Monday, January 28, 2013

Let me introduce our SUPER students!


Saturday, my friend Thea and I taught our first stamp carving class at the local art center.  It was a great class with four students.....three were first timers and one had carved stamps before, albeit several years ago.

Jan and Erika took to carving like the proverbial "ducks to water"!  Jan, recently, started journaling and wanted to make stamps for her journal.  Erika wants to share her new found skills with her two daughters and their Girl Scout troop.

IMG_3675 IMG_3676

Meet our "whiz kid", ten year old Diego carved and stamped two stamps and was GOOD at it.  The first stamp we did was a simple, "getting use to the tools by carving a stamp with straight lines".  Diego whipped right through that project.  Then he drew his own design, a helicopter, and carved that, too.

His uncle, who recognizes Diego's talents, brought him to the class.  He's a lucky and talented young man.




Barbara was our experienced student.  It has been about ten years since she carved stamps and she is hoping this class will get her motivated, and back creating special occasion cards, using her own hand carved stamps.

She designed her own "love" stamp based on the stamp the other students were doing.


Thea and I had so much fun encouraging all this talent and showing them some basic carving skills.

The end of February we are teaching another class.  That class will be geared more toward print making and methods for using more colors.


All this enthusiasm encouraged me to design and carve this print!


Then I cut stencils/masks so I could print the stamp/plate using several colors.



I printed two test sample prints, first, on different papers and slightly different colors. 

When I was happy with the test, I printed two more on watercolor paper using acrylic paint and printer's ink.





Here's one print, matted and ready to frame!


It was a good weekend all the way around.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Studio redo........


You may have noticed I've been MIA for a bit!  Well, I'm back and I have completed a studio redo over the past week or so......and it feels GOOD!  Before, it felt like over load.  Really, how many pieces of paper, magazines, lace, fabric, buttons and other cool stuff does one NEED?  Truth be told, not all of it was THAT cool.

My "sort out" started a few months back and concluded a couple days ago when I painted the walls in my newly organized room.  I've been trying to raise the status of my room and turn it back from catch-all to a studio/craft area.  So, I sorted and threw things away, took a load or two to Goodwill, forced some "good stuff" on art buddies...rearranged and compacted and came up with this!  Now, only art related items live in this room with the exception of the vacuum cleaner, I just can't find another place to put, I guess, it is not a perfect world.




This wall holds a lot of stuff with the tall cupboard, dresser and bookcase.  With the load lighting I was able to remove two storage pieces from the room, one cupboard and one small dresser.


One of my favorite things in the world is that rusted, beat-up, green metal multi-drawer storage piece, on the shelf, I bought it at an antique fair a few years back.





I gained room to display some of my other "favorite things"!

This is my "toy shelf"!  I have a spelling board in the back, a cage for Bingo numbers and a ramp walking Popeye.  Ramp walkers were made with jointed legs, when you placed them on a slanted board they would "walk" down!

Simpler toys from simpler times.






I'm using old glass refrigerator dishes to hold my "crayons".










Hubby and I at our grandson's wedding last year and, in the photo you can't see,at our wedding.




These are altered books I've made and books from swaps I've participated in. That's Elizabeth's cool tag hanging from one of the books. It is from the color swap we did, a year or so ago, remember that E?







These are 1950's style, clear, hard plastic containers that I picked up for fifty-cents each at a garage sale.  They are see through and perfect for holding ribbon.








Books, books and more books!


















Vintage lunch boxes and an old tackle box make great storage.   I have calligraphy pens and nibs, my labeler, Japanese hole punch, eyelets and more tools stored in these.  The colorful tags are where I list the contents of each container.







This is a small, former bedroom, about 10' by 10' in size, so one space expanding move we made was removing the doors from the closet.  This made room for more shelves and another bookcase.  I've used tin picnic baskets, cigar boxes and wire locker baskets for MORE storage containers.
















More fun storage: muffin tins, canning jars, wood boxes, and old soda cases mixed with new baskets and a pencil holder one of my granddaughter's made in wood shop!

IMG_3670 Not to be left Charlotte's, "frozen Charlottes" are what these little dolls are called in the antiques world because their limbs do not move.  I have about a dozen of them, total, so cute!



Finally, like many of you, I use recycled food containers for storage, too.  Here is where I keep my pens, well the black ones any way, in a plastic container that originally held store bought cookies.  My colored pens are in another lunch box!


After seeing all the stuff that is still in this are, probably, asking yourself "what did she get rid of?".  I'm asking myself that question! 

I've been doing journaling, collage and jewelry making, not to mention painting, sewing, bookmaking and collecting for a long time....I had a bunch of junk!!!  Now, only the really, really, really good stuff remains.  You believe that, right?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Two dollars well spent.......


