HUGE Blog Hop and A Cool Idea for How to Decorate an Old Accessory

Happy Saturday All!

Now it’s time for something a little bit different…

If you are following the Art of Wild Abandonment Bloghop, you have probably come here from Marsa Fisher’s blog.

I have been posting and telling you throughout the last month or so about the fun-filled online class over at Christy Tomlinson’s, The Art of Wild Abandonment. I have had such a blast throughout the class, from the terrific teaching style of Junelle Hallstrom Jacobsen, to the wonderfully supportive, interactive, and inspirational group of gals on the Facebook class group.

I have stretched myself artistically throughout the class, which I think is what we all strive for when we take any kind of creative class. I have mimicked the projects throughout the class, sort of my way of learning, and have then infused what I have learned and what has inspired me into my own art. I never enjoyed sketching anything out before I got going with this class, and I am most thankful for that gift…

So as you hop through this awesome and wonderful blog hop, filled with visits to some of the other gals from the class, my hope is that you will get to feel some of the joy that everyone has been having!

Now I’m going to share with you my most recent project from the class, which actually came from one of Christy’s videos. We took an old wallet or purse or some such thing and breathed new life into by covering it in art!

This was a particularly fun project for me, cuz although I make fun stuff for other people to use and to wear, I hadn’t been carrying around something with ME that showcases some of my art. Now I have something that will go with me everywhere and will add a little brightness and artsy-ness to my travels. AND it’s my everything-keeper, it holds business cards and business fliers that I carry with me…and my business life is not typically related to my art life, my business life sometimes gets a little bit dry! What fun to add some color to that realm…

It also has particular meaning for me, in that one side of the case has an element that we will eventually work into our logo…a hand-carved stamp that my Christopher’s mom made many years ago in her art studio. Christopher actually helped me fill in some of the ink on the impression that didn’t come out all of the way!

A couple of tips for you: The first layer is tissue paper, stamped with black ink and the Chinese lettering. I wasn’t totally sure that it would give me the tooth that it needed, or that it would stay on the fabulous faux pleather under it, but Christy was right!! It really did stick, and it really did give a great canvas on which to keep adding stuff. It also took a lot more layers of the tissue paper than I originally expected…the black was so deep and so dark, the white tissue paper would just disappear into the black. I might have gesso’d the whole thing to help with that, but I had already started Mod Podging everything down. So I just built up the layers of tissue paper and that did the trick. Then it really was just like working on a canvas or art journal page, even if a bit squishier (the cover of the card case is padded).

There you have it…it actually looks like some of my art journal pages, just a working piece of art that will go with me now (Christopher did bury the whole thing in a clear varnish so that dirt and finger oil and so forth won’t absorb into the artwork).

Make sure you continue along the blog hop, on to Jan Richies blogJan Richie’s blog

If you haven’t yet visited the rest of the bloghop, why not join in the fun by visiting the first stop at Claire Smillie.

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Super Exciting and Giant Blog Hop is Here Tomorrow!!

Join us for the fun, in The Art of Wild Abandonment Blog Hop!!

I’m a Winner, a Blog Hop, and Some More of My Latest Obsession, Paint Chip Cards

Goodness, it seems today is a day of all kinds of tidbits!!

First of all, I’m a WINNER!!

I know, I know, seems like with all of my affirmation-style and positive message artsy stuff that maybe I shouldn’t be thinking this is actually news-worthy, but I tell you, this couldn’t have happened at a more serendipitous time, as I’ve been battling some of my own negativities this week.

You may have visited the lovely blog, Campfire Chic, but I have only recently “discovered” Kam’s wonderful and inspiring blog (if you haven’t visited as of yet, be sure to do so, it is chock full of coolness!).  She has monthly sponsors, and for April, one of the sponsors is Indie Chic, a shop of the most feminine and darling flower and other nature jewelry.  And yours truly won a pack of this awesome jewelry!!  My girls are going to totally fight me for the joy of wearing these lovelies, lol.

Thank you so verily much to Kam at Campfire Chic and to Samantha at Indie Chic, you totally made my day week April!!

