Archive for January, 2012
I think I am past drawing glamorous dream girls. My Mom taught me to draw girls when I was about 8 and I must have drawn ten thousand of them before I was through with that. Bless you Mom.
But I really did have fun drawing and painting these two.
At the beginning of each week’s lesson I would start out totally disgusted with what I was putting down on the paper. At the end of each lesson, when I finished each week, I was completely in love with the work I had done. Especially with the backgrounds ala Traci. Rich, deep, intricate backgrounds always just a little beyond what I would have done on my own.
I do think I will get Traci’s new book, Doodles Unleashed, next time I’m flush-I suspect she has more tricks up her sleeve than the ones she gave us for free.
I am participating with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s Art Journal Every Day. The idea is to get you to do at least 10 minutes of art every day. Of course once I get started I generally keep going.
At my house winter brings earlier dinners and long, long evenings. Yes, yes I know it’s been this way since Halloween, but I was very busy from October through the holidays. Very busy and often away from home. But now I’m looking at 3 more months of slow, cold, dark days…eeek…I could get depressed!
Instead, almost every year, I come up with a doodle project, which fits in well with making art for 10 minutes a day . Last year I made zentangle ATCs, dozens and dozens of them. You can see some of them in the banner. This year zentangles seem entirely uninteresting…So for the past couple of weeks I’ve been making journal signature pages.
It is kind of like coloring in a color book, but it gives my hands something easy to do at the end of the long evening when I’m tired. The above spread was done with my new Inktense pencils on drawing paper.
This one I did on Strathmore 140 pound water color paper. Still using the Inktense pencils for this and Pitt “B” pens for the outlines. This is a really good spatial exercise as I had done 3 pages on both sides before it dawned on me that if I put them into a book, they will not be side-by-side unless they are the middle fold of the signature.
Thus this red page could conceivably be right beside the fuchsia pink – ewwww.
So I will now make some spreads that will isolate reds from pinks and still be bold and fun.
I started a new one last night and even though I knew it would not sit in the book as two consecutive pages, I still made it as if it would! Darn. Well I like it the best so far so maybe it will be the centerfold.
Most of the art journals I’ve made lately have been collage journals, which give me fits when it comes time to add my written thoughts. I don’t want to mess up a beautiful collage by putting text in the wrong place, or making it too big, or too small – or some way that is the wrong way – that messes up an otherwise great collage.
So I will make a couple of fun journals with places especially for my writing. And then I can add doodles and collage for eternity – after I’ve had my say.
When I got home from my three-day weekend and got the laundry done I rushed over to read Day 5, 6 and 7 of Organization Week. I found that I had done most of the steps in the process of Day 1-4! I will qualify that statement with the fact that I had read Nat’s blog about Julie visiting and helping her organize her studio, so I really did get a head start.
I now have THREE shelves dedicated to displaying my art. One has been here for a while and was so crammed with beautiful journals that you couldn’t see any of them. So for Organization Week I created two more. One has been holding other things (see above after picture) and one is brand new. I showed you the brand new shelf at the end of this post right after it was installed, but here it is now.
Hopefully at some point I will able to use that middle space will hold other pieces once I have spent more time sorting and purging and sorting again.
Most of my art is in the form of journals so shelves are good. But I have quite a bit of paper art too. I have cleared off one section of wall to make a display of my flat pieces. I’m planning on doing my version of an idea I saw in the Cloth, Paper, Scissors studios, Fall 2011 edition. I will cover the wall (maps, music, collage?) and then hang randomly-sized empty picture frames and rotate art pieces through the frames. I am still thinking through the background (wall) but I already acquired the picture frames and have started sanding and painting them. This project will take a bit of time.
Besides the Display Wall, I now have the small things to organize. Clearing out and organizing the files of images, organizing the rubber stamps, making divider boxes all of that little stuff.
Above is one of the little organizing projects. My teeny-tiny alphabet stamps in a shallow utensil tray. The came as little cubes of letters – impossible to get in and out while working. BUT you must keep them in order so you can find them as you are spelling out words and so you know if you are missing any at the end of the day. So here they are in order with cosmetic sponges adding tension to keep them upright. The extra segment of the tray comes in handy to keep things nearby – actually ended up putting my damp handy-wipe in it.
I suspect over time that I will have to move some things around as I find out how practical the current arrangements are. But overall getting my already organized studio – organized for work (play) was really fun and is a great relief! Thank you Julie!
My Revel In the Moment Journal page from January 4.
I LOVE this page! It rarely happens that I love a page, but finally here is.
It started out with a minor disaster as the vintage sheet music started disintegrating almost immediately. I had to add a layer of gel medium to hold things together. It still cracked where it crossed the center so I finally decided that using one of my teabags would help.
