Sunday, June 30, 2013

Inner Excavations Week 1

No ICADS this time...I got myself all in a tizzy about messing up the prompt order (I don't know why it's such a big deal to me, but it REALLY is! *angry eyes* ) and haven't done any to the point of finishing and sharing them since.

Actually, I am thinking I am going to wimp out of ICAD...or not wimp off?  I started doing the ICAD cards because I wanted to do something creative every day, and I liked the idea of something simple and small and tossable if it was too hideous.  And that worked out awesomely for a while. Then I got so involved in doing the cards that I would do them instead of other art.  I think this is where I lost my way...I didn't lose interest, mind you!  I still think it's a great idea, and I am pretty sure I will pick them back up again at some point.  But for right now, my general feeling is that messing up the prompt order and all the CRAZY PERSON amount of stress that resulted from something so little is my brain's attempt to signal me that it's time to do something else for a while.  I love my art journals way too much to neglect them the way I have.  

So, anyhow, I'm thinking that I will do a card on days that I don't have time to do something else or when inspiration is being a hoochie and shaking it in somebody else's craft room.  I feel like the ICAD does deserve a round of applause because it did last a couple weeks for me, and usually my attention span is... wait, I see something shiny...

I am actually starting a different project, which kind of makes me feel like ICAD's slutty girlfriend who left him for someone else...  I'm sorry's not you, it's me!  We can still be friends... *guilty eyes*

In lieu of ICAD, I am starting the Inner Excavate-along over on Effy Wild's blog (as suggested by my friend Wendy).  I am going through the book Inner Excavations-Explore Your Self Through Photography, Poetry, and Mixed Media (by Liz Lamoreax) along with some really wonderful and interesting people.  You can read more about the excavate-along (and join in the dig if you want!) HERE.

As I have mentioned several times in the past, I am generally not a fan of (what I consider to be) the hippy dippy, and when I first skimmed the info on Amazon, I thought that's what it was going to be...  But I went with it and, so far, it has not been too bad!  

Instead of the usual spouting of 'you can do it' and then giving you step by step projects to copy, this book focuses more on the ideas and tasks leading you into being creative, and what direction it takes is entirely up to you.  It is more of a mental and emotional workshop than anything.  And NOT in a fruit loopy way.  It does encourage you 'be present' and take in things that are going on around you.  And to look into the why behind what your thoughts and feelings are.  And you have to know, I am a big fan of the why!  

There are not step by step projects, but there are some really pretty pictures as well as suggestions and tips for inspiration.  I think this would be a great book for people who tend to compare what they do with other people's work.  You know, they follow all the directions and it doesn't end up looking like the picture in the book and then it's a failure in their eyes.  In this book you're really just given inspiration and left to decide for yourself what to do.  I actually REALLY like that aspect!

I like that it involves art, poetry, and photography.  I, of course, LOVE art journaling.  And I have always enjoyed poetry, both reading and writing.  And I do have the desire to start taking more pictures...  So maybe this book was the right thing at the right time after all.  The pictures in the book are just gorgeous and it makes me want to go crazy nut-job with my camera...  

All of the above made me realize I was judging a book by it's cliche am I???  Stop being so judgmental Sweets!!!

I decided I am going to do a two page spread each week for the art portion of the tasks.  I am using my Dylusions Creative Journal (AT LAST!!!) for this.  It's so much different than what I'm used to...for the sheer size of the journal alone!  Especially considering I've been doing 3x5 ICAD cards for the past three weeks, the 11x8 pages are just HUGE!  I think this is a good thing for the excavate along, because I have the tendency to try to get an entire page done in one day.  I know it's going to be impossible for me to do that in this gigantic journal!  I need to take my time and really consider the information and suggestions in the book, and I think having this huge journal to work in will make me take my time and really THINK about things, instead of just trying  to (semi-mindlessly) make pretty pictures with a quickness.  

So, the point to all that blabbing is that I (shockingly enough) really enjoyed doing the first chapter.

And here's my first two page spread:

There were some really interesting ideas for the photography portion.  I decided that since this is supposed to be exploring self, I would do some awesome bathroom mirror self-portraits.  I feel the need to express how much I am not a fan of having my picture taken.  The whole time I was thinking I might as well be a teenage girl...  It was all I could do to take it seriously and not do the duck face girl look...or the thumbs up cheesy smile look... or the looking off in the distance for some reason look (ok, full disclosure, I did do this one)...  Instead, I did the 'try to make sure my face is actually in the picture look' and the 'I can't see the button, did I just take the picture?' look...  I'm cool like that....

Here's a closer look at just the left page:
I don't have a great printer, and all my photos for this project are going to have to be printed out on it, so we'll just have to get used to grainy photos.  I  tried to use it to my advantage a little bit and make them look like vintage-y photos.  The only one I didn't do anything to is the photo in the middle of this page.  The others I used paint, gelatos, and some other things to age them.    I had done this background a while ago, and , in the beginning, I hadn't planned on using the huge Dylusions journal for this project.  But after doing the poetry prompt, it jumped out at me to work with this background, and I think it works.  I really liked that the stamped girl in the top left was looking down over the page, so I wanted to play with that idea and take it farther.  In the top right photo, I am looking down at my phone (to see if  I am in the shot).  Now it looks to me like I'm looking down at the drawing.  I did the drawing from one of the photos I took that didn't make the cut.  (See, I DID do the 'looking off in the distance for no reason' picture!  *hangs head in shame*)  So I think the drawing looks like she is looking at the middle picture, which is neat because this project is all about exploring 'self'.  I liked the middle picture, because to me it looks like I'm STARING INTO YOUR SOUL!!! BWA-HA-HA!!!  I don't know.  I am not great at thinking about myself although you probably wouldn't guess that from the blog.  In all reality, I guess I don't actually talk a great deal about myself (the deep inner workings part anyway), usually it's the art and then I explain the thought behind it.  This Excavating is like a whole huge Sweet Red Clover bonanza!  

