Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR



Where did it go ???!! Really . . . where the heck did the year go ???!! I say that every year, but this year really whizzed past. Then again, I say THAT every year, too. But it does feel as if it should still be early autumn or thereabouts. Not December 31st already !!!!

That said, this year has been unlike any other. A year ago, art cards and mixed media were things I mostly read about. Then I decided to get my hands messy, and gesso, used books, acrylic paints, beeswax and envelopes stuffed with wonderful goodies from around the world began to take over my extra bedroom. And with those things, creativity found a place, a solid place, that had long been forgotten. And with it, too, came new friends, treasured new friends . . . kindred souls . . . who understand the pull that creating something, no matter how small, has on a person. Art is a universal language. And as with language, some have more to say, some less. But it all strikes a chord. Art is a visual depiction of our selves, our lives, hopes, fears and dreams. Our souls. No matter our heritage, our dialect, creed or nationality, it connects us all as comrades, as sisters and brothers . . . as humans.

I want to wish you all the best for the New Year. May 2009 see all your hopes and dreams fulfilled and may you and your loved ones be blessed with good health, happiness and prosperity in all things.

Ciao for now.

Shelly

WITH GRATITUDE

Please excuse my delay, I am a wee bit late with this to say the least. But many thanks are due my fellow bloggers Stacey, Cindy and Diana, who passed on the Lovely Blog Award to me recently. I am very thankful for their support and comments. Each of them inspire me, in turn, to continue to pursue a creative course that is still new and wondrous to me.

With the award comes the mandate that the recipient also nominate seven other blogs, notify them and post accordingly. The seven I nominate are ones I visit regularly for inspiration and to which I aspire. In other words . . . I lurk here frequently !! Chances are they have previously been granted this award by someone before me, but a second round of acknowledgment is never undeserved.

Beryl Taylor Mixed Media Artist
Contemplating the Moon - Bridgette Guerzon Mills
Embracing Encaustic - Linda Womack
let the beauty we love be what we do - Ruth Rae
KO ... OK? - Kelsey O'Mullane
Ornamental - Nina Bagley
Red Velvet - Judy Wilkenfeld

Take a look if you haven't already and prepare to be wowed.

Ciao for now.

Shelly

Sunday, December 21, 2008

COVENANT OF THY LOVE



Decided to take a break from holiday preparations and get my hands messy. After a few false starts, I chose to simply gesso a bunch of old dictionary pages, stick in a strip of muslin and a leftover piece of star-printed mulberry paper and fiddle around with it. Also wanted to use some of the wonderful images by Crafty Individuals that my dear friend Kate recently sent, so I tried a contact paper transfer and used a portion of it for my focal image. Got a bit heavy handed rubbing the back of the paper away. Hence, the partial image. But I wasn't going to abandon it entirely, so I motored on. Shuffled the paper arrangement a bit until I liked the way it stacked. Tried to roll it like a scroll and wrap the image around it, but that didn't look right. So I folded the left side inward and was pleased with the way the paper edges overlapped. Then I stitched an arch of sorts to bind the pages and provide a border for the transfer image. The image was sewed on and the piece began to take shape.



The sides needed something additional, something other than a little more stitching. Finally decided on a swath of sheer ivory, decorative ribbon which I stitched to the paper composition with a coordinating thread. It still needed further embellishment to balance it out. I dug through quite a few doo-dads before settling upon the small brass crosses from Ashes2Beauty. If you have not seen this selection of embellishments, check out the website. Hands down my fav. Initially, I tried hand-sewing the crosses to the whole thing, but the threads were actually a bit distracting. Just looked out of place. Ended up using red-liner tape to fasten them. Gotta love red-liner tape. Couldn't live without it.




The piece had, by then, sort of taken on a theme. Just had to find the right words to express it. As is my custom, I turned to my stash of beeswax dipped, vintage text pages and went on a word hunt. Ah . . . there it was. The fundamental meaning of Christmas parsed down into four simple words . . . "Covenant of Thy love". Didn't I just do something similar? Oh well, that's how this art stuff works. Variation on a theme.



