Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Holiday Ornament Swap

   I don't know about you but over the years I have participated in TONS of various swaps-the majority being vintage inspired ATCs thru ARTchix Studio. It's been quite awhile since I've done a swap there and so when I recently discovered a day late Helga was hosting a holiday ornament swap my heart sank a bit. But then I got the word I could still participate-YAY!!! Swapping ornaments is one of my fave swaps because those I receive continue to add so much joy and beauty to my Christmas trees. Sometimes I put them all on one tree and sometimes I sprinkle them around.

  Since these are due to be mailed by Nov. 1st I had to come up with something quickly and get to work. This swap is either a 2/2, 4/4 or 6/6. Of course I went for the six! These were finished yesterday tho unfortunately too late to get to the P.O. With the huge hurricane Sandy looming over the NE coast I may not get out for a few days but we'll just have to wait and see. The predicted winds may have many of us without power.Ugh.

  I had 2 pkgs. of the Eco Shapes medium houses so that's where I started. ARTchix supplies used: Eco Shapes Houses s104-2, scalloped lace German borders g876, collage sheets: Tell Me a Christmas Story m338, Send Me An Angel m277, Merry Christmas m102. The tinsels are also ARTchix but unfortunately that product was discontinued. The silver baroque dresden is from Collage Stuff and btw, Lisa is having a big sale on Dylusion stamps along with many stencils/templates while supplies last! Patterned papers were glued to the houses and the edges were sponged with Distress inks in Fired Brick and Faded Jeans. Mrs. Grossmans snowflake stickers were added to the blue ones along with some glitter glue, and pointsettia stickers by Nicole were added to the red houses. I finished them all with little glittered felt tree stickers from Hobby Lobby. I cannot wait to see what I get in return!

  For any of you living along the predicted storm corridor I hope it doesn't get as bad as predicted. Stay safe, be sure every device is charged up, stock up on the chocolate, have flashlights and candles ready and check on your loved ones -especially the elderly.

                         " Chocolate won't solve anything but it's a fine place to start."

Friday, October 26, 2012


  Happy Friday! That means once again it's time to link up to Art Journal Everyday and Paint Party Friday. So far I've been able to create something new each week but even if I wouldn't it is pure fun to see what others are creating-check it out!

 One of the books I keep on my art table is Traci Bautista's Doodles Unleashed. Her artsy flourishes, flowers and glam girls are filled with color and detailed doodles-pure inspiration! I picked it up and began going thru it again. I never painted or drew a face before and decided that I was ready to give it a go a la Traci.

  This is how my "shine" girl began:

  The 8 1/2" x 11" page was given a coat of gesso. The page was then sprayed with Dylusions Vibrant Turquoise and Inkadinkado Lilac ink sprays. Some Caran D'Ache ultramarine blue watercolor crayon was added to the upper left and lower right. I watered down Kelly Green acrylic paint and dripped and spattered. Dylusions Dotted Flower stencil along with Adirondak paint dabber in SnowCap went on. Here's what I have learned about painting a face-personally, for me, I have found that by drawing a heart shape for the base has been my saving grace in the face not having the shape of an alien :) The heart shape was painted with a yellow acrylic and then came the neck and shoulders. I used my fingers and a bit of pink acrylic paint to add shadowing. I love how some of the background colors blended in-instant depth!

  Over a period of several days I continued working on this. Hair was painted in with acrylics. A pencil was used to draw the eye and mouth before outlining it with a black Sharpie. This allowed me to  erase and redraw until I was satisfied. And the best eraser I have found is a Magic Rub eraser by Sanford which cleanly erases pencil lines without disturbing the underpainting. I doodled and colored and outlined using markers, paint pens, colored pencils and crayons. I made her a "shine" necklace and further embellished with liquid pearls in Platinum, Buttercup and Silver. Done!

 This was so much fun to work on and see it transform that I have begun another face-no more fear!Tho she won't be a "glam girl" I have been inspired to do do somewhat of a series of girls all having a necklace formed by a word that resonates with me.

  Oh, one more thing I did with this page. I decided to make some cards like this:

 Although you can't tell from this pic I printed the image on high gloss photo paper and mounted it to black glossy notecards.

                                                                  Paint me happy!

  " As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others." Marianne Williamson

Friday, October 19, 2012

Shades of Grey

  No, it's not about the book. Haven't read it and don't plan on it mostly because I very rarely read fiction. The shades of grey I'm speaking of has to do with  a watercolor painting  I made. It's been so inspiring looking at artists work linked to the various challenges I've been participating in. I know that whether it's sketching, watercolor painting, photography or digital art it all comes down to practice and patience along with talent. However, you see these works of art and can't help but feel inspired enough to try it. And hey, if it doesn't turn out you don't have to share it-easy enough, right?

