Friday, November 30, 2012

On To The Last Month of 2012

  It is just amazing how fast the days, weeks and months go -well, even the years for that matter. I already know that Dec. is going to come and go with the blink of an eye! There are lots of cards to make, gifts to make and buy, cookies to bake, decorating to be done throughout the house and gifts to wrap for Christmas. It can be fun, but a bit hectic and tiring too which is why my favorite time is on Christmas eve when I attend a candlelight church service with my Mom. THAT is what reminds me of the true meaning of Christmas.

  Note: if you do not wish to read what I found out about that mysterious spider as seen in a pic in this post  you can just scroll down further for the art part :)

  Rest easy, I  promise there are no photos of any type of creepy critters. However, thanks to a commenter from Paint Party Friday - Karen Smithey, the spider was identified as an Argiope. According to Wikpedia it is also known in North America as the black and yellow garden spider, corn spider, and writing spider. They are harmless to humans but might bite only in defense. Their venom is not regarded as a serious medical problem for humans.

  Upon reading about the meaning of a spider's appearance in your life (in the book Animal Speak by Ted Andrews) I learned that it's about creativity and the weaving of fate. A spider teaches you to maintain balance and that everything you now do is weaving what you will encounter in the future. The spider awakens creative sensibilities. It can teach you how to use written language with power and creativity so your words weave a web around those who would read them.

  The chapter goes into much more depth and also presents questions you can ask yourself. Fascinating! Well, to me anyway :). So, spiders are a good thing!

  Time for art-yay! I missed last week's Art Journal Everyday and Paint Party Friday - too busy with the Thanksgiving holiday and making cards and necklaces for sale at a Christmas Extravaganza hosted by my friend at her neighborhood community center this Saturday. I may sell a good amount, or I may sell nothing, I just really wanted to do this this year.

  Here are some of the necklaces I've made:

  I had made similar ones over the summer to give to my beach friends. What I like about them (I have two for myself) is that they are a perfect length to just slip over the head and wear as is, or I've also opened the clasp and wrapped mine around twice for a very short necklace. I posted pics of some of the cards I made to take along in my last post but quite frankly I am not happy with the way they show in the pics.
  I managed to get my December calendar spread done for the final entry in Kate Crane's 2012 366 Calendar Challenge on her blog The Kathryn Wheel.
 It's a project I plan on continuing next year in a larger journal.
  This is the base of my calendar spread:
  I dry brushed four different acrylic paints randomly over the pages. I used Americana Primary Red and Yellow Green, Anita's Hot Pink, and Apple Barrel Pumpkin Orange.
  Here it is all ready to be filled in:

  I used the Magenta foam stamp set for the month and weekdays as I have done each month this year. The pages were decorated with stickers, sparkly rub-ons, and a glittery felt tree. Pretty festive don't you think?

  Here's a detail pic showing the sparkle:

  Aren't those tiny snowmen adorable? 

  And here is my Nov. calendar spread completed:

  I decorated what little spaces I had with autumn themed stickers-leaves, acorns and flowers. You can see how the background was created here.

  On one final note- it was a happy mail day for me as I just received a complimentary issue of the soon to be released Somerset Studio Gallery Winter 2013 issue!! I was quite surprised by the fact that I had sent the two published projects in over 2 yrs ago. One is a French inspired tag and the other is a Christmas ornament using a coaster and Christmas napkin. I honestly didn't think they had anything more of what I'd sent so long ago! I haven't had time to really look thru it yet so if anyone stopping by here has anything published in this issue I'd love to know. (Sorry about the lg. pic of this issue on the sidebar. First time I tried doing it myself. I'll get my son to help me adjust the size. Good thing he lives nearby :))

  Linking this post up to Art Journal Everyday, The Kathryn Wheel, and Paint Party Friday. Have a great weekend and I'll try to catch up with you over the next few days.

