Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I have been working a lot lately outside of the studio so I do not have a lot to post. when I am off and get in the studio I work, work work with the time I have so I just don't have much time to post anymore. I am still working on my journals and my artwork but mostly I am cutting, hammering and drilling away with the huge stash of tin I have accumulated. The results are so satisfying and I have got a few photos to show you later in the week. Here is one of the necklaces.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Well I am splitting my creative time between making jewelry out of recycled tin and my art journal. I love working with the tin because it is kind of like collage in the way that you are taking interesting pieces of photos (on tin in this case) and piecing them together to make something new. I always thought I came by my love of collage from my work with quilting. I think it has always been a womanly thing to piece together beauty from bits and bobs. Whether it was taking bits of fabric and making a quilt or pulling together all the diverse things that it takes to turn a house into a home and a group of people into a loving family. Not that a man cannot do it, but I like and am honored that it was considered traditionally "women's work".

Monday, October 17, 2011

This is a book I have started using the October challenge on the yahoo group Altered books. The challenge is to use the bits of stuff you have laying around to create a collage. I choose to do an altered board book. I am using it to gently examine my faith. Just a nudge really. Sometimes I have to examine why I believe what I believe. I have to shake up my faith to see if it is still valid to the world outside and inside of me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thumb print trees

I started on a project for a friends daughters wedding. She wanted a thumbprint tree for her wedding guestbook. the idea is a bare tree and the guests will use the ink pads she sets out to make a thumb print leaf on the tree. I told her I would work on some designs but once I got into doing the trees I just could not stop.
There is something soothing about making these trees. I like the idea of the whole thing. Having a record of everyone who attended your wedding in such a personal way. And also as an artist the idea of being able to let go of a finished piece and give it up to be altered by others. That whole idea just intrigues me.
I of course have not been able to do a design like she requested though. She wants a "swirly tree"....... My hands refuse to draw a swirly tree. I can do a twisted tree and with some effort I actually was able to twist the branches into a heart but so far not a swirl one.
I never was able to do commissions. No matter how reasonable the request my brain always screamed "hell no" before I could even grasp what it was they were asking for. No matter what the medium from paintings, drawings to jewelry , pottery or lampwork beads and no matter how reasonable the request I resisted the commission.
Oh well.....
The two trees I have finished here are acrylic and ink on canvas board. I thought the board would hold up to the assault of 200 thumbs better than paper. I like the idea of original art for the base because I think everything in a wedding should be unique. Prints are nice but a little less personal.
I put these up on Etsy so that I can feel good about making more....Did I mention I love painting trees? Each one is so unique and yet fits into the forest nicely with all the others. The perfect symbol for the joining of two families.

Monsters pages

These are some of the pages that make up my book of childhood monsters.
I was hesitant to do a book like this and now I am so glad I did. The only good thing about a bad childhood is that it ends. If your lucky enough to live through it you can get through it.
I thought that at this point in my life I had dealt with it all and moved on. What doing this book made me realize is there were still bits and pieces that I needed to address.
Things that needed to be said, even if they were painted over once I wrote them, were put down in this journal and dealt with.
As I stated on the last page "It is SO over".

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cover Art for my Altered Books

I have been having an awful time finishing my altered books at least the hardback ones. I never quite know what to do with the covers.

This week I am determined to finish up all the ones I have started from cover to cover.
I love the way the monster book turned out and especially the cover.
So I am starting on a new book this week. I am planning on finishing up a few jewelry projects too.
More on the finished book tomorrow.

Friday, October 7, 2011

I finished this painting yesterday. I love this one the colors are very exciting.
This is one of the abstracts I am working on. I started with the theme of Mother nature gone wild..or maybe just ticked off. That got me thinking of other worlds where storms go on for years if not centuries. Sort of like when you feel bad because of all the bills you have got to pay but don't stop to think that at least you have the money to pay them. It could always be worse. although in the middle of Hurricane Ike you probably could not have got me to think of it that way. The painting is done on black a Gesso base with layers of paint and hand made papers for texture. It is very dark yet very vibrant at the same time...just like nature on the rampage.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The theme this week is 13

I have been working with the theme 13 from the Collage Obsession site. I hope you like what I came up with. I merged a few scanned images and some of my own stuff together to create this kind of spooky collage.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

There has been progress.....

