Friday, May 30, 2008

Now you know my ABC's

So, I am sitting and blog surfing as I wait for Sonia to pick me up for the trip up North. I can across this at Audrey Eclectic. I know some of you are not into the tagging thing but thought I would share my ABC's without the tagging part. Join in if you like !

A- Attached or single: Happily attached.
B- Best Friend: David
C-Cake or Pie: Cake - Lemon Chiffon made by my aunts
D-Day: Saturday mornings - the whole weekend is in front of you !
E- Essential Item: These days' my camera ! I am loving my shots !
F- Favorite Color: Green
G-Gummi Bears or Worms: Worms I guess, like the idea of eating something "gross" that tastes good
H-Home town: Montreal, always !
I- Indulgences: art supplies and ice cream
J- January or July?: July! I hate January with a passion ! And I love to swim !
K-Kids: Only furry ones of my own - my sisters share theirs though !
L-Life is incomplete without: Family, Love, Art
M- Marriage Date: December 30, 2000
N- Number of Siblings: 2 Magical Sisters
O- Oranges or Apples: apples
P- Phobias or Fears: Frogs and moths - They are unpredictable you know !
Q- Quote: "Our deeepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." Marianne Williamson
R- Reason To Smile: Hubby's smile, baby laughter, cat's purr, doggie kisses, flowers blooming
S- Season: Fall, perfect sweater weather !
T- Tag Three: No Tagging by me - join in the play if you want to !
U- Unknown fact about me: I can touch the tip of my tongue to the tip of my nose. Really !
V- Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals: I am sorry about how it gets to market but I like meat !Prime rib, anyone ?
W- Worst Habit: Feeling Guilty about Everything
Y-Your favorite food: Thin Crust Pizza or that Prime Rib
Z: Zodiac Sign: Libra, always looking for that balance....

Girls Artsy Getaway Weekend

My bags are packed...
So my friend Sonia and I are off for a weekend at her family "Camp" on Lake Winnipesaukee. We Canadians call this a cottage, but my sweet friend from Maine calls it a "camp". Sonia is a relatively new friend who I met through a class I taught at Talk Paper Scissors here in Manchester. We share a love of all arts/craft supplies as well as a love of nature, so this weekend should be just up our alley !
Sonia has been wanting to get more "artsy" in her creative pursuits and wants to give art journals a try. I was so happy to share all that I know and I am excited to see what she creates in this safe and inspiring setting ! And hey, I have a friend to play with in person! Yippee !
I have packed up half my studio and filled a box and a big bag with art journal supplies, inspirational books and mags and whatever else wanted to jump in. We should have all we need to play the weekend away ! The weather isn't supposed to be too great but that's okay 'cause being away, hanging out with a good friend in a cozy cabin by the Lake, with a pile of art stuff, yummy snacks, and a fire place sounds like heaven !!! Oh and maybe a daquiri or two....
I am bringing the camera and will hopefully have some fun shots when I get back ! Have a great weekend, y'all !

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Slightly Scary Monsters - New Journal Pages

I can't believe it has been 7 days since my last post ! The days have flown by. I have noticed that things are pretty quiet in Blogland. I think people must be busy with life and maybe trying to soak up the joys of spring...

I have been really trying to work on the pages of my art journal as I only have 5 pages left to fill. It will be my first completed art journal ever ! I have never filled an entire writing journal either. I usually buy a new one when the whim hits and have several with many blank pages at the end. There is something really special about having this document of filled with my thoughts, dreams, inspiration and my own creative process. I am already feeling a sense of anticipation about it's completion. You can do it, Kimbo !!! See it through to the end !!!

I have also noticed a new trend in my pages these days. In the past, I have used my creative art journal play time to explore beauty, to get away from hurts or ugliness, and even to make positive affirmations for myself (And dang it, people like me ! They really like me !!!). In the past little while, a darker side has been coming out. I am liking it though ! It feels almost like if I fill the page with the "ugly" stuff, then I don't have to carry it around in me so much anymore. Cathartic I guess. And yet, I am finding a real beauty in what is coming out as well. A kind of dark beauty....

Expressing the darker stuff sometimes influences my mood a little too. Today was a sucky day in my head ! I was really angry ! Angry at others, angry at the world, and angry at myself. I am not usually an angry person. I know I don't express my anger very often that's for sure. Sadness, yes but anger, rarely ! I sometimes think I hold all my anger in until I have to have a pissy day like today ! Then tomorrow, I will probably kick myself in the butt and just get over it ! I may have to punch something tonight or yell at the dog or cat a few times, but I really will probably feel better tomorrow ! I thank God for the strength I have to do that. I would hate be be like this everyday !

