29 September 2009

Finished Paper-Cloth

This is my first attempt at paper-cloth. I haven't painted it or applied any surface effects. I'm saving that for the workshop itself, which begins October 4. I'm having so much fun making my paper-cloth in preparation of the workshop -- I can't imagine how much fun the workshop itself will be!

This piece is almost dry. I really love it. It has more tissue paper and book text than the first one had. so there is less muslin showing through. I think I prefer the fuller looker. I may add layers to the first one ... Or just wait until it's painted to decide how much I like it.

If you want to play along, pick up a copy Stitch Alchemy by Kelli Perkins and join the yahoo group, mmartfriends. The more the merrier!

The Beginnings Of Paper-Cloth

I love to stay up late and be creative. There's something about 2AM that really gets my juices flowing. Well, it's not quite 2AM, but I've been busy playing with making my own paper-cloth. I'm working through Kelly Perkins' book, Stitch Alchemy, with the yahoo group, mmartfriends. October 04 begins the official book study, but Belinda (the facilitator) has encouraged us to make the paper-cloth before the study begins so that we'll be ready to play with Perkins' techniques right away.

First, I got my supplies all together. To the left, there is a piece of freezer paper taped to my desk with a rectangle of plan, cheap, thin muslin laid out on it. On and around the laptop (my desk just isn't big enough!), there are piles of tissue papers, torn into strip and squares. There are also bits of book text, taken from Dickens' David Cooperfield. There is glue-water mixture in the frosting can in front of the computer. The glue is diluted at not quite a 1:2 ratio. On the computer screen, you see Pandora -- the only constant supply in my artistic arsenal.

Plain muslin with the diluted glue spread all over it. Doesn't look like much now, does it?

First layer of tissue paper pieces laid down on the muslin, with the glue-water patted into the tissue pieces. Then came the layer of book text pieces and another layer of decorative tissues. After each layer, I patted the diluted glue over the pieces that were being added. I also added squares of a beautiful, lacy, white Japanese rice paper. It looks as though it got lost in the layers. We shall see ...

I laid the plain white tissue paper over the entire cloth -- layering it and making sure the entire piece is covered. To keep from tearing the tissue when I glued it down, I spritzed it with a fine mist of water and then let that set for a minute or so. That seemed to help the tissue settle onto the page.

Now, it just has to dry overnight. I'm a bit concerned that my paper-cloth will be too thin to really be useful, since in some places there is only the final white tissue paper layer on top of the muslin. It was fun and easy, so I can make more tomorrow night, making whatever adjustments are necessary.

26 September 2009

Some Lucky Winner ...

My friend, the talented Gina Lee Kim, is giving away this beautiful mixed-media painting to some lucky soul. Stop by her blog for more information about the painting and to enter the giveaway; tell her Cindy sent you!

25 September 2009

The Joy Diet -- Nothing

". . . your thoughts are not you, that thinking is not the process by which you recognize the keys to your existence, things like beauty, truth, and love."
Martha Beck, The Joy Diet

I felt like a lazy bum in relation to The Joy Diet process this week. Not because I didn't do my assignment (I did!), but rather because it was "nothing" new to me. I've meditated off an on over the years and recently reestablished my regular practice. So, while I did follow Martha's suggestion, I didn't add anything new to my daily practice. I did try following her ticker tape suggestion, but found it more work than I'm used to doing. Usually, after the first few minutes, my monkey mind settles down and my thoughts slow considerably. When I recognize a thought, I just return to concentrating on my breathing and I'm back in the flow.

I usually meditate for about 15 minutes, but in honor of The Joy Diet, I extended my time this week to 20 minutes -- and I liked it. I think I'll continue with the 20-minute sessions from now on. The extra five minutes allows me the chance to sink even deeper into the stillness.

When I first began meditating, years ago, I had a problem wrapping my mind around the idea that I am not my thoughts. If I am not my thoughts, what am I? I am both deeper and broader than my thoughts, more timeless than the ever fleeting ideas of an over active mind. One day -- probably during meditation -- it occurred to me that, indeed, I am not my thoughts, but rather, I exist in that quiet space between my thoughts.

