Monday, December 31, 2012

BJP 2012 and Best Wishes For 2013

My Bead Journal Project 2012 is complete, and just in time!  Yes, I finally finished the December piece of my BJP 2012 on Saturday evening.  Yesterday I stitched the pieces to the cotton velvet and then mounted them onto the wooden painting panel (18" X 24" panel).  I didn't want to use a stretched canvas because I thought the weight of the beads would need the support of the solid wood panel.  I like the cotton velvet because it absorbs light so that the beads are highlighted without having the more formal look of silk or viscose velvet.

The December piece includes many shades of blue and my beloved spirals.  I'm often drawn to blues and I seem to come back to spirals in my work so often, that I thought it was a fitting end to the year.

I've got the rest of today to further think through my idea for the BJP 2013 plan that's taking form in my head.  I have yet to determine if it will work but I may just have to jump in and try it!

I wish you and yours a JOYfully wonderful New Year and hope that 2013 brings you good health, happiness, inspiration and creativity!


Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013 Cover Page for Art Journal Calendar

I had to back up and do my cover page for the 2013 section of my Art Journal Calendar.  I had already finished the page spreads for January, February, March, April and May, but I had left the first two pages blank so I could do a cover page spread.

I cut the letters for the left side page out of an old dictionary page using a craft knife and then I adhered them to the page using matte medium.

I was surprised by how little they showed up on the painted background until I started doing the black and white highlights around them.

This is a repeat of the message I used for a photo image I did yesterday.  Joy is the word I have selected as my 2013 inspirational guide word!

I used molding paste and a stencil to get the diamond texture that frames the spread. I also used a very fine cursive text stamp to add more interest to the background.

Next I'll work on the outside cover of the journal...

Saturday, December 29, 2012

I'm Choosing JOY!

Inspired by many influences, I've decided to choose an inspirational guiding word for 2013 to help frame my thoughts as I move into the new year.  As I said to a friend in an email this morning, it's so easy to slip into the bad habit of focussing on what is wrong but then we forget to enjoy and celebrate all that is right in our lives!  I have so much to be grateful for and so much JOY in my life.

I'm working on the title page spread for 2013 in my Art Journal Calendar, using these same words (I'll post that when it's done) but Kim's challenge in Beyond Layers today lent itself so well to this same topic that I wanted to use them on her sample photo as well.

For those of you interested, I used two of Kim's textures, kk_chalkmagic and kk_clarity, and the fonts I used are 1942 Report, Stamp Act Jumbled and aka Frivolity, respectively.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Thank You Art Tag

I made a little Thank You tag using some of my spray inks and stencils, a bird stamp and some embossing powder.  I forget how much fun embossing powder is to play with!

These small tags are a great way to do a bit of art when you only have a little time to spend but you just have to have an art fix. :o)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Planets Triptych

This week, I've been finishing another UFO.  It's a piece that I started in the summer.  I started working on it after seeing a piece that my friend Diana did based on Carol Ann Waugh's Stupendous Stitching. Later, after signing up for Carol's online class, I had set this aside and I did the large colourful piece called Spirals, Lines & Serendipity.

In an attempt to finish up yet another of the unfinished pieces that I have lying around (thanks Tracey for your challenge!), I pulled this out and got back to it.

Each of the individual panels are mounted on 8" X 8" canvas squares, and the intension is to hang them vertically as shown here.

I've called it Planets because of the various spheres and the batik patterns on them.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Holiday Wishes...

And for those of my readers who may not celebrate Christmas, I hope you've enjoyed a wonderful day with people that make you happy!  May all of your remaining days in 2012 bring you joy and happiness and may you all have a creative and inspiring 2013!


Monday, December 24, 2012

May Art Calendar Journal

My May art calendar journal spread is ready for the journalling.  I started by using various spray inks to give the page a gently mottled look.  I then added a variety of old silk flowers and a few paper flowers to create masks for each of the days of the month and I sprayed over them with green.  I removed the flowers...getting my fingers all inky :o)...and let that layer dry.  When that was totally dry, I came in with my Micron pen and did the lettering and a bit of soft sketching around the flower shapes.  After stamping the leaf shapes and the birds, butterflies and dragonflies, I used my Micron again to draw in stems and swirls to connect the leaves.  Finally, I did a bit of colouring with my Peerless watercolour pigments...and you have May flowers to follow the April showers.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Another Attempt at Christmas Lights

No mask used on this shot.
Well, I was fiddling with my camera last night, trying to get those wonderful bokeh light shots and I'm getting closer.  You can read about my first attempt and find the link to the information I had read to learn how to take these shots here.

