Thursday, August 30, 2007

My August Ta Da List...

My greeting card designs - in Take Ten Magazine, Autumn 07
Well, it's that time of the month again - no, I don't have cramps, just my monthly "ta da" list. I have really been in a bit of a funk this month, for a variety of reasons, some of which really don't exist. I don't like myself when I get mopey and self-pitying, which only makes it worse. But I am trying to drag myself, kicking and screaming, out of my bad mood, and reminding myself of my creative accomplishments does help.

I gave my blog a face lift;
I made and mailed some handmade wire-wrapped rings to Cindy Dean for a jewelry swap;
I planned a class to teach wire-wrapped rings;
I designed a brochure for my father-in-law's new business - he makes pet coffins and cremation boxes, which are truly lovely - please inquire if you need a handmade resting place for a treasured pet;
I participated in Art Connection's monthly ATC swap - the theme was fairy tales, and since I am jaded and don't believe in them, I wrote my own satirical mini version of the frog prince;
I did a lot of sitting around and reading: Paint it Black by Janet Fitch; Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult; and The Pact by Jodi Picoult - here's a tip - don't read depressing books with lots of depressing characters when you're already in a funk!
Worked with my event planner friend to design a freelance invitation project;

And another of my art projects was published... in this issue of Take Ten magazine, which is one of my favorite's for inspiring and quick greeting card designs. In this issue, my work appears on pages 33-35 - I made a greeting card using dried berries, and they solicited me to make more cards with natural elements. One of my first loves is making simple, elegant greeting cards, and I loved working with nature on this project. Because I was asked to do this in February, when all of nature in Upstate New York was either frozen or buried in snow, I found natural elements in dried flower arrangements and potpourri at local stores.

This is the last of my published works until January, as the creative magazines plan their stories many months in advance of pubication.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

An unsent letter...

On August 4, 2007, my sister's friend Jodi passed away unexpectedly, after complications following surgery. Jodi was also a friend of the family, and had just recently celebrated her 50th birthday. This is the letter which I now wish I had written to Jodi for her birthday, but I did not, because I thought I had plenty of time to tell her how special she was to all of us whose lives she touched.

Dear Jodi,
Happy 50th! It's been an incredible pleasure knowing you these past ten years. There is hardly a conversation that my sister has about work that doesn't include you, and your friendship and humor. You have been such an important part of her life that I felt like you were family from the first moment I met you. Thank you for making her laugh, for taking care of her, for offering advice, and for knowing when not to! I also want to thank you for all of the ways in which you embraced my family with your generosity and talents. Somehow, you knew that our family would appreciate bashing a peppermint candy pig into smitherines with a hammer more than most families, and we awaited your Christmas Eve call each year so that we could share our enthusiasm with you. Thank you, too, for the beautiful, artistic cakes you made to help us celebrate family milestones, and for everytime I asked for a helping hand on behalf of Jennifer, and you always said yes. I hope that your 50th birthday is the beginning of a wonderful new time of life for you and I look forward to sharing many more memories with you. Love, Kerri

I choose to believe that Jodi can see this message and knows how much she is loved and missed, and I will do my part to keep her here in memory and spirit.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ride with the tide and go with the flow...

(Sorry about that. I made my husband look up JT and Carly last night on You-Tube and I have Mockingbird on the brain.)

I am in a creative lull this week, and I'm just riding it out, because I know it's necessary to have down time, to let ideas germinate, to fill the well. I am reading a good book, which does compete with my limited free time for art, but that's only part of it. When I go into my art room, I am just not moved to sit down and create. Usually, I can't wait, but every now and then, I come to a screeching halt...and that's where I'm at right now. So I'm thinking art, and I still scribble ideas in my journals and notebooks, but I am not forcing the process.

Two hours later...
I do believe that it is important to do all of the things I mentioned above, and that creativity is a flow that should not be forced, but sometimes, it's just a matter of switching gears. I am not in a tactile art mood this week, but I decided to do a quick digital makeover, and this was the result...

On the left is a greeting card that I made... actually several years ago. I don't even have the card anymore, but I used to scan a lot of my card designs so that I could remember them if I wanted to use the ideas again later. Instead, I decided to open the scan, and alter it in Photoshop. The result is the collage on the right. I'm pretty satisfied with the transformation, though I may still take it a bit further.

One great thing about digital art is the way you can re-invent previous works. I don't have to start with a blank canvas. I can start with something I've already created, and turn it into something fresh.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Blog makeover in progress...

If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you will notice that I've made some changes today. Blogger kept prompting me to update my template, because they improved things and made them more user-friendly, but they also warned that I might lose my links and other items that I've customized on my old blog.

Fortunately, I wanted to give my header a face lift anyway, so it was no biggie to replace it...and most of my links at the right remained intact. My old header is at the right. Not a drastic change, just a little more texture and color.

