Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Great Gig in the Sky

Celebrating the Night - Part 3

It was the summer of 1975.  I had just graduated high school and I had just become aware that I was falling in love with the young man I would eventually marry. We spent much of that summer huddled together in the bed of his Ford Ranchero gazing up at star filled skies and listening to 8 track tapes of Jethro Tull, Bruce Springsteen, and Black Sabbath among others.  My favorite was Pink Floyd, "Dark Side of the Moon", and I recall listening to the entire album as we sat cocooned together as one under a quilt against the cool, damp, country, night air.  This journal spread was created in that memory.

I began this spread by applying a layer of  first black, and then dark blue craft acrylics to the background.  I let it dry and then rubbed in 2 or 3 subsequently layers of blue paint to lighten and add depth.  I flipped my journal vertically and using a white pencil, I wrote about all those first summer nights that we shared under the stars.  I rubbed in more blue paint over the writing, then added the stars and moon.  I added the black silhouette of the trees and then the highlights.

Here it is 33 years and 2 sons later and we're still married. "Dark Side of the Moon" is still my favorite album of all time and when I think of it, "The Great Gig in the Sky" is the song that automatically starts playing in my head.  We don't live in the country any more, but when I'm not "Happy Creating!", you'll still find us sitting out at night under a starry sky.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Girl's Night Out

Celebrating the Night - Part 2

How are your "night" journal pages coming along?  I was listening to DeBarge's, "Rhythm of the Night", and the Caribbean flavor of the song reminded me of our girl's night out at Bahama Breeze a few Friday nights ago. The "girls" included Colleen, Samantha, Staci and myself.  The four of us worked together at Painesville Recreation Center for the after school program years ago, but we have stayed in touch and remained "sisters" all this time.  We don't get together as often as we would like, but when we do it's always great fun and usually includes a decent amount of chiding with each other (Just how many pairs of glasses does Staci have in her purse?), and adult beverages, and this night was certainly no exception!

I used craft acrylics exclusively for this spread. I started with a dark blue, purple & teal background and added layers of bright blue. I added a layer of white to the glass before I added color, and the rectangle above the name Colleen is an empty sugar packet from Bahama Breeze that I applied to page with Mod Podge. 

Do you take away little mementos from your outings? Napkins, receipts, coasters, matchbooks, and other items from places that you visit are perfect for colláge into your journal.  They help to refresh your memory of happy moments and most definitely contribute to "Happy Creating!".

Monday, July 26, 2010

July Journaling Prompts

Celebrating the Night

As July comes to a close, August knocks at the door and reminds us that autumn is right around the corner.  Here in northeastern Ohio, where 6 months out of the year it's too cold and snowy to enjoy the outdoors at night, we try to take advantage of warm summer nights and being able to sit out after dark whether we're at a friend's for a cookout or just hanging out on the deck at home.

So, this week's journaling prompts are all about the night and the music has also been themed accordingly.  Grab your favorite art supplies, beverages and comfy clothes, and let the night time inspire you.  Let the music of  Bob Seger conjure up great memories of  teenage loves,  let Luther Vandross gently tug at your heart strings, or let Santana and Nikelback conjure images of  exotic dances under the stars. 

If you create some night time journal pages, I hope you'll share them with us!  Upload your image and place a link to that image here in the "Comments", or email me an image of your spread and I'll place it on this post.  Email me @  Whatever your fancy, the "Happy Creating!" is all up to you :o)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weekend Art-O-Rama - Final Page

Ironically, the journaling spread that I completed on the weekend that means the most to me, is down right UGLY!  But I think it's important to share it with you for several reasons: 1.  It gives me the opportunity to brag about my "baby", Mike.  2.  It gives you proof that some of my spreads look like CRAP - and that's all right!  3.  It reiterates the importance of journaling from your heart.

Sunday was my last day of being home alone, and the day that my youngest son, Mike, entered his first 5 mile run competition.  My oldest son, Nick, and his girlfriend, Heather, offered to swing by the house so I could go with them to support Mike and go to breakfast afterward.  The race that he entered was The Johnnycake Jog.  I had no idea that it is such a "big" event.  I thought it was a local thing, but people come from out of state to participate.  They run a 5 mile race and a 5K (3.1 mile) walk concurrently, starting and finishing at the Lake County Fairgrounds.

