April 30, 2011

more journal pages--

well, one journal page, anyway... I wanted to show you this one because it was such fun to do! It's another one where the image sort of "goes with" the idea I had... I swear, it doesn't really happen that often, even though it might seem so right now! This page is layered, with the background underneath a Hambly screenprinted transparency. I don't use transparencies very often, although I do like them; partly, it's because I never think about how to attach them. This one was attached at the top with staples. The pic below shows the underneath layer. I found the clock in a Southwest Airlines in-flight magazine (I think), and the eye was from another Teesha Moore collage sheet. And yes, I know the word "Time" is backwards; I printed them backwards to do an image transfer with, but deciced they'd work on this page the way they were. (and for the record, the clock is not the original image that was on this page-- I think it was a pair of scissors, or something, but I never really liked it, so I covered it up: again, it's my book, and I can do whatever I want!) Oh, yeah; in case your're wondering, there's a photocopied vintage tag tied to the transparency with ribbon.
The pic below is a close-up of the doodling on the transparency, done with a uniball Signo Mitsubishi white pen. During the ArtFest class I took from her, Lisa Engelbrecht sold some of her favorite pens, and this is one of them; I definitely agree! I'm always on "the quest" for the best white pen and the best black pen for journal page; I have tons of them that don't really measure up. (I always think of the Indiana Jones movie scene where Indy is picking which one is the real Holy Grail; a deep voice with an English accent plays in my head, saying "choose wisely," but I never seem to get it exactly right. This one, though, might be it, or at least close to it!) I have other Signo uniball pens that don't work nearly as well; this one has Japanese writing on, and the Mitsubishi seems to be different than the other ones. Unfortunately, the ink seems to run out pretty quick; then again, all this doodling might have something to do with it-- you think?? lol!
I do love my obsessive-compulsive doodled designs; I don't do it nearly often enough.

April 27, 2011

04/26/11 journal pages

A couple recent journal pages for your viewing pleasure. I really don't have a particular artistic "style" for my work; the page style changes depending on my mood and what I want to convey or capture. I don't usually work with a particular image = page idea, either; mostly I collage pages just because I like the images, and write "whatever" on them at some later time. Every once in a while, though, I do find a particular image and idea that go together; both of these pages went like that. This one shows visually how maddening it can be to have tons of ideas floating around in my head! (maybe it goes with being a Gemini, or maybe it's still leftover ArtFest inspiration?? Nevertheless, sometimes I do wish I could turn it off- especially when I'm trying to get to sleep and my brain just won't shut up, already!) FYI, the larger page in the photo above (the one with the greenish background and the black stamped medallion pattern) was the background for this finished page. I didn't really think the colors of the paint "went" with the page design as I developed it, so I added some collage paper and color with Stabilo Woody watercolor crayons. Not that you can see much of the background on the finished page anyway, but I wanted to show you that they can change quite a bit from the way they first start out, which is totally okay-- it's my book, right? yes, it is!! :D Here's a closeup detail of the page above: this page might not be pretty, but I really didn't want it to be. I wanted it to be full of "stuff" and energy to get the point across. When I first started doing "art journaling" I was intimidated by the thought of doing the "wrong" thing on a page, or "screwing something up," and I thought the finished pages were supposed to be "pretty" or "artistic," but I've gotten over that. I know some people do have that sort of personal style, and that some people use their art journals as a sort of "practice" place to try out new techniques, color combinations, etc. for use in other artwork later, but mine isn't like that. For me, the act of painting, collaging and doodling is a bit like meditation-- my mind goes sort of blank when I'm "in the flow" with the art, without any thought of time passing or of the final product. Later, I'll use the page to write on if I have particular thoughts about something, or I do a bit of "what I did today" writing on them. Some pages don't ever get words on, and that's fine with me, too- the act of creating the artwork itself is sometimes enough for me. This page is another that started with a specific idea and image... the "skyscraper" on the left was originally an advertisement for a hanging light fixture. The phrase "urban sprawl" was in my head from a conversation I had with my mom, so I decided the light fixture looked rather like a high-rise building, and went from there. The other skyscrapers were cut from a magazine page and some vintage music. The "sun" with the vacant-eyed china doll sort of conveys the uban sprawl emptiness idea; even though it really is sort of creepy to me, it got the idea across so I went with it. a close-up of the doodled details on the urban sprawl page. I usually can't leave paper the way it is; I embellish it with doodles and patterns on top of the patterns that are already there. In this case, the white dots were added, along with the purple and pink details on the green paper. A few of the collaged papers on this page are from Teesha Moore collage sheets that I purchased at ArtFest; I love how she photocopies her designs and journal pages then uses those on her artwork and in her journals ---> journal pages on top of journal pages! I have just started scanning some of my own journal pages to print out, so I can do the same thing using my own artwork. The phrase "urban sprawl" refers to the Phoenix Valley of the Sun in general, and I do personally agree with that assessment... there are small pockets here and there with more of a "neighborhood" feel to them, but they're few and far between (at least in my opinion), and the "strip mall" feel does dominate the area overall. That's one of the reasons I like living in Maricopa; it's not really part of "the Valley" proper, so it has more of a separate, smaller-town feel to it (even though there are 30,000+ people). Living in Maricopa does lead to a large amount of driving, but at least it's driving through the desert / reservation land, which means views of mountains, cactus, and the possibility for wildflower and wild horse sightings; personally, I'll take that over traffic lights and 6-8 lanes of traffic one way, any day!

