Art Journal

Sunday Mess Making

gelliprinting2My my did I make a mess today.


It was just a little gelli printing, honest!

Nothing that should have caused this colossal mess.

gelliprinting3Sssh don’t tell Joe – he’s sleeping.  And, it’s cleaned up now.

For the most part, anyway.

Today, I worked on my next mail art creation, a file folder journal.  Can’t show it – it’s not done, and it still has to go off in the post – but I think the gelli painting portion of the program is done.

I can show you the last thing I put in the mail, since I know it has safely arrived –

pauseThis was painted on one of the cardboard inserts that came with our curtains.  I addressed it like a postcard, and I thought I would get a postcard rate at the post office – but nope.  I even argued with the guy – it looks like a postcard.  It’s not a postcard.  My friend who gets it is going to think of it as a postcard.  It’s not a postcard.  Whatever.

And, in the midst of gelli printing today, I painted another Mindy Lacefield Paint Your Story Inspired opus – this time in my oversized journal –

listenAnd, lest you be worried about my Penny Sampler progress – I got two more blocks done in the precise piecing section yesterday – only two more to go!

Now, it’s time to put away my paints, and crayons, and pencils, and do some laundry.





Painting My Story, I Guess

Yesterday, Joe was recovering from some 24 hour bug thing (luckily no flu!), so all of my crafty plans were put on hold.  Which was fine, it was nice to spend the day with my husband, watching movies (Fruitvale Station – thumbs up!), and catching up on our shows (Blue Bloods, Person of Interest).  So, that leaves today and tomorrow to get my craft out, since I’m off tomorrow!  I almost wish I had a schedule (kind of like my client’s have in rehab) – 9-12, quilting; 12-1 lunch; 1-3 painting, 3-? knitting and watching football, 9:30 – ?, digital scrapbooking.  But, things just don’t work out that way, and the quilting fell by the wayside.  Hopefully, I’ll still have something left for the scrapbooking, because I am so behind in my challenges.

Anyway, I spent a good part of the day playing with paint.   While I was home sick on Thursday (migraine from that time of the month – getting old is so not fun – never used to get them), the only position I was really comfortable in was pretty much half sitting up.  With nothing on the t.v., and Misty’s class not starting until Monday, I decided, just for the heck of it, to sign up for one of Mindy Lacefield’s classes, which at least Paint Your Story, the one I’m taking, has a nice affordable six month rate, as opposed to signing up for the whole year.  So, on Thursday, I listened to Mindy’s sweet Southern accent, and watched her paint her what I originally thought of as creepy characters.  But, now, I think of them as more soulful and expressive than creepy.  And, there’s something about painting something that’s not supposed to look real that appeals to me.


I already had a head start on the backgrounds.  For our You’ve Got Mail Art class, as I mentioned I decided to invest in a gelli plate (not that big of an investment $29, I think, at Dick Blicks).  Until today, I had mixed feelings about the gelli plate.  I thought it was fun, but my results were all over the place, with mixed results.  But, it turns out, they were the perfect first layer for messy backgrounds.


I cut them up, added more collage, doodled on them – so much easier than starting with a blank canvas.

Photo Jan 19, 1 01 42 AM

And for my canvas, I was the queen of recycling.  Joe and I finally put up curtains in our bedroom (it’s only 2 years – I had to get the feel of the room, you know), and I just love the packaging they came in.  The cardboard inserts are perfect for small paintings (and skipping ahead in Mail Art a bit, one of Roben-Marie’s projects is devoted to cardboard), and the little zippered plastic bags are perfect for holding knitting projects, and quilting scraps.


And here’s how it went down –



And, here’s the finished painting –



I didn’t stop there, I made another one, but I can’t show you the other one, because I’m going to send it off in the mail.  The second one is a bit more Mindy Lacefield, more quirky – closer to the first level of paint in the progress photo.  In any event, it was a really relaxing day.  I wasn’t worried about the proportions – I didn’t care wear my eyes, nose and mouth were too much – the second one is even more loosy goosey.

Anyway, I’m so off schedule – 47 minutes of the football game gone – time to head to the couch.



