Monday, April 30, 2012

AB Lesson 6

From small beginnings come great things.--Dutch proverb

Lesson 6 in Elizabeth's AB class on her blog has us continuing to explore design principles. This week we are looking at repetition, rhythm or pattern, dominance and contrast. My first completed page looks a little wimpy...I am hoping as the lessons progress that I will get some ideas how to add to it. Inspired by our trip to Mykonos:
I think this illustrates repetition in the multiple windmills and dominance of the one on the right page which is larger and more detailed. I believe it has rhythm to draw your eye from the smallest to the largest because of how they are arranged on a slope. There is also a little pattern to their roofs and repetition to the shapes of the sails.

As Elizabeth pointed out to me last time, my fish page also demonstrates repetition.

My second/third page spread turned out better; at least I was happier with it. It reflects a trip to Niagara Falls and visits to the Floral Clock and a Butterfly Sanctuary:
I think the multiple images of the Falls draw your eye right down the page as does the trim on each side--keeping with the water theme, I thought the rick rack looked like waves. Maybe the red Canadian flag and the colored lights in the water picture bottom middle accomplishes this, too. I think the clock page shows some contrast between the circle & rectangle frame shapes. The frame also draws your eye around the page to see the butterflies, too.

My book is really starting to shape up! Looking forward to the next lesson!

P.S. A few people inquired about my crystal sun catcher. These are antique crystals salvaged from a lamp. It does create many small rainbows in a circular shape. In our windows which have a gas in between, it seems to work better if it is suspended a bit away from the window--say, on a curtain rod, rather than from a suction cup on the window. I will be making up some for sale (I have another shape to try also) and will probably put them on my new website. When they (and the site) are ready, I'll announce it here. Thanks for asking about them.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Artist's Play Room-Rainbows

" Beauty vanishes; virtue is lasting."--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I love rainbows...seeing them and using them in art, so I was thrilled when the APR theme this week was rainbows or creating with lots of color.

Having come across some large crystals awhile ago, I decided to put together a rainbow sun catcher.

It has been raining all week, so I could not hang it in the sun yet to try it out. I did notice that it seems to be coated with something that in light makes the crystal look blue or golden. Not sure yet if it will affect its rainbow making capabilities.

Inspiration Avenue suspended the challenge this week to announce a postcard swap. I joined up even though I've never made a postcard. You can click on the button on my sidebar for more information. There are still a few days to sign up if you are interested.

Have a happy, creative weekend!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fantastic Giveaway!

Let your speech always be gracious.--Colossians 4:6 Remember a few days ago when I showed off my first beaded gourd and told you all about Nicole? Now I want to tell you she is having a fabulous birthday giveaway! She has put together a wonderful package and will be adding to it all week. A few of the goodies include a beading book, some of her beadbacking, one of her favorite beading kits, as well as a gorgeous variety of beads. You still have time to enter so visit her blog Beadwright to stop by and wish her a happy birthday & enter for a chance to win!

Friday, April 20, 2012

APR Coffee or Tea?

Goodness is the only investment that never fails.--Henry David Thoreau

Yes, I am here with a second post! The theme at APR this week is coffee or tea--create anything using either as an inspiration. The idea came quickly, I just need the time to execute it. It is not as detailed as I planned. I did not even try to capture the reflections that show it is glass--my focus was on the flower--and trying out the new pan set of watercolors I bought earlier in the week.

I hope you will stop by and see all the wonderful art inspired by this theme.

A Long Time Coming

A good character is more valuable than gold.--Philippine proverb

It has been an embarrassingly lon-n-n-n-ng time coming. So long that I hope my friend, Nicole, will not have given up on my promises that it was coming soon. Knowing Nicole, she did not. Too long ago to admit mention, I purchased a copy of Nicole's book, Gourdgeous Beaded Gourds.
I have always been fascinated with decorative gourds and was looking for the needed push to get started. This book provided that and more! Not only was it very comprehensive, from the basics to some very fancy beading stitches, but there was a gallery filled with her gourds and some from other contributors. Using her techniques and tips and, of course, her wonderful bead backing, I was able to embellish my first gourd:
Since the sea was my inspiration, Nicole's "curls and swirls" technique was perfect to simulate waves! I followed through with the loops of shells & finished it off with a shell medallion that I created on the bead backing. Here is a close-up:
Do you see what I saw as I started arranging the shells? Right in the center is a shell that resembles an otter! I did not see this until I had started positioning the shells on the bead backing!
I could not be more pleased with how my first gourd turned out, and while this is absolutely an unsolicited post, I thank Nicole for her wonderful directions, inspiration, and most of all, patience! If you have a chance, visit her Etsy shop and see all the goodies she has for sale. She also has a blog where she often shows her beautiful work--stop by and say hi!