  Wrong. I'm learning that sharing the (what you think is) bad or ugly may not be seen that bad by others. But more importantly, even if it is, it's a great way to get some helpful tips and feedback.

  I've been wanting to play with watercolor painting lately. It's something I've only done for creating backgrounds for journal pages. Recently I discovered a series on a local PBS station I love, Create TV. There is such a great variety of shows about cooking, gardening, travel, DIY, and art.

  Have any of you seen Bob Ross paint his acrylic landscapes?? How does he do that and make it look SO easy? I do love watching his process. But the artist that got me to try it on my own is Frank Clarke, who's show is Simply Painting. I happened to catch a show recently and besides being taken by his Irish accent and charm (there goes that Celtic thing again) I was fascinated by his watercolor paintings. Went to his website here . When I saw a free online tutorial I had to give it a go.

  And this is the result:

  It was a step by step lesson and although I don't always like doing things that way, there can be some valuable lessons learned. In this one tutorial Frank taught me so much I had no clue about! The one thing I did change was that for this monochromatic painting he used burnt umber paint (much prettier). But I took the leap and chose black-one of my least favorite colors in art when there are NO other colors involved! This was one of the prompts this week for the Fall Fearless and Fly challenge.
  Here are all three prompts:

Headline Prompt: Taking a Chance: When did you take a chance or a leap of faith? How did it turn out? What did you learn?
Color Prompt: What color do you like least? Use it!
Quote Prompt: "Don't refuse to go on an occasional wild goose chase -- that's what wild geese are for." Anonymous

   You can use one, two or all three prompts. Please visit the blog for the deets, I'd love for you to join in!

   I thought it kinda dark and ugly but decided to title it - "Riding The Storm Out" and matt and frame it. Like that makes it art. But ok, not TOO bad for a first try-just don't look closely :) It's definitely a tutorial I want to do again-in a different color. Another time. I NEED to get my hands on lots of color!!
   I'm linking this up to Fall Fearless and FlyArt Journal Everyday and Paint Party Friday. Many thanks to all the artists who link up to these challenges. You constantly inspire! And thank you for taking the time to lv. a comment with your feedback-much appreciated.

  "All our talents increase in the using, and every faculty, both good and bad, strengthen by exercise."
                                                                                                              Anne Bronte

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Wonderful Mail Week!

    Several packages arrived  recently which took me by complete surprise and besides having me going thru them with utter delight it so reminded me of the gratitude I have for the generosity of the many talented people I have met thru art.

 Without further ado- my first thanks goes to my friend Patty! She and I had emailed about our love of using napkins in our art and talked about doing a napkin exchange but I certainly didn't expect this (although I shouldn't really have been surprised :) :

  This was the beautiful package in the envie. Wrapped in that map tissue paper I love, along with a beautiful handmade monoprint tag and her gorgeous hand dyed ribbon!

  Once I opened the package I found this amazing collection of little napkins:

  and along with those came these cocktail napkins:

 I don't have them all in the picture but what a beautiful and varied collection!! What amazed me the most tho is that I didn't have any one of these in my collection or from other napkin swaps!!
 My envie of napkins for Patty is about ready for the P.O. I'll be curious as to whether or not she will have any of those I'm sending.

 Couldn't wait to play with some napkins so I made two quick and easy projects with napkins from Patty . First up is a Halloween canvas ATC:

  I peeled away the napkin layers then adhered the print to the canvas using Collage Pauge. A bit of recycled dryer sheet was added at the bottom. Halloween image and words are from collage sheets by ARTchix Studio. It was simply embellished with a glittery spider sticker and two gold rhinestones for the skull's eyes.

  Once I saw this napkin below I knew immediately what to do with it! I'm participating in a new challenge Fall Fearless and Fly hosted by Jessica Sporn and Carolyn Dube. There are three prompts and the quote prompt given came right in time for my napkin art!

  This is a 5 x 7 " canvas. I just had to do it although I'll be posting another piece of art for the challenge soon, and will give more details about the challenge then. You can also click on the badge in the sidebar for more information. I'd love to see you there!

 Thank you so much Patty!!!

  The second package/box came from my friend Lenna. She's a wonderful artist, instructor and swap hostess. She and I have been friends for quite sometime now. Lenna is moving so she sent me an email asking if there was anything I might want or need. I asked her for some fabric and this is what she sent me:

  Not just fabric but punches and ephemera!! I actually don't have those punches. Love that large punchinella (if that's what it is), her handmade paper and especially the old envies with letters inside-I couldn't wait to open them and read them!