Here's hoping tomorrow will be better ! And thank God for strong shoes !

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hating Thy Neighbor's Mess

So the hubby and I live in a pretty yellow house on Orange Street. Colorful, eh ? It is a really nice street. We and our neighbours really try to keep things nice. You know, the usual lawn mowing, flower planting, keeping our yards tidy and keeping our house value up by making improvements were needed.

Unfortunately, our back yard abuts a not so nice street that has quite a few rental properties on it. Why is it that some renters are so much less caring about how their homes look than home owners ? Don't they want to live in a nice environment , even if they don't own it ? Why is it that some renters are just plain slobs !!!!!???

This is the view from my big back deck :

What a mess ! It looks like the whole contents of a garage is dumped in the yard! It has been like this (and sometime worse!) for at least two years. The tree between us is growing which helps a little but this is the view we have whenever we use our deck. These neighbours hang out in their yard a lot, and they have a clear view onto our deck which makes me feel like I am being watched whenever I sit out there. They are also very noisy, use foul language incessantly (even in front of their kids)..... I could go on and on but that's too much rant as it is (not to mention the incriminating photo !). The noise and stuff is really hard to do anything about - they are just living their noisy lives and they do usually stop the noise by 11:00pm in the summer.... But the view ! That was something I was determined to do something about this year so I could use my own deck with pleasure and in privacy!

You can't build a twelve foot fence - maybe you can but that wasn't in the budget or the vision! The hubby and I decided on a privacy curtain - something that wasn't too permanent, didn't cost too much and would look okay from our side as well as theirs (see, we really are nice neighbours to have !) We used metal pipes screwed into flanges, a cable with a turnbuckle, some pretty outdoor table cloths cut to size and some shower curtain hooks to create this :

The next thing is to change the back of the bench to have less space in between the cross beams with means adding 2 more 1"X6"X12' to the span. That part of the project will be done tonight ! But I am happy with our handy work so far.

I finished the curtain yesterday and set to work by adding my plants to the deck. Hopefully, frosts are over ! Let the spring really begin ! I have seeded some babies in the house for a few weeks - cosmos and morning glories. I pulled our dahlia pots out of the basement where they slept for the winter. I also brought out the three year old hibiscus that graces my studio window during the winter and her new friend, the one year old mandavilla, that survived the winter indoors as well. I added a couple on pots of annuals as well, just for some color until the other stuff comes in. It still looks a little bare right now but some sun, some water and some time and my fun, PRIVATE summer time oasis will be in full bloom !

Mandavilla, sleeping dahlias, pansies

Daisy-like annuals (?) and cilantro seeds

Baby cosmos with pansies

Hibiscus with annuals

Monday, May 19, 2008

Yipee ! I Got Some Mail Art !

So my friend Kathy at Love Letters just became my new penpal !! She sent me this beautiful piece of mail art. Here's the cool collage seal on the back of the envelop :

And here is the lovely calligraphy piece she sent me on a card inside :

Isn't she talented ?! Thank you, thank you Kathy ! I was so happy and excited to get the mail today !!! One of the many great parts of receiving this beautiful piece was that it was totally in my colors! I don't think I ever told Kathy that my favorite colors were green and turquoise but the piece she sent fits me to a tee. I want to frame the card and add it to my dining room where I display my some of my favorite turquoise, blue and green found and made objet d'arts !

Tag, I'm it ! Tomorrow's studio play time will be spent making something special to mail to my sweet penpal ! Such fun ! You should try it !

Lost Wings, Found Feathers

So when I had finished the GPP Street Team Crusade # 20 - Casting Call, I had this beautiful white wing to use for a journal page. I immediately had the image of an angel who had lost one of her wings. This is the journal page I created with the cast.


Then I found an interesting connection to a page I had done a while back using a photo image from a magazine :

I Found A White Feather On My Path Home

I wasn't sure what the feather was all about at the time but that was what the muses sent that day! I did love the end results of this page though. In the original magazine photo, the child had long blond hair and was leaning on a carousel ride. What I liked about it was the posture and position of the figure. I covered the photo lightly with gesso and then painted over it in acrylics, creating this new figure so far from the original.

