little workshop set up in the basement with my Dremel drill and lots of wire, charms, beads and miscellaneous findings. I push myself to sign up for some of these swaps just so I'll go down there and work with these fun things.

I had never even heard of an artist trading pin. It's just what it sounds like: you make a little pin to trade using collage, paint, beads, whatever you want. There are some very talented artists in that group and I'm always learning from them. This is the same group I made the 240 fat pages of my fabric paper for. As a matter of fact, part of that batch of fabric paper was used as the background for the little collage in this pin! The theme of the swap was the fall season. I thought the fabric paper had the perfect fall colors. I added a transparency of a snippet from a song called "October" that I found in a song book I picked up at a flea market last summer. And I found the perfect little leaf charm to finish it off. The pin is 1.5" x 1.5" and I made it two-sided so the wearer could have two options. Here is the "front":

Here is the back:

There is a glare on the glass in this photo. That's why it shows up kind of pale. This is basically the same background with a butterfly rub-on added.

I had made another pin first but was not happy with it at all. It was something that I had tried on wood. At least I did try. But after looking at the album of some of the other pins that were made I was reminded of all of these little supplies I had down in the workshop. Yay! I think I will make some more of these for gifts (with different themes, of course). Hopefully the person that gets this pin will like it.

Now, off to the post office and then I'll tackle my fears and my paints and get started on those two faces. ;)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rose-Colored Glasses

This is the latest face I've been practicing on. I scanned the sketch into Photoshop and started "painting" with the mouse again. I'm getting the hang of it better, but still not where I want to be. Once I get the opacity down, I hope to be able to blend better.

In Monica Zuniga's drawing class we are working on noses this week. This is a rough one but I have all week to practice them. Then we are to try to sketch what we've learned so far combining the eyes and noses. I did this sketch and filled in the mouth and hair from what I've learned in Suzi's class. Monica is such a fabulous teacher. Both she and Suzi are number one with me. :)

I know she doesn't exactly have glasses, but I couldn't figure out another title. I thought about "Gypsy Spirit" but I'm working on something else that will probably have that title, so I went with "Rose Colored Glasses". That rose is a temporary tattoo! Suzi showed us how to add those to our art. So cool!!

Until I can do something with the actual sketch I thought I would show what I did digitally with her. I think she's pretty cool. :) I'm thinking about adhering this sketch to wood and seeing where that takes me. Now back to the sketchpad.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dream: A Journal Page

For this page I decided to do a tryptich. I like the idea of little surprises throughout the journal. I want to do another version of a window at some point, too. The verse says: "Even amidst the chaos of life, dreams are born and begin to take flight." It's a little verse I made up to go along with the theme.

Here is the page with the extra flap closed:

One thing I keep forgetting to do is date my pages. Doh! The little charm under the girl says: Beautiful Dreamer. I liked the aged look of it so I thought it would look good there. I ran into trouble painting the girl. Didn't like the way some of the pencils were not blending so I added Titan Buff to smooth it out. Here is a closeup of her face:

I had a chance to try out some new watercolors called Twinkling H2O's. Ooh, I like those! I used those in her eyes and hair. They are shimmery and you can vary the shade with just adding water to what's already on the page. I also added more of the Golden's Interference Gold color over top of the Twinkling H2O in her hair. Made for a nice shimmer, I thought. Here's a closeup of the verse page:

Those little iridescent chips are so cool! They are made by Stewart Gill. I can't quite figure out what they are made from but you can adhere them pretty well with gel medium. I have these in purple and teal. I like their shimmer. ;) The butterflies are rub-ons, of all things. Suzi Blu used those in class and they really pop when added to the page. If you don't like the shiny look, you just go over them with some matte medium and they blend in even better.

I'm expecting the next lesson of Monica Zuniga's pencil drawing class today. Can't wait to see what part of the face we'll concentrate on next. I've got pages and pages of eyes sketched. Hubby says it creeps him out, all of these eyes staring at him. :) Anyway, time to get back to the sketchpad. More to come...