Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Dance

Look what just came in the mail! I was so thrilled to hear from Carolyn at A Colorful Journey that I had won the Fall Fearless and Fly draw at Artists in Blogland. I've been wanting to try these Dylusions Ink Sprays that all the Art Journalers rave about and now I have no more excuses.

These are the six colours that came in my package:

Bubblegum Pink - yum
Lemon Zest - zingy
Black Magic - oooo mysterious
London Blue - blimey
Melted Chocolate - double yum
Vibrant Turquoise - my favorite

I'm going to join DH on the couch for an episode or two of Lois CK, then I'll watch this spray ink demo, and then it's play time!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Speak Your Truth

For a not very observant new-Jew I sure spend a lot of time reflecting and creating art on Jewish themes. The City Shul is offering a meditation class which started this morning. After leading us through a couple of different meditations our teacher Elaine talked briefly about Jacob wrestling with the angel in this week's Parsha and then we were asked to meditate on a few questions. These questions asked us when and why we do or do not speak our truth.

I wrote these few words in my notebook as I came out of the guided meditation and then transferred them to my art journal this afternoon.

What does it mean to speak your truth?


A gift from the soul that you share with those you care about = The entire world.

But what does that have to do with wrestling with the angel?

The Magen David in this image was an orphan block. I originally sewed some pieces of fabric together   to be part a baby quilt, and then it was going to be a kippah, and then it sat in my studio asking for a home and now it is gelled to a page of this journal and painted over and journalled around and has found a new life.

What I have discovered through meditation is that my truth is to be found in the pause between my breaths. A place without words.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Being the Change

Today my daughter and a couple of her cousins worked on an Art Journal honouring my husband's side of the family and all of its wonderful traditions.

Jewish holidays, Shabbat, birthdays and vacations are all enjoyed together. My husband's late Safta Mania loved to visit us from Israel because it was always a party!

The girls working together to create this project exemplifies the close family connections that we are helping to create with all of our celebrations and traditions.

My heart overflows every time my daughter comes to ask for permission to use another product or element in her journal. Not only has she seen me working on my journals and wants to emulate me, she is also being respectful of our materials, ephemera and workspace.

I am scheppin naches.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Altered Magazine

Today I took the first steps to making my first Altered Magazine.

I read somewhere recently that 8 magazine pages sewn together makes a good thickness for an Art Journal canvas. It seemed to me that a New Yorker would be just the right size for and Art Journal. I grabbed one from the bottom of our enormous stack we always have lying around. I've always hated to throw them out and now I know why.

Heading to the sewing machine I sewed the magazine together 8 or so pages at a time. This is a great way to practise machine quilting and random stitching and is a lot of fun.

Next I squeezed a dollop of white gesso on a couple of pages at a time and played with smooshing random dollops of coloured acrylics around the gessoed pages. These two pages I covered entirely with paint.

On these two pages I let the texture of the stitching and the words show through.

I'm linking this post to Creative Every Day and Art Journal Every Day. These two blogs offer so much encouragement and inspiration. I hope you'll drop by and check out what some of the other bloggers are up to.

Thank you so much for visiting. I hope you'll leave a comment. I love to hear what you think.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Peaceful Chapbook

First I made a little book.

Then I painted many of the pages.

Then I added words of prayer and meditation.

Then I drew a mandala.

This is my first mandala. Drawing it brought me so much joy and pleasure it surely won't be my last.

I'm linking this post to Creative Every Day and Art Journal Every Day.
Thank you so much for visiting. I hope you'll leave a comment. I love to hear what you think.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Instructions for Making a Reversible Journal Cover

Much as I hate to reinvent the wheel, or talk in cliches, sometimes I need to put in the time and effort and solve a design challenge for myself.

I'm sure there are a dozen places on the net where I could find a pattern for making a reversible journal cover but the lovely site I found this morning did not provide the exact instructions I needed.

I threw out the version I made using Alexandra's instructions and then spent the rest of morning happily cutting and sewing and ripping and scribbling notes in my journal and now I know how to do it.

Let's see if I can explain:

You will need three different fabrics for this project. I used scraps from my (enormous) decorator fabric stash. The fabric you use for the flaps should coordinate with each of the other two fabrics.

Measure the width (W) and height (H) and thickness of the spine (S) of the book you want to cover.

I'll use the measurements of the book cover I made this morning as an example.

W 8.5
H 11.25
S 1.5

When cutting your fabric pieces you will need to add a seam allowance of half an inch to the width and 1.25 inches to the height.

1. Cut one piece the size of the entire outside cover plus seam allowance from each of your fabrics.

I cut my three pieces 19 x 12.5 in

2.  To make the flaps cut the piece from your coordinating fabric in half

I ended up with two pieces 9.5 X 12.5 in

3. Press the flap pieces in half along the shorter side WRONG sides together and press. Next time I make one of these covers I will top stitch along the folded edge.