Ordinarily, I would have considered the piece done. It looked like a sort of oversized ATC. Maybe a slightly disproportionate skinny card. But it did not FEEL finished. I have discovered that you do not dictate what will result from your artful endeavors. The art dictates itself to you. It lets you know when it looks right or wrong, needs tweaking here or there, and above all, it tells you when you are done . . . or not. Thus, a backboard or mat was needed, and something substantial, hefty. Fortunately, I'd recently stumbled upon a hoarde of old, $1.00 books at an antique store and had purchased a few to have on hand. The brown cover of one of those old books serves as the backboard for this piece. I love the splotches and the naturally distressed edges of the cover. The dark background sets off the neutral colors of the assemblage quite nicely. And, thus, it is "done". . . at least for now.

Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays and time with their families !!

Ciao for now,

Shelly

SPECIAL THANKS

A big thanks and tons of appreciation to Penny Duncan who nominated me last week for the Proximidade blog award. I am honored by her acknowledgment and so happy that my little stopover in the vast world of blogland caught her eye. You can link to Penny's blog here to visit and enjoy her lovely creations.

The details of the award are as follows:
"These blogs invest and believe in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers, who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

The eight that I choose are:
Alley Art Studio
ArT ALcHeMy
Art of the Found Object
Art Propelled
Blossom Sundries
Colour by Numbers
Everything's Relative Researching Your Family History
Ophelia's Collage Creations

All can be linked to from my sidebar list of "Blogs of Interest".

Thanks again, Penny, and look forward to sharing more art !!

Ciao for now,

Shelly

Saturday, December 6, 2008

AVOWED


Curiosity begets creativity. A recent purchase of a new product, late night restlesness and a slew of fabric scraps. Put them altogether and what do you get? A new ATC.

I've been meaning to start on Christmas themed pieces. With that intent, I grabbed one of my myriad of Madonna and Child images. Didn't want to do another gel medium transfer. Don't want to get too predictable. So I decided to try something called "Transfer Ink!", a Stewart Superior product. Bought it from Collage at Art and Soul in Portland. It is a straightforward product . . . clear liquid in a spray bottle. If not for the smell, I'd swear it was just H2O. It probably is just water with some sort of perfumey additive (scent is similar to Febreeze). Certainly need to figure it out because it is a bit pricey, as with all these boutique products, and if I can kitchen-reproduce it, you bet I will. Maybe I will just try Febreeze. But I digress . . .

To do the transfer, I used an ink-jet printed image placed face down on a piece of Japanese sketch paper. Liberally sprayed the back of the paper until the image showed through, per the instructions, and then burnished the back with a brayer (and my fingernail). This transfer gives a nice muted watercolor effect, which is an interesting change from the gel transparency method. I then randomly stitched it - along with two scraps of aged, patinated paper scraps - to a craft felt background. For finishing touches, I embellished it with pieces of fabric, pom pom ribbon, mica and beeswax dipped text. Felt an itch to stitch a little more, so I free-motioned a heart in the center and then hand-stitched (very inexpertly, I might add) a rusted wire heart to the whole piece. Christmas being right around the corner, my mind turned to the meaning of the season, the promise and purpose behind the holiday, and, alas, the title was born.

Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and looking forward to spending time with friends and family !!

Ciao for now.

Shelly

WHAT CHOICE WE HAVE

Time for another Winner Takes All. This time it was open theme, the lucky winner had no specific preference. So the field was open. Free reign. Artistic license, as they say.


I'd had a transparency of Helen Keller sitting around for ages. I love the image . . . one hand on a book, the other lovingly stroking a dog. I won't pretend to know enough about Helen Keller to state that it was her dog. I do know that she gave interviews for several magazines, so the sweet canine in the image could have been a prop. Nonetheless, the image speaks volumes, as does the life of Helen Keller. Which got me thinking. As I am prone to do when messing around with these ATCs.


Helen Keller was born sighted and able to hear. She lost her vision and hearing during childhood and became unruly and out of control around others. Enter Anne Sullivan, her teacher, her companion, her friend. Anne Sullivan opened the world to Helen Keller. And Helen Keller embraced it for all it was worth. She made a choice, and in the process became one of the most inspiring and compelling figures in American history.


We mixed-media types love texture. Crave it, admire it, seek it out in our little works of art. Imagine how important texture is to someone who is blind. Imagery through tactile perception. How do you feel beauty? How do you interpret color and placement and composition and depth? All through your sense of touch. In the absence of sight and sound, the hands are the conduits by which we experience our vast and wonderous world.


