Monday, February 8, 2016

What's It All About?


Art Journal
Acrylics, watercolor crayons, ink

I'll start at the beginning when I sat down to do something in my journal today.  When you don't have an idea for the overall page (9x12), it helps to break it up by creating boxes of different sizes and then decide what's to be in each box.
Here's the sketch....
What's on your mind?  I didn't write anything here, but these boxes do represent things going on in my mind.  I won't elaborate, but suffice to say, the largest box has a baby boy and next month is my son's 28th birthday...
Below is the first box I added color to with my watercolor crayons...



It's of course, easy to fill in the parts of the boxes you absolutely know what you want to do to them.  The rest became a progression.  A close-up of the baby below.  The tiny little bed in the box above his head...could represent the sleepless nights I have!  


Perhaps I yearn for those nights when I used to sleep like a baby....but I think those were way before the baby!  And the baby's been out of the house for awhile....This is an exercise I would do again.  More boxes, fewer boxes, animal vegetable, mineral....I've debated putting a stain over the entire page, but I'm afraid I might ruin it.  The colors are bright....


OK, I put a coat of Decou-Page over the picture and then sprayed walnut stain on it and then wiped the stain off.  Some of the white stars in the moon square ended up fading a bit but I like the effect.  That's it for now.

Friday, February 5, 2016

A SNOW DAY


ART JOURNAL
Collage
Inspired by a Starbucks bag
and heart month...

My fingertips are recovering from shoveling snow off of my deck...so cold!  It's a good thing I sat down to create some art before I went outside.
This collage was created by things I had on my work table...which is a mess.  There are so many paint containers and lots of paper...tissue, napkins, just bits paper!  I love paper.  The cup, as  you can see, is a heart shape that I cut out of a napkin. That, along with the Starbucks bag which has its own art, were the inspirations for this piece.  Added to that, I have this wonderful tissue paper with the bees all over it.  There's nothing better on a snowy, winter day than a hot cup of something and a little creativity.  Enjoy your cuppa!


Snippets of Life


STILL LIFE

It's a snowy morning here and I'm wandering around my house with thoughts whirling in my head, much like the snow outside.  What to paint next?  While I'm thinking about that, I'm sharing this book that my sister recommended to me...a wonderful little mystery I picked up at our local library.  It takes place in a fictitious village that has one bistro...where you'd really like to go and have a cafe au lait and a croissant and sit and observe  its' life and people.  A wonderful character, Inspector Gamache, leads the murder investigation and his insights on life and people in general are so well written.  After all, that's his job.  Here's an observation from the inspector...."Homes, Gamache knew, were a self-portrait.  A person's choice of color, furnishings, pictures.  Every touch revealed the individual."  The writer is a very good storytelling artist.
Think about all of the "vignettes" in your home, the little things you love, the things that make it home...this is a little corner in my kitchen.  Home.


Monday, February 1, 2016

HEART MONTH

Napkin Collage
Art Journal
I have an abundance of napkins.  They are fun to incorporate into journal pages, not only for the designs and color, but for the texture as well.  So what to do with all of the napkins?  It's not like you're going to use the same ones over and over again in your work.  So I decided to piece lots of them on to the pages in my journal...here's a closer image...


I always find it interesting how the "universe" comes together when you're working on any art project.  It does for me anyway.  Not always instantaneously; sometimes it has to percolate a bit. Today is the beginning of "heart" month...not just Valentines, but heart health, taking care of your heart.  And when I went to church yesterday, one of the readings had to do with love. I wrote an excerpt from the reading on the heart.  While I was working on the collage part, which I started a few days prior, I had no idea what I was going to do with the heart.  It was this big blank staring at me.  So many ideas were floating through my brain...lyrics to songs, lines from poems, quotes.  But nothing was quite right for the spot....until I went to church and there it was...the reading.  I'm not one to be preachy about church...it's a very individual thing. But I can't tell you how many times things come to me, in my life, that are just the right thing...the words I'm looking for, at the right time. There's a reason for that. Take care of your heart...


