Thursday, January 30, 2014

Documented Life, Week 5: We said goodbye...

Can I just say: I am tired of bad things happening.  No more for me, stupid universe, I've had my fill.

Last Friday, one of my dogs, Nu Nu, passed away.  I'm not going to go into a lot of details in this post, because I don't want to get myself all worked up again, but that's what this weeks DL spread is about:

Nu Nu was a really good dog.  He was smart and comical.

His name was really Noodles.  He was part pit bull, part dalmatian, and a rescue, like our other dogs.  I named him Noodles because I know how afraid some people are of pit bulls...but no one could be afraid of a dog named Noodles.  

I worked at a vet clinic for several years.  In all that time, I came across only one mean pit bull...his name was Ozzy, and he hated everybody except for his owners and me.  I was the only one at the vet clinic who would go near him.  On the opposite side, mean little dogs came in every single day...this is why I have an aversion to chihuahuas...the only dog that ever came close to biting me was a chihuahua...I think they are evil.  Unless you have a chihuahua...then I'm sure yours is nice...but all other chihuahuas are tiny sacks of evil...but I digress...  The point is 99.9% of pit bulls are nice...(and 99.99999% of chihuahuas are evil)...

Nu Nu was exceptionally nice.

In the last couple years of his life, he was sick.  We tried everything to help him, but nothing worked.  There comes a point when you have to let go and just do what you can to keep them comfortable.  Honestly, if it were up to me, I would have put him down.  I don't advocate putting animals to sleep, but when nothing else can be done and when there is no quality of life...I just don't think it's right for them to suffer.  My husband believes that, 'you wouldn't put me down if I was sick, so how can you do that to one of the dogs?'  ...maybe he's right...I don't know...

I just know that last Friday, nature took its course, and I came home and buried a good dog in the frozen ground, and now he doesn't hurt anymore.

I think it's interesting, scientifically, I suppose, how animals react to death.  The other dogs ignored his might as well have been a stick or a rock.  It seemed like whatever was left of him, they knew it was not Nu Nu.  They did not recognize him anymore.  Jake, one of my other dogs, has been looking for him.  I don't know why he would...Nu Nu always stole Jake's food...I guess the way a pesky brother would.  Some people think animals don't remember, but I think they must.

Death always makes me think of this line from a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, where she says 'things in death are neither clocks nor people, but only dead'.  In other words, whatever makes us alive is gone and for all intents and purposes, our bodies are nothing but broken clocks.  Some people would say the thing that makes us alive is a 'soul' that we have, that lives in our physical bodies for a time, or others that humans are souls and the 'breath of life' is what does it, or million other things.  I don't know who's right, if anybody is.  I think that's why I always think of Millay's poem, because it describes death in a way I can comprehend: something that works and then doesn't.  

Maybe my other dogs see it as something that was here but is gone now...Nu Nu was here, but now he's gone.  Just like me, they don't know where...I guess dogs don't really think of that part...only people think that way.  It must be so much easier to be a dog than it is to be a human.

Nu Nu was a good dog.  The sad part about loving mortal things is that there will always be a painful goodbye.  And yet, we keep loving, don't we?  Maybe if we were all smarter, we'd just have pet rocks and passing acquaintances and we'd never love anything, only accept it's presence.  But then, what would be the point of living?  I suppose that to really live, we must love and love hard and feel the hurt for all the things that mattered and that matter still.  These things wouldn't hurt if they didn't matter.  I think that Nu Nu must have mattered to me very much, and that I must be very lucky to have such a pain in my heart.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Journal 52, Week 3-You Make Me Smile

I'm a little behind on posting my week 3 page for Journal 52 (or J52, which you can read more about HERE), but I actually got it done on time.  I just had a not very good weekend and didn't take the time to post.  But there will be more about that in this week's Documented Life pages, and for right now, I need something happy to get me off to work today.

