Monday, January 26, 2015

dog walk cats

In my doggy travels around the neighborhood, I often see cats and always try to take a pic. 
Here's a selection of recent ones.
Don't know this one personally but love how he's just plunked down
in the dirt under the stop sign. Not a real cat-like place to sit.

This is Theo. He lives on the corner down a few houses from me.
Tried to catch him cruising across the bridge but no dice.

Don't know this guy's name but he lives across the street.
Love the casual arm dangle.

This is LB (Lazy Bones) sleeping in a bare spot in the lawn.
Is it just me or does that seem like a weird spot for a cat to sleep?
They usually like to be out of sight.

Theo again, different day.

Don't know this guy, he was a few streets over, just hunched
in the middle of the road. I took his pic, then shooed him out of the road.

#dlp2015 weeks 3 & 4

Still January so we're still making backgrounds with book text and working on coping with the blank page.
There's a book page background that you pretty much can't see beneath
the gesso layer. Color is all Neocolor II crayons blended with water. I had a plan
when I started but it went by the wayside at some point and I ended up with this.
<sigh> Wasn't much inspired by the quote. Tried to perk things up a bit with the
black and white doodles but not real thrilled with it.
Strips of book text with distress stains rubbed all over, then gesso,
then watery black acrylic paint brushed along the edges. Dribbled
watercolors down the page for some more color. The "words with friends"
theme instantly made me think of all the words I've exchanged with
friends on the backs of the mail art we've sent back and forth. So I chose
a handful of my fave cards, printed them out real small and glued them on.
Black pen scribbled frames, and some writing. The "#mailart" is actually
a weird blue metallic gel pen but it scanned a very odd color. I like this page
a lot, the overall colors appeal to me.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

#dlp2015 #documentedlife #documentedlifeproject

Those are three main Instagram hashtags in case you'd like to go see a bunch more Documented Life Project work by other artists. The DLP is a free year long project headed up by Roben Marie Smith and a few other ladies of Art to the 5th.
Last year I worked in the suggested planner but didn't like having a dated spot for each day. Made me feel like I HAD to write something every day, which isn't going to happen. Same thing with letters vs postcards. A letter seems endless to me cause there's always another sheet of paper; but a post card has a finite amount of space so I can see the end in sight.
Anyway, this year the official workbook is a large mixed media journal but I knew I didn't want to work that big and I know I like to work on individual sheets of paper so that I can run them thru the sewing machine, and not worry about paint going down in the seams and getting on other pages. So I dug around the studio and found a landscape format ACCO binder about the right size and tore up enough Bristol board to have 60 pages. As you can see in the pics, they'll all be hole punched on the short left side and stacked onto the metal pins of the ACCO binder. Mine is kinda like this in shape, but smaller and older with metal pins instead of the plastic ones shown here. And brown cause I haven't decorated the cover yet. I like it cause it's easy to add and remove pages.
The first two weeks are done and so far I'm keeping up lol. We'll see how it goes. I'm notoriously bad about sticking with year-long stuff. But I think this format and the lack of pressure to fill in the day blanks will help a lot. I am journaling a bit on the back of each one, mostly observations about the backyard birds, or dog walks, or how the stars looked at 6am when I threw out the day's birdseed.
Both pages started out with book text collaged on, then some color
from a variety of mediums, then white paint washed here and there.
The top one is simple - a few collaged circles and some doodling.
The bottom one has gelli print circles, color from Neocolor II crayons
(that I *had* to have and don't use near enough), some of the truly
ridiculous amount of washi tape I've stockpiled like it'll be the world's
currency after the zombie apocalypse, some of my hand carved stamps
stamped with Distress Stain instead of stamp pad inks, and a bit of
doodling. The smeary black is Stabilo All pencil, which I love and
need to stock up on. Having only one makes me nervous.

Monday, January 12, 2015

published! woo hoo!