4. Layer all of the fabric pieces.

i) first cover face up
ii) one flap on each end, folded sides towards the middle
iii) second cover face down

5. Secure the layers with pins

6. Take the pinned layers to the sewing machine and sew them all together using a scant quarter inch seam. Leave an unstitched section on one long edge to turn the cover right side out.

7. Cut the thread and clip the corners before turning.

8. Turn the cover right side out. Use a capped pen or the end of a pencil to push the corners out completely if necessary.

9. Top stitch the long edges between the flaps closing the hole you left open for turning.

10. Put your cover on your book and enjoy!

11. Reverse it and see how it looks the other way!

Next time around I will experiment with decorating, painting, embroidering or otherwise embellishing one side of the cover before I sew it all together.

I'm linking this post to Creative Every Day and Art Journal Every Day.
Thank you so much for visiting. I hope you'll leave a comment. I love to hear what you think. Please let me know if you make a cover and how it turned out.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Working in Black and White and Grey

The Black and White challenge this month for the Artist Journal Group at Bizzy B coincided nicely with the Fall Fearless and Fly challenge at Artists in Blogland. Anyone who knows me in real life or from this blog will know that I tend towards vibrant colours in my life and in my work.

I had fun trying out different brush strokes with black coloured gesso in this little hand made journal, but when I tackled the back cover colour snuck in.

I'm curious to see what wil happen when it is time to do the front cover and if I will need to add my usual blues and turquoises when I start journalling the inside pages.

My Life is not lived in Black & White or even 50 shades of Grey
I'm linking this post to Creative Every Day and Art Journal Every Day and Fall Fearless and Fly.

Thank you so much for visiting. I hope you'll leave a comment. I love to hear what you think.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Raging Storm

A few days ago I put some random brush strokes on a page and glued a strip of paper to the side. Today I picked up pencil and pens and let the brush strokes talk to me. A Poseidon-like creature formed in the upper left corner blowing wind and waves and rain to churn up everything else on the page. I journalled about how the weather and the election are conspiring to churn up my psyche.

A few days ago a storm raged along the Eastern United States leaving destruction in its wake. All we could do up here in Canada was stay glued to Twitter and CNN and hope for the best.

A presidential campaign is raging to the South of us now and we are hoping that it will not leave destruction in its wake too. All we can do up here in Canada is stay glued to Twitter and CNN and hope for the best.

I'm linking this post to Creative Every Day and Art Journal Every Day.

Thank you so much for visiting. I hope you'll leave a comment. I love to hear what you think.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Home and Away

The kids are concerned that I'm painting and playing with paper and ephemera instead of with fabric and sewing. "Does that mean you're not a quilter anymore?" they ask.

I am still playing with pattern, texture, colour and imagination. Art Journal pages have layers just like quilts.

They can bring you comfort in a different way. This page uses pieces of paper reminding me of my family's home and travels.

A luggage tag and hotel business card from my father's trips for work and to visit my brother overseas, a ticket to a Broadway play that my husband and I remember with pleasure, and my membership card from the tennis club I belonged to in Venelles during my father's sabbatical in Aix en Provence.

A page from my mother's address book with jottings in her amazing spidery scrunched handwriting and a note card from our neighbourhood community centre reminds me to be proud of my roots.
A photograph of an old fashioned plane collaged on top reminds me to be grateful for my wings.

I tell the kids "Don't worry, I'm still a quilter". 

I'm a quilter, and a designer, and a singer, and a writer and an artist and a...

I'm linking this post to Creative Every Day and Art Journal Every Day.

Thank you so much for visiting. I hope you'll leave a comment. I love to hear what you think.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fanciful Faces

An Art Journal Page with torn paper, gesso, fabric scraps, negatives, a postcard, pencil drawings. I am slowly becoming more comfortable putting pencil or paper to pen and drawing either what I see in front of me or what I see in my imagination. This comes after a lifetime of telling myself "I can't draw. I'm not artistic."

I tell the children that our brain isn't smart enough to know if we're telling the truth or not. It'll believe whatever we tell it.

So I tell my brain "I am an Artist" and it is starting to believe me.

Linking to Creative Every Day, Art Journal Every Day and Paint Party Friday.

Thank you so much for visiting. I hope you'll leave a comment. I love to hear what you think.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

This post started out wordless because I had left it all on the page. I picked up a page of my Art Journal that I had painted with random splotches of black gesso a few weeks ago poured my heart out. I wrote over and over the same spots to make sure no one would be able to read it.

I hope you can't read what I wrote.

I hope you too can let your troubles out and let them go.

