Monday, February 28, 2011

Community Art Project

I am participating in Phoenix Peacock's Community Art Project. You can read about it here and in her previous posts.  She is in need of more participants so if you are willing, check it out.

The first thing is to do a journal page about someone in your community past or present who positively influenced your life. That took me back years ago when I met my friend Vonda.

This is the page I did this afternoon to explore that relationship I had so long ago. I met her in college and she was like a mother to me. Her friendship and guidance made me who I am today. It is so nice remembering those times. Sadly I have not talked to her in years.  I think I will remedy that, she's only a phone call away.

Do you have any friends you have lost touch with? Maybe today is the day to remedy that.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Sketches 02-27

This is sketch for the Sunday Sketches group. I am not sure if I am finished with her yet, maybe a little bit of fine tuning is in order. I sketched her in church as usual, using graphite pencil 2b, 6b and H. Well I was going to link to other sketchers but it turns out there isn't one this week. Oh well you can at least see my sketch.  Have a great evening.

My Favorite Birthday Song

I think last year I posted the cartoon version of this. Although this is not all the Beatles, Paul will do. I just love the upbeat feel of this song. I can't help but want to dance around the room to the beat.

It looks to be a beautiful day.  As I look out my window the skies are clear and blue, my favorite sight to see in winter.  There must be 35-40 birds on my bird feeder. They are singing me a lovely song this day, the anniversary of my birth.  I am not sure what I will be doing today, maybe some art, some dinner and feasting on a lovely cake my daughter made yesterday. Today is going to be a good day and I feel a fantastic year is on its way.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Few of My Own Birds

After posting Zorana's bird video (see previous post)I thought I would try some of my own.  I have done birds before but usually just one on a page. I sketched these in pencil on watercolor paper. I decided to paint them in watercolor paint, because I want to start using watercolors more.  I added feathers and such with a micron pigma 03 pen.  I then cut them out and glued them into my sketchbook and added some lettering.  I filled the letters in with faber-castell brush pens.  It was lots of fun to play with.

Have you painted birds before? Why not give it a try.  If you don't think you can draw a bird, here is little trick. Find a bird image either in a bird book or online.  Copy or print the image on computer paper.  Place some tracing paper on the copy and trace the bird and then cut it out. Put your tracing paper image on your paper or sketchbook and trace around it.  Now you have a bird shape you can paint.  The fun thing is you can paint your bird in any colors you want. Add a crown if you want, put clothes on it if you want, give it striped legs, there are plenty of fun things you can do, so go explore the idea and let me know if you do.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Back Pain and Some Birds

I am sorry to say that I have no art to share yet.  I have been working on making videos for a class this week and they do take considerable time and effort.  All my art has been done for those and of course I won't be showing that.

I've also run into a little lower back pain issue. So I am spending the rest of my time laying down.  I do hate having back pain, it really takes you out of life.

Now to make it so you haven't waisted your time coming here today, here's a video by my friend Zorana. She is painting some darling birds, once you watch you'll will have a desire to paint birds too! She makes it look so simple. She has a whole group of fantastic videos on YouTube and a fun class she is running called Mixed Media Playground that looks like so much fun.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Babies are like Dreams

image by dorina dubceac

 I had a dream last night.  In this dream I had a baby. I went through labor and delivery and also saw the baby come out of me.  She was a beautiful baby girl.  Then the attendants took the baby and put her on the counter on the other side of the room.  Then they all left. Being week from birth I couldn't get up to go to the baby.  I called but no one came. It was up to me. I finally managed to get up and go to the baby and hold it and nurture it and love it.

Then I had another dream.  In this dream I am trying to analyze the baby dream.  What I decide in the dream is that the baby is one of my creative dreams.  I have set it on a table and left it to flounder on its own. This got me to thinking about my dreams and how I put things off all the time.  I may have a busy few days and think oh I will do some filming on say Thursday when I have few commitments but then Thursday comes and I find some way to not work on it. It may be fear of doing it right, or fear of not being good enough or any number of the other thousands of things we mistakenly tell ourselves.

