Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Anticipation, preparation, celebration, good food, family, shopping, planning and skidding pell-mell into the holiday season! A flurry of activity slowly melting into a gentler place and taking time to count my blessings.
  • I am grateful for the health my husband and I DO have
  • I am grateful for my art room and the time to let it renew me
  • I am grateful to be employed
  • I am grateful for my sturdy little home and a warm cozy place to sleep
  • I am grateful for Casey's artist's heart
  • I am grateful for Andy's smile
  • I am grateful for Alayna's mashed potatoes and friendship
  • I am grateful for Jill's sweet potatoes and deviled eggs and generosity
  • I am grateful for Alexa's happy heart
My heart is full and I hope yours is, too! Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Bottle of Ink in a Pencil

I wanted to add something to our Christmas shopping list this morning so I was poking around in the old crockery jar on the kitchen hutch, searching for a pencil that actually had a point on it.

Now let me tell you about this crock. It might have always been mine or it might have come to live at my house when my mother passed away. I can't say for sure because we each had one and they were very similar. Kind of a family tradition. Theoretically it is a pencil holder. In reality it contains pens from companies you did business with years ago, pencils with no points and rock-hard erasers, scissors, rulers, chopsticks, emery boards, Popsicle sticks, fondue forks, crayons, markers, candle snuffers, pipe cleaners and pretty much anything else you could stand up in a jar. Things go in and pretty much the only time they come out is when you try to write with one of the dried up pens and toss it in the trash.

Okay, back to the point (no pun intended!). I'm lifting the pencils one by one in hopes of finding one I could actually write with and I ran across one that had a metal cap instead of an eraser. Hmm. What's this? I looked at the side and it said "A Bottle of Ink in a Pencil". What the?? On the other side it says NOBLOT Ink Pencil - Eberhard Faber U.S.A. 705. It doesn't take much to send me off to Google.
It seems these pencils were invented in the 1860s or 1870s and had something to do with letterpress printing. Later they were used as an early way of making copies. There were special books called "copy books" that were manufactured with a piece of tissue paper between each page so you could create a copy from the page written with the ink pencil. They became wildly popular during WWI because ballpoint pens hadn't been invented yet and it wasn't practical for soldiers to carry and use fountain pens in the field. My Grandpa was in France during WWI. I always wondered why every time he picked up a pencil to write he always touched it to his tongue before he began to write. Who knew!
Apparently these pencils are still used by the artists who restore old signs. Eberhard Faber was absorbed into Sanford who was absorbed into PaperMate but the pencils are still sold under the Sanford name. I found a New Old Stock Eberhard one on eBay for $18.88. Whatever there is, there is somebody who collects it - LOL!
I don't know if this pencil migrated to my house with my mother's things or if it was in one of "poke sacks" that comes home with me from the second hand store but I think it's pretty fun that it mysteriously appeared in my kitchen and waited patiently for me to notice it.
I am pathetically easy to distract....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another collage page

The first Teesha-style page was sort of pretty in a decidedly odd sort of way. At least it SAID something about pretty! This one is just plain creepy. It's kind of scary, what can come out of your head sometimes!
I actually finished this a couple of days ago but the week got so busy I nearly forgot to post it. Busy with the "day job" and learning about Google Analytics and re-doing all my keywords and tags and meta words and on and on for the Etsy store. Good grief!
The Teesha-style pages are a good exercise. I'm learning a lot about using the different pens. I have a long way to go with the lettering, especially the spacing. Good thing the little book I made has LOTS of pages. I like to think of it as "constructive (instructive?) play". Uh huh.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


This is my first attempt at the style Teesha Moore demonstrated in her videos. I couldn't get the colors quite right in the scan. The background is more yellow on the real deal. It was a VERY fun afternoon of play! I think the thing I liked best is the freedom to use any image that appealed to me. Just for me play so no copyright worries and the world is my oyster! WooHoo!

I went to Columbia Art this morning and bought some new tools to try on. I got two of those Sharpie Poster Paint pens that are being discontinued. These are neat pens, what are they thinking?? I also got two Jelly Rolls and the Uni-ball Signo that I was looking for when I was taking the photo-art journaling class. I also got one Prismacolor marker and two soft pastels in black and dark red. I was looking for the pan pastels Teesha used and what I bought is NOT a substitute. I tried rubbing an eyeshadow sponge on them and using them to shadow with but nowhere near the effect she was getting.

