Sunday, April 30, 2006

Another...

I usually don't get to do art on the weekends, because we're out running errands, etc. But after a morning of yardwork, it began to rain, so we decided to just stay in for the rest of the afternoon.

And so I did another painting. I'm very pleased with this one- it came a little easier than the last one. Again, it's my face, attached to a bird's body with some sort of cage around the body. Originally I intended to draw a "standard" sort of birdcage, with a flat bottom, but then this shape came to me, and it really felt right. Maybe it's because it's a little less cumbersome of a shape- I just picture this bird (me?) flying around with the cage hanging below, and this shape would allow that more so than a flat-bottomed cage- I guess it's a more aerodynamic shape!

As before though, I'm struggling with this "new" style of art. In my mind, it's completely different and separate from my typical collages, and I'd much prefer if the two could more easily meld with one another. As it is, when I sit down to work, I now have to decide between three different styles- doing a spread in Riley's book (much more of a scrapbooking style), doing a non-Riley collage, or doing a painting. I wish I could just sit down and let what happens happen, and not decide ahead of time what I'll be doing.

Oh well, I guess this is typical when your art begins to change. You need to work through the unfamiliarness, not back down, and face the challenge. And as a result, you'll hopefully become a better artist in the end... I hope you readers don't mind hearing about my struggles, and don't view me just as a complainer. Frankly, it's a little scary putting this all out for others to read, because if I chicken out and don't continue down this new path, I'm afraid I'll be viewed as a bit of a coward!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Corners of My Home

So first I'd like to say thank you to all who commented on yesterday's post, encouraging me with the painting. I really have felt lately that my art needed to move in a new direction. Maybe this is what I've been needing. However, it's going to be a real challenge. Like I said yesterday, it's difficult for me to mix both painting and collage. I feel a little uncertain of where to even begin! In a way, it's delving into a completely new artform, which is scary! And I certainly don't want to abandon collage, because I love it so... Well, as always, I'll keep you updated on my progress!

And so, as promised, here is my corner, a day late. This is a newly decorated spot above my art table in our guest room. As you can see, there are a variety of items up here.

First we have two pieces of art. The one on the right is one I did, and the one on the left is from so long ago, I don't even remember where I got it. It's not even an original, just a copy, but I just really like the nurturing pose that the figures are in, so I've always had it displayed.

Then there is an old piece of ceiling tin that I got from a salvage yard. Jason absolutely hates it, so it can't ever be displayed out in our main rooms. Fine with me though, because I can put it in my "studio".

Next are a series porcelain head vases. These come from my grandmother. She unfortunately suffered a stroke last December, and as a result, will have to spend the rest of her life in a nursing home. Just recently, relatives had to go and clean out her apartment and designate what would be saved and what would be sold. She collected head vases, and I was able to acquire this group. They're so sweet, and a great reminder of my grandmother!

The photo is of me as a little girl, and one that I've always liked. The crow figure is one Jason gave me last Christmas. The "1" tile is one I got on Ebay, and to me represents being the firstborn child. And the porcelain woman is one I've had since my childhood, although I can't remember where it came from.

At some point in the near future, I plan to paint the drawers all these are sitting upon, but I'm not sure which color yet... So there you have it, another corner of my home!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Painting

After looking at Anne Siems' work (thank you, Ulla, for the link!), I was inspired to do some real painting. Her paintings are gorgeous and thought-provoking, and it makes me feel guilty for doing collage instead of painting! I do use paint when I do collage, but it's usually just as a background or to add accents, not to paint the main imagery. And I love the look of pieces that have both collage elements and focal painted elements.

So anyway, here is what I came up with. The face is mine (those of you who know me can tell me whether I've succeeded in doing an accurate representation- I've looked at it for too long to know if it really looks like me or not! I think the eyes are probably too big...). After spending so much time on the face, I didn't feel like trying to do a realistic body, so I cheated and did this "cocoon" sort of body, encased in a wire "cage" with a collaged bird inside. Being a former art therapist, I'm well aware of all the messages my unconscious is probably trying to divulge with this imagery! Do I feel caged? Trapped? Or am I enveloped in a cocoon, on the verge of becoming a butterfly? I prefer not to think about it too much at this point. And, see? There is an opening in the "cage", and the bird is free to fly away, so I take some comfort in that fact!