I really enjoyed this first chapter of the book, and look forward to reading, applying and growing. Now, I'm off to read about Truth!

I did my vision card, but the scanner is unhooked and I felt like I couldn't get a good photo. I'll continue to create them and will post them when I can!

24 September 2009

A Little Late ...

Jamie's evocative question this week for Wishcasting Wednesday (okay, I know it's Thursday evening, but I'm just now finding time to write about this week's question) is "What luxury do you wish for?"

I had to really stop and think about this, because the definition of a luxury is subjective. What some people consider to be luxuries, others might consider to be necessities. Just that thought alone was worth several minutes of introspection as I logged about 125 miles on Route 66 and the freeway today. Some people would consider my art supplies to be a luxury ... and perhaps the sheer amount of them is. I probably only need something to paint on, something to paint with, and paints. And some decorative papers. And a few rubberstamps. And some old booktext. But I definitely don't need two crop-o-diles!

One of my first thoughts was that I wish for the luxury of more time with my husband, but then realized after a few moments contemplation that time with him is not a luxury, but a necessity. He is the person I most want to hang out with, and the person I trust the most. He is my biggest supporter and cheerleader. Time with him is essential to my well-being -- not to mention, to our relationship!

I next wished for the luxury of uninterrupted play time in my studio -- loud music blaring, cats at my feet and paint on my fingertips. Oh, to have no responsibilities: no bathtubs to clean, no dinner to cook; just unlimited studio time with the motivation to use it. Then, I decided that studio time is quickly becoming another necessity for me. And, I don't really do so much around the house each day that it actually interferes. The big interference comes from the lack of motivation I experience sometimes. I'm not sure whether it's really a lack of motivation, or if it's fear -- but that's the subject of a different blog post!

When it came down to it, the only luxuries that I truly wish for are vaguely related. I would love to spend a week or 10 days (or however long it lasts) on an Abraham Hicks cruise and I would love to go on a mixed-media art cruise. The idea of spending a week or two with other artists, learning new techniques, supporting and encouraging one another really excites me (maybe it's time to think about Squam or something similar). I spent a few minutes trying to decide if it was spending concentrated, magical time with like-minded individuals, or if it was the cruise part that appealed to me, and quickly decided that it was the amalgamation of both ideas. I've never been on an overnight cruise; I have, however, been on a couple of day cruises and loved them.

This was a great question for me, because it helped me see some of the things that are really necessities for me that I previously thought of as luxuries. What luxury do you wish for?

22 September 2009

Spill It! Online Workshop

Carmen Torbus is about to teach her first ever online workshop, Spill It! The workshop will be aimed at helping you to get in touch with your creative self. I've bought a million books that promised to do the same thing, but there was always something missing. I think this workshop has the missing ingredient. Carmen will host technique videos, idea videos, and discussion -- all aimed at helping you (me) to spill our creative selves on canvas. There isn't a complicated or expensive supply list; the real investment is showing up and doing the work/play.

I think this is gonna be great. In fact, I signed up on the day registration opened. Join me?

19 September 2009

Adventures In Bookbinding!

I just finished my first ever bookbinding session. I made the book block several days ago, but just got around to binding it today. For one thing, it took some time to paint the cover and let it thoroughly dry. And for another thing, I was nervous about the whole project! I wanted to do it perfectly; I wanted my book to be the best in the class. Silly me! I'm sure mine is actually the worst book in the class because I made several mistakes.

The first mistake that I made is that I covered too much of the book tape with the painted paper. But now, I know to watch for that and I can try to do better next time.

The second mistake that I made is evident in this photo -- I either cut my book board too big (WAY TOO BIG!), or I cut my painted paper too small. Whichever it is, there is a gap between the end paper and the painted cover. I can fix this so that the book is still usable and pretty, so I'm not too concerned about it, either. I'm going to use this book for Julie Prichard's Art Journaling Super Nova (Part II) class. It will just be a technique book, so again, I can live with the mistakes.

