Saturday, August 22, 2009

WTJ Update

I've been making progress in my journal, but I'm still sticking with doing the "safer" pages. I've sewn a page, made thick and thin lines, rubbed a page with dirt, tore out a page and put it through the wash cycle and glued it back in, dribbled paint on a page, glued in random items that I found on the street, glued, scribbled, pressed leaves, and dropped the journal from my second story balcony. All of that was fun, but I realized that I wasn't pushing myself to actually do something destructive. I decided that I needed to muster up the courage to take the journal into the shower. I began very cautiously by hanging it from the soap dish using string. As I showered, I noticed that the journal was getting sprayed only lightly. I really wanted to get it wetter, but on the other hand, I didn't want it to get saturated because of potential mold issues. I repositioned the journal so more spray would hit it. By this time I was really getting into the process and would purposely aim the shower head to spray on the journal. The end result was that the front and back covers, and pages closest to the covers, were fairly wet. The inner pages were more protected, so only the edges of those pages were wet. The journal is now drying, and I'm happy to say that it has taken on a somewhat warped look. All in all, I was surprised that I was able to let go and not be so protective of my work; in fact, taking it in the shower was liberating and fun.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Journal Page

Recently, my friend Lindsay invited me to participate in a local artists group known as the Blind Faith Book Club. Members meet monthly to socialize and display their art. This month's prompt was "What I did on my Summer vacation". We were to create a project of our choice using only things we already had in our craft supplies. The project could be a scrapbook page, journal page, fiber art piece, paper sculpture, or whatever. Since circumstances have prevented me from doing anything fun this summer, I chose to create a journal page so I could write about how much I miss traveling and camping.

As you may notice, some of my words and letters in the journaling are a little darker in spots. This is the result of the gel pen I was using. The pen kept skipping so I had to go back over some letters, and I also had spots where the ink was smearing. I left things as they were; quite a change for me, since before doing Wreck This Journal I would have been really upset about how imperfect the journaling turned out. Surprise of surprises, I actually like the way the lettering looks.

Wreck This Journal Update

Well, so far I've managed to rip, chew, cut, tear, poke holes, scratch, pour coffee, drip paint, draw, burn, and generally be destructive to the pages of my journal. I've collected fruit stickers and grocery receipts to glue into the journal. I'm working on collecting things that I find on the street, in my couch, in my pocket, my purse, and anywhere else to add to the pages. While some of the instructions on the pages of the journal may seem simplistic and innocuous, I believe there is a deeper purpose in these exercises. This project is extremely therapeutic and is giving me the ability to free myself from my "things always have to be perfect" syndrome. It's quite liberating to take a sharp object in hand and poke and scratch pages, rip pages out, and generally be messy. Since beginning this project, I believe my artwork is reflecting this new attitude that imperfection is part of the work and has value. Mostly though, it's fun! More destruction updates in the future.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wreck This Journal??????

The BIG question is...Will I really be able to wreck this journal? When it comes to my artwork, I get hung up on the "fear" that I might wreck my work by doing something that I might not like, and regret having done. I lack the courage to be free when creating. I want to be able to create, experiment, and not worry about the outcome.

When I learned about this journal by Keri Smith, I figured it might be the answer to my fear of letting go and encourage creative experimentation. I especially love Keri's statement on the title page, "to create is to destroy". She also issues a warning, "You may be asked to do things you question. You may grieve for the perfect state that you found the book in. You may begin to see creative destruction everywhere. You may begin to live more recklessly." I think this is exactly what I need. The idea of always trying to achieve perfection is a creativity killer.

Will I be able to rip, poke holes, chew, crumple and deface pages? Will I be hesitant about using a page as a napkin, taking the journal for a walk by dragging it down the road, or taking it in the shower? Let's just say that I'm working up to it by doing the "safer" pages first. My first page involved going to the grocery store and collecting fruit stickers to glue onto the page. Now, that's pretty easy and safe. It's a good thing that the pages can be done in any order.

