Sunday, December 27, 2009

Another step in the right direction

Oh my goodness, how time flies.  Well then again, it is the Christmas season, when time is at a premium and we're all busier than normal.  This is my latest art piece, another background similar to my last two posts.  Since I explained the others in detail, I won't do that on this one.  I pretty much used the same supplies and technics.  I must admit though, I do love using the torn National Geographic pages to create these backgrounds.  It's such a quick, easy, and cheap way to at least start a new piece of art, to get something down on the base, and then go from there.  It inspires me enough at first to keep on going and adding more layers, to where I feel I'm accomplishing something and actually creating some new art.  No pain, no angst, no fear of ruining it.  This technic is a "new discovery" for me, and has helped me a lot in taking baby steps out of my prolonged art slump.  In my case, going back to a very easy and simple technic to start with, kind of like going back to the basics, has helped me overcome certain fears and artist block to actually get back to creating some new art.  And for me, right now, that's good enough for me!

Even though this is a background, I have further plans for it, and will hopefully work on it more today, and if I'm lucky, even finish it.  I'm making this piece as a gift for friend, which to me always makes it more special and enjoyable.  And when I do finish this piece, and get around to taking a scan or photo of it, I'll post the end result.  But right now, I'm just happy to post it as a background, and as a piece of new art.  Because at least it causes me to know I'm going in the right direction, however small my baby steps are.

So I hope you enjoy this piece, and that all of you out there had a wonderful, blessed Christmas.  I had a wonderful Christmas, which I'm grateful for.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Some more new art...and a bit further out of the abyss

My oh my, another new art piece.  And I'm very pleased I got this done today in a few hours.  And that it was easy and spontaneous, and mostly playing around.  And I didn't even "plan" to make art today, I just decided I wanted to, on a whim (and a prayer).  This is another background piece, but could stand on it's own I think.  Lots of yummy layers, but I wasn't thinking layers or focusing on that when I made it.  Why?  Well because when I focus on "layers", and think about it, it kinda freaks me out and ruins the spontaneity.  I'm also very pleased that I did some stamping on this, which I don't do often enough.  And also used a stencil, with some new semi-transparent paint.

The base is an 8x10 inch piece of thick chip board.  (Well, I have lots of that since I bought 75 pieces off ebay a while back, so I might as well use it.)  And I glued down torn pieces of National Geographic pages, then sanded them, then used an awl to etch over them in order to distress the piece.  Then rubbed over it with brown paste shoe polish and Golden Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold fluid acrylic.  A new product for me, and one I'm very much in love with.  Then I glued down some strips of netted fabric, and used a triple tip paintbrush to paint the black lines.  I also used a toilet paper cardboard core to stamp the large circles.  And then a foam stamp for the numbers, and a stencil for the hearts.

Gee, layering isn't so hard or intimidating.... as long as I don't think about it or focus on it.  I seem to be into torn NG pages at the moment, but hey, if it works, why not?  I have lots of NG mags, so I might as well use them.  But I'm thinking torn pages from other mags could work too.

Am I out of the abyss yet?  Well, probably not, but at least I'm headed in the right direction.  At any rate, I'm pleased with this piece and thrilled I have some new art to post.  And truthfully, after the week I've had, that's good enough for me.

Over and out for now.  Onward and upward.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Out of the Abyss --One Small Victory

Yes indeed, I consider this one small victory, because I actually got it together to make some NEW art.  New art is the key here.  I've been in such a depressing and extended art slump, I consider making any new art at this point a victory.  And hopefully, (fingers crossed) my first small step out of the abyss, the extended art slump, dry time, dark time I've been in.  Well, every artist is different and an individual, and deals with art slumps in different ways.  Many artists have written on this subject on their blogs and in books, regarding how to get out of an art slump.  And that is a very good thing indeed, and is very helpful to many artists in this situation.  Sometimes what other's have written has helped me, other times....not so much.  This time around, trying to muster up motivation and inspiration at the same time has been my biggest challenge.  At times, I've had motivation, but no inspiration.  At other times I've had inspiration but no motivation.  And for me, I need the two together, and that just wasn't happening.

Do I know why?  No, and that was part of my frustration.  But I don't think the "why" is that important anyway.  Right now, I don't care about the why.  What I care about is that I sat down and created some new art last weekend, and that finally motivation and inspiration came together at the same time.  And so this is the result, a background made for an art piece I'm still working on.  Which I'm excited about, and hope to finish within the next few days.  When I get it finished, I'll post it.  But today, I'm posting this background, because I really like it, and it's kind of a new technic for me.  One I've never done before in this way.

Many months ago, at my local book arts meeting, we played with a similar technic.  We tore strips of National Geographic pages, and strips of wide masking tape, and alternated those on a base for a background.  They turned out very cool and I liked that technic, although I don't know where it originated from.  This time around, I decided to just use torn strips of NG pages, to see how that would come out.

I used gel medium to glue them down on an 8x10 piece of thick chip board.  After they dried I  sanded the piece and etched into it with a very sharp awl to distress it.  Then I rubbed brown paste shoe polish over it to kind of antique it and give it more depth.  Then I used my finger to rub Golden's Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold fluid acrylic paint over parts of it.  I totally love that color, and it's the first time I've used it in my art.  Some members of my art group suggested I buy some, and I'm glad they did.  Then I brushed over the whole piece with a thick layer of gel medium to get more, yet subtle, texture.  And rubbed over that with brown paste shoe polish and also some gold waxy stuff to give it gold highlights.  Then I sealed it with Future Floor Finish (FFF) which gives a glossy finish.  While it was still wet, I flicked Pearl Ex Pigment Powders on it, in Aztec Gold and Spring Green.  I do love those Pearl Ex powders.  After the FFF dried, I sprayed the piece with hairspray to seal the Pearl Ex, and then sealed it again with FFF.

So that's how this background was made.  Not difficult at all.  NG pages are great for this, although pages from other magazines might work as well.  I think this is a great, easy technic for the first layer of a layered collage.  It gets you past a blank base and into the mindset of layering.  Beyond that it makes a great background for any kind of art, collage or whatever.  It can be distressed or rubbed with different paint colors, or glaze colors, or shoe polish, or metallic waxy colors....or whatever comes to mind.  I think it's an easy technic that opens the door to all kinds of inspiration and experimentation.  And gee, if you should screw it up or not like it, it can be glued over or painted over or tossed, no great loss.

