Sunday, November 17, 2013

Back to Painting

Inscribed Origins
6" x 6"
acrylic on Claybord panel

Back to my very favorite art form--painting!

I'm experimenting on flat panels from Ampersand as well as canvas boards. Some could become front covers for future journals, others finished paintings. Using these rigid surfaces allow for texture experiments: light modeling paste, tissue papers, metal objects, heavier collage items.

Tendrils of Power
6” x 6”
acrylic on Claybord panel

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Handmade Stamps

Do you love using stamps in your journal or art? Have you ever made your own? My first attempts were a mixed result. A few turned out well when using a definite design. Two favorites are one with abstract symbols, another with the famous ancient triple spiral from Newgrange (but with an inadvertently reversed image).

Leaf 1 design.

Leaf 2, carved on a slim eraser.

This time, I consulted “Rubber Stamp Carving” by Luann Udell and a few other articles. Instead of carving away all the excess around the main design, I tried leaving some lines showing on some stockpiled Staedtler Mastercarve blocks. I planned and transferred pencil drawings on a small piece of velum. Then using a clean piece of velum to hold the block in place while carving, I found it quite easy to use linoleum gouge tools, taking shallow cuts. Two leaf designs I free-hand drew onto the block itself. The Celtic heart knot is a Courtney Davis design from a Dover copyright free book. And, the bird in the tree is from a photograph I took on a walk.

First phase of carving the design.

Here more around the design is removed but some lively lines remain.

The carved block.

Getting into the flow, I enjoyed my carving session and created four new stamps. A bonus discovery is the beautiful worksLuann Udell does based on ancient cave paintings of animals. The sad news is Staedtler doesn’t make Mastercarve blocks anymore, which is too bad since they worked well.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

TU Artisan Showcase

Here's my table last weekend, during the TU Artisan Showcase.

Handmade bookmarks, notebooks, and various art journals I have made.

2014 calendars - Ireland, Hawaii, Nature, Beaches 1 & Beaches 2.

Leather mini-book necklaces and new 2014 calendars with my photographs.

My friend Grace sat with me the whole event (a few hours) and was so wonderful and helpful!

The first time the event was held indoors (because of rain threat), at the Auditorium hallway.

This is the journal I sold. An acrylic painted cover with rough watercolor paper inside.

Beautiful bowls by fellow artisan and Chemistry professor, Michelle Bushey. I swapped the one on the right for a notebook and some bookmarks of mine and then bought the one on the left. Already had a wonderful meal in them last night.

Friday, September 20, 2013

New Exhibit Venue and Presentation for Book Necklaces

Last Friday, I was excited to learn that I was chosen to become part of the Trinity University Artisan Showcase during Alumni Weekend! It will be October 12, from 11:30-1:30 p.m. at the Holt Center. There will be a tent on the grounds of the Holt Center, where the lunch is held.

For my new mini-book necklaces, I wanted a way to present them neatly in a package. Using a painting I had done as background for a label, I printed "Book of Dreams" for the front. For a holder, I upcycled some mat board samples I had ordered when I was cutting mats for my paintings. They already had a hole at the top where I could thread the necklace through the back. Then, I recycled some strong twisties that came on some new garden hoses to hold the books to the card. Finally, I made a label for the back describing the piece and some web addresses.

How have you recycled or upcycled items for new purposes?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Few Artist Accessories

A t-shirt that says it all.

A bar of soap to conjure up inspiration.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Art & Fear Lessons

Another word for creativity is courage. -- George Prince

Usually, I do not struggle too much with Art & Fear. But a recent experience proved otherwise.

Initially, I was afraid of accepting the invitation to create an altar to benefit the Celebration Circle church. Once I received my raw wooden piece, I was afraid to start it. Once I started it, I was afraid to ruin it. Once I finished it, I was afraid to turn it in. Once I turned it in, it was greeted with lots of compliments and interest.

All my fears melted.

I felt honored. I felt like a REAL artist. I felt a part of a group of 54 others. I felt so glad I accepted this challenge, faced my fears, worked through them, and finished an altar I am very proud of.