So you can think of an abandoned baby as abandoned dreams. Babies and dreams need so much care.  That book is never going to be written if you only work on it one day a week. The class you are developing will lose its momentum if you don't just face your fears and work on it. Or even someone else will come out with what you were planning to do but just never got the nerve to do it. That happened to me.  I was going to write a mystery with knitting as the setting and no I didn't do it.  Now there are dozens of books out there like that.  I missed my chance. The Universe gives you ideas and you really do need to act on them.  If you don't someone else will.

Do you have dreams that you start and then let slide.  You lose so much by having to start again.  You never really can just pick up where you left off.  There is momentum and excitement involved and often you have to recreate that again and again.  The result is you waste a lot of time going forward and back. Maybe its time to pick up that dream and focus all your attention on it.  You would do that with a baby.  Now do it with those dreams you've been harboring.

Today my intention is to face those fears, pick up that dream and go for it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Using what you have

One of the things we are doing at the Queen of Creativity Castle is a challenge to use supplies that we rarely use. Sometimes this is because of habit and other times its because we just forget about them because they are put away and we forget we have them. In this piece I wanted to use my inktense pencils. I drew random circles and then squares or rectangles. I added water with a brush to bring out the color. I just love these pencils, I do not know why I don't use them more often. Then I added pastels to the background.  I doodled on some and outlined them all in charcoal. This was a little nonsensical but a fun page to do.

I haven't painted a face in this journal for awhile, was I ever out of practice. I really hate that its so much harder for me to paint a face than it is to draw a face. I think I painted over this one 4 or 5 times and then finally gave up thinking I will never be satisfied.  On this one I used reinkers to paint the dress and the hair. They are those bottles of ink that you use to re ink a stamp pad. They are fun to use along with paint in a background.

Here is an awesome video by Katie Kendrik

Have an artful Day!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Sketches

There is a group online that does sketches on Sunday and posts to their blogs.  This is one I did this morning.  If you would like to see more sketches or add one of your own, check out Sophia's Blog

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I believe in Magic

I bought this little fairy stamp set yesterday with my Michaels coupon so I decided to just stamp it on a blank journal page. I highlighted some of the features with colored pencil.    With Chalk you need to spray it with a fixative before you can write on it. Plus that also seals the chalk so it doesn't come off on your fingers. Once its dry I'll add some journaling to all that blank space on the page.

Then I decided to add this. I have probably 5 of these chalk sets that I got for a dollar a piece. They have these little makeup applicators to apply the chalk with. I haven't really used them very much before. Its a little tedius using the small applicators that come with the chalk. I finally just dumped all the chalk out and just added it directly to the paper. My style is a little bit more messy.

So now I just have the chalk here in this plastic tub. I tossed all the plastic containers they came in.  I think I will use it a bit more this way. I love the look of all those colors together.  Its pretty just by itself.

I hope you find some beautiful magic in your world today.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Playing with Nevrdull

Today I spent time in the studio doing some things I have been wanting to do but for some reason never took the time to do so.

I pulled this out today and decide to play with it a little.  Its wadding polish and you just take a piece of it and rub it over magazine pages and it removes  some of the ink. I think normally it is used to polish metal.

Here are some of the pages I did today. Sometimes it changes the color dramatically and other times it just mutes it.

and other times it gives this smoky effect.  I think it made this scene from nature look foggy and misty.  I will be using these pages for future backgrounds in my art journals.

The other thing I did was sew this bag to carry my yoga mat. I found the pattern on the internet here. It turned out to be way too big, I could have put ten yoga mats in there. It was designed to hold some more items like a sweatshirt or a water bottle, but I found it to be way too big.  So I cut off the side panels and just sewed the front to the back and now it still quite roomy but usable now. I have been doing yoga at home but have decided I might take a class or two.  So now that I have a snazzy bag to carry all my stuff in I am all set.

So tell me how did you play today.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Some thoughts on Coaching

You may have heard about personal or creativity coaching but you really don't know what it all about. Or perhaps you have toyed with the idea of hiring a coach but you are a little afraid to take that first step. Let me demystify the subject and tell you all about my experience.

