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October 27, 2011

Getting Into this Book

I was thrilled when this arrived in the mail. Even more exciting than the book’s actual arrival was being included! My article “The Mixed Adventures of a Superhero Series” can be found in Chapter 4: Collage and Assemblage. I’m honored to be among so many talented artists gathered by author Barbara Delaney. This inspirational book is mainly a compilation including some of the best articles and projects from the first six years of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. The book also includes an intro chapter with tips to start making art and ends with a chapter about getting that art out there. As a graphic designer, I totally appreciated the book’s gorgeous photography and layout (publisher Interweave has quite the talented staff!)

I’ll admit it was pretty fun to discover my leg on the back cover. Well not my leg exactly, but the leg of the apron-wearing heroine I painted. You can order The Cloth Paper Scissors Book right here.

           
September 27, 2011

Love notes

My first grader regularly composes an assortment of Mom love notes. She’ll come home from school with a folder filled like she can’t get all the love down fast enough. I know I’m eventually going to miss finding heart after heart in her backpack proclaiming her undying affection, but right now her notes are a total delight. The one below made me laugh out loud…

…completely random on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon. But hey, who says you can’t party mid-week? All you really need is a disco ball (that would be the black ball in center of composition.) Even a 6-year old knows you need a disco ball.

Hope you’re having a week worth celebrating!

 

June 24, 2011

Buttons over broccoli

I painted “All I Really Need” several months ago. It was my simple way of summing up a few of my favorite things (besides the living, breathing kind of course.) Recently, I decided to have 4″ x 6″ magnets professionally printed to share the sentiment with all of my artsy friends. This magnet sticks to a fridge or any metal surface (yes…like that file cabinet in your art studio or the one in your office which sure could use a coat of purple paint.)

You can find these magnets for sale over in my etsy shop: Fun little pieces of art for about the same price as a card.

  Note: In the painting above there are several pieces of good chocolate hidden behind the button jar. Now that’s all I really need.

June 16, 2011

A Completely Fun ‘To Do’ List

A couple of weeks ago over a family dinner outside on the deck, we pathed our summer. This summer I wanted to put together a list of sorts that would include all the things we wanted to do together as a family. To get started, I printed this cute printable: 50 Days of Summer Fun courtesy of Crafting Chicks. Next, I adhered the list to a piece of cardboard and added some embellishments (more fun!) to go with the theme.  To determine what made the list, all family members were given a stack of slips to pen what they wanted on the list. We folded each slip and deposited in a group bucket. The rules: 1) Each activity had to be within a 60 mile radius of our home; 2) Each activity had to be something that everyone could partake in i.e. no bungee jumping; and 3) No activity could be outrageously expensive. During dessert, Dad opened each slip and read the proposed activity out loud. Then we took a vote as to determine if that activity would make one of the 50 slots. Since we’re a family of five, majority ruled with 3 or more votes. We filled our board quickly with a most fun summer.

With my previously sick kids on the mend, we dove into our list this past weekend. #19 was a trip downtown to a really cool outdoor market. One child who shall remain nameless was less than excited about this excursion. However, 15 minutes after we arrived was singing a different tune telling us how much fun he was having. Hmmmm…an added bonus to 50 Days: Trying new things and discovering where fun can be had…that’s in addition to the obvious: Strengthening family bonds.

Getting back to the business of summer, we have quite a bit to experience yet. Future fun includes room makeovers, family game night, pottery painting, bike rides, rollerskating, hikes, a read-in day and museums to name a few. The list has generated big time excitement around here. After all, ‘to do’ lists shouldn’t be all about the work right?!

March 19, 2011

Cultivate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

print available here

This week’s challenge over on Illustration Friday is “Cultivate.” Growing beauty begins with cultivating sturdy roots. This means putting in some hard work and dealing with rainy days. Growth happens before the actual flowers bloom.  And that’s not to say that everything “planted” around here blooms, but I believe if you plant enough seeds eventually you’re going to be rewarded with flowers.

March 18, 2011

2011 Vegas Art & Soul

I’m finally back. And no I haven’t been in Vegas for an entire month, except maybe in spirit. Me and two of my very favorite Chicagoland girlfriends met up at the Green Valley Ranch resort for four days of fun and creativity at Art & Soul. Sure there was the art part, but even better was spending time with these two. Also ranking high on the list: The $4.99 all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet; Monday night’s Meatballs-n-Martinis (no kidding); Shopping (Anthropologie was right outside the door!); Early morning workouts at the spa’s beautiful facility; and laughing so hard/loud the resort needed to call the room to make sure we were okay (eh hem.) Then there was the debut of Claire (pix on right) and I on a ginormous stage for Rock Star karaoke which included a little Joan Jett with a LIVE band, strobe lights, smoke and an enthusiastic audience. Thank goodness Heather can’t figure out how to load the video she shot of that debacle. And “unfortunately” I don’t have karaoke photos, but here at least is the art part…

A Fluid Romance taught by Kari McKnight went over a wide range of techniques I experimented with in the painting above. The painting itself is a tribute to my grandparents loaded with meaning and memories.

