Friday, July 27, 2012

Poppy Play for Art Journal Everyday

  It's Friday already and time to share the spread I did in the paper journal I use to brush off, spray off or stencil off any extra mediums I have from a project I was working on. Ahhh, this one I remember well. I had pretty much brown acrylic paint left on my palette from another project and tho I don't particularly like dark colors I didn't want to waste the paint. I opened to a spread that already had some bright color on it so I thought OK if I brush a border all around it it won't be so bad....WRONG!

  Here's what  the ugly spread looked like:

  Funny how when life happens and I get stressed I just want to splatter and play with abandon...the best therapy one can have, besides some really special friends :) Anyhow, I opened to these pages, grabbed at a bunch of acrylics and gesso and transformed it to this:

   I used a handful of Golden's acrylics -Transparent Pyrole Orange, Quinacridone Crimson, Cerulean Blue Chromium and Turquois(Pthalo), along with white gesso. Several drops of each color were randomly applied over the pages along with drops of gesso. I simply used my fingers to spread it all around. Cleaned off my messy hands to take the pic and allowed this to dry a few min.

  When visiting Dina Wakely's blog not long ago she posted a  really wonderful series of brightly collaged and painted pages from a book she made. Besides all the fun colors, she used a bunch of really fab quotes/ sayings that I knew I had to use as  great jump starts for a journal page. You can see her pages beginning here ; just scroll further down to see the others. I had a page of them already typed and printed so I just grabbed one to use- "Let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see." All I could think of was the beauty of my favorite flower-the red oriental poppies, especially as I was organizing some photos and had just come across this one which I took of our neighbors flowers in bloom in the Spring.

   So I threw caution to the wind, got out some green acrylic paint, Golden Pyrrole Red, watercolor crayons and oil pastels and hoped my attempt at some loose finger painting  would result in somewhat  recognizable poppies.

   Here is a close up of one of the poppies:

   First I put some dots of green acrylic paint along the bottom edges of the pages, spritzed with some water, then held the book up to allow the green to drip from the bottom a bit. I used some of those drips to be the stems of my flowers. I used a stencil and yellow acrylic paint at the top left of the spread to make the "sun". I finger painted white gesso circles where I wanted the flowers, let dry, then finger painted over it with the red acrylic. I watered down some of the red and made some splatters over the pages. Black oil pastel was used for the flower centers. You can see the softness and dimension you get when just using your fingers. Along the bottom I added a combination of green watercolor crayons and oil pastels to form leaves and grass and deepen the stem drips a bit.
The quote was added and here is the end result:

    Sorry, the photo isn't as sharp as I would have liked. I may do a bit more with it yet but for now I am so happy those hideous brown pages are gone!
I'm linking this up to Julie Balzer's Art Journal Everyday. Although I don't necessarily link up every week it's a really great way to take the time to play and share the inspiration.

  Speaking of inspiration, you simply must visit my friend Frieda Oxenham's blog!! Besides being an international award winning quilter (her quilts and designs absolutely blow me away!!) and mixed media artist, Frieda takes without a doubt THE most gorgeous photographs of flowers and of museums, cemeteries and the like in her native Scotland. It's a place definitely on my bucket list.

  Til next time...wishing you warmth and sunshine!

    "Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order." Virginia Woolfe


Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Fascination With Abstract Art

   The last few months have had me desiring to dabble more and more with a style way out of my comfort zone. I have been so inspired especially by several artists who have been sharing their art and techniques on their blogs:

   There's my friend Lenna Andrews who took classes with Bill Buchman and shared some photos and videos beginning with this post. It looks like it was such a great series of classes full of freedom and color! Lenna's examples are gorgeous!

   Then there is Jane Davies who so generously shares not only her art but also many of her techniques with downloadable PDFs and mini videos on her blog Collage Journeys. She's also a very popular teacher! Jane has a book out which is the same title as her blog and it is one of my go-to books. She has been a huge inspiration in my attempt at creating some abstract designs-especially after first watching this video. Waaaay outta da box for me since I'm SO into color-and lots of it. But I've been playing with the B/W thing and am really enjoying it. Once I decide what I'm going to do with my papers I'll share some projects.

  Next up is Jo Murray, my latest inspiration! I only  "met" Jo when I launched my blog back in March of this year. It didn't take me long to become a follower. Jo is a very talented collage artist who is gaining more and more recognition every day. You must take a look at her blog-her accomplishments and works are amazing!! I recently won one of her pieces of art in a giveaway and cannot tell you how happy I am to have this piece (more on that along with a pic at the end of this post)!

  Needless to say the art journal spread I'm sharing today and linking to Julie Balzer's Art Journal Everyday project is the first completed attempt at some abstract art in the form of a grid design which I created thanks to Jane Davies' great PDF tutorial on the subject which you can download for free by clicking on "PDF tutorial" which I linked to her post containing the download.

   For the basis of my color choice this was my inspiration/jump start:

  This is a top I bought last summer at a  Chico's Outlet Store ( I LOVE that place!). I had just worn it and it hit me that I needed to play with yellow and grey in my journal.

