A Giveaway, Oh My!

Giveaway 2Woo-hoo!!!  It’s time for an activity blitz!

We are building a project near and dear to our hearts, hoping to reach out to the art communities and family communities and Christian communities through the blog and Facebook and any other awesome online communities through all of you!

If you haven’t stopped by the SWAAK Pak page on our blog yet, please do so.  You will be able to read details there of the exciting vision we’re building.  This is a purely community-driven project, so we need YOUR help to get the Word out!  WORD!!

Now for the activity blitz part.  Several awesome and unique giveaways are getting started here with St John Family Studios Blog.

We will be having some fun giveaways as we work to build the readers on the blog and the Facebook page.  As we build the activity, we will be sharing updates and fun stuff as we move forward to the birthing of the Rocket Hub SWAAK Pak™ project and going LIVE!!

Okay.  So the first giveaway.

The first round is an AWESOME collection of ephemera!!  Wowsers!  This project is SO important, I will be sacrificing a collection of my personal horde collection: genuine-time-aged music pages, French book pages, old advertisements, vintage photos, shiny bits of stuff, sparkles, and more!  Oh, the fun you will have using these goodies in your canvases or your collages or your art journals or your hand-made cards or your love letters!  And if you’ve been following our blog for a while, you know how much I love collecting ephemera, so this will be no slouchy prize!!  And I will ship this anywhere. In.  The. World.  BangPow! *whispers* the world…

Your To-Do List:

1.  Follow the blog.  You can find the “subscribe” spot over there on the right-hand side of this posting.  Leave a comment and let the world know how cool you are for doing so 🙂

2. Run over to the St John Family Studios Facebook page and like it.  Come back and leave a comment here that you did 🙂

3.  Share the St John Family Studios Facebook page on YOUR Facebook page.  Hurry back and leave a comment that you did 🙂

4.  Share the link for this post on your Facebook page and let us know back here 🙂

5.  Share this post on your own blog and leave us some love here and let us know you did so, and you can leave a link to the post in your comment…that way everyone else will see the link to your blog, too!!

6.  This is the free-for-all-extra entry for the giveaway: Share this post on any other place that you share stuff.  I don’t know all of those places, but I know that you do!  Share it on twitter or pinterest (I have no idea if that kind of stuff goes there) or on your ning groups or anywhere that you have buddies.  Leave us a comment here to let us know 🙂

It’s as simple as that.  Simple.

The idea here is that with each comment, you’re entered a separate time into the giveaway.  You see?  You could enter 6 TIMES!!!  And if you’ve already liked the FB page or subscribed to the blog or some such thing, we TOTALLY appreciate you and aren’t leaving you out!  Just leave a comment about it and you’ll be counted in the entries for the giveaway!  

And the whole thing is gonna build as we go.  The BIG idea is to build MOMENTUM!!  So…

The first giveaway for the big brilliant box of beautiful ephemera (alliteration much?) will be given away when we reach the first milestone of 100 likes on the Facebook fan page.

You have till then to enter this thing as many times as you can. 

Then we will work towards the next giveaway (oooh, wonder what the prize will be???), that will be tied in to the next goal.  Your activities during this round will help you during the next round cuz you’ll be leaving comments then about these things you’re doing now…already liking the page and so forth…and you’ll have extra opportunities then with sharing our latest news then.  Makes total sense…well maybe only in my head, but hang in there, we’ll keep having fun stuff and prizes in the coming weeks!!!!!!!  And helping out now will help your entries then!

Whew!  So thanks for coming ’round and seeing what’s going on here with us.  We so look forward to gettin’ moving and dragging pulling bringing you along 🙂

XOXO

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Upcycling Cardboard for Canvases

Working out of my home is way overrated.  Finding time to art has become its own creative endeavor all it own…I keep several projects going at all times.  Then when I find a spare minute or two, I add a bit of paint or doodle here and a bit of glued paper there, and eventually I get a whole piece finished.