I was shocked at home many participants there were! The race began at 8:30 and it was already 79 degrees and humid when they began!

That's my "baby", 28 yr old Mike, in the center pre-race with two workmates that also participated and completed the 5 mile run!  Mike finished in an awesome 51.28 minutes! (Let's not tell him I posted this pic - he'll be MORTIFIED! :o)

OK...the temptation is to go on and on about the race and how wonderful and extraordinary my "boys" are and how much I love them and enjoy hanging out with them, and how much they make me laugh and how PROUD  I am to be their mom, etc., etc., but on to the journal spread!

NOT my best work! Mike is 6'-6" and the proportions on this are ALL wrong!  It doesn't look like a runner at all - in fact, with a tad more sketching I could make it look like he was sitting in a wheelchair!  But you know what I feel when I look at this?  The moment that I squeezed my way to the front of the line and stepped onto the street to cheer him on.  I recall the moment we made eye contact and I yelled to him, "C'mon, Mike! You've GOT this!", and the conversation afterward when he told me he heard me and it gave him the extra push he needed to get across the finish line.  I even scratched out the "k" that I mistakenly used. I learned that 5K is significantly different than 5 miles.

So, that was my Weekend Art-O-Rama for July 2010.  I hope you enjoyed the journey with me and I hope you will take time to artfully document the significant moments in YOUR amazing life.  It's always a delight to revisit the old journals and reflect on the wonderful moments that left a smile on your heart, and it's always important to acknowledge your inner voice and "Happy Creating!"

Friday, July 23, 2010

Weekend Art-O-Rama - Part 3

Here are the final three spreads that I completed during my Weekend Art-O-Rama.  It was a lot of fun to have no responsibilities calling me away from creating, but I have to say I was exhausted when Monday came!  This spread was done late Friday night using Elmer's Paintastics.  I bought them on a whim  (they were only $1.49 - how could I not?), and maybe it was the late hour but I was totally captivated with them!

After I watered the flowers, fed the birds and ate breakfast, Mug-O-Coffee and I pulled out the journal and paints and worked on this spread.  As is typical with me, I had no idea what I would be doing.  It's difficult to explain the process because there really isn't any.  I sit down at the desk, open the journal and pick the first 2 or 3 colors that are appealing to me at the moment.   At the moment I began this spread, the colors were red, orange and pink.  I rummaged through my folders of images and words to see what else I might want to use, and after I chose some items, the word abundance caught my eye and I wrote about the abundance in my life and gratitude for not having to suffer the atrocities that so many others must endure.  Then I applied the paint in random squiggles and spread it with an old credit card.  That's my favorite method of applying paint to a spread.  I adhered all of the paper elements with Mod Podge and applied another thin layer of paint on the woman and in random places across the paper appliques.  I added details with white paint and gel pens.

After dinner, I pulled out my journal once again.  This time I headed outside to the deck with yet more coffee, my water mug, water soluble pastels and purple, black and white craft acrylics in tow.  It had cooled off to a more reasonable temperature (it's been smoldering hot and humid here!) and the world was beginning to quiet down as the sun began it's descent behind the large maples down the street.  I sipped on my coffee and watched the Orioles come in for a last snack before bed and I began to apply my background colors using the credit card method.  As the paint was drying, I noticed what looked like cat ears on the right, so I drew in the cat and the rest of the elements with the water soluble pastels.  I blended the pastels with white craft acrylic.

 I love my "Night Kitty"! The facial expression makes me laugh because it's somewhere between whimsical and creepy.  So, that was it for my Weekend Art-O-Rama.  What did I do Sunday, you asked?  That deserves a post all to itself!  Meanwhile...."Happy Creating!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Weekend Art-O-Rama - Part 2

Looking back through my journal, I really did create a lot of spreads!  I was very much into playing in my paints with my fingers.  I find it very freeing to put the paint brushes aside and to "become part of the paint." This particular spread was completed using my fingers exclusively.  I began applying black, fuchsia and cobalt blue craft paint in a random, swirly pattern all over the pages.  Even before the background dried, I began to see the face on the far right so I indicated the eyes, nose and mouth using black paint.  The next two faces followed, and while the black paint was still wet, I began applying white paint to better define the features and add highlights.  I don't know where these creepy images come from, but maybe someday I'll figure that out - or not!  I have titled this spread "We Three Creeps".

