Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Journal on Canvas!

That's right!  You've been hiding in your journal long enough.  Why don't you try the very same materials and techniques that you're using in your journal on a canvas?  You know can do it - what's stopping you?

I was fortunate to receive a rather large stack of canvases from my musician friend, Scott. (As a side note, check out his music here.)  His grandmother was an artist and when she died, Scott inherited a lot of unfinished canvases that he passed along to me.  I've been reluctant to do anything with them, ( I felt weird about painting over her work), but I've managed to overcome that block.  I think hope Grandma would approve.

Well, we all know that covered bridges just aren't "my thing", but it will continue to live on beneath lots of juicy layers of ink and paint.  I decided on beginning with these three 8"x 10" canvas boards.

It's much easier to work on multiple projects simultaneously when you're working with canvas.  It's pretty difficult to flip back and forth between wet pages when they're in a journaling book!

Painting wet -into-wet in an intuitive fashion is where my muse is these days.  Isn't this a wonderful, colorful mess?  Do you see any images yet?

Did someone say "Day of the Dead"?  What's with all of these skeleton/skull images I see?  I'm going to keep layering and playing.

Another advantage in using canvas is that you can flip it around in every direction and look for new images.  Now, one could certainly do that in a journal, but NOT ME!  I would be horrified to have a page that wasn't facing in the "right" direction, but I would be the loudest cheerleader for you if that's your thing!

Hmmmmmmm.....flipping it horizontally, I see a fish.  Looking at the canvases today, the fish has vanished under new layers of paint and waits for my scrutinizing gaze.  I wonder what images I'll find when I look at them again later.

I was feeling a little cramped for space on the 8" x 10"s, so I decided it was time to "go big or go home".  Since I was already at home, the next best thing was to pull out a 16" x 20" canvas board.  The cherub underpainting was lovely but not me.   Here is what it looks like now.  I've got a long way to go before completion.

I was on a mad rampage, canvases scattered around me in every direction.  I pulled out two more canvas boards - this time 9" x 12"s.  I was in creative flurry.  It felt great!

This 9" x 12" is about 95% completed.  I just need to add a few more details.  The first image in this post is one of the 8" x 10"s I started out with and is also completed to about the same degree.  

Can you tell how much fun I'm having outside the journal?  I have some pages started there, too, but nothing compares to the freedom of expression that a canvas can bring to one's creativity.  Go ahead - pull some old canvases or get some new.  Either way, I promise you - you're going to have FUN!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday's Musings

Most Memorial Day weekends in our family are quiet and uneventful, but this Memorial Day weekend has been one to remember.  My brother, Antwon, and Roberta were married.

They've been "married" for seven years now, but this weekend made it "official".  I've considered Roberta my sister all these years anyway, but I guess I'm old fashioned - I'm really liking the "official" part!

My "unofficial" daughter-in-law, Heather, made the wedding cake and catered all the food.  The cake was cassata, and it was the only wedding cake in my long history of attending weddings that I've seen literally devoured!   Everything was all absolutely delicious!  We feasted all afternoon long on chicken, pulled pork, pasta salad, garden salad, baked beans, parsley potatoes.....the list goes on and on.

I love my brother and sister.   I feel very fortunate that we're all close.  We've always got each other's backs even though we aren't constantly in touch with each other.

When we do get together, it's always a great time.  Our juvenile antics keep us entertained for hours, and all of that silliness and laughter become memories that make me smile.  I don't think we'll ever grow old.

Weddings are special occasions not just for the bride and groom, but for everyone in attendance.  So much love gathered in one place is a gentle reminder that the only really important thing in life is the love of family and friends.

I'm thrilled that I finally got to meet all my new sisters in person!  Family is such a beautiful thing....

and to see the happy newlyweds really warms my heart.

We were back at the cabin yesterday for my "new niece", Jen's, college graduation party.  I strolled back to the pond that served as a backdrop to Saturday's wedding.  It was quiet, serene and peaceful, and I couldn't help but smile as I remembered the joyous ceremony that had just hours ago taken place.

The hot, humid day gifted us with a sudden downpour of rain.  As we all huddled under the shelter of the tent, I couldn't help but think that just as we seek shelter from the rain, we seek the shelter of our loved ones when "storms" enter our own personal lives.  I thought about how lucky I am to have so many wonderful family and friends to seek shelter with during those bad times.

And when the sun broke through as it was still pouring, I reflected on the fact that there really is a bright spot to focus on even when times are tough.  If we can only change our perspective, we can look past the rain and into the sun....

and realize that just as the flowers need rain as well as sun to bloom, we also need those challenging moments in life to help us grow beyond where we are today.

I hope you've had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, and I hope you are blessed to have a shelter of loving family and friends to help you through your own storms.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Weekend Journal

I had a busy week in my journal and it was a nice change - except for the reason I had so much expendable time.  I briefly mentioned getting a spider bite in last week's Weekend Journal.  I've never had one before (at least not that I know of).  It's been a hellish couple of weeks with this last one rendering me rather immobile up until Wednesday.

