Saturday, March 31, 2007

Day 30 - Art Every Day for a Month...

As this self-imposed challenge comes to a close today, I have a few confessions. First, as you may have noticed, I began this challenge on the second day of March, so I really missed a day, but since March has 31 days, I'm going to cut myself some slack on that one. I also missed one day mid-month when I was experiencing technical difficulties. I might make this day up tomorrow, if I have a little time. Also, anyone who is a faithful DAILY visitor to my blog will know that I cheated. Yup. I admit it. While I did make at least 29 pieces of art this month, I did not actually make one every day. Some days I made none, and others I made several, but I altered my blog-posting dates so that I have one post per day for the month. If I were a "type A" personality, I might declare that I failed this challenge - or I might not confess these details, but I'm not a type A. (although I cannot explain why I felt it necessary to change the blog post dates, so maybe I'm an A-). As this challenge comes to an end, the fact that I was able to stick with it and make time for creative expression on a regular basis was the whole point, so I feel hugely successful, in spite of my inconsistencies.

More important insights on my "challenge"
The" make art every day challenge" evolved into something totally unexpected, as art often does. I was going to try to go into my art room everyday, for at least a little while, to make something. Instead, I found myself falling behind before I even started, because I just don't get into my studio everyday. I want to, but the mundane demands of daily life often get in the way. But I'm not a quitter (okay, I did quit Girl Scouts three times, but that was a long time ago), so I decided on that first day to make a digital collage. I was still at my desk at work, a few minutes after 5 pm, (in case they ask!) and in no time at all, I had a piece of art. Although I am a graphic artist and am fairly skilled in Photoshop, I don't have many opportunities to use it as a collage tool, and this challenge completely turned my Photoshop skills into a fun new medium. While nothing is quite as satisfying to me as working with ink and paper, paint and all things messy, I fell in love with the instantaneous nature of computer collage, and the ease with which I could try and "untry" techniques -- and I am going to continue to hone my skills. I am certain that I will not continue to post a new piece every day, but definitely with more frequency... AND I am definitely going to continue to explore and combine my mixed media art and my computer art on a regular basis.

I encourage anyone exploring their creative boundaries to try something like this - a small challenge (find the word "change" in there) -- that pushes your boundaries, even in a little way, to reach a little further.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Day 29 - Art everyday...

Confession: I'm not a good dancer. But today I was inspired by these retro shoes and I decided to kick up my heels...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Day 28 - Art Every day (almost)

Fish...another element in my symbolic alphabet. Not a subject I use often, but one that I love, (not to eat, I really hate fish as food) but I love their colors, their silhouettes, their graceful travel through water, their intricate textures and unlimited species.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Day 27 - Art every day...

One of the things I am enjoying about my digital collage is that I work intuitively and therefore am often surprised at what emerges. To give you a glimpse into my process...
I had no idea what I would create today, and I had only about 15 minutes to work. When this happens (which is often) I often start by choosing the shape of my canvas, and let that dictate the next step -- today a strong vertical canvas. Next, as I often do, I went into a file of black & white art pieces I've collected/created/scanned over the years. These are often pieces of my symbolic alphabet (nod to Anahata)--for me women's faces, random objects, butterflies, sewing notions etc. Today, I saw 'chalice' in the folder and thought, yes - no idea why I thought this and I had no follow up idea. So that was my first element, and then I added color - purples and blues which have a spiritual quality, going with the symbolic chalice. After playing with layers and transparency, I decided I needed a woman's face to humanize the piece. As I searched my art folder, I found this woman, whom I used in a previous collage. She looks like she has her hands clasped in prayer, and yet also looks distracted, which seemed perfect. Again, I played with layers and contrast and transparency, as well as composition. The words 'a silent prayer' came to me as I finished. Amen!

(Sorry, I'm a Catholic school survivor, and I often slip into irreverence about religious topics. My God has a really good sense of humor. Let's face it, (s)he invented sex.)

