Friday, September 19, 2014

Disaster Area?

The ever-amazing Seth Apter had a great idea.  We all see the beautiful studio spaces that get published in magazines and stuff, and we all drool and get jealous, right?  Well Seth wanted people to post pictures of what their studio space really looks like on a daily basis.  It has been really reassuring to see other people's messes!  So here is mine:

What's sad is that, while I have three projects in progress on the table there, only two of them are active and I haven't touched either of them in almost a week. 
And then you turn 90 degrees and you see the space that is supposed to be my cutting surface, but it's occupied by piled up junk that I don't have anyplace to store. 
Oh, and my book press.  Which is also not currently in use.  Of course. 
Somebody save me from myself and my disastrous mess.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hitting Print

Hey there, Pocketeers!  I've been slowing down on the cards, but getting together with Zingala and RunningWave has spurred me to action a little bit more over the past couple of weeks.  Still only resulted in three cards, but I dug into my scraps and cutting dies a little more for these.  Plus, this weekend we got together to play a little bit with RunningWave's Gelli plate, with fun results. But first, the cards:

The primarily green one has ivy die-cut from one of the papers I printed on the Gelli plate.  The mushrooms collaged onto the other are from a napkin I had in my stash.

The banners and the edging at the top are cut with Spellbinders dies.

My favorite prints from our Gelli Plate adventures, with leaves die cut from one of them, and what's left of the paper I cut the ivy from for the green card.

I love the layers and peel-y look here.

This was a ghost print after pulling a print through a stencil.  Look at that delicious texture.

In two weeks the three of us are taking a class together on using the Gelli plate, so I'm looking forward to learning different tricks and techniques for getting unique prints.  And I kind of want my own plate, but where on Earth I'm going to put it is a different story...

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Wow, it's been a while.  And after I had been so good earlier in the Summer.  Well, I haven't been as persistent with art stuff as I was at the beginning of the Summer.  Been reading more than arting, because I might be a little bit obsessed with the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (OMG).  But I have made a bit more progress on the 52 Card Pick Up deck, and started a new project.  This post shows off the rest of what it took to get to exactly halfway through the deck. 

As for the new project, it's coming along slowly.  It's rather a large one, for me anyway, and it had to spend some time on the balcony in time-out today while the spray fixative I used on it dried.  Really didn't need it fuming up the whole condo. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Gathering

Hi there, Pocketeers. I promise I've still been arting. Slowly, little by little, I've been building my 52 Card Pickup deck. Some cards I'm really happy with, and others less so. But I'm having fun working on them (if you can call it work). Here's what I've put together lately: 

That last one isn't my favorite, but it is the result of me finding my new stamps from Lavinia Stamps in the mail and wanting to try them out RIGHT AWAY. I had forgotten that the oak tree stamp, which you can just barely see in the background, would be so small, but the stamps are great quality. They're clear cling stamps, so they are also great for partial images if you don't put them on a block. 

Part of what I'm enjoying about doing these cards is the scale of them. It's something I will keep in mind for future art. One of my friends who gave me a lot of the Magic: the Gathering cards I'm using talked to me about artists who over-write the art that's printed on the cards with their own original art, and suggested that I try that out. The more I think about it, the more appealing the idea is. I might experiment with that one I finish this deck. Or I might just start before then. Who knows. But it's a great challenge. There's all kinds of magic I could try to work with these cards. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

In the Name of the Father

I hope everyone out there who is or has a dad has had a good Father's Day :)  We started with bringing breakfast to Mr. Pocket's dad (and mom) and finished up with dinner with my parents.  And I got to give my dad a little project I put together just for him.  I actually decided on this gift because I had done a similar one for my mom for Mother's Day, and decided that it was only fair to put the same amount of effort and love into Father's Day. 

Ok, so here's where it gets Jesus-y.  If you have problems with religion, this is your warning that there is religious content ahead.  Not trying to convert anybody here, just showing my art which happens this time to express my (and my family's) Catholic faith.  Ok, disclaimer over.

