Sunday, December 23, 2012

Spirit of My Heart Journal Page

These journal pages reflect what was going on in my head the day I sat down to play.  This journal is getting pretty full!  I've had to take out a lot of pages because it is already bursting at the seams.  One thing I'm really enjoying is the spontaneous color combinations that are happening on my pages. Lime green and blue together are so yummy! The page on the left has a little window that opens onto another page, but there isn't anything to see through it yet.  These two pages were started by laying down color with Derwent Inktense Blocks in several colors of blue and some lime green.  I'm struggling to get results I like with the blocks, especially on un-gessoed paper.  You can see how the scribble marks from the blocks did not blend out when I added water.  It is nearly impossible to work on a totally flat page in an art journal so laying down the color smoothly is difficult.  If the page has been gessoed first the color smooths out much better.  (is "smooths" really a word?  Say it out loud, sounds funny.  Smooooooths....).  I sprayed some Glimmer Mist through plastic canvas over the top.  Nothing fancy happening here but but I rather like the results.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Journal Pages, Serendipity, and Revelation

The quote I pasted into my journal is by Thomas Moore from The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, and it reads:
"I don't share many of my colleagues enthusiasm for wholeness.  I like fragments and pieces, innuendos and suggestion.  I expect never to feel like a whole person, because I'm so aware of the fragmented nature of many of my emotions, the plans I have for my life, the elements of character that are never fully present or rounded off.  in the same way, I like to see sculptures of a goddess with no head or arms, or just a piece of torso.  Temple ruins and the remains of a civilization make much more sense in pieces than if we were to come across a ghost town intact expect for the human citizenry.   
 Decay, corruption, falling apart, memory, traces of the past -- these are all aspects of life that are with us every day.  They may hint at failure, ignorance, or some other imperfection, but they are a significant dimension of all kinds of life, including our own interior experience."
This morning I had decided that I would write something about my own inner search for depth and meaning in my art.  I have several photos of journal pages that I wanted to share here and I randomly decided to post this one.  When I looked at it closely and read the quote, which I had quite forgotten, it seemed amazingly serendipitous.

After several years of making art I have hit a point where I want to go deeper.  At this point I don't know quite what that means but I am searching for answers.  Part of this process has been analyzing what kind of art I love, what I'm drawn to, what makes me quiver inside.  I have realized that I like fragments, bits and pieces that don't really go together in a logical way, but when put together in the same space by an artist develop some kind of synergy.  I like the look or torn paper, fraying fabric, and multiple layers.  Art that has some kind of mystery about it delights me.  I think I love abstraction precisely because I don't know what it means.

It had not occurred to me before re-reading this quote, that the reason I am drawn to fragments, chaos, and complexity, is because that is so often my own internal landscape.  Before I begin to sound like I need to be committed I will also state that I am also drawn to bright colors, and beauty.  So now I have a better understanding of what I like and why.  The tricky part is how to pursue these revelations as I make art.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Aqua, Violet & Olive Journal Page

When I am working on art projects I often have paint or ink that I don't want to waste so I will open my art journal and use it on a random page.  This affords me the opportunity to see if I can marry the facing pages to one another.  Sometimes it doesn't work out, but often I can find a way to carry the colors or themes across both pages.  Reading Randel Plowman's book "The Collage Workbook" inspired me to try making a word collage.  How wonderful to find that I had words in my collection in the colors from the facing page.  This color scheme happened by accident.  The right hand page had been gessoed, and one day I added the aqua/turquoise paint.  Another day I was testing out two handmade stamps I had created with fun foam, so I stamped the violet paint onto the page.  Yet another day I was using my new Adirondack inks on something and "stamped" the wet stencil onto the same page.  All very random, and yet it ended up yielding a color combo I probably would not have thought of but I really like. 