I attempted to represent the importance of texture in this ATC by using a variety of media. The uneven edges and smooth face of the mica, the rusted pieces of wire, the crumpled piece of sheet music. Dried flowers, torn and aged paper. Clipped vintage text. The burned, frayed edges and graphic weave of the mull. All mounted on a base of distressed bookboard. It is my hope that this card promotes the idea that we have a conscious choice in our lives despite what may be seemingly insurmountable circumstances. Trust our senses, trust our perceptions, and they will ultimately lead us to a place of beauty and peace.


Ciao for now.

Shelly




Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A DAY OF SHARING SONG


Louis Armstrong
Lyrics by George Weiss / Bob Thiele

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin' hands, sayin' "How do you do?"
They're really saying "I love you"

I hear babies cryin',
I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world

Oh yeah

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Listen to the song here.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

LK Ludwig is at it again. Love this idea. This time, it is a Day of Sharing Song.
See her blog post here for details.

Enjoy your day.

Ciao for now.

Shelly

Saturday, November 29, 2008

HONORED

Just a quick post. Wanted to congratulate my good friends Diana O'Cobhthaigh and Lynne Larkin for being featured in the latest issue of ATC Quarterly. Take a bow, ladies.

Diana is a master with beautifully coordinated papers, images and embellishments. She pays exquisite attention to detail in the construction and composition of her unique ATCs. Don't miss her lovely blog, Live Your Dreams. And if you ever get a chance to trade with her, jump at it.

Lynne has a special gift for hand painted backgrounds. There is great depth to her creations. She favors Americana themes, vintage images and mixed media. Each of her cards has a story to tell. Her blog, Gypsy Art, is a must see. You will want to add her ATCs to your collection, too.

As a side note, I was pleasantly surprised to receive another blog award today. Kate Crane and Diana O'Cobhthaigh both granted me the "Kreativ Blogger" award. I am very appreciative of their acknowledgment and am so fortunate to have them as friends and art buddies.

Hope you all had a wonderful and restful Thanksgiving !!

Ciao for now.

Shelly

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

THE EIGHTH FICTION

"Take . . . picture . . . of . . . goat." That has been on my TO DO list for a couple of days now. Truly. Had to have a visual aid for certain of the snippets and, believe it or not, there is a little makeshift farm in our neck of the suburbs. With goats. And chickens and cows and firewood for sale. So the plan was to stop by and snap a quick pic of one of the goats when it was grazing near the fence. Never did catch one, so I had to come up with another idea. But I digress . . .

What about the bogus fact?? The red herring?? The bullcrap story, for Pete's sake??!!

Here we go:

There are indeed four siblings in my family. We were a playful lot and still act completely goofy and immature on the rare occasion when we are all four together. And I am a natural redhead, courtesy of my paternal grandfather. A couple of my cousins, and my second brother's three kids, inherited the trait as well. Gotta love genetics.

The water phobia is, alas, also true. The instructors apparently subscribed to the "sink or swim" theory. Works in boot camp, maybe, but not with scared little ones. And this was WAY before the days of swimmies. So there was no easing into it for me. I made up for lost time, though, once I did finally learn to swim. Spent many a summer at the swim club as a teenager diving for quarters and playing Marco Polo. Those were the days.



Cat allergy story . . . true. Very true. Sorry, Sam and Lynne. Thank God, I have somewhat outgrown the severity of the allergy. When younger, I would go into histimic overdrive with just a couple of whiffs. Now, I am good for a little while, as long as I don't hold them and pet them too much. Which is difficult not to do. They are so darn cute afterall.


As much as I love books, art, chocolate, I absolutely would perish without music. It is my life blood. Music moves me, inspires me, provokes me, soothes me. It is magical and I cannot imagine life without it. I would not want to be without books, art, or chocolate, but my soul would wither without music.



