Monday, December 29, 2014

It has been a long time. An explanation and a goodby

So where have I been for the last 3 months? Well it all started with surgery. I've had a hernia for the last 6 years. Everyone insisted it was an UMBILICAL hernia, but it turned out it wasn't. I had a major change in pain, called the doctor and was sent to a surgeon who immediately saw that it was an INCISIONAL hernia. You mostly don't fix umbilical hernias, but incisional ones are different. They get fixed.

Two weeks later on October 23rd, I was in surgery. They put me out for what was supposed to be minor surgery at 10:15 am. I woke up sometime after 5:00 pm. It wasn't minor surgery. The surgeon said I looked like swiss cheese. I was being worked on for at least 2 hours, and he had them keep me out for quite a few more hours.

Four days in the hospital, twelve in rehabilitation, two additional weeks homebound. That takes me to almost the end of November. I didn't really start feeling almost normal until mid-December and then I had to do what I could about Christmas.

It isn't fair to readers to have a blog and not write in it. So basically this is goodby. I've enjoyed doing this but it kept getting harder and harder to stop here and post. I am on Facebook, and I'm going to try to do more there. Thank you for reading my blog.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Finally a Real Blog

This is what I've been doing the last few days. While I had no computer and while I had computer glitches I was busy doing art journaling,m especially drawing faces. I've gotten so much better at it. This is what I just finished.

This was a pretty elaborate project. It took several days to do.

 At the end of the first day this is what I had. A nice background and a face just peaking through the background.

I liked it so much it just sat while I did other things for a couple of days. Some of the time it is really hard to get on with it and put on the next layer.
So I did add a next layer. A magazine figure, some washi tape, some stamped tissue paper and a napkin that just went with the color scheme so well I had to use it.

In the final version, the saying had been painted over so much you could not read it. And I lost the butterfly from the napkin in the girl's hair. So I covered a tag with another piece of the napkin that had that butterfly on it and covered the messy saying, and found another one for her hair.

I'm very pleased with how this worked out. I've learned a lot, mostly by practicing.

Take care all.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ok, the new computer is up and running

The new computer is up and running. I've been able to do email since Monday. Yesterday I got my camera set up to attach to the computer so I can move photos from it to the computer for storage, and also so I can put them online at my blog and also on Facebook. So here I am.

I haven't done much art during the last week. I can manage to do a few things every day, but energy levels aren't up to doing massive amounts of stuff at one time, so I'm doing one or two computer things a day now that the basics are up, and I'm just waiting on the rest until I actually need them. Still I decided to keep doing a face a day and some doodles every day. The face a day thing really worked to make my faces look better and I figured the doodles would work out similarly.

 So here is the most recent face. I've never done one on book pages before and it is also the first face that I've ever colored with oil pastels. These are water soluble, but I didn't activate them. I just left them as they were. I'll need to use a fixative on the page to set them so they don't just smudge off.

I am rather happy with it.

The doodling is something else I've been doing. I discovered that I did not know how to doodle. I was never the kid who doodled on their pages during class. I think kids start doing that in Jr. High, and the school I was in would have had fits if any of us had done that. So I never did it.

I also did not doodle during phone calls. So I have had to literally learn how. One of my new realizations is that free motion quilting is just doodling with thread using a sewing machine, and, of course, I did have a hard time getting comfortable with that as well.

So it occurs to me that when I go back to quilting, learning how to doodle with a pen should help me with the free motion quilting as well.

And I own books full of free motion quilting designs, so looking through those ought to help me discover my own style of doodling.

Take care all.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Why I'm not blogging

About a week ago my main computer died, extremely suddenly. It was 4 years old, and worked perfectly until its last day. The hard drive had been racing for several weeks, and I'm pretty sure that is what killed it. I'm currently on an old laptop I bought the last time a desktop died and I knew I'd be without a computer for a month. This laptop is not only 4 years old, it was the cheapest laptop I could buy, and it is the slowest computer I've ever had to deal with. But it is still with me which is why I can write this blog post.

What I can't do is get photos from my camera to the computer. All of its USB ports are engaged.

I'll get the new computer which will be a laptop this time, but one that isn't the bottom of the barrel and isn't 4 years old. I bought a Windows 7 Pro laptop online from HP. You can't get new Windows 7 computers from the big box stores but you can from the manufacturer's website. I had such good luck with the old computer I decided to buy the same brand again.

And with any luck, you will hear from me in less than two weeks, with photos of what I've been up to. I've been playing with my paints and my art journals, and as usual I've been learning all kinds of new things that I would love to share.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Art Geeks and August Obsessions Class

I've been working my way through the August Obsessions Class at the Art Geeks site. This month the group has been making a scrappy journal, and we did a bunch of layers on the pages. I'm somewhat behind because I have not done the binding on the journal yet, or made any of the pages, but last night I finished the covers, front and back and here they are.

