Friday, February 25, 2011

One Little Word: Feb. Update (yoga and health)

This year, I'm working on three different art journals: one that focuses on my one little word for the year (health); one that focuses on my intention (to be fabulous and fifty); and one that focuses on a list of traditional resolutions.  I am inviting blog readers to play along in an art journal, tag book, blog posts, photographs or whatever form works for them.  You can read more about the project in this post.
In my art journal which focuses on health, I wrote down twelve areas on which to focus, and I revisit them each month.  I am doing really well on starting a healthy eating plan.  I joined weight watchers online, and I have lost ten pounds.  I feel much better and my work wardrobe has doubled, as I know fit in more of my clothes. This month, I also started to move and exercise more. I haven't yet joined a gym or started weight training, but that will come. I'm doing a lot for my mental health, by letting go of a lot of unnecessary stress of child rearing and work. Starting next month, I really need to start on the medical areas: going to the dentist, finding a doctor I like, getting up to date on routine medical tests, etc.
The art journal page up top is about doing yoga. . . something I try to do two to three times a week (the other days of the week I try to do something more aerobic).  I love how yoga makes both my mind and body feel.  In doing a yoga tape recently, the instructor said "If you let go of everything you don't need, what do you have left . . ." and this had a very profound effect on me.  It really helped me to let go of so many petty, negative things and face the day in a lighter, positive way.  I also found a great post at the Beauty of Different post, which contained the thought, "all we have are our bodies and our breath."  The post, which you can find here, is really inspiring.  Be sure to check out the other posts she has linked to get the full story.  I'm curious as to whether any of you practice yoga and what you think of it.
And, of course, I'm very curious about how you are doing on your One Little Word projects for 2011.  Please leave links in the comments section.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Weekend Update

A little of this and that before the weekend begins:
1.  My soccer boys (my son Henry's high school team) begin play in the California Central Coast Section Champsionship tournament this weekend. They finished so well that they received a bye into the quarterfinal match, which will take place Saturday morning (California time).  As always, domestic and international good-luck wishes are much appreciated.  The picture above of team captain Miguel dumping a bag of ice on the coach after the league championship game was taken by local sportswriter Mark Foyer.  My boy is the one in the right, back corner laughing up a storm. I'm using a pictue of Mark's because...
2. My computer hard drive is well and truly dead.  Sigh. The computer is only three months old and so still under warranty, but it will take a bit of effort to get Dell to admit that and send me a new one.  Just a reminder:  go back up your pictures and anything else important on your hard drive. . .
3. The month is almost over, which means it's time to check in with your one little word, resolutions and intentions journals, tag books, etc.  I'll (hopefully) put up a few posts between now and the end of the month where you can link your progress.  If you haven't done anything in your art journals this month, yet, this weekend is a great time to pull it out and work on it.  Remember, one page a month, that's all I ask.
4. I found a cooking blog I really like!  It focuses on traditional Mexican cooking, and I think you'll really enjoy it.  You can check it out at this link.  It's called Mexico in My Kitchen. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Finally finished!

My blog friend Karen has chosen "finish" as her word for 2011, and that something I can relate to.  Last Sunday I took a class with Connie and stayed afterwards to finish up some pieces, including this collage I made with street art from Paris. You may recall it from when I asked for your input in this post.  Sorry for the rotten picture, but my computer is feeling a bit ill and I'm limping along using DS Henry's computer. Hopefully mine will get fixed soon.
It felt really good to finish this piece.  Is there something you've finished lately?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Something very different

I made this collage way back in October but had never gotten around to finishing it.  During my Sunday class with Connie, I brought it along to get some suggestions for how to finish it.  All it really needed was a little highlighting in some of the painted areas. I love Frida Kahlo, and it was fun to make this tribute to her.  Blog friend Sian sent me a fabulous link to a blog post about why it's good to blog like Frida. Click here to read it. The October class was called skeleton portraits and is definitely one of the most unusual classes I have taken (and I've taken quite a few unusual classes!). What's the oddest or most unusual thing you've ever created?

Monday, February 21, 2011

What would you give your kids that you didn't have?

