Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Holding On To Love...

Recently I've been creating lots of work with wild colors, patches of paint, a multitude of marks, and an abundance of ephemera. And while that kind of art is very soothing to my brain right now... I just needed a little break (very little!).

I had seen an assemblage in Somerset Studio magazine that used a turquoise, red and white palette and those colors made my brain sing! I decided to use them in the simplest way possible — adding a touch of black — so the colors were as much the star of the piece as the elements in it.

I wanted to make art that was graphically illustrative work with a strong message. Starting with a wood panel, I burnt in the outlines and then painted with a few layers of paint for each area to add just the slightest hint of visual texture. A bird, a heart, land, and sky. The simplest of elements with a mighty statement. Holding on to Love.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I Believe I Can Fly...

I've been having a blast playing in my new mixed-media journal. In fact, I think I've been having some creative breakthroughs of sorts. Or maybe breakdowns? No... I don't need therapy! It's the walls that are breaking down!

You see... I'm absolutely loving the not knowing part of this journal play. I'm really learning to embrace the mark-making thing.... just for the sake of making marks... in the moment... whatever I feel like... with no end result in mind! In fact, I'm finding that I work better on pages where i create the background first, rather than a character. I like being able to be free with an entire page rather than trying to work around something.

Dots. Raindrops. Circles. Swirls. Paper stuff. Scribbles. Words. Paint. Sometimes I don't even look at the page as a whole, I just look at the very spot I'm working on. My mind changes as I work more... and it's all okay! Add this. Cover that. Paint between. Just play!

And then, KAPOW! The whole piece just takes its own direction, finds it's own theme, and has a story to tell. And the neat thing is... it always relates to me, and yet it always manages to surprise me. Each page requires patience and perseverence. There are lots of times when I do not like certain areas of the page. But I make tiny little tweaks in-between stepping back and noticing. Okay, sometimes I make bit giant tweeks and say, uh-oh... what have I done. But it's all good. Really!

I've become so attuned to knowing what I like, what I don't like, and most importantly... why!! And now that I seem to have found my groove... I can dance on clouds and fly over rainbows!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Shut Your Flap!

OMG... so how cute are these!! Part of her new line of printable 3D things, these gift-giving wallets from Claudine Hellmuth are way cuter than store bought money or gift card holders. I got my hands on these just yesterday and my mind is reeling over how clever and adorable they are.

The kit comes with 17 pages of printable wallets and instructions, with plenty of designs for everyone in your life... boys, girls, tweens, moms, dads. It even comes with printable coupons you can fill out and give for all kinds of holidays. And if you think you'd never be able to figure it out, she's made videos on how to assemble them step by step!

And Claudine's talents seem to be endless when it comes to 3D printables! She's got tons of party favors like... cupcake holders that are ovens, colorful popsicles, retro cassette tapes. She's got birdies and trains, entire villages to make and so much more... all for instant download. So check out her Etsy shop if you want to impress your friends and family with your mad folding skills and some pretty darn adorable paper accessories!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Taking Time to Play...

If we think about the last time we actually played with paint and pencils and crayons and stamps — with no expectations and no judgements about our work — it was probably like... when we were 7 or so? I know for myself... I can't even remember what it was like to not make an icky face at my first attempt at anything!

Which is why I felt it was so absolutely necessary to take Mindy Lacefield's Play Journal workshop at the Art & Soul Retreat recently. She teaches... nay... preaches... living from your authentic childlike self and her fun and whimsical attitude is contagious!

Her work is so playful and visually stimulating in a witty, lighthearted way... that I just needed to be a part of that type of creation face-to-face...

That's why even though I've taken her classes online for almost a year now, I still felt compelled to learn with her in-person in a 2-day workshop. And I am so very happy that I did!

We started off with some warm-up exercises... drawing on deli paper with our non-dominant hand (we'd use that later in our journals). Once we crafted our journals (it was easy peasy!), we jumped right in to putting paint on paper, which is still always exciting and scary for me each time I do it!

Painting. Stamping. Mark-making. Drawing. Gluing. Lettering. These are things that just bring pure joy when there is no end result in mind. And it was fun! I gave myself permission to let go.

And it was so cool to watch my pages as they progressed. I ended up disassembling my journal because I wanted to add elements to multiple pages and my 7 year old self couldn't wait for them to dry (who am I kidding, that's the impatient me today!). I was so overcome with excitement and the desire to add more and more (and more!) that I found myself shoving lunch into my mouth faster than I could chew it... just so I could get back to the classroom more quickly. Come on! Hurry up! So you can have more fun!!

We had a fabulous group dynamic in our class and we all fed off of each other's energy. We journaled and shared stories, got a little teary-eyed, laughed a lot, shared some more, got ideas from each other and evolved as a group. At the end of day two we had a little show-and-tell. Everyone did such a great job and each person's creations were uniquely their own. It was a blast!

And after I returned home, the party didn't stop! I was obsessed with mark-making and doodling and painting and finding just the right piece of epemera to complete an empty space. I was kind of cracking myself up over cracking up. Is my therapist on call, I wondered?

But I finally came down a bit, off of the major adrenaline high I was on, and just enjoyed the whole process. I found that after Mindy's workshop, I was more free to make marks, really letting go of the fact that they might get covered up. I had more confidence that I could make those marks again if need be, or take the technique and use it as a new tool in another way on another page. And yes, I will be making like a gazillion more of these journals!

In fact, this mermaid is the result of what I created over that background above. I covered up a lot of marks and painting and drawing and little bits of ephemera. But I love this page oh so much. And I made sure to document it before I covered it. So anything I had, I'll know exactly how to re-create it again for another page.

To be honest,  I wasn't sure how much I'd learn from an in-person class from a teacher I had studied with online. But to my surprise, the person that signed up for that workshop and the person who came home from it ... well, they're two different people. And it's hard to find words that express what a wonderous time I had, and how much my art has changed as a result of it. I am over-the-moon excited every day knowing that all I had to do to move forward, was move backwards... and revisit my childhood self.

I'm so happy I remembered how to play. Makes life (and art) a lot more fun. Wheeeeeee!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Did. You. Ever.

Did you ever have an art piece you made that you ended up keeping? Well, my conjoined sideshow twins Willie and Tillie are now part of my very own personal collection. I had them for sale at $350, and while everyone enjoyed them and told me that was a great price... no one took them home.

I mean... come on! Look at their sweet little... ummm... freakishly scary faces... and crazy hair! They're simply adorable.

And all the tiny little details. This piece probably took over 20 hours to make. Getting the embellishments to look old was very zen-like for me. I love making new and vintage items look really aged, distressed and time-worn. In a perfectly imperfect kind of way! And people thought this was an antique piece! The highest of compliments.

I created this assemblage in my spare time over a span of several weeks. It was definitely a labor of Love. I found great joy in each step and even surprised myself along the way. It had been a while since I'd gotten to enjoy the actual journey a creative inspiration takes me on. And in the end, I decided that...

Not only did I love the journey, but I loved the finished piece as well. It was worth way more to my soul than my pocketbook and it's now hanging on my office wall. I get to look at the twins that I birthed every day. And they'll never grow old.