   And this is my finished abstract grid. I used yellow acrylic paint and Sqeezed Lemonade and Iced Spruce distress inks for the background, along with some stencils and the teardrop stamp I carved recently. It was a dark and rainy day and the spread was reminding me of a sky that gets a strange tinge of yellow just before a rip roaring storm comes thru with its lashing winds and hail. Ok, the yellow in the sky isn't this bright but you know what I mean :) I then grabbed some scraps of a variety of papers within a very limited color range and cut a bunch of shapes. I like how some of the papers although squared had a pattern of circles making them more cohesive with the background. The cool thing about this too is that I rotated it every way and although I still like this way the best the other ways weren't so bad either. One last note about the colors-when I was allowing it to completely dry I checked my emails and found this lovely post from another artist I admire and follow, Becky Shander. The title of her post? "A Buzz of Yellow". Check it out. You immediately feel Becky's warm, loving, giving and spiritual nature in her words, her photos and her art. She blesses us with her talents on her blog and in numerous magazines published by Stampington and Company.

   I will definitely explore the world of abstract collage further and try other color combinations. If anyone has any suggestions, critiques or tips please lv. me a comment-I don't profess to know what I'm doing, it's all play.

  I mentioned above that I won a piece of art by Jo Murray and here it is:

   This is an ATC (2 1/2" x 3 1/2" ) but as you can see it is FULL of perfectly placed textured papers and bits!! I loved it the moment I saw it as it reminds me so much of the ocean and beach, and that triangle immediately brought to mind the trinity-of Father,Son, Holy Ghost, or even child/woman, goddess, crone. Thank you Jo!!!

 It definitely was a very good week for me as I also won a prize package of my choice of 6 collage sheets from Retro Cafe Art for this collage (one of three I entered on their FB page) chosen by a guest judge!! You can see the other two here on a previous post..

  A heartfelt thank you all for your glorious inspirations. Please take a moment to visit the artists blogs I mentioned above and you'll be inspired too-I dare you not to be!

  Have a beautiful, restful weekend. And thank you for sharing a kind word or two. It fills me with joy and gratitude.

                                       "Half of doing is believing that you can."

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mom's Birthday/Bastille Day Party

  Bonjour! As I mentioned in my last post I was having a small party for my Mom who had a special birthday year recently.

  First I'll share the card I made for her. I wrote and typed up a special message for the inside (which I found out later had several friends and family members in tears) which flowed on paper from my heart.

  My hubby, son and I celebrated with her this past Saturday coinciding with Bastille Day. She had spoken with her sister that morning and told her what I was planning. Aunt BiBi so wished she could be with us and so do we-but she certainly was with us in spirit and I promised to send her some photos.

  The table was simply set tho I did iron the two vintage table cloths and napkins just like my family in France do (this does NOT happen often here tho). I purchased that wrought iron Eiffel Tower about two years ago at a great bargain in a local shop that was sadly closing. I had walked into town that day and happily carried back home :). I love that I can display photos and mementos around it! The French café music is playing and it's time to party! (PS-notice the cancan girl bottle stop?)


  A rare photo of my son and hubby bonding. I say rare because my son positively HATES to have his pic taken and it usually takes alot of begging-but not this time-he did it for his MéMé :). That
 "elf " hat was given to my hubby by one of my cousins on our first trip to France together-quite a long time ago-I think in 1985-so he had to dig it out for the occasion.

   Time to eat! I made a salad nicoise along with a nice selection of fresh green beans, red beets and tomatoes from the garden. we also had a roast chicken (not in the photo). Of course, on the left is home made country paté, a selection of French cheeses and plenty of slices of baguette. We began with an aperitif of tawny porto which is one my grandmother always had for us during our visits to France. We had bordeaux with dinner. And then it was time for dessert(s)....

  The first pic is of an almond tart  and the one below it is a French chocolate cake which just melts in your mouth (there's only 1/4 cup of flour in it!). It certainly was reminicent of les patisseries in France! So as my family there celebrate a birthday we end with the desserts-and champagne! In this case the champagne was not French unfortunately but it was festive nonetheless.

  Mom and I having a toast. Notice we're wearing the same tees? They're written in french and have a bicycle on them which when I saw it in the store knew I had to have it. Mom was with me and she had to have one too .Fortunately there was another in the same size. I cannot tell you over the years how many times Mom and I have bought the same items while shopping together-sometimes in the exact same colors too. I think it's a hoot when we wear it on the same day!

   Happy, happy birthday maman. Nous t'aimons beaucoup!

                   "Be where you are. Otherwise, you will miss your life."  BUDDHA

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Finally a Day for Art Play!

  Happy Sunday! I finally got time to play in my art room and it felt SO good! I had spent the last several days cleaning, cooking, prepping etc. for my Mom's little Bastille Day/ birthday party (more on that in another post). I really felt like I was in withdrawal and with no plans for today I seized the opportunity to carve the last of my alphabet stamps and create a page for Art Journal Every Day.

