Thursday, December 30, 2010

Texture, Wine and Other Studio Work

I've been working on a few different things this week.
Not many "big" things,
little things here and there.

I've spent some time just resting...
taking it easy.
A good thing to do in the winter, huh?

I am participating in the "Sketchbook Challenge"
(which begins in TWO DAYS!)
I was trying to decide which book to use as my sketchbook for that
and just couldn't make my mind up...
So I finally just started making a new one!

Here are a few photos of what was going to be the front and back cover
(until I changed my mind).
I did want to share the awesome texture that is on the pages.

I put a layer of soft gel down on the page and created the texture with different
items from my studio - pencils, combs, pill bottle top, etc...

Then I added different watered down acrylic paints,
some inks and a tad of watercolor paint.
You can really see the marks that the pill bottle made
when you add the darker ink to the page.
Oh, I had a glass of  the Washington Riesling wine we made last month-
that was bottled in a Yellow Tail Sparkling Wine bottle...
I removed the sticker from the bottle.
See it below.

I let this dry overnight and then coated the pages
with another layer of soft gel.
I added a few marks to this layer as well.

This thing below is what could be the new sketchbook cover...
It's still wet at this point.

I don't know if it's the weather or what
but I can't seem to make my mind up about anything this week...


Monday, December 27, 2010

Sketchbook Challenge Give Away!

I thought I'd take a minute to post pictures of the January prize packages on the "Sketchbook Challenge" blog.

have all donated these items to be given away.

Check this blog post for details on how you can participate!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

White Christmas

2010 Christmas Night

This is the first White Christmas in South Carolina since 1963.
47 years.

Merry Christmas to all.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


What is it about having a list of things that you should be doing
that makes you want to do things that you shouldn't be doing?

I seem to have that problem...
I was supposed to be putting finishing touches on Christmas gifts,
cleaning house and doing some laundry.
Instead I picked up a few pieces of fabric that I had worked on a couple of months ago
with the Fiber Freaks.
Deconstructive screen printing fabric.

I saw a video of Laura Kemshall (Design Matters TV) making
a "humbug purse" from quilted scraps.
(I call it a "humbag")
The colors of her bag reminded me of the screen prints that I had done.


That's all it took.

I rummaged around in the room that used to be my studio
(that is presently taped off due to some type of implosion)
and found the smallest of the prints.
I made up some quick quilt sandwiches and
zipped through some (messy) free motion quilting.
Did a little fabric painting in a couple of places and


Look at this wonky cool bag!
I even put a zipper in it.
And I hate putting in zippers...

But, that wasn't all!
I couldn't stop (as usual!) myself.
I had to make another deconstructive screen printed, quilted, fabric painted pen case.

This one is a little more conventional than the triangle one...

You can barely see the marks from the screen printing
so I added larger quilted images.
I used Lumiere fabric paint (copper) and Stewart Gill "Alchemy" (celestial).
I have never used the Stewart Gill interference paint before
and I LOVE it!
The color I used is so bold. 
It does not change the hand of the fabric like some of the fabric paints I've used
and is really easy to use.

Yeah, did you see that I put a zipper in that case too!?
A record for me I'm sure.
Two zippers...
two days...
Several chores ignored...(not a record).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

MMA Team Treasury!

I have a listing on Etsy for "Rust Media Packs" that contains all types of different pieces of rusted fibers and fabric.
It has been chosen for a Mixed Media Art team treasury.
Run over and have a peek at the other verrrry interesting items that our "Mixed Media Art Team" has listed on Etsy!
Hope that all of you are staying warm (it's rather cold here in upstate SC) and being creative
on this 21st day of December...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fiber Freaks

I traveled up to Fletcher NC last Thursday to my buddy Judy Simmons house for a holiday get together with my "Fiber Junkies" group (that my sweetie calls "Fiber Freaks") (gee, wonder why?!).
What a great time we had!
I'll direct you to Mary Stori's blog for pics and details since I can't seem to manage my time well enough to carve out a few extra minutes to do all of that...
Wonderful food, great company and awesome fiber work.

