Monday, March 31, 2008

My first official "inchies"!!!

I couldn't resist a small swap of inchies with this color theme.  I've been attracted to these little squares since they first started coming out in popularity.  Something about the size and how they look together in a grid-like format.  I  have often used 1-inch squares in artwork but these are my first made to trade.  Anyway, these are fused bases with TLS using paper scraps, skeleton leaves, punched leaves, vintage tatting and lace, chiffon, onion skins, fabric, and  bits of a vintage tape measure.  Once cut up into pieces, every square is completely different except for the identical charm on each.  They feel cool too!


I think it's time for another give-away!  This one will have a short sign-up time.  I will draw the winner on Thursday.  For this give-away, I am offering a small journal put out by Basic Grey.  They make all the cool papers!  This journal is 6 x 6-1/2 inches.  Isn't it cute!  It is brand new and goes to the lucky person who happens to have their name drawn on Thursday morning.  All you have to do is leave me a comment!  Please make sure you leave a way for me to contact you if you do not have a blog, ok?

The Best Part of my Day

There is a new group on the web :
They offer weekly catalyst for art and journaling.  I decided to participate this week.  The catalyst is "the best part of my day" and yesterday, I had already drawn out these leaves to paint and realized that receiving this single leaf (drawn twice) was the best part of my day.  You see, Max has had a stomach virus all weekend so having a sick kid well, it sucks.  Then, to top it off,  at about 10:00 in the morning with us home and neighbors milling about outside, some guy just walked right up my driveway and took Max's bike from under the carport!  Only those who know the miles Max puts on that bike daily can imagine how devastating this is for a 6 year-old-boy.  After 20 minutes of hysterical crying, he was pacing around outside completely distraught when he walked up to me and handed me this leaf.  I knew immediately I would add it to my watercolor journal.  This is what I wrote:

Max is my little guy who seems to never stop moving.  This morning, his most prized possession, his bike, was stolen.  He's very upset to say the least.  Yet, my distraught little guy still notices the little things, even in the midst of his sobbing fits outside.  He finds this beautiful leaf, picks it up, and brings it to me.  "Here mommy, I got this for you."  Max may appear to never cease motion but he's never too busy moving too fast to stop and notice the little things.  My son knows me well and allowed me to share in the beauty of noticing.

Geez while typing this out, I noticed spelling errors on my page... oh well... (chanting: there's beauty in imperfection, there's beauty in imperfection....)

This leaf represents so much about Max and his relationship with me.  He knows that I love nature and am constantly noticing and pointing out the little things.  They excite me.  Max is like this too.  He's the visual guy who notices everything.  He's the one who is always bringing me the dead bee.... well, actually he finds them and then comes to get me to pick them up for my collection (he's afraid of them, even dead).  He's the one who picks tiny flowers for me.  Max, the one who often has me ripping at my hair in exasperation, knows how to make my heart sing.  There is nothing better than being known by someone.  This leaf , given to me by a 6 year-old boy, tells me I am known and loved.  That is why this little thing that was laying on the ground so insignificant, has become profoundly significant and was the best part of my day.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

My first Sketch Crawl!

And my first time at the Desert Botanical Gardens, though certainly not my last!  Fran and I already have planned to go again next week!  If you are in this area, you must visit this place!  It captures all the beauty of the desert in one place.  I wanted to move there!  Or have all that gorgeous landscape in my yard!   

Fran picked me up about 8:20.  We met the other Sketch Crawl participants at 9:00 and by the time we settled down for our first sketch, it was probably 9:30.  The weather was PERFECT!  We quickly found out how slow I paint compared to Fran!  She did two to my one!  Oh well... because I see and think in details, doing sketches where I don't detail everything is a stretch for me and a good exercise but I can't seem to do it quick regardless.  My first sketch is a plant that looks sorta' like a tree in a Dr. Seuss book!  It's a type of aloe from Africa and grows tall like a tree.  It has the most gorgeous 'bark', if you can call it that!
We had planned to meet everyone for lunch at 11:30 so we really only sketched for 2 hours and I only got two sketches done!  But I took a ton of photos!  I'm sharing some of my favorites of the plants as well as a couple of critters!  :)  We went to the Butterfly exhibit after lunch and decided that we need to do that first thing next time before it gets so crowded.  And, by the time we left, it was hot!  I hope you enjoy the photos and get a bit of a glimpse into our amazing day!