I often wonder what my art journal is for.  I play around, try new materials or techniques etc. but when I am working in the journal I often wonder if I am wasting my time.  I make "pretty" pictures and imitate other artists.  I'd like to see my journal leading me toward the development of bigger more finished/polished art pieces, but so far that hasn't happened.  I suppose at the moment my art journal just serves as a place to work in that creative mental state.  So much about practicing art is a matter of faith.  I have to have faith that the practice moments, the moments that don't lead to a fully formed art project, are just as valid and important as working on something more concrete.  When you are an artist that works full time at a non creative day job, it is easy to feel like your precious and rare art time is wasted if you are not working on a "real" project.  Just screwing around feels like wasted time.  I have to have faith that all this screwing around is teaching me something even if I don't realize that I am learning. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

New Journal Pages

After six months or more of working on a series of stitched pieces I finally decided it was time to wrap things up.  I put away the sewing supplies, sorted the fabrics I was using back into their color coded scrap bins and moved on.  For months I've been saving things I wanted to add to my art journal and thinking about taking a different tactic in approaching my art.  So far I'm incredibly frustrated, but that will be another post.  I've created several new journal pages that I'd share.  This is just one of them, but getting the rest of the pictures sized for posting will take me a little while.  Which is okay, really, as it will give me something more to post over the next week or two.  When I started this journal I went through and cut windows and page edges and other things, and collaged various papers etc. randomly throughout.  The other day one of my co-workers was wearing an outfit in shades of teal and copper that I really liked and I wanted to do a page spread with those colors.  I thought they would like nice on the pages with a window peeping through to an unfinished spread in purple, bronze, and old paper.  I'm sort of channeling Michelle Ward here, as I decided to try cutting out a mask/stencil of a leafy front and apply it in different ways on the page.  Loved the effect!

More to come.  Right now I have to go bug the lovely ladies as SAQA for advice on another issue.  Too much to do, not enough time, and I don't want to spend all day at the computer!  LOLOL.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fall Arts Harvest Exhibition

40 West Arts is hosting another art exhibition as a part of Denver Arts Week and I will have 3 pieces in the show! I also served on the jury for this exhibition which was an interesting experience. The three pieces that I entered are rather different from my usual work, but are representative of some of the other work I am interested in doing.
Still Not Good Enough - 2012
Sometime back I posted these pieces in order to discuss the fact that I had no idea how to finish them. I simply cannot afford to frame my artwork and I don't even know if they are worth putting the money into if I could afford it. But I like them and really wanted them to get out into the world. Eventually I decided on mounting them to painted hardboard and stapling clear vinyl over the top. They have a sort of grungy graffiti look to them and I felt that the hardboard, vinyl, and staples added to the look. There is also something narrative going on there with the feminist issues and the vinyl..... I'll leave that to your imagination and personal interpretation. These photos don't show the vinyl. I knew it would be shiny and hard to photograph so I took the pictures before adding it.
How Can I Serve You? - 2012
 These pieces were created with scraped acrylic paint on heavy bristol paper. I scraped, splattered, mono printed, stenciled, spray painted, etc. Happy painting abandon! Then I tore up a newspaper and reassembled it as a collage, photocopied the result and started playing with the silhouettes. As a nod to my predilection for using fabric, I included a wee bit of hand dyed cheesecloth. The collages were glued to the hardboard with gloss gel medium. Good thing too! They buckled. Even though I let them dry while weighted with heavy books. It was kind of a mess. There is an artist named Johnathan Talbot who does amazing collage. He uses a technique where he pre coats his collage materials with gloss medium and lets them dry. He then arranges his collage items into place and IRONS them down. I used this technique to place the collage silhouettes. When my pieces ended up buckled I put parchment paper of the top and ironed the heck outta them. It worked! The gel medium I used as glue fused down quite nicely! Phew!

Woman's Depth - 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

Spectacular Color! Blurry Trees!

The other day I was walking toward the door to my office and I realized how amazingly beautiful these trees were.  The early morning sun was hitting them just right, turning the autumn colors into a blaze of glory.  I just happened to have my camera in my pocket so I quickly snapped a few pics.  Sadly they came out blurry, but the point wasn't to get great pictures of trees so much as to get great pictures of the color.  I am not normally drawn to autumn colors.  I prefer bright jewel tones, but nontheless, autumn is my favorite season of the year.  They say autumn on the East coast can't be beat, but I've always been stunningly happy with autumn in Colorado.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

2nd Place Winner!

