Thursday, January 29, 2015

Channeling One More Master

    Jan 31st is the last day for Art Journal Journey's monthly challenge of "Inspired by The Masters II" and also Mix It Monthly's challenge of "Color Blocks". It has been so much fun for me mostly combining the two into one journal page. Thank you Susi and Conny - I can't wait to hear about February's themes! Now, I hadn't planned on creating another page around the themes-until I read a comment from Arnoldo regarding a portrait painting I did last week. He said my portrait resembled the work of Modigliani. Well, I had not heard of this artist so of course I looked him up. I channeled this artist without even knowing it! After looking at Amedeo Modigliani's paintings I decided I had to do a portrait specifically inspired by him. And here it is:

                                                               "Woman In Big Hat"

 Modigliani is known for his portraits and nudes with elongated faces and figures in the modern style. What I did differently was to use a colorful background, where as his backgrounds were very muted.

 Here is my initial sketch:

 This was done with a Stabilo All pencil over a page I had glued strips of gelli plate deli paper prints. Not sure if I'm done with my portrait yet because something is telling me to give her a flower for her hat:)

 Much thanks to Arnoldo for inspiring me to learn about and create around another master! If you don't know of Arnoldo please visit his blog. You can find his art on many various challenges. Arnoldo is a diverse artistic talent whose dedication to his family and his God is admirable. I am so glad to have met him through the awesome Paint Party Friday blog!

 Linking to Art Journal Journey; Art Journal Every Day; Express Your Creativity; Mix It Monthly and Paint Party Friday.

 Valentine's Day is just around the corner so I am finishing up a few more cards to get in the mail on time. I'm not going to show the group of them I am finishing but here's one I did while making the others:

  I used scraps of gelli plate printed papers along with a bit of washi tape. Linking this card to the Simon Wednesday challenge blog (theme is "anything goes").

 Thanks so much for popping in, for all your comments, AND for inspiring me! Have a fun filled, art filled weekend. I know some of you will be having Super Bowl parties and watching the game :)

                         " It is your duty in life to save your dream."   Amedeo Modigliani

Monday, January 26, 2015

January Winter

 That's the theme this week at Inspiration Avenue, and for many of us in the Northern hemisphere and especially in the northeast states-wow! We got hit with an unexpected 7 1/2 " of snow Fri night into Sat AM. They were predicting up to 4 inches only-so much for all the new technology to predict accurately.

 The first two photos were taken out my windows when I opened the curtains and shades. Once I had my coffee I took my snow stick outside to measure the snow on our picnic table. Luckily it warmed up enough to melt much of the residue on the streets and sidewalks so Bill and I did venture into town to one of our favorite places Tapas on Main to hang out and hear Lorenzo who is not only a very talented musician and singer but also an amazing artist who paints canvases, walls, creates sculptures and more. FUN! I even told Lorenzo that he was special because I do not venture out much in this kind of weather:)

 And here we go I am typing this (6PM) we are getting more snow. It's been snowing at various rates since this AM and it's supposed to get pretty windy, much colder and have heavier snow into the night! Poor hubby is working til after 10PM so I will be brave and at least shovel out the drive so he can get the car in...

 The other week I mentioned a cheesecake I was making for dessert for hubby's birthday for our friends' dinner party. Here are a few pics:

  and for my friends at T Stands For Tuesday I will share the fabulous wine we had with dinner!

               Of course Bill LOVES that sign and promptly hung it in "his" work basement.

and the cheesecake with raspberry coulis I made...well, it was decadent and it was divine! Everyone loved it so it was definitely worth all the time and effort!

 Of course I spent time in the art room making more valentine cards:

  These came together pretty quickly with the coordinating papers coming from a paper pack by Canvas Corp along with kraft note cards, a button, felt heart and a Valentine from my stash. Linking to the Simon Wednesday challenge blog whose theme is "Have a Heart".

 Since I will be mostly inside hibernating Tuesday I'm looking forward to visiting you. Sending a special hug to my dear friend Patty :)

 "Live quietly in the moment and see the beauty of all before you. The future will take care of itself."
                                                                                                       Paramahansa Yogananda

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dear Courage...

