Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ho Ho Ho! I'm Santa!

Well, I'm a secret Santa in 2 swaps (well, actually, 3 swaps, but one is a tea swap, the other 2 are art goody swaps). And for the two art goody swaps, in addition to the various art goodies that I purchased and/or gleened from my stash, I was to make a bit of art for my art friend.

Before I embarked upon what I ultimately made for these two, I had originally planned to create something much different, but, I got the felting bug, and I decided that I HAD to needle felt something for these two gifts.

So, I decided I'd needle felt a couple of ornaments for them... here's the first ornament I made, using a sunset-ish varigated dyed wool, with jet black spirals.

Here's another view...

The second ornament, I changed my color palette, and went with blue, and began adding odd bits of color to the ornament as I felted for some visual interest.

Here's another view of the same ornament...

These were a lot of fun. I'm really happy with the way they turned out... I just hope my secret santa recipients like them too.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Starry Night

It's no big secret that my favorite painting of all time is by the Master Vincent Van Gogh -- Starry Night. This painting moves me like no other painting, the brush strokes speak to me of the pain and the anguish that affected the life of Van Gogh, and yet the bits of light throughout the painting demonstrate a sense of hope to me, hope that maybe there is light even when life is at it's darkest. It's the most powerful work I've ever encountered.

So, when I joined a "masterpiece" charm swap, where we were to showcase a masterpiece by an art master, it only made sense to me to use Starry Night as the featured artwork for my charms.

Now, the scan is not great, because of the dimension of the Swarovski crystal. But I think that the scan provides enough detail so that you can see what I've done. Rather than using the crystal to highlight the moon, which is the brightest light in the sky of starry night, I used it to accentuate the star that sits just right of the cypress tree, with the intent to draw one's eye to my favorite part of the painting, the tree itself.

My studio is finally taking shape! Believe it or not! And... I can't even take credit for it, it's the work of my husband, who finally got tired of waiting for me to start working on it that he went out there and did it. It's not all done, I still have quite a bit of organization to do, but, at least it looks like a studio now, and I can actually sit out there and do some work!

Which was a nice change from finding some space in the house to work on something and getting it all scattered about, which is what I usually do! So, thank you, my dear husband, Mat, for your hard work, it's greatly appreciated.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

How Charming!

One of my favorite artforms is art charms. I love to alter little tiny things, and charms... by necessity, are tiny.

However, because of my crazy schedule this year, I've hardly had much time to create any art at all... the move took a lot of my time, and now since everything is *still* packed in the garage (although, it's slowly... slowly... ever so slowly taking shape), it makes it difficult to get to anything to work on anything.

Anyway... I joined a couple of charm swaps recently as a member of Amber Dawn's charm group. The first one was an Alice in Wonderland themed swap.

Each of the 10 charms I made for this swap have a different image, but, the basic idea behind each was the same. Each charm is on a scrabble tile, with a tiny, pale blue Swarovski crystal bead on top, and the bottom is adorned with a heart shaped bead and a little blue bead. (These details are a bit difficult to make out because the scan is a bit blurry -- hey, it's a very teensy, tiny bit of art!)

My original plan was to have a rose bead on the bottom (painting the roses red!) but, unfortunately, the red rose beads that I had ordered for these charms never arrived. So, instead, I made a mad dash to the bead store and found these little heart shaped beads, thinking that the queen of hearts would approve.

I made this bit of digital art to serve as the tag attachment for the charm...

I also made another set of charms, and I'll post tomorrow about those!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Inchie Quilts...

Hello Everyone...

Inchie Quilts... well, that's what I'm calling them, anyways... A while ago, one of the members of my yahoo group suggested that the group host a paper quilt swap. I was very intrigued, because, well, I love paper, and I loved the various eye candy samples she sent my way. Not long after that, another member suggested that the group host an inchies swap. That got me thinking (this can be dangerous sometimes) and I thought about combining the two -- paper quilts and inchies.
You may remember my previous inchies post, these are the inchies that I submitted, along with 16 1 inch squares of patterned paper, for this swap. After I got my package of swapped out inchies and squares of paper, I started working on my quilts...

