Friday, January 31, 2014

Mindful Matters

  Some of you may recall that my word for the year is  "mindful". Turns out that by being more mindful, it has come to my attention that my body has been slightly rebelling and I needed to see my Dr. sooner rather than later. I ended up having to reschedule d/t the weather but finally got there this week. My blood pressure has been up for the last few weeks daily so that was my primary reason for going. But then what I thought was just annoying allergies was getting progressively worse. Turns out I have rhinitis and a very sore swollen throat along with a skin condition affecting my ears. Steroid ointment and nasal spray so far are relieving those issues. As for the BP, well, it was so high I was put on a BP med immediately and now have a ton of bloodwork to get done along with several diagnostic heart tests and an ultrasound in the next two weeks. It's a bit disconcerting, however, once all is said and done we'll know how to proceed. Unfortunately heart disease runs in both sides of my family and before this I was the only one not on BP meds. Other than this I eat healthy and don't need to lose a pound so I'm hoping I have those things on my side. Anyhoo, I'd so appreciate your positive thoughts on the outcome. OK, enough said , time for art!!

  These are title pages I have done as prompted by my "Draw Your Awesome Year" class. The pages will all be filled in (hopefully) by the end of the year.

 Many of you know that besides July 4th I celebrate my French heritage on Bastille Day and also LOVE all things Celtic and enjoy our local Celtic festivities during the year (the color of the Irish flag looks more red than orange on the page I see-oh well.)

  The pages were all colored in with my Peerless watercolors and that's probably what I'll use throughout.

  And because I have been so frustrated by the frigid temps and snow I took it out on pages in another art journal :

  It began with random scraps of papers glued on the pages. A coat of gesso was applied over it. I then used Caran D'Ache water soluble crayons and scribbled over . A wet brush was used to blend. I finished it by spattering lots of white paint over it all-my winter frenzy!

 I started on some Valentines too and chose to go with a teacup shape. You can see the first ones in my last post. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else has been up to this week :)

    "The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or      anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly."

Monday, January 27, 2014

heARTful Teacups

 Valentine's Day is definitely on my mind lately and I like to send out a few Valentines whether they're cards, tags , or ATCs. This year I chose to use a tea cup shape to make simply sweet Valentines. Here are the first three I made today. The template is one I found when I googled tea cup templates. They are approx. 4 1/8" at the widest part and 3 1/4 " in length.

 The beautiful vintage faces are from Paper Whimsy , the words and German dresden borders are from ARTchix Studio, Ranger Vintage Photo Distress Ink  was sponged on edges, glitter felt heart stickers were purchased at a $ store.

  Here's another Valentine card too:

  Products: pale blue, white card stock, patterned paper (Paper Studio); vintage image; banner (ARtchix Studio); white organza ribbon (Hobby Lobby); felt heart (Martha Stewart); Grand Calibur die cut machine and Floral Doily Motifs die (Spellbinders).

 Please join me at T Stands for Tuesday with Elizabeth and Bleubeard and Inspiration Avenue (whose theme this week is "Hearts and Flowers".

     "Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead."
                                                                                                                                   Oscar Wilde

Friday, January 24, 2014


  aaah, yes indeed! We were all snowed in Tues. thru Wed. this past week and the bitter cold has made it practically impossible to get rid of. It doesn't look like the frigid air will let up anytime soon and it seems like some snow is predicted for every other day beginning on Saturday. Well, that gives me all  the more time to continue purging drawers and things and getting all the drawing lessons caught up. And I'm still working on the Downton Abbey series-halfway thru Season 3!

 First up is a page I'm linking to the Simon Monday Challenge blog for the theme this week of "A is For...". My response is "art journal"!

  The background had been done awhile ago. Sometimes I like to dedicate my art time by just painting pages in one of my journals. I recently found this beautiful quote. The butterfly was in an envelope in the back of my book. I drew a whimsical frame using markers and pens. The center was given a wash of gesso so I could write the quote out. I went around the butterfly with oil pastel and smeared the edges. Glitter glue was added for some sparkle. I'm also linking this to Mandarin Orange Monday.

 I played a bit in Photoshop too this week. I started with these two photos I took :

                 First I used Accented edges under the Effects tab, then changed the color to orange.

 For this photo I used "Find Edges under the Effects tab. I thought this would be a good one to watercolor so I printed the image onto Strathmore Texture paper then sealed it with a fixative spray and allowed it to thoroughly dry before adding some color:

 I completed one more lesson and page in my Awesome Year journal. In Lesson 5 we were given specific prompts for creating a frame and banner. We were then to draw in things that are meaningful to us, things that bring us joy. Have I said before that this class is a real challenge for me?