On the home front, Max has a stomach virus and I'm hoping he'll be well tomorrow and that Sam won't get it... or anyone else, for that matter!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Finally some art time!

There just can't possibly be a drug that is better than having art time!  This has been a crazy, busy week of catch up after getting the boys back in school from spring break!  I finally got to do some art today!  I created a piece for Collage Mania hosted by Virginia Speigel to raise money for cancer research.  Read more about it here:
The preview for the collage pieces starts April 28 and the auction for the fundraiser is May 5 and 6,  so head over and see what it's all about!  I donated fiber postcards to Fiberart for a Cause last year with Virginia.  This year, it's a collage which I finally did today and just in time cuz I have to go get boys in about 45 minutes!  
I created in my Asian theme again... such a love of mine.  This piece is dimensional.  The foundation of the piece is an 8x10 canvas board with vintage asian text collaged with used red tea bags and then hit with some acrylics.  I then added the two bamboo pieces.  The mini-collages were done on mat board with TLS fused pieces of fabric, paper, and leaves on wallpaper.  Once these were collaged to the mat board, I added sheer fabrics and embellished with the asian coins and embroidery floss.  They were then glued onto the bamboo strips.  I love this piece, especially the colors... all my most favorites!  I titled the piece "Asian Fall".
Tomorrow, Fran and I are attending the Phoenix Sketchcrawl being held at the Desert Botanical Gardens!  I'm so excited!  I haven't seen Fran this week... actually, it's been almost 2 weeks and feels like a year!  It looks like we'll have really nice weather so what can be better than spending the day with your best friend, outside on a gorgeous day, sketching, at a garden!?!

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Using a random number generator, comment number 5 is the winner of the drawing.  That means JAYNE is the winner!  Congratulations Jayne!  And for the rest of you, thank you so much for visiting my blog to play.  I will be hosting another drawing soon!  This is fun to do!  IN the meantime, I will be creating these type of collage packages for purchase in my etsy store soon so if you really would love one, keep checking in there!  I'm in the process of removing pages from all my cool books right now!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Touchin' base

Well, I spent a lot of time the past couple of days packaging things for my etsy store, listing them, and gutting books to create collage packages from the pages.  I spent a couple of hours untangling fibers and winding them onto cards!  

Speaking of collage packages, the package I am giving away will be on it's way to the winner of my give-away tomorrow!  I have it ready to mail minus the mailing address so tomorrow morning, I'll draw the winning name!  If you haven't entered yet, it's not too late... yet...

I'm totally not ready for Easter yet.  I need to get movin' fast!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

watercolor journaling

Today in my Women's Bible Study class, I introduced watercolor journaling.  I used an instructional DVD put out by Christina Lopp and Gay Kraeger.  You can learn more about them here:
They have the most wonderful DVD that makes illustrated watercolor journaling so simple!  I showed two segments of it today to the women and everyone loved it.  We all went outside and grabbed something that caught our eye to paint.  I only had time to do one page today and finish one I started last week and the Prayer Garden.  We will be continuing the watercolor journaling process over the next couple of weeks.  If you have ever wanted to learn how to do this, you MUST get Christina and Gay's DVD.. you will not regret it.  And a really nice thing about the DVD is that it's broken down into segments so you can jump around to watch a certain thing over and over or anything you really want to see.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The boys get-away

Here's a couple of quick photos of my guys on their adventure to Tucson this past Friday!  Sam's eyes are so light sensitive they were closed in the photo so I had to add the picture of him on the plane.  I love this one of him since it shows his gorgeous eyes.  Anyway, they had a great time but they both said their favorite thing was getting to go to a guitar store in Tucson!  See, the pilot friend, Dave, not only pilots a private jet but he has a massive guitar collection with a guitar room in his house!  So getting to go to a guitar store with Dave... well... it must've been pretty special cuz my boys sure were impressed!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Time for a Give Away!!!