letters from home

A couple more vintage postcards from my collection. I don't remember where I got these; I most likely purchased them when I was visiting my parents; maybe last summer?? I just can't quite believe I would have scored vintage postcards featuring scenes from home here in Arizona... (fyi, I did intend for this post to be a short one, but I just can't help doing internet research to make sure I know what I'm talking about, and I keep finding more interesting things I want to write about!)
The Apple River is definitely "home," because the Apple River Canyon State Park is just a couple miles from the town of Warren, where I grew up. This part of the state is absolutely beautiful, and the park, especially so. The glaciers missed the northwest corner of Illinois, so it's not flat; there are rolling hills, limestone bluffs, and hilly ravines throughout the area. In the early 1800s, there was a town named Millville (named after its two sawmills) where the park is now; it was even a stop on the Chicago-Galena stagecoach route. The town was destroyed during a flood in 1892, and none of it remains today. I have many fond memories of the park which include birdwatching, looking for wildflowers, picnicking, and fishing for smallmouth bass in the river. This is the reverse side- it was sent in May, 1903, and it reads: "Dear Brother-- We are coming to your place Sun. if it does not rain and if you folks will be home if not phone and tell me. Your sister Bernice" I hope it didn't rain and that they had a nice visit! This postcard is of another wonderfully scenic piece of the Midwest, the beautiful area called the "Wisconsin Dells" along the Wisconsin River in the south-central part of Wisconsin. The town of Wisconsin Dells, WI is now known as the "Waterpark Capital of the World" and definitely lives up to its name! Tom's family lives a few miles outside of the town proper; we visit them every August. (we try to stay out of town, though, to avoid the tourists!) The town, along with its neighbor Lake Delton, is packed all summer long with visitors to waterparks and resorts such as the Kalihari Resort, Noah's Ark (the largest waterpark in the US, with 49 waterslides and 2 wave pools), Mt. Olympus Resort and Waterpark (this waterpark includes a Greek temple and a Trojan Horse!!), to name just a few. Wisconsin Dells has approximately 2500 year-round residents, but over 5 million visitors annually! Anyway-- "the Dells" itself is a gorgeous stretch of the Wisconsin River, also boasting beautiful river bluffs, ravines, and gorges.
The natural beauty of the river and surrounding bluffs can be seen from the water by taking a tour on the Wisconsin Ducks, which are amphibious vehicles from World War II-- it's pretty cool! This postcard was from a photograph copyrighted by the H.H. Bennett studios. H. H. Bennett revolutionized photography by taking the world's first "action shot;" he took a photograph of a man jumping from one of the bluffs to "Stand Rock" in the year 1866! (to be perfectly honest, I didn't know this until very recently when we watched an episode of the History channel show Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy; I will definitely be visiting the Bennett photography studio when we go back this August! Larry the Cable Guy's show is very good, by the way-- it showcases quirky and unique things, people, and events all across the country.) One other fact worth mentioning about this postcard; it is from the Curt Teich company, the world's largest printer of view and advertising postcards. If you're interested in vintage postcards, esp. Curt Teich ones, then visit this website: the Lake County Discovery Museum website, or better yet, visit the museum itself in Wauconda, IL. In addition to being a very nice museum, it is known worldwide for housing the largest public collection of postcards and related materials, with over 365,00 postcards, and a large exhibit showing postcards and the postcard printing process through history. (And, I just figured out, using some of these links that this postcard was the first Colortone process postcard printed by the Teich company in the year 1949-- pretty amazing what some internet research can do for you!)

