Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Collages for Baker's Dozen

I've mentioned before that I'm participating in the Baker's Dozen International Collage Exchange out of New Zealand. Time is winding down to get my 13 collages submitted, so of course now I'm really working on them! Here are the first few that I've finished.

This first one is called, "Balancing Act". I'm having fun mixing/matching eyes, noses and mouths for a composite face effect. I've got tons of images saved over the years and putting these different elements together forces you to look at angles, size, etc. It's good practice. I also had great success with my first image transfer onto packing tape. The little girl that is superimposed over the meditating woman is my image transfer. When you do this technique, your image becomes transparent and you can then glue it over something else.

The next collage is called, "Storm Warning". The house used in this piece belonged to my Great Grandmother Morgan! It's fun searching through old family photos and finding bits and pieces of things to use in your art.

This next one is called, "More, More, More...". I thought I would throw a few whimsical pieces in the bunch. The only difference between this one and the finished one is I added a Louis Vuitton bag that is balanced on top of the bracelet end on the right side. That balanced the composition out better.

I'm also submitting the collage, "Haunted By Her Past" that I posted a few days ago. I was able to successfully translate that into a 3-D image and I'm pretty happy with the result. So, that's 4 down and 9 to go! Stay tuned..

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Blue Masquerade

I've always been intrigued by masks. Google images brought up some beautiful Venetian masks. Some people find them creepy, but they can be very elaborate. I came upon this beautiful background paper in a free online scrapbook kit from Scrapbook Flair. It's a Mardi Gras kit that has some nice papers and masks! I'm working on a series devoted to "masks" of all kinds; one of the (too) many projects that I've got going right now.

Today I was experimenting with image transfer techniques for my collages that I'll send off to the collage exchange. It's a lot of trial and error (mostly error, today) but I'm slowly finding a few cool techniques! Transferring images onto fabric is really appealing to me. I can always print them out on my fabric sheets, but I like to experiment with TRANSFERRING them TO fabric. I'm not having a whole lot of luck, but I'm getting closer. Stay tuned for my results...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What Remains

I made this digital collage in response to a wonderful poem I read by Phillip Ellis called, "A Villanelle on Loss". These two verses spoke to me:

"My heart, discoloured by stains,
is seemingly about to stall,
barely leached by ten years of rains.

Memories haunt, as ghosts of pains
long gone; through rooms and halls
ten years gone, an ache remains."

I thought the grungy background was a good representation of a heart discolored by stains. The damaged filmstrip and doll brushes, along with the broken window all represent the broken heart, and the ghosts of memories that haunt the poet.

I think I am going to print out these digital collages onto fabric. Then I'll embellish them with other bits and pieces and adhere these to the watercolor paper as my collages for the collage exchange. Stay tuned...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Love Lies Bleeding: Missing Mom

There is a quote by the poet May Sarton that I'll never forget: "Even when you're 80, you still want your mother." I'm just missing my mom today...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Haunted By Her Past

This is a collage I am making for the Baker's Dozen Collage Exchange out of New Zealand. I mentioned this project awhile back. I've set aside the next two weeks to work on the 13 collages I need to make (sized 8" x 10"). At first I was thinking I would do most of them around a fashion theme. I will still do some of them around that theme. But now I think I'll just dip into my images and see what inspires me.

This particular version is a digital collage. I can easily make it into 3-D and will do so. The "ghosts" and the shadow will be rub-ons I'll make using transparencies and applied after all of the rest of the papers are glued down. I'm finishing up the last of the ATC's I committed to doing for awhile and then I can concentrate solely on these collages. Stay tuned. . .

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Dream In Flowers

On Monday I posted about the "honey and vinegar" art we were to make this week in the Artist's Happiness Challenge Course I'm taking. Monday's art was the "vinegar" and today's is the "honey". This piece definitely makes me happy. I think it's whimsical, dreamy and other-worldly.

I love to use images of dolls and this is one in my collection. The background just says "happy" and when I look at this I feel soothed. That was part of the challenge, too. You were to make note of your feelings as you made each piece. What were your thoughts and feelings when you made your positive piece vs. when you made your negative piece. It was a good challenge and I'm happy with the results.

BTW, we DID get a new coffeemaker. Unfortunately I haven't been able to use it yet. Last night we had a terrible storm with wind gusts over 50 mph. There are lots of downed trees and branches around here. The creek is over it's banks and we lost electricity at about 3:45 am. It did not come back on until after 1 pm this afternoon. So, it's been interesting around here to say the least.