I made two 4x4 quilts... here's the first...

and the second...

these were incredibly fun to make... and has definitely piqued my interest in creating more inchies... and more quilts!


Sunday, October 12, 2008

True Colors Journal

Hey Everyone:

Last year, I purchased the book "True Colors" by Kathryn Bold. I purchased this book primarily because I was involved in a swap that was inspired by the book, and since I hadn't heard of it before this, I wanted to know what I was supposed to do for this swap. Well, I so enjoyed the swap, and the artwork I created during that time, as well as the artwork I got back from the swap, that I decided that I would host a similar round robin.

My colors for this swap are chocolate brown, lime green, and teal/peacock blue. I found this really gorgeous paisley paper, so I decided to keep my cover very simple and allow the paper be the primary focus of it...

The first journal I've received in this round robin belonged to Liisa... and she chose light, icy tones of blue with one feature color (of my choosing) for her color palette. Her journal is quite large, 10x10, and since my scanner bed is only about 8 1/2 x 11, I wasn't able to capture the entire page... so you only get a glimpse of what I've created for her... this is a portion of the left side of the spread...
And here is a portion of the right side of the spread...

When I first received her journal, I wasn't sure which feature color I was going to select... but, when I went shopping, I found these amazing papers with the icy blue, and brown featured prominently, so I decided to go with that. Strangely enough, and as I reported in the journal entry... brown has been a very popular color with me lately... it seems that I'm always choosing it! I'm not sure why. It's not even a favorite color of mine, and a few years ago, I would have told you that I didn't really care for it much... but in the past year or so, I've noticed that I've really grown a fondness for it.

I'm really happy with my spread, I hope that Liisa is too... the brown presence in her book is a bit more than a splash, I hope that's ok...


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Another Altered Book Spread!

Hello Everyone:

I've been a bit behind on getting art work that I owe out to those I owe it to... but I think I'm finally caught up and I feel like I can finally start committing to some new projects. (Shh... I can't say that too loud in case my hubby is listening. He will say "You're never going to work on that garage, are you??? LOL)

Anyways... I had Cheryl's altered book for quite some time, I actually received it just before the move, and unfortunately I didn't have time to work on it then because I was in the process of packing and organizing the move with movers, etc... so I just didn't have the time to be able to even think about art... much less the energy (or even the art supplies as I needed to pack them up!) So I've had this book for quite some time, and I actually started working on it shortly after we got moved in and settled, but, I just was never satisfied with the direction I was taking the artwork.

So I would start over. If Cheryl looks at the spine of the book, she will see that I went through quite a few pages to not only stabilize the surface to work on, but, also because when I wasn't happy with what I had done, some of the pages were sacrificed... sorry about that, Cheryl!!! I do hope she isn't upset with me about that.

Anyway, after working and reworking, I finally developed something I could be happy with... and if you look closely at the spread, you can see all the many layers within... and that inspired me to sketch the rose that I then cut out and added to the spread... because roses are also multi-layered, I figured that the multiple layers of the spread just seemed to fit in with the idea of a rose.

This is the first spread:

And this is the second spread...

I hand stitched the beading on the edge of the paper. I just felt like it needed a little sparkle and these little beads were so pretty.

Anyways... I hope that Cheryl likes the work I put in to her book...


Thursday, October 9, 2008

More Decos...

Well, just one more deco, actually. . .

This is one of the pages that I created for Betsey's "Owl" deco.

