Art Journaling Classes

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Autumn brings new beginnings.  School starts, the garden provides a harvest, days become shorter, blossoms fade, and football games abound.  It is an ideal time to pursue creative interests.  Virtual classes on the internet are abundant and I have gained helpful information visiting various websites.  Last week I was in Taos for a workshop on painting florals in acrylic.  Being together with other artists, and the learning that occurs in a group, the interplay, idea sharing, and just being together is valuable.  This only happens in a class venue.  So this fall, be brave, venture out and invest in your creativity…take a class!  Anywhere!  I hope it is with me because I would love to connect and Bemis has a rich tradition of art education.  Our new partnership with The 21c Library is a convenient location if you are local.   This is the time for all creatives to pursue their desires and honor that little voice prodding towards expression, the opportunities are endless.

 

 

 

 

 

Botanical Gardens and Chihuly

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The Denver Botanical Gardens hosted a beautiful exhibit of Chihuly glass mixed with the blossoms and greenery of summer in 2014.  It was a serendipitous discovery when I came across these photos on my computer and knew they needed to be posted.  I hope they bring you joy and a little inspiration for your creative journey!

Art Journal Inspired by Georgia O’Keefe

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Here is the book I re-purposed into an art journal inspired by the artistry of Georgia O’Keefe.  I purchased it from the Friends of the Library District.

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An inscription inside the front cover.  I love how this book has touched many hands and is now taking on a new life as a re-purposed piece of art.

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Using my Gelli plate I made several deli wrap pages inspired by the southwest landscape palette and the blossoms Georgia frequently used in her paints.

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Here is the stack of deli papers.  Several layers of paint applied to each paper, and a final clean of the Gelli plate at the very end.  This is a useful tool for creating one-of-kind collage papers.

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A page taking shape.  First step was to PVA glue pages together, and coat with gesso.  This takes awhile and is labor intensive.  One important piece of this technique is to place waxed paper in between pages to ensure they do not stick together.  Pages with a gesso layer or any mixed media will cause stickiness until a layer of varnish is applied.  I really like to glue and gesso pages all  in one session.  A day in the sunshine helps everything dry quicker so I put waxed paper in between the pages, and bull clip the book closed, set it in the sun, and remember to bring it in before dark or a rainstorm.

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Cutting up the deli papers and beginning to design the page.  Inspired by Georgia’s painting of the Red Hills… 1927, this two page spread consists of acrylic paint and deli paper collage.

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Collage layout…next step is to attach with soft gel medium

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This photo is of the Red Hills painting featured in the book, “Georgia O’Keefe”, by Elizabeth Montgomery. Packed full of color plates of Georgia’s work, this book has been a useful resource for creating the pages of my art journal.  I have used the imagery for inspiration and as my friend Cindy says….”art inspires art”.  Learning from the success of other great painters provides useful tools and techniques for my work.

 

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The mixed media portion of creating is complete.  Lastly, the words begin to swirl around in my mind and they are always the last to appear on the page.  I am thinking a trip to Ghost Ranch is in my midst!  Many getaway trips to Taos through the years have included art workshops, dinner at Grahams Grill, browsing the shops around the plaza, dancing at the Taos Inn, tasty green chile burritos at Michaels Kitchen, hiking, museum visits, and wandering around the Mabel Dodge Lujan house…..but I have yet to visit Georgia’s place at Ghost Ranch.  Hopefully we can find a week-end to check out the place where Georgia lived for the better part of her life and created masterpieces which continue to mesmerize.  The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center will be celebrating the work and spirit of Georgia O’Keefe from June 27 – Sept. 13, 2015.  ELOQUENT OBJECTS will feature an exhibit of her work and the FAC has deemed 2015 as the year of O’Keefe.  If you are planning a vacation to the Rockies and pining for some Colorado fresh air or a unique art adventure, check out the Fine Arts Center this summer.  www.csfineartscenter.org   or 719.634.5581 for more information.  Stay tuned for more pages of mixed media in this art journal dedicated to O’Keefe!!!

A work of art in Seville Spain

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In Seville Spain, this amazing cathedral stands on solid ground paying homage to Gothic architecture and many skilled hands working together to create this magnificent structure.

It is the largest cathedral in the world with the longest nave.  Construction began in 1402, ended in 1506 and represents a century of astounding craftsmanship.  I visited this place during

one of our recent trips to Europe and wanted to share the beauty and majesty of this special place with you.  Take a peek inside…

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ONE OF MANY BEAUTIFUL STAINED GLASS WINDOWS

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A VIEW OF SEVILLE FROM INSIDE THE CATHEDRAL

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THE COURT OF ORANGES

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THE COURT OF ORANGES

A little bit of Colorado

DSC_0679 DSC_0680 DSC_0689 DSC_0691 Took my camera out today and snapped some photographs around our property.  Yep, took the red Amaryllis outside just to see how it contrasted against the white snow and green bristlecone pine, sort of pretty.  But it was not too happy being exposed to the cold, ugh.   A Colorado postcard from me to you!

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DSC_0011Love the white stuff, at least for the time being.  Come April and May, now that is a different story.  Today the sun was shining bright, causing the snowflakes to sparkle and glisten as the rays danced across the snowdrifts.  Against the cerulean blue Colorado sky, the effect was stunning!  Celebrating the flakes with acrylic paint, splatters/drips, and handwritten words in charcoal pencil. The colors I chose are not those that typically come to mind when thinking of winter and therein lies the beauty of creative expression.  The paint on the page started as a clean up page and it pulled me to transform the teal and yellow into an expression of snow.  The cool colors mingled with red  were a stark contrast, an experiment, an unplanned process of asking…what if?  This is what most of us love about creating pages in our art journals.  The process leads our creativity and we learn along the way.  We begin to trust our inklings, and let intuition bubble up from that place deep inside. The result, an unusual yellow snowflake mingled with greens, violets, red and teal.   Yes, this is my love affair!