Here's a close up of the right page:
More of my face...I hope you guys love my face, because it seems like you'll be seeing more of it...spattered all over the AJ pages...  I like that there happened to be the peacock feather down in the background I had done.  It fits, because I am pretty proud of myself for going into this thing despite my qualms.  It's been really enjoyable and interesting so far!  And I do love it when I am pushed to go in a direction that is outside my the photography thing.  Speaking of, I know I am going to have to work on the photography a lot, because these pictures really don't show the brightness of the background at all!  I want to blame it on my camera and say that it doesn't pick up high contrasts well, but really it probably does and I just don't know how to do that yet...I'll work on it.  You know me: practice, practice, practice is my mantra!  On a side note, check out my huge hands!  I swear to goodness, I have ACTUAL MAN HANDS!  They are crazy big, right?!?  ...sorry, that was just a side note...  Anyway, this page has the poem I wrote for the 'Just Write' portion of the chapter.   I stuck with my narcissistic theme and did most of the thoughts starting out with 'I' phrases.

Here is the poem I wrote for the writing portion.  (It's hard to make out in some places in the photo) :

I am a still life painting.
But I am not the color.
I am the black 
the white
the haze
that makes the colors pop off the page
necessary in small doses
but abhorred just the same
for my light and my darkness
neither of which can be discarded
but somehow still so hard to appreciate
"If only she were this instead of that"
or "that instead of this"
but I am not.
Your eyes are drawn away by color
by the noisy crashing of brighter hues.
And you do not really see me.

I begin to see cracks, fissures in my flawed nature
opening wider, 
being pried apart by desperate fingers
spurred on by eyes longing to see what's hidden inside.

I stand resolute but silent:
I am not the song being sung.
I am the catch in the throat, 
the strangled cry.
In my heart I call to you.
I call only your name.

I desire to make sense of  
this curse and gift
like any other, to find meaning 
in things that seem 
so meaningless
so transient, 
so beautiful, yet all in vain

That first part of the poem is what made me think of the bright glorious background I had done in the journal. Then the additions I did, my pictures and the text and drawing and things, were black and white or very bland neutralish colors.  I like that it ties in with the poem in that way.  

I can't wait to see what next week brings about...I'll have a whole week to play with the book this time.  I only just got the book on Friday, and kind of cheated a little by using the background I had done so that I would not feel rushed to keep up...not that you have to do it that way, it's just my slightly neurotic way. Now I'm left with clean blank pages to work on for all the other no cheating can happen!  If the rest of the weeks are as awesome as this first week, I doubt I'll have any problems with 'cheating'...I'm looking forward to digging in full force and really getting down to the roots.

Wow, that was a long ramble!  I'm off to shovel some dirt now...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

ICAD, Art Journal and Canvas Hooray!

First, a big thanks to everybody for helping me hit 3,000 page views!  You guys made me do the happy dance today!  It wasn't too long ago that I was doing the happy dance over 2,000...I am going to have to start thinking about some kind of giveaway for when I hit 5,'s going to creep up on me and I'll be unprepared if I'm not careful!  If anybody has any ideas on that, I'm open to suggestions...

So I got to do some artsy stuff today, and I'm super excited about it!  I'm always super excited, aren't I?  It's like I'm bipolar, but only ever visit the one pole, you know what I mean?  

Up first is my ICAD card, which I'm cheating on and doing two prompts in one card, because I messed up my order royally and now I'm just confused and scared!  Help!  Help!  

This card is 3x5 and the prompts were 'your name in block letters' and 'logo':

I think I failed at block letters...I don't think there are supposed to be curves in block letters...but I didn't research that first, and so I ended up with this.   I did get to use some of my FANTABULOUS Silks acrylic glazes to color it in...I am not one for glittery things usually, but EGADS! I love those things so much!  This whole week for ICAD is bound to be a do-over, because I just went cuckoo or something.  The 'logo' part is my stylized little red clover.  I've used it before, hit and miss, but I like it quite a lot and I think it will be my signature from now on, mostly because it keeps me from having to sign my name in my terrible 12-year-old boy handwriting...  (Who am I kidding?  Even 12-year-old boys have better handwriting than me!)

Next I did a page (or really a two-page spread) in one of my art journals:
This is not my usual thing...  The colors and the collage-y look are both out of the norm for me.  This was kind of an experiment page.  I used some muslin I had painted black (I painted the muslin forever ago, testing out some textile medium I had bought.)  On the right page, behind the stamped image (the one that is not torn) is the scrap piece of paper I used underneath the muslin when I painted it...isn't that a neat effect how the paint came through all randomly?  I think it's a pretty nifty pattern!  The stamped images were also me testing things out.  Same stamp, in different inks (some images then covered in perfect pearls) on pages from my old Spanish/English dictionary.  I colored some of the pages using alcohol inks as well to make them look more aged...they were already pretty old, but not quite as darkly antique colored as they are now.  The journaling says: "I think somewhere along the way I have been torn apart and I must spend the rest of my life piecing myself back together." 