It's still windy today but not near as bad as yesterday. Hopefully things will quiet down after tonight.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bella Donna

Today I made a digital collage inspired by music. I have had the song, "Bella Donna" by Stevie Nicks running through my head all day. I learned in one of the Yahoo groups that I belong to that when you have a song running through your head over and over, it's called an "earworm". Who knew? I think it's meant to be a negative thing. Usually, the songs that run through my head ARE ones I don't even like. But I like Stevie's music. So, in this case, it was a good thing. Here, I think clicking on the photo really does show it better.

I found another awesome site for Photoshop brushes. In this piece I used my favorite ones from , and a new site called Beautiful brushes on all of these sites. Someday I'll learn to create my own, but I doubt they will be as mystical as these.

We are having some heavy winds here. Tonight they are even stronger than they were today. When I went to the post office to mail my lovely lady cards (see previous post), as I opened the car door the envelope carrying my lovelies flew right out of my hand. I chased it across the parking lot and it landed face down in a big puddle of water. Did I mention we are getting monsoon rains, too? So, my little envelope was soaked! Not to worry. I always mail my cards in a bubble envelope. I just had to wipe it off on my clothes before I could take it to the guy behind the counter to meter. I'll be glad when this high wind warning is over. The windows are even rattling.

We had a slight power outage this afternoon; maybe two or three seconds. The computer shut off, the clocks blinked, etc. After everything was reset I didn't think anything about it. Until... after dinner when I went to make my coffee...NO COFFEEPOT! It's kaput! Coincidence? I think not. I'm not even going to tell you how I managed to still have my coffee. It wasn't pretty. But the first thing on my list tomorrow: new coffeepot. I canNOT live without that! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lucky Lady Dip

Here is a group of ATC's I just completed for a swap called, "Lucky Lady Dip". The idea is to pick from a list of over 50 titles of themed "ladies" to make. It's a 4 for 4 swap; you make 4 and you'll get 4 in return. The 4 titles I picked were: Gothic Goddess, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Marionette and Lady Gray Ghost.

Obviously the one pictured above is the Gothic Goddess. I colored her face in with with charcoal pencil just to give her a little more contrast. I added a background of black flowered paper, and two kinds of black lace. Then I placed a layer of black tulle over the whole thing.

This next one is my Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. I really love the way these all turned out. I'm going to hate sending them off! For her card I made the background with Gold MicaFlake. It's this wonderful product from Golden that I found at DickBlick online. It's just as shiny and vibrant as the photo shows! I LOVE it!! Then I embellished her gown with different sizes of Swarovski crystals. I can't decide which of these cards is my favorite.

Next is Marionette. I tried to make her into a puppet, obviously, with that name. If you look closely you can see the threads I tied around her finger and on her right side. She's supposed to be on a puppet stage and the strings reach up into the rafters to her puppeteer.

And finally we have Lady Gray Ghost. When I picked this title I had a vague idea of a vintage photo of a lady in a tattered gown and a fancy hat. I found this photo online when I searched for "lady gray ghost" just to see what popped up. This is exactly how I pictured her to be!! (scary) It's actually an advertisement for a costume! Perfect. So I painted up some cheesecloth in a dove gray color and added that, along with some white lace, to her photo. And of course a cameo to finish it off.

These were all so much fun to do. I hate to get rid of them though. But I'm curious to see what I'll get in return. Stay tuned...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Model Behaviour

This collage is called, "Model Behaviour". I made it in response to the Artist's Happiness Challenge course I am taking. The challenge for this week: create two pieces of art; one that shows negativity and one that shows positive energy. The lesson this week was called, "Vinegar and Honey" referring to the names for negative and positive emotions, respectively.

This is my "vinegar" piece of art. It is also the prototype for a collage I'm going to include in a series I'm making around a fashion theme. I mentioned before the Baker's Dozen Collage Exchange that I signed up for. Time is ticking and these collages need to get started. So this will be my first one. It's digital here, but I can make it 3D.

It shows a model in silhouette whose demand for perfection is always on her mind. She's aware that people are constantly watching her and she must always be perfect every minute. Here she is backed into a wall as all of these emotions are crashing in on her. An image of a young girl reminds her of the innocence of her youth before her life became so complicated.

So this piece definitely has some negative energy in it and that was part of the goal for this week's lesson. You are supposed to be aware of your own emotions as you create the negative and positive pieces. I'll post my "honey" image when I finish it.

