Thursday, October 31, 2013

Autumn Splendor

    I want to thank you all for your kind thoughts and words regarding Annie.Annie thanks you too:). I'm happy to say she is fully recovered and back to normal, playing, happy, and eating well despite another tooth (canine) being removed during last week's surgeries.

  Autumn is in full swing here -the trees and colors are so inspiring I just had to create some projects around it, beginning with my calendar spread for November. It was started by gluing a decorative napkin to the pages:

  A round plastic canvas was used with Dylusions Postbox Red Ink Spray over the dried pages:

 Nov. calendar spread all ready:

  Filled in the calendar blocks, etc. using ochre cardstock, Versafine Onyx Black ink, and rubber stamps from Hero Arts (numbers) and Studio g (letters). Staz-On ink in Mustard was sponged around edges and open spaces to create more warmth. Typed and glued down autumn quote then added a variety of leaf stickers.

  Simon Says Monday Challenge theme is "anything goes". For this I created a decorative fall candle:

  Ribbon , trim and fabrics were glued to the candle using Mod Podge. Tulle was gathered and tied in the center to create a bow and glued on with a hot glue gun. A scallop punch was used on white card stock. Pumpkin was stamped in black, colored in with markers and embellished with glitter glue. A very easy peasy way to turn a plain simple candle into a festive one!
  Products: tall candle (Dollar Store); asst. fabrics, tulle and crochet trim (JoAnne Stores); purple ribbon (Offray); rubber stamp (PSX); markers (Marvy); Versafine Onyx Black ink (Tsukineko); 2" scallop punch( EK Success); Diamond Stickles Glitter glue (Ranger); Mod Podge Matte.

  And what's a day without paint? Keeping with my theme this week I did two different journal pages of trees in autumn.

    The base is a paper towel I had  used for blotting off excess ink sprays. It was glued to the page with Collage Pauge. I stamped the tree branch (Beeswax) using Sepia Versafine ink (Tsukineko). I went over the tree with a brown marker to deepen the lines. Lightly sponged on Onyx Black ink over the bottom. The sentiment was added digitally in photoshop.

  This next one is an abstract tree I painted after getting inspired by some You Tube videos I watched recently for tips about painting trees.

    The watercolor page was "painted" heavily with water. Acrylic paints were applied in this order: yellow, white , light brown, dark brown, purple, and black. Some sponging was done to blend a bit. The quote was added digitally in photoshop.

     Whatever season you are in where you live I hope it is inspiring you too! 

  Linking to: Art Journal Every Day, Creative Every Day, Kate Crane's 2013 Calendar Challenge, Glue It Tuesday, Mandarin orange Monday, Paint Party FridaySimon Says Monday Challenge. Take some time to visit some of the inspiring artists here-you'll be so glad you did!

 "Just before the death of flowers, and before they are buried in snow, there comes a festival season when nature is all aglow."  unknown

Thursday, October 24, 2013


                                                                Happy almost weekend!!

   It's been a mixed bag of things in my household of ups and downs all week - the downs being pretty down ( or so it seems in the moments). But I am constantly trying to learn from the "bumps in the road", knowing they still hold blessings in disguise. Scroll further down for the art :):)

   Like this example: our Annie, AKA BooBoo (English Cocker who just celebrated 12 yrs. last Fri)). I just scheduled an appt. on that Sat. to have a growth under her stubby tail checked out for a most likely removal because I noticed it getting much bigger rather quickly. Same day I made the appt. that growth ruptured causing blood drippings all over. An ER visit to our vet indicated it def. needed to be removed and gave me a solution to apply anytime it would open up again before Tues. scheduled sx. We covered everything with sheets, blankets and towels-including areas of carpeting to somewhat protect. I kept a flashlight with me at night just to check on her. Mon. eve it again ruptured and was REALLY bad ( I won't get into details - good thing for my nursing background). I was able to stop bleeding and it was OK til appt. Tues. Chose to have teeth cleaned at the same time(she has had quite a number of teeth removed despite getting her teeth brushed daily since she was a pup). Never had sx. til mid afternoon. Had to have canine and small bony mass above it removed. Stitches in mouth and at base of tail. Picked her up early eve with her still being under the influence of the anesthetics, etc. with her tongue hanging out the side of her mouth and spent a sleepless night trying to comfort her as best I could. Even gave her bits of water through a dropper. Truly pitiful - like when you have an infant that can't tell you what's hurting or how bad. She finally slept a few hours and when she awoke , she woke me up by licking my cheek (blessing). She's been improving each day since. Another blessing in this - although it was tres expensive, we had been saving for a new furnace -having been told (falsely) we needed a new one ( a whole other story). Finally found someone very honest and reliable - no new furnace needed! This money paid for Annie's expenses.  Won't even venture into the other stuff, knowing it always works out in the end. Blessings.