I also got a couple of interesting shots along the way, that although they weren't what I was going for, I thought they were interesting.

I wasn't using a tripod since I was in the house and just wanted to do some quick experimenting.  Instead, I put the camera on various surfaces in the family room where the Christmas tree is.  The blurry shots are because I was resting the camera on a surface but tilting it up a bit for some of the shots and obviously I'm not as steady as I'd like to think I am. ;o)

The information I read said to make the hole in the mask quite small, yet my most successful shots were made without a mask or with the little shaped holes left out of the mask holder so that I was shooting through the rectangular hole.

I did learn that for some reason the cut out shape I was using ends up upside down and backwards from what I expected.

Upside down trains are out of focus.

Mask with no little shape cutouts put it.
No mask used.

My unsteadiness created these
interesting light icicles.

Pretty shot, but no bokeh at all...

Happy accident.  Not sure how I got this, but I like it!

These last two shots were taken using the little masks, but the resulting lights are so small and the overall image is dark.  Obviously I need to keep working at this...
Upside down and backwards musical notes. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Getting Ready for Christmas

My family is of German heritage, so we have our big family celebration with my side of the family on Christmas Eve.  My husband and I took over hosting it after my parents moved from their house to a condo many years ago.  
We put out a buffet with assorted cheeses, many hot and cold foods and a salad bar, so today I've been busy making some little cheese flags to identify the various cheeses we will have.  There's a lovely cheese called Drunken Goat, and when I first tried it at the cheese shop in town, the gal explained that it was soaked in wine for two to three days.  She then very quickly added, "the cheese...not the goat!".  Then, she realized what she had said, and both of us broke out in laughter!  I must say, it is a delicious cheese but even if I didn't like it I'd probably serve it Christmas Eve just because of the fun name and this wonderful story that goes with it. 

After making my little flags, I decided to decorate some gift bags and make a little pillow box for a particular gift that needed a little something...  The inspiration came from Joanne Sharpe's free online mini class, as well as some wrapping done by Alisa Burke.

It's a great way to relax with some simple art during this very hectic holiday season. 



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dimensional Exploration

close-up to show some of
the hand stitching
I've been working on a piece that is one piece of silk dupioni on which I've been working to create dimension in the piece using only stitch and a little shading. I'm please with the results, and plan to explore this idea further. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bead Journal Project: November

I'm two weeks late, but my November bead journal piece is finally done (Sorry for the time warp really is December!).  I was using the excuse that I had set up the blog for BJP 2013.  But really I was just in a beading slump and couldn't seem to get motivated to get this piece going.  I finally started it a few days ago and made it my only focus when I needed art time (which is really all the time) and so I got it done rather quickly.  I can't believe there's only one more piece to go and this spiral will be finished.  I can't wait to see it done and mounted and ready to hang!  

This November piece is about a journey I'm taking right now (another reason it's been hard to stay focused on my art).  Engraved on the back of the silver hand centrepiece is the word "healing".  The three large triangles represent very personal struggles and the red Chinese knots have a dual meaning.  On the one hand, they represent the literal idea of a knot, to be struggled with and untied.  The other meaning, taken from the Chinese culture and story behind these knots is one of harmony and peace which I seek on this journey of healing.  

As has been the case with all of the BJP 2012 pieces, the colour palette comes from Vicki Welsh and her Colour Palette challenge. 

Here is the spiral showing all of the pieces from January through November:

I've already started planning my BJP for 2013.  I've got my plan pretty well sketched out in my head and a little of it on paper.  It's going to be a challenge to pull it off, and I'm still not totally sure if it will work, so that's all I want to say about it for now.  I'll explain my plan when I reveal the first piece in January because by that time I'll have figured out if it will work or not.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Lights

Last night, while my husband and I were out walking Casey, I thought I'd try to capture some Christmas bokeh shots.  I had just read about taking Christmas bokeh images, prepared a collar and some masks for my lense, and I thought I was all ready to go.  Well, apparently it's harder than it looks.  Obviously, for starters, I need to take my tripod out with me!  However, I did get some fun shots of light trails because I started to intentionally move the camera around as I was taking the shots.  Not what I was going for, but interesting anyway.  Now, if you excuse my, I need to go do some more reading up on this topic.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Day of Piecing

I spent some time yesterday piecing the marbled fabric for this new art quilt that I'm thinking I'll call "Count On It" unless I can come up with something more creative.  The numbers are all my own photographs (you can read about them in a previous post if you're interested).