For the mistakes I made -- my corners ROCK!!! I was so nervous about folding the corners, but Julie explained and illustrated the process well. She's an excellent teacher.

This whole process was illustrative of what's going on with me artistically these days. I'm too invested in the product and that freezes me. Once I got over my fear of imperfection and sat down and did the work, the process was fun. And the process is what art is all about. This is supposed to be an activity that brings me joy, not one that brings me angst!

I have seven more book blocks this size to cover and one long, tall skinny one to cover. I think I'll get this figured out! Now, to go cut more book board and paint more covers!

18 September 2009

The Joy Diet ~ Introduction

"The components of the Joy Diet create a direct connection between your conscious mind and your deep self, the part of you that know the purpose for your life and how you were meant to achieve it. This can be terrifying." -- Martha Beck, The Joy Diet

Friday marked the beginning of this session of The Next Chapter, a book blogging discussion group led by the talented Jamie Ridler. The book we are reading this session is Martha Beck's The Joy Diet. I decided to participate because I had so much fun when I participated once before and -- most importantly -- I've been on a mission to bring more joy into my life lately. This spring, I was riding high and joy was the rule, not the exception. Lately, however, I've been feeling kind of emotionally lethargic. I haven't really been unhappy, but I haven't been particularly joyful either. Since September 1, I've been working with a dear friend to try to change that, and I do feel better -- much better most days. But I'm still not where I was six months ago. I miss the excitement of a joy-filled life, and I'm hoping that reading and discussing this book -- and applying the practices within it -- will help me get some of that back.

In reading the Introduction, I realize that I have lost not only my sense of joy, but also that connection that Beck talks about between my conscious mind and my deep self. In fact, some days I have no real concept of my deep self. While I'm not sure I share Beck's vision of a "right life", I do know that when I'm feeling more joy, I feel more purposeful, too. I'm just more in sync with life and my inner landscape.

If you are interested in The Joy Diet, why don't you join us? It's never too late to sign up!

17 September 2009

More Art Supplies

I got a nice sized box from Dick Blick on Friday, then went out of town for the week-end! I took my new supplies with me, but didn't use many of them. I worked on bookbinding most of the time.

My new supplies include: Paper from Fabriano, Sharpie poster paint pens in black and white, Copic Markers in Antwerp Blue and Canary Yellow, a nib pen and two nibs, Speedball oil-based block printing ink in White and Black, Higgins Black Magic waterproof ink, Avery Permanent Glue Stick (my very favorite!), Krylon Workable Fixatif, two spools of 2 1/4 inch double faced satin ribbon, Caran d'Ache Neocolor II water-soluble crayons in Black, Bordeaux Red, and Salmon Pink, a Staedtler Hot Foil Pen with foil sheets, Golden Fluid Acrylic in Titan Buff and Colbalt Teal, and a bottle of PVA, Masa paper (the background of the picture), and a sheet of cream colored card stock.

Most -- but not all -- are supplies for the Art Journaling Super Nova Class that I'm taking with Julie Prichard.

16 September 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday

Since last Wednesday's wish was so meaningful for me, I've decided to try participating in Jamie Ridler's Wishcasting Wednesday to see how it fits. I love today's question:

How do you wish to stretch?

I have two wishes in ways to stretch: one is that I stretch to find more joy in my life and the other (I sense a them going here) is that I wish to stretch creatively.

To find more joy in my life, I wish to be more aware and present with my daily travels through life. I wish to be more appreciative of what I have and what I'm experiencing. I wish to notice more good in my life and overlook the struggles in my life. I truly believe that what we focus on is what comes into our lives, so I wish to focus more on what I want and appreciate. I can be a little critical and cynical, so at times this is a big stretch for me!

