Sunday, September 2, 2012

September already...

I haven't been on here in over a month. I have been feeling very sorry for myself and not doing anything creative in writing, poetry, or crafting. I told myself if I could make it through hot, draining August to September, I'd get out of my funk. So, it is still hot but I hope to get the juices flowing again.
Gonna put on some music, do a little coloring and then go see my grandson play some football with my Pete's and Heather's families. Nice way to spend the day.

Thank you for stopping by.

Monday, July 23, 2012

More goodies...

 This I did up last night. Combo of chalks, Pearl EX powder applied with a water brush. Really like it up close, great texture.
 This is supposed to be done with Pan Pastels, however, I haven't decided to buy any of them yet- they are a big investment for something I might not use alot. ?The pastels I did have I feel gave a fair representation of shading and blending and I am more than satisfied with this lesson.

 The little pearls are handmade using Liquid Pearls. Thought they added just the right touch.
 The next 3 photos are a resist technique. I used crayola crayons and oil pastels to create the vine frames. The poem is mine in this one.
 You then color over the resist with Koi watercolors. Used to do this with Stampin' Up! products, not difficult. Love this Stress saying.
Did this one on a very hot day, the coloring looked so cool it reminded me of a cool lake or a stream in the woods.

Except for my accordian books, I am caught up with all the regular lessons. Some of my class peers have been creating extra lessons to take us through this classless slump. I'll have to look at those lessons. I am also taking classes with Donna Downey- very mixed media. Beautiful stuff until she does her signature drippage on to the page. Maybe more about that next time.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

This is me....

It's Sunday morning, the second day of a 4 day vacation from work. I slept late and am enjoying that first cuppa. I need at least another cuppa to function and, of course, the funny part is- no matter how many cups I have, they are all decaf so none of them are gonna jump start me. Sigh!!

For my art class, we were asked to draw ourselves and use the drawing as our profile picture on FaceBook. So, here I am.  Love the turtleneck sweater, wish I had one.

Will be back with some more stuff later today, I hope. I have a To-Do list that is pretty extensive for the 3 days left and of course the temperature is up in the 80's so the outside stuff may stay on the list. The yard is suffering from my inability to go outside and weed, mow and straighten.

On the good side, I may be going to see my sister, Alison, in August. Stay tuned.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Color Lovin' #6 with cats and a little trying to let go....

I am sure if you have cats you know there is very little you can do alone. While taking the photos for my class, I had all sorts of help. These two vie for sitting in my lap at night. So, you have my lap, a cat or two, and on top of that you have whatever I hoped to creatively work on.

Gracie and Trouble needed to get involved.
They rub on my practice journal, nudge my pens, pencils, paintbrushes. They want to be petted right when I am doing something intricate. Or have their ears cleaned or tell me about their day. " I slept, I ate, I slept, I drank, I moved to another chair, I slept."
Photo below is part of my doodling therapy. I am practicing to loosen my hand and mind so that my silliness can come out. I don't know if I will ever be as good as my FB mates on Color Lovin', I don't even know if I want to go all into this Artful Journaling and creating the pages on a daily basis. I just know that I have learned so much from these class about new products and some old products I had sitting around for a long time and was afraid to use. I've learned more about what stuff works well together, the reactions between paints and pencils and pens.

 After I sketched in the basic idea, I painted this with Koi watercolors.I then used a black marker to outline areas. It is too stylized for doodling but I liked the colors.
 I wasn't happy with it until I had the idea to write around the flowers.

"Oh, would he kiss her or walk away? She held her breath and waited. He moved closer and closer."

Now it has earned its place in the book.
 Fiona is always up for a romp on the craft table. I was actually distracted by the kittens on the patio/nursery and was trying to take a picture of them when Fiona kept putting her feet up on my thigh and meowing so I took her picture also. There is a lot of love in that face. She loves to make eye contact.
This doodle uses Koi watercolors, Inktense watercolor pencils, SU WC pencils, a gel glitter pen and a black calligraphy pen to write the words.
 Still too designed, but I did manage to get some layering done. Color on color on color.

I do like how the branches could become lines for the poem.

 "A shaft of sunlight breaking through
Can make the whole world shining new;
Can shape tomorrow, change a life..."
Part of a poem by Helen L. Marshall
 This one I did for real silliness. Caterpillar Romance is created with Twinkling H2Os. This product comes in tiny pots, a turn on in itself. You add a drop or two of water to the caked color and stir with your brush and you have a wonderful smooth paint that has mica in it. You cannot see the lovely sparkle sheen that the page has.  H2Os are similar to Perfect Pearls and Pearl Ex but both of these are powders that can be used dry or wet..
Although all my work has a juvenile look about it, I guess I need to embrace that look and make the most of it.

At the library, I am always worried I will make a costly mistake, I suffer through the audit, worrying someone will tell me I am wrong. When the Newsletter and Calendar go out, I am waiting for someone to tell me I didn't proofread well enough. I am constantly worried that my memory will start to fade before I retire and people will notice that I can't remember where I have filed things- I always want, need, gotta be PERFECT for people who don't appreciate me or take me for granted.

