Monday, December 26, 2011

Breaking the Silence

With Christmas over, and gifts distributed, I can share a little of what I have been up to during this quiet time. I had been so focused on getting ready for the holiday that I'm afraid I was neglecting the blog.

One thing I did was to get out my knitting needles to make this for my granddaughter. It is something she will have to grow into, since the pattern size is apparently larger than the sizes available in the store. The pattern is a Bernat Chevron Jumper from their Hooray for Stripes book.

Another thing that I have been able to do recently is get some splendid photos of birds that I'd like to share with you. We've had several visits from this bird of prey, which we are speculating may be a Northern Harrier, though it looks more like a Prairie Falcon.

Since we added a suet feeder, we have also had several Downy Woodpeckers visit. Here are a couple of shots of one of them.

I apologize for the fuzziness on the pictures. One thing I haven't gotten to is washing my windows.

I hope you have enjoyed your Christmas holiday and that 2012 proves to be a wonderful year for everyone.

Until next time, I wish you peace and all good.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Busy Times

It has been fairly busy around here the last month. I have been gradually getting involved, again, in social justice work, in addition to working on Christmas gifts and continuing my involvement with the Friends of the GSU Library. I have reconnected with an outreach group that helps to provide food, clothing, and household necessities to poor people in my area. I, also, had the opportunity to reconnect with the Peace and Social Justice group at Pax Joliet.

Something I don't believe I have mentioned before is that I am also a Secular Franciscan. I can hear you asking, "What in the world is a Secular Franciscan?" In the early years of the 13th century, St. Francis of Assisi established three Orders. They were the Friars Minor, Poor Clares, and the Third Order. The Third Order was originally known as the Brothers and Sisters of Penance. Over the intervening centuries, there have been many changes, of course. One of those changes is that there are now what are called "regular" and "secular" Third Orders. The "regular" are priests and nuns. The "secular" are lay people. Therefore, as a Secular Franciscan, I am a lay person attempting to follow Christ in the manner of St. Francis. You can find out more about the U.S. Secular Franciscans at NAFRA. We are, also, part of the international Order. You can find more information about that at CIOFS. These Franciscans are Catholic. However, there are also Franciscans who are affiliated with other churches. You can find out more about that here: Order of Ecumenical Franciscans.

One of the things I did recently was go to several craft/artisan fairs. They generally serve to inspire me, and I occasionally come across some wonderful artists. Unfortunately, some of the artists whose work I would like to share with you are not on the Internet. There are a few I can share, though. The Posh Kid Boutique does not have very much on her Etsy site, but has wonderful satin flowers along the lines of the one shown. Moon Cookie Gallery has delightfully whimsical watercolors, and Amy Simpson makes beautiful fused glass pieces.

Another thing I have been doing is research for a book I am writing. It is an historical fiction piece, set in the 20th century. Since it follows the life of a woman who was born in the early decades of the century and died near the close of it, my research has to cover a lot of information.

I am truly grateful for the opportunities I have been given, and happy to be able to share some of what I have found with you.

Until next time, I wish you peace and all good.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Visits & Visitors

We had quite a few avian visitors to our yard in late August and early September. The hummingbirds found our feeder and raspberry bushes good sources of food on their migration through our area. While I've taken many photos, most are blurred due to the speed of their wings. However, I was fortunate to catch one at rest, briefly, in our lilac bush.

On another occasion, a hawk that had been following a group of crows was chased into that same lilac bush, giving me another opportunity for a photo. While you can't tell from this picture, it appears to be an immature red-shouldered hawk, rather than one of our more common red-tailed hawks.

I have been working on a priority quilt that I intend to offer to The Altzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. It is made of materials I inherited from my dear mother-in-law and others purchased at the quilt shop in her home town at the time of her death. While she was not officially diagnosed with altzheimer's, she did have some form of dementia, as I've mentioned before. I am happy that I can do something to help advance the research to end this cruel disease.