But here’s the super-duper awesome thing about the job: all of the trainers are now saving me the cardboard that comes out of the training materials they use in their classes!  I have a gigantic pile of these babies, they come out of the packets of training materials before they get put inside 3-ring binders.  All of them are the same size, they’re in pristine shape, and they gesso up and make the perfect canvas for collages and other art works!  And the kids love them as well!!

Who knew?  I get paid to work, and I get more Art Fodder™!!

They will make great book covers for art journals.  They are the perfect size for making lovies to frame and put on the wall.  And they are a nice, consistent size for another project I’m creating that will have pages and pages of illustrations.

I’m posting a few here for you to see how well the card boards are working out.

TreeButterflyBirdie

Prompt: What do you like to use as alternatives to traditional canvas?  Cereal boxes, old book covers, cardboard? 

How-to Make Your Own Book: Junk Journals, Smash Books, Mini Books, I Love Them All!

Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem.  We all have twenty-four hours a day.

~ Zig Ziglar*

Alright, so I’m admitting openly, I do love all of the little journals and books and albums…all of them!  I have coveted a Smash Book for some time now, but I just can’t bring myself to pay the asking price.  Not when I am in serious need of more paints and new paintbrushes and gels…

So I keep making my own little books out of the various stacks of papers and ephemera I have in my stacks.

The super-cool thing is that they are always at the ready, waiting next to whatever my current project is, waiting for left-over paint…mixed colors or blobs on palettes as I’m creating.  I use the overage on pages in my little junk journals to make backgrounds as I go.  Then I have awesome little journals in which to glue clippings and love notes and odds and ends the kids bring to me.  I have also used small Moleskines for the same purpose, using left-over paint for backgrounds in a Fave Quote Journal.

I have looked at lots of other little journal how-to’s around the interwebs, I have seen pics of other cute things and done my own versions of back-engineering.  I have stapled together pieces of paper!  I have all kinds of little books around, not sure what their end purpose is, but they have brought me much pleasure and joy as I slap paint and glue doo-dads and fondle their pages.

That’s my adult-artsy version of scrapbooks and journals, I guess.  Maybe someday my kidlets will look at them lovingly and remember fondly their youth?  All I know, it sure is fun, and it sure brings a total satisfaction in my artsy play.

Here’s a couple of my latest faves, one is a book out of mostly envelopes, and I think a couple of marketing junk mail pieces.  The pockets in the center are toilet tubes.  The other is made out of file folders.

That’s been a lot of my projecting this summer.  I have worked on a number of larger art works, I will be working on taking photos at some point to put up and on the Etsy site.  We’ve also been working on a Facebook page for our arty bunch so that we can roll out a project in the works.  More on that to come.

Thanks for sticking around.  I so miss being able to art all day long, my heart aches, my artist soul is petulant…but the sales gal in me is having a great time at the job, and that has its own brand of creative satisfaction.

 

File Book 3 File Book 2 File Book 1 Envelope Book Cover Envelope Book 13 Envelope Book 10 Envelope Book 9 Envelope Book 8 Envelope Book 7 Envelope Book 6 Envelope Book 5 Envelope Book 4 Envelope Book 3 Envelope Book 2

*Zig Ziglar has always been one of my favorite motivation speakers and authors.  This quote is so fitting as I fight for time to work, time to art, time to blog, time to minister, and time to play with the kidlets and the hubby. 

End of Summer Break

I’m not sure that I originally set out to have a summer break, but here it is, the end of summer…and I haven’t worked on the blog in three months!

I have been keeping up with all of you through reading your blogs and answering comments.

At the beginning of the summer I took on a new job, outside of my home, for the first time in more than five years.  It has been quite the adjustment!  Between getting trained, adjusting schedules with the family, and church commitments, I have been fighting for time to create and get on the blog.

