Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More Messages From The Universe, New Classes

My tea bags continue to ply me with bold messages.
In some ways, I do feel like I am getting younger instead of older.

I am hard at work in my studio! 
I have several things going at once -
working on a new piece for the group "8 That Create", 
preparing samples for two new classes I have scheduled while I am in Colorado.

Oh! I forgot to post them, didn't I?!

I will be teaching two one day classes at "Blue Twig Studio" in Colorado Springs, Colorado on June 3 and June 4.
One class will be "Whimsical Mark Making" and the other will be the blast of fun class "Background Painting" (check the "workshop" tab at the top of the blog for descriptions).
I'll post the order of them as soon as we figure it out. Both of these classes are so much fun and everyone is always so surprised at how well their work turns out in class.

I am also working on handouts for the June "Art Camp For Women" book making class
That is going to be a fantastic class! I am loving all the colors of waxed linen thread that I bought just for class! No plain old black, brown or burgundy for these campers!

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I am working on samples for the class at Judy Gula's shop "Artistic Artifacts" in Alexandria Virginia on Feb. 24 & 25. Check out this link for the class description.
It would be great (and you'll get a discount) if you signed up for my two day class and Liz Kettle's one day class there ("Metal Magic"). Three days of foot stomping fun (where did that come from?!). But it will be a lot of fun and think of all that you will learn!
The book class that I am teaching there is a great class for new book makers as well as experienced ones. After two days, you will leave with a one of a kind treasure. And you'll be armed with all the info that you need to make more.

So - back to work.
I tend to be a workaholic on creative things. 
I can spend hours and hours in  my studio, effectively ignoring any other errands or jobs that I need to do...
My husband is so very supportive of my desire to show women how to express their creativity.
He has seen how making art, how allowing my creativity out has healed me in so many ways.
It's much better than any medications my doctors try to make me take. 
And I want other women to experience this healing balm.

Stretch that creative muscle!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Messages From The Universe

(and my tea bags)

Are you listening to The Universe today?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stating Your Intentions

A couple of years ago, I wrote out a list of dreams that I had.
I listed some of the most secret things that my heart desired as well as some of the wildest, crazy ass dreams I could think of.
One of them was to teach in Italy. One of those fantastic, once in a lifetime trips to a beautiful, romantic country.
And I let that dream fly out into the Universe.
I kept it secret for a while (I mean, come on, who do I think I am to be able to dream a dream that big?!) not telling anyone but my husband and a few close friends.
This year I decided that I would shout out a few dreams, just in case the Universe was hard of hearing (grins).
I began just saying that I was going to be an "international teacher" this year.
"Did I just say that?" I would ask myself...
Odd thing happened though, those people that I told this to never blinked an eye when I said it!
Just like they believed that I would do that!

And as that funny thing happened, another funny thing happened...
I began to believe it!

I found out about a great new creative school opening in Sulmona Italy.
The Abruzzo School of Creative Art.

I wrote up my class proposal and sent it in (after a day or two of sheer terror at the prospect of doing it).
Two days later I received an email from the owner, Averil Stewart-Head.

My proposal was accepted!!
I am over the moon with excitement!
Totally and absolutely energized about this...

But, get this...
I'm not only going this year but NEXT year as well!

I would love for a few of my US buddies to go with me...
If you've wanted to go to Italy, then this would be a fantastic time to go.
You know that it will be fun, creative and entertaining!

Sign up now for a HUGE discount!
Here's my workshop page.

Reserve your spot NOW as the spaces are very limited!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Finding Your Tribe

Yesterday, I wrote about expressing yourself.
Today I'd like to touch on another aspect of living a creative life.

I'd like to talk about being a part of a creative tribe.

We all need to find our tribe. 
Not just any tribe but your tribe.
You know, that group of like minded people. They love the same things that you do (who else could get so excited about sitting in a cold airplane hanger sketching?). 
They drool over the same things (scraps of torn and tattered lace from grandma's closet), they oohh and aahhh over your artwork.

