Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reflecting on hands

I feel a little like I am cheating here, using more photos from my Point and Shoot journal, and of the October assignments at that, but I have been busy with preparations for Christmas, so a reflection on hands seemed appropriate!

I am making things this Christmas, for the first time in a few years. Yes, I know this is a little crazy for someone who calls themselves an artist! As is the case for many this year, things are a little tight financially. I am using things I already had to make a few gifts. There is something so satisfying about that! It seems easier to buy something already made, but the fun is in the planning and the making, for me.Offering for this day, 10 days before Christmas, all the things that hands can do! I am especially grateful for my hands' ability at this moment, having recovered from a broken wrist at the beginning of this year.

I also offer another plug for LK Ludwig, she is offering a photo prompt a day from Dec. 14 until January 1st. I will try to play along, as well! I am also taking her painting class, which started yesterday! I am sorry, the photo prompt link doesn't work, and blogger won't let me delete it! Go to LK's blog (that link does work) and you will find it.

I never used to have any trouble with blogger, and now my posts look ridiculous! It highlights text I don't want highlighted, and does other crazy stuff... Any ideas?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Point and Shoot Journaling

I have been taking LK Ludwig's Point and Shoot Journaling classes online, I wrote about my first assignments on Oct. 13, and didn't do any more than print out photos after that until I went to the second art journaling retreat. I had created a simple journal with heavy watercolor paper pages, and painted them ready to go.

I worked with my photos and this journal most of the time. Below is my first attempt doing a technique involving tissue paper and matte medium and colored pencils. I found this technique quite addicting, and very fun. I don't want to describe the technique too much, as it is part of LK's class.
This photo is part of the journey series. I used white china marker on in. It is printed on a cool matte photo paper, which I LOVE. Journaling done with a white inkssentials pen, which is my new favorite white pen. It wrote easily over the rough surface of the watercolor paper, and on the glossy surface of several photos, too. They can be found at Michael's in the scrapbook section, with Ranger supplies. I give you that little hint, because I had to go twice to find it, the staff don't know what they have or don't have!Below is a self-portrait, done again with the colored pencil technique. I really love it. The journaling says it is the only self portrait I have ever taken that I even half-way liked.
Blogger is giving me fits today, and everything is out of order. Above is the cover of my point and shoot journal. I did this at the retreat, and I really like it. I have a huge thing for black and white and red...

Another "journey" photo. I also quite like taking photos in the side-view mirror!
LK is doing this class on a month-to-month basis, and I took November's class, also. She is doing it again for December, and adding another class about making background pages for art journals starting in the middle of December and running for 6 weeks. All the information is on her blog, click on the link a few paragraphs above and check it out. I have really enjoyed the classes so far, and there are new assignments and techniques every month.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Point and Shoot Journaling Class

I am taking a class online from LK Ludwig called Point and Shoot Journaling. I have my interpretation of the first assignment above and below. We were to find two images from our archives of photos that resonated for us, and then a third image that could serve as an echo.

I chose the first two because they seemed to match my current mood. I have been feeling closed off, and distant. The window and gazing into the distance seemed so lonely. We were to make our images black and white, and for me, that furthered the mood.

Journaling exercises helped to come up with words to express the mood. The final photo is an echo, for me that was removing the glass, and "engaging the world". I have never worked with journaling prompts before, but I am really liking that aspect of the assignments.

I love photography also, and being able to work with old photos and make them central to a journal page is what attracted me to this class. I also love LK's work, so I knew it would be a good class!

This class runs through the month of October, but I think that it will be offered every month, here is a link, check it out! There is a button in the right side bar, and if you scroll down through a few posts to about Sept. 8 or 9, you will find an explanation of the class.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

More Journal Pages

This is one of the kind of strange pieces I did at the journaling retreat. I found a photo in the Seattle Times of a geisha holding a large paper umbrella, wearing a kimono with a similar pattern on the lower part of the kimono. I loved the graphic boldness of the photo, and was trying to use a technique I learned in a class I took from LK Ludwig at ArtFest a few years ago.

It had to do with abstracting the image, so I took shapes from magazines, roughly corresponding to the shapes in the photo, and collaged them on to a large journal page. I am happy with how it turned out, and it was a stretch for me to do the exercise. I am not done with the process, I am going to try to abstract it even more.
The one one above was a hot mess while I was working on it. It may still look like one. I had done a water transfer of a photo on the page to start, and it didn't transfer very well, lots of blank spots. I decided to glue a doily over one spot that was especially blank, and I used glue stick (on a doily, with holes in it), so I had glue everywhere, oozing through the holes. To cover up all that glue, I started putting pieces of a deconstructed paper napkin over the glue-y holes, with the napkin sticking to my fingers, etc.