  In honor of breast cancer awareness month:

  I have been so inspired by Tracey and so many other talented watercolor/ illustration artists I have "met" through Paint Party Friday that I decided to have a go at it although in no way do I consider myself a sketcher or watercolor painter. I began in my 5" x 8" Strathmore Visual Watercolor Journal. Pencilled in the figure and walkway. Used a combination of watercolors, acrylic paints and Pitt Pens. The hearts are punched from gelli plate prints. PLEASE BE SURE TO GET YOUR ANNUAL MAMMOGRAMS AND BE AWARE OF ANY CHANGES YOU FEEL OR SENSE!
                Linking up to Inspiration Avenue - theme of pink for breast cancer awareness.

  Next up- a Halloween project for Simon Says Monday Challenge - which is "Spooky", Mandarin Orange Monday, and Glue It Tuesday:

                                                         Spook House ( 2 1/2" x 3 1/2")

  Products: wood house ( Michael's); black acrylic paint; Boo girl -ARTchix Studio; beads, wire, stickers, patterned papers from my stash.

  On to my last canvas of the wabi - sabi series inspired by Serena Barton I have been working on over the last few months. "Rosa" was written by Keith Harkin about his young Godchild. We got to hear him perform this song the other week during the Celtic Thunder show. They had silhouettes of little Rosa showing in the back drop. Just beautiful.

                                                 Only You Tube link I could find for the song.

  The inspired canvas:

                                                       Rosa  (5" x 7" canvas board)

  I began by gluing torn papers down across the lower third with words about love, affection, beauty. I painted and blotted on a layer of Artists Loft Parchment paint. "Rosa" was pencilled in at the top rt. Can you see it? Next a light coat of a blue reinker glaze and a green reinker glaze (see Serena's book Wabi - Sabi Art Workshop for the recipe). While it was still wet I sponged several colors of reinkers across the collaged area. Did some tweaking by adding some acrylic paints with my finger and adding and removing paint as needed. Although it doesn't show at all here, there are bits of the words showing through the paint.

  Linking up to  Art Journal Every Day, Creative Every Day, Glue It Tuesday, Inspiration Avenue, Mandarin Orange Monday, Paint Party Friday, Simon Monday Challenge.

        " Healing is a journey. It involves stepping out of our habitual 
     roles, our conventional scripts, and 
       improvising a dancing path."    Gabrielle Roth


Thursday, October 17, 2013


   A huge bouquet of gratitude to Jessica Sporn for inviting me to participate in her Stencil Test Drive last week, and to ALL OF YOU for your wonderful support and comments.It meant so much to me and helped me attain one more little goal in the artworld. XO.

  Engage. That was the word/theme for the month of Sept. in the 52 Weeks of Creative Abundance online course. During the first week we create a tag around the word. I was so busy "engaging" in the beautiful weather and special happenings in Sept. that I got a bit behind in getting a tag and journal spread done :)

  Here it is at last:

  The tag was inspired by techniques in Dina Wakley's book Art Journal Freedom. The focus for the month was on engaging the creative part of ourselves and engaging in our authentic creative nature. It was about taking time to allow your creative muse to come out and play.

   Another wonderful book (you know which one-I've written about it quite a bit the last few months- Wabi-Sabi Art Workshop by Serena Barton) along with this music has really influenced my latest series of canvases. Hubby and I recently attended a Celtic Thunder Show and were thrilled to be able to chat a bit and get autographs from several of the guys-yes, including Keith!

  Earlier in the day Bill and I went to the Sands Event Center where they were going to play in the hopes of meeting up with some of them. Ryan was the only one we got to speak with and he was so gracious, taking his time to chat and sign autographs. The girl on the lower left is a new CT fan/friend Kristy (who lives not far from us) that we met along with her mother and friend Kelli. Bottom right is Keith and George signing autographs after the show, which was FABULOUS!!!