I did finish up the class I started and blogged about in May.  I learned so much about myself and about what directions I want to take!  And I did some super fun playing in a new art and personal journal…very different from my typical art journaling.  So often I use my journals as a practice forum for larger art pieces and not so much about journaling, it was quite the refreshing change for me.

I still get in a tiny bit of arting every day, I keep several projects going at all times so that I can add to them a little bit at a time.  Drying time happens while I’m working 🙂

And I’ve been organizing some exciting upcoming projects.  I can’t wait to share with all of you as they come to fruition!

My oldest kidlet starts high school tomorrow ~ I can’t believe it!  Seems just like a moment ago he was still snuggling in the crook of my arm listening to my off-key lullabies.

So know that I’ve kept you all on my mind and in my heart.  I will be working on regular posts once again, bringing you news of my little art corner of the world.  I hope you’ve had an exciting summer as well, and thanks for being here with me.  The blog has kept a life of its own during this quiet time, I’ve been truly blessed and amazed with how much activity has continued 🙂

xoxoBelieve

Transitions, Cheers to New Beginnings All Over Again!

If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.

~ Author Unknown

Here we are again…I fell out of the blog-o-sphere for a week and a half.  How does that even happen??

I certainly don’t aim to bore, to fill you in with too many details of crap going on in our daily lives.  That’s not why we read blogs, is it now?  We want to be entertained, find something inspirational, or a bit of enlightenment.  I have just been a bit buried under the things that come along with daily life…

I have been arting like crazy, it seems that inspiration is striking from every turn.  Amen to that, right??

And I have also decided to jump into an online class, although I sort of was thinking that I wouldn’t have time for one any time soon.  And I sort of haven’t had class monies in the budget.  But this one called me, told me to bite the bullet, so to speak.  I couldn’t get past it, couldn’t find a way to talk myself out of it.

I probably won’t share too much of my work from the class, but I will send you over to check out what’s going on in…Life Restoration, aka Soul Restoration 2, with Melody Ross at Brave Girls Club.  It’s not your typical art class.  I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into, other than it’s a class about figuring out how to purposefully live your life.  Right.  Totally looking for that.

Of course, I have spent many-an-hour and much energy in my life working through self-help courses, books, art work, sales career seminars (which are all about building things on purpose) and a myriad of groups and videos and clubs…oh, pretty much anything that helps build and grow and that kind of stuff.

So why on Earth was I being called to yet another class just like all of the others??

I know now.

I have been working through the assignments, and while Melody has lots of great art technique videos (I have actually learned a few things, woo-hoo!), what’s truly amazing is the stuff I wasn’t expecting.  Plowing through garbage that I have been trying to figure how to clean out of my closet, finding the freedom to let go of the things that I didn’t realize I was holding onto so tightly.  Bringing into consciousness those things that I was longing for and hadn’t quite breathed into focus.

This comes right after I finished a class and self-examination with my church Pastor.  Finding Your Spiritual Gifts.

I feel a bit weird at the moment, a bit cloudy.  You know how when you’re cleaning the swimming pool, everything you stir up as you’re cleaning kind of makes it all look cloudy, and you’re wondering why you stirred it up to begin with?  But then when it all settles back down once again, you see how much cleaner it all is than before.  I’m right in the cloudy stirring at the moment.

As artists, I think we are continuously re-assessing.  Not just ourselves, but our art, our surroundings, our relationships.  We like to see things in new light.  It’s just what we do.

Right I was getting started on this class, I was finishing up this canvas.  Eventually I think I will add some text, but for now, it is what it is.

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world,

the Master calls a butterfly.  ~ Richard Bach

ButterflyButterfly closeup 1Butterfly closeup 2

Butterfly closeup 3

Conquering the Fear, Artist-Style

Your soul has wings, so stop lumbering around and FLY.

