Occasional ruminations concerning painted pages, hand bound books, the use of photos in journaling and the contemplation of various other pursuits.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The fun you can have..... Art Unraveled 2012

    You KNOW you want to keep the art retreats going strong.  

You KNOW you will have a great time at Art Unraveled next summer.

The listings are ready for your viewing pleasure and registration will begin mid-January. Run right over to ArtUnraveled.com to check out the workshop listings after you read the rest of this post.

"What fun can you have?", you ask.  Where else could you have the opportunity to see the Rusty fellow himself, Michael deMeng, with pink feathers in his hair?  Only at last year's Saturday night event!! What could he bring to the table this year?? You will have to be there to see!

See you this summer, folks!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Double purpose

I love it when things have more than one use.

The cover of this book, made in a class with Doris Arndt, was collaged with thick dimensional items before it was painted.

The first layers of paint were partly removed as the piece was being used as a printing plate on the pages....the covers became  giant stamps, rolled with paint and pressed to the paper to make the background of the pages.

The final layers of paint included some metallics, and waxed linen was used for the Coptic binding.

The energy in the classroom was invigorating as we all glued pieces willy-nilly and slapped paint with abandon.  Fun!  Yes!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Disappearing art retreats .....

I see that more and more art retreats are finding it impossible to continue due to falling registrations. I find that very sad as many of us would not be able to learn the great variety of things we find at these retreats 

The book pictured above was a project taught by Dan Essig, a master bookbinder who has taught classes at various venues including Art Unraveled and Art and Soul. I would highly recommend his classes as he is very well prepared and he is an excellent teacher who makes the project possible for people of many levels of experience.

This project is only one example of the many learning opportunities that we students have had in the past.

Most of us do not live in an area where we can find a multitude of teachers and projects to help us learn new skills to further our own creativity. 

The retreats offer us the possibility to grow, learn, and have fun with our annual best buddies.  Our art batteries get re-charged and we can return home filled with new tools and new ideas to create on our own.

If you can attend an art retreat this coming year, taking even one or two classes, I highly encourage you to do so. Yes, mainly because I am selfish and I want more classes for myself(!), do I tell you to join me, but if you do, you will also benefit from this great learning experience. Hope to see you in 2012!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Recycled....repurposed......whatever it is called, it is fun!

One day, my friend Marla was at work and people were cleaning out STUFF.  She found these wonderful heavy green 5 x 8 alphabet file dividers and knew they could be made into something wonderful.  She quickly grabbed a few sets and off she went.

I was lucky enough to receive a set of these from her and made an art journal with paint, stamps, collage, etc.  I did all the art work before binding the dividers together using a single page Coptic binding found in Keith Smith's book.  The long threads and the 6 needles just about did me in, but the book did get finished.  One day I will try this binding again to see if I can do a neater job!

Monday, December 5, 2011

When things seem overwhelming....

Always remember the words of The Donald (my guy, not Trump!)    "This too shall pass."

This small, about 5" x 5" or so, plaque was made with polymer clay tiles left over from a class with Laurie Mika.  If you ever have the opportunity to take a class from her, do it!  I had never worked with the clay and she made it easy. We all made several tiles we used to cover a metal book box.

Life does has it low points, but the cycle will continue and the better times will come.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Colorful Fall

 This fall in Colorado has been one of the most amazing color shows of all the autumn seasons we have lived here.  The bright blue skies have been the background for the blazing red, orange, and yellow trees.  We are blessed to live in such a beautiful state.

So very often we do not see the wonderful things in our lives as we run around doing those things we think we have to do.   Take a moment today to look around  you at the beauty in your life where ever you are.

The iPAD app Colorsplash was used to put the color back into the leaf after removing all color from the whole photo.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What is perceived...

This window from a home in Provideniya, Russia can be perceived in a variety of ways.

I can see peeling paint, drab gray in color, echoing the fog and mist that are usual in this far away, forsaken place. Life is so wet, cold, and gray here that living and working here for 10 years earns one a double pension.  There are no roads in or out of the area other than one minor road leading to a small native village.  There are no airplanes in the air.  Only ships coming from the Bering Sea bring people into this formerly important shipping/refueling point.

Diagonal boards draw your eye to the right and left edges of the photo, while vertical boards lead up and down.

One of the window panes has evidently been replaced as the trim is much wider in that area and much different from the rest of the framing.

In the top panes we can see the reflection of another gray Soviet style building across the street.

Yet, in all this drabness, beauty does peak through as evidenced in the lace curtains showing through the bottom panes of our window.

Find beauty in your life today.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Neutrals can be interesting also....

Most of the time the pages I paint for journals evolve into brightly colored folios to be gathered into signatures for the completion of a journal.

Lately, however, after classes with Mary Beth Shaw and Misty Mawn, I am finding neutrals to be a wonderful background to show off the colors in my photos.  The photos supply the bright colors formerly shown on the pages themselves. The photos can also blend into these neutral pages nicely making them look a part of the page rather than merely added onto the surface.

The more neutral backgrounds also offer a wonderful surface for journaling which is sometimes overwhelmed by brighter pages.

Bright or neutral.....what is your choice today?

A book with Albie Smith

Albie Smith is one of my very favorite friends and book binding teachers.  She has a lot of great techniques for painting papers and then forming them into books with unique features and bindings.

Albie is not teaching at a lot of retreats anymore, but you could take some classes with her at her home from time to time.

She is, however, planning on teaching at Art is You in Petaluma, CA next fall, so check out that venue when the site is opened up for registration.