I can't encourage you enough to spend time with like minded people.
If you don't have a group close to you then find one - or better yet,
Create One!
It is always so inspiring to spend time with other artists - and it doesn't really matter if they create the same type of art as you...
it's that creative personality.
I hang out with a bunch of potters, sculptors, painters and fiber freaks...
and I love them all!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sketchbook Pages

I've been looking at a couple of sourcebooks,
looking for different ideas for the whimsical doodles that I tend to draw.
I also use them for stencil ideas as well.
I've scanned a double page in my sketchbook to share what my "working" sketchbook houses.
This sketchbook is my "go to" for design work.
It has thicker pages, it's easily crammed, um, I mean placed in my "art bag"
and lots of pages.
I also like the hardback cover...
since I do tend to be a little rough with my sketchbooks.

The page on the left is a design idea from a sourcebook.
I think it will make a lovely background stencil or drawing.

The right hand page has a couple of ideas for Christmas gifts that I am making.

One of my favorite cool weather clothing items is a scarf.
And I love having a few that are one of a kind.
I'm hoping that the females in my family will feel the same way!

I hope that everyone is having a good week.
I'll bet this weekend will be busy crazy for everyone.

I still can't believe that it's almost Christmas again...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The rest of the story

I had the occasion to visit yet another doctor office today - yes,
imagine that...a nice  longggg visit to my eye doctor's office.
Nothing like a two hour office visit to help one in completing another "Holiday Animal" drawing!
I started this little rascal on Monday and he was just screaming for the rest of his body today.

Plus a few nice spots.

Who would have thought that he had a goatee AND spots?!
But you see - indeed he does!

This is the  animal that crawled from t he facing page.
I actually began drawing him after they put those drops in my eyes to dilate them.
I think that I should have stopped drawing a little sooner than I did...
I may have a few lines that missed their place.
But I still love her sweet smile.

Oh wait, "she" may have a goatee also!
Oh my...
I may have to go back and make the goatee a winter scarf.
Because it's obvious that she is a "she".

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Animals

I always encourage everyone to carry their sketchbook
(or some type of paper that you can draw on) every where you go.
Especially to places like doctor appointments!
You never know when you will have to an hour or more.
The only reason I can sit there that long
is because I entertain myself with my sketchbook.
Look at what forced their way onto the pages today.
And I really had this cool tree drawing planned...
those Holiday Animals refuse to be ignored, don't they?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Lonely Tree"

9' x 12"
Mixed Media on collage background

This is a mixed media painting that I did this fall.

I have gone back and added an edit to this post.
I originally did not add the meaning behind this painting.
I decided to just put it out there with the painting as it is the reason for it.

This fall, my mother in law passed away.
I watched my father in law those days after she died.
 I spent a lot of time gazing out the back window at their house, looking across the open field...
lost in thought.
As I looked out that window, I could see a line of trees.
One of them was bent in the wind a little,
much like my father in law was - bent in the weight of his wife's death.

I started drawing the tree in my sketchbook at first.
I was obsessed with the shape, with the meaning I had attached to that tree.
The only way that I could get it out of my head was to give in to it and paint it.
And it really helped me to work through the grief of my friends passing.

Jenny Doh can you hear that?
Art DOES save.
 I used vintage book pages, tissue paper from my grandmothers patterns and old hymn books.
The tree is painted in acrylics and watercolors
and then detailed with India Ink.
I love how the vintage papers peek through the background.
It really gives it a lot of dimension and texture.
Email me if you're interested in purchasing this.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Flickr Photos

I added  several photos to my Flickr site this morning.
Most of them are sketchbook and/or art journal pages.
If you click on the blog post title, it will take you to my collection of photos.

This is a two page spread from my small Moleskein journal.
 I carry it in my pocket or purse in case I have a minute to draw or if I'm hit with inspiration for something.

I have to write things down or do a quick sketch or I'll forget it by the time I get home.
Who am I fooling ...?
 I'll forget it by the time I take two steps!

