Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Create a Painting from a Coloring Book Image

     The stacks of background pages in my studio are many. These pages are mostly watercolor paper with acrylic paints, maybe a few zentangle® patterns with markers, collage pieces....possibly the remnants of paint left on a brush before I place it in a water dish, a wonderful piece of image left from a collage or the scrap of a beautiful napkin I decided not to use. My favorite way to play with background pages is to just make random marks, alternating cool colors and warm colors until I have a pleasing combination adding more stuff as I go.

                                         Mixed Media painting on 9 x 12 watercolor paper.
     While I was cleaning my mom's house for her recent move I ran across an old coloring book, it was full of simple images. I love, love, love these images. Recently I incorporated them into a class I was teaching at Sparks Creative Arts Studio, "Run with Scissors Play with Paint™".  I went back to the coloring book images the other day while playing with the backgrounds and decided to trace this fun bird with a worm onto tracing paper. I cut it out and used matte medium to glue it down, then added a little gesso and paint to complete the mixed media painting. What a quick way to make a colorful art piece, also works wonders if you find it difficult to draw an image on a busy background.      

                    GO PLAY!!.....and borrow your kids coloring book every once in awhile.

                                                    Bird image from the coloring book.

     If you follow the above link to Sparks Creative Arts Studio in Arlington, Texas you will find some other fantastic classes offered. My next class is "Confetti Glass", we will learn some wire wrapping techniques and fire recycled glass in a kiln.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stages of Life .... we all have them.

     Think it is about time to share a little of what has been going on in my life for the last nine months. Not much art, that's for sure. But I did make some changes for the better. I am lucky enough to live in an area where I have enough land for my mom to build a small home on, we broke ground on it last October. My mother is 81 and still doing great but she was living quite a distance from her family. Her house was large and built in the 1950's and needed a lot of work.

                                                  Front of mom's house, love the porch.

     I also have a special needs brother whom I love and adore and wanted to be sure if something happened to my mom he would still have the home he lived in and the bedroom he slept in for comfort (complete with his giant John Wayne figure).

                          My brother's name is John .... he watches John Wayne movies constantly.

     It's always tough to think of losing your parents or of them becoming disabled. I am so proud of my mother for realizing we needed to be proactive and make a change while she was still able to make decisions.The doors of her new house will accommodate a wheelchair, the bathrooms are elder-friendly, the back door has a ramp.....small things which will enable her to easily live in her home if she does become frail. It took some time to accomplish it all, but it is well worth planning ahead. Mom loves the new house....and her new granite counter tops!!

                                                 Kitchen with granite counter tops.

     Now back to art. I just finished reading Austin Kleon's book 'Show Your Work!' I highly recommend it, it was just the quick read I needed to get motivated again. He encourages you to become a documentarian of what you do...write your thoughts in a notebook, keep a scrapbook or a journal. I started a new journal today and pledge to have it in my studio with me at all times. He also quotes journalist David Carr...very simply ... "you have to make stuff". I'm off to the studio to "make stuff".

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Banners of Hope at CHA

    Just returned from the annual Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show in Anaheim, CA. Love this trade many talented and giving people and so many fun new products and trends. It's a whirlwind few days.
     The CHA Designer group hosted some great sessions where they freely shared what they had learned about working in and supporting the art and craft community. Inspiration flowed freely!!
                                                        My banner for "Banners of Hope"

     This year I was happy to be one of the designers contributing some of my art to the worthy Charity Wings project, "Banners of Hope". As a designer you could sign up to receive an 8"x10" canvas banner from the Fabrics Art Council of CHA and return it all "fancied up" with your own art work and inspiring message. I chose to use acrylic paint and collage on my banner with the theme of friends. Friends are so important to us all when we go through tough times.
     There was also a booth set up at the show where anyone could participate and create their own unique banner. After the show all of them will be taken on the road to display in hospitals, shelters and charity organizations ....small messages of hope to brighten someone's day.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Inspirations from 'The Beauty of Zentangle'

     'The Beauty of Zentangle' has now been published. How delightful to have an instant reference to the different styles of zentangle art done by artists from all over the world. Everything is represented in this book. Small, simple tiles which are appealing as little masterpieces or as up close examples of the artist's favorite tangles. I know I have a few tangles which seem to make it into every tangled piece of art I do.