This next spread is one of my favorites from this past weekend.  Remember the "Junk To Journal" posts?  Well, I decided to flip through some of my treasures from the paint store and I came across the card with the pear.  I just love pear images and I've been saying I need to complete "the obligatory pear painting" for years now.  I thought I would cut the pear out and use it in a spread that would become a preliminary for my painting.  That was my intention anyway.  What I ended up with was a very whimsical character with a pear nose.

I applied these paint colors as the background in a random fashion using an old credit card.  While the background dried, I cut out the pear.  The moment I placed it on the page I saw a nose and proceeded to draw a face around it.  I was thinking about all the artists who painted pears and even googled a few "just to be sure".  After I finished painting the figure, I added the lettering and then wrote in names of artists who have painted pears. 

He still makes me smile when I look at him.  He's very European with his handsome mustache, beret and striped shirt. Is that an accordion I hear? Do I smell fresh baked croissants?  Nope - that would be my imagination manifest through inspiration, and I hope you'll let your imagination come out and play when you're in "Happy Creating!"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Weekend Art-O-Rama!

Keith left early Friday morning to work Mid-Ohio races. He worked the entire weekend, not returning home until late Sunday evening.  That left me home alone for three whole days to indulge in Art-O-Rama!  It was all art, all weekend and the creative juices were flowing.

As is typical with my journaling, I have no idea what any new spread will be.  I open my journal to the first empty pages and let "spirit" take control.  On this spread, I was humming Bob Marley's "War - No More Trouble", so I took a Sharpie and began the repetitive writing, "We don't need no more trouble" - a lyric from Marley's song".  By the time I finished that page, I had moved on to another song - "The Windows of the World", Hal David & Burt Bacharach's song made famous by Dionne Warwick. I wrote the lyric, "what is this whole world coming to?" in the same manner that I wrote the previous lyric.

After I finished writing, I looked through my folder of items previously torn from magazines to see if anything "spoke" to me to go onto the page.  I found a beautiful, exotic, dark haired woman who begged to be part of this spread.  I was drawn to her beauty and the way she was sitting.  It just seemed to fit.  The word "future" was also on the same page and when I turned the page over, the phrases "it's a mind game" and "restorative powers", also jumped out at me.  I attached the image of the female and the word "future" to the spread using Mod Podge, and then I applied drops of white, gold and black craft acrylic and spread it over the pages with an old credit card.  I removed excess paint with a paper towel.

After the background dried, I applied white craft acrylic over the image of the woman and sketched in wings using my fingers.  Using a brush handle like a pencil, I began adding golden highlights to the wings in a scribbling motion to add texture. I used a black water soluble pastel to scribble in some hair, wing and arm details.

I also added in "Where Do We Go From Here?" (Lyrics from my friend, TRS), and added a few small details to her eyes and lips.  Lastly, I applied the phrases with Mod Podge.

It's a pretty bleak spread but I was contemplating bleak subjects as I worked with my materials.  And that's what journaling is about.  I think the more you abandon yourself to the process, the more your true feelings manifest on the page.  That's where real contemplation and realization occur.  We are multi faceted creatures and I think it's important to recognize the things that we consider to be "dark" or "negative".  In the end, it's all about the "Happy Creating!"

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dirty Footprints Studio Interview

I'm excited and honored to have been asked by Connie Hozvicka to participate in her "30 Journals 30 Days" project at Dirty Footprints Studio.  I met this lovely, former Buckeye gal through an art journaling group that we both belong to.  Connie is not just an amazing artist, she's an awesome spirit filled with love, whimsy and generosity.