 Lenna didn't just send me fabric-along with that she sent two fabric ink pads and reinkers-in two vibrant colors-YUM!!

 Lastly Lenna sent me the tags she had been making for me using her hand carved stamps made from the lessons in Julie Balzer's Stamp Carving 101 Online Class (see the sidebar at the top right for the link):

  Lenna and I decided to make a tag for each of us so that upon completion we'd each have a nice fat tag book representing the class we were taking together. Lenna has been SO busy with her swaps, art, NIA training, and now packing and moving that she decided to send me hers not knowing when she'll be able to finish the lessons. I've been dragging my feet on my final lesson but I WILL finish it. I'm going to send my tags to Lenna once I'm finished and she's moved into her new home. Thank you so much Lenna for doing this project with me, and thank you for the fabulous box of goodies!!

 My last surprise pkg. came from my friend Theresa whom I met in the early 2000's . She frequented the stamp store I worked in and took many of my classes. Although that store no longer exists we have remained friends. Theresa knows how much I love all things French so this is what came in the envie:

  A Parisian themed notepad and pen set! What  a thoughtful and lovely surprise. Thank you Theresa-you know I love ya!!

 Yes, I'm a pretty lucky girl to have had such beautiful souls come into my life. The kindness and generosity abounds. Is there someone you can thank today?

   "We are so caught up in our destination that we forget to appreciate the journey, especially the goodness of the people we meet on the way. Appreciation is a wonderful feeling, don't overlook it."

Friday, October 12, 2012

Immersed In All Things Celtic!

  Over the last few weekends I have been able to experience the best of the Celtic culture without leaving town! For 25 years now Bethlehem has been host to the annual Celtic Classic. We stumbled upon it in its very first year when we decided to take a walk downtown. From that year on I marked my calendar each year and don't think I missed one! It begins on a Fri. eve. and runs thru Sun. eve. the last weekend in September. The festival has grown and continues to bring the best bagpipe bands, music groups, food, Highland game competitors, border collie herding competitions, jewlery and Celtic inspired clothing from all over the world!! One could never see all the FREE entertainment provided as there are  at least five different areas with something happening simultaneously. The weekend after that we went with friends to the new Sands Event Center  (practically in my backyard) to see Celtic Thunder perform!!
  All I can say is it was the most happy and joyful (almost out of body) experience although hubby and I had seen them perform several times before. We even got to meet and chat with most of them-a very unexpected surprise-and besides being the NICEST guys-they have the most incredibly beautiful green, blue and blue/green eyes!! All of them  are from Ireland with the exception of one- George who's from Scotland. Even hubby was impressed by them :)

  I could go on and on but enough of that and on to the pages these events inspired me to create.

  I began by adhering some crumpled tissue paper  in places with gel medium. Once dry I covered the pages with some watered down acrylic paints in a yellow green, turquoise and kelly green. The borders along the side were created by stamping onto tissue paper with Jet Black Staz-On ink, trimming, then adhering it to the pages with PPA (Perfect Paper Adhesive). Looking at it while taking the photo I realized how much this looks like a relief map of Ireland on the left page!

 This is the "stamp" I used:

  Anyone remember these??? They're called bolios and were (are?) manufactured by Judikins. They are four -sided and look kinda like a rolling pin. Here's another side of my Celtic bolio:
  I own five of these-one's flower themed, one is seashore themed, another is southwestern/tribal and another  baroque borders. (Three of them were passed on to me when a dear friend died). I love using them for borders on envies and cards-they're the perfect length to cover a card's edge without having to restamp!
  And here is my completed journal spread:
  I am not a scrapbooker by any means and find it challenging to create a "layout' type of page. So I took inspiration from Jill K. Berry's book Personal Geographies along with a fellow blogger/artist I "met" since I began  linking up to Art Journal Everyday.  Chel Micheline (click on her name to see her blog) creates the most beautiful pages using photos, ephemera and sometimes lots of journaling. I admire her compositions and attention to the details. Check it out and you'll see what I mean.Thank you Chel!
  One more note on the whole Celtic thing: any time I am immersed in the music and people of that culture it brings me to a happy and joy filled place that is just unexplainable. Although  (from what I know)  I am mostly French with a tad of Swedish and perhaps German thrown in, I feel in my heart of hearts that somewhere in my roots lies Celtic blood. It's something I've felt since I was a child asking for a bagpipe (really-who asks for that-esp. when none of my relatives ever played that type of music in their homes and besides, what kid wouldn't ask for toys?). I've always had a thing for plaid too. My friends have always told me I was so different from my family in so many ways that they'd swear I was adopted. I wasn't. Needless to say, Ireland and Scotland are #1 on my bucket list. And don't get me wrong; anyone that knows me knows full well how much I LOVE my French heritage and everything French. Let's just say I think I belong in Europe :)
  Have any of you ever felt such a deep connection to something not knowing where it stems from? I'd love to hear about it. If you're still with me, thanks for indulging me! I'm linking this journal spread up to Art Journal Everyday and to Paint Party Friday. Let the partying begin!
                 "A single moment of understanding can flood a whole life with meaning."

