Friday, April 28, 2006

daily sketch: haiti

At the beginning of the year I had said that I was going to draw a tree everyday. yup. That lasted 4 days. I'm going to start something else now though because I really love to draw. I really don't do it enough and I want to get better. I never know what to draw though, strangely enough.

When I was 16 years old or so I used to take a ceramics class at Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, MD. I loved it there. The ceramic studios and painting studios were all in yurts! And the kiln was outside. And there were woods all around and a carousel with the old antique carousel animals. Anyway, I wandered into one of the smaller yurts that a painter was using. I spoke to her a long time and told her that I loved to draw and paint but that I never knew what to draw. She advised me to look in the newspaper and use the photogrpahs as studies.

She said something to this effect: "These are photos that showcase humanity at its best and worst. Draw from these and you will learn how to capture emotion, as well as absorb compostional form. And then later you can draw upon these sketches to inspire paintings."

I never followed her advice. But I just started to this week. I give myself about 10-15 mintues. No more than that so I don't get bogged down with making a perfect drawing. And it forces me to just focus in on what I feel is important to the photo. I don't have to draw everything in that particular photo. Here is one of my sketches from this week:

There's a section in the Seattle P-I called The World in 5 Minutes and it showcases photos and snippets of news from around the world. These photos always capture me.

There's something about sitting and drawing something that allows you to connect with the subject. Instead of my eyes just glazing over and thinking what a sad thing that is, I focus in on that person in that photo. And he or she actually becomes a person with a story. Same thing happens when I sit and draw a flower or a tree. The world opens up! There is so much detail and beauty in the world that we just miss! Or at least, I do.

I had always loved drawing people. What happened to that?

Above is a sketch of a Haitian girl overlooking garbage that the rains brought into a canal that goes through a slum.

And looking at this now on the screen I can see that the proportion of her arm is off. It's good to take a step back and see things like that.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

3: wildflowers

This one is a darker piece. The scan really doesn't capture it very well. Oh well. Hopefully by the time I bind this, I can figure out a way to get a better picture of it before I put it on sale on my site. If not, then I may keep it for myself!

wildflowers, mixed media, 6x8 inches


This cover was originally a page I created in my l.k. ludwig's workshop "Tales from the Woods". The page was a record sleeve- hence the circle window. I covered this sleeve in copper tape. And now I have a big bandaid on my finger since I sliced it yesterday with the copper tape. That hurt. A lot.

In the workshop, I had created a nature print on copper mesh with liver of sulphur of some grass and a wildflower. I don't know if it's even recognizable as that. But that is what it is.

Underneath is a snippet from my poem which I draw up on a lot in my art. This snippet says:

Birthed from the earth
feet of mud
dragging through fields of grass and
and barren earth
wandering eternally

Underneath this I attached a clay black bird that I made. Wrapped in copper wire.

I finally came to terms with the fact that I wasn't ever going to finish my project from her class, so I decided to use what I made for some journal covers. It was a hard decision to make since I really liked my book I was making, but it's for the best. I'd rather use my stuff than to have it sitting somewhere in an unbound pile. Forgotten.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

2: los espíritus

Finished this one up yesterday. It's called spirit, but really, for me I call it los espíritus- spirits or souls in spanish. The inspiration for this piece comes from an old journal entry dated back to November 10, 1998, the four year anniversary of my sister's death. I was going to school in Chicago then.

spirit, mixed media, 5x7 inches


Tuesday, November 10, 1998
Sometimes I think that the wind is more than just currents of air. It is the spirits of those I've known and loved and even others of my own unknown. Spirits reminding me of their presence and the impermanence of life.

Earlier today I was walking down a long stretch of lonely sidewalk towards home. The wind was strong. Pushing at me, pulling at me. My long black skirt, my dress of mourning today, wrapped around my legs and i gathered my jacket closer to me and I looked ahead, my head tucked down.

Fallen leaves, damp from the rain, lifted up from the pavement and skipped across the walkway. A stream of movement. Dead leaves brought to life again. They came toward me as I too walked steadily ahead. Right as I crossed their path, the wind lifted the leaves up. They flew off the ground and circled around me in a whirlwind, a twister of sorts. I looked up and I smiled even though the wind stung my eyes.

