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What Happened to March?

Yesterday was the 5th Weds. in a row that I have missed knitting at Charlotte Yarn with my yarn buddies.   Today I received a sweet note from Debbie making certain I am alright.  Truth to tell, I stay up too late, and sleep in most mornings.  I mean, like til 10:30 or 11.  I need to find some discipline.

When I do get up, and have coffee with my dogs, I do many things.  Lately it has been art and gardening.  I am succulent-obsessive and not afraid of any paint or ink on the market.  Look out world.

I do miss being in touch with friends, so I will try to blog a bit more.  If would please me greatly if I could encourage all of you to join me in this play.  I’ve even stopped thinking about what I would do with a piece I created.  I just leave them in my art journal and revisit them occasionally.

Here is some stuff I’ve done.  Check out the flickr link if you are looking for ideas.

Our favorite houseguest--Evan's fish named Red.  Who knew fish had such personality? Watercolor, what else?

Our favorite houseguest–Evan’s fish named Red. Who knew fish had such personality?
Watercolor, what else?


Actually it should be Terraria.  Evan is addicted to this video game and I like to be with him, so while he played and explained it to me, I added things to a page in one of my journals.  It was great fun.  Yes, I know it is ugly and I don't care.

Actually it should be Terraria. Evan is addicted to this video game and I like to be with him, so while he played and explained it to me, I added things to a page in one of my journals. It was great fun. Yes, I know it is ugly and I don’t care.

I had to make something to go with this quote I found.  One of our friend's sons wrote an essay about me and called me sassy.  I like that.  I kinda like this outfit, too,  It is scrapbook paper, but I drew the pockets on with a white Uniball Signo U-153 gel pen.  It is frightening how much I know about pens.

I had to make something to go with this quote I found. One of our friend’s sons wrote an essay about me and called me sassy. I like that. I kinda like this outfit, too, It is scrapbook paper, but I drew the pockets on with a white Uniball Signo U-153 gel pen. It is frightening how much I know about pens.

When was the last time you played with paperdolls?  If you are on flickr, search for paperdolls and you will be amazed.

More later–

Collage, Take two

String Bean.jpg

Like I said before, there are many kinds of collage.  This is less abstract and lots more fun than the ones I showed you in my last post.  This one combines lots of things I have learned.

It does have some cut and paste.  The beans are from New York magazine (a subscription made with airline miles).  Every month they have a column about an in-season veggie.  The photos are big and beautiful, so I save them.  The green figs came from another magazine ad.  The purple flower came from a third.  The hand came from a Somerset Publishing mag.  This is the kind of collage I did in high school.  Cut the pictures and put them together to say something.  Some people do wonderful things with this technique, but I have not yet really been successful at it.  So I did a bunch of things.

First I divided the paper into different size squares and rectangles.  I just painted them different colors.  The top left is a page from Steve’s old calculus text that I painted with yellow watercolor.  Most of the piece is watercolors because I like them.  The bottom right corner, inside the black and white checks, is a bit from the magazine article that defines a string bean.  I painted yellow watercolor over it.  (Would you be surprised to know that I always run out of yellow long before I run out of any other color?  It is such a happy color.)

I used my reverse tissue paper writing for the bottom left corner.  Just glued it on and hit it with a hot pink.  Top right corner is the lettering and more paint.  The beans are glued on but not in the middle.  Not real fond of symmetry in art.  I even wrote “No straight lines in Nature.” between the beans.  I added the figs for the color.  Then I added a piece of cloth.  Just beside the yellow bean is a piece of batik fabric I had on hand which has been stenciled with a Jane LaFazio stencil that I won.  I drew the bean plant (I have no idea what a bean plant really looks like, so just trust me here.)

Finally I filled in with mostly Zentangles which are so soothing to draw.  If you haven’t Googled Zentangles yet, do it!!!!  This is a fad, trend, whatever for everyone.  It is meditation that can be done anywhere, even crowded subways–if your town has subways.  There are no rules and no mistakes.  What are you waiting for?  I know you did something like this in the margin of your high school notebooks during boring lectures.

The finished piece  is kind of bizarre and very colorful.  Steve liked it enough to hang it in his kitchen.  Just like my knitting, I am not very emotionally attached to the finished product; I just like the fun involved in the making.