It's been a while since I've done an art journal page, and I've seen so many great pages lately that I got antsy and started making backgrounds.  Once I had a background I liked, I looked around for some good prompts, and I settled on the current prompt for Creative Therapy. The question is: "What would you give your kids that you don't have?"  
My page reads: "A passport. . . a passport with lots of stamps inside . . . a passport to travel the world and time with the family to do it.  What am I giving my children that I wanted? As a kid, the farthest I ever traveled was Houston, Texas. In High School, I got to Chicago and Massachusetts.  With our kids, my husband and I have taken them to Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Hungary, France, Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic. I hope they always love to travel and have a better understanding of the world and its people." The background is paper and paint.  The pictures is one I took a couple of summers ago of the canal outside the apartment we rented in Venice for a week, just of of St. Mark's Square.
How would you answer the question?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Strong hearted and head strong

I took a great class today.  It was an intermediate collage class taught by Connie Andrews, in which the idea was to build a collage involving personal icons.  I chose a trio of family heritage pictures that are all about women who are strong hearted and head strong - just like me. I used a key, a sacred heart milagro, some religious medals, a dragon fly charm and and some coins - all of which speak to me on a deep level.  I really, really love this piece!  Connie and I got into a bit of a debate after class as to what the focal point of this collage is.  What do you think it is?  Where does your eye immediately go?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fred Mullett Anyone?

Here's a couple cards that I made during a class I taught last Saturday.  The techniques are inspired by Fred Mullett's stamps and the classes he has posted about on this website, which you can find here.  I stamped the image above and embossed it using two different colors of embossing powder (silver and black).  I then applied some washes of acrylic paint.
This card also uses a Fred Mullett stamp, embossed with a variety of different colors of embossing powder.  Since it's all sparkly and shiny, it looks much better in real life.  Fred calls this technique "painting with embossing powders."  Tim Holtz also used this technique for one of his 2008 Christmas tags, which you can find here.
I have never taken a class with Fred Mullett, but I sure would like to.  I admire how he takes stamping  to a different level and turns it into mixed media work. Have any of you ever taken a class with Fred Mullett? If so, what did you think?  Is there any other teacher who you would like to take a class from?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Prize Day for One World, One Heart Blog Event

The One World, One Heart Blog Event was so much fun!  It was great to visit blogs from all over the world and discover some new favorites.  Here's a couple I want to highlight that others might enjoy:
Altered Alchemy - she does all kinds of cool things with metal and rust
Altered Bits - Assemblage to make your heart sing!
Digital Collage - Something for you photoshop fanatics
Athena's Creative Journal - art journaling with an Italian flare
When the Sun Comes Out - stained glass from Houston
And, today, February 17th is prize day!  I had a whopping 83 comments, and I used the random number generator to choose the winner - #42 on my comment list:
Debrina of Debrina's Altered Art Diary.  Her blog is very, very cool and definitely worth checking out.

Congratulations, and thanks everyone for playing along.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Bring it in. . . Champions on 3. . . 1, 2, 3, champions!"

Well, the boys did it!  They won their match tonight, 2-0.  I think the good luck wishes from all over the globe surely helped.  So, for the first time in over 25 years, Half Moon Bay High School is the PAL Ocean Division League Champion!  The team will move on to play in the Central Coast Section Championship of California, starting next week.  But, for now, we get to savor a terrific season.  The boys finished 15-2-2 overall, 11-1-2 in league, and, best of all, it's become cool to play soccer again at the high school.  I think it's all about the jackets. . . but that's a story I'll have to tell later. For now, thanks for all your support, and good-night!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Today is the big day . . .

We're waiting for the big match.  My son  Henry's High School Varsity team is in first place in the league by one point.  Today is the last day of the season, and they're playing the second place team this evening (Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. California time).  A win or a tie will give them the championship.
Good luck wishes for strong legs, clear heads, dedicated hearts and many goals gratefully accepted!
Thanks, and I'll let you know how it turns out.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Picking Daffodils

Just north of where I live, there's a place called Montara Mountain,
Many years ago, there was a nursery on the mountain, which sold daffodils.  Although the nursery is long gone, clumps of naturalized daffodils remain in hidden grottos.
On Sunday, some friends and I went for a hike on the mountain in search of daffodils and pretty afternoon light. We found both:
At the end of the day, we headed home, our hearts filled with flowers, friendship and light:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Am I a (professional) photographer?

