Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Book of Qualities


I have lived with Uncertainty for a long time.  I had thought ours would have been a much briefer affair.  I had no idea how intimate we'd become until you showed up.

And now you are asking me to leave him, and there are a few things I need to know.  Who are you?  What are your motives?  Can I trust you?  Is it really me you want to spend more time with or Uncertainty you yearn to visit?
                                                                                      J. Ruth Gendler

Freedom from worry, a goal to strive for!

Oh for the freedom of childhood!  As I watch my nearly 4 year old granddaughter, I see that maintaining their element of surprise and astonishment at each new day and each new experience can add dimension to one's life that seems to be missing from many of our adult lives.  When you smoosh around paint and scribble with pencils, bang on metal, spread solder we are fortunate to regain a piece of that freshness and openness that gives us such pleasure.  How fortunate is the artist!   We recreate nature, our emotions, our lives by the manipulation of inanimate tools.  We change nature, add to it, take away.  What a way to expend frustration, anger, sadness!  We, too, can have a run on the beach with abject glee without even leaving our studios.  Is that why we create art, for the freedom it gives us?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Grandmothers are blessed!


Greetings from the Aloha State!  We are spending our family Holiday Vacation, complete with my son-in-law, Clark.  I do resist calling him Sparky mostly!  It is hard not to relax while you are on the beach.  This the view from the deck!  However, silly me, I thought I just needed some forced down time.  As a result, I didn't bring anything to work on artwise!  How frustrating.  I don't think my granddaughter wants me cutting up her coloring books and stealing puzzle pieces.  And I have no independent transportation, so no sneaking trip to a craft/art store.  However, I don't really know where one is, as we are on the North Shore of Oahu, lots of surfers, otherwise. . .  And it is such a beautiful setting to free my muse!  If only I had brought some watercolor oil pastels, a black marker, and some water pens and a glue stick.  I could have gone to town.  Let this be a lesson, art is part of living and and food for the soul, not something one needs to relax from!!!  I am getting some reading in, tho.  

A new little book I have recently become acquainted with is "The Book of Qualities" by J. Ruth Gender.  It is really wonderful and so insightful.  In addition, her illustrations are fabulous!  Here is a passage that speaks to me.

Patience wears my grandmother's filigree earrings.  She bakes marvelous dark bread.  She has beautiful hands.  She carries great sacks of peace and purses filled with small treasures.  You don't notice Patience right away in a crowd, but suddenly you see her all at once, and then she is so beautiful you wonder why you never saw her before."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tinker Bell in search of CHOCOLATE!!!

Tinker Bell goes inside, outside, everywhere in search for CHOCOLATE!!! It's magic, you walk up to stranger's doors and they just hand you candy! This is really a miracle! Can we do this every day?

But Mama, I don't want the big one!

This one is just right! Just my size! The big ones are okay for sitting but not for me to take home.

My Beautiful Girls at the Pumpkin Patch

Aren't they just the most beautiful girls? I am so blessed and proud! And my son-in-law makes a great photographer!

October 2008 Calendar Journal Pages

More calendar pages from the Calendar Girlz 2008 RR. These are the ones for October in Vale's journal style calendar. I realize, now that I have looked at them, I forgot to photograph a couple pages, Dang! One of them I liked a lot.

This is one of my favorites, however I realized, after putting great big black letters "my journal", that it was Vale's calendar and not my journal!!! I did love the colors, tho!

This is one of my favorites, too, it really makes me feel like winter. I robbed the title from a country western singer's song title, but I don't remember who's song it is. I spent lots of time building up layers of white handmade papers, but white on white isn't too effective when you glue them on top of each other. So, I added some old lace, couldn't lose the texture in that.

I do love birds, so glad Vale had a bird theme calendar to work in. I used some of the Tim Holtz masks and I think one is from someone else, I think the artist that started making the masks to begin with. I used the distress inks to rub over the masks. I would like to practice with them some more. I really like them to add background interest. My calligraphy is still not up to what I'd like it to be, but then I don't practice, practice like Lisa Engelbrecht taught us in class. I sit in court sometimes, when I am tired of listening to everyone else ramble on and on and practice my calligraphy. My assistant has yet to ask me why my notes from court are so full of doodling and random words. She's too polite!