In closing here, I'm just so grateful and relieved to have made some new art, and to have a plan for how I want to finish it.  True, this is a small step, but at least a step in the right direction.  And that's more than I was doing before, for too long.  So for me, it's a positive step back into the world of being an artist, and a step out of the abyss.  And one small victory for sure.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Another page from my Melange book

Okay, so here's the deal, the bottom line, in brutal honesty.  I'm still trying to find my way out of my extended art slump, and just not sure how to do that, or when it might happen.  I keep hoping and praying it will happen soon, but who knows?  It could happen today, tomorrow, or beyond that.  I dread thinking of the "beyond that".  I feel certain I will find my way out sooner or later, and that even yes, there is a reason for it, one I don't understand.  I'm not "okay" with it, especially concerning my blog.  But then again, learning to be "okay" with it might be the best approach and help me out in the long run.  I'm not sure where true inspiration and motivation come from, it seems to be rather mysterious to me.  If I could just produce it on command, that would be so great.  However, sad to say, I haven't figured out just how to do that.  If I ever do, I'll be sure and let you know.

This is another spread in my cherished Melange Book.  I definitely love the right page more, because I'm a nut for using rusted found objects in my art.  And I have a great stash of RFOs, one that might be the envy of many, most scavenged from my local truck stop parking lot.  So there's a tip for you.  The background on this page is wallboard joint compound.  I think I also used some walnut ink crystals misted with water.  The snake and centipede were added last, kind of as an afterthought, but I like them, even though they are kind of creepy.  I also used fabric threads and cheese cloth.

I'm wondering, how many of you out there use rusted found objects in your art?  And if you do, where do find them?  Do you get excited when you find I do?  And are we crazy to get excited about a rusted object we might find?  Most sane people would say yes, and not understand at all.  But hey, with us artists, it's mostly a "given" that we understand quite well.  It has to do with the heart of an artist, in my humble opinion.  And with something found unexpectedly that can be used in our art.  And with recycling something in a creative, positive way that would normally be thrown in the trash.  And with the nature aspect of it, of nature causing and creating the rust.  And with the rich color and texture, that is hard to replicate any other way.  These are the reasons I love rusted found objects and love using them in my art.  If any of you have anything to add to this discussion, please do so.  I'd love to hear what you have to say about rusted found objects.  I think it's a subject well worth discussing.

So anyway, here is my latest post on my blog.  And I'm happy to post this for the first time.  And if it stirs up a discussion on RFO's, that's great and would do my heart good.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Spread in my Melange Book

This is a spread I did in my Melange Book, probably my most favorite handmade book of mine.  It was a project done in my local book arts group a while back.  Well, more than a while.  It was a very challenging project....but also loads of fun.  I never would've created this book if it hadn't been a group project, and I'm so grateful it was, because it totally motivated me to do this and get it finished.  It was a group project, but we each created our own books.  Oftentimes, I need that kind of motivation.  And also the help and support that was so generously provided by other members of our super-great local group!!!  I'm oh so fortunate and grateful that we have such a fantastic book arts/altered art group in my area, the Denver metro area, and that I've been a member for over five years.  Our group is still going strong, and I hope it always will.  And I only wish that all of you artists out there could have a group like this in your area.

The left page is a fabric page of painted muslin, with lace, ribbon, rick-rack, and buttons glued down, and frayed along the edges.  The right page has cool scrapbook paper as the background.  The lower part is a pocket of fine copper mesh, with an altered CD inserted.  I glued down four rusted bottle caps....I always love rusted found objects, that's for sure.  The fiber is eyelash yarn (at least I think that's what it's called).  

To be honest, I'm going through a difficult time in my life right now, and so making art has kind of been relegated to the back burner.  I've been in an extended art slump, which has been quite frustrating and bewildering.  But beyond that, I'm dealing with some painful family issues/realities, that have really knocked the air out of me.  Sometimes, reality really BITES as I'm sure all of you can relate to and understand.  However, I want to keep my blog current, because it's important to me to do so.  There are a lot of things in life I don't have control over, but I do have control over my blog.  And it helps me to keep it going and current, or as much as I'm able to.  I know this too, shall pass, and better days are up ahead, but for now, I'm rather down under.  So please bear with me on this.  Thank you. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Muse Bonita

Hmmm, this looks rather different for my type of art.  And yet, yes indeed, this is my art.  That's a bit surprising, even to me.  Because this was made five years ago, and just months after my jump into altering books.  I think that part amazes me the most, that I created this just months into knowing anything about altered art and altered books.  I've never posted this on my blog, so I thought now would be a good time to do so.  Because this is one of my favorite AB spreads that I had mostly forgotten about.  And to be honest, also because I have no new art to post, and yet I want to make a post on my blog today.  

Long story short, I've been in an extended "dry period",  "art slump",  or whatever one calls it.  Which I'm not pleased about, but it is what it is and I'm trying to work through it.  However, there is still the issue of my blog, which is very important to me.  And it's been too long since I posted some art.  I'd much prefer to post some new, recent art, but that ain't happening right now, so I think posting some art, even though it's not new, is better than not posting at all.  Regarding how "old" art might be received, I have no idea.

When I first got into altered art, back in the spring of 2004, I was very into altered books.  So this is a spread in an AB, a still unfinished AB, a work in progress.  At least that's what I keep telling myself, but it hasn't progressed much in several years.  And I'm not even sure I'll ever finish it, but I figure hey, at least I got a great start on it.

Regarding this spread, I love the color purple, and wanted to express how I pictured my muse, so I think I went no holds barred.  I like that about this spread....and gee, just wish I could approach my art that same way all the time.  I won't go into detail about how I made this, except to hit on a few things.  The image of Bonita was from a rubbing plate.  The background under the image is sequined fabric.  The headdress and earrings are real, costume jewelry glued down.  I also used game pieces and some of the stamps were hand made with a wood burning tool on erasers.  I used an embroidery chain stitch around the edge of the right page.  I used a lot of technics and embellishments on this spread.  I hope you like it. 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bones -- Halloween/Autumn Collage

Ahhh yes, skeletal bones.  And a fine looking skeleton it is.  It started out lavender, the color it came in the package.  Which was cool, but not the color I needed for this piece.  So I painted it with Lumiere Gold and then rubbed black over it, then sealed it with Future Floor Finish (FFF).  Regarding the second photo, I once again played around with the fish eye lens on my photo editor just to see what it would look like.  I like the way it looks.

Let me back up a bit here.  This is an 8x10 inch piece of chip board.  I had an unopened package of multiple colors of Mulberry Papers, so I decided to finally use some.  I glued down an orange sheet with Mod Podge, and then glued down a piece of very red lace on top of  that.  I was going to go with that as my background, but I felt the lace was too red so I glued down another sheet of orange mulberry paper on top of the lace, and liked that result much better because it toned down the red lace and gave me the colors I wanted. I really like how the orange fibers in the mulberry paper show up so well.  I sealed the background with FFF also.