April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!! (late...)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter! Ours was pretty low-key, and involved a nap on the couch during the afternoon, which is why I didn't get the scanner up and running till this evening. But, I really wanted to post this wonderful vintage easter postcard that I just found: from 1907... I love the snowdrops and the pussy willow branches! There was a pussy willow tree at the south end of our property, next to the garden, when I was growing up (Mom, is it still there??) Anyway, the pussy willows budding was one of the best sure signs of spring's arrival. I picked up this postcard yesterday at an antique mall in Mesa; I spent the day poking around it with my friend Shery- it was a lot of fun! She and I like the same type of paper ephemera and vintage photos, which is fun, but that can make shopping difficult, too, since we sometimes want to both purchase the same item! (thank goodness for scanners!) I had to get this Holy card, too... I just love the blue background, and the blue in Mary's robes. It was printed in Canada, and is written in French, but I forgot to get a scan of the back.
I don't purchase a lot of vintage photos, but I do buy a few when they "speak" to me. I tend to notice the ones with animals, or an outdoor/garden scene. These children with their calf is so cute, I couldn't leave it there! I love how she's holding onto the calf, instead of just standing next to it!
This one caught my eye, too-- I thought there were only two children with the horses, but zooming in on it showed me there were three. Below is a zoomed-in crop of the same pic:
Looks like the girls in back are next to the horses already hitched to the wagon, and the boy is next to a younger horse?? There was writing on the back, but I think it was in Swedish, which was no help to me...
This one, I've had for a while, but never got around to scanning before-- such a sweet photo!! I scanned a bunch more postcards, but need to edit them (crop and color-correct) before posting them... unfortunately, that will have to wait, though, because the alarm clock is ticking away the hours till 5 am! (ick!)

April 23, 2011

next artfest installment (be warned: it's a long post, and has LOTS of pics)

Wednesday night was the Welcome meeting where Teesha and Tracy Moore spoke to welcome us all to ArtFest 2011, and to introduce all the instructors. They thanked us for attending, and talked bravery- thanking us for our bravery in attending, and being brave in our art. They also reminded us to be open to the experience of learning from the instructors, and each other. I don't remember much of the specifics, and I really wish I could-- it was a great welcome speech. I don't think of myself as particularly "brave" (quite the opposite, actually) so it was nice to get a reminder of the fact that putting myself out there to have this experience is an act of bravery, on a lot of different levels. (I never had a chance to meet Teesha or Tracy during the time I was up there, unfortunately; they're waay busy making sure everything goes okay for all of us.) For Teesha's viewpoint of ArtFest, you can read her blog post here. It was really interesting to read how the week went from her point of view, and what all has to be done to keep everything going smoothly.

After the Welcome gathering, I went with my roommates to another welcome meeting, a "Wine and Chocolate" party hosted in one of the neighboring dorm buildings. The two hostesses were veteran ArtFesters, and had a very lively party going; we mingled, chatted, signed their journals, and passed around trades. (more on trades in a later post, but the short story is: you can bring "trades" for trading with other people- charms, pins, collage goodies, Artist Trading Cards, small works of art-- you name it, anything can be a trade. I got plenty, and will show some of them once I take pics.)

My first class (on Thursday) was "Luscious Layered Canvas" taught by Roxanne Padgett. Layers of paint, stencils, and pattern on canvas that can then be used for whatever you want- below are a couple of her samples:

This class was a lot of fun, and I got some great ideas-- we started out making marks and patterns on our canvas with things as simple as crayon, gesso, or gluing down smaller pieces of paper. After that, we started in with building up our patterned layers using crayon rubbings, stencils, and stamps. Below is my table, partway through the morning: The pic below is three of my four pieces of fabric, partway through the process. There are probably 3 or four layers on them at this point... the colors I used are definitely more vivid and bright than I usually use; Roxanne's catchphrase is "fear no color!" Some of the stencils were made using manila file folder, and the stencil used to make the scroll-y pink pattern was a piece of die-cut scrapbook paper. (so many great tips, I tell you!! I just hope I remember them all!)

