Monday, April 30, 2012

A Teeny-Tiny Score

 Usually when I go to the swap meet, whoever goes with me ends up helping me carry my finds - a type drawer, a vintage suitcase, an old wooden box that would be perfect for that assemblage I've been planning.

Well, this time daughter Jenny, who accompanied me didn't have to carry a thing.  I hardly had to carry a thing.  My Frida Kahlo mesh bag stayed folded under my arm and I carted away my "score" in a pocket of my jacket - and one of the smaller pockets at that!

To paraphrase Spencer Tracy in Pat & Mike -
 "...not much score at that swap meet, but what there was was cherce." 

And counting the $1.00 I paid to get in, I only spent $2.00!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Suitcase Saturday

A hatbox this time.  Gone are the days when ladies always traveled with several trunks and hatboxes - but they are still around - this one a decorative storage version from Ross.

It holds gloves, bowties and one lone net be-decked fascinator 
(just the thing for a royal wedding!)

Gathered from thrift stores, flea markets, antique malls and eBay - they often provide just the right finishing touch,

 An Evening at the Opera-Box #5

for an assemblage,

13 Journals Round Robin - The White Journal

or a journal page.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Caramba! Mexico!

 Caramba! Mexico! 
altered book using Nina Martinez's Caramba!

Over the years I've been creating altered books, I've often wondered what the authors of said books would say if they could see what their work looked like after its "alteration."Of course many of my altered books use, as their substrata, tomes whose authors are no longer with us.  But this one Caramba!  by Nina Martinez was written in 2004.  I first came across a copy at the library - read it, loved it and knew I wanted to alter it.

Publishers Weekly says about Caramba! ...draws on magical realism, kitschy humor and tongue-in-cheek clichés, but there's truth behind the zany humor. Martínez's soap opera-silly story belies serious truth telling about love and happiness in life and death. And as if the fabulously ludicrous plot weren't enough, Martínez illustrates her work with "artifacts," including Mexican Lotería cards, letters written  to an advice columnist and the classified ad Lulabell runs in the local paper, selling her soul to the highest bidder.

The illustrations and additions of ephemera made it semi-altered to begin with.  I purchased two copies - one to keep to read and one to alter.  I took it with me, in 2005, on a 10 day trip to Manzanilla in Jalisco, along with a small suitcase of art supplies and ephemera.  Using those, and things I picked up in the village, I spent a couple hours each day out on the patio overlooking the bay and altering away to my heart's content.

A couple of years ago I put  several of the spreads from the book, which I christened Caramba! Mexico!, on my new website.  Imagine my delight and surprise when I received this response in my e-mail,

  Hi, love what you did to my book. As I envisioned, I wanted a popup volcano in the middle, but alas, that would have been too expensive. Have you ever seen a book called "Terry's Guide to Mexico?" It's an old travel book .try to find yourself a copy. I think you would dig it. Good luck with all...Nina M

What a lovely feeling to have the author's approval and enthusiasm!  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Project - Done!

 Journals waiting for date tags

Last week I showed you the beginnings of this project and promised you the end result this week.

 More waiting journals

And here it is.  I have journaled voraciously since junior high, but only art journaled since 2004.  These journals now are aligned on two bookshelves in my library.

Voila!  All tagged

I am always wanting to revert back to certain ones, but then can't remember which one is which month of which year without opening to the first page.  As you can imagine this can take some time - especially because then I get engrossed in each journal and start reading and ... you get the picture.

Easy to find

So I had one of those lightbulb moments and thought "AH!" I could put the dates on the outside of each book, but many of the spines aren't the right shape, wide enough or whatever to put the date right on the spine - so that's when I had the second brain storm and decided on tags!

And quite stylish 
(if I do say so myself!)

They're working out great - the starting month and year on one side, just the year on the other.  Tied on and visible.  Now I can find what I'm looking for quickly.  But I know I'll still find myself lingering now and then and delving into ones I wasn't looking for - just because it's fun!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Life on the Coast

Spotted on our morning harbour walk -
an egret and a great blue heron.

Friday, April 20, 2012

From the Bookshelf

I really enjoyed Tim's first book in this series when I came across it a couple of years ago. Not only a technique and step by step project book - but an in depth look at the products available in his line of mixed media ephemera, tools and "so much more." How to use them, how they work, how they work with each other.

And now there's Volume II, the new one which offers all the same descriptions, hows and whys on the new products in Tim's bag of ephemeral tricks! Both volumes are beautifully photographed, have a nice lay-flat spiral binding and enough eye candy to fill a long weekend. These two are just flat out a lot of fun - enjoy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Project, Part 1

Busy using fun techniques I learned in
my recent on-line class with Tim Holtz.

Distress Ink in several different colours and
then manipulated with water -
sprayed, flicked and picked up off the surface.