So the gifts I made for my parents for their respective holidays started out as canvases turned around backwards.  I used photos as the focal point for each, and embellished around them a la Finnabair, but simpler because it's me.  For Dad's, I used a photo I found of the stained glass window at the United States Naval Academy Chapel, because he is a Naval Academy grad and retired Navy pilot.  The window depicts Jesus walking on the water.  As another meaningful element, I used the first and most recognizable words (and alternate title) of the Navy Hymn, which also tie in with it being Father's Day quite well.

The background is a sample of textured wallpaper from Graham and Brown, which I painted and wiped off.  Many thanks to Seth Apter for the tip on where to find fantastic textured wallpaper :)  The waves in front are painted and scrunched tissue paper.  Various embellishments came from my stash, some are Prima, some are random, some are Tim Holtz.  The bottles are filled with water and a trace of Distress Ink, and some of the Glossy Accents I used to glue the corks in place leaked into the water, which made it cloudy kind of like real ocean water.  Happy accident. 
Detail shots.

The words are stamped on a length of the Tim Holtz ribbon that I sprayed with a shimmer mist that's pretty subtle, so you probably can't see the shimmer in the photo.  But I managed to get wings in, since Dad was a pilot.  Also, I LOVE that wallpaper.  Now I need to get more.

So, in case you were curious, here's the original, which I made for Mother's Day.  I've always wanted to do a Marian piece for my mom, since she and I both have a particular devotion to the Blessed Mother.  So finally I figured out what I wanted to do, and shortly before Mother's Day this year I learned a new word.  "Kecharitomene" is a Greek word that means something more than "full of grace" but less stilted and formal than "most highly favored."  It occurs only once, as far as anybody knows, and that's in the Gospel when Gabriel appears to Mary to tell her she's going to be God's mom (pretty heavy news, really).  So I decided I wanted to work that in, and originally I was going to fill the background with different names and epithets for the Blessed Mother, but in the end I decided it would be better with just the one term.  For the photo, I used a photo I took of a statue of Mary and Jesus at Kloster Eberbach last year in Germany. 

I sprayed all those white paper roses with pearl colored Perfect Pearls, and painted paper rose leaves gold.  All the metal pieces on the frame were the wrong color for the piece, so I painted them gold and whitewashed them with gesso.  The rest was all bling from the stash, and that Tim Holtz ribbon sprayed and stamped.

So there you have it.  I'm getting back into the art groove, and parental holidays have been helping, LoL.  I've been moving forward with my 52 Card Pick Up deck, too, but I'll show more of that later.  For now, I hope you've enjoyed seeing what I made for my parents.  Hopefully it shows how much I love them.  They're both pretty spectacular :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Weekend Art Frenzy

Hi all!  It was a seriously long Winter.  I've only recently gotten my creative energy back, and soon I'll show off what I've done on my own.  But I just spent a fantastic weekend with my mom taking Seth Apter's workshops, and I just have to get out a quick lunchtime blog post about them.

Mom and I took classes from Seth before when he was at our local shop, and this year when we heard he was coming down again, I was afraid I'd have to miss it because I just don't have the money for all the classes I want to take.  But Mom paid my way as my birthday present, so I was able to go with her after all!  Seth is fantastic, and if you ever have the chance to take a class with him, do it.  He's very fun, very chill, and very encouraging.  And, like Michelle Ward, his classes use a project as a vehicle for learning techniques, so you do have something concrete to take home, but it's not going to look like anybody else's in the class except in form.

Friday night was all about working with the Spellbinders' medallion sets and dies.  We layered them with all kinds of found objects, and made backgrounds that we could mount them on if we wanted to (which I did).  I'll have to come back and add pictures of my projects from that class, because I was having so much fun I didn't think to take many pictures!