My second wish, as I mentioned, is to stretch creatively. I'm happiest when my husband is home and I can hear sounds of his putterings as I am in my studio, creating and listening to music. But, as I mentioned last week -- I can be so rigid in my art. I need to play more. I need to be willing to say "What would happen if ... ?" and then take the steps to find out! I need to read fewer books about other artist's experiences and spend more time with my own intuitiveness.

This is so much an echo of last week's wish, but that is because this is the area of my life that needs the most desperate attention! This the area of my life that I am most dissatisfied with, that I most want to change.

Wish me success!

09 September 2009

New Art Supplies!

Over the past couple of days, I've gotten some new art supplies. Lucky me, I have more coming! I thought I'd share with you what's come so far.

First of all, underneath all the other goodies are a couple of pieces of book board. On top of that are six sheets of Neenah paper (perfect for use with Copic Markers), a pack of Claudine Hellmuth's sticky back canvas and 15 sheets of textured card stock.

The top layer of goodies includes two rolls of aluminum tape, some plastic shot glasses, a roll of 2-inch black book cloth tape, two Copic Markers (B97 "Night Blue" and BG32 "Aqua Mint"), a paper piercer, a bone folder, waxed linen thread, binding needles, and a pair of pliers that can be used to snip the shanks off of buttons.

These goodies came from What A Bargain, Collective Journey, Paper Source, Interweave Store, and Articus Studio. I'm expecting more goodies (from DickBlick) tomorrow!

Terrific Tuesday!

I had a really wonderful day yesterday!

First off, I woke up earlier than expected (2:22 AM to be exact) and couldn't get back to sleep. Because I was wide awake, I decided to spend some time on Facebook -- mostly playing Farm Town! -- and Twitter ... something I wouldn't have been able to do if I'd gotten up with my alarm. I loved watching the sky change colors as the sun rose, and hearing the birds start their day with song. Usually, I awaken around 9:30 AM, so I miss all of that.

I went to Redlands to spend the day, and my drive was nice. Not too much traffic so I made good time. I went mainly to attend a class in Copic Markers at Collective Journey. The class was taught by Jennie, and she did a great job. She was very generous with the use of her markers, if one of us didn't have the color we needed. She was funny and knew her subject well. I learned a lot about Copic Markers and their uses. I probably won't ever use them with stamping/card making, which is the context Jennie taught them in, but will use them for art journaling or other mixed-media work. She brought her air gun. I didn't get to use it, as I had to leave exactly on time, but I saw the others working with it. I think I'd eventually like to get one, but I'll be able to wait for it to come to me! If you live in the area and are curious about these markers, give Collective Journey a call (909-793-2200) and ask when her next class is! The markers are available at Collective Journey -- when they have them! They are selling so well that it's difficult to keep them in stock!

(Pics above: Jennie working with some of the ladies on using the air gun; Jennie demonstrating wood grain to Pat,
one of the women who works at Collective Journey.)

After my class, I shopped for a quick minute. I bought some of the paper recommended for working with Copic Markers (Neenah Classic, Crest Solar White) and some card stock for book two in Julie Pritchard's Art Journaling Super Nova class (part one). I haven't done a single thing toward my bookbinding projects, as I've not gathered all my supplies. I love where we live, but it is awfully inconvenient sometimes! Not that I'd have had any better luck living in Redlands, although I may have been able to justify a trip into LA if we lived there!

Once I completed my shopping, I met a friend for lunch and shopping at one of the local $.99 stores. We just had a quick lunch at Jack in the Box, but we had a good visit. All I bought was a set of plastic shot classes (thinking I can use them to dispense paint or glue into) and some aluminum tape.

The only real blemish in my day happened on the way home: I got stuck on the 215, as there was a bad traffic accident and the freeway was closed for a bit. I sat/inched ahead for about 35 minutes, and then they reopened the freeway completely and let us on our way. There was a sign advising that the freeway was closed and to take an alternate route, but I didn't know one! I called both my husband and FIL, and discovered that there was a way around the accident if I could get off the freeway at the next exit -- but it would have taken me two and a half hours out of my way! I decided to just sit in traffic and listen to the radio!