The Gerard Butler crush is alive and well. Very well. He even made it to one of my ATCs. Shame, shame. Although . . . I just returned from seeing "Australia", and I may give him up for Hugh Jackman. Lordy. Many quality characteristics in that man. :-)


As for the goat story . . . it really did happen. No, not at a petting zoo !!! One would think. Yes, Diana, I was a cheekie kid, but the goat encounter actually did not occur as a wee one. It was much later, as a teenager. A neighbor friend had a horse. The horse stall was on a large piece of property and other farm-ish animals roamed about. My friend wanted to clean the horse stall but the damn goat was in the way, slowly munching and grazing on the horse's hay. I, in my teenage stupidity, thought it would be a simple matter of shooing the goat out of the stall, much in the same way you shoo a dog or cat out of a room. My mistake. Goats are territorial. He did not appreciate my instrusion, so he stopped in mid-chew, lowered his head, and came after me. He ran half-heartedly . . . I hauled ass. Glad to say, I escaped unscathed. I now practice goat avoidance.


I really wanted to post a goat photo, but as I said, the goats didn't cooperate. Seems to be a recurring theme for me. So, I found a photo on Flickr that gives you the idea of what a goat encounter is like. Emily Chastain so generously gave me permission to use one of her fabulous photos. The blogger gremlins are at it because for the life of me, I cannot get the thing to upload. So take a little side trip to her photostream and have a look. What a hoot. GREAT shot.

By now, you have probably been doing process of elimination. Which leaves just one fact as the white lie. Yep, you got it . . . Number 5. Gotcha !! Never broke my pinky finger playing flag football with my brother. Don't know how, but for all our roughhousing as kids, I never broke a bone. **Knock wood.** There were a couple of times when I certainly SHOULD have fractured something. But I made it through childhood without a single visit to the emergency room. I was very, very lucky.

So, now what??!!! No one guessed!!! Ack!!!! Since you all were such good sports, I've decided to give away the goodies regardless. I used a very sophisticated system to choose a winner: I wrote each name down on a slip of paper, made two pools, shook each, then randomly drew one slip from each group. The winner from the tagged group: KATE !!!! Yay !!! And the winner from the non-tagged group: RENEE !!! Double yay !!! I'll mail the packages out this weekend.

Thank you all so much for taking the time to play along. And most of all, thanks for visiting with me. I truly appreciate it.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, all !!!!

Ciao for now.

Shelly




Friday, November 21, 2008

TAGGED . . . WITH A TWIST





Ahhhhhhhh . . . you thought the award was all there was to it, did you??? Not so fast. This is the really fun part.

Dayna not only bestowed me with merit, she also paintballed me. Tagged me. So, as I understand it, I am to do the following:
1. Post the rules on your blog.
2. Write seven random things about yourself.
3. Tag seven people at the end of your post.
4. Pass on the tag to seven others.


Two things before I go any further:

1. I am a bit of a private person, so there will be no great reveals here. No rattlings in the skeleton closet. (Alas, I am dull . . . I have no skeletons.) Maybe just a couple of innocuous facts . . . and one picture for nostalgia sake. (Yep, that's me up there.)


2. I am not good at following rules. So I am going to take the liberty and add a twist to the game. And it goes like this:


In addition to the seven actual facts, there is one additional fact that is totally bogus. A red herring. Something I made up. Hence, you see eight facts listed. The first of you whom I have tagged to correctly guess, and post as a comment, which fact you identify as complete bullcrap, will win a nice little goodie package. And I give good goodie. If there are any other readers who wish to guess, too, please feel free to do so. First one of the non-tagged readers to correctly guess will get a little ephemera surprise, too. Promise. So read carefully and give it a go . . .


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Here are my personal snippets:

1. I am a natural redhead. Wanted blonde hair instead when I was a kid, but now would not change it for the world. Just hope my hair dresser can match the exact shade when it comes time to color it. :-)

2. Only girl amongst four siblings. My two older brothers are quite a bit older and watched over me as a little girl. My younger brother is only a year and a half younger and pummeled, wrestled, teased, slapped and ran me in the ground as a little girl. All in a good way. As adults, we are as close as two people can possibly be.

3. Allergic to cats. Nothing against cats personally, but my respiratory system does not share the same sentiment.

4. Terrified of the water when I was young. Blame the evil swim lesson instructors for throwing me into the deep end of the pool. I overcame my fear, however, and learned to swim, but not until I was thirteen years old. Today, I will swim and snorkel without hesitation. But I haven't mustered the huevos to try scuba diving.

5. Broke my left pinky finger playing flag football with my brother and his friends at age twelve. You do not realize how important your pinky finger is until it is splinted up and out of commission.

6. Have a huge celebrity crush on Gerard Butler. If I were to meet him in person, I could not be held responsible for my actions.