As is with most of my work, I'm still trying to decide if I like it. I have a real hard time mixing collage with realistic painting. Which is why every time I get an inkling to do some real painting in my work, it's usually a one-time thing, because I struggle so much incorporating it with collage elements. But I did like doing the self-portrait. I used to do self-portraits all the time in college. So maybe I'll continue to play around with that concept...

In case you haven't figured it out, this piece and the piece from yesterday are both in my new tall, skinny journal. Both pieces so far have had my own image in them (yesterday's had a photo). Maybe I'll make that a "rule" for this new journal- each page must have my image. I don't know- maybe, maybe not.

Anyway, this post is too long to include "Corners of My Home", so I'll post that tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Look Into My Madness

I did a piece of art today that took me hours!! Not that most pieces don't take me hours, but this one took me hours just to get that last 5% done! With most of my art, I get the majority of it done, then the last details take about as long as the rest of it did. With this piece, the last details took about three times as long as the rest! I kept thinking I was done, so I'd take photos, then I would agonize over it and decide I wasn't done. So, lucky for you viewers, since I've got the photos, you get to see this process!







First we have a photo of the initial "finished" piece. Pretty nice, but it just felt a little bland to me- it was all just pinks and greens and creams. I felt it needed another color or element to make things pop a little.










So here is what I did. I added the turquoise "frame" around the center image and the little turquoise pieces of decorative tape in a couple spots. By the way, is that not the cutest tape you have ever seen?? It's by a company called "Cram Cream" and I got it here. It's hard to find, but it's so cute, I think it's worth looking for! Anyway, something about this revision just didn't sit well with me- it added too much unnecessary detail and was a little too bright and cutesy.






So here is my final revision. I took off the tape and painted over the turquoise with a toned-down blue-green, as well as adding that color in various spots around the collage. I think it adds the slight "pop" it was needing, without being too bright, and it's not detracting from the details of the main subjects. And it only took me like three hours to get to this point!

So am I done?? I'm still not sure, but at this point, I'm so sick of messing with it, I'm at least done for tonight! People often ask me how I get depth and a layered look to my collages. Well, there you go! I constantly add things on top of other things, paint over stuff, pull things off, etc. until I'm happy with the way things look. It's not really intentional, but it results in a nice weathered, layered look that can't be "faked".

I hope you enjoyed this foray into my creative process- you're lucky you only got the really revised version, because watching it in person would drive you absolutely crazy! (Here's an idea of what you'd see- me standing back and looking at it, walking away for a minute, going back and looking again, bringing it into the bathroom and looking at it in the mirror (a GREAT way to get a different perspective on a piece), making a minor change, walking away for another minute, going back and looking again,....-well, you get the idea-anyway, it would drive you crazy!)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Beautiful Days in Seattle...

It's been gorgeous the past few days in Seattle! Riley and I have been spending some time outside, enjoying the sun while Daddy's at work... Not much else to share, but thought this photo was cute!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Long Overdue Book Finished


When Tara and I were out over the weekend, we were talking about how we never seem to finish art journals that we're working on. One prime example is my wedding journal, which was started in 2003. I sort of ran out of steam with one page and the cover to go probably a year or so ago. I've always felt bad that I left it unfinished, so today, I decided to do it! It was a little difficult, because my style has changed since then, and I didn't want to do something that looked out of place. I don't feel like it's my best work by far, but I like it, and I'm just so happy that it's now finished! One check off the art list! If you'd like to see the book in its entirety, take a look at my PictureTrail site.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Art For Sale

I've put a few more pieces of older art up for sale on my website if anyone's interested...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Book Sale!

My friend, Tara Ross, and I went to a "Friends of the Library" used book sale today. All books were a dollar or less! It was a madhouse and fairly picked-over (we should have gone last night for the preview sale...), but I found a few fun things. One is a children's dictionary with all kinds of good words and illustrations, and another has fantastic drawings of children's calisthenics!! The "Ring-A-Ring" one I mostly bought just for the cover, another I really only bought for a couple specific images inside, and yet another I only bought because I loved the endpapers so much! But for a dollar a piece, I guess I couldn't go wrong! Regardless, it was a fun trip out, and a chance to spend some time away from the house.

Also, last night I finished the final piece for my end of the collaborative. I just need to bind everything into a book and send it off to Pam! I'm extremely happy with this page- everything just seemed to work color-wise and composition-wise. Maybe when I get the project back, I'll have to frame this one for Riley's room...