So the studio is almost complete. Most of the walls are up. There is just a little bit left to do on the insulation to the ceiling and the front wall up high has to be put up. David and I worked on the rest of the wallboard today that we could reach. The front wall goes all the way up and it will be used to display painting so we will need to finish it off eventually but I am in no hurry,
I have to finish painting the lower wall this week. Then next month I plan on painting the outside of it. I have picked a bright yellow for the walls and maybe a deep purple for the door. I want it to scream color. Everything in my life could use color I think.
I finished a few jewelry pieces as you can see and I am moving ahead on two art journals.
I will post some more photos on the journals later in the week.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Getting There.....

Well most of the walls are up in the studio. Tomorrow I finish painting the north wall and then in the afternoon we put up the shelving. I will finally have one permanent work station complete.

I am so excited. I have been working out there but I had to pick up and move everything every time we had to insulate or put up walls.

Here are a few jewelry items I completed yesterday.
I will have the work station for jewelry put up by next weekend. they are listed or will be listed on both artfire and Etsy by tomorrow.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Altered Book Art journals

I love working on the journals but my books in the past have seemed a bit scattered. I usually just deal with whatever is bugging or pleasing me at the moment. I have tried to keep to a theme in the past without much luck.
I am finding that by working on two or three books at once I have a much better chance of sticking to the subject. I have chosen the themes for the two regular books and the one board book. The board book is the hardest. It is just examining the topic of women.

There has been a lot of discussion on Lampwork Etc. where I go from time to time to socialize about the lack of respect for women in the world right now. Personally I think I am more concerned with the lack of self respect in the world right now. If you respect yourself and demand the same of others a lot of those problems will go away. I am having a hard time since I decided to not use words in the book just images. You would think as an artist that would be a piece of cake. Not so much. It is only 8 pages so I have to condense all that I have to say and without words to that small space. Good luck to me.....
The second book is examining all the fears and monsters from my childhood so I can put them to bed (I hope ) once and for all. That one is easier to do. The pages write themselves and I find myself lying awake at night thinking of the next page.
The third book I am working on is about community. what I feel about people and what we have in common and don't have in common. It is an interesting subject to examine.
I find myself feeling things I did not know I felt and thinking in ways I never imagined before.
So I think I will continue to work with themes from now on. I might add a daily journal to the mix.
Here are a few pages from my journals. I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Altered books........I just can't stop

I have been busy working on the studio. I can't decide what the workstations should be like so I am stumbling along slowly. I know I need to have at least three stations. I am going to use my desk for my jewelry bench because it is sturdier than any workbench and has those nice deep drawers to hold tools and metal and such. For my collage and altered books I will have a 4 foot table along one wall but I am not sure what to do for the painting station. I just might set up a square table with my table easel on it and use a rolling cart for supplies. I want to have at least 1/2 of the room for shelves but I don't know what half.
I thought by the time we started putting the wall boards up I would have a plan..think again.
Oh well......
Here are a few pages from the altered books I am working on now. I am trying to stay within a theme for September for each book but I may break out into a ramble at any moment.
The themes I am working on are facing my monsters past and present. That is the page with the "Get a move on" with the crow. I carved the crow stamps yesterday and I am really happy with the way they came out.
The other is the one with "We are the choices we make" and that is examining community and what we are and are not to each other.
The book with the designs and the veiled beauty is one that will just showcase women. It will show them in all their roles. I have decided to use just photos and decorative scroll work in that one and no words. It is kind of a departure for me because I usually start a project by picking out words that move me from my stash of cut up magazines and newspapers.
It is a great way to mine for treasure. I try to sort through the pile at first without any idea what direction I am going in.Then I will notice certain words and phrases from the stash will catch my eye and start me thinking in a new way about something.
This is one of the techniques I use to get my creative juices bubbling. stay tuned for more workshop info. I plan to have at least two a month.
Creating art in a vacuum is much harder and less satisfying. When people come together to create it is a win win situation. I always leave a workshop with far more ideas than I brought with me.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Studio Progress