Dabbling in Watercolor

Getting ready for an evening of Wine and Watercolor at the Bemis Art School I decided to use pages of vintage sheet music for the substrate.  I happened upon these amazing books of music at a Friends of the Library book sale.  Deciding this was the perfect opportunity to use these pages and not knowing exactly how the watercolor would work, I gave it a try.  DSC_0625

I removed a page and trimmed the right edge to make it symmetrical.  The pulp of this paper is incredible, smooth yet substantive.  Printed in the 1930’s by Charles Scribner’s Sons, the hardbound books themselves are gems for art journals, and removing pages moves me one step closer toward re-purposing these treasures.

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What better image for the new year than a butterfly!  New beginnings, even in the heart of winter, says butterfly to me.  Besides we could use a little springtime muse since it is a whopping 6 degrees outside today.  I had this sketch of a butterfly but decided to tweak it a bit for the image to be used on the sheet music, a few more curves on the wings, more whimsical and this is what I came up with…..

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I drew the image in pencil, using the music staff as guidelines.  Then painted around the image with Reeves watercolors.  The sheet music worked beautifully and took the watercolors without buckling.  Usually I paint with oils or acrylics so this was a NEW experience.  A little water, a lot of color, simple really, yet fun and satisfying.

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Here are my tools, an inexpensive brush and affordable watercolors from the craft store.  The star of the show is the sheet music.  If you are a paper junkie like me, keep your eyes open at estate sales for book bound music, you will not be disappointed and there are a myriad of uses for it; collage, journaling, or a stand alone piece like this butterfly.  Looking forward to teaching this technique at Wine and Watercolors and glad I found a way to use my vintage pages of music!

New Beginnings

As the new year approaches, it is a good time for reflection and anticipation.  I love to write down my goals for the new year because having them in writing keeps me focused.  Otherwise I find myself floundering in a sea of ideas without any purpose.   Here is to the list and NEW BEGINNINGS!!!!

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In 2015 my focus is going to be on using supplies and ephemera I already have on hand.  So many times a paint color, an image, a special button or clasp, texture tool or book of ideas finds its way into my studio only to be stashed away in a bin for future use.  Well, the future is here and I plan on using up what I’ve got!  Hopefully this will push me in new directions, out of my comfort zone, into the place where….the magic happens.  This powerful concept of movement, from working on a journal page, to a canvas or even creating layers on a three dimensional object is a bit scary.  I have been camped out in art journaling for several years now.  In 2014 I created a couple of pieces for “Pikes Peak Busts”, an art show for increasing breast cancer awareness and raising funds for a local research foundation.  Both pieces SOLD, so thankful, and the process pushed me into a magical place…out of my comfort zone.  Looking for more of this in 2015, movement….from the journal page to canvas and beyond.

KICKSTART

Time for my first post, a kickstart to my blog, jumping in with both feet and sharing my first ever lino carved stamp.  It was the same process, grab the tools, and the lino block, create a design on graph paper, transfer to lino block….and carve.  Here is what I came up with.

First imprint

Designing the stamp

 

Tools

Tools

Brayer with black acrylic paint

Brayer with black acrylic paint

Print on Deli paper

Print on Deli paper

Deli paper print.

Deli paper print.

Garden Pages

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Inspired by the wildly popular PBS series, Downton Abbey, Garden Pages is a journal compiled of contemporary and Edwardian Era imagery.  Butterfly wings for a gentleman, teabag flower motifs, copies of journal pages transformed into blossoms, and yesteryear images grace the pages.  By repurposing a children’s board book, sanding down and coating pages with gesso, texture is at the forefront of taking this book back in time. 

We have a fascination with this bygone era.  A time when women wore fancy plumed hats, flowing gowns, and carried parasols.  Good bye heavy wools, stiff silks, all things Victorian, and hello corsets, Louie Tiffany, and Art Nouveaux!  Well, two out of three isn’t bad.  Motifs were inspired by nature, and patterns reflected vibrant color with unique design.  The French owned this era and referred to it as “The Belle Epoche”, the beautiful era.  Leave it to the French, their words sound as lovely as the translation.

I just happened to have on my bookshelf Edith Holden’s “The Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady”; a treasured keepsake from my mother who passed away many years ago.  I remember looking through the pages after mom died, reading Edith’s observations about nature and admiring her botanical style of drawing.  Here it was poetic words for written expression, and Edwardian era imagery, the perfect ingredients for my Garden Pages journal.

Something magical happens when we say yes to the signals of creative inspiration.  Whether it is imagery, words, experiences, or a feeling, by allowing our creative intuition to sort it out and reflect it with mixed media on a journal page, true” mojo” happens….the French aren’t the only ones with cool words, we have ours too.

As the teabags transformed into blossoms, bakers twine into swirls, splashes of acrylic inks and paints, and phrases from Edith’s poetry landed on each page, I realized the power of art journaling.  It is a journey unlike any other, one of heart and soul proportions as a page becomes expression.  I caught a glimpse of my creative intuition making Garden Pages and thought of my dear sweet mother along the way.  These are the mojo moments in the life of yours truly, an artist looking for the “belle epoche”….today.   May you find those moments in your creative life when the signals blossom and the flower bud opens to fuel your expression.  Grab your art journal and let the magic begin.