A few cards

My sister always tells me how she goes into the shops in her town and thinks that my cards are something that should be in those shops, too. So I made a few for her to take in there and see what happens. 🙂 These cards have dyed fabric, dyed paper towels, found objects, beads and sequins, fibers, paper fabric that I made, and are stitched together, then glued onto the card front.

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WIP: Twenty minutes to make art

Today I had 20 minutes to make art.

My baby girl and I have both been sick for about two weeks now and I wasn’t able to take her to day care because of her lingering cough/runny nose + my own inability to wake up in a timely manner because I still don’t feel well. So we had Mommy/Baby Day, during which I counted the minutes till nap time so that I could lie down. (No, I do NOT feel guilty about that.)

And lie down I did, but only for 30 minutes, because I seem to feel worse when I haven’t made anything for days and days on end and I set my alarm for only 30 minutes so that I could make something, anything, today.

So, I napped until I could get up and then ran downstairs to do as much I could in the few remaining minutes until my blessed angel awoke from her nap.

I’m not saying it was good. I’m just saying that I did it.

I took two halves of a scrapbook paper that I had painted on forever ago and collaged over the paint with scraps of paper that I had sorted out last night from my collage boxes. The next step will be to gesso over these scraps and map out a drawing of some sort.

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a christmas wish

a christmas wishEver have a piece that you just hated no matter what you did to it? This chipboard tag (along with another, slightly larger one) was one of those pieces. When I finally got a paint job on the tag that I actually liked, I let it sit in a box on my table for months before I got over my fear to do something with it. When I had an idea, it all came together in a flash and it is now an ornament for our Christmas tree. My favorite part is the delicious Diamond Glaze coating.

Art Unraveled Recap

The Littlest Rose
5 3/4 x 7 1/2 on watercolor paper.
Bird Lady
Acrylic, collage, wax on wood board.

Another Dream in Which I Am Flying
Acrylic on canvas board.
Quilted Laptop Bag

I’ve finally had a few minutes to upload some of my artwork from Art Unraveled. It’s always so fun to take a breath and a step back and then look at the work with new eyes. I could tell you everything I hate about these pieces, but I won’t. I will tell you how they came about and what I do like about them, though! Some of them are finished, some may get a little more work — some detailing, or will become part of another piece of artwork. (Yes, that means I may tear things up. It’s ok, I’m brave!) Some of it is here, and the rest is on my Flickr site. You can click on these to go there and see them larger, with descriptions.

Art Unraveled was great. I had missed it last year, so I tried to make sure I really enjoyed it this year. It was so wonderful to

  • see my friends
  • take a vacation (mostly — I did do some web work while I was there)
  • make art and relax.
  • I made new friends, too, which was extra cool.

I didn’t really stretch myself in terms of the classes I took, but it was nice to have the extra time to try new things and keep working on the skills I’m trying to improve.

I stayed at the hotel with Leighanna, with the intention to move to Fran’s house on Sunday. That was thwarted when Fran’s husband got sick with a stomach thing and when my doctor called to inform me that my ankle was fractured (something I wish that she told me before I left for AZ!). So, the trip was a little more expensive than I would have liked, but I really do love staying at hotels. I love the soft sheets, especially. And this hotel has the most comfortable pillow top mattresses and soft pillows, I have never been so happy and willing to go to sleep at night! I also love the happy hour and the little kitchen area in the room, where we had a little version of Trader Joe’s to munch on for lunches and snacks. 🙂

Katie Kendrick taught us how to look at other artwork and use it as inspiration. Since I don’t do a lot of faces and people, I was extremely frustrated with my first attempt, The Blessed Mother is Laughing at Me! I ended up doing some intuitive painting and the other two I did in this class were a little more satisfying.

From Alex Shur, I learned how to use tube watercolors and assorted non-traditional techniques I can use with them. This appealed to me greatly, because I don’t ever intend to follow many rules in my art. I’ve used pan watercolors since college, so stepping up to tube colors was really cool. I painted a lot in this class and have a lot of works in progress as well as pieces to use in other work.

From Traci Bautista, I learned her method for developing project ideas. This was extremely reassuring, because I already do a lot of what she showed us. Neat!

Judy Wise‘s class was GREAT — the Bird Lady (above) is from that class. Judy is a very good teacher and she showed us her techniques for using collage, paint and wax to create depth and really interesting compositions. At the last minute, I decided to add one more class, since I didn’t feel stretched.