Art Journaling Challenge Complete

I took advantage of yesterday’s snow day, and managed to make a little art in the craft room.  From my charcoal drawing (which I photographed rather than scanned – my husband would go ape if I got charcoal all over the scanner), and an art journaly kit from Lynne-Marie, Dakota Dreams, I submitted this for my challenge entry:

TrialsMayComeThe quote is from Mary Oliver, and was probably the most difficult part of the whole thing – I used an alpha (Just Jaimee, Painted Ladies) so each letter had to be placed (not typed, like a font), but I think it was worth it.  I really love that alpha.  Most kits comes with alphas, but I hate them so much I rarely even unzip them.  This one though (along with a few from CD Muckosky and Michelle Godin) is going to become a staple.  I can tell.

And, tis that time of year again – the Art Journal Caravan with Tangie Baxter is setting off. This time, the Caravan isn’t bopping from country to country, rather, its gone of its rails, and is now wandering.  Tangie’s theme this year is “not all that wonder are lost,” and rather than visiting actual places, each month, we’re visiting with a muse.  This month’s muse is nature.  I don’t think Tangie, an Arizona resident, considered the fact that the entire East Coast is covered in a blanket of snow (as well as most of the rest of the country) because there are a lot prompts that involve standing outside for periods of time, going on nature walks, etc.  Sorry, it’s 30 degrees here today, and that’s the warmest its been since it snowed on Thursday.  Next week is going to be colder.  But that’s ok.  I still managed to come up with this:


And, there’s plenty in this week’s itinerary to keep me inspired that have nothing to do with flowers and birds, both of which are in a deep winter’s sleep.




ICADs 20-25 – the Leftovers

So, back when I first committed to ICADing, I talked about how creating these index cards would hopefully become a ritual, a part of my daily art practice, and I envisioned them being warm up exercises to get those creative juices flowing.

While I have been making my cards daily, it doesn’t have a ritualistic feel.  There’s no consistency in the how or why of it.  Some cards were practicing techniques, but the following ICADs were simply clean up material – kind of like paper towels – they just sopped up everything left over on my work table after I had finished crafting for the evening.

ICAD 20 –


The music paper was scooped up from whatever project I had just finished.  Then, I did a very very quick face with a stabilo pencil, and some gesso.  She looks a bit stressed – you’d think she was just getting started for the evening, but rather this was a wrap it up card.

ICAD 21 –

Leftover pieces from a collage sheet that I was using to make ATCs.

ICAD 22 –

A leftover card from week 1 – more leaf stencils.

ICAD 23 –

Leftovers, from a 5 x 7 technique swap on Paper Traders, and an ATC

ICAD 24 

More leftovers, from the collage sheet


These scraps were so small, it was either stick them on the card, or into the garbage.

I’m not sure how I feel about this leftoverness – it’s not really falling into place with my ritual idea.  But, on the other hand, after every athletic activity, there’s a cool down period – maybe my new ritual is cool down.  We’ll see.

By the way, speaking of comparing apples and oranges, and crafting to athletic activity – did you see the Olympic Committee’s ridiculous smack-down of the Ravelympics.  Now there’s a fight they really need to have a few weeks before the games.  There’s a real priority!  I know a lot of knitters got their stitches in a twist over this, but I just thought it was like something out of a Saturday Night Live episode – knitter down! 

Anyway, I didn’t photograph any of the crafting I did last week – I made a bunch of ATCs, a 5 x7 image transfer thing with some fabric and some stitching, a Dotee Doll, a digi art envelope – all for swapping.  I have one more swap to complete, and then I’m taking a break.  I don’t generally blog about my personal life, but my stepson is being . . . well, a teenager – and in the peaceful times in our house, when I have time to make stuff – I just want to do my own thing – not that it’s for me, as opposed to someone else, I just don’t feel like having any deadlines, or anyone else’s theme, or even format right now.  I spent three hours on the phone with my stepson’s mother on Sunday (and lets just say we are not buddies, nor are we on the same page), and the last thing I wanted to do after that was make a Dotee doll, but I had to because it was due.  So, I’m just taking a break from swapping – probably for the summer.

I did photograph the finished spread in my art journal.  Dianne left a comment on the last post, that perhaps I should add some blue to the orange and purple girl.  So, I tried it – I’m not sure if she looks less flat, but I do like the blue.  Thanks for the great comment Dianne!  I really appreciated the suggestion.  On the other side, I ended up doing a Stabilo girl with white paint –

I was still feeling the feather thing, so I threw it in there.