Well the studio is up and running even though it is not complete yet. The insulation is almost complete there is just a bit of the ceiling left to finish.
Of course the electric and air have been running for a few months or I would not be able to work out there at all. It is hot in Texas..even hotter than usual this summer. I usually get out there by 7 or 8 in the morning and then work until lunch. It gets really hot about 1 in the afternoon so I do the inside work then like jewelry and photography of the stuff I need to list.
This weekend they put up 1/2 the wall boards. I got a gallon of paint at the hardware store to paint it so I can put up the shelves. I really won't be able to judge how much room I will have for what until all the shelves are up.
Right now I am making jewelry in my kitchen because I have not set up my workbench out there yet. I have been dabbling with steampunk for years but I have been collecting the parts more than creating the pieces. Now that I am going through all my supplies trying to get some kind of a system to organize it with i just can't resist stopping to make a piece or two every once in a while. I do use gears but I am trying to do less of the gear stuff and more the kind of jewelry that would go with a steam punk look. I like my stuff to have the look that would appeal to the Victorian adventurer types.
I envision a Victorian female Indiana Jones wearing my stuff. I like the reliquaryary and amulet type of pieces and that is what I am aiming toward for the fall. Lots of mixed dark metals with a touch of mystery.
So this is a sampling of what I have made and listed this week. I have made the eye bead amulets before. They are such fun and I always get comments when I wear mine. I don't know if they really scare away the stupid but they do attract the curious....LOL

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I have been making collages for over 30 years I realized the other day. That is a seriously long time. I make them for a while and then like a lot of artists I will set them aside and go on to other mediums like printmaking and painting. But I always go back to it.
I believe the reason I always go back to it is that it brings back that sense of wonder I had as a child. I used to walk around and every where I looked there were interesting shells and magical rocks and all manner of precious ephemera that I would collect in a shoe box I kept under my bed. It seemed like there were treasures everywhere I looked. When you start doing collage you get back that feeling that there is treasure and magic out there everywhere and all you have to do is look.

I realized the other day that I had been altering books long before it was popular. When I was a child we would fold down one side of the pages of an old phone books and spray paint them green to make Christmas trees and when I was in my early teens my brother and I cut the middle out of a couple of books to make a hiding place for our transistor radios so we could smuggle them into school. Yes we were not the nicest little darlings......

One of the reasons I love altered books is that collage works very nicely with it. I like that I can print, paint or use my collage in it and also put all my thoughts in one place. I make sure I finish at least a page a day. I started with board books a quite few years ago but I have done a few altered hardcovers. The hardbacks are a little trickier and keeping the pages from buckling is a chore. But there are so many things you can do with them that it is really worth the trouble.

I have been doing a page a day for the last few months and I ma still amazed at all the options out there to alter the pages. Like I said this kind of creating brings out that sense of wonder that you seem to lose just by growing up. I am in heaven when I am creating collage and altered books.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Art Workshop
The Altered Book
Saturday September 17th, 2011

This is a one day workshop in a small studio in La Porte Texas. We will be exploring the many ways you can transform an old book into a work of art or a personal journal to contain your thoughts, dreams and artwork. The class size is very small so there will be plenty of one on one assistance to start you on your way to create your one of a kind art piece.

We will explore collage, texture, painting, drawing and printing. We will also touch on choosing paper, words, images and assorted ephemera to express yourself. This workshop will provide you with the techniques and inspiration you need to explore the world of altered books. You should at the end of the day have a started book with many ideas for completing it.

This workshop is designed to work for the complete beginner or to spark the creativity of the experienced artist. I have a degree in art and have taught and attended quite a few workshops and found I was never so empowered and inspired as I was right after attending a creative workshop.

Date: Saturday September 17th, 2011
Time: 9 am to 2 pm
Location: La Porte Texas

Message me for information about attending the Workshop. Space is very limited so let me know soon.

I am listing items on etsy and artfire again. I love the steampunk look and have been trying to design jewelry that would work well as accessories to that style but not use the ever popular gears and wings in them. I had to pair down my first two designs and then I scrapped them completely. While looking through my bead stash I came across a small package of 6 beads that I picked up at the bead show. they were iridescent almost opal with a black net over them. I just adored them and I realized they would look great for the project I was working on. They give that touch of Victorian mourning look that melds with the antiqued copper to give the steam punk accessory look I am looking for.
I love the designs and they would look great as accessories for Steam punk, Goth or Victorian and also add just the touch of funk to a modern outfit.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Today in the Studio

I have been very busy this morning working on several projects at once. that wicker comfy chair I bought for a paltry 2.50 at the thrift shop is sucking up paint like a funnel tornado. It wants to be abandoned on the back porch grey no matter how much almond colored paint I throw its way. Oh well paint I have tons of. I will tackle it tomorrow with another coat.
I did manage to get my large painting a little further along and finish two very dark kitty ACEO's and work on a few more I plan to list on artfire this week. I have a few collages that I am working on and one I especially like that may or may not turn out to be a fairy. I think I am still reeling from the treatment of the fairies on the True Blood episode Sunday. What the heck was that all about. I understand deviating from the story line to make the story work on a different medium but thumbing your nose at the whole story is a different matter. You might as well of written Sookie in as an alien so you could use up some props you had in the back room. What the hell!!!!