7. Once was chased by a goat. He did not appreciate my close proximity. Fortunately, it was a short chase and neither of us were harmed in the end.

8. Could not live without music. If I were stranded on an island, and were told I could only choose one thing - books, music, art, chocolate - without hesitation, I would choose music.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In order to keep things simple, I tag the same great bunch of ladies whom I nominated for the award in my previous post:

Diana
Kate
Lynne
Anita
Sheree

Viola
Lorri


Stacey, a.k.a. ArtSnark, isn't tagged because she got tagged last week. (Don't worry, Stacey, I'm still game.)

Will keep my eye out for any responses. Hope you have a bit of fun with it.

Ciao for now.

Shelly

AWARDED


What a wonderful surprise this week !! Dayna Collins of Alley Art Studio was awarded the "I Heart Your Blog" award and has passed it on to me, also. Blush, blush. Dayna and I met in Ann Baldwin's class at Art & Soul in Portland, Oregon this year and have kept in touch through our blogs. She is a fantastic artist, very passionate about her work, and has recently posted some awesome photos of her trip to Italy. You absolutely must take a look on her blog. Makes me want to book a flight right now.

As a condition to accepting the award, there are a few house rules (think I can manage these):
1. The winner can put the logo on her blog (see above);
2. Link to the person who nominated you for the award (see above and again here for good measure);
3. The winner then nominates at least seven other blogs (see below);
4. Include the links of these blogs on your own blog (see below).

So . . . without further ado, here are my choices for the "I Heart Your Blog Award":


Each of these are very special to me and provide me immense joy and inspiration. Please visit if you have not already, and spread the art love.

Ciao for now.

Shelly









Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A DAY OF SHARING WORDS


Petals


Life is a stream
On which we strew
Petal by petal the flower of our heart;
The end lost in dream,
They float past our view,
We only watch their glad, early start.
Freighted with hope,
Crimsoned with joy,
We scatter the leaves of our opening rose;
Their widening scope,
Their distant employ,
We never shall know. And the stream as it flows
Sweeps them away,
Each one is gone
Ever beyond into infinite ways.
We alone stay
While years hurry on,
The flower fared forth, though its fragrance still stays.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Above is my chosen entry for the poetry swap hosted today by LK Ludwig. It is an ingenious idea: select a poem, quote, or addage, add a picture, video or image if you like, and post it as a comment on her blog. She will then create a link page with all the participants' entries, so that everyone can access the others' contributions. Here are her thoughts and instructions if you wish to take part:


"The idea: We have words that touch us, move into our hearts and resonate, creating a feeling, taking us some place- past, present, future- perhaps some place we have never been and may never go, but for whatever reasons, the words pulse in our blood. Meeting new words, new poets, new poems, new ways for my heart to beat, is an intruiging concept. Want to go on this adventure with me? It will be easy to travel along.Many of us already do this sharing; this idea is just to help us find each other and hear the words we have to share.

The Date: Wednesday, November 19.

The Plan: on your blog, post a poem that moves inside you, touches you, reaches you. (quotes and song lyrics also welcome). Include the author (or composer or musician) and source (book, album)- perhaps also the amazon link if there is one. no explanation required, no other revelation about the poem you are choosing is necessary.

One last thing- Perhaps add an image. a photo. a video. a painting. a collage., if you would.Come here to this post.
http://gryphonsfeather.typepad.com/the_poetic_eye/2008/11/sharing-words.htmlAdd a comment with your link. I'll create a typepad page with the links, so others can hear the rhythm of the words, see the image and share in the experience.

The Request: If you are intrigued enough, post on your blog about this Day of Sharing Words- encourage your friends to post. Who couldn't use a few new poems in their treasury or new songs in their hearts? How cool would it be if we coud get dozens of bloggers to share on the same day!? What an anthology that would make!!!
"


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chosing a poem was the easy part. Finding a photo to complement the poem was more difficult. I am a tad deficient in the photo department, so I found something that I feel fits the latter part of the poem. Hope you enjoy.

Ciao for now.