With the addition of stamped dates,

They are ready for the second part of the project - next week.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lucky Mail Day!

Octopus 123 6x6"

It's always fun to get home from work and see a package waiting. Oh boy, maybe it's my new stencils or those two books I ordered.

The Reef 6x6"

But it's even more fun when it's an unknown package, a surprise! And that's what awaited me the other day. Imagine my delight when I opened it and found these two delightful small paintings by Chris Miser!

Chris and I have been sending stuff back and forth between Morro Bay and Monrovia now for a few years and it's always a pleasure to be the recipient of her largesse.

Margot and I are thrilled with these lovely pieces of art and are happily deciding where to hang them. Thanks Chris!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Suitcase Saturday

This colourful little case came from Michael's and was the middle size of a set of three.

This one holds net - fishnet, bird net; black, red, grey and green.

Thin, thick, new and very weathered. Found on the beach,
purchased at chandler shops, flea markets and swap meets.

I used some, seven years ago, on the very first
altered book I ever made -The Key to the Sea.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rusty Score!

The Score

I've spoken before about the wonderful friends and family members that collect for me.

Thanks Jim!

You know all that lovely, rusty, worn out detritus -
just waiting on the street, at the junkyard and in the parking lot.

Thanks Joen!

Some little things, that will be the perfect touch
for a journal page or small assemblage,

Thanks Chad & Destiny!

And some several feet long -
having lots of fun figuring out what to do with this!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

End of an Era

First Red Rosin Piece - Lynne Perrella's Class 2007

The first weekend of this month saw the last Artfest, Teesha and Tracy Moore's amazing weekend art retreat that started it all. How many of us in this wonderful mixed media world spent time there over the years, found our"tribe", made friendships to last a life time and felt our creativity burst forth like never before.

View from my dorm room window 2008

I was fortunate enough to attend in 2007 and 2008, once staying at a little hotel in Port Townsend and then in a dorm at the Fort Worden retreat site.

Dos-a-Dos Book created in Pam Sussman's Class 2007

I have so many memories - swapping trades, making fat books, those fantastic vendor nights, staying up til all hours in the Art Asylum, learning new techniques and making new friends.

Lynne's Black Paper Wall

Artfest was where I first took a class with Lynne Perrella, who I consider my artistic mentor. I had first met Lynne at the True Colors retreat at the ARTbar in Santa Ana in 2005, but the 2007 Artfest was my first chance to study with her. It changed my art, it changed my life. This is the story so many people will tell you about Artfest - life changing happenings and memories for years to come.

Fort Worden, Port Townsend, Washington

Thanks Teesha and Tracy - what a ride!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Vintage Card received by my maternal grandmother
in the early 1900's.
Have a lovely holiday.

Friday, April 6, 2012

From the Bookshelf

Grab this book if you get a chance - Creative people: what inspires them, how do they think and work, and how do they create an environment where they can easily generate ideas? In this book forty European creatives from many different disciplines—such as art directors, fashion designers, architects, and photographers—are interviewed and their work environment, scrapbooks, notebooks, doodles, and sources of inspiration are photographically documented into a beautiful inspiration book. (from Amazon website) I found this fascinating - I've read a lot of books on artistic inspiration, but it was very interesting to hear from so many different creative types - what inspires, what delights, what drives them and their work. Great reading and inspiration to the max!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Midnight Dreary - Halloween in April

A Midnight Dreary - Poe's Graveyard 8x10"

I haven't submitted to Somerset Studio in awhile, but how could I pass up their latest challenge - A Poe Halloween? I took a piece I'd made for my steampunk collection last fall and with some tweaking here and there created A Midnight Dreary - Poe's Graveyard. The piece is done in the opening on the reverse side of a 8x10x 2" canvas. This opening creates a shadowbox-esque effect and allows for the inclusion of rather thick embellishments - in this case - a resin gravestone (stamped with a branch of ravens) and a pile of various sized skulls, coloured with brown and olive acrylics.

The background is a xeroxed copy of a cemetery photo. Cheesecloth, rubbed with paint and stamped with ink, surrounds the frame and is anchored with skeletons and bones. A curled piece of parchment reads "nevermore" and one of the graveyard's crosses reads Edgar Allan Poe.

I've sent it in and now just have to wait until the Halloween issue comes out in September - wish me luck!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Art Girlz for April

Our Art Girlz group - Margot, Destiny Debra and I are meeting today at Debra's beautiful house (surrounded by lavender fields) for our monthly get-together. We discuss what we've been doing and what's coming up in our various artistic endeavors - from mixed media to shoes to jewels. It always fun bouncing ideas off one another and we all bring something different to the pot. Marketing skills, computer expertise, workshop knowledge and much more. Destiny, Debra and I are planning a Sunday Art Show in September here at our house of colour by the sea. Many more details to follow over the coming months. Stayed tuned!