Her mind is unquenchable fire–hungry to learn and explore creative impulses fearlessly

Tag–You’re It!

Ha ha..I crack myself up sometimes!  I love to decorate clothing tags to use on other things.  Not all of them–certain ones that have just the right weight and size or if they have a cool texture or a cool graphic.  Apparently I’m more discerning about tags than I realized!  Anyway here are a couple I made last week.

 Before

After the katyoparty treatment!

Coated with gesso then drug a bit of texture into it.  After that painted with acrylic, went to town with paint pens and Stickles!

and repeat…gesso, acrylic paint, stamped image enhanced by paint pens and stickles and another scrap of the fancy schmancy painted paper!

As promised I am going to show you what I did with the painted papers I did the other day.   drum roll please……haha..that may be a bit too much of a buildup!

I had these small white pots I purchased in the knockoff bin at the grocery store for $1 and they had been taking up space in my studio for a project “someday”–you know how that goes!  I tore the paper into random strips and used glossy Modge Podge to adhere the strips to the sides of the pot all the way around.  I wasn’t too calculated about this.  I’m not one to measure and plan every move.  I added some gold paint pen in some areas.  So far so good as far as I’m concerned.  Then I had the brilliant idea to use some gold Shiva paintstick on some areas.  I figured if a little gold is good then a lot more must be better right?  no no no…this did not turn out the way I thought and I began to hate this pot!  I’ve had this happen before where I just can’t seem to leave well enough alone.  I began wiping as much of the paintstick off as possible and there may have been some cussing involved.  Once again my brain whirred into motion and I thought I could mix some pigment powder into the ModgePodge and add another layer over everything.  I used some brilliant yellow/orange pigment powder and liberally slathered it over everything.  After it dried I liked the sheen and added the layers of ribbon around the top.  I used round orange rhinestones as accents.  But why stop there??  I decided to add some silk blue flowers.  Flowers make everything better right??  I first tried putting them on with Modge Podge but that didn’t work as I hoped.  They wouldn’t stick except to my fingers—grrrr.  I decided to use some PVA glue to get them to stick and then Modge Podge over them when they were dry.  It was a battle but I was not about to be beaten by some blue blooms!  Several layers of ModgePodge and more orange rhinestones later this pot was finished!

On this pot I first stamped some bold swirls on the painted paper before I tore it into random strips.  Once again used glossy Modge Podge to adhere the strips.  Added some cool mesh ribbon I’d been saving for a special project!  Added silver paint pen and silver Stickles for some sparkle.  Coated the whole thing over with glossy MPodge and remembered I had some big chunky rhinestones!  Who can resist those???  Not me.

This one is probably my favorite of the ones I’ve done.  I love the vibrant colors and patterns.  Same theory as before–rips random strips, glossy MP all around.  Added gold paint pen in areas, added two layers of ribbon around the top.  Purple Stickle dots and then orange silk flowers.  I learned that flowers with larger and fewer petals are MUCH easier to adhere to a rounded surface like this pot.  Used the last of my orange rhinestones for the flower centers.  I’ve debated adding some gold paint pen dots to the orange flowers but haven’t because I’m alittle gun shy after the paintstik debacle on the first pot.

These next two pots I did not use the painted paper I made.  They were actually the first two of the white pots I embellished.  I used Copic markers.  Also the first time I used my Copic markers.  My crude rendition of a beach scene on this one.  I sealed it with glossy ModgePodge because I like the shine!

Experimented with combining colors of Copic markers and I love sunshiny yellows and oranges!  Added a couple of rubons to the sides and colored them in.  Now I have a couple cheery cups for my markers and paintstiks!

Still have about 5 of these bargain bin white pots.  Who knows what I’ll do them??!!  Thanks for looking!

Fancy Schmancy Painted Paper!

I had a great time a few days ago making some painted paper.  Actually they are painted torn out book pages!   I was preparing a book to be altered and for those of you who may not know about altering books it means you have to tear out about half the pages in the book.  Tear a few, leave a few, tear a few, etc.  I hate wasting anything so I use the torn out pages to make backgrounds or embellishments for other projects.  Sometimes I chop out certain words or cut shapes or, in this case I smooshed acrylic paint around and then doodled with markers and paint pens.