I recently entered this piece in the "On My Own Time" art exhibit for State employees.  The exhibit is being shown at the Metropolitan State College, Center for Visual Arts, in the Santa Fe Art District of Denver.  Its a really nice gallery in the major Denver arts district so I am really happy to have a piece of art hanging there for a couple of weeks.  But even better..... I won 2nd place in the fine crafts category!  The competition is a two part deal.  The first part was the current exhibit.  They juried these entries to determine who will go on to the second part of the OMOT exhibit that will hang in the State Capitol building from December through May.  I'm very excited that this piece will be shown in our State Capitol.  My mother took a REALLY bad picture of me holding my ribbon at the reception and since it is my only documentation of the event I will share it in spite of how horrible I look.  I blinked.  Can you tell?

And a close up of the label.  Hey, I'm no where near jaded yet.  Got to document those successes you know!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Published in Quilting Arts Mag!

When my copy of the October/November issue of Quilting Arts Magazine arrived today I about burst from excitement.  A couple of months ago I entered a piece in the "What's Your Signature Color" reader challenge and my piece made it into the magazine.  This is a small 8" x 8" quiltlet made of fabric that I pieced, stamped, quilted, embroidered and embellished.  The squares are fabric-paper edged with gold and layered with small fabric scraps.  Sadly the blurb next to my piece says I live in Lakewood, California when it should say Colorado, but that little error hardly dents my thrill at being published in one of my favorite magazines.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My blog has been languishing lately for lack of acceptable photos to post.  As an art blogger I feel like I can't post anything unless I have a photo to go with the post, but my artwork has all been in awkward stages and my photo sessions have not been very successful of late.  The other day I tried to take photos of some of my artwork on the day that I had my eyes dilated.  Needless to say, those photos did NOT come out well!  LOL!

For several months now I have been working on artwork in a raspberry, lime, plum color scheme.  I've been trying to use the same basic materials in each piece so that they are part of a series, but I have not been trying to make each piece similar to any other piece.  Frankly I'm getting sort of tired of working with the same materials over and over again, but at the same time the ideas just keep on coming.  Money is really tight in my world right now so I'm also trying to play with ways to make the most of the materials I have.  Ways to use every scrap.  Sometimes I think this way of thinking holds me back since I feel like I have to a use what I already have.  But it is so easy to fall prey to the idea that a new art supply or tool will magically cause me to make amazing, inspired art.  Anyway, working in a series has proven to be a very productive approach for me.  

The piece above is made from leftover backing paper from painted Wonder Under, and stained newspaper that have been woven together.  I used t-shirt transfer paper to add a word cloud to the surface and then I added a swipe of pearlescent white paint and splatters of white gesso.  Earlier in this process I had created a "fabric" from little scraps of other fabrics that I quilted in spirals and then cut into piece that I finished with a blanket embroidery stitch.  I added these squares with glue and stitch and then added a few finishing embroidered motifs.  Then I mounted the whole things on a painted canvas background.

This piece is also made of woven papers.  Specifically embossed wallpaper and fabric paper that I made of all sorts of materials.  I stitched purple organza flowers over the top and added the quilted bottom portion and a border.

I have some plans for this series is I can make a few dreams come true.  There are several other pieces in the series but some of them aren't finished yet.  More photos to come!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Problem Solved

Its amazing what you can find on Google!  I typed in "why is my blog banner blurry" and ended up finding a blog with great instructions for fixing my blurry header.

The instructions tell you to host your image on an image hosting web site, which did indeed do the trick.  However, Blogger wouldn't even recognize the image link when I tried hosting the image on Flickr and Picassa kept on forcing my image to be smaller that I wanted it to be.  I ended up using Imageshack as suggested by Southern Speakers.  Worked like a charm!  After hours of struggling to fix the *(@#$)! problem.  Thank you Southern Speakers!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

New Blog Banner

Ack!  After taking the time to put together a new blog banner, and fighting with Google Chrome to post it, it turns out blurry.  I have no idea why.  Grrrrr.  This blogging business is more challenging that I really appreciate.