Next item on the agenda, before we get to pics of my latest obsession, is an upcoming blog hop.  I’ve told you a couple of times (you can check out my first post about the class if you haven’t already) about the online workshop I’ve been taking, The Art of Wild Abandonment.  The class has been one of the most inspiring, exciting, and fun classes I’ve taken as of yet.  Even more inspiring has been the participation of all the others taking the class and the sharing and friendships running around during the class, all shared on our Facebook group (joining Facebook is a whole new gig for me, not just the sketching!).  I have been privy to such much amazing art by lots of amazing people that I never would have met otherwise…

We are having a Blog Hop this Saturday, and you’ll really want to follow along and check out these amazing talents.  We will start at midnight my time here in Reno (holy cow!), which is timed with the start of the blog hop at 8 a.m. British Standard Time…I did have to look that up on the interwebs!  You can jump over here, I will have my post up, and I will give you the before and after landing spots.  I will also show you where to go if you want to start at the beginning of the whole shindig.  It’s a great way to make some discoveries of your own in the art blogosphere.

Now for the Paint Chip Cards!

Okay, last order of business, I have been creating some more of these little artworks on the paint chip sample cards.  Can’t seem to get enough of them!  Along with my other regular projects, I have been so inspired by my recent joining of a RAAK group (Random Acts of Art Kindness).  The thrill of making something and sending to someone on the list that I’ve never met, that has never met me, oh, I am just so excited to send a little card in the mail to them!  I haven’t had penpals since grade school!  This has been the most fun, and way more of an inspiration than I ever imagined it would be (how many times can you talk about inspiration in one blog post??)!

So here’s a peek at my latest cards:

Prompt: Have you ever executed a RAAK?  You know, it doesn’t have to be in a formalized membership group, you can commit an act of art kindness anytime, anywhere!  Make something lovely, something you like, and send it to someone…in the MAIL!!  We so often use texting, phone calls, twitter, Facebook, etc. that we forget how much fun it is to get something in the mail!  Or leave a surprise piece of artsy goodness on a table somewhere to a stranger!  It feels great!  Spread the artsy love 🙂

Welcome to My Art Fodder Nest

Each thought that is welcomed and recorded is a nest egg, by the side of which more will be laid.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Thanks to all of you that stopped by and offered some love and support for Ally on Saturday’s post (if you missed it, please do take a peek, she is so thrilled to be participating in the giant art community out there…she’s so heartfelt and sincere with her sharing of her project!).

Spring break is over for us, as it is for most of you now.  Here in Reno, spring is a subjective thing.  We actually had some snow over the weekend!  We’re trying to be patient…we do have a few flowers starting to bloom here and there, but not much yet.  The birds are singing and visiting and beginning to build their nests.  Little bunny rabbits are running around all over the neighborhood.  Spring is coming, even if a bit slowly for us.

I’m definitely itching for the warmer weather.  I love spending the spring afternoons tromping around with the kidlets, snapping pics of the flowers and budding trees and the critters.  I’m ready.

This weekend I worked on a project from the online class that I’m finishing up.  The theme is building an art nest, a visual representation of all the things that we, as artists, go out and collect, and then bring back to use in our art.  That means not only actual pieces of art fodder, like bits of treasure and art supplies and so forth, but more importantly, those pieces of experiences and inspirations on an esoteric level.  Like seeing the bunnies running across the backyard…like the quail sitting under the pine trees, looking for seeds and then moving from house to house in the neighborhood as the sun sets…like the golden eagles swooping down from the mountain behind our house, gliding around each other in circles as they descend to find the critters on the valley floor…

This canvas now hangs proudly on the end wall in my art space, right next to the canvas I made for my note board.  So often I’m creating for gifts or for commissioned work or for sale, but this time these two canvases I made just for me…and I love looking at them, and feeling inspired by them.

Prompt: What do you collect for your art nest?

Loverly Note Board for My Studio Wall

Knowledge is love and light and vision.

~ Helen Keller

This weekend I worked on a combination vision board + note board for my studio wall (this is another inspired project from the online workshop Art of Wild Abandonment that I told you about in my earlier post about Permissions in Art).

I’m still working a bit on some photos to add into the little pocket.  One of the really great things about this board is that I can change what’s in the burlap pocket and what hangs from the knotted string on the side.

