Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Documented Life -- A Puzzle and A Tiny Shot

Week 27 in The Documented Life Project: use a puzzle in your work. All I could find at the time was a book of Sudokus, so I tore one out and glued it down. What followed was some gesso, ink, paint, embossing paste, stenciling, doodling, and a bit of text from the book.

The numbers in green were done by scraping white embossing paste through stencils. When dry, the stencil was put back over the numbers and then the green paint was dabbed on. I think you can see the texture in this close up.

The current week's prompt is to use a tiny photo in the piece. Coincidentally, the prompt came while Teri and I were helping Pat celebrate her birthday. We had a wonderful day (perfect weather, no big crowds thanks to many people being away for the July 4th weekend) at Fort Tryon Park in upper Manhattan. First we enjoyed brunch at The New Leaf Cafe, located right in the middle of the park. Then, a short walk over to The Cloisters, which is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is devoted to the art of medieval Europe, in a beautiful setting overlooking the mighty Hudson River. Instead of an "artsy" page, I did this one smashbook style, documenting a memorable day with fabulous friends.

It contains my own sketches (the arches, the bloody mary), tiny photos, and ephemera from the day (the map, the museum sticker). I think my favorite part of the page is the very small photo of Pat and I, which I carefully cut around our figures and superimposed over the sketch of the arches. It just makes me smile.

I generally share my DLP work as single pages, but here is how this one looks in the context of the entire book.

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Documented Life - Quote Worthy

The current prompt at The Documented Life Project is to incorporate a quote from the Bible (or a favorite book) into the work.

Words to live by, I think.

The background is (as usual), a Gelli Plate print on deli wrap paper, over which I did some stamping of grasses and flowers. The cornflowers(one of my favorite stamps, a VERY old one from Stampin' Up) were stamped with clear ink and embossed with Distress Embossing Powder.  The grass was also stamped with clear ink, but I used clear embossing powder there. I really like the contrast between the glossy embossing and the textured matte finish you get with the distress powders.

The lettering was done with a gold paint pen and outlined with a black Micron.

I often find myself wondering how I got along all those years without a Gelli Plate. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fanciful Creatures

Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend a polymer clay workshop with Doreen Kassel (not my first class with Doreen, and hopefully not my last!), who is a wonderful artist and teacher. The class was in a new space (for me), and sponsored by my friend Michele's Little Bird Creations. In the past I've made bird ornaments with Doreen, and a charming long legged mouse. This time we were working in miniature, making small pieces that can be used as pendants, pins, or even refrigerator magnets.

Above, Doreen (in the foreground) demonstrating. That's Michele in the back. You can see a lineup of samples on Doreen's table, to give you an idea of the size. I'd say most are about 1 1/2".

Doreen helped me do a giraffe, and here are some of the step-by-step photos.

I also did an owl in this format. We added crowns because.....well, why not?

After baking, we applied a wash of brown.

Followed by color.

Doreen also gave us pendant blanks, and guided us in the creation of a sweet little pig:

Here are all three including some profile shots to show you just how dimensional they are.

Michele is having Doreen back in the fall, and if you want to have a great artsy day, join Michele's Meetup group and you'll be notified when you can register for the class. You'll love it!

                   Doreen's Blog

                   Doreen's Facebook Page

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Documented Life -- Have a Heart

Just hours from the reveal of the new prompt, I've finished my response to The Documented Life's week 25 challenge:  include a heart.

First on the to-do list, spend a happy afternoon making Gelli Plate prints on deli wrap paper, then cut some up into heart shapes.

Next, use another Gelli print for the background, then arrange the hearts on it. Add some doodling on the hearts and a heart stamp (on the right, by Dyan Reaveley) and a quote (written with Sharpie water based poster paint pens). 

The final touch, some machine zig zag stitching down the center of the hearts.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Documented Life -- It's All About the Text(ure)

The current prompt in The Documented Life Project is to include some book pages. Having just experienced the wonders of painted paper collage, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I found a photo of a pear (to go with the apple I did in the workshop) online, and spent a good part of an afternoon painting all sorts of text pages with every shade of green and yellow. You know you've gotten a lot out of a workshop when you find yourself immediately including the techniques learned in pieces done outside of the class. I found myself remembering the tips Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson gave us, and as a result, this page came together with far fewer problems. And I really like it a lot. Thanks, Elizabeth!

