Friday, January 25, 2013

Focusing on Life: Create. Art.

Two little words.  Create.  Art

This week, Week 4 of focusing on life, those words meant friends, paints, papers, messes, gelatin plates, acrylics, lace, stencils, brayers, more papers, wine, color, experiments, tools, sharing, rearranging, layering, scissors, smocks, and most important, JOY.
My one piece to share this week is a collage of a few of the 102 papers I printed last weekend with my dear friends Carol and Bette.  I met these likeminded ladies through various workshops, including Art & Soul, over the last couple of years.  They're just a small bit of the wonderful people I've met through art, and I love spending time with them since it's so non-day-job-bureaucracy.  It's totally recharging.

I invited myself to Carol's house for a road trip weekend and loved spending time with her and her sweet doll husband, Steve.  He lets me come back even though every time I show up the entire townhouse gets rearranged into a creative "enclave" and there's no room for much of anything else.  We had to eat our rib dinner on our laps because there was too much action on the dining room table to clear it off for a meal.  haaaaaaaaa  Plus, he has his own creative bent with a wood shop in the basement and I always leave with wonderful hand-turned treats.  

Anyway, Carol and I spent about 10 hours standing around that table trying out something new (to us): Gelli plates.  Bette joined us on Sunday and we wiled away the afternoon trying new techniques to monoprint using acrylics on this gelatin-sort-of plate.  I'd never heard of it before, but was, of course, thrilled to go out and buy some more art supplies.  Bette's a paper master, so she brought her collection of stencils with her.  It was like having a personal artist's supply shop right there since she has hundreds of them.  No joke.  

Another key activity of the weekend involved Carol's blog...she's up and running at Carol DeeZigns and has a post with more details about our weekend's "business."  

With aching backs from standing so long, we were able to look back over our weekend thrilled with all our new, cool papers and excited about printing some more...oh, and about buying more stencils and paints and such, because you can't start a new craft without using it as excuse to buy things!  haaaaaaaaaaaaa  So, even as I play with my papers, or play with my pictures of those papers, and shop for new toys to make more, I think of the JOY we felt all weekend and can only smile.  :)

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Focusing on Life: 15 Minutes...or more

I have a lot of free time.  I never really thought about it until I got challenged by Sally this week to take some time for myself and just chill.  Uh.  I do that everyday.  Heck, last weekend, I had a full day of nothing.  Through the course of the week, I was conscious of how much time I spend alone and, while chatting with the cat, I figured out that I'm probably a bit unique. Maybe I need to get the hell out of the house and do something.  Maybe I need to volunteer somewhere.  Hmmm.  Maybe I need to move!  We shall see...

I did, though, try a little something new this week to get my solo groove on.  I started on a big art journal.  Those flippin' prismacolor nupastels are now one of my favorite things ever.  I haven't really ventured out of a monochromatic schemes so far, but my new 96-color pack allows for lots of rich mixes.
So, playing by myself was my fun chill time of the week.  I can't wait to keep on filling this book with experiments and color and fun and gripes and laughs.  For now, I need to get on the road for a crafty weekend in Maryland. Whooo hooooo!!!

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Etching, Sanding, Cutting, Stamping

I finally hooked up my flexshaft so I had to do some metalworking.  It was the perfect date activity, believe it or not.  I convinced the guy I went out with that we'd work with tons of metal and tools and he totally bought into it!  I had him cutting copper pipe into little bits while I went to town sanding, filing, shaping, and hammering. 
We played around for a few hours with these little rings.  I showed off all my different texture hammers and then I showed him how I would anneal a little piece to keep shaping it.  Boys like fire, so that went over well.
We also played chemist in the kitchen with some PCB etchant.  I did some stamping and the finished pieces came out really cool!  I haven't finished them up yet, though, so no final reveals to show off.
While cleaning off my stamps I ended up with this little paper towel that kinda summed up the fun we had....

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Focusing on Life: Fresh

Fresh is the word that's going to drive me through 2013.
Fresh is how I'm going to wake up and look at each day and each opportunity
Fresh is the joy I'm going to look for in things that seem rote and boring and old and tired.
Fresh is my outlook on frustrations.
Fresh is my view of crafting and creating and challenging myself to try.
Fresh is how I'll savor the little things like a new tube of mascara or a perfectly salted pistachio.
Fresh will get me to take a deep breath and stop on the way to work on the King Street Bridge on Langley to take a picture when the water is so smooth, there's a duck-looking bird eating fish, and the cars are honking hello.  (I was late for work, but it was worth it.)

So, that's it. Fresh.  That's my word.  

There are others out there sharing their words today...

Monday, January 7, 2013

I Faced the Blank Paper....

...and I didn't back down!   

I've been wanting to "doodle" in a productive, meaningful way for a while.  But, it's a little intimidating.  I bought myself a new book, Doodles Unleashed by Traci Bautista.  I liked the bright colors and text when I was wandering around Amazon.  I spent Sunday afternoon thumbing through and thinking.  Then, I used the book as an excuse to buy some new markers and paper.  (Because 48 paper pads on my dresser aren't enough, apparently.)

Using Traci's book for inspiration, I wanted to think about layers and color.  So, for tonight's projects I used some waterbrushes.  They're a really cool combo of brush and water container all in one that I heard about at an art journaling get together.  (I used Niji brushpens that I got on Amazon.)  I used them with some Prismacolor nupastels and colored my heart out.  I'm thrilled with the way the colors mixed and the pens were super-easy to use.  I'm going to layer on some other colors, textures and whathaveyou, but that's for another evening.  For now I'm going to eat some of my ma's manicotti.  I love raiding my parents' freezer!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Focusing on Life - Week 1 - A Pondering Woman

Week 1 - Self-Portrait
That's me.  The pondering woman.
I'm thinking of all the things I'd like to do this year and how I wish I had the energy to do them. 
I'm thinking about how I want new glasses.
I'm thinking that I should wear eyeshadow more often.
I'm thinking that the skin on my nose is really dry and it's a mystery.
I'm thinking my haircut is cute and I'm relieved because I had to try a new stylist because mine moved.
I'm thinking I should get my eyebrows waxed more often.
I'm thinking I should get some bigger diamonds for my ears.
I'm thinking about being less frustrated by my job.
I'm thinking about going to the gym.
I'm thinking about the next 51 weeks and the photo journey I'm on.
I'm thinking that I compare my life to others' too often.
I'm thinking I'll get another beer (lite, of course) and go play.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Finishing My 2012 Project 52

My 52nd photo from 2012 is this little number...
A fun trio of sheep along the road on the way out to Dutch Corner in my home town in Pennsylvania.  For some reason, I just love taking pics of the animals on the way to and from my sister's house.  On my last trip I captured some sheep, chicken, and cows.  

I can't believe it has been a year since I dove in and joined my local Hampton Roads Digital Photography Club to grow my skills and meet like-minded creative folks.  It has been a truly rewarding experience to play with my DSLR as well as my iPhone throughout the year.  I'm thrilled with my progress.  I didn't necessarily post every week, but I was able to choose one shot from each week to share in my Flickr group here.  Then, there's a nice link between Flickr and Snapfish, so I used those photos to create my Christmas card this year!

I'm starting another photo journey with Sally Russick of Studio Sublime for 2013.  She's gonna work on "focusing on life" one photo and one week at a time.  If you're interested in joining, here's the link:

Happy New Year!!!


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Bedford, PA, United States
I'm a retiree/artist/student who makes things. It's a nice kind of lifestyle!

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