  My mind was still on the wonderful beach time I had spent recently with friends, and of course, all I had humming in my head was a line from a summer song..."hot fun in the summertime..." so I went with it.

The page began on a background of acrylic paints swiped on the pages with a credit card, which you can see on the top half. I grabbed some cardstock scraps and trimmed them with a scallop scissors to layer at the bottom. I made a sun and stamped the summer words in a bright red ink. The image I used for the sun face and at the bottom is from ARTchix Studio.  I used my newly carved alphabet stamps to create the line from the song, and then to balance the page a bit better I stamped a sentiment to the left of the bathing beauty using Jet Black Staz-On ink.

  Off to link up at Julie Balzer's blog and visit some of the other artists who shared their pages-that's always the best part! Anyone can play along at anytime - I'd love to see YOU there :)

                                               "I have hope and I'm not afraid to use it."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Prayer Flags Blowing Gently in The Breeze

   Hi all. Hope everyone's enjoying the summer. This will be another quick post. I just got back from about 4 fabulous days at the beach and now I'm in go mode organizing and downloading photos and preparing for a Bastille Day/ birthday party for maman on Saturday. I'm making French foods including my uncle's paté (the ONLY time I have chicken livers in the house!) and 2 special desserts. I hope to have some photos to post next week.

 I returned home to find a lovely package from Barb Burkard who hosted a prayer flag swap on FaceBook. You can read more about it and see my flags here.

 They are hanging on my washline and blowing gently on this gorgeous summer day.

  They are (from left to right) made by: Dawn Gold, Martha Brown, me, Megan Hull, G Ian Gioseffi, Sandee Hyde, Barbara Burkard, Nancy Maxwell James, and Tanya Peacock. I think they coordinate so beautifully as we had a garden theme. It brings me such joy to go out and see them. Thank you, thank you, thank you all for your beautiful flags!

  If you'd like to see more of Sandee's gorgeous prayer flags click on her name above which will take you to her blog. I think Sandee really loves making them, and I love her bright and happy colors :)

  Also, my friend Lenna Andrews is hosting a 3/3 prayer flag swap. She has a wonderful tutorial she provides along with links, tips and PDFs for you to download. You can read about it and sign up here. Yes, I'm all signed up :)

   Thank you for stopping by. Until next time...

"A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees."    Amelia Earhart

Monday, July 2, 2012

Art Journal Everyday and the Kathryn Wheel Calendar Project

   As some of you already know I have been participating in Julie Balzer's Art Journal Everyday project on her blog (which we actually link to once a week). For those of you who aren't familiar with it here's the link to Julie's blog. Anyone can jump in at any time and it isn't necessary to play each week, however, it's a nice incentive to create and journal, along with a way to share with others and get inspired by others as well.

   The 366 Calendar Project at Kate Crane's blog, the Kathryn Wheel is similar. Kate began this project a few years ago but I only discovered it just in time to begin this year with January. I am such a fan of this project as it is a great way to get some art and creativity in, along with a way to record little bits of each day. You can see my Jan., Feb pages at my Flickr photostream (see sidebar at right for link) and from March on, here on my blog. I've already purchased a larger journal for next year as this one is almost full and also a bit small. Again, anyone is welcome to join at anytime for as long as one wishes. Kate sets up a linky tool on the first of each month so you can post your links of your completed prev. month's pages and the start of the current month. My favorite part is visiting as many links as I can-the creative calendar spreads are just amazing!!

For Art Journal Everyday:

  This is only a background for some journaling I'm planning to do at a later date. Right now I'm preparing spreads  ahead of time as I will be spending alot of days at the beach over the course of the summer and won't be able to take along as many materials and products as I'd like to use. I simply used some Tim Holtz masks and sprayed the pages with a few spray inks. I found these two magazine clippings right next to each other in my envelope so onto the page they went. It acually makes me happy just the way it is.

 This is my finished June calendar spread:

   As you can see I don't have much room for adding any images but I usually can manage a few small ones like these images which I got from ARTchix Studio (with the exception of the bird). You can read more about my background on this post.

  This is the base for my July calendar pages:

   I used acrylic paint to create the French flag background. For this month I chose a patriotic theme to represent both my American and French citizenship/heritage. This works out perfectly as both flags are the same colors and their independence days are both this month. Some star stamp images were used repeatedly even tho most of it will be covered up.

   And here's the spread ready to go:

   The month and days of the week foam stamp set is Magenta. I've had these a long time so I'm not even sure they sell this set any longer. I don't usually add any other stamping or clip art etc. until the month is almost over.

   On a final note- remember the prayer flags I've made and posted about here and here? Well, if you've had any inkling to give it a try please do sign up for my friend Lenna Andrews new Prayer Flag Swap on her Creative Swaps blog!! Lenna is very generous with her informative PDFs, suggestions, techniques and photos. Three more reasons to join the swap-you don't have to be able to sew, it's a 3 for 3 swap which is absolutely doable, and it's not due until Sept.15th!! So wadda you waiting for??? Hope to see you there!

  Thanks so much for stopping by.

         "Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art." Leonardo da Vinci