Saturday, March 30, 2013

Exciting News...

I'm excited to announce that "My Year Unravelled" has been accepted into the 6th ANNUAL OPEN JURIED SHOW at Beaux-Arts Brampton.

The show, which runs from April 9th to May 4th, will consist of work in any two or 3 dimensional media with the exception of photography (for which they have a separate show in May).  For more information about show times or other participating artist, click on the image below.

Friday, March 29, 2013

'Egg'-citing Tutorial

Yesterday afternoon I dyed some Easter eggs and I thought I'd share how I did them.  This would be a fun activity to do with your kids or grandkids, or just by yourself :o)

Let's start with what you need:

Eggs (keep the carton)
Crayola crayons
a tea towel
paper towels
food colouring
6 little custard cups
6 teaspoons

My trick for timing perfect hard boiled eggs is to carefully put the eggs into a pot of cold water.  Put the pot on the stove and turn on to high heat.  Wait until the water comes to a full boil, then put the lid on the pot and turn off the heat. Set a timer for 20 minutes and let eggs sit in the hot water until the timer goes off.  When the timer goes off, carefully pour as much of the hot water out of the pot as you can without dumping the eggs.  Then run cold water over the eggs, continuing until the water in the pot is cold.  Let the eggs sit in the cold water for a while (10 minutes or so) to stop the cooking and to cool them down.  Once the eggs are cool enough to easily handle you're ready to start decorating.

Using your crayons, doodle/draw simple designs on the egg shell.  I kept the eggs on a tea towel to give them a bit of a cushion and also to keep them from rolling off of the table as I was colouring.
Here are my eggs with the colouring step complete.  Notice I did everything from simple dots and stripes to flowers, spirals and zig zags.  You might also want to write names on the eggs.  Anything goes!
The next step is to prepare your food colouring.  I used Wilton Icing Colours this time, but in the past I have also used the liquid food colouring available at the grocery store with equally successful results.  Just remember that the Wilton colour paste is highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way.

I used the six colours I had, so I prepared a little custard dish for each colour.  To protect my counter top, I put a sheet of paper towel on a plastic tray and put the dishes in the tray.  I added a tiny scoop of the food colour paste to water in which I had added a bit of vinegar (about 1 tbsp vinegar to 2 cups of water).  The vinegar helps the egg shell to absorb the colour better.

As you can see in this photo, I did not fill the dishes very full.  The 2 cups of water was enough for the six little custard dishes.  This saves having to use too much food colouring (always trying to be economical).

Once you lower the egg into the dye, you'll need to carefully rotate the egg in the dye with the spoon to ensure it dyes evenly all over.  When you're happy with the colour (it will only take a few seconds) carefully lift the egg out of the dye and let it rest for a few minutes on some paper towel to absorb the excess dye.  Be careful to use a clean area of the paper towel to avoid unwanted spots of other colours on your egg.
For most of the eggs I dyed them in only one colour, but as you can see with this one, I decided to experiment.  I first stood the egg in the orange dye, holding it up with my fingers (be prepared to get coloured fingers! did mostly wash off after a few washings.).  Next I stood the opposite end in the green dye.  Then I gently wiped it with a paper towel to take off any excess dye before putting the whole egg into the yellow dye for a short time, rotating it with the spoon as above.  To get the smaller bits of blue and purple on the top and bottom, I held the egg in a teaspoon of the desired dye so that just the end would be in the colour.  If you plan to do some experimenting, I would do this at the end because you do risk cross contaminating the dyes and therefore may not be able to get the pure original colours again.
I store the finished eggs in the original egg carton in the fridge  for safe keeping until I'm ready to serve them up in a pretty Easter basket.

DO NOT dump your food colouring dye yet...

Because I hate to waste beautiful colour, I grabbed 6 pieces of white fabric (fat quarter sized) from my studio and wet them.  I then wrung them out, crumpled them and put them into sealable plastic bags.  I poured one of the food colour dyes into each bag, sealed it up and then gently squished it around until the dye penetrated all of the fabric.  I set the bags into a basin and I'll let them sit for about 24 hours (I'll flip them over ever few hours when I think of it).  They will then get a rinse and I'll heat set them with my steam iron and they'll be ready to use in my fibre art!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Street Art...