Saturday's class was on painting techniques, which we used on vintage book covers that we then made a book out of themselves.  Super cool.  I learned how awesome fiber paste is, and he introduced us to some new sprays that I really really like.  They don't flatten out to the surface as they dry, but stay dimensional in the shapes of the drips and spatters that they land in.  So cool.  Anyway, those pictures are on my phone and I can't post them at my desk because of terrible reception in here, so I will add them later, too.

What I do have pictures of that I can access on my work computer is yesterday's class.  It was called 52 Card Pick-Up, and once again taught painting techniques but also collage principles, this time to create a weekly journal or art book out of a deck of playing cards.  Now, me, I used Magic: The Gathering cards that my friends were going to discard from their new boxes, but they're the same size.  But of course, with that being the origin of my cards, I kept thinking of the stages of the process in terms of phases of the game.  Most of the day was spent in what I thought of as the deck-building phase. 

So much texture and color...

This was kind of like a drafting phase.  What do I want to do with which cards?

I call this the summoning phase, because I actually picked cards and made them work with me.

It was a blast.  I really want to keep working on my deck, because I rarely finish projects from classes but this one is really cool and easy to work on a little at a time.  Plus, I plan for it to be a fantasy inspiration deck, where instead of journaling on the blank sides, I'm going to write quotations about or from fairy tales on them.  Then, when I'm running low on imaginative energy, I can just draw a card and think about what's on it.  That's the plan, anyway.  In any case, this weekend was so fun!  It's a little hard going back to work after spending days in art utopia. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Hi all!  I know it's been a while. It's the busy season at work, so I've been exhausted and pretty much useless when I get home.  So that means not a lot of arting going on.  Plus, my inspiration has been on vacation or something.  But I have been trying to make more time for drawing, at least.  Much more portable than mixed media.  I used to be really pretty good, but I'm rusty now, so I'm trying to rebuild my skills.  Want to see?

Thumbnail sketches. Heehee. 
Trying to see how pencil works on gesso. 

Preliminary sketch for some character fan art. 

Random sketch from yesterday's lunch break. 

Camellia sinensis -- the tea plant. 

Hopefully you'll soon see more of some of these, but significantly altered.  It's going to be hard to mess with something I've put a lot of time into, but there are experiments I want to do!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Once Upon A Dream

Hi everybody! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. I was so busy I didn't have time to post anything I made!  Have to catch up on that later. For now, here is a quick post of a piece I just threw together after being inspired by watching my favorite Disney movie, Sleeping Beauty. I credit that movie with instilling in me a love of medieval style, because the design of the film is doused in medieval sauce, and as a toddler I watched it three times a day. I watched it again this morning and got this idea which marinated in my head all day. So here it is, with some closeup shots too, to show the pencilled details. 

(I couldn't help myself, had to put a tiny caterpillar on one of the leaves.)

The whole thing was done with Michelle Ward stencils and cheap acrylic paint. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thursday Theme: Frozen

Hi all!  Back to posts with photos!  Although, ironically after all those posts about inspiration and personal style and such, I have been seriously off my groove.  I have wanted to make things, but just haven't had the inspiration.  I've been keeping up with my sketching, but don't have anything more than a few studies yet.  It's like my artistic impulse and inspiration have been frozen solid by the sudden decisive onset of Winter. 

But last night I sort of forced a thaw.  I had some gift tags to make and some boxes that needed to go out in the mail for some far-flung friends.  I decorated the boxes first, and it was kind of rough.  For a while I just sort of sat there looking at all my stuff, as though I didn't know what I was doing.  I pushed myself to just get started, though, and so I'm not all that thrilled with how they turned out.  Well, they're just shipping boxes, so they're not meant to be kept...

But once I got started on the tags to go with the gifts in them, I started to warm up a little better.

Isn't it strange how you can get so thrown off, and freeze up and feel like you can't do anything anymore?  Or maybe it's just me that happens to.  Well, hopefully I can keep warming up and get the fire burning again.  I have so much to do for Christmas!