Psst!  I have been knitting, but I can’t talk about it yet.

Some other fun stuff.

Garden collage base

Garden collage base

Add some flowers and stuff that I drew and painted

Add some flowers and stuff that I drew and painted

Some tape with messages, some tangling and and drawing to connect the images.

Some tape with messages, some tangling and and drawing to connect the images.

The base for a piece done in an online class with Cathy Bluteau

The base for a piece done in an online class with Cathy Bluteau

The final collage.  Mostly cut paper, and pics of Bella and Jake.

The final collage. Mostly cut paper, and pics of Bella and Jake.

Collage has something for everyone

I have never been good at cut and paste. Wait. I cut well, but paste is usually a disaster. When Kate asked me to attend a collage workshop with her last fall, I decided try learn more about gluing paper together. Lord knows I have plenty of paper!

I tried some 6 x6 pages. Some were okay, some were stinky, one was really nice. Then I flew to Massachusetts to learn from Alexandra Sheldon. I hit some bumps in the workshop. Mixing acrylics was new to me and I wanted to use a new colorway. Took me half the workshop to find it. Also I was really annoyed about space and work areas. This let me know how spoiled I am, but also what I need to enjoy doing this. Both good lessons. Most of the work we did there was very abstract. Didn’t have to be, but it was. Since returning home I have done a bit of that, mostly finishing things I started there.

These two pieces share a fun technique anyone can do. Look closely at the pod shaped areas. They are stamped onto a background that was somewhat randomly painted. Very randomly actually. I made the stamps. In less than five minutes. Here’s how.


Materials needed–a piece of sticky backed foam (Michael’s), a piece of cardboard, a pencil, scissors.
Draw or trace the shape you want onto the foam. Carefully cut it out. Stick it to the cardboard. That’s it. Use paint or ink and stamp away. Commercial stamps are expensive. This isn’t. Think you can’t draw. Grab some cookie cutters and trace. A great way to make holiday stamps.
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If you are careful, you can also mount the negative image that was left from the cutout. Voila! Two stamps, no waste.

Check out the writing on the sides of each piece. This was my favorite discovery. Yes, it is backwards. Maybe I want you to have to work at finding out what I said. More likely, what I said was nonsense and I just like the way it looks. Here is how you do it.


Materials–tissue paper, pens or markers, a glue that dries clear. (I use Golden’s Soft Gel, but try whatever you have.)
Sit in front of the Tv and mindlessly write in you own handwriting. No need to be fancy. Printing works, too. Let the ink, paint dry. Turn the tissue upside down and glue it that way onto something else, like a card for someone. Put a layer of the glue over the whole piece. Let dry well. Call it art!


Here are some of the adhesives I use. I don’t like the ModPodge because it dries to a sticky surface. Maybe I don’t use it right. Lots of people like it. I am still best with a glue stick. They don’t spill.

The wire is a leftover from a jewelry project. I just poked holes in the collage with a needle and sort of sewed it in place. It is there to give your eye a path to travel. Sound kind of arty, don’t I?

If abstract isn’t your style, then I have some other ideas for you. I like to let my weird sense of humor loose once in a while.

More later–<

Checking in

It is September . . . almost October.  We’ve been busy with family matters, but that’s all okay now.  I think about blogging, but I am not always sure that  what I am up to is interesting since it usually isn’t knitting.  But there is even some of that.

I’ve been asked to teach at the Carolina Fiber Frolic in 2014.  More on that as plans develop.  This is the weekend that Jan Smiley organizes each year in Sapphire Valley, NC.  It is always a great weekend of fun, fiber stuff,  and fabulous food.

We were in Nashville recently and went to a car show at the Frist Art Center.  It was called Sensuous Steel.

Art Deco Extraordinaire

Art Deco Extraordinaire

Cars from the 1930s. They were lavishly made and I felt a bit elegant just standing beside them.

1933 Pierce Arrow IMG_0217 IMG_0292

Click on these to see a larger view.

I am drawing and painting and gardening and planning my new screen porch.  I have been sorting Steve’s mom’s photographs and have found a treasure trove of vintage pictures to use for mixed media work.  The girls will get the originals, but I have scanned and scanned.  Check out these:

Steve's mom in her senior play.

