Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Beautiful Day

  Almost March, Daylight Savings Time is soon upon most of us and Spring is ever so much closer in the US. I'll happily accept that!

 Unusual for me but only one piece of art to share. As of the other day, the bitter cold weather took a toll on my body, causing auto immune and osteo arthritis issues to flare up. It started with neck, knee and breast bone pain. Then my left heel swelled up, I got a bump on it, and it was red and hot to touch. Uh oh. Took a good hot shower, and put the foot up. By bedtime I wasn't able to step down on that foot lest I wanted to experience excruciating pain. Oh what fun to crawl upstairs. Early AM was no better but I managed to get downstairs and tend to Annie. I sat with an ice bag 1/2 hr and finally was able to move about a bit. After icing off and on all day and eve it finally felt almost normal although the other aches remained somewhat. Fortunately my body continues to improve without medication. Something like this sure does make you realize how much you take the simple things-like being able to walk and take steps, for granted! I felt good enough to get the grocery shopping done on my own earlier today, and yes, even being capable of doing that task gave me pause to be grateful. And so my art page evolved:

 It made me think about the embracing of imperfection, and finding the joy in it. Wabi-sabi. The page began with  a layer of embossing paste spread about with a palette knife. The black threads on the page were sitting on my work table, left from some trimmed sewing because I knew I could use them somehow:) I applied the threads while the paste was wet.
 The next day I scraped on and wiped away Artists Loft Parchment paint along with a mix of a turquoise and grey paint. The bird image (Retro Café Art) was sitting nearby along with other Spring themed ephemera I was gathering. I couldn't believe how the threads seemed to be coming out of the image- serendipity at its best! I finished it with a bit of lace and a sentiment.

 In my last post early this week I made another page using more techniques from Dina Wakley's book. You can see it here, along with the announcement of a new online class I signed up for! A perfect time for me to watch some of the videos (and there are many!) while my body recuperates.

 Thanks as always for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment :)  Linking to Art Journal Journey(theme of birds, beasts and humans); Art Journal Every Day; Express Your Creativity; Mix It Monthly (play with fabric);  Paint Party Friday; and the Simon Wednesday Challenge Blog (anything goes). I'll be popping in and visiting your links. Have great weekend!

  I love this wabi-sabi quote so much, that I'm sharing it with you to end this post.

              " Pare down to the essence, but don't remove the poetry". Leonard Koren

Monday, February 23, 2015

Magnificent Intentions

  When I came across this quote I immediately thought of a swan but wasn't sure how I'd work it out on paper. Thanks to another section of inspiration in the book "Art Journal Courage" (pgs. 112 - 116) I was able to combine various elements to complete my page. Dina's books certainly have helped me tremendously to be freer with my mark making, lines and sketching! For this page I used solely acrylic paints, Stabilo - All pencil and mechanical pencil. Linking to Art Journal Journey (theme is "birds, beasts and humans") and the Simon Monday Challenge Blog (theme is "no rules"). Of course, I also thought of my friend who loves swans:).

  I refuse to go on about the weather that continues here but  I will show you how I've been dealing with it. First off, when I'm sitting and either reading or watching TV this is how I get comfy:

 Our heat is at a very reasonable temp but I still get so cold I actually wear fingerless gloves in the house!

 I also do more cooking and baking-much to hubby and son's delight :)  I tried another new Indian recipe (didn't tell hubby it was Indian or what was in it-although it was quite mild and tame for Indian) and he liked it!

It was a rice and peas dish that uses a bit of turmeric, saffron threads, cinnamon stick chards and cardamom. Not  at all spicy but very aromatic and delicious! I've even eaten it for breakfast a few times:) That and a pot of hot mango tea was a perfect warmer. Joining my friends at T Stands For Tuesday hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

 On an exciting note, I just signed up for an online class called "Radiant Faces" hosted by Effy Wild. You can click on the badge near the top of the sidebar for the link. One of my goals for this year was to learn to draw and paint faces, not as in fine art, but in mixed media style. The offer of this class at a very nicely discounted rate was too good to pass up. What I love about it is that there are 9 different artists/teachers with  a variety of styles. There are in depth lessons from each via many videos and PDFs. Also, Effy herself does all the other teachers' lessons and shares not only videos of her creating the art but also notes and PDFs of substitutions she used for products - a huge bonus! I have only begun looking through it all and already I am SO impressed with all the content! Well worth the $45! ( I know, I feel like it's practically free :). The class is self paced and I can download all of it up through October. I was so very close to taking Life Book 2015 but wasn't sure I wanted a bigger class that would mean a bigger commitment. As it is I think Radiant Faces is going to keep me very busy for quite awhile. Of course, as I work on classes I'll post my pages. Anyone else taking or took this class when it opened live in October?