.. ¿Tal vez es una locura pensar así? Pero tal vez, no. ¿Quien sabe?
Este mundo es muy complejo y no tan concreto que queremos pensar. Los espíritus están presente- en el viento, en las hojas, en las lágrimas, y en la fiebre.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

1:healing hand

So, going to attempt again creating a mixed media canvas panel a day. Not feeling too confident this time around. But here is my first.

healing hand, mixed media, 6x8 inches

The words read: For I am friend of the soul, receptive ear, healing hand

Journal is available at amanobooks

I actually started this panel a looooooooooong time ago, but it was just sitting around. Yesterday I was determined to finish it. I got the Quinacridone Gold that Gerri Newfry gave me at af. wow, this paint is amazing! It just brightened up my tree and brought this glow to it, that doesn't really translate here on the computer screen.

I have bunch of charms that always just sit around in their containers, so I decided to use them here. I added a frame charm that has a lovely patina on top of the tree trunk. Inside I placed a silver hand and three light blue thread strands. I added bronze beads to the branches. And then I got this weird idea to just string copper wire connecting the beads. It's really a shame how the beads and the wire really just do not show up here.

It was fun making this panel. Later this will be bound into a journal cover.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

of the earth

I finally wrote and sent out my newsletter today. I wrote about Garden Journals. I've always wanted to keep one, but never have. So I'm going to give it a go this year. I have a crazy flower garden in the front of the house. I love it, but I can't take all the credit for it. The owner of the house before us was an amazing gardener and an artist too! So I try to give it justice and add bits of myself to it slowly.

I found some good quotes for gardening today that I thought also related to art.

Gardeners , like everyone else, live second by second and minute by minute. What we see at one particular moment is then and there before us. But there is a second way of seeing. Seeing with the eye of memory, not the eye of our anatomy, calls up days and seasons past and years gone by.
~Allen Lacy, The Gardener's Eye

These are tulips that grow on the side of the house. I am sure no one even notices them because they are so demure, especially compared to the raucous burst of color in the front garden. But I love these. They look so wistful.

Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas. ~ Elizabeth Murray

I have never had so many good ideas day after day as when I worked in the garden.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

a raffle for a good cause

Please read and consider this. Raffle for Dante Salvatierra

I have gotten to know Sara of manto fev through her livejournal and I have also had the pleasure of doing business with her. She found me some great seaglass for my a custom book that I was working on. Sadly though, her husband has been diganosed with a brain tumor. He recently had surgery to remove a the tumor and now they are raising money to pay for the outrageous medical bills with an art raffle.

The raffle consists of original art work, art supplies, yarn, and much more. I donated one of my mixed media journals for the cause because Sara and Dante are such wonderful people and I just wanted to help them out in their time of need. This journal normally sells for $64 on amanobooks, but it's going for the price of a $4 raffle ticket!!!!!!! What a bargain!

The journal that I donated is similar to this one.

Raffle tickets are only $4 and you can also just donate money, a dollar or more. Just consider it. And my personal thanks to all who donated.

You can read more about Dante's surgery and about the raffle at Raffle for Dante Salvatierra

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

art show

I just got great news!! I don't know all the details yet, but I just heard that I will be the featured artist for the October 2007 exhibition slot at the Fifth Avenue Art Gallery in Melbourne, Florida!!!!! yeeehaw!!!!!!!!!! I guess I should be more dignified and pretend that it's not a big deal, but screw that, I'm so excited! And that gives me *plenty* of time to get a strong body of work together for the show.

I will have about 40 feet of wall space to fill up. I better get working!

Friday, April 14, 2006

never forget

Just finished binding up this commissioned 6x8 inch journal. Lots of personal symbols in this one for the recipient. The thing that is rewarding when taking on a commissioned journal is the personal stories that is shared with me. I hope she likes it!

