A Macro World of Inspiration

I often go through these periods of time where I’m feeling so overwhelmingly grateful, lucky, or blessed, if you will.  I realize how fortunate I am to have such great access to art and craft tools and materials.  Thank goodness or goddess or coincidence or the universe for aligning the way it has for the amazing access to all this delicious STUFF.

A while back I did some creative work for my uncle.  He’s a hard working single guy who has showed great generosity to me before.  (For instance, when I was a struggling college student he helped me pay rent several times)  Anywho, the deal for the creative work I did was that he would buy me a macro lens for my new DSLR camera, a most lovely Canon Rebel t3i.   I still have so much to learn about this camera.  I’ve really just been playing around with this amazing new lens, always set on autofocus!  The following photos, taken in and of my garden, are inspiration for near future paintings.

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A darling BRIGHT green grasshopper.  Just look at his little undeveloped wings!

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And then there are my daylillies.  So beautiful.  A bit daunting to paint, to say the least!

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And then there is this lovely little Beebalm.  With a tiny worm residing inside the bloom.

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I’m actually beginning an intensive painting course with the amazingly talented Linda Murray for which I am to bring in a flower photo to work from.  I think I’ve covered that part.  We’ll see what emerges.

Thanks for this amazing new set of eyes, Uncle Steve!

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I Think I’m Addicted to Being Obsessed

Now more than ever I’m on back on a major book making kick.  I believe it would be wise if I bought some stock in a waxed linen thread manufacturer.  Does such a stock even exist?  I’m making at the moment some Button Card Books.

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With a coptic or chain stitch binding, these little gems are pretty easy to construct.

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I still need a bit of practice with my macro lens, that’s a bit too blurry..

I’ve been so absorbed in this and other book making processes that I need to tear myself away from it all just to do things like living life!  For instance,  taking a pack walk with a bunch of German Shepherds (okay, some black lab mixes are thrown in there too!)

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My dog stands fourth from the right.  He’s my third baby!

Or taking a Nature Journaling class at the local library.  This little sketch of a just-about-to-bloom Lamb’s Ear would never have existed if it weren’t for my need to get away from my punching cradle and awl.

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I actually became so inspired with the whole Nature Journaling thing that it could definitely be my next addiction.  It’s so peaceful and rejuvenating.  Sitting and drawing a plant in the warm sun is just AMAZING.

My kids are pretty good at diverting my attention.  In fact, it’s time to go make them lunch!

 

 

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A Different Kind of Trash Journal Technique

Getting beyond the white of the art journal page can be daunting to say the least.  Without a clear plan, visual journaling can take a quick turn for the worst, or never get off the ground at all.  I try very hard to practice the “no mistakes” approach.  In other words, if I feel that something looks off or wrong, I take the stance that it can always be covered up or changed somehow.  But just to start, at the very beginning, spontaneously,  launching from the blank page can often seem impossible.

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So, I devised an easy and free way of kick start the journaling process with built-in meaning.  First, a little back-story.  I live on Main Street USA.  It’s a pretty busy road with nearly constant 30 mph daytime traffic, along with the occasional family out for a stroll on the sidewalk.  I love living on a busy road and I actually can appreciate most of the daily bits and pieces of trash that land on my lawn.  Okay, I could do without the cigarette butts and that condom that I found one day was just plain AWFUL, but the other bits and pieces are like little stories of fast-paced life, tiny puzzle pieces of human nature.  I only pick up the most perfect, often colorful littered gifts for my trash journals.

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On a lightly gessoed surface, I adhere one or two of these generally flat pieces of trash using Golden extra heavy gel medium.  After the gel dries completely, I ask myself what does the shape remind me of?  What does it want to become?  I build off of the collaged piece, constructing a scene, usually of the whimsical type.

This is a fantastic way to be original and make art from your heart (or your lawn).  I love that you never know what your going to get.  It’s truly spontaneous.

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With a few acrylic markers, some pencils and a blending stump, I’m able to sit on the couch, drawing and coloring, incorporating the trashy element.  I really like the idea that  its’ life as litter has ended and its’ life as art has begun.