And finally, the thing I am REALLY super excited about:
Woo Hoo!!!   My bird at sunrise painting!  He's on an 8x10 canvas.  I would just like to mention that I do NOT like working on canvases.  I know it's because I'm just not used to them, but ARG!  I much prefer my safe and easy watercolor paper!  ...but I will keep practicing on the canvases.   One day, I will probably look back at this post and say what a weenie I was for not liking to work on canvas.  As much as I disdained working on the canvas, I am so very, very happy with how the painting turned out!  And look, I even used my little red clover to sign it with!  Squeeee!  It makes me so happy!

I did the painting along with the completely awesome (and very nice) Marc Charles from Painting with Marc on YouTube.  Some darling amigas from one of the Facebook groups I am in suggested watching his first video (I made an ICAD card using what I learned in the can see the result in my last post).  Now, I am HOOKED!  

Here is the video for your viewing pleasure...and listening pleasure (I LOVE his accent!  *sigh*  It's just delicious, I swear I could listen to him read the dictionary!):

He does such a great job of teaching you how to do things!  I am enamored with him and his art and his style of teaching!  He kindly accepted a Facebook friending from me, and, let me just say, he is such a sweetie pie!  So go subscribe to his channel on YouTube and go friend him (and me, of course!) on Facebook and see just how wonderful he really is!  I think I am going to end up doing all of his tutorials, so be forewarned: You will be hearing about Marc again!

So those are my major accomplishments for the day...what did you get into?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Happy Mail and Some Encouragement

First of all let me just say a big WOO HOO!!!  I got some beautiful mail art today, from not one, but two lovely ladies!  Hooray!

First, from my darling Pamikins:
Two very awesome napkins, some really cool dress shaped paper (I think they must have been from a notepad?), and two AMAZING ATCs!  I love them both so much!  I love that Marilyn Monroe quote, especially that first line "Imperfection is beauty" (read on, because it applies to what I'll be talking about farther down).  And I love the WTF? ATC, that face... "Oh Lawd!"  I LOVE IT!!!  Thank you my dearest Pamikins!   

And from the fantastic Rose:

A fabulous bookmark (oh, I love these so much...I put my other one to good use right away, and, since I am a multiple books at once kind of reader, I will be doing the same with this one!), some really neat numbers (aren't they just too awesome???  I have been plotting with these since I opened the envelope...that 6 and the Paris napkin from my Pam are destined to be together I do believe!), a beautiful note card with butterflies (I love these so much, I don't know where she got them from, but I want to go to that place!) and then the Geisha and Crane piece, which I ADORE!  Thank you, wonderful Rose!

I am always so amazed by the creativity of the wonderful friends I've made online.  They are all so generous, kind and encouraging.  I am so fantastically lucky just to know each and every one of them!  Their kind words have made me so bold in taking chances and trying new things.  I know I would not have progressed as far as I have in so short a time without them cheering me on!

I had promised that I would share some of my beginning drawings with the ladies, and I decided to include them in this post too.  And I'm letting you see the horror that is my beginning drawings, because I want everybody to see that there is ZERO natural talent at work in me.  ZERO.  You won't believe it, but the following drawings aren't even the worst ones I did!  (I covered over the worst of them with gesso, hollered "DO-OVER!" and made art journal the following ones are the LEAST WORST...when you see them you won't think a person could do any worse, but trust me, there were worse...)

So here are a few of the (least) worst drawings I did when I was starting out:

Look at those hands...are they made out of straw?  Humongous head, little body.  Circular eyeballs.  Check out that nifty hair she's got going on there...look how flat her face is.  What nose has EVER looked like that?
Hand behind the back = I didn't have to attempt hands.  Two different sized legs.  Circle eyeballs again.  Who's hair looks like that?  What is up with those boobs?  It looks like one of her silicon implants is deflating...
So, you can't draw realistically?  Let's make some doll-like drawings then...good grief, how can you screw that up? Let's take note of just how you can screw it up: ..that hand looks like starfish and octopus tentacles...those are the fattest legs any ballerinas have ever they have gout or something?  but look...eyeball improvement...they're no longer circles at least...  hair is clearly still an issue...  and proportion...
Check out that sweet pear shaped bod this gal's got going on...oh, and the one piece squiggle hair...who drew this stuff, a five year old?  Yuck.  

So, do you see what I mean?  NO NATURAL TALENT.  And the reason I want everybody to know that I have NO natural talent whatsoever, is so that they will know that they CAN draw (or paint or whatever).  All it takes is practice.  Talent is not needed.  Practice is the only thing you need.

Don't get me wrong, I know I am still, by far, NOT the best myself.  But, look at the above drawings, and then look at these: 
OK, she's definitely stylized, right?  But look at the 'before' doll-like drawings...disproportionate and terrible in general...  Now look at her, she's not perfect, but she's mostly in proportion.  The legs and arms do not look like disfigured sea creature appendages...  There is some sense to the hair as well...

OK, so what's going on here?  Still not perfect, right?  The wrong eyeball is bigger.  It looks like she got punched in the left cheek and it's swollen.  Mouth is still not right.  BUT, face has a face shape (it's not just a circle anymore!).  Same with the eyes.  The nose looks like it belongs on a human for once!

