Praying for rain and reopening the studio!

Tim’s first pea

I have had a nice little “sabbatical” these past few months. Granted, it’s been spent working (the building websites part of my business) and cleaning up my home studio…and moving in all of the STUFF from my old public studio. Turns out I’m pretty happy to be home! Some days I don’t even leave the house if I don’t want to and the dogs are so happy to have me home, giving them treats.

What have I been doing? Working on SO many things! Tim and I are working towards certification to be foster parents in Larimer County, so that’s been a lot of homework and paperwork. I have been revamping this website and my website design business site, as well as redoing my business plan. When I’m not working, I’m journaling, reading, puttering …and hanging out with my little family, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes, because that is my new TV obsession.

Since Tim has been so busy growing vegetables in our yard, it’s the least I can do to make the yard pretty in my own way. There are two projects I’m doing.

First, I started by gluing those flat-backed glass marbles to some old sinks we have been holding onto specifically for this purpose. I’ve been planning to do them for years but that FEAR THING kept holding me back. One day, I just dove in, armed with clear caulk and my collection of little glass pieces.

Attempt #1

Here are two finished sinks. I still have two more sinks and an old tub to do — all will become planters in an area of our yard that I’m turning into a pretty and peaceful (hopefully!) meditation garden. I’m not working on them actively right now — there is a lot of smoke in the area from the High Park Fire and it isn’t good to breathe, so I’m staying inside until our awesome firefighters can get that thing put out.

Attempt #2

The second project is making prayer flags to hang off the pergola on our patio. Recently, Cloth Paper Scissors had some info about making them and I thought I’d give it a try. I’ll never learn how to sew well if I don’t practice! There are a few more in progress on my work table, but here are the first two I put outside!

my first attempt at prayer flags

That’s all for today — later this week, I’ll have some good news to share!

finding the tracey flowers

It’s been a week since I’ve been in my studio and boy, am I surprised at how much I missed it! So, despite all of the other artists having to listen to me cough, I’m very happy I dragged my post-sickness fanny over here. As I sit here in the upstairs hallway, I can see and hear a bunch of activity: Laurie moving her studio across the hall, Steve going outside to photograph the train every time it comes by, Yann listening to the radio, Carrie feverishly drawing on a humongous canvas. I love it here.

This morning I penciled in a painting I’m going to do on my studio wall. Yes, ON my studio wall. They are Tracey Flowers. This photo is a quick cell phone camera shot of the image I was projecting so I could trace over it (thanks Yann, for letting me borrow your projector!). I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. And there will be glitter.

Now I’m off to our board meeting (yawn, but necessary!)

When you get a moment, though, please go read my post over at the eeep! productions blog. There’s a short post about the great speaker/author  Todd Henry and I think you may develop a crush on him, too.

a bit of an update!

I hear it’s springtime outside, so I was thinking I’d venture out a bit and share a bit of an update! I feel like I have been going nonstop lately and it’s hard to take a few moments to sit quietly and reflect. I think I’m out of practice!

A few weeks ago, I took a great workshop with Beryl Taylor. I have been trying to do her fabric paper technique for years now, but I thought it would be rewarding to learn directly from the artist herself. I was not disappointed. Here you can see the piece I did in that class, as it was in progress. I’ve made more progress on it and will show it in my studio tonight during Gallery Walk.

I’m pretty excited about Gallery Walk tonight for a couple of reasons:

Reason #1: 4th Annual Artists in Dreamland Opening Reception is tonight. Fellow Poudre Studio Artist Kat Peters-Midland is the organizer and she has pulled together a wonderful and colorful exhibit this year. And I have a piece in the show. If you’re around, stop by and see visual representations of the night dreams of 15 artists.

Reason #2: My fellow artist and friend, Fran Saperstein, will be in town for the opening. I haven’t seen her in two years (ugh!), and although we talk almost every day, I’m so happy to get to spend some quality time with her. She has two amazing art quilts in the exhibit this month and they are really a must-see. If you’re around Old Town tonight, you should stop in!