Saturday, January 23, 2016

IT JUST...HAPPENED


Art Journal
Bundled Up
I can tell you for sure, that this page in my journal did not start out as a painting of people.  If you look closely at the background, you might see that I "covered stuff up", whited it out and was about to give it up as a hot mess.  But then I thought...I don't like to leave pages in my journal a mess.  I want them to be...something.  So today, maybe it was that "intuitive" process kicking in as I went around some of what is underneath and sort of "erased it" with the white paint, leaving the stuff that I thought I could work with uncovered.  I didn't take photos from the get-go because I just didn't.  I do have one photo in process....

So the question is, can you fix a mess?  And the answer is, yes.  You just have to keep working through the process. The blowing snow outside might have something to do with how this came out...people bundled together.  This is why you just have to sit at your desk and... just do it...something, anything!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

NAPKINS!


Flowers- Mini Journal
Floral Napkin

It's late...I probably shouldn't be blogging...tired.  I went to a lecture at our local library on Picasso and Braque.  It's been about 45 years since I've taken anything involving Art History and yet, I learned things about Picasso that I didn't know.  Man...the guy was prolific!  I don't know what drives a person to create as many paintings as he did.  Now all of this has nothing to do with my floral picture.  Today I decided to glue a napkin that I liked into my floral journal.  I'll see it more in the journal than stuck in a drawer where I found the napkin.  The right page is obviously the napkin and the left page is the second layer of the napkin that I peeled away. You might call it the "ghost". There was still a pretty decent imprint of the pattern, so I glued it to the left side.  I saved a little square of the darker napkin and put it in the center.  Then I took a Sharpie and drew lines around the floral and bird imprints that I could see.  There are so many beautiful napkins.  Caspari makes some of the nicest.  I'd like to do a journal just on some of their napkins, however, they're expensive and I never see them on sale.  So...to buy a package of napkins for one page each could get a little bit pricey.  The journal would be pretty though!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

FLOWERS - mini journal





WATERCOLOR

I haven't started any larger pieces of art...these pages are in my mini journal that is flowers only.  My inspiration were the flowers at church last Sunday.  
When I took Boomer for a walk the other day, I picked some branches that were close to the road.  I don't really know what to say about these that are pictured below. They're OK, but not great.  


And then I did these two pages of flowers....lots of color!  Still experimenting with my watercolors.  These are quite a contrast from the previous picture as you can see.  I need to spend more time in my art room...just not there yet.  Sigh.  

Monday, January 18, 2016

I'M A FAN



Chris Roberts-Antieau


I love what this artist has written about herself, about trusting yourself and listening to that inner voice....we all have it, we just tend to often "push it away" to be more ...practical.  Some people figure it out early on. I just saw the movie "Joy" this weekend.  It's about a woman who doesn't give up on  her dream.  She had it in her as a young girl and then there's a long gap of time before she pursues her vision.  Along the way, she is always encouraged by her grandmother.  It's based on a true story.  If you've seen the movie, you know how much grit and courage it takes for Joy not to give up on her dreams.

Reading what Chris wrote here is great.  If they could just blow it up and post it in every school for kids to see...from kindergarten on up....we all have a gift(s)!
I need to remind myself of this today and everyday and I'm not a kid.  Always a work in progress....(Google Chris to see more of her art...it's fabulous)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Gifts in my Life


ART JOURNAL
Gifts in my Life
Completed!

I finished this sweet little journal this morning that I started in 2014.  I bought the journal at a store in our local mall.  I didn't like the padded paper inside, so I removed it and created manila file folder pages.  I do love the fabric cover and the whimsical style of it's creator.  Inside the front cover...

That is still the fabric cover on the left side, the beginning of the manila folder pages on the right...below is the side view so you can see the thickness of the book.  (Overall, 6 x 8 inches)

And I am updating a post from yesterday....my friend, Jan, has too much personality to have not had more color on my art about her...