  "Over the winter glaciers I see the summer glow; and thru the wild- piled snowdrift the warm rosebuds below."  Ralph Waldo Emerson


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Wishes and Some Cardmaking


 To everyone celebrating Thanksgiving Day tommorrow-a blessed and happy Thanksgiving.Be safe in your travels.

 I made a few Thanksgiving cards similar to the one in the photo. I have been diligently whipping up lots of cards in preparation for a friend's community holiday gathering where local people will be selling a variety of products and handmade items. I had been asked to do this last year and didn't but I felt this was the time to give it a go. I've made 50 cards so far but also want to make necklaces. I have up until Dec 1 so I must keep at it if I plan on attending and hopefully selling.

  Here are scans of some of the sets of cards I've done along with matching envies. I just hate when a scan doesn't show them as well as I'd like but you get the idea:

  You can't see that the flowers on the papers are a bit  raised and shiny. There is also a little sparkly sticker that dots the "i". These have a birthday greeting inside.

  This is the somewhat masculine version of the same card. Again, the scan doesn't do justice! These papers are gorgeous and have a metallic finish.

  These are blank inside. The stamp on the envie is an old Magenta stamp and one of my very favorites for adding a simple little something to a blank envie.

  The sympathy cards were made with a layer of floral vellum. There is a sentiment inside.

  And lastly, this a very favorite (and popular) card of mine. It was first published in Stamper's Sampler some years ago. I absolutely LOVE this Hero Arts poppy and the simple elegance and delicateness of it.
  Well, that's it for now. I've got a lot of Thanksgiving day prep work for tomorrow's dinner!
"Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude."  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


Friday, November 16, 2012


   Gotta love a Friday-especially because it's art party time!  I have a new face painting to share along with another version of a continuous writing practice like my "Eye of the Storm" page from last week. First up is my "Smile" girl.

  This is how I began:

  First the page got a coat of gesso and then a base painting of pink and peach acrylic paints. I used an off white acrylic paint to make a somewhat heart shaped face.  For me I have found this to be the best way to begin a face shape! You can see my first face ever along with details on this post. The shape was then outlined in pencil, features were also drawn in. I then mixed gesso with peach acrylic to fill in the face. Golden's Cobalt Teal and gesso were used to deepen and outline the face (sorry, forgot to take a pic but you can see what I mean in the finished page).

  My completed "smile" girl:

  The hair was drawn in with a pencil and then the sections were painted with acrylic paints. I went over the hair lines and facial features with a black permanent marker. The eyes, brows and lips were filled in with markers and colored pencils.  I doodled in the smile necklace ( as I mentioned in my "shine" girl post I plan on doing a series of girls with word necklaces). Lastly I went over the hair sections with coordinating Twinkling H2O's for a shimmer although you can't really see how it sparkles here.  Definitely a different style and approach from my first-at least this time I dared give her two eyes, real brows and a nose :) I'm linking this up to Art Journal Everyday and Paint Party Friday.

  Last week I created a lettering practice page titled "The Eye of the Storm". Thank you all so much for your comments-I guess I didn't think it as powerful as it apparently was. For the Fall Fearless and Fly challenge #4 I chose to create another lettering practice using the color prompt along with the headline prompt and titled it "Within". (Ok, I just HAD to add a touch of red :) )

 These are all three prompts of which you can choose one, two or all three:
Headline Prompt: Security: What makes you feel safe and secure? What rattles your sense of security? Where do you go for comfort and refuge?

Color Prompt:
Cool colors  (blues, greens, violets, etc.)