 Some of the things that bring me joy: B for Bill, a T for Todd, my English Cocker Annie, the heart flowers represent friends and family, of course a brush loaded with vibrant colors, the beach and the ocean, birds, flowers, music, summer sunshine, books, and travel (esp. to see my relatives in France). I am currently working on 5 other title pages of drawings but need to add the coloring yet. And that's not even catching up with all the lessons so far!

 Gotta get back to drawing and painting... see you soon. As always, thanks for all your comments and encouragement-it means a lot to me :)

                 "Let the sparks from that which brings you joy fire up your creative soul." 
                                                                                                               Whitney Ferre

Monday, January 20, 2014

Art and Tea on Tuesday

  Anyone else working on Valentine's Day projects?? I just started by making a few cards so far. My drawing classes are keeping me really busy!

  Here are two cards I'm entering into the challenge at Simon's Wed. Blog challenge. The theme for this week is "Emboss It". I chose using an embossing folder and die.

  Products: lg. white note card- 5" x 7"; turquoise, white cards stock; button - Dress It Up; ribbon- Michael's; flower- Recollections; felt heart- Martha Stewart; Grand Calibur die cut machine, Floral Doily Motifs die, Elite embossing folder -Spellbinders.

 Products: white note card -Canvas Corp; white, aqua card stock-Paper Studio; patterned card stock- Canvas Corp; digital print; felt owl- JoAnne's; Grand Calibur die cut machine, Big Scalloped Circles Large die, Floral Doilies motifs die- Spellbinders.

 This is another "Life Grids" spread from a lesson in the Draw Your Awesome Life Class. You can see more pages and read more in previous posts : beg. here, also here, and here.

 No stamping, no collage-it's all about drawing and illustrating-and for me this is such a challenge-but a good one :)

 And of course, it being (almost Tuesday- I needed to post early) I am joining Tea Cup Tuesday at Artful Affirmations and T Stands For Tuesday at Altered Book Lover:

  I own a set of six cups and saucers I picked up at an auction held in my neighborhood. Sadly the owner had died (I didn't know her) but she had some of the loveliest dishes and such. I just fell in love with the gorgeous painting of these flowers-are they a kind of rose? I'm not sure but they look like roses to me.

 More snow is expected-AGAIN! so once my appts. are finished I'm going to have a nice cup of hot tea- and dream about a garden of roses in the Spring.

              " I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck."   Emma Goldman

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Work of Heart

  Thank you for all your comments last week and for sharing your thoughts on any online art classes you're taking. Regardless of the type of art class it is, I have found that they all have a common thread in that they bring such a renewed energy and excitement into our creativity! And without further ado, here are my latest installments for the Draw Your Awesome Year class.

 For this pg. we were prompted to write out a mantra, frame it and color it in. My Peerless Watercolors weren't here yet so I used Marvy brush markers (which I learned are called "felts" in Canada-thanks Giggles!) in vibrant colors scribbled onto a kraft mat then picked up the colors with a wet brush to apply the washes.

  Here we created a page around our word for the year. I'd had this word on my mind lately so it became my word.
  I mean really-MUST I grab a few almonds, eat them without tasting them while I'm taking laundry up the stairs and oh, dropping some papers on my desk, and yes, writing down an idea for a journal page??? Being mindful has already made me ever so aware of the whispers my body is telling me (which I was not paying attention to) and has prompted me to make a visit for a thorough physical and blood work up. Along with that, I am sitting and really savoring and tasting what goes into my mouth thus getting back on track with healthier food again after the holidays. Being mindful in my art is quite easy now that I have specific things I want to focus on and they do require full attention.

  My Peerless watercolors arrived-YAY! so I made  pages using pieces cut from each of the colors in the two palettes I purchased. They are on 140lb. watercolor paper and adhered with double-sided tape. The idea came from a you tube video I watched that was on the Peerless site. Now I can use the colors directly from these sheets and take them along with me. LOVE these vibrant colors and intensity-fantastic quality!!


                            I used the new colors here in my ongoing Jan. calendar grid.

  So does this mean I'm all about water coloring and drawing and no more just throw on the paint and play with mixed media???? H E double toothpick-NO!!! I was actually dying to do something less intensive and found the perfect inspiration. Mix It Monthly is hosted by the very talented Piarom (Conny) on her challenge  blog. This month the challenge is to use the colors orange, violet, and hibiscus along with the theme of odd hats. And here's my journal page:

  Oh that was fun!!! I didn't spend a lot of time on it - really just used some ribbon, images and stickers that were lying around on or near my table.

                                            And now I want to wish my very sweet hubby a 

                                     VERHAPPBIRTHDAY !!!

  This Friday he shares a birthday with his idol Muhammed Ali and also with Michelle Obama our first lady. Not bad company eh? ( I know you're reading this Bill-love you lots!)