Here are the rest of the journal pages for September. I see I forgot to journal on a few! Journaling is not my forte, but I am working on it.

September 2008 Calender Girlz journal pages

Here are the journal pages I did in the calendar I did for September 2008. Unfortunately, I forgot to write down who's journal it was. The Halloween pages has a pocket for the little witch card to fit into.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Granddaughter's Sweater

This is a sweater I knitted for my granddaughter. She calls them "jackets". Just to show I can do something besides cut and paste! I also finished a pink and purple cardigan, but it needs something more so I will post it when finished!


I love making these little bird quiltlets/fabric collages, ala DJ Pettitt, Lisa Engelbrecht. I use the background fabrics made with techniques taught by Lisa using ink washes on muslin. Then I added bits of fabric, lace or ribbon and the bird image with buttons to complete the pieces.
Now all I have to do is to figure out how to hang them and if I should mount them on some heavier material. I forget to say I backed the images with wool felt pieces for stability.
The next ones I make I will extend the washes closer to the edges, check out what words are on the music before I sew it into the collage/quiltlet! And maybe work more lace or fabric into the piece.

Then I hope to utilize the soldered holders like DJ did as hangars for them.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mini Bird Quilt

This is a page I did in one of the Calendergirlz group calendars. It is a mini quilt using techniques learned from Lisa Engelbrecht and DJ Pettitt. Plus I love birds and seem to put them on every single thing I do these days. The background is scrapbook paper, then some color washed canvas with a page from a bird calendar showing the anatomy of a bird layered again with fabric and a bird stamped on another piece of color washed muslin. There is a matching tag tied into the binding with the blue fiber that is showing.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Want to see Adorable Children?

Hannah and Charlie, two of the cutest grandchildren in the land, having a great time playing together at grandma's.

Lynne Perrella 2008

So, here I am, two years later, again taking Lynne Perrella's class. She is such an inspirational instructor. Talk about making you think outside your comfort level! It is really challenging and fun, too. These two photos are parts of the large collage I did. Lynne cuts it and folds it into a book for you, these are two of the pages that result. I am still working on it so will post the more finished pieces when they are ready. Already they are looking different.

Here is my tribute to the Fourth of July. It is a spread in my calendar RR. I forgot to take a photo of the card open! It has images inside. The background is a portion of a collage done in Lynne Perrella's class I took at The Artists' Nook in 2006! I can't believe it was that long ago. The bottom has a postcard on it where I used another part of that same collage as the background, Celebrate Freedom Day!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Did I tell you I love calligraphy now?

I am still practicing my calligraphy. I hope Lisa Engelbrecht is proud of the inspiration she was to me in her class at the Artists Nook in Fort Collins! I never thought I could do calligraphy, and I still can't, but I am getting closer. I am going to try to make a fabric book similar to the one she did using every letter of the alphabet and having a quotation utilizing each letter, one on each page. This is page one! F is for feathers. Maybe I was forced to watch Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" over and over again. Who knows? I am not totally satisfied with my first page, but it is okay. Hopefully by the time I get to the last page, my technique will better. It takes lots and lots of practice I am learning. And it takes quite a bit of warming up before you start, each and every time. Well I don't think Lisa does, but I have to. Thanks, Lisa!

Doing Art with Grandchildren, the BEST!