Quote Prompt: You can't make a place for yourself in the sun if you keep taking refuge under the family tree.  Helen Keller
  This page was begun and completed  just like my "Storm" page. The red heart and lines are glittered.The deets are in this post. I have been participating in Deepak Chopra's 21 Day Meditation Challenge which began on Nov.5th. It is something I look forward to more with each passing day and have found myself going into a "silence" if you will without thinking when I'm in a place I need to remove myself from. This page expresses the centering thoughts of each day for the meditations. So, what makes me feel safe and secure, where do I go for comfort and refuge? I go within. I believe it's all in your heart-you just need to listen to it and go with it. Going outside and being with nature helps too. And just so this doesn't get too laden with serious contemplation I thought I'd share a photo I took when spending some time outdoors in nature yesterday:

  This funky looking spider (a bit bigger than the size of a quarter or so) was hanging on the shed door and tho I was quite fascinated by it(never having seen anything like it before) I had to get my pic and scurry him along lest an encounter with my dog which would not have been good for either of them.Wonder what the appearance of this spider means? I'm going to look at the book I go to quite frequently when an animal/bird/ creature unexpectedly appears in my life. The title is Animal-Speak by Ted Andrews. Excellent reference guide to animals and totems!

  Thanks for stopping by. Now off you go to visit other artists who have linked up. Be inspired and leave a kind word or two.

         "Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof." Khalil Gibran

Friday, November 9, 2012

Weathering The Storm With Art

  In my last post I mentioned riding thru the hurricane and power outtage by catching up on reading and making some art during the daylight hours. One of the things I did was to create two projects for The Fall Fearless and Fly Challenge. My first was zentangle/doodle art which you can see here.

 The second project isn't really a project, really just some practice sketching using the color prompt which is black and white.

  For this flower doodle I used a water soluble marker to sketch on old sketch paper. I then used a waterbrush and went over the lines, also brushing "out" to add shading and soft branches giving it a watercolor effect.
  Here's another example:

  This was sketched on a scrap of 90lb. watercolor paper. The two most important things for this technique to work is to use a water soluble marker in order to get the color to bleed, and to go over it with the waterbrush very lightly or you'll have a smudgy mess and lose all the detail- I know :)

  Now this kind of sketch practice I can handle-no pressure when using just one color. How about trying it in red, or blue? I know I will!

  Of course I had to get into some color next so I opened up my take along journal which I use for waste paint etc. and got to work!

 There was color to start with on the page but I neglected to take a pic until after I added more. I used a credit card to scrape some Golden's Cobalt Teal, Folk Art's Light Green and Violet Pansy acrylic paints over top. Then I made circles over that with my fingers and some white gesso and then some Golden's Paynes Grey Fluid Acrylic. Sorry, again no pic but you'll see it in the next pic.

  This is my completed "Eye of The Storm" page:

  I used a variety of markers and pens and wrote words around and around about Hurricane Sandy and its effects on the NE coast and how I was feeling. The idea for this continuous writing practice came from an exercise in Traci Bautista's book Doodles Unleashed. I know I've said it before but I love this book-it is LOADED with so many techniques and practices!! (in  this post I shared my very first "girlie glam" face painting using techniques from the book.) I finished my storm page with one last word layer using a white correction pen.

  Here's a detail pic of layers and lettering:

  What a great exercise-that felt so good! Give it a try- let it out on paper-do it with abandon- and you'll see what I mean. And if you do I'd love see what you come up with and your thoughts about the process. I'm linking up to the Fall Fearless and Fly challenge, the Art Journal Everyday challenge , the Paint Party Friday challenge and Show and Tell Saturday #28 at Artists in Blogland.
   On a final note: the election is over and whether or not the candidate for president  you voted for here in the US was elected, the most important thing to remember is that we are all in this together and in order for things to improve and change it takes cooperation and support.
  Thanks to everyone for your emails, thoughts and prayers regarding the storm and please continue to pray and help those who continue to suffer from the huge losses and devastation.
      "Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference." Anon.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Catching Up After Hurricane Sandy

  Although I had a nice week long respite from TV, internet and sometimes even phones when the hurricane hit our area it's nice to be able to reconnect. Our area of town was without power from last Mon. thru Sat. eve. Two cell phone towers were down along with many,many trees and poles so at times one wasn't able to connect at all-that was a bit worrysome when there are elderly family members alone and in the same situation.
  The worst of it for us was being so very cold but we were also very fortunate in so many ways. We had plenty of food, a small grill to use and running water.With hubby's diligence between  nite work and then several times a day going between our home and our next door neighbors with extension cords for their generator hook up we were able to keep the fridge/freezers going for both our homes and could at least use the microwave, toaster and coffee maker while we ran the generator.