I know some of you have all heard about personal coaching.  There are many artists out there who hire personal or creativity coaches. You may have heard them talking about their coach and how they were helped. You may wonder what does a coach do for you?  Or perhaps think to yourself, would hiring a coach help you in your life or with your creativity? What if you can't afford one?  What else can you do to get help?

Just what does a coach do for you?

Simply put a coach is like having your very own cheering section and also someone that keeps you honest, makes you accountable, helps you overcome blocks and more. Some of my long time readers may remember that I hired a coach a couple years ago.  I did two months worth of coaching with Jamie Ridler and she was awesome.  She helped me clarify some goals, figure out where I wanted to go and set me on that path. It really is amazing working with someone who has your best interest at heart and pushes you in the areas that you need pushing, and cheers you on to achieve new heights.

Why hire a coach?

I hired a coach because I felt stifled, blocked and unsure of what I wanted to do next. I had just paid off my car so I had extra money.  This time I decided to invest in myself. I hired Jamie for a month initially but ended up working with her for two months and it was the best money I have spent. Coaches can help you see what you couldn't see in yourself.

How do you choose a coach?

I think its a personal decision for sure.   I recall that I was part of the Next Chapter book group that Jamie Ridler does on line at her site.  I was really impressed with her and thought, if I ever get the funds to hire a coach she'd be the one I would hire.  I thought I could work with her and I was right.

So when I got serious I checked out her site and set up an initial consultation. Most coaches will give you a free session.  They want you to know how coaching works and then they want to see if you mesh with them. You'll talk about what you want from coaching and then decide if the two of you  are a good match and whether the coach can help you. I did this with Jamie and discovered that we worked well together.  Then I set up some coaching sessions, they were all done over the phone. We met once a week, talked and I was given homework, which we talked about the next week.  It was very easy and very productive.

What if you can't afford a coach what else can you do? 

Well for one thing you can hang out on their blog or website.  All coaches give free advice, sometimes there are tele-seminars or book groups or other small events that you can take advantage of. Sign up for their newsletters, they are a wealth of information. You'll get to know them and one day you may find yourself able to hire one, it will be the best decision you make.

Some coaches whose sites I love and recommend:
Jamie Ridler
Jennifer Lee
Jennifer Louden
Christine Kane
Cynthia Morris
Jill Badonsky

If you are stuck creatively or personally and don't know where or what you want to do next perhaps some time with a coach would be helpful. It was such a wonderful experience for me I am sure it will be for you too.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Inner Excavations

One of my new books is Inner Excavations by Liz Lamoreaux. Liz blogs at Be Present Be Here.  In the book Liz takes you on an excavation using  photography, poetry and mixed media. Instead of just reading the whole book like I sometimes do I am planning on doing all the exercises and getting the full experience. The main reason for buying this book is to work photography back in to my life.  The first exercise in Inner Excavations is to take pictures of your day.  I am a little bit out of practice so I didn't manage to do that many but here is a look at a day last week.

I began where I could right at my feet and what I was wearing, still in my pj's with my croc's on.

Then I took a pic of the book I was reading that day and my glasses beside them.

Then my constant companion, my computer, I really liked the look in low light, my silver computer now looks golden.

You can always count on a cat to make an appearance. Boromir obliged with her sweet face.

Then I took a pic of all the art books that I am reading.

Flynn says What you want me to pose for a picture... ah ok I'll look up for you..

That  evening the only time I remembered to take a picture was when I was making some popcorn.  I had to take the picture quickly because the popcorn was about to take off. Thus the end of my first day.  I think I am going to try this one again. The thing I like about books like this is they take you out of your normal routine and into territory for change growth and exploration.  I am looking forward to the journey I'll be going on.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Some new books

I got three new books in the mail. Some that are brand new out there and some that have been in publication for awhile.

So now my art book pile to read is getting big. So far I like all the books. The thing with art books is you really don't read them like you would a novel.  Sometimes you spend months with them. Do you have a big pile that you are spending time with?

A collaged journal page I made a few days ago.  No special techniques, the words on top are from a scrap of vellum. I like how you still can see the decorative paper underneath.

