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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–

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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.

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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.

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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.

20140124-135801.jpg

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!

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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–<

It’s been a long time . . .

I actually feel guilty that I haven’t blogged, but life has been family issues and you don’t need to hear about it.  The knee is better.  That’s my good news.

I’ve been making and making and making.  I have a new collage based on a scan of my grandmother’s wedding picture.

We have no idea who the woman in the back is.

We have no idea who the woman in the back is.

I painted the paper with watercolor and stencils.  Then added the pinkish color with pastels.  The definition is from an old dictionary we once received because we donated to the local PBS station.  The lace is from my MIL’s sewing box.  The flowers were waiting for me on the clearance shelf at Michaels, and the purple beads I sewed into their centers have been around here forever.  I did spray a fixative on it when I finished.

I tried several things here and they all worked.  Wish it were always that way.

Gift from the girls about 1981.

Gift from the girls about 1981.

This is my favorite mug.  I start every day with coffee in this mug and I think about my girls.  I broke it.  I cried.  I wrote an impassioned letter to both of them about someday replacing it. Meghan brought this back from Chile when she went to visit her sister.

It is very thin.  Really fine workmanship.

It is very thin. Really fine workmanship.

I look forward to visiting the gallery where she found it when I go to Chile.

One stitch at a time.

One stitch at a time.

I’m still knitting the hat I’m designing for my pharmacist.  It is the challenge I love, but I need to work on it more often.

Steve and I at the game.

Steve and I at the game.

My BFF Jennie gave me tickets to the Steelers-Panthers exhibition game last night.  She knows I like to go and lust after Troy Palomalu even though he never plays in an exhibition game.  Doesn’t matter.

He stands wonderfully.

My favorite defensive player

My favorite defensive player

During the interminable TV timeouts, I drew these.  Beware—some strong opinions here.

Beer and B____s

Beer and B____s

Just my opinion . . .but it is a strong one.

Just my opinion . . .but it is a strong one.

Hope you are making something, too.

More later–

Art, Family, Thoughts

Z goes to school in Vina

Family first.  The folks are in Chile.  The other family goes to visit Friday.  I wish I were there.

Here is the American boy in the British school in Vina del Mar, Chile.  He is doing so well with the adjustment.  Has his first futbol (soccer) game is today.  I’m sure the team is glad to have him.  The school has welcomed him so warmly.

Unusual travel fact.  In Chile, heating is not necessarily part of the rental agreement.  We’ve been warned to bring winter pajamas.

More-Collage-Paper

More-Collage-Paper

The October Collage workshop will be here soon and I am preparing.  More Citrosolv papers to share.  I said I would update you about the National Geographic search.  I went to Sleepy Poet, a local antique mall, and found some—well, lots.  The guy that worked there had these for sale:

Note the brown boxes

Note the brown boxes

Seven years worth–in lovely boxed sets.  Total $10.00.  It seemed ridiculous to ask how much for one or two.  I bought them all.

Then I found the two from DSIL2.

Then I discovered that I really liked the size and weight of the ones I was creating with my ESPN mag.

Ain’t life funny?

The Sea

The Sea

This is #1, The Sea, in my collage prep series.  I have made a collage before, but always just sticking pictures together with no real purpose.  I read about using  a small sketchbook to do a collage a day.  The idea is that if frees you to explore.  This is a 6X6 sketchbook I bought at Arrowmont.  I like the size.  Not too much pressure.  I used some pearlescent watercolors, a greeting card, a magazine photo and a stamp.  I like the subtleness and the purple.

My Brain

My Brain

This is #2, My Brain.  This really is my brain.  I used pastels, washi tapes, the phone book, music paper scrap and a drawing of a brain.  Yes, the pink thing.  Then I wrote in some of my worries.

The “Everyday” thing doesn’t work for me, but that is okay.  I do like using a quote as a starting point.  I also have a collection of words snipped from magazines that could serve as a theme.  Anything to keep me focused.

hunger games pin

I’m doing a 30 day free trial of Amazon Prime.  Free shipping and free videos of movies and TV for $80 a year.  There is also a free book rental each month if you have a Kindle.  I watched The Hunger Games last night.  It reminded me again of how much fun it would be to teach that trilogy.  Then I reminded myself that students do not always see in literature what the teacher thinks they will.  Once, when I taught To Kill a Mockingbird to Juniors, I discovered that the dominant theme to many of them was Child Abuse, not Racism.  I think that shows how the world has changed.  It certainly supports the notion that responses to literature should be essays, not multiple choice questions.

Knee still wonky.  Don’t want to talk about it.

More later–

Ho, ho, a project or two

Tis the season to make things.  When is it not?

Joanne Sharpe teaches online and other lettering classes.  I took her Letter Love 101 class and had a blast.  She is such a good teacher; she makes you believe.  She is generously offering a free class called Five Golden Letterings which is a great intro to her.  Click the link and explore her offering.  Even the kiddies can do this.  Here’s my first projects.

christmas gold letteringJoanne is a big proponent of using your own handwriting to make letter art–even if you think it isn’t pretty, she’ll change your mind.

Felicia''s wingspanDecided the Wingspan I was making for Felicia was ugly, so frogged it and then bought new yarn.  Mostly Noro Kagagashi (?).  This one I am liking.

Jane Davies CDReceived the promised CD from Jane Davies.  You know how picky I am about the teaching quality of artists from whom I’ll take classes.  Well, Jane hits it out of the park.  She shows how to do many techniques:  glazing, texturing, spritzing and blotting, mono-printing, spattering, painting with the brayer, resists, and a bunch more.  I wish I could show you some samples of her work, but they are on the CD.  So, instead, I’ll show you what I did after I watched it.

metallic hp paperThis was my first one.  I used metallic acrylic paints, the copper is $$, but the others are cheapos.  I worked on deli paper that I begged Jessica to give me when we ate at Lebowski’s Friday.  The stencil images were created by placing them under the paper and using the brayer to apply the paint.  Fun and you don’t have to wash the stencils.

gold aqua hp paperThis one was done on drawing paper.  I used a brush to apply the paint and then added a touch with the brayer.  When dry I used bubble wrap to stamp it.  I brayered out a thin coat of acrylic on my piece of glass and used the bubble wrap like you would a regular rubber stamp.

hot color hp paperThese were done on tissue paper.  You can see the brayer work.  I also spritzed some liquid watercolor on the left one (blue), used a dauber to get the yellow, and a leafy foam stamp to finish up.  The one of the right stand as is with such hot color.

I was getting tired of the bright colors, so I went to Michaels.

neutrals hp paperMore tissue paper with stamps and texture.

What happens next?  The last part of the CD teaches how to do some great paper collage.  I may try that, but collage has never worked out well for me.  Jane’s process may change that.  I will cut it and tear it and just use it to make other kinds of art.

Actually you can see a lot of Jane’s work on her website.  Go to the Gallery and look at the slidesshows.  Amazing.

This was so much fun.  You could make art or wrap packages—which are their own brand of art.  Use what you have and give it a go.

More later–

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