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