Friday, March 28, 2008

Snow Day Play

We had another snow day today in Southern New Hampshire ! As a substitute teacher I didn't mind one bit but the teachers and kids will be in school until the very end of June now. I am so sick of snow though ! Crazy winter !
I took advantage to the day to finish up a few projects for the baby niece's room and to work in my journal a bit. This is a page using a technique I found in Bernie Berlin's "Artist Trading Card Workshop" book which is great and has a lot of fun things to try.

In this one you take an image from a magazine and glue it down onto a thicker surface (I used cardstock). Then you apply a thin layer of gesso over the image so you can still see the outlines through it. When the gesso is dry, you paint over the image, changing it significantly but still using the original as a guide or template. I also used Gelly Roll Pens for added detail. This is great for people like me who are sometimes challenged with drawing realistic faces. I should have taken a photo of the original image to show you a before but I didn't ! My frog lady is a little (okay a lot) less pretty than the artsy model in the original but I do love the end results ! The eyes are my favorite part - I love the twinkle !

Tomorrow I will brave the highway again to head back to Montreal for a little baby shower for my sister. I have made a lot of little goodies for the nursery that I am anxious to show the mommy-to-be. All of the women who are attending are so very sweet so it is sure to be a nice time.

Next week I will be finishing my three month substituting stint. That means more time for creative pursuits which I haven't had much energy for while working full time. Definitely more time for posting too, which is also great. My blog is only a month old and it has already given me so many positive moments !

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Birds of a Feather

Last week I carved a new stamp of a little bird for the GPP Street Team Crusade #18 - Cut It Out. (
I used it to make a new entry in one of my on-going projects - My Bird Book. I looked for quotes about birds, bird sayings, and wrote a list of some "bird" memories from different times in my life and have set out to fill this altered book with them whenever the mood strikes.

Rumi Bird :
Here is my most recent entry which includes my little bird stamp. I also used my newly carved tropical leaf stamp to do the background on the page. The photo is of me when I was about 18 months old. I love this quote from Rumi. I sometimes feel like I need this reminder to use my soul's wings more often. Playing in my art journalis feels like soul flying to me !

Black Bird :
This is a page dedicated to one of my favorite Beatle songs. I have a teenage memory of a special night when I joined my uncle Nick and his very talented singer friend, Terry, to sing to tourists in the streets of Old Montreal. A very grubby, kind of dirty street performer came to join us in our Beatles tribute and sang "Black Bird" a cappella in the most haunting voice I had ever heard.
Two Little Dickie Birds :
This is a whimisical entry dedicated to a poem my sisters and I knew as kids from Stu, a crazy old friend of my dad's. "Two little dickie birds sitting on a wall. One named Peter, one named Paul. Fly away, Peter. Fly away, Paul. Come back, Peter. Come back, Paul." The birds on this page are actually my husband David at 6 months (left) and his brother Richard (Dickie) at 18 months. So very cute !!! The bird shape is actually a die cut from a Cricut machine that I made into a stencil. I also used real feathers for their wings and head pieces.

I find little birds very inspirational, like so many mixed media artists right now. Something about their delicate strength, their ability to sing their song loud and to fly whenever the whim takes them I think.
More Bird Book posts to come as the pages fill.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Going to Visit the Peeps !

The sweet hubby and I are off to Montreal today for a Easter Weekend visit with my peeps. My sister lives about an hour north of the city in a cozy house in the mountains. On Saturday, we will be celebrating Easter, my nephew Tom's 5th birthday and the imminent arrival of my sister's little girl (due the beginning of May). So very much to be thankful for ! These family times bring me such joy and pleasure. It is so very worth the 5 hour drive !!!!

This piece is for the baby's room. It is done on two 18X20" canvases and will grace the walls above her crib. Looks like spring, doesn't it ? I had a lot of fun creating it to go along with the nursery colors. The rest of the room is much more neutral and this diptych will proving a sweet pop of color. I can't wait to shower this baby with love and all things pink !

Have a great weekend everyone ! Happy Spring !

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Street Team Crusade # 18 - Cut It Out

I have taken on the GPP Street Team Crusade #18 - Cut It Out ( and carved some new rubber stamps of my very own ! I have done this before and love the fact that pieces I do with my own stamps keep my work original and uniquely mine ! My favorite use for the stamps is adding layers and texture to my own painted papers which I then cut up and use in my collages.