I can use this board to display art supplies that are on my wish list.  Or I can use it to hang clippings or photos of things that go on my vision board.  Or to hang motivational quotes.  Or…well, really anything that I want to visually motivate me in my art space.  I just love the adaptability of the board, since sometimes what my goal is changes a bit.  It works for the very short-term motivators.

I also had a great time adding little bits of lovelies to the board.  I grabbed little things that I have had in my stash, little things that have just been waiting for the perfect project…little things that I love, and I finally found the perfect place to put so many of them together!

For example, the background is a vintage linen napkin that I found at a garage sale for $0.10.  I love the simple beauty, and I love painting on linen.  And the day that we went to that garage sale was a day chock full of junking with my hubby and the kids in tow.  We had a terrific time out in the sunshine, looking through old junk.  The tags in the pocket are tags I made using flower petals from Valentine’s Day 2011 and ink and embossing powders.  The pink flower is from one of my daughters’ pony tail holders that fell apart.  They’re all little tidbits of memories and great times.  They go wonderfully with my notes of important ideas…

So often I’m making projects for gifts or as commissioned works, but so rarely do I make something all just for me, to hang in my own space, just do I can look at it.  This was a loverly little project with no one else in mind, just me, just for my own inspiration.  Do you remember to do that occasionally?

I do have some final touches in mind, a few things I want to tuck into the pocket and clip onto the knotted string.  I also have a sentiment on a card that I’m going to attach onto the little frame at the bottom of the pocket, but you get the idea.  It’s a living artwork.

I did get some work done on another heavily-textured-caulk-in-the-background canvas I’ve been working on, can’t wait to share that with you when it’s finished up.  I am working on hand-tooling the text that will be ultimately on the canvas, so that’ll come later.

Prompt:  Where do you find tidbits of art fodder?  Garage sales, flea markets, your kids’ playroom, craigslist (these are some of my faves)?

Just Jump! Art Journal Page

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Years ago, I found these little metal coin sort of thingies (yes, I’m certain that’s the technical term) at a shop somewhere.  Might have even been a UPS store or something odd like that.  They were in a cute little basket on the front counter, and I could not resist them!  Originally, I was thinking that my older daughter would love them, but when I put them in her hand, she just kind of shrugged, looked at me sort of quizzically, and quietly said thanks.  I found them later coming through the laundry…

So they ended up in one of the cubbies in one of my many art supplies boxes.  I think to myself every time that I see them that I’ll find something neat to do with them, cuz I love them, I love their sentiments, I love their feel.  And the years went on by.

Welp, I have finally made them a home!

This fun page follows another project in the online workshop I’m attending.  It’s funny, at first I wasn’t really even interested in doing this one.  I had already gone ahead and watched something else and started working on another project.  I kept rolling it around in my mind, though.  The idea of the leaves was to use bits of patterned papers and get a feel for using papers in your art journal for different textures.  That’s not something at all new for me, so I was wandering around not paying too much attention.

Later that evening, I was wanting to play in my art journal, but didn’t really have anything particular in mind.  I went back to the tree branch with the paper leaves.  I had one of those a-ha moments, I grabbed some of the scraps of my many artist papers (papers that I make for background and collage) to use for the leaves.  I love using these papers, I have so much fun making them, and I love to see them later in other projects.

The whole thing turned into a super-fun and playful project for me, and it turned into the new home for my little metal coin thingies…I feel thrilled and joyful when I open to this page, I get to see some bits of my art papers and the little coins!

A How-to: Using Old Books as Art Journals and Some Pics of Journal Pages

Earth laughs in flowers.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

What a week!  I hope that all y’all’s week went wonderfully, mine was a bit weird and kind of stressful.  I usually don’t allow much room for succumbing to stress, so this week was quite the challenge for me.

I did, however, continue arting and playing in the online workshop I joined.  It has been such a joy, such a surprise, to find a whole new dimension in my art, opened up to me in the form of sketching out ideas.  I no longer feel limited by my own clumsy hands.