I had issues with EVERYTHING bleeding into the paper and each other way more than I expected. I don't know if that is because I painted the background with watercolors or what. I kept trying to fall back to my old Sharpies but they picked up the other pens and clogged so in the end I didn't get the crisp lines I was looking for. Learning, learning, learning.....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Found poetry

I was cutting up a music book tonight to glue music to the reverse side of some tags I am making and I looked down on the table and discovered some "found poetry"! I finished painting the pages in my a-la Teesha Moore journal tonight and have no idea what I am going to journal about so maybe I will use some of these words. How cool is that? Leap and the net will appear....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A new journal started

I was so inspired by Teesha Moore's journaling videos that I had to start a journal of my own tonight. Her videos are SO COOL! She shares her thought process through each step so it's just like being right there in the room watching her work. How generous is THAT? I think it's pretty special when an artist is so comfortable with "owning" their technique that they can put their fear of being copied aside and reach out to inspire and instruct. Thank you Teesha! This is just the very beginning. I didn't have one huge piece of paper like she used so I used the last 5 sheets from a watercolor pad of 140# cold press paper. I used the cover from the pad to make the cover for the journal. I will probably attach some sort of extension along the front edge since the cover sheet is the same size paper as the signature so it doesn't extend out past the edges of the pages. I can fix that. Or not. I'll see what develops.
I painted the cover with my fancy new Golden Liquid Acrylics. This was my first time to use them and they smell EXACTLY like latex wall paint. Stinkied up my whole art room. I wasn't expecting that and have frankly had about enough of that smell since I just finished repainted the bathroom. I am not counting them out yet and will continue to experiment.
I used Teesha's instructions for binding except I reversed it because I wanted the "tails" on the outside. She doesn't like dangles but I think I might.
I am working on painting the pages now. I am using watercolors so hopefully I won't have too much trouble finding pens that will write on them.
I should be working on figuring out how those Google Analytics work so I can track the hits on my Etsy store but sometimes you just have to take time out and PLAY.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The PhotoArt Journal is FINISHED!

This is the journal I bought at the hippy store on our trip to Newport. The cover is original. It is made from some type of really soft paper. Once the journaling was done I finished it off by attaching the pom-pom fringe. The fringe was in one of the poke-sacks I pictured in an earlier post.
These are the last two pages I made to finish the journal. This is more of the "juxtaposing".
My favorite techniques learned from the class:
  • The three-column technique for captioning the pictures: feeling words, verbs and adjectives.
  • Painting out parts of the pictures with a white or black marker.
Lessons learned from the class:
  • Use a journal with good paper and use good paint so the pens will write on it.
  • Use a journal with pages that match the layout of the pictures, landscape with landscape, portrait with portrait.

I am glad I took the class and I love the new techniques I learned! I am also very ready to be finished and move on to new projects. I have already started working on a new piece to submit to Somerset and I am anxious to try the journaling techniques in the great videos Teesha Moore has been posting on her blog. Totally different from LK's style. It is so much fun trying them on!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Latest pages for the online class

This post is a little bit long because I'm going to try and catch up on the work I have been doing to finish up the photoart journaling class.
There was an assignment to photograph your hands and another one to "juxtapose" two images so I combined them and got this. I also watched LK's video where she suggested using black masking tape. Where the heck do you find THAT?? I actually kind of like the look of the blue tape with the black and white so there you go!
This is the assignment about "over journaling" where you use big, loopy handwriting over the top of the image. This picture was taken on our campout last spring. We were trying to make a totem pole - LOL! The picture came out a little blurry when I printed it so I thought it would be a good choice for the assignment.

This is the assignment where you glue tissue paper over the photo and re-color it with colored pencil. Well, I didn't. My printer was giving me grief because I was running out of color ink. The picture printed wacky so I just used the colored pencil directly on the photo. I want to get some of those "fancy like real artists use" colored pencils instead of my crummy Crayola version and play around some more with this technique. It's pretty fun but those are some mighty rosy cheeks!
Two more pages to fill....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I have an Etsy store!

I have mentioned off and on that I have been working my way through Lisa Sonora Beam's book called "The Creative Entrepreneur". I have been trying to figure out what direction to take with my art. I knew I couldn't face being locked into one style, one genre; making art for money and making what people want to buy over and over again. That was 25 years ago. When I stopped I said never again. I don't like to say never because we don't know the twists and turns life will take and I know I don't want that at this moment in my life. There are just so many things I want to try. So many things.
I have been working my way through the book and the journaling prompts for months. Writing, thinking, letting things steep. The turning point was the prompt that said "What do you do for its intrinsic value (You would do it even if it didn't pay)". For me the answer is junking. I love, love, love to shop for and accumulate all the little vintage trinkets and bits and bobs of life. For me it is incredibly relaxing and rewarding to "rescue" these little cast-offs. I more than love it, I can't NOT do it. I see these things and I see what they can be, not what they are, and I cannot resist rescuing them.
For this reason I decided to open an Etsy store where I can share my vision with the like-minded folks who respect the junk. I am not sure I did everything right but I managed to post 8 items and I will learn as I go. There is a new link to the Etsy store on the left side of the blog or you can click here. Big deep breath.
At some point I plan to add some of the "so many things" and offer some original art but for now it is my island of lost treasures just waiting for someone to come by and adopt them.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Accidental Art

Three separate people have visited my art room recently and asked me if this piece of paper on my workbench is a new piece of art I am working on. Well. No. It is a piece of butcher paper, secured with blue painter tape, to protect the top of the workbench from my messy painting.
I guess it is kind of pretty. Maybe I should start tacking them up on the wall when I switch out to a new piece of paper. I wonder how I'll know when it's "done" - LOL!