Every once in a while I grab a pile of all kinds of paper, old dictionary pages, hand made Indian papers, plain old photocopy paper, music sheets, etc. and choose a color scheme to work with. I splatter acrylic paint (Golden Fluids if I am feeling decadent - those little bottles are pricey but a little goes a long way!) onto all the sheets of paper with a large brush, watered down and/or with some glazing liquid added in. I let the paper dry a bit on a old shower curtain on the floor. The first ones are usually dry when I get the last ones covered. Then I grab my stamps, some stencils and a make-up sponge or two, and stamp and stencil another layer of acrylic paint all over the papers . Make-up sponges are my tool of choice for applying the paint to the stamps and for using stencils. It allows for nice even coverage. I often add in Lumiere fabric paints for their beautiful metallic quality. Voila, a whole new pile of hand painted papers to play with !

I can't wait to make a new batch with my new stamps !

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I knew I was an artist when...

This is a response to a post on Funky Art Queen ( Her friend asked her the provocative question "When did you know you were an artist?" which elicited a great poem from the (other!) Queen. Check it out !
When I thought about this question myself, I realized that I have always known I was an artist. I have just spent a lot of time convincing others that I am !!
I think that "artist" is just one of the labels I have claimed for myself, finally ! I still get a little thrown when someone asks me "What do you do ?" and when I say "I am an artist."(with as much confidence as I can muster) and they inevitably say "Oh, what do you make ? or "What kind of artist?". I dabble in so many things, have sold many of my pieces, have created special gifts of my art for loved ones, have shared my techniques and experiences with other artists, and made a lot of art just for myself. I think that all of those things make me an "artist" and I have chosen to claim the label as an intrinsic part of me. In the end, for me, being an artist is about the process of creation. "I create, therefore I am." Or maybe "I am, therefore I create."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Hamlet of Contentment

Sometime on my visits to different web sites in search of inspiration, I came across the image of a pointing hand holding a business card marked "Direct Road to the Hamlet of Contentment". I didn't really make note of where it came from but I "borrowed" the image for my own use and was inspired to create this piece in my art journal. Today while preparing to write this post, I googled the original image and found the Corita Art Center ( where serigraphs are available from the Museum Store with the hand and the business card as well as a great quote from Thoreau. It was an interesting find and I was able to give credit for my inspiration here which feels good.

What would your Hamlet of Contentment be like ? Who or what reside there ? Each of the houses in my hamlet actually open like little doors. Behind them are the words Balance, Love Heart & Home, and Vision. I can't imagine Contentment without them !

I actually see the Hamlet of Contentment as a vacation destination more than a place of residence. Contentment feels wonderful while it lasts but I think you can only stay there for so long before you have to return to your crooked little House of Reality. That's okay though, because you always have the memories and before you know it, you will have done enough work to earn another trip !

Monday, March 10, 2008

Day Light Savings is hard to take

I don't know about anyone else but I found the darkness this morning hard to take. It is nice to have more light in the evening but that morning sun was just starting to make me feel great and they took it away. Boo hoo ! I am just so ready for spring ! Here in New Hampshire we got rain a lot of the day on Sat. but at least we didn't get what my friends and family in Montreal got - a foot and a half of the dreaded white stuff ! They are breaking a lot of records this year ! Guess I can't complain !

In the theme of Spring I have started buying tulips and other bright flowers every week with the groceries. They make me feel hopeful. I promised myself I will have flowers from now until the ones in the garden grow. This little luxury makes me smile everytime I walk by them.

Here is a recent collage piece I have done along those lines.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Little Bird with a Big Song

This is a collage piece I did about a year ago; a self-portrait of sorts. I often feel like this little bird, bursting with a song I want to share but not always sure the world is ready to hear me. I have decided that I want to sing out loud anyway. Maybe some birds of a feather will hear the song and join in. That would be great because that is my real goal in starting this blog - to find a sense of community in my art. I have been visiting and getting inspired by so many great talented artists out here in blog land but have yet to put myself out there. Hello Blogland, Kimbo is here.