You need a safe and secure place within this group of women to let your hair down (so to speak). A place that you can stay up late working in your jammies or sitting on the edge of the bed, drinking a glass of wine while you talk about...well, things that creative women talk about.

We need a safe place to tell our stories and to express our creativity.

All women (sorry guys!), all fun, all your tribe.

And just look who is talking about us!!

Art Camp is one of the four retreats featured in "O" magazine in the "Express Yourself" cover story!

You can't get much better than that, can you?

I'll be teaching there in June and I've planned a brand new book making class just for this retreat.

Today I am the guest blogger on the Art Camp. 
Follow this link to read my post.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Expressing Yourself

I've always believed that it's important for all of us to tell our stories.
To share tales of our adventures, our dreams, or just everyday happenings.

I do this all the time in my artwork.

I build each piece to tell a story or to chronicle an experience in my life or another’s life. I spend a lot of time in the forests and rivers near my home, hiking, kayaking or soaking in the beauty. I gather and collect interesting objects, natural items and everyday discards that I take to my studio and later use in these narratives. My hope is that the story will resonate with the viewer. That it will spark some inspiration or memory within them.

In times of great stress or distress, people have to tell their stories over and over as a way to process what happened to them.
I worked as a nurse in a busy Neonatal ICU. It was an area of high stress to the families that needed our services. Even if their baby was not that ill, it was still a stress on the entire family.
The mothers and fathers found so much comfort talking to other parents there. I would hear them repeat their birth stories, reliving each and every moment. 
This is how we process our lives. This is how we keep those precious memories alive as well as honoring our emotions.

Creativity is a lot like that. We have to honor our creative urges.
As women (I'm guessing that most of my readers are women) we give so much of ourselves to others...we seldom reserve time for ourselves.
And if we do, it's usually after everything else is finished.
We're tired, distracted and probably a wee bit irritable.

If you can find a way to carve out a little bit of time each day to do something creative - whether it's writing, drawing, painting, sewing- it doesn't matter what it is...
what matters is that you do it!

Tomorrow I'll be the guest blogger over at "Art Camp For Women". I'll be doing another short blog post here as an intro to the one on their website.
I'd love for you to stop by and see what we're got up our sleeves...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Empty Spaces

Hi wonderful people!

Did you hop over to this blog and read my post about "Approaching a Theme"?
It's all about how I am approaching the theme "Empty Spaces" in the new group that I am a member of.

I hope that you'll run over and read it and catch the other artists posts as well.
We're working hard to share all of the steps to our individual art making that we can.

Sometimes it's difficult to explain why you do what you do -
sometimes I just go on and do it without thinking to take photos of what I did.

When you're in that zone it's difficult to stop and document the process...

Anyway - check out the blog (and the website).
Let me know what you think!

I may use this line drawing to symbolize that there is growth that takes place in the Empty Spaces 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Artistic Artifacts

I am going to be heading up to Virginia this February - to an wonderful mixed media fiber shop called Artistic Artifacts.
I am teaching a two day book making class called "Bound By Heart, Made By Hand".
Someone ask me why I call the class this so I'll explain here.

A lot of my recent work (the last three years) has revolved around the death of my mother.
When I was cleaning out her house, I found so many keepsakes type things that I had forgot about, had never seen or couldn't remember the story attached to them.
There was a lot of vintage linens from my grandmother as well...she was a doll maker and a quilter.
Oh, and also a doll doctor. She had been certified to do "reconstructive surgery" on all types of dolls -wooden to ceramic.

I found myself the owner of a ton of family keepsakes.
And not an idea of what to do with them but store them like my mom did.

But, a couple of things kept nagging at me.
I didn't want my son to find all these things after I died and wonder about them...or throw them out.
And I just didn't have the storage space to keep them all.

I made the decision to use them.
Not in the intended manner but in an artistic manner.
I put aside the ones that held special meaning or were in the best condition.
Then I began using them as art supplies...yep, cutting them up, adding them to books that I made, attaching them to fiber wall art...just generally enjoying them.