Will be putting a hold on commissioned mixed media journals for a while, I think. Too much on my plate right now.

js5 detail

2 details from an ongoing project I'm working on. Sneak peaks until it's done...but not sure when that will be. It's going pretty slow. Which is good. Some things happen in a flash. Others need to sit and steep like tea. Or slowly rise like bread. Seems to me that all the things that bring me joy are things that require patience and the willingness to just wait and see.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

wings of the wind

wings of the wind, mixed media, 5x5 inches

I don't normally participate in round robins, swaps, etc, because of time constraints. I barely have time keeping up with what I have to get done! But this project is for someone who has been going through a hard time. This page I created will be bound into a book to encourage her.

The words read: fly upon the wings of the wind

From Psalm 18:10

I like how this turned out, I may try making one larger. hmmmm...

Monday, April 10, 2006

collage doodle

An exercise in just slapping things down. Glued and doodled in a blank book that I picked up at art asylum. I plan to do more of these type of exercises in this book. Still deciding whether to keep it as a themed type of book of angels or not. Time will tell.

home again

Just got back from Orcas Island. Catching up with everything. Feels good to be back in my studio. But dreaming of the beauty that I've left behind.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

artfest overview

Overall I had a good time at artfest. It can be a bit overwhelming. A little like art boot camp where it's like"1-2-3-CREATE!!! and drop and give me 50 push-ups". It is hard for me too to just make something in a classroom without all my tools and paints and brushes. I work alone so much that it kind of throws me off. But it's good to be around that creative energy. And I enjoyed my workshops and it was so nice to meet up with people I had met last year and to meet with new people that I have gotten to know online this past year. The internet is such an interesting creature. Quick rundown:

::Saw Diane Moore for the first time whizzing by with her hair flying back in the wind like a wild woman on her scooter on the first night. Luckily she was down the hall from me and I got to talk to her a lot.
::Scared the living daylights out of Amber of Queen of Tarts when I screamed her name across a busy road from the safeway parking lot. I still laugh when I remember the look on her face! I helped her out at vendor night and sold lots of cool items for collage like bunny head stickers, old books, playing cards, flower things, and hand dyed ribbon.
::Got to sit with Tara Finlay and Melissa McCobb Hubbell in l.k.ludwig's class while we worked on our tales from the woods. Melissa and I were both having problems with the techniques but it was really such a great class.
::Had lunch with Celine Navarro and sat on the curb talking together. I wish I could have spent time with her-but I am glad that I snatched that moment.

me and celine

::Talked with Deb the first night at the kick off meeting. I wish I could have hung with deb more though and talk about books. Her metal journals are so cool.
::Finally met Gerri too who also makes the amazing handmade books on thursday morning before Thomas Wynn's photography workshop.
::Bought a beautiful necklace from Jane Wynn on vendor night.
::Briefly met Katie Kendrick at vendor night. That was so nice to finally meet her too even though it was so quick! But enough time to give her a quick hug over the vending table.
::And I met the wonderful Cynjon and Lisa the first night at the art asylum which was awesome since I ran into both of them often throughout the week. And I got a really cool matchbox trade from cynjon and a beautiful flower pin from lisa. Also at art asylum I finally met in person,Bernie Berlin, who in addition to being an artist also does amazing work rescuing animals.
::And I briefly met Amy Peacock too since we were in the same dorm.
I look so horribly tired in these pictures...and I was! I think I am still recovering. I can't wait to get back into the studio now and get back to work.

cynjon and me in the commons

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

saturday 04.01.06

The last class was Traci Bautista's class called "The Artful Wall". I took this class because it involved sewing and I really wanted to see combining sewing and textiles into artwork in action. I even brought my sewing machine for this class! Luckily the woman sitting next to me, Melanie of Navy Lane Studio helped me with figuring out my machine. I loved her wall hanging she made and she was so nice and helpful and didn't make fun of me and my total lack of sewing knowledge.

I was really out of it for this class. I was tired and just brain dead. But Traci was a great teacher and my blahness had nothing to do with her. She really showed us a lot of her techniques and gave us a lot of little goodies as part of our kit. We dyed papers and paper towels with Liquid watercolor paints. Created monoprints. Made fusions with glue on freezer paper with our paper towels and other collage bits. Then we sewed out bits and pieces together to make a wall hanging.

