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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Journal pages, finally!

So I finally got around to playing with my journal and worked on a couple pages.  I just love the stencils, they are so fun.  I used this Julie Fei-Fan Balzer stencil and first painted white on black on the left side of the journal spread.  When it was dry, I used the stencil over that area and applied four different colors of dye inks over the white paint with the Tim Holtz applicators. Then I took the stencil that still had the ink on it, spritzed it with water and burnished it on a piece of white paper while it was still wet. Why waste the ink, right?  That left me with a mirror image of the stencil on white paper, which I glued down in my journal.  

The top border of the page below, and the borders on the 2nd spread are a wide-size washi tape.

For this next page I painted the background with acrylic paint. Then I used some fiber paste with my stencils, let it dry and sanded the area lightly. I stamped the skulls and colored them with Sakura Souffle pens.  These are fun because when they dry the ink becomes more opaque and the inked surface is raised, like a candy shell. These pens are best used on surfaces that are coated, and not absorbent. Anything plastic is the best, and that's dried acrylic paint essentially, right?

I've been working a little at a time on the pages, each evening, when I can.  It's relaxing.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Like a kid playing with the box . . .

Remember when you were a kid and got presents, and you were more interested in the box and packaging, than the gift?  I don't remember it, but know it happened because it's memorialized in photos.  The occasions took place when I was very small, and I'm guessing it happened for you as well.  We were toddling around and had the spirit of explorers, unending imaginations and we were fearless.  Well, I am living that child-like experience after opening gifts from a dear friend recently. 

Brenda is a fearless artist. She creates amazing work.  She loves color, patterns and she's great at collage.  When we get together to create art, she's the one that creates something while I'm still trying to clear an open spot on my desk.

These are envelopes she made for me and honestly, I don't want to open these gifts.  They are so beautiful.  She's also a great recycler and she can use and reuse items she finds and make them amazing. 

So, before I break into these presents, I had to post some pictures.  Some of her envelopes are hand-made.  They are beautifully collaged.  Then there's the ribbons and then the beautiful tags.  Brenda is no fan of naked envelopes.  For that matter, she'll transform boxes as well.  She's been known to turn boxes inside out and decorate them before using them to mail a gift.

I'm inspired - how about you?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Class from CREATE NJ on Saturday, 7/12 Faces class

This is from my day 2, Saturday at CREATE NJ.  The class is Explore Faces class with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.  After seeing her in the Creative Jumpstart 2014 classes earlier in the year I checked out her web site and watched a bunch of her demos. I'm a big fan of her work.  

So many interesting concepts in her class.  I am so thrilled I took this class.  What I thought was interesting is that it takes very little accuracy in a drawing for people to recognize an image as a face.

The formula she provided is really helpful, and again, since we're not going for photo-realism here, it's very open and playful. This is so conducive to learning because you don't get hung up on anything, you can enjoy the learning process and get out of your own way.

Check out her blog:
Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's blog

This is one of the images from a magazine that I used:



We did quite a few exercises to break us out of the fear of faces.  I think it worked because I now have none.  One amazing part of the class is that even though constructing a face is a fairly simple formula, we came up with so many different faces.  

Also, the faces that we constructed using face "parts" from different ads (where the parts didn't "match") had more character, and were more interesting than the ones solely based on a the basic formula. This lesson is so liberating because it means you really can have fun and toss out the idea of perfect. It's not what we're going for, and that makes me happy. Just like any project where exact measurements are not involved, it takes the pressure off and allows you to have fun.

I'm so excited to get home, create and play in my new journal. To me, that's the mark of a good teacher!!  I got a picture with Julie:

Here's the picture Julie emailed me of our whole class! 

I'm overwhelmed with ideas, so the toughest part is getting down to work.  I first plan to paint and prep some journal pages and let them dry.  My pal Brenda was talking about looking at so many web sites and getting inspired, but then you just sit at your desk and don't know where to start.  So, what I plan to do is find a demo and use it as inspiration for a journal page.  You have to start somewhere and then after you've begun, it will doubtless make it easier.

Theme wise, I keep getting inspiration when I listen to my favorite songs.  Lyrics mesh with imagery.  So I want to create a journal based on my favorite songs.    

Well, hope to share more this week.   

Saturday, July 19, 2014

CREATE NJ July 2014

Okay, so it's time to start talking about the cool things I did at the CREATE NJ retreat.  On Friday, 7/11 my fellow retreater, dear friend and all-around fun traveling companion Dottie and I departed at 6am from my house to drive to Somerset NJ, to the Double Tree hotel. Just a note that it was the 2nd day in a row that I had to get up at 5am, yikes. No issues on our trip due to traffic, but we had an inept gas station attendant manage to overfill and flood my tank.  Then he tried to blame my car or tank, and then me.  Certainly I am responsible even though in NJ gas stations are full-service.  Anyway, Dottie has one extra story because this same dude tried to rob her of her change, then she was robbed again.  Second time by a Dunkin employee of breakfast, after he gave her a sandwich containing an allergy-inducing ingredient. We overcame these significant obstacles and marshaled on to our destination. 