                                  The cover is the truly beautiful work of artist Lorrie Bennett.

     The book is chock full of Zentangle inspired art and objects - everything from household items like lamps and mugs to jewelry, pianos, pottery and tennis shoes. Giving credence to what many tanglers claim, "if it stands still I will tangle on it."

                                                                      One single eye.

     One of my favorite things about Zentangle is how different each person's work is. Even though they use many of the same patterns the drawing style, color choices and intricacy of the work can vary greatly and be applied to so many different forms of art. This book is a real celebration of the beauty of the art of zentangle. 

                                           Color was added with Prismacolor pencils.

     Open 'The Beauty of Zentangle' to any page and you will be inspired to begin creating your own Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA). Every artist featured began with one stroke and built upon it. They then had the courage to put it out there to share with the world. Their work can serve as a motivator for all of us to just begin.

                  Beginning to look a little like a city from Dr. Seuss, not sure if it is finished yet.
     All three of the pieces in this blog post began as simple strings drawn while I was on the phone or watching television, I added a few tangles then put them away. Over days and sometimes weeks I would go back to them and add a few more tangles. My intention is not necessarily to fill the entire page...that always seems a little overwhelming to me. But invariably I get in the flow and before I know it they become almost like little cities, strange creatures or bizarre flowers. Proving what Rick and Maria, the developers of Zentangle, have always said "anything is possible one stroke at a time."

     Thank you to all of the wonderful artists contributing their work to make 'The Beauty of Zentangle' a success, you each made it possible "one stroke at a time."

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Creative Art Studio and Gallery Night

       A lot, a lot, a lot has happened lately. Life has been full of distractions. Just when I felt I had some focus with my art...boom, life gets in the way. I was so excited a couple of months ago when I discovered "Pickle Ball"'s played on an indoor court and is a cross between ping pong and tennis. I really hate exercising but love sports...the Texas heat makes it really hard to play some of my favorite outdoor, golf and tennis. This seemed a perfect way to get a little exercise, relieve a little stress and enjoy myself.... I even got my "super golfer" husband involved.  Great, we can spend a little fun time together. Then it happened, he was going for a shot and fell like a plank....broke his hip and had to have it replaced.  It's a tough recovery time so we are still working on it...slowly.

                                                             Nick Nack Paddy Whack
                                                        "Moustachio House" on Canvas

     In the meantime I had been helping friend and fellow artist Suzanne McNeill-Sparks open her new Art Gallery and Studio of Creative Arts in Arlington, Texas. The goal was to host her grand-opening in conjunction with Fall Gallery Night , a wonderful art evening involving galleries in Fort Worth and surrounding areas. Suzanne had invited me to include my "Moustachio Houses" in the gallery opening....really exciting but I needed to get some more work done on them. Luckily, I have a home I did a little art work and went to check on the hubby...then back to a little art work. It's finally done and I am ready for the opening.

                                                                    "Holy Moly"
                                        "Moustachio House" on Watercolor Paper with Collage

                                                   "Moustachio House" on Watercolor Paper

     Suzanne's studio will also be home to some great classes and workshops taught by Suzanne, myself and some fabulous artists. There will be open studio days and art journal days too, where you can come and learn as well as share with fellow artists. I am really excited about this new art venue in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and hope to see some of you in classes and hopefully on September 7th for the grand-opening. Here is a link to the list of classes and workshops offered. Come have fun with us!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Moustachio Houses in Somerset Gallery

     I adore the Somerset publications...I subscribe to several and purchase individual copies of many of the others. Wish I could afford to subscribe to everyone!! So I was thrilled when they accepted some of my art for one of their publications. Two of my "Moustachio Houses" were included in the Summer issue of Somerset Studio Gallery. By the way 138 "Ooh La La" and page 139 "Zany Tears" for those who have this issue. I sent the art for a "whimsical challenge" and they decided to use it in the Gallery instead. Somerset has tons of requests for art.....take a big leap and go for it. You never know when you will be accepted...and it's so much fun to see your work in a popular magazine.