For week 3 of J52, the prompt was "You make me smile." and it's about the 'quirky, silly, happy things that make you smile'.  Mine has a double meaning, which I'm always a fan of:

"Every time I find your face it always makes me smile!"
Prismacolors, Aquamarkers, Promarkers, Dylusions,  Bic 537R pen (aka the best writing pen ever...I used it for the writing and those crazy eyelashes)

As soon as I read the prompt, I knew I was going to be drawing a girl with a smiling face.  It's one of the how-to videos included in Jane Davenport's (JD for short) Supplies Me class that I'm taking, so I knew I wanted the practice.  I just had to figure out why the girl was going to be smiling...what makes me smile?

Not to make you think that JD is my new art idol or anything (although her work is beautiful and I am loving her classes...), but I do find that she has interesting side thoughts that pop out of her from time to time.  I imagine watching one of JD's videos is a bit like listening to me talk (except for I don't have an awesome Australian accent), because she rambles on and on, goes off on tangents, and is so silly.  But if you listen closely, some of her silliness makes a lot of sense!

One of the things that JD says is that we have little people living in our art supplies and when we use those supplies, we are setting those little people free!  I like that she says "let's see who's living in here today", because there's not always the same person in our's different people every time!  And that was the inspiration for the page I'm sharing makes me smile to find the faces of my little people.  

Now, just so you know, I do differ from JD a little bit, because I know that my little people live in my hand and not my art supplies.  My little people might tell me they want to be drawn in a certain art supply, but they definitely live in my hand.  There's a whole sprawling city of them living in there!  And I know they are living in my hand, because if you used my art supplies, you'd draw the people living in your hand!  And they are probably very different from the ones that live in mine!  I think if the people lived in the art supplies themselves, then your little people would look much more like my little people, and what fun would that be?  So, in my opinion, my little art people live in Hand City and take the art supply bus to Watercolor Paper Town (or sometimes to other substrate themed locations...but Watercolor Paper Town is a pretty popular destination at my house)!

The other meaning for my page is about finding a familiar face in a crowd.  I have a hard time with large groups of people, especially when I'm makes me nervous.  I'm a lot better than I used to be...when I was a kid, I could hardly stand in line at a store without practically having a panic attack.  So I've gotten better, but even now, it's not one of my favorite things.  But if I'm with someone I know, it makes the whole thing much easier.  So I was thinking about going somewhere by myself, bumping into a familiar face, and the amount of relief it provides me.  

I could also imagine waiting for someone in a crowded place (like an airport...although I've personally never been to an airport...) and searching through all the unfamiliar faces til, at last, you find the person you've been looking for.  I blame romance movies for this know, where they have to find their true love before the flight leaves...I bet you can think of a specific movie right now that has this scene in it.  Hollywood has even invaded the brain of a non-TV watcher like me!

So finding faces is something that makes me smile...what about you?  What is it that makes you so glad you can't help but have a physical reaction?  

Friday, January 24, 2014

Documented Life Week 4...Too Severe To Be Easily Forgotten

Have you ever had something happen to you...something you never thought bothered you...and all of the sudden, this thing hits you like a ton of bricks?  And you're so completely taken back by this thing...this stupid thing that never mattered before...that it's all you can think about?

It happened to me this week, and it's what's my Documented Life spread for today is about.  (You can read more about DL HERE.)

Do you remember being at school, and a group of the 'cool' kids would be talking and some kid would walk by and one of them would say to the other, "Look, Jeremy, there's your girlfriend.",  and it was always the dorkiest, grossest, 'loser' kid in the school?  I know you know what I'm talking about.

Well, more or less, that happened to me at work...I was the 'girlfriend'.

Now, when forced to think about my appearance, I tend to take a realistic view.  I know I'm not the hottest thing on the block...I know I'm not stopping traffic or getting cat calls or whistles or whatever it is that babes get these days...*cough...herpes...cough...cough*  But, I'm also not a total hideous beast-monster...nobody's eyeballs start spouting blood when they look at me or anything like that.

Additionally, I'm 30... I work at a factory...theoretically, with other 'adults'...should I even have to be talking about this?  Seriously...

My less...noble...side wants to divert attention to someone else and say 'You think I'm the worst looking person in this place?  Have you seen that least I cover my shame.'  ...I'm not proud of that...but it's true... 

