About Me

My photo

I started this blog on November 23, 2009 just because I wanted to chronicle my artistic endeavors and see "in black and white" how many different directions my artistic brain would go.  I challenged myself to try different mediums and that this blog could be a platform to post my achievements and failures.  I cannot believe it's been six years now!  Over the past 6 years I've learned a few things from writing this blog:
1.  Art is in my blood, I will always be thinking or doing something artistic
2.  About 80% of my work turns out better than the original idea
3.  I am not a fast artist, I have to start on an idea and then let it sit for a while
4.  It's OK that my "artsy" brain sometimes goes in 1,000 different directions at once
With all of this said I now consider myself a mixed media artist because I a lot of my talents cross over into other projects I've already started; It's a great life and I wouldn't change anything about my crazy artistic brain!  


Friday, December 23, 2011

Cupcakes!

When we were in Illinois for Thanksgiving I went to my favorite craft store and bought this cupcake ribbon.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it but that became my inspiration.

When I think of cupcakes I think of pink.  Why? I don't know, it's fun, it's girly, it's a happy color for me.  What color goes with pink... brown... and the inspiration started to take shape.
Since I like texture and mixed media I decided to quilt the bottom part of the cupcakes.  But first I needed to pick out six different fabrics that would go well with pink and brown.  I have a huge stash of fabric so it wasn't hard to find fabric, it was just hard to narrow it down to only six pieces!  For the back of the cupcakes I just used muslin because no one was going to see it anyway.

I free form quilted each square before I cut out the cupcake design.  I decided to quilt with the muslin facing up so I could see what areas I had already done, on busy fabric this is hard to see.
After quilting:

I still hadn't decided where I was going to use the cupcake ribbon but I continued on.

Now for the fun part: creating the icing!  I created chocolate, strawberry and vanilla icing using a texture medium and iced my cupcakes.  I also knew I was going to use glitter because glitter will make anything look girly.  Glitter and pink, you can't get much more girly than that.  After that was done I held the cupcake ribbon in my hand and it hit me... put it right in the middle! So that's what I did.  Plus I had brown and pink ribbon in my ribbon stash that I could use going vertically.
Here is a close up of two of them:
Who Wants a Cupcake?  is now for sale at Olde Towne Art in Portsmouth, VA.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Photography and flowers

I love taking all kinds of pictures but I always come back to my flowers.  Flowers are so beautiful and from different angles they take on different looks.  God created this whole earth and I believe He gave us flowers to show his extreme love for us.  I like getting as close as I can for a flower shot and it's a bonus for me if it has a bumble bee or a butterfly on it. 

In my photo folders I used to have my flowers labeled according to location but, being the organized person I am, I decided to create folders of flowers according to their color which is working out a lot better for me.  Here is just a small sampling of some of my flower pictures created in mosaic form:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Faith, Hope and Love are living - Christmas, Christmas, everywhere

For Christmas I have asked to turn this blog into a book (super easy at blog2print.com) so I need to stop posting for a while so the manufacturer doesn't get confused!  But I did want to do one more post.

*** Update:  I've figured out how to turn my blog into a book without needing to stop posting for a while, YIPPEE!!  So on with the posts!! ***

I have mentioned Ideals Magazine before and how much I love to read the poems and short stories contained in them.  While I was organizing my books last night I came across this poem taken from Christmas Ideas 1951 entitled Hello, Again by Nina Gertrude Smith:

Hello, again, it's Christmas!  in the postman's ring,
In a little child's face, on the snowbird's wing:

In the "sh-sh-sh" of secrets; colors, sounds, and smells-
In a stranger's warm, sweet laughter hear the golden bells!

Christmas in the sacred story of a Yuletide's song,
In a new re-captured glory righting every wrong.

In the joy of giving, giving... Christmas in the air; Faith and hope and love are living-
Christmas, Christmas, everywhere!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