After the success of the give away last month,  I thought it was time for another one!  For this give away, I will be giving a collage pack for all those collage projects!  This package will include 5 pages of each of the following:
1958 Typing book (these missed getting photographed! sorry!)
1914 Hebrew Dictionary
German (no year)
Vintage Spanish (no year)
1930 Arithmatic
1961 Italian/Englis
Arabic (no date)
Swedish (no date)
1985 French
1907 Shakespeare
1960 Dutch
1958 Asian (larger pages)
1980 Asian (small pages)
vintage Hebrew (can't read the date)
If you would like to be entered in the drawing to win this text collage pack, all you need to do is leave me a comment!  I will draw a name next Saturday so, one week from today!!!  Ready, set.... GO!


Friday, March 14, 2008

New Etsy listings

As you can see, I have updated my Etsy store and spent the majority of my quiet day uploading more items!  Please take a look!

Design Team!!!

I have been selected to be on the new Design Team for Hanna Grey!  For those of you who aren't familiar with Hanna Grey, you are in for a treat for supplies to create with!  You must visit their site!

I'm very honored and excited to have been chosen and look forward to the challenge of creating with the cool things they send me to play with!

And many thanks for all the wonderful, positive comments you guys have left me about my big painting!  They mean so much!

I'm thinkin' it's time for a give away!  I'm brewing up ideas..... I'll post the give away in the next day or so.

My boys got the coolest opportunity today!  We have a friend who pilots the private jet for Shamrock foods.  He called my hubby yesterday and invited him and our boys to fly with him down to Tucson to drop off the plane for service.  The afternoon will be hanging out in Tucson and then they'll drive home in a rental car!  Today was the last day of school before spring break and Max's class was going to the zoo today so he was officially already missing school anyway.  Sam's teacher said he was good to go so the boys just left with Chuck for their adventure that they are completely in the dark about!  Chuck wanted to surprise them so they have no idea where they are heading right now!  I'd love to see their faces when they get to the airport and get to walk out on the runway to board this small plane!  It's so amazing to fly in because you can watch the pilot working and get to see out the front window of the plane... the pilot's view!  It's so fun!  I can't wait to hear about their day.  In the meantime, I'm home alone!  Hallelujah!!!!!!!  I can't decide what to do first but getting out of my pajamas is not one of them!  ;)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"It is finished"

Well, it is!  I have finished my enormous canvas!    While it is far from perfect, I'm very pleased with it.  Now it is time to give a recap of my theme as well as the meaning behind chosen elements.

My theme consisted of three different elements when given to me:
"Give us this day our daily bread"
"I thirst"
Christ's sacrifice
and I was given the 3x3 ft. canvas.  I am one of five artists creating these same size pieces to be used as part of our Good Friday service, Easter Sunday, and then the following week, a 24/7 week of prayer.

I prayed about the theme for a few weeks and this is the vision God gave me... EXACTLY! I have never worked without photos or live models, so to speak so this was a first coming completely out of my head.  I was taken back at how exact the piece turned out compared to what was in my head!

The entire canvas was collaged first with calendar pages which, for the most part, got completely covered up with paint.  However, their texture gave shape to the background.  The sunrise, obviously, represents "daily".  Something I learned through this was that this line of the Lord's prayer means more than food to eat on a daily basis.  But Jesus says "I am the bread of life".  When taking communion, the bread represents the body of Jesus so I began to see that "daily bread" means Jesus himself.  Jesus is life!