'secretly, deep inside' (acrylic over writing, colored pencil, canvas stickers)

The stupid thing about it is that I always thought I didn't care how people felt about my looks.  Why should I care?  I have basically no control over it.  I mean think about it, barring plastic surgery, what am I supposed to do?  Besides, I'm an awesome person...that should totally make up for whatever I lack in the looks department.

Generally, I would just laugh things like this off...heck, I'd probably be the first one making the joke about myself.  But when faced with the thought that I am the most hideous person someone can point out in a building full of people...well, I guess my pride felt a line was crossed.

'I forget if I love you or not' (acrylic over writing, multiple stencils, canvas stickers, die-cuts, book pages,and Heidi Swapp ColorShine spray)

The whole thing just brought up a bunch of weird feelings for me.  Not that I go around thinking I'm a gorgeous super model or anything, but this situation made me feel ugly.  

I know the important thing is how I view myself...but the thing is, I never think of myself in terms of 'pretty' or 'ugly'...I look in the mirror and I see someone who is smart and funny and kind...I don't think about it the other way.  And I love that about myself!  And really, I always kind of figured it was up to other people to decide if I'm good looking or not.  I mean, 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder', right?  I know its my job to make sure I'm pretty on the inside...and I try really hard to accomplish that!  But as far as the outside...once I shower and brush my hair and make sure I don't have any visible boogers in my nose or something stuck in my teeth, I feel like my job is pretty much done...  But whatever small amount of vanity I have never thought I'd be on the receiving end of a "Jeremy's girlfriend" comment either...

I guess now we know for sure...

My husband finds this whole thing hilarious...and I say "Yuck it up, you're the one who married my ugly butt!"  He always calls me 'low-maintenance', but after being hit by a barrage of "do you think I'm cute?" all week, he might be forced to reexamine that theory...

This is all a little silly, really, and I know it.  But the project is to document life, right?  And life is the good and the bad and all the in-between stuff.  I don't know why I let it bother me so bad...I'm pretty well over it now...I guess the only thing I'm really certain that I am NOT Jeremy's girlfriend.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Tranquil Place in a Colorful Existence

Last night, I finished this week's Journal 52 page (you can read more about J52 and this week's prompt HERE)...just under the wire...but I did it!

This page had a long and odd progression, let me tell you.  What you see now is a FAR cry from what I started out thinking of:

"A tranquil place in a colorful existence" was interesting to me how, like this page, our lives often end up no where near what we thought they'd be.  Even as I sat writing the journaling on this page, a tranquil place in a colorful existence, I thought I was writing about some imaginary future place...some place I might get to someday.  But when I started to think about it, I realized I already have it...

Someone once told me that the only reason I'm creative is because I don't have a life.  And I believed him.  I took his word as truth and internally bemoaned the fact that I didn't have a real life and started to feel sad about my artistic endeavors, because they were a sign that my life was less than everyone else's.

It took me a while to see it, but he was wrong.  He couldn't be more wrong.  

My life isn't what I imagined, but who's is?  I'm sick, I struggle, I have to work hard...but it's a good life.

My creativity isn't a sign of a lack of living, but a sign that I see life like very few people do.  

If you think about it, as artists, we see everything differently.  We find shape and color and pattern in whatever is around us.  We see beauty that others consistently miss.  When I walk around, I don't have my eyes stuck to my phone, I look up and actually see the world around me.  When I get home from work, I don't plop down in front of the TV and zombify, I sit at my desk with a brush in hand and transcribe all the glorious things I saw that day, whether anyone else can see it in my work or not.

I go to my job and I talk with people all day long who have lives similar to mine, but so vastly different that it's jaw-dropping.  I see lives and ways of thinking and motives that are so dissimilar from my own...but I see them, I understand them, I know what makes them the way they are.  I take influence from the people around me and put it into my art.

As creative types, we see things differently, and we think differently as well.  That's a gift, not a curse.  I could never be content to live a 'normal' life...there is no such thing.  I could never be a 'normal' person...again, there is no such thing.  Even if there was, I still wouldn't want to be like everybody else...I mean, have you seen everybody else?  

I think many people go through life with their eyes half closed, seeing only what they want to see.  As artists, our eyes are so wide open...we have no choice but to take it all in...and then we have the task of translating it for the rest of the world.  In small doses, we show people what they never knew they saw.  