I have also begun working on Christmas gifts. Before you groan that it is too early, let me explain that I come from a family of seven, and we still come together at Christmas to celebrate. Since I am the youngest and a grandmother, you can imagine how many people that entails. Even though I only concern myself with giving gifts to my siblings and the children in high school or younger that is a lot of gifts. Of course, you have to add to that my own children and their spouses/significant others/children, four of whom are now on the other side of the country, necessitating shipment of gifts in time for Christmas. Scarily enough, I'm already behind.

We did take time out recently to visit one of my sisters in Wisconsin. We were about a week early on the peak colors for fall, but did get some good pictures on the trip. Here are a few with which I was quite pleased.

I hope that you, too, are enjoying the changes in season, wherever you are, and until next time, I wish you peace and all good.

Monday, August 29, 2011


I have been doing a lot of thinking over the last month about what I hope to accomplish. The question about my artwork (see August 5 post) got me thinking about how I translate that into what I actually work on. It also helped me to recognize that I was obsessing about the business part of my art business, which, in turn, was blocking me from creating anything. I finally realized that I need to allow myself to do what feels right and not worry about how it affects the business side of things. If people like what I create, maybe they will want to own one of my pieces. If not, I will have expressed myself anyway, and hopefully, made some people think about the issues my work represents. All of this is a rather long-winded way of admitting that I have no creative work to show from the time I have spent over the last month, but I have made progress toward accomplishing my goals.

On another note, the impact of decisions made by the government (I assume), and possibly, insurance companies was brought home to me this last week. I have been on a medication for allergies that I had been taking every day. It is no longer going to be available through the pharmacy, but will be available over the counter. The problem is that the cost of the over the counter medication is so high that I can no longer take it every day. This would have been the case even it I were still working. I am faced with having to wean myself off of it, since I can't afford it, which has already caused me some problems. It makes it very clear to me what a struggle it is for people who must decide whether to pay their medications for serious conditions or some other necessary expense (like housing, utilities or food).

I have also been trying to watch the series that ABC News has been doing on poverty. You can find it here: Hunger at home. The number of people in poverty in the U.S. is stunning, especially when you consider that we are one of the richest countries in the world. A comparison to other countries is available through the World Bank at Poverty. The data from the World Bank does not include U.S. figures, possibly because the gross national income (or the average income) per person in the U.S. is almost $50,000 a year, while the poverty headcounts they are looking at include incomes of $1.25 - $2.00 per day in what is called "purchasing power parity" or the amount the person would be able to purchase for that amount in dollars. A more technical explanation of the term can be found here: Purchasing Power Parity. When I talk about global equity, these are the types of things I have in mind. I am concerned about people who are impoverished around the world and believe there has to be some way to make things better for everyone who does not have their basic needs met.

Finally, I read an article yesterday, in the September 2011 issue of St. Anthony Messenger" magazine, that made it more clear to me how my actions affect people living in the areas where resources are obtained. It was about a young woman who lives in a Catholic Worker community in the Appalachian mountains, and discussed the impact of the coal mining practice of mountaintop removal. The coal company blasts to remove the top of a mountain in order to get at the coal underneath. The earth that is removed ends up filling streams, covering land, and reducing mountain terrain. In the process, families living in the area experience damage to their water supply, homes, and heritage. Home values are also diminished. Since most of us in the U.S. use electricity that is powered by coal, our use impacts those communities.

I apologize if this is a "heavier" post than you expected, and hope that you will bear with me. It is my greater hope, however, that you will be intrigued enough to check out a few of the links to see for yourself what the situation truly is, and perhaps, decide if there is something you can or want to do.

Until next time, I wish you peace and all good.

Friday, August 5, 2011

To the Studio

Once again, I am sitting at the library, as our computer is down. Since the problem has yet to be diagnosed, I do not know how long I will be unable to use it. That, of course, affects my ability to post to the blog. However, I intend to make good use of the time by spending it in the studio instead.