I knew these two pieces were connected by the white wing and the white feather. These two pieces became the beginnings of a story for me. Here's where I am so far :

An angel in Heaven loses one of her wings because she spends too much of her Heavenly time wishing she could be back on Earth. By the time the wing falls back to the ground, all that is left is one white feather. On Earth, there is a child who is full of sorrow about how dark the world has become. One day, the child finds a white feather on her path home. She thanks the angels above for the beautiful gift. She makes a vow to use her gift to bring as much heavenly light into her world as she can. The angel in Heaven receives a new wing and realizes that her wish has come true. Part of her is now back on Earth, and will live on through the angelic acts of this little girl. The Angel and her loss, the little girl and her dark sorrow, and the fall of the White Wing were all a part of the Plan.

Hope you enjoyed story time ! Happy Monday !

Friday, May 16, 2008

GPP Street Team Crusade #20 - Casting Call

So I have been having such fun with the GPP Street Crusades that I had to keep going - all the positive exchanges are addictive, not to mention the creative pleasures ! This Crusade took a little longer for me to get to. I was thinking about how to get hold of a second blender to make the paper pulp - ours gets used often for smoothies and I don't think paper pulp goes well with fruit ! Anyway, I was planning to hit the yard sales and flea markets this weekend to find one (may still do that !) but decided to give the tissue technique a try first !

I had a package of dollar store tissue paper I had bought somewhere along the way. When I opened it, what I found was not silky glossy tissue paper but something between mulberry paper and paper towel. So perfect ! The fibrous texture made beautiful feathery tears.

I had a bag of old jewelry treasures that my mom's manfriend, Lindell from CO, had collected for me at flea markets and then sent via snail mail to my mom in Montreal. Those babies have been around ! (Thanks so much, Lindell !). I searched the bag and found these wonderful metal charms, the perfect molds !!

I tore up the wonderful cheapy paper and got to work with my paint brush and water, filling in the charm molds . Then I left it for about 6 hours for drying time.
It worked like a charm (pun intended, tee, hee !) ! I loved the results, especially the angel wing ! Love that feathery texture !
Then I thought about using these casts in my journal. Would the heaviest of the pages crush them ? How could I make them a little tougher ? I got out the gel medium and very gently painted a couple of coats onto the top, embossed surface with a dry brush. When it dried, the casts had hardened just a little. Hopefully they will stand up to my journals wear and tear !
The final step was color. I used an eye shadow sponge brush and applied some colored chalks. That left things a little flat which wasn't quite what I wanted. Then I got out the Lumiere Metallic Fabric Paints and used the same sponge brush to dry brush the metallics on. I love the effects ! Again, I think the angel wing is my favorite - the pearl metallic paint makes it look heavenly (puns again, love um !), don't you think ?
Now all that's left to do is to make some journal pages to use my paper casts in. I have a vision of a page with an angel who has lost one of her wings... Stay tuned to see what I come up with !

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Crazy Kitty's Birthday - A Doodle Story

So today is Mother's Day ! Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there ! I hope you get treated with all the love and respect you deserve !

David and I did not make the trip to Montreal for Mother's Day this year - it just happened that way ! My mom is coming for a visit to my house next weekend so we will celebrate then.

I am only a mom to my furry children and as yet, they haven't given me any gifts today except for reminding me to fill the water bowl, to feed them and to let them out for a wee ! Oh, well...

I did get the gift of spending a couple of hours in the studio this morning. I have been doing a lot of doodles lately. I am enjoying just picking up my little blank journal and my favorite Micron pens and spending a little mindless relaxation time.

This morning I took a look through my doodles and found some images I really liked. I loved this crazy cat with his hat and his little house. I also loved this weird Madame Butterfly that was further up on my doodle page. I cut them out and added them to a painted background in my art journal.
Then, I spent some time filling the page in with paint. I think it looks like the cat is getting ready for a party hence the title "Crazy Kitty's Birthday" !

No great fancy work of art but I really like the cat. Who knows, maybe Crazy Kitty will become a character in some other pieces ? He kind of reminds me of my cat Azzy (short for Aslan),the little tabby with a big personality. It was a fun way to spend a Sunday morning. The best part of the process was taking my mindless doodles and putting them into a new environment.

Crazy Kitty' Birthday (detail)

Off to enjoy this beautiful spring day outside now ! Cheers !