I wasn't really sure what I'd create for this deco, the theme, however simple, seemed to confound me. I didn't have any readily available owl images, and I'd never attempted drawing an owl freehand. However, A few weeks ago, I was simply doodling and among my doodles was a paisley shape, and as I started to doodle into the shape, it occurred to me that it is a basic shape of an earless/hornless owl. So, my original idea was to create a paper-pieced "Paisley Owl" but none of the owls I was piecing together really spoke to me, they were all just a bit too cutesy for my liking.
In the meantime, at a local stamp store sale (sadly, they've gone out of business!) I found a really cool owl stamp, so I decided that I'd use that in my layout for Betsey's deco. Then, as I sat, contemplating how I'd create the layout (I had a bit of a challenge, because my two pages for the deco were separated by a 2-sided, open-faced layout... so I actually created "two" layouts as opposed to 1 2-page layout) so that the two pages would look somewhat cohesive and yet would be able to stand alone. As I sat there thinking about how I was going to work it all out, I "saw" an owl out of this piece of felt on my work table. It was just a plain, small rectangular piece of felt, but, I could see an owl in it... so I started cutting... and the above spread was born. It's really a very simple page, yet it's complete. I am really happy with how it turned out, and I hope that Betsey is too.
The second page was a poem about a wise old owl that I found by an unknown author, written on a similar background with white gel ink. I am pretty satisfied with it.
Now... I'm deco-less again...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Back in the Deco Saddle!

Oh how I've missed doing decos! It seems like ages since I've finished my last, although I know it really hasn't been that long. They really are one of my very favorite round robin type artforms!

So, this deco spread that I created for Julie Anne was really quite simple... she made it simple for all of us! She simply wanted a rubbing... and she set the deco pages to serve as frames for the rubbings... so all we really had to do is to get a piece of rice paper (or Mulberry paper would have worked nicely too, I imagine) that was the right size, and find something of interest to create a rubbed image.

Therein lies the challenge. Not everything you think might make an interesting rubbed image does... I tried quite a few things before I finally found just the right thing... a teapot template. (Hey, I did say it was JUST the RIGHT thing... can you think of anything more "me" than tea?)

So here's a photo...

It was a lot of fun!


Saturday, September 20, 2008


OK... if any of you also visit my flickr account, you already know this story, so bear with me.

I've been hesitant to try inchies, because well, to be quite honest, I didn't really want to get obsessed with yet another artform. I've been bitten by the ATC bug, as well as the 'zine bug, the charm-making bug, the altered book bug, the fatbook/chunkybook bug, the puzzle altering bug... you get the picture, right? Nearly every artform I attempt, I end up falling in love with... and well, I just didn't need to become obsessed with something else.

So, I thought, as long as I don't try inchies, I won't become obsessed.

Makes sense, right?

However, one of my best friends chose to host an inchies swap with my yahoo group, so I felt obligated to join in the fun. I mean, it is my group. Shouldn't I partake of the swaps they participate in, if for no other reason than to promote good will within the group itself?

Yeah, I'm full of them... excuses, that is.

So, I finally got out my paper cutter and started cutting out 1 inch squares. One thing that is really nice about inchies is that they are quite small, so you can use your left-over papers for them.

The requirements of the swap are 8 inchies per set, and I've decided to make 2 sets. Here's my first one...
and my second...

I fear that perhaps the second is too similar to the first, since I used similar images and the same embellishment. The backgrounds are quite obviously different, but, I don't know if that's enough to consider them two individually separate sets.

Anyways, I hope that the swap hostess likes them.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

I love Altered Books!

For the couple of months that I've dedicated to my move, I've not had a lot of time to do any artwork... it was particularly frustrating for me because I had a couple of commitments to my art group to work on a couple of altered books as well as the decos I recently received in the mail, and I really hate making others wait on me.

It happens way too often too... sometimes, I just don't feel creative or artistic, and it's hard to sit down and work on something when it's just not there for you. Perhaps that's a cop out, although it's not a cognitive cop out, that is, it's not something that I'm aware that I'm copping out on... if that makes sense? I just quite honestly do not feel like my best work comes out of me when I'm forcing myself to do something that I'm not feeling.

But... that wasn't even the case this time, it wasn't that I wasn't feeling creative or artistic, it was that I didn't have the time, space, or energy to devote to artwork because of the move. And even though the move has been over and done with now for a couple of months, I've still a great deal of work to do before I can say that I'm all moved in... but most of the work that I've left to do involves my art studio/garage, and that is something that will take a while...

Anyways... I did manage to finally finish my layout for Laura's Ocean book...

