Saturday, April 30, 2011

34 Years

Long ago, in a different century, a crazy, young artist, and a quiet, gentle spirit came together as a twosome.  This inseparable pair went for wild rides in fast cars, and spent long nights gazing at the stars and chatting about all of life's possibilities and promises.

One day, they decided that they would spend the rest of this life together, and experience life's adventures as a couple.  They married and had two wonderful sons who are now their best friends.  Like many couples before them, they fell upon sickness, poorer, and worse times, but they also experienced their share of health, richer and good times.  Through it all, they loved and cherished each other.

34 years ago today, two best friends were joined in marriage and remain an inseparable pair.  The young, crazy, artist isn't so young anymore, and the quiet, gentle spirit has found a voice over the years.  There are still fast cars, but the rides are not quite so wild, and they can still be found gazing at the stars and chatting about life.  There are still possibilities to chat about, but better yet, there are memories to recall that put smiles on their hearts.

Happy Anniversary to my sweet hubby, who jumped on the crazy artist roller coaster and never jumped off.  Today, we will celebrate, love and create a happy memory.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Give Love - A Community Art Project

Blogging has been a great way to share my passion for creativity with other like-minded individuals.  I was honored when, earlier this year, Kim of Phoenix Peacock's Fiery Inspiration, and one of my first "followers" here at Angelia's Art Journals, asked me to participate in her project, "Give Love - A Community Art Project.  

Well, Kim's project has come to an end, and she's begun to post the wonderful pages that she received for her journal collaboration and school project.  Here are the pages I submitted to her.

Please show Phoenix Peacock your support by visiting her Fiery Inspiration blog.  To see more pages from the other artists  and to learn more about the Community Art Project, go HERE.  As always, remember to "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Inscribe

This is a tip for using those fine point pens you have ruined by clogging the tip on surfaces that the pen didn't like, or for pens that have run out of ink.  Scribing tools are available at your local craft store, but why not use those art dollars for something more fun?

Inscribing your page is as easy as writing or drawing.  The difficult part is seeing where you've made your marks. 

Adjusting your paper so that the light hits the paper from different angles can help you see what you've done.  Here, I've made a basic spider web.  (I saw a spider in the house so spiders are on my mind).  I've adjusted the contrast so you can see my marks on the page.

Here's a close up of my writing on the bottom right corner.  This method works best when using dry medium such as oil pastels, colored pencils, or water soluble pastels which is what I have used on my page.

I've added multiple layers of color to the entire page.  Are those trees I see in the background?  I think my spider web is in the woods.

What's a spider web without one of our little arachnid friends?  I painted him into the web with craft acrylics after I completed the background.

Here's the completed page.  You can see that I've blended some of the water soluble crayon to mimic sunlight coming through the trees.

This method works best when using dark backgrounds.  I really like the way the white pops off the page.  The crayon can be blended to your liking by carefully avoiding the inscribed marks.  Blending can also be done over some of your white marks to tone them down.

I hope you give this scribing method a try, and I hope you're having a wonderful day as you "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!

Signs of spring are everywhere!  

The Forsythia is in full bloom

The potted chives are up and thriving

And today, I took my art supplies to the deck!

I took my hard boiled eggs -

And I decorated them just for you!

"Happy Easter"!  I hope you're spending it with those you love in the way that you desire, and I hope that, as always, you                                 "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Look to Fabric

When you're looking for design inspiration, look to fabric!  If online searching is your forte, there are numerous sites that contain a plethora of latest design fabrics for your inspiration.

I found this lovely fabric, "Our lady of Quadalupe",  on the Joann Fabric website.  The website is easy to use, and each fabric thumbnail can be enlarged.

Perhaps my favorite website for browsing the latest design in fabric is Mood Fabrics.  Hey, if it's good enough for Tim Gunn, it's good enough for me!  I really like this site.  In addition to thumbnail enlargement capabilities, the Mood site also allows for zooming in and looking closer at segments of fabric.  Here are a couple of the great prints I found there.

Don't pass by the fabrics you have in your own home.  I found a tablecloth, an oven mit, a jacket and an antique apron that are great design inspiration for future journal pages.

Looking to fabric should give you plenty of new ideas for your journaling designs.  New color combinations and patterns await your interpretation.  As Tim would say, "make it work!".  Have a great day and remember: "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

Monday, April 18, 2011

Glue, Paper, Scissors

I was looking through my stacks and stacks of pages torn and cut from magazines, doodle scraps, and  scrapbooking paper - some of which I've had for years.  I was trying to convince myself to sort through the quagmire and toss some of it into the circular file when I had a brainstorm.  I decided I would try to compose a spread with nothing but glue, paper and scissors.  That's right - no paint, no crayons or markers, no pencils. Does that make me crazy? Probably! Ha!

I sorted through the yummy, colorful pages and images and began to pull items that appealed to me.  After I pulled some main images, I began to gather patterned paper that seemed to "fit" and I tore it into strips.

Feeling that I had more than enough for 2 pages, I decided to pull out 3 different colors of scrapbooking paper that would serve as the background for my collage.