I was bitten in the back of my leg about half way between my knee and upper thigh as I was planting my garden box.  If you Google spider bite images (at your own risk!), you'll see what I mean. Thankfully, with the loving, tender care provided by Dr. Keith, I've been nursed back to health and have steadily progressed from large sterile pads and wrappings to a small bandage.

I had lots of quiet, peaceful time to just play with my paints, inks, charcoal and oil sticks in my journal.  I just let everything "happen".

This is the only 2 page spread that I completed.  I've been enjoying working on one page at a time and working in a vertical format for a change.  I've also been doing a lot of writing - mostly as my first layer.  Lots of quiet time = Lots of inner reflection.

I also had the opportunity to listen to talk radio while I was working.  I listened to some interesting programs while I worked.  One of my favorites was a discussion on fate vs. destiny.  I like the image that appeared as I was listening to that show.

So....was the little worm destined to be a meal for that particular bird, or was it his fate for being in the wrong place at the wrong time?  Hmmmmmmmm..............

This is the image that appeared as I listened to a program discussing Shamanism.  It was an interesting program as well.  I like thinking about ancient times, ancestors, and the customs and traditions of cultures that are unfamiliar to me.

I hope all of you have a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend.  As we spend time with friends and loved ones, let us remember those who have gone before us.  I'll see you again in a couple days with Monday's Muse.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday Tips and Techniques

Formula Two

Here's another step-by-step on creating a journal page.  I hope you find it helpful as a way to break out of your usual methods.

First of all, concentrate on just one page (assuming you typically work across two pages as a spread).  This allows you to both work faster, and work in a vertical format instead of horizontally.

Write your thoughts.  Don't think about what you're writing.  Just let the words flow.  Don't worry about spelling or punctuation.  This is about spewing whatever's on your mind in the moment.  Write in multiple directions.  Overlap your words.  Just GET IT OUT!

Now take out your favorite watersoluble pastels and scribble to your heart's content.  Pretend it's kindergarten.  Use ALL the crayons in your box if you want.  Just enjoy the pleasure of applying color to paper.

Tone all that scribbling down with gesso or white acrylic and a little water.  I use my fingers for this.  Leave some areas more white than others.  

Add more texture with random scribbles and words or phrases that come to mind.  Here, I've used a charcoal pencil, but I typically use a black brush pen (which I couldn't find and didn't want to look for).

Add more color and brighten some of the areas.  You might see the beginnings of something unidentifiable taking shape.

Add some contrasting colors with acrylic paint.  Use your fingers.  Use a paintbrush.  Use an old credit card.  PLAY!  Hold your journal upright.  What images do you see taking shape?

Sketch around some of the basic shapes that you see.  Here, I could see a figure with a headdress.  I added the heart and wings - Voila!  I think I've found an angel.

Add gesso or white acrylic around the image and concentrate on that.  You can add more color to the background later.  Add details and shading to your figure, Then you can concentrate on the background.

Add little details to both your image and background.  Use symbols and doodles.  As a final touch, journal a few last thoughts that come to you as you're working.  Most of all - have FUN.  This isn't about quality, gallery art - it's about YOU, expressing yourself creatively.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Weekend Journal

I can sum up this week in one word - BUSY!  I judged an art show and attended the reception, worked the Senior Day at the Mall, and attended a silk painting workshop - and that was all before Wednesday!  Coupled with vegetable and flower planting, deck staining and spider bite tending (yes- I got a nasty spider bite on the back of my leg about mid-thigh.  Trust me, you DON'T want one!), it left little no time for playing in my journal.

It was a fun art-filled week none the less.  This was the second time I was asked to judge the Creative Artist Association's art show, and there were some beautiful pieces this year.  Here are a few that won awards and honorable mentions.

The silk painting workshop was AWESOME!  I met some great gals and really had fun learning this new (for me) technique.  Our instructor, local artist, Katherine Graham Sarlson, makes wonderful painted silk scarves and handmade soaps.  I've been friends with Kathy for a few years now, but I've never seen her silk painting techniques before.    Kathy explained to us that her son is having his Bar Mitzvah this year and it's traditional for this "coming of age" ceremony to be presented a tallit ( prayer shawl) as a gift for the occasion. The shawl is worn over the head to commune with God without distraction from the outside world.  (I think that's a lovely sentiment)  Kathy showed us the absolutely gorgeous shawl she painted for her son, but sadly I did not get a photo. Kathy's design was centered around her son's name, and that's we we did for our project.  Here are some other other photos from the workshop.






Senior Day at the Mall was a real eye opener for me.  Ummmmm..........Mom told me if I don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.  OK.


I think it would be down right rude of me not to share some flower pictures with you!  After all, it consumed a lot of time this week and I know you want to see a sampling of some of the things I planted this year.







I ended the week with another art reception at Lakeland Community College Art Gallery.  It was the annual juried art show and there were some FABULOUS pieces of work displayed.  The place was PACKED, so I didn't get as many photos as I would have liked.  I did manage to get photos of three pieces that I really liked.

So that was my week.  I hope you had an adventurous, fun-filled week as well!  It's a beautiful day and I think I can finally get into my journal and have some fun.  There are still more flowers to plant, but I think they can wait until tomorrow.  Have a wonderful Sunday and remember, "Don't let the garden bugs bite!"

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