Tuesday, April 15, 2014

One Little Word: Adventure

The word up at One Little Word is:

When I was looking for quotes for this word, I found so many great ones.   But choices had to be made, and so I picked ... two!

"The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams."  Oprah Winfrey and "Live, travel, adventure, bless and don't be sorry."  Jack Kerouac

These were perfect quotes to add to the citiscapes I have been working on for my class in October at Art-Is-You.

If you've never heard of Art-Is-You, you must check it out.  There are nearly 70 amazing workshops with the most incredible instructors, delicious food, lots of ice breakers and communal projects - it is five wonderful days of learning, recharging, and inspiration.  (You can come for one or all of the days.)  Give it a look, and I hope to see you there!

We leave today for our 10 day adventure to Austria, Slovenia and Slovakia.  I have a post or two scheduled for you, and will be sure to post lots of pics when I return. 

Your comments make me so happy and let me know you were here. I read and treasure every comment and will happily answer any questions as soon as I can.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Joy of Skipping and Stenciling

Remember when we used to skip?  Wow - that was a joyous, carefree feeling.  I'll come back to that!

I had a spread to complete in the very last journal of the 6 artist around-the-world-circle-journal project started by the lovely Tracy Woodsford.    We all started sending our journals to each other in September.  This was mine, using stencils by Pam Carriker for Stencil Club as well as Dots & Dashes and Hebrew Calligraphy with Hamsa.

I had created this spread in Beate Olivia's journal.  It began with a mix of orange and pink gelli prints and left over book pages, which I pulled together with a yellow glaze.  It sat and it sat in all of its beautiful texture all last week, as I prepped for Saturday's class at The Ink Pad.

But on Monday, a wonderful white chipboard envelope from Stencil Girl arrived, bringing me Mary Nasser's compass and latitude/longitude stencils!  Also on Monday, I saw this gorgeous post by Maria McGuire, in which she spread modeling paste through her serene goddess stencil.

And my muse grabbed me!  I mixed blue paint and modeling paste and "smeared" it through Mary's stencils.  Honestly, I don't know how Maria does it -- mine was not nearly as even and crisp as hers.  But that's ok!  My uneven application led me to do more to my image - giving it a painterly look that went well with my textured background.

I added "my girl" skipping through the world, skipping through life.  We are about to go to Austria to meet up with my older daughter Mariel, who is living in the Czech Republic as a Fulbright English Teaching Scholar this year.  We plan to visit Vienna and Salzburg, then drive to Slovenia (where I will meet up in person with internet art friend Natasha May), then drive up to the Czech Republic for Easter in Mariel's town of Znojmo, and then visit Bratislava in Slovakia before returning to Vienna and then home.  How's that for 10 days of skipping around!

I added some background stenciling with the Circles and Squares stencil, and embellished her dress with Flying Tulips.  I added some rubber stamping using Graphic Detail stamps by Michelle Ward, and some images from old maps on the top left and bottom right.  

Linking up to Art Journal Journey's Moments of Happiness theme,  Mix it Monthly's Maps Challenge (which includes one of Mary's paintings as inspiration!),  The Artistic Stamper (Embossing and Texture), Art Journal Every Day and Paint Party Friday.  

Thank you so much for stopping by!  Leave a comment and say hello.  It means the world to me to know that you were here.  xo

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Stencils and Silhouettes at The Ink Pad

My cheeks are still hurting from all the smiling at The Ink Pad yesterday, where I taught "Stencils & Silhouettes" to 20 fabulous women.  The smiles started as I unloaded my car - Robin Amy Bass - a "regular!" caught me as the wind whipped me around and threatened to topple my carton of class kits.  Luckily, my mom was along to help me out!
We started with lots of demos about different ways to create our own colorful papers.  Of course, lots of stencils from Stencil Girl Products were in the house, as well as my Gelli Plate, thanks to Sandy!   Thanks again Robin for the pics!

 As everyone got to work, the eye candy of stunning papers drying all around was incredible!
There were lots of smiles and sharing of supplies and stories as people worked. 

And the finished works were beautiful!  Here's a sampling as I did not get around to get individual photos of everyone:

I am so grateful to all the students in the class, for making it such a joyous experience, and to The Ink Pad - fabulous hosts as always!

My next few teaching gigs are in my home studio.  You can join in the fun at Mixed Media with Jessica Sporn at Meetup.  You have to join Meetup to see the info - but it's free to join and then you'll get news of upcoming home studio classes.  

And then in October, I'll be at Art is You in Stamford, CT.  


If you haven't been to Art is You before, you must check it out.  It is fun, supportive, nurturing, inspiring and more!  I'll be teaching two workshops - one on Thursday, October 9th with tons of gelli printing and stenciling culminating in a citiscape or skyline, called "The Sky's the Limit:"

and another on Friday, October 10 where we'll make an altered book memory keeper:

I hope to see you soon!

Your comments make me so happy and let me know you were here. I read and treasure every comment and will happily answer any questions as soon as I can.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bravely Offer Your Heart

During last weekend at Big Fat Art, being pushed out of my comfort zone led to uncomfortable feelings of not being grounded.  On Saturday morning, I quickly painted this girl into my art journal.  (Do you recognize her - I've been painting her a lot...)  She is feeling so disconnected that she doesn't even have feet!!

I painted her over a collaged background stenciled with Sporn Flowers Negative and then glazed over with Turqouise and Green Gold Fluid acrylics.