Cesar Cruz said "Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable."  That's true, I think, and that's real power.  We have the ability to make people stop and look at things in another way.  How amazing is that?

So, no, my life isn't what I imagined.  I go to work, I come home, I make art.  To people looking in on that, it might seem as though I'm not really living at all.  But, my fellow artists, you know just how wrong those people are.  We get to hear, and feel, and see, and generally experience life on a level no one else does.  We see what's there, and we see what's hidden behind it.  We live our lives, however mundane they might seem, with a heightened sense of awareness.  And, to me, that is truly living.

I already have my tranquil place in a truly colorful existence.  I won't let anyone blur my vision again.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Gigantic Thank You or In Between Tissues

Last time, I think I mentioned that my husband gave me a cold, but that I didn't feel that bad.  Why do I always have to tempt fate?  The next day I woke up feeling horrible and wimpy.  Ugh.

So I got a little off track with my Morning Pages, but I'm going to play catch-up today and make it all better.  Before I do that, I'll work on my Journal 52 spread, which is not done either...but will be by the end of the day.

But I wasn't a complete slacker...oh no!  I farted around with some just-for-fun stuff instead...

Still trying to use up the less-than-desirable-papered journals, I made this owl and the pussy cat spread, mostly with Inktense pencils.  I thought the outstretched wings on the owl made him look like he was saying 'the fish was this BIG' I added that bit to the journaling.

My poor Gregg journal has been sorely neglected for far too long, so I made a double page spread in him...I got the idea for this spread from one of the Root prompts...basically 'what would your inner wise woman say?'  Apparently mine would quote Gloria Steinem: "Far too many people are looking for the right person, instead of trying to be the right person."  My inner wise woman would tell me that in order for change to happen, you have to change first...and that I should continue my quest to be the right person.  This spread is Inktense pencils, Pitt Artist Big Brush pens and washi tape.

Partway through the week, when I was my sickliest and wimpiest, I wanted to create but nothing good was inspiration at all.  So I decided to try somethings I don't usually do, like use stencils with acrylic paint and see what happened.  Not my favorite page by far, but it got the creative juices flowing...and led me to the idea of a journal specifically for doing things differently, or for when I don't know what to do.  I think it will be known as my Inspirationless a play on Donna Downey's beautiful Inspiration Journals.  I had a little binder style scrapbook lying around that was a perfect place to keep such imperfect messes...

This page happened next, also in my new Inspirationless Journal, and I was much happier with the results of playing around this time.  The journaling part says "The heart keeps on beating and constantly reaching for something worth holding onto, something worth going through the thing that we go through." which is a line from a poem which you can read HERE in its entirety.

Then there's this face...or start of a face.  I tried something different for her eyes, and I really like how they came if I can just convince myself to go ahead and keep working on her.  Mostly, I just look at this page and say 'your eyes...your special eyes...' over and over.

And lastly, there's this girl, done in Aquamarkers...she's very...I don't know...cartoony or something...she kind of looks like a muppet to me.  I waver between liking her and feeling meh about her...but like the cheek shading...

Most importantly of all, I want to say a BIG HUGE GIGANTIC ENORMOUS THANK YOU!!! to Jackie, my honey, for the two (TWO!!!) humongous (HUMONGOUS!!!) care packages she sent me!  My kitchen table was literally overflowing with goodies!  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Jackie!!!  There is so much good fun stuff that I just can't wait to get playing and arting with!  Squeal of delight!  SQUEAL OF DELIGHT!  Thank you so much! <3<3<3  You made me go from a sickly, wimpy, whiny mess to a shrieking, jumping, ball of happiness in 2.2 seconds!  Thank you.  :)

And on that EXTRA happy note, I am off to finish my Journal 52 page, get caught up on my Morning Pages, and then have a good play with my new presents!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Documented Life Week 3

Despite catching a case of the creeping crud from my husband, I'm still doing good on all my creative YAY and Snoopy-style happy dance!  

