A Quick Hello

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Time - it is amazing how the time just ticks by.  Sorry it has been so long since I have blogged.  I have taken some more online classes - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, my online classes!  I took a wonderful painting mixed media class from Danielle Daniel called Her Story which was so much fun.  I have since been trying to create "intuitively" a girl which would represent me well - so far, I have this sketch and am pretty happy with her.  I will soon get out a canvass and paints and see what happens with colors and textures.

I have also done a bit of encaustic work and will have pictures of that soon.

Here is a crazy quilt block I stitched that will be added to 8 others to create a quilt for a special friend going through a rough time.
The theme of the quilt with be "Angels Among Us" and it was a pleasure and an honor to do a block for it.  I hadn't stitched in a while and it was good to get needle and thread back in my hands.  I will post a picture of the entire quilt once it is finished.

I hope you are finding time (more difficult than it seems) to create and play - it is so important to our artistic souls.  Until next time, may God shower you with blessings -

Portland, Oregon and Encaustics

Friday, August 2, 2013

Well, it has been a few weeks since I blogged as I have been to Portland, Oregon for an Encaustics class with Linda Robertson (Womack).  Five fun-filled days of working on different techniques and learning lots of tips. And, then a few days thrown in to enjoy the surrounding area of Portland.

It occurs to me that not everyone is familiar with Encaustics.  Well, encaustic paint is made from pigment mixed with melted beeswax and resin and, once applied must be fixed by heat. An entire painting can be done with encaustic paints (wax) or it can be combined with different techniques in the mixed media genre.  It lends itself to wonderful textures and vibrant colors.  After any encaustic paint (wax) is laid down, it must be fixed by heat (or fused) using a torch or heat gun....this is when it can get tricky! 

Linda taught me to be more patient and have a softer hand for sure, not to mention lots of fun techniques that I had never tried.  She is an excellent teacher and I really enjoyed the class.

Above is a picture of a small piece I did in class using a black and white photo of some rocks, encaustic medium, and, pan pastels to add color.
Here is another small piece where I used a piece of lace with encaustic paint in the upper left corner to create interesting texture, the dragonfly is tissue paper fused in, and added some foil for a bit of pop.
This is a "pour".  A photograph was glued onto a substrate and wax was poured over it to give it a misty, romantic look. Quite a bit more involved than it looks.
This is a small piece where I fused on a paper print of the bird in the cage, encaustic painted background, and scumbled wax clouds.  I then added some real dried plant material at the bottom. I gave this piece to one of my classmates.
This is transferred laser print and scumbled wax for texture.  I call it scumble, not sure what the real term is.  I take the brush and let the wax cool slightly and then gently lay down texture instead of a smooth finish.  You still have to gently fuse afterward.
This piece has a paper print, texture tape, wax, foil, and some black sumi ink.  Just trying to combine various techniques to learn as I go.
Here is a small piece where I fused in some stamped tissue paper, textured tissue, textured with wax, straight wax edge, and heat drip. This piece was also given to a classmate.
Here we all are, from the left, Martha, Jett, me, Linda, and Gary. It was a great class and everyone was so talented and fun.  Notice Linda's beautiful work on the wall behind us.  She is just incredible with colors and intricate layers!  Check out her website at: Linda Robertson Womack
Jett and I working hard!  It takes a lot of concentration, and, of course you are using torches or heat guns, etc. so safety is a priority.  We were so tired at the end of each day, but a very happy tired.
A quick pic of my pallet here at home - I am a messy girl. It is an anodized aluminum sheet with two hot plates below to keep it at a specific temp (@200 degrees) to keep the wax fluid enough to paint with, but not too high as to be toxic. I have since cleaned it up and am trying to stay more organized and clean. As I paint, I tend to lose myself in the process and grab brushes and pots of paint from everywhere.