It’s funny that her neck turned out so long – because that’s how I’m feeling – like I’ve got my neck stuck out there.

Here, you can see the nice texture from the layers of pages and gesso a la Anne Bagby –

So, that about wraps it up for today!



ICAD 11-13 and a Little of This and a Little of That

I don’t know where this week went.  At work, our fiscal year runs from 6/30 – 6/30.  So, it’s use it or lose time for vacation.  I’ve had a day off here, a day off there – scheduling days that don’t conflict with court, or something due.  I’d like to say I’m being productive on these random days off – but I’m not.  I watch t.v. – I read.  Recommend – Gone Girl, definitely.  Although, my frugal side is in a full blown tizzy about this book.  Once upon a time, Amazon books were $9.99 – then, when prices began to be set by publishers, they went up.  And up.  Now, a bestseller is $12.99 – bummer.  So, for my $13.00 I wanted to get my $13 worth – and when you read a book in a day and a half, I feel robbed, even if it is a good book.  And, I don’t feel particularly motivated to buy another book for $12.99  the next day.  So, I went to my local library’s download system – which isn’t terrible, but the choices are definitely limited.  To my surprise the new Oprah book was available – Wild.  Not what I would normally choose – but it was free – love the library! – and I’m even more surprised how involved I am in it.  She’s a good writer – but it’s not that.  It’s a memoir, but it’s not really self-helpy – not like Eat Pray Love.  There’s no preaching, and I find myself yelling at her – haven’t you learned anything?  Are you really that big of a f-up?  Really – it took you how many miles to lighten up your backpack?  I like that while she’s f’ing up, she’s not judging herself, or beating herself up – she’s just trying to get back on track.  I like her.

Anyway, so I’ve been reading, and trying to catch up with my Open Studio videos.  I don’t know why I call it “catching up” – the class is available until January 1, but there’s so much material, I feel like if I haven’t touched it for a day or two, I need to go back and review.  And if I go back, I’m not going forward.  Two steps forward, one step back.  So, I’m just trying to get it all going in one direction. 

Here’s a journal page that was a springboard from one of the writing prompts –


I don’t usually pick figures of men –  but I found this video by Anne Bagby, and I was really inspired by her drawings – she chose the man in her sketch because she was moved by his big ears.  Anyway, if you clicked on the link, you’ll see it took you to ArtClick TV, not the producer of the video, Creative Catalyst Productions.  I’m not sure how these two sites are related, but I feel they must be, when you start comparing the catalogues.  ArtClicks, however, seems like a fantastic deal.  There’s a monthly subscription fee, and for $30, you can watch as many videos as you can.  Every month after that is $20.  Not every video is in the subscription catalgue – although more are than not – and the Acrylic Grunge Book video happens to be separate, so I rented the video for $8 for the month – which is certainly a better deal than buying the DVD if you ask me.   Her other two videos are part of the monthly subscription option, or they can be rented individual as well – for $10.  So, if I think I want to watch them, obviously, I’ll get the monthly deal, since all I have to do is watch just one more video to make the subscription worth it.  

Anyway, I was glad I rented the streaming video as opposed to the DVD, because the lesson just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be.  Not that it wasn’t good – but it was only an hour, and it’s basically a lesson on altering a book, and turning the pages into interesting backgrounds for sketching, but layering gesso and newspaper clippings.  Lots of layers.  And then, she wraps it up by applying an epoxy coating to the cover.  It was a fine video, but I just thought it was more of an art journal, and less of sketch book, and I thought there would be more of her pattern/collage techniques from the other videos incorporated into the book. 

But no.  I’ll have to watch them separately – and they do look interesting.

So, that’s the little of this, and the little of that – now the index cards –

Card 11 – My Crazy Quilt

Card 12 –

I’ve been watching Julie Fei-Fan Balzers Stencil Hop every week – and I’ve found myself a bit sad that I have very few stencils, and only 3 sprays – but I’m kind reluctant to buy stencils.  Same with stamps – I have very few stamps, and while I covet them, sort of, I don’t feel like buying them.  Because how many times can you use a stamp – that’s a. someone else’s art, and b. the same stamp – over and over, and have it still feel like it’s something you made?

I can’t answer that – I just don’t have them.

But, now that I’m back in the black, I’m thinking I might want to make some of my own.