And then there's this girl, who I think is the best one I've done so far.  I still have hair issues, but I'm working on it...there is improvement.  Again, more realistic face shape, eyes, nose, mouth...more realistic everything!

I'm not showing you these because I want showered with praise...PLEASE DON'T!!!  I'm showing you because I want you to see that ANYBODY can get better with a little practice.  Again, I know that I've still got plenty of things I can do to improve, and I will keep practicing and practicing until I get to the point where I'm 100% satisfied (we all know that's imaginary...I bet no one is ever 100% satisfied...).  

I just want you all to see that you CAN draw (or paint or whatever), if you are willing to take the time and practice.  I've watched a lot of videos online, and did a lot of research, and I still am on the lookout for more and more.  I LOVE art, looking at it, practicing, reading about it, seeing what others do... I love everything about it and I do SOMETHING every single day.  

From the beginning drawings up above to the more recent ones down at the bottom, only about 6 months or so have passed.  When I look at these images, I can hardly believe that I've improved so much in that small amount of time!  It gets me so excited to think what I'll be able to do in another 6 months that I can't do now!

I guess the point I am trying to make is that six months from now, you can still be sitting there saying  "I wish I could..." or "I'll never be able to..." or you could be sitting there saying "Look how far I've come!"  I know you can do it if you really want to!  All you have to do is try and keep trying!  I KNOW YOU CAN!

OK, I'm getting down off my soapbox now...

Again, I just want to say a big THANK YOU to Rose and Pam for my GORGEOUS care packages!  (You ladies made my day a million times better!!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!)  And I want to add more big THANK YOU's to all the fantastic folks I am lucky enough to know!  Your words of encouragement are a big part of the reason I can sit here today and say "Look how far I've come!"  Thank you all!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Icads 21-24

What a busy weekend I had!  (That's my lame way to say sorry I didn't post for a couple days...)  In my defense, I actually did have a seemingly action packed weekend.  

There was mailing of mail art.  There was going to Michaels craft store (twice).  There was a MONSTROUS amount of cleaning.  This is what took up the most time...egad, so much time...but the craft room looks AWESOME...and to a lesser extent, so do the kitchen and bathroom.  I mean, how awesome can they look...there's hardly any art supplies in those other rooms at all!  

And there was also art...I managed to get my ICAD cards done.  I also started an art journal page, but I'm not finished yet, so that will have to wait for another post.

So anyways, ICAD cards...  

They are all on 3x5 index cards.  I managed to somehow get confused on the prompts for each day.  I was doing the prompts in order, but I messed that up (no clue how).  I did do 4 cards in 4 days, so that counts anyway, I think.

For the first one, the prompt was 'owl'.  I tried using the video found HERE to paint my card.  The video is really cool, and I could listen to that guy talk all day long.  My girls on Facebook and I have decided I am totally going to marry him, because he has an awesome accent, he's pretty much adorable, he's clumsy (watch the video...he drops something...bwa-ha-ha...I love it!) and he likes art...  How perfect can one person be?  I don't know how my current husband will feel about this, but I'd like to think he'll understand.  Besides, he doesn't have an adorable accent at all, so his opinion is pretty much meaningless...  

Here's the card:

This video is really good.  The man (with the fabulous accent) makes you really feel like you can do what he's doing, and not in a fruit loopy, hippy dippy way (Lawd, I hate when they get all fruit loopy), but just in a nice "it's easy, just try it" way.  With that accent, I believe whatever he says...  Anyway, because I'm a rebel, I added some highlights with white to the owl and to branches especially (in the video, he just has you do the silhouette).  I like the way the branches turned out...the owl, not so much...he looks more cartoonish to me than the branches do.

Next is my ICAD for the prompt "list of pros and cons"...see, I told you, I got all out of whack.  Anyway, because lists are my mortal enemy, I decided that instead of pros and cons, I would just do a 'con' and decided to make a picture of Bonnie Parker, of Bonnie and Clyde fame:

Here's my extremely stylized version of Faye Dunaway as Bonnie Parker.  

Then I made this card, for the prompt 'lyrics or quote', using a video by Jennibellie, which you can find HERE.  Basically, the idea was to 'paint' using string of some kind.  I used embroidery floss:

Once I put down the string, it reminded me of Liza Minelli in Cabaret.  Mostly nowadays, when I think of Liza Minelli, I think of her in Arrested Developement...."I got a case of the dizzies." HAHAHA! 

Finally, I made this card for the prompt 'grocery list':

...because we all know art supplies are more important than food.  These are a few of the things I got at Michaels this weekend (minus the index cards): a set of black Microns, a set of Twinkling H2Os, 5 colors of screen printing ink for fabric, 6 different colors of Silks acrylic glazes, a couple different Sharpies, and some Mod Podge matte sealer.  I got some other things (during the second trip) which didn't make it to the 'grocery' list: some Golden soft gel medium (matte), some Adirondack acrylic paint daubers, and some new paint brushes.  Over all, a fabulous haul.  I've been good for a long time, so I went a little nuts...I'm like a binge buyer when it comes to supplies...nothing, nothing, nothing, EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE...  Shame on me!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Page at last and icad too

I finally did an art journal page last night.  FINALLY!  From start to finish (thanks to my beloved industrial strength heat gun)!  And, I suppose, technically two pages.  *insert gigantic sigh of relief here*

I decided that I would start to watch some videos for art journaling and see if I could learn some new techniques, be reminded of ones I've not used for a while, and even to see if I saw something that would inspire me to create a brilliant technique of my own.  