I believe I will wait till next time to share some photos I shot while on our trip.  What little I saw, Oregon and Washington appear to be beautiful states.  Everything is so green and lush. We trekked out to take in the area in different ways - we took a train, a paddle wheeler, car, and hot air balloon. We saw some wondrous sites; it was awesome!
Till next time, may God bless you,



It's HOT outside so I'm staying inside and taking online classes!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Here in Texas, the heat is sweltering and the humidity is high so the  best place to be is inside.  My photography class starts tomorrow on Jeanne Oliver's site and yep, I found another great class!  I have signed up for Bezel Bootcamp with Deryn Mentock.  I have taken a couple of online classes from Deryn and she is an excellent teacher. In this class, which starts the 21st, we will be learning how to soft solder and create bezels from sheet metal and filigree objects as well as using found objects, using resin, cold connections, even open back bezels.  Check out Deryn's site here and see all the great courses she is offering. http://somethingsublime.typepad.com/   Believe me, her videos are exceptionally done and she explains and shows everything so that it is very easy to understand.

Bezel group2
Photo from Deryn Mentock showing Bezel Bootcamp class examples.


I have been organizing and cleaning up in my studio so haven't had time to do much creating yet - have been watching online videos of classes and taking notes, etc.  I like to print out pictures and put them in notebooks with notations to remember the skill set, technique, etc. I am also taking an "in person" encaustic (painting with molten wax) class in about a week and am really looking forward to that.  I have done some encaustic work, but have never had a "hands on" class, so I can't wait to learn new tips and techniques to improve my work.  I am taking this class from Linda Robertson Womack.  You can find out more about Linda and the workshops she offers here:  http://www.womackworkshops.com/   Linda is a professional artist, teacher and author of the book Embracing Encaustic.  I was fortunate to have met her at the Encausticon in San Antonio last year and am so excited to be taking a class from her.  I will let you know how it goes and share photos of the pieces I make.

I am sure a lot of you out there are thinking, my goodness - this girl is all over the place.  Well, yes, that is very true.  My interests are very diverse.  I just can't stick to one thing when there are so many wonderful and exciting venues of art to learn.  And, it is nice to be able to follow my inspiration each day...maybe jewelry making one day, sewing another, photography and encaustic/wax work the next.  I am enjoying every minute of building up my artistic resume; it is fun not to mention rewarding in so many ways.  I have met new friends all along the way and acquired lots of new skills.  I don't ever want to stop learning, exploring, and challenging myself! 

Till next time, may the Lord guide you and bless you each and every day,





Family Wedding

Monday, June 10, 2013

The days have been busy as I am sure most of yours are.  We traveled to Arkansas recently for a family wedding, catching up with the cousins, and wrapping arms around sweet memories.  My cousin's daughter was married outside on her parents property at sunset and the setting was just magical.  The light streaming through the trees, mason jars filled with twinkling candles, and lots of laughter.



 They erected a cross (borrowed from their church) where they would say their vows in the beautiful wooded area next to their home.


The bride entered at dusk - so beautiful.  This young couple are devout Christians and their ceremony was laced with beautiful details honoring Christ.  One of the most touching for me was when the parents of the bride and groom rose and encircled the couple after they had said their vows and prayed over them.

Beth and Andrew: I have no doubt you will have an amazing marriage and life together.
Please  note that this particular picture was borrowed from their professional photographer, Stephanie Nunley.  You can see her amazing work at:  https://www.facebook.com/stephanienunleyphoto
I was so fortunate to stay with my cousin, Daine and her husband Mike, on their farm while in Arkansas for the wedding.  We reminisced for hours and shared some special memories.  They raise cattle and have an old house on the property in which they now keep hay, so I had great fun snapping photos of the old house and the cute orphaned calf that they were bottle feeding.  Simple, wonderful moments! 







I hope you have enjoyed the moments and photos I have shared.  So simple, yet so profound in many ways.  I am trying my hand at photography and learning to capture special moments in a beautiful way.  I have a lot to learn, but it is great fun.  I have signed up for yet another online course through Jeanne Oliver called The Art of Seeing (a photography class by Cathy Walters).  You can check out Cathy's bio and work here: www.cathywaltersphotography.com  and all the great mini-courses that Jeanne is offering this summer here:  http://jeanneoliver.ning.com/  there are courses in a wide variety of venues from Bee Keeping to making Vintage Trinket Jewelry.  

I hope to have time in my creative space soon and see what I can get into. Till then, may God guide you and bless you...











Just an Ordinary Day

Monday, May 20, 2013

Well, today was just an ordinary day.  Filled with errands and "to do" lists. No art today.  It always feels so good to get those items checked off our lists, but have you noticed that there is some law of the universe whereby once an item has been deleted from "the" list....two or three jump right on it! My list is no exception - I am sure prioritizing is key!