For December's Show

I rarely use sketch books.  I don't know why.  When ideas pop into my head I just do it.  If I don't have the materials I find them and fast.  But when I go on trips I take a sketch book because I can't just go up to my art room and work on an idea.  When we traveled to Illinois last week for Thanksgiving I took a sketch book.  A few days before we left I had an idea for December's show at Olde Towne Art but knew I wouldn't be able to execute it before we left.  While driving there I asked my husband if I bought a large canvas in IL could we get it home in the minivan.  The show goes up December 1st so that meant I would only have a few days to work on it when we got back.  I thought I could get a jump start on it in IL then finish it in VA.  He said yes we would manage to get it home, HORRAY!!
The initial idea:
When we got there I found the perfect size canvas, 18" X 36".  I then bought some paint and got underway.
The next step was to "build" the shelves.  I went to the local hardware store and looked at the crown moulding section thinking I would find something ornate but eventually settled on a simple piece of wood.  I knew my flower idea would be dramatic so I didn't want it to get too busy.  The pieces of wood were 36" long but I needed them to be 6" so thanks to my sister-in-law's boyfriend I could saw them down right there.
Then paint them black.
I then glued them onto the canvas and painted the pedestal bases.  Next was the fun part, creating the flowers from fabric.  I wanted the centers of the flowers different and the larger perimeter to all be the same.  I wanted to quilt the centers to give it more depth so here I have all of my centers laid out on the batting.
Cut and ready for their backing:
I couldn't quilt the centers yet because I didn't have my sewing machine with me so I pinned the centers to the backing for the drive home.  On the ride home I cut slits from the perimeter towards the center because after I quilted it I wanted to wash the flowers a few times to give the edges a scrappy look. 
The last thing I needed to do before we traveled back home was to make two vases the flowers were to go in.  I needed to do this there because I knew it would take a few days to dry out.  I used air drying clay, sculpted them after Thanksgiving lunch while everyone was taking a nap, and they air dried on the dashboard of our car on the drive home. 
We made it home Saturday night and by Sunday night I  had quilted the flowers and washed them a few times.  They still weren't giving me the depth I wanted.
So when I started making these flowers I ended up with 30 but cut it down to 20 before quilting the middles.  After I quilted the middles I realized that I would only be able to fit 10 onto my canvas.  The 10 that I set aside came in real handy when I went to create that puffy middle I was looking for.

I am going to try to explain it so stick with me.  I balled up pieces of aluminum foil, squirted hot glue into the back center and stuck the ball in there then wrapped it up.  Before it was completely dry I took the second quilted flower, squirted hot glue into the right side center of that and fanned out the first flower (with the aluminum ball) and stuck it to it.  Hence four pieces of fabric and two pieces of batting for one flower.
I couldn't decide what color to paint the vases.  My initial thought was to paint them black but the pedistals were "too black" if that makes sense.  While in my garage I noticed a can of silver spray paint and it was perfect! 
And the final product:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My notecards

I have always loved photography and believe this was my first step into the creative world.  My dad taught me how to use a camera at the age of 6 but that's another blogpost in itself (when I can dig up some old pictures).

A few years ago I started selling my photographs at the local Farmer's Market and the item that sold the most were my notecards.  I love making notecards because I can reach a larger audience.  I literally have thousands of pictures that I can turn into notecards but I like to see what the people like.  Since getting into a lot of other mediums as of late I have fallen away from my photography, and my notecards.  But I have a few relatives that keep asking me when I'm going to be doing more notecards so guess what?!  I'm getting back into my notecard business!

I have a lot of new photos to showcase plus I've gone back into my archives and have printed a lot of classics too.  I will be taking them to Olde Towne Art today just in time for Black Friday so please stop by if you get a chance.

Here is a sneek peek at some of my photography:








I hope you and your family have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.  I'll be going out of town to spend the holiday with my husband's family but I'll return with a lot of new and creative ideas for Christmas, I already have my sketchbook (and camera) packed!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I beat my deadline

In the last post I said that in the gallery (at Olde Towne Art)  a lot of artists paint on canvas and that's how come their studios look "full".  I decided that I needed to create a few larger pieces to "cover my wall space" but I had never painted on canvas before.  Well in the art world I'll try anything once so I bought myself some canvas.  I had no idea what I was going to do so I started with my favorite color pink.  The first thing that popped into my head, that was pink, was the Breast Cancer Awareness ribbons.  I have a good friend that is battling breast cancer right now so this is in honor of her:
I wanted to add dimension after I painted the background silver so I added black paint to ceramic stucco and painted the door and ground.  I then mixed varying shades of pink with a heavy gel medium.  The ribbon is made out of pink sculpey clay.

While I was researching quotes to put on my first piece I came across a quote that inspired me to make my second piece.  This one is called Sunshine.

Again I mixed reds, oranges, yellows and gold with my heavy gel medium to create texture in the sun.  This piece, and the previous one, both measure 9" X 14".

For my third one I knew I wanted more texture whether it be fabric, yarn, paper or anything else that inspired me.  I went to a local art store where I knew they had a bin of cheap craft yarn and there I found inspiration.  My third one is called Under The Sea:
First I painted the canvas in swirls of greens and blues.  The inspiration was the bumpy yarn, it looked like seaweed to me.  Again I wanted dimension so I made the fish out of sculpey clay then painted them.
While digging through the yarn bin I found 2 more skeins of yarn that also inspired me.  My last one was made with red, grey and silver yarn and acrylic paint.  It is untitled.
I was aiming for three finished canvases before we went out of town for Thanksgiving but I managed to do four before my creativity slowed down and I am very pleased with all of them.  I will be hanging them on my studio wall this afternoon just in time for the Christmas shoppers!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Watercolors and ACEO's

Since I've gotten space at Olde Towne Art I've been looking through my "creative endeavors" that I've tried over the years.  About a year ago I decided that I wanted to learn how to watercolor.  I've only worked with acrylics and thought "it's time to try a new medium" so I did and  I LOVED it!  I have done a few larger paintings but then I decided to try 2.5" X 3.5" which is the size of an ACEO (Artist Cards Editions and Originals).  They are quite small and I normally like to work on a much larger scale but I loved the results.