  The song that inspired my canvas:

  A palette knife and Coarse Texture Gel (Artist's Loft) to add the texture and mark making to a 5" x 7" wrapped canvas.

  I worked in a variety of reinker glazes, wiping away and allowing each layer to dry before adding the next. A wash of Yellow Ochre Liquid Acrylic (Golden) and several more layers of acrylic washes were added for the above effect.

 I cut heart shapes from artist's tissue paper for the "flowers", painted on stems using Accent Black/Green acrylic paint. I then continued to add and take away color using Caran D'Ache water soluble crayons. I flicked on some red watered down acrylic spatters on the canvas. Ranger's Distress Vintage Photo ink was sponged around the edges. Et voila!

                                          Nothing But You and I    (5" x 7" wrapped canvas)

  One more to go for this series, then I have to wait for the next album and original songs in order to make more. In the meantime, I love creating these music/ wabi-sabi inspired canvases so much I think I'll continue-maybe even sell a few?

 On one last note, a very talented artist who not only sketches and paints the most beautiful illustrations but writes on her blog so creatively as well Tracey Fletcher King has been battling  breast cancer. She has been moving forward with tenacity, strength, grace, and humor along with the support of her family and friends. You may remember my mug which Tracey painted and I shared in this post. Tracey is going through a rough patch with her chemo treatments at this time. Let's all send Tracey our healing thoughts, energy and prayers, for as a supportive community we all know how powerful that can be.
                                  Keep on kicking that cancer in the butt Trace!!!! XO!

  Linking up to Art Journal Every Day, Creative Every Day, Paint Party Friday, Mandarin Orange Monday, Glue It Tuesdays.

 " Love life, engage in it, give it all you've got. Love it with a passion, because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it." Maya Angelou

Monday, October 14, 2013

More Artful Challenges

   Today's post is to share some projects I just created specifically for a couple of challenges.

This is a birthday card I'm linking to Simon Says Wednesday Challenge which is to use a rubber or a clear stamp:

Products Used: white note card (5 1/2" x 6 1/2"), white card stock (Paper Studio); patterned paper; birthday greeting rubber stamp (source unknown); Jet Black Staz-On ink (Tsukineko); Grand calibur Die Cut Machine and lattice, oval dies (Spellbinders); Flower soft bits (Flower Soft); seam binding (Martha Stewart); brad stickers (JoAnne Stores).

 Halloween is the theme over at Inspiration Avenue:


  For Mandarin Orange Monday another Halloween ATC:

  along with a photo manipulation: also linking this up to Artists in Blogland's Scavenger Hunt challenge-the Oct. theme is doors and windows:

                                            this is the black and white version I worked from

 of course I made it orange! Sorry, although it was a fairly simple edit I forgot to write it down as I played. I wanted to do more but time ran out:

  On to the  Blue Monday challenge. Another Halloween ATC:

along with another digital manipulation. I started with a photo of a hand made lacey paper:

 and turned it into this:

  It reminds me very much of paste paper. The effects I used were blue color, wind, patchwork and zigzag.

  Also linking up to Creative Every Day and Glue It Tuesday. Challenges are not just a way to get creative but also a way to meet up with other talented artists and be inspired. So how about giving one of these a try? There is no obligation to participate every single week, just when you feel inspired and have something to share.

 Hope today is the start of a great week for everyone!

                  " Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." Albert Camus

Thursday, October 10, 2013


  Hi all! I cannot tell you what an honor it is to have been invited by Jessica Sporn to participate in one of her blog hops featuring her newest stencils at Stencil Girl! It's the first time I am a blog hop participant and I was so excited I created 3 different projects to share with you today!!

  This is the stencil I chose to work with - Frames Stencil:

 The style of the frames in this stencil are SO me-and as you will see along the hop just how versatile it is!

 My stencil arrived right around the time I was painting garlands and flower frames inspired by this tutorial. You can see my previous watercolor art in this post.

  Project #1:

  I placed my frame of choice onto a watercolor postcard (140lb.) First, Key Lime Twinkling H2O was painted thru. Once dry Moss Green was added for some depth. A variety of Twinklng H2Os were used to paint the flowers. Details were drawn in with a Faber Castell Pitt Pen and uni-ball Signo white pen. Sentiment is a stamp by Hampton Art. Butterfly sticker is Paper House Productions.

  My second project was inspired by these vintage frames which we have hanging throughout our home:


  For the base a cardboard coaster was painted with gesso. The square stencil was placed over the coaster. Using a palette knife Golden Light Molding paste was applied and allowed to dry.