My number one tip for becoming more inspired?

Do something creative every day!

Whether its drawing, painting, sewing, crafting, sculpting, or simply shuffling through colorful paint chips -
do something to get your creative juices flowing.
If you do something like this everyday, it will soon become a habit.

And you can't lose when your habit is creativity.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Sketchbook Challenge

I have the immense pleasure of announcing a new kid on the block!

A new blog, a new challenge each month, a new artist each month...

I've been invited to join several other artists (16, I think) in "The Sketchbook Challenge" beginning Jan.1, 2011.

We're going to be talking about our sketchbooks, how we do what we do, what tools we use, why we use them, tips for inspiration, techniques for pages...
all sorts of great information!

Each month a different artist will give a new theme for the month.
As the month goes along, all the artists will upload photos of their personal sketchbooks to show how we interpret the theme, what tools we used, maybe how we came up with our artwork...
you know - all those little bits of info that we all wish we had the inside scoop on!

We would all love it if you would play along with us.
Go here and sign up to follow the blog.
Beginning 1-1-2011, we will all find out about the theme of the month.

We're going to have tutorials through the month.
We have new sponsors joining up with us, all ready for great give aways -
Just For You!

I am super excited about this opportunity to share my sketchbook secrets with you.
And wait until you see the other artists that have signed on to share their secrets as well!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Green Fan (Girl of Toledo Spain)

I had posted earlier about a book that I was working on and forgot to add photos of the completed book.
I will do that today.
I used a photo of one of my favorite paintings (see this this post).
I printed it out on a nubby fabric (some type of poly blend I think) (it was a cheap sheer curtain fabric from my mom's house) and then built the front of the cover around it.
You can see from this picture that I added a bit of hand dyed lace to the sides , to create a spine wrap of sorts.

 Ah, this is where the photo of the front of the book went!
I have changed the template of my blog and am still learning how to work in it,
just when I had gotten so used to the previous template.

repeat -
change is good...
change is good...

 On the inside of the book cover, I placed an old doily that I made.
It really coordinated well with all the other fabrics so I donated it to the cause.
A scrappy "signature wrap" (I learned this from DJ Pettitt) snuggles all the pages of the book together.

 And I just love the back cover of this book!
I've used a combo of several acrylic mediums to create a leather like substance. I then used a mix of water and acrylic mediums to color it.
A series of paint, dry.
Paint, dry.
Repeat until your OCD is soothed...
Or you get distracted by sanding it...

And there you have it, another cool book!
I hope that I can take these books with me to Asheville tomorrow - well, what I really meant to say was that I hope I get to go to Asheville (NC) tomorrow for the monthly Fiber Art Alliance meeting.
The schools are closed there today - snow, black ice - you know that sort of nasty winter weather.
If I get to go tomorrow - I will carry the new books to show and tell. I'm sure that my fiber and book lovin' peeps will like them!
Say creative my friends.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The "Black and White with a Touch of Red" Book

I've been completely taken with making these small books for the last week or two.
I am learning so many things about what I can get away with  elements of design and construction while doing this.
I think that everyone should work on the same type of project for a length of time to fully flesh out your ideas and allow the project to have its way with you.

If you're like me, the more I screw things up, I mean the more "great ideas" I have, the more opportunites for fixing those "great ideas" there are.
Some of my best work is the result of a really "great idea"...!
The moral of that story is to do enough work that you mess up a lot.
This is the only way to grow in creating artwork - no matter what the medium is.

You MUST get in the studio and play!

This is the book that is patiently wating for its pages.
I'm painting a group of them just for this little book.
I've used one of my pen and ink drawings to create the cover.
A neighbor gave me some leather scraps that he had and I'm using one of them as the cover base.
I'll use this book as a sample in one of my upcoming book making classes.

Don't you love the glass bead/button that a friend of mine gave me?
It's the perfect embellishment for the poppy drawing on the cover -
 it repeats the circular shape and the lines on the inside of a couple of them.