Messy Work Table

This is Mr. Jingles.  He is in my way.  Notice that he is lying on top of the pile of ..... stuff..... on my work table.  There are sharp pointy things in there!  The whole left side of the table is open cuz that's where the piece I'm stitching goes, but he has to lie on top of the scissors, pins. rulers, paint, paper towels, paint brushes etc.  Visualize me working while battling cat hair, and wiggly tails.  Searching blindly under the cat for my thimble.  Sigh.  And yet, I wouldn't kick him out for the world.  My cats keep me company and it makes me happy that they want to be with me.

He had his photo op and is taking a well deserved rest now.  Slug.

This is Naja.  After Jingles left, and I had added a nice crinkly sack to the table top, (cuz there wasn't enough junk on there yet), she had to get in on the action.  Now, its summertime, and its been really hot, so these little monsters are shedding like mad.  I constantly have to fish cat hair out of my contact lenses.  I keep lint roller handy to get the cat hair off my artwork.  But she was so sweet, all squirmy and purring.  After a short while she left.  But.....

As soon as I got to work again, Harry had to come say hi.  He is a 20 pound monster of a cat and my work table is his favorite place to sleep.  Whatever I'm working on was obviously designed to be his bed.  Duh!  But laying there quietly wasn't enough.  He tromped around on the pile of stuff for a few minutes and then decided he needed a cuddle.

How could I say no?  Taking a picture of him with my right hand while he is lying on my left arm was a challenge!  No artist working in solitude, with pets, could ever be lonely.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Yard Art

 These are some pictures of the art my husband makes in our yard.  The flamingos live in the front yard.  They are a miss matched bunch, including one rather diseased looking fellow that some previous owner tried to paint purple.  My husband has moved them around over the years, putting them in various poses, including hanging out of the pine tree.  At Christmas he hangs little wreaths around their necks.  The day he added the wind spinner to the mix the little girl next door came over and started "riding" the flamingos.  It was the cutest thing.  She had no idea we were watching her so we got a perfect performance.

Keith has hung about 20 of those twisted plastic wind spinner doohickies in our plum tree out back.  They sparkle in the breeze and make a little jeweled garden.  It was so pretty when the plum was in bloom. The tulips were in bloom when I took these pictures, which was a nice little touch.  The gazing ball below is sitting in the center of a smaller plum tree that Keith has coaxed into growing in a round bower like shape.  I think the yellow dandelions add a pretty bit of contrast!

The little guys below are made of mini bowling pins and plastic half balls .  They spin in the wind and are so cheerful! Jaunty even!  Most of the spinners he makes hang from tree branches but I just loved these little garden stake spinners.  He was going to make about 50 of them and make patterns in the lawn but we were afraid someone would come along and steal them.  We had someone steal two of our flamingos once.  So sad.

Keith makes all this stuff out of plastic toys, dishes, and bicycle parts that he finds at thrift stores.  Its a great way to recycle, although it is also a dangerous hobby.  He collects more stuff that he will ever use!  I think he ought to sell them but so far its a no-go.  At least I get to enjoy them!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I posted a slightly different picture of this woven paper thingy.  It was made from leftover painted wonder under backing paper and newspaper.  I've continued to work with it and I'm almost done with the completed piece.  I added text using t-shirt transfer paper and then monoprinted a brushstroke effect with pearlized white paint.  Finally I splattered it with more white paint.  After a couple of coats collage pauge I ended up with this really cook graffiti style background.

I just had to take some pictures of this before I started adding elements on top.  Someday (yeah, that) I want to take time to learn more about making art digitally and I think this background could be really cool.  Or I could print it onto fabric and stitch it, or......

