Tuesday, December 31, 2013

AJC 2014 digital collage #1

Tangie is doing the Art Journal Caravan one last year and then it'll all be over. Right now the cost is $39.95 which you get back in the form of credit to use in her shop. If you like to do digital journaling, or want to get started in it, this is a deal you shouldn't pass up.

I recently made my first collage using the initial kit you get when you sign up. When I don't do it for a while, I forget how much fun digi collaging is. You can't make a mistake - the ink never runs, the paper doesn't tear, the glue stick doesn't get all over the place (or is that just me?) - and you can try any number of effects before settling on the ones you like best. It's very cool.

There's no deep meaning to this piece (I don't do deep), I just used elements I liked and played around with blending modes, levels and hues until it seemed 'done' to me.

Double click to embiggen the collage so that you can really see the detail.

couldn't have said it better...

Frieda Oxenham wrote what I would write about the turning of the year if I were half as well-read, a third as philosophically inclined, and a quarter the writer she is, AND lived in Scotland to get those great photos.

Well done, Frieda, and I encourage you all to go read her excellent post and enjoy her lovely ancient graveyard images.

Best wishes to all who pass this way for a 2014 in which you find peace and contentment.

Friday, December 27, 2013

MMSA bird postcards

I was happy to see Karen announce a bird postcard swap back in November, I think it was, since I like birds. I posted my outgoing cards and now here are the ones I got back. All good ones, in keeping with most of the work done in the MMSA swaps. 
Made by Nydia, this card features here hand drawn and colored bird,
some washi tape and doodling on a painted background.
I love the little bluebird.

Made by Valerie, this card is bird images from magazines and
postage stamps on doodled card stock.
The bird with the crossed beak is interesting,
as that actually happens in nature. I like the balance that this card has.

Made by Trula, this card is collaged, colored,
then sanded or scraped to give it a worn look that I quite like.
I also like the oddball selection of images that
have nothing in common but make a cool collage. 

ATCs from AJC swap

Susan, Katrina, Kris, Carolyn 
Here are the returns from the AJC ATC swap.

Every time I receive a large-ish batch of a given media - ATCs, postcards, whatever - I'm struck by how individual we each are as artists. The only "rule" for this swap was that the ATCs be mixed media, at least 3 techniques used. Consequently, there's everything under the sun on these cards - collage, paint, gelli printing, stamping, stenciling, drawing, lettering, stickies, stitching, embossing, glitter. You name it, it's on these somewhere. They're great! Thanks to everyone who participated, these were really fun to receive.

Artists are noted below each image, clockwise from upper left.

Sandi, Tangie, Jo, Rain

Debbie (pirate), Linda, Carol

Sunday, December 15, 2013

command performance

Well, a request, actually, but since I don't get too many direct requests for a specific piece of artwork, it *feels* as grand as a command performance.

One of my mail art buds, Beth, is doing the sketchbook challenge to the theme of 'postage stamp head people'. (just go look at her blog) She asked if I'd like to contribute a page and I jumped at the chance. I haven't done the challenge ever, for a number of reasons, but was thrilled at the chance to be in someone's book. 

I spent 30 minutes sifting thru my box of postage stamps (thanks, Rhonda) and found a bunch of heads. Then I paged thru a Vogue, trying hard not to get distracted by the articles, until I found a few bodies that would work, size-wise and with the stamps I had. 

Fussy cut the bodies, glued the heads on, glued them to the gelli print background and embellished a little. Wa-la.

They crack me up.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

digital collage 'remember me'

Made in response to a call for art by Tangie of Art Journal Caravan. Everyone's submissions will be assembled into a digital book available for purchase at some point. It's at 300dpi so you can click (or maybe double click) on it for a huge view.

Started with two background papers blended with a grungy overlay. Added some stamps, blended in.

Used many images of my mom, Virginia, and her mother, Theresa. (mother theresa - ha!) She's the center image and the two going down to the left from there. She was dead at age 36 from breast cancer.

Used digital washi tape on most of them, staples on one and a paper clip on another. Added a butterfly image.

Added a cluster of flowers at lower left and some layered old papers at lower right.

I'm really happy with this. Love the color, the grunge, all the vintage images, the stamps in the background.

Monday, December 2, 2013

ATCs for AJC

Welcome to Acronyms R Us.

Tangie of the Art Journal Caravan (2014 signups available now) (it will be the last year) announced an ATC swap open to AJC members. Since I've only ever seen digital work from most of the caravanners, I thought it sounded like fun, plus I like making ATCs, so I signed up.