We lug our considerable stash of supplies to the registration desk and take a look at some of the amazing samples for the classes.  Time to check in and don our name tags!  We are both so excited and we part ways to get set-up in our classrooms.

I'm so excited to get a great seat, plenty of room and my own outlet.  Just to have a spot for my large rolling suitcase full or art supplies, makes me so happy.  Let me tell you that I brought: acrylic paints, brushes, canvases, apron, water jar, magazines, pens, gesso, gel medium, heat gun, baby wipes, paper towels, art journal and a brayer.  I'm CERTAIN there's more I haven't mentioned, but I was proud that I was fairly self contained and essentially self-sufficient.

Our teacher was Nathalie Kalbach and the class was It's All About Layers. You can check out pictures at her web site (there are a couple with me totally engrossed in my own creative world):

Nathalie's studio and post from the CREATE retreat

I did take a couple pictures from Nathalie's journal:

We used images from magazines and got to play with her stencils, Liquitex paint pens and other supplies.  My biggest issue was that I didn't bring a good art journal with me.  I grabbed one that I had lying around.  The paper was not white, and the paper was not even low quality, it was horrid quality.  I did have fun learning techniques and I'll post some pictures of my pages in the coming days.

The class really flew by and I might have stayed all night if not for the fact that the AC in the classroom stopped working after lunch.  By the time 4pm rolled around, I was ready to move on and check in the room. The best part about checking in at a Double Tree?  The chocolate chip cookies.  I met someone very nice in the lobby, her name was Terri and she is an art teacher.  We struck up a conversation over one of those cookies.  Then I had to go see what Dottie had created, as her class had a gallery set up in their classroom.

One thing I want to say about this CREATE retreat is that I really enjoyed the artists who sat around me.  Everyone was very generous and quite friendly.  I got to meet Maura, who sat next to me in the class.  Turns out our rooms were very close and we struck up a plan to meet for dinner.  We ate a pre and post Artists' Faire dinner with Maura and Penny (they ate before and Dottie and I ate after).  It was really fun meeting both of them.

After we all agreed we would win something at the Artists' Faire drawing, we got to shopping. Again, walking around I found everyone to be so friendly and courteous.  If you've been to these type of events, conventions, etc. you know how nasty people can get when they are shopping.  This experience was nothing like I've seen.  Loads of smiles and lots of patience, it was a very pleasant experience.  There were a perfect number of vendors with loads of great merch.  I bought a load of new stencils, and we had to work together to peruse them.  So excited to have found some of the Dylusions Art Journals from Ranger. I got one in two sizes, much better than my bogus journal I used in the class. Then the awesomeness of the day exponentially increased when I won a drawing!!  I won a $30 stamp set!  I love the images, they are so my style.  Here's a link to the artist's Pinterest site where you can see her images.  Artsy chick indeed!

kecia-deveney stamp set

I have to note that I won a bet with new friends Maura and Penny after I brazenly went to the desk at the Double Tree and kindly requested an on-demand chocolate chip cookie.  They didn't believe I'd get one, and I did.  It was warm, and gone in 60 seconds.

So that pretty much wraps up Friday.  The day, and evening went fast.  We did a Facetime with our pal Brenda, where we did show and tell from the day.  It was then time for some sleep.  Hard to believe taking art classes can make you so tired, but it did for me.  

I'll have to post later about my class on Saturday with Julie Fei-Fan! My creative juices are FLOWING now!!!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A little bird told me

This is a bit of an inside joke, but if you watch Portlandia, you'll get it. I found this cute guy in the dollar bin at the CREATE Vendor Faire and I had to buy it. The stamp is from Impress Rubber Stamps and says it all. 

Just love it!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

CREATE Retreat New Jersey 2014

Ok, where did the months go?  I am back and so excited after just returning home from the CREATE retreat in New Jersey. 

I am sharing some pictures from my class Explore Faces with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. 

More to come another day, but we had fun and made some new friends. Maura in my first class and Penny in today's!  I sure enjoyed show-and-tell after the Vendor Faire!  Everyone was very nice and people were very positive. There was loads of sharing, of both ideas and supplies. 

I recommend it highly. One lessons learned is that being creative can be exhausting. Don't schedule too many classes. Those taking evening classes as well as daytime classes were very tired. Next year it would be great to plan an extra day at the end to relax and create together. 

I am tired, but inspired!