I painted the woman in the desert not because I live in it but because it represents a place of thirst.  Also, Biblically, it was almost always in the desert that people went to meet with God and hear him.  Even Jesus most often 'retreated to the desert' when he needed quiet time with God.

The Sajuaro cactus in the foreground represents the cross of Jesus.  I put the cactus blooms on the top representing his crown.  There are two other Sajuaro cactus in the background of the painting representing the crosses of the two thieves crucified with Jesus.  The cactus is also a symbol of suffering.

In the up-stretched hands of the woman, I wanted to created a reach of desperation, which I hope really shows in her arms and cupped hands.

The blood into water... well, this part is what, in my opinion, gives the power to the piece.  It caught me by surprise when I added the tar gel to the canvas and then stepped back and looked at it.  I was moved to tears immediately.  The reaction words from my mouth were "It is finished"... which is now the title of the piece.  It seemed fitting in so many ways.  The blood represents the sacrifice of Jesus.  "It is finished" were the last words Jesus said before he died.  It is in blood that there is life and power.  Jesus also said "I am the living water" which is why the blood turns to water as it drips into the woman's hands.  Another thing is that when Jesus was pierced in his side, water mixed with blood ran out.  Medically, from what I have heard, this phenomenon is not normal and only occurs when the heart is "broken".

Truthfully, there is so much going on in this painting, I feel that I've barely scratched the surface.

Something on a funny note though... looking at the painting, a couple of old hymns case to my mind from my "southern Baptist" days of childhood.  Mind you, my family is from the south so hearing these songs in my head with a southern twang make me giggle.  This is what one would sound like should you pronounce the words as I'm spelling them:
Thar's pair in thu blud, pair in thu blud.... You have to say "power" just like pair but almost like two syllables but not quite!  LOL!

Another hymn that came to mind was:
What can wash away my sin?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.  Oh, precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow.  No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.

I hadn't thought of these songs in many year but they came back to me seeing this piece of artwork.

and so.... It is Finished!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Hands reworked... AGAIN!

Well, another three hours were spent on these hands today after the advise from a fellow artist that I needed to "warm them up".  I do not have the energy to do another thing to them nor the time with my deadline being this week so these are what they are.  I still have a couple of things to do to finish the piece completely but I see light at the end of the tunnel!  Fran, thank you for holding my hand through this process today!  :)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Big painting update

Well, I had requests to continue posting "work in progress" photos of my big canvas so here's the latest.  I will be spending more time tomorrow trying to work on the hands.  They will be changing quite a bit.  I'm more than a little unhappy with them at this point.  So, here it is at this stage... nearing the end.  My deadline is this coming Friday.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

What a week!

This was such a busy week!  Besides stuff for school with the boys, Bible study, and keeping up with home, I have spent numerous hours still working on my big painting.  It is almost finished.  This coming Friday is my deadline so the next couple of days I will be crankin' to finish.  I'm bringing it home with me from the church tomorrow and taking it to Fran's Monday to work on it.  She has a big easel for me to use.  The hands have been the thorn in my side so they still need some work.  Dealing with them yesterday for hours had me in tears several times.  I'm trying not to get discouraged.  I also changed up the sunrise pretty drastically and it looks so much better!
The student teacher for Sam's class had her baby this week.  She had been asked along with several other teachers to create a clay tile to be fired and made into a large exhibit in the school.  However, due to the delivery, she was unable to complete her tile so Sam's teacher asked if I'd do it in her place.  Of course I said I would!  I've always wanted to try clay so here's my first official try.   The theme given was "things you love" however, since I'm making it in place of Mrs. Pavlas, I did things that she loves.  I know she did her baby nursery in flowers and butterflies (yes, she had a girl!) so that's what I went with.  Sam's teacher said Mrs. Pavlas particularly loves roses so that's the flower I chose.  I LOVE working with the clay!  Now to get it fired so I can glaze it!