While I was visiting my granddaughter in California in May, we did "art". We took big pieces of paper and fingerpainted them. Then I cut them in the center to make a four page book, with the painted surfaces all showing ( ala Lynne Perrella). Then we decorated the pages with pictures from
magazines, pens, markers, and for my granddaughter, the stickers were the very best. She can sticker faster than anyone I ever saw. On a serious note, it was amazing how beautiful they turned out and how personal the "journaling" with the pictures and phrases from magazines ended up being. It seems what you "find" in life is what you need in life, as long as you are open to the interpretation. Do Art with children, it expands your heart.
This is another try at DJ's technique. I used stronger colors this time and liked it just as well. Although it is labeled a journal cover, I have yet to make it into a journal. I'll post that when I have a chance to complete it. It will be a fabric cover of some kind and have picked some lovely tulip calico for a base. I think I will get started on that soon! Summer seems to be a good time for me to work as I use my dining room as my studio and it looks out into my backyard with lots of good sun (southern exposure) to inspire me to work on my art. However, sometimes I just find myself watching the birds. I usually have a fox or two back there, but for some reason, haven't seen them for several weeks now. The skunks, I can do without, so am glad I haven't seen them. I'm okay with wild life in my back yard (in the middle of Denver) but don't care for the smelly ones!

Oops! I don't know how to work this thing

Well, I'll try to do this again. Somehow I lost the text for the DJ Pettit Journal Cover post. The photos show the front and back, but not the inside, which is just as fun. The journal was an engineering masterpiece. Quite challenging, with all the "frosting" of the surfaces with different grounds to have a great surface to work on. DJ has obviously experimented quite a bit with different surfaces for her beautiful paintings. I loved learning or trying to learn her style and the ease with which she creates her peaceful but complex paintings. A combination of techniques I will find useful in many other areas. I highly recommend anyone take one of DJ's and/or Traci's workshops whenever you might have the opportunity. They both seem to have the knack for making what looks complicated seem easy.

The journal cover, DJ's part of the workshop

DJ Pettitt and Traci Bautista Workshop

The first day we painted papers and fabric, covered the book covers with our painted papers and fabrics, added various papers along with our decorated papers into a book. I bound the book with waxed linen, then added the torn fabric strips, buttons, pompoms, etc to the binding to make a very fun binding! Traci is a fabulous instructor and really inspires you to try virtually anything to make art on paper on fabric, few, if any, traditional techniques. It is so amazing to see how they all turn out after everyone is finished. I used folded file folders as the "covers" for the signatures. I still need to sew up the sides to make them into pockets to add more ephemera to my book/journal.

Butterfly Pavillion

We took a trip to the Butterfly Pavillion during Hannah's visit. The butterflies were beautiful and fortunately a bit sluggish as I was able to catch some nice photos of some of them. Of course the brightest and most striking were camera shy. It was a very hot day and the pavillion is very humid, so all of us were sluggish! Hannah was brave enough to hold Rosie the tarantula. Her mother and I declined the invitation. Art in Nature, one might say.

I gave my 3 1/2 year old granddaughter, Hannah, a Cupcake Party in honor of her recent visit to Denver! As you can see, she loved decorating the cupcakes. I can also tell you, she loved eating them just as well, even maybe more than the fairy wings a dear friend brought for her. We all enjoyed the party, even the little boys!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Joining the Convent

Every time I watch "The Nun's Story" or "The Sound of Music", I want to go join a convent, but only one that still wears the stiffly starched habits. That way I can wear red underwear under them. Go figure, I was raised a Methodist! However, this started as two full page advertisements from a magazine, woven together. I covered the whole page with Golden Matt Medium so the washes wouldn't stain the paper, but would be very transparent. I used lots more washes than I thought it would take to get some color down. The nun is a transparency I printed from some where. I love religious iconography.

A sample of a page done in a calendar RR using the calligraphy on fabric I learned from Lisa Engelbrecht's class at The Artists' Nook in Fort Collins! First we painted on the canvas scrap, then used ink to put "Mother" on the painted canvas. An excellent class, I think the name of it was Writing on Fabric! She is a great teacher and makes calligraphy seem easy and doesn't even make your neck stiff!

Dinner at American Girl Restaurant

Can't help but add photos of my darling granddaughter, Hannah! She's three and a half, going on 25! We had dinner at the American Girl Restaurant with our dollies Hannah let me take Kit for my dolly. She is giving Bitty Baby a sip of tea! We had a wonderful time