I've been super busy in the studio lately.  The ideas just keep on coming.  Its a rare and wonderful state to be in.  Don't get me wrong, each piece goes through its stubborn stage.  Sometimes I spend hours just looking at a piece trying to figure out what it wants me to do next.  A friend of mine once suggested I try working on more than one piece at a time.  I was resistant to that idea because my studio is small and I don't have room for multiple pieces.  In spite of that I decided to try it and it seems to have freed me up in some way.  I'm into the fifth piece in this series that started with the disastrous attempt at making a quilt for a local art show.  I've been challenging myself to work with the same set of fabrics and corresponding paint colors.  Like every artist I have a ton of stuff and like too many people I have a lack of money.  It is an ongoing challenge to try and use what I already have.  My favorite source of art inspiration is other artists.  I spend a lot of time reading books and magazines and perusing art blogs and as a result I'm always finding techniques I want to try.  But all that inspiration means that there is always a reason to keep every last scrap and blob.  You know..... surely I can do something cool with that!  LOL!  At some point this series has to end.  I'm beginning to feel the stirring of boredom with the materials and color scheme.  Not quite done yet, but its coming.  Right now I've got some quilting to do, and I need to go buy a canvas to mount the above piece on and I wanted to try that thing with those scraps, and..........

Sunday, June 10, 2012

40 West Arts Opening Night

Opening night at the new 40 West Arts gallery space was a huge success.  About 300 people attended!  There was a lot of great artwork and a lot of variety.  It was so exciting to see my own work hanging on the walls.  The energy of the show and all the people who attended was so positive.  I was excited to see the work of another fiber artist.  I'm not alone!  Hopefully I will actually get to meet her one of these days.  I went over and hung out for a while on Saturday.  Theoretically I was helping at the welcome desk but really I just sat and talked to people and watched all the activity.  There was a great sense of community going on, with people looking at artwork, standing around talking to each other, introducing one another etc.  I really hope this atmosphere proves to be the norm for this new art district.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stacked Journaling Experiments

I'm working on a project right now that I thought would be interesting with some kind of text so I decided to get out various tools and try Stacked Journaling.  I had some left over copy paper with faint marks on it that I used for practice sheets so you can see some strange marks hidden in there too.  I tried writing with skewers, brushes, pens, Fantastix etc.  My favorites are the one on top of the page above which I did with a long liner brush, and the one in bright blue below which was fabric paint squeezed out of a bottle and then mono printed.
This is probably the only way I'm ever going to like my own handwriting! LOL! Once I got started I realized there are dozens of options to explore.  Not only the materials involved but also trying things like writing in all caps, using long ascenders and descenders or using short ones.  Printing or cursive.  Now I want to experiment with trying to get my SJ onto something that will be very transparent.  I plan to scan in a nice large block and then print it out onto silk organza, tissue paper, t-shirt transfer paper and ink jet transparency.

This isn't great art but it was fun to play and I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of looks that came out of it.  I will add these to my art journal so I can refer back to them again. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Chaotic Work Table

The thing about working in fiber or collage is that it generates scraps.  Beautiful scraps that I'm always sure I could do something with.  Its the bane of all artists!  I keep getting ideas about using the bits and pieces from the original project that turned into a disaster but left me with all these delectable scraps.  The theory is that I'll use the scraps up but somehow that never seems to work out.  LOL!  I've decided that I need to start making an effort to photograph my work as it progresses, on the off chance that a magazine article idea strikes me.  That way I'll have pictures for how-to articles or something vague like that.  And something to post on this blog.  So I get out the camera and start taking pictures of the piece on my design board.  While I'm in there I decide to take pictures of the incredible mess on my work table.  Actually, it does get worse than this.   I'm a menace to myself in here!  I can't find the sewing needles, or the right paint brush or..... you get the idea.  Not enough space, too much stuff.  And really, when you get into the zone you just aren't thinking about being tidy.  Here I was working on experiments with Stacked Journaling which I learned about from artist Judi Hurwitt.  Check out her work, its gorgeous!  The experiments were a ton of fun.  However, the pictures of the artwork came out incredibly blurry.  Whats the deal?  Same camera, same room, same photographer, and the pictures I came in here to take suck while the "incidental" photos are fine.  Hmph.