The orange piece is obviously a large paint chip from Lowe's.  I considered distressing it first, by sanding it and then etching in it with a sharp awl, but chose not to.  I did however brush over it thickly in all directions with gel medium in order to give it some subtle texture.  When dry, I rubbed paste brown shoe polish over it.  Well, before I textured it, I used my trusty Hot Stamps tool with my number set and burned in the numbers.  I did the same thing with my alphabet set for the word "Bones".  I do love my Hot Stamps tool, but haven't used it in quite some time.  It's one more great tool I should use more often than I do.  It works quite well on paint chips I discovered this time around.  It's always good to learn something new.

The spiders came in a package of Halloween confetti, and worked out great for this piece.  The paint chip came with the square windows in it, so it only made sense to glue the spiders there.  I had the transparent round pieces for years and never used them until now.  It's a miracle I even remembered I had them.  

The long fiber piece is an orange chenille pipe cleaner wrapped with the orange fiber specialty yarn.  Not my idea, but a great one.  This idea, and many more easy and innovative ideas for very cool embellishments are featured in Sherill Kahn's book, CREATIVE  EMBELLISHMENTS.  It's one of my favorite books ever, a must have for my own library.

The leaves were picked up off my driveway yesterday, not long after they fell off the tree.  I immediately preserved them by sealing them with gel medium on both sides, then put them in a book to flatten them out for a few hours.  I like them a lot on this piece, but am not sure if the color works well.  I would've preferred for them to be more orange, whereas they're kind of inbetween green and orange.  I don't even know what color to call them.  Maybe I'm crazy here, but it occurred to me I could paint them red/burgundy, and maybe even get crazier still and paint orange polka dots on them.  I mean hey, this is not exactly a serious art piece, right?  It already looks kinda funky, so why not expand on the funkiness with crazy painted leaves?  That thought is still tickling my fancy, but I'm a little afraid to try in, what if it screws up the whole piece?  So I'd really like your opinions on this idea.  Do you like the leaves the way they are, or should I get crazy and paint them?  I'd really appreciate your input, because I still haven't made up my mind on this idea.  Thanks for any input.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ebony and Ivory -- textured caulk abstract

This is a piece I made recently.  One I really like and am proud of.  I didn't post it on my blog because I planned to enter it into a juried open show at a local art gallery.  I've never done that before, so I was excited about it....but also a bit fearful about how it would feel if this piece didn't get juried into the show.  I had no idea what to expect, although I was hopeful.  Sad to say, it did not get juried in, which I must admit hurt and wounded my art ego.  I was sad and upset for that day, after I got the email.  Well, for more than that day, to be honest.  But after a few days, I got over it and am okay now.  The theme of the show was "Abstract", which I felt was right up my alley.  So I made this piece especially for the show.  

There was only one juror, who has his own art gallery, which mostly features abstract art.  I wasn't able to find out why this piece was rejected, but the lady who was at the gallery when I went to pick it up, who's also an artist although she didn't enter the show, gave me some feedback.  She said she really liked this piece, but that perhaps it should've been framed, to give it a more professional look.  And that makes sense to me, although even if  it had been framed, who knows if it would've been accepted?  But I'm sure it would've looked better and more professional if I'd had it framed.

I used a cabinet card for the base of my art, and glued it onto a 12x16 inch canvas board.  Silly me, I thought that would be professional enough.  I mean hey, at least I didn't use frozen pizza box or chipboard, which I most often use.  But when it comes to submitting art to a real art gallery, I'm a total newbie and novice.  Hopefully I learned my lesson on that.

Anyway, I mounted the cabinet card vertically, which I thought was interesting and different.  On the top part, I spread a layer of caulk and impressed into it with a foam circle stamp, a soda bottle lid, a drinking straw, and the end of a paint brush.  I also used a circle cut out of a vinyl rug runner, that has swirls on one side of it.  My main theme was circles, which I've done a number of times before. My initial intention was to make this a black and white piece, so once the caulk dried I painted over it with black acrylic paint.  I planned to rub over that with white acrylic paint, but then the idea came to me to use metallic pearl white instead of regular white.  So I did that, and was rather surprised that it ended up looking more like silver than white.  At first that bothered me, but then I came to like it, so I left it that way.

On the bottom part I used micro beads in gel medium on the frame part for a different texture, and painted over it with black.  I used a sample piece of fabric wallpaper, with the white lines, inside the frame.  Then I found the cool twig in my yard, which was the perfect size to fit inside the frame.  I painted it black, then rubbed the metallic pearl over it with my finger.  Then I made a caulk circle (on frozen pizza box) with my vinyl rug runner stamp.  And painted it black and rubbed on the metallic pearl.

I wrapped thick black quilting thread around the canvas board before gluing down the cabinet card, to repeat the lines in the frame.  (That idea was suggested to me by someone in my local art group, Terry.  Thank you Terry, I think it was a great idea.)  Then I painted some flat, round wooden beads black, and glued those on to repeat the circle theme.

So that's how this piece came together.  I'm sad that it didn't get accepted into the show, but even so, I really like this piece a lot.  And yes, I think it would look better and more professional if I had it framed, which I may do at some point.  Right now, the cost of doing that is a problem, but it would look better and more finished if I had it framed.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Linearity -- Caulk Squares and Rectangles

This is a new work, and a bit different for me, at least in some ways.  This piece is 4 x 9 inches, a size I've never worked on before.  The base is frozen pizza cardboard (FPC), nothing new there.   I've been using circles in my art for some time now, because I really love them.  But recently I've been inspired to play around with using squares and rectangles, with caulk applied with a small palette knife.  It was harder to make them that way than I expected, because it was the first time I tried it.  Hopefully, if I try it again I'll get better with some practice.

On this piece, I sanded the image side of the FPC and then covered it with white gesso.  Then glued down the netted fabric, then painted over it with Liquitex Majenta acrylic paint.  After that dried, I rubbed Liquitex Cadmium Yellow over it with my finger.  This is a color combination I love and have used at times.  Although the magenta looks more like a burgundy to me, and not true magenta at all.  I love burgundy and yellow used together.  

After that, I applied white acrylic caulk with a small palette knife.  I thought that part would be easy, but I was wrong.  It was rather difficult and required a lot of patience.  Once the caulk dried, I painted it with different shades of orange, then rubbed contrasting colors over the squares and rectangles with my finger to highlight the texture.

I liked it at that point, but felt it needed more and wasn't finished.  So I picked up the stems off my driveway and glued those down, then rubbed brown shoe polish over them.  And then pulled out my stash of skeleton leaves and found just the right size for this piece.  I didn't initially intend for this to end up being a nature piece, and yet it sort of is -- at least partially.  My squares and rectangles are far from perfect....but that's okay.  I kind of like them that way.  

If I do this again, I think I might try adding the paint directly into the caulk and mixing it in before applying it to the piece.  Just a thought anyway.  Or perhaps diluting the caulk a bit and see what happens with that.  Or maybe applying the caulk with a paintbrush instead of a palette knife.

