Wednesday, March 5, 2014

MY Documented Life Project

I'm so happy I stumbled upon The Documented Life Project (TDL) and decided to play along...it's exactly what I needed this year to keep me creating. If you want to check it out, you can get more info about here. I've been using Instagram (follow me here) to post the weekly challenges to my Facebook page but thought the easiest way to get them to TDL Facebook Group would be a link back to my blog...my poor neglected blog. So here's a recap of Weeks 1-9 of TDL project:

Cover

Monthly Tabs

Week 1 - My Front Door






Week 3 - Add an envelope from the mail

Week 5 - Doodle Border

Week 6 - Inspiration from Pinterest

My Inspiration from Pinterest - Donna Estabrooks

Week 7 - Draw one shape and repeat
Week 8 - Add a flap to my flap

Week 9 - Recycle and collage.








Sunday, October 20, 2013

Portland Trip in Selfy Portraits

On the plane to Portland...Paige's first plane ride...so exciting!
In Grandma and Grandpa's new car...a cool little Kia Sorento.

Walking in the Pearl District...very cool! 

Trolly transportation around town.

Breathtaking Multnomah Falls.
 
Crown Point overlooking the Columbia River Gorge.
And that's a small snapshot of our trip to Portland. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Collaboration :: Part 3


The next layer on our Collaboration painting (see previous layers here and here) was to do some writing. We used pencil, marker, dip pen with black and white ink and we did some dripping. I love drips and once again...super fun layer especially since my hands were not covered in glue this time!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Collaboration :: Part 2


The next layer of our Collaborative Painting was collage (see the first layers here). We glued all kinds of stuff down any which way. We included dictionary pages, sewing patterns, decorative papers, paper napkins, vellum quotes, random paper scraps, magazine photos and words, tags, die cuts...you name it. This is a large canvas (30" H x 40"W) so each layer takes a bit of time to complete. Every step of the process has been Paige's favorite...saying "This is so much fun." I totally agree with her...it is so much fun!!!

Life Book :: Week 10 & 11


Week 10 of Life Book was about Heart Connections. 
Each scroll in the heart above lists someone or something I am grateful for.  


This cute little creature was another Mitsi B lesson for Week 11 of Life Book called 
The Good, Bad and Ugly. She represents the Ugly 
side of me. Under the paint are all the ugly things about myself I would like to change. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Collaboration :: Part 1


This summer my daughter, Paige and I started a collaborative painting. We took an old canvas that had a poster glued onto it and ripped it off. Some of the poster was left behind for texture. Next we painted a layer of warm colors with acrylic craft paint and let it dry. Then a layer of cool colors. This step was really fun for both of us because it didn't matter what we did since we knew it would be covered up. We turned the canvas several times while painting to even out our unique painting styles throughout the canvas. After each layer we would photograph and hang the canvas back in its original location over the fireplace. Each time it would look like a new piece of beautiful abstract art.


Art Journal #2 :: Finished


The first entry in this journal is dated November 22, 2010 - Its taken almost 3 years to finish this one. As you can imagine, I'm not a consistent journaler...once or twice a week or even once a month, depending on when the mood strikes, when I can find the time or when I have something to say. But regardless, it's done!

Somethings I learned along the way...the pages in this journal were too thin, even with gesso applied to both sides. Adding decorative papers to the page helped make them sturdier, but water made them warp terribly.  I also found it difficult to experiment with different art techniques because of the thinness. The pages were just a tad bit too small as well. Also the plain paper soaked up the paint so fast it was difficult to paint on them...definitely need to be primed first. Many times someone would be interested in what I was doing, but I was fearful that when thumbing through the pages, they would see something I would rather they didn't. They were more curious about the artwork and the process, but it still made me uncomfortable. Going forward I need to consider ways to record my thoughts yet still keep them private.