FOOTNOTE: I've altered this collage and changed the woman in the picture... one of my blog visitors commented that she could swear the woman in my original was somehow associated with feminine hygiene products. I was not sure, but after her comment, I kept seeing her on a box of tampons or maxi pads so I had to fix that!!! (thanks NB!!)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Day 26- Art every day...and illustration Friday on Tuesday

The Illustration Friday theme this week is "I spy" so here is my interpretation. I am obsessed with concrete evidence of spring it seems. And butterflies are just artistic icons that I love to use in my work.
Related to my everyday art theme, I started thinking about how I might utilize all of these digital collages I've made this month. I fear that I was not so forward-thinking that some of them are not even saved in a high resolution format, but for those that were, I may create some greeting cards, postcards, etc. Vistaprint is running a wonderful special this month, as they often do, for "free" postcards, business cards, etc. I say "free" in quotes because there are some nominal charges for shipping and uploading of artwork, but as a graphic artist for more than 20 years, I can tell you that it's a DEAL. For $25, I designed a new full color business card (250 qty), a full color postcard of one of my digital collages this month (100 qty), and a free custom, self-inking stamp. That includes the shipping. In this day and age, that's FREE!!!!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Day 25- Art Every Day...

Out of this world ATCs
(if I do say so myself)

Actually that's the theme for this month's ATC swap. The deadline was yesterday, and as I looked at my "to do list" this morning, I thought "crap, I missed it!" I had just returned from walking Max, and decided that I had time to quickly dash into my art room and see what I could make in a hurry. Fortunately, I have mat board pre-cut to ATC size, so that took no time at all. I was originally thinking of using some of Teesha Moore's "Land of Odd" images, as the Land of Odd is certainly out of this world. But artistic insipiration works in mysterious ways, and before I knew it, I was looking at all of my sun images. I think it's because I am so eager for spring. The image featured here is a favorite carved sun from A Stamp in the Hand. I love ASITH's bold lines. I used one of my favorite new tools - giant finger daubers -- to sponge on the colors, then overstamped the sun and the word. I must confess that I chose this word completely for the pleasing effect it has graphically with the carved sun, not because it has any mysterious otherworldly meaning. And although I said in a previous post that I rarely make two of the same thing, I made all the same for this swap as I didn't have time to alter the design!!!

... embrace the sun!
... embrace the solar system!
...embrace the unknown!

Make the message what you will.
That's the power of art.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Day 24 - Art every day

Nothing like a cloudy Sunday to whip up a quilt (a digital collage quilt, that is.) Actually, I spent a good portion of the day planning my monthly card class at the local senior citizen center. I love springtime greeting cards so the class came together quickly, which was good, because I have a billion other art project deadlines this week!!!

I can't believe this month is almost over already, though I am so ready for spring...and I know that spring is officially here, but I'm ready for solid daily evidence of spring- warmth, sunshine, budding trees, the color green!!! Although teaching and making art could keep me busy all the time, I love my garden and cannot wait to get my hands into the dirt!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Day 23 - Art every day...

Just like yesterday's collage, this is another that I made by clipping (in Photoshop) bits of the photo of my soldered charms, moving them around, adding color, and then using some fun photoshop filters.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Day 22 - Art every day...

Wow, what a busy week!! But also exciting. I have a lot of irons in the fire right now that will result in my artwork being published, sometimes along with articles, in some of my favorite mixed media and stamping magazines. I don't want to announce them just yet, though, because all of them are several months from publication. They work months in advance!!!

Here's a bright, happy collage that I made by clipping bits of the picture I took of my soldered charms a few posts back.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Day 21-Art Every Day (almost) - My friend is a grubby wench

Lather on some Grubby Wench mandarin spice soap -- or perhaps my favorite -- lemongrass & ginger -- while singing English pub songs, and you too could be a Grubby Wench...

But seriously, the purpose of today's blog is to promote my friend Alison's new handmade soap company - Grubby Wench Soap. Though she's lived in this country for more than 20 years, Ali hails from Margate, Kent, England, and she makes the most wonderful handmade soaps which I've ever slathered all over my stinky bod. (She's also a fabulous cook and an amazing gardener, talents which influence her soap-making.)