I’ve had a conversation running in my head for some time now.  A conversation that I’ve wanted to bring to the blog, to share with you and ask your take on it (so leave a comment, share, what is your take?  I really do want to know).  A conversation that has been whispering to me…throughout the quiet moments of my day (which are not many) and throughout those arting dreams I have many nights.

I think a lot about how fear controls me sometimes, and how I’d like to conquer fear.  I ponder what might be the source of the fear, and I ponder how I ever let the fear get a hold of me in the first place.

I realize that none of that so much matters as does whether or not I let the fear grip me and keep from action.  The “why” of it only matters if it helps me figure out how to get past the fear.

When it comes to creating, I was thinking of fear as that thing that keeps me from trying new techniques and out-of-my-comfort-zone projects and using new colors, that sort of thing.  I was thinking that fear is what I conquer to get braver in my art, and to find my own style and free what comes out in the art.  You know what I mean?  Like, it’s easier to mimic another artist’s work, take a class to learn a new technique, look at images on the google, than it is to sit down and just play with paint or plaster or metal or whatever, and just see what happens.  That might end up in disaster, or a failure.

That’s how I saw fear.

Then something else…I realized that what I create, what comes out in the journal or on the canvas or on the crafty projects that adorn our home…these things are pieces of my heart, of my soul, a little window into what’s going inside of me.

Soul Left Soul Right

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I let other people look at my art journals.  I post much of my art here on the blog.  I share pics on my facebook page.  I post art for sale in the etsy shop.  I hang it on my living room walls.  I leave my journals on a shelf in my home so others can see them.

I just leave the door to my inner self hangin’ wide open, and just invite other people right on in to have a look.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t post many of my failed attempts, unless I want to make a point.  I don’t show off my botched tries at using a new medium.  But I don’t always only show my favorites.  And I don’t tear the bad ones out of my journals and hide them.  It’s all a part of my journey.

What about the inner critic?

I do fight with my inner critic and use lots of super-duper-magic-mojo-voodoo-stuff against that whiner.  But that’s just a game, really.

Nope, the real fear comes from that place inside that knows that being an artist is about wearing your heart on your sleeve.  It’s about being brave enough to take some thing from the inside of you and putting right out here on the outside.  It doesn’t matter if you blog about it or have an art show or whatever.  Just the act of creating something out here in the physical world, that was once inside your mind’s eye somewhere, is really an act of turning yourself inside out for someone else to see.

As I’ve been thinking through this, pondering this whole idea, you know what I realized?  First of all, I’m not as much of an introvert as I like to think.  I know, hard to believe.  I like blogging and talking with people over the interwebs because it feels safer somehow.  Quieter, more on my terms.

I also realized that maybe, just maybe, the fear does not have nearly as much a hold on me as I once thought.  Maybe I’m a bit braver than I realized.

And in realizing that, I realize that those smaller parts that I thought were really the fear, the shyness about trying new techniques and colors and so forth, those parts are so not important.  Those things are just these tiny little things that I can just stomp right out.  My art can be truly free from such inconsequential little bits of nothing.  Because without even knowing it, I conquered the real deal.

I found out that my soul has wings, and I can fly.

Soul Closeup

Works of Inspiration, or Really, It Didn’t Seem Like Work

Why do we always call our new stuff “Works”?

When I’m arting, when I’m really enjoying it, I don’t feel like I’m working.  I feel like I’m playing.  I feel like I’m the luckiest gal in the world, that I have some way to get the stuff in my head out and onto something in front of me.  That I’m lucky because I gave up the fear, and instead, I just get brave and get the stuff out…however it turns out.  It just happens, that with practice, I’ve gotten better at getting the image in front of me to at least somewhat represent the image I was holding in my mind’s eye.

So why “Work”?  Why don’t we call it “Play”.  These are all my original created pieces of Play.  Heehee.  How well will that go over??

I’ve got a couple of new things I’ve been wanting to share.  And I tried something a bit new for me.