Shelly

THE SHELTERING TREE

From time to time I visit the blog of Nina Bagley. Her photos and postings are truly inspirational and provocative. She is one of the rare ones, atuned to the whispers of nature and the yearnings of the heart. Frequently she will post a poem, a photo, an essay and prompt you, in turn, to leave your thoughts, ideas, and musings. Today there is posted a beautiful photo of a winter bare tree, a naked tree, and you are asked "What is it saying to you . . . ?"

in my winter silence
wrap your sorrows in my limbs
and leave them to the winds
where they will pass into the lighted bliss
of a new morning borne of a thousand springs

Ciao for now.

Shelly

Thursday, November 13, 2008

SNEAK PEEK


Hmmmmnnnnn . . . what might this be?? Me playing around with my camera for now. These are close ups of a project I started at Art & Soul this October in Portland, Oregon. Something I need to continue to work on. Since I'm in a bit of an art slump right now, I figured I should at least try to keep my blogger fingers limber. So bear with me folks . . . this is what I have to share for the time being. Stay tuned. But don't hold your breath. As some of you know, I am a sloooooowwww crafter.



Plug alert. Wanted to put in a good word for the folks at Dick Blick Art Materials. An order arrived today and there was a gesso messo in the box. (I hear the groans. Sorry. Couldn't resist.) The pros at DB are super careful with the packaging, too, but these things happen sometimes. Customer service made good lickety split. One call and they are replacing the damaged items without requiring me to return the spoiled merchandise. Good people, they are. So give them a try next time you need your art supply fix. Oh . . . and when I called, I even pronounced "gesso" correctly. Finally. :-)

Ciao for now.

Shelly

Saturday, November 8, 2008

LOSING HERSELF



The acrylics were calling me. (I'm being a little dramatic.) They have been neglected as of late, taking a backseat to my other favs. Thought I'd give them a try on a 4x4 gessoboard so that I didn't have to deal with warping paper tonight. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do, other than play with paint, so to get started I glued a few stray pieces of text to the board. Funny how unplanned acts develop into something bigger. So true to life.



Started with two safe colors: quinacridone nickel azo gold and transparent yellow iron oxide. I say safe because I am one of those cautious dabblers that uses the same colors over, and over, and over. Ann Baldwin had provided us with a lovely selection of deeper hues in our abstract collage class at Art& Soul, so out came jenkins green. I am not a green or blue user, but I figured I'd take a chance and slap a bit on somewhere for contrast (or is that complementary??). I did and I was pleased with the look. Then decided to use some leftover transparencies and attempted to transfer the image of the woman to the whole shebang. Transfers being what they are, only part of it came out. But although it looked somewhat ghostly, it wasn't a total disaster.

A title started to form in my mind, initially because of the faulty transfer. She looked like she was fading out. I applied more colors and a telltale king in the upper right corner. And so began the thought that these women, whose images frequently find their way into our work, often had very hard, demanding and grueling lives. They were singularly devoted to their families, their homes, and the relentless task of just trying to survive. Our grandmothers, greatgrandmothers, great aunts. How must they have felt? Did they, like we, feel overwhelmed and unappreciated at times? Surely they must have.

It has often occurred to me over the past several months that a majority of us feel we have been overshadowed by all that is our daily lives. Our work, pursuits, families . . . love them as we may, they exact a toll on our sense of self, our sense of individuality. We ignore it at first and stay busy with things that require our attention and energies. But then, at some point, we can no longer ignore it. We do not want to lose ourselves. And so we embark on a journey of self discovery. A journey that is colorful, enriching, and satifying . . . and somewhat expensive (Lordy, the cost of art supplies!!). We make messes, we make mistakes, we make art . . . and we make friends. And in the process, we find that thing within ourselves again that makes us feel worthwhile and gives us a simple sense of fulfillment. How wonderful that it is so.

Ciao for now.

Shelly

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

FOR NINA

feel the broken heart pull at the seams
as it expands with wisdom and learns
to love again

allow the broken heart to remind you that the comfort
you seek can only be found in the giving of
comfort to others

give the broken heart a new song and rejoice once more
that, although worn and scarred, it still beats
strong and true.

Friday, October 31, 2008

HALLOWEEN HAIKU

Just a quick poem in honor of Halloween:

eve of hallowed souls
restless, wandering, lost night
mortals unaware

Everyone have a safe and fun evening !!

Ciao for now.

