Thursday, January 31, 2013

PPF: A Crowning Achievement

Finally - a painted art journal page for Paint Party Friday!  The last few weeks I've been posting paintlesss art journal pages from an online class I've been taking. The process of creating those paintless pages has been really helpful in setting my muse free to create in a larger format that incorporates collage of paper, images that are photographs which I took, my drawing and paint.   I created this page for the January "crown" challenge over at the Art Journal Journey Challenge Blog.  The journaling reads "She misplaced her crown in a foreign country, and her world went sideways."    I feel like I am moving into a new phase in my style.
This page is in my road atlas art journal.  I thought I'd share a couple of pages in progress, so that you could get a sense of the backgrounds I'm creating on.
What do you think?  Do you see a progression in my style in these pages?
You can see more painted pages by visiting Paint Party Friday at this link.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Photographer's Eye

Vignette #5 Sunset Reflection
In my mind, I hear my friend Lynn repeating her famous statement, "I'm not a stay at home mom. I'm a stay in the car mom." Because, once again, I am sitting in the car, waiting to pick up one of my children.  At least I live in a beautiful place, and my photographer's eye spies a lovely sunset.  I snap the photograph, but am surprised when I look at my iphone screen:
The camera lens was tilted lower than I realized, and I have caught a reflection of the sunset in the hood of my car. I marvel that there are times when the camera's eye is better than my original vision.  At least my photographer's eye recognizes a good capture when I see it.  After editing the photograph,  I readjust my stance and capture the sunset I expected in the first place.
My Photographer's Eye is a semi-regular series designed to feature my instagram photography and a brief accompanying narrative. You can see the other vignettes in this series by clicking on this link.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Look Up//Look Down #3 and #4

Helena started a weekly photography meme called "Look Up//Look Down."  In my back yard the other day, I looked up to see  a beautiful blue sky with a very interesting shaped cloud (I think I see a crab. What do you see?).  I looked down and found some precious  blue forget-me-nots.  I thought the pair was perfect for the challenge. 
Since I joined the look up//look down  meme a week late, I'm posting a second set  of  photographs from the same day:
I might like this pair even better than the first set, but they all put me in the mood for Spring - how about you?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Playing with Paper 53 (Digital Creating)

I've been spending some time playing with the Paper 53 app on my ipad, and my favorite thing to do, so far, is to make watercolor blob faces (a technique I learned - using real water colors - in the 101 Faces class offered by Carla Sonheim). It's fairly easy, and I'm happy with the results.
My attempts at digital art journaling with the Paper app, on the other hand, was not as successful:
I'm keeping it small because I don't really like it - LOL! But I learned a lot while doing it, and I'm posting it so that, a year or so from now, I can see how far I've come! 
It's been fun to experiment and bring the skills I've learned in IRL drawing, painting and art journaling to the digital sketching world.  The eraser and rewind functions are particularly amazing, and I wish they existed in real life.
Have you tried anything new lately?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Peek Inside My Life

Pacifica Moonrise, Jan. 25, 2013
Outside My Window... we've got off and on rain, cool temperatures and blue skies. It must be winter in northern California
Around the house and garden... the dogs take up a surprising amount of my time.  They're working out their pecking order. Strangely, the cat (with her claws) rules the roost.
I am thinking... about all the soccer games this week. Henry has three games, including a big home game on Friday night where the local youth teams are invited. We get an announcer and run a big snack bar. It's always a lot of fun! Sadly, Clara's basketball season is over. But she and I are thinking of signing up with "Team in Training."
I am thankful for... Henry getting into a college close to home (Sonoma State). Although I'd like him to seriously consider University of Oregon or Gonzaga University, he is relieved to have an option that is within a few hours drive from here. He's still waiting to hear from the University of San Francisco.
From the kitchen... a lot of repeat home cooked meals (hamburgers, spaghetti with ground turkey meat sauce, teriyaki chicken, beef and broccoli, pork chops) alternated with a lot of take-out meals. 
I am wearing ... my Tim Holtz painting apron. It's fun to get out my paints and gesso again! 
I am hoping ... for good news on Paul's health. He's having a biopsy at the end of the week to better determine his current situation and to help the doctors figure out what the next steps should be, as well as his longer term prognosis. For now, I'm just really happy that he's done with chemo and is around the house to help.
I am reading... lots of lecture notes and power point slides. I have a very busy teaching schedule  this semester.  Although it's difficult, I'm enjoying being back in the classroom.
I am busy creating... art journal pages that integrate paper, painting and drawing. It's fun to bring together all the various skills I've been developing over the last few years.  Also having a lot of fun playing with Paper 54 on my ipad and taking lots and lots of photographs.  My muse is definitely on fire right now.
I am hearing... my conscience telling me it's time to get back to the gym.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Photographer's Eye