I was loving me some silver paint pens and swirls!

Squiggles and Xs and Os–still feeling the silver vibe!

This one turned out to be my favorite.  I love repetitive patterns and colors.

Simple squiggles, lines and dots!

This wasn’t the end for these papers.  I used them for another project which I’ll post about next time!

TFL!

Embossed Metal Shrine

Today I am posting a photo of my first embossed metal shrine which I created at CREATE in August, 2011.  I took a class with Judy Coates Perez and it was a great experience!  She gave us ample supplies and many, many options and ideas for focal point art. The painting of the focal points was fun even with my rudimentary paint skills.  I chose a bee for the small focal point and a hand with an eye in the palm for the larger focal point. I enjoyed the painting process even if I didn’t excel at it as much as some of the very talented painters in the class.  I saw some bees that were so realistic they looked as if they were about to buzz right off the page!  I took artistic license and made mine a smoky eye as is the fashion these days.

I learned how to use transfer paper and fusible webbing and simple metal embossing tools.  The actual embossing was quite enjoyable and  I loved the instant gratification of the embossed design appearing with every stroke of the embossing tool.  When I chose my embossing design sketch I chose it because I believed it was a fairly open design that would be easy to emboss for a beginner.  Well…I was partly right.  The pattern was simple to emboss–but there was just sooo much of it!  It took me quite awhile to get it all done.  In the end I was completely pleased with the results and it didn’t take THAT long for the hand cramps to go away!

Once the embossing and painting of the focal points was finished it was time for sewing the metal onto the fabric background using a sewing machine.  I am reasonably proficient with a sewing machine as long as it involves long straight runs.  It never occurred to me to sew sheets of metal to anything.  It was fun to use those expensive Bernina sewing machines and now I’m probably spoiled for life!  Push a couple of buttons and the machine practically sews on it’s own.  I never used a zig-zag stitch before and it made a nice frame around the focal points.  I realized it is pretty important to make clean cuts in the metal in the area around the focal points because as I was sewing around them I lost alignment in a couple of areas and my framework isn’t perfect.  I got more experience doing the zig-zag stitch all around the edges of my shrine.  In the end I was happy with my project but learned a lot about the process.

Make sure you make really clean cuts in the metal anywhere you are going to be sewing later.  If your lines are off then your stitching will be off.

When you heat fuse your fabric sandwich with the iron make sure you get the edges down really well–this is important when you stitch it down so things don’t start to slip and go askew along the edges.  If you look at my shrine you can see the metal is a bit crooked on the fabric base.  I’m embracing the wabi sabi-ness of my piece and my next one will be better.

I enjoyed doodling with ink around the edges although it was an effort to cover up the crookedness.  In my book there can never be too much gold doodling on a piece!  In the end I also decided to color the metal background nice vibrant purple with a copic marker.  I do plan to make another embossed metal shrine soon!  Wish me luck!

I love my bees!

I took some photos of my backyard beehive and some of my bees in action!  I’ve been a backyard beekeeper for two years now and I am fascinated by them and I love their honey.  It never ceases to amaze me how they visit thousands and thousands of flowers in their short lifetime and turn those visits into gorgeous wax and sweet honey.

As you can see it is not the more popular Langstroth white box hive.  That would be too big for my space.  This is a top bar hive that was made locally by a master beekeeper in Boulder, Colorado.  The perfect size for my purposes.

When you open up the side there is an observation window that runs the length of the hive.  It is interesting to sit and watch the serious business of making comb and honey.  You can pull up a chair and watch away.  The bees don’t bother you if you don’t bother them.  Occasionally there will be a nosy nelly who flies close to you out of curiousity but I have yet to be stung while merely observing the hive.

 This is a close-up looking in the observation window.  You can tell the newer comb because it is much lighter in color.  It is estimated that when my hive is full it holds approximately 10,000 bees!

I’ve been working on getting some good pictures of my bees at work.  Let me tell you–it is hard to catch the little suckers.  They are fast movers when they are pollinating.  I pointed my camera in the general direction and hoped I would catch one when I snapped the photo.