I hope you'll pour your favorite beverage, pull up a comfy chair, and go on a wonderful journey filled with eye candy as you visit Dirty Footprints Studio.  Read about and get to know the beauty of Connie, and peak into the lives of other creatives as you navigate the first 19 interviews of her guest journalers. (I'm number 15)

I'll be back tomorrow - I have so much to tell you from the weekend.  Meanwhile, "Happy Creating"!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

If It Makes You Happy

Sometimes when I gather my supplies and open my journal to the next blank page, even if I'm highly motivated to play, I'm not always inspired.  Such was the case with this spread.  I always gravitate toward organic shapes and inevitably that usually leads to spirals.  Today was no exception and as I started making the first green spirals, Fiddlehead ferns came to mind and I began filling my space with lovely spirals along stems.

I cut red/pink/orange toned paper scraps into butterflies and embellished them with black marker and white acrylic and adhered them to the pages with Mod Poge.  This spread was an exercise in playing with paint while my mind drifted into blissful nothingness. Sometimes, if it makes you happy that's the only thing that matters.  "Happy Creating"!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Beautiful Balloon

I've been trying to let go of some of the piles of "stuff" that I have to "use for a project someday".  A lot of these piles contain precious magazines and catalogs full of delightful images that I KNOW I'll need as soon as the waste management company drives off with them!  However, I do step into reality from time to time, and on one such occasion I realized that if I don't get rid of some of these precious piles, the "project" is going to be an episode of "Hoarders"!

I was flipping through the pages of a circa 1990's, The Artist Magazine, and I came across these lovely pages of the work of artist, Mitchell Johnson.  I tore them out and set them aside, but there were so many other lovely images in this issue that I couldn't get myself to gift it to garbage can just yet.

Something about the top image immediately reminded me of a day last summer when Keith, my son, Nick and his girlfriend, Heather and I went to a hot air balloon launch at a local winery.  It was gloriously bright, sunny day in June perfect for a balloon launch and crowds of people sipping wine and taking photos. While the people in this painting are wearing long sleeves, people at the launch were half naked in halters and flip flops; a small detail I'm willing to overlook for the sake of art!

I cut along the heads of the people so they would have a definite line, and tore the page along their feet so it would blend in with the page.  I then began laying in the background with a beautiful blue sky and a gently rolling background hardscape.  After that, I painted in some balloons.  I decided that I wanted to split the crowd up a little bit more, so I separated the image just about in half.  I also removed a figure from the second painting to add balance to the right side of the spread.

I completed the spread by adding further highlights to the balloons, trees and foreground. I also smudged in some facial features on the male in the foreground.  I had to laugh when I finished because there's only one person that looks like they're even aware of the balloons, and that would be the gentleman in the red-striped shirt who appears to be taking a photo. 

This spread was a lot of fun to complete as it gave me the opportunity to relive the experience of the great joy it brought me to watch all those beautiful balloons float off into the distance.  Don't be afraid to use images of an artwork that moves you.  Alter it and make it your own.  If you're not selling the artwork that you complete and it's for personal use, you're OK.  Just remember that inspiration is everywhere if you're paying attention, and you might just find it waiting in an old magazine.  "Happy Creating"!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Using Daily Prompts

I was looking through my past "Daily Prompts" and it occurred to me that A: Some of them are a little bit wacky, and B: Potential users may be taking them literally.  Don't get me wrong - it's OK to use these phrases literally, but I hope you won't stop there when thinking about them. Consider the following:

How do you come up with these? That's a great question! A lot of these prompts have come from song lyrics, but sometimes, they've come from dreams.  I usually type them up directly into my blog between 9am and 10am on Monday morning and I read through what I've already typed and try not to duplicate any.

What do you mean, "don't take them literally?" OK, that's a great question, too!  Let's take Tuesday's prompt, "Gone with the wind", for example.  Maybe you read, "Gone with the wind", and immediately think of the movie and you relate to Scarlett.  Maybe your journal page is "Fiddle dee dee - tomorrow's another day." Or maybe your boss/boyfriend/neighbor has recently ticked you off and you do a spread, "Frankly, I don't give a damn."  Maybe you read, "Gone with the wind" and Lynard Skynard's, "Tuesday's Gone" pops into your head (which is where I got this particular prompt), and you journal about how quickly Tuesday went by.  Maybe you read "Gone with the wind" and you see the word "wind" and you think "wind in the willows" and you journal a spread about willow trees.  Maybe you think to yourself, "this prompt sucks".  Journal a page about all the things that sucked on Tuesday!

