Thursday, November 26, 2009

It's a Great and Grateful Day

Happy Thanksgiving to you and me, dear readers.

I am so very blessed to have you in my who stop by and visit to see what's up, who have been so loyal and giving with your time in the past, the present and the future.

I saved this Harvest 4x6 card to show today because it kind of signifies my art and life. First the center image was printed when my magenta ink was too low, so I took the opportunity to color it with my markers. My life is all about making lemonade out of lemons, and my art is likewise imperfectly blessed.

The card is layered with scrapbook paper, die cuts and shaped with deco scissors, three examples of the sort-of-less-than-respectable tools in mixed media art that often are my staples. The elements are not chosen specifically for the art; rather, they are scraps that challenge me to make art out of them, something I do 90% of the time with so many leftover supplies. Finally there's a gorgeous texture (that you can see in real life if not on screen) of the cranberry doily cut-out that is distress spray-inked, that is also something I love to add to my art.

I have now been faithful in my low carb dieting for one week and have lost 8 pounds, which makes me happy and motivated to continue. My arthritis pain is still there in my hip as a constant reminder. But I've been *going rogue* with it, refusing to let it get to me and using it as a motivation to eat right and move, stretch and posturize constantly to cope with it. The flu is long gone now, praise be, and my energy levels are back to normal. I have been focussing on getting plenty of rest, fluids and non-drama daily life, not sweating the small stuff.

One important thing that's helped me do this successfully has been making my art. The other important thing has been staying in touch with my loved ones more than normal, even our Reggie dog, who has happily lapped up more attention and treats. But as for my arting, when my pain has been at its worst, I've been creating, creating, creating. It has been a wonderful therapy for me to escape into. I always say art is my therapy, and that has never been more true.

Now, on to what I promised...A Dozen Augusts. Have you ever looked through Traci Bautista's book Collage Unleashed? I highly, highly recommend it as a reference and lab experiment book in mixed media. I am in a yahoo group of the same name that I think Traci started and still ever occasionally pops in to post a message to. There are so many fun, funky and messy techniques in the book, and it naturally lends itself to loyal fans, some of whom are members of my group. (More later on about a member who makes the most gorgeous stamped and painted backgrounds on deli paper and who inspired me to buy a huge box of deli paper sheets from my local Sams's a 2010 project for sure).

Anyway, the CU group had a calendar swap I participated in. We each took a month and made 12-8"x10" calendars using one or more techniques in the book. Well, you guessed it. My month was August, hence *A Dozen Augusts*. While I printed out and adhered the same exact calendar grid on each page, I colored and collaged each page differently. I tried to use specific techniques of Traci's, and I did sometimes, but all in all I'd have to say that I turned to the book often for inspiration to go my own way a bit. You who know me know that is very normal, hehe.

So, here we go. I'm going to show you all twelve of my August pages as small images that you can click on to get a larger view. I hope you do, because I put a lot of depth and texture you won't see otherwise. I'll just show all of them and then discuss a little afterwards:

I didn't record exactly what I did on what page, but each page was started with a base color of either acrylic paint, watersoluble oil pastels or watercolor, and sometimes a combination. Then, stamping with foam and rubber/clear stamps using acrylics and/or ink. Then the final layers of collage, stencilling, illustration, or doodling. I used gel pens, markers, colored pencils, whatever I felt like.

I had a collection of ancient Urban Lilly flower embellies that I'd decided to use (because you know that my art is always defined by what supplies I've decided to try to use up), so that became my motif, but I also tried my hand at drawing one of Traci's signature Glam Girl faces (not on these, but on one of the cover pages that I also made...those I will show in a later post) and one of her doodle flowers. I'm very proud of having overcome my nervousness and inner critic to just go for it.

I also enjoyed using one of my new Coffee Brak stencils I'd ordered from Ginny's Small Studio Emporium. I'd taken the time to coat each side of the stencil with Diamond Glaze prior to using and I am so glad I did. The stencil is made of oil board and I used to have an oil board stencil years ago. It lasted a while, but eventually broke down from repeatedly soaking up paint along the inner edges, and so far I think that the Diamond Glaze will prolong the lives of my stencils. Coating both sides makes it lay flat and not warp, and the wet media does not soak in one bit. It's like it makes it waterproof, which was my objective.

So, anyway, what is your favorite page? I have to confess, I cannot answer that for myself. I have too many wonderful memories of creating each page, so they are all special to me. I'm as equally proud of my stencilling as I am of my drawing as I am of my collage layouting as I am of my stamping, etc etc etc. All I know is, getting inspiration from Traci's book and then attempting my own lab experiments was a wonderfully freeing and creative endeavor, and my only complaint was that it's so dang messy. But everything has a downside and I'm a little anal about mess, anyway. If you are looking for a book to help you break free and just be funky in your art, this book is it. I only cracked the surface of techniques offered. I could probably do 12 of each month and not do them all.

I hope everyone has a great and grateful Thanksgiving, and if you are doing the traditional Black Friday crowd crunching, please be safe and try not to spend what you don't have!   ~~ xoxo
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