Here, in this world, I just have to BE.

Don't like what I created?

Crumple it up and throw it away, cover it over with something else, cut it up and use it on something else---- or simply TURN THE PAGE.

And still I criticize myself, what gives?

 Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Color Love # 5....

This assignment involved using one column of the grid I made with Inktense Watercolor Pencils (see previous post). I let my grandson, DJ, pick out the column for me. The colors were red, orange, mustard, bark(brown) and iris blue. Not exactly the colors I would have chosen, but, hey, it's good to experiment.

I made my own greens with the combo of mustard and blue, I mixed blue, red and mustard with the brown to create different shades for the buildings. I suppose I could have chosen another column but this was a great challenge.

I even put in a little advertising for this year's Summer Reading Program at the library- Dream Big Read.

I haven't done this much drawing since I was in grade school. This is good for me.

Thanks for stopping by to visit. Come again.

Color Love # 4...

This lesson revolved around Inktense pencils which are made with watercolor ink rather than regular watercolor pencils. Joanne, our instructor, asked us to create a grid of colors to get used to how the ink flows when you add water. We then made a copy of the grid to be able to cut it up for Color Stories which you will hear about in the next post.

Color Love # 3...

This lesson was lots of fun. Instead of TomBow watercolor markers, I used my trusty, at least 10 years old, Crayola Washable markers. I could see that when Joanne used her TomBows which have a good size brush tip, the space was covered quickly. My markers have a small tip so it took more swipes to cover the same space. Other than that, Crayola worked well for me in this exercise. Hand drawn flower, stamped ladybug.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Color Love # 2...

I now see the clear difference between student and artist grade art products.

My second session featured water colored crayons. The instructor, Joanne, used a set with a fancy French sounding name, artist grade. I used my Stampin' Up! crayons, apparently student grade. Joanne's crayons blended smoothly with the water. Mine didn't dissolve all the way when the water was added and the resultant wash looked grainy. She  blended colors together beautifully. Mine blended slightly but did not have the same richness.

Funny thing is, before this class, I was very happy with the results that I got with the SU crayons. I thought they worked very well. So, I had to do a little thinking about this. Hhhmmm.

I have always used the water colored crayons with stamped images and they tend to be small. In this class, I'm working with a 5 1/2 x 8 " watercolor journal so the washes of color are larger and show more texture and blending.

I've bought a lot of the products that Joanne has suggested for her classes, but I decided to hold off on the crayons and the Tombow markers that we will use on Wednesday. I want to see if I really will continue to use these techniques or will return to my small art work. No sense in having more goodies sitting on my shelves gathering dust. Maybe Santa will bring me a present.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Color Love #1....

Hi, just a quick post. This is my first creation for the class. We were asked to do a cover for our workbook/journal, layering watercolor, inktense pencils, watercolor pencils, and then prismacolor pencils on top. Each lesson is getting us comfortable with certain mediums. Took lots of concentration. Love my results.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Starting a New Class...

I have become addicted to something new, On-Line Classes, helping me pass the time until I retire.

SHARE THE COLOR LOVE BLINKIEI have now started Color Love 101 with Joanne Sharpe, my third with this instructor, she is fabulous, and am still finishing a class about how to get the most out of your die cutting machine with Jennifer McGuire.

I have taken about 10 of these very useful classes in the last 6 months. They are great because I can visit them at any time, anywhere and go back to any section as often as I like. I put the laptop right on my crafting table and work right along with the class halting the video when I need to catch up. It's great.

There is usually a group blog where you can share thoughts with others taking the class and an on-line gallery to see what other participants are doing with the same ideas you are learning.

Has my actual artwork improved.... hmmm... not sure. You see, I've been taking a lot of classes and so I'm kinda busy and maybe I'm not creating actual stuff as much as I was. LOL. Sort of like rearranging my craft room. If I change the furniture enough, I don't have to actually make something, it just looks like I'm being productive.

Anyway, Color Love 101 is all about using different mediums in your work, such as colored pencils, watercolored pencils and paints, acrylic paints, pastels and markers, to make bright backgrounds and illustrations. It should be lots of fun and I will be using lots of products to make some journals for the next 5 weeks.

I'll be posting some of my artwork here on a regular basis, I hope.

Thanks for stopping by. Jennifer McGuire

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A view of my craft room, 6/2012...

I love my craft room. It is more of an area than an actual room, a long, narrow section around and behind the stairs in our renovated downstairs. It is always visible which means I try  to
keep it neat and organized at all times. Not only do I store all my craft materials here, but, I also display some of my projects and collections. At its wider end, it is the destination to the patio, with two french doors (see photo 1). This does make for inconvenience at times, lots of things are dropped off on my crafting table- gardening tools, cat food, occasional bouquets. The doors face east/southeast and the morning light floods the area- hence the blinds on the doors.

Photo 2
So, moving to the right from the doors, Photo 2, here is the first storage rack holding everything from old acrylic paints to magazines to pre-made cards, eyelets and brads and my sewing machine. I have a clear shoe caddy that is filled with bits and pieces of ribbon that hangs off the free end. All color coordinated.