There were some pretty amazing layouts in this book by other artists, I felt rather intimidated by them... but I am happy about how the layout came out... I hope Laura likes it as well.

Well, hopefully later this week, I'll have time to post my true colors journal photos! Until then, thanks for stopping by and catching up with me!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Stuff!

Hello Everyone!

I've been somewhat silent here on my blog lately, I guess that's nothing new... it seems like weeks and weeks can go by and I don't post... but, it really doesn't seem like it's that long for me.

Anyways, I've been busy with various art projects, the one that's been consuming most of my time has been a fatbook with my yahoo tea group. I've been wanting a rubicoil machine for a while, and I used this fatbook project as an excuse to finally break down and get myself one. Yippee!

So, my tea group and I put together a tea-time indulgence recipe book -- fatbook style! Here is my page that I made for the book...

and the back of the page........

I really like the way these turned out.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wow! It's been a while!

Well, what can I say? I've been in the process of moving!

We're still not quite finished with it all... there are still a good number of boxes that need to be unpacked. Most of them are filled with various bits and pieces of my art stash. I can't believe how much STUFF I've acquired over the past few years since getting back into art. Honestly, I have only been involved with art again for about 5 years (I've been an artist all my life, but, life's different ups and downs has made me more or less unable to give in to the artistic yearnings for a very long time)... and during that time, I've amassed enough stuff to nearly fill a 1 car garage.

Which is why the new house has a two car garage! haha!

Perhaps I will need to consider destashing in the next few months.

Anyway, over the past week, I've actually made some time to create in the midst of all the unpacking. I've been working to finish a swap commitment that I was unable to fulfill before the move (I tried to though!) I'm really glad to have these finished and mailed out now!

Artist's Trading Attire (ATA) -- Well, that's what I'm calling it anyway... ATD (artist's trading dresses) wouldn't work because they already use ATD for Artist's Trading Dolls... so I hope that ATA isn't used! These measure approximately 5 inches.

They were a lot of fun, if not a bit intimidating at first, because they forced me to step outside of my comfort zone just a little. I hope that the 3 ladies who will be receiving my dresses enjoy them.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Owl inspiration...

For most of the people who will read this entry, you probably are well aware of some of the "standard" discussion questions asked in yahoo groups to keep the conversation flowing. One such question seems to be: "How do you get inspired to create something?" We've all seen that question, right?

For me, my process usually begins with searching for ideas. I don't usually just go blindly into a project... although, I must say, that it is the times when I DO enter into a project "blindly" -- or without a specific vision -- that I end up being the most pleased with my results. The reason for this, I'm sure, is because I entered into the project without expectations, so I did not have to attempt to exceed them nor did I fail to meet those same expectations.

Anyway, one of my favorite places to go searching for ideas lately has been Etsy. The more time I spend there, the more time I love the place! And I can find inspiration throughout the site, in even the most unexpected places. One of my favorite ways to waste time is to browse through the Etsy Treasury. Here you will find collections of 12 items available for sale on Etsy. These treasuries can be made by anyone who is registered on Etsy... the real trick with the treasury is being at the right place at the right time. They have a "limit" of 333 treasuries -- although this doesn't mean that there are only 333 treasuries at any given time, there are usually much more than that. But as soon as the treasury count reaches 332... then you have less than a second to type in a title for your treasury. Once you have a title for the treasury successfully entered, you will have a blank canvas on which to create your very own treasury collection.

I've managed to get myself in the right place at the right time, and create a few treasuries over the past few weeks, and it's very addicting!

But, I digress...

On my last visit to Etsy... I came across this little owl... now, I'm not usually the one to succumb to super sweetly cute, and to be honest, I don't know if I'd call this owl super sweetly cute (although one could!) I think I'd call him whimsically adorable, perhaps. Yeah, I think I like that better. What inspired me to sit here and write about this owl, though, is the fact that I know I will be receiving an owl deco within a few weeks to work in, and owls has never been a subject matter that I've ever attempted before... so I guess I was looking for some inspiration and ideas to get me started. Some sort of battle plan before I get that deco and get started...

