Sunday, September 12, 2010

I have finally got some creative juices flowing again. I have mostly been working on scrapbooking lately, but for some reason my scans are all coming out overexposed, so I need to find a new way to post pics.

Ethan and I were lucky enough to have a day to ourselves to do whatever we wanted (thanks Lisa!) so we decided to go to NYC to check out the American Folk Art Museum. I had never been there before and I loved it! Ethan was esepcially interested in seeing Henry Darger's work. Coincidentally, it was right next to MoMA, and it was their free Friday night, so we got to go there as well. We saw an interactive piece that was about screaming into a microphone, which honestly got really old really fast, since you could hear people screaming though the whole museum. We also got to see a special Matisse exhibit though, which was much more interesting to us.

I'm happy that Sunday scrap nights with Lisa are coming back with the new school year, and that I'll have lots of time to get inspiration and just hang out with my bff, even if it is only through the computer.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wow I have been out of commission for a while! I had no idea how long it had been since I'd posted. I've been keeping very busy with things like Girl Scouts, teaching, and homeschooling for the last couple months. I finished up scouting last Saturday, and teaching today (homeschooling never stops!) so I feel several projects coming on! In the meantime, the big news at my house is that my husband has officially converted to Christianity and was baptized at our church on Pentecost. Also, he released his first CD of the Month for May which was awesome! I will post an art journal page and a couple scrapbook pages soon! Hope everyone is enjoying their last few days of Spring and looking forward to summer!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I went into a house of mirrors for the first time four years ago and was thoroughly enchanted with the possibilities for portraits. My family and I went to the Museum of Science on Friday, and I got to take some wacky and wonderful ones. I am already thinking about different ways to incorporate some of these photos of me into my artwork.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My family got great news yesterday - my husband has been extended through the summer at his job! This is big news because we both get laid off for summer, and we were very concerned about finding summer employment this year. We're ready to book our summer trip - we want to go back to Sandwich this year, for some camping and swimming . In celebration, I'm sharing the ATCs I painted last year while we were there. I can't wait to have the sand in my toes again, and to float down the canals on noodles with Esme at Boardwalk Beach!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I've been wanting to start an art journal for a long time, and a couple days ago I finally took the plunge. This is the first page and doodle and Zentangle inspired. and was done with Sharpie and watercolor pencils I'm finding that right I'm loving the combination of purple and yellow together. I think I want to redecorate my bedroom!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Our awesome friend, Matt Wilga, has just released his first single, There I Go. In celebration of his accomplishment and getting to see him play live in Amherst, we stamped these shirts to wear to the show. Being a crafter is extra handy for things like these - I already had these huge Heidi Swapp stamps (which I love) and some black Crafter's ink by Colorbox. I'm not sure the show was strictly appropriate for our daughter, given the other acts and the lateness of the hour, but she is a big fan so we didn't want her to have to miss it. He dedicated a song to her and gave her the set list.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I am part of a group of women making projects based on the book The Artistic Mother, and step one is to make background papers for our projects.

I started with pages from an old book of quotes that I acquired for such purposes. I used purple acrylic paints, water, and foam brushes to add color and patterns to the pages.

I was feeling rather crabapple and unmotivated today, but luckily I'd already made plans to get together with my cool friend Jennifer today, so I packed up a bunch of stamps, ink pads, paints, etc. and headed over to her house. She has the coolest scrapbooking room I've ever spent time in! She did an awesome job setting it up and has even helped me with mine.

When I try to get creative with my friends I usually spend more time yakking than working, but today I actually finished all my papers! It was easy, not having to worry about the final product yet. In fact, it was very freeing!

Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm so glad the cold weather is almost behind us for another year. Esme and I like to sit outside with paints or colored pencils, at home or at the park, and let Ethan serenade us while we create. This is one of my last winter-inspired pictures for this year, and it's a typical scene from my life! It's just a quick sketch with oil pastels and acrylic paints, where I made some swirls on paper and saw what kind of people would emerge. Now I'm looking forward to Friday, when I hear we might hit 72 degrees here in the Pioneer Valley, and hoping that soon pictures of little girls in flowered dresses will emerge from those swirls.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Yesterday was my Esme's birthday - I can't believe she is 7 years old! We had quite a nice day together. We are still waiting for her first two wiggly teeth to come out though.

I made this scrapbook page the night before while scrapping with my friend, Lisa, via Skype. Skype is one of my favorite inventions ever - we live many miles apart but can get together pretty much every week to scrap together!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I think I am on the mend and at last feeling in more of a crafty mood. When the last spot goes away, I think it will be time for a party. I have been really been wanting to work on whimsical projects the past few weeks. I was lucky enough to go away for the weekend with my handsome husband, and created this painting in our friend's cottage on the Cape. It was inspired by a line in a song he once wrote that always inspires me, "Paper thin hopes folded into a boat, to sail away with you." I am planning to do a few more pieces with this line in mind.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

PSA: Cool metallic paper you find on the side of the road is not necessarily an art supply.