Months (and months) ago the Cloth Paper Scissors publication Pages had a call for mini zines, the little folded-from-one-sheet-of-paper booklet things. I'd made a few recently so I sent in pics or a sample or whatever it was they asked for. Never heard a word back, but then a couple weeks ago my San Diego friend Julie emailed me that pics of my work were in a magazine. I couldn't even think what she was talking about, so she emailed a photo and said "the current issue of Pages!".
Well, my work friend Amy had just given me that magazine for Christmas and it was sitting right next to me on the coffee table as I was looking at the pics Julie sent me. What are the odds?
I snatched up the mag, turned to the right page and went WOO HOO!
Too funny that I'd had the magazine for a few days but hadn't paged all the way thru it yet.
I was never contacted that my submission was accepted, and maybe that's how they do it, but seems like it'd be cool to let you know, ya know?
Anyway, here I am. And I'm including a clean scan of the original file so that you can print it out and fold it up and have your own copy of my published zine. My little gift to the cosmos, or at least to that part of it who read this blog. Print at full bleed onto 8.5x11 paper. Fold and cut as per here or here. Fold so that the cover "Life in" is at the front. Ta-da. Go forth and make your own. Fun to do with kids too.
Mine is the bottom photo here and the left hand one below.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

the Christmas scarf

My work pal Amy is a crocheter, a rather amazing one. Her grandma taught when she was little, but she doesn't know the names of the stitches she makes and she can't read patterns. She just looks at something and figures out how to make it. Scarves, tops, hats, shawls - all sorts of crazy stuff that turns out great with no pattern at all. As I said, amazing.
But she wanted to learn so I told her to go sign up at Ravelry and choose a scarf pattern and I'd teach how to make it so that she could learn which stitch is which, what the abbreviations mean, and how to follow along when it's all written down. So we met up at Starbucks a week later and sat down to learn. She's a bright girl and within minutes had it figured out with a bit of explanation from me.
That was a Monday, our day off. On Tuesday, she wore the new scarf to work. Did I mention she's also crazy fast?
Anyway, what with her newly unleashed crocheting skilz, we decided to make scarves for each other. I have a ton of stash yarn that I need to burn thru so I picked out a beautiful Noro Kochoran, color # 14, and here's the lovely scarf she made me. I tend to make lacy scarves, so the fact that this one is thick and poofy makes me love it all the more. The yarn is a bit sheddy, but I'm hoping that will wear off, and anyway that's why there's lint brushes, right?
As you can see, I have another skein of yarn and plan to make fingerless mitts to match.
And I need to get good pics of the scarf I made her.


An artist whose work I follow with enthusiasm is Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. Her Stamp Carving 101 class and her book Carve Stamp Play really improved my stamp carving ability. She recently held #CarveDecember on instagram where you simply carved a stamp a day (or however often you could get to it). She showed her work each day and so did a ton of other people. Go search for the tag #carvedecember on IG and prepare to be amazed at the wonderful variety of stamps that were carved by folks around the world.

I participated and managed to get 23 stamps carved, plus a few more that are too poor to make the cut. She plans on doing it again next year, so mark your calendar. It was so fun to see everyone's stamps each day. There was some amazing carvers but Julie takes the cake. She's very good.

I know you're holding your breath with anticipation, so here's my efforts. Most are done on dollar store erasers, my carving material of choice.
All these are done on erasers (or peices of) that are 2.5" long by 1" wide.
The one at the bottom is a triangular stamp that makes larger patterns
when stamped next to itself, over and over.

This is 2" sq repeating stamp. These are a mind trip to plan out,
at least for me, so I did this one and the one below closely
patterned after stamps that Julie carved. Think I have the hang of it
now and will plan my own designs from here on out.

Two more repeaters, except the one on the bottom doesn't work,
as you can see from the lower mismatched join between the
first and second imprints. Oops. It was my first one,
so I looked at Julie's stamps as I planned the two above it.