I like to have some sort of battle plan prepared before I get a deco or altered book (or any other round robin piece) because then, when I'm shopping, I know what I should look for... or I can decide if I have the materials in my stash necessary to work on the piece without shopping for additional goodies. I usually DO have the goodies I need... but that rarely stops me from shopping with the excuse that there is something I need. ha!

So... I don't know that this blog entry is going anywhere... other than allowing me to get a bit drowsy so that I can get to sleep -- a big day of house shopping tomorrow! -- but, thanks for letting me talk you in circles, anyway... I hope you enjoyed it!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

NATURE Fatbook on Etsy!

Hello Everyone!

Well, last time, I posted all the photos of the tea fatbook I had, now I guess I'll post the Nature fatbook photos.
The Nature book was one of two fatbooks that my group, EccentricPastiche, created to donate to Robin Whittemore to assist her with her medical expenses. You can learn more about her plight here. Unfortunately, Robin passed away before we could donate the books and other things to help with her medical bills, so I decided to sell these items on Etsy and the proceeds will be donated to the Pickens County Bone Marrow Drive in care of the United Way in Pickens County of SC, in Robin's name, on behalf of the artists who contributed and of course, the lucky person who purchases the book!

NEWS FLASH: The tea fatbook that I published in my last blog entry has already SOLD! YAY!

Let's start with a picture of the front cover of the Nature fatbook:

Here is the front and back outer covers of the book scanned side by side while the book was open and flat on it's covers!

And here is the inside front cover, with the listing of contributing artists:
This is the page from Anne Grappo...

This is the page from Ann Cooper...

This page was contributed by Cindy Ericsson...

This page was contributed by Crystal Calhoun...

This page was contributed by Ellen Quigley...

This page was contributed by Fran Lainhart...

This page was contributed by Janice Lopez...

This page was contributed by Jeri Aaron...

The next two pages were contributed by me...

This page was contributed by Nancy Tasker...

This page was contributed by Susan Tidwell...

And finally, a page from Teresa Stebbins...

There are a couple of other pages that I couldn't scan... but, you get the idea, right? This book is phenomenal! I love it! I know that whomever buys it won't be disappointed!

To purchase the book, click here.

I hope you enjoyed this pictorial of the book!


Monday, June 9, 2008

Fatbooks now on Etsy!

Hello Everyone!

Well, I finally got the two fatbooks we made for Robin (put 4Robin in Etsy's search engine for easy access to all that has been donated to this cause) listed on etsy! I still have an original artwork "true colors" journal to list 4Robin... but that may have to wait a while until we get moved! I'm not sure yet just when the move will take place, many things are up in the air as we wait to see whether we are approved for this house or for that one... you know how it goes!
Anyways, Here are some pictures!

Tea Fatbook Cover ~ Cover was created by Carol DuBois, who also bound the book:

Inside Cover and Front and Back outside of the cover, shown side to side (Open and scanned on it's "spine")...

Here are some of the pages for the fatbook... I don't know how many blogger will allow me to include... so it may be that I'll have to submit another blog entry tomorrow with the rest of the pictures... anyways, enjoy!

Pages from Ann Cooper...

Page from Anne Grappo:

Page from Carol DuBois:

Page by Cindy Ericsson:

Page from Crystal Calhoun:

Page by Ellen Quigley:

Page by Fran Lainhart (who also assisted with the binding of the book):

Page by Janice Lopez:

Page by Jean Bennett:

Page by Jeri Aaron:

Page by Liane Ciglar:

Two Pages by me (Anne Downen):

Page from Nancy Tasker:

Page from Susan Tidwell:

Page by Teresa Stebbins:

Well, what do you know? I managed to get all the photos uploaded! woo hoo! Let's see now if I'm able to publish the post! I hope so!

SO... isn't the book AMAZING? Don't you love it? Want it? To buy it, click here! This is for a great cause... and it's a one of a kind, remarkable collection of art! There's only one of these in the whole world... so you better hurry before someone else grabs it!!!