Although there was no time for art today, I always take time to peruse magazines, and/or my favorite blogs and artists online just to drink in some inspiration and charge my imagination.  So many wonderful teachers and talent out there.  Jeanne Oliver has a couple of new classes coming up.  Found a cool site with video tutorials on just about any subject you can name!  www.lynda.com
I also enjoy watching YouTube videos of artists at work like Jenniebellie, Mystele, Suzi Blu, Wyanne, etc.  I would love to know where you find your inspiration...

I wanted to share something I heard yesterday that intrigued me and  got me to really thinking about submission/obedience.  I know, not a word or topic we really like to hear or think about much.  But, we had a young guest pastor speak at a special ordination service yesterday and he brought up the word submit.  He had an interesting take on "submitting or obeying" ....  I think we agree that children should obey their parents, right?  Well, more often that not, once a child is told to do something or told not to do something, the child will ask "why?" Parents will inevitably explain why; why we said no, why we told them what we did. (There is that exception when drained and exasperated parents just say, "because I said so").  What is really happening when the parent explains his dictate is that the child  obeys if he agrees with the explanation - not truly obedience or submission is it - it is agreement. Hmmm. And, often, if there is not agreement, there is a tantrum of some sort that will require some type of negotiation.  Now, I do believe in clear and open communication; we want our children to learn to think for themselves and see that their parents are doing things for their best interest and are truly smarter than they think, but I thought this was an interesting spin on this topic.  There are times when children should submit out of love, honor, respect and a genuine faith in their parents character without the questions, without the tantrums. When?  What is the best way to teach our children this?  Do we provide a good example to our children so that they need not question our authority?
God, our Heavenly Father, has shown his Holy and perfect character to us over and over, day after day, year after year - how often to we ask "why" instead of just saying, yes Father. Definitely something for me think about more often.

You might see a few changes here and there on my blog - always trying to spiffy things up and learn to improve.  As always, I pray that God will guide you and shower you with His blessings,



Reflections

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I have been taking a online art course from Jeanne Oliver (you know I love my classes!) called The Journey of Letting Go, Beauty from Ashes.  This is so spot on for me right now.  I have had a lot of loss and unexpected changes in quite a few of my relationships and have been trying my best to work my way from a tattered heart to a restored one.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I still have so much to be thankful for and sweet, special moments and people in my life, but the rug was definitely pulled out from under me on a number of things that I am still struggling to come to terms with.  People that have been a very part of me, people I truly trusted and loved that have turned away or unfortunately, I'm finding, were never really there in the first place; or the shattering of the rose-colored glasses that had me seeing people completely different than who they really have shown themselves to be.  Have you ever had that experience?  Where you thought you had a wonderful friendship only to have it shockingly evaporate when you asked for much needed balance. I recently lost a friendship of 42 years and am only now seeing the truths that had been there in front of me for a long, long time. Or, the family member(s) that betray your love, trust and dedication so fiercely and unexpectedly that it shakes you to the core.  Well, these have been some of the events taking place in my life as of late along with the death of my dear father.  Yea, my world has been turned upside down in many ways and I have good days and bad days.  My faith in Christ gives me hope and strength on the bad days and, the good Lord, has graciously given me a wonderful, supportive husband who holds my hand through it all - a blessing indeed.  So....you can see that is why I said Jeanne's class was spot on for me right now.  Her class is a beautiful, albeit, at times uncomfortable, journey into looking at the truths that surround you and the events in your life, and often with a fresh new perspective through artistic expression.  She prompts you with amazing questions which make it easier to really look inside and reflect upon your "truths".  She shares her own stories, bravely with an open heart.  Below are a couple of excerpts from an art journal put together in this class.






Pictures above...This is the first time I ever worked with paper clay.  Jeanne shows you how to easily build an armature (or skeleton) for the piece and jump in with the paper clay.  Once your piece is completely dry - it is painted and glazed and has the look of a statue. Mine is called "Letting Go"... as this is what I am striving to do...to let go of the past and move forward with hopeful expectation for amazing blessings.