I probably would have been smart to just tear out this page and start over, but I was determined to keep going and see if I could salvage the thing. Our watch word that weekend was "just glue s*** down", so I kept going on it. This was also the first thing I attempted when the weekend began, and I was seriously out of practice.

I ended up coloring some of the children in the photo, using Caran d'ache, and drawing in features with a pencil. I liked the look of that. Some more collage added here and there. It may still be a hot mess, but I salvaged it enough for my taste, and won't be tearing it out of the book.
I just loved the image here, it was from one of the Departure magazines we all loved so much. I found the crucifix figure in the same issue of the magazine. I will add more to this, but it is hard, because I really like the way it looks right now. I am also trying not to get too attached to things I think are too good. It can be as much of a stumbling block as the ugly ones, probably more.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What I Did on My Journaling Retreat

The journaling retreat in August was so much fun, I did some seriously ugly stuff to start off with, because it had been so long since I had gotten out the journaling supplies. I knew I had to just start "gluing s*** down" (this was one of our catch-phrases for the weekend) and not obsess about what I was doing. I would be happy to share those pages, but I did them in a really large journal, too large to scan. I actually ended up liking some of them, I had to just keep messing with them until there was something there.
I was more in a groove on Friday, our first day of journaling, Rose brought many copies of a magazine none of us had seen, an exclusive for American Express PLATINUM members, which had gorgeous layouts and ads. I found one with an article about a production of Madame Butterfly. I loved the bright colors and unusual set designs, and rearranged them with other bits from my own collage fodder.
These little guys just appeared toward the end of the retreat. I think I was sufficiently loosened up by then. I had a lot of fun doodling. I really admire the doodling Catherine does in her journals, and I was inspired to do some of my own. Catherine was the instigator of the journaling retreat, and a good friend from ArtFest. She doesn't have a blog, unfortunately. She would rather just sit and journal!
We are going to have another retreat in November. I can hardly wait! I am meeting one of the journalers this afternoon, and will work on some of these pages some more. Sad to say, I haven't done much since we got back from the retreat.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Magical Weekend!

This is the beautiful group of women I spent the last several days with! In the back row from the left are Liesel, Celeste, Kathe, Catherine. In the front, from the left are Rose, me, Penelope, Michelle and Ruth. We are so happy because we had a perfect weekend sharing, working on art journals and laughing A LOT! This was our first time doing something like this, and it was a smashing success.

Our cabin was big enough and well equipped, everyone had enough room to spread out and work in their various journals, there was plenty of food, everyone pitched in to help, the hot tub was great, and some creative breakthroughs were achieved by everyone.

Catherine had the idea and we managed to pull off such a successful weekend that we are planning another one for November, though not at Mt. Baker (where we went this weekend).

kelly rae has written about the power and just pure FUN of getting together with a bunch of like-minded women in her recent posts about the Love Bomb group she started, and I was envious, even knowing that I had this weekend coming up. I had no idea that the group of us would gel so well, as none of us really knew all of the other people in the group, but gel we did in the best possible way.

We asked a kind stranger at Half Moon Bakery in Maple Falls take this photo. We stopped there this morning to share with each other one last time all of the pages we created over the previous three days.

I will share more in the next few days, and check out Liesel's blog here this week, as she is planning to post about our weekend also.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I uploaded what was in my camera yesterday, and thought I would share some randomness from my summer. I walked into our local market, and was amused by the offering inside the front door. One of the clerks saw me taking the picture, and asked why, and I pointed out the sign, which she also thought was funny. The next day the sign had been edited to read "mangos".

While I was in Portland, we ate out and managed to hit some great restaurants. This day we had breakfast at Bread and Ink on Hawthorne. It was fabulous, and I am looking forward to eating there again. There were many interesting shops, this was one. I love signage!
My favorite Chinese restaurant, and pure comfort food for me, The Canton Grill on 82nd. This restaurant is over 60 years old, in the original location, and my family has eaten here for my whole life. I always have the "number 3 dinner". Fried shrimp, pork fried rice and chicken chow mein. I love everything about it. No other fried rice or fried shrimp can touch theirs! I love the lanterns on the ceiling, the large laughing Buddha at the entrance whose belly I have rubbed forever, and all the happy memories of eating here with my family.
I took the train to Portland a couple of times. It is a very pleasant ride and the station is less than 5 minutes from where my father lives. My sister picked me up on one of my trips and said that the ceiling was like one she saw in a train station in Paris! More signage.

Tomorrow I am going on an art journaling retreat with 8 other fabulous women. We'll be at a cabin at Mt. Baker for 3 days, and I am looking forward to it very much. I haven't done much art since I got back from Santa Fe. I will have lots to report on when I return!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Mother, Helen Louise Thompson

My mother passed away on August 4, 2009. When I went to Portland over the Fourth of July weekend, I knew it was getting close, and the family, my siblings and I, descended on Portland to figure out a plan to help my mom and my dad transition through this time. I spent a lot of July in Portland, and hours on the phone with my sister and brothers.