Jamie Ridler had this little Love exercise for Valentine's Day where you just wrote out things you love. It was simple so that you just went and did it now.   The idea is you can go back next year and see what you loved on this day in 2011.  Its a great idea and not too late to do your own. I drew the heart in pastels and then added all the words. Then added pastel in the background for some color.

and here is my latest sketch. She is from a magazine image and looks nothing like it, but I wasn't going for duplication.  I kind of like the far away look she has.

Have an Artful Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Some Thoughts on Commenting

Awhile ago my friend Natasha did a post on commenting and it struck me. She talked about how much she loved getting comments.  She didn't care if they were short or long.  She asked to think about what kind of commenter you were.  It got me thinking about what I do and how I view commenters themselves and it changed the way I leave comments on the many blogs that I visit.

I have to admit that I do comment on a lot of blogs but then some I almost never comment on.  On the more popular blogs I don't comment often.  I figure if the person has 2000 followers I really don't need to comment. They get enough comments that they have to read and respond to.

 The other thing I found is that sometimes I just leave these short little comments like "Oh I love your page" Now I realize that really doesn't tell the person anything. I mean I could say why I liked the page, just what is it about it that spoke to me.  I think those are the comments that I would like to receive so perhaps they are the kind I should be giving.

If you are like me when you don't get any comments on a post you wonder is anyone looking?  I know that I love getting comments.  They are one of the things that make bloggin worthwhile. I also know that sometimes we just don't have the time to comment on everyones blog, there is just not enough time in the day. I have gotten comments that said "I just stopped by to say hello" and it was from a friend and I really liked that comment.  It let me know they were thinking about me even if they didn't have something profound to say about that day's post.  I think its a way to keep connected.

So where am I going with this.  I am just saying think about the way you comment and if you like it continue if you don't maybe think about going into more details, or just saying hello when you don't have anything to say. All bloggers out there will appreciate it.

I've got a question for you.  Some bloggers respond to comments in the comment section of the post.  I usually don't do that because I know some people won't go back to the post and to reach them you really need to email them. So what are you're thoughts, do you like to see a response to a comment posted as part of the comments?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dream a little dream

Dream a little dream I think that is how the song goes but everyone out there tells you to dream big. So dream big it will be. I have been working on an on-line class and there is so much to share that it looks like it may have to be several classes. So maybe my vision is too big. Trying to tone it down has been hard.  I have got one video done but there are so many more to do before I go public with it.

I made the background with first inktense pencils and then water, I added some stamping and then the #5, there's no significance that I can think of. I just like the way it looked. I found this image in my drawer of scraps. Its from a greeting card sent by a friend. I do like to reuse things in my art. I added more stamping and charcoal on the image and in outlining. Then I added the words and the stars and planets. To finish it off I adding portfolio oil pastels to the edges of the page.  I like the idea of dreams being right there for you to bring to life.

Something from my sketchbook. I had signed up for SuziBlu's self guided portrait class awhile ago. I was really interested in learning to do 3/4 poses. This is my first attempt. Now its back to the studio for me.  How about you, how are you going to spend your weekend?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wishcasting Wednesday What do you wish to dare?

Jamie over at Wishcasting Wednesday  asks us What do you wish to Dare? What a great question.  Jamie always comes up with a great question for these little exercises.

Today I wish to dare to be the real me.  To step out of what society and myself included thinks I should be.  I dare to have the confidence to pull off the class I am envisioning for my mixed media network.  There is so much out there already that I dare to think I can come up with someone that no one else is doing. I wish to take that leap that makes it a reality.  To see what other wishcasters are doing go here.

I've also been playing some in the studio today. I felt like playing with paper scraps today. Instead of making stitched paper.  I just drew a grid and glued down scraps.

 I loved the colors in this page so I took a picture to use the background at a future time.  Then when I started looking for images to enhance the page I was stuck on two so I thought why not do two pages at the same time

The colors reminded me of Spring and since we have sunshine today I am really longing for spring.  I wrote a little poem and added it to the piece.  I used soft pastels to color the papers and outlined it all in black marker.

