Friday, March 29, 2013

Calendar Pages, Collage and Cards

  With Easter arriving I for one feel like the weather should be warming up by now! Our poor forsythia bushes are a bit behind in blooming (we usually have the flowers beginning St. Pat's day) but there's hope for some blooms next week.

  I received a wonderful pkg. of paints a few days ago. I mentioned quite awhile back that I won a GC for the Fall fearless and Fly challenge hosted by Carolyn Dube and Jessica Sporn. There were a few glitches but Carolyn pursued the issue(thank you!!) and lo and behold I had a $40 GC to spend at  Dreaming in Color! This online store was new to me so  you can just imagine the excitement discovering new products and having the chance to try them out-at no cost to me :):) They have an amazing selection of Twinkling H2Os and Silks among other things. I have H2Os and after reading about the Silks I chose to order 6 jars in some bright colors!

  Silks are acrylic glazes with a shimmer that surpasses anything else I've seen!! They remind me of the Twinkling H2Os except that the Silks are paints. Of course I had to immediately open each jar and paint a swatch of the colors onto a card-YUM!!!

  You can somewhat see the shimmer here although it still doesn't do justice to all the reflected light in the colors. I plan on making some time to play with them a bit in the next week. And if any of you own some I'd love to hear what you use them for!

 On to my calendar pages for April-whew-just in time too! I can't believe how quickly March has flown by...

  I had a bit of the Sunburst Silks acrylic glaze on my brush so I cleaned it off onto the blank pages. I wanted the feel of "April Showers" so I haphazardly painted Folk Art acrylics in Light Grey, Light Blue and Amish Blue. I like the hints of "sunshine" peeking thru, giving a hint of the sun and flowers to come in May :)
  My idea for the pretty umbrellas came from a recent blog post at Roses,Lace and Brocante
where Shane posted some really lovely photos of pretty umbrellas hanging from a ceiling. See, you just never know where inspiration may strike, or how :) Merci Shane! I just cut my umbrellas from patterned and solid cardstock. Then I loosely made some budding trees with watercolor, and added buds with the top of two paint brushes and two colors of green. Added butterfly and bird stickers, along with the quote I found online.

  And finally, here are the Easter cards I made to send out to a few friends and family:
  The banner is an image from a digi collage sheet by Retro Café Art and the chicks images are from ARTchix Studio. I used my Grand Calibur die cutting machine with the scalloped squares dies to make the cards and frame. To all who are celebrating I wish you a joyous and happy Easter!!
  Linking up to Art Journal Every Day, Creative Every Day,  Kate Crane's 2013 Calendar Project, and  Paint Party Friday. Please go and visit some of these wonderful challenge links. You never know what might inspire you to create something special.
" Art is like singing. Some do it better than others, but everyone can and should be doing it for their soul."  Barbara Mason

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Using Your Energy Creatively

  Before I go into posting this week's art I want to mention that I announced the giveaway winners in my last post . I still need to hear from Alex-Topogina Bonetto-so please contact me with your mailing address so I can mail out your ATCs.

  Ok, so those of you who have read my last few posts know that I have been immursed in Celtic festivities. Well hubby and I had yet another exciting eve. Wed.! We had tickets to see Paul Byrom and guest Damian McGinty (formerly of the group Celtic Thunder) at The State Theatre in our area. It is a gorgeous old theatre beautifully renovated -we just love this place. This was a special event in that it was being filmed for a future PBS television special. Let me tell you-these guys were on top of their game!! A full orchestra was directed by the famous Phil Coulter. The show lasted for I believe over 2 hrs.(it started at 8PM) with a brief intermission. And then came the surprise!! They were going to film a special Christmas segment and anyone that wanted to remain was welcome. We watched them set the stage for Christmas and then got to see the performance-wow!! We never got home until midnight :)

  Here is a pic-not very good tho as we weren't supposed to use a camera and Bill tried to get one or two without a flash.

  Paul (on the right) has a wonderful cheeky sense of humor besides being one of Ireland's top tenors, and Damian (being only 20-on the left) also has a great voice. He had made several guest appearances on the TV show "Glee".

  Here are two pics of the State Theatre:

This is a view of one of the balconies-see that boom camera? We sat about the 10th row back and left center of the stage-not bad at all:).Perhaps you'll see us on TV in the audience :)

 With all this Celtic energy going on I was anxious to release some of it and get something painted on a page. I recently got Dina Wakley's new book Art Journal Freedom and am about finished reading it. Now I can put the exercises to paper and experiment and PLAY! Dina's book explores color, composition, flow , depth, black and white spaces, symmetry and asymmetry amongst other topics. She includes in depth explanations along with so many fabulous examples and projects true to her style. She shares step outs for her techniques and also includes ways to further challenge your own art. I LOVE this book and highly recommend it for anyone at any skill level!!