I still feel like I don't have a consistent process when it comes to art journaling. I go about it all willy-nilly, with no recognizable style or consistent anything. I'm not really even sure what my art journaling goals are, I just know I need to keep chugging along, trying new things and making new discoveries along the way.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Life Book Week 25 :: Expressing the True You (Part 2)


In my previous post Week 25 Part 1, I had just started the backside of this large, fold-out journal page. The scary faces...and I have to admit, they do look a little scary, a little odd and a little out of proportion. But oh well! It was an interesting experiment and one I can see needs quite a bit of practice. I think I had mentioned that painting faces is scary, but what I should have said is painting faces is just plain HARD! It feels good to have completed this lesson and I think the man above on the bottom left looks like Robin Williams (don't tell him I said that, he might be offended)!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

One Step Forward...

Life Book 2013 - Week 30
An awesome lesson by Dina Wakely on healing.
I love her journaling style!

THREE STEPS BACK! That's how I feel when things don't go as planned. Just when I start to get motivated and commit myself to creating art everyday...life happens!! I'm overwhelmed with distractions that keep me from doing what I say I'm going to do. Or am I just making excuses...I'm tired, gotta work late, moving my office to another building, getting kids ready for trips, swim meets/banquets, blah, blah, blah. Does it ever really end? I make time for coffee every morning, I wouldn't even consider going a morning without it. Then why can't I make a habit out of making art? Why do I let life discourage me? What's that saying...if you do something (or try something) 25 times, it becomes habit or you learn to like it. I need to create a habit out of art. I have goals to reach and if I don't get off my butt and get busy, I'll never reach them. I'm making a little progress now that the office move is over, kids aren't as busy and I've modified my hours at work so I'm home earlier some days. But unless I make the time, life will happen again and I'll be right back here.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Palette Knife Experiment


This little painting (10" x 10") started out with some papers, paint and doodles...and then it just sat there, with all the other unfinished paintings. I guess I got stuck and didn't know what direction to go once I got to that point. Then, of course I wanted to try another new technique so I took the doodling that was already there and turned it into this single flower palette knife painting. It's a very fun and free way to paint and keeps me from trying to be too precise and perfect. I hope to can work more palette knife work into my paintings.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Life Book Week 25 :: Expressing the True You


Wow!...is this the true me? That's puzzling, or maybe a bit disturbing...doesn't matter. I had loads of fun working on this lesson from the amazing Mitsi B. I guess the fact that this was an overly large journal page somehow took the pressure off to create a masterpiece and allowed me to just play and experiment like I haven't done before. It didn't have to make sense or mean anything, I just painted whatever I felt like painting and didn't care if I MESSED IT UP! It was kind of a challenge for myself to see if I could let go enough to just paint without over thinking. I purposely chose colors out of my comfort zone, even colors I dislike and I'm still happy with the outcome.

Above is the front. Below is what I've started for the back. We're suppose to paint faces with emotion...Yikes...another challenge.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Art, Art, Art on the Brain...

Art journal page started quite some time ago. After penciling in the face,
it just sat there unfinished. Got brave and just did it. Now that I've done a few faces,
they are starting to become less scary (to paint, that is). 


I think about art all the time. I can't seem to get enough. I wake up thinking about it, everything I read is art related, I watch art tutorials on my computer and my phone and I'm always thinking about getting into the studio to create more art. It's with me 24/7.

If I only spent as much time creating art as I do thinking about creating art I'd be well on my way to fulfilling my art dreams. I put so much pressure on myself to create something beautiful and perfect every time, that it keeps me from creating anything at all. I've never really embraced the process of making art. I've always been more interested in the end result, which completely stops the flow of creativity. My brain takes over and I start questioning every brush stroke, every color choice, every shape, just everything. Then I stand there, staring at my work, frozen, not being able to do anything for fear of ruining what I've created so far.

This is a problem...I know! Honestly I love messy, imperfect art -- I just have a hard time creating that way. However, with the help of the great instructors in the Life Book 2013 online class, I feel myself starting to let go just a little bit. When I tell myself I don't care about the results, I feel myself taking risks and experimenting -- seeing how certain colors mix together, trying colors I normally wouldn't use, and...GASP!...painting faces, super scary! 