And I found that all of the pieces that I added to artwork held more meaning to me.

They began to bind my heart to the work that I made by hand...
Hence "Bound By Heart, Made By Hand" was born.

And in my classes, I show everyone how to use those vintage linens (whether hand-me-downs or not), old clothing, copies of hand written letters and anything else they choose to bring in their artwork.
The books are so textured with all of the different linens, homespun and hankies inside (and outside) of them.

The books have so much more meaning and sentiment when you use personal items.

And you can bet that your kids won't throw these away when you're gone!

I've had women create family recipe books, wine tasting books, memory books for family or friends, and art journal books.

Here's a few photos of the ones that I have made.

I love painting the pages inside then going back and sketching or writing in them.
But I also love viewing the book as a piece of art in itself.

The class will be held at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria Virginia.
It's a two day class and almost everyone goes home with a completed book!
Sometimes two books if you've planned ahead.

Contact Judy Gula at the shop for prices and payment options.

Oh - class dates are Feb. 24 & 25.

My buddy Liz Kettle is teaching a one day workshop the very next day (Sunday Feb. 26) called "Metal Magic".

Judy is offering a $10 discount on both (either or) classes if you sign up now!

We could make a weekend out of it...just think - hanging out with me, Liz and Judy all weekend!
A girl's weekend...with great art making too!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Filling Your Time With Creative Endeavors

Over at the Sketchbook Challenge blog this month, the theme is "doodling".
This is one of my favorite things to do!
I always carry a travel art kit with me - it includes several folded pieces of paper (usually Exact Vellum Bristol) or a ready made sketchbook, travel watercolor paints, Faber Castell Pitt Artists Pens and a pencil & eraser.
When I find myself with a minute or two , I pull out a piece of paper (or sketchbook) and a pencil or pen and fill my time with emptying some of the images rolling around in my head (which can be kinda scary now that I think of it).

There are times that I allow the stress of living in this world occupy a larger space there (in my head) than it should so drawing  is a great way to get my mind off of the negative things.

I've had a Moleskine watercolor sketchbook for a while now but (evidently) put it on a higher shelf in my studio...I have found it again and started using it to see if I like the paper. I believe it is a 200 gsm paper.

I haven't found the "perfect" sketchbook yet...
I suspect that there will never be that "Perfect One" because my sketching habits change, the medium that I color my images with changes as well as the size that I am willing to carry around.
But I sure am enjoying the hunt for one!

Before Christmas (seems like that was sooo long ago, doesn't it?) I was working on a few small handmade books to submit to Christopher Park Gallery in town (they are carrying my work!).

Here is a sampling of the original sketches that led to some of the cover art for the "Little Books" series.

It's a little difficult to see - I drew the images with a harder lead pencil (2H) (which makes a lighter mark).
It was all I had at the time. I have since switched my "regular" sketching pencil to a "F" lead.
I'm not sure if I'll be pleased with that either...I'll keep switching around until I am happy with the results.
And I love drawing with the "2H" pencil, I just don't like the lightness of the scanned image.
I know that I can adjust that in post-editing...but the truth is - I not very good at "post editing" images.
I usually just scan images and use the file as is.
(I did go back and adjust the brightness/contrast just to get the lines darkened up).

Perhaps I should resolve to take a class on that...

I had started drawing all the cats after this little angel came into our life
(cute kitty photo alert).

He has not only cemented himself into our hearts but onto our couch as well!
(I snuck that photo in rather seamlessly, didn't I?)

In drawing the cats, I began branching out to the Big Cats.
Lions and tigers quickly followed.

Here's one of them. I love the curly, flowing mane.

I'm still working on him though.

This is the way that a lot of my artwork evolves.
I begin with a loose, often very ugly sketch but it serves to remind me later of what I originally had in mind.
It's a great "jumping off" point.

I hope that all of you are flexing your creative muscles this New Year!
Get your sketch on!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

8 That Create

I am a champ at setting loose, hardly measurable goals.
(Can I get a "hell yeah"?)
Every year, I tell myself that I will do better, will be better at this.