I have been neglecting my blog due to being driven to distraction by my health. I have had my share of arts and crafts related injuries. I've had burns shaped like the end of my heat gun, tiny infections due to poking myself with my paper piercer, and even surgery under live x-ray to get a needle out of my toe. The past week has definitely ranked up there as one of my worst. It wasn't an accident, but an allergic reaction. I'm a Girl Scout leader and my little Daisies have been dying to be in our city's annual Saint Patrick's Day parade. To contribute to the building of the float, I said I would cut out the letters for the sides with my Slice. A fellow leader had found a large roll of shiny, adhesive-backed paper on the tree band in her neighborhood, so we decided we would use that.

That metallic paper gave me the worst allergic reaction of my life!! I have been COVERED with hives from the day I started cutting it. I cut half the letters (Girl Scouts leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories) and woke up with hives the next morning. I even had hives on the soles of my feet and the palms of my hands! Unfortunately I didn't make the connection right away and cut out the rest of the letters a couple days later, resulting in swollen lips and a numb tongue. I've found it impossible to be creative in this state - I am either dancing due to itchy skin or dopey because of Benadryl. I am on day four of steroids and I am hoping that maybe at last the hives are starting to improve. This week I am hoping to post some more crafty projects and plan to feature a couple local artists very soon! Thanks for sticking with me!

Monday, March 1, 2010

I'm very excited about a new challenge I'm about to start! It's being issued by Trudy, and it's based on the book, The Artistic Mother. I know that I often struggle to balance my own family life and creative time, so I'm excited to work with some other moms, and especially to see what they create!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A couple months ago I tried the Northampton Arts Night Out with my family and few friends, but didn't find much going on. Esme and I went out last night and were very pleased to find LOTS of things happening! We started at the Smith College Art Museum. On second Fridays admission is free and they have lots of activities for families. Esme got to get her face painted, have some snacks, and do some beading. The best part was a coloring book with different images throughout the museum in it - she loved tracking each of the paintings down.

Next we headed over to Pinch, to see this show by one of my favorite local artists, Sarah Ahearn. I got to meet her at Paradise City last Fall and I love her collages/paintings. Her new work is wonderful and I was glad Esme and I got a chance to talk to her for a few minutes.

The last thing we did downtown was stop by A.P.E. Esme was fascinated because there was a man in the window doing a bit of a performance piece. He was painted himself and he would slowly move to pretend to be painting color onto a real flower. Esme has been to several animatronic science shows lately, and would not believe that the man was not a robot, no matter how many times I insisted otherwise. We went inside and watched for a bit, and even then back outside on the sidewalk it was hard to tear her away.

It was a very nice evening out with my baby! I love sharing these things with her!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Since her dad and I are both sick and have been laying around listlessly most of the day, Esme needed a little Mommy time. I decided to sit up for a while and scrap with her, and wanted to do a new layout of us together, just to remind her how much I love her. Some girls over from the peaboard have a new challenge blog, so I thought I would give their first one a go. Esme and I had a nice afternoon together and now I'm back to bed!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

LYB True Love Album

Having a cold is decidedly uninspiring! I am extremely relieved that my daughter, Esme, has recovered from her pneumonia, but depressed that her dad and I now both have this awful cold. Since I've been under the weather I haven't felt like doing much, so I've taken the time to sort and organize my photos, as well as back them up on the terabyte drive I got last Christmas. In honor of Valentine's Day, I'd like to share an album that I made for Ethan last Christmas, all about romance. I hope everyone else is staying healthy and warm!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Another whimsical painting - I started this in an Estabrooks class and finished later at home. It started with oil pastels, then I collaged and added acrylic paint. Matted and framed and gave to my daughter, Esme, for Christmas, because she loves mermaids so much.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

This is my new favorite personalized gift to give. I made my first magnet board a little over a year ago, but really stepped up production a couple weeks ago. I hate giving people (especially kids) the same kinds of gifts everyone else does. I made the first one for my bff's mom, who is very hard to shop for! Additionally, these are super inexpensive to make and don't take to long if you're in a pinch!