While I was out with Tara, I picked up a sketchbook that is long and narrow (we took a side trip to Daniel Smith). It's 6" x 13 1/2". I really like the proportions. I think I'll start a new journal for myself (not about Riley) in it- I've missed doing "me" art. It's spiral bound, which I'm not crazy about, but I'll deal with it! I'll post photos once I've done something in it.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Studio Friday- Sparkles

This week's topic of Shine/Sparkles was very timely! Just yesterday, I created this. Don't ask me why, since I've still got a collaborative deadline to meet by the end of the month. But when inspiration strikes, I guess you've got to go with it!

My studio is in our guest bedroom, and there's an awkward wall over the side of the bed that I've never been happy with. I had this multiple frame "ladder"(which is meant to be stood on the floor) with no place to go, and a wall that needed something, and some brand new german glass glitter that was begging to be used, so here're the results! I'm not entirely pleased with my glittering job- I realize that I should have used colored paper or at least painted the paper before glittering, as some of the white is showing through, but oh well...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Sisters Corner

This week's corner is in our guest bedroom. It's a spot on top of a bookshelf with photos of my two sisters and me. The one on the left is from my younger sister, Katie's, wedding. This was the first taken of the bunch. It came out so cute that when my wedding came a couple years later, we duplicated the pose but with me in the middle-the second frame over. The tall narrow frame has photos of the three of use from when we were little. And the frame on the far right is from last Christmas. We had family portraits taken, so we did a shot of the three of us together again. Hopefully, there will be another one in the future of my youngest sister, Julia's, wedding, to complete the set!

Although I live far away from them- both live in sunny Florida with me in the opposite corner of the country, in Seattle- we are all still very close. They are two of my best friends! I hope to live closer to them someday so that we can all be together again. But until then, I have this little corner to remind me of them!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Snippets of ATC's

One of the deadlines that's been looming for me is for an Artist Trading Card book by Bernie Berlin. I need to produce four different cards, each with an assigned technique. I'm so used to just letting my art "happen", meaning that I don't plan ahead the techniques or images, but instead I just work intuitively, using whatever seems appropriate once the piece starts to take shape. So having to do art that specifically addresses different techniques was a little hard, because I sort of had to think backwards. But they're small pieces, so that made it a little easier. I don't think I should show the whole cards since they'll potentially be in the book, but I think it would be okay if I just showed little snippets. So here's what I've worked on the past couple days...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Six Months Old!

Riley is six months old today! I just can't believe how fast time is going. I took him to have portraits done at JCPenney to commemorate the day. They certainly aren't the best portrait studio around (in fact, I like a lot of the photos I take of him better than the professional ones), but they're cheap, and I sort of like having a few of the "cheesy" studio portraits. It reminds me of the ones we always had in our photo albums when I was a kid. Anyway, he was very good, and it looks like they got a couple of really cute shots of him.

I also wanted to do a piece of art in
his book for his six month birthday, so despite two different deadlines I have looming over me at the moment, I worked in there instead! Here are the results. I really like this spread, thank goodness! If you've been reading my blog lately, you know that I haven't been very pleased with some of the art I've done recently. Maybe this means I'm out of the slight rut I seemed to be in. Unfortunately, the lighting in these photos is bad, so I don't know if you can get a good sense of the colors.

I used some more of the great vintage wallpaper from Pam (the yellow bits) and some of my recent fabric purchases, in addition to several different scrapbook papers and a vintage photo. The poem is called "The Mother's Heart" and is about the eldest child. I'm not sure of the author. I originally saw it on a piece of art by Mikel Robinson. He is a great artist-take a look at his website if you're interested.

Also, here is the sign-in page for the collaborative project I spoke about in the last post. Again, the lighting is really bad. I like this page, but not as much as the cover. It was a little more difficult since I knew I had to leave spots for the other artists to sign in, so I had to work the page around that. One more page to go, and that obligation will be fulfilled, at least until I receive Lauren's project next month!

Happy
Six Month
Birthday,
Sweet Riley!
I love you!!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Happy Easter Weekend!