You had to make 12 of them, alike or different so I got out my ATC box full of backgrounds, partially completed ATCs, ATC stamps, ATC sleeves, etc, and dug around. I found enough partial ones to swap with just an afternoon's work in finishing them off. Some were pretty much done but I added doodling or stamps to perk them up a little.

I'll get 10 in return in a couple weeks and it'll be fun to see them.

Looking at the pictures I just uploaded, they're quite a mixed bag of techniques, materials, and time periods. Everything from vintage ledger paper to last week's magazines.

Monday, November 25, 2013

mmsa white swap

I love these monochromatic swaps. We've pretty much run thru the color wheel and are finishing up the year with white, which I loved working in. Karen announced this swap well advance and I've been tearing out pages of white stuff for weeks and fussy cutting them out on the couch in the evenings.

So when I sat down to make the cards, I had a file folder full of things all ready to go. I *really* enjoyed working like that, instead of having to stop creating in order to find and cut more stuff out.

These are very random collages in that there's no story, just a pleasing arrangement of white-ish objects. I did not shadow any of them, which means there's very little depth but preserves the white.

Anyway, here are my white cards. I had another but got turquoise paint on the damn thing somewhere along the way and will have to repair it and use it for a private swap.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

in my previous life

I'm a published fiction writer. I no longer write (much), but when I did, I sold a short story to a national magazine and had another accepted and published in an anthology of stories written about an artist's paintings. All this by way of saying that when I saw this on Tumblr, I identified immediately. If you've ever been a writer, know a writer, wish you were a writer, you might think it's funny. 

I thought it was hysterical.

I found it here, on NaNoWriMo's blog.
NaNoWriMo is the acronym for
National Novel Writing Month
which is going on now, in November.
Good luck to all you crazy authors. 

My reality was a lot of the chimp, a fair amount of the plaid jacket guy, and just enough of the hunk with the quill pen to end up with a story that someone liked enough to pay me for. (full disclosure: I don't drink so never did that, and I know I'm not brilliant, but I do play a *ton* of solitaire, altho not back while I was writing heavily.)

When I was writing, I felt driven to do it. My hands itched to get to the keyboard and the story tumbled from my fingers as fast as I could type. It was like that for a handful of years. I typed and untyped and retyped like crazy, and then... one September, I just lost the urge. Gradually my days filled up with other things and pretty soon it was 6 months since I'd written a word. Now it's been 3 or 4 years, and I guess it's gone for good. 

I miss it.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


This postcard began life as a punched out part of a corrugated cardboard marketing display that arrived at work a few weeks ago. I liked the shape, so it sat on my desk for at least a week. Every time I started to throw it away, I hesitated, then put it back on my desk. After a week or two of that, I put it in my back-and-forth-to-work bag and hauled it home where it sat on my art table for another week or so.

The other day I was casting about for something to work on, not too involved, not themed - just something I could throw some art at for a while until the washer finished the load of whites. I spied the cardboard piece and decided to collage it with... with... <lots of thinking at this point> with gelli printed deli papers! I have a huge box of them, so I rummaged thru and began to paste down random strips across the card.

I liked it when I was done but it needed something else so I added some vertical strips, then more little bits here and there. I loved the colors but it sat on the table for a few more days cause it just didn't feel 'done'. Then I came across the text in a magazine - glued it down, scribbled a border around it and was satisfied.

It's fairly large, almost 8" across, and it's going off to an occasional mail art friend who has sent me a few really neat cards. I'll do a post about them one of these days.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

incoming MMSA swaps

MMSA brown swap - a great vintage card from Julie in GA. Love the variety of papers, shapes and lines going on here, and the old feel to it. Very nice. Vintage is truly my first love and wedding pictures knock me out. I always wanna know the rest of the story.

MMSA brown swap - from Judith in VA. She painted, stamped and doodled on kraft paper or possibly a paper bag. Abstract and lively. I like this one a lot cause it's a style that never crosses my mind to work in. Love all the circles too.

MMSA brown swap - from Terrie in CA, one of my regular mail art buds. This card is so cool in person. The background is cork! Like a bulletin board, but very thin. She said it's scrapbook paper that she's had for a while. And the woven thing is a chunk of place mat she sewed on. It's bronze metallic and works perfectly with the cork and stamp. Lots of texture and great browns on this very creative card. 

A late arrival from the MMSA Day of the Dead swap - from Lynn in CT. Love the turquoise skull since I'm still jonesing on all things turq. The flowers and the striped paper make a cool background. Good job, Lynn.

MMSA security envelope swap - from MaryLou in FL. The entire thing is collaged from the huge variety of patterns you can find inside security envelopes. She tinted them with paint(?) and made a cute kitty. Love the caption. Very creative.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

'brown' MMSA cards

Another recent swap was themed 'brown'.