Reason #3: I have one dream piece in the exhibit myself, and it’s a huge risk for me. There’s a photo here, but it’s a tough one to photograph, with all of the white-on-white. Sharing one’s dreams and the visual interpretation of those dreams can be very tricky, I’m learning. I feel very torn open so that everybody can see my insides. I don’t know if I like it very much. Luckily, I will have chocolate on standby tonight. 🙂



The State of My Worktable

My studio at Poudre River Arts Center looks like a bomb hit it. To wit:


I took this photo, using my phone, sitting on the little lavender loveseat. I was way too tired to even get up to show you all of the flotsam that’s on the floor.

To the right, you can see my piece “Ode To The Barbie Townhouse I Never Had,” which is in progress for our Interiors show in February. This is the kind of project that takes forever and is, frankly, never done. All the way to the left, you can see a hint of my cigar box shrine which is a amalgam/snapshot of every shore house I ever stayed in down in LBI (Long Beach Island, NJ). This is also for the Interiors show and features real LBI sand (thanks to my niece for collecting and my sister for shipping)!

I’m feeling run down today. I’ve had a run of good mood days…five in a row…but yesterday I hit a slump and was a big ole grouchypants. I mean, really, in what universe is it more important to have two hours of American Idol than one hour of Human Target (and my beloved Mark Valley)? Worn out from the to do lists, I know this is Life, but there is still a bit of crankypants in me today. Overwhelmed. I just typed and deleted a huge list of the things I need to get done. I don’t want to scare you. I’m going to get back to that dollhouse — the elevator needs to be installed!

I’ll just count on tomorrow being a more energetic, positive day.

“Talk does not cook rice.”

— Chinese proverb

What I’ve been working on

Hello, World!

My goodness, it’s November already? I have no idea where the time goes. Days are full of caretaking and dog feeding and working and organizing and cooking and cleaning and and and…

…making art!

I bet you thought I was going to whine again about how I never have time to make art, didn’t you? 🙂

Believe it or not, I actually have been arting. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

    • Playing with faces. I find it a struggle, but am learning more each time I attempt something. Once I can get myself going, I find it quite fun!

sabrina is thinking of changing her name to sarah
sabrina is thinking of changing her name to sarah — acrylic and collage (WIP)

    • I took a photo of the sky from the window of the men’s room at PRAC. I loved the way the window framed that bit of blue, with puffy white clouds. Fran encouraged me to paint it, which I hadn’t even thought I could do. So far I did a watercolor and I love it. Will attempt acrylics next.

fort collins sky
fort collins sky

    • Mary. I’ve been finishing up two pieces for our December exhibit, The Mary Show. The theme is representations of The Blessed Mother, Mother Earth, Gaia, whomever it is that the artist chooses. I’m ever so excited about the show…it’s going to be something special.

Mary has a secret

  • The Sketchbook Project. Hosted by the Art Co-op at Brooklyn Museum of Art, I have until mid-January to finish a blank sketchbook. This will go on tour with the rest of the sketchbooks and will also be archived in the Art Library at the museum. NEAT! I don’t have photos of that yet, but intend to record my progress here.

Now I am off to finish some paperwork and head to the studio. It’s Fort Collins’ first snow and I’m so excited. I love the feel of the center on a gray, wet day. Perfectly cozy for viewing and making art!

experiments in watercolor

experiment 1For the past week, all I’ve been dying to do is put some gesso on something and make some layers. Have I done it? No. With my new responsibilities at the Poudre River Arts Center, I seem to be forgetting the main reason I got involved in the first place: To take care of ME! I am heading over there shortly and intend to do at least 30 minutes of something creative.

Last night, I unwrapped a Moleskine watercolor book I bought a year ago. I struggled with the Importance of a Moleskine and what on earth would I draw that would be worthy of those luscious pages? It took a while, but I just did it. Not gorgeous, and clearly, I need practice, but here are the first two experiments. I used my neocolor IIs and my Stampin’ Up watercolor crayon palette, as well as a Sharpie Pen and a water soluble black pencil.

This is going to take some time. 😉

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.

wreck this journal – weeks 3, 4, 5….oh, whatever!

I just got caught up with Jamie’s videos and I am woefully behind on seeing what everybody else is doing. I apologize to all of you who have been so kind & supportive by visiting my blog and commenting. I fully intend to do the same every week and then life got in the way. Big time.