Here are some fun photos I took of Riley for my Easter cards! I took advantage of the new bunny collection I've got, and did a little photo shoot. For the cards, I added felt bunny ears onto his head. So cute! And here is one of the things I've been working on over the last few days. Pam, Lauren, Pam's friend Amy, and I are beginning a collaborative project. The theme is "motherhood"/ birds- two of my favorite subjects! We will each do a cover and two pages in a book (or another format of our choosing), then pass to the next person to do two pages. This is the cover of mine. The book isn't bound yet (not sure how I'm going to do that), but all the "pages" are this arch shape. I'm so excited about this project! I love Pam's and Lauren's work, and from what I've seen of Amy's (haven't seen much!), I love hers, too. We've decided that we'll post photos of the progress of the books, even though it will ruin a little of the surprise. This piece is larger than what I've been working on lately- probably about 12" tall. I liked this larger size! I think that maybe the small size of Riley's book may be limiting me, which might be part of the problem I've been having lately. Maybe I'll make the next book I do an in-between size.

I'm almost done with the next page of this collaborative book as well, so I'll post that when it's done as well. In the meantime, have a Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Corners of My Home

Here is this week's submission. This is a corner in Riley's room (obviously...). As you can see, it's where the rocking chair sits. In addition to that, there are several items there that have special meaning to me.

First is the little shelf. These bunnies are a new collection of mine. I was inspired by Alicia's post last month, in which she had a line of little animals on a shelf- just so sweet! Since Riley was born, I've sort of begun associating rabbits with him- I think because the letter "R" always shows a rabbit, but maybe it's because subconsciously I'm realizing that a rabbit is his totem animal (is that what they're called? Is rabbit even an option for a totem animal?? Anyway...). So I bid on several vintage rabbit toys on Ebay. There are a couple more coming in the mail, but I think I'll be done after those for a while- I don't want to go too crazy, not that I haven't already. The rabbits are sitting in front of a piece of art I bought from Phoenix Forrester a couple years ago. It says, "A child's immortal soul".

Next are the pieces hanging on the other wall. First, you may recognize the piece from Pam Garrison. She and I traded art, and I just adore this piece- it has a motherhood theme, and she dedicated it to Riley and me on the back, so I thought it was appropriate for Riley's room. Then, next to that is a plaque with hooks. Hanging on one of the hooks is a rust-colored hat that my dear friend, Tonia, knit for Riley, along with a darling pair of pants. Both are still a bit too big for him to wear, so I have the hat hanging here as decoration!

Finally, hanging on the dresser next to the rocking chair is the pregnancy journal I did while I was pregnant with Riley. Again, it's mostly hanging as decoration, or at the ready for anyone to sit down and look through it (frankly, the only person who ever does is me, but it's there if anyone else would like to look, too!). Once Riley's old enough to start messing with things, I'll probably have to move it so that it doesn't get damaged, but for now, it brings back nice memories for me when I see it. I can't remember if I've mentioned this before, but an article I wrote about this journal is going to be in Suz Simainitis' new book, Kaleidoscope.

So there's this week's corner! A special little corner in my special little guy's room!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Look at the Skirt I Made!

Don't ask me why, but over the weekend, I decided to make myself a skirt! Last week, I bought another stack of fabrics. I found an independant craft store that also sells fabric- cheap! I swear I don't think they have anything over $4/yard (cottons), and on top of that, they were having a 20% sale! Anyway, when I got home and was looking over my selections, I saw one I had chosen that just hit me as the perfect fabric for a skirt. So I headed back to the store and bought 3 more yards (turns out that was more than enough- I probably could have gotten by with 2). I recently purchased a couple skirts from Target that I just love, so I decided to try to copy those. However, they use zippers, and that's way too advanced for me! So I altered the "pattern" so I could use elastic instead. It all went very well, with almost no problems, which is rare for my sewing- especially without a pattern! I'm actually extremely impressed with how well it came out. I see lots of cute skirts in my future....!

By the way, several of the frames have sold, but there are lots left! Check them out if you're interested!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Frames for Sale!

Okay, I've got the available frames listed with prices on my PictureTrail site! Prices are without shipping- shipping will be an additional $9 (if you want more than one, I may be able to combine shipping- ask!).

If you'd like one (or a bunch!), please email me directly at appendageassemblage@hotmail.com and let me know which you'd like. First come, first served! I'll try to update the site as soon as I get orders, so that it's up to date.

For payment, Paypal would be easiest if you have an account. Just use the above email address. Otherwise, I can take check, money order, or cash- email me for my address.