  I painted two coats of black gesso over the textured base then applied Gold Metallic Rub On (Craf-T Products, Inc.) It was sealed with a spray fixative. I used gel medium to glue the transparency (Paper Whimsy) to white card stock then to the center of the frame. It was embellished with a crocheted flower distressed with a bit of Ranger Tea Dye ink and vintage buttons. Photo holders were glued to the back. The hanger was made with black heavy gauge wire.

 For project three I chose to work on fabric. A small canvas bag to be exact.

 I used blue painters tape to mask of portions of the frames I was going to use:

 Project #3:

  Golden Pyrole Red and Transparent Pyrole Orange were used for the flowers and a combination of Golden Jenkins Green and Green Gold for the stems, leaves and grass. Stamped bee (DeNami) and words (unknown) using crafter's Black Ink (Colorbox). Dashes were drawn in with a fabric marker. It was all heat set with an iron then glitter glue (Diamond Stickles-Ranger) was applied to the bee's wings. Almost forgot- I also went over bits of the flowers with Apricot Nectar Silks Glaze and bits of the green with Sunburst Silks Glaze. Unfortunately I was not able to capture the subtle shimmer though.

  I hope you have enjoyed my projects and have been inspired. Now go see what the other artists have done with the Frames stencil but don't go without first leaving a comment here because Jessica is giving away a Frames stencil to one lucky winner and EVERY comment on the Test Drive will be eligible to win!

 So what are you waiting for?  I know you want this stencil!  Leave me a comment by midnight EST October 13th, then hop on over to the following participating artists to be further inspired!

                                                        Linda Kunsman-you are here 
                                                        Maria McGuire
                                                        Nathalie Kalbach
                                                        Kristin Van Valkenburgh
                                                        Anita Houston
                                                        Janet Joehlin
                                                        Jessica Sporn

       Linking up to Paint Party Friday. See you there!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Going Into October

  I am LOVING October so far as we have been experiencing gorgeous Indian summer weather! We actually reached 83 F yesterday although it wasn't a record. The weather was perfect for this past weekend's Celtic Classic- so perfect that I never saw it as packed as it was (almost claustrophobic) especially on Sat.! We did watch the parade of Tartans but decided to leave after that because we could barely move around to see anything and ticket lines for food and drink were 50-100 people deep! Sunday was a much lighter crowd so we were able to enjoy it fully by taking in the music of some Celtic bands and bagpipe group competitors, along with border collie demos. I didn't have my camera with me though-oh well. However I played in PicMonkey ( a free photo editing program) for the first time and managed to create a collage of a few of the photos I took at last year's parade. The same bands returned this year.

     The last row is my alma mater, and I must say those Liberty Grenadiers blow away every other local high school band by far year after year!

  As it is a new month I created my October calendar spread to join in on Kate Crane's 2013 Calendar Project. Here's the background:

 Dylusions Ink Sprays in Squeezed Orange, Pure Sunshine, Lemon Zest, Dirty Martini along with Julie Balzer's Leaves stencil (12" x 12"). Foam stamps and orange acrylic paint were stamped on then outlined with marker.

 I finished it by stamping and outlining the weekdays using a foam stamp set by Magenta (which I've used many times in the last two years calendars). Weekday numbers are an old stamp set by PSX. An assortment of stickers were added on along with the moon face image (Retro Café Art) and Halloween Faux Postes (ARTchix Studio).

 In continuing with the Halloween theme I received a pkg. containing the tags I received in a swap I participated in recently. You can see the tags I made here.

 The swap was hosted by the generous Sallie Rodman who decorated the envies and included the baggie of tags, a hand made card and Halloween ephemera! 

 First three of the six tags I received:

 From top left these tags were made by Renee Stockfleth, Sanna Burgess, Barbara DeLisle.

 The other three tags:

  From top left these tags were made by: our hostess Sallie Rodman, Nikki Smith, and TJ Mazie Trani.

            Aren't they fantastic??? I can't wait to hang them banner style! Thank you all so much!!!  

 I have two more exciting happenings coming up next week. First of all I'll be seeing my guy Keith Harkin along with Celtic Thunder who will be in town Wed. to perform their latest tour-Mythology!!!

 Secondly, next week I will sharing a special post, along with a fantastic stay tuned!!