   Thanks to the wonderful challenges I find on blogs, the techniques found on You Tube and in books, I continually get more courage to TRY new things without fear of "messing it up". I have learned that if I don't like it, even after letting it sit a few days (or more) it can always be covered up and a blank slate is ready to begin again.

 It says "dear courage , I've been looking for you." This thought came to mind as I was tackling techniques to create this portrait page as described in Dina Wakley's book Art Journal Courage (pgs 36 - 45). Oh sure, I can pick apart what I'd like to change about this but it IS after all a learning experience that takes practice. And practice  with doing faces/portraits especially is what I want to keep working at.

 The page began like this:

 The basic face was drawn first with pencil then gone over with a Stabilo All black pencil over a deli paper printed page in my journal. I am discovering that I really like working over a painted pattern or page as I love when bits of the background peek through!

 Linking to Art Journal Every Day, Art Journal Journey, Express Your Creativity, and Paint Party Friday.

 Art Journal Journey and Mix It Monthly are two favorite monthly challenges of mine because since discovering them my eyes have opened up to SO many new possibilities! Both Conny (Piarom) and Susi (froebelsternchen) provide participants with wonderful monthly themes and you can tell by all the links these challenges have that they are extremely popular! DO have a look and visit -I dare you not to be inspired! On that note, here is my final (I think:) contribution to this month's themes:

                                                                      "Rain Dance"

 This was inspired again by Mattisse's "cut outs" art and the theme and colors were inspired by all the dark , grey rainy/snowy days we've had recently. You can see my other "cut outs" pages here and here.

 And another favorite past time of mine - cards!

 This is the sketch for this week at Freshly Made Sketches:

 And this is my card:

 It was very difficult to get a really good photo of because the pink heart is silver embossed. It was from a pkg of older valentines that had been given to me. I'm also linking this to the Simon Wednesday Challenge Blog (theme is "Have a Heart").

 Are you working on Valentine projects? What are you doing to be more courageous in your art?
 I'd love to know!

        " What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?"   Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

T is for Tea Cups

  It's another Tuesday and time to share with Bleubeard and Elizabeth and friends over at T Stands For Tuesday. It's a wonderful gathering so go have a peek at the varied links and please feel free to join in any week. We really are a nice group to have a cuppa something with :)

                                                                    "Tea For Two"

  I have been having so much fun since discovering Henri Matisse's "cut out" art that I am continuing to explore the simplicity of the concept. You can see my first one here if you haven't seen it and I also have links about this master and the art. Of course, I am keeping it VERY simple but it still takes some thought on theme, composition and color. And I must say that I am proud of the fact that I was able to cut those tiny, tiny paper swirls AND glue them in place without a magnifying glass:):) There is another I'm working on and will most likely post it on Friday.

 Linking this to Art Journal Journey(theme is to be inspired by the masters); Inspiration Avenue (theme is purple) and Mix It Monthly (theme is color blocking).

 Finally I have gotten back to some Indian cooking which I had also posted about awhile back. You can see the beginnings of it in this post.

 This is a set of tiny dishes I got from my great
grandmother. As you can see, they are not quality makes and were most likely given away for some particular purchase or something but I adore them and use them all the time-mostly for this purpose:

  They are the perfect size for putting all the 
spice ingredients in place ( the term I use
and most will know is "mis en place"-the French term for "everything in place"). It makes cooking SO much easier! So, what did I make?

  Sweet Potato Poriyal! And I must say that it tasted divine! The combination of spices (not too much -I go easy on those), and sweet , and the coconut....YUM!

 We had a terrible day of icy roads in the northeast US which even closed down bridges and highways so I stayed put and made a few more Valentine cards like this one:

 For the background I played with a technique I hadn't used in quite awhile. I smeared several Distress inkpads (Tim Holtz-Ranger Inc.) onto a craft mat, spritzed it with water, then dragged card stock over it. If you haven't tried this yet you must! If you don't have a craft mat use a piece of glass instead. The image is from Retro Café Art. The stamps are pretty old and I don't know the manufacturer.

 Off to hop along with my coffee and visit some friends:) Have a great day!

" Art is the only serious thing in the world. And the artist is the only person who is never serious."
                                                                                                                          Oscar Wilde

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sing Your Art Out!