So, last night I sat down and queued up Pinterest and started searching...and then ingeniously forgot to pin the video I watched, so I sadly can't share it with you.  When I stumble across that video again, I promise I will put up the link...and I'll remember to pin the video next time so I can share it with you right away!

At any rate, I watched a video (it was a lady who did a Dyan Reavely inspired video, using Dyan's products/style)and then tried to copy what the woman in the video did.  She did some things I didn't/couldn't do (because I didn't have all the supplies she did) and I added in my own touches as well to get the pages to be 'finished' and more my style.  And here they are:

Started off by spaying the page with fresh lime and black marble Dylusions (I notice people using this color combo a lot, and it looks good when they do it, but I HATE it when I try it...)  Then I used one of Dyan's stencils (which I do have, but don't know the name's the one with the flower edge and dots in the middle) and sprayed through it with the same color dylusions as above.  And then I decided (she did not do this in the video) to use some white acrylic paint and went through the stencil with it as well (because the page was VERY dark in places, and I didn't like that.   Then, in the video, the woman uses one of Dyan Reavely's stamps on a separate piece of paper, and then glues it on the page, but I don't have any of her stamps, so I just drew a girl instead, colored her in with Dylusions and pasted her in.  I used postbox red Dylusions sprayed through the same stencil on the left page to tie in with the headband of the girl. Then I used the mini "Mixed Up Alphabet" stencil and traced out the letters on the left page ("You gotta be kidding me"), with Pitt pen and then colored it in with acrylic paints in yellow and in turquoise to try to tie in the girl a little better...she was sticking out like a sore thumb pretty badly.  Then I took some black acrylic paint and added in the words on the right page ("Can I just be over it now?") because there was too much white going on.  Then I added the dots with turquoise and black acrylic in some random places, outlined some stuff as well.  I used black faux-latos around the girl and then a sparkly peachy one to color in her face a little more (it was a VERY stark white before)...then I took that same sparkly peach and went over the whole page randomly.  And then it was bedtime!

I also got my ICADS done for yesterday and today, just didn't have time to share them.  Both are on 3x5 cards.

This is the one for the 19th, the prompt was 'summer':
I saw a picture of this on Pinterest, and it had these really bright awesome super saturated colors, and I thought that looked pretty summery, so I tried to recreate it on a card.  I REALLY LOVE how the colors look on this.  (Used watercolor and Pitt pen)

And here's today's card, with the prompt of 'poem'
"Faces of other people follow me around the room."  This is acrylic paint and then I glued down some faces I made using paperclay (the blueish white ones) and Martha Stewart Crafter's Clay (the purple ones).  I painted their eyes, lips, and cheeks with acrylic.  The poem this is from is below in it's entirety.  I wrote it and it's a double alphabet poem, minus the letter 'x', because there are just not that many 'x' words out there to use...  I always end up cheating and using words that sound like 'x' at the beginning...extreme, extra, etc.

"The Firing Synapses"

And you will always
Be with me, beloved.
Closed eyes call and you answer in 
Dreams that keep you dear to me, 
Ever in my thoughts, even where you shouldn't be.
Faces of other people follow me around the room.
Giddy laughter covers the gloom in me.
Half of my life rots with you, hallow in the grave.
Indecision corrodes the rest.  If only you had not...
Justice, however, won't be served and I'm always jolted back.
Killing me slowly, they keep it up.
Love, they never seem to let me alone.
My memories of you are constantly interrupted,
Not by anything I care for, nothing important,
Only for the sake of this half life I lead.  This open wound
Pouring, barely enough left to keep me going.  Nothing easing the pain.
Quietly, life drains out of me...quick enough I suppose.
Ready or not, when the time comes, you can't resist.
Sometimes I wonder where you are now.  Sickly
thoughts try to make sense of it.
Useless.  I know I will never understand
while I still breath, while I still think, 
exactly what happens, what to expect.
You yearn to know or else try to forget the question.
Zapping your brain, the synapses zero in or else try to disconnect.

So there you have it...if you'd like to read more of my poetry (some is pretty decent, I swear!) you can check it out HERE.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

ICAD 18 and...did I show you this already?

So two things to show you, that I made quite a while ago, but don't think I showed before.  They're in my scrappy pocket calender journal that I made.  If I shared these before, please forgive the repeat, I have tired brain...

Easy peasy wimpy drawing...I just was pretty happy with the lettering on this one...usually I hate my lettering, because of the 12-year-old boy handwriting, but I am ok with this one.  The lyrics are from the song below:

This is the song, by Fiona Apple, called Werewolf.  I think she has interesting lyrics and she did the artwork for the cover of the album, which I think is pretty cool! :

This is on the page opposite the one above, and Fiona Apple lyrics inspired this one too.  What can I say, I get off on tangents...

This is my actual handwriting.  Horrifying, I know...  I like the way the feet are crossed in this little sketch.

This is the song that the lyrics above are from (for the record, weirdest video ever, but I love's like a big crazy dream within a dream thing...that's my take anyway) :

Also, I think that gal has an interesting face.  I will probably draw it one day...

And lastly, but not leastly, there is my ICAD card for today.