I got home in time to make it to the post office, which made my day! They had been holding a package for me since SATURDAY, but with the long holiday week-end, I couldn't pick it up until Tuesday. That almost drove me crazy! It was the first of my long awaited bookbinding and art supplies, so I was a happy camper!

There was another blemish in my day -- Hubby didn't get home from work until almost 8:30! Just time for dinner and then it was bedtime for him, since he's had such a long day. I missed getting to spend any real time with him.

And it doesn't look as though he'll be home much earlier tonight! SIGH!

What Do I Wish To Learn?

The ever-evocative Jamie Ridler asks today, "What do you wish to learn?" Without even stopping to think about it, I knew at once what I wish to learn. I wish to learn to be comfortable in my creativity. To learn to trust myself, artistically and personally, to express the whole of who I am. Creativity is such a big damn deal for me, and I wish to learn to make it a more natural process, more holistic.

Don't get me wrong: I don't ever want to lose the thrill of creativity, or the ability to get utterly lost in my process. Quite the contrary! I want to learn to step out my own way, so that those two things can happen more readily. I'm not asking that creativity or expression become "all in a days work", but rather that it become a more playful, more natural, activity.

That's it! I want to learn to play again, both in my art and in my life. I'm way too serious and intense for my own good sometimes! I enjoy my artistic process most of the time, but it feels as though I work too hard at it. I get so hung up about wanting everything I work on to be good enough, that sometimes it's hard to even make a decision as to what to do next. That's why I like taking classes and working through tutorials -- I'm told what to do next.

But it's time that I really integrated all the techniques and tips that I've learned through classes and tutorials and made them a part of my own personal repertoire. It's time I learned to express my own artistic vision.

08 September 2009

Another Giveaway!

Donna Downy is hosting an amazing giveaway on her blog -- a print by Dee Kasberger of RedLetterWords.com. Stop by and check it out.

Which one would you like to win?

05 September 2009

Craft Critique Giveaway!

Craft Critique is having a Basic Grey Giveaway! The paper sets look luscious, but then, I love Basic Grey papers. Go visit their website and check it out!

04 September 2009

Back In The Groove

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?

Some of you have held steadfast, checking back often to see if I’ve posted anything new. Some of you have even contacted me to make sure that all is well with me and mine. I want you to know that I greatly appreciate both.

I could blame my absence on the business of moving into a new home. I could add that once I got out of the habit of posting, it was easier not to post. Of course, both are true.

But the reality is that I’ve been ill. I spent some time in the hospital and then spent months recovering. The illness drained me emotionally and physically, and left me – literally – unable to post, unable to reach out to those people who care about me. I have avoided my friends and family. For months, I didn’t return emails or phone calls, text messages or Facebook entries. I haven’t tweeted. I haven’t made art. In fact, days – no, literally weeks – have gone by without my even opening the studio door. I haven’t dared to dream or hope about the future.

But, as I told someone a few days ago, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I can see it! Things are getting better; I am getting better. I have more energy and am healthier, both physically and emotionally. Tuesday, I went into the studio and worked for the afternoon and evening: sorting and straightening, unpacking and organizing. Wednesday, I continued with my studio project and even started playing with art. Thursday, I hardly left the room! I’m working through tutorials from Somerset Life and Cloth Paper Scissors (by Chrysti Hydeck and Belinda Spiwak, respectively) because the idea of making original art seems daunting at this point – but at least I’m doing something. My hands are dirty and my studio smells like paint. It’s been wonderful. I’m excited again.

I’ve also signed up for an online bookbinding class taught by Julie Pritchard and a class on Copic Markers at Collective Journey in Redlands. I’ve placed orders for supplies with Dick Blick, Paper Source, Interweave, and other online retailers. I’ve started contacting the people who have so dedicatedly kept in touch with me when I was basically ignoring them. I’m looking toward the future expectedly.

I think I’m back in the groove.