  I knew I wanted to play with a silhouette so the first thing I did was cut out two images from a magazine and scan them to my computer. I then grabbed two of my gelli print papers, resized the images and then printed on to the back side of my prints.

 This way I can easily cut them out and  have the cool patterns on a silhouette. Yep, this makes me really happy:)

 Here's my finished page:

  Sorry, forgot to take pics in progress because I just couldn't stop. Gessoed page in my watercolor journal. Scraped some Cobalt Teal, Olive Green, Quinacridone Magenta on page. Used Mini Roman Stencil (TCW-Dina Wakley Designs) and Transparent Pyrole Orange. Added some circles with a stencil and yellow acrylic. Spritzed an area (where I wanted my gelli print silhouette to go) using Dylusions Black Marble Spray ink. A thin black marker was used to outline the silhouette,circles and printed words. Added a bit of writing along the silhouette with my Signo Uniball pen.Done!

 I can't wait to take more time to further explore the techniques in this book but I have to get some Easter cards done first. We'll be celebrating Easter Sunday on the 31st.

 I'm linking up this week to Art Journal Everyday, Paint Party Friday, Show and Tell Saturday at Artists in Blogland, Mandarin Orange Monday and hope to catch up with many of you who inspire people like me:)

  " Compassion enables you to meet someone where THEY are without compromising where YOU are."  Alan Cohen

Monday, March 18, 2013

Giveaway Winners and Weekend Photos

  Hi all! Hope you had a great St. Patty's Day weekend! I had the best birthday/Celtic weekend ever and will share some photos so the post may be long.

  But first, here are the 5 commenters who each wins a set of the ATCS I made:

   Congratulations!! Please contact me with your mailing info so that I can send them out your way.
Thanks to all for your comments, birthday wishes, emails, ecards, cards etc. You've all helped make my 1st blogiversary and my birthday so very special. Here are the handmade cards I received:

 This one's from my friend Betsy whom I met some years ago when we were both teaching at a rubber stamp store. On her blog she shares her beautiful journal pages.

  I received these two beautiful cards from my dear friend LuAnn-who I also met thru the rubber stamp store:

    And my online friend Joy sent me this gorgeous card:

  Please visit Joy's lovely blog  Morning Glory Card Studio which is filled with beautiful cards like this. And don't forget to congratulate her on having three cards published in the latest edition of Take Ten magazine!

  Notice what these beautiful cards have in common????  Each one uses Gelli Plate prints!!

  I mentioned my excitement about my weekend plans in this post. The first surprise came at Friday's dinner at The Historic Hotel Bethlehem downtown. It is a really beautiful renovated hotel that has lots of history and celebrity. You can click on the link to read more about it.We love the place-and it's within walking distance for us.We were given special treatment thanks to two very dear friends who made arrangements to have champagne brought to our table:

  The St. Patty's day buffet was wonderful but Bill and I were just so beside ourselves with the excitement of seeing Keith Harkin perform that it was hard to eat! The bartender up in the ballroom(Brandon) where Keith was going to perform reserved 4 seats of my choice (it was general admission) for the show as a special favor.Front and center baby!!! Since we had the reserved seats we decided to go up the street to Donegal Square , a wonderful shop filled with Celtic/Irish wares downstairs and a tea room upstairs. Keith was to perform a few songs there and sign copies of his debut CD(which I had in my purse :). Apparently there were few people there so the guys decided to just go to the hotel. But, Bill spotted Keith going out a side door up the stairs and called to him. Keith came back in (OMG he was right in front of me-I was shaking like a school girl meeting her biggest crush). Bill told him it was my b'day and how we were so looking forward to meeting him. He shook our hands and wished me a  happy birthday. Aaaaah!!! " OK,I'm telling myself, get a grip!" We go outside and there he was -the guys putting their guitars in their van. I went for it . I calmly(?) walked up to him and asked him to sign my CD:

  I LOVE his Irish accent!!! I think I floated back to the hotel-I don't remember it...
It was just the most amazing show-he sounded even better than the CD!! Unfortunately I can't seem to upload even one of the short vids. hubby took with the camera, so here's a pic instead:

  At the end of the show he graciously signed autographs and and took pics with everyone who wanted. We waited til the end and we got to chat a min. or so .I told him I refer to him as me younger brother-(we do look a bit alike and have the same color eyes)-which he liked-I wasn't ready to admit I could actually be his mother! Wished me a happy b'day again and signed a poster that hubby told me to get so he can frame it for me and put it in my art room.Do I have the best, most understanding hubby or what ?