I cut these pages into smaller blocks of random sizes and applied them to the pages with double stick tape.  I distributed the color in a color composition that would help to lead the eye from one area to the next.

I took my main elements and placed them in various positions on the pages to get an idea of where I would place them permanently.  Once I decided where to place them, I removed them from the page and began "painting" the background with strips of paper to add interest and color.  I also cut some of the paper strips into triangles.  I used a combination of glue stick and double sided tape to apply the paper strips and images to the background.

Here's my completed spread.  I enjoyed the process even though I had to fight the urge to pull out the markers.  I'm going to put this spread in the "success" column, and I have another 2 or 3 spreads in mind to complete with this same technique.

Challenge yourself to work on a couple spreads using only paper collage.  It will force you to go through those yummy stacks of paper and images that you've been saving, and you'll have a blast as you "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

Friday, April 15, 2011

Anatomy of a Journal Spread

I'm still in a "play with lots of stuff" mode, and I decided I needed to use some of the images I've torn from magazines and the scraps of paper I have stacked in messy piles.  As usual, I didn't really have anything in mind aside from just having fun and letting the page evolve on it's own.

I began with paper randomly painted with left over acrylics from previous projects, and scrapbooking paper.

I continued with more torn paper - this time I used images torn from magazines and catalogs.  I applied all the papers with Mod Podge.

Using colors in the torn paper as my color cues, I scribbled on water soluble crayons in all of the white areas and over some of the torn paper.

Then I looked for an image for my main subject.  I remembered this image of an ancient sculpture that I had torn from an old National Geographic.  It seemed to fit perfectly with the colors and feel of the torn paper.

I moistened my fingertips with water and began rubbing the crayon into the pages, blending the colors together without obliterating all of the marks and lines from the initial application. 

I applied the face and added a bit more water soluble crayon to add further depth of color.

Then I took an old CD and loaded it with a watered-down mixture of black craft acrylic. (I saw this trick using watercolors in a Milliande video)

Using the CD like a stamp, I applied it to both pages in a random fashion, reloading the CD with paint as necessary.  This technique produces lots of yummy, textural marks.  I lifted the right hand side of the page before it dried, and got a horizontal run.  Not planned, but I liked it.

A few words of wisdom from "the ancestors, and a few more brush strokes and markings were added.  I used the CD to make a few random circles and mimicked the design on some of the magazine pages.  I added the number 3 to add more visual interest to complete the spread.

I hope you've had a great week, and as always, I hope you're finding time in your busy life to "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Playing with Layers

These are some pages that I completed last week.  I haven't done any more pages since these because I've happily been involved with other activities involving real people (yes, I have to go outside of my own mind occasionally!), and sadly, I've been sick!  Keith had a birthday on Sunday and we enjoyed the day with Nick, Heather and Mike.  It was our first 80 degree day and we enjoyed being outside to the fullest.

I've been sick all week with a horrible head cold.  Yesterday is a vague memory of sleeping and coughing dispersed with The Waltons and various other sitcoms and "Girl TV".  I made it to my colored pencil drawing class this morning.  My instructor was out of town last week and today and asked me to take over the class in her absence.  It's been fun and I'm happy to say that my classmates eagerly and gratefully enjoyed what I had to offer.  I was a little anxious as I had big shoes to fill.

OK...enough of my rambling. Last week,  I was in the mood to get messy and play with layers in my journal. I concentrated on adding texture and collaging papers to my background.

 I was watching the movie, "Eat, Pray, Love" while I was working on this spread.  I really enjoyed the movie and have watched it twice.  Although it was a little long in parts, it was beautifully filmed and I think it's worth the watch.

As is typical for me, all of these spreads were intuitive; meaning I had no plan when I began other than to collage paper to the background.  In this case, I used an inexpensive, unmounted rubber stamp and acrylic glazes.  I sketched in the fish and face.

This is my favorite of the 3 spreads.  I began by using Mod Podge and magazine images collaged on the pages.  I dug through my portfolio of images, words and phrases and chose items that seemed to fit well together.  I used water soluble crayon for color, layering them like watercolor washes and then coloring heavily in areas like crayon.  I then scratched through those areas to add more texture.

Using different methods of journaling keeps your pages fresh and prompts you to think in ways that are different from your norm.  Experimenting with your usual mediums will also allow you to discover new ways in  which they can be used.  Whatever you're doing in your journal this week, I hope you're able to do it without coughing, sneezing and sniffling, and I hope that even if you are feeling under the weather, you still find a way to "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Women's Voices

Once again, I had the privilege to attend the annual Women's Voices Project, a collaboration between Cleveland Public Theater and Elyria YWCA Campus Project.  This event is a presentation of creative writings and poetry written by the participants who are recovering from addition, domestic violence and other adversities.  

This year's event featured works by Satedra Beasley, Charmaine M. Castaneda, Clancy, K. Kitchen, Nova, Brandy J. Logan, Melody R., Tiffany R., Pam S. and Prudence D. Wallace.  The readings were poignant, emotional, heart breaking, and moving.  They were sprinkled with humor and sarcasm, but mostly they were filled with honest insight into the cruel things that humans do to one another under the guise of love.