So anyway, that's what I did on this piece.  I kind of like this size and format, at least for the linear effect.  It's nice to play around with new ideas.  Where they might lead....I have no idea!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Seed Flower -- Layered Nature Piece

I'm so glad I have some new art to post.  I mean very, very glad, since I haven't been making much new art in a while.  This is a small piece, a 5x5 inch art squared piece.  For a long time, that was the main format size I worked on and I was very comfortable with that.  Then I chose to start working on larger formats, which I enjoyed also.  And I must admit, it's a bit hard to come back to this smaller size, but it's a good thing, IMO, not to get too attached to any one size or format.  You know -- keep your options open, right?

The base on this is frozen pizza cardboard (FPC), which I used so often in the past, but then lately worked more on chip board.  Well, I still have a great stash of FPC, and I'm glad I do.  It works quite well for smaller pieces.  I glued down some patterned sepia wallpaper from a sample book, and then etched random lines over it with a sharp awl, then rubbed over it with paste brown shoe polish.  Then I glued down some fine lace fabric over that, and rubbed it with the shoe polish.  Then I pulled a small textured fabric piece, from another sample book, and started fraying it to produce some nice fringe.  The threads were thick and great for some more texture, so I glued some down, then glued the fringe down.

On top of that I glued down the seed fronds from my yard.  For living in metro Denver, I'm happy to find great nature items in my yard.  One wouldn't necessarily expect that, living in a big city, but I do often find great items for art just in my own yard if I take the time to go looking for them.  I encourage you out there to try that too, and see what great finds are in your yards.   Then I sealed this with Acrylic Floor Finish (AFF) from the Family Dollar store, which gives a matte/satin finish, and flicked on Aztec Gold Pearl Ex while it was still wet. 

Then I raided my rusted found object stash for the rusted washer.  Oh my, I love my RFO stash for sure.  And also my stash of old vintage keys.  I think this rusted key is very cool.  I have no idea what kind of key it is or what it might open, but the small size was just right for this piece.  The seeds for the flower are squash seeds, which I always wash and save for my art.  The other seeds are smaller seeds from cantaloupe I think.  I pretty much save all seed for my art, never knowing when I'll want to use them.

I thought this piece was done at this point, but then I spotted a piece of netted fabric on my work table, and chose to add that at the very end.  I'm not sure if it helps or hinders the piece, because sometimes I don't know when to stop.  Then again, it adds more texture, a different kind of texture, so I think I'm glad I added that piece.  At any rate, I did, so it is what it is.

As with a lot of my art, I didn't plan this out at all.  The interesting thing to me is that this piece ended up being so layered, and yet I wasn't all that aware of layering while I was making it.  I was just playing around, adding this, adding that.  When I actually THINK about layering in my art, or plan it, then I get very nervous and choke up about it.  As in fearing how much to layer, and covering things up.  Whereas if it just happens innately, and comes natural as it did in this piece, without me thinking about it....I'm so much more okay with that.  It's like I don't realize how much layering I've done until the piece is finished, and then I stand back and think wow, did I do all that layering?  Ahhh, if making art could always be innate and natural,  just playing around and having fun and not THINKING about it.  Those times are when I enjoy making art the most!!!  Do you agree with your own art?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Am Woman (another funky artdoll)

I am woman, indeed!  It amuses me to view this piece of art I made a few years ago.  I seem to be in the mood to revisit some of my older art that was done before I started my blog, that has never been posted on it, and post it now.  Well, I admit that I haven't been posting nearly as often or consistently this year as I did last year.  In a way, I'm disappointed in myself for that, but in another way, I'm okay with that.  Life happens, it ebbs and flows, that's just the way it works.  I haven't been making a lot of new art lately, but would still like to post on my blog and keep it interesting.  Hence, for now, I'm posting some older art of mine.

Regarding this piece, I think it was one of my first ventures into using found objects in my art.  The frame was found at a yard sale, and was the kind that had no glass over the picture of flowers.  I liked that part, because I knew I could use it for art.  So I used some Paper Perfect by DecoArt painted over the picture.  It's very cool stuff, described as paint that creates the look of handmade paper.  It looks and feels like wet paper pulp in a jar.  I'm not sure if it's still manufactured or for sale, but I bought two jars at Joann's when they were on sale and being discontinued.  I still have them, and they are still good, the pulp is still moist.  That is rather surprising, and I should use them again before they dry up.  Anyway, I painted that over the picture for some interesting texture, then painted over that with acrylic paint.

The head is another painted papercast that I made.  For some reason, the expression looks rather angry and belligerent, which isn't the case with the actual mold.  I'm not sure at all why it came out looking that way, but it did.  Maybe it was the painting that gave it that look.  Or maybe gluing crystals into the eyes.  Then again, the stance, with hands on hips, adds to that impression.  It brings to my mind the anger of so-called "feminists" of the 70's, which was not my intent in this piece, but hey, I guess I'll go with that.  I find that rather comedic, and laugh about it.  This may have been a more conventional, attractive piece if I'd used an attractive face....but it is what it is.

I used rusted found objects (scavenged from my local truck stop parking lot) for the torso, arms, and legs.  And lace for the skirt, beads for the hands, and buttons for the feet.  That's a dangle earring on the front of the body.  Surrounding the woman (or rather artdoll) are pieces of a chain mail necklace and earring set found at a yard sale.  And last but not least is the poodle, Pierre, on the right lower side, a pin found in my vintage jewelry stash.  I used gold glitter glue around the edges of the picture.

I do love artdolls, and the idea of making them, but have made only a few so far.  But this theme is coming up for me lately, so perhaps my muse is trying to tell me something???  I really don't know.  I'm not always that clued in on what my muse is up to, ya know?  I guess only time will tell.  What I do know is that I love using found objects in my art, and that includes jewelry.  I have an interesting stash of old and not so old jewelry I haven't looked through in a while.  Who knows, that could be a start for inspiration.  Inspiration can be anywhere and everywhere, hiding or right out there in plain sight.  Here's to inspiration, any which way you can find it!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Funky Artdoll -- Puzzle Art

Oh my goodness, I almost forgot I made this.  I was browsing through my past art, and saw this piece, and decided to post it on my blog.  I made this over three years ago.  A fine lady and artist in our local art group was involved in an Puzzle RR, and her theme was Artdolls.  However, she had a few puzzle pieces left over and asked for volunteers to help her finish her puzzle.  So I jumped in and volunteered, although I'd never worked on a puzzle piece before, nor made an artdoll.  So all of this was new to me, but it presented a challenge I relished.

