Friday, September 1, 2017

Catching Up

This set has moons as well as flowers.  The bird was in the ink shape, I just helped him be more defined.

All the flowers.  The center bottom is inspired by some morning glories I see on my morning walk.  I don't think the large piece at the top is finished yet, but I'm not sure what it needs either.

These colors asked for something more tropical.
These were drawn with a gold resist paint.  Once that was dry, I filled in with watercolor as well as Mermaid Marker and ink filled water brushes.  Fun!

I had a summer, how about you?  After spending the last two summers dealing with treatment and family, this year I was actually able to spend a little time in the studio.  I took a great online pen and ink class with Get Messy, and I combined the techniques I learned with the 1,000 mandala project I've been working on since the beginning of the year.  Most of these are on 6" x 9" 140lb cold press watercolor paper, because that's what I have a lot of, and because this is a nice portable size to add drawing to when traveling or hanging out at the local coffee shop.

I'm also participating in the Blog Along for September, hosted by Effy Wild  It seems like a fun way to get back into this blogging groove, as well as touching base with all y'all.  Maybe you want to play too?  Check Effy's page for more details.

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Intentional Summer

I love summer, I always have.  The sweet smell of honeysuckle on the breeze, sitting on the porch swing and watching fireflies at night, barbecues and sleeping in under summer quilts that have just enough weight to keep the boogie man away, but aren't so heavy that you roast under them.

Each summer since my kids were little, I tried to have some sort of summer plan.  One year we made tie dye shirts.  Another year we had a water balloon fight.  As they grew, my plans changed as they started finding their own fun with friends and family.  I painted fabric under the trees, and worked on art journal pages, or just spent the summer reading books and dreaming dreams I couldn't find time for during the school year.

This year my final baby graduated high school, and things are finally sorted after a hard few years after my mother passed away and my own diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer.  It has been hard to find my way back to myself, but I can feel my hope and joy and enthusiasm returning, with the help and support of family and friends, and a few creative communities online.

One of those communities has been Creative Bug, where I have followed art journal and sketching classes by Lisa Congdon, Pam Garrison and Dawn DeVries Sokol, among others.  Creative Bug's app really made it convenient for me to watch the classes even on days when recovery had me laying on the sofa with low energy.  And it got me back to playing with my art supplies.

Another community is the Get Messy Art Journal Community.  I had signed up last year but wasn't able to keep up (ie I kept forgetting I had a membership and didn't use it).  This year I learned about Seasons, and I just finished playing along with Season 14: Contrast.  I didn't really follow along strictly, just used the community as a place to touch base and see that other people out there were also playing with supplies and color.

As summer approached, I was searching for this year's summer project, and Get Messy's Season 15: Color sounded like the perfect fit.  I have been enjoying playing with the rainbow, and I think this season mixes with summer's ease and joy for me in the perfect timing.  I plan to post my experiments here as a form of accountability and as a way to get back into this blogging thing.  I welcome you to come along for the ride!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Nature's Mandalas

I don't know about where you live, but here in Ohio we have already had several snowfalls, and the forecast is that a white Christmas could actually happen this year. When I was a child,  I remember being disappointed every year when we would get a snowfall and by the next morning all the pretty white snow would be grey and slushy (or so it seemed).  This was just what I apparently noticed.  I even named our (grey) kitten Snowflake.  Ah, the joys of suburban life.

I did enjoy making paper snowflakes, and loved the rainbow of colors I could use from the stacks of construction paper. 

Now with the internet you can even make snowflakes on your computer, pick up an app for your phone, and enjoy some amazing macro photography of individual snowflakes.  They truly are nature's mandala.  If you are lost for inspiration, or just need something to keep your hands busy before the next project begins, here are some wonderful snowflake resources.  (And if you're in a warmer climate this time of year, you can always look at snowflake pictures to help cool yourself down.  This is a scientific fact.*)

Make virtual snowflakes at :
Make a Flake

Get snowflake making apps for your iPhone:
Happy Snowflake
Paper Snow 2

Snowflake patterns:
Star Wars snowflakes
Game of Thrones snowflakes

Snowmen need love, too:
Snowman Builder HD for iPad
Crayola Snowman Builder

And finally, nothing like the real thing:

Let it snow!

*Not really.  Unless it is.  Anyone here a scientist?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

When You Don't Have A Hot Hunky Assistant

I keep a few things at hand to make it easier to open my paints and mediums when I need them.  I find a hot hunky studio assistant works the best, but even the best assistant needs to go home occasionally, so here are a few less sexy but equally as helpful tools I've found work for me.

1.  The most obvious way to make sure your supply is easy to open next time is to wipe down the opening/mouth of the jar after each use.  Hardware stores sell bags of cotton rags for just such an occasion (these also come in handy for other uses, which I will explore in a future art tip post).  Of course you may not want to take the time to do this, I know I get so excited by the colors and the action of painting that pausing to wipe down my supplies is at the bottom of the list.

2.  The next tool that can help in your quest for color is an old fashioned paint can opener.  These are sold to open house paint, but the end can be slid between the lid and jar to loosen dried paint.

3.  A great accessory for those with smaller hands or stiff fingers is a pair of grippy gloves.  I find these a lot easier to handle than those grippy circular jar openers because they are on your whole hand instead of just in your palm.  I use these for kitchen as well as studio, though not the same pair.  I bought the ones in the photo above at Harbor Freight, at a ridiculously low price.  (If you machine quilt, these are also helpful for holding the quilt sandwich as you work).

4. Pliers are great for paint tubes.

5.  Another strategy, similar to the "just clean it off" method, is to rub a small amount of petroleum jelly on the screwtop part of the lid.  This is good for tubes of paint, but I am not sure how the jelly would mix with a water based paint or medium.  The excess would help keep your fingertips moist though (hey, as Alton Brown says, multi-taskers are a good thing).

6.  One last method I've employed is to use a sheet of plastic wrap between the mouth of the jar and the lid.  This worked really well, especially with the plastic wrap that had the dots on one side.  I'm not sure if they make that style any more.  Plus, keeping a roll of plastic wrap around is kind of hard with a cat in the studio.  However, if you choose this method, plastic wrap is useful for other art applications, such as texturizing and putting over paint on the palette to help keep it damp between painting sessions.  And you can wrap damp brushes in them and store in the refrigerator between uses (that one comes from Martha Stewart; she was referring to house painting brushes, but I bet it would work for art brushes too).

These are the strategies I've used to make it easier to get at the art supplies when I need them RIGHT NOW.  If you have any methods that work for you, please share in the comments.  Maybe I'll find a new favorite.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Coming Soon

I am really excited about offering these patterns at my Etsy shop.  They will be available as an instant download so you can start stitching as soon as your order is processed.  All you'll need is some transfer paper (available at art and craft stores), embroidery needle, threads (I use DMC floss and Kreinik metallic braids), some fabric and a hoop.