What I realized this week (I think I knew it deep down inside somewhere, only I hadn’t figured out how to get it expressed out here), is that being able to get an image out of my head has far less to do with the hand and the pencil than I previously thought.  It has way more to do with how my mind’s eye sees the picture, with how clear the vision is in my head.  My hand and the pencil will get out that image, and if it’s clear enough, the image will look at least somewhat like the image in my head.

And I smashed through that fear, that reticence, that was holding me back.  It just vanished.  Now I can’t art fast enough, all of the ideas and images that have been floating around in my head for so long are all fighting at the doors of my perception to squeeze out first in line.  I simply don’t have enough time in the day!

I have a couple of images of pages in the little book I’ve been working in this week.  They don’t specifically have anything in common, other than they are pics of pages I worked on in the online workshop.  They did turn out really cute, though.

What I really wanted to share with you out of the idea of the little book:

Some tips for using books as art journals: 

  • A hard-back book is a good choice.  Soft-cover works, but it is a bit flimsy if you do a lot of heavy-handed work.
  • Vintage books are cool, but sometimes the pages are too fragile.  They tend to crumble or disintegrate if you really abuse them (which I do).
  • Do consider what kind of book you’re going to start arting in, for example, do you really want your art inside the cover of political book (maybe if it’s political art)?  Or do you really want your art inside a horror novel?  You’ll be way less frustrated if you consider that ahead of time.
  • One of my books has glossy, thick pages.  These do not need to be glued together for extra support.  They have plenty of support one page at a time. I made the mistake in one of them of gluing some pages together, and the result was really difficult to work with.  I simply gesso over the single pages and get to-playing.
  • One of my books is full of regular book page paper.  It’s not a paperback, so it’s not super thin, but pretty average.  I do glue two of the pages together for support, as I do a lot of collage work and sanding and abusing the pages (some people like to glue three pages together, I don’t like the lumpiness from all of the glued pages).  Then I gesso for prep.
  • In both books, if I left all of the pages in the book, ultimately it wouldn’t all fit inside the cover.  Because so much of what we do in our art books adds dimension (and I mean physically), it makes sense to remove a lot of the pages from the book.  In my glossy-paged book, since I am using each page individually, I removed every-other page from the whole book before starting any other prep.  From the regular-paged book, I left the first two pages, then removed two pages, then left two pages, then removed the next two pages, and so forth.  This leaves space inside the book for gluing stuff in and stuffing in little notes and pics and all of that jazz.
  • I save all of the removed pages for other art fodder.  Fun!!
  • I usually spend time gesso-ing and prepping several books at a time…a bit like an aseembly line.  Gesso a page in one art journal, set aside to dry, gesso a page in another book.  I do several pages in several books at one sitting.
  • I personally wait till the end before doing anything to the cover, cuz I’m a bit messy throughout my arting.

I hope this helps, I pondered the whole book thing for a long time before finally deciding it was okay.  I had to battle the mentality that books should be cared for a certain way.  I was able to get a pile of free books from a gal on craigslist, and I also had a couple of multiple copies of some books.  That eased my guilt enough to do the deed.  The surprise for me has been the joy of the feel of the size of the books and the joy of the text peeking out from underneath some of the arting.

My How Time Flies, an Art Journal Page and Prompt

What you seek is seeking you.

~ Rumi

Hello my Peeps!  Yesterday was the first time I fell off of the wagon, I haven’t missed a posting up till now.  As it turned out, yesterday was just one of “those” days; you know, a day when everything we do seems to have some brand of strife, some fight to get up the hill.

When I have those days, they threaten to take me from my usual, Pollyanna-positive self to a dark place of thinking the whole world sucks.  That is not the sort of day where I’m feeling totally inspired.

Good thing for me, I tend to sit down and pout, and then recognize that “it ain’t nothin’ but a thang”.  That’s what a wonderful friend of mine would say to me years ago when I was having a crappy day.  It ain’t nothin’ but a thang.  Words to live by.

Savor Every Moment, Always Remember

I did finish up a journal page…so while I might not have gotten on the ole blogospehere, I did get some arting done.  I’ve been sketching out ideas on the subject of time, the way time seems to just fly by, faster and faster every day.  So many days I look around and can’t believe that it’s already time to start the Teddy Bear Parade, kissing babies and handing out swigs of water, and time to drop into bed myself shortly thereafter.  By the time my bedtime rolls around, I’m exhausted from all of the energy of a well-spent day.  I do not, however, ever feel like I got it all done.  I still have those last-minute thoughts and ideas I wish I could sketch out or little chores that I wish I could finish up before bed.  Nope, I am not a night owl, so if it’s not done before the sand man appears, too bad.  I will fall asleep by the time my head hits the pillow.