Incidentally, my 19-year-old daughter, Shelby, wanted to play along, so she bought herself a copy. She's ahead of me on the amount of pages she's done, and she is being very fearless about wrecking her journal. She's really having fun with the process and takes her journal everywhere. Her courage is an inspiration to me. At least I will have her for creative support when we take our journals for a walk down the gravel road.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Les Petits Roi et Riene - Final Project Completed

All finished! Adding the boy doll to the layout was a challenge. I had to place him just so in order that his arm fit behind her at the right spot, and I didn't want to have his legs partially covered by her skirt. Rather than paint her dress and his jacket, I used scrapbook paper. I wanted the hair to resemble the powdered wigs worn at the time; they were pretty elaborate but I decided to keep it simple. I'm pretty happy with the way my little king and queen turned out. This class was so much fun and has really inspired me to draw more Petit Dolls. Thanks Suzi!

Petit Dolls Final Project Sketch

For the final class project, I chose to use a doll I drew that was my interpretation of Marie Antoinette. Suzi had provided us with a template of a boy doll that we could use if we chose. The style of her boy didn't exactly work out for my girl, so I redrew his face and parts of his body to make him fit my theme. He's upside down because her skirt was so full that I had to flip my sketch book in order to fit him on the same page. Unfortunately my scanner cut half of him off, but you get the idea.

Petit Doll with Kitty

Before I cut out my Petit Doll, I prepared my wood piece. I chose my color palette. Since I would be giving her a pink dress, I decided to go with pink, purple, touches of blue, and anything else I thought would work. I chose paper scraps to add to my background for interest. When I was satisfied with my preliminary background, I cut out my doll and glued her on. Once she was thoroughly dry, I painted her eyes, lips, hair, and dress. At this point, I decided to scrap the dolly she is holding and substitute a flower instead. I added more color to her face and gave her pinky cheeks. To finish, I also touches of color to the background, some stamped images, and embellishments. I also added a little friend. Here is my completed Project 1.

Petit Doll Project 1

After I drew my dolls, I decided I would use the doll holding her dolly since she would be a bit simpler to work with. I began working on shading her face using colored pencils and blending the colors together in order to give her pleasing skin tones . At this point, I left her eyes, hair, and dress uncolored because I wanted to do these after she was cut out and mounted on my board. Her nose smeared a little during the blending process because I had sketched with a softer lead pencil. I knew I could wait and correct the smear after gluing her onto the board.

Petit Doll Sketches

After playing with heads, the next step was to sketch a Petit Doll on paper that would be for our first project. Suzi encouraged us to draw dolls with simple lines so it would be easier to cut them out. I made these two sketches.

Petit Dolls Beginner Class

In April, I signed up to do Suzi Blu's Petit Dolls Beginner Class. I had taken the Petit Dolls Winter class, which I really loved, so when Suzi offered this class I knew I had to do it. In this class, Suzi is covering more of the basics like background preparation, composition, shading, shabby technique, embellishments, using beeswax, and lots of other cool stuff. Suzi is a great teacher who generously shares her knowledge, is encouraging, and genuinely cares about her students.

At the beginning of the class, we were encouraged to make sketches of heads and experiment with drawing eyes, noses, lips, hair, and eyebrows to give our dolls different expressions.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mother's Day ATC

Life has been a little crazy, so it's been awhile since I've posted. In between all of the busy stuff, I've managed to fit in some one on one time with my Muse to create. Working in my journal is a great stress reliever and is very freeing for me since I can simply play with no pressure or expectations. It's been a lifesaver!