Today I've got this week's Documented Life spread to share with you.  (You can read more about DL and join in the *free* fun HERE.)  The challenge this week was to use an envelope from your mailbox on your spread in some way.  It occurred to me that I had just used all those Sweet Red Clovers from my care packages last week...and that made me feel like I was secretly ahead of the game...or a trend setter...I'm not sure which...but either way, I told myself "Calm down, big head!" and figure out a different way to use the envelopes this time.  Here's what happened:

Documented Life, Week 3

I used Distress Stains in Tarnished Brass and Victorian Velvet for the page backgrounds.  My envelopes are the middle piece of paper on the left page and the three tiny envelopes from my Anna Banana  (two on the left, one on the right).

Left page close up.  You can see the envelope piece in the middle (the paper that says "Very well, then I contradict myself.")  That envelope and the large paper on the bottom (that was the front of a very sweet thank you card) both came from a friend I met through the KIOS blog-a-thon.  On top of the card front you can see two of the three tiny envelopes made by my friend Anna and sent to me in a care package!

The words on the paper are all lines from "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman, which you can read HERE in it's lengthy entirety.  I've liked that poem, or specific parts of it at least, since I first read it.  Some people think it's a very egotistical poem, and I can see that viewpoint, but I don't feel that it seems like it is more of a poem about acceptance and empathy to me.  That's how I read it anyway.  

I jumped around the poem and just picked some of the bits I liked and wrote them down in no particular order.

On this page, starting in the top left, it reads "I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, (and under the card, which flips up it says) I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world."

Then on the papers and inside the envelopes, it says "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large. (and the quote continues on the next page) I contain multitudes."

The right page close up.  This girl was one I had drawn (but not colored) for 29 Faces...she was my ode to Mucha, who's work I love...  I think I liked her better not colorized, but oh well, she's still pretty either way...and I have a picture of her in uncolored form to remember her by, so it's ok.  I'm happy she's finally in a journal and not floating around my desk anymore.  Also, the background page for this was a piece of scrapbook paper that I added to make enough spreads for 52 weeks...and look at the bottom middle, there's an envelope!  I didn't draw that stuff, and this was just the next page in the DL journal, so I thought it was a funny coincidence that letters were the challenge and I already had a letter on the page!  Crazy!

The Whitman quotes on this page say "no two alike and every one good" (which is just a little phrase/snippet that I really liked) and the last line of the poem, which has always grabbed my attention: "Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, Missing me one place search another, I stop somewhere waiting for you."

The line "I contain multitudes" is what inspired me to use Whitman quotes on this spread...because I was thinking of all the lovely care packages I've received since starting art journaling...every time I get an envelope, it contains multitudes of creativity, love, and inspiration AND lots of fun stuff for me to get to play with!  I am so grateful to all my artistic friends for the wonderful things they do for me, mentally/emotionally and physically!  You all are fabulous and I smooch your faces (after I'm not contagious...or from afar)! <3

And on that note, I'm off to take some NyQuil and sleep my cold away...

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Journal 52 Week 1

I finally finished my first Journal 52 (J52 for short) spread!  You can read more about J52 HERE.  Last week, I appropriately dubbed 2014 so far to be the 'Year of Challenges'...I think it's a given...but so far, I've kept up with all of my self-imposed commitments.  So goody, goody gumdrops! 

When I remember, I try to take pictures of my pages in various degrees of actually helps to improve the page, I swear!  It can look great to me with the naked eye, but I take a picture and I can suddenly see that something's a little wonky...and then I can fix it before I move on to the next stage.  I'm sure there's some science-y explanation for this, but I don't know what it is, and mostly, I just care that it works for me...  

Here's my J52 Week 1 spread for the prompt "Up, Up, and Away" (side note: I hope all of the J52 prompts are as interesting to me as this one was!): 

Here it is in the rough sketch stage.  I used a circle template for all the balloons, which felt like a stroke of genius to have no idea how misshapen those poor balloons would have been otherwise!  I messed up on her left hand, and since I used colored pencil, no erasing could occur...but it's ok, I fixed it eventually!

Here is the beginning shading page.  I'm still working on my colored pencil shading skills...more Prismacolors, please!  Thanks to this picture, I noticed how wonky her eyes real life, it didn't seem that bad, but when I took the picture....WHAM!  Those eyes were REALLY off...