It's on a 3x5 and the prompt today was "Italy":

I did a drawing of  La Bocca della Verita, or 'the mouth of truth', which is in the church of Santa Maria
Cosmedin Rome, Italy.  I don't think this is the best sketch in the world, but the black eyes and mouth do make his look appropriately menacing, I think.

As soon as I saw the prompt for Italy, I thought of "Roman Holiday" with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.  It's my favorite Audrey Hepburn movie, I do believe.  Anyway, one of the scenes that the movie is famous for is the scene with 'the mouth of truth' in it, and that's why I chose this to draw.  

Here's the scene:

Just an interesting tidbit, Audrey Hepburn was unaware of what Gregory Peck was going to do in this scene, so her reaction above is her actual reaction.  You just witnessed a young Audrey Hepburn freak the crap out...that thought is hilarious to me!

Monday, June 17, 2013

ICAD 16 and 17 and a Bonus

I was a bit of a no-show yesterday...sorry about that!  And here I've been so good at posting at least the ICAD cards once a day...Oh well...

The reason I didn't post yesterday is that it was my first day of non-smoking.  Oh was great.  I got one of those e-cigarettes to try to take the edge off...I don't know how well that's going to work.  Let me just say I could totally eat a cigarette right now.  I wouldn't even flinch. 

I have quit smoking before.  Literally quit, I didn't just make an attempt to quit for a day and then take it back up.  No, I quit for three or four years.  Then, I had a bit of a personal tragedy and started again.  That was about two years ago.  

The first time I quit, I quit cold turkey (after attempting the pill, which made me a psychopath)...that may be how I end up doing it this time as well...  I think this electronic thing is just making me angry.  

The sucky part is that I LIKE to smoke.  I REALLY like to smoke.  OH LAWD, HOW I LOVE TO SMOKE!!!.  

But I know that I need to quit.  I've been getting out of breath way too easily, and it is probably a combination of the smoking and the general amount of unhealthy that I possess, but I'm willing to try to quit smoking first and see how that works out...then exercise if I HAVE to.  Another good reason to quit is the stink.  I know everything I have probably smells like smoke.  I have been thinking about trying to sell some of my art online (Thanks to the encouragement from my gals on Facebook) and I can't do that if it smells like smoke.  And then there's the whole money end of it.  Yeah...I don't want to tell you how much I spend on smoking a'll gasp in horror.  ...At least (AT LEAST!) $200...sometimes more.  Yeah, that's not a typo...two hundred dollars a month or more spent on smoking!  *GASP!*  I know, how ridiculous is that? Do you know how many art and craft supplies could be bought with that money?  So many...

So if everyone I know in real life could promise not to be annoying for the next week or two, that would be great.  From quitting before, I know the first two weeks were the hardest for me.  That was the time frame that I wanted to rip people's faces off.  After that I was totally ok.  I thought maybe the e-cigarette would take some of that edge away, but I think it is making it worse.  

I am trying to think of all the awesome reasons I have to quit smoking, but good grief, just talking about it makes me want a cigarette!  I promise this will not become a blog dedicated to how I quit smoking, but I may mention it off hand, just to keep me accountable.  

At any rate, I did do my ICAD cards this weekend, and here they are: 

The first one is from the 16, the prompt was "polka dots" and it's a 3x5:

This is a stamp I have.  I embossed it and then used watercolor to paint behind it.  I could get inspired to do much else on this one, I just wanted to try the idea out again.

Here's the card for today, the prompt is "definition" and it's a 3x5 as well:
This one reminds me of smoking...if you look at it sideways, it looks like your trying to light two cigarettes with one flame.  I can't look at this anymore!  *tear*

Finally, I have a bit of a 'bonus' card today.  Inspired by the lovely (and VERY nice and funny) Tracey Fletcher King and her amazing cuppa cards, and using her step by step how-she-does-it on her blog (found HERE), I made my own cuppa card!

Here's my cup, I use her for holding pens and crayons and crochet hooks, but she is very much a mug, I promise... :
Isn't she adorable?  I love stuff like this!  I got her forever ago at a thrift store for a quarter.  She's worth much more to me; I just love her!

And here's my card, a 4x6:
Not too horrible for a first try, right?  And I did like Tracey said on the blog, and used NO PENCIL, only pen...on the lettering too, which is why "promise" is colored in...because it's an 's' not a 'c' as I originally tried to write...Note to self: spell check first next time.  Overall, not terrible, but I think with practice that I could get better.  So practice is the plan!  

Thanks to Tracey Fletcher King and her awesome how-to!  I really had a lot of fun attempting this...even though I couldn't use my pencil safety net... :)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

ICAD June 15

Here are my ICAD cards for the day, the prompt was "Postage Stamp".

This one is 3x5: 

I saw the quote on Pinterest.  She's sepia-toned Micron 0.5 colored in 'faux'-latos.  The Guatemala thing is a rub-on I've had forever.

Here's the 4x6:

This is a stamp featuring  postage stamp size pictures, some of them even postage stamp related...I feel like it captured the essence of the prompt.  I embossed the stamped image and then used my watercolors to color it in.  My heat gun has been at my mom's house for quite a while, and I realized I missed it ever so much...I do not wish to be parted from this day forward.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Face and the Camera

Another one from the br sketchbook today...  