Moving to the right, this is my coloring desk Photo 3. Made up of Jet-Max cubes and white shelving, this spot has great light all year long for coloring. The windows overlook daffodils and tulips in spring and then the knock out rose bushes start to unfurl and have constant blooms through the summer. I can watch geese flying in the fall and the snow piles right up against the windows. This winter, I want to put a hanging bird feeder here, just have to watch out that the outdoor cats don't think of this as a fast food hangout.
Photo 3 Coloring desk.

Photo 4 Cats can't reach the glass balls.

On the window sill I keep my button jars, color coordinated, about 16 jars. You can see my collection of colored glass balls hanging from the top of the windows. We've gotten them all over when we have been on vacation. They create rainbows when the light hits them just the right way. My small collection of Boyd's Bears is displayed in the corner shelf on the counter.I keep ribbon, flowers, more buttons and card envelopes in the drawers

Photo 5
Photo 5. Continuing to the right, I keep a variety of things. Stamp wheels, ribbons, my new toys for Letter Love and Color Love.

Photo 6
Photo 6. Next is another black rack with 8 x 11 paper, to be done projects and my grandson's stash of stuff. At both ends are shoe racks with punches.

 Right past that is my collection of Stampin' Up! stamps from when I was a rep. Still use them all the time. Photo 7
Photo 7

Photo 8

Turning  around, on the left is my bookcase filled with how-to for scrapping, card making and other assorted crafts. Also a display of cards from my crafty sister, Alison, along the stairs. Photo 8.

Photo 9

Photo 10
Photo 11
Now we get to the heart of the room, Photos 9- 12. my island cube space. Since the area is narrow, I decided standing was the best option to give my the most storage space. When the work gets detailed, I turn around to my coloring desk, photo 3.
The island is composed of drawers and drawers of stamp storage, two layers of workspace- the bottom one for sprays, inks, T Holtz stuff.
On the top is my actual spread out and create space. Fiona, our black and white cat, is always interested in what I do.

This has worked very well for me. When I am taking an online class, I put the laptop on the counter so it is right there as I create. I can make Joanne repeat a lesson until I get it right.

Photo 12
Photo 13
 On the back side of the island, Photo 13 is my Cuttlebug and Vagabond area. I store most of my dies here and the beginnings of my 12 x 12 paper collection way to the right end.

Photo 14
 Photo 14. This set of cubes holds the rest of my 12 x 12 papers. Between the island and this set is a closet under the stairs, which we call my Harry Potter closet, that holds my craft traveling bags. I go to visit my sister in Buffalo often and take 1/2 my stuff with me to play when I am with her.

Photo 15

Photo 16

Here is my computer desk Photo 15, where I am typing now and next is a display shelf  Photo 16 and we are back to the french doors.

Thanks for coming with me on the tour. Wish you were closer so you could stop in and create with me.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Shining a little light....

Did this over the weekend. I really am enjoying all the letter styles and chances to draw (which I seldom do, much more likely to stamp something) and color the end projects in these classes I am taking. I think I will use this as part of my Newsletter article for the summer.

Thanks for dropping by.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Saturday evening....

Oh, how I ache.

I was weeding today, a chore I used to love to do. Could edge the flower beds, be on my knees for hours, make many trips to the compost pile with the filled wheelbarrow.

A few years ago, I would have done 3 times what I got done today and still have energy to make dinner, do some wash, make some cards. Now, I'll be lucky to get back up off this chair. The knees ache, there is a soreness between my shoulder blades, my hands are cramping. Maybe if I take a warm shower after dinner some of the stiffness will go away.

Oh, look, what I did weed does look nice. Just around that one tree... another tree to go and then the long border in front of the house and then the circular bed around the crab apple tree. Hhhmmmm.

Maybe I can do a little more tomorrow.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Taking a day off...

Hi, I'm blogless today while working on other things. Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Artful Alphabets...

 While some of us were slaving away with our  Blogging from A to Z Challenge, some of us were also working on another Challenge. I am taking lettering classes from Joanne Sharpe and loving every minute of it. Thought I'd share a few of my practice pieces with you the way I did when I was taking Letter Love.

We started with simple print and script alphas and have progressed to colored in, patterned letters so far. Today we started painting letters with a brush and watercolors. You'd hardly know I'm left-handed.

I have a long way to go to produce projects similar to some of my
classmates. I just need to keep practicing.

With all the great online classes I've been taking, by the time I retire, I will have so many projects to pursue. I certainly won't be bored.

Thanks for stopping by. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Our Local Arboretum...

This is a tulip!
 Gary and I treated ourselves to a walk in our local arboretum a few Saturdays ago. Our weather patterns have been a little off here in lower New York State. Due to a few late frosts and a very dry spring, the tulips were not at their best, but, we managed to get some great color shots despite the ragged petals. Hope you enjoy.

I love wisteria.

Photographing the photographer, Gary.



This was a tree/shrub with no name.

Weeping Redbud?
Thanks for visiting.