I have been saving teabags for a long time without having a use for them. I just love the beautifully textured tea color. Every once in a while I will sit and pull apart the dried bags while watching a movie. I save the kind that are one large piece with a stitch holding them together. (Some Constant Comment, Good Earth and others.)
For this piece I stamped the teabags. The large center one is stamped with Staz-On ink and a woman’s head. It looked so good that I stamped some more bags with dragonflies and butterflies. Then I got completely carried away and stamped white acrylic paint dots on a few pieces of teabag and then sprayed them with red watercolor spray…fun!
I layered gold and white washi tape here and there around the edges. One – to add a little bling and two – again help stabilize the old papers. There was some advertisement across the woman so I just put tape there too. I will use it for a writing space.
The large date text on the left is on another page – another thing I am loving about this journal – the different size pages give another whole layer of interest! You can see the red punched lace, one of the prettiest elements, on two different pages although it is behind the black and white page (below).
Here are pages made January 1 and 2 for the same journal. [See the red lace?] Since this picture I have added writing, so yes, I do use the pages for journaling also.
What I get most from these online classes is the motivation – the kick in the pants to get out the supplies and create.
My studio has been in utter chaos since last October. In October I dismantle much of my art room to take samples etcetera to Art Camp for Women. This year when I got home I dumped everything on my table, did my laundry, and ran off to JournalFest. When I got home I dumped everything on my table, did my laundry, cleared a square foot of space on the table and tried to work around the mess.
When I read that Julie Fei-Fan Balzer was going to do an Organization Week in January – I gave a huge sigh of relief – I love to organize but this time I needed some motivation.
Backing up for a Running Start
In the last week of December I backed up for a running start on the Organization Week. I took two days to clean up and paint some old shelves we saved from our kitchen re-model, and took another two days to dry and hang them up. Then I did a kind of clear-off-the-table sort of organizing, knowing all the time that I needed to really re-think the whole set up of the room.
Without knowing it I also did the majority of Day 1 of Organization Week assignment during my jump start – Purging.
Since I had a head start I mostly used
Day 1 to clean out my old laptop and get it set up in the studio. I take a lot of video art classes online and being able to watch from the painting end or the cutting side of the table makes a big difference. I do my writing and other computer work upstairs in my office, this computer is strictly for watching video classes and reading tutorials.
Day 2 – How your Brain Works really helped me out!
1. Clearly labeling containers not only helps you find things – it also reminds you (me) what you are working on!
2. Keep your most-used items near where you work and easily accessible. I have some really nice and expensive color options and until Day 2 they were so hard to get to that I didn’t bother to use them OR once I got them out I didn’t put them away.
3. Like with like. Paints together and near where you paint. Sewing tools, fabric and thread near the sewing machine. Pens and mark making tools together and easy to get to. Rubber stamps in one flat drawer. Large binder for clear stamps. Large stencils in one flat drawer. Large binder for small stencils and masks.
As I am reorganizing there are areas that used to be organized that are now under attack and more disorganized than ever. Julie warned us that it would get worse before it got better. I must say it is not worse, but it still has to get better.
Your supplies should be easy to see and easy to put away.
I have long held to the premise that materials kept on shelves need to be one deep. And I have been using recycled clear salad bins (see above) and recycled plastic salsa containers all along. So for Day 3 my job is to label and put things where I can get to them easily. I ran out of labels for the salsa jars, but will work on that some more.
My business partner is Lorri Flint and she was one of the guest bloggers today on Julie’s blog so I had a heads up and was the tester for the tutorial she posted over at the Art Camp blog. So if you look at the picture of my paints, you might be able to see that I used her box instructions to make the back layer of paints higher so they can be seen and reached behind the shorter alcohol inks etc.
AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
The heart of your studio: Your work surface. Julie say your desk, but I have a large table. I have the top of a conference table laid across 4 sets of map drawers. As I said earlier I have an office upstairs for phone and computer work.
She says to have your top ten must haves within reach when you are working. This is my lazy susan that sits in the center of the table. I must admit I posed the paper towels. They never stay there although that is where they are supposed to be.
I have a basket of rags that sits at the open end of the table and one or two are usually scattered on the tabletop. I also have a scrap trash container and a water container that are always within reach when I’m working.
At the closed end of the table I have my ink rack. I found these racks at a thrift store and by backing them with some heavy paper they became the perfect storage for my ink, re-inkers and a couple of acrylic blocks for my clear stamps. My stamps live in the top flat map drawer directly below my worktable. I am not showing that drawer until I get the foamcore boxes from Lorri Flint’s tutorial made. I have sets of plastic drawers holding my collage ephemera that sit behind my table, but I generally pull the drawer clear out and set it near where I’m working when I am ready to collage.