This was huge step on my path. I will remember it next time I'm faced with the next bout of Art & Fear.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

More Leather Mini-Book Necklaces

These are some of my new leather mini-books. They are so cute and fun! I put different charms on each one, so they all have their own personality. Check them out on my Etsy

Sunday, August 25, 2013

One People, Many Paths: The Sacred Art of Altars

Everyone is invited to attend the opening of "One People, Many Paths: the Sacred Art of Altars", next Sunday, September 1st, at 6 p.m., in the Bijou Theater Gallery at Wonderland Mall. Along with 49 local artists, I have created a shrine to benefit the Celebration Circle church. Silent auction bidding is open all month and exhibit viewing is free during theater hours.

A full description of my step-by-step progression of my shrine is highlighted here on my blog, during the months of July and August.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Seal It and Add a 3-D Element

The last things I did before turning in the altar to the Celebration Circle was to seal the painting on the inside and gesso and stencils on the outside.

Taking a shell lei I had gotten during my last visit to Hawaii, I wrapped it up in some bookbinders white linen thread and used a flower designed carpet tack to attach it to the top. I painted the tack to harmonize with the white theme. Now the shells can swing gently!

It was hard saying good-bye to the altar but I am so glad I decided to do this.

Come visit this piece and 49 others at the Bijou Theatre Gallery in Wonderland Mall. It will be on exhibit the whole month of September. Silent auction bidding is open all month. On Septeber 30th, the auction will close, there is a reception, light buffet and special screening of a movie. Full details here: here

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Add a Little to the Sides

Still not finished with my altar, I felt it needed more elements.

Using stencils I handmade from an old muumuu of my Mom's, I loved the idea of using Hawaiian flowers on the side. But, I wanted to keep the over-all white beach cleanness.

Then, I hit upon the idea of mixing sand with light modeling paste. Cool!

A subtle, but effective result!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Add the Trim and Paint it

I kept the trim I first envisioned (with a different landscape!), attached and then painted it.

I really like the white gesso. It intensifies the laid-back, relaxing beach scene.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Paint the Inside

A few Sundays ago, I dove in and painted the inside of the Sacred Altar, thus eliminating all the other ideas I originally had for this project.

This is the cool thing about working in 3-D instead of a flat canvas or piece of paper--you have those great side panels, the bottom, and the cathedral-like top. Also, the outside.

At this point, I really liked the plain white gesso on the outside. It complimented the beach scene. But, change was in the air.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Past Altars and Shrines

As I create a Sacred Altar for the 2013 Celebration Circle's exhibit in September, here is a look back at other shrines I have made.

This is an oldie but a goodie, a Tree Shrine I made for my Mom. It has mini baby blocks, a leaf, a pine cone, acorns, and a tree tag from a piece of jewelry I tried to use as a stamp.

Tree Shrine, exterior

Tree Shrine, interior

Next is the Kennedys shrine I've wriiten about before.

The Hero Brothers (RFK and JFK)

Something different here. Three Lake Michigan Mornings is a wooden cube, inspired by the Carl Sandburg poem "Lake Michigan Morning" with my 2007 Chicago photographs printed on canvas. It holds transparent cubes of shells, rocks, and sand.

Three Lake Michigan Mornings wooden cube; view 1

Three Lake Michigan Mornings wooden cube; view 2

Three Lake Michigan Mornings wooden cube; view 3

Three Lake Michigan Mornings wooden cube; view 4

These are three different shrines made of (from left to right): wood, watercolor paper, and paper. These include photo tributes to ancestors and a friend who have passed on. (The brightly colored skulls and autumn leaves were temporary.)

Three different Day of the Dead shrines


These last two are wooden boat shapes I particulaly love. "Portal" has an early book I made from watercolor covers with 2006 photographs from my Ireland trip. The entire book is cut in an arch shape to fit the inside niche, with copper wires to turn the pages.


Another wooden boat, Tangible Treasures, contains glass vial momentos from my 2010 Irish trip--sand, sacred well water, ocean water--with a piece of seaweed from my Innishcrone seaweed bath.

Tangible Treasures