I have never framed them but since I now have space to display them I decided to look for frames for my little masterpieces.  A 2.5" X 3.5" frame is harder to find than you might think.  And even if the frame says 2.5" X 3.5" it's usually cut smaller, thank goodness I carry my ACEO's with me wherever I go.  So I found the perfect size frames but I didn't like the plaid design on them:

So I stood there with these frames in my hand deciding how I could change them... of course... deconstruct them!  The plaid was fabric so I easily ripped that off then primed it for painting.  I have eight mini masterpieces that I had to keep in mind while picking colors.  Here are three that are painted, clear coated and ready to be framed again.

And the end product looks like this:

The yellow goldfinch is my favorite.

My other favorite that I don't have pictured in a frame is my two owls:


Jacob and I will be putting these in my studio space tomorrow.

While thinking of my space, and everyone elses, I've noticed that a lot of people have works of art to hang on the wall.  I don't.  And what better reason to go out and buy stretched canvas than that... to fill up my walls!  I had an idea in mind for my first canvas piece and it involves 3 dimensional objects.  As soon as I bought a value pack of stretched canvas all of these other ideas came to me (I love when that happens!).  So hopefully I'll have all three done before Friday when we leave to go to Illinois for Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Dream

These are a few quotes I found on the Internet about loving what you do:

Do what you love.  When you love your work, you become the best worker in the world.   Uri Geller

Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.  Dr. Wayne Dyer

Never continue in a job you don't enjoy.  If you're happy in what you're doing, you'll like yourself, you'll have inner peace.  And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.  Johnny Carson

Find something you love to do and you'll never have to work a day in your life.  Harvey MacKay

I have never had a job that was my "dream job".  I majored in psychology with a minor in sociology and because I couldn't find work in my field I fell into the retail industry.  At night and on weekends I would explore my creative side: photography and quilting.  Over the years my tastes have changed but one thing still remains the same... I love to create.

I have sold my stuff at local farmer's markets and on Etsy but a dream of mine came true last week when a studio space became available at Olde Towne Art in Portsmouth, VA.  Just think I could display my stuff year round, I don't have to be there in order to sell something AND since it's my space I can put whatever creative thing I'm working on at the moment in there... from my art dolls to my zentangles.  My little art studio for everyone to see.

I believe that God works in each of our lives but most of us can't see it, or don't recognize that it's by God's hand, but when we do it is so powerful.  And it's yet another testimony of His loving grace.

Here is a peek at my studio space.  I'm still trying to fill it up but if you're ever in the area please stop by!

My space 

A few of my art dolls

My zentangles

One of my painted mirrors

My painted button pendants and brooches

Follow this link: Olde Towne Art

Monday, October 24, 2011

Swivel Head Sally

A few months ago when I became interested in making art dolls I showed you a picture of a red and white apron that would eventually turn into Swivel Head Sally.  This apron was from a box lot I won at an auction for $1.00

I draw all of my own patterns so when I was thinking about her torso I thought of two triangles, one inverted so the waist was small.  I created the body out of the red fabric because there was more polka dot fabric and I knew I wanted to make the legs real long.

I was only going to use the fabric from the apron to create this doll.  I went ahead and cut out a little red skirt.  I had in mind to layer the polka dot fabric with the solid fabric.  There wasn't enough to do this so I went to my fabric stash and picked out three random pieces of fabric that I had leftover from other projects.
Eventually I would use the decorative stitches on my sewing machine to "hem" each layer.

This is swivel head Sally waiting for her head:
She was without a head for some time because I didn't want to make another fabric head.  They are art dolls because one uses different mediums in the same design.  I decided I would mold a head out of Celluclay.  This would be fun because I could get my three and five year old boys involved too.

This head turned out to be her sisters head because I wanted Sally's a little bit more round and this ended up being very flat on the bottom.  But I ended up doing something a little bit unique with this form that I'll tell you in the next blogpost.

Meet Swivel Head Sally:
Her ponytail sits right on top of her head and is held by a scrap of fabric from one layer in her skirt.  After I painted her face I sealed it with Delta Ceramcoat Interior Varnish.  Then I painted the free form design on her torso.

  And last but not least her shoes...

Before I painted the red and white polka dot fabric blue I coated it with Aleene's Fabric Stiffener and Draping Liquid.  This has a total of about five coats including a sealant.  After everything was dry, the very last thing I did was to lace up her little ballet type slippers.