                                                                      "Ooh La La"

     I will also being showing "Moustachio Houses" on Gallery Night here in Fort I am frantically working on more...more...more. Never been much of one to focus on one subject but I am having lots of fun with these little guys.

                                                                       "Zany Tears"

     These are on approx. 11"x 15" watercolor paper...collage, paint, mark paint pens for a really glossy black. I have also done a few on canvas and smaller watercolor well as canvas made from recycled, gessoed of my favorite surfaces. Since I have had rubber stamps made from some of the images I am going to do some cards as well....just need to come up with some funny sentiments. I'm not so good at that!! Even my journals are more visual than wordy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Memory Jug Workshop

I have to admit I have a love-hate relationship with social media...blogs, facebook, twitter....emails!! It is all so handy for keeping up with the art world, friends and family....but I don't always feel like keeping up with everything and everyone. Sometimes I just need to retreat to my "art cave"... or "art hole", stick my head in the sand and not come out for awhile. Guess it's time to get my head out of the sand and get back to sharing some of my artful endeavors.

                                                The fabulous studio of Susan Wechsler.

The hand surgery and cast kept me from doing much in the way of art for's hard to accomplish a lot with one hand....and overusing it got a little painful. But I'm back with a bang!! I just returned from a truly amazing workshop in the studio of Susan Wechsler, a mosaic artist in Longmont, Colorado.  Susan has teamed up with artist Laurie Beth Zuckerman to host a 2-day workshop on Memory Jugs

                                  Laurie critiquing one of the memory jugs in the workshop. 
             It was fun to hear about all the memories evoked by the artists in their masterpiece.

As much as I love almost every type of art, my favorites have always been folk art and outsider art. I was born and raised in Texas and remember seeing memory jugs since I was a child.....I have always been fascinated with them. About 5 or 6 years ago I began trying to find out more about them...what they really are and most of all how I could make my own. I was surprised by how little information was available. I could not find out what the putty like substance was that most of them had been made from many years ago.  There just wasn't much known about them. I experimented with everything I could think of... even cement. Then a little over a year ago I found Laurie Beth Zuckerman, she had a book on CD which I ordered, 'Memory Jugs - Images, Instructions and Theories', ...I was blown away by how much information she had acquired on this little-known folk art.

        Judy Evans arranging her items for placement on the memory jug....or in Judy's case...her urn!!

When I received an email from Laurie announcing the workshop she would be giving in June with Susan I knew I had to be learn from the master!! The bonus was she was doing the workshop with Susan Wechsler, whose main forms of mosaic art are the wonderful 'Memory Dresses' and 'Altars' she creates from antique china, figurines and all kinds of other fabulous old stuff. I took my artist friend, Judy Evans, and together with 8 other artists from various backgrounds we spent two remarkable days learning from Laurie and Susan and each other. The collections of old stuff brought by these artists was a feast for the eyes and many brought things they had made to add to the jug... polymer clay, pottery, jewelry. I had some pieces I had made from air-dry clay as well as old jewelry pieces. I have been collecting for so many years it was fun to go through it all before the workshop and find pieces I wanted to include. 

                                                          Beginnings of memory jug.

                                            Finished jug, I also love blue and white china.

My jug was really large, it was a glass wine jug.... it had once contained a Carlo Rossi Sangria...but I liked the shape and wanted to see what I could do with the recycled bottle. Truly creating something from nothing. My favorite item I put on the jug is an old Toni Home Permanent Curling Rod from my grandmother. She use to give herself a Toni perm quite often....I can still remember the smell in the kitchen. I love my memory jug, it's on my mantle now .... I was thrilled to see the work done by the other artists at the workshop. Many had brought beautiful, collectible pieces from family members and made a true memory jug devoted to their family member. Perhaps the oddest was from my friend Judy (she's always a little odd, I think that's why we get along so well). Judy wishes to be cremated after her death and made her own urn for her ashes. I love fact I may steal her idea!!...and make my own urn as well. Let's just hope neither of us need it for awhile.

                   Close up of my jug, domino, jewelry, chain, air-dry clay piece and grandma's perm rod.
This workshop was so successful Laurie and Susan have planned another for September. If you would like to learn how to create your own folk art memory jug I highly recommend attending one of these workshops. It's a great location with great instructors and interesting artists working along side you.