Here is a photo of the lovely sewing machine I work with.  My mom can't recall exactly when she bought it but it is approximately 40 years old.  I learned to sew on this machine.  Its a serious work horse, but at this point it kind of lacks finesse.  Unless I win a contest somewhere I'll never be able to afford another machine so I'll probably use this one until one of us dies.

Although this picture doesn't prove it, I kind of looked nice yesterday.  So while I was in a camera happy frame of mind I decided to take some pictures of myself.  Never a good idea!  Nonetheless, bravery is getting the better of me this morning so here I am, red nose and all.  But hey, you can kind of see the little pink jewel on one of my teeth.  Its been there since last August but only one person has ever noticed it.  Enough about me.  There will be more about me later!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Working in a Series: Experimenting

A while back I started working on this project that I intended to try to enter in the Evolution show at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum.  I selected my colors and fabrics and decided on some techniques I wanted to try, which included some painted Wonder Under fusible webbing.  Well, the project took a major turn for the worse and I did not end up trying to enter the show.  Happily I was able to deconstruct the parts and put them together in a new piece that will now be in the 40 West Arts exhibit for Lakewood Inspire Week.  And I also ended up with this beautiful piece of painted release paper left over from the painted Wonder Under.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I am working on a series inspired by the original failed project.  Just trying to see how many different pieces I can make using the same colors and materials, although I like to throw something new in now and then.  I wanted to make something with some of this pretty painted release paper, but seeing as it is purposefully designed to not stick to things I wasn't sure how to use it.  I decided to try some paper weaving with newspaper to create a background that I will do some remnant collage over.  I think.  LOL. One idea leads to another and I never know where I'm headed, even when I get there.  Here is how it looked after the weaving:

I like it!  Paper weaving isn't exactly a revolutionary concept but I often like the look when I see it in other people's work.  I'm also having fun trying out new camera angles.  Photography is not my passion, and is frankly the biggest stumbling block for me as a blogger, but maybe trying something besides a straight on shot will excite me more.  Gotta start somewhere!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Cat Hair Studio

I wanted to call my blog Cat Hair Studio but the name was already taken.  There's a good reason for wanting to call it that.  Everything I make ends up covered in cat hair!  Short of closing the door while I work there is no possible way to keep the cats out of the studio, and frankly, I enjoy their company.  Once I ended up with a cat with blue paint on his paws!  OMG, the chaos!  LOL.  I had to scramble to catch him before he tracked blue paint all over the house or tried to lick it off.  There is a rule that applies to cats as well as people....DON'T EAT YOUR PAINT!  This lovely glimpse of a newly finished piece is posted merely to amuse the cat lovers out there.  Don't worry, the  hair will be removed and better photo's will be taken.  I'm thinking of submitting this piece and a couple of others that are part of a series to some magazine or other.  I just have to finish everything first!

Friday, May 11, 2012

OMG!!!  I'm going to be in an art show!  The new art district shaping up in my home neighborhood is opening a new art gallery and holding their first juried art exhibition and I've had three pieces accepted to the show.  This is beyond exciting!  The show should be eclectic and interesting with a lot of different types of art represented.  I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to see what other artists in my area are doing.  After working in a vacuum for the last few years I'm excited to meet some other artists.  Real, live, in person artists!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Transfer Artist Paper (TAP)

As part of the book review program with C&T Publishing I decided I wanted to read and review Create With Transfer Artist Paper, by Lesley Riley.  This book is a great introduction to the variety of wonderful things you can do with Transfer Artist Paper (TAP).  Lesley's writing is warm and personable and she really clearly explains the various uses of this product.  I was not overly impressed by any of the artwork in this book but I did appreciate the variety of surfaces and techniques demonstrated by each piece.  There are some good basic instructions for editing photos using photo editing software. Lesley covers some of the pros and cons of using TAP on various surfaces so the user will have a good idea what to expect and how to deal with any complications that might arise.  I find it really exciting that you can use other art media such as pastels or pencils on TAP and that transfers can be layered on top of one another for additional effects.  This book will give you some great ideas if you are an artist who is interested in image transfers or is looking for a way to get your own artwork out of your sketchbook and onto another surface.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Messy Work Table Reveal Day!