Have a wonderful, creative weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tree Stand ACEO

"A tiny seed of faith, watered with love, wisdom, and hard work, grows into a majestic tree of blessings."-unknown

I decided to create some ACEOs for the Earth Day Challenge at the 7 Card Draw Blog. This one is called "Tree Stand" and is acrylic paint on 140 lb. watercolor paper. The highlights were done in (my favorite)Micron pen & white archival ink.
I also entered the previous one that I did of the tree with silk leaves. Thank you to everyone who suggested a title! I went with a mixture and called it...."Mother Nature's Last Smile".

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

IA Challenge-Poetry,Words,Quotes...

"I like the laughter that opens the lips and the heart--that shows at the same time pearls and the soul."-Victor Hugo

April is National Poetry Month, and with that in mind, Diane has chosen the theme for Inspiration Avenue this week. I chose a favorite quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson and created this mixed media ACEO:
I used some paper as a sturdy background & added some grass paper to the bottom. The flowers were drawn with archival markers and outlined with micron markers. The flower heads are polymer clay, and if you look real hard, you can see they have faces.

Thanks to Diane for providing wonderful inspiration!

I am also entering this into the 7 Card Draw Blog Challenge, here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

AB Lesson 5 Design Principles

In order to be happy, find something you love to do and throw yourself into it wholeheartedly. --unknown

In Lesson 5 of the Altered Book course offered for free by Bleubeard and Elizabeth, we are delving into design principles. Part 1 has us exploring and creating 5 pages to illustrate harmony, unity, balance, proportion, and emphasis. Below are my pages with brief explanations of the principles--Elizabeth explains it in much more detail on her blog.
Harmony is achieved when all the parts of your collage form a unified picture. They all go together. I did a 2 page spread on some of the delicious foods in the various countries I have visited. I kept all the photos square & to me at least, I think the colors tend to draw your eye around.
Unity is very similar to Harmony. Unity has consistent sizes, shapes, colors and patterns. I'll always remember snorkeling in an underwater aquarium in Mexico! The fish were gorgeous! I'm not sure if you can see it in this picture, but I put some pearl ex powder over the watercolor background to give it some sparkle. A little may have gotten on a fish or two.
Balance is the visual weight of the collage. There is symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial balance--which I chose to illustrate all the countries I have visited.
Proportion is the size relationship between elements. I couldn't come up with a way to collage this effectively since I don't "do" people well, so I added this page from a magazine. I'm not sure you can really understand how massive the Eiffel Tower really is until you have stood under it!
Emphasis creates a focal point for your collage. I think I had the most fun with this one, creating the flying carpet. We visited a rug factory in Turkey and were herded into a room to hear the history of carpet making and see many beautiful examples. Yes, the men displaying the carpets spun them swiftly around and really did make them fly! So I think it is obvious that the decorated flying rug is the focal point of this page.

Thanks for joining me on this continuing journey!

Friday, April 13, 2012

IA Challenge-Foliage

Greet and life each new day as if it were your first. -Unknown

Jenn who leads the APR challenges was also the leader for this week's inspiration avenue challenge. She prompted us with foliage, and even though I could have linked the same thing as yesterday, I had a burst of inspiration to create this little tree:
The background & tree trunk are watercolor & the leaves are dimensional--cut from a silk leaf.

I am also linking this to the 7 Card Draw Inspiration Challenge for April which is Earth Day.

Have a happy, creative weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Seasons-APR Challenge

The beauty seen is partly in him who sees it.-Christian Nevell Bovee

The theme this week in the Artist's Play Room is to be inspired by whatever season you are experiencing in your part of the world. This challenge was a "no brainer" for me since Spring means flowers to me. Here is my latest whimsical animal planter--a dog filled with dogwood flowers!
Stop by on Saturday and see all the entries in this week's challenge! Click here or on the button in my sidebar.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thank you Gloria!