So, let go Denise. Don't be concerned about creating art other people will like or buy. Be free and create whatever you want. Have fun, experiment, explore! 

Let go of PERFECTION :: Embrace IMPERFECTION.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I started working part-time (well, more like full-time) a little over six months ago. And for 3 months before that searching for a job consumed all my mental energy and attention. During this 9 month period, I did little or no art except for a small amount of art journaling. Now that I'm adjusting to my new role as a working Mom, I find myself craving more creativity. Here's where Pam Carriker's book comes in (as mentioned in my last post here).

I read her book "Art at the Speed of Life" when it first came out, but I don't recall it having much impact on me at that time. I plucked it off my bookshelf a few weeks ago so I could read something at the pool. It was literally an "Ah-Ha" moment. She MUST have been thinking of me when she wrote it - busy, easily distracted, artist wanna-be me! It was certainly the kick in the butt I needed. It's gotten me out of my think about art mode and put me into doing art mode. Her "Declaration of Reclamation" (below) helped narrow my focus and gave me somewhere to start.


To this declaration I added my own list of goals and actions that serve as a roadmap to help me accomplish my goals and gives me a reference for those times when I need a little help deciding what to work on. I'm trying to do something creative everyday, even if it's simply applying gesso to substrates or gluing papers in my journal. Pam's book also helped me remember that I really love mixed media, especially decorative papers, and got me moving back in that direction. I've spent a lot of time jumping back and forth between techniques resulting in a pile of unfinished work and a heap of self-doubt. Now I'm back on track, determined and ready to "Just do it!" Thanks Pam!






Sunday, June 9, 2013

Studio and Attitude Adjustment


I don't think I ever posted a photo of my revamped art table which was actually, oh... about a year ago! So after re-reading Pam Carriker's book "Art at the Speed of Life" I decided to truly get organized and serious about getting some art DONE!!! I'll post about how motivating her book was to me another day and keep this one about the studio. Wanting to keep costs down I salvaged from all over the house. I bought a door from the hardware store and set it on top of a wire storage rack I had in the garage. It's the perfect height for working while standing or for a tall stool. It's big enough to layout several projects at once and after being secured to the wall, it's very sturdy. At one end of the table I have a small bookcase storing my art books and reference materials with a paper towel roll mounted to the side (you can kinds see it up there in the bottom right corner). Little cubbies and drawers hold all my supplies so they are accessible and I've labeled everything so I can find just what I'm looking for. I even spent time sorting and organizing so things I completely forgot about now have labeled homes. 


The wall above my art table has a storage shelf that I found in another room not being used. The newly labeled baskets hold extra supplies, texture tools, emphemora, old cards, and paint mixing supplies & bottles. There's vintage jars holding sponges, paint brushes, and button. And I keep my sketchbooks handy for reference. 


This end of the art table has a roll out card I keep my paints and miscellaneous supplies in. I have Stampington & Company Publications, Cloth Paper Scissors and Professional Artist magazines on the files along with my ever growing collection of UNFINISHED WORK. I seriously want to stop this habit of starting a project and then NEVER FINISHING IT! I either get annoyed with it or I should say frustrated with myself or I get distracted by some new technique I want to try and I move on to yet another project. I honestly have 40 to 50 pieces started...just sitting there...feeling neglected and forgotten...hoping to be re-discovered one day.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sunday at NARF


Sunday's adventure found us at the Newport Autumn Rowing Festival (NARF).
I don't know much about rowing, but find it interesting and a little mysterious.
So when a friend invited me to join her to watch a young man from USC row,
I thought it would make a fun Sunday morning.


It was a beautiful, hot day in Newport Beach and the event was much bigger than I expected.
Teams from all over California and the Western states were here.
Here I am above with my Paige and Scott overlooking the beautiful Newport Back Bay near the finish line.

The adorable young man we came to see here is Ben, who is in his first year at USC
and behind him is his mother, Robin Glasser, who is well known for her illustrations
 in the Fancy Nancy series of children's books. 
Thanks to my friend Jessica and her daughter Kayla for dragging us down here for some 
unexpected fun and adventure!