Saturday, July 22, 2017

Midpoint

July is the midpoint of the year and I find myself looking back - in fact, I've been doing a lot of that lately..but I'll save that for another post. Right now though I find myself at a place of contentment within this year. It's had some pretty rough spots, but it has also held some places of growth and healing, and of trying new things.


I have been on a journey over the past 6-7 years to find ways to use my voice. It has felt like a deep calling from God. Art, photography, and this blog have all been ways that have enabled me to, both find and use my voice. Last week I tried using my voice in a completely new way: I preached!

I have used my voice in different small ways before in our Sunday service - leading the service, doing an announcement, even partnering with my pastor a few times when we have talked about being missional or about outreach. But this was the first time that I took a passage of Scripture and preached a full message from it. You can hear it on our church website by clicking on the picture below:




Again, in a future post, I'll write more about the journey behind the message I preached. For now I just want to touch on the experience of it. I found myself amazingly calm and at home in the midst of speaking, which totally shocks me looking back at it. I was quite nervous in the time leading up to it. I love digging into Bible study and contribute from my studying on a team at our church which  collaborates to help form our Sunday messages and service. But taking what I have studied and turning it into a 30 minute message - that made me nervous! Being vulnerable and sharing parts of myself live and in-person in front of a bunch of people - that made me nervous! Yet I also experienced growth in the midst of it. And I think, in some way I haven't totally figured out yet, it was another step in my journey to becoming whole - my word for this year.

I shared a quote in my message from this summer's Grace Table Book Club book, Rhythm's of Rest by Shelly Miller. I find I keep coming back to this quote. It is ruminating in my soul. Especially when I combine it with a quote from a message my pastor preached from Galatians 5:16-21 earlier this summer. He said:
"There are these pockets of resistance within us that we continually struggle against." ~Doug Rumschlag


Shelly Miller writes mostly about practicing Sabbath. I find that God has so much for my whole being in the topic of Sabbath and rest. You can learn more about Shelly, her book, and Sabbath on her blog www.shellymillerwriter.com

While I'm sending you to read blogs I'd also like to send you to Kris Camealy's recent blog post, "When It's a Slow Transfiguration"I really resonated a great deal with what Kris' wrote in it.

On the art front, today I completed my final Rolodex scrap collage card for the 100 Day Project. While the project officially ended on the 12th, I'm okay with getting done late because IT'S DONE! It was a good challenge. It challenged me to work small, to use up scraps of paper and ephemera, and to get creative almost every day. I ended it with a favorite quote from Dr. Seuss. I like to end my travel journals with this quote, and believe me, this 100 day project has been a journey!



For the last seven weeks of the 100 Day Project I combined it with the ICAD (Index-Card-A-Day) challenge, using many of their prompts. The ICAD challenge doesn't end for another nine days. I'm feeling the itch to move on to other projects, but I may keep going and finish this one since I'm so close to the end. I have posted my 100 Day Project and ICAD cards on Instagram. (Link in the right hand sidebar.)

I feel somewhat caught up now. :)

I'll be back sometime this week with more on my journey and some thoughts on Commonplace books. I recently read a blog post about them and it reminded me how much I have loved this practice in the past.

So, how are you doing midpoint in the year?

Friday, June 30, 2017

Meandering 6.30.2017

"Meandering: adjective; the act of following a winding or indirect course. 
Ramble, roam, zigzag, circuitous. A blog post about a variety of things; 
a little bit of this and a little bit of that."

It's been a while. I have these aspirations about being a regular blogger, putting up posts at least twice a week. The reality is I barely make it happen twice a month! But, I really enjoy blogging so for now I'll post when I can and keep striving for my personal goal of posting more often.