All of the drawings were originally just pencil drawings, some with shading and some without. I tried putting colored pencil on them and hated the look, so I painted them with acrylics last night. The paper was very thin and I didn't put them down with medium or collage podge, so they wrinkled a bit, but I'm still very happy with them.

Now on to the pages.

Take care all.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sorry it has been so long

It is getting harder and harder for me to blog. I'm not sure why, but I think I'm using my energy to actually do Art Journaling and taking classes in it, and I don't tend to have enough energy left to write about what I am doing. Not sure where this is going to go, but I do have an update.

I did make a cover for the Altered Backgrounds journal that I used for the class I was taking at the Art Geek's site. This is the front cover. I never got the beads on the long strings but I still hope to do that.

And here are my 7 favorite ICADs. I finished them on time. I was actually a day or two ahead during the last couple of weeks because I kept making a second card or even a third on some days. Once I got started I could not stop. One of the cards is the second or third I made but most of these were done later in the process as I got a better handle on how to do an ICAD.

And yes, I do miss them. There are two other regular small projects that are out there. One is to use Rolodex cards. And a second is to make a box to hold slightly larger cards and to do those. Neither is a Summer only project and neither expects you to do them every day for a specific period although a few people are doing them daily or almost daily. I have index cards that are way too big for the ICAD project and I am considering using those because I have so many of them.

 The next three layouts are rather odd, because each of them was made using either a loose sheet or in a separate book.

I've never done a loose sheet Art Journal layout before. I probably should have done this one in one of my commercial Art Journals, but it was possible that it was going to be one of several. This was for a challenge on the Jennibellie ning site. The idea was to do something you wanted to attract into your life, and I took something that is already there that I want to keep in my life.

I really am Just plain Happy to be creating every day, and I want that to continue.

I did I Choose to be Happy in my smaller Strathmore Visual Journal which has 140 pound Watercolor paper and is a joy to work in, but for some reason I am more interested in making my own journals right now. Still, from time to time I come back to this one and to the larger one.

I really do CHOOSE to be happy. It was something I learned you can do back when I was taking care of Joe at home. I could have sunk into depression during that last year, but I found several books on how to be happy, anyway, just because you choose to find things in your life to be grateful for or to enjoy. You can allow joy into your life even when things are bad, or you can sink into it. It really is a choice.

 A 4 page booklet arrived as part of my junk mail a week or so ago. It turned out that it wasn't even stapled together, but just held together with glue. I taped it together and I ended up with a little journal. I was experimenting because all of the others I had made so far, either from booklets of some sort, or with sewn signatures like the Altered Backgrounds Journal, had gesso on the pages. I only used paint on this one and then collaged some stuff onto the various pages. I'm going to try and paint flowers on the pages. This is my first attempt at a flower, and I'm reasonably happy with it.

 Most of my time during the last two weeks has involved taking classes over at the Art Geek's site. One of the classes is the August Obsessions class where we are making a journal out of single sheets of cardstock. Other people in the class are using file folders but my paper cutter is a very old one, and it would not cut file folders, so I ended up using card stock instead.

This is what the two sides of my new journal look like front and backs of all the sheets just put into a pile. They already look different since I've added another layer to them, but since I will be adding two more to them this weekend I didn't update the photos.

It is going to be interesting to see how the binding method will go, but I'm not ready to try that out yet. We will see what we will see.

 I am also taking the Eclectic Journal class at the same time. I already had a journal made out of a church magazine. This class is about either using a magazine or a book and altering it in ways that are different from using gesso or paint. I had one spread and the cover from my old magazine journal so I decided to try the new system on that.

I could only use the full system on the back cover since everything else had some gesso on it. The front cover does have a partial new system on it. All I can say is that I've become a believer because this is the easiest thing I've ever done with making my own journal.
 The photo above is the front cover. The one to the side is the back cover. The idea, also from the class is to use your own previous journal pages to produce things you can use in your new journals. The girl on the front cover is a copy of one of my two painted girls. I got to do some additional pen work on the copy, and I think she looks even better than the original did. I cut her out and pasted her on the cover and put a boarder of a painted paper of my own around the page. I added a fussy cut flower spray as well. The background is painted book pages and a painted paper that I had made quite a while ago.