Here is a journal I created in another of Jeanne's classes.  I use this one to inventory my art supplies and work up color palettes and combinations.
I have found that Pinterest in an invaluable tool for inspiration for my artful endeavors.  Inspiration for color combinations, faces, paintings, techniques, and so much more.  Who knew?  Oh, and Jeanne introduced me to an IPad app that is so cool - its called Procreate and I believe it is $4.99.  It is a great way to practice sketching on the go!  Here is my first practice piece:
I also have to tell you that when you are a part of a class like this, the others in the class are wonderfully encouraging and so are their works of art. You quickly find that we are all much more alike than not

Well, I want to leave you with a link to I think one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard.  I hope it blesses you as much as it does me every time I hear it.

As always, I pray the Lord will guide you each and every day and shower you with His blessings...



Trying to Find my Style

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Well, I am taking yet another online class from Christy Tomlinson and loving all the wonderful information and techniques she provides. It is called Beyond the Art. I am also finishing one up with Junelle Jacobson of Yes and Amen.  They each have their own unique style, although many of their techniques overlap.  I am trying to find my own style and from what I understand that takes time and patience (did I say patience!)  So, today I am posting a piece I just finished in an effort to experiment with what speaks to me.  This piece is on a canvas about 15x20; the base is collaged with some Japanese paper and some polka dot tissue paper.  I sketched out the girl lightly in pencil and then used charcoal sticks, charcoal pencils, sumi ink, and some acrylic paint to complete the piece.  I thought it would be fun to leave the japanese writing on the paper showing through her face - there is a tiny bit of the polka dot showing too.  My main focus was her eyes.  I love faces and have really come to love Pinterest for finding awesome inspirational faces; and, I especially love expressive eyes.  I enjoy it when a simple face and expressive eyes can tell a complete story without any words at all.  I hope you like this piece. I am pretty happy with it and will continue on in my quest to develop my own style and be braver with my art and creative process.

Windows To My World
Thought I would share some Texas Hill Country shots I took over the Easter weekend.
 We were fortunate to be invited to a sunrise service Easter morning which took place at a private residence jutting out on this amazing peninsula at Canyon Lake.  These photos are, of course, after the sun rose a bit. It was a cloudy day, but still awesomely beautiful and touching.  Easter weekend was blessed with time with my husband, a Good Friday fish fry with my brother's neighbors, this beautiful sunrise service, meeting new people, time with family (got to see my adorable grand baby - and what grammy wouldn't like that) and of course, just enjoying the beautiful countryside of Texas Hill Country with blue bonnets and indian paintbrush blooming along the highways.



My brother has an outdoor kitchen complete with a pizza oven (old fashion kind where you have to build a fire - no gas!)  We had so much fun rolling out dough (harder than you would think, mine were more rectangle than round) and each of us creating our own unique pizzas with our favorite ingredients.  They cook very quickly once the oven is ready and boy were they awesome - mmm, mmm good!

My brother also has a couple of bee hives in his yard and I thought I would try to capture a picture of them coming and going from the hive.  Well, those little suckers move fast!  I did manage to get this one where they were going in and out of this area.  You can't get too close or they get a bit cranky and start diving at you.  They are very interesting though.  My brother got a Go Pro High Def video camera that he placed right on the ledge and took some video that was spectacular.  We even saw one bee do a somersault landing and get up and completely redo his landing as if being judged by his piers.  

 Here are some shots of a place we visited just on a whim when we saw their sign on RR12 outside of Wimberly, Texas.  The Old Oaks Ranch. The weather wasn't great, but it looked so inviting, so we stopped.  They have Alpacas (picture above) soooo cute (they were scheduled for shearing the next day so I am glad we saw them all furry), a very friendly donkey, and a beautiful sculpture garden complete with water fall and Koi.  They also have a shop on the premises which sells beautiful fibers of all kinds and provides classes in weaving, knitting, spinning, rug hooking, crocheting, felting, etc.  I found two delightful stuffed alpaca toys for my grand baby and a cousin and some beautiful felting fibers.  A very friendly place... You can check them out at www.theoldoaksranch.com


I thought I would also post these two videos that show how fast a Texas storm can arrive and flash flood the area.  We were on the outskirts of Austin when it starting raining and before you know it we were in quite a mess.  We did pull over and stay the night at a local hotel to wait out the storm which was continuing on the entire route home for us.  Continuing in that downpour would have been too treacherous for sure....it was a nail biter!
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As always, I pray the Lord will guide you each and every day and shower you with His blessings,

 
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