Before I knew it, Mother's Day was looming on my horizon. I decided that I wanted to make an ATC to send to my friend Jerilyn as a surprise. I looked through some photos I had collected and absolutely loved this one. The sweet expression of love between the little girl and her mother touched my heart, and made me think of the love shared between mothers and their children throughout the centuries. I love the way it turned out, and Jeri was thrilled to receive it in the mail.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Valentine Blog Party Winners

I wrote all of the names on slips of paper of those who left comments on my giveaway, placed then in a big bowl, mixed them up and randomly chose two names. The winner of the Love ATC is Judy H. of The winner of the B is for Bird Gothic Arch is Heather of Congratulations Judy and Heather! I want to thank all of you who took the time to stop by my blog and leave very kind comments. The blog party was fun, and I loved visiting each blog, seeing all the gorgeous artwork, and getting to know all of you.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Giveaway

In honor of our Valentine's Day Blog Party, I have created the Love ATC and B is for Bird Gothic Arch as giveaways. If you would like to enter, please leave a comment and after 12 noon on Sunday, March 1, I will have a random drawing to choose 2 winners. Please be sure to leave me an email address or blog address to link back to.


I found these old books at the thrift store Please feel free to download them and use them in your artwork. The Lettering book has a copyright date of 1895, and Agatha's Unknown Way has a copyright date of 1898. Please do not include these images in a collection or collage sheet for sale.

Saltine Toffee Almond Candy

This recipe is amazingly easy to prepare and uses ingredients that are readily available. The candy is so delicious because it's sweet, salty, crunchy, has chocolate and toasted almonds.

Saltine Toffee Almond Candy

Saltine Crackers - approximately 1-1/2 sleeves
4 ounces butter (1 cube)
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk chocolate)
3/4 cup toasted almonds, chopped (or other nuts desired)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place almonds in a pan and toast in oven until lightly browned. Watch carefully so that the almonds don't scorch. Remove from heat and let cool while preparing the candy.

Line a 15-1/2 inch x 10-1/2 inch x 1-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil; spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.

Arrange the saltine crackers in a single layer on the foil lined baking sheet, making sure there are no empty spaces between the crackers.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter and sugar, stirring while the sugar melts. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and boil for 3 minutes. Carefully pour the sugar-butter mixture over the saltines, covering as many crackers as possible (toffee will spread in the oven).

Bake the crackers in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes until the toffee is bubbling. While crackers are baking, chop the almonds.

Carefully remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for 1 minute. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the hot toffee, and let sit for 5 minutes so chips will soften and begin to melt. Using a knife or spatula, spread the melted chocolate over the entire surface of the toffee. Sprinkle with chopped toasted almonds. Cool completely. Break into pieces to serve.

A Small Visitor

I looked out my kitchen window and noticed that a hawk had decided to perch on the limb of one of the oak trees.

Snow In The Sierra's

Another storm came in bringing us much needed moisture in the form of snow. The only problem we had was that power lines were knocked down, so we were without power from 7:30 a.m. on Friday to 5:17 a.m. Saturday morning. It's a good thing we have a wood stove in the living area to keep us warm, and where I was able to do a little simple meal preparation. The worst part was that our well is pump-driven, so with no electricity we aren't able to run the water. We had some emergency water set aside, so that helped. No television and no video games, so we played board games by oil lamp light. I also worked on some Valentine's Day cards for my family. Even though I had the oil lamps and candles lit, it was really difficult to see what I was cutting with the X-acto knife. All the while, I kept thinking about those brave pioneer women who created their beautiful quilts with tiny stitches by lamp and firelight! It really made me thankful for electricity. I thought you all might enjoy this gorgeous view of the snowy landscape from my kitchen window.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Petite Dolls Workshop

I joined Suzi Blu's Petite Dolls Workshop, so I've been working my way through the lessons. I began doing some practice sketches of eyes and getting the shape and placement correct, head shapes, head tilts, lips, gesture sketches, shading and blending. When I felt confortable with the beginning level, I moved on to sketching faces, drawing and shading and blending the eyes, and working on hair styles. Suzi is a great teacher, and her pdf's and videos are uplifting, entertaining, extremely instructional, and fun. She makes each step look easy, with the emphasis on practice, practice, practice. So far, I've been sketching on paper, but I'm ready to try sketching on a piece of birch playwood and then using a woodburning tool to outline the doll. I'll use watercolor pencils and acrylics to shade and paint the doll. I think one of the most important things I've learned from Suzi is to take chances, and that it's ok to mess up or ruin a piece because it's part of the learning process.