Even though we all knew that mom was probably not going to make it through the year, none of us expected it to come so fast. Mom told us that she was ready--her vision was almost completely gone, and her body kept her from doing even the simplest things for her self. That was the hardest for her.

She told us, but none of us knew it would come so fast. I am glad for her, that she didn't linger or suffer, but losing our mom is the hardest thing I have ever experienced. I feel like I didn't adequately tell her goodbye, or how much I loved her. I hope that she knows, I think that she does.

The photo is from the memorial pamphlet we made. She is fishing in the high meadows of her Uncle Bert's ranch in the Rockies in Colorado. We spent part of every summer there in the 50's and early 60's with her sisters and brother and my cousins and our grandparents. I hope that she is having good times like that now in Heaven.

I love you, Mom!

(I don't know why blogger highlighted the first few lines of text, I can't seem to make it go away)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

More from the travel journal

This is one side of the calendar page I made for my travel journal. I got this idea from my friend Paula, who always puts a calendar page in her travel journals. I made the page in advance, and then added a few words about each day, and some bit of ephemera collected that day. I really liked doing it, and it will be a regular feature of my travel journals from now on!
This is another sketch I made sitting in the Plaza in Santa Fe. I drew the sketch and then painted it later. I realized as I was scanning it that the tree looks like it might be dead, it was actually all leafed out, but I am not that proficient with watercolor, and couldn't figure out how to add the leaves without blocking out the buildings! You can see my sketch lines for leaves in the background!

I really loved the Peerless Watercolors for traveling. I can thank my friend, Paula, for that suggestion, also!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Of Blue Sky and Adobe

One of the things I loved best about New Mexico was the intense blue sky. This effect was partly because of the altitude, over 7000 feet in Santa Fe, and pretty high in the other places we went. Another thing I really loved was all of the adobe! The color was incredible, and the outline of the adobe buildings against the blue sky made it even more beautiful.

I was in love with all of the old adobe churches! They were beautiful on the inside, too, but cameras weren't allowed. The church above is in Chimayo, a tiny town about 30 minutes from Santa Fe.
This church is in the tiny town of Trampas, on the High Road to Taos.
This is the church at the Taos pueblo. It is very small inside, but absolutely beautiful. There is a wonderful painted scene behind the altar with Mary in a dress that looks like a wedding dress.
If you are a fan of Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams, you will probably recognize this one, it is the famous church at Rancho de Taos. This is the back end of the church, and it is what you see as you drive by on the main road to Taos from Santa Fe. It is just as beautiful as all of the many paintings and photographs indicate.

We arrived in Taos just a few days after the entire church had been re-mudded. It is a big celebration, and there was an article in the paper about it. Many of the other adobe churches we saw had straw visible in the structure, but this one did not.
The church from the front. It was a beautiful and serene spot. Most of the churches we saw were dedicated to either St. Francis (because Franciscans built them) or to Our Lady of Guadalupe. We laughed about how we had been in more churches in a week than we had been in about 5 years!

The color of the adobe against the blue sky made me think of the land rising up to meet the sky. I found a wonderful quote in the main guidebook we used,

From the earth I was made,
And the earth shall feed me,
The earth has sustained me,
And in the end, I shall be earth also.

From Fodor's Compass American Guides Santa Fe, written by Lawrence Cheek. The quote is from an "ancient New Mexican hymn". The guide book was tremendous, by the way, I would highly recommend it, if you plan a trip to Santa Fe.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Land of Enchantment, indeed!

We came home from Santa Fe on Monday, to mid-70's to 60's weather after a week of 80's and 90's, and I am tempted to turn on the heat in our apartment! I loved the weather in Santa Fe and Taos. I never did get completely acclimated to the altitude, but I loved the weather! It was hot sometimes, but there always seemed to be a breeze coming, and sitting under trees in the Plaza would cool us right off.

I had a lot of fun with the watercolors I brought. The above sketch from my travel journal was made after we got caught (in the car, luckily) in a torrential downpour. I loved how the adobe still glowed even in the rain and with dark skys.
We went to Taos overnight, and tried to cram way too much into the short time we were there. I did this page of two memorable things we did. We visited the Taos pueblo and also the Mabel Dodge Luhan house. I found both to be incredible, though in very different ways.

I bought a Polaroid printer called a POGO the day before we left, and was able to print out wallet sized photos with adhesive backing, which made journaling really fun! I love my POGO, and think I will find many uses for it, beyond journaling.

The trip was fabulous, and I will be writing more about it over the next few days, so check back!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

An Adventure! and a book in which to chronicle it

Tomorrow we leave for a week in Santa Fe, the oldest capitol city in the United States! New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment, and that is what it has always been for me. I have never been, and this is a much anticipated trip!