Last week, the on-line Interweave store sent me a notice about a video made by Julie Balzer featuring painting over collage.  I had not seen or heard of it before, I was curious, I bought it....for the handsome price of $1.99! 

Now, that turned out to be two bucks very well spent, at least for me.  Now, for $2 you don't expect a lot of content, or I don't, but I got $1000. worth of inspiration.  She choose to paint a highly stylized woman's face over a collaged background.  Well, I had to try THAT!  So, I have been.......

This is the first one I did and pretty much in the top two of favorites, so far.

IMG_3620There are many things wrong with her but I think she has some personality and life.  Now, I'm set on doing a series, just to see if I can get one piece that I think is "suitable".

So, this is the second one....way too much the look of a paper doll, in my mind.




I wanted to try the pouty lower lip "thing" but, I don't much care for it now that I've done it.  It was a good opportunity to try some other colors, otherwise, no life in this one.







Well, great, just another Miss Cutie Two Shoes....she does look a bit pensive and I like the colors and the quote.  Otherwise, ho-hum.











Of what I've done so far, she comes to closest to what I'm aiming for...she is fairly stylized, show's enough fear that I helped her out with a some supportive, biblical words to calm her down.

I LOVE the red hair....I have some light source issues, I'd say.

Well, that's my critique...what's yours?



I was, also, inspired to get out the pencil and draw a realistic woman's face.  I believe you need to be able to draw faces well, realistically, before you can abstract them.

IMG_3631 Sometimes, the simplest things can inspire us to try something new.  I'm very visual and it helps me a lot to see something and then use it as a springboard.....hence my love of books, magazines, videos and all the awesome blogs that are out there!

What inspires you?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

To draw or not to draw.....


I've been a conflicted, lately, I want to draw but I DON'T want to draw!

Seems odd, doesn't it?  My brain keeps telling me it's too hard to draw, do something easy and quick!  My heart keeps telling me to feed my soul and draw, draw, draw.  So, I've been drawing more and it makes me feel GOOD, even when I don't really want to!
















I like the movement in the woman, on the left.  Both of these were drawn from magazine photos.

The nude on the right has a lot of strength, or power, on her right side, not so much on the left!  Why?










I collaged the hand onto the drawing above because, first, I had drawn the hand  to use as a template for the journal page, below. I had such a dark background on the journal page, I could not see my pencil, my solution was: I drew the hand on a separate piece of paper, cut it out and drew around it with a white gel pen, then went in with a black pen and water to get some shadows. 


I am enjoying drawing but I need a LOT more practice.  I plan to take some drawing classes the new year.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The sun is shining.........


It's Friday and it is a new year!  I love to see the Holidays come but I, also, am always happy when the hub-bub is over and life gets back to "normal".

I've had a little time this week to play in my journal......

IMG_3617 I'm still into drawing hands, as you can see. The flowers were made with torn and cut tissue paper on a watercolor background. 

The page on the left is a nod to the the class I just finished based on Julia Cameron's book "Vein of Gold".  Julia talks about "synchronicity" in her book and my running into my friend, Dianne, at a concert was such a shining example of that!  I felt a need to journal the memory.

Dianne, who I had not seen since summer, is battling cancer.  As it turned out, she came by herself but she had purchased two extra tickets for friends, who at the last minute were not able to attend.  So, my husband and I moved from our seats and sat with her.  So, we had a chance to catch up on each other's lives and share some meaningful time together!  It was meant to be!

Looking forward to a new year of chance meetings, happy mistakes and increased creativity.

I am linking this post up with Julie Balzer's Art Journal Everyday blog.  Please join me!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013



As it got closer to Christmas I was not inclined to drag out a bunch of art supplies or create another mess to clean up, so............I started drawing, just drawing!  It's easy, you only need a pencil and some paper, right?  Well, I cheated a bit, and add some watercolor to a couple drawings but, mostly, I drew.


I started with hands, my hands!  Drawing your own hands has some limitations but it is a good place to start, next I had coffee with friends and ask one of them to be my hand model.

IMG_3586The hand on the bottom is mine, my friend's hands are holding a cup!  I started drawing hands because of a conversation with another friend about how difficult it was to draw hands.....some hand poses are much more difficult than others.  For me, the first three drawings of my own hand was much easier, and straight forward, than drawing my friends hands doing holding a cup, now, we have to foreshorten fingers and hard stuff, like that!  This isn't perfect and I will try again but it was interesting and a challenge and, most importantly, I learned something.

IMG_3584 Next, I found this gentleman's photo in a magazine.  I see some things that I can improve upon but, it was darn fun to draw him! only New Year's resolution is "DRAW MORE"!