This page also is moving me along in the sketching realm.  I am really having way more fun with the sketching than I imagined!  It seems that once I let go of the fear, the pencil started doing what my mind’s eye was seeing it doing.  What a good hand, and what a good pencil!!  (The page did start out as a clock and a bird flying past.  Seems that was too far stretched to make the point, you know, Time Flies).  Seem the online workshop I told you about is really inspiring me way more than expected, what a joy!!

So here’s the prompt: How do you feel about Time?  Do you feel like it crawls by, or do you feel like it’s always flying by, barely brushing your cheek as it rushes by?  Do you even stop and think about it?  

Have a most wickedly awesome day, make the most of it, cuz you’ll not be getting this one again later!!

Permissions in Art

It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!

~ Mark Twain

It’s not that we must ask “permission” of anyone to be creative.  That’s not what this is about.  But as artists or creatives of any type, we have those encounters that offer wisdom, that offer tips, or that offer inspirations, that seem to give us permission to try something new.

My Creative Journey

My creative journey started when I was a kid.  I wrote in my first journals as a grade-schooler.  Somewhere around fifth grade, I wrote my first poem for a contest and received an award.  I was hooked.

I continued writing throughout my young adult life.  I wrote creative poetry and short stories with a journalistic-type style.  I practiced writing, and I approached writing as a discipline.  I wrote book reviews for a small newspaper in Dallas, TX.  Along the way, I started exploring the visual arts as a way to enhance my creative writing.

During my mid-twenties, I formed a terrific friendship and partnership with some other artists, and we ultimately opened a community art studio and gallery in Dallas.  At the time, I knew very little about running a business…all I knew was that I wanted to be around all of the different artists and magic happening in that art community.

My First Important Permission

One of the first and most important “permissions” was from a fellow artist with tons of experience in painting (and every other art under the sun).  I had painted my first large canvas, an abstract called “Birthday Cake” for a friend of mine.  My artist friend looked at the painting for a long time, and finally said, “It looks like you just used the paint right out of the tube, no shading or mixing of color.”  That is exactly what I had done, and I was pretty confused.  I didn’t understand what the problem was.

He explained to me that my black background had no texture or movement or interest.  And the colors on top of that in the foreground were, well, boring.  The whole thing was flat.  My aim was to show movement and swooshiness.  I had failed miserably because the piece did not have movement, it was actually quite the opposite.  He showed me a quick way to add some interest to the texture by using the cellophane off of his cigarette pack, crumbling the paper and getting some paint on it and dotting it around on the background.  It immediately added some interest and texture and movement.

So I went back to the ole drawing board to keep painting.

Permission to Play with Color

Another painter that had rented the studio next door to mine was hanging out with me late one evening.  I was bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t find the right color of red.  I tried to explain in words what I red I was wanting, and she suggested that I add a little bit of one tube of red and a bit of another tube of red.  I felt the proverbial light bulb click on over my head.  Mix two different shades of red??  I hadn’t thought of that, and the whole world of color opened for me.

I have been creative for many, many years.  Somewhere along the way, I stopped thinking I was so creative.  Trials and tribulations in life seemed to stifle my creative self.  I got the fear, I buried that spirit deep down inside.  I got caught up in career and building and just simply thought that the dream of Art was lost.  I decided I was more of an entrepreneurial spirit rather than an artistic spirit.  I didn’t realize that even while I was building businesses that I was expressing my creative self.

Permission to be an Artist

And then my wonderful and loving hubby gave me another permission.  He gave me permission to create.  He gently urged me to start arting once again.  He started acting as a muse; through his sweet and loving words of support and encouragement, he helped me get back out the art supplies and start once again.  He never forgot that I was an artist.  He reminded me that it was all about playing and expressing myself and to heck with what anyone else thought.  The art wasn’t about pleasing anyone other than me.

