Welcome to my blog. Over the years that I have been stamping and paper crafting, I have so often been inspired by the ideas on other sites and blogs. I hope I can pay that back in some measure with my own. (In between laughs -- or cackles as my son calls it!)

August 7, 2015

My Painting I Class

This summer, I took a two month Painting I class at the local community college.  It was a condensed semester for summer, so it was 8 weeks instead of 16 -- but we met for 3 afternoons a week (4 hours daily).  So it was pretty intense.

The instructor was Dan Gunn, and I leaned quite a bit from him.  I don't think I really have a natural talent for painting, but enjoyed it all the same.    Here's the work we did, in order.  The first 3 pieces had strict rules/constraints designed to teach us certain concepts.  After that, our personality could show through more.  All the canvases were 18x24" unless noted, and we used oil paints for all of them.

Assignment 1:  Black and White Value Study from instructor-set still life

Assignment 2:  Cool/Warm Tones Study from instructor-set still life

Assignment 3:  Still Life with Painted Fruit of our own choosing.  In this one, we brought fruit and painted it (I used grapefruits, oranges, limes & lemons and my stencils for the stars and circles).  Then we set up a still life of our own, and painted the painted fruit.  The tablecloth is one I bought in Switzerland when I was a college exchange student.

Assignment 4:  Impressionist Landscape - we chose a section of the lake that was outside the art studio windows.

Assignment 5:  Glazing (with Galkyd) over a grey-tone background; a technique used by old masters to save on pigments.  We started by doing a collage and then our glazed painting had to replicate the collage.  Very time consuming method.

Assignment 6:  Geometric Abstraction.  I also added encaustic wax and layered canvas strips.  This was inspired by the cliffs that have mineral striations on the shores of Lake Superior -- in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Assignment 7:  "No Hands" - for this work we could not use paintbrushes or similar utensils.  I used an empty wine bottle to "paint" this -- I applied the paint using the wine bottle like a rolling pin.  This turned out to be my favorite piece from the whole semester.  It's big, 2 x 3 feet.

Assignment 8:  Final.  We had free rein on the final painting.  I chose to do a scene of the Clarion River (with a very big sky) in autumn, from my Pennsylvania hometown.  This was also a big canvas, 2 x 3 feet.

July 21, 2015

My Altered Book (a la Seth Apter)

In mid-July, I had the absolute pleasure of taking a two day workshop from mixed media artist, Seth Apter.  My friend Trena told me about it and we signed up together months ago, and spent a fun weekend at Crystal Neubauer's studio in Gages Lake, IL.

Seth taught us a simplified form of bookmaking, using covers from a real book and a new spine to which we attached our own altered pages.  For the pages, we cut up commercial scrapbook papers in to small squares and glued them on in a grid pattern for the background.  My "grid" ended up looking more like a quilt :-) .  Then, we broke the symmetry of the grid with faux stitching, circles, and non-linear collaged shapes.  It is time consuming to glue all those little squares of paper, but it does make for a visually very rich background.

Below is my book, which took me almost two weeks after the workshop to finish.  Trena and I started with exactly the same book cover, and it was fun to see how our different styles showed in our work.  Trena's book is here.

The front and back covers, and the full book:

All the individual pages:

"Whatever you are, be a good one" and "Dream"
"Dreams come a size too big so we can grow in to them" and "Sing"
"Laugh and the world laughs with you.  Cry and you cry with your girlfriends."
"Dreams are whispers from the soul."
"Find your passion"
"Love & scandal are the best sweeteners of tea."
"If at first you do succeed, try not to look astonished."
"There is nothing better than a good friend, except a friend with chocolate."
Beauty (Vanity Fair)

"Once in a while...right in the middle of an ordinary life, Love gives us a fairy tale."
"Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we might as well dance."

Breathe and Fly
"Occasionally her afternoon tea ran right in to cocktail hour and there was just nothing she could do about it"

I had a great time with Trena at the workshop.  Seth is a great artist and instructor!

May 8, 2015

Fun in my 2D Design Fundamentals class

This semester I'm taking a 2D Design Fundamentals class at COD (Art 1151).  I just wanted to post in one place the things we did throughout the semester as we explored the elements of design.

Line project (using lines from Google Maps -- the 'leaves' on the tree are all the countries where my family was born)

Value project (started with a historical portrait of Queen Elizabeth I and metamorphasized with an 11 point greyscale, can you tell?)

Color Shapes project (I used an abstract split complimentary color scheme of yellows, blue violet and red violet)

Extra Color Shapes (because I didn't like the first one too much)

MidTerm Multiples  project
This was a project that I did by making 30 Gelli-printed (monoprint) papers with acrylic paint, and then experimenting and post-processing them and experimenting to see how many different variations I could come up with.  Each unit is a 4x4" square.  Some of the squares have quotes from famous artists about color, that I stamped on.  The first view is all 30, then a detail view of one square to give you an idea.