Oh well back to the real world. Above are a few of the photos of the dark black gesso book I told you about. It is finished and I have started the next one.
You can see it is much lighter at least the cover is so far. I am sticking to my page a day and it is going well. I am trying to stay within the subject matter I use for the cover but it is only working in a real loose manner so far.
The photos of the aceo's I am working on:

This is the collage that is trying my patience ....I like it one moment and know exactly where I am going with it and then the next I am looking at it like it is something I just dug out of the attic and have never seen in my life. It is a problem to be solved just like 90% of life. I will figure it out or cut out the parts I do like to put in something else.

I may be able to save it but the one thing I like the most about collage is you can find a place for just about everything you do. It may be years before that patch of painting will find a place but it does have a place.
Just like we all have a place we just have to look for it and sometimes you are already there and just don't know it. I spent years thinking the next place was going to be it. What I didn't know is the place does not matter near as much as your attitude to the place does. When I first got to Texas I loved it and then hated it and now I realize it is home, really and truly home for me. I have finally learned to carry that sense of home around with me like a backpack. The only good thing that came out of Hurricane Ike for me was the realization that the brick and wood home is not where your security should stem from. It can be washed away in a second like so much flotsam and jetsam.

On another much lighter note I am going to do an altered book workshop and a collage workshop in early September so if you live in the La Porte , Deer Park or Pasadena Area of Texas just send me a message and I will get the details to you.
I also will be started a basic beginners drawing class in the fall sometime. It is a 6 week class and like all my classes and workshops will be very affordable.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thrift Store Heaven

When I die I want to go to the big thrift store in the sky. I love the ones they have around here.I just scooped up two end tables, two magazine racks and an old wicker chair with a cushion for 9.79. I mean really...that was a steal. Of course they do need a little TLC but then don't we all.
I have been collecting board books to use for my art journals. My latest experiments include using black gesso to coat the pages. I like the fact that it is one coat coverage but I am not that fond of the look when you do not paint over it. Everything you collage on it just has a dark and brooding look to it. While I do have a bit of a dark side I really do not think it is me.
I am going to try to mix a medium gray for my next book and see if that works better.
I will put some photos up later of the dark sided book I just completed. I am trying for a page a day and I am going to take one on vacation with me so I do not miss a day of journaling, Yes I realize journaling is not a verb to everyone else but it is to me. Sometimes it is hard work some time it is play but whatever it is it is an action that keeps me moving in a positive direction.
Stay tuned for photos.....

Friday, July 1, 2011

Isn't this a cool banner?

I found this really cool banner thing on artfire. I did not know they had this. Not that it does me much good because I have almost nothing in my store right now. I did sort some beads for listing but somehow the covered bowls that I sorted them into grew legs and took a hike. Oh well that is not so bad..they will turn up I am sure.
Last night I finished my art journal. Now I start a new one tonight.
The new one is a board book I have coated with black gesso. It will be fun to see how it goes working with a black base.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A strange process......

I found my first day as a gainfully unemployed person to be a little sad. Who would think that I would miss getting up and going to work? I certainly did not.
But the second day I got my wind back and spent most of it in the studio working on my art journal.
I had decided to do one page a day before I quit and it was sometimes a chore..and believe me it showed in what I created.
What I am trying to do with the art journals is explore the world around me and inside me and try to figure out where I fit or do not fit in. I never have felt like I really fit anywhere. I would not be surprised to find out I am the product of some strange alien hybrid experiment gone horribly wrong.
So what did my first journal page after taking the plunge look like...well..

It went sort of like you would expect.... But as I got into the mood I found I had a rhythm going. Not really a finished product sort of rhythm but one of total experimentation and wild abandon that I have not felt in a long time.
I wasn't sure about the whole art journal thing. Sometimes it struck me as a little too self indulgent but then I realized that being an artist is probably the most self indulgent thing you can do. And I am not giving that up anytime soon, So I told myself to shut the heck up and get on with it.
So I came up with a few interesting bits.......

I look forward to the next month more than I have looked forward to anything since I was a child waiting for Christmas to get here. There is a lot of work to be done if I am to accomplish what I have set out to do which is finish my studio and get it set up for classes, finish a ton of projects around the house and get some art created that will speak to me and about me.
Wish me luck ....I will need it.