I used one of the techniques from the Altered backgrounds class when I made up the back cover. I also recycled both the bird and the bird stamp from a previous layout. Using elements from my own art was interesting mainly because there isn't all that much of it yet. I've only been doing art journaling for a few months. But no question that I'm going to be making copies and scanning a lot of what I will be doing in the future so I can use parts of it again. Looks like Photoshop is going to get a workout.

And finally here is the last spread in that journal as well. Like every other thing I did in it this is experimental in some way. I used a dyed paper towel at one end, and washi tape. I doodled and I put some collage on the page but did not cover the entire thing. The hearts were from a deli print I had doodled on. I'm pretty happy with it overall.

So that is what I've been up to. Take care all.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Catching Up

I went back to see what I had shown all of you and what I hadn't. Boy do I need to catch up! Some of this stuff goes back several weeks. I'm still doing ICADs, but I won't show any of those this time. The season is almost over and I'll be doing a post about the ones I like the most when it is over.

The Studio isn't quite set up yet. I've got more organizational stuff in, but I'm taking it all one day at a time. If I get to something that is an unholy mess, I deal with it, and then go back to playing. In the long run that will mean I remember where I put things, and it never becomes a miserable job on any one particular day.

For example, I got some new stencils in and it hit the "overwhelm" button, so last night I started using the page protectors I'd bought over a month ago and got the ones that didn't have a home settled into page protectors and the container I'd bought for them. I didn't go into the stencils that do have a home, but those will get moved into page protectors too, and possibly into a 3 ring binder at some point, but not quite right now. I know where everything is, and nothing is so jumbled up that stencils are getting torn.

On to art journaling!

 The first two layouts were ones where I knew I wasn't quite finished. They are both from my experiments journal. In both cases I knew I needed words to finish them.

I think the letters I used in this one were too small. I'm still learning how to use letters I buy and put down, and I've got these tiny ones, and the huge ones below, in black.

I know I need to buy something in between. I think larger letters would have made me happier.
The 2 inch letters were the right choice for this layout. It actually does take courage to create things. This background has collage, as does the other one, and paint and stamping, and who knows what else. It is literally a hot mess, but those bold black letters do seem to have pulled it all together.

It makes me happy.

There is only one spread left in the experiments journal. I think I know what is going into that last spread. And then I will have to work on the cover.

 In addition to the experiments journal, I've been working in this hand made journal (my first) for a class I'm taking at Gulfsprite's site. I've jointed Art Geeks there, but that won't actually start until August. There is a free class with 9 or 10 videos, and I've been taking the class and treating it as a real class with homework.

This was the first page. On this one I used various kinds of dimensional media to create texture on book text and crumpled up scrapbook paper. I'd seen loads of videos on doing this kind of thing but watching and doing are two different things.

Once the dimensional media had dried, I painted over it. Each of the different media took the paint differently, and you can actually see that in this background.

All of the spreads in this journal are now backgrounds, not completed pages.

The second class involved using a photo from a magazine, and scrapbook paper, and other papers that were painted, to fit with the colors in the photo. I also cut the paper, which also altered it from what it was originally. I lucked out because that week's ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY had this great two page photo in it that worked extremely well in this background. Actually, except for journaling and a title, this page is a finished page.

This is the third page in the class. This time we were putting the paper on horizontally. The idea was to cut out petals and use both the petals and the cut out, and to use the papers both painted and unpainted along with some paint and some painted book pages.

Like the first page this is almost an exact replica of the one done in the class, and once again I like how it came out.

 More paint, more cut up scrapbook and other papers. I also got to use two flowers I had painted on a painted paper project I did months ago on this page and I love how all of it came out.
 This class was about using just black and white and multiple scrapbook paper (with a little music paper). I only had one washi tape that was black and white and it is in there too.
 Something simple and elegant. Some doodle flowers from scrapbook paper, a little paint that is just scrubbed on and some lnesdone with a marker.

 In this case I didn't have the materials to do the actual class project, so I used what I had. I cut out a vintage photo, probably of an actress from the 19th or early 20th Century. I stamped on tissue paper with brown ink and painted a gold patterned tissue paper and music paper with brown paint.

I would never have done a background this way before this class, so obviously I have learned a lot.

And finally the unfinished cover of this little handmade journal. There is one more class that I haven't done anything for. There was one class where I decided to do an ICAD instead of a spread, and it is one of my favorite ICADs. I knew I didn't have enough pages to do every class in the journal. But I can make the covers out of the project for the final class, and then, I'm going to put some beads on the strings I left long so I could decorate them.

This isn't just my first home made journal. It is also my first finished journal. The commercial ones have lots of pages to go, and that is fine. I like working in multiple journals. There is also a journal made out of gelli prints that has reached its half way point. I'll talk about that one in another post.

Take care all.