Someone recently asked me to tell them about my art. The best way I can describe it is that I create mixed-media pieces, art dolls and practical items, using recycled/repurposed materials where possible, and expressing the concepts of global equity and sustainability.

Until I can return, I wish you peace and all good.

Monday, July 25, 2011


I've been thinking a lot about goals, recently. One of the things that has been helping me get focused is a series of expert interviews that Lesley Riley has been conducting. It is called SEEK. You can find out more here: Artist Success. Lesley's questions are designed to help artists get the most information possible, and the experts have been forthcoming with lots of thought-provoking material.

I've realized, again, that all of my experiences and training work together to create the place I am currently at, and that they will all help me to launch myself into the rest of my life. While I am an artist and work in mixed-media with a concentration in fiber, I am also a social scientist, with an MA in Political & Justice Studies. My focus, as mentioned in my profile, is on global equity and sustainability. In addition, I am a gardener and am beginning to realize I am also a photographer. It remains to be seen how I will meld all of this into future creations. That is why I am working on identifying my goals.

During the heat bubble of this last week, my husband suggested I take my camera out to take some pictures of the Tiger Lilies blooming in a side yard. It is fascinating to see how they grow and perpetuate themselves. Of course, they are lovely flowers, too.

I am inspired by things like this to consider how to incorporate the concepts of simplicity, functionality, and beauty into my own work. In a lot of ways, however, it is a return to previous work in other media, since my Master's Thesis was on sustainability with a focus on Voluntary Simplicity. (If you are interested in more information about that, I suggest reading Duane Elgin's book Voluntary Simplicity, What is voluntary simplicity? by Samuel Alexander, and/or checking out  Center for a New American DreamFinancial Integrity, and/or Northwest Earth Institute websites.)

I'm off to think more about my goals, try to get something defined more clearly, and create. Until next time, I wish you peace and all good.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friends of the GSU Library Bookshelf Quilt

I am very pleased to have finished a project that has been in process for several years. A small group of quilters from the Friends of the GSU Library put together a bookshelf quilt to raise donations for the library. The last stitches went in on Tuesday, and I delivered it on Wednesday.

Friends of the GSU Library Bookshelf Quilt
I designed the quilt, using images from the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park on campus, cats for some special people, and the Friends logo. Carol, Susan, and I pieced the blocks, and Carol quilted it. Each "book" has space for a title purchased by donation to the library. Since we originally were allowing people to donate fabric for the "book," too, only making blocks for purchased books, it was a learning experience. It was decided, at some point, that it made more sense to put the entire quilt together, first. Additional titles can now be added as donations are made. The quilt will be hung in the library.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

New Life

I am now, officially, "retired" from the day job. This last month has been extremely hectic, between making sure everything was done at work and preparing for the youngest's graduation party. (For some reason, I scheduled that for the day after I "retired." Crazy!) Fortunately, I now have an opportunity to do some things I have been wanting to do for years.

I did take the time before the end of last month to do a quick set of sketches for the Sketchbook Challenge.The theme for the month was "Pathways," which put me in mind of those opening up to me. Here is the final piece.

Colored pencil, micro pen, computer manipulation.

My daughter has already asked me to consider joining her at a show in September, and we are finally trying to schedule time with one of my brothers, who is also an artist, to finish work on a children's book that has been in limbo for years. Since those are only two of the many projects I have up in the air right now, I don't expect my life to be quiet for long. I do hope to be able to build a rhythm into my days -- or at least my weeks!

For now, wishing you peace and all good.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Who Owns It, Anyway?

The other day I spent some time looking at the AAQI auction site. There are many lovely "Priority Quilts" up for sale, and the proceeds go for research. (I hope you, too, will take a look.) Looking at some of the quilts on auction helped me to finally come up with some ideas for quilts in memory of my mother-in-law. I have been trying to decide on these since she passed away four years ago.