(Sorry for the blurriness!)  More colored pencil happening now...also Aquamarkers were added for the balloons and in the hair and dress...and Distress Stain in Tumbled Glass was used for the sky  color of the background...I like how the Distress Stain came out a little made it look like a more realistic sky to me.  See how much better the eyes are now?  Still not perfect, but WAY less weird looking!

TA-DA!  Here's the finished page...YAY!  Added some shading on the balloons with a water-soluble pen   Side note: I use Artist Loft (Michael's store brand) Illustration Pens as my water-soluble pens...they claim to be 'water resistant', but they resist ZERO water...not even a little...which I was really disappointed about when I first got them...then I realized I could just go with it and make that work for me...and with a coupon, they were way cheaper than buying on purpose water-soluble pens.  Win/win situation!  Some more shading on the girl done with Aquamarkers.  Highlights on the balloons and the girl with white pen.  And a few touches of Micron to the girl's eyes.  Also look at the's much better now!  I added some journaling in the strings of the balloons...not much, just the title "Up, Up, and Away", the date, and my signature.

I'm S-U-P-E-R (say it cheerleader style haha) excited with the way this page turned out!  One thing I wish I would have done differently is to make the stings between the balloons and the girls hands be taut instead of all loosey goosey...I mean, physics...come on...  But I guess the idea of balloons being able to carry a girl away is enough of a stretch that I can forgive myself some magical balloon strings that don't follow the laws of nature...

One of the things I really liked about J52 was the lady's suggestion of using a 3 ring binder as your art journal...hence the holes punched in the page.  The reason I'm excited is that I want to make some heavily textured/3-D pages, but I never do, because it's hard (aka too much of a hassle for me personally) to work in the rest of your journal after you put a good and bumpy one in the mix.  Now I can just work on loose watercolor paper with holes punched in it and make the page as thick and juicy as a person could ever want it to be!  I'm kind of excited about that...oh, the possibilities....

Now I've just got to get to work on making my binder pretty...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Documented Life Week 2