You can sure tell where my head was at - every last one of them is chocolate! I think I'd gotten a candy catalog in the mail. Coulda sent these in for the 'food' swap too, I guess, but I have some other images for that one.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

good incoming mail

Very cool Day of the Dead card from the MMSA swap, made by Rose in OK.
Love the colors and the little dancing skeleton. 

My art friend Rhonda came over a while back and we worked on DOD cards for the swap.
She only got one done and wouldn't you know, it was one of the 3 I received!
Obviously I was meant to have this card.
I actually never saw it completely finished so it was fun to get it.

The third DOD card, this one made by Ellen in VA.
Neat colors and I like that the skull is so subtle.
And the quote is nice.

A fun card from Linda in MA, not for any swap, just for fun.
I'll send her back something good this week.

misc mail art

I'm a slug about blogging lately. Not sure what the problem is but I'll try to get back to it more regularly!

Been making postcards lately from the plethora of magazines I've accumulated recently. A big stash of Nat'l Geo and Bon Apetit from a yard sale. A stack of Minerva, an antiquities journal full of ancient statues, coins, etc, from the library. And a big pile of Oprahs which I think I've mentioned before.

I go thru them while watching the tube in the evening, tearing out pages with images that appeal to me, then cutting them out when I've got a good pile. Even the most fascinating program rarely completely holds my attention so I like to have something else going on - crocheting, paging thru art books, whatever - I can't just sit and stare at the screen.

Anyway, I had a box full of images and all day Monday to play with them since my poor husband had to work on one of his days off. I made a big pot of rustic cabbage soup in between postcards, to use up the last cabbage from my rapidly declining garden.

Now that I see these on the screen, a few of them need some doodling or something. 

When (finally) done, these'll go out to various mail art pals, and eventually something fun from them will show up in my mail box. If you're not currently doing mail art, you should give it a try. So much fun to get something neat in the mail.

Monday, October 28, 2013

bird postcards!

I like birds. I like tame ones (I own a parrot) and wild ones (my entire back patio is a bird feeder), birds in books and on mugs, and I especially like them in art. When Karen at MMSA announced a bird theme postcard swap, I stood up and cheered.

Our store is closed Sunday and Monday so those are usually my days off but today I went in at 7am so the sprinkler repair guy could do his thing without people in the way. I took a bunch of supplies and made bird postcards while I was there. Best day at work I've ever had!

The first two have vintage paper backgrounds with graphics from some collage sheets by Tangie Baxter. I didn't buy the pack shown at the link but picked up some when I was in AZ a couple weeks ago. Added some appropriate book text, a little shadowing, and was done.

The third is a gelli print back ground on which I drew one of my world famous birds (the *only* thing I can draw), some washi tape, a strip of text from a magazine, and some edge shading with gel sticks which isn't showing up in this scan at all. The coloring on the bird was done with Copic markers.

Hope I get some good ones back!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

AZ workshop journal (lots of pics!)

Front cover
The mariner's compass is actually glued to the page two images down.
You're seeing thru a hole cut into this page.
Click (or maybe double-click) on the pics to embiggen them. There are a ton of techniques on all these pages but I simply don't have the energy to caption them one by one and call out what's on them. I'll caption a couple that have something really interesting but otherwise there's scraped paint, sprayed ink, stencils, stamps, gel medium transfers, Neo Color IIs, gel sticks (gelatos), marker, pen, collage, cutouts (holes cut into the page).  If you have a question about something in particular, ask away. 

All these pages are from a journal made of just three pieces of paper. The outside piece has a short foldout at each end. The second piece has a full foldout on the right. The third (inner) piece has a full foldout on the left. Very cool design and fun to work on. Tangie's husband Dave makes them for her classes and for sale.

Lots of masking tape put onto page before scraping 2 colors of paint across it.
Makes a very cool background.

Took one of Tangie's cool journal pages (printed out that you can buy
altho this one came with the class) just torn up with no thought
to what would end up on each piece, then glued down, also pretty randomly,
altho I did place the girl and the word 'found'. Love this look.

The little pocket at bottom right holds a Fugi Instax Mini pic
that Tangie took of each of us. 

Another hole cut in the page to view the sunburst on the following page.

Looking thru the hole from the back of the page.

And here's the sunburst from two images up.

The girl at bottom left is a gel medium transfer done directly onto the page.

This image and the one below are the front and back of a short foldout.
Some of the other pages are foldouts too but full size.

The back.
I very carefully decided where I wanted to stamp my hand carved 'dream' stamp,
then proceeded to stamp the damn thing upside down.