 So how is your new year going so far? Mine is going fairly well. Our son has had a job offer and several other contacts for possible employment-YAY! Hubby's great uncle and his great aunt (whom I had been doing some errands and caregiving for) seem to be doing pretty well. Thank you all for your thoughtful comments and wishes the last few weeks-I've tried to keep up but not quite so successfully. Know that I SO appreciate  your words nonetheless!

 In the beginning of the year I signed up for a free online series of podcasts titled "Thriving Artist Summit". Every  day there have been two to three experts ( shop owners, gallery owners, writers, artists, coaches, agents, publishers, etc.) with helpful information about goals, plans, organizing, prioritizing, taking action, the best tools and ways to reach people, licensing, showing, etc. etc. Each podcast is about a hour long and although I have not listened to every single one they have been so very informative! I have been taking notes and have seen common threads spoken by most. If that's all I take away from it that means so much! One of the speakers Samantha Bennett suggested making a sign for yourself-literally-not just thinking it. And so it inspired the above journal page. That, along with the movie "Big Eyes" which I so want to see! Unfortunately it was only in one theater in our area and it may already be gone:(  Rest assured I will see it eventually!

 Linking to Art Journal Every Day, Express Your Creativity, Inspiration Avenue, Mix It Monthly, and Paint Party Friday.

  I also began working on some cards for upcoming birthdays and this is one:

 Products: ivory card stock; patterned card stock (the natural matstock-DCWV); die cut tag (K & Company); rubber stamp (Hero Arts); Versafine Onyx Black ink (Tsukineko); button; cotton thread; Grand Calibur die cut machine and Standard Circles Lg dies (Spellbinders).

 The composition was inspired by sketch #169 designed by Jen T at Freshly Made Sketches. I am also linking to the Simon Wed. Challenge Blog (theme is - "It's a Guy Thing" ).

 And speaking of guys- wishing my dear sweet hubby a very happy  birthday on Saturday!! We will be having dinner with a small group of close friends and I'm taking a homemade marble cheesecake with chocolate crumb crust with a chocolate  raspberry liquor swirl and sauce . Wish me luck as I haven't baked a cheesecake in ages! (good thing to have bakeries close by just in case:)

                                          Wishing everyone a great weekend!

     " Art is like singing. Some do it better than others but everyone can and should be doing it for  their soul."     Barbara Mason

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Artful Cut Outs

  How was your Monday? We woke up to icy, icy walkways and roads and rain/ freezing rain! It did improve somewhat by afternoon but anything still wet refroze late at night. UGH! I am so very lucky to not have to go to work but I do worry about everyone who does. I've already had to cancel my second appt. of this new year! You'd think I'd have learned by now not to even bother scheduling anything in Jan. or Feb.

 Well, at least it allows me to keep at organizing and going through things, making art, and working towards some new goals.

 I was so captivated by a segment on TV Sun. AM about Henri Matisse that I couldn't wait to get to work on a page inspired by it!! The segment showed an interview of him in later years doing his "cut out" art. I knew absolutely nothing about this phase of his art and became so fascinated by it that I googled all I could find and then set to work. This is what I came up with:

                                                                      "Dance Of Joy"

 For this style he used either color blocks or a solid color for the background and then cut out silhouettes or patterns and repeated them on his canvas. He moved them around until he liked the composition then glued them down. I traced an image onto black card stock I cut from a magazine. This is entirely made simply with card stock and I have to say I loved going back to the basics again!

 Linking to Art Journal Journey, Mix It Monthly, Paint Party Friday, and Express Your Creativity.

 With the weather we've been having all I can think of is comfort food- mainly soups. So I made a pot of Italian Wedding Soup to have for a few dinners:

and along with the soup was a fresh loaf of organic rosemary olive oil bread and a pot of green tea!

 I'm joining Elizabeth and friends for T Stands For Tuesday. Other than that I have been watching Downton Abbey and the Celebrity Apprentice faithfully! Although I am not really a Donald Trump fan, nor a fan of many of the celebs, I do love seeing how they all come up with their strategies to win the task each week. Do you have any favorite shows you're watching? Who's inspiring you lately? I'd love to know!