This was the fourth performance of the Women's Voices Project that I had the pleasure of attending.  Some of the faces have changed, but the messages have remained the same.  These women have been to the darkest depths imaginable.  They've chosen drugs over children, they've been beaten to the brink of death, and some of them have tried to take their own lives.  Their stories vary, but their results are the same; they have found the courage to change the direction of their lives and climb out of their dark abysses. 

 Through recovery and therapy, they have learned a new way to live.  Through creativity, they have learned to express the grief, the horror, and the pain of their experiences.  Through writings in diaries and journals, they have faced themselves with honesty and they have learned that it is indeed possible to triumph over adversity and embrace hope for a brighter future.  And perhaps most courageously, they have shared their journey with the world. 

Coming face to face with oneself is difficult to do under the best of circumstances.  I think most of us learn to bury the unpleasant events in our lives and carry  that excess baggage by way of pain, grief and self loathing.  I hope that you'll consider taking the steps to empty your excess baggage onto the pages of your journal.  Demons only have as much power as you give them.  Life is indeed short, dear friends.  "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Journal Spilling with Diana Trout

I was sorting through some of my art related material and came across the book "Journal Spilling" written by Diana Trout.  I flipped through the juicy, colorful images and decided that I would try some of her methods in a few spreads.

Before I began, I gathered some of the left overs from recent projects that I had piled nearby.  I tore pieces from my potato stamped paper, some paper that I had used to mask areas of a page, and a couple rubbings. I wrote random thoughts and doodles in Sharpie pen, and I applied a light wash of water soluble crayons to my pages and applied the torn paper with Mod Podge.  I added more crayon and added some additional thoughts and words.

Afterwards, I moved on to one of the exercises in "Journal Spilling".   Diane's methods are much like the methods I teach in workshops, so I didn't exactly leave my comfort zone.  I started with her exercise, "Taming the Critic" on page 48, and I followed the first 7 steps as follows: 1. Lay down water soluble crayon  2. Spread color with water  3. Add gesso  4. Write into gesso  5. Scribble in objects  6. Add additional crayon.  7.Scribble into crayon.  My page felt complete to me after these steps, so I didn't use the last 2 steps which are: 7.Grab color from crayon  8. Soften with white.  It's a spread with personal meaning and quite unlike anything I've completed recently.  I've never written into wet gesso before, and I have to say I really enjoyed both the action and result.

When I completed this spread, I moved on to the next lesson, " Crayon and Collage".  Following her directions I began:  1. Lay Down Crayon  2. Spread color with water  3. Lay out paper and words  4. Adhere papers  5. Add more crayon  6. Detail with pen.  These are the techniques I originally used when I first began art journaling -choosing images on a whim and adhering them to the page without a lot of thought or analyzing.  This method works on a subconscious level and has been instrumental in my personal and spiritual growth.  It's what drives me to encourage anyone who will listen to release their creativity and to start journaling.

Whatever methods you're using in your journal, I hope you find it to be an insightful and rewarding activity.  Spend time with yourself - there's no one else like you and you owe it to yourself to get to know the fabulous person that you are!  Have a great evening and remember - "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Unlikely Sources of Inspiration

One of the most frequent statements I hear about art journaling is "I don't know what I would journal about."  The obvious special occasions and events are exciting and momentous, but unfortunately, they are few and far between.  The answer: don't underestimate the value of everyday life as inspiration for your art journaling.

Like it or not, we're creatures of habit. We wake up each day to the same morning routine. We drive the same route to the same job with the same people.  We shop at the same stores, call the same friends, travel the same roads, eat the same food.  All these routines are carried out as if by auto pilot, but they can be excellent sources for art journaling material if we only turn off the "auto pilot" and really see.

If I never stepped foot out of my house again, I would have plenty of material for art journal inspiration - and so do you!

Take a look in your fridge.  Pull out a few items and examine them.  Ask yourself questions and let your imagination run wild.  What makes vanilla "French"?  Does sour cream come from a cranky cow?  Is the girl on the chicken stock carton drawn from a real person?  Why do most of us lovingly swoon over a luscious plate of deviled eggs? (I'm convinced I could dedicate an entire journal to eggs!)  And what does "Dijon" mean anyway?  Don't forget to take a look in the cupboards.

Take a look at the bric-a-brac that you mindlessly walk past on a regular basis.  What meaning do these items hold for you?  Where did you get them?  Were they gifts?  If they're "antiques", where might they have lived before?  What stories might you create from them?

What's hanging on your walls?  What do you like about these items?  Are they photos from places you've been?  Are they artworks that you've created or purchased?  Are they artworks from your favorite artists?  What emotions do you feel when you look at them?

What books, magazines and other paraphernalia do you have bedside?  What are you reading?  What have you read?  How do you feel about what you read or are reading?  What images come to mind as you read the printed word?

Take a look at your text message inbox/outbox.  Taken in or out of context, they offer some great journaling possibilities.

These everyday items and activities are just the beginning of what you have access to in your daily life.  The possibilities are endless: Twitter, Facebook, email headings, TV shows & commercials, things you see on your road trips - you get the idea.  Turn off the "auto pilot", explore your world with new eyes, and get busy - "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!".
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