Friday, January 29, 2010

Mini Canvas Hearts

I've been stealing bits and pieces of art time between entertaining a sick child. I've had this small canvas laying around here for a year or more. First I practiced using my crackle paint on it. Then it sat some more. Then something in a magazine caught my eye and I glued some pretty paper squares on it. And it sat around some more. Then I eyed my scraps of Cloth-paper and viola! The cloth-paper hearts are raised off the background a bit to give it depth. The words are cut out of a vintage children's textbook. Which is so much fun to read while I'm searching for the right words. "Billy can't pronounce 'give me' correctly so he has to sit in the corner." Yeah Billy, take that! And wear a dunce cap while you're at it! 

Anyway... it seems that hearts are all the rage right now. I guess love is in the air. I sure hope it doesn't freeze solid 'cause that's what I'm about to do... 

I hope everyone has a great weekend! 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book I LOVE: Stitch Alchemy (paper-cloth... YUM!)

First, I need to confess something... Hi, my name is Lisa and I am a bookaholic. There, it's out in the open now. Okay, moving on... the above is a picture of a mini quilt I made with my "Word of Intent" for the new year. It's made with paper-cloth letters stitched on a paper-cloth background which was stitched to painted canvas and sandwiched into a quilt. Keep reading and you'll see how it all relates.

Now, can I rave about a book here? Well, it's my blog so I guess I can! I recently bought the book Stitch Alchemy: Combining Fabric and Paper for Mixed Media Art by Kelli Perkins. Because I thought the cover looked cool. Seriously. I oftentimes judge a book by it's cover.  I also see it advertised in Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors magazines. All I knew was that it had something to do with art and maybe quilts. Well, starting with page 3 I was hooked! Kelli starts the book by explaining what paper-cloth is and has step by step instruction on how to make the basic paper-cloth. The next section goes over a myriad of ways to decorate the paper-cloth, different techniques to add color, depth, texture, and all sorts of cool things. This is a big section of the book.  Did I tell you that it includes lots of color pictures? The last section of the book features projects to make once you create your own paper-cloth. Including little mini quilts like the Mixed Media Monday one in my last post, and my Word of Intent mini quilt above. And my Round Robin Journal cover which I'll post in a few days. There are a variety of projects to make, not just mini quilts... there's a purse/clutch, pillow, beads, cards, pictures, dolls, journal covers, and more. The gallery section features work by Belinda Spiwak Judy Coates Perez and Carol Weibe. The book is nicely designed, visually. Full of color pictures and sprinkled throughout with tips and inspirations, quotes, insights on creativity, left brain/right brain exercises, and techniques to up your game. I LOVE this book. I've never taken a class with Kelli but I bet she would be a great teacher! If you're looking for some fresh inspiration and own a sewing machine, I would recommend this book. And no, Kelli is not paying me to write this!

I have so many books about quilting, art, techniques, crafts, jewelry... does anyone want to hear about some of my other favorites? I don't want to sound like a commercial :-D

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mixed Media Monday

Today's topic for Mixed Media Monday is "The Games People Play". I just happened to be in the process of making this cloth-paper mini quilt and found the perfect words for it in a vintage children's textbook. This is my first submission for MMM. Hopefully it won't be my last.

The background is painted canvas cloth with flourishes a'la bandanna style. The heart is paper-cloth zig-zagged on the canvas with the vintage text words glued on. There is a little bit of batting in between the canvas and backing to give it that puffy quilt feel. It's really small though, about 4" x 4". It was really fun to make, I'm already planning my next one!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Finding Beauty in a Frozen World

I am really having a hard time getting through the month of January! I can't remember the last time I saw the sun. It was supposed to be 40 last weekend but the weatherman lied. I have to admit there was ONE benefit to the weather, the trees and shrubs were beautiful, covered with hoarfrost. But I forgot to bring my winter boots and my feet froze while I walked around my parents' farm taking pictures. It really wasn't optimal shooting conditions either. White snow, white fog, white frost, white sky. Geez, talk about monochromatic! It almost hurt. (Well, my toes did anyway!)

There was a layer of frost crystals on everything. Serious crystals, the little pointy ones. This is the wire fencing.

Even the cobwebs hanging from the eaves didn't escape the frost.

Winter berries still hanging on the Crabapple trees. At least it provides some color!

I sat inside and defrosted my toes and watched the birds outside. My mom has tons of birds and they know how to party! I caught some pretty colorful visitors.

I have to take the opportunity to say that I LOVE MY CAMERA! I upgraded my camera this Christmas, alas it's not a DSLR (yet) but I think it's the next best thing. I bought a Sony Cybershot H2O. It has a 10X superzoom, one of my requirements. But because of the extended lens it's a bit bigger than a pocket point and shoot. But that's okay, because I LOVE it. And cameras really weren't meant to go in your back pocket anyway, right? Best of all, it's very easy to use. Intuitive and user friendly. If it were a computer, it would be a Mac, hehe. All the bird pictures I took (and there are LOTS more) were taken from inside the house through a glass door. Super zoomed in. Awesome huh?

Huh. I just let my dog outside for her bedtime pee and saw a coyote running down the street. Yes, I live in the middle of suburbia. About half a mile from the tollway and other major streets. Weird. I'm glad my dog is afraid of the dark or she would have run to the street to greet it. I'm also glad my dog is bigger than the coyote. Several small dogs have been snatched in the neighborhood by coyotes. But I digress...