Today, I came across an article by Rice Freeman-Zachery, entitled You Already Know the Answer. It is one of the clearest descriptions of copyright violation I have yet seen. So, what is the connection to my coming up with an idea for a quilt?

Quiltmakers often remark that people ask them how long it took them to make a quilt. It is generally difficult to answer the question, not only because it can be hard to add up all the time one spent actively working on a quilt, but also because it takes time to develop ideas. When someone steals an artist's work and passes it off as their own, they have not only taken the particular piece, they have stolen the time it took the artist to develop it. 
The Copyright Office says: 
Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright. (In other words, the author/copyright holder has to actively give someone else rights, and the work doesn't have to be registered with the Copyright Office for it to be copyrighted.)
Mere ownership of a book, manuscript, painting, or any other copy or phonorecord does not give the possessor the copyright. The law provides that transfer of ownership of any material object that embodies a protected work does not of itself convey any rights in the copyright.
Copyrightable works include the following categories:

1. literary works
2. musical works, including any accompanying words
3, dramatic works, including any accompanying music
4.  pantomimes and choreographic works
5.  pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
6. motion pictures and other audiovisual works
7. sound recordings
8. architectural works

These categories should be viewed broadly. For example, computer programs and most “compilations” may be registered as “literary works”; maps and architectural plans may
be registered as “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works.”
The rights held by a copyright owner are spelled out in the Copyright Act. which  
generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

• To reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords;
• To prepare derivative works based upon the work;
• To distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
• To perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
• To display the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work; and
• In the case of sound recordings,* to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

In addition, certain authors of works of visual art have the rights of attribution
and integrity as described in section 106A of the 1976 Copyright Act. For
further information, see Circular 40, Copyright Registration for Works of the
Visual Arts.

You can find more information about copyright at

In my day job, I have had a number of years experience working with copyright issues. Copyright law is too complicated for me to fully explain in a short blog entry, but Rice makes a good portion of the ramifications of this part of it easy to understand in her article. I hope to help spread the word a little further, since more people need to be aware.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Changes, Changes, Changes

Sorry I've been quiet for so long, but things have been a bit harried around here. Since I last posted, my older son and his family moved into their new digs, he started that new job, and we have only had phone connections with them. It means I have spent a number of evenings on the phone either talking with my son or on speaker-phone talking with all of them. Even though we can't see the babies, hearing them clapping at the sound of our voices is priceless!

Last Saturday, my younger son/youngest child graduated from college. The day was raw, more like being at a football tailgate party than a college commencement in May, but well worth the effort in sheer joy of the experience. Our kids have all made us extremely proud by their tenacious efforts to acquire their degrees and do what they are called to do with their lives.

In addition, I realized this last week that I am down to about five weeks before I retire from the day job. Finishing projects and cleaning out my office have become the constant in my life. Unfortunately, it leaves me extremely tired at the end of the day, and since weekends have not been free to create, I have not been getting into the studio much.

I have, however, been doing a little editing of some stories, planning for an open mic with a writers group I belong to, beginning to think about the garden, and brainstorming the designs to finish a quilt for a Friends of the Library group.

We did have another unusual visitor to our neighbor's yard recently. Very often, in the summer, we have had a pair of ducks come to our yard. This time it was one duck of a different breed, who allowed me to get fairly close - as if she wanted to make sure I got her picture.

Until next time, I wish you peace . . . .

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Out on a Limb

I found I couldn't post my sketches for the Sketchbook Challenge this month. They all deal with patterns I am developing, so I'm not ready to show them to the world. It is my move "out on a limb," and taking chances. I can give you a little glimpse of some possible fabrics for the prototypes, though I apologize for the quality of the photo. It doesn't do the fabrics justice.

On a sadder note, the tragedies of this last week across the southern states have me considering how I best can help those who have been affected. Some of the possibilities include  The American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Feeding America. Most of the housing down there does not provide the type of shelter needed for protection from the monster tornado that hit Tuscaloosa. In addition, at least two of the other tornadoes have been classified as F5's, the worst on the scale, with winds of 200+ mph. I hope you will consider how you might be able to help, too.