Vignette #3: The Milk Thief
Finishing up my breakfast while catching up on my blog reading, I push my empty cereal bowl aside.  My heart breaks as I read Deb's blog post about having to say farewell to her beloved cat.  My heart is warmed by the pictures in her tribute.  I look up, and there's my cat acting just like Deb's Fancy Jane! My photographer's eye urges me to capture the moment and tells me that this image will look even better in black and white. 
Vignette #4: Time Warp
Walking the dogs,  I stop to let them sniff around.  I look up and there's a camper which looks like it came from a different century. It's a classic and still in operation! My photographer's eye loves the curve of the camper and how the colors in the plant pop against the cool silver and blue of its body. I snap the picture and double check the date on my iphone to make sure it's really 2013.
My Photographer's Eye is a semi-regular series designed to feature my instagram photography and a brief accompanying narrative.

Friday, January 25, 2013

This and That . . . (sketches, freebies and a winner)

I finally had a chance to do two things I've been wanting to do for a while: have a artist's date devoted to sketching and start on Alisa Burke's Sketchbook Delight, Part 2 class, which I purchased quite a while ago. So far, the class is focusing on everyday objects and trying to capture them in a somewhat realistic manner.
It's fairly difficult, but I'm enjoying it! 
I also just received two styluses to use with the Paper 53 app for the ipad and purchased the enhanced creativity pack.  This has given me the opportunity to create digital water color pictures.   I'm facing a pretty steep learning curve with the app, but I'm willing to share my first attempt - a picture of our cat, J.J.
I admit it's pretty goofy, but I'm posting it so that later I can see how far I've come.   If you want to see some fantastic Paper 53 drawings, check out this post on Alisa Burke's blog. It's definitely something to aspire to.  These projects are part of my 2013 intention to finish some existing classes and projects.  Anyone else knocking some things off your to do list?
There's a couple of other interesting FREE things I wanted to bring to everyone's attention:
Strathmore Paper just announced their line up of free 2013 Classes.  I took a few in 2012, with mixed results, but they're free!  You can sign up at this link.
If you've been enjoying my "dry" art journal pages, check out Kelly Kilmer's blog (here).  She shares a lot of information about doing this type of collage. 
If you're looking for some art journal inspiration, check out this free workshop (21 prompts on the topic of "get lost") offered by Artsyville.
Finally, I've been remiss in announcing the winner from my 2013 Blog Plan and Give-Away post.  The winner is Carolyn of the Mess, Muddle and Fun blog. I am looking forward to creating a custom package to send her.  Thanks to everyone who commented and gave me feedback on my blog. It seems like eclectic diversity is what you all want; so that's what you'll keep seeing! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

PPF: Paintless and Upside Down

Happy Paint Party Friday! I'm sharing my latest batch of dry or paintless art journal pages that I made for an online class offered by Kelly Kilmer. I think this first one, celebrating the joy of making art is my favorite for today.  For me, it strikes the proper balance between simplicity and clutter.  I do like both simple and busy styles, but they are sometimes hard for me to get right.  I do like this simple page I made:
It's about keeping focused on and holding tight to what is paramount in my life.  And though this next page was fun to make, it feels a bit too cluttered to me:
It's a few thoughts on my daily gratitude practice, and my favorite thing about it was using an upside-down focal!  My last two pages are also a bit cluttered for my taste:
Both of these use a technique of reflecting focal images (one right side up and one upside down). For the top page, all about mothers and daughters, I paired a photograph of my mother with a photograph of me (plus added a photo of my grandmother and great grandmother). The journaling is all about me and my daughter, Clara.  The last page is about how I could use some more time to reflect.  I used two (slightly different) photographs I took of an angel statue and a post card made my by friend the amazing digital artist Ingrid Pomeroy.
I hope you found some ideas here to inspire you.  To check out other entries in this week's paint party, check out this link.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Photographer's Eye (a new series)