Monday night, I took a Crafty Chica (Kathy Cano Murillo) class. I had seen my friend Joanne’s bag, which she made after taking a similar class with CC. I sew a little, but still have some fear of sewing through my finger. It’s great to learn from Kathy because she just eyeballs it and doesn’t use a pattern and “figures things out.” I admire her so much!

OH! I got to meet Joanne, who is just wonderful and was so much fun to hang out with. She makes me LAUGH! I’m so happy about how much time she and Fran and I got to spend together.

And on Saturday night, we watched the 1000 Journals movie, and had a Q&A session with Someguy, the dude who got that whole thing in motion. The movie was a little long, but was really interesting. Then we had a chance to put our own marks in a few of the journals he brought with him. I decided it was a good opportunity to connect my Wreck This Journal experience with AU and 1000 Journals and I brought a page from Wreck This Journal, did some stuff to it and pasted it in. If you ever get 1000 Journals book #742, I’m in there.

1000 Journals cover My page in journal #742
Unfortunately, my Palm Centro camera isn’t that great and we can’t read this now. But it was stamped in each of the books and shows the journal number Cover of the book I worked in. My page that I glued into the book and doodled on.

Kelly Kilmer got me drunk on art this weekend…

…and today I have a wicked art hangover!

This past weekend, I took 5 mixed media workshops from Kelly Kilmer, who was the visiting artist at The Artists’ Nook this month. There are no words to describe how much I love Kelly’s classes and how much I get out of her workshops. Every time I take a Kelly class, I am able to play, experiment and I always get new ideas, either from her, or from expanding on something she or another student said.

This weekend’s highlights, not in any particular order:

  • Seeing Kelly and learning from her. She is so creative, free and amazingly supportive.
  • Getting to know Allyson better, and getting an awesome ego boost from her. *waves and paints Allyson’s hand*
  • Learning more about layering and color mixing and composition.
  • Realizing that some of the crazy stuff I do in my journals isn’t as crazy as I thought!
  • Seeing my old pals, like Susan and Marcy and Karen and Terry, who I haven’t seen in a long time. I really admire the talent of these ladies!
  • Meeting new people! Yes, I’m talking about you, you Ladies From Parker!
  • Three full days of making art and playing. Heaven.

Last night, I was so amped up, I made 14 of the little paper journals while we watched tv. I love them.

I think my favorite book was the Reclaimed book. I love the idea of taking old books, gutting them, and making new pages for them.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, KELLY!

Clicking on any of the photos below should take you to my Flickr set of photos from this weekend. I should have taken more of the process, but I was too absorbed to even think of that.

Transcribed Altered Photos Revisited

Triptych Book Swatches: Little Paper Books

Reclaimed: An Altered Artist’s Book

How I Know I’m An Artist — Part II

Friday, I was juried (is that the right word?) in as an artist to the Poudre River Arts Center studios. I know that acceptance by my peers shouldn’t be a requisite, but for me, it helps remind me I am an artist. These artists are following their hearts, making a living at their art or doing art daily and they have STUDIOS in an ART CENTER with a GALLERY and that’s part of the Fort Collins First Friday thing…well, that’s way too cool.

I’ve been doing their website for a few years and now and then made some suggestions which have morphed into a position where I could be compensated for doing something I’m really good at. Long story short, they used to be more of a co-op, but now they have decided to create two positions — a marketing person and an operations person and the compensation would be studio space. I have really wanted to get out of the house more lately, as working at home can be a bit of a drag sometimes. I also want to give my art more serious attention; I thought that being in this type of atmosphere might help.

Friday afternoon I met with the artists, at the encouragement of Kat Peters-Midland, to be “interviewed” so the others could decide if I fit in with the existing studio artists. They were all really nice and seemed to like my work, although I felt very amateur and silly in their presence. (I’ll get over that, really.) An hour later, there was an email from Kat saying I’m in.

I’m very excited to have a studio, away from home, to work in. I think I’ll be more focused, as I won’t see my laptop across the room and worry about work that needs to be done, or laundry that needs to go into the dryer, etc. I’m super excited about finding a spot large enough to teach classes, as I’ve been wanting to do that for a while now and have a few workshop ideas bubbling up in the back of my head.

This coming week, i’ll go over to look at the spaces again and select mine, as well as to sign the contract. I think I move in July 1, but I’m hoping it will be a little sooner so I can participate in First Friday that month. I have so many ideas!