Before I get to the art stuff, let me just tell you, I had an AMAZING discovery today...I am at 10,000+ page views here on the blog.  WHAT?!?
This was my face:
And then it went to this:
Yeah, just a amongst yourselves, I'll give you a topic...
That's right, two SNL pictures almost encompass the fantastic feeling I got from seeing the more than 10,000 page views...I can't believe it!  Thank you all for making that happen!!!  Smooch, smooch, smooches for everyone!!! <3
Ok, I'm better now...SQUEAL OF DELIGHT!!!  Alright, on to the art...
The prompt for Week 2 of Documented Life (which you can read about HERE) was to incorporate a selfie (aka a self-portrait) into your planner.  Blurg, I hate selfies (my own, I like to see your gorgeous faces...), but luckily there are ways around just putting my dorky picture on the page, so YAY!
Here's what I made:
Two-page spread of selfie inspired goodness
 Before we go any further, I just have to say that my favorite thing about this page are all the Sweet Red Clovers pasted in.  They are all written by different friends who have sent me happy mail art and I, being the extreme art hoarder that I am, kept the envelopes...and, clearly, for good reason.  I LOVE having everybody be a part of the spread in this way.  Full disclosure: I have several more Sweet Red Clovers (from envelopes) still in my stash for future similarly awesome usage!  So if your SRC didn't make it to this page, please know that I will most assuredly use yours in the future!
Left page much fun stuff on this page!
For my selfies, I had some left over self-portrait pictures from when I was doing Inner Excavations and so I used them...I am currently out of printer ink, so new photos were out of the's ok, my face looks the same as it hair is just longer (now you're in the know...).  I just added a light coat of gesso to the pictures and then went over the major outlines with a Micron.  My face is there, but it's so much more...I don't know...artsy (?) now! 
As I was cutting to get the SRC's for the page, I was also swiping the cool stamps that were on the envelopes as well...that's where the stamp of the Queen came from.  As I was going through my box of ephemera, I saw the little 'you are the queen' paper (I think it's from Jackie, my honey) and I thought it was a cute coincidence and added it to the kind of makes me wonder what I'm the queen of...
The little baker guy with the mustache came from a tin of butter cookies that I swiped from work (both the tin and the little paper with the man that was inside it...I left the cookies)...I wanted to write about how I was always 'cooking up' something, but I couldn't decide what that something will kind of be a secret joke that you and I are in on...I like that his eyes are looking at the girl on the right page!
Right page close up...more fun stuff!
I drew my little non-self portrait lady on a page from a book of Robin Hood stories that I got from my sister, Marian.  (Drawing on book pages makes me so HAPPY!)  By complete and total accident, if you notice, the title at the top of the book page says "Robin shoots before the queen"....AAAH!  Talk about crazy serendipitous moments!  I didn't see that until after I started gluing down all the ephemera stuff!  And, yet another bit from an envelope from a friend, the little 'conquerer' logo... I like the idea that I am an active and conquering queen/cooker-upper of something!
Close up of girl's face!
This (the girl's face) is my Prismacolor blending practice page (for the Supplies Me workshop) that I mentioned last post.  Oh, baby!  This one page makes me KNOW that more Prismas are in my future!  I think the best part of the face is her lips, especially the bottom one.  That bottom lip was one of the last things I did, and I  think it's the point where I really 'got it', where I understood what I was going for and what it was possible to achieve with colored pencils.  Hubba hubba, that lip makes me giddy!
2014 looks like it's going to be the year of challenges for me...I didn't realize it until today, but I've got a lot of (crazy fun!) irons in the fire project/challenge wise! 
Here's what I've got going on so far (and it's only the7th!): Morning Pages (this one is indefinitely long...possibly for the rest of my life even...hehehe...we'll see), Root 30-day journal challenge (you can read more about it HERE), Documented Life (link is at the beginning of this post), Jane Davenport's Supplies Me (going on can see all JD's workshops HERE), Jane's Express Yourself workshop (starting live in February), and Journal 52 (a year long, free art journal workshop that you can read more about HERE) that I just found out about from a friend on Facebook and the first prompt for this challenge is one of my many current WIPs. 
In the spirit of today's Root prompt, I'm thinking of 'gently' easing into some gardening when spring gets here.  We'll see what happens I guess.  I like flowers and I need to get some kind of physical activity happening before I need a crane to move myself from place to fresh air never hurt anybody(...with the possible exception of Bubble Boy...).  Maybe its the sub-zero temperatures (seriously, -15 F with the wind chill today...I like cold, but even I have limits!) making me subconsciously wish for warmer weather...but the thought of digging in the dirt and helping beautiful things come to be (without using a piece of paper...because my art is beautiful to me!) has been sticking in my mind for a while now.  The key for me is going to be gently starting to garden...instead of letting my all-or-nothing attitude destroy my green thumb ambitions like the last time!  I've changed a lot since then, and I'm getting better at sticking to things, so maybe it's time to have another go at it!  We'll see how I feel about the whole idea when spring is a little closer...
Do you have any big projects in the works?  What about your 'dream' projects...those wild hare ideas that are floating around in your brain (like my dream of gardening)?  I'm interested to know! 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fun with Sweets and Jane