Steve’s mom in her senior play.

HS Basketball team 1939

HS Basketball team 1939

I have mainly been working on 6 x 6 inch collages lately. I’m preparing to go to a workshop and I want to know what techniques I can do and what I reallllllly need help with. Here is one I like.

Embrace the reality of who you are

Embrace the reality of who you are

I used Photoshop to put the letters on the picture. I also used it to make the manniquins kind of wavey and ugly. Might be just a bit of jealousy there. I’m still working on this philosophy. I won’t overload your bandwidth with more examples, but you can always check out my artwork on my flickr site. Check the sidebar.

I’m working on some Halloween stuff which I will show you when I can.

Keep making things of your own.

More later–

Feeling Sorry for Yourself Does No Good

Drawing in the Driveway

Drawing in the Driveway

Trapped at home again because clutch leg is infirm.  Kate called and caught me mid tears.  She cheered me greatly and then the “shame” started.  I am really just fine, just frustrated and tired of not being able to do what I want/need to do.  SO . . . . . . . .

I decided to concentrate on the good things that have happened to me.

Jean fixed my computer.  Chris came by to chat.  Martha brought me a casserole.  Katherine is taking me to lunch tomorrow.  Cat is coming for beer tomorrow night.  Some folks on flickr liked my drawings.  A little girl and her mom stopped by while I was drawing outside(see above), and I got to encourage Evie to go home and paint paper.  The rain fairies have taken care of the yard for me.

Life is good.

Paul is in Chile now and Erica and Z will fly down in a few weeks.  After some nightmare nursing home adventures, Edna is now in a place that seems to be good for her.  Meghan’s having an attic sale this weekend and I will go help her and enjoy the event.

Woman of the desert from the Faces project

Woman of the desert from the Faces project

I’ve been drawing some and planning lots of projects that I will never get around to doing.  I miss my Wednesday knit group, but should get back to it soon.  I’m working on my Viajante which is lots of knitting in the round.  Very relaxing.

Mini-mummyI started my Halloween decorations.  I made this mini-mummy I saw on Pinterest.  You just shape a body with a head on four limbs out of soft wire (I used the spiral binding from a notebook that I took apart) and then wrap it with fabric strips.  I recycled the clean part of my surgical dressing and used that.  Love to recycle.  I need to glue some eyes on it.  Great project to do with grandkids.

Spend some time today listing the good things that have happened to you lately.  It will lift your spirits.

More later–

Transferring My Photocopies to Cloth

Today I played with some of my photos–laser printer copies of my photos–and attempted to transfer the images to cloth.  This has great possibilities.

booksImage Transfer Workshop: Mixed-Media Techniques for Successful Transfers  By Darlene Olivia McElroy

This is the source of the information that led to today’s experiments.  I used digital photos of my own that were printed on plain paper with a laser printer.  Laser printer is important because this works with the toner, not the ink in an inkjet printer.  You need a spray can of Krylon Crystal Clear (under $7 at Michaels), some cotton fabric which has been prewashed to remove any sizing, a wooden spoon or old credit card.  Then you just need a playful spirit.

Owl-transfer-frontThe technique was for black and white images, so I took my scan of my Owl #5 to Dilworth Packing Company to make a copy.  I followed the instructions and got nothing on my cloth.  I cannot explain that, but it turns out that the technique which has you saturate the photocopy with the acrylic sealer has a great effect on the paper.  Owl-transfer-backThis is the back of the plain piece of printer paper after the saturation.  The whole thing is translucent and has a great look to it.

But back to the cloth thing.  I decided to try some photos Steve had printed for me but they were all in color.  Well, “in for a penny, in for a pound” . . .

Tiffany-transferThis is the first attempt.  McElroy explains some common problems about getting good images in her book, so I blame this on being a newbie.  But…..I used a twill (diagonal) weave cotton for this and the texture on the cloth showed I wasn’t getting full contact.  I then tried printing it to a piece of white cardstock lying nearby.  Again I got a twill effect–the other half of the transfer that didn’t go on the cloth.  Eureka and Thomas Edison.  I discovered twill fabric doesn’t work.