Whether a mural or graffiti, isn't it all art?

Linking with Photo Art Friday and Ready to Waltz.

One of Those Days...

Do you ever have one of those days where you just can't seem to machine quilt...the fabric seems weighed down or something and you're struggling to move it around through the machine with your regular ease?  Well, that's the sort of morning I'm having!

Let's take a closer look at why...

Yes, it would appear as though Arbour has again found the newest 'cat bed' that has obviously been put in the studio for her personal pleasure and comfort!
But, being the horrible person I am, I will have to move my little assistant because my wishes to work on this piece trump her need for yet another comfortable place to sleep!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Liebster Award for Cool Blogs

Joanna Grant from  kindly gave me a blog award that's about discovering new blogs.

Joanna, I can't thank you enough for this award.  I feel very privileged that you have included me in your five choices and it is an honor that I hope to pass on to five other very deserving artists.


This award was designed to be a blog award in the pay it forward fashion. Once you've been nominated, you award it to five blogs that you like that have fewer than 200 followers, to encourage new visitors to visit these blogs. 


Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to their blog. Post the award onto your blog. Give the award to five bloggers who you appreciate that have fewer than 200 followers. Leave a comment on their blog letting them know that you have given them this awesome award! 


It's hard to choose only five bloggers who I find inspiring but here are my choices of art blogs that have less than 200 followers and that I know you will enjoy:  

Anne Marie Desauniniers

(I may have included a blog with over 200 followers as the number of followers was not always listed but I still felt that these individuals were very deserving.)

Recipients, you may copy and paste to your blog and change the introduction and the list of blog awards.  I hope that you decide to participate and award some other very deserving artists.  Make their day!!!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Crocus are Blooming!

A few days ago I took this shot of some of my crocus, while just a few steps away my dog, Casey lay in the snow.  She's in a bit of a panic because she loves the snow and knows it's going fast so any chance she gets she lays on it or walks through it.

Kim's challenge this week for Texture Tuesday is 'flower power' so these little guys came up just in time.  I used a bit of a comic sketch filter on the image, added a layer of Kim's kk-2203 texture at a soft light blend mode of 60% opacity and then I added the text on an eliptical shape as Kim demonstrated this week in Beyond Beyond.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Is In the Air!

 Last night, while listening to TV I was doodling in one of my art journals, and clearly Spring was on my mind.  I'll probably add some watercolour to this to give it some colour, but today's goal is to keep working on the quilting of my rust dyed piece.  I started working on it briefly last night, as you can see in this photo.

My goal is to finish it this week, but we'll see what other distractions pull me away from it.  Some days I feel like the crow, attracted and/or distracted by anything shiny, but in my case it's anything at all...shiny or not.  Look, there's a distraction now...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Exploring New Materials...

On Friday, I was reminded of some Magic Stamp moldable foam stamps that I bought a very long time ago but had never yet tried.  I also managed to get my hands on some deli paper thanks to Sandra, a friend in Cambridge, so yesterday I was in the studio playing with some new techniques.  I especially liked the result I got when using buttons and some round/spiral paper clips with the moldable stamps.  I painted the deli paper with a thin layer of white gesso and then stamped onto it using various stencils and my newly molded stamps.
This image shows the deli paper stamped with sequin waste, the mesh from a grapefruit sack and the molded stamp.

On this other photo, you can see the button stamp.  I tore up the deli paper and used it as the background for a journal spread.

Although it doesn't show well in this photo, the black and white images show through the acrylic paint nicely to create some good texture to the page.

I used a white pen and wrote a bunch of journalling on the page, as I was thinking about something I'm currently reading and reflecting on the connections I'm making to some things in my past.  Thus the "Try to make sense of it" that I wrote in the circles.

Not my favourite art journal page, but it is probably one of my more productive ones in terms of actually doing some meaningful journalling.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Rusty WIP

Here's a look at the basic layout of the rust piece I'm working on.  I love the rust dyed fabric, but it is really hard on machine needles!  I've got some plans for the larger black areas, although this photo doesn't show the rust in them.  The close up below gives you a better indication of the wonderful colour and texture that is showing on the black.  It almost looks like old leather.  Really cool!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Photo Art Meets Journalling

Bonnie's challenge this week for Photo Art Friday is 'self portrait' so I decided to combine some digital photo work with some hands on art journalling to create this spread. I started with a very low res. image that included me in a group shot that someone had posted on Facebook.  I printed it at the size I wanted to work in, and used it to trace the key shapes (head, eyes, nose, mouth, glasses).  I then used various media including Inktense pencils, Neocolor II watersoluable wax pastels, pan pastels, acrylic paint, black Pitt pen, and white Signo pen to recreate my face as well as the background and journalling on the facing page of the spread.