I am on day 78 of the 100 Day Project. My creative practice of choice for this project was to make collages from scraps on Rolodex cards. I combined this project with the Index-Card-A-Day (ICAD) project which began on June 1st, since Rolodex cards are included as index cards. The difference between the two projects is the 100 Day Project is totally self-led, while the ICAD project provides daily prompts. Some days I use the prompt and some days I don't. You can see all of my Rolodex art cards on Instagram (link in the sidebar on the right).


My Rolodex is filling up nicely. :)


Ever since I began this venture into making art with paper I have been drawn to collage. Lately I have been drawn to botanical collage pieces. I have come across a few collage artists whose botanical themed pieces just blow me away. One in particular, Julie Hamilton, paints her own papers to use in her collage art. I'm a sucker for painted paper!

Julie Hamilton Creative - papercut art
From www.juliehamiltoncreative.com

A few other collage artists I admire for their botanical collage work are: Tiffany Calder Kingston and Jacgui Grace. Click their names and you will visit their websites.

So a few weeks ago, inspired by these artists, I painted some papers. I love to use the bookend papers from the books I take a part. This paper in older books has a great weight to it and I love how the color ages over time. With the painted papers I tried my hand at some botanical collage.






I even found myself wanting to bring home ferns and leaves from my walks in order to trace them for collage! But I didn't go that far. I used some of my stencils and used drawings from plant books to make templates. Then I used some of the painted papers to make a color wheel for my first page for the Get Messy Season of Color.




It's fun to try new techniques with art and I love combining them with my love of nature!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Faith & Creativity: Guest Post at Newly Creative



My friend, Bernice Hopper, is doing a series this month about faith and creativity. You can find her original post describing her thoughts behind the series HERE. Bernice wanted to explore whether or not art is "Christian" if it does or does not include overtly Christian images, OR is it "Christian" simply because the artist is a Christian.

So far she has had guest posts from Susan Mulder and Valerie Sjodin. Today is my guest post where I share my views on my faith and how it impacts my creativity and art. I hope you'll pop over and read my post HERE on her blog Newly Creative. While you are there read the rest of the posts or clink on the links above in this post.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Circles and Walls

In my last post I mentioned that I was taking a class by Tammy Garcia at Daisy Yellow Art that was introducing me to new products and techniques. I have loved painting with my fingers ever since I started painting circles (see post here and tutorial here). So when Tammy introduced her technique called The Wall, and she did it with her fingers, I was hooked! I thought I would share a few insights and tips on the pages I made from this technique. I didn't plan on doing this post so I didn't take pictures along the way. I also will not share many details of the actual Wall technique in order to not infringe on Tammy's class material.

This was my first attempt at The Wall technique:


I loved the grungy look that resulted from the technique, but I don't think I used enough paint on this one. In figuring out the differences between the heavy body acrylic paint I was introduced to in this class, and the craft acrylic paints I usually use, the opacity of the heavy body acrylic requires using it a bit more and in layers to achieve the look I want. I tend to like the text of my background paper to peak through the paint. I usually get this effect by painting the paper with gesso before I paint it with color. However, it was recommended in the class that for these techniques that we NOT use gesso. At some point, though, I will experiment with gesso and the heavy body acrylic paints.

The next session added circles on top of The Wall technique. Now, if you have followed me for a while then you know how much I like circles. They pop up often on  my art journal pages, often without any forethought or planning. So, I was all about this project!

As I played I decided to put my own twist on the project - also no big surprise for me! But I think that is the beauty of taking classes or using tutorials - we learn new techniques and then add our own unique styles to them, rather then making cookie cutter copies of the artist's original. In the class we are using an altered book art journal for our class projects. I decided to do this piece on a loose piece of paper. One of my favorite types of paper to use to make background pages for my art journals is index pages from older atlases.