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Who You are Makes A Difference and Synchronicity

So this morning I had just finished creating my first ever piece of mail art that I wanted to send to my neice Jessica. We had had a lovely girl's night together last week and I wanted to let her know how much it meant to me. What better way than with some fun and funky art work and a note inside telling her what a beautiful, funny, sweet and brilliant young woman she is. In the bottom right hand corner, I had included a little square with the quote "Who I Am Makes a Difference" that I had found somewhere along the way.

Front of Jessie's Mail Art Envelope


Then I checked my e-mail and my sister Natalie (Jessie's mom) had sent me the wonderful and touching video (below) called " Who You Are Makes a Difference." I immediately tried to pick up the phone and call her to share the synchronicity of it all but she wasn't around ! Still , the video made me cry and feel wonderful about this world and most of all, made me want to reach out and honor someone for just being who they are. I guess I had kind of already done that with the note to Jessie but that video made me want to do that some more !!! I had a nice ladies lunch with my dear friend Lois and when I got back I checked out some of my favorite blogs. This is when the synchronicity got especially juicy and especially incredible for me.

Jennifer at The Stumbly Diva honored me on her blog for just being who I am ! She wrote that I had inspired her to "explore a more nurturing creative path". You cannot imagine just how honored that made me feel ! I mean, how often do you get told that you have inspired someone ? It really made me feel like who I am makes a difference ! What a great gift !

The whole thing has just kind of blown me away with how when things are good, they are very, very good, indeed ! I hope you are inspired to honor someone today ... it really does make a difference !

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom !

Just a quick post to wish my biggest and best fan a happy, happy birthday ! You deserve all the beauties this world has to offer ! May this year bring you many and may your arms always be open to receive them ! Love you !

This is a collage I made for her last year - shows her as the queen she is !

Happy Tuesday to the rest of you!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Feeling Incomplete

So I am feeling like I have a million ideas running through my head - inspiration for all kinds of things that I would like to do, both art projects and household sprucing up projects. I am also think about all the semi-finished projects that I have already started but lost momentum on. The problem is that there are so many things I would like to do, but I seem to lack the energy or focus to see things to completion right now !!! Argh!!! I feel like I am running in circles, or stuck on a treadmill that is getting me nowhere. Ever feel like that ????
I have realized that I am not a long distance runner when it comes to creating art. I rarely do projects that cannot be completed in a day or two. I guess I am an instant gratification girl, what can I say ?!!!
This week, I was inspired by a few blogs into starting a more long term project. Gina at Joyful Purpose shared this beautiful blessing from a book by John O'Donohue that she uses as a daily mantra. I wanted to adopt it for my own and create a piece of artwork to display the words on. Over at Step Outside Your Box Saturdays, the prompt to use a bigger size than usual in your work worked well with my feeling that I needed to go bigger for my mantra piece. So I decided on a 18 X 20 inch canvas - not huge but bigger than my usual.
Then I started with this sketch in my sketch book :

I drew the girl onto the canvas and then came fun with paint... I love swirling it around and making use of some of my favorite colors. I even got some sequin scrim out to add some texture and used some lovely Lumiere Metallics too. I left the canvas that night (meant to take a photo to share the process but forgot !!!).

Then, the next day, came annoyance with paint - I can never quite achieve the painterly techniques I can see in my head, especially when it comes to shade faces, making the eyes right !!! I love my primitive drawing style but when I paint in the drawing, I seem to ruin them !!

The third day (see, this is a long process for me !) I woke up thinking about the piece and decided to I go to what I like better than painting and collage some paper to the piece ! Layers, layers, layers was what I think it needs. I like where it is going so far but as I said before, I am feeling like I can't focus on much for too long so I stopped there for today. Part of me is enjoying this new rhythm - doing a little each day, not rushing things, not worrying too much about "perfection". Another part of me is frustrated with the lack of focus thing... Oh well...

So here is where she is at so far. One thing I did by mistake (if it will still be a mistake in the end, I am not sure !) was paint the girl with her two eyes open. In my sketch and in the design I had imagined, it was important to me that she have one eye open and one eye closed. In my annoyance with the paint, she somehow ended up with eyes wide open (scary eyes ??? - damn, maybe I will reach for the gesso tomorrow !!!). Feel free to share any ideas !!!

To close this post, I thought I would share a photo of my work table and my lovely plant-filled bay window behind it. Notice the cool Magritte inspired stained glass ? That was made by my Dad many years ago. He was a Magritte fan big-time and is now the white-haired, white-beared Angel on my artist shoulder.
More of the process to come....Have a good Monday, y'all!