In the way of actual art-making, I have a few projects in progress, which I’ll write about soon. I completed a 9-month art therapy group yesterday, which also deserves a nice, thoughtful writeup. The photos in this post are from a swap I just did with Kelly and Venita. These two ladies make my heart sing. clicking on the photos will take you to larger versions, along with short explanations.

a quick post …with a collage!

the point is to play

I have been doing less and less art lately. Mom visited for a week and then we took her to her sister’s house in Carbondale and spent last weekend there. I’ve also been trying to catch up on work (which exploded) this past week while she was out there. Auntie and cousin and small cousin (once removed) and tiny dog brought mom back yesterday and we had an evening and morning of hilarity. They’ve all headed home and the house is fairly quiet again, but Mom’s still here for a few more days before life gets back to normal. We have a little crafty itinerary, so I’m hoping I will post something yummy here in the next few days. Later today, we’re going to The Artists’ Nook, since mom hasn’t been there yet and I’ll probably teach mom some techniques tomorrow. She’s already collected some fallen leaves from my yard, so we’ll do some prints, I think! yay!

For now, I’ll just post this collage I did the week before last as a part of Collage Play With Crowabout. Clicky to see a larger version.

new painting; fun with gift wrap

Voluptuous Discards painting This past weekend, I took a workshop called “Voluptuous Discards” with Lynne Perella. Lynne is an excellent teacher and takes a lot of time with all of her students. I learn a lot from her and I appreciate the attention she gives to everybody’s work. I had taken this class two years ago, so I felt a bit more confident that last time and I just went nuts and had a great time with my layers. I rarely have this kind of time to spend on one piece, so I really enjoyed the process. At the end of the class, we turned our paintings into “easy books”, with some folding and one cut. My flickr set for this class shows each “page” of the book. The book is rather large (9″x14″) so the whole thing doesn’t fit on my scanner bed, but you’ll get the idea.

fun with gift wrap I also had some fun with gift wrap this weekend. My sister Angela turned 40 and I wrapped up a bunch of little gifts for her. I also wrote her a letter describing my story behind the gifts and stamped corresponding tags for each gift. It was fun to pull out my funny, off color stamps. I’m hoping my sister will enjoy opening her gifts as much as I hope she likes the gifts themselves.

funky found object canvas villages

I’m going to be a woman of few words today. I finally finished these canvases I started in Leighanna Light’s class a few weeks ago. I love them! It was fun to take whatever scraps and randomness I had on the table in front of me to create these little rows of houses. I loved “frosting” the canvases with gel medium to create texture. Thanks, Leighanna, for a great workshop!
funky found object canvas village 1 funky found object canvas village 2 funky found object canvas village 3

My First Art Quilt…

…Hell, it’s my first foray into fabric art, for that matter. *facepalm* Because I need one more type of craft to get into, right? Right. And you know why? Because Lisa Englebrecht told me so. Well, she didn’t tell me in so many words, but oh my gosh, her work is glorious and she makes it look so easy to make such beautiful letters. I want to make amazing wall hangings, too!
Then it occurred to me that I can use my stamps and doodling to make beautiful lettering. And I can use all of my regular old paper collage techniques and just transfer it to the fabric stuff. Fabric doesn’t need to be scary anymore!

The other revelation of the week is that a sewing machine doesn’t scary me anymore. This is huge, people. I vaguely remember using a tiny sewing machine when I was young. Maybe it was my mom’s old Singer from when she was a kid. I remember sewing tiny pillows and blankets for Barbie and sewing little booklets together. I don’t know just when I started to be completely afraid that I’d sew through my own finger. LOL

Mom wanted a sewing machine for Christmas, so I recommended to my brother to get the Hello Kitty one by Janome since it was highly recommended and inexpensive, but much better quality than that $10 crappy one you can get for paper at the craft store. For some reason, they sent him two, so mom gave me the other one for my birthday.

I received it in February and I looked at the box for months. I took it out of the box after the Lisa Englebrecht classes. I looked at it for a week. Then I took it to the kitchen table and looked at the booklet and learned all of the parts. Then, this weekend, I learned how to fill a bobbin and thread the machine and I played with scrap fabric and stitched what could have been a bean bag, had I had some beans to fill it with.

Upon the advice of Fran, I got a needle to use with metallic thread today and went to town. I started out by using a painted piece I made in Lisa’s class and I stenciled on the swirls with Color Mists. Then I stamped on it with gesso and foam stamps. I wrote the quote with a tough wash pen I bought from Lisa and then sewed on the little dove bead I had lying around for years, waiting for the perfect project.

A chopstick is sewn into the top and I tied cord around the ends. A little handmade bead Andrea sent me is up on the cord, right below where the hanger is. This piece is going to my friend Wendy for her birthday, which is at the end of this month. It isn’t perfect, it’s crooked, and I smudged it a little but I love it and I think she will, too!