I have a good excuse, though!

The last two weeks I have spent getting ready for opening my very own art studio. I am working with this cool group called Poudre Studio Artists here in Fort Collins. We “live” in the Poudre River Arts Center, just north of downtown. I’ve also taken on the role of marketing manager for the center as well, so you can imagine how hilariously crazy things have been here.

So, I don’t know what week it is, really. I don’t remember what I did when, but I need to realize that’s not important anymore (which is REALLY hard for me, because I love tracking and archiving things). I did make a week list of the stuff I’ve done since the last time I posted:

  • poked holes
  • drew thin and fat lines
  • scratched with a sharp object
  • tore strips
  • starting adding office supplies
  • drew a nonstop line
  • wrote four-letter words
  • listed more ways to wreck

ALSO, I put the book out during my first First Friday, marked at the page that says “hang the journal in a public place and invite people to draw here.” Not many people wanted to do that, despite my big basket of crayons. I was surprised, actually! My MIL drew a horse though. My SIL drew a penguin and a blackeyed susan (that’s the “logo” my husband and I have – long story for another day). My husband drew a tiny alien and his space ship. That’s good enough for me!

I was carrying it around a lot and then that sort of dropped off, but I intend to pick back up again. It’s comforting to me.

Things I am learning from this process and how it’s spilling over into real life:

  • I am following the rules less and less. I used to be the “good girl” — who has to please everybody and do the right thing. I’m NOT that girl anymore.
  • I didn’t clean my house before my in-laws came over. Twice.
  • I am playing more. Today I was in the studio and I was prepping some pages for a journal and all of a sudden decided to do my process in reverse order, just to see what would happen.

So that’s it for now. If anyone reading this doesn’t have a “give away your favorite page” partner, please consider swapping with me. Leave a note in the comments.

And here are some photos of what I’ve done recently. enjoy!

AEDM: Days 7 – 8 – 9

I am mostly recovered from the weekend of workshops with Kelly Kilmer. Almost mostly recovered. That girl is such a generous, talented and creative instructor. She’s so clever, too! My brain has been whizzing with ideas since the weekend and when I try to sleep at night, I dream about pens and decorative packing tape. If you are at all interested in bookmaking, collage, journaling or simply expanding your horizons, look at taking one (or more!!) of Kelly’s classes. Here are a few of the things I did over the course of the weekend. There are more on my Flickr photo gallery.

None of these projects are complete. There is still a lot of journaling and collaging to be done (what a bummer…haha). I’ve spent the past two nights ripping collage images out of old magazines while we watch tv. Kelly really has inspired me. She also took a look at an ongoing project of mine and encouraged me to teach a class on it. I would never have thought it would be a good class idea, but once she turned on the light, I could see it! One of the other students said she would take a class like the one Kelly and I were talking about, so I’m going to work on outlining that over the next month or so.

The Storyteller book was fun. We made a book out half of a parent sheet of cardstock, folding and cutting following Kelly’s instructions. It’s a fun little book and I can see it being a great travel journal or journal for a specific event where you might not need a whole lot of pages like in a regular book or journal. Here is the cover and one of the spreads within the book.
The Storyteller

Little Book of Faux Monoprints started from sheets of cardstock that we painted and on which we used a bunch of monoprinting exercises. At some point, I just started painting pages and then smooshing them together with another page. It was so freeing. This little book is so cute, but I am not sure what I’m using it for yet.

Snippets was awesome. I love the shape and size of this book and Kelly’s methods of making split pages within the book are really cool. I never would have thought of them myself! This is just the cover. None of my collages inside are complete yet.

Little Book of Faux Monoprints Snippets- A Unique Artist Book
Goin’ Postal was a 2-hour class where we used 6×9 matboard to create mailable art. I am a big fan of mail art and appreciated Kelly’s input on my compositions. This little girl really haunts me. The other side of this card and the other postcard I started are on Flickr.

And I finally learned Japanese stab binding in the Fukoro Toji or Little Bound Book. It’s not as difficult as I thought it was, probably because Kelly is such a good instructor.

Goin’ Postal Fukoro Toji or Little Bound Book