I appreciate how photography has helped me to see the world differently. Since I have become more and more involved in this wonderful art form, I pause more often to look around and see things with my photographer's eye.  Often times, I capture images on my iphone and edit them in instagram.  I want to share these images, along with the story of the image on my blog. So, I am starting a new semi-regular series called "My Photographer's Eye." It will feature an image (or two) and a few words setting the scene. I think it will represent what I want to do on my blog and that it is a fitting way to celebrate my 1,000th blog post.  I hope you enjoy these vignettes.
Vignette 1: Dill
It's been a busy day, but I managed to squeeze in a big grocery shopping trip. After piling the bags on the counter, I realize I will have to clean the refrigerator out a bit before I can manage to put the groceries away. Wedged in the back, there's a mason jar with the last bits of the canned pickles I purchased last fall from the school garden.  I dump the contents in the sink and move on with my chores. After stocking the pantry and the fridge, I turn to do the dishes. I look down and see a sprig of dill, sitting on the porcelain, waiting to be washed down the disposal. My photographer's eye is struck by the beauty of its shape and color; its simplicity and its elegance. I capture the photograph before I turn on the faucet and move along my day.
Vignette 2:  The Jeep
I am running up to the high school to meet my photographer friend, the amazing Becky Ruppel. She is going to take the photos for the soccer team this year, and I need to get the order forms from her.  I pull into a parking spot and immediately spot the mud-spattered jeep beside me.  My photographer's eye loves the contrast of the mud on paint and the amazing pattern created by the muck (click on the photo to see in better detail).  I desperately wish the light was better.  Becky walks up, takes one look at the jeep and says, "man, I wish I had my camera with me." 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Look Up//Look Down #2

Last week, while on my Artist's Date (posted here), I thought it would be a good chance to complete my next entry in "Look Up//Look Down," inspired by Helena.  I looked up into the trees to capture the image above.  And then I looked down:
I hope you enjoy this glimpse into a January day in my part of coastal northern California.

Monday, January 21, 2013

FFF: What's Old is New Again (and Monthly Make)

Artists in Blogland have been sponsoring an art journaling series called "Fall Fearless and Fly." The final prompt, is all about looking at something old in a new way.  I did a couple of things with the prompt.  From a journaling perspective, I took a fresh look at where I am right now.  Truthfully, I've been feeling a little mundane lately - not nearly as amazing as I used to be. I feel like I spend far too much time attending to day-to-day appointments and running the house and not as much time doing interesting work or helping my family thrive (instead of just survive).  But, when I took a fresh look at myself, I decided that perhaps I am amazing still - just in a different way. And that's what my journaling page is all about.
I made this art journal page in a journal which is also something old being used in a new way.  This afternoon, I took a really large road atlas (each page is 11x16) and converted it into an art journal.  The "dry" art journal I've been using for my Kelly Kilmer class  measures 9x12, and I've really enjoyed working in a larger format.  I was also inspired by a ledger-turned-art journal that Dina Wakley has featured on her blog.  So I grabbed the atlas from the junk pile in the garage.  I glued 2-3 pages together to give them so more heft and gesso'd a few pages to get them ready.  I'm calling the journal my "monthly make" for January and looking forward to creating some more BIG art journal pages (the double page spread above measures 16x22).
I have really enjoyed the Fall Fearless and Fly prompts.  The only one I missed doing on time was Challenge #6 "Divided by God."  It rolled around in my mind, though, for quite a while, and I eventually created this art journal page on how I turn to prayer when I am stressed.
I created it as part of the Kelly Kilmer class, with lots and lots of paper and no paint. I hear that the sponsors of FFF will be doing something this spring, and I'm looking forward to it! 
Have you repurposed anything lately or taken anything else "old" and made it "new" again?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