I'm glad I took the in-process pics-- the picture below is one of the fabrics from the pic above, turned to black & white on my computer... If I print it out, then voila! my very own printed paper! Doing this was a tip from one of my dorm-mates, I think... It makes for a really graphic patterned paper, that's for sure.
Below is one of my classmates, making a crayon rubbing on her canvas... we used chipboard letter stickers to make a rubbing plate, along with such mundane things as trivets, placemats, and manila file folder shapes... another great tip!
below is my table later on during the day when I was making my own stencils, and had more layers of color on my fabric. At this point, I was sort of hating a couple of my pieces; they just needed "something" but I wasn't sure what. Roxanne was very helpful, walking around seeing how all of use were doing, and she gave me some good advice. (notice, I was using the leftover paint to make a couple art journal pages, there-- I can't waste perfectly good paint and paper scraps!)
This is an overall shot of the room, as we were finishing up for the day... the building we were in was the USO building; it was quite spacious, and had plenty of light (it was sunny!), which made for a great workspace. We each had our own 6-foot table (and I still ran out of room, as usual- LOL!!) to spread out on, plus plenty of floor space to spread our canvases to dry.
below is a shot of all four of my pieces. A couple of them I still don't quite like; I started out thinking I would hate the piece that started out with black fabric but it turned out to be one of the ones I like best. Huh! just goes to show, you never know what direction your art will take you in. I learned TONS of things, though, and will definitely use this layering technique in my artwork. (part of the pattern on the top-right piece was made using a pizza cutter- just roll the wheel thru the paint, then roll it onto your surface: another memorable tip, and I have already found a pizza cutter at the thrift store, to do this myself!)
The art-making didn't stop once class was over, though! Dorm 202 had classrooms in the common areas on the first floor, so all evening long, there were plenty of people hanging out at the tables showing off their class projects, working on their projects (class or otherwise) or just chatting and socializing.
I hung out down here for a while, working on my art journal-- mind you, this was after I had already gone down to the beach with one of my roommates to roast marshmallows, make a smore, and do some socializing and trading with the people down there... I didn't get much sleep while I was at ArtFest: there was way too much to do, see, or talk about for sleeping! Next Artfest post coming up shortly... I need to take some pics of my class project, since I forgot my camera for part of the day during class (whoops!).

April 14, 2011

guess what...?? yes, it's random photo time!