The pear is entirely made up of painted text, all torn. Elizabeth's mantra of "no scissors, ever!" kept repeating in my head. The background is mainly painted, with just a bit of paper along the sides. Next, I'd like to try an animal portrait, and then, maybe, a human. We'll see about that.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Extraordinary Paper Collage Workshop!

Last weekend I had the very great pleasure of spending four days at the beautiful Hudson River Valley Art Workshops, located in....you guessed it....the beautiful Hudson River Valley in New York State. The classes are held at the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn, a lovely country inn. My friend Pat and I were last minute attendees, getting in due to a cancellation. Very lucky, and the room we got was a cottage with a front porch, a fireplace inside (which we actually needed and used one chilly night), and a whirlpool tub in the bathroom. For more information, click HERE.

(Our front porch. Can you get any cozier?)

Pat and I took advantage of the porch. The perfect place to enjoy some pre-dinner wine.

(The entrance to the studio, just opposite our cottage).

Our teacher was Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson. I kind of feel as though calling her a collage artist is like referring to Picasso as a doodler. Elizabeth is an art school trained painter and her collages are, well, painterly. She paints her own papers to get just the right shades, she tears them uber carefully and with just paper (and NO scissors, ever!) creates pictures with shading, shadows, volume and dimension. Elizabeth did a blog post on our weekend. Her husband Doug is a wonderful photographer, and the blog post contains his documentation of the workshop, as well as the surrounding countryside. He took way more (and way better) photos than I did, so do check out the blog by clicking HERE. Besides, you'll get to see Elizabeth's amazing work and her teaching schedule.

We had homework! Before the event we were to do an under-painting of an apple on a 12x12 canvas board. This is the photo I used for reference:

And this is my under-painting:

We spent a day painting all sorts of paper (rice paper, deli wrap, old text pages, music sheets, etc.) with a full range of all the colors we'd need to do our apple collage. We painted A LOT of paper. Elizabeth told us that no matter how much paper we painted it wouldn't be enough. You know what? She was so right. Most of us wound up doing a little more painting to get just the right colors.

Elizabeth came around and marked each photograph to help us know the order in which we should be collaging.

A work in progress:

Elizabeth had a few excellent suggestions to make my apple look rounder. I really appreciated the individual attention she gave to all 18 of us. I should mention that these workshops are never overbooked. We each had our own large table and there was plenty of room to move around.

My completed apple:

I had time to do a second canvas, but I didn't have a reference photo, so I just did a quick sketch and under-painting of a couple of birds, and tried to apply all the techniques Elizabeth taught. 

Here it is as a work in progress. Everything collaged except the birds.

More or less finished (photo taken under different lighting conditions, so color is a bit off):

And here is Pat's fabulous apple. A very NYC apple, don't you think?

I'm looking forward to reviewing the remainder of the 2014 class schedule as well as those already scheduled for 2015. I'd love to go back!  Did I mention that Mark, who owns the inn with his wife Kim is the chef, but more importantly, he is a chocolatier. His chocolates are for sale and sometimes appear as dessert after dinner. Need I say more?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Documented Life -- Playing Catch Up

The catch up is in the blogging, not the documenting. I've been up to date with The Documented Life Project, but have not sat down to blog for a month. At one time that would have distressed me, but I'm trying to let go of things like that. For whatever reason, I've not wanted to blog. Today I do. I'd like everything in life to seem so simple.

Anyway, this is a brief overview of weeks 19-22.

Prompt 19: do a page about a RAK (Random Act of Kindness) you've done. There was a bit of controversy about this one. Many folks feel RAKs should remain private. But so many of the newbies in the group were anxious to see how more experiences journalers handle each prompt, lots of us put those feelings aside. Mine is a sketch outlined with a Micron pen and then watercolored.

Prompt 20: use a rubber stamp in a new way. I used some stamps (two commercial, the rest carved by me) that I normally stamp with black ink, instead using clear ink and then white embossing powder. I also combined the stamps in a way I never have.

Prompt 21: use embroidery floss on your page. I also did some machine stitching, but all the floss was done by hand, after punching holes with an awl. The entire page is made up of bits and pieces of extra backgrounds, mostly done with my Gelli plate.

Prompt 22: draw, paint, whatever, a house. Hmmmm, seems I already did that for last week's prompt, but here is a completely different kind of house. A beach house I'd love to be in. Sketched, outlined with my Micron, then watercolored.

Now, gotta go finish packing for a four day collage workshop in the beautiful Hudson Valley. I know, I am a lucky duck.