{Hello Monday}

Hello Monday. . . 
{oops. This published before I had a chance to finish it}
Hello holiday . . . we have today off for Martin Luther King's birthday. Looking forward to sleeping in and getting ready for the short week.
Hello/good-by visitors . . . we had a very nice visit this past weekend with Paul's parents, his sister and his brother-in-law.
Hello new-do for Gypsy . . . she's looking quite nice after having gotten groomed last week. Aria (above) took a while to figure out who she was, I think!
Hello lots of art journaling . . . I've been making good progress on my "dry" art journaling class. And I'm looking forward to getting my paints out soon. Plus, my stylus and brush should arrive for my ipad drawing and painting app.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Photographer's Artist Date

I love the concept of the "Artist's Date," a special time you put aside to go out with your artistic self and replenish the well. It was originally popularized by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist's Way and the idea was chosen as this month's prompt over at The Sketchbook Challenge.
Unfortunately, my life does not allow me to set aside much time to go out and play right now. But, to make the most of it, I have tried to squeeze in a couple of Artist's Dates into my schedule.  A few weeks ago, I took my camera along with me when we took the dogs to the beach and I posted some photographs here.  Yesterday, I took gypsy to visit her groomer at her ranch in the back roads of Montara.
I have always loved this stretch of road and welcomed the opportunity to spend a few moments capturing the light and feeling of this special place.
I think if I lived here, I would be out there everyday with my camera. I am just thrilled to have captured these images and am so glad that I squeezed in a little time for myself. 
Have you ever been on an artist's date? Is there a special place that would be your perfect date?

Friday, January 18, 2013

OLW Necklace and Product Review

For 2013, I selected "paramount" as my One Little Word on which to focus. To give me a tangible reminder of the word, I decided to order a necklace from Lisa Leonard.  She has designed a special OLW necklace each year for the last few years.  I loved the one I bought for "health" (this style) two years ago. While the design for this year is very cute, it turns out that "paramount" is too long it!  So, I dove into her site and found the design above, which allowed my long word and also allowed me to add four heart strings (one for each  member of my family).
I really love the uniqueness of my necklace and  how it captures what is paramount to me. This necklace is pewter and larger than some of the other necklaces, so it has a more informal feel. I won't wear it everyday (like I did with the health necklace, which was much more delicate), but I love having it.  I also want to mention how wonderful the customer service is with Lisa Leonard. When I ordered my necklace, there was an offer for a % discount if I signed up for the newsletter. I signed up for the newletter but didn't get the discount. I added a note to my order asking why the discount wasn't applied. I got an email very quickly correcting my total!  The necklace arrived in cute packaging and included a complimentary desk calendar designed by Lisa. So, count me as a happy customer.  Has anyone else bought a OLW necklace from Lisa Leonard or any other company? If so, please share you experience.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

PPF: More Paintless Pages

Last week for Paint Party Friday, I posted some "paintless" pages and wondered if it was okay. A HUGE thank-you to everyone who visited and said that it was just fine (or even better than fine) to post them because PPF is all about the art.  I so love the PPF community! My goal this week is to do a better job of getting around to visit and comment on the other posts.  If you want to see this week's posts, check out this link.  Today, I'm posting a few more "dry" or paintless art journal pages.  The one up top is about how much I rely on the ocean as a calming influence in my life and why I choose to live near the sea.  This next page is about how my head is often full of so many different thoughts that I sometimes feel a little crazy:
I had a little trouble with the white balance on these next two - one about what a big role international travel has played in our lives and one about how I miss being able to have the ability/freedom to be able to make plans to spend time with friends.  They aren't really this blue in real life.
Thanks for visiting and for commenting - I love to hear what you say.  I'm particularly curious about whether you have any favorites in this batch of pages. Happy PPF everyone!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Soaking It In (January's Simple Moment)