And I AM doing better with one or two of those goals...just not all of them.

Last year, I set the goal to be a part of a group of artists that encourage each other, seek out venues and show together.
I wanted to be a part of a group that created along side each other but not a challenge group per se.

Towards the end of last year, that group materialized.
I am so thrilled to announce the formation of
(drum roll please)

"8 That Create"

8 That Create is a group of professional, artists that explore the use of
innovative mixed media techniques to manipulate, alter and enhance the
appearance of their chosen surface. 

Our mission is to support each other in our individual artistic journeys and to
provide inspiration to others through our group exhibitions, publications,
website and blog. 

Check out our website and an informative blog that will include lots of details about our forays into exhibiting as a group.

We have the beginnings of a show planned for later this year but right now we are working on an online show with the theme of "Empty Spaces".
We'll be adding more information on both of those later.

We are so excited about our new group and hope that you will follow along with us!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sketchbook Challenge Blog 2012

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope that all of you are readers (and participants) in the Sketchbook Challenge Project that I am a guest host at.
I wanted to post the opening theme for the 2012 Sketchbook Challenge.

This month, Diana Trout has offered up a perfect beginning to our blog.

Here is a re-post of the 1-2-2012 post.

Happy New Year, Sketchbook Challengers and welcome to newbies. Diana here with January's theme

None Threatening Drawing for Anyone At All
Doodling, Noodling, Moodling, call it what you'd like.

This quote from Brenda Ueland, sums it up nicely:

So you see, imagination needs moodling - long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering. 

We all doodle: on the phone, at meetings, on grocery lists. On our calendars. Do you remember all of the hearts and little flowers on your school notebooks? Until your teacher told you to "pay attention." Really puts the kebash on doodling greatness. (I pay better attention whilst doodling.) 

Somewhere along the line, you may have stopped doodling. Let's get your doodle on this month! 

Here are some doodling starters tips for beginning-again doodlers.

Doodle on brown paper, graph paper, looseleaf paper, in your journal.

1. Use a really simple pen and any kind of paper. For instance, are you working on a work related problem? Doodle on the edges of that paper. Let doodling begin to creep into your everyday life.

2. Doodling is meditative but sometimes our minds resist (believe me, I know). Decide to "take 5" and put on a song you love. Doodle to it. I'll bet you go for 15 minutes.

3. Doodling is really good for developing drawing skills. Your eye-hand coordination will improve.

4. Doodle straight lines, curving lines, open shapes such as boxes, circles, ovals. Look at what you've already doodled and repeat some of these motifs.

5.  Make a doodle sampler. A page full of doodling ideas: flower shapes, pod shapes (like my pods). Link the shapes together with lines, dots, flourishes. 

6. Mix it up and use different line widths. I like to start with a Micron 01 and go up to 03 and 05.

Coming up ... resources in the art world to broaden your doodle vocabulary. Happy Doodling!

The theme for January 2012 is: 

Special Prize Giveaway Announcements:

This year on the Sketchbook Challenge we're going to be giving away some art!  Each month one (or more!) of the Sketchbook Challenge Artists will be sending a piece of mail art to one (or more!) winners each month!   Winners of the mail art will be chosen by random draw from the photos posted on the flickr group for that month.  More details on how to be eligible are below.

And we also have an additional prize package this month donated by our sponsor Joggles!

Two winners will each receive a $25 gift certificate to Joggles.com!

How to be eligible for prize drawings: 

In order to be eligible for one of the January 2012 prize packages you must post at least one photo of a sketchbook page related to the January 2012 theme to the Sketchbook Challenge Flickr group and you MUST tag one of your photos with the code "jan987".  
It is not necessary to tag more than one and it will not increase your chances of winning.

Information on how to upload photos to flickr can be found 

Winners will be chosen based on random draw on 1/31/12 and announced on the Sketchbook Challenge blog either on that day or on 2/1/12.

***Go to the original post for the links that Diana added to the entry.***

Now let's see your doodles!