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bloom Into Your Best Self

   Yesterday was such a dark and rainy day that I knew I had to get playing with color. I grabbed a favorite color combo of paints in red, orange, magenta and yellow-such happy colors- and painted, stamped and stencilled away!

  The sentiment was on a slip of paper on my desk waiting to be used on a journal page so I started with that. I also had my favorite hand carved stamp right there and was thinking about a blog post I recently read by Dina Wakley regarding using a motif in your art and finding different ways to use it. My "pea pod" stamp is my motif.

  I chose to stamp it on the page but I also made a stencil of it and then decided to cut petals from a monoprint I made using my new Gelli Arts Plate (LOVE!!!). You can see my first prints and links to this product on this post. I also have links there to other artists blogs along with their wonderful prints.

 Products used on this page: gesso; Liquitex Quinacridone Magenta, Golden Diarylide Yellow, Anita's Nasturtium, Americana Primary Red acrylics; Dylusions ink spray in Black Marble; Dylusions Basic Backgrounds UM Stamp Set; Stamper's Anonymous UM Alphabet Set; Dylusions Dotted Flowers Stencil; and for other mark-making: bottle caps, corrugated cardboard, my hand carved stamp, Signo Uni Ball pens in red and white for doodling, and Liquid Pearls in Buttercup by Ranger.

 I'm happy to be linking this up to Art Journal Everyday, Paint Party Friday, and a new inspiring challenge blog -Artists in Blogland Fall Fearless and Fly. It is hosted by two talented artists Jessica Sporn and Carolyn Dube.  They also have a great line up of guest artists, and there are prizes involved!!  Basically you are given three prompts-a headline prompt, a color prompt, and a quote prompt. You can use one, two or three of these prompts. For my first entry I already had  the color prompt and tho I didn't use the specific quote they had as a prompt I did use one of my own. It looks like you have about 15 days in between each session to create something and link it up. Please go to the "Fall Fearless" blog(which I have linked above) for all the details. Hope to see you there!!

 And here's an update on my very first monoprints which you can see here. I went to the next step and tried some of  the techniques listed on the Gelli Arts Blog. I used one of my reworked sheets to create the flower petals on my page above.

  On this print I applied Golden Gold glaze over top-sorry it's not really visible here.

  This print was only  magenta on white paper. I added color with  Dylusions ink sprays in Fresh Lime, Squeezed Orange and Pure Sunshine for added color. Pretty cool, huh?

  And on this basic print I swiped Distress ink Pads over top in Picked raspberry and Peacock Feathers-what a difference!

  It's such a treat to be inspired by so much talent in this world. I hope once in awhile I can pay it forward and inspire someone too. Many thanks for your comments and support. Mwah!

               "To look up and not down, to look forward and not back,
                 to look out and not in-to lend a hand!"  Edward Hale

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It's October and Time for a New Calendar Spread!

   I've been participating in Kate Crane's monthly calendar challenge on her blog since discovering it in time to start January of this year. Anyone can start or participate at any time and if you only try it for one month, well, that counts! It's so much fun to look back and remember a bit of each day. Of course I'm planning on joining for next year too (hopefully Kate will host it again, but if not, I love the concept so much I'll do it on my own regardless). My first few months calendars can be seen on my photostream in Flickr.  You can see the finished March calendar and the rest of my pages on previous posts here on my blog.

  This is Sept. finished:

                        You can read about how I created the background on this post.

  And here is what I started for October:

  I used a cocktail napkin. Remove the layers of backing (there are usually two and they're white) and save them to use for added texture on a journal page. I glued the papers down with PPA (Perfect Paper Adhesive) and gently brayered over it to remove any air bubbles.

  The pages were finished with a foam stamp set by Magenta for the month and days of the week. I used a circle punch for the dates and sponged the edges with black ink. Jack-o-Lantern stickers were added on the lower left and a girl image from ARTchix Studio along with a raven image from a free download collage sheet from Retro Café Art  which you can still download for free by clicking on the link.

 Now I'm off to visit the other calendar entries and get some ideas and inspiration for future calendar spreads. Thank you for visiting and for your comments. I so apppreciate it!

       "The 3 C's in life: Choice, Chance, Change. You must make the choice, to take the chance, if you want anything in life to change."