Finally, I want to share an astounding sighting I had last weekend in my yard. It appears that a bird has built a nest under a pile of branches my husband stacked next to our crab apple tree. I heard a bird making a fuss and looked out the window to see a hawk attempting to figure out how to get to the nest. It was quite a spectacular sight.

I wish you good weather, interesting challenges, and the beauty of nature.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


The computer is back up and running, but we had to switch to the new Windows. It has created some problems for me since blogger hasn't caught up to it, yet. I am hopeful that I will be able to post normally, however. So, here is an update on what has happened in the last three weeks.

First and foremost, our grandbabies' daddy has accepted a new job. They are in the process of driving cross-country to their new home.It is a wonderful opportunity for him in an area of the country where he has wanted to live for years. It has left those of us still here rather bereft, but extremely grateful for the Internet. Thankfully, before they started their journey, we were able to spend a day with them and the babies were in good moods. I had, also, completed the quilts. So, the babies were able to get those to take with them. My intention is that they be able to use them as drag-along/comfort blankets.

As I mentioned before, my younger son (and youngest child) will be graduating from college next month, which leaves me hoping he is able to find a job in his field and begin his adult life. In the meantime, I am getting closer to retirement from my day job and beginning to wear the retiree's grin. There are so many things I want to be able to do. We'll see how many of them I actually get to after I have an additional 45 hours a week.

I have been going through my stack of UFO's, trying to decide what I still have an interest in completing. I've also been contemplating directions for my art, writing, and possible volunteer work. At the same time, I haven't forgotten the Sketchbook Challenge. Ideas percolate in the back of my mind, but I haven't yet put anything together for this month's prompt.

It appears I cannot add any images to my post this time. As with the other difficulties I have been having, I hope this is resolved, soon.

Until next time, I wish you peace and all good.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spilling Over

This month's prompt for the The Sketchbook Challenge is "Spilling Over." It took me a while to decide on a direction to take. I have been doing a lot of portrait sketching lately, trying to improve my technique and attain better images. In the end, I decided to sketch a page full of baby faces. I call it "Baby Love."

A baby's face is definitely different from an adult's. The proportions are different, primarily because a baby's hairline generally appears to be much higher. In addition, the nose is, obviously, shorter and wider in comparison. I also found I had to much more careful about the shape of the eyes, as the shape we normally think of is too narrow on the outside.

The sketches also proved good practice in capturing the foreshortening of a body and indicating patterns without color. Altogether, I am pleased with the piece and hope you enjoy it, too.

I'm off to work on finishing my grandson's quilt, so that I can give it back to him next week. Until next time, wishing you peace and all good.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Library

I am sitting in my local library because our computer has crashed. (We've been without now for just over a week.) This by way of explanation for the lack of post last weekend, and to let you know that, for the moment, I am not sure when my posts will be able to get back to normal. We are hoping to get the computer issue under control this weekend, but it remains to be seen. At any rate, I will return as soon as I can.

One side effect is that I cannot post any pictures, since I have no access to my hard drive and cannot upload them to the library's computer. Another is that I have a limited time on the computer. (A third, unfortunately, is that I have to deal with my fragrance allergies. Another patron was directed to the computer next to me and is wearing a heavy dose of something that is setting off a reaction. So, I'm afraid I don't feel quite clear-headed.) I'm sorry this is so short and mundane, but I'm running out of time.

Until I can post again, I wish you peace and all good.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sketching & Quilting

It has been an interesting and productive week. I have been reading Cathy Johnson's book,

You can find more information here.  She is a marvelous teacher. She makes sure that her illustrations are clearly connected to her descriptions, and breaks things down into manageable chunks.