On the second one, I added the image and wrote a poem and colored it with pastels. This one I outlined in charcoal. The xeroxed copy was shorter on one side so I  stitched some fabric on the edge. I have used backgrounds more than once before but this was the first time I did it at the same time. This was so much fun I may have to play with this background some more.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I have a Steampunk Challenge going on here.  I had a blast doing this challenge.  Steampunk  combines the victorian era with technology and there are some fun elements to play with.

I started with a gold piece of wallpaper. First I glued it down in my journal.  Then I used a mask from Tim Holtz to put all the gears on. I did this with several different colors of stamp pads. I love the way it looks.

Then I found this image to put on the page. She looked a little sassy so I thought I would alter her to make her more steampunk looking.

Here I have added a leather corset and some boots and embellished the skirt a little. I had some sticker letters that worked out pretty good so I decided to spell Steampunk.

This is the finished page. I added lace to her skirt a chain to her waste, a blouse under the corset and top hat with a little tule and goggles.  The gear and wheel are from Tim Holtz.  He has tons of things that work great for steampunk embellishments. Then I outlined everything with vine charcoal. Sarah gave me several ideas and she wanted me to add a dirigible but I no longer had room for one. Maybe if I do another page with the same prompt.  I actually wished I had done this on a canvas board because I could have really added a lot of embellishments.

Have an Artful Day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Inspiration from many sources

I was on Facebook this morning and saw the link to Gary Reef doing a Jesse Reno like painting and it was just fascinating to watch. He has two videos on this so far but I am sure there will be more.

I've read about Jesse Reno before but never watched him paint so that led to watching this video. There are a whole group of videos out there on YouTube, even a class from Artfest. I love watching the process, I get the same feeling watching Mystele paint.  It is really inspiring and makes me want to go sling some paint around too.

I think Youtube is just wonderful, I mean you can sit on your couch and watch other artists work and you can grab a little of that energy that you see and then go infuse it into your own work.

Tell me, what is it that inspires you?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Getting ready for the game

My hubby made me one of his famous omelets this morning. Isn't the presentation wonderful. You can tell he has watched a lot of the Food Network. It was very tasty.

Since it is Super Bowl Sunday and this year our team is actually in the game, we planning to celebrate the day. I grew up in Michigan and lived in Wisconsin so the Packers have been our team for years. In Michigan people in the Upper Peninsula root for the Packers and in those Lower Peninsula root for the Lions. So here I am in my official Packer sweatshirt all ready to root for Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews to do their thing. I had posted this on Facebook and my friend Mahala was hoping I would be in a cheesehead.

So this is the best I could do on short notice. That is a cheese head eraser on my head. Go Packers.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

This is Fascinating

I have seen artists use CitrSolv or NevrDull on magazine images to make interesting backgrounds but this is the first time I have seen someone painting with it.  Take a look, its fascinating.  I bought some of this for a class a couple years ago but never really used it, I think it may be time to schedule a day to play with it.

 Another new thing to share is the Google Art Project which lets you go to many museums around the world and see their art.  You can really zoom in and make them big and you can make your own art collection. You could literally spend hours looking at the art.  It is fantastic and full of inspiration.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Meet Colonel Mustard

This is Colonel Mustard, he is a stray cat that showed up in our garage. He looked pretty sad so I started feeding him. One day I found blood all over the table I feed him on. It looked like he fought with our other stray hat and had gotten nailed in the ear. He was ok but he looked pretty ragged. I felt sorry for him so I continued to offer him food twice a day.

I now think he and Tommy learned to tolerate each other. They both hang out in our garage and sometimes the barn. I have 3 cats in the house so these two cats will remain outdoor cats. To my delight Col Mustard is starting to look healthier, he still has a dirty nose but his coat looks better and he asks for affection now. What a difference daily food makes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Hands Create

I sat down in my studio and decide to work in my larger journal. This is the Canson's mixed media journal, I really like the size and the paper. For the background layer I used took several colors of golden fluid paints and added fluid matte medium to extend the color. In addition added some Ranger Adirondak reinkers. My next layer included stamping with some of the new stamps I had made yesterday. Oh was this page fun.