This is what I came up with.  The background was "grunge paper" we'd made in our art group at one of our meetings.  Totally love that grunge technic, which is in my labels on my blog.  The face on this was a paper cast I had made, and I just painted it and used crystals for the eyes.  The arms and legs were made from felt wrapped around a wooden skewer and zapped with a heat gun to melt it, as far as I can recall.  I'm a bit foggy on that technic.  I used beads from a dismanteled necklace for the hands, and rusted found objects for the torso and feet.

Gee, now that I've revisited this piece, I really like it.  Well, the idea of wild artdolls excites me, but I've only made three.  So maybe I should revisit that idea and theme???  Ahhhh, there are so many themes and choices out there for art -- it gets to be a bit overwhelming, does it not my dear artist friends?  Perhaps accidentally stumbling on this piece of art I made years ago can inspire me now to make another artdoll.  Well, God knows I could sure use some inspiration about now.  Who knows?  Will I act on this, or file it away for a future time?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this piece.  And if inspires you, or gives you some ideas, so much the better.  Perhaps sometimes visiting old art can be a good thing, a catalyst for renewal and new art.

Addendum:  Some people have asked about the size of this piece.  I don't still have this piece, because I made it for another artist.  So I'll have to guess about the size.  My guess is it's approximately 5-6 inches wide and 5-6 inches tall.  My particular piece to work on was more like a square, but of course not all the puzzle pieces were like that.  So, this was a large puzzle piece puzzle that was used for her Round Robin.  I'm not sure where these large puzzles can be purchased, but they're out there.  And probably also online.  And maybe at some thrift stores and yard sales.  I hope this helps.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Another piece of Nature Art

;Ahhh yes, another piece of nature art.  I love making nature art, and keep coming back to it often.  Why, I'm not totally sure....except that it's so, well, natural.  I think when I do nature art, I go into a different art zone, a free and easy art zone, with no pain or angst or planning.  It just kind of happens easily and spontaneously.  Beyond that, which is totally great, I can pick up nature items from my yard and use them in my art.  As in, gee, I don't have to make a run to Hobby Lobby or Joann's and buy something to use in my art.  Now, don't get me wrong -- I love buying art tools and supplies, when I'm in the mood to do so.  But I think I love even more using nature items, or natural items found outdoors, to use in my art.

I made this piece a few weeks ago.  I was in the mood to make art, but had no clue what I wanted to make.  So I took a stroll through my yard, and picked up the leaf and the seed items.  I don't know what to call them, but found them in my yard.  And thought great, I like these, I'm going to use them in my art.  Then I pulled out a piece of chip board, and got busy on this piece.

I also used fabric and threads that were on my work table, just because they were there.    I guess I made this piece because I wanted to make some art, felt the need to make some art, and for no other reason.  I had no plan, and wanted to keep it simple and easy.  I also chose to use a cool stencil I bought online, of various sized circles.  I just love that stencil, and I love using circles in my art.  I frosted over it with caulk, which I also love to use in my art.  It's so simple and easy to do that, and yet it creates great texture.  And I'm always about texture in my art.  Sometimes I think that's my main focus, above and beyond anything else.  I hope I don't overdo it, but I can't seem to help myself, when it comes to texture.

I mostly just glued various things down on this piece.  And the key  -- I love the key -- was a last minute thing -- I added it last.  I was on a vintage key quest for several months, wanting the old regular keys, the old unique flat keys, the old skeleton keys, and if they were rusted, the better.  So I bid on a number of ebay key lot auctions.  I learned that buying old key lots on ebay isn't cheap, and isn't easy to win.  I lost a lot of them, but also won a few of them.  And now, I have a fantastic stash of old vintage keys.  I mean now, I have over 100 of them, maybe over 200 of them, I lost count.  I've used them in my art before, on a number of pieces.  And then kind of forgot I had them, like duh!  So I remembered them when I made this piece, and chose to add one.

So anyway, this is what I ended up with, and I'm happy with it.  And I'm wondering, regarding art, what do YOU love making the most???  Do you have a special theme, dear to your heart, that you love making?  A theme you may keep coming back to, time and time again?  Do you love it when you make art spontaneously, with no real plan, or do you prefer to plan your art and stick to the plan?  And what is easier and more comfortable for you -- spontaneous art or planned art?  What kind of art causes you fear, pain, or angst, and what comes so naturally?  For me spontaneous unplanned art seems to come the easiest, and allow me the most enjoyment.  So what say all you artists out there?  Please chime in.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Citra-Solv Transfer Technic

These are some pages I made at my local book arts group meeting last Saturday.  Pretty cool eh?  Well I at least I think so.  We played around with this technic, which is new to me.  One of our members had tried it, and we loved the results she got, so she offered to teach it to the rest of us.  Regarding the technic itself, I don't know who first developed it or I'd give them credit.  Nor do I know how long this technic has been out there on the net, or in art books.  And of course, I'm not the first person who has put it on their blog.  I googled this technic, and found some others bloggers who've posted about it.  And chances are, other people have modified this technic in various ways, which often happens since artists are innately very creative people.

That being said, I'm thrilled with the results I got.  Here is what we did at our meeting.  We used National Geographic magazines, published within the past 10 years.  Not sure why that matters, but apparently it does.  We used large sponge brushes to spread the Citra-Solve over various pages in our NG mags.  The best pages to use are those with color pictures, and you have to spread the CS over both sides of the page.  Then we let the saturated mags sit for approximately 30 minutes.  The CS needs time to work its magic, but if left too long, the pages stick together.  After 30 minutes, we disassembled the mags to let each page dry.  Some people had to use a craft knife to cut their pages out, but all my pages pulled out very easily.  I don't know why that worked for me, perhaps I used more CS on my pages and it dissolved the glue holding the pages together.  

At our meeting, we did this technic outdoor on a table, because the smell of the CS is quite strong.  It has a powerful orange smell.  I had to leave the meeting early, so I brought my mag home intact and disassembled it on my picnic table on the patio.  I'm also lucky enough to have a clothesline in my yard, so I hung the pages up to dry, which took around 10 minutes.  Also, there are a number of Citra-Solv products, which are natural cleaning agents.  For this technic, you need to use the concentrated CS, which can be bought at natural food markets.  Apparently it's not available at regular grocery stores.  I'm not sure how much it costs, they have different size bottles.  I did go to the company website, and if you register, you can print a coupon for $1.00 off the product.

I don't know much about this technic, except for what we did at our meeting.  I think googling this might give you more information from different blogs.  Who knows, there might even be some youtube videos about it.  As for me, all I did was spread the CS on the color pages of my NG mag, wait a while, and then disassemble the mag, then hang the pages up to dry.  Obviously not a complicated technic, although rather messy with the disassembling part.