our latest mixed media group meeting was Wednesday night... ahem-- the CIA, I should say. (It's our new name, and I'm not used to it yet. CIA stands for "Collaborative of Inspired Artists" but it's more fun to say I'm a member of the CIA!!) Anyway. Josie Cirincione was our guest teacher (I totally didn't even think to take my copy of her first book to have her sign it); she taught us a project using metal foil tape. Such a fun project!! I've tried to use this material before, but had some problems with it-- she gave us plenty of tips and tricks, along with all the supplies and tools to make the finished project. Here's mine: I love the texture of the metal, and the aged/distressed look that rubbing it with black StazOn ink gives it. The picture below shows a closeup of the texture (I decided to cover the entire background with a dot pattern, which I really like the look of after I finally finished it, so it was definitely worth it...). The raised pattern was made by just using cereal box/thin chipboard underneath the metal tape- how cool is that?!?
And now for some journal pages... I hadn't done any journaling to speak of since way before Christmas, so I knew ArtFest would be a great opportunity to get my journaling mojo back. I took three of my journals with me (one of them by accident- it was small and in a box of paper- lol!), plus a boatload of supplies (you never know what you might want to work on or use, you know!) and it was a great opportunity-- my dorm building had a classroom in the first-floor common area, so people were always set up there in the evenings: working on class projects, working on their own projects, or just socializing and getting inspiration from everyone else. I was so inspired, I didn't want to go to bed till my body told me I absolutely had to: I stayed up till 11 pm the first night, 1 am the second, 1:30 am the third, and 11 pm the last night (only because I knew I had to get up to drive to the airport the next morning). I didn't always get much done (too much inspiration ---> not much energy for follow-through) but here are some pages I worked on both while I was there and since I've gotten home.
The right-hand page was leftover paint spread on with a credit card (well, technically a grocery store "saver" card- I keep all those random cards just for applying paint) during one of my classes- I didn't want to waste any of it, you know! I still need to look up that rubber stamping company Carmen's Veranda; I wrote it down just so I wouldn't forget the name! I also have the blog address of the woman who told me about it... must check out her blog, too... later, otherwise I'll never come back here to finish this post!
I had the backgrounds done on these two pages ages ago; I just used them to write on during/after class. The index card was from Roxanne Padgett's Lush Layered Canvas class, where she taught us a little about color theory and mixing. (I have never been able to mix a shade of orange that I actually like...it's a lot easier to buy it! ...although it doesn't look too bad from far away, here.)
Here, the left page was already collaged; I just added the words, and the pops of purple with one of my new Stabilo Woody watercolor crayons. I saw a set of 10 of them (the last one on the shelf) @ Akamai Art Supply in Port Townsend, and I snagged them (for a 10% off ArtFest discount, even!) before anyone else got them. Kelly had mentioned them before, and I knew if Kelly liked them, they must be good, because she only recommends art supplies she really likes- see the right sidebar of her blog for posts on her favorite materials. The Woodies (snicker!!) have a really nice, creamy quality to them, and I definitely want to pick up the rest of the colors. (I also used them in the fabric painting class I took on day 2 of ArtFest, which I will show you when I get those pics edited.) And I really love that lilac purple color, even though it's a lot more vivid than the colors I usually use.
So this pic is my newest tattoo: a memorial, close to my heart on my left shoulderblade. It's a permanent reminder of the beloved pets we no longer have in our lives. It's a bit of a departure from journaling, isn't it?!? Or, maybe it isn't, actually... for me, journaling is a visual/written meditation process, of a sort, that results in a page which gives me a reminder of what I was doing when I made the page, the reasons I chose the materials, colors, etc. The tattoo is a reminder to me as well, and since I designed it, maybe it's just a different kind of journaling. (I do need to go back for a bit of a touchup; he forgot to put the toenails on the dog paw, and the inner angel wing unfortunately needs a bit more shading. But it's definitely worth the discomfort to always have a visual reminder of Sedona, Pandora, Cleo and Phoebe with me.) FYI, both my tattoos were done by Tommy Gunn, at Subculture Tattoo in Glendale, AZ.
So, back to the "traditional" visual journaling, now, shall we? The page above has lots more gorgeous Stabilo woody crayons on it, over a light base coat of gesso. {As an aside, I gessoed on these latest pages a couple days ago before work... I had the urge, and needed to make the most of it at the time. Tom saw me in the garage (where my painting supplies are living at the moment), and asked "can't you do that later?" Well, yes, and no... technically, yes, there would be plenty of time after work to do it, but would I, is the question? probably not... so, I took advantage of the urge when it hit. I don't want to lose the ArtFest mojo to the grind of daily life; art vs. daily life is one of the hardest things for me to balance. I want to do more of the "5-15 minute" sort of creating, rather than feeling like I need an entire block of hours free in which to "do art."}
And now, to change it up with a couple cute pet pics! The photo above isn't the best quality, but I wanted to get a shot of Prescott cozying up to Bisbee while she's sacked out in the dog bed. they don't exactly cuddle or anything, but they do hang out together quite a lot. He's gotten bigger (he still seems a bit skinny; the fact that he still occasionally snacks on socks isn't helping that!), but his coat is starting to fill out, and that is making a huge difference in how he looks. That "puppy" phase went by so fast, it's kinda sad that it's gone already.
And here is Butters, relaxing against my gardening-book-ring-bound journal (?!?!? that can't be comfortable!!) It's because I laid out some fabric as a backdrop for the pictures I took; she loves laying on fabric for some reason, whether it's a bathtowel, dishtowel, shirt, or clean laundry. (!!!)
next time, I'll post more ArtFest pics... I promise!