After the background I had no idea  of what I would do next but then I remembered I have a self portrait challenge going on my site and the subject was hands. First I drew my left hand and then decided to add the right one too and then the journaling.

Today all my white gel pens failed and I have 4 different kinds. I wish I could find one that worked consistently. So I ended up writing with a brush pen which comes out too thick for my tastes. On the right hand I got out my fine point nib and india ink and journaled with that. The other lettering was done with a broader tipped nib and then outlined in black with a brush pen.

I had lots of fun working on this page, sometime if you just switch sizes for awhile you will have a renewed excitement in your art.  I have journals in several sizes and I like to switch to different ones at different times.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Making foam stamps

I have been making stamps today.  First I used some of that craft foam you can get in the kids section of Michaels. They have regular sheets and some that are adhesive backed.

Here is a sheet of it with some images drawn on it.     I had gotten my designs from some of the Cricut cartridges I own. If you want to try this yourself there are all sort of sources for images on the net. The cool thing about this foam is that you can draw details right into the foam and it stays there.  Plus the stuff is really cheap and simple to use.

These are some of the stamps I made. The blue ones are unmounted and the rest I cut out of the adhesive material and then mounted on another piece of the foam. These were really fun to make.

Here are some of the stamps used on old book pages.

Then I decided to carve some stamp out of erasers. This is one side of the eraser.

and this is the other side.  I like the fact that you can make a stamp on either side of the eraser.

and here they are being used. I think these will all be fun to use in some backgrounds in future journal pages. These are really fun to make and once you get  started you won't want to stop.

For your enjoyment here is a short video from Diana Trout where she demos making foam stamps.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Musings in a Cafe

First I better acknowledge that my daughter gave me this award.  She blogs about writing here

As per being nominated, now I have to do stuff. Sigh.
  1. Thank and link to the peep that nominated me.
  2. Share seven things about myself.
  3. Award some other cool bloggerly people.
  4. Contact said bloggerly people and tell them that they're awesome
Well I have listed things about myself countless times but I will try for something new.

1. I have a kindle and just love using it to read books but I still love regular books too.
2. I started going to laughter yoga when it became available in my town and I really love it.
3. I just started feeding a stray orange cat whose living in my garage and decided to name him Colonel Mustard.
4.  I am a level 3 Reiki master.
5. I don't like the taste of coffee but I think it smells good.
6. My favorite tea is Ginger Peach.
7. I like going to cafe's to write.

I'd like to award this to Jolene of Pieces of Me.
and Lynn of Getting my Feet Wet  They are both amazing ladies that always inspire me and they have wonderful blogs.

Now on to the musing in a cafe,  I have gotten a lot done here today which is unusual for me.  Usually the net really takes me away from my planned work.  I have been working hard at getting things going on my  network. It  a little bit of a struggle starting something from nothing. I think immediately those doubts and negative thoughts pop in and you begin to wonder if you made the right choices in the first place.  When I started the network I really thought everyone I knew would sign up but found that  not to be the case.  Those who didn't had their reasons and they were very legitimate and I honor those decisions. Some  joined to show support and I am grateful for that.  I know they won't participate much and that is ok.  I  figured I would need to attract enough other people who really didn't know me to really make a go of it. Some of that has happened like I thought too, but its a slow process.

Then I swear people left and right started opening their own sites and people who never offered classes choose to do so.  You wonder if its worth it anymore.  Are there really enough people out there to take all the things that are offered online? With all that talent out there maybe you should not even try. But you've invested so much time and money already you can't give up yet. So you plug on through hoping you have something of value to offer and that someone out there really needs to hear it.

Its a funny journey we artists take. We have this dream and we jump in to make a go of it but it never really happens in the way we imagine. Then we have to nurture it because it is so easy to just give up at that first frustration. You wonder were you crazy to try this in the first place?  You gather your friends and they encourage once more and you keep at it.  Maybe that is all we can do, just keep at this artistic life, with all its ups and downs.

Tell me what do you think about your dreams?  How do you keep your focus where it needs to be?