I like this one so much.  She reminds me of an actress, who's name I can't think of for the life of me...if you think you know who I'm talking about, could you tell me who you think it is, because it is KILLING me!
"She was so wise to the ways of the world.  No one could hurt her now."  The lettering was my poor attempt at sketchy graffiti...I don't know how well that comes across (not at all...).  But, I do love this face so much.  I don't even want to color her in, and you know that is NOT like me!  I think she is fabulous just as she is...

And, of course, we've got the ICAD card today as well.  The prompt today was "camera" and this is on a 3x5 card:

"There are always two people in every picture, the photographer and the viewer"
-Ansel Adams
I am super happy with the way this turned out.  I love that only parts of it are colored in, and the camera strap makes me squeal with delight.  I love how it turned out.  And that quote...oh, that quote!  

I think all arts are like that, don't you?  Two people in every work of art...the artist, who pours themselves into their work, and the person looking at the art, who sees their own meaning in it.  I really think that no two people ever see the same thing when they look at a work of art, because we each view it under the influence of our own life, shaded by our own experiences.  

Isn't it interesting that we, as humans, are made up of all the same basic bits and pieces as any other human, and yet there is so much variation?  

Thursday, June 13, 2013


More from the br sketchbook today...

I've been noticing a lot of sketches that have 'extra' lines lately...  

For instance, this GORGEOUS piece by Abigail Larson: 

I love, love, love this style.  I've seen other people do similar things, but this lady's stuff just screams at my eyeballs to love it!  You can see more of Abigail Larson's work HERE.  You can also support her art and buy (me a hoodie or) something HERE.  I don't know this gal, but I REALLY enjoy her work very much and wanted to share it.

So anyway, I've had this 'sketchy' style with the 'extra' lines on my mind for quite a while, and thought I'd try a quick version of it:

"I feel sick and tired, likely because I'm always trying to fit a square peg in a round hole..."
Clearly, I need A LOT more work, but I love the look so much I know I will be revisiting it again and again so that I can get better.  I think I did it a little backwards (aka all wrong) in this piece...I think I may have figured out how to get better sketch lines and therefore a better end result...  I'm going to be experimenting more...  Practice, practice, practice...till your sick of practicing, right?  It's the only way to improve!

I also got my ICAD card done for today.  The prompt was "junk mail" and the card is 3x5:

"I pretend that I'm happy.  It's a lie.  I'm sick of always saying goodbye."  This is water soluble crayolas (the yellow and blue) and then the girl and the green piece are both from the same junk mail envelope.  I was looking at the window of the envelope and thought it looked kind of like a car window, so I stuck the cute little kid in the window and viola.  Recently, I have been seeing a ton of really cool ideas/uses for junk mail envelopes that have the clear plastic window...people are amazingly creative!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

She's a Freak

I've been thinking about the things that make us know, our little quirks...the things we do that make us seem a bit strange to other people.  

I, for one, find these traits/habits/weirdnesses to be extremely interesting.  I love the details that make one person different from another.  I guess, in my head, if you just pay attention, these little funky things are like having a secret insight into someone else.  

For instance, my husband has this thing he does when he gets frustrated...he takes his hat (he's never without his ball cap) on and off repeatedly...not all the way...just up, down, up, down...  And when he's REALLY mad, he takes off his hat and rubs his hand across his forehead so hard you would swear he was trying to take the skin off.  Why does he do it?  I have no clue, and that's what makes it interesting to me.

Or a friend of mine at work has a desk full of ducks...why ducks?  Actually, I know why in this case: I work at a factory where they make fans, heaters, thermostats, ect.  One of the things we make are duct heaters, and my friend is the one who always prints and keys these duct orders in and so somebody started calling her the duck lady (same issue with duct tape...duct tape, duck tape...everybody calls it duck tape) and got her a duck...and then people just assumed she liked ducks, so they kept getting her more of them and now she's got a desk full of ducks.  Even when I know the why behind these weird things, they still interest me.

If quirks are what make us interesting, I think I must be the most interesting person in the world.  (Not really...)  I do have a lot of quirks though...for instance:

  • I am a multiple sneeze person.  I sneeze six times in a row.  If I ever sneeze less than six times, it will be just once, and this is how I know I am getting sick.  Multiple sneezes are completely normal, but if I sneeze only once, it's time to stock up on Kleenex and orange juice.
  • I have a large collection of various turtle things (even a tattoo of a turtle).  I collect turtle things because my mom has called me Turtle ever since I can remember.  She says when I was a kid, it was like I did everything in slow she started calling me Turtle.  My turtle tattoo is the equivalent of the heart with 'Mom' inside of it.
  • I never cry...I mean very rarely...not even when people die...I'm just not a cryer...  However, if you make me watch Dumbo, I will ball my eyes out when Dumbo's mother is in the 'mad elephant' cage and she sticks her trunk out through the bars and rocks Dumbo and that darn "mother's love their babies" song is playing in the background...I swear I get misty just thinking about it.  
  • I hate bananas, but I like banana flavored things.  Banana popsicle, banana snack cakes, banana Runts (the best flavor Runt of all!) 'em...actual bananas, puke city.
  • I hate the following words: moist (don't ever call cake moist in front of me...that is a cake I will not be eating), whimsical (maybe from overuse?  ...I don't know, but it irritates me when I hear that word), panties (grossest. word. ever.  I call them underpants...much less gross, slightly comical, better option by far) , bling ( I might use this word occasionally, but not if I can help it...I like sparkly...or shiny...or shimmery... anything but bling) and vagina (ew.  Who names this stuff?  I go with 'lady parts'...  I'm perfectly fine with penis...I usually say wiener, but I'm ok with penis.  But vagina...that's just a terrible word...I'm so happy my name is not Gina for this exact reason...although if you pronounced vagina like you pronounced Gina, I think I'd feel better about the word.  'I wear underpants to cover my va-Gina...'  Ok, that's hilarious...I'm going to be calling it a va-Gina from now least on occasion when 'lady parts' just won't cut it...
What got me thinking about quirks was the fact that I also have the weird habit of drawing when I'm in the bathroom.  I used to read, but anymore, I've been mostly drawing instead.  Which is weird in and of itself, but if you include the fact that the bathroom sketchbook is huge, it adds to the strangeness...  And then, I have the best ideas in the bathroom.  I hate to think of all the great ideas that have been lost to me because I resisted putting a sketchbook in the bathroom for so long...but NEVER again will my bathroom ideas be denied...  