On another note, I got to see and spend time with the grandbabies last Saturday, when we met up with my son and daughter-in-law for lunch and a trip to ProBass Shops. (My husband and children are avid fishermen. I will fish, but rarely do.) In addition to seeing the babies, however, I was able to get a couple of things to help me with working on embellished quilts away from my studio.

This neat little number will easily hold spools of ribbon. While I will not be able to pull ribbon through the holes (they are sized for fishing line), I may be able to work that out, too. At any rate, I can take between six and eight spools on retreats or to classes.®-Line-Spooling-Box/product/97465/-1433314

The other item actually came in two sizes. So, I bought one of each. I plan to use them for beads. Each section opens individually from the top, which should be a great help in keeping beads organized and preventing large spills.

On a sadder note, I found out through Lesley Riley's blog entry, Jean Ray Laury, that the quilt world lost a treasure this last week, since Jean Ray Laury passed away. Lesley's blog is a great memorial to her. I consider my decision to attempt my business to be based on Jean's influence. My copy of her book The Creative Woman’s Getting-It-All-Together at Home Handbook is well-thumbed and highlighted.

Wishing you peace and all good.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Building blocks

I'm definitely ready for spring. At the same time, I am starting to take more concrete steps toward the changes in my life this year. My last child is graduating from college in May, and as I've mentioned before, I will "retire" from my current day job in July. I have been busily soaking up input from other artists, taking a lot of pictures of people and places I encounter, and experimenting with new (to me) techniques in my art.

When I think about "retirement" (which I keep enclosing in quotes because I won't really retire), I am excited at the possibilities and the opportunities that will be available. For the first time in years I will have the luxury of time. While I don't expect to be able to do everything I want to do, it will be a joy to do more than I can now.

If you have checked out my blog more than once, you might notice that I added some information to my profile. It is one of the first steps in those concrete steps I mentioned above. I realized that I needed to identify what my artwork is about. It also reflects some of the work I've done to determine what I need to do to make a difference in the world. I'm still working on the total picture, but at least, I have decided how it affects my art.

Life is good.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Getting Creative Juices Flowing

My local quilt guild hosted Mickey Depre this week for a lecture and a workshop. Because she also lives in northern Illinois, we were able to see 15 of her quilts up close. Her joyous style and vibrant colors make her work a real treat for me.

The workshop, in which she taught "Friends in High Places," was long enough and small enough to allow everyone to benefit from individual attention. It made the day, while tiring for me, a very good one. Unfortunately, I did not fulfill her hope that I would not have another UFO. However, I am planning to finish the project as a gift for the babies.

I hope that you find ways to get your creative juices flowing.

Until next time, peace . . . .

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Snow Days

Since I live in northern Illinois, I was one of "fortunate" people who experienced heavy snow and winds this last week. On Wednesday, all of my family members had a snow day. It was unusual for all of us to be home and feeling so relaxed. Since we had no obligations for the day, we were able to do whatever we felt like doing -- without guilt!

Early in the morning, I decided to try taking some pictures of the blizzard. To my surprise, a rabbit decided to pose for me. It appeared to be trying to find a warmer place to wait out the storm. Since the rabbits don't usually come through until dusk, it was quite unusual.

I did have an opportunity to spend some time quilting, and begin to do some serious thinking about what I will do after I "retire" from the day job. It is my hope that I will be able to begin selling my artwork, again. Simultaneously, I have a deep desire to "make a difference" in some way. I want to get more involved in social justice issues, again, but haven't yet decided where or how I would be most effective.

Is there an issue that is close to your heart? How would you or do you make a difference? How would you or did you decide what to do?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fiberart For A Cause

A cause that has become increasingly close to my heart has been organized to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Some of you already know that one of our own, Melly Testa, is fighting breast cancer. Today, I found out that a third relative was recently diagnosed with cancer. This disease seems to be hitting more and more people. There are some marvelous artists who are contributing work for the cause. Please check out the link and see if you can help.