And of course, Julie has a new DVD for that, through Interweave.

And I know there’s another video on ArtClick TV as well.

Perhaps a summer project.

Card 13

Just the left over ink from the above stencil, and the lyrics to Born to Run.

Today is one of my random days off, and we’re going to the Springsteen exhibit at the Constitution Center.  Today’s card will probably be my ticket stub, or something like that.

So, that’s about it.

Ramble ramble.

Open Studio Homework

Week 2’s Open Studio assignments have lots of writing assignments – poetry – nature poetry.  Connecting oneself to nature.

I’m not a poet.

And, it’s ok by me.  I can do plenty of other things.  My inner critic and me – we’re buddies.  We don’t have any problems with each other.  I have very healthy conversations with my inner critic – it doesn’t have a name or a cartoon character or anything else – it’s just me.  And I’m grateful for that side of myself – the ability to be self-critical is so important – it makes you strive to do better, and really, sometimes the world could do with a little more self-censoring.  I’m not sure when critic became such a dirty word.   Fear stops you from doing something, not criticism.

With that said – here’s my Open Studio homework – my nature poem, with my nature stencils.  I’m pleased with myself that I tried, I struggled, and while it’s not very good, who knows, I could get better.  Practice practice.


And, a few more attempts at portraits –

These aren’t the prettiest portaits out there, but I’m pleased with them, because in looking at them, I can see at least one of the things that I had been doing wrong before – these portraits have midtones, and I can see the beginnings of depth.  When I compare them to the one above- which just has a dark and a light  – I see progress.  And, the painting wasn’t as much of a struggle this time.  Part of the reason, I think, is because I switched paints, from fluid acrylics to hard body acrylics.  I feel the paints blending more, instead of sitting on top of each other.  Her eyes are still a bit googly, and the proportions aren’t quite right – but I think I’m going in the right direction.

And if I’m not, I can always double back – these things take time, and I’m in no rush.

Tornado? What tornado?

So last night, with a tornado warning in affect, and the rain pouring down, I was lost in my own little world, up in the third floor craftroom, working in the new Misty journal.

Huh, it rained?

Anyway, my new thing is sketching things that catch my eye on Pinterest – that’s the first page.  The second page is a journaling assignment from the class – there was writing, and some paint doodling, and the portrait started with markers, moved to crayons, then some paint, yadda yadda – I’m sorry more of the mediums didn’t actually show through.  And, most of the writing/doodling is covered up as well – I wish I had turned the page the other way.  


Then started out as a graphite sketch- and then I painted over her a bit – well, I used an couple of pastels and then white paint –

I feel like these portraits are just a couple of layers short of being satisfying.

But, I’m getting there.

And, today’s icad –

Lemon and I were in the back for awhile, and now I’m about to embark on a full on cleaning odyssey, so today is about home.  And, I wanted to practice my free motion stitching – so here’s today’s card.

I don’t know if I’m going to post them every day – I think there’s going to be a linky day twice a week, I’ll probably just post them then.  The making of the card is the ritual, the posting – well, that feels like habit.


No Face, New Journal, and What I’ve Learned

So, I could have squeezed a bunch of faces in, this last day of May, but the thing is, I’m going to making plenty of faces while I’m working my way through Open Studio, and while I didn’t succeed under the letter of the law, I definitely fulfilled the spirit of the law.  How’s that fer lawyerin?  I think the point was to make art a part of your daily practice, the medium just happened to be faces.  And, I think I’m there.  And, I don’t know if it is the Misty class, or the working at it, but I definitely see improvement . . . I think.

Anyway, what did I make tonight, as part of my daily art practice, other than a face?

Well, I certainly made a mess.


Yep, welcome to my creative process.

And, what rose from this craftroom ruble?

A new journal, a la Misty.