Monday, March 3, 2008

BIG Work in Progress

Well, I had such a busy weekend and got my hubby to the airport for a trip he's taking for a week to Florida for a conference.  I finally got ALL the laundry caught up and packing for me dh... well, I almost asked if he were planning to come home.  He could rival any Diva on the planet.  He takes everything except the kitchen sink including his own coffee beans, a french press, and enough clothes for a month long trip!  Anyway, I was too pooped today to paint since that takes so much out of me.  BUT, I did snap a photo of my 3x3 foot canvas in progress.  Comments, suggestions, etc... welcome.  I still have quite a ways to go, as you can see... one entire side as well as working on more light/shadows, especially on the hands.  The head piece will be painted over.  Right now, it's just gauze type fabric glued to the canvas for texture.  Anyway, it's coming along.  I'll probably get back to it Wednesday.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Checkin' in with a spew alert!!!

Well, the past few days I've been trying to juggle everything in life.  This past week, I spent 3-1/2 hours a day working on my large canvas.  Thursday, i finally had a turning point in my attitude towards it.  It actually started looking like what is in my head... finally!  LOL!  I've been able to identify the things that have been frustrating me about the piece as well.  I now see light at the end of the tunnel and am happy with how it's progressing.

Thursday, I had committed to taking dinner to a family from church going through some hardship.  I decided to pull one of Chuck's meat loafs from the freezer knowing that would be delicious.  Well, when I put it in the oven, I thought it looked a little different but the thought was fleeting...  So, I proceed with cooking it and in the meantime, baked brownies, made mashed potatoes with gravy and broccoli.  When I took the loaf out of the oven, Chuck happens to walk into the kitchen and he says words that caused my heart to stop.  "Honey, that's not meatloaf."  I'm like, "HUH?"  "No, that's the stuffing I use when I make stuffed cabbage.  Don't you see the rice?"  Well, I HAD wondered about it but thought maybe it was a bunch of tiny pieces of onion or something.  I knew it didn't look quite right but hadn't given enough thought to it to realize that it really didn't look quite right!  After my heart started beating again, I busted out laughing hysterically.  This is so typical me in the kitchen! LOL!  I do not like cooking and have struggled with common sense in it ever since I got married 22 years ago.  Anyway, at the point I realized I just baked a meat loaf for a family that isn't really a meat loaf, it was 6:00!  No time for a change of plan.  I decided to take it, tell the story, and just risk it.  Well, I had saved back enough for me and the boys (Chuck was out that evening) and guess what?  It was delicious!  Even my picky boys ate it and asked for seconds!  So the Mystery Meat Loaf was a hit and now I'll be trying to duplicate it!  As soon as I got home from delivering the meal that night, I called my mom to tell her the story knowing she'd get a big kick out of it.  I thought she might pee her pants she was laughing so hard!  I'm just thankful that I'm in a place that I can laugh about something like this and not panic and worry about being judged by someone based on a silly mistake.  It truly was funny.  :0

Max spent the night with Granny last night so Sam got to sleep in bed with me and Chuck, which is a big deal for him.  He started reading to me about 7:45 and I totally passed out.... and slept until after 6:00 this morning!  The week finally caught up with me.

I spent the whole morning cleaning all my kids play area up and my studio.  I can't tell you what a difference it made!  I also realized that I had a stack of 4 chair cushions on a top shelf that I'd purchased second hand about 2 years ago.  They needed a slight repair job.  They were taking up so much space!  So I pulled them down, did the repairs in less than 30 minutes and now have cushions for my kitchen chairs and a big space on my shelf for something else!

Max got home a bit ago and is in the worst mood imaginable.  I can tell how tired he is.  He's so cranky and whiney.  Mom said he almost never went to sleep last night and was up before the sun this morning.  Well, he'll be going early tonight, I can tell you that.

Well, gonna' run and check on him.  He's riding his bike in the yard.