Shelly

Monday, October 27, 2008

DARK SIDE


Let me just preface this by saying: this isn't my usual stuff. I participated in a WTA drawing (Winner Takes All) in one of my ATC groups. The lucky winner (she gets probably 15 or more cards) likes unusual gothic style stuff, so I aim to please. But I have to say, this one weirds me out a little. Art is supposed to provoke a response (and that is a little presumptuous of me to declare this "art"), but among the viewers, right? What do you do when you feel . . . uneasy . . . about your creation? Go with it, I guess.

The background was pretty straightforward. I am one to save my palette papers and use them as backgrounds. This was a remnant of a black gesso background from a set of Gothic Halloween cards I'd done recently. Added some streaks of acrylic ink to it, dry brushed the image of the goth chic and the skull with titanium white acrylic and glued it all down. Added Hambly Studio rub-ons in the four corners and still felt it needed something. A finishing touch. For me, that usually means mica, a burned edge transparency, or stitching. Oh, and of course it had to have a bit of text. The stitiching would have been too distracting on a card of this type, so I used some of my new speckled mica to top it off. The streaks are on the mica itself . . . no altering on my part.

Perhaps I've read too many vampire novels over the years. Or maybe it's the subtle shift in the air here in New Orleans. Halloween season has a certain mystique in this city, and you can definitely feel it. Whatever it is, the card is on its way to the intended recipient tomorrow. Hope she is pleased with it.

Ciao for now.

Shelly

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

HAPPY ACCIDENTS



We've all had them. Heck, stop and think about it . . . you may even have BEEN one. Know I was. Anyway, happy accidents are mistakes in our techniques that actually turn out to be pretty darn cool. Case in point: my most recent ATC, "The Madonna".


I started with an image transfer from a transparency. I've been using the 3M brand to do my inkjet prints, and while it is a pricey brand, the transfer quality is worth the price. My inkjet printer gives off some weird colors with the transfers, however, but since this was to be an aged-looking piece, the bluish tones were not so bad. I used Golden soft gel (glossy) to transfer the image to a piece of unbleached muslin. Everything went as planned. No happy accident yet. If you've done transfers, you know they leave spotty areas where the ink did not transfer. I like to burn things, so I got out my then-new Versa tool and lightly singed the blank areas to give it a grungy look.



Next was to stitch the image to a piece of text that I had dipped in beeswax. I love beeswax and look for any excuse to use it. It adds to the antiqued look of things which complemented this piece well. Part of the text didn't make it into the beeswax (bottom right hand corner) and that was okay, too. Added a nice contrast. Now, here is where the happy accident took place.


I needed to stitch the Madonna image to the beeswax-text background. Enter sewing machine. I am grossly untrained when it comes to sewing and rarely recognize an error when I make one. However, even with my limited skills, it became evident halfway through the stitching that the bobbin had not been wound properly. (This is sad, considering that I have an automatic bobbin winder feature on my machine.) Not one to scold myself for my snafus, I took the piece off the machine and was pleasantly surprised at the little loops that had formed over the Madonna like a halo. And there were more curly-loopy-things on the stray threads along the edges. I love stray threads as much as I love beeswax, so they stayed with the piece.


I finished the card by laying a piece of sheer fabric (can't remember what it's called right now - remember, I am new to this fabric art stuff) over the constructed card, snipping out the middle and burning the inside edges with the Versa tool. That smelled a little because of the synthetic fabric, so if you try this at home . . . beware !!! Toxicity alert. Having replaced the wayward bobbin with a properly wound one, I stitched the sheer fabric overlay to the card and attached the "every heart is loving" text (also dipped in beeswax) above her hands. The card was done and I was satisfied. Now if I can just go back and figure out how to improperly wind a bobbin, on purpose, to reproduce my "new technique". :-)



Ciao for now.



Shelly


Monday, October 20, 2008

NEW CHIC ON THE BLOCK

Sometimes you just gotta do it. Not that blogging compares on the anxiety scale to something like bungee jumping or downing the agave worm in the bottom of the tequila bottle (not telling if I'm speaking from experience on that one), but here I go!!!! An official blogger. Welcome to the neighborhood, if I do say so myself. And let me tell you, it's a nice neighborhood . . . I've been cruising for a while. But I've got a few projects I want to try and in an effort to stick to some sort of game plan, I figure blogging will provide the structure I need. No promises about the quality of the photos, or the entertainment value of the posts, but I'll do my best.

Ciao for now.

Shelly