April 12, 2011

ArtFest 2011 Installment #1

My Christmas present this year was a trip to ArtFest 2011, an art retreat held every spring in Port Townsend, WA which is northwest of Seattle on the very tip of the Olympic Penninsula. I’ve wanted to attend ArtFest for years, and this was the year it finally all came together. I sent off my registration after Christmas, when spring was still a long ways away. It seemed like April would never get here, then all the sudden it was time to get ready to go! I scrambled around at the last minute (like usual, of course) putting together the supplies for my classes and making items to trade with the other attendees. I had to figure out how to fit all my art supplies, trades, my journals, and my journaling supplies in my luggage. Of course, I did need a few clothes and personal items as well, so I ended up doing some luggage juggling in order to get it all to fit. I really wasn’t thrilled at having to pack long pants and a jacket (!!) since it had already been up in the 90s here in AZ, but for ArtFest, I was willing to make sacrifices. (LOL!)

Wednesday morning, I got up at 3:45 am (ick!!), so I could catch my (early) flight to Seattle. I hadn’t slept much the night before, what with all the last minute packing and being excited about the trip… the flight was pretty uneventful, and even got into Seattle about 30 minutes early, which was nice.

In the airport, I got the rental car paperwork and met my carpooler Lydia, a fellow first-time ArtFest attendee. We headed out to find the Seattle ferry, which we did with only a few road construction headaches. (who does road construction in a tourist area without putting up detour signs, anyway?!?) Anyway, we finally found the ferry station (?? is that what you call it??), and below is what we saw:

There's the ferry, just pulling away from the dock-- darn it! But that did give us time to head into the local (and by "local" I mean right-next-to-the-parking-lot local) McDonald's for some badly needed caffeine while we waited for the ferry to make its way back. Once it did we all drove on; then Lydia and I hopped out of the car to go up to the observation deck.

Here is the obligatory "photo on the ferry" snapshot, LOL!! Just kidding-- it was pretty cool, since I've never been on a ferry before. It was pretty chilly, too, which is why we went back inside after this shot, but not before I snapped a pretty nice photo of the Seattle skyline.

There were plenty of other people taking pictures outside on deck, as well. It looked like lots of them were re-creating the "king of the world" scene from the movie Titanic, but we headed inside to hang out and watch the scenery for the half-hour ferry ride.

We checked out the vending machine snacks, and I thought about playing a video game or two when I saw this PacMan/Galaga game, but then I saw this:

A dollar?!? What the heck?!?!! I guess it's been a loooong time since the mid-1980s when I would hang out at the arcade after school and play video games for a quarter! Once the ferry landed on Bainbridge Island, we headed out on the highway across the island, across another bridge, and then up the eastern coast of the Olympic Penninsula. Lydia did a very good job of navigating (thank goodness, since I had no idea where I was going!), and we passed the time chatting about art-related and other things. Turns out we're both Geminis, and we have a lot of other things in common, as well- it's interesting how that kind of thing happens, isn't it?!? Once we found the town of Port Townsend, we stopped at the local grocery store for some art-making staples like paper towels and waxed paper (for my painting classes), along with other art-making staples like snacks, wine and chocolate. :D Lydia's friend Kim had been waiting for us at the Port Townsend ferry stop (wondering where the heck we were) but she finally found us at the grocery store and we followed her to the following mysterious destination:

Art supplies-- yay!! Akamai Art Supply was great- lots of fun. (and isn't that car the coolest?? I took a few more pics of it; it's covered with really nifty stencil designs.) The store didn't seem overly large, but it was definitely jam-packed with all sorts of fun stuff. Plus, we got an ArtFest discount; what could be better than that?!? Then we headed to Fort Worden to get our check-in information packets, and Lydia headed back to her bed and breakfast till the Orientation meeting that evening. I found my room, unloaded my stuff, and put on my running shoes to find the beach before it got too late. Here's one photo of the beach and the pier:

I walked down the beach a ways and out onto the pier; I have some more beach photos, but I think I'll finish up my post for now and save those pics for the next installment. The weather was very pleasant (although colder than I was used to in AZ, for sure) the entire time I was there, and the scenery was absolutely gorgeous, but I am sad/happy to say that I was so busy socializing and art-making that I didn't have any other opportunities to explore the area around the fort at all, so I am doubly glad I took the walk on the beach on Wednesday.
I'll post again after I edit more of the almost-200 photos I took. (thank goodness for digital cameras!!)