29 June 2013

Game on!

I managed to finish a complex project. My game board was created as an art journal page, inspired by an assignment presented by mixed media artist Kelly Hoernig. Kelly is one of an array of instructors who are teaching as part of Life Book 2013 - a yearlong odyssey of mixed media goodness guided by Tamara Laporte.

I really wanted to do this assignment earlier in the year when it was first posted. But I could not seem to gather the energy to create anything. The course was just not gelling for me in January. Now that I find myself back in my groove, the ideas flowed easily. Kelly laid out the step-by-step procedures and I modified them just a bit to suit my style. The assignment was to create an art journal page with the theme of Let the Games Begin, which was Kelly's take on "Celebration and Journey" (the monthly Life Book theme).
I drew my own streamlined 1930s style roadster for my vehicle. Kelly invited us to choose a word to set the tone for the journey you are on, and mine is "practice". She recommended a map background, and you might be able to make out the highway map of my region under the layers of gesso and paint. My background colors are watercolors.
The pocket at the bottom left holds five altered playing cards which match some of the important ideas of encouragement that I hope will influence my art in the next year. There is also a card with the definition of "practice" written out on the back.

It took me two weeks on and off other projects to make this game, mostly because I spent a lot of time layering with paint, gesso, and collage bits.  I am happy with the results, even though not everything I tried worked. (For example, my attempts to practice Kelly's method of color wash spray to outline the game board did not meet with satisfactory results, so I used Distress Ink instead.) In sum, I learned a lot and gained some confidence with several mixed media techniques. That is what counts.

22 June 2013

High Tide

"A young girl, transfigured by Italy! And why shouldn't she be transfigured? It happened to the Goths!"
-E.M. Forester, A Room With A View

I have been busy this week. Lots of scattered collage bits and paints on my table. I feel energetic with the pulse of Summer Solstice and the incredible "supermoon" that's out there waxing, no less powerful than the Sun.
Can you feel it drawing you? She will be full tonight.

The mixed media projects on my table are part experiments, and part goal-driven pieces. My main project is still in progress so I'll share one of the former exercises for now.

My "Letter from Venice" tag has an Artist Cellar Venice map stencil as the background. I am taking some baby steps with lettering with an actual calligraphy pen like Jill K. Berry taught me at a workshop in February. (Shout out to you lovely Paperworks artists in Tucson.)

Once I laid out the map, I knew I had to dig out some ephemera with Italian words and the whole letter-writing theme is a serendipity. The color palate that I worked with is earth, ochre, and aqua. I can just picture an afternoon in late June with the sun beating down on the canals. It could be a pleasant afternoon sitting at a cafe sipping coffee, reading a good book or a letter from home. Ah, the life of the expat in Italy.

For the curious artists: I stenciled the street map and masked off that lower section. The stencil is done with tea dye Distress Stain over gesso. The bottom third is colored with cantaloupe dye ink and the accent lines are yellow ochre Golden Glaze.

15 June 2013

It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got that Spring

I know, I know. It has been far too long since I last posted. I hit a mental road block late last fall, and found myself unmotivated to create during the winter.

This is a regular, seasonal pattern for me. I am excited to make art in the late spring & summer, and even feel the drive in the bustle of autumn. Then, I find myself pulling off the road by the time the leaves fall off the trees and the sun sets at 5 o'clock.

*sigh* Despite best intentions, I was on the wrong side of the creative train tracks all winter.

Until May. It was a vibrant, bright month. I saw Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, got my hair bobbed, and downloaded Bryan Ferry's classy vintage jazz album.

While we were on vacation, my husband took me to see a hot jazz band touring south of the Mason Dixon from New York City. The Hot Sardines, they're called. They have a half-French chanteuse and belt out numbers complete with a living and breathing tap dancer as instrument.

Suddenly my head is full of art moderne motor cars, streamlined movie palaces, and flappers in elegant cloche hats. All the things I loved in college and why I obsessed about the 1920s are back briefly in vogue and life is wonderful.

I am driven to dust off my studio table and decoupage again. To celebrate joie de vivre, I used a charity auction certificate and invited my friends to a wine taste in the rolling Blue Ridge foothills.

In these heady, madcap days close to summer, I am enjoying the flow of inspiration and the joy of making.

I have several projects going, but the mini-piece I display on this post is my new iPhone cover. I took my background from a magazine, glued tissue over it with a star and a quote from Fitzgerald's book. The champagne bottle is a sticker. Everything got a coat or dab of picket fence shade Distress Ink.

I'm also posting my sketch of a torpedo-car that goes along with the Deco art I am pinning on my Pinterest boards.