One Cause, One Wednesday, One Hundred Collages
One Cause – The Fight Against Cancer.

One Wednesday – February 16, 2011.

One Hundred Collages – Created for this event by an all-star team of artists: Natalya Aikens, Pamela Allen, Laura Ann Beehler, Liz Berg, Pokey Bolton, Laura Cater-Woods, Jette Clover, Jane Davila, Jane Dunnewold, Jamie Fingal, Gloria Hansen, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Lyric Kinard, Jeanelle McCall, Linda Teddlie Minton, Karen Stiehl Osborn, BJ Parady, Judy Perez, Wen Redmond, Cynthia St. Charles, Virginia A. Spiegel

The goal – Raise $8,000 for the American Cancer Society in just one day. More details and a preview of artwork:

Fiberart For A Cause has already donated over $205,000 to the American Cancer Society through the generosity of fiber artists and their patrons.

Until next time. . . .

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Learning New Things

I finished the pages for the Visual Journaling Workshop today. Last week, I showed you week 2. Here are week 3 and week 4.

As I mentioned last week, the pages are also my interpretation of "Highly Prized" for the Sketchbook Challenge. While I am not terribly satisfied with the piece, working on it did give me more experience with watercolor paper, gesso, charcoal pencil, oil pastels, watercolor brush pens, gel pen, ephemera, what Pam Carriker calls "re-usables," and recycling art. It also taught me something about my process and what I do and do not enjoy.

I hope that this exercise will help me to move forward with work in my journals/sketchbooks. It has given me a bit more confidence to attempt new things in that direction. I hope that it might inspire some of you to try new things.

Until next time, may you experience peace and all good.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Making Art

We are into week three of the Visual Journaling workshop with Pam Carriker. Pam is having us recycle our artwork. I am making slow progress, but combining it with the Sketchbook Challenge. The theme for January in that is Highly Prized. I started with a colored pencil sketch I had made of my children dressed up for Halloween when they were little. I copied the drawing (which I had to go over with my pencils first, as it was too light), glued it to 140# watercolor paper, and got part of the way through her instructions for week two. So far, I have used gesso, charcoal pencil, oil pastels, and watercolor brush pens. It is forcing me to be more mindful of techniques and the order in which I use the different media. Here is a look at the current status of the piece.

This is proving to be a great way to stretch myself out of my comfort zone and try new (to me) techniques.

While I am at it, I have to share a link to information about an exhibit my daughter is having: Urban Abstractions. As I have mentioned before, she is an artist in her own right. After you've checked on the exhibit, take a look around her website. She works in a variety of media and has some beautiful pieces.

I hope that you are enjoying new things, stretching out of your comfort zone, and living life to the fullest. Until next time, may you experience peace and all good.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Best Laid Plans

As often happens, our best laid plans get sidetracked or changed in ways we don't expect. I have been working on my sketchbook, but not as often as I'd hoped. In addition, I'm learning lots of new things about the Internet and programs like Flickr, some have surprised and frustrated me. However, I am trying to roll with it and count it as a learning experience.

One very pleasant experience that came out of my setting up the blog and letting friends and relatives know is that a relative send me pictures of a quilt my Grandmother Barbara made. It appears to be from the 1930's and may have been a kit, but it was a welcome surprise. In addition, of course, I get to share them with you.

Note the embroidered kitty faces at the centers of the flowers.

The quilt has been used by eight babies, and my relative tells me it is "almost 70 years old." It amazes me how well it has weathered the use and the years.

May you have pleasant surprises in your life and experience peace and all good.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year - New Experiences

Happy New Year to everyone!

For me, today marks the beginning of the Sketchbook Challenge and an online Visual Journaling Workshop with Pam Carriker. Ideas are percolating and bubbling over! I expect it will be a fun learning experience and provide me with lots of new material for my artwork. I hope that your new year provides many happy new experiences and lots of joy!

I invite you to:

Treasure the Little Things!

Until next time, may you experience peace and all good.