The sketch for today is in my bathroom sketchbook (hereafter known as the br sketchbook):

I use pen or sharpie in the br sketchbook...the br is no place for's a place for brilliant ideas jotted quickly.  So I use pen and if I like something, I try to make a more polished version in one of my art journals or, in the case of today, an ICAD card.

Here's the ICAD card based on the above quick sketch.  It's 3x5, colored with watercolor:

I actually like the original sketch better than this.  I think the white face is what's throwing me the most...I'm not sure...  But I do like the nose quite a bit...on the ICAD card and the original as well.  There may be another incarnation of this attempted in one of my art journals at some point, because I REALLY like the idea of/thought behind the page.  In case you are wondering, the quote comes from the John Butler Trio song below.

So there you have that you know about a couple of my weird little things that make us the entire weirdness that is me, I'd love to know yours!  What are some things that make you who you are?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

ICAD, June 11: Ivy

Not much time, but I did get today's ICAD card done!  

The prompt was 'ivy' and I did this on a 3x5 card:

I keep looking at it thinking "that's not ivy", because in my head, ivy is English Ivy...but there ARE other kinds of ivy besides the English shut up brain, this is ivy too!!!

If nothing else, ICAD is teaching me how to work in smaller spaces...I feel like I am getting better at the smaller format!  This is awesome, because it's one of my goals...when ICAD is over with, I am going to take the next step towards tiny and start practicing ATCs!  I'm taking baby steps...shrinking baby steps!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Playing with dolls and ICAD 8, 9, and 10

One of the groups I'm in on Facebook is having a swap using a template from  You can find the template HERE, or go to Stampington's site, which has a bunch of other templates, tutorials and free projects to try...I'm definitely going to be visiting that site again soon!

So anyway, here's what I made with the template:

I used modeling paste for the hair, so it has some texture even though you can't see it.  The arm is articulated, thanks to the little paper fastener thingie.  The wing is Angelina film, which is iridescent, (although it doesn't come through well in the photo) and stamped with Stazon.  And paint (acrylic and watercolor), pen, scrapbook paper, and lace are the other ingredients.

I get to swap with my most favoritest Boo in the whole wide world!  I hope she likes it!

And then here's my ICAD's for the past couple days, all on 3x5 cards: 

June 8, the prompt was "city or map", and I did this with an XS Pitt Pen.  The line is from the Johnny Cash song "The Ballad of Barbara" below.

June 9, the prompt was "sun".  This is water soluble crayolas, gelatos, and watercolor.
And today, June 10, the prompt was "list of favorites".  I'm not a list person, so I just had to wing it.  The list is 'favorites today'.  And it says:
  1. This French Violet color paint (it's Valspar and the picture doesn't do it justice...the color is a really beautiful purply grey, and I like it quite a mom gave me the paint)
  2. Art jounaling...yeah, that's an every single day favorite, duh!  I haven't had much time in my art journals for the past few days and I am detoxing or something!  I hope I can get some time with them after work tonight!
  3. White space in journals...I do love the amazing layered backgrounds that are popular right now, but there's something about white space in journals that just does it for me!
  4. My new haircut...yeah, I said goodbye to a good 4-5 inches, and it feels SO much better...I swear to goodness, I could shave my head bald and I'd be so happy about it.  But sadly, I have a bulbous head and bald is just not going to be a good look for I settled for shorter than it was...
  5. Summer storms...the kind that leave it cooler than it was before the storm started anyway...I don't want any of that humidity crap afterwards!  
  6. Reusing file folders...I did the art doll above on a manilla file folder, and I have about 10,000 more file folders.  I am happy to be able to put them to use, even if it's just one at a time!
  7. Line drawings...  I love simple line drawings, even though I am always adding in detail on my own things.  A well done line drawing is HARD to do, (at least to me) but gorgeous!
  8. Chocolate milk...seriously, I could drink a bathtub full of chocolate milk and still not be sick of it...I have a problem...
  9. buckeye brownie cake!!!  I stopped at a diner yesterday because I just wanted to get out of the house and got a philly cheese steak and a piece of this cake...  Oh.My.Goodness.  I am not even a cake person, and this stuff made rainbows shoot out of my mouth!  It was SO delicious!
  10. Sad songs...I am currently listening to Trio, which is Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Rondstadt.  I love the songs on this album (and Trio 2, also gorgeous) was one of the first CDs I ever bought, and I wore it out.  Now I'm listening to it on Spotify, contemplating a quick Amazon purchace...