Well, I'll leave you with a picture of Dusty the barn cat. He expresses my exact feelings about the dreary winter days.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eraser Art.

Because we just can't have a blob of kneaded eraser laying around!

Every time my daughter sees my kneaded eraser in it's "being used" form (aka a big blog) she grabs it and MUST sculpt something. This is a roadrunner.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Goddess Queen

I had another bald Goddess and a problem. She was too far up on the page to draw hair so I gave her a crown. Okay, okay, I'll 'fess up. Veracity and all that... the hair that I drew just looked dumb. Part of the problem was that she was too far up on the page so I couldn't reach the top of her head... but seriously, I gotta figure out this hair thing.

But first I have to get warm... my fingers are numb.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Goddess's Consort

Well, the Goddess needs a consort. I can't really call him a god... that seems sacrilegious in some weird way. Hehe. At first I wasn't going to post this because the picture seems a little... strange. But I decided you guys deserve to see the good, the bad, the ugly, the strange. It's not that I don't like him, I just can't decide what's wrong with him. I don't know if it's the rock-n-roll hair (all the better to run your hands through?) or the girly eyes (all the better to gaze upon intently?) or the full luscious lips (all the better to... well, you get the idea!)

I haven't figured out yet what difference in facial features make a face look like a woman or a man. I'll have to get a GQ magazine and study it carefully. I know the square jaw makes a difference. What else? There's something about the eyes too... not sure what. When you see people who have sex change operations and they are in their alternate form, there is still a tinge of their former gender peeking through, what ultimately makes them look male or female, even if it is just a teeny tiny bit at that point. Am I making any sense?

Hm. Maybe he needs 5:00 shadow? Or a Tom Selleck mustache? Hehe.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My first Goddesses!!

One of my goals this year is to learn new things. And to share myself with the world. I was salivating over Suzi Blu's paintings and drawings and kept watching her Blu-tube videos. That is one funny AND inspirational woman! I have a link in the sidebar if you want to check out her "Le Petit Academy". I took the plunge and signed up for "The Goddesss and the Poet" class. I want to draw pretty faces too! Well, I'm on Lesson One where we are learning the composition of faces and shading technique. I won't bore you with my gray scale (trust me, it's fabulous! hehe) but here, for your viewing pleasure are my first three Goddess faces. I am actually pretty happy with them. The one above is the very first face I drew using the template she gave us. (For you non-believers, NO it is not TRACED!!!!!)

I tried to make the next Goddess a little smaller so she would fit into the Moleskine sketchbook we're going to be painting in. But after adding her hair she's still too big. But I love her anyway. I gave her a little head adornment.

My floating face Goddess. I need to figure out how to make better hair. Once I figure that out she won't be a bald floating head Goddess anymore. I do love her face though.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Big Congrats to Little Artist!

Right before winter break my 8 year old daughter got a letter in the mail from the superintendent of schools. He let her know that a picture she made in art class was chosen to be displayed in the public meeting room at the district office. We were so excited. Her first public display of her art! At age 8! A dozen students were chosen from four different schools. The art teacher picked the best work to represent the school. I am SO proud of my little artist! When I get the picture back at the end of the school year I am going to frame it and hang it up in my house. I couldn't get a great picture of it because the frame kept glaring so I took the picture at an angle. But you get the idea. It's a pastel drawing of a sunset over petroglyphs. Yay Celia!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Finally using that architecture degree...

Hehe. I've worked on designing hundred thousand dollar homes... and million dollar homes on mountainsides... but this was one sweet job. The snowfall today reminded me of this house... everything covered in sugar-white and slightly sparkly. If only my sidewalk were made of real gummies...and snowflakes were made of powdered sugar that melted sweetly on my tongue. We demolished it on New Year's Day and as I sat and nibbled on the few remaining pieces, I thought about Hansel and Gretel. Poor kids. They should have just eaten their way OUT of the house once they were locked in.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

In Loving Memory

A few weeks before Christmas I asked some art friends about their opinion about what I can make for my niece for Christmas who lost her baby in utero at the end of July. This would be a bittersweet Christmas for her and I just wanted to let her know that we hadn't forgot. I got so many great suggestions it was hard to decide what to go with. Jewelry was a little too personal. An ornament was a good idea but I wanted something she could see all year, not just Christmas time. I decided on a simple little wooden plaque. I layered the background with vintage children's book text, lots of pretty paint and printed with bubble wrap. A few flourishes, some jewels the color of her birthstone in a set of three representing her family (mom, dad, brother) and an ever blooming flower. I stamped the words and added chipboard letters for her name. I think my niece liked it because it made her cry. I included a little stand so she can display it next to the tiny urn that holds her daughter's ashes. Thank you everyone for the ideas and the compassion.

On a happier note, I wanted to share a little project that my daughter made for her dad for Christmas. She's a pack rat like me and sees the usefulness in everyday items like matchboxes and mint tins. (Which reminds me, my mint tin is still in the fireplace where I charbroiled it...) She made a little shrine.

She made little people out of her and her dad and made them holding hands. She wrote "there is nothing better than going to the arboretum with your dad." She cut out trees and poofy cotton ball clouds and layered them to make them 3D. Very sweet. I think he really liked it. He thought using the mint tin was very cool.

We'll get him over to the art-side yet...