Albie specializes in paper making, paste papers, and book binding and all of her classes are well worth your time and money.

All too often I will make a book in a class and never make it again. I liked this book so much, I made 3 more when I got home. Albie's written directions make it easy to duplicate the class project.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

End of the season

 Every fall brings the death of many plants and flowers.  The stems lose their petals and become bald. Storms batter at the weakened plants and stress them.  This old flower even looks a bit prickly as the softening petals fall away.

 People are just like flowers.  Our parts become weak, our hair falls out. Many days we are very prickly as people around us complain or cause problems. Our tolerance for the storms of life greatly decrease.

Isn't it wonderful that spring brings renewal.  I am waiting with great anticipation!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Just who am I?

I look at many photos from the past and in most cases, I look almost like a different person
in each one.  Some of the photos I hardly believe ARE me, but I know that they are.  This collage made in a class with Jacqueline Sullivan serves as an example of some of the varieties of me.

 When we look in the mirror we see, not reality, but what we perceive.  Our perceptions are greatly colored by our thinking and wishing.  Each person has his own reality and finds it hard to conceive the world he has made is not the same as all the other people's worlds.

It is a weird phenomenon that when I am heavy I see myself as not so bad, and when I lose weight I look so very fat.  When I think I am being informative, another person might think I am way too blunt. (Ask my sister!)

I wonder if I will ever know the real me.....inside and outside.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sudden change can be exciting.....or overwhelming and catastrophic

We had temperatures of 80 degrees and more...and then a day later almost a foot of snow fell on our city. 

The trees still had most of their leaves and the extra weight of the very wet snow was far too much for the limbs to bear. Many residents looked out upon broken limbs lying all around their yards; many trees were too broken to go on living.

The line of trucks and cars with trailers lined up at the recycling center went on for about a mile every day as the residents cleaned up and disposed of the branches that had fallen.

Life can be this way. Sudden changes to our circumstances can overwhelm us and break us. Be filled with faith so that you can go on in the face of adversity and become stronger through your struggles.

Monday, November 7, 2011

My best creation......ever!!

                                           Happy Birthday, Lisa!!!!!    We love you very much. 
              You have become a kind, beautiful, and accomplished daughter, student, wife, and mother.  

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sit a spell....

Some days it is good just to settle down in a quiet place and to contemplate the joys of the day.

Take a book (or Kindle) and read in the calm atmosphere.  Shot some photographs of the vegetation, animals, and birds around you. Pick up a sketch book and a pencil and give sketch journaling a try.  Add some watercolors and writing to finish the page in your journal.

Or do none of these things.  Just sit.   Just be.   Quiet.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sermon to Self........Don't look back

Did you ever have the tendency to spend more time fretting over where you have been rather than enjoying were you are now?  I think we all do that from time to time. 

The past has its beauty, but so does today. The past also has its problems that can intrude upon the blessings of today if we so allow.

One is not better than the other. They just ARE.

We miss the gift of today when we spend our time in yesterday.

Take a quick look backwards if you must, then get with the business of THIS day.

Monday, October 24, 2011

One foggy day....or the rest of my life?

 Thinking is impossible on a brain fog day, just as visibility is decreased on a foggy, rainy day aboard ship in the Bering Sea.  The blessing on the trip is that foggy days were rare, and that most days were clear so we could easily see the glory of nature all around us...with no other people in sight. Birds, whales, and bear were on our list of scouting possibilities as we boarded Zodiacs for a day of exploring the shores along the cove.

As I make lists, pack, unpack, make more lists, try to clean, where IS IT???.......my brain has seemed to have quit working for longer than just one day.  Will this go away?? It always has before, but as I get older the mist seems to stay longer and longer.  Will clear thinking be a thing of the past? Oh, I certainly hope not. 

Tomorrow will be a better day.   Slow down, make lists, and do not worry!  Forget the chores and paint!!  Sounds great to me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The things we do for love.......

Did you ever see a blue-footed boobie?  They are fun birds with (of course) bright blue feet.  The mating dance of these birds is fun to watch as they jump and move around trying to attract the mate of their choosing.  They live on rock islands in the Sea of Cortez and also in other areas of the world.

When I found these pictures of the birds in a magazine, I just had to cut them out and use them on a journal page.  The pages were first painted with acrylics and scraps of paste papers were added.  I have not yet written anything, but will do so when the time is right.

I smile when I think of our trip to the Sea of Cortes on a small ship. Every evening the naturalists would discuss what we did/saw during the day. One night, the Petersons came out with bright blue socks, long beaks tied to their heads, and tail feathers flapping.  They began the evening talk by doing the mating dance of the boobies.  It was a hoot.

Bye for now.....off to go shopping.   I think I need to find some bright, royal blue socks!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tired eyes and a second look.....

As you can see in this photo of steampunk jewelry, I was careless with the liquid nails, the adhesive for this project in Brenda Mattson's class at Art and Soul.  I had no idea I had slopped the glue until I looked at this photo. Once I had a magnified, close-up view, I was able to clean up the mess.

I wonder how many details in our lives pass by us unnoticed. Do we really look closely at the things that fill our space? Are we really aware, really here?  Or do we run fast, blissfully ignoring the little details that could, if cleared up,  make our lives better?

What things in our lives could be improved, made more likeable, more appreciated if we took the time to look for the little things that clog up the gears?

Looking at the big picture is a good thing, but I hope to take a look into the nooks and crannies of my surroundings to see what can be improved.  I hope. Slow down. Become aware.

Bracelet made in another steampunk jewelry class with Brenda, Art and Soul, 2011