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.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Art Journaling is something I've been dabbling in for years. It can be a great place to try out new techniques, to work out and document design ideas and to vent about your day to day life. Lately I've been trying to teach myself more about how the pros do it. Today I've been watching  some of Teesha Moore's videos. I discovered Teesha just this morning through this post in my new bloggy friend AJ's blog AJ's Art Journaling. Looking for inspiration I had to visit my bloggy friend Carolyn's page a few times, and so should you. Her work is beautiful and her generosity in visiting all her friends' sites and leaving encouraging comments on their work is so much appreciated.

So this is what I was drawn to create when I opened my journal. I attempted to use some of the ideas I had gleaned today. The writing mirrors the process I used.
Make a Page
1) Paint a background
2) Add collage elements
6)Add more stuff...

I particularly love this bowl which I clipped from a spread in a shelter magazine. I seem to always have to add that shot of Aqua. No wonder one of my Pinterest boards is titled  Turquoise, Teal, Aqua.

Going with my vow to use what I have on hand I drew my own version of the bowl all over the page using a Sakura Permapaque fabric marker. I wonder well fabric marker will last on paper?

I'm linking this post to Fall Fearless and Fly as the journal page uses warm colours and further investigates my goal of making art every day.

Stuffed Shirts

You'll never hear me complain about having my husband underfoot. I dread the day his business gets too big to run from his home office. Our days are spent working quietly in our own spaces, coming together periodically to walk the dog, cook a meal together, edit and comment upon each other's work.

These dress shirt pillows from Country Living are just so cute I had to try making my own. Fortunately my husband works at home and isn't too attached to all those dress shirt he used to have to wear every day so I grabbed one out of the Goodwill bag to experiment on.

I thought I was making the pillow for the couch in his home office, so I left the pocket on in case I ever wanted to tuck a love note for him into it. 

Ever the Soccer fan when I had finished the pillow I found him in the Family Room with his Dad and the kids trying to find El Classico on TV. 
Ever the Techy as soon as he saw the pocket on the pillow he stuck the TV and Apple TV convertors in the pocket. 
Ever the Entrepreneur he wanted me to jump in the car to Goodwill, buy all the dress shirts and start up production. 
Watch for these pillow covers in my Etsy store some time soon! 
Disclaimer: The photograph at the top of this post is from Country Living by way of Pinterest. Learning to photograph my work is on my to do list.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Obscured Handwriting

Not everything needs to be colourful and sometimes our private thoughts are best left unread.

My Obscured Handwriting Series celebrates the old, the unwanted, the faded and the illegible.

Obscuring my journaling by writing over it in many directions I get the thoughts out of my head and onto a scrap of an old bed sheet, making a textured fabric I can use in my artwork.

The black writing from today's journaling bled through the tattered fabric making interesting lines and dots on the back which I followed with a grid-like quilting stitch in grey. The ends of the quilting threads, the backing and the batting are all left visible.

The backing is also fabric torn from a discarded sheet.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Working With Warmth

"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time." Abraham Lincoln

For the Artists in Blogland Fall Fearless and Fly Challenge participants were encouraged to work with warm colours, to envision our dream for the future, and to ponder these words of Abe Lincoln.

A gorgeous pink silk swatch from a designer friend sandwiched over one of my torn pieces of sheet and a scrap of batting formed the basis for this little quilt. I reached into my grab bag of tiny strips - the ones you get when you cut fat quarters or square up edges and pulled out pinks reds and oranges at random and started to play with colour and texture. As each strip of fabric was laid on the little quilt I started following the twisting and turning line it made with a zigzag quilting stitch. Suddenly aqua asked to be added to the mix and I added a few aqua strips.

Turning the quilt over I traced around the bottom of my water glass, adding some random circles to cut out and darn back into the quilt. I added radiating points around one of the circles with variegated thread, spirals running in and out of some of the circles, a stitched frame and the piece was ready to trim and photograph.

I love the back of this quilt. The texture of the different types of quilt stitch and the lines where I drew and cut the circles have their own sort of beauty.

My dream for my future includes a body of work that I have created and that I can look back on with pride. It will not magically appear. It needs to be worked on day after day. One stitch at a time. One idea at a time.

There will be missteps and days that I may not have anything to show for my efforts. There will be days when I stare at the wall, play on the computer or walk the dog instead of getting anything done.

There will be days when I walk into a room and see something that I have made myself, with my own two hands and my imagination, and I will smile.