The birds serve two purposes...mother and daughter represented on these two pages...and they also represent Jan and I....two friends.

C'est fini!

Friday, January 15, 2016

FRIENDS- Mother and Daughter


Art Journal
"Gifts in my Life"
Mixed Media
These two pages are in a small journal which I have almost completed called, "Gifts in my Life."  The journal is made out of manila file folders that I folded in half, covered with gesso and then used spray inks for background color. There are also some other random papers included.  I started it in 2014....
I'm meeting with my super friend, Jan, today....and the left page has an envelope with a handwritten note inside.  Handwritten notes are so wonderful, especially when they are from a long-time amazing friend.  On the opposite page is a thank you card for a wedding present I sent to her daughter in October.  How could I not put that card in my journal!  I love the art work, although I don't know whose it is as I glued the card in the book...oh well.  But it's such a cute card with a lovely note from Kait.  Below is Jan's page...
Sunrise, Sunset
Jan and I go back almost 28 years (egads!) I was thinking about all of the sunrises and sunsets we've seen as we've watched our kids grow and I thought of this song...it just fit with what I was thinking about:
"Sunrise, sunset, swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
blossoming even as we gaze.
Wasn't it yesterday when they were small?
Sunrise, sunset, swiftly fly the years..."
----Fiddler on the Roof

And last but not least....I stamped this flower inside Kait's card...

It all came together.  Retiring makes you very nostalgic!  Kait is a sunflower!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Coloring Book

Color Me Happy

While listening to the President deliver his State of the Union address last night, I colored another page in my coloring book.  For this page, I used my Faber- Castell pens (Indian ink waterproof).  Colored pencils work really well, although, I have to say that these pens go on very smoothly and the color is rich.  My only concern is that I might use up all of the ink in them just in this one coloring book!  I've always loved coloring books so this new popularity is great as there are so many to choose from. You really have to look at the books before you commit to buying one (or 2 or 3).  Some of the books have drawings where the lines are so close together I don't know how you color them.  And I like variety, so my book has different chapters, different subjects. I'm doing the pages in order because I know if I skip one because I like the next picture better...I might not go back.  If you just like doing flowers or mandalas, you can find books with just those in the book.  One of my chapters is called Whimsical Imagery, another is Music. The drawings are great!  Sharing my new experience with coloring books...fun, fun, fun....  

Monday, January 11, 2016

Enjoying My Christmas Gifts


Journal with lined pages
I love this book...the blue embossed leather cover just feels good to run your hand over.  I've tried keeping notes in journals on and off for years.  I always start out great and then, somehow...a week or two or three goes by and then the journal is forgotten.  I'm committed to keeping this book going...so far so good.  It's just too nice a journal not to use.  And, sigh, my son gave it to me which makes it all the more special.


Grumbacher Opaque Watercolors
Tiny Watercolor Journal 
I've played with watercolors off and on over the years, but I hope to do much more in the months ahead.  This little 3-1/2" by 5" journal I started months ago with just flowers in it.  This is the first time I've used these new watercolors.  The colors are so wonderful!  I'm hooked!



I enjoy the "loose" look you can get when painting with watercolors.  I could never be a botanical illustrator! This is fun....

Friday, January 8, 2016

Inspired by The NY Times (last February!)


Art Journal
Mixed Media

I am very excited about the fun, new coloring book I have, but I decided that I need to just put it out of sight occasionally so I can get more of my own creativity going.  I started the day by putting away some of the materials on my work space so I could start something new.  I am always ripping things out of magazines and newspapers that I find interesting and want to....save for future use.  I suppose it would be great if I used what I tear out right away, but it rarely happens that way.  Today's art is inspired from a February 2015 article in The NY Times on Cuban coffee shops in the FL Keys. I liked the photos and I enjoy reading anything about Cuba since I lived there back in the '50's.

I also enjoy painting faces of African American women as I think they are very interesting. I put these two ideas together and started....

Kind of scary looking, I know.  You should have seen it when it was just a pencil sketch...I absolutely thought there was no hope and wondered what I was going to cover it up with!