I've been getting an increasing number of calls and emails lately from people asking me to take pictures for various things -mainly for local athletes and sports teams.  For example, the High School basketball coach wanted a large format action photograph of each of his senior players to present at the last home game of the season.  Because the coach is someone I know well and has given a lot to the community in general and my son in particular (coaching him in both basketball and baseball), I agreed to do it as a favor to him.  I think he would have paid me something if I had asked him, but I didn't.  I'm pretty happy with the two pictures I produced - the one at left, and this one:

Last year, I also took photographs of all the Middle School sports teams and athletes.  I created a variety of packages (with various size team and individual size pictures, buttons, etc.) to offer for sale to parents.  I did it as a fundraiser for the school sports programs, making no money for it myself.  We raised about $3,500 for the school over the course of the year, and all the families were very happy with the results.  This year, mercifully, I have a terrific partner in the venture, so I'm not doing all the work myself! 
I have also, on occasion, taken pictures for the local little league, my son's travel baseball team, and my son's soccer club.  I have done all of these as fundraisers for the organization, donating everything over cost back to the program. I have also donated photographs to school auctions (of San Francisco Giants baseball players) and have had them sell for hundreds of dollars!  I have enjoyed it and never thought about making money for myself on these ventures.  Then, this week, the same basketball coach asked me if I would be willing to take the pictures for the JV basketball team, as he was unable to schedule something with the regular company with which the high school usually contracts for sports photographs.  He offered to pay a fee, and for the first time, I really considered it.  In the end, I told him I would do it as fundraiser for the high school sports program instead. But, I also have a request from the local soccer club to take team pictures.  Since I don't have a kid in the soccer club, I am going to keep the profit I make on the pictures, rather than donate it back.
So, this has raised all kinds of questions in my mind - Does this make me a professional photographer? Should I pursue this further?  Have any of you considered these questions before?  What have you concluded?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pass the Book Winner & A Few Thoughts

Congratulations go out to Ginger of Ginger's Life of Spice on being the next recipient of "Good Mail Day" from Sian's Pass the Book.  Ginger, email me at with your mail address, and I'll drop it in the mail for you. 
Sorry to have been a bit absent lately.  I've been quite busy in my real life, catching up on my job a bit this week and continuing to help manage my son's high school soccer team. Their team is still at the top of the table with two matches left to play.  They are scheduled to play the team currently in second place on Wednesday (the last day of the season).  Good luck wishes definitely appreciated!
I also taught a class today called "stamps + embossing + paint = fun."  The purpose was to show how to combine and layer paint & embossing powders to make rubber stamped images more "mixed media" for use in art journals.  We had a great time, but the best part was when one of my students said, "I know I came to learn these advanced techniques, but the best thing you taught me was how to properly ink and stamp my stamp so that I can get a good, clear image!" Isn't it fun when you learn something unexpected in a class! What was the last unexpected thing you learned in class?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Last Call: Pass the (Mail Art) Book

Here's one more page from my art journal featuring letters exchanged during courtship.  It's all about waiting for the mail to arrive and the anticipation of what will be inside each letter.
Also, this is the last call for anyone who wants to get in on the drawing for the Pass the Book selection, "Good Mail Day."  I'll draw the next recipient tomorrow morning (Friday, California time).  For details, go to this post.
When was the last time you anticipated getting something good in the mail?  Do you take a moment to savor your letter or package or do you rip right in to it?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mail Art Journal: Love Letters, Part 2

Yesterday I posted a couple of pages from a new art journal I'm creating that uses copies of letters as the pages.  Those pages were letters my husband and I exchanged some 25-30 years ago.  I also decided to include in this art journal copies of letters which my parents exchanged 55 years ago, during their engagement.  My mother was still in Houston, Texas, but my father had already moved out to California to start his career.  My fabulous sister found their letters, scanned them and made books for each of us kids a few years ago.  At the front and back of my art journal, I have envelopes in which I have tucked letters - one from mom to dad (in the envelope above) and one from dad to mom (below):
I added some index prints from their wedding pictures (my same fabulous sister scanned my parents wedding pictures and put them on a disk for each kid) and a little stamping onto the letters.  I'm not sure why it scanned so poorly, but you get the idea.  I have a few more pages to go to finish up the art journal, but I'm really liking how it turned out.
In one of Dina Wakley's classes, she mentioned an artist that often used letters in his art - I think it was Matisse. I remember that the idea caught my attention then, and I've been wanting to get back to it.  The book "Good Mail Day" (which I blogged about and offered up in Pass the Book at this post) brought that thought up again and provided the spark of inspiration for this art journal.  I'll be teaching a class based on this idea (not just for love letters) in April, if you are in the Bay Area and would like to take it.  Have you ever used personal letters in your art or layouts?