In the intro to Open Studio, Misty teaches two methods of making a journal – the first is a canvas journal, with easy peasy sewing.  The second is a coptic journal.  I haven’t even watched the second video yet – a. because I’ve taken a whole class in coptic journals, and b. I just don’t feel like making a template, punching holes, yadda yadda.  So, I went easy peasy.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any canvas.  But, I did have some plain muslin.  The muslin isn’t nearly stiff enough to be the cover of a journal.  So, I basically made a pillow of the muslin, and then slid some batting inside.  Then, I zigzag stitched up each side, because I don’t know how to sew an invisible seam.  Then, I gessoed the front cover.  I was going to leave it at that – plain, simple.  Then, I thought, huh, now might be a good time to practice some free motion stitching.  And, I considered stitching a bird, or a flower, or something like that.  But, then I thought that wasn’t very personal – what’s personal?  A photograph – I’ll do an image transfer!  So, I printed out a photo of one of our vintage doorknobs, with the key in the lock, and did a semi-succesful image transfer.  I say semi-successful just because it’s really faded, but it’s there.  Just a tad darker, and I probably would have left it alone.

But, I didn’t leave it alone.

I took out the paint.  And the ink.  And the stamps.  

And then I sewed.

So, lot’s of things didn’t go exactly the way I wanted them too.  I didn’t remember that paint being that yellow.  And, I liked the blue ink dripping on the circles, but I went a little overboard when I dripped it down the side.  Oh well.  I did enjoy squiggle sewing up the lines though.  

And, here’s the inside –

Looking at the inside cover, I kind of wish I had just gone with playing around with free motion sewing, and left the paint/image transfer out of it.

But, I kind of like it.

So, the first Misty journal assignment starts out with a prompt – what have I learned?  

This is what I’ve learned.

I cut corners, and try to do things the easy way.

And that’s why I’ll never be a craftsman.

By a craftsman, I mean someone who works in fine detail, producing perfect things, things worthy of admiration and sale.

I didn’t show you the spine of the journal because it’s really sloppy. Oh the pages are in there ok, but I eyeballed everything.  After sewing in the first signature, I didn’t even make an dots on the spine as a guide for where to poke my holes.  I just looked at the hole in the signature next to it, and guestimated it.

And sometimes I got it right, and sometimes wrong – fast and wrong.

And the truth is, when I try to be perfect, I get very aggravated.  I think sometimes I like the idea of making things more than the actual making of them.

Or perhaps I like the product so much, I just rush through the making.

In any event, I’m very happy with my new journal.  The junkety journal, with it’s notebook paper, just wasn’t going to cut it with all of this paint.  This journal isn’t super great paper either – it’s 140 lbs cold press watercolor paper.  I prefer the hot press, but I used what I have.

Next journal!

Oh wait, maybe I should work my way through this one first.





29 Faces – Face 9 and Finished Pendants

 Face 9

Who’s worried?  All of my faces lately.  So, in an effort to avoid a creased brow, a stressed girl, before I even began, I scribbled “Try Not to Look Worried.”  And, I think it worked.  She looks a little blank, but she doesn’t look worried.

I semi-caught up my Lovely Dream lessons today – Suzi’s all about Pan Pastels right now – but I don’t have any.  So, I stopped with the graphite.  Maybe I’ll color her in when I buy some.  

And I’m on the last lap of my Mother’s Day marathon – my pendants are done.  And, I’m pretty pleased with them.  Oh, one has an air bubble, one has a bit of a ding in the resin, but for the most part, it was a good first effort.   I did totally screw up one of my cool Eiffel Tower ones, when I painted the domino, but oh well, I can always make it again.  And now, as always, I have all kinds of ideas for the next time.  One of them is curing as we speak – when I thought about what I should wrap the pendant in – I thought – ah ha! a tin – and why not add a little resin while I’m at it?  I’m not sure it was a good idea though – I think I may have gotten some resin in the hinge – oopsy.  Whatever.  It’s the thought.

But now for the pendants.  They didn’t photograph so well – they look a lot better in person.  Especially the Eiffel Tower – in the photo, it looks like the brown paint is brown guck, but in person, it looks they way I wanted it to, a bit aged, a big grunge. 

Anyway, I have strategies in my head for being neater with the resin next time, although, like the dolls – what the heck am I going to do with all of these pendants?

At least the dolls I can hang on the wall.


29 Faces – Face 8

 Face 8

So, I think she kind of looks like Paul Newman.


And now, that’s not incredibly bad acne on her cheek.  I tried to do an underpainting, and I put down some brown pant there – and there it stayed – it would just not move on the page, it wouldn’t blend with anything, and it became like a big brown birthmark.  Sigh.  A little gesso on the page before I started probably wouldn’t have killed me.

And, here’s Paul-ette in the junkety journal –

Just playing around with some watercolor and ink.