 Since I plan on staying in I will be around to visit, and get started on some lessons:) Oh, and Spring is officially 25 days away!

"Not everything you create will be a masterpiece, but you get out there and you try and sometimes it really happens. The other times you're just stretching your soul."   Maya Angelou

Friday, February 20, 2015

Another Friday...Already?

 That means it's party time - Paint Party Friday, that is! With the winter we've been having I'm glad time is moving quickly, and now we're (in the Northern Hemisphere that is) less than 30 days until Spring-yippee!

 Last week I posted an easy tutorial using vintage images , a mosaic style collage and metallic paints. Go here if you missed it.

 My art for this Friday:


   The background is a gelli plate print on deli paper glued to the page. I used a vintage image from my stash. The dress is made of pink patterned fabrics and lace scraps. The bouquet consists of a pink velvet flower along with blue and white paper flowers embellished with rhinestones and an assortment of sparkly fibers.

 In addition to Paint Party Friday I am linking to Art Journal Every Day, Express Your Creativity, Mix It Monthly (use fabric), and Mixed Media Monthly Challenge #9 (think pink). Check them out!

 Besides mixed media I love making cards and so I am entering a set of cards I made using the sketch for this week at Freshly Made Sketches. This is the sketch:

 Here are my cards:

 Products: small white note cards (Canvas Corp); assorted card stocks, washi tapes and flowers; clear stamp sentiments set (Stampabilities); Versafine Onyx Black ink (Tsukineko); tiny buttons (Gary Burlin & Co.).

 When I am making CAS cards I generally like to make several at a time. I am also linking these cards to the Simon Wednesday Challenge which is to "add a little texture".

 Hope to see you in some of these wonderful challenge and link up blogs. I'll be looking for you:)

        " To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow."
                                                                                                              Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, February 16, 2015

Keeping Warm

Or at least trying to keep warm. What a winter this has been! We had more snow Saturday with whipping gusty winds and record cold come through. And, more snow is expected tonight into tomorrow... I could cry. But I won't. Instead I'll focus on the fact that Spring will come eventually. And so , my art reflects that.

 This is a journal page inspired by another of the techniques in the book Art Journal Courage by Dina Wakley (pg 32). I love using the techniques as a jump start and then just taking off on my own. I've shared other pages inspired by this book in previous posts.

 I also made a card around my favorite season of the year, and my place of paradise-by the ocean:

 Stamps used: sentiment (unmounted)- Stamping Sensations; Post Card stamp- Rubber Tree Stamps; pen- Limited Edition; woman writing (Acey Deucy).

 Linking to Art Journal Journey, Inspiration Avenue, and the Simon Monday Challenge Blog.

 On Sunday we celebrated our son's birthday (which was Saturday, Valentine's Day. You can see the two "younger pics" of him in this post. ) Dinner was baked ziti, garlic bread, and salad. Dessert was his favorite cake-dark chocolate with a cup of Starbuck's coffee in the batter, and a homemade chocolate icing. We also had water, Bordeaux wine and coffee:

 Although these are not great pics it was the best hubby could do because Todd constantly moved about , covering his face every blessed time. What is it about this 27 yr. old who will take pics when out with his friends and post them on FB and yet we can't get a one????

 And lest anyone thinks I have given up on Indian cuisine, I have not. It's just that I am the only one eating it so I will try a new recipe periodically and when I know it won't be too much. This was the  latest new recipe I tried from my cook book Healthy South Indian Cooking by Alamelu Vairavan:

 This is called  Paruppu Masiyal. It is a favorite from the Chettinad area of south India and is made of toor dal (yellow lentils), turmeric, garlic and cumin. I happen to love lentils so I thought this was delicious!