  As we walked to our car Keith and the other two musicians were standing by the side door waiting to head back to NYC where they were going to open the St. Patrick's Day parade Sat. AM by singing Danny Boy. Keith called out and again wished my a happy birthday and hoped we enjoyed the night. We wished them a safe trip and continued on our way. I was so proud of myself for being composed and mature despite how I felt inside :)
  Sunday we made plans to go back in town to watch the St. Patrick's Day parade on Main Street. We did walk down but decided to have lunch and some Guinesses at the Hotel Bethlehem and watch the parade from the window because this is what was happening outside:
  It's hard to tell by this photo but the snow was really coming down and blowing sideways.I wasn't even able to get parade pics, and sadly it was a short parade this year. But we had a great time and even the walk home was  romantic despite the cold.(Of course, the Guinness helped:)
  I thought the snow covered branches looked like cotton plantings. We walked home the back way along the Monocacy Creek where historically preserved  buildings filled with history like this one are sprinkled about the area. The community does a great job of volunteering to keep it up, and to educate children on the life of the Moravians here.
  I'm linking this to Inspiration Avenue. This week's link up challenge is  "About Your Home Town:where in the world do you live?" It will be fun visiting the other artists' home towns.
   If anyone is still with me here-thank you for indulging me, hope you enjoyed your nap :)
                        " Respond to every call that excites your spirit." Rumi


Friday, March 15, 2013

Top O' The Morn' to You!

   Happy Ides of March! Today (the 15th) is the last day to enter my giveaway. I'll draw 5 winners sometime in the next few days so be sure to check back.

  First up today is a journal page I did around the "Color This Quote" challenge hosted by Jessica Sporn over at Artists in Blogland. Each month Jessica gives us a quote as a prompt, and you have the month to create something.Anyone can join in at anytime so do check it out!

  I placed a Tim Holtz Flourish mask over the page and spritzed with homemade spray inks made with a light yellow and pink acrylic diluted with some water. A bird and heart shape were pencilled on the page, then filled in with layers of oil pastels and watercolor crayons. I outlined both with a black oil pastel and smudged the edges with my finger. Our quote prompt by Ralph Waldo Emerson was stamped on using two alphabet sets and VersaFine Onyx Black ink.

  Inspiration Avenue's challenge this week is all about tags so I decided to make a tag in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

   There are several Celtic inspired activities hubby and I will be going to starting this evening with a St. Patrick's Day buffet dinner then a solo acoustic performance by Keith Harkin (of Celtic Thunder) who I absolutely ADORE! Hubby really likes him too, just not to the extent I do :) Pray for me that I keep myself composed. Check him out (if I did this right) This is the first single from his debut solo album:

   Saturday's festivities will include a St. Patrick's Day parade, a Best Legs in a Kilt Contest... and perhaps even a Guinness or two :).
   Have a great weekend, and Slainte !! (Irish/Gaelic for "cheers")
                                                 "May your troubles be less
                                                  And your blessings be more
                                                  And nothing but happiness
                                                  Come through your door."  Irish Blessing

 Linking to Art Journal Everyday, Color This QuoteInspiration AvenuePaint Party Friday, and Creative Every Day.

Friday, March 8, 2013


  Before I go into my latest art play I want to mention that I'm having a giveaway x 5!!!  Just click on the link to check it out and lv. a comment to win. It's open thru the 15th.

  And don't forget to turn clocks 1 hour ahead ( I usually change my clocks Sat. nite) to Spring forward with an extra hour of daylight beginning Sunday-YAY!!

  Each month our instructor for the "52 Weeks of Creative Abundance" class gives us a new word which is the theme each week for that month. In January it was "allow". In February it was "release". This month it's "imagine". We begin by making a reminder tag. Here's my tag which I glued into my moleskine journal:

  I have been adding art to one page and journaling on the other. I loved Christi's idea for the tag so much that I decided to make something similar in my lg. art journal.

 The background was painted with watered down Americana Baby Blue acrylic paint. Then I stencilled with a mixture of Folk Art Purple Lilac and Delta Ceramcoat Pearls. Wanna see my stencil??? I know you do! So here it is:

  This is not a stencil per se-it's actually a 12" x 12" piece of scrapbook cardstock that was on clearance at AC Moore -for 20 cents!!! I don't scrapbook but I DO stencil :):) I bought several sheets so I can even cut one up if I want.How cool is that?

  I did use  an actual stencil a few places to add a bit of green. The silhouette was provided by Christi. I added some tissue paper "flowers" because I wanted to play with the same Traci Bautista technique I used for my flowers in this post.You'll find more details there.

  After layers of color and line with Higgins Black Magic waterproof ink, oil pastels, watercolor pencils, paint markers and gesso they were done. I added punched, stamped flowers (Stampin Up!), liquid pearls and tiny plastic flowers. The stencil word "imagine" was added and I wrote in the rest of my sentence then finished it with a gelli print heart.