While I wasn’t sure if Steampunk was going to rock my world, I have to say that I found the class fascinating. Brenda Mattson taught us the history of the Steampunk movement and  turned us loose on boxes containing thousands of inner vintage watch workings and other time pieces to incorporate into our jewelry making. I really got into it. Two more pieces to follow…

A steampunk flower and…

a more modern take using the backs of the timepieces. Check out the gorgeous colors.

Lisa Kaus took us on a color journey in Color My World. I composed a personal piece with a “D” for Daley and a flower for each of my kiddos. I had brought along some samples of their handwriting to personalize each flower.

Last but not least, Musical Cats and Dogs taught by Julie Haymaker Thompson was one of my favorite classes. I made the music box above featuring a little dog at a party. The box appropriately plays “Happy Birthday.” When my kindergartner saw this she proclaimed it was all she wanted for her upcoming birthday. No toys, nothing else, but the music box. Her wish was granted several days ago when she turned six. My youngest celebrated with her music box and a cake made especially for the budding artist she is (Cake post soon!)

If you’ve ever considered an art retreat, let me highly recommend. As an artist, it’s so important to step out of your box and learn different techniques. Making what you learn your own will add new dimension to your work.

If you’re not completely convinced, I was reading Town & Country the other night and stumbled upon this by a physician/nutrionist: “Age 40 marks the onset of decline in areas of memory and learning, but by learning something new in middle age, we encourage brain growth and stop brain decline. Things like traveling to a new place, learning a language or taking a continuing education class keep the brain young.” So there.  And if art isn’t your thing, consider travel (when you can) along with classes that interest you. After all, we have to keep our wits right?!

January 21, 2011

My very first gift mart

I’m catching up after a weekend spent at AmericasMart in Atlanta. This was my first time at the show and boy do my legs hurt! There were three buildings of the above with various offshoots that could confuse even those without sense-of-direction issues. I met up with my agent, Renee from Penny Lane Publishing, and fellow Penny Lane artist, Annie Lapoint. Love these ladies. Although keeping up with Renee is a better workout than the most challenging spinning class. I think I’ve earned at least a 3-week gym reprieve.

I quickly become adept at traveling up and down and down and up miles of escalators. Applause for whomever invented moving steps.

When I returned, I had to check my datebook to make sure I had only been gone for two nights. I was really missed by kids and cats alike. My two younger kids needed to be surgically removed from my waist. And poor Penny climbed into my “To Do” box. If that isn’t a big hint.

That “To Do” list has grown even longer after being immersed in a gift mart that was completely overwhelming. I have more ideas and directions to pursue than can be pursued while still fitting in important “to do’s” like sleeping. So for these past couple of days, I’ve been working to keep my priorities in order. Like making Wimpy Kid cupcakes for a special 9-year-old boy to celebrate his birthday today at school. Lego cake to follow. New art and projects to follow all of that. One “do” at a time.

January 17, 2011

Dreams.

Something about hearing it through a five-year-old pencil that makes it all the more obvious.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Filed Under: inspiration
January 14, 2011

Here’s how I know…

I’m committed.

If upgrading my stock of gel medium from eight to 128 fluid ounces isn’t enough proof I don’t know what is. Sure I keep the little one around so I can transfer a manageable amount to use at one time, but meanwhile, the big guy is stored in the closet.

Gel medium is literally the glue that holds my mixed media works together. I use it for attaching and for adding texture to my paintings. When I noticed how fast I was going through the stuff, I slowly starting buying a little more each time. Until now. I’m at the Grand Daddy. If gel medium comes in a bigger container I don’t know about it and more importantly, I wouldn’t be able to lift it. Anyway in case you were wondering, I plan to keep doing what I’m doing for quite some time.  I’ve got 100 some more ounces I’m not going to let go to waste. You have my word.

Filed Under: inspiration
January 10, 2011

One week into it (2011 and the dirt)

When my five-year-old first saw this on our kitchen table she stopped in her tracks. “Mom, why is that ugly thing in the dirt in the middle of the table?” I explained to her the “ugly thing” was going to grow into a beautiful red flower in time with water and light. And if we were patient, it should bloom right around Valentines Day. Nora looked at me skeptically, but decided to take my word for it adding, “Okay, but it’s pretty ugly right now.”

Beginnings are seldom pretty if you think about it. Whether it be the first time back to the gym, the first strokes of a painting or the first draft of an article. Even a newborn baby gets “prettier” by the day. I’ve been beginning some new paintings and constantly have to remind myself about that part when it looks really bad before it looks good. There have been many, many canvases around here that almost hit the curb before I got past the ugly part.

So I thought my Smith & Hawken bulb kit (purchased at Target for 75% off) was a good reminder for our January table. “Pretty” takes time and attention, but it’s fun to watch grow and imagine the end results. Hang in there. Theses things often bloom sooner than you think.

Filed Under: inspiration

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