 So, here I am with some art to share. When my hands weren't too cold and I could function without gloves I spent much time in the art room trying out some new things in my journals and making cards to sell. I was lucky to have plenty of light during the day despite the lack of sunshine :)

 I'll begin with my calendar spreads. I've been participating in Kate Crane's 2012 366 Calendar Challenge  since January. Here is my October spread completed:

  You cand read about how the pages began in this post.

  And here is the Nov. calendar base:

  The pages were sprayed with Sunny Yellow spray ink then oversprayed with Terra Cotta and Olive Green (all Inkadinkado) using a scrap of lace and round plastic canvas as stencils. I stamped the dots using Dylusions Basic Backgrounds stamp and red acrylic paint. More mark making was done with a bottle cap and Goldens Fluid Acrylic  paint in Permanent Violet Dark. A sponge dauber was used with a light green acrylic paint for the larger dots.

  Nov. has begun:

 Card stock squares were glued on the pages. I've been using the same foam stamp set by Magenta for the month and days of the week for each calendar spread this year. A leaf punch (recently sent to me by my friend Lenna Andrews-thank you!!) was used with patterned paper for the days. Oh, that little blue tab at the top right has a spread earmarked for December :).

  I'm also participating in the Fall Fearless and Fly challenge .You can click on the badge near the bottom right side bar to check it out. Jane Davies is the guest artist for challenge #3. She shared some of her fabulous black and white paintings.It is Jane who first inspired me to play with black and white by painting practice pieces using only black acrylic paint and water.  I decided to take another step recently by doing a monochromatic watercolor landscape painting (for the last FF&F challenge) which you can see in this post.

  Here are the prompts for challenge #3:

Headline Prompt: Triumphs and Defeats: What do you see as your greatest triumphs or defeats? What have they taught you? Which have you learned more from?
Color Prompt:
Black and white
Quote Prompt:
Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  I've chosen to take the black and white yet another step further by trying my hand at creating my first zentangle. The page began by drawing a frame and banner with words(chosen from the prompt quote) in pencil. I read about this starting process from an article in Cloth Paper Scissors Nov/Dec 2009 issue. It was demonstrated and written by Sandy Steen Bartholomew. The letters and banner were then outlined with a PIGMA MICRON 03 pen and filled in with a PIGMA GRAPHIC 1 pen.

  I then drew in lines to make sections and doodled and zentangled away! I sloppy wrote the quote in one of the sections. Here it is completed:

  Although I missed last week's Art Journal Everyday and Paint Party Friday Ican't wait to visit some of the link ups which are so inspiring. As a matter of fact, because of one of the previous blog links I visited(so sorry I don't remember who it was now) I learned of Deepak Chopra's 21 day Meditation Challenge and signed up. I also learned more about it on Super Soul Sunday (which I LOVE!) on OWN (Oprah Winfrey's channel) when she talked with Deepak.The challenge begins today. My goal is to accomplish a meditation each day and then continue to practice it. Although I do take time to be in a quiet space I need to understand the correct way of breathing and proper techniques. I could have used it when weathering the storm.

  I hope and pray you are well and safe wherever you may be, and for those of you that suffered in the hurricane's path I pray for your recovery.

  " I've found that worry and irritation vanish into thin air the moment I open my mind to the many blessings I possess."  Dale Carnegie

Addendum: I'm linking this up to a new (to me) challenge "Show Me What You Got" hosted by Mary Walker. Thank you for letting me know abou this Mary!