Bikes-transferTry number three was another color photocopy, a bike burial ground in Australia.  This time I used cotton knit.  An aside:  I’m really playing with this to see if I can make cute appliques to cover food stains on my Tshirts.   A much better transfer yet still not strong color.  I also think this photo is too busy.

Mandala-transferNumber 4 is a watercolor pencil mandala assigned in a former art class.  I sprayed the heck out of this one.  I also used plain weave cotton–an old baby sheet to be exact.  This was my best impression.  I could add permanent ink to this to make a washable applique and put it on something.  Plus I would get the fun of coloring it all over again.

Mandala-frontBest of all is how the photocopy looks now.Mandala-back

I still have some other transfer techniques to try.

In the mean time I started a new bigger watercolor painting.

Hydrangea-in-progressThis is the beginning.  The blue tape is to keep the paper clean and provide a nice border to the finished painting.  This is an activity I found on line from the Learning Center on Susie Short’s website.  She even provides a traceable sketch to get you painting without worrying about drawing.  I love hydrangeas, especially blue ones.  Oh, you didn’t realize this was a picture of a hydrangea.  That’s because I got so rushed and excited laying on this first bit of color and then trying to fix it that it is really a blob.  Except for the leaves.  I have the start of some great leaves.

Hydrangea-in-progress-leaf-Check out that top one.  See the lines/veins.  Those are not drawn in.  They are carved into the paper with a stylus and then painted over again.  The second coat of paint seeps down in the depression of the veins and therefore dries darker than the surface color.  Isn’t that cool?

Later I’ll show you how I’m learning to draw watercolor tree trunks with a credit card.  I just love clever.

More later–

First ATC Swap

Cindy Angiel is an artist. She has spent a large amount of time and energy encouraging and teaching others of us to make art and have fun. I don’t know how she does it.

She started the Linedrawing Forum– see button in right hand column. I joined it fairly early on and have been amazed at its growth. There you will find instruction, inspiration, shared resources, many freebies shared by members of the community just for the fun of it. You will also find challenges and swaps to enter if you wish.

The latest swap from Cindy deals with Serendipity Colored backgrounds. These are my kind of backgrounds. You just throw, drip, spatter, whatever paints of several colors onto a piece of paper and let them do their thing. If you don’t like what you see, throw different paint. No skill or talent required. Try to harness your inner four year old. Use it any way you want. Cindy made us a video.  Here’s one I made today with watercolor.

watercolor background page

Cindy asked us to cut Artist Trading Cards (2.5×3.5″) from it and decorate it with repeated pattern drawings, aka Tangles, letting the color guide us. Then we were to create a set of five cards to send to her. We will each receive five cards created by another artist. Cindy made us a video.

Serendipity Colors ATC SetI have been creating these serendipitous pages for awhile and drawing whatever I see in the chaos, so this seemed perfect for my first swap. Cindy’s vast following is very talented, but not at all judgmental. This should be as non-threatening as it gets. Hah!

Serendipity Colors ATC Set2I picked my paper, cut my cards and began. I was too worried about messing up to just start as the tangle community encourages. I actually traced out the color patterns and tried out various patterns. One at a time I drew the cards, then I mounted them all on a solid card stock piece. Finally I created the label to attach to the back. Help is in the video above.

Serendipity Colors ATC Set3An aside—-I have had this box of labels since the Stone Age. I went to the Avery site to get a template but couldn’t find one. Do you think it is possible I am the only person who still has a box of VHS Cassette labels?

two  birdsYou’ve been looking at the ATCs I am sending for the swap.Darkness and Stars ATC

This one was a lucky accident, no,  more an example of faking it to fix it.  I misspelled Darkness on the original.  Yeah.  I loved the way the paint created the woman’s profile and wasn’t willing to give up on it.  I finally just cut that corner of the card away and mounted the card on the black background.  Then I wrote the beginning of the quote in white ink.  Like it even better.

I’m including an extra one for Cindy, our swap host.  This one is from a different background.Reality and Music

Then I made some more cards. The small size makes them quick to do, so finishing satisfaction is really high, unlike my recent knitting.  I’ll show them later.

Then I made some envelopes. I used an envelope template provided by Cindy for her next swap, Mail Art.image

If you can write your name, you can make this art. It’s great for kids as well. Give it a go. Several of us in my knit group come early to share our tangling beforehand.

More later–

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