Saturday, January 12, 2013, 2:30 p.m.
The shop door swings open, accompanied by the tinkle of a bell and a blast of cold air. The combination rouse me from my near-slumber.  I look down at my feet, soaking in warm  bubbling water. The smiling Vietnamese woman lifts one out and gently scrubs the ball of my foot and then the outer contours of my heel. I glance over at Clara, sitting in the chair next to me, and observe a vivid shade of blue being applied to her toe nails. "Hey mom, if you push these buttons, the chair will vibrate!" I comply with her request and the chair springs to life. Rows of balls move up and down my spine, giving me a pleasant massage. The hum of the motor drowns out the background noise, and I drift off once again. 
This simple moment is inspired by Alexa of Trimming the Sails. To read other January moments or to join in, check out this link.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Look Up/ Look Down #1

Helena of Helena's Creative Maven selected a weekly photo prompt for 2013, which she calls, "Look Up, Look Down, Repeat 52 Times."  I liked her idea immediately and bookmarked it, but thought I shouldn't take something on that would last a whole year.  But as others joined in,  I found myself unable to resist.  I think I'll try to post these on Wednesday, instead of Wordless Wednesday. I guess I'll only be repeating 50 times, but that's okay.
The up picture shows the neighbors deck with frost on the glass because we've had record lows here (in the high 30's - this is California, after all!).  The down picture shows lichen on my deck where I'm standing. To me, the lichen resembles snow flakes, completing my wintery scene.
I'm not sure Helena meant to start a "thing," but I think she has! Anyone else joining in?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hello Monday (a little late)

Hello Monday  (a little late today!)
Hello New Hair . . . Over Christmas break, Clara and her friends colored their hair.  She thought it would wash out after a few days . . . uh, no. So, she asked if my hair stylists could "fix it." Over the weekend, she got it colored, cut and styled.  It's shorter than she would like, but it's healthier than it's been in a while. And she's loving the return of her natural curls.
Hello Feeling Better . . . I had a rotten cold for most of last week. It's nice to be feeling better. But it also means I've been sleeping a lot and haven't had a chance to get round to blog reading and commenting. Hope to catch up on that soon.
Hello American Football Craziness. . . the local team (the San Francisco 49'ers) are in the Conference Championship. Here's Henry wearing a 49'ers beanie.  Some people say he looks a bit like their quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Hello art journaling . . . I'm really enjoying the class I'm taking. Pages to follow this week.  I'm also planning a "simple moment" post for later this week.
What are you saying hello to this week?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Playing with "Paper"

I recently purchased the "Paper"app by 53 for the ipad. It is a sketching application that has limited options, which, paradoxically, makes it so easy to use that your creativity is allowed to flow. Since you cannot spend a lot of time making complex choices, you simply choose a drawing tool and color and begin. If you don't like a drawing, you simply put it in the trashcan. The basic app comes with one virtual drawing tool (a fountain pen), an eraser and seven colors.  I took my ipad with me to the hair salon today, and I used the basic set up to make the Gaudi-inspired heart above and this face:
It's kindof inexact and sketchy, but i like it.  I made both of these drawings using my finger, but I just ordered two styluses today (a drawing stylus and a brush stylus), which should give me more flexibility and control.  I am also going to purchase the paper creative bundle which will give me four more virtual sketching tools (a pencil, a bold marker, an ink pen and a brush), plus the ability to blend the colors to create a custom color palette.
I'm not that much of a digital artist, but I'm excited by the possibilities of "paper." It's a quick way to sketch when all I have is my ipad. 
I was inspired by Journal Girl who is doing 365 days of digital journaling, but there are lots of other videos (this is a good one) and blogs out there about "paper"  (for example, check out these 53 outstanding works of art made with  paper). Have any of you given it a try? What do you think?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Paintless at the Paint Party: "Dry" Art Journaling

I normally join in Paint Party Friday, but I'm not sure if I should this week.  I've been enjoying making art journal pages in the "Marvel - Your Precious Life" class with Kelly Kilmer.  I've made some pretty pages, like the one up top.
Some emotional pages, like this one, with the prompt "Sometimes I feel . . . ."
And some fairly simple pages, like this one based on the prompt "yearning."  
One thing that all the pages have in common is that they are "dry" - no paint!  They're all done with layers of paper and pen work.  So, I don't know if they really qualify for Paint Party Friday, but I'm going to share them anyway because I really enjoy the community of artists that gather there.  Hopefully they won't mind me showing up paintless at the paint party!