You just have to keep looking through your stash of things (and other folks stash!) until you find the "perfect thing" that will elevate your artwork. You don't want to rush through it , adding embellishments or marks that distract from it instead of adding to it.
Learn to give your work time to evolve - it may take a while but it's really worth.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rainy Day

It's a rainy day here in Piedmont South Carolina.
My husband tells me that it is cold outside as well...
I wouldn't personally know since I haven't stepped outside the house today.
I've been inside, in the studio.
Busy as a bee.
Working on wayyy too many things at once.
Here is a sampling... Doodling, working out the kinks on a new technique for a collaborative project and another book cover.
Oh, two books.
I am working on a black/white and a touch of red book.
And "The Green Fan (Girl from Toledo, Spain) (Robert Henri 1912) book.
Jeesh - that's not the name of the book,
just the painting (printed on fabric) that I put on the cover.

It's one of my favorite paintings.
It is on display at Gibbs Art Museum in one of my favorite cities - Charleston SC.
The museum owns the painting so it's on permanent display there.
It is just breath taking.
So if you're planning a visit to historic Charleston,
head over to the Gibbs.
You won't regret it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Studio Time

I spent some time in the studio,
doing what my friend Laura said to do ("Now, go make something.").
I've been merrily making books,
sometimes working on three or four at the same time.
I do that a on several things at a time.
My photos loaded backwards to what I thought they would.
Imagine that.

This small book (4 1/2"w x 5 1/2"h) has a lot of vintage lace,
my illustrations (inside and out) and the words
"To Thine Own Self Be True"

I added a row of beads down the spine on this one

as well as a beaded trim on the front cover.

I love the blue beads.

When I added the word "fight",

I was thinking about how we have to fight everyday to protect who we are.

How we have to fight for our personal freedom.

How we have to fight to BE.

To Be Who We Are.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Studio Time

I have a studio guest coming today.
The last few days have been spent in mad preparation...
or more commonly know as "the mad dash for cleaning out the stash".
I'll leave you with a quick photo of what else I've been doing while spending time in the studio.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I've been working on making mixed media books
but took a break yesterday evening to do a little drawing.

I'm captivated by the paintings of Sandro Botticelli.
Especially "The Birth of Venus".

Hopefully, I'll get a bit of free time today

to begin painting my interpretation of the goddess Venus.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Local Artist Community

Oh wait - wrong photo...

But this could be the local artists!

I am making a true effort to get out of my (self-imposed) little cocoon
at my home studio and get to know the artists that live in the upstate of SC.
Greenville has quite a few really talented artists
that are a lot of fun to hang out with as well.
We share inspiration, ideas and sweet lunch spots too.

If you're like me and tend to create your artwork in solitude,
you should make a point of getting out a little.
The weather here is cooling off a bit (low to mid 60's)
and it's perfect to sit outside a cafe while you sip on a cup of coffee or tea...
and talk art, inspiration and techniques with your art buddies.
It's another great way to support the local art scene -
by making friends and getting to know each other.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Stellar Day

I am a winner!
Deryn Mentock, of the awesome blog "Something Sublime", posted a giveaway there a few days ago.
I left a comment on her blog and my number was one of the winners.
How awesome is that?!
I can't wait to get the goody bag that she will be mailing out.
What a great day this has been!
I completed the paper work for the retreat classes that I am teaching in Colorado Springs (Textile Evolution) next year, completed another hand bound book and wrote up class notes for both.
My son (away at art school) called to just say "hello".
My handsome husband fixed a wonderful dinner for the both of us.
Top that off with winning the cool goodies from Deryn and my day has be Stellar.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Books, new class

I'm working on new books today.
I started three smaller covers last night
and, in a flurry of inspiration, I made five signatures as well.
I'm working on a new book making class - one that can be made in one day.

Easy peasy.

These are in the process of drying.

we all should do that you know...

Overcome all obstacles...

Sewing on fabric, paper and acrylic mediums.

I love adding bits and pieces to my book pages.

I love mixing this and that and making it into a cohesive piece of art.

I just love creating things, don't you?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Completed book project!