 Linking to T Stands For Tuesday with Bleubeard and Elizabeth and friends. I hope that wherever you are the weather isn't treating you too badly. And if it is, put on some fun music or a good movie, bundle up, have something hot to drink, and stay in!

                         "Time flies. It's up to you to be the navigator."  Robert Orben

Friday, February 13, 2015

Dry Brush Painted Collage- A Tutorial

   I recently came across my notes from this technique I taught some years ago and thought I'd share it with you.

"Faces Of Innocence"
  Supplies I Used:   journal page                 
                               focal images(mine are collage sheet images from Paper Whimsy)
                               patterned paper, dictionary page scraps
                               permanent black ink such as Staz-On or Archival
                               script or quote rubber stamp
                               Matte Gel medium Gel Mat (Liquitex)
                               any brushes for applying the gel medium and for dry brushing acrylic paints
                               metallic paints ( I used Folk Art Metallic Peridot, Rose, Blue Pearl, Plum; 
                               and Anita's Classic Gold)        
   First decide whether you want one main focal image or several. If using more than one keep in mind that odd numbers are best. Arrange your image(s) on the page . Once you are pleased with the placement glue them in place with the gel medium. Fill the rest of the page by cutting various sized squares from your patterned  papers and gluing them close together as shown here:

  Apply a thin coat of gel medium over top and allow to dry thoroughly. Dry brush the acrylic paints randomly and repeatedly one at a time over and around the page. Go sparingly over the focal image(s).   When dry, repeatedly stamp quote over the page.

  Here's a close up of one of the sections:

  I hope you will give this a try-the metallic sheen is just beautiful on the finished page! How about using a family member or friend's images for a personal gift?

 Linking to Art Journal Every Day; Community Thrive (Play With Squares); Mixed Media Monthly (Challenge #9- Think Pink); and Paint Party Friday.

 Lastly , I want to share these two photos of our son when he was little:

                                                       ...and yes, he is still a talker :)

        ...and yes, he is still very handsome although it is extremely difficult to take a pic nowadays!

  A very happy birthday to our son Todd who will be 27  Saturday, on Valentine's Day!!! XO

 " I have a son who is my heart. A wonderful young man, daring and loving and strong and kind."
                                                                                                               Maya Angelou


Monday, February 9, 2015

A Cuppa Life

 As I am typing this post the snow is falling - again. I awoke this morning to icy sidewalks and side roads and the freezing rain "spritzled" off and on during the day. It was in the 30's F over the weekend, however, Sat. nite we lost power for over 1 1/2 hrs (some were w/o power even longer) for no obvious reason. The news finally reported old transformer systems to be the reason. Nothing more to say on that subject.

 This is a journal page I completed this weekend and am linking to Bleubeard and Elizabeth and friends at T Stands for Tuesday and Conny's Mix It Monthly challenge for the theme this month of "play with fabric".

 My journal page was covered with another of my gelli print deli papers. I made paper templates for the teapot, lid, mug, dish and coffee. Once I chose my fabrics I backed them with a fusible interfacing for stability before tracing the patterns and cutting them out. After they were glued to the page along with the typed sentiment I outlined everything with a charcoal pencil and smudged a bit.

 I also made a trio of cards for the Simon Monday Challenge Blog. This week the theme is "red and pink". I do love that combo but am done with Valentines so I came up with something else to fit.

 I wish I could have gotten better pics but considering the weather...You can click on the image for a better view. The colors are much more vibrant in person.

 I am also linking to Inspiration Avenue for the theme of "show and tell" this week.

 Again, weather depending, my son and I have two appointments tomorrow AM so I will be around to visit in the afternoon. Hope you are safe and warm where you are. I did hear that as of this time Australia is the warmest spot right now. I can learn the 'Aussie' life pretty quickly :)

 " You just have to determine to settle for nothing less than being fully show up, be who you are, and share your gifts."          Gabrielle Roth

Friday, February 6, 2015

Just Breathe

 And that is what I am trying to do in the midst of this very snowy, icy, windy , and COLD weather we've been having pretty consistently. Although I consider myself a positive person, some days it's hard not to want to hide from the winter...

