Sunday, July 25, 2010

Italy Panels!

Since I finally have things pretty much back to normal, I figured it was time to start on the project I thought of while on holiday with DH in Italy this summer.

I collected and saved all of our ticket stubs from museums, trains, everything. I saved sales receipts, sugar packets (a couple of them were really cool!), bread stick wrappers, a newspaper, brochures, etc.

Of course, I only had a vague idea then, and I have to confess, it's still rather vague now too! lol

I have sorted out all the paraphernalia into places, so there will be seven pieces in this project. One for each place: Milan, Lake Como, Torino, Genova, Cinque Terre, Pisa, and Firenze.

I bought seven 11 x 14 canvas panels (actually nine, since they came in 3-packs), and started on the backgrounds today.

I did one at a time, starting by covering the panel with matte medium. Then I tore strips and chunks of the newspaper and mostly covered the panel.

When the board was covered with just some little blank spots, I covered it all with another coat of matte medium, and smoothed it out with my fingers. This is really messy and hard to get off your fingers, so you could wear gloves. I don't, because I kind of enjoy the mess as part of the process.

Then I sprayed it with Tsukinek Walnut Ink, in Eucalyptus. I like the way it enhances the wrinkle of the newspaper and the texture of the canvas.

I did all seven of them, and they are drying right now.

Here is one panel closer up- it's drier because it was done first.

After they are all fully dry, I will see how dark they are, and I suppose before I decide if they need lightening up or not, I should see what the next layer looks like next to it.

And what to put on besides ticket stubs?

When I go through my stuff, I will tear out the place name for each from a brochure.

I made a journal entry from each place. They are still sketches, and I have scanned them into my computer. I can print out a smaller copies of them and colour or paint them, if I want. Or I could print out the smaller copies and put them on as is. I haven't decided. Maybe I won't include them at all.

I am also thinking of choosing a photo or two for each place and printing it on Lutradur, but again, no concrete plans. 

I have a feeling that this project will lead me where I need to go. Actually that is often the case with much of what I do, because nothing ever turns out the way I originally envisioned... lol

I will keep you posted as I progress.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Finally back!

I am finally back to normal (and I use that term very loosely! lol) life.

Rich and I have had our wonderful trip to Italy, and I have been busily organizing my 2000+ photos...
I will be sharing a number of them on this blog, as I took them specifically for their inspiration. But it will still likely take me a little bit to get things sorted.

I am the mother of four, two teens living here with me and my husband, and two young adults, living and working up in Ottawa, Canada, where we are from.

The two youngest went up to Ottawa and spent three weeks with their siblings- then all four of them flew here, so I could also have a visit with them. I usually only get to see them at Christmas, because of their work and school obligations.

Anyway, all of my kids are artistic and enjoy doing and making things. I was really looking forward to spending time with my three girls in my studio, and wanted my son to join us, but didn't think he would enjoy making an art journal, doing mixed media, etc.

So I did a little research and found that there were books and kits to teach someone how to draw Marvel-type comics, something my son is completely taken with!

I ordered a couple of books and a kit for Ben, and I ordered a couple of books and a mixed media kit for Holly.

Much to my delight, my studio was the hub of a lot of the week's activity! They were all in there at various times, adding things to their projects and just generally relaxing and enjoying themselves together.

I wanted to help them add art to their lives- in an accessible way. I had them use their kits and as many of my supplies as they wanted, to see what they wanted to have for themselves at home in addition to their kits and books.

We went on a little spree to purchase some basics for them to bring home: paint brushes, water soluble coloured pencils, regular coloured pencils, mechanical pencils, kneaded erasers, sketch books, journals, a set of oil pastels for Holly, a little manikin and some different rulers for Ben; there might have been more, I can't remember what else.

As Holly and Ben support themselves without help from me, they pretty much live paycheck to paycheck and art supplies are a luxury.

Only I don't think that is true, really. I really believe what Jenny Doh says "ART SAVES".
I think by being able to send my kids home with their own art supplies, I have given them another way to deal with the stresses of every day life, and the ability to create joy whenever they please!