Rev. Jaganath Carrera
As the weekend went on, I tried to "just be" with my discomfort, rather than default to my comfort zone.  As Jane Davies said so wisely, the best progress and learning come at the height of your struggle.  When I turned to this girl again, feeling ungrounded was no longer moving me so much.  Instead, what was moving me were experiences I have had with people who are not kind, and not that nice. 

Yoga teaches us to try to see beyond people's surface acts and understand that the effect - unkindness - has a cause; people are going through things we know nothing about.  Moreover, we learn and grow more through how we relate to our negative experiences than our positive ones.

And so this girl evolved to bravely step forward out of the swirling of her thoughts and offer her kindness and compassion.

I added elements of Kae Pea's gorgeous Wheel in the Sky stencil and some journaling.  


Your comments make me so happy and let me know you were here. I read and treasure every comment and will happily answer any questions as soon as I can.

Linking to Art Journal Every Day and Paint Party Friday!

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Big Fat Art with Jane Davies

WARNING! Long post with lots of eye candy!

But first, let's pause for a brief infomercial to remind you,that I am teaching at THE INK PAD in NYC on Saturday, April 5, and there are just a few spots left!   Here's the video teaser, and you can also watch Stencils & Silhouettes on YouTube:

OK - back to the regular post: On Thursday, I set out from my little town in Glen Ridge, NJ on my Road Trip to Big Fat Art with Jane Davies.  

Months ago, friend Judy Shea and I decided to do this workshop together.  We had each taken classes with Jane before and wanted to study with her again, and how better than to take a class together.

Since, in my challenged knowledge of US geography, Vermont sits on top of Massachusetts (NOT), I planned to stop at Judy's overnight "on the way."  I figured that driving 4 1/2 hours to Newburyport and stopping there overnight would break up the drive.  Plus, I'd get to hang out with my good friend.

As it turns out, it is actually farther from my house to Judy's, than it is from my house to Jane's!  Rupert, Vermont, is north of Albany, NY, which is north of where I live.  But no matter, I was thrilled to see Judy's new home in Newburyport, and also have dinner with friends Corrine Gilman and Kay Wallace.

 The port of Newbury port
 The town square at night
I loved this tribute to war victims in Iraq

Judy, me, Corrine Gilman and Kay Wallace after a great meal!

Judy's home is beautiful.  Her studio is gorgeous and filled with Judy-goodness.  And when she writes on facebook or on her blog that she lights candles for people, she really does! Here is her beautiful candle holder where she lights her candles.  Seeing this really touched my heart.

On Friday morning, we were off by 8:30 for the four hour drive to Rupert, VT.  

We were lucky enough to have fantastic housemates:  Adele and Linda - both wonderful artists and smart, observant women! 
Adele makes beautiful mixed media work combining her love of calligraphy and mixed media materials.  

She has a fabulous series where she actually dries slices of fruit and uses them as substrates.  Check out her website!

Jane is a very generous teacher; I highly recommend taking a class with her.  She was funny, kind, and very quick to call me on my anxiety about abstract work (remember this recent collage challenge with Julie Balzer?) and my desire to create symmetry and recognizable forms.  

 For example, at the end of Friday, I couldn't resist coaxing an owl out of one of my "starts."

But Jane challenged me to push out of that comfort zone and take my "starts" (first layers) into an ugly, awkward second, third and fourth layers, before beginning to calm them down into work that approaches a finishing stage. 

Here are some of those starts and awkward layers...

Can you spot Stencil Club stencils in this piece?

 I used Dots and Dashes, and Circles and Squares stencils as I worked on this piece.

Through the workshop, Judy and I sat across the table from each other and agonized together.  We also took pictures of each other taking pictures!

All of the women in the workshop were incredibly talented and fun.  Here are pics of some of them and their work:

Marilyn and Wendy going over Marilyn's technique of rubbing off layers with alcohol wipes.  She achieves amazing depth and texture this way.  I don't have pictures of Wendy's work, but it had such a light, playful feel to it, and I loved her color sense.

These beauties were made by housemate Linda, who had the neatest workspace I have ever seen.  Her talent for making order out of chaos definitely translated to her work, which had beautiful balance and line.
I don't have a picture of Sharon but happily I have this picture of some of her artwork.  She definitely has an urban feel to these pieces, and I love the angularity and her varied use of strong and delicate marks.
Lou is a therapist and journalist who uses her art in her practice.  She loves bright colors, so no wonder I was attracted to her work!
Loved working in a firehouse!  These are Kathy's pieces.  Sadly, Kathy had to leave us early because of a scratch on her eye.  Hope you're doing better Kathy!

Unfortunately, I wasn't diligent about taking pictures of everyone and their beautiful pieces.  But trust me, they (the women and their work) were amazing!  And Jane has a great video up on her blog with some of the beautiful hands at work. 

And on Sunday, I began to feel like I was "getting it..." a little!  I worked hard on one of my pieces, and felt like it came to a conclusion.  Using my Medallions stencil really helped pull it together.

Before leaving, I had to paint a picture for Jane - and as she LOVES her chickens, that's what I turned one of my big fat art pieces into.  Here's the before and after!

And although I'd painted something figurative on a piece of big fat art, Jane was pleased!

So do you gravitate towards figurative work, or do you lean towards abstraction?  And what happens to you when you are forced out of your comfort zone?  I want to know!

Your comments make me so happy and let me know you were here. I read and treasure every comment and will happily answer any questions as soon as I can.

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