Above is the cover of my travel journal, I have been working on it for a couple of weeks. The covers are museum board, nice and heavy. I like using the binder rings, because I can move things around, as well as allowing the book to lay flat for painting and writing. The pages are hot press watercolor paper cut to size, in this case they are 9 x 7 1/2.
A collage I made on one page using images from a tourist guide magazine DH ordered from New Mexico. Some of the things I am excited to see.
I prepared a few of the pages with paint and stamps, but many are blank. I am going to be sketching and using Peerless Watercolors to paint. I also have two memory cards with me for my camera, and I plan to fill both of them! Another advantage of binder rings: more pages can be added if need be!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Something wonderful to share...

I am very excited and honored to announce that I have some art work published in LK Ludwig's new book, Collaborative Art Journals and Shared Visions in Mixed Media! I received my copy over the weekend and poured over the book many times. It is a beautiful book, with a wide variety of collaborations.
I am especially pleased that LK chose to write a long section about the Photoart Journals yahoo group, of which I am a member. Catherine Anderson started the group in 2006, shortly after ArtFest. I was lucky enough to be one of Catherine's roommates that year, and found out about the group from her.

We have made over 30 books in the last 3 years, and each one is a treasure. Being in this group has enriched me in many ways. The page above illustrates one of our early books, but one of my very favorites. The book is about Texture, and it was exciting to look for and photograph different textures. One of my texture photos is on the page above!

I found the book to be very inspiring, I am thinking of some one-on-one collaborations that I could start, and maybe another circle journal in the future.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Beautiful Paper

Last year at ArtFest, my friend Catherine and I both took classes from Anne Bagby. Catherine took a stamp carving class, and I took the class called Beautiful Paper. I blogged about my class here and about making collages with the paper here.
A couple of weeks ago, Catherine spent the night with us after this year's ArtFest, and we played with some of the incredible stamps she has made over the last year. She has about 20 4x6 and 6x6 inch stamps now. They are all very beautiful, and we had a great time layering them on unwaxed deli paper.

This paper is very strong, and also translucent, making it excellent to use in collage.

This one is a single stamp used over and over, because I loved the stamp. I glazed over it with a reddish glaze, which brought out the design even more.
This one has several stamps on it in different colors, the glazing (with red again) made some of the stamps ghostly, because they were red, also.

I really love this cat stamp! I almost ruined it with a blackish glaze, this is a close-up. The page below is a section of one of my favorite papers. It was a great day, and confirmed for me that I love creating my own paper. I recently bought some carving tools, and an excellent DVD of Anne's technique from here.
Look for my own hand carved stamps, coming soon!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Circle Journal Rolls Home!

After ArtFest last year, Celeste started a collaboration, making circle journals. We each chose our own topic and made (or purchased) our own books, did a few pages in them, and then sent them off on their rounds. I got my Graffiti book back at vendor night at ArtFest! I am really thrilled with it.
These are the sign-up tags that each participant made. Each is so clever and colorful, as are all of the pages in the book!

This page is just one of the four WONDERFUL pages that Michelle did in my book! I love all of them!

This is Cordelia's page, tatoos are body graffiti, I love it! I am not a tatoo person myself, but I really appreciate body art, and so I am glad Cordelia chose this for her page!

This is one of Celeste's colorful and thoughtful pages. I really love this buddha she draws, and was thrilled to find it in my book, and on her sign-in tag! Thanks, Celeste! This is the first collaboration I have ever participated in, other than fat books, and I loved it. I wish I could scan the whole book, it is really terrific, every single page! Maybe I will add a few more pages randomly in my next few blog posts...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Progress Report

Another page from the hand journal. I have been slowly writing on the pages I completed at Play. I like having a journal with a theme, it is easier for me to write. As I have said, I keep a written journal, and I frequently feel self-conscious when I write on "art journal" pages because to me, it seems forced. I like travel journals for the same reason, they are themed, and so the writing is more natural.

I have been going to hand therapy for 3 weeks now. I am progressing well, Wednesday I was given putty to start building up strength in my hand, and I can use it to "practice" actions I do in massage, to build up strength for that, also.

I do have a slight (I hope) set-back, as the physical therapist diagnosed me with "frozen shoulder", probably from the trauma of the fall. This is an inflammation of the capsule of the shoulder. PT and massage don't really help it. It has to run it's course, which can take a year. I do have some exercises I can do to keep up my mobility, and I can do anything that doesn't make it hurt.

I am going to practice doing massage on some of my massage therapist friends next week, to see if I can do anything useful without making my shoulder hurt. I am anxious to return to work, and I am hoping before the end of this month, I will be able to start doing a few massages a week--like maybe 3-4. I used to do 20-25 a week, but it will take me several weeks to build up to that, I am sure.