My take on this technic is that it's totally unpredictable and rather hit or miss, regarding how your pages will come out.  Some came out great, others were not great at all.  But hey, it's kind of cool regarding the serendipity of this technic.  Beyond that, it's not difficult or too time intensive or too expensive.  A bottle of CS should go a long way.

I'm wondering if any other product would work, or work in a different way???  Such as WD-40 perhaps, which I recently learned is non-toxic and made from -- get this -- fish oil!  As in, who knew?  Or perhaps Amor-All protectant?  I'm always game to try industrial products in my art, products purposed for a totally different purpose.  Hopefully when I have time, I can experiment with these other products.

So anyway, is anyone game in trying this technic?  Or modifying it or "altering" it, or whatever?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Solitary Leaf (another caulk-art piece)

As many of you may already know, I LOVE using caulk in my art.  And I must be on a caulk binge right now, which suits me just fine.  This is a special piece to me, one I'm very fond of, because I made it as a gift for a very special artist, person, and online friend,  Corinne Stubson, whom I admire a lot.  And I'm very happy with how this piece turned out.  The theme is a circle theme, one of my favorite themes for art, and one I keep going back to.

Normally, I explain how I make my art and the technics I use, and I so enjoy doing that.  However, I just spent 45 minutes typing up this post, then previewed it, then lost it.  It just disappeared.  Which made me want to tear my hair out.  So, I'm not going to redo all that again.  I've done other caulk circle pieces that I've explained, so if you're interested in this technic, you can find caulk and circles in my labels on the right side of my blog.  Those will pretty much explain my caulk technics.

Also, the leaf in this piece is a real leaf from a tree in my yard.  The dimensions of this piece are 5x7 inches, so it didn't take that long to make.  Enjoy.

Addendum:  I just remembered I explained how I made this piece on one of my yahoo groups,  the Collagecats group.  Here's the link to that group.  The number of the post that explains this piece is #56932, so if you're a member of that group you can read it there.  If you're not a member, you might want to join because it's a great altered art group.  There, now I feel better, having explained how I made this piece but just not on my blog.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Karma blog award

awarded to me by none other than the sweet person and great artist, Michi.  Here is her wonderful and artistic blog --  Please take a look, you'll be so glad you did.  She has also been published in a number of magazines  -- a dream for most of us.  Thank you so much for this award Michi.  I am honored and grateful.

The wording for this award is as follows . . .

The Karma Award: These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind of bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

Well, as I've been known to do at times, when time is at a premium, I'm changing the rules here.  Instead of passing on this award to eight artist bloggers, I choose to pass it on to three.  For those three, you can decide for yourselves how many to pass it on to.  Sorry, I hope no one is offended that I've changed or modified the rules.  I truly am grateful to receive this blog award.

And now I pass it on to these three artist bloggers, whom I think deserve it.  Please visit their blogs and see what they are up to, and view their singular art.

Betty Miller at

Christy at


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Caulk for texture blowout-- a circle abstract piece

Well, once again it's been too long since I posted some new art.  My blog seems to be getting away from me, which definitely bothers me.  Lately, my blog hits have dwindled significantly, which hurts a lot.  Then again, I have to keep reminding myself that my blog, although it's very important to me, is only one part of my life.  A big part yes....but only one part.    The same thing with making art.

I've been in a mini-slump lately, meaning I've worked on some art but not to the extent I wanted.  I've been in much worse slumps, so in comparison, this one hasn't been that bad or frustrating, or even guilt producing.  So....that being said, here is my latest work of art, started and completed yesterday.

Well, as I've written before, I do love using caulk as an art medium, especially for texture.  And since most of the time, I tend to put a lot of emphasis on texture, caulk is right up my alley.  I love it, because it works, it's easily accessible and available, and it's cheap and economical.  It can be bought an any home improvement store for just a few dollars.  It has also been available at Family Dollar stores for a buck for the kind of tube that needs a caulk gun.  That's where I've been buying it as long as they sell it there.  I hope they keep selling it there, but I've stocked up on it, just in case.

Referring to this art piece, I used a thick piece of chipboard for the base.  Well, a few months ago, I bought 75 pieces of this chipboard on ebay, and am so glad I did.  The price was great, the shipping was not so great, but the overall price was reasonable.  It works for me on this kind of piece, which is 8 1/2 x 11 inches.  I used a non-serrated vintage butter knife to spread the white acrylic caulk.  I tried to spread it fairly thin.  Then I used the knife to texturize it in a somewhat random way.  Then I used foam circle stamps, a larger one and a smaller one, to impress on the caulk and swirl it around and pull it up.  And also a drinking straw to make smaller circles, and  then a sharp awl to draw lines in it.  Once I was done with it, I was satisified.  So then I let it dry.

Then I painted it with coffee acrylic paint, and then rubbed over it with brown shoe polish.  I've done this many times before in my art, but not so much lately, since I've been more into using bold color.  After that, I used gold and coffee metallic paint diluted with water to roll down the piece in a random way, based on the texture.  And then painted it with Future Floor Finish (FFF) for a gloss effect, and used splattered copper and gold Pearl-Ex over that.  I wanted a random paint effect, which I think I achieved.

So anyway, this is the abstract texture piece I ended up with.  I like it a lot.  And it just reminds me how much I like using caulk, the poor man's molding paste.  I think, even if I could afford to spend money on the most artistic/expensive supplies and tools, I'd much prefer to use other things, cheaper things, for basically the same effect and result.   I'm a lot more about that approach, at least whenever I can be.  I love using things not purposed for art in my art.  I love pushing the envelope that way, and also saving money.  

But then again, I think there needs to be a balance regarding that.  Because some art supplies can't be easily substituted by something else.  However, as for me, I'm always game to try!!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

My first "killed catalog"

Oh my, it seems like it's been too long since I posted new art. Or even made new art. Well, as I've said before, at times, life and reality intervene, and so art gets relegated to the back burner for a while. That has been the case for me lately.

However, I'm happy to post this new work, which I made a few weeks ago. I started reading Maggie Grey's blog about killed catalogs, and it seemed very intriguing to me. So I thought I'd give it a try with a catalog I got in the mail. I mean using anything free as a base for art always attracts me, which is one reason why I've used frozen pizza cardboard (FPC) for years as a base for most of my art. However, before I started reading Maggie's blog, I'd never heard of "killed catalogs", and the whole concept was totally new to me.

Maggie's concept was to bury a catalog outdoors and let it disintegrate for a period of time. As for me, I wanted more instant results, so I changed things up a bit and took my own approach. First I soaked the catalog overnight in water, then put it on my picnic table on the patio the next day to dry out. It did dry out to some extent, but then an art buddy, Linda East, suggested I finish the drying process in my clothes dryer. I thought - what a great idea - so I tried that. First I put it in a mesh dryer bag, but it escaped the bag, and got somewhat mangled in the dryer. Luckily, it didn't leave a big mess in the dryer.