My next goal is to set up an etsy shop and also to figure out how to make a cute little flickr button at the right, like I see on so many blogs. I also want little thumbnails of the publications I'm in, but one thing at a time, I guess!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

It's a Blog Party!!!!

I was invited by Kari (aka artsymama) to join her blogger party today, in celebration of Artful Blogging magazine and to generally celebrate artful bloggers everywhere. Kari suggested that we post a technique or tutorial if possible - or any kind of artful inspiration. I didn't have time to pull together a step by step photo tutorial, so instead, I'm featuring a few pages from my one of my art journals, along with some tips for creating quick easy journal backgrounds...

Visit Kari's blog to join the party!!!

Experimenting with background techniques is a great way to get the creative juices flowing. One thing will lead to another, and before you know it you’ve filled page after page with color and texture. A few you you might try...

Apply ink pads directly to pages, creating blocks of color. Use 3-5 colors and overlap them in spots. Paint a light glaze over the top with Lumiere paints or any translucent glaze.

Scribble circles or lines or lines with watercolor pencils. Add water to make the color move. Then add a light glaze of Lumiere paint in a translucent color (same as above.) — or add some embossing ink and a translucent embossing powder over the entire surface.

Mask off sections of a journal page with removable tape. Stipple chalk inks. Move masks and layouer colors. Add pattern or word stamps in a contrasting color to create texture.

Scribble or doodle shapes onto a page with colored pencils. Fill in with regular crayons. Add embossing ink and a translucent embossing powder, which will melt the crayons and blend all of the colors together.

Mask off sections of a journal page with removable tape. Use re-inkersi nspray bottles to apply color. Move masks to layer. spots of Krylon pen for some shimmer.

Mix artist's cement with reinkers and paint a thick coat onto a page. Coat a large, not-too-detailed stamp with embossing ink and stamp into the paste. Sprinkle with glitter & let dry.

Take a kids set of plastic magnetic letters and numbers and toss them onto a page. Spritz around them with watered down acrylics in a spray bottle. When dry, remove letters.

Monday, August 06, 2007

"Heart song"

Beeswax collage on canvas paper - mosaic wall hanging
I decided to try my hand at beeswax collage recently, and this is my first finished piece. My friend Debbie showed me some techniques months ago, and I was particularly intrigued by the way the wax saturates papers and makes them translucent. Although I've seen wax manipulated with a heat tool, I really liked using a quilting iron to make the surface smooth. I deliberately selected old music book pages and thin handmade papers that would become translucent when coated with wax. I decided to make small mosaic squares, so that if I did something irreparable, I could just toss the square and start over. One of the best features of beeswax is that it's almost impossible to do something irreparable -- just reheat the wax, and items can be moved or eliminated from the collage. The wax also serves to preserve the papers beneath, so it requires no additional fixative. I also love the texture that the beeswax leaves behind when pressed with the quilting iron. I will definitely continue to explore this collage medium. I was also pleased with the simple, colorful graphic nature of the piece.

To construct the wall hanging, I punched tiny holes in each of the squares, and used parts of round black paper clips (clipiolas) as jump rings to hang them. The piece looks particularly striking when hanging in a window, where the musical backing shines through to the front, and the hearts glow a fiery red.

This piece is dedicated to our friend Jodi Pitcheralle, 1957-2007 - I will dedicate a whole post to Jodi in the future, but I can't right now.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

My mom was the costume design consultant for Flashdance

...okay, she never got paid for it... but I'm sure that years ago, the wardrobe spies spotted my mother in a hacked off turtleneck and thought of Jennifer Beals. Alright, not totally likely either, but I can tell you that long before Flashdance, my mom INVENTED cutting up sweatshirts and tees, particularly removing necklines, sleeves, and hems. I know. I watched her, and I've inherited the compulsion (I could have called it desire, need, etc, but it appears to be a spontaneous urge to hack the crap out of inexpensive tees, etc. that just don't fit quite right, so it's more of a compulsion, I think)... I've also inherited a number of other traits from my mom, but we'll save those for another time. (Excuse me while I pick little pieces of lint off the rug that I just vacuumed.)

Why did this become today's blog topic? It's not like a Flashdance reunion weekend, and to my knowledge, Jennifer B. and her co-stars didn't die in a freak plane crash. (although my mentioning it will make that happen now, just watch!!)

It came to me last night while I was hacking away at a "Hanes for Her" t-shirt -- in this extreme NY summer heat and humidity - the need to find a shirt with minimal fabric drove me to grab scissors and tee. While I was cutting so confidently to make the crew neck wider & cooler, I thought of my mom and started to laugh. She always insists she's not creative. And I knew that she was wrong. And that so many people don't recognize all of the ways in which they are creative.

... I thought of her again, a half-hour later, when I took my dog out for his evening walk, and the new, larger neckline kept falling off my shoulders, to reveal the straps of my sport bra.

So go out there and create!!!!

You're "a maniac, maniac..."