Here is my sad wall hanging. I have it hanging from a cabinet in the kitchen right now. I don't really like it. At all, actually. But that's ok. I learned some really interesting techniques in this class and that's all that matters.

The thing that was great about this class was that everything we used was cheap! Paper towels, foam brushes, cheap student grade watercolors, elmer's glue, thrift store clothing scraps, buttons, beads.

Part of my problem I think is that I don't do "joyful" very well. ha! Traci's style is definitely playful and joyful. And I like it, but I just can't do it. Which is fine. I don't take these classes to create copies of what the instructors' artwork. But in class I was surrounded by these vibrant works springing up all around me and I tried to do it too- and it just kind of didn't work.

But I can't wait to incorporate the different techniques that she showed us into my work in my own way. It's good to be out of one's creative comfort zone. And I definitely was. I would like to make a happy wall hanging for my nieces though. I think they would like it. Actually, I should do it with them when they come to visit. That would be so fun!

Traci came up with these "cheap" techniques because she works with kids and has a budget of almost nothing to work with. Necessity is the mother of all inventions. ? Is that how it goes? Well, whatever the saying is, that's definitely true. Making do with what you have and making it go further.


I have to say that this was my favorite class of the week at artfest. It was LK Ludwig's class called Tales from the Woods. I really love her work a lot. I remember the first time I saw her work several years ago, I think it was in a book on making books. Anyway, I remember a shiver going through my body when I saw her work for the first time. Sounds weird, but those of you who have ever looked at someones artwork and felt that electricity will know exactly what I mean.

As a teacher, she was extremely organized and explained things very well and gave us lots of goodies in our kits. She read to us too from a Pippi Longstocking story. I remembered just loving Pippi when I was little. I think I wanted to be her for halloween once. She also talked to us about the meaning of fairy tales and why so many different cultures have tales that are so similar. These stories speak to the deeper psyche of the human mind. What do these stories tell us about ourselves? What can we learn from them? What is it about these tales that speaks to us?

Listening to her talk about fairy tales I remembered back to when I first learned how to read-kindergarten/1st grade. When I was finally at the level where I could check out books that were thicker than just one short picture story, all the books I checked out were fairy tales from around the world. I remember each book was from a different country. Then in 4th grade I couldn't get enough of Greek mythology. These stories that have been passed down through the ages have always fascinated me.

We learned how to make different types of nature transfers. One method was using bleach and black paper. Another method was with copper mesh and liver of sulphur. I had trouble with my transfers. I think I was a little heavy with the spraying of both the bleach and the sulphur. My image tansfers using my photos didn't work either because I printed my photos on the wrong type of paper. That sucked. We also did imprints with spackle.

She gave us these cool old phonograph books that we took apart to make our pages. I didn't get to finish, but that was ok. It was all about soaking up the process and the techniques. I only got to complete 2 pages in class.

This photo is of how the two pages will be seen when they will be bound together in the book. The words read "a whisper turned whimper turned into a howl" which is a snippet from a poem I wrote a while ago.

photos of the pages separate

I used a transparency of a photo that I took in Ketchikan, Alaska of a totem pole. I tucked it into the sleeve pocket intended for a record.

And this one, of course is the photo of my favorite tree on Orcas Island. I had printed out the 4x4 encaustic painting that I had done with this tree. And then I dipped it in wax to make it a thin transparent sheet. Attached it with eyelets to the bleach transfer paper. But ripped out the back so that light can be seen through the transparent wax.

I worked on some more pages that night on the floor in my dorm room. I stayed up until 2:00! I didn't even realize the time. I will take photos of those later when the book is finished.

Here is a photo of my pages and Tara Finlay's pages sitting on the wall out of the way while we worked on our cramped tables. All of those pages are Tara's. She was just churning them out!

It was neat to sit next to Tara and Melissa McCobb Hubbel creating. I thought about how I had both of their sites bookmarked on my computer about the time when I was just setting up my Web site to sell my journals. They were both among the first mixed media websites that I had found back then when I was just realizing there were other people out there who did "weird" mixed media art like I did! The wonders of the internet...

And a photo of me and Tara!