 " I would like to recapture that freshness of vision which is characteristic of extreme youth when all the world is new to it."    Henri Matisse

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Nourish... word for this year! I was hoping a word would present itself to me though I was already thinking about the word cultivate or nurture. As I was paging thru an Oprah magazine I came across an article about nourishing your soul. Then I saw the word nourish on other pages two more times. There it was!
  Of course, these words are synonyms but somehow nourish really resonates with me for this year. It is such a good reminder to nourish that which you want to grow, whether it be as a person, if you want to improve on healthy eating thus a healthier body, or if you're looking to expand in the art world.
  Some other words fellow bloggers have chosen are: prioritize, love, simplify, joy, and delight. All great words to live by!

 This is an art journal page reflecting my word:

  The background is a gelli plate printed deli paper glued to the page. The image I painted was done using a technique in Dina Wakley's new book "Art Journal Courage" (pg. 28). This book is every bit as good as Dina's first and I LOVE the techniques she explains using faces and images in your art! I absolutely recommend it! I know of a few of you that already have it too and I look forward to seeing what you create from it.

  Next is another page I did using minimal  and simple shapes and colors inspired by abstract artists. You can see my first one here. It is so much fun looking up new artists to be inspired by (the theme this month -for the second time) for Art Journal Journey.

                                                                  " Summer Sun"

 This is the second time I've chosen an artist of abstract expressionism and minimalist art. This page was inspired by a combination of the last artist I chose, along with  Kenneth Noland. Although Kenneth is most noted for his "target" art and "arrows and triangles" this is what I came up with. Definitely a challenge for me to go minimal but I like that it really makes me think about color and placement.

 I began working on Valentine art (see my last post) and have a card to share inspired by this sketch from Freshly Made Sketches:

 This is my card:

  Most of the items are from a folder of Valentine bits and papers so I don't have all the manufacturer info. I do know the note card is DCWV, the sentence is from a collage sheet by ARTchix Studio, the red heart button is Dress It Up and the tiny buttons are from Gary Burlin and Co.

 Linking this post to : Art Journal Journey, Art Journal Every Day, Freshly Made Sketches Paint Party Friday, and a new to me challenge hosted by Kate Robertson - Express Your Creativity.

 It has been below zero here with a bit of snow and bitterly cold winds these last few days and continuing so I plan on staying INSIDE this weekend making art and catching up with you! Hope you are staying warm wherever you are.

" Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and NOURISH with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality."    Earl Nightingale

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Thinking Valentines

  Well, it's a new year so naturally I started looking at the next big holiday-my favorite -which is Valentine's Day! Here's  the first card I made:

  Products: kraft notecard; vintage image (Retro Café Art); page from an old dictionary; white gesso (Golden); scrap of recycled dryer sheet; mica flakes (Paper Whimsy); Bakers twine; tiny buttons; sentiment (ARTchix Studio collage sheet).

 Linking to the Simon Monday Challenge blog for the theme of "something old, something new".

 Does everyone have all their Christmas decorations put away? I just finished mine and this is what I filled my tank with to have the energy going up and down flights of stairs many times the last two days:

 My favorite coffee! And I chose to begin the new year with a rainbow mug. Much needed as we have been having so many dark, grey days-some warm and now frigid temps and wind-yuck!

 I'm taking my beverage along with me as I visit Bleubeard and Elizabeth and friends at T Stands For Tuesday.

  Both Mix It Monthly and ArtJournalJourney have new themes for the month of January. At Mix It Monthly it is "colorblocking" and at AJJ it is " inspired by the masters II". I chose Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) a German artist of abstract expressionism. He used mostly bold and bright colors in block forms/square shapes. I love his (seemingly) simplistic approach and compositions but lest you think this is easy to do, try it! I really had to pay attention to color choices and composition because of the minimal applications. Fun though! Here is my interpretation of his style:

                                                               "Spring Awakening"

 I'm really looking forward to discovering more artists as I fill my journal pages this month!

 Have any of you chosen your word for the year? Finally I had some signs and my word came to me. I'll be sharing it for Friday's post, along with a journal page done using a new technique from Dina Wakley. Do any of you have her latest book??? Love it!

 We are expecting snow today-not a lot - but enough to keep me indoors and warm while I play in my art journal some more. Here's wishing you a warm and arty day!

" The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak."
                                                                                                             Hans Hofmann