I created these on canvases of wood.  Ooh, fun!  I spend a lot of time pondering supplies in the hardware store, and I’d been thinking about getting a sheet of wood cut up into different size canvases.  I finally had my hubby help me pick out the wood and sizes and so forth.  We ended up with a sheet of 1/4″ wood, it’s really pretty, although I can’t tell you what kind of wood.  Not that I wouldn’t tell you, but the sign just said “wood panel sheet” or some such thing.

But it’s pretty wood, the grain is nice, it wasn’t full of splits and that sort of thing.  The guys at the store ripped the sheet into the main big pieces that I wanted for no extra charge, and then we do some additional cutting at home as I decide on the sizes.

I do (or I do have Christopher) spray the wood with clear polyurethane before I do anything else.  That keeps the wood from soaking up too much of whatever else comes next, usually gesso.  And he lightly sands it after the spray.  Ahhhh, what a lovely surface to paint!  The only caveat I have here for you, I tend to do a lot of my backgrounds using my fingers…and by the time I was done with a series of pieces on the wood canvases, my fingers were getting a bit sore!

I tell you all of this to tell you this: the finished product looks awesome, not just the same ole canvas, and it’s waaaaay cheaper than purchasing a clay wood canvas for working, I mean playing, mixed media.

My inspiration for both of these lovelies comes from the Book of Psalm, these are from the NIV.

You can also see these babies over on the etsy shop (more closeups of the tree canvas over there)…Someday I will work on prints, but for now, the originals are what’s available.

Sunshine

 

For the sunshine on this canvas, I also got to play with something new: an awesome vintage lace stencil from Christy Tomlinson.  I looooooove my new stencil!!  I made the happy little sunshine with caulk on a book page from an inspirational book on love.  I think it turned out beautifully!!

Sunshine closeup

 

Sunshine verse

 

Tree 1a

 

Tree verse

 

YOUR PROMPT:  I’ve said this before, now I’ll say it again.  Go browse the hardware store.  It’s amazing how many things are so well suited for arting.  Find something you haven’t thought about using in your artwork before, and put it to good use.  You’ll find some great prices on really cool stuff there!!

Make a Gratitude Journal ~ Out of Paint Chip Cards!

Ahh, so often I can be super wordy…I know, I know, that’s probably way understating it, lol. This time, though, it’s all about the pics.  I will direct you back to a previous blog post, Thank-You For’s, to see our family philosophy on gratitude and thanking God for all of the wonderful goodness He brings into our lives.

Nope, not too many words of explanation needed here.  Only that I decided to make my own gratitude art journal, using paint sample chip cards as my journal pages, and making space for a month’s worth of thank-you for’s.  And the rest is pics of the lovely mess I made 🙂

This is the cover.

GJ Cover

They’re connected via a large binder ring at the top corner.

GJ 8 GJ 7

GJ 6 GJ 5

GJ 4 GJ 3

GJ 2 GJ 1

Art Journal Page Turned Canvas, or Using Your Art Journal for Inspiration

I have no idea how it has been almost two weeks since I last posted on the blog!  Where does the time go??

Around here, I suppose that the time flies away from me when I get my head buried in art projects…I have so many projects floating around in my head, as I work to get them out as fast as I can.

I keep a list of things that I want to do, otherwise I’d forget them as other inspirations grab space in my head.  Maybe my head’s too little, whaddya think?  Okay, don’t answer that, lol.

We did get some listings finally active in the etsy shop.  I opened that shop ages ago, and have just been dragging my feet, or maybe a bit of fear was holding my little footsies back. I dunno.  But finally, I just started.  You can hit the link, or find the button over on the sidebar of our blog to check it out.  We will be adding more along the way, so keep checking!

That’s always the best way to go about new things, isn’t it?  Just get started?