Scale project (take something big and make it look small 'in situ' with a hand-drawn silohuette)

Texture project (do a collage using both visual and tactile texture).  I'm calling this one, "The Eyes Have It".  Can you find all 4 pairs of eyes?

My Zine (This was to be a book folded from one sheet of paper; emphasis on visual texture)

Final project (an Accordian-fold book that was to incorporate all the elements of design that we covered in class).  Mine used the words from the poem "Creation Song" by Muriel Strode to inspire the nature scenes.  The scenes used altered NatGeo pages as their base.  Front view, back view and box cover.

I learned quite a bit in this class and enjoyed the variety of assignments.

April 18, 2015

Map Wallpaper in Garage

Today was crafting on a larger scale than usual!  My neighbor Susan had wanted to do something to freshen up her garage walls.  What she inherited from previous owners had 40 years of dingy written all over them, and it wasn't the nicest place to pull her car in to when coming home.

But, the garage wasn't top priority for big budget remodeling.  I told her about a garage I had seen in the neighborhood, where the original owner (who worked for a travel agency - now an almost obsolete profession) had covered her garage walls, floor to ceiling with large travel posters.  None of the subsequent owners ever changed it, and when you were out walking the dog you might catch a glimpse of a bullfight in Spain, windmills in Holland or the Roman coliseum.  It was a very fun, bright garage.

Not knowing where to get travel posters, after some brainstorming we decided on maps.  Did you know that AAA will give you their outdated roadmaps?  Anyway Susan amassed a huge collection over the past few years.

Today, we tackled the project.  Susan had already pre-painted the trim black, and pulled down a lot of wood trim pieces (think Tudor) from the era of the 70's bachelor owner.  Today we used ModPodge, rollers, wallpaper tools, and lots of woman power to get it done!  Craft skills of lining up edges and trying to avoid wrinkles were important.  It was a big job and I think we are all sore.  But I think it turned out great!

This first photo is the best "before" shot.  I wish I had taken a true before picture.  But, you can see what rough shape the walls were in.

Here's all the ladies hard at work -- Susan, Donna, Odette, and Jenny.

And here's a great after photo of the back wall.

We still have to put on a sealer coat and touch up some trim.  But the hard part is done and it looks great!  Plus, I now have a lifetime supply of leftover maps to use in collage and mixed media.

April 17, 2015

Catching up -- Art Midterm

This is just to catch up on posting my art midterm from my Drawing 1 class last semester.  I had posted the Final project in December, but I guess I never uploaded the Midterm.

The midterm was a pencil drawing, it took me over 20 hours to do.  By the end I had to wear a wrist brace for 3 weeks as all the tight gripping of the pencil aggravated my carpal tunnel.  But it was well received and it was chosen for display in the student hallways.

It is large (18x24").  Criteria were that we had to incorporate the following:  use of perspective, image(s) from our trip to the Garfield Park Conservatory, creative use of masking tape and vellum for texture.

The perspective are the two sets of sliding glass doors that are drawn from my LR/DR.  I threw in Mom's silver teapot from Germany and many of the cool plants from the conservatory.  The vellum is used on the curtains, and the masking tape is used on the stepping stones on the lower right, and the ledge outside the doors.

My "Zine"

This week in my 2D Design Foundations art class at COD, our assignment was to make a "zine".  I didn't even know what a zine was, LOL!  Well it seems it is a little insta-book on one sheet of paper, folded and photocopied.  Some artists trade and collect zines because they are very economical to produce and easy to mail.  They are almost always done in black and white.

To me, this sounded a whole lot like a mini scrapbook, just in a cheaper, photocopied format.  So all my years of crafting have not gone to waste :-) .  Actually, I have found that to be true on almost all assignments -- all the stamping, cardmaking, scrapbooking, and general crafting has given me some very applicable skills.  Not the least of which is, 'neatness counts'.

The content of the zine could be anything that we wanted, but we were told to be sure to consider visual texture.  Because the instructor was emphasizing visual texture, I chose textiles/fabrics as my subject.

Here is my zine, laid out on 8.5x11" paper, ready for photocopying and then folding.

And now, the pages in sequence:

The hardest part about this assignment was hauling tote bags of quilts, scarves, and all the rest to the library and trying to fit it on the copy machines.  I made several trips because I found I needed to adjust scale and shrink the copy sizes down.  I like my zine!

March 29, 2015

Happy Easter!

I had fun making little favor boxes for next Sunday's Easter brunch.  Using the ever-so-versatile Curvy Keepsakes die from Stampin' Up!, I fashioned my versions of bunnies and chicks.  The little faces and such were done with various punches and I used up a little bit of my stash of scrap card stock.  I am going to run to the craft store and get white pompom tails for the bunnies,

Seriously, this die is worth the money.  At Christmas I also made reindeer, snowmen and Santa boxes.  And if you search the web, see you all sorts of creative uses for it.  (Not affiliated with SU!, just love this die).

After decorating my creations, I filled them with chocolate foil eggs.  Almost all ready to go (early, even)!