I also will sell the Pixie Sticks if anyone's interested in those. I don't have photos of the individual ones, but go here to see closer photos. Those will be $20 each, 3 for $50 ($6 shipping for one and $1 for each additional), or all 7 for $120 including shipping. Again, email me!

And finally, for anyone who orders, it will be a couple weeks before I'll be able to ship. My sister will be sending the frames back from Florida, so I don't have them here yet! So, order away! Help me feel a little less depressed about how terribly the craft fair went!! :)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Stay Tuned...

I want to thank everyone for their encouragement after yesterday's post! I know that I just need to find the right market for selling my stuff. I've had lots of interest in the frames and other items from several readers. I'm waiting to hear back from my sister as to which frames sold, so that I can let you all know which ones are available. So check back in a couple days (she's supposed to go through it all Sunday night). As soon as I know, I'll post them and start taking orders! And I think I'll also start making some more of the frames, so I'll post those as they are finished.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Bad News, and Other Miscellaneous Bits...

Well, if you've been following my blog, you know how I busted my butt to produce a pile of stuff for a craft fair being held in Florida, where my sisters manned a booth. Unfortunately, all my efforts seemed to have almost been for naught, as my stuff sold terribly!!! Of the twenty-something frames, twenty-something pixie sticks, and nine lambs, I only sold one lamb and three frames! Honestly, can you believe that??? I certainly didn't expect to sell out, but four items??? I made a little over $100. So after I take out the $50 to ship everything down there, half of a $25 table, and materials, I basically made nothing... Oh well, at least now I have a lot of inventory to try and sell. So, once I get things in order, I'll post what's available here with prices, so you readers can place your orders! In addition, one of my sisters will be opening a coffee shop soon, and she will try and sell the stuff there.

In other news, I received a lovely package from Lauren yesterday! A tube filled with wallpaper samples and other goodies- vintage book pages, a pink doily, vintage sheet music... Thank you so much, Lauren!!! There's lots in there that I will use, for sure- you did a great job picking things out!

Also, I have listed several art-related items on Ebay- collage ephemera, photobooth photos, clip art books, other vintage photos... If you're interested in supplementing your art supplies, take a look at my auctions!

LEDGER IS SOLD! To the lucky Tammie Moore!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Oh My Gosh, I So Broke Our Computer...

Well, I'm sort of majorly in the doghouse, because yesterday morning, I dropped the laptop and completely broke it! The screen has a huge "crack" under the surface, rendering it unuseable. Jason went and bought a new one yesterday (which is what I'm working on now), but still hasn't installed a lot of what needs to be installed, including the software to download photos. So I won't be able to post any photos for at least another day. And I've got to be extra nice to Jason for a few days as well!

Tomorrow is the craft fair I've been preparing for. Hopefully I'll make lots of money so that Jason will be a little less mad at me...! I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Some Decorating

When we moved to the new house, I did a lot of decorating right away. Riley was a few months from being born and, in addition, my whole family was coming for Christmas. So I wanted to get as much done as possible before the baby and also have the place looking presentable for Christmas. But after those "deadlines" were hit, I sort of took a break. However, now I'm kind of getting the bug again.

So I've decided to tackle the master bathroom. It's quite large, so there's a lot to be done. I've just been waiting for some sort of idea- something to inspire me. And I found it in some clearance fabric at Joann Fabrics. It's a lovely baby blue sheer fabric with rust-colored embroidery that was on sale for $4 per yard. I just fell in love with the fabric, so I bought all that was left on the bolt, which was 6 yards. And then I bought a 6 yard curtain scarf of a rust-colored suede-y fabric. I cut and hemmed the scarf into the four curtains I needed (much cheaper than buying individual curtains!), hung them with curtain clips, and swagged the sheer fabric over the top.

My next step will be to paint the walls. I think I'll do pale blue stripes-I just love striped walls, but Jason doesn't, so I have to limit how many rooms I can do stripes. I'll post photos here of my progress!

I also did some quick little accents in the guest bedroom today. I hung some beaded garlands that have been sitting in my "decorator's closet" over the bed in a swag- can you tell I love swags? And I added the egg/nest sort of thing in the center of the shelf- a nice, springy look!

Tomorrow, maybe art or maybe more decorating- we'll see what I'm in the mood for!
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