I took a photograph of the finished journal spread back into Photoshop Elements where I did a minor level adjustment and then place it onto Bonnie's 'inspiration' texture.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Touch of Tradition

It has been a very long time since I have made a 'traditional' quilt.  In fact, this sofa quilt, made with a large variety of batiks, was started over two years ago and has been waiting patiently to be finished.  I finally finished the last bit of work on it and got the binding sewn on last night.  It's a gift, and I'm hoping they won't mind that it's 'slightly used'...the extra warmth provided by the cat hair is a bonus!  Arbour decided she should help me with the binding, but as you can imagine it didn't make the hand sewing any easier!

You might notice in the close up that the two shorter edges of the flying geese (triangles for you non-quilters) are loose, creating little pockets of sorts.  This adds some interesting extra texture to the quilt.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I'm Honoured...

I've been featured in an interview over on Artful Adventures.  Thanks Kristie!

Starting to Plan...

Back in January, I did some rust dyeing and talked a little about the 'how to' of it all.  Well it's time to get all those fabrics out and start planning the art quilt for which they were made.   

I'm planning to use text on this quilt, as well as a photograph which I took and digitally altered to include a quote.  

There are so many ideas floating around in my head.  Now I just need to harness some of them and get started with the actual piecing...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Water and Ice...

I took this photo a few weeks ago while exploring along the Bruce trail.  It was a mild winter day, and the textures in the ice and the water were stunning.  I did a couple of very minor adjustments to the levels and contrast and then I added a subtle gradient mask to get a bit more of the sparkle back in the water without loosing the definition in the ice.

I added a layer of Kim Klassens "cool grunge' texture using a hard light blend mode at 15% and then finished off by creating a soft frame using an inverse selection and adding a colour adjustment at a low opacity with a soft light blend mode.

The final steps to the edit were to add the quote and my signature.  The quote uses 'Journal' font.

As much as I like the beauty of the ice and snow, I look forward to images of Spring, hopefully in the very near future!

Linking up with Our World TuesdayTexture Tuesday, and Sweet Shot Tuesday

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Out of the Blue

Once I came up with the final concept for this quilt, I struggled with the decision to share the meaning behind it.  If you've been following my blog you'll know this is 'Plan B', but as I worked on it, a reoccurring theme kept coming up.  As I researched the text covering this quilt, which relates to all things blue, from the various colour names to facts about the colour blue, one theme kept coming to the forefront...that of depression.  And so I decided to embrace it and really focus on what that means to me.

As such the quilt, like depression, is messy.  It doesn't have square edges and it doesn't lie flat.  The text itself is depicted as sort of a 'blah, blah, blah' droning on in an endless, flat fashion.  In the midst of the quilt is a deep, black hole, and from it there are lots of people struggling to escape...Out of the Blue.  Those numbers are important, because although depression is a dark and lonely place, the prevalence of people suffering depression is staggering.  And, while you are in that deep, dark place, you are unable to see that you are not alone, in large part because of the silence that still surrounds this disorder.  The quilt hangs from a rough piece of driftwood that has somewhat harsh, broken ends.

So, yes...I'm putting it out there.  To quote a friend, I'm putting on my big girl panties and I sharing this art quilt and the meaning behind it because the message needs to be shared.  As Clara Hughes says as the spokesperson for Bell's National campaign, LET'S TALK!

I've included a bit of information from the Depression Hurts website:

During their lifetime about 1 in 10 people in Canada will experience an episode of major depressive disorder (the diagnosis given to those suffering from depression) 5 

Unfortunately many people, unaware of how common depression is, avoid seeking treatment because they worry what others will think of them. They feel like they’re the only ones. Depression is in fact a widespread medical condition:6,7

  • Depression is among the leading causes of disability worldwide6

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dust-free Chalkboard Sign

I've been seeing a lot of chalkboard signs with vintage looking lettering lately and always being up on the very latest, Kim has been noticing this too.  She did a walk through in Beyond Beyond of a technique from Fontaholic's site on how to make your font look like chalk.  So I just had to play with the idea and a great quote I've been waiting to use...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Life in the 'Burbs...