              " Don't apologize for who you are or the art you create."  C. J. Rider

Friday, January 10, 2014

In The Midst Of Winter...

   I am able to get so much done inside-work and play! Most of the U.S. had record breaking cold temps during this week and the wind chills reached 22 F below zero here in NE PA. It was much worse in other states so I do hope everyone is warm, safe and well. My time was spent getting all the Christmas decorations put away (phew!) and dusting and cleaning before putting everything back. Also purged a few more areas.     Then I had a good chunk of time to continue my online classes which I mentioned in my last post.

 So here are pages from some of  the lessons I've gone through so far in the "Draw Your Awesome Life Class". I am doing the practices and prompts for this class in a Strathmore  5 1/2" x 8" watercolor journal.

  For this pg. we were to sketch a few of the supplies we'll be using so I chose my Reeves Watercolour set of paints (nothing like REALLY challenging myself), a waterbrush , and an eraser. I LOVE my eraser :)

 Then I worked on drawing grids and lists:

    The "Draw Your Awesome Year" class began on Monday and here's what I've done so far as per the prompts. This journal is a Strathmore Mixed Media 9" x 12" journal.

    Title Page:

  I'm not so happy with the watercolors. My Peerless order should be here in the next day or two and I'm hoping the colors will be more vibrant. And perhaps I should have gone with a watercolor journal instead of mixed media. Oh well. Def. a learning experience.

  Table of Contents Page:

  I have another spread to complete if I want to keep up before the next "live" lessons today (Friday) but I'm not going to rush it. The nice thing about the first class is that the "live" class is over and I can easily work at my own pace. Good thing indeed as there is much content and "assignments" if you will for each lesson.

  So what are you all doing-taking any new classes? Taking/taken either of these classes? How are you liking them so far? Would LOVE for you to share with me. I did see on several of your blogs about some new classes and they all look so good!

  Linking to Art Journal Every Day, Creative Every Day, and Paint Party Friday. Happy arting!

"Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Walk your talk. Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering."
                                                                                                                           Steve Maraboli

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!!

   I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and are ready for a fresh and exciting new year! I ended up taking a blogging break but I am back in full force with many things to share. Last year ended on a high note and the new year has begun on one too.

  I have a page of art in the soon to be released Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Somerset Studio!!

 It's a thrill to be amongst at least several blogging friends who's art I've really come to admire-this is a FAB issue!

 Other excitement included a strange weather occurrence on New Year's eve day. We had sunshine,then very suddenly the wind kicked up like mad, the sky got very dark and we were in the midst of a fast and furious snow squall!!  I just had to go out and take pics-you should have seen all the blackbirds flying overhead and making lots of noise while the snow blew every which way. Fascinating. I went back inside to put the camera away-and as quickly as the snow came-it left. The sun came out and the skies cleared immediately-so back outside I went for another two pics:

 And the latest thing I'm super excited about is that I signed up for and am taking JoAnne Sharpe's "Draw Your Awesome Life". I have been sketching and illustrating-yes, me-and having a great time! I initially signed up for JoAnne's new class "Draw Your Awesome Year" which begins Jan 6th. Then I read about the prior class. Both were offered at a special and VERY reasonable discount price so I dove in. In only a few lessons so far I am amazed at the excellent videos and teaching- so full of content! Here's my cover page for the "awesome life" course:

  First I drew a rough pencil sketch of what I wanted on the page- class title, a few supplies I'll be using, and things I love-hearts, flowers, music. Then went over it with a permanent pen. I used a combination of Reeves watercolors, Silks and twinkling H2Os. The colors aren't quite as intense as I'd like so I'm waiting for my Peerless Watercolor Sheets to arrive :):). The only other purchases I made for both classes are  a new set of Pitt Pens and a large Strathmore Mixed Media Journal (for the Jan. class)-both 1/2 price with coupons.  Look what you have gotten me into Tracey - LOL!  I'll be sharing many more pages as I go along.

  One more journal page to share, along with something cool that happened by accident.

  This pg was done in my 9" x 12" art journal. The background was created with Dylusions ink sprays. I then took a stencil  (that had leftover dried paint and sprays on it-I don't clean off my stencils) and rubbed a baby wipe thru areas and look what I got on the pages:

 How cool is that??? Some of the previous paints came off the stencil and added depth and color to the rubbed areas. I did play a little more and discovered that this only works over light colors of the background.

 We're expecting yet another snow storm and frigid temps so I'll have a nice warm few days inside taking my class, sketching, and visiting YOU!

 Linking to Art Journal Every Day, Creative Every Day, Paint Party Friday, Mandarin Orange Monday.

" We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives...not looking for flaws, but for potential." Ellen Goodman