 I try to bring myself around by playing in my art room, using lots of color and usually it helps.
That, and some new books with new techniques to play with, and of course, new art challenges on blogs. How do YOU manage during your "down" time?

 This is the journal page I turned to for playing with another technique in Dina Wakley's newest book. I covered a blank page with a Gelli Plate printed deli paper print.

 My completed page. I used techniques from pgs. 78, 79 about creating negative space and cutting back a busy background.

 I also played around with my inner Picasso using this website. They offer a variety of face, hair, nose, eye, mouth, and ear shapes and you drag and click your personal choices onto a "page". You must try it!!  I printed mine and then transferred it to a journal page and this is the page completed:

 I used some old Hero Arts shadow stamps along with ink pads to make the color blocks. The little squiggly marks are also old rubber stamps. I added the sentiment- "she channels her inner Picasso".

 Linking this post to Art Journal Journey, Art Journal Every Day, Express Your Creativity, and Paint Party Friday. See you there!

 This is the quote that's scribbled on my journal page at the beginning of the post:

  "Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is a wonderful moment."      Thich Nhat Hanh

Monday, February 2, 2015

T Day Taxes and More

  Well, we got hit with yet more snow and freezing rain and rain and what a royal mess!! It began Sun. evening and continued through today (Monday) off and on. It was so heavy I couldn't help with the shoveling-poor hubby had to do ours and our neighbors' place (how dare they be in Florida???) before going to work.

  It really was this ugly and gray looking :(  My fear is the overnight freezing because it is supposed to go down to the single digits again. Already there have been numerous -some serious- accidents, and appointments scheduled for Tues AM have been moved up to the afternoon. Enough already!

 Spending more time indoors has me cooking and baking more.

 I made a new recipe of baked red snapper over a bed of spaghetti veggies which included carrots, red peppers, onion, yellow and green squash. This was the first time hubby had red snapper and I wasn't sure how it would go but he loved it! And not one comment about the fact that there was squash involved (which he claims he can't stand). Smile.

 I also made a batch of  Breakfast Squares:

 These are not only a healthier chewy version of a granola bar but also melt in your mouth yummy with no preservatives. I've adapted the original recipe which I will share at the end of this post. They freeze well and are perfect with coffee or tea! You can also find links to other recipes I've posted and photographed under the 'Recipes' category just below my banner at the top.

 I have to share something artsy too. This is a small journal book I covered:

 This book is for poetry and haikus I write, along with a bit of art. I want to share how I made this shiny cover:

 Start with a piece of tin foil. Crinkle it up gently and then flatten it. Paint over it with metallic acrylic paints. Allow to dry. Overstamp with some black paint and punchinella. Once dry I cut it to size and glued it to the book cover using PPA (Perfect Paper Adhesive by US Artquest) . An alphabet stamp was used with black permanent ink for the title. I then sealed the cover with a coat of the PPA. The foil is actually pretty sturdy once the paint is applied and the coat of sealer protects it also. I hope you'll give it a try!

 A big thank you! to Krisha who generously offered to send out extra ATCs she made. I received one of the wildflowers and dragonfly ATCs and it is beautiful! I love the pearlescent finish. You can see her ATCs in this post.

 Hopefully I will have gotten to the accountant and to an eye dr. appt. Tues. afternoon pending road conditions. Regardless, I will be making time to visit Elizabeth and friends at T Stands For Tuesday.
Be safe and be warm wherever you may be.

            " The more passions and desires one has, the more ways one has of being happy."
                                                                                Catherine Charlotte de Gramont

                                                            Breakfast Squares

            2 c quick cook oats                       1/4 tsp salt                    1/4 c vegetable oil   
            1 lg egg                                         1/2 c brown sugar         1 c milk
            1/4 c whole wheat flour                1 tsp baking powder     1 tsp cinnamon
            1/2 c chopped walnuts                  1/2 c raisins   

   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 7 1/2 " x 11 " pan. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until well blended. Scoop into prepared pan. Bake 25-30 min. Cut into squares.