Sunday, December 30, 2012

Daily Wisdom

Ever wonder why you can't get to where you want to go?

Could be a problem with your foot...

In this coming year, try easing up on the brakes.
Let's see how far we can go, okay?

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays

I hope that you and your family (and loved ones) have a peace-filled holiday, however you choose to celebrate it.

My wish for you is that your heart is full of love and forgiveness, your mind full of creative ideas and your tummy full of healthy nourishment.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Publishing News!

I've been about to burst (or "bust" if you live down South) with this news!

I have an article in the newest Quilting Arts "In Stitches" eMag!

The eMag is available for download today, so run (don't walk) over to this shop and get yours.
Though I am proud as a peacock about my article, you should see the other ones!
(so sorry about all of the exclamation points...can't help it!)

What a lineup of authors this time -
Janet Lasher, Kathyanne White, Susie Monday, Norma Schlager, Jane Davila, interviews (and lots of eye candy from) Eileen Lauterborn & Carol Anne Grotrian.
There is also a couple of gallery articles, reviews of cutting & slicing tools (and how to care for them) as well a "how to" on making computer (or tablet) wallpaper out of your own artwork.
Jane Davila (the editor) does a fantastic job with content and the photography is just awesome.
And the price is right (4.99!).

I wrote an article about one of my favorite stitching pastimes - reverse applique with a Natalie Chanin twist. If you've read my blog for long you know that I adore Natalie and the work that she is doing for (and with) cottage industries and sustainable living.
Then there are her books...
The first one was the beginning of my girl crush on Natalie and she just continues to rock the world with practicing what she preaches.

Anyway - the article is about making really cute covers for sketchbooks (or regular books). I took Natalie's instructions and tweaked them to suit my purpose.

Here are some handy links for shopping-

Store Links:

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tea Bag Quote

This is from the Good Earth tea that I drink (Sweet & Spicy).
Each tea bag has a different quote on it.
I thought that this quote was quite appropriate for anyone that wants to get better at what they are doing...

I hope that your days are merry and bright.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

New Workshop!

I have a few classes scheduled for the coming year.
One of them is in Virginia Beach (Virginia) at Art & Soul. I am really excited about this class for a couple of reasons.
The first one is because it is Art & Soul!
When I first began teaching workshops, Art & Soul was at the top of my list for places to teach. It was (and still is) the top place for innovative workshops, true creative bonding with like minded people, and so much darn fun!
It truly is the industry standard for art retreats.

The other reason is the project.
I created a workshop just for the retreat.
Not a book, not a painting (although we will paint), not drawing...instead I've planned a whimsical mobile with beaded & screen printed birds, hanging from embellished driftwood.
I have always loved mobiles. I love figuring out how to balance the weight of the treasures that I'm adding to the piece and I love searching for just the right baubles.
They are fantastic for hanging in your studio, a sunny window, kid's room or any place that needs a shot of something quaint and unusual.
And colorful.

Lots of smooth, silky driftwood. Hand picked by myself and my handsome hubby.
I tend to collect things like that when we kayak or ride our bikes along the shore.
Piles of colorful beads - shiny, matte, oblong, sparkled, square, painted and all part of the kit for the class.
Bold, colorful paint colors.
A stack of thermofax screens to screen print with (all one of a kind images drawn by yours truly).
Threads, glorious threads to stitch, wind and suspend with.
I already have several "practice" mobiles hanging in my studio window and two that are attached to the chain pulls on ceiling fans. One of those pieces was recently published in Liz Kettle's beading book (you need to check the book out! It's wonderful for first time beaders, if you need a refresher or if you need a shot of inspiration!).

We'll be doing all sorts of things in this class - here's a peek at a few of them.

Different fringe ideas with beads.
Also little crochet wings!

A variety of beaded hair styles.

Don't like crochet wings?
How about paper ones?

Beaded necklaces, different tail trims.

Ideas for eyes.

Look at this twisted beaded tail feather!

Lots and lots of ideas for beading on your birds.

I'll leave you with a shot of my work table today.
I've started on a blue and green mobile- beginning with designing my personalized fabric with screen printed images.

Nothing like a bunch of little circles, is there?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Gifts

This is also being published on the "Sketchbook Challenge" blog today.
Pop over there and read all of the other creative posts from the December theme of "gifts".

Hi everyone!

Carol Sloan here again with the rest of the Christmas Marionette Show tale (or maybe “tell” would be correct) (as in “show & tell”).

Myself and two sketching buddies (Denise & Sarah) went to a marionette show at a local library last week.
The show was put on by the ColumbiaMarionette Theater (about 2 hours from where I live). 
John Scollon was the puppeteer (and Executive Director btw) and he did a fantastic job bringing the story to life as well as keeping the young kids entertained (not to mention the older generation!).
Those kids were so well behaved! 
I think that they were so involved in the show that they didn't have time to get cranky or bored.