I stand at my table or sit on a tall stool so my pens, paints, inks and brushes are now right behind me.
Just having my table cleared and in working order is a great relief and an incentive to create. And I can see that I still need days 5, 6, and 7. My small stencils and masks and my clear rubber stamps are well organized but they live across the room from where I work. At least half of my map drawers are messy and disorganized inside. I have dis-organized several areas while doing this organizing week so far, so those areas will need to be addressed as well.
Tomorrow I will leave for a couple of days so I will finish Organization Week on my own next week and post about the last couple of days then. Thanks for reading.
I figure I could doodle for another movie or two on this but doubt I will. I do not like the paper I started with so don’t want to spend time arguing with the paper about who is boss. LOL
Traci has a new book that will be release in February titled Doodles Unleashed and I think this class will be a great lead-in to the book.
I always carry a Moleskine journal with me when I am out and about. Not the Art Journal type, but the thin papered, writing in kind. I keep a running list of ‘to dos’ and ideas. Yes, yes, I have an iPad and an iPod etc. but I was trained on paper and that is what I can do before my first cup of coffee and then it follows me through the day.
At the end of 2010 I found myself far from home, with time on my hands, and the only paper I had with me was my Moleskine. I wanted to try out some new water color crayons, so I went back to the first page and painted the darn thing. TA-DA a tradition is born.
As soon as I am half way through my current Moleskine, I go back and start covering up the mundane notes, lists, directions etc. and start using it for my daily journaling – the ‘what I did today’ sort of journal.
The first layer is already done with the notes. The second layer is the gesso and paint. You are at your third layer with just the drying time to slow you down. I tape the center seam to prevent seepage ala Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. Then I go back in with color and stamps and decorate the page making it ready for writing and whatever else comes up.
I also use these journals for trying out new (to me) ideas and methods, because this is basically a throwaway saved from a fate worse than death – the landfill.
After I finished the first book like this – it took about 9 months – I started looking around my office and my studio and have discovered that I have many, many, dusty old volumes that I just haven’t wanted to toss, but have no value other than the horizontal surfaces of paper.
Moleskines come in various sizes so you can pick the size that works for you – or you can just re-use the notebooks you already have. You could even use old notebooks used at school. I buy my Moleskines in a 3-pack, I believe this size comes in at a little less than $20.00US. When I get through this pack I am going to see if there is a way to add another layer of note taking that is feasible because I do have dozens sitting around the office.
So save yourself some money, some shelf space and help out your local landfill by re-using what you already have on hand.
There are so many, many free or nearly free online art classes that I may have OD’d. Over done it I mean. Here is where I am so far:
Kelly Kilmer’s – Revel in the Moment - $25.00
I have already started this class. I made a new journal just for this class using some canvas paintings I did last fall. I padded and stitched through the canvas to add texture and then bound two separate paintings together for a front and back cover.
For some reason, Kelly’s classes hit me right where it counts and I got so motivated, I couldn’t wait to finish the cover so I made pages in a smaller, unfinished journal made last summer.
As you can see there is no journaling on these pages as yet – what there is for me to notice is that I am not ready to fully reveal myself through my writing – Get over it Lori!
Next Class – Strathmore – Free
Strathmore is of course selling their visual journal line. However they are doing it in a very generous and top-notch sort of way. They have a line up of artists that teach a class with printed lessons and videos for one month each. The first teacher is Traci Bautista, who has a soon to be released new book Doodles Unleashed!
I started looking at the first video and decided I had to – had to – rig up one of my computers in my studio so I could watch all these class videos right where I would be working. So I went downstairs and while looking around for where to put the computer decided I also needed to install one more shelf. Thus distracting myself for another entire afternoon moving supplies, painting a shelf and installing it. Once again I left a huge mess in the studio overnight while the shelf did it’s final drying.
This post is getting long so I will just make a list of links to the other classes I am signed up for in my almost down time January to March. Well yes, I am laughing at myself, don’t want to cry.
More Online Classes
Mary Ann Moss – Remains of the Day - $45.00 I have been watching this class for a couple of years and finally feel like I have enough material and paper scraps that this one will actually help me clear some stuff out
Round of Words – FREE – A writing challenge – starts today January 2 (you can start late) free.
Organization Week – Julie Fei-Fan Balzer – I believe this will be a series of organizing ideas and examples running for a week. I got so jazzed with her start up message that I have already been organizing like a maniac.
Then there is the Postcard swappie-thingy ala Griffin and Sabine, and the chunky book swap…and-and-and……….
There are several more classes I am considering that start later in the year. I need to see if I can keep up with these and if I can continue to work in my studio once the weather begins to be human again.
Now I am going to stop – for one thing I can’t find my list of classes and the other thing? This post is going on too long….
One last HAPPY NEW YEAR from me!