Mail Art Journal: Love Letters, Part 1

I was inspired by a book called "Good Mail Day" to create an art journal where the pages are photocopies of letters and envelopes.  I am lucky enough to have saved all the letters which my husband and I sent to each other during the three years that I was in law school in Massachusetts, and he was doing graduate work in California and New York.  For the page above, I copied one of his letters as the background.  I stamped some flowers and postoids on it and then journaled on some artist tape.  I also made a background page by copying a bunch of envelopes:
I added a picture of us (circa the early 80's), some stamping and some journaling.  It's a fun project so far, and I'll be posting some more pages tomorrow, but with love letters from a different couple . . . any guesses as to who that would be?
If you are interested in receiving the book which gave me the inspiration for this art journal, check out my post about Pass the Book at this link.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

When I Grow Up . . . (a story)

This is a "story book" I wrote for a Shimelle class called "When I Grow Up." I plan to use Sian's story telling Sundays as a way to finish up the art journal I'm making for the class. 
Once upon a time, there was a little girl.  When she grew up, she wanted to be a veterinarian because she had 52 cats and loved them all.  When she was a little bigger, she wanted to be a spy, so she could be just like Harriet.
When she was eight, she discovered that she wanted to be a photographer because she mailed away cereal box tops to get her first camera.
When she went to high school, she decided to become an architect because she liked to draw and plan.  She also thought about being a choreographer because she loved ballet but knew she really wasn't a very good dancer. When she grew up, she wanted to be tall and pretty, so she could have a boyfriend.
When she was in college, she wanted to be a photojournalist because she had gone to San Francisco to buy her first SLR camera and learned to develop black and white film.
In college, she decided to become a lawyer when she grew up because everyone said she would.
When she was in college, she thought about being a rock 'n' roll drummer and maybe an artist . . . just because.
After law school, she wanted to be an arbitrator, professor or author when she grew up because practicing law was kind of boring.
The older she got, the more she realized that, when she grew up, she really, really, really wanted to be a mom, so she could share her life and her love with her children.
When she got older, she no longer wanted to drum, but she really wanted to make art . . . because she realized she needed to.
And when she grew up, she was loved forever - just for being who she was - by a tall, dark, handsome man;
she became mom to the two most beautiful children in the world;
she taught and wrote about the law with passion; and
she took photographs and happily traveled the road to becoming an artist.
The End

Friday, February 4, 2011

Pass the Book: Good Mail Day

Edited to add:  I have selected Ginger as the next recipient. Thanks to all participants.
Have you heard about Sian's wonderful project From High in the Sky called "Pass the Book"?  It's a wonderful way of sharing books and inspiration and making connections with other bloggers.  You can read all about it and how it works at this link, but it's quite simple.  Sian posts about a book, and if you are interested in the book, you leave a comment with the promise to read it, gather some inspiration from it, post about it on your blog, and then send it along to someone who comments on your post.  I was the lucky recipient of "Good Mail Day," and I've really enjoyed it. It's all about the world of "postal art" and the "good mail" network, where participants send "good mail" to each other, receiving the same in return. It certainly opened up a whole new window on the world to me! Even if you're not ready to take the plunge into the world of postal art, the book contains lots of wonderful technique ideas that can be applied to other paper crafts. 
The book inspired me to send out a few "good mail" missives:
I've stuck mainly with a postcard format for this round, using rubber stamps, collage images and other goodies from my stash.  The postcard on the left has two little envelopes in which I have tucked folded, stamped inserts on which I could write.  And yes, I'm going to attempt to send the spray ink bird through the mail, as is, no envelope.  It's mounted on a piece of mat board, with another piece of watercolor paper on the other side, which has the addressee's information.  I'm not sure what my post office is going to say when I go to mail it today, but I'll let you know!  The book has also given me another BIG inspiration . . . to create an art journal class focusing on using letters, text and mail as the basis for the journal itself.  I'm super excited about this idea, and I'll likely be offering the class in April.
If you're interested in receiving "Good Mail Day" as the next pass the book participant, just leave me a comment below.  I'll choose a name in about a week and then send the book on its way . . . in a beautifully decorated package, of course!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Maria Linda's Pressed Mermaid Album (altered book spread)