Do any of you have WIP that you've had sitting around for a longggg time?

Boy I sure do.

I had this book project, one that I just adored, just sitting there, waiting to be finished.
I guess it was last year
(wow, where does time go?!)
that I traveled to Alabama
to take a workshop (or two) from DJ Pettitt.
A book making/painting class.
I also took one with DJ and Deryn Mentock but
today I'm just talking about the book making class.
I started it in class but put it down when I got home.
I wasn't even going to finish it...
because the painting on the front was from a sketch that DJ had done.
I wanted the entire book to be "mine" artwork.
And , in my own defense, it is my painting but...

you know what I mean...

I later changed my mind.

(imagine that)

I realized that I had put a lot of effort, time and money into the cover.

(this long story is getting longer, isn't it?)

I'll stop there and just show you the book,
how about that?

The cover is completely water proof...

very durable...

you can sew on it, paint on it...

wonderfully soft and flexible too.

All those beautiful carved beads on the spine...along with a vintage doily that my grandmother made (and I dyed!).

I have sewn five thick and yummy signatures into the book.

Lots of textured pages...

with lace, old linens and my grandmothers fabric left overs.

I've included signature wraps with collage work from my paintings, as well as a couple of DJ's post cards.

A little bit of reverse applique as well...

So, there you have it.

One more WIP off my worktable (and my list).

What next?!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Studio Table

I'm looking over the items on my studio table today...
and noticed that I keep a couple of things on it that I have artwork planned for -
I just can't seem to get to it.
When I have the time - I have no energy.
When I have the energy, I have no time...
Do any of you ever find this to be your problem as well?

Here's one -
Look at the right of the walnut shell.
It's a tiny vial (measures about an inch tall)
that's full of even smaller bones.
I retrieved them from an owl pellet
that a friend of mine from South Dakota (hey Judy!) sent me.
I love that little vial of bones.

And here is another favorite thing of mine.
Sand from "My beloved river".
Stored in a cup found at that same river - back when the drought was so bad around here
and Indian artifacts could be found in abundance.

So - there are a couple of photos of favorite things on my studio table.

What are your favorite things?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Painted Lady

Here she is...
all finished.

"Our Lady of Guadalupe"
acrylic, watercolor, wax pastels, molding paste
on 5"x7" canvas panel

Monday, November 1, 2010

Weekend Sketching

Working on a new face while riding in the car this weekend.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Our Lady of Guadalupe

After getting ready for the retreat, the art festival and vacation,
I was very tired...

I had to take a break from drawing, painting and
making "completed" artwork.

Oh, I still did some doodling in my sketchbook
but nothing other than quick little reminders to myself
of things I might go back to later.

When I went to Colorado Springs for the "Textile Evolution" art retreat,
my friend Liz gave me a cool book mark.

It was for the "Guadalupe Festival" in Phoenix, AZ (from 2009).
It was the image on the front that had drawn her attention (and mine),
not so much the festival info itself.
I've had the book mark in my studio,
in a spot that I can see it every time that I work at the studio table.
She has been calling me...

So instead of doing housework, writing class proposals,
sending out artwork or any of the 18 other things that were on my "to do list",
I started painting.
I've asked my friend Sharon Tomlinson (check out her classes!)
to critique my work for me as I go.
Here's what I have so far.

I did have to adjust her eyelids.

I also moved her eyebrows down (they were just too high)

and lower her chin (also too high).

All in all I think that she is coming along.

Not an exact copy (which I wasn't trying to do) but coming along.

In the past, I have just made up faces to draw or paint (usually)

but I am enjoying having a reference image.

It can make things a lot easier.

This is a mixed media painting.

I've used acrylics, watersoluble wax pastels (Caran D'Ache Neocolor 2),

a tad of watercolor and graphite.

I'm painting on a 5" x 7" canvas panel that has a layer of molding paste

and a sheer fabric overlay.

I'll try to remember to scan it and post my progress as I go.

We're getting rain here in South Carolina.

And we're very thankful for it!