Living well and beautifully and justly are all one thing.--Socrates

I received the prettiest package in the mail this week. It was the giveaway I won from Gloria on her blog New End Studio. I had to take a photo of the box she decorated for me, shown with the front of the tag/ornament that I won!
Gloria knows that I like turquoise & purple, and she personalized my prize to reflect
my favorite colors. I suspect she also knows (from reading my blog) that I like (and create) butterflies, because when I turned the tag over...there was this pretty image:
Thank you, Gloria, for your thoughtfullness!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

My Christmas Cactus is still blooming thanks to cool nights! Happy Easter Everyone!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Frida Inspired-IA Challenge

I admit I don't know a whole lot about Frida Kahlo, and I have not come to love her as many artists have. I have not been influenced by her style (that I know of) and so thought I would have to sit this one out. But then that little line that Lisa, the host this week, printed..."BE YOU" gave me my loophole! I knew if I pushed and pulled enough, tweaked and turned enough, and reach deep enough, I could come up with something. So I thought about my culture or heritage, which is Italian, and I thought about all the beautiful mosaics and stone work. I thought about beautiful fountains, and gladiator battles in the Coliseum--weird how my mind works, I know. So how to tie this all in to Frida? I know that Frida often painted herself with monkeys & parrots--so animals became my inspiration. My lion is made of polymer clay surrounded by beaded dangles for the mane. It is still a WIP (busy week).
Stop by Inspiration Avenue on Sunday and see all the Frida-inspired art!

Have a happy, creative weekend! Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Artist's Play Room #3

This week over at the Artist's Play Room, Jenn is challenging us to be inspired by something around us. Well, I keep thinking about those adorable ducks that came for a visit last Saturday, and I let the male mallard be my inspiration...

It is ACEO size and created with Prismacolor pencils on 140 lb watercolor paper. The tooth of the paper was both a help & a hindrance! This was fun and a good exercise for me to try and improve my drawing skills. Thanks, Jenn!

Why not stop by the APR and see what everyone else was inspired by this week?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Altered Book Lesson 4

Do not follow where the path may lead...Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.-Benjamin Franklin

Lesson 4 of Elizabeth's AB class contained a very extensive review of different types of glues and some of their uses. After reading all and hopefully digesting some of the information, it was time to get down and dirty and do some experimenting on our own. She asked us to use four different glues plus gesso to adhere two pages of our book together and document the results. She suggested we could decorate according to our book theme and make tags to document the results. I kept hearing in my mind..."There are no rules" and just went with whatever came to me. I will just show the finished pages here and not go into all the details of how the glues reacted. The results are on the tags, however. I painted with watered down acrylic paint and made my tags from recycled manilla folders. Other embellishments were cut from previously removed pages from my book and some stickers or pages from travel brochures. As my book is on travel, I decided to make my tags based on the types of vehicles that I have used during my travels. The pages are pretty self-explanatory, so I will only make a few comments.
Page one: airplane flying through the clouds. Pretty simple, right?
Page two: car on the highway. I have taken many road trips in my life, mostly in a southern (from me) direction!
Page three: cruising the high seas. I've taken at least 5 cruises which I have totally enjoyed despite being prone to sea-sickness. The left page reflects some of the animals I have seen while cruising. When I find a picture of an otter, I will add that, too!
Page four: Train travel. While I have never taken an entire trip by train, a trip to Alaska did include travel aboard the White Pass Railroad. I will never forget going up these steep cliffs and seeing Dall Sheep precariously perched on them!
Page five: Touring by motorcoach (bus). Many trips I have taken have used multiple kinds of vehicles or have been entirely by bus, including many in the USA and a 24-day tour of Europe.

That is all I managed this week, although I did try the stencil frottage technique which was unsuccessful. I did try the glue resist painting, but my glue must have been old & dried yellow & flat rather than white or clear. I will try this one again as soon as I get some fresh glue.

My thanks, once again, to Elizabeth for all the time and effort in putting this free course together--I'm having a blast!