My local mixed media group has an ongoing altered book round robin, in which each participant creates art work in someone else's book before passing it along to the next person.  This month, I had the good fortune to work in Lisa's Secrets of the Sea book.  Lisa is an amazing artist, who incorporates fabric into her work and loves the ocean. (She also lurks on my blog, so "Hi Lisa! I hope you don't mind this spoiler.")  Inspired by Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Album, which I blogged about here and here, I created this spread entitled "Maria Linda's Pressed Mermaids." The journaling reads "I know I was supposed to use this album to press coastal wildflowers, but I found it so much more fun to sit by the tidepools and wait for mermaids (curious as they are) to alight on my album and then I would SLAM it shut and press the mermaids.  They'd escape and leave these imprints."  The tag (upper left corner) actually goes in an envelope in the back of the book and explains my inspiration.  The background uses a scraped and painted technique, and I covered the whole thing with glass bead gel for extra texture and shine.  I hope Lisa doesn't mind me spoiling her surprise too much.  If you were her, would you have preferred to be surprised? Or do you like getting a little sneak peek?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Congratulations boys!

Just a quick note to long-time followers with the result of today's big game.  Henry and his Varsity soccer team were in second place, one point behind the league leader, going into today's game against the team at the top of the table (in soccer, you get three points for a win, one point for a tie and no points for a loss).  They were down 1-0 at the half and then gave up another goal about 10 minutes into the second half.  But the boys never gave up.   They converted a corner kick  mid-way through the second half and then just kept attacking the opponent's goal.  They tied the game when Henry (he's #6 in the front front row) took a shot that the goalie blocked but couldn't grab, and another boy (Miguel, #17) pounded it in.  With just two minutes left, Henry took the ball on the right wing and made a beautiful long pass to Miguel.  The goalie had to come out and Miguel, with incredible composure, chipped it over the goalie's head, and it bounced on into the goal.  The fans went wild!  We have nine seniors on our team, and, even though the boys have an incredible amount of talent (2-3 of them are talking of playing in college or trying out for a team in Mexico), they have never managed to win a league championship.  We're all hoping this is their year.
Also, if you're intrigued by the One World, One Heart blog event I posted about earlier, there's still plenty of time to join in.  Check out this link for more information.

One World, One Heart Blog Event

I heard about this wonderful event linking bloggers from all over the world and am excited to participate this year! The One World, One Heart blog event is described in detail at this link.  It's a way to reach out and connect with other bloggers from all over the world.  In order to participate, all you need to do is to link up (in a proper format, see the link for details), introduce yourself, and offer up a prize, with the winner to be selected on February 17.  Here's what I have to offer:
It's an altered slide mailer, with the Maya Angelou quote "Let nothing dim the light that shines within" stamped inside.  If you would like an opportunity to win my slide mailer, simply leave a comment (and make sure there's some way I can contact you, like a blog link or email address).  
Now to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about my blog:
My name is Maria Ontiveros, but I go by Rinda in blogland.  "Rinda" is a childhood nickname, a derivative of my full name "Maria Linda" (which became "Marinda" and then simply "Rinda).  IRL, I am a law professor who specializes the the area of labor and employment law. I have been married for 25 very happy years and have two fabulous, sporty children (DD Clara is 12 and loves the water, especially the beach; DS Henry is 15 and loves soccer and baseball - not necessarily in that order). I live in beautiful Northern California, in a coastal town about 20 miles south of San Francisco.
I am a photographer, scrapbooker and mixed media artist, and my blog focuses on my art (with just a little of my life thrown in).  I love to tell a good story, too (something I inherited from my father).  Most recently, I have been spending most of my creative energy working in my art journals and learning a little about photoshop.
So, new readers, welcome to my blog.  And old, dear friends, thanks for being part of my blog world.  It's sunny and beautiful today in Northern California, with clear blue skies and a calm ocean outside my window. I'm sending a little of that your way . . .