Life in the 'burbs...peace and quite while still being close enough to the city to take advantage of the museum, art galleries and theatres.  Another spread, this time inspired by Karen Ellis' Creative Jumpstart video.  The background and papers were made using a Gelli plate, acrylic ink and stencils.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Remembering Oatie...

I made a special fibre postcard in honour of Oatis, a four year old miniature schnauzer that recently died because of a tragic misdiagnosis.  My friend, Donna and her husband were devastated by the loss of this little fur person, and this is just a little token to let them know that I'm thinking of them.

I altered this image in Lightroom and Photoshop to create the image for the postcard.

Some might say that he was "just a dog", but I get it Donna!

Linking up with Photo Art Friday for Bonnie's 'portrait' theme.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Repurposed Map Book = Art Journal

I dropped by Waste Wise the other day and I picked up a map book with a great coil binding.  It will make the perfect repurposed art journal since the pages lay perfectly flat when open and the bonus of course is that the full page maps will make for a great first layer as I add paint, stamps, stencils, etc.

So far all I've done is the outside cover.  I used my Gelli plate to create the green textured background on both the front and back of the journal.  As you can see in the close up of the back, between the spiral stencil I used and the actual paint texture, it looks really great (I think :o)) so I've decided just to leave the back with only the bit of a doodled border.

On the front, I've used some sprayed and stamped paper on which I had written "Create" using matte medium (mixed with some black paint).  I cut up some extra bits to add spaces to write the other words and to create the little circles.  The doodled border you see is the same on the back of the journal.

Cost of my new art journal:  .50¢
Daily art journalling enjoyment:  Priceless!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Art Journal Page...

After watching Louise Nelson's CJS 2013 video, I decided to explore crackle medium in this art journal spread. I had a little bottle of Decor Art One Step Crackle (from the dollar store) in my stash so I pulled it out and put it over the woman and let it dry for a couple of hours. I then added a watered down wash of white gesso, and as you can see in the close up, the cracks are quite evident.  As an afterthought  I added the crackle medium to the pendants at the top of the page, but this time I used a heat gun to dry them.  That seemed to be a mistake, since they really didn't crack much and when I applied a watered down black gesso it had almost no effect.  Live and learn...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Vicariously Visiting Ace Hotel in Palm Springs...

Have I ever mentioned how much fun it is to play with photos and digitally alter them?  Today's image is a compilation of an image that Kim gave us to play with in Beyond Beyond (the chairs sit outside the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs) and a photo of me when I was a little girl.  I've never been to California, but a girl can play!

Linking up with Beyond BeyondOur World TuesdayTexture TuesdaySweet Shot Tuesday

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Better Than A Groundhog...

Yesterday was a spectacular day...Spring is in the air and the temperature was up around 5ºC so I spent a few hours outside 'strolling' with Casey, our golden retriever.  Casey has always loved playing in snow and burrowing her face in it.  Ever since she was a puppy (she's getting close to 13 yrs. old) she signalled the start of Spring for us by insisting that she walk in/on all of the snowbanks.  Last week she was content to walk on cleared sidewalks, but now she has to have her feet in the snow.  It's as if she knows that it will soon be gone and she has to enjoy every last bit of it. Like I say, she's been doing this since she was a puppy...she's more reliable than the groundhogs as far as I'm concerned!

In addition to spending time outside enjoying the weather, I also worked on this art quilt for a few hours. I'm really pleased with how it is coming along.  You can see I've been sewing the painted Lutradur text onto it, word by word.  I've been working from the bottom and therefore have to recreate the message backwards as I go.  My cat was 'helping' by knocking words to the floor and just generally mixing them up for me, so for the time being she has been banned from the studio.  I'm having enough trouble and have to constantly re-read the statements as I go to ensure they're making sense.

And, as things go, the longer I work at it the less things sound right so I've had to walk away from it for now.