Then Linda suggested painting it with flour paste, and baking it in the oven. That sounded good to me, since I wanted to adhere it all together, and coat it with something, and hey, flour paste is cheap, right? So that worked out well. Then I painted it with a coat of white gesso. Then misted it with Memories Mists Strawberry Daiquri, and Mod Podged down some netted fabric , and then some yellow lace on top of that.

Then I frosted some caulk over parts of it and texturized that and let it dry. Then I rubbed paint over the caulk with my finger using burgundy and orange, then misted Memories Mists Mango Lemonade (a cool yellow color) over that.
I glued down some threads, burgundy twine and leaves, and frayed fabric strips. And then the orange circles, punched out of paint chip, and the yellow square paper clips, and the yellow plastic "9" in the bottom left corner. The "9" is rather hard to see on the scan. I did a scan on this, and the art piece was bigger than my scan surface, so I didn't get it all on there. I had to sacrifice the far right side, where I had glued down three orange circles and two square paper clips. So one circle and the two paper clips don't show.

I'm happy with how this turned out, although it doesn't look much like a killed catalog, a la Maggie Grey. Meaning it doesn't have much dimension, and ended up rather flat. But hey, this was my first try at this, and I mostly improvised on the spot. And gee, isn't that what making art is all about anyway? We can all start out with a plan, and then kind of get sidetracked into a direction our muse takes us, and end up with something much different than what we planned. So I guess I have to say that's kind of what happened here, but even so, I really like the end result.

I'd like to thank Maggie Grey for coming up with the idea of killed catalogs and posting about it on her blog. And for opening the door to something new and different, a new idea, a new technic. And I'd also like to thank my art buddy, Linda East, who came up with some great suggestions. Take a look at what she's done with her killed catalogs on her blog. I think they are totally great!

In closing, I'm so pleased to post some new art. I have another art project I'm working on, which is my first fabric book ever. It's a project in my local art group, and one that has taken me far too long to make progress on. It has been very slow going, one small step at a time. I think partly because I've never done a fabric book before, so I feel more than a bit intimidated and lost. I don't know how long it will take me to finish, there is no specific deadline, but I am determined to finish it. All in due time, whatever that means.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Beneath Rebel Skies

I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce my niece Shannyn to all of you.  She's 17 years old and will be a Junior in high school next year.  She's a voracious reader, loves to read and loves books, and also loves to write.  Her dream and goal is to become a writer, as in an author, or screenwriter, or journalist.  She's been writing for several years, and I believe she's very good at it.  I totally support her in her excellent writing, and helped her to start her own writing blog a week ago.  Here's the link to her blog Shannyn's Writing and I also have a link to it on my blog, just scroll down to find it on the right side.

Today I'm featuring part of a story Shannyn wrote in the 8th grade, or two years ago.  When I read it, I was so impressed, I wanted to put it on my blog for the rest of you to enjoy, and also to give Shannyn's excellent writing some exposure.  She's excited about her new blog and I hope she posts her writing on a current and consistent basis.  I keep reminding her that if she wants to make her dream come true, it will take hard work and dedication and self-discipline.  I believe she's up to the task.  I also believe she has the "gift" of writing, and has worked hard to develop her gift and her skills.  I'm very proud of her.  

Her story starts below.  Please enjoy and feel free to leave any comments you may have if you'd like to.  I'm sure that would thrill Shannyn.

Andersonville concentration camp, Georgia, 1863: Ice cold rain pours through the musty train cars, packed with hundreds of men, as cattle brought to the slaughter. I shiver, the soldier standing beside me has a hacking cough, can’t stop. He sounds awful, like an old man, yet he cannot be over fourteen. I myself am but sixteen, though I have seen more in my short life than most have seen in fifty years of living. The air is rank with the scent of sweat and blood. My nostrils fill with the smell, though it is not half as bad as some, it makes my stomach swim. The train comes to an abrupt stop, lurching forward and sighs as an old farmer after a hard days work. Shouts and orders can be heard. A lowly Johnny Reb yanks the door open, revealing his bearded face. “Get outta the train, you filthy yankee dogs!” His young voice penetrates the thick air, arousing all prisoners, soon to be granted their fate. The great mass of bodies moves as one, making its way out of the train.

Frozen hard ground gives way to a demonic black sky. Lightning strikes, not a mile away. Thunder gives his answer with a resounding crack, which penetrates the wind blown atmosphere. Rain drops hit my tanned skin, as rocks upon a valley floor. The formerly beautiful sound of pouring water fills the air, soaking all that inhabit South Carolina in its unforgiving vengeance. “All right, you maggots, form ranks and prepare to march!” It was the young soldier again, perhaps informing his prisoners that he intended to provide them with everything terrible and evil. The mass of bodies moves a second time, with me somewhere in the middle, smashed and forgotten amidst such numbers. The sky wreaks her havoc upon the war torn ground and its occupants as all stagger towards their God given fate.

Finally arrived at the prison; Johnny Rebs shove us through the gateway, and into the camp. I suppose I simply expected something more, perhaps tents or quarters; yet there was nothing of the sort. Instead, sparse weeds littered the ground, as bones upon and ancient battlefield. Pushing their prisoners through, the Rebels shout orders to each other and let us be for the time being. I, along with many other Yankees, fall to the mire in exhaustion.

I awake the next morning to yells and groans. Morning dew soaks the already muddy ground, making it virtually impossible to navigate, ensnaring many in its boggy grasp. Coughing and hacking prevail through all other sounds, so many of my fellow soldiers sick from wounds or disease, cursing them in battle. Still, no shelters have been erected, no nourishment provided, despite the drenching rain and howling wind. This storm is unceasing, as if God is displeased with all the liquid falls upon. I wrap my uniform closer about my body, hoping it will keep me warm from the elements. Some men attempt to start fires near the wall, despite the pigeons nests atop, with Rebs sticking their noses out, awaiting an excuse to shoot someone. Their attempts are hindered by the weather, yet they continue their effort.

I, too deeply desire warmth. I spot three men huddled together, so I join their group, hoping for warmth and companionship. “Dang Johnny Rebs, they wouln’t stick thay own soldas in this God fersakin place.” Willy complained. He was in my regiment, though I never much liked him. “Ah, shut up Willy, I’m tryin ta git some shut eye.” This man I didn’t know, he was mighty tall, I could tell that from looking at him. The third soldier didn’t make a sound, just sat there shivering, his dark eyes observing their gloomy surroundings, as a hawk on the hunt.