By the way, I found a fantastic website where you can download free Photoshop brushes. The brick in the background here is one of the tons of brushes that I got today. Here is the link:

Saturday, February 7, 2009

At The Threshold: A Study In Blue

For some reason, lately I have been attracted to bursts of color. Last week it was yellow. This week, blue. And they have been colors that I normally don't use in my work or at least not as a predominant color. I've been noticing blue everywhere! Blue just pops out at me. So I decided to do a blue collage. I'm not feeling blue, just attracted to the color. I call this "At The Threshold: A Study In Blue" because I still feel I'm at the threshold of breaking through and finding my "voice" in my art. Does that make sense? You can click on the image to get a (much) larger view.

I'm exploring Photoshop brushes, too. I've been shying away from these only because I have convinced myself that they are too complicated and I really don't understand how they work, how to load them correctly, how to make my own custom brushes, etc. But I have seen some awesome work on other people's blogs using brushes and I just feel left out! ;) So, I decided to give it a whirl one more time. I had better luck loading some that I found on the web. I'm just not sure if they'll be there the next time I go looking for them! I'm still experimenting with making my own.

I'm still reaping the benefits of the Artist's Happiness Challenge course. This week, aside from the challenge to make a piece of gratitude art (see previous post), a mini-challenge was to "embellish your life" a little bit. This could be as simple as burning some nicely-scented candles, taking a bubble bath, or sprucing up your living area with art that makes you happy. Anything, really, that pleases you and adds just that extra touch to your daily life; especially in your living space.

I already burn scented candles every evening. I'm working on making some art pieces to hang in the living room. It's about time to bring out those special canvasses that I've been saving for ... what, exactly, I don't know. They certainly aren't going to paint themselves! And I've been snipping away at a huge pile of magazines I've been saving for collage fodder. Images everywhere!!

But now I must finish the project I committed to and have to have in the mail by Monday's deadline: my paper dolls. Normally I love working on dolls. If you know me, you know that's true. This batch ... I don't know what the problem is. I wonder why it is that I always want to work on other projects when I know I have a deadline on the horizon? It seems that I don't get inspired or "in the zone" until I'm backed right up against the deadline. I do have one doll finished, a second one about 85% complete and the third one sketched out. Let's see what being backed in the corner does for me today. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Enchanted Dream

This is another digital collage I made in response to the Artist's Happiness Challenge course I am taking. The challenge for this week: Show your gratitude for someone in your life by making a piece of art to honor them.

Of course I chose my mother. She was always there to hold my hand and guide me through everything! I've been dreaming about her a lot lately. Her birthday is coming up on April 2. She will have been gone five years (still unfathomable to me) on April 4. I still miss her so much.

I've been going through old photos of my childhood. This one stood out and I think was perfect for this piece. The photo of mom is from when she was in her late teens/early 20's; somewhere around there. I'm the one looking down at it all through rose-colored glasses, remembering a better time.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Breaking Through

This is a collage I made called, "Breaking Through". It's in response to the Artist's Happiness Challenge course I am taking (see previous post). The little girl in the window is a photo of me as a baby. The photo was crumpled, but it added to the effect, I think.

I'm looking out of a blue window, literally and metaphorically. There are bright yellow (happy!) flowers out there waiting. The dark clouds overhead have a hint of sun breaking through. The key is opening the gate to my creative mind!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Beginning To Shine

This is a digital collage I made in response to a challenge in the Artist's Happiness Challenge course I am taking (see previous post). The first challenge is: name three things you are thankful for and incorporate those into a work of art.

The three things that immediately came to my mind: the color yellow, music, and my health. I am really excited about this course and after three lessons this is how I feel!

What's New

I just started this course last night and I LOVE it! This is coming at a great time for me. Winter blah's are setting in and I will take any ray of sunshine when I can get it. It is an online course that I read about at the Artella website. Lani is an amazing woman. She creates beautiful art (collages and puppets!) and she's also a trained professional in art therapy.

I was mad at myself for waiting so long to enroll. By the time I got around to it, the course had been going on for three weeks! Lani was generous enough to let me in, even at this late date. I sat down last night and read through the first three weeks of material. I am so glad I signed up! This is just the boost I need right now.

One of the first challenges she has us doing is to sit down every day and write out three things you are grateful for and then incorporate those into your art. She also advises starting an art journal. Yes, I have been wanting to start an art journal. This will MAKE me do it. There are great relaxation tips and thought-provoking articles to read. I am in heaven with this course.

This morning I sat down and wrote out my three things I am grateful for and then put them into a digital collage called "Beginning to Shine" because that is how I am starting to feel! I will post it now.