I wonder if any of them left with a lifelong love of puppets and marionettes?
As adults, care givers or parents, isn't it our job to expose the younger generation to all things creative?
Someone has to light that spark or at least allow for the opportunity of a spark.
It is up to us to keep the creative spirit alive and well in this world.

(stepping off of soapbox)

I'm not used to sketching in a fast paced environment. 
My sketches will show that but the good news is that I can improve on that with more exposure to it, right?
I'm not trying to pen a realistic rendition of my subject but to impart the spirit of the scene, of the day.
You will see that some of the sketches are incomplete. My subject fled the scene (literally) before I could complete even the barest of outlines.
My approach to putting pen to paper that day was pretty simple – I tried to get a good look at the subject, then jot down a simple outline first. As time and opportunity allowed, I filled in as many details as I could while the marionette was running around the room.

I was especially interested in the placement of the strings on the puppet and the paddle that the puppeteer used to create the movements (I don't know the correct name of that piece of equipment) but things moved so quickly that I couldn't figure it out.
I'm going to call what I did the use of “artistic license” but I am sure that it goes much farther than that!
(remember it is all about the “spirit of the scene”, isn't it?)

The plot of the show was incredible! It included Spangler (the top elf) (lol, great name for a reality show, eh?), The Big Guy (Santa), an elf with a very bad cold (and a blue face), an ice skater with a finely feathered outfit, a puppet show within the puppet show and even a beach hotel clerk!

Here are the pages from my sketchbook that I completed (or almost completed).

The backdrop was a prop built of wood and then painted.
I think the candy canes were plastic ones.
The backdrop also served as the container that all the marionettes
and equipment was stored in. Clever, huh?

That's Spangler at the top (left) of the page.
I loved sketching the kids that were watching.
The many shades of blond in this young man's hair was incredible.

There's John, the giver of life to this cast of characters.
Another spectator with rich blond hair.
And that paddle thing...

The puppet show, John's hand and The Big Guy.
I thought that Santa wore black gloves though. This Santa had
on green gloves.

The star of the show, pretending to be Santa.
I looked at a photo to draw this one.

I mentioned that the backdrop also served as the box
for packing up the set. The marionettes were hung inside, facing the back
of the box. It looked like they were all in "time out" even though I thought
they behaved very well. But who knows what they did once the spotlight was
off of them. They could be little divas behind those smiling faces... 

So, following the December theme that Pam chose of “gifts”, I'll close with this:

My friends and I gave each other that day as a gift.
A gift of our time, our laughter and of grand memories.
All having its roots in the love and desire to sketch our surrounding...we found each other in a sea of people.
And you can do the same thing where ever you live! Put the word out there on your Facebook page, a local art list or gallery list.

Give yourself a gift this year. 
The gift of opening yourself up to sketching, drawing or some type of creative pursuit. It will truly enrich your life.

I hope that you all are having a wonderful holiday season – however you may celebrate it, do it with an open heart.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Adventures in Colorado

After staying up in the Rocky Mountains for several days, I went home with Liz (Kettle) for a few days.
We spent some time in her studio (looking for stuff, finding it, then losing it again) working (read playing).
I worked on a small machine felted piece that I had started at the Art Summit, adding hand stitching and a few beads. (I am still working on that today) (and still enjoying it).

I taught a book making class at Deb Prewitt's shop (The Blue Twig Studio) in Colorado Springs.
The class was full and everyone was excited about making their own handmade book.
It was a two day affair - we made the collages for the cover and painted some on the pages the first day.
The second day, we stitched the signatures in and (if there was any time left) worked inside the book with Thermofax screens, acrylic paint, stencils and such.
We did have a couple of over-achievers (ahem Kathy and Linda) that made TWO books while they were in the class! Those ladies were smokin'!
I was so busy working my way around the room teaching that I did not take photos but I will direct you to this post on Deb's blog. She has a photo of all the books over there on her blog (thank you Deb!).

I love teaching in Colorado!
Everyone is so friendly, laid-back and eager to learn new things.
Thank you guys!

Liz, her husband Bruce and I went to the "Paint Mines Interpretive Park" about an hour or so from their house.
The Paint Mines are in Calhan Colorado.
We did a good bit of hiking and got to see some of the most beautiful natural sights that I have ever seen.
This is a quote from the brochure that we picked up at the site
"The Paint Mines are named for their colorful clays that were collected by American Indians to make paint. Brightly colored bands, caused by oxidized iron compounds, are found in varying amounts throughout the different layers of clay. When the outcrops erode, a hard capstone allows columns of clay to be preserved beneath them, creating fantastic spires called hoodoos. Selenite (gypsum) contributes to the color and white quartzitic crystals dazzle the eye."
I used a small point and shoot camera so the photos do not do the site justice - actually I think that these are sights that one must see in person to fully appreciate.
No camera can capture the beauty or the majesty of this sight.