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Too Share and Not Too Share….PLUS Bookbinding

I was recently asked by Sam Bowling of Single Hop, in lieu of the recent Heartbleed bug, what were the top 3 things that I would never share online.  This got me thinking…I’m such a low-tech, gullible and trusting individual that I may indeed have shared info that I shouldn’t have in the past.  (I tend to be a blurter, blabbing on about this that and the other thing).  I guess I really don’t understand tech threats at all because my initial reaction is to think of a physical predator.  So the two first things that I would never share are my physical address and too much about my kids.  The address part is kind of silly though, because I’m sure with just a quick Google search, that info could be easily obtained. The kid part is simply paranoia.  Keeping my kids safe in this sometimes scary world leads me to limit talking about my kids.  It’s not that I never share things about them, especially their inability to clean up after themselves, but I just keep it infrequent.  Secondly, I would never share any account info, i.e. bank, credit card, social security, any passwords like to Paypal, Facebook etc.  In other words, the “numbers” of my life.  This would also include photos of documents with any personal info on them.  This second one seems just far too obvious.  The third thing that I would never share online (which I have in the past) is my vacation schedule.  Again, going with the physical threat, I wouldn’t want the wrong person to know when I’ll be gone on vacation, you know?  Isn’t there something about your mother’s maiden name too?  Like never share your mother’s maiden name in combination with your social security number? I guess that would be fourth on my list, my mother’s maiden name.

Geesh, I’m down right ignorant when it comes to these sorts of things!  I’d probably be embarrassed if I understood the scope of my ignorance!

I am NOT afraid to share the current state of my house, which is thoroughly trashed by my whimsical kids.  I am not afraid to share a couple of seriously awesome candid chicken photos of Lillian, my favorite and absolutely gorgeous Cochin hen:

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Just look at that FACE!  Those wattles and those dark, soulful eyes…

I’m also not afraid to complain, repeatedly, sometimes bitterly about not having enough time in my life to do all the things that I want to do.

Anyhoo, on to the bookbinding…I have several amazing classes this week to teach.  One is on bookbinding using the bind over tapes method pictured below:

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This binding method is soooo awesome.  You can bind many signatures together, sewing up and down each, and sewing over your tapes (in this case, leather pieces) as you go.  You don’t have to think about a cover until you’re done with the binding process.  I found this process in the book, Adventures in Bookbinding by Jeannine Stein a great book binding resource.

Well, I guess I’d better go now.  Not that I’m leaving my house or anything.  Eeks, now I’m paranoid!

 

 

 

 

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Finding Balance At A Hectic Pace

My mother was a “hurried woman.”  There actually is such a term.  I’m not a fan of labels but I suppose it’s a good description.  I know I’m one as well.  Inherited or not, I run around from this to that carving out bits of time for kids, hubby, pets, work, and art.  (Notice I left out house cleaning, my favorite… NOT!) It is difficult to find balance to say the least.  I got a taste of what summer will be like this week with the kids home from school for April vacation.  Lots of deep breaths and much shuffling them around from place to place.  I don’t want to be so hurried.  I feel like a little less will equal much more.  In other words limitations are key for me to find some semblance of balance.  I want to do it all but I just can’t.  So my goal for summer is to simplify.  To take stock of what I do and re-evaluate it’s short term and long term importance.   I’m going to prune some branches from my tree of life.  Things that can go entirely will get chopped.  Some things will get trimmed, or at least take a back seat for now.

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I just ended a wonderful abstract painting class at MECA.  I’m sad to see it end.  The students in the class became like a little artsy family of sorts.  Very endearing it was.  Here is my favorite piece made from the entire outpouring of abstract work, by a student who wasn’t afraid to try anything.

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Below is my interpretation of a grid painting.

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And then my outside the frame/ sculptural work:

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And some yummy up-close texture shots from the above piece:

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Lastly is a minimalist inspired landscape.  Something that resembles balance in my mind.

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