I worked the dreaded Saturday this week.  Overtime is always a mixed bag for me, because I'm never sure which I would rather have, more money or more time.  Usually time wins, but this week the choice was made for me and I ended up working...I got off easy though, because I didn't have to work today like a lot of the other people I work with.  I missed out on getting paid double time, but, as I always say, money does me no good when I am in the mental institution from having a nervous breakdown.  I need to be away from work and work people so that I can be pleasant and sane during normal working hours.  If I don't have that break, I very quickly descend into madness and could very easily end up stabbing a co-worker in the neck with a pencil or throwing a stapler at someone's face...and that's just not very nice at all, now is it?
I have been doing my Morning Pages still!  Every single day, although I confess not always in the morning...but every single day of 2014 so far!  That's right, five whole days!  (ha ha) It might not seem like much, but I have stuck with it to this point and hooray for that!  Lisa Sonora Beam's Root challenge (which you can read about HERE and see if you'd like to's free to do) has been giving me some prompts that are helping me along.  Despite the fact that I've looked at some of them first thing in the morning and thought they were too woo-woo hippy dippy for me, I find that I keep coming back to them and having something to write about concerning them when I do my pages.  I've said it before and I'll say it again:  I'm becoming very good at hippy dippy as it applies to me! :) 
I think I might have mentioned that I am taking Jane Davenport's  (JD for short) Supplies Me workshop...if not...  Guess what?!? 
You can find all of JD's workshops HERE
I am having so much fun.  Faces are my favorite thing to draw.  Not too much time goes by without one creeping into my work...probably not even a single day...  From the very beginning of my artistic endeavors, I've just loved them.  And JD has such great faces and ways of teaching that it isn't hard to spend all of my free time practicing.  ...even things that I've resisted (I'm looking at you ball-on-a-board shading practice...which is coming up in one of the lessons as homework...ugh...), I find myself willing to do for JD's classes.
I'm on Week 2 of the Supplies Me class (although I have been scandalously watching videos ahead...I'm such a rebel!), and it deals with colored pencils.
After I watched JD's Whimsical Faces video from Cloth Paper Scissors, I have given myself over to drawing with colored pencils instead of graphite has been one of the best things I've done to improve my drawings, I swear it!  I've just been using my Crayola set, and they work just fine for the beginnings of I was practicing blending with my Prismacolors and let me just say...I need to get more colors of the Prismacolors...possibly all the Prismacolors in the world.  I got the basic set a long time ago (I think 10 or 12 colors) and a few flesh tones along the way, but haven't really used them much because I wasn't a fan of shading with colored pencil...until now!  These things are like magic wands of awesomeness encased in wood.  I don't have the piece I was working on today ready to show you just yet (probably tomorrow or the next day), but I do have my other homework type drawings, which are face practice (and done in Prismacolors):
The Oval Face
The Circle Face (Left braid, you turned out so well...I don't know what happened with you, poor right braid...)
The Squared Face
I am eventually going to put my shading skills that I am learning to good use and color these girls in, but for now they are just basic outlines in waiting.
I did do another face, using the Crayola colored pencils and, to a lesser extent, Inktense pencils, Distress Markers, and Sharpie Paint Pens:
I used a Painters (that's the brand) paint marker to try to 'white' out the face's guidelines, and it worked really well but in the photo it sticks out like a sore thumb.  In person, you can't see those lines at all (or hardly at all)...and from across the room, this girl just GLOWS...I tell you it's almost eerie! 
Possibly my favorite bit of face practice is this page:
Squeal of Delight!  Squeal of Delight!
 I loved doing this!  I stole the idea right from JD (not really stole, she suggested it as practice), and I had FUN with a capital F-U-N finding out what kind of girl was living in each circle of paint!  The only thing I did differently than JD was I used a black pen ( a Micron on some and a regular old ball point pen on others) to make the facial features instead of using colored pencils.  The reason I did this is that I used Martha Stewart Pearl paints on some of the circles and that paint is glossy and colored pencil won't stick to it.  That happened to be the first spot of paint I tried to draw then I forgot to switch over to colored pencil and all my girls ended up being done in black pen.  It was a HAPPY accident though, because I LOVE how the page looks!  Part of me wants to take a dot stencil and fill in some of the white space with tiny non-face dots of paint...and part of me wants to leave it as white space...what do you think would be better?
My two favorite faces ended up being right next to each other.  The one at the top left in the periwinkle-ish color (incidentally the first girl I did...can you tell it's glossy paint?) who's got the turned face and the bun is my favorite, and the girl below her in the light blue is a very, very close second.  They're such different styles of face, but I LOVE them both... HUZZAH!
  I've got another page of paint circles opposite this page, but I had to stop drawing these little faces as my hand was I'm not sure if I want to draw more faces on those blank circles or if I want to turn them into journaling space...hmm...decisions, decisions...
Oh, I did manage to make one face in colored pencil, the girl at the bottom left in this picture...she's all pencil and I love her fantastic lips.

I'm in the process of finishing up this week's challenge for the Documented Life project, and that's what I'm using my Prismacolor shading page on...ooh, I'm so exited for you to see it!  So, if I want to get done and ready to show you tomorrow, I better go finish it up right now! 
By the way, what have you been working on over the weekend?  Are you keeping up with your new year challenges?