“Git up, yank, no time fer sleep at this hea place.” “Ohhh.” I groaned, he had kicked me in the ribs, as if I was a dog that needed discipline. “I said git up!” The Reb made a second attempt to injure me, bringing his foot back; I managed to dodge it. He cursed at me and sauntered off as I tried to adjust my eyes to the bright light. It had stormed for three days straight, never letting up. Yet today it was surprisingly hot. The bright sun hung in the sky, her eyes full and watchful as those below made their way about the earth. I wonder what she thought of our circumstance, if she cared or thought about us at all. Her gaze pierced the cloudless sky and shone upon my darkened skin. I saw the three men I had met two days before near the wall, constructing a lean to out of spare wood for reprieve from the sweltering heat. I moseyed over to them, hoping again for conversation.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

2nd Part of Big Reveal -- Heather's piece

I decided to post Heather Robinson's piece from our collaboration project on my blog. My piece, and my explanation of our project, are posted below. Heather sent me her beautiful background on stretched canvas. The colors were so yummy and soothing, it inspired me to do a nature theme on it.. I love doing nature themes. As you can see, our pieces ended up very different, but I think they are both beautiful. Our project was very successful.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Big Reveal of 2nd Collab Project

I'm so thrilled to be able to post this beautiful art work. This is my second collaboration project of this type. My dear friend Heather Robinson and I teamed up to put our hearts and minds together to create this piece. One I am in love with, I don't mind saying, and I'm so excited and grateful that it's MINE ALL MINE!!! This arrived in the mail last week, and I've been admiring it ever since.

The first picture is of the background I made on this 8x10 inch piece, done on thick piece of chipboard. Then I mailed it to Heather for her to work her artistic magic on it. And so she did, and I'm in awe of what she turned this piece into.  The second picture is what it looks like now.  I totally LOVE what she did, and the result of our heartfelt collaboration. She made her background on stretched canvas, and sent it to me, and I did my part on that and sent it back to her. From what she told me, she loves her piece too. We chose to synchronize our blog posts of "The Big Reveal", so you can click on her name above to see her piece, and what I did on that.

I'm happy to post the before and after pictures here of my piece. Because it shows how Heather transformed my background into a totally different work of art, by using what I did as a jumping off point. One that never would've happened or been created if we hadn't done this together, as a collaboration. And I did the same with her background. I was oh so excited when this arrived in the mail, and I could finally see how she chose to complete this piece. I kept wondering and guessing in my mind, but had no clue what she was doing on it. Once I opened it, I was in heaven, and at peace. Because this was perfect, and meant to be, and far exceeded any expectations I had.

I realized that she finished this piece in a way I never would have, meaning it never would've occurred to me to do what she did, not in a million years. Because we are two different and individual artists. One interesting and even surprising thing about this collab effort is that although Heather and I have the greatest respect for each other's art, we both admit that our art and art styles are very different, indeed almost opposite. She uses a lot of vintage images and text in her art, whereas I rarely do. My art style is more raw and unexpected and unconventional, and hers is more refined and elegant and generally conveys a message. Initially, this was a bit of a concern to us, that our art styles are so very different.

In the beginning, I think both of us, secretly and privately, felt like we had to reach for the "middle ground", and try to make art more like the other person's style. But over time, in a number of wonderfully honest  and vulnerable emails, we expressed our thoughts and feelings about this, and realized the goal was not to meet in the middle, or compromise our own art styles, but to make our own art in our own styles, and be true to ourselves. Once we established that and agreed, we felt freedom and excitement and anticipation at what the other would do on our backgrounds. That made it so much more interesting and exciting, knowing that our art styles were so different, but that we could still be true to ourselves.

Heather and I were online acquaintances and friendly before we embarked on this collab effort. But in the process of doing this, we became true friends and got to know each other much better, in a much deeper way. Our friendship grew and blossomed, because we shared our true thoughts and feelings about our art and ourselves and this whole process and collab effort. Now we have a wonderful and special friendship that we intend to maintain, that we both appreciate so much. And I don't think that would've happened if we hadn't embarked on this venture and adventure, and both said an unqualified YES to it, even though we both had some underlying fears and concerns.  I am just so grateful that Heather and I agreed to do this project. Grateful for the awesome, beautiful art piece I ended up with....but even more grateful for the friendship and connection we developed, which to me is the real prize!!! Thank you so very much dear Heather, for this awesome art piece, and even more so for your friendship.

I have to shout out to the world -- MISSION ACCOMPLISHED -- beyond my hopes or expectations, regarding this collab effort. And I also have to say that the same thing happened in my first collab effort, with Mary Schweitzer. Click on her name to see my finished piece from her. Mary and I also became friends as a result of our collab effort. Gee, it's funny how that happens. No, not really. I think it's the extra bonus, the special gift, of doing this kind of cooperative venture and adventure with another artist.

So as you might expect or understand, I'm very big on doing the collab thing right now. It's rather a life changing experience, as a person and artist. At least it has been for me and for Heather, as she told me that. I see it as the next step of my art journey, and life journey. And it's not like I sat around and thought about it, about doing collab projects, before the idea came to me last summer. Because it just popped into my head, out of nowhere, totally unexpected. And I just went with it, and invited Mary and Heather to jump in and go with it too. I simply did it on impulse, and am so happy and grateful I did and they did. (Because sometimes when I do things on impulse, well the outcome isn't so great, LOL.)

For those of you artists out there reading this, I totally encourage you to jump in and do a similar collab effort, for the first time. At least try it once, but most likely if you do, you'll want to do more than one. (I've got two more going right now.) I am very fortunate to have a local art group here in Denver metro that meets once a month, and I totally love it. But many of you don't have that. And so I know, you make your art alone at home. Yes, you may belong to great yahoo groups and visit blogs, and know a lot of artists online as acquaintances, but when it comes to online art friendships, and really connecting with other artists, do you have that? Well if so, that's wonderful. If not, and you'd like to have that, then you might need to reach out and take the initiative, and propose a collab effort with another artist. The most likely by-product of that will be friendship and a beautiful piece of art.  And gee, if they should turn you down for whatever reason, that's okay.  Just know there are other artists out there who would love to do this and would say YES!

I don't know, maybe I'm trying to start a movement here. My muse hasn't confessed to me if that's what she's up to or not. I just know doing a collab effort is a very special thing, with so many positive benefits. It's a challenge, a growth experience, a cooperative experience -- that isn't available doing art alone. It's a totally different experience, and a positive step forward in my opinion, in the art journey. It requires trust, cooperation, communication, vulnerability....all things that build friendship.  All things that may not be easy, but the rewards make it totally worth it, in my opinion.

Well, I hope I didn't go on too long here, but this means a lot to me. Not only in my own collab efforts and experiences, but in my hope that YOU out there will try this also, and reap the wonderful rewards and benefits I have. So yes, I'm trying to start a Collab Movement here.   I'm wondering, what is the next step in this MOVEMENT?  Perhaps the sky is the limit.