I recently helped her to develop Grubby Wench's identity system - logo, letterhead, business cards, etc., and in return, she gave me a basket soaps so fragrant and delicious I'm tempted to take a bite. A self-taught "soap star," Ali uses essential oils and all natural ingredients in her soaps, and given her talent as a cook, she is brilliant at combining fragrance and spice, as well as health-promoting qualities. She also blends scrumptious bath salts that can be used in the tub or as a soothing foot soak.

So indulge yourself, treat a friend or consider using these marvelous soaps as favors for your next shower or wedding.
For information or to order some, contact Ali at for more information.

(Her prices are extremely reasonable too!)

Footnote: She will be setting up her blog next week and I will post a link so that you can visit and learn more!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Day 20 - The cyberdog ate my homework!!!

My apologies about my daily art post!! I e-mailed home a posting from work, and it never got here. I can't post from work, so I frequently send home my images. I will try to post two items on Thursday!!

Instead I am posting an Easter photo, circa 1972. That's my Aunt Eileen on the right. I am in the back row left,, with my sisters Cheryl and Jennifer in age order in front of me. On the right is my cousin Susan, with my cousins Bonnie and Frankie in front of her. We are standing on the front steps of my house, where we posed every Easter for a photo before a whole day of food, family, and fun. These are the cousins with whom we had a reunion gathering in December. Other than my cousin Susan, who lives in Texas, we are all still in the northeast, but our lives are busy with work and family, so we don't get together as often as we'd like. Back then, we lived in houses next door to one another (our fathers are twin brothers), and we wore a path in the lawns between our homes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Day 19 - Art Every Day - Max

I haven't featured my dog Max in awhile, so here's a fun photo I altered for my daily art piece.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Day 18 - Art every day - a charming art swap!

I was invited by one of my talented artist friends (Laura) to make 15 charms for a swap, and here they are. (My art for the day!) Since I have been wanting to learn how to solder jewelry for some time now, I decided to challenge myself with this project... and what a challenge it was!! Only one burned finger and 15 charms later, I am actually feeling confident about my skill level now. I will confess that I did not feel like I was getting the hang of it until charm number 9, so I apologize to the first 8 recipients. They have a rather primitive look to them, but I am confident that it will get better as I continue to practice. I will be teaching a class at Art Connection in the spring - called Home Sweet Soldered Home, in which we will make soldered house shaped pendants, so I will be getting a lot more practice.

These charms are two-sided, so I am posting pictures of both the fronts and backs. Because I knew that the bulk of my time would be spent taping and learning to solder, I did not have time to devote to new original art for the charms, so these all contain color photocopies of fragments of my art journals. Each charm has a jump ring soldered to the top, in which I tied a piece of ribbon. I really hate making two of the same thing, so I used different journal fragments for each charm. Once the swap is over at the end of March, all participants will receive 15 charms in return - one of their own, plus one of each group submitted. I cannot wait for that packet to arrive in the mail!!!

Like every new artistic venture, this one came with it's own list of necessary materials: soldering iron, lead free solder, liquid flux, copper tape, glass slides, and a soldering jig are among the most crucial. Flux remover, soldering polish, burn cream and soldering patina are some other materials I may have to invest in as I continue to experiment with this technique.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Day 17 - Art every day!

I love combining strong silhouettes, bright colors, bold shapes, and text in my digital collages. The colors I work with in my digital art are very different from those I use in my mixed media work - much brighter and bolder. I love the purity of bright color on screen.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Day 16 - Art every day!

I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration. -- Frida Kahlo

Friday, March 16, 2007

Day 15 - Art every day

Today, I spent some quality art time with my pal Debbie, until the impending Noreaster arrived and I had to cut my day a little short. We had a great time playing in Photoshop, eating our favorite soft tacos, thanks to her husband Len, watching Claudine's new beeswax collage DVD (excellent!!!!) and making art!!! So this piece I made yesterday, knowing that I would not finish anything else to post today. Tomorrow I may do a tribute to snow. (NOT!!)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Day 14 - Art every day - Warhol?