I have linked this page to Wordless Wednesday, Art Every Day and Fall Fearless and Fly. Thank you so much for visiting and for your kind and interesting comments. I love to hear what you have to say.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Come Back to Me

I've been digging through my piles and boxes of ephemera. Sifting through photos, programs, reviews and letters. Yesterday I found some papers from a show I had done and decided to use them to make an Art Journal page. Using gesso, acrylic paints, pens, glue and chalk I delved back into the past.

The year is 1989, the show is Kurt Weill's Johnny Johnson, I am playing Minnie Belle, Johnny Johnson's flag waving girlfriend, and our time at the Banff Centre for the Arts is coming to an end.

The border for this page is torn from a congratulatory letter given to me by 'Chris'. Was he one of my cast mates? In an inspired gesture he has written his kind words to me on the back of "Come Back to Me", Minnie Belle's big song from the show.

The designer or the director handed me this photocopy of a photograph of an early film star and asked me to model my hair and makeup on her look. I can't remember who she is, does anyone recognize her?

Performing in "Johnny Johnson" was a tremendous experience for me. I got to have both a featured role and perform in the chorus. Keith Turnbull's brilliant direction made the production live in my memory. Roy Scheider was in the audience and congratulated me on my performance in the bar after the show. That would never happen again. My future gigs would be "Third Girl From the Right" in Phantom of the Opera and with Opera Atelier and Tafelmusik Baroque Choir.

The torn fragment that turned into a bird says 'We all knew'. We all knew that our time in the Professional Music Theatre Training Program at the Banff Centre would come to an end, that we might never see each other again and from here on in our careers were up to us.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Life Doesn't Have To Be Perfect To Be Wonderful

Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful, your technique doesn't have to be perfect and an idea doesn't have to be the most inspirational ever to deserve being played with in your journal.

Thank you to the amazing Teesha Moore for her incredible generosity. I spent yesterday devouring her videos on Youtube and playing with the techniques she uses. She covers so much including making your own journal, painting the background, adding collage elements and making it your own with outlining, doodling and lettering.

This quote jumped out at me on Pinterest this morning. The most important thing I learnt from watching Teesha Moore's videos is that if you have an idea you should go with it. She reminds us that everything can be fixed and there's no point not at least giving your idea a try.

These pages took me places I have never been before and I'm really excited by how they turned out. 

It was an opportunity for me to be brave and step out of my comfort zone.

This demure young lady is encouraging me to link this blog post to the Fall Fearless and Fly challenge over at Artists in Blogland, to Art Journal Every Day and to Creative Every Day.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How can I give it away?

This year it was my turn to shepherd the Grade Six kids through the class art project for the school's annual Fall Fling Fundraiser.

Searching on Pinterest I came across Art Projects For Kids a fabulous resource for anyone doing art with kids.  I was particularly taken by the blog post Kinder Self Portraits which described how to do multi self portraits on dry wax paper to put on one large canvas.

A quick email to Kathy Barbro, the lovely author of the blog, to ask her where to get dry wax paper led to a drive across town to the Wholesale Club to pick up a 1000 sheet box of "Patty Papers". Several leisurely hours were then spent at Above Ground Art Supplies trying out various brands of pens on these little slips of glassine to see what showed up best, and smeared the least, and came closest to the colour palette I had chosen for this project.

I didn't want to just work with typical kid colours. Something, probably Pinterest again, led me to the first palette in Pantone's 2013 lineup, Conoisseur. I'm hoping one of the parents will be struck by the fashion forward colour scheme and will bid, bid, bid for the children's creation.

Supplies in hand it was time to go to school. Working with groups of four students at a time each of the children was given one sheet of dry wax paper. Although I had originally intended to stick with the self portrait idea I ended up encouraging them to draw a self portrait, a picture of one of their favorite things, or write a short note or story. They were also welcome to play with abstract designs. I figured the colours would unify the finished work even if there was lots of variety in the imagery.

I set up shop in the stairwell at the elementary school for the last couple of mornings so a door could be propped open to ventilate the area. The Chartpak pens worked beautifully for my purposes but were not suitable for use in an enclosed space. My twins to work collecting groups of kids and returning them to the classroom when they had finished making their drawings.

Some of the boys were a little put out that there was no blue pen to work with. I think I should call the finished piece "Why No Blue?"

I hope these close ups will give a bit of an idea of the variety of responses the children had to the challenge. This group was a true pleasure to work with. They were eager to experiment with the materials and most of them made several drawings, giving me lots to choose from when it came time to make the final composition.

To adhere the drawings I smeared the canvas with a liberal layer of gel medium and wiped the excess on the back of each drawing before placing it carefully on the canvas. More gel medium was then brushed on top to seal the artwork and to try to smooth out most of the bubbles.

The gel medium made couple of the pens smear a little. I'm going to experiment on a test piece to see if once the piece has dried completely I can go over some of the smudges with a white paint marker.