You can see how small our shadows are.
These outcrops are huge!

I would suggest, that if you do go there, you look in the little brown metal post (right as you begin to walk on the path from the parking lot) for a map.
It will save you walking a mile or so if you just want to see the Paint Mines.
just sayin'...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Smarty Arty Summit (SAS)

Okay - back to the travel log of November.

I got back from Charleston one evening, unpacked, did laundry, repacked and flew out to Colorado the next morning (I'm sensing a trend here).

The beginnings of a journal page

I met a new friend at the airport - Kim Rae Nugent.
We were picked up by my buddy Liz Kettle, who drove us to Jill Berry's house.
Team assembled.
We arrived there, unpacked and then repacked all of our belongings (I still can't believe that Liz got all of that stuff into her Subaru!).

(Wait, haven't I typed "unpacked and repacked" more than once or twice in the last two blog posts??!?)

We were going to use the trip to introduce one new thing to each person  there as well as work on what we wanted to work on.
I had my "group project" ready and plenty of book pages ready to capture what held my gaze (if anything did).

One of the fun things about staying in a cabin at Estes Park near the Rocky Mountain State Park with three other wild and crazy artists friends (well, maybe all of them are not as wild and crazy as me but fun none the less!) was that there were no outside forces compelling us to do anything except what we wanted to do.
Read that again.
We got to do what we wanted to!

This is the view that we had from our back door.

This is NOT a postcard!
It is the actual view from the back porch of  our cabin.

We created art, journaled, painted, stenciled, drew and ate for four days straight!

Oh, we went outside as well.
Here we are at the Rocky Mountain State Park.
It was ccccold that day!
The background is a portion of a map from the brochure from the YMCA Estes Park
facility that we stayed at.

Well, this isn't finished yet (obviously).
Did I mention that we got VERY goofy
and that we had a  very tiny convertible car too?!

Another one of my journal pages.
I have collaged a piece of the Estes Park brochure map
onto my sketchbook page, added a tiny photo from Jill's printer
(name escapes me right now) (pogo?) (I want one though!).
Then I roughed up the edge of the photo
with a bit of graphite. Needs more but that will have to wait... 

We saw elk in our front yard (and above the fireplace) and snowy mountain tops in our back yard.
We got up in the mornings when we wanted to, ate chocolate before breakfast (well I did) and went to bed when we could no longer hold our heads up.
We laughed, joked, talked, ranted and passed love, tenderness and strength between the four of us.
It was truly a bonding experience for all of us.

Bernardo the Elk.
We added the chic red scarf to his neck.
He really needed it.
Notice the cozy fire that our Fire Master (Jill) built.
Forever to be known as "the fire that Jill built".

My drawing of Bernardo the Elk.
Sans scarf.

We managed to have one "sit down" meal at the dining room table
before our art supplies took it over...we were relegated to
the coffee table to eat after that.

Notice the floor lamp in the middle of the dining room table...
lack of good light to work by will drive you to do
many odd things indeed.

The art supplies begin to reproduce and take over
the floor space around the "work table". 

And behind it to the small table as well...

If you have the opportunity - heck, just TAKE the opportunity to invite a few friends together for a "girls only" ("Art Summit") (whatever) few days - then, by all means, just DO IT.
We had a wonderful, awesome, fantastic, unforgettable time.
I hope that my name is already on the guest list for next year...

One last photo.
This is a sculpture at the main office at the YMCA office there at Estes Park.

What an awesome backdrop for a sculpture!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Already?!

Really, is it already December??
November was a blur of activity for me.
It seemed that I had just got back from New York (to open the "8 That Create" group show) and it was time to fly to Colorado for a couple of fun happenings.

Oh wait - I forgot the week that I spent in Charleston between the two events...

Okay so I got back from New York,  unpacked my things, did laundry and repacked to travel to Charleston SC - where the weather was much different than upstate NY (thank goodness).

My husband and I spent several days riding our bikes around the city, visiting favorite restaurants,  wandering around at semi-secret coastal estates and visiting our favorite galleries (look at this place - Robert Lange Studios) (there is a reason that it was voted Charleston's Favorite Gallery several years in a row!).
I love the gallery director Carrie.
Every time we go there, she walks around with us, talking about each artist and their work. This makes each piece so much more meaningful - knowing the stories behind each one.
I love all the artists there.
I would love to have my art work hanging in that studio one day.
I'd love a solo show there (that's for you, Universe).

We went to Botany Bay (Edisto Island wildlife preserve).
If you're ever close to this place, you should take the time to go there.
Take your camera too.
It's a visual feast for sure.

It is a beautiful section of land that is being preserved for future generations by the state of South Carolina.
It is truly spectacular.

Stay tuned for more November adventure stories soon.