Here is the post from Lynns blog with links to the participatins artists blogs.  Its so much fun to peek into everyones studio!

Fibra Artysta - Mixed Media Fiber Art: messy work table photo collaboration reveal day! :...: Here we are - time to show off your messy work tables! :) Being an artist is a gift but let's face it, its not neat. And where other peop...

Monday, March 26, 2012

MESSY WORK TABLE photo collaboration

If I actually had any readers they would think I am stalking Lynn Krawczyk!  Really I'm not!  I'm just trying to get involved in the blogosphere and she keeps giving me great opportunities.  Thanks Lynn!  This is a photo of my work table as it looks right this minute.  I'm working on a readers challenge for Quilting Arts Magazine all about your signature color.  You might be guessing that mine is purple.  Pink is actually my favorite color, but almost everything I make ends up with purple in it so I dug out the purple scraps and went to town.  My work table is usually twice as bad as this but I cleaned up a bit a few days ago because I couldn't find anything.  The surface is covered with several pieces of freezer paper that are looking really cool with all the paint and ink and glue.  I love the idea of taking photo's of my work table.  Its such an evolving space.  An artists work table reflects the mood, joy, and pain of the artist.  The frenzy, pleasure and chaos are evident in the piles of media and ephemera.  Imagine years of such photos as a record of where you've been as an artist.  My journal is calling my name right now!  I love my work table.  I'd hug it if I could.  I suppose I could get down and hug a leg, but that might look all wrong, if you know what I mean.  Feeling pretty silly today!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fibra Artysta - Mixed Media Fiber Art: MESSY WORK TABLE photo collaboration

Fibra Artysta - Mixed Media Fiber Art: MESSY WORK TABLE photo collaboration: Last September Seth Apter hosted an online photo collaboration that I just completely fell in love with. He called it Paper Stacks and t...

Shoe Shots Blog Hop

While reading Lynn Krawczyk's blog I came across a post about a blog hop being sponsored by the Fly Tribe blog.  I've been admiring Lynn's Where I Stand Sunday blog posts and wanting to do something similar but not wanting to be a total copycat!  Here is my chance to play!  I guess lots of people out there are photographing their feet so I won't be alone in copy catting.  This is a pic of my feet in my ratty old slippers in my studio.  The floor is covered with bits and pieces from an art quilt I just finished.  There are so many bits leftover that I plan to try another project using the scraps and I've been sorting them into sizes.  My studio table is not very large so a lot of stuff gets "sorted" onto the floor.  It looks like a bomb went off in here much of the time!  There is comfort and warmth in the slippers and the golden oak floors that make up my favorite space.  Most of my personal time is spent wearing these slippers in this room so it is a fitting first photo of my feet.  (Try reading those last few words out loud.  Several times.  Fast.  Guaranteed to make you laugh).

Collage painting

I recently completed this 9"x12" collage painting.  Can you tell who inspired me?  I'm utterly fascinated by Lynne Perrella's work.  Could stare at it for hours.  Her work makes me shake.  That shaking feeling is what made me realize that I wanted to be an artist.  Nothing but art makes me feel that way.  It's like being seduced by a new lover.  Back to the painting....  This actually began as an experiment inspired by one of Jane Davies techniques where you dip a pipe cleaner in ink and feather it across the page and then scrape various colors of paint over the top with a credit card.  Great idea!  All my attempts looked like crap.  Sigh.  I put the papers away for a while and recently dug them out to see if I had any ideas.  The I took another look at Lynne Perrella's series based on Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and some ideas took off.  Stencil's and tar gel and t-shirt transfer paper, oh my!  It was great fun and I'm really happy with it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lynn Krawczyk

I was a happy winner of a fat quarter of fabric designed by artists Lynn Krawczyk.  She recently opened a Spoonflower shop and did a fun blog hop where five lucky people won some of her fabrics.  I received a fat quarter of her Coffee Cup Stain design and it's really wonderful!  So much detail and the fabric quality is really nice. This picture is kind of washed out unfortunately.  You can't really see the fabulous text patterns in it.  Lynn is such a talented artist and a great blogger too.  By the way she did give me permission to post a picture of the fabric.  She's so nice!  Here is a link to her Spoonflower shop:

Friday, March 9, 2012

A new mixed media book

I signed up to be part of the C&T Publishing Creative Troupe and one of the great benefits is that I get to read PDF versions of their books for free as long as I post book reviews. Check it out! What a great opportunity! I've been considering writing book reviews for a long time now, seeing as I have a huge library of art books! Here is my first review for C&T Publishing:

More Fabric Art Collage by Rebekah Meier is a treasure trove of techniques that will appeal to any mixed media artist. Many of the techniques presented in this book have been around for a while but the author does an excellent job of explaining the techniques in simple terms that will make it easy for any artist to get started. She does not address the problems that can arise from some of the techniques, such as getting fusible adhesive on your rubber stamps when embossing Fast2Fuse, or completely disintegrating your tyvek when ironing it! The techniques are presented in such a way to help you get started and to inspire ideas, but they are not in depth examinations of the process. The author suggests several ways to upcycle items found in your home or art studio, such as paper towels, aluminum foil, dryer sheets, soda cans, waxed paper and scraps left over from other art projects. With these ideas nothing goes to waste although you risk finding yourself wanting to save every last scrap that you might otherwise throw out! The author covers a really nice array of substrates/foundations, texturing mediums, and other art supplies such as transfer paper, and Rigid Wrap, and Mul-tex. There are numerous ideas in this book for using lots of techniques together in one cohesive piece of art which will appeal to all the technique junkies in the mixed media art world! All in all this is a very inspiring book and would be an excellent resource for an art group looking to work on a book study. The artwork shown in this book is a bit more sophisticated than that show in her previous book and is very inspiring. Rebekah Meier uses these techniques to create artwork that is layered, interesting and feminine. This is a book to return to again and again for ideas and inspiration.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


I completed these three mixed media paintings several months ago.  They are large....19 x 23 inches.  The base is heavy bristol paper and I've painted and collaged the surface.  There are some slightly dimensional elements too.  Here is the quandary..... how do I mount them for display?  I can't afford to frame them because they are so big.  They need a deep frame because of the dimensional elements.  I've been reading about mounting works on paper and the experts seem to think that gluing them down to a support devalues the work.  I don't even know if these are good enough to worry about devaluing them!  There is new art district developing in my neighborhood and they are putting out invitations for artists to display their work.  These three pieces are among my few finished works of art and I'd like to see if they would be accepted for display at one of the venues in our new art district but before I can do that I have to get them ready for display.  I'm considering gluing them to masonite but then I wonder if I should use some kind of varnish to protect them?  They have a few layers of gloss medium already but some of the collage elements are just plain printer paper which is not archival and I'd like to protect it as much as possible.  What is an affordable and reasonably professional way to finish these pieces?

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Here are my completed flower drawings from my earlier post.  As you can see I drew a few more flowers and then colored them.  You can't tell from the pictures but I used my Twinkling H2Os for the top page and in real life they have a lovely sparkle!  For the bottom picture I mostly used my new Intense blocks.  I got both the H2Os and the blocks for Christmas and I'm having fun playing with them.  I decided to draw flowers after seeing Alisa Burke demonstrate her fabric flower doodles on the video that came with her book Sew Wild.  Now I'll have to try doing that myself.  Stay tuned!  I was also really inspired by Jane LaFazio's sketchbook pages.  She makes simple things look so appealing! Drawing intimidates the heck out of me but I have to say that working on these pages was intensely pleasant.  I really got into the zen state while drawing and painting and for once I don't hate the results.  While looking through an older art journal for some image transfer experiments I did a while back I came across the following page:

These silly creatures were created after reading Carla Sonheim's book Drawing Lab.  After doodling around with paint I found these two creatures but they are going in somewhat different directions.  Nonetheless I decided to decorate them and add shadows.  The blue one has iridescent paint and ink on it which is kind of over exposed in the photo.  The wings are white and the spots are pink.