They start as pizza pans from the dollar store. The ones I buy are 12 inches, but this includes the lip on the edges. I start by using alcohol ink to color the lip. It is important to do this first as it can be messy otherwise. I made a template for the patterned paper by putting a piece of paper over the pan and rubbing around it with an embossing stylus. I trace around my template and then cut the circle out of a pieces of 12 by 12 scrapbooking paper. I use a heavy coat of Mod Podge all over the pan to adhere the paper, and smooth it out with a brayer and my fingers. A few little wrinkles are okay, but I don't like bubbles - it makes it harder for magnets to stick. I add a thin layer of Mod Podge on top of the patterned paper, and then a thick layer around the edges to adhere the buttons. I originally put the buttons on to hide the edge of the patterned paper and it's worked very well to help hide flaws as well. Other embellishments would work as well, like gems or maybe even Prima flowers. I've done names or words on these boards, and mostly used letter stickers with another layer of Mod Podge on top. You can see my first attempt here. I'm on the fence about whether I like the coordinating magnets made from page pebbles better or clip magnets, also from the dollar store. These two are for some little friends who are brother and sister, so I used coordinating papers that I thought they might like, and that would match their kitchen.

I have lots going on this week, but I have three more transparency, post-industrial scenes that I really want to finish and post!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

One of the best things a scrapbooker can ever has is a crop group with members who really care about each other, and appreciate each other's artistic talents. I was very, very lucky to meet my friends Ellen and Stephanie this way. Even though our group disbanded, we have remained friends and just recently started scrapbooking together on a regular basis again. I am so happy to have this back in my life! We each have our own distinct style and I love how I could spot their pages in a crowd. I love how we're always ready to share with each other and introduce each other to new things. It's not easy to find good friends anyway, but to find friends who are also awesome scrappers is nearly a miracle! I love you guys!

I did this layout at Ellen's house last night - the first of many of Chloe's first Christmas!

Friday, January 15, 2010

I have three new paintings in progress this week. I loving working with these post-industrial landscapes - they are beautiful to me. I love to be outdoors in natural surroundings, but I find these scenes much more inspirational to me.

One day in November Ethan and I went for a walk with my camera and took a ton of shots down near the Parson's Paper fire site and in nearby neighborhoods. I use a Digital Canon Rebel. I've had it for about 5 years and it's pretty dinged up. It's been dropped, knocked over, parts have been replaced, but it has taken many thousands of photos and still works just fine. This was my first digital camera and I love the freedom.

This week I'm also excited about scrapbooking and doing more altered projects. My studio space has been super packed and disorganized for a long time, and I am finally finding my way back to the surface of my table. When I finally get it perfect, I am going to have an art party to celebrate.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I am sooo excited that I finally opened my Etsy shop! I have been talking about it for a while and decided to just grab the paintings in my post-industrial landscape series and go for it. This is the painting I did for the Easthampton Plein Air competition. It was fun, but a bit of a challenge because the paintings had to be done outside, and there were heavy downpours most of the week. Luckily Esme was willing to brave it out and go with me almost every day when I got out of school. It was exciting to have my painting hanging at the Nashawannuck Gallery with so many other wonderful pieces. This was one of my first paintings inspired by Ludwig Bemelmans, one of my favorite artists and the creator of the Madeline series.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I made this plaque as a shower gift for my sister-in-law when my niece was born. It made from foam core board covered with patterned paper and then elements Mod Podged on top. The fairy is made from felt and patterned paper with buttons for hands and stamped wings with Distress Stickles added to them. The face is an old picture of my grandmother, Chloe's great-grandmother. The gift box is a Clementine crate decoupaged with coordinated patterned paper. I can't believe my beautiful niece is almost one year old!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

This is one of my favorite pages of Ethan and me. I did it with supplies I received during my month as a guest designer at Scrapperie, when they were a kit club. I took this photo on the street in Northampton. Scrapbooking is one of my favorite things to do!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I've been spending most of my free time the last couple weeks trying to get my studio organized. I use it for all my painting, scrapbooking, sewing, and otherwise crafty supplies, so it is QUITE full. I was lucky to have a friend over to help me redo it and make me feel less boxed in when I'm sitting at my table. Now I've hit the place where I just want to give up and just do some creative projects!! Enough organizing, I want to be painting or scrapping! So to give myself a lift I'm posting a painting I did of Ethan the week of Christmas on my new easel. I have been trying to develop my own style of portraits so I'm doing some smaller sizes for practice. Soon I hope to get into these lovely bigger canvases I've been saving.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year! I have many resolutions this year, but my biggest ones are to make more art, and to invite more people to my home to make art with me. I love seeing other people work and getting inspiration from my friends.
Toward the end of 2009 I really enjoyed taking classes with Donna Estabrooks and hope to continue. I'd like to take some other kinds of classes too, especially printmaking. The piece above is a picture of Donna I did during one of her classes. It's a mix of drawing with oil pastels, painting with acrylics, and collaging. It is one of the first abstract portraits I ever did and very fun.