What if I read a prompt and I get nothing from it? I think that would be wonderful, because that would probably mean that maybe YOU have something that you want to say in your journals and you don't need to come here to get daily prompts! That means that it's time for you to graduate and move on to the next phase - one of going within and listening to your OWN voice.  Everything on my blog is put here as an aid in helping you find your own creative voice.  I hope you're gaining confidence with each new day!

Don't take life so seriously!  Have some fun, clown around and let joy course through your veins!  Express yourself and be authentic to who you are - not to who people expect you to be.  And until next time, dear friends, "Happy Creating"!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Something Old, Something New

Now that I have a YouTube channel, I've spent a considerable amount of time looking at other art channels and I have come across some wonderful eye candy and a wealth of information! I never tire of watching how other artists create their works of art and I always come away thinking, "Wow! I want to try that technique!", or "Wow! I have to get some of those!"

One such video that I came across was "Teesha Moore's Amazing 16 Page Journal".  Talk about exciting!  I was really drawn to making my own journal and she made it look so easy!  One of the things that impressed me most about the making of her journal is that there is NO waste of paper.  (I'm really big on not wasting art supplies or any other materials, food, etc.)  My almost totally right brain would have NEVER thought of using a sheet of watercolor paper in this manner.  Here - have a look for yourself!

Isn't that great?  Be sure to watch part 2 to assemble and she also has subsequent sections on her different layers: paint, collage and pen work. ( Just double click on the video above and it will open a new window direct to YouTube.)

I immediately headed out to my studio later that day to see what kind of watercolor paper I had.  I really wanted to try one of these journals and I am always looking for ways to refresh my work and nurture my creativity.  This project was screaming my name!  I found just what I was looking for as I rummaged through my sleeves of paper; 2 sheets of Lanaquarelle watercolor paper with beautiful deckle edges!

That was the beginning of my handmade journal, "Teesha Moore style".  I've had a great time playing with my journal using Teesha's techniques.  Here are a few pics of what I've done so far.  It's going to take awhile for me to complete so I'll post more pics as I progress.

This is my cover and the inside left flap.  The flap isn't complete yet. (click to enlarge)

These pages aren't complete either, but I like where they're headed.  As I'm working in this journal, I'm quickly realizing that I really don't have a whimsical spirit.  I see more of a macabre side emerging and I'm having a great time with it - I've even started assembling a second journal as I feel my own style meshing with this technique.

Like Teesha, I used watercolors for my backgrounds using only one color per page.  In the new journal I'm assembling, I've blended 2 and 3 colors per page.  In both cases, I applied the paint BEFORE I assembled my pages.  I did this because I'm impatient and wanted to be able to lay the sections out and paint lots of them at once.  This method is working great for me.  You'll have to determine which method works best for you.  Another thing I changed was the binding thread (I don't remember what Teesha used).  I used hemp cord because that's what was available to me.  It seems to be working fine but I'm keeping a close eye on the knot to make sure it doesn't work loose.  I know I can also add a drop of super glue to make sure it stays knotted!

I hope you'll try some new journaling techniques.  It's not about trying to duplicate the look of another artist but it's about stepping out of your comfort zone and keeping your work fresh.  For me, my normal journaling method is like eating a perfectly prepared 5 course meal; every bite savored and quietly enjoyed to it's fullest.  Teesha's method is like a food buffet to me; lots of choices and flavors to explore, a taste of this and a taste of that.  Both meals are enjoyable but a steady diet of either becomes boring and predictable. 

Step outside of your comfort zone and create in a way that's different from your norm.  Look through your supplies and see how you can take something old and use it in a new way.  Try making an "Amazing 16 Page Journal" and as always,  "Happy Creating!" 