  Here's a detail photo of the flowers:

 Now, did you happen to notice I misspelled the word "fulfilling"? As soon as I wrote I realized what I did-Oops!! (as Carolyn would say :) And you know what ? I'm leaving it as is. We'll just keep it between you and I :)

 Linking up to Art Journal Everyday, Paint Party Friday and Show and Tell Saturday at Artists in Blogland, and Mandarin Orange Monday.

 See you next week, and don't forget to check back the weekend after next Friday(the 15th) to see if you've won one of my giveaways celebrating my first blogiversary!

                    "When you learn, teach. When you get, give."  Maya Angelou

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

It's A Giveaway Celebration!!!

   On the 15th I will be celebrating not only my birthday but my FIRST YEAR BLOGIVERSARY!!!
And to celebrate, I am giving away these prizes:

  5 sets of three ATCS (Artist Trading Cards - 2/12" x 3 1/2")!!! Each set includes three -live your bliss, live with joy, live your dreams. These were made using my gelli plate prints.

  All you have to do is leave me a comment in this post. I will leave commenting open up thru the  the 15th . Feel free to share with your friends! You don't need to be a follower; it's not my intention to gain followers unless of course you happen to like my art and posts :) I will randomly select five winners. Be sure to check back over that weekend. Good luck!

  I have discovered since the very first day of blogging that there is no community more caring, giving, encouraging and supportive of each other; not to mention the generous sharing by way of step outs, free tutorials, free workshops and giveaways. Not long ago I received a giveaway I won at my friend Terri's blog Artful Affirmations. She participated in a challenge called "Grow Your Blog". The giveaway part was optional. This is what came in the mail from Terri:

 This gorgeously wrapped pkg. in pale aqua!! The pkg. itself was a gift, but inside was this book:

  Was this not meant for me or what-especially as a newbie?? It was published in 2009 but it has really wonderful photos, tips and techniques etc. from a variety of bloggers. Links to those blogs are included and I recently even became a follower of one (more on that another time). I'm still reading it so who knows who else I may find :). Thank you Terri!!

  And I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you all for making this my richest year in arting, learning and community. I may or may not be blogging for bliss yet,
 but I AM blogging from the heART.

     "Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon.
Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is."   Mary Anne Radmacher

Friday, March 1, 2013

Time Marches On and Textured Tag Play

  Wow, it's March already -YAY!! It's going to be a busy month with St. Patrick's Day, Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, not to mention our clocks Spring ahead 1 hour for Sun. the 10th, and I'll be celebrating my birthday and one year of blogging on the 15th!

  So first up is my calendar spread for March. Here are the background pages:

  I used a fave technique-dots of Folk Art Patina, Americana Snow, Golden Cobalt Teal, and Masters Touch Olive Green around the pages. I scraped over the pages with an old credit card, moving the colors to cover. I then used the Mini Cubist stencil with Dylusions Bubblegum Pink Ink Spray.
 My pages ready:
   I'm not going to fill the space along the right side until later as I may want to add some pics from the festivities of the month. I'll be checking out what others have done this month over at The Kathryn Wheel - Kate Crane's blog.
  And now for some tag play! If you missed Carolyn Dube's "Use Your Words Workshop" you can still join this free series and be a part of the Flickr group too. It really was a fabulous series of videos and it's been fun creating from her inspirations!
  For this part Carolyn suggested using three tags and creating similar-but not the same-projects. We started by applying thick coats of gesso around the tags and allowing them to dry overnight.
    The gesso had been spread around with a palette knife. On the first tag I stamped into the wet gesso with a cork. For the center tag I mixed a bit of Golden Coarse Pumice Gel (think wet sand texture) into the wet gesso and on the third tag I just aded marks with the tip of the palette knife.
  Now for some color!
  For the first tag I colored with Caran D'Ache watercolor crayons and a waterbrush. For the second tag I used Dylusions Vibrant Turquoise and Bubblegum Pink Ink Sprays then added a bit of blue watercolor crayon on two corners for deeper color. On the third tag I again used watercolor crayons and a waterbrush.
  Here is a detail of the third tag before adding water. You can really see the texture and cork marks in the gesso:

  And here is a detail pic of the second tag:

  Isn't that texture with the Coarse Pumice gel just FAB??? Here's another where I used the gel:

     First I scraped the gel thru a words stencil and let dry. Then I sprayed with a few colors of ink sprays.
   Now, as the workshop is about using words I finished my three  tags with stencilled letters and a simple embellishment:

 Ready to add to journal pages!

  Have a great weekend!
" Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do."  Edgar Degas