Monday, February 25, 2008

Not making much progress...

We have had a lot going on psychically around here lately, our daughter is leaving tomorrow to drive to Austin, Texas to live with her boyfriend. There was a good-bye party for them tonight. I can't wrap my head around the idea of her being about 2000 miles away. I am very happy for them, I think that it will be great for them to spread their wings in another part of the country, and we will be able to visit them eventually.

I have been trying to prepare myself for them being gone, but I didn't cry when we said good bye tonight. I just can't believe that they won't be here...

Also, a very dear friend has breast cancer, and we have been worried, and praying and trying to do what we can. These two things are occupying a lot of my mind, and I haven't been able to really focus on doing any work on my collage for TIF. I have it pictured in my head, and I hope to have it done by the first part of next week.

I am also working on a small fabric collage for a fabric fatbook for ArtFest. I have everything cut out and pressed and stamped, but haven't gotten the sewing machine out to put them together.
Hopefully, I will feel like working on them tomorrow.

One good thing through all of this, we have been having gloriously sunny weather, and it has been warm for February, it does a lot to lift my mood.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

February TIF challenge

I have been so busy this month, that I haven't had a chance to think about or write about the challenge for February. The concept for this month is what are you old enough to remember. Many of the participants have written about things they remember from their childhoods, and as we are a diverse group both geographically and in age, the memories have been very interesting to read about.

I am also going to go with childhood memories, and thought of the things I liked to play when I was a small child. I have been thinking for several years now that I was a fairly high-spirited little girl, and I have pictures to prove it! I have been pondering when and why I became so cautious and non-adventurous. In my own personal growth, I have been trying to reclaim that adventurous child. Committing myself to growing in my art has been a HUGE part of the reclamation effort, and I feel joyous and free-spirited when I am creating either alone, or with groups.

Thinking about what I played when I was a child, I remember loving to finger paint, and to make mud pies. These activities were discouraged because they were so messy! I can't really fault my mother very much for this, as she had to do laundry with a wringer washing machine, and hang clothes in our dampish basement to dry. I grew up in Portland, Oregon, and most of the year drying things outside wasn't possible.

I also loved to color in coloring books, and I still get a feeling of joy when I put crayons or oil pastels on paper. I really connect to that child-hood activity. Dolls were a huge part of my play, too. I had many real dolls and also loved paper dolls. I was very attached to all of my dolls, and took very good care of them.

I also liked playing with the dozens of children in our post-war housing development. We were so 50's! Donna Reed and June Cleever didn't seem that different from my mom. I remember that I had a dress just like Shelly Fabares' once! And dresses! Girls could not wear pants to school, even when I was in high school!

Wow, one can really get carried away down memory lane... I am going to do another paper collage, with many of these elements in the collage. I will post more when I actually have something down on paper.

New Art Journal, made by ME!

Below is my new art journal, made at PLAY: the retreat. As you can see, it says so on the cover.
We were all told to bring something flat to use in our journals, as trades with all of the participants. My cover art is a photocopy of a page from Lynn's journal, which was her trade for all of us. I brought a TON of stuff to use in journaling, but we received so much from our fellow art journalists, that I hardly cracked the stuff I brought. A shot of the side of the journal, showing the stitching. The book was made with canvas boards for the covers, and I have three signatures of six pages each. The signatures are wonderful Fabriano Artistico 140# hot press watercolor paper. The instructions for making one can also be found on Teesha Moore's website. (http://www.teeshamoore.com)

I was somewhat worried about making the journal, but it was easy. It is time consuming, but I am sure that I could do it faster next time. I really, really love the paper, I think that I am spoiled... We painted the pages before binding the books, so we were ready to go once they were bound. I thought that I would save time, and only painted one side of my pages, so I could decide on a different color if I wanted to on those pages. I loved the painted pages, though, and ended up painting all of the blank pages in the first signature as I went along, so I could keep working. I worked on several pages at a time, and really liked that process.

Here are several of the pages I worked on that weekend. The page below has a really cool stamp made with heated fun foam, the kind used for children's toys, and a small porcelain doll was pressed into the foam while it was still warm. The foam will hold the impression until reheated. We all gasped when we saw the stamp, it has an eery quality that I loved, and I used it to stamp one whole page. I am going to make my own stamp, as Sarah gave me a couple of the porcelain dolls!
We had a number of demonstrations throughout the weekend. They were for inspiration, and to learn neat techniques to use in our journals. I was very excited to try my hand at stamp carving after Tracy demonstrated how to do it. I journalled about my experience carving my first stamp. On the left page is my inspiration, and at the bottom of the right page, is the actual stamp. I will definitely be doing more stamp carving!! In fact, I stopped on the way out of Port Townsend at a new art store and bought two linoleum carving blades.
The last page is not finished, I will probably add more visually and also do some journaling on this page. I did a pretend stencil technique on the right, and I love the simplicity of it. We also learned to use copic markers to do air brushing, which looks to be a less messy and less toxic way to do stenciling. My page is just done with Caran d'ache, rubbed into the paper.
Play was a fabulous retreat, I learned so much and had so much fun just playing with other like-minded folk. My little visual journal that I started at the end of last year cut me loose, and this experience gave me validation and more spirit of adventure to continue!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I found this on a walk, while I was in Port Townsend for the PLAY retreat, Jan. 31-Feb. 4. I was so pleased to find such a great heart, and I offer it to you for your Valentine today! PLAY was a wonderful, busy, magical, friend and fun-filled weekend. I roomed with Paula (http://dreamcyclejourneys.blogspot.com). I met Paula last year at ArtFest. We are in the photoart journal group but had never met. She lives in Portland. We became good friends throughout the weekend. Getting to know her was definitely a MAJOR highlight of the weekend.
Here are Paula and Marde talking about a journal. We all worked at round tables in the light filled Commons at Fort Worden. We had every surface covered with supplies and paper goodies received from our fellow retreatants. We were each to bring a trade, something flat that could be used in our journals. There were all levels of experience in this group, and everyone was so generous with techniques, and supplies, and advice and encouragement.

I worked most of the time, and really didn't take many pictures. I will have to take some of my journal and post them. I have been incredibly busy since we got back, we left on the 8th for a few days in Walla Walla, and I was getting ready, and trying to work at the job that pays for these jaunts!

This is a picture from the car of the rolling winter fields and the sky on the road to Pendleton, where we went to see our friend, Margaret's exhibit entitled Inner Circle: The Archetype as Tribal Elder. From the postcard: "...a series of large painted "robes" to represent the cast of characters universal to the human psyche. From Healer, Teacher and Storyteller to Victim, Visionary and Addict, these pieces speak to -and from- the deep places within us which ultimately govern our decisions, behavior, and the way we live our lives."

I need to ask her permission to post some of my photos of the robes here, but if you are anywhere near Pendleton before Feb. 22, you must go to this exhibit at the Center for the Arts. The painting is incredible, and the archetypes as depicted are by turns gut-wrenching and beautiful. Her workmanship is outstanding.

I wanted to post something, and I will take photos of the journal I made, and some of the spreads I have done in it so far, and post in the next few days. Busy, busy, busy.