I’ve also been enjoying some classes with Jeanne Oliver.  I sort of forget to ever sit down and watch video classes cuz I can’t seem to put down the paint brush.  But it always seems to help get my head straight to sit down and focus on something other than the images swirling around in my head at break-neck speed.  And Jeanne has such a lovely and calming way of talking, such a heart-felt and personal way of speaking directly to me (and everyone else of course!).

I have a number of fun little projects at the ready to bring in and show you here on the blog, not to keep taunting, but I will soon.

Beauty Blooms from Within closeup 1

 

So I played with the pastel chalks in the art journal, using them to “paint” tulips.  I so liked how the page turned out, I decided to take it to a canvas (it is listed in the new etsy shop!), or in this case, a wood board canvas.

Once again, my art journal play time became the inspiration for a canvas.  I love how it translated, I love that my art journal means so many things for me.

Beauty Blooms from Within Canvas 1

Prompt: Let your journal inspire you.  Find something that you think looks super-cool or something that moves you.  Take it to a larger format, a canvas, or a huge sheet of paper. Get it out of the journal and onto something you can hang on your wall.  It’s incredibly satisfying.  And don’t worry about whether or not it just looks like a huge art journal page hanging on your wall, sometimes that’s exactly what your wall needs.

 

 

Artful Play, or Jump Out of Your Comfort Zone

How often do you get outside of your comfort zone, playing with artsy materials that are not in your lineup of faves?  How often do you grab something that you haven’t played with before or in a really long time?  Or that you haven’t exploited fully?

This may seem a bit bizarre, but it’s true.  I have never really played with chalk pastels.  I know, I know, they are plentiful and cost-friendly, and it seems like everyone who has ever arted at all has some lying around somewhere.  And how could I have made it all the way through grade-school without ever really playing with them??

The few times I have tried to use pastels, I’ve ended up frustrated and unhappy.  I don’t like the mess, I seem to get chalk all over the place, and hardly where I actually want it.  I don’t like the scratchy noise and feeling from scribbling with them.  I don’t like that I have to stop along the way and spray some kind of something on them to keep them where I put them.

I had a bunch of ideas about how chalk pastels are just not for me.

I also have a list of self-motivational prompts to get my creative juices flowing when I’m looking for new inspirations.  I have a note to myself on that list to try new things, new mediums, new techniques.

I’ve been pondering the chalks for a little while, mostly because I have several different sets of them, all kinds of colors, and even different brands and qualities.  Seemed kind of silly to let all of that color go to waste.

I also attend YouTube University, always hunting down a video when I want to try something totally new.  I like to just “download” the information, and turning around and saying, “I know Kung Fu”…

And I tend to be braver if I’ve seen somewhere how it’s done.

Not so with this little bit of fun!  I just pondered the whole thing for a week or so.  Then I had a bit of an a-ha! moment…and grabbed the boxes of colors and got down to it.

I can safely say that I really like my pastels now!  Ha, imagine that, I managed to get past my silly ole brain and inner critic and just made some color love!

I realize that looking at the pics of this art journal madness, that you might not see right away where I managed to get some of the chalks involved, lol.  Believe it or not, I used the chalks for the flowers.

Tulips plain

And I did the playing with the chalks and the flowers first.  The “background” came after that!  So I am including pics here for you of the flowers, before I started mucking it all up with my usual mess.

The whole thing was a total blast.  I enjoyed it, I felt like I was playing, I never did hate it during the process (which is a step in my usual process), I just really loved this whole thing.  Will definitely be playing in the pastels again.

 

Tulips Right Side 1

Tulips Left Side 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip: After scribbling with the pastels on the sketch, I used a paintbrush and water to smear and blend the color.  After letting it mostly dry, I hit it with some gel medium, I used matte cuz that’s what I had within reach.  I’ll be trying gloss next time…After all that was nice and dry, I painted the blue background and got to adding all of the other stuff.  Fun, fun!!

Prompt: Now go and grab something you haven’t played with ever, or in a long time, and make something!!!