To see more of Teesha's work, visit her website full of eye candy!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Synchronicity and Inspiration

Yesterday afternoon Keith and I braved the smoldering heat and headed out for ice cream. I have to say it was everything I had my taste buds ready for; gooey hot fudge heaped upon warmed, homemade brownies smothered in sweet, vanilla ice cream and topped with mountains of fluffy whipped cream.  Yummy!  We returned home as soon as we scarfed down our delightful treats, and between the heat and the sugar overload, it wasn't long before I was blissfully snoring to the afternoon sitcoms Keith was watching. 

I slowly awakened to Doug Heffernan and his father-in-law, Arthur, verbally abusing each other on "King of Queens" and the thought, "Tear newspaper in strips. 3 strips. Paint one yellow, one orange, one red.  Surround each strip with it's complimentary color."  Immediately I search my mind for further information; Why do I need to do this?  What do with the strips once they're done? What? Really? OK. I'm suddenly more awake and Keith is saying "good morning" to me and inquiring about ordering pizza.  I try to put the newspaper strips out of my mind but they linger in the background whispering at me.

Keith orders the pizza and I flip through the bulb catalog that the mailman has left for my enjoyment.  The tulip on the cover looks like something out of a fairytale and each page is more delightful than the previous.  OK.  I'm convinced.  Send me one of each, please, and I'll find somewhere to plant them later.

Eventually, I pull my head out of the catalog and remember that I want to check out some more blogs on the last Blog Hop that I joined.  (If you haven't noticed the links yet, look at the bar beneath the header and click on "Blog Hops".  You're in for a great adventure!)  I've been visiting the blogs randomly by clicking on the thumbnails that appeal to me.  The first thumbnail I clicked on was #110 Paula (Little Scraps o Magic). I scrolled through her blog and came across a picture of a journal page where she's incorporated tags and I'm intrigued to read that she completed the spread as part of a monthly journal challenge from a website called  GPP Street Team.  I clicked on that link and guess what I saw?  This month's challenge is: "Strip Ease" - "tear your paper into strips and put it on your page"!  I can't believe what I'm seeing! (Well, yes I can, but synchronicity never ceases to amaze me!) That clinched the deal for me.  I knew that I would be tearing newspaper strips and painting them yellow, orange and red for my journal page today!

So, early this afternoon, I pulled out my journal and newspaper and prepared my strips "as instructed".  I then prepped my journal pages with blocks of complementary colors, but beyond that, I had no idea what direction the spread would take.  As I gazed at my drying spread, I began to see a face emerge so I quickly sketched it in.  I thought about what the vast expanse of green represented to me and I immediately thought of a brain and "information".  I began writing the word "information" over and over again and let my mind wander where it wanted. ( I often use repetition of words, phrases and shapes in my journals as a form of meditation.) The next word that came to me was "intuition", and I knew intuitively that I only need print it once and it "demanded" presence.  "Inspiration" came next, followed by "spirituality" and "synchronicity".

After I completed the hair and shadowing of the face and letters, I contemplated my spread and thought about the message.  I noted the overload of "information" on the right side, and noted that what lies in front of me is "intuition", "inspiration", "spirituality" and "synchronicity".  Those four words have much more meaning to me than all the "information" packed into my brain.  Maybe this spread is a reminder to me that everything I need is "contained within".  Anyway, I'll continue to ponder this spread and meanwhile, I hope you tune your awareness into the synchronicity in your life.  "Happy Creating!"

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, Frida!

I was doing a little net surfing and came across an article that today is Frida Kahlo's 103rd birthday.  How can I let the day go by without paying homage to one of my favorite artists?  Frida was an outspoken, passionate artist who offered no apologies for who and what she was.  She poured her soul onto the canvas for everyone to see and was unafraid to accept every aspect of who she was.

I would like to think that I have approached my life and art with the creative energy and depth of feeling apparent in the work that Frida left behind, and I hope that I've inspired others to do the same.  Happy Birthday, Frida!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

"No Time"

This is a journaling spread created to the song "No Time", by Cleveland's Drunkdude 69.  Enjoy!

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