So I hadn't collaged any of the coffee article to the page yet and was wondering how it was going to all come together and that's when I decided that the cafe was going to be the bodice of the girl.  

She's kind of scary looking at this point, but there was still something about her that I liked so I forged ahead....
This is how she currently looks.  Still playing with her face, but if I stopped now, I would still be happy with her.
The left page, I just glued the article that inspired me to begin with.
That's it for today.  You just have to start somewhere!  I found a "home" for the newspaper articles that interested me...what better place than my journal.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

NOT MY NORMAL POST....

Art Journal
Mixed Media
So this is my first post since I retired on December 31.  My mind has been like a spinning top.  One of the challenges I am having....can't speak for everyone, is giving myself permission to actually not feel guilty about still being in pj's at 9am, enjoying my coffee...leisurely...coloring in my new coloring book (more on that)...just not always feeling like I am shifting from 1st to 2nd gear...I can take my time.  As I type this, I'm trying to convince myself!  Don't get me wrong...I like this...it's just readjusting how I look at everything.  I can tell you that going to the grocery store on Monday morning felt just strange!!!  
Back to the art....
As crazy as this may sound, one of the inspirations for my first art in the new year was an obituary I read in my local newspaper.  The woman's obituary reminded me of how precious life is and even though she suffered from a serious disease (MS)...she lived her life to the fullest.  So I put her obituary in my journal....
Many years ago, I read a woman's obituary in the NY Times and she was so ahead of her time...it was a fascinating read....I still regret not saving that because I have no idea what her name was.  Mary Margaret, the woman above, faced life head-on.  I wish I were that gutsy.  She visited Antarctica in a research vessel!

Wonder what she would think of being remembered in my journal...someone I never knew, but totally admire.


The line over the masthead from our local newspaper was timely as well....it says:  "The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing." --A. Einstein.  And last but not least on the page from Epiphany Sunday at church....my word glued on the page is openness.  Oh brother...that is certainly something I have trouble with.  Of all of the words in the basket to reach for...how did I get that one!  Well...this post is pretty open....
Moving on...I picked up one of those adult coloring books yesterday....


Of all of the coloring books at Barnes and Noble, and there were many, I chose Color Me Happy.  If the title doesn't grab you, the pages inside will.  There is a portable version (above) that I chose.  It's about 6 x 8, and easy to carry around with you, but it also comes in the standard size as well.  I've colored my first page and am well into my 2nd.  Here's the 1st page...



 One thing...I don't want it to detract from my time doing original art....but geez, it's fun!  I highly recommend having one of these.  That's it for now.  I can't sit here all day on the computer!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Gift from my Sister....from the heart


Desk Top Calendar
with my art!
My sister, who is a "techie extraordinaire", put together this calendar using my art that she photographed (unbeknownst to me).  She used Shutterfly. Above is the cover which is actually part of some art on a journal cover that I have.  She said it was challenging to fit the photos to the program as she was using parts of my art, not an entire page.  See further...

The art on the left is part of the first page of a journal I started last January.  

And here is February.....with the bird above.


March...the Raggedy Ann legs...so love this if I say so myself.  


April says "Your life is big.  Keep reaching".  The way Dianne cropped the photos so those words weren't lost is perfect!


May...May flowers in bloom!  I'm showing you all of the months....
June is actually the same as the calendar cover, COLOR.
July, below....


August...
For August she chose the boat painting which I did in a Paint and Wine class, and also a painting from one of my journals, Moroccan architecture.

September...a sentimental favorite


October...the artist at work....


November...

...the playful side of me, it says "what do you do when no one is watching"

December, last but not least...HOME.


I can't even begin to share what this calendar means to me.  So special...she put a lot of time into putting it together.  And I love her color choices for the calendar months themselves that go so well with the paintings.  It's all just amazing and I love it.  (When the calendar is open...it sits like a tent, the black being the bottom when the calendar is opened). I LOVE IT!!!