Here are three of them working away intently- I must have stood and watched them for a good ten minutes, just feeling the happy wash over me!

Here are a few things Holly made:

Her mixed media on wood

Her art journal

And a pastel drawing

And Ben's:

Comic book hero (not sure if he has a name)

A kind of mixed media piece using some lines from the movie, "Boondock Saints"(I believe)

And another on wood with the comic guy's face

Chloe worked on her art journal- this is a page spread (I haven't gotten a photo of the cover yet)

Aren't they talented?!

Heidi started work on her art journal as well, but she had to work some of the time and didn't get to spend as much time in the studio as the rest of them. I will post more journal pictures that Heidi and Chloe do over the summer.

I am hoping that I have convinced all of them that creating is an integral part of life.

I told them all that I expect them to make me a piece of art as a Christmas gift. I don't want anything else, but to be able to hang up and look at things my kids have created for me. My studio is just going to get better and better!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Girls!

Happy Fourth of July all!

As any of you who follow my blog already know, I have been taking online classes with Suzi Blu since January. And as I am sure you also know, I have had an absolute blast of a time while I learn.

Earlier in the week, Suzi challenged all of us to make a Fourth of July piece. We have to put it in the student gallery at Suzi Blu's Les Petit Academy for our fellow artists to see and comment on (and my fellow artists are the most incredibly supportive group EVER), and then do a post on our blogs about our experiences in Suzi's Underground Art Skool. Here is the link:

So here is my piece, even though I feel it is not quite done yet.  What fun I had making it, especially trying to figure out that crazy hair! Being a Canadian who has just had the temporary residency status taken off of her green card (I am a legal resident alien now! lol), I thought it only fitting to do both a Canadian AND American girl. (We just celebrated Canada's birthday on July 1st).

For some unknown reason, my photos rarely do my work justice. When I look at this piece in person, I don't see everything so defined- yet here, as I look, things stand out too much... I really think I need to invest in some kind of better flash or light to photograph my stuff!

This is done on glass primed with gesso. There is a map of the US and Canada in the background, along with paints, colored pencils, stamps, paper, Angelina fibers (the hair!), sequins (I just happened to have red, white, and blue stars and red maple leaves!), irrrdescent medium, bleeding tissue, and lots of Titan Buff paint- I still don't have their faces right and keep going over them. But at this point, I am running out of time to post, so posting I am!

My move here to the States HAS been an adventure in both happiness and immigration! And since moving here, I am learning new things all of the time, not the least of which is about art.

I will just say, for anyone who has ever wanted to learn to draw but thought they could never do it, these classes will change your mind. Besides learning some really good basics in a wonderfully supportive way, you will find yourself surrounded by a fantastic group of fellow artists, and led by a teacher who is funny,  gifted, and so wonderful to learn from.

There are no "requirements" to get things done, for things to look a certain way. In fact, the way Suzi approaches her teaching with an attitude that everything we all make is art. She wants us to know that we need to foster patience with ourselves and the process of learning. We are encouraged to copy her examples, because that is how the masters learned it- and no one's art looks like anyone else's anyway! lol

Most of all, what has helped me grow in confidence is the knowledge that I can always fix my mistakes or work them into something else. There is such a freedom in that! It's blanket permission to just get into the studio and make what moves me at that moment without all of the stress and worry that it might not be right or good enough.

Taking classes with Suzi is the best thing I have ever done for myself- because I NEED to create and I, like many other artists, flourish when I am inspired and encouraged by like-minded, generous, talented people.

I know a number of talented women who follow my blog and whose blog I follow, are my fellow students with Suzi, and they know exactly what I am talking about.

If you are not already a Suzi student, why not click on this link and check out the available classes?
If you have a little time this summer, you can even try a class for a discounted price right now. If you sign up, you still have till September to submit your work for feedback. It's a great deal! If you want access to the critique rooms for a whole semester, the new classes will start in September. You will never know the heights you can reach until you try.

Just in case you are wondering after reading this post: no, I am not being paid to promote Suzi Skool. lol I just want to share with you something that has really changed my life by helping me see that I too, can create beautiful things, and express myself in so many ways as an artist!