There a few reasons why I like this particular paper:

  • It's large - anywhere from 9x12" up to 12x16".
  • It's heavyweight, especially those from the older books. The weight of the paper holds multiple layers of paint well. And I enjoy building on layers of paint to achieve the types of backgrounds I enjoy.
  • The text is tiny, like in a dictionary, but dictionary paper is usually fairly thin. Tiny text makes for a wonderful subtle background. 
  • The older books generally used a cream paper, which ages to a nice tan-ish patina, while newer atlases use a brighter white paper. I'm sure it doesn't really matter too much what color the background paper is since I cover most of it with paint, but in my mind I think that the whiter paper affects the paint color. I'll have to test that theory at some point. Besides, I just like the patina of aged things!

I played for a long time, layering the paint, until I achieved the look I wanted. Then I tore the finished Wall page into strips and glued them slightly out-of-line onto a page in my class art journal. Although it's subtle, I like the effect of the torn, out-of-line strips on the background. I then added my circles using my favorite types of vintage ephemera, and used both a black Stabilo-All pencil and a black Neo-Colors II watercolor crayon to get the shading around the circles. The finishing touch was spattering paint in black and white.



I was quite happy with the results, and for a change, I didn't add any words to this page. I think words would actually take away from it rather than enhance it.

I had enough of the Wall paper leftover to make a background page in my Traveler's Notebook.




As always, you can find packs of ephemera papers in my Etsy shop. I may even create packs of vintage index pages since I have SO many atlases! Give me your thoughts on that in the comments below.

Thank you to my friend, Diane Kundrat, for encouraging me to write about some of my techniques and tips on my blog. Diane lives in Arizona and we have been online friends for 5-6 years as a result of my blog. A few weeks ago we finally got to meet in person in Cleveland where we spent an afternoon art supply shopping together!



Monday, May 8, 2017

Creative Brainstorming


It's been said that creativity is like a muscle, the more you use it the more it improves. I continually join different classes and groups to keep my creative muscle in use and improving. Recently I joined two groups led by artists who have different styles and use different art mediums than the ones I usually lean toward. It's good to stretch my creativity out of its comfort zone and experiment with new products. 

I joined Tammy Garcia of Yellow Daisy Art to give heavy body acrylic paints a try. Her class, Groovy Grunge, is also stretching me to try new techniques and a different style. The class uses an altered book journal, which is one of my favorite types of journals. My first few pages from the class:





Some observations from the class so far: I love using the heavy body acrylics. They are thicker than the craft acrylic paints I'm used to. They are more transparent also, so more of the background shows through. There are also not as many colors to choose from so I'm getting some lessons in blending colors as well. I am following Tammy's lead and using my fingers more than a paint brush, which is always a favorite with me! I tried some writing using a paint brush and I think it needs a lot more practice.


I am keeping up (kind of) with The 100 Day Project making scrap collage on 3x5 Rolodex cards.The smaller size challenges me to get creative with a limited amount of items and words! Today is day 35 and I am through day 32. 









The other group I joined is an online art community led by Roben-Marie Smith. She offers different challenges and prompts and a place for art journalers to connect with each other. I have not done much with the prompts yet.


And finally, the first page in a new Traveler's Notebook insert. My sister and I introduced our littles to how to go to a different town and have a day of exploration and adventure. Great fun!


Are you keeping your creative muscles flexed and in use?








Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The 100 Day Project ~ the Beginning

It's been said that it takes 21 days to create a habit and 90 days to create a lifestyle. The 21/90 rule. I have been trying to use this mindset to create a lifestyle of health. When I learned about The 100 Day Project, I thought it might be a good way to encourage my daily art practice. And a lifestyle of art, while not quite as important as a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise, is healthy for my emotional outlook!


So I chose to make mini collages from the scraps in my scrap box. When I think about what my favorite art medium is collage tends to come to mind immediately. Yet, I don't do it that often. So this project will stretch me to do so on a daily basis. Making them on a smaller scale is also getting me back into my Rolodex art journal. We were encouraged to make our own unique hashtag for the project. Mine is #100daysofscrapcollage.

Days 1 - 14:














2 weeks down! Let's see how I do on the long haul, :)