Here’s a better shot–I love her lacy wings!  As the bee ages and works her life away her wings become tattered.  This one looks pretty good though.

Lovely!

When I first got bees I would hear about how attached people would get to their bees.  I kinda thought it was a little weird.  I had my hive for a season and stole a few combs of honey.  My bees wintered over and my swarm survived!  Then one of the warmest days of spring I went out to check the hive and every last bee was gone (likely a victim of colony collapse disorder).  I was so so sad.  I realized then that I had become attached to these wondrous little creatures!  I felt like I somehow had a part in making that honey and giving them a good safe place to live.  I now understand how beekeepers get attached to their bees.

The story does have a happy ending (at least for now)…on Mothers Day this spring my husband called me to the window to see something outside.  I was in the middle of something and annoyed to stop and go see whatever but when I looked out the window I SAW BEES buzzing in and out of the hive!  Wonder of wonders!  A swarm had somehow found my empty hive and was making it home!  What a Mothers Day gift from the universe.  I will always remember it.

Resin Results!

I’m taking a quick second to post the results of my first resin experiment.  I am so happy to say that it was as easy as pie!!  I want to thank my teacher at the CREATE retreat for showing me “how to”–a wonderful fun woman named Belinda Spiwak–thank you thank you!

I’m also posting a photo of a piece of mini-art called “Reach”.  I started out wanting to use up all the oddball leftover letter stickers I had on a sheet.  My idea was to use them to create nice little stems for the flowers.  Well after I made the “stems” I thought it looked like crapola so I covered them with gesso and used acrylic paints and then thought–what the hell so I dusted it with glitter.  Of course in my mind anything with glitter on it is fabulous so now I’m not hating it anymore!

Have a great Sunday!  Adios.

Artful Friday

Created August, 2011

Loving this artful Friday!  I am completely inspired and feeling the creative mojo ever since I returned from the CREATE retreat.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time away from home and immersing myself in art for five straight days!!  I learned many many many new techniques and was able to experiment with brand new mediums I’ve never tried before.  I was fortunate to meet all kinds of artists and appreciate each genre of their creations.  I am fascinated by seeing how people create and mingle and learn.  Maybe I should’ve been a psychologist….

Above is a piece I did in my very first class of the retreat–This Is Your Life collage–I started with a blank white canvas and a big ziploc bag full of bits and bobs and ephemera and random photos.  I certainly want to do another collage piece like this again now that I know how easy and fun it is.  No need to be intimidated by that expanse of blank canvas any longer.  My teacher was Kim Geiser and she is a very talented free spirit!  I love her and hope I get the chance to take more classes and hang out with her in the future.  Her enthusiasm was completely contagious!

I learned a lot more about water color backgrounds and using gesso for texture.  I also had my second experience with embossed metal and my first experience sewing through metal with a sewing machine!  I painted on fabric and used fusible webbing.  I worked with encaustic wax and made art!  I learned the art of sealing assemblages in resin.  I learned the art of creating assemblages!  I fell even more in love with artist and teacher Julie Fei-Fan Balzer!  I learned so many cool things from her about distress ink it kept me up at night thinking about it!  I realized I am much better at using distress ink to make water color looking backgrounds than I am at doing water color!

My suitcase was ninety percent full of art supplies and the rest was toiletries and minimal clothing.  I did make sure I had clean underwear every day but I was by no means a fashion icon.  It’s really hard to choose what supplies to take with you to a five-day retreat and encompassing seven classes during that time.  I thought I would use up a good portion of my big bag of ephemera but NO!  I came home with at least double what I took with me to the retreat.  It was wonderful to be surrounded with people who completely get my addiction to art supplies and techniques and crazy ideas!  Who also wonder “what if I mixed this with that” or “why not use this to make an impression”???  People who don’t even bat an eye at having 72 paintbrushes and 80 markers in each of three types and 50 ink pads, etc., AND who schlepped it all across the country in a suitcase!  Those are MY PEOPLE!!!

I definitely want to attend more workshops and retreats and creative sessions.  It was such good food for the soul!

More photos to come!

Thanks for looking.  Please leave comments–I love me some comments!

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