Right now it's looking a bit disjointed, but I've got visions in my head that involve extensive free motion quilting, so hopefully what I see is what you will eventually see too!

If all else fails, I could donate it to a school as a funky 100's chart. LOL

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

April Calendar Art Journal

Yesterday I was able to finish the watercolour painting of the April calendar page.  I was a bit unsure about the 'cheesy' idea of using raindrops for the journalling shapes, but I'm really pleases with how the page turned out.

I used a 'light' hand lettering font since April is a month of new beginnings.  The long dark winter is over and everything just seems to lighten up.  

 I found this cute little girl in a magazine add (in a March issue from 2009...sometimes being a bit of a pack rat comes in handy) and I thought she'd be perfect since I used to love playing out in the rain.  Realistically it would never have been warm enough to do this in April, but it still makes me smile.
 I also found these two pairs of legs so I gave a couple of the raindrops legs.  And, since they had legs, I also drew in a couple of pairs of eyes so they can see where they're going :o)

In addition to drawing in little lines, circles, triangles and squares to represent rainfall, I wrote, in very tiny letters, using a Micron 01 pen, a variety of phrases such as, "it's raining cats and dogs; rain, rain go away, come again another day; it's raining, it's pouring the old man is snoring..." etc.

I used the Peerless watercolours to do this page.  They're wonderful to work with!  I wasn't sure what to use as my background colour since it was raining but I didn't want it to be too dull and dreary.  I settled on the Bismark Brown (one of the colours in the Joanne Palette Colors - a palette made up of 15 colours specifically selected by Joanne Sharpe for her Color Love online class) and I couldn't be happier.  It's a lovely warm colour, yet not too bright for my rainy day page.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Work in Progress...

Yesterday I was going between a few different activities in my studio.  I can't seem to stay focussed on one thing for very long these days, so I've been starting a lot but not finishing anything...'sigh'.

Back in the Spring, I started to photograph numbers while out on my cycling trips.  It made for some disjointed rides since I was always stopping and pulling out my iPhone, but I ended up with a great collection of numbers from everything from road signs and telephone poles to rural mailboxes and house numbers.  I'm now starting an art quilt using my recently marbled fabric and those photographs.  Here's a bit of a preview of it.  So far I've transfered the images onto fabric and started to piece some of it.

As you know from previous posts, I've also been setting up a calendar journal for 2013. You can see the first three pages by clicking on these links: JanuaryFebruary, and March.  Well, today I got started on the drawings for the April page.  I'm afraid it's a bit cliche since I've gone with raindrops as the shape, but I've also added a few fun bits cut out of magazines.  I'm planning to use the Peerless watercolour paints to colour this page.

Hopefully I'll have some finished work to show you soon...thanks for your visit :o)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Vibrant Watercolour

As you may know from reading some of my other posts, I'm taking Joanne Sharpe's Color Love online class.  Well, she's introduced me to a fabulous new (to me) watercolour media called Peerless Transparent Watercolor.  As it turns out, this product was developed by Charles F. Nicholson in 1885 and the formula hasn't changed since then. For those of you who are of a more mature age, if you remember old photos that were colourized in the 1940s-60s, they would have been colourized with these pigments!  Click on the word history if you'd like to know more. 

They come on small sheets (about 2.5" X 6.6") but on Joanne's recommendation, I've cut mine in half and put the other half away for now.  I've also made a little colour legend since the colours don't necessarily look like what you'd expect to see.  A little goes a long way too!  They provide these vibrant, beautiful colours and I suspect that they will last for a long time.  For those of you who like an easy, portable product, these are fabulous!  All you need is your water brush, your Peerless and a journal and your ready to go!

I suspect that my next calendar journal page will be done using these.  Now I just have to think about the design for the page.

Here's a link to a demo of how to use Peerless watercolours. And a video of Jane Davenport demonstrating how she created a fabulous paint palette using Peerless watercolours.