Oh, the days of pillbox hats. I don't dress up much these days. Even my office has adopted a casual dress code except for special meeting days, but I love the look of dressing up, and the promise of a special event to which it eludes. (I don't miss the hosiery and heels however.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Day 13- Art every day - sunflowers

This digital illustration was inspired by the weather today... a balmy 50 degrees at 5:30 am when I walked Max. Of course, every season has its trade-offs. The melting snow has created some enormous and unavoidable mud puddles along the paths where we walk, but it's so nice to shed my hat and gloves that I don't mind wading through a puddle or ten. Even the brown grass is a sight for sore eyes, compared to miles of dirty snowbanks. I can't wait to be able to open the windows in my house, let in the fresh air, and dig in my garden. Max is happy just to sniff all of the marvelous smells unearthed from beneath several feet of snow.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Day 12- Art Every Day... The bandanna project

I was in a printmaking, pattern- making mood today, so I designed these patterns, and they reminded me of bandannas, hence...the bandanna project...
I don't recall making three with yellow backgrounds, but it appears that I did... or else they just don't translate well via blogger.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Day 11- Art every day

This is my least favorite piece so far. I had an idea but it did not turn out as I had hoped.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Day 10 - Art every day...

One piece of art - scanned & then duplicated in photoshop to create both the background and the foreground. All my millions of errands are done, now I am going to make ART!!! yay!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Day 9 - Art every day...

Happy Saturday.
I have a million errands to run (okay probably just 7 or 8) but I have no time to wax poetic. Or wax anything else either.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Day 8- Illustration Friday - Wired!!

Here's my art piece for Illustration Friday's theme: WIRED!!!
Other associations I make with this theme:
that's about it!!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Day 7 - Art every day...

"Hope" is the thing with feathers

"Hope" is the thing with feathers-
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I've heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.

-- Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Day 6 - art every day...

I chanced to look across the way,
And lo! within a neighbor attic,
A hand drew back the window shade,
And there, a picture glad and glowing,
I saw a sweet and slender maid,
And she was sewing, sewing, sewing.

--excerpt from the sewing girl

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Day 5 - Art every day... And Illustration Friday

It occurred to me that as long as I'm posting a piece of art a day for the month, I might try the Illustration Friday themes. Last Friday's theme was "HIDE."
Click on the "IF" link at the right to visit Illustration Friday and see more interpretations of this theme.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Day 4 - Art every day for a month...

I took this digital picture of myself on Friday, and turned it into a digital collage. This was also during my blue mood, if that's not entirely obvious. If I wasn't in a bad mood already that day, this picture would have done it. I was so tired last week, and I think it shows in my face. I am having a lot of fun exploring the magic of Photoshop. I've worked in the program for many years, but my graphic arts job is more corporate in nature, so I don't get to do a lot of artistic treatments. This project is a great way to expand my knowledge of the program. I am in the midst of a lot of multi tasking this morning. As I write this, I am baking chicken & eggplant parm for dinner, as well as running the dishwasher. I walked Max at 5:30. Now it's time to get ready for work!!!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Day 3 - art every day for a month...

This is another digital collage that I created in Photoshop, using transparent layers and some artistic filter effects. I will confess that even though I am posting a new art piece every day, I may not necessarily be making one each day. In this instance, I made three digital collages on Friday, so that I could post them over the weekend. My mood when I made this collage (and the next one that I have not posted yet) was very melancholy, but it has lifted, as my mood swings are rather manic these days. (peri-menopause is so much fun!!!)
I am actually working on a number of handmade greeting cards today, but I am not posting them because I was invited by Stampington and Company to send them in for an upcoming issue of Take Ten or Stamper's Sampler, and since they will be published, I do not want to pre-empt their publication by posting them here.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Day 2 (art every day for a month) - Happy Birthday Mom!!

It's my mother's birthday today, so my second piece of art in my "make art every day for a month" challenge features my mom, in a digital collage. Although this image of her, taken many years ago, looks somewhat sweet and demure, those are not adjectives that I would use to describe her today. She's in her 60s but has more energy than three 20-year-olds, and I have always counted myself among the luckiest women in the world to have had such a great mother. Happy birthday mommy!!!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Art every day for a month...

I am going to try to post a new piece of art every day for the rest of March. Some will be handmade pieces, and some, like this one, will be digital collage, created in Photoshop.

This will be an enormous challenge for me, because I rarely finish a whole piece of art every day, but that's why I'm doing this. To stretch my boundaries and see what emerges.