Permission to Draw

My most recent “permission” has come from an unexpected source.  I am taking an online class originating with Christy Tomlinson.  If you haven’t visited her site, do so, she is super awesome and has lots of great technique videos and a really neat store.  I have taken other classes of hers, and they are really fun, and she always has lots of cool techniques. She is also a great example of an artist success story.

Her newest class is with a guest teacher, Junelle Hallstrom Jacobson.  The class is Art of Wild Abandonment.  I don’t know exactly what I expected in the class, I only knew that I liked the other two workshops that I had taken with Christy.  I had seen a couple of photos of Junelle’s work and I really wanted to see how she was doing things.  That’s about the whole of it.  What I didn’t expect was a bunch of videos during the first week totally focused on sketching.  Eww, sketching.

I have not been much of a sketcher.  I am one of those lazy gals that just complains that I can’t draw very well and then I don’t practice to get better.  I just let it be in my mind that you can either draw or you can’t.  I forgot that it’s possible to get better at something, just about anything, with practice.  You know, I say that all of the time to my kidlets, I just ignored my own advice!

Through the first week of class videos, we have been working on sketching as a practice.  It is so like the discipline practice when you’re writing.  You just do it.  You just sketch faster than your inner editor can think or speak to you.

I now have pages and pages of sketches and ideas and drawings.  And ya know what?  I can draw stuff that looks like something!  I am not the world’s worst drawer (is that a word??), I am not one of those people who “can’t draw”.  I am able to draw the thoughts that are in my head, I am able to sketch and practice and get better!  Once again, a whole new world is opening up to me.

This page is the result of a really cute prompt on sketching spring and clothes lines…

Blessings and Gratitude

Thanks Junelle, through your sweet encouragement and gentle pushing, I have found another piece of my soul finding the door to freedom.

Acrylic paint, Neocolors, papers, gel pen, Pilot UniBall Pen

Altered Board Book, My Manifesto

Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.

~ Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

I’ve told you before that I jointed the awesome art journal class 21 Secrets last year.  (If you missed it, you should check out the session getting started for this year in April, what a fun way to learn a whole bunch of fun new stuff from a whole bunch of different artists).

Somewhere around July, I started on an altered board book in the workshop with Gretchen Miller (she has an e-book available on the process that I followed in her 21 Secrets Workshop).

I’m guessing 8 months is a lengthy process for this little art journal, but I started it and then would work on other projects and the little book would get buried under other projects and materials.  And then I’d be digging around looking for something and find it and do another page.

My Revolution: Have faith. Show gratitude. Create & allow: prosperity, abundance, joy, love, inspiration. Be free. My manifesto.

The whole project has been really fun, it was a personal expression of concepts that matter to me in my life.  It was also a really fun project in that the sole purpose was to motivate and remind me of these concepts, not some motivation to give as a gift, or put in a showing, or try to sell.

So it’s a bit casual and a bit sparkly and something that I’m pleased to have completed.  It does not get buried under stuff now; it has a special spot with my motivational items and books in my studio.

Faith.  Follow your faith and you will not lose your way.  Faith is the compass.

Allowance.  Hold the vision.  Trust the process.  Focus.  Allow the manifestation to come to fruition.  I do not have to know all of the details.  Let go of fear.  Think Less.

Prosperity.  Prosperous, flourishing, or thriving condition; good fortune; success.

Inspiration.  A world of possibilities.

Joy.  Take joy in life.  Joy in my kids.  Joy from Christopher.  Joy in art.  Joyful creations.  Joy in business.  Joy in Reno.  Joy in the sunshine.  Joy at the lake.  Take joy in life.  Create joy in everything we do.  Teach the children joy.  Joy makes living good.  Joy can be found in all things.  Live and love joyfully.  Share the joy.

Abundance.  Believe in the beauty of giving.

Create.  ‘Nuff said.

Love.  Live in love.  Live what U love.  “And now these three Remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13

Freedom.  Live life like you’ve imagined.

Gratitude.  You will have much to be thankful for in the coming year (Chinese cookie fortune).  Thank you.

And a quick peak at the back cover of my book.  I used a child’s ticket to the movies, somehow that says to me to be involved in life as a child.