Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gadabout Artist Day 14: Happy New Year!

I am going to keep it simple tonight, as I am sure most of you are off whooping it up at some grand gathering...

Let me just say that I hope the new year will be a bright new beginning for you on your artistic journey.
I hope that you will find the courage to sink deep down into yourself and find your amazing ember. 
I hope you find the strength to nurture that spark, until it becomes a raging fire of creative expression, 
and I hope, beautiful flier, that you find the serenity to know, truly know, 
that you are worthy...enjoy 


Gadabout Artist Days 12-13: A Stroll Through a Ghost Town

We spent the better part of day 12 driving, finally settling in at a truck stop near Barstow. It was an uneventful trip, but we stopped early enough for me to paint.
This little 5"x7" canvas started out with a coat of turquoise paint. When that was dry, I added the layers of paper, some scrapbook papers and a page from one of Shakespeare's plays. I am careful to smooth these down using my rubber brayer. After these are fully dry, I put a bit of rose color fluid acrylic paint on a paper plate, and roll through it with that same brayer. When you use this method to apply paint to your canvas, it gives a great grunge/random effect. Now when That layer is dry, I add the stamped images, usually using a permanent ink, in this case Timber Brown Stazon. Again I wait for it to dry, which, by the way, is why I work on more than one canvas at a time. I have added some vintage images from a Ladies Home Journal dated 1949, (this was an ad for a home permanent product), and copyright free butterfly image from my Dover Digital art collection.This piece is not quite done, it needs words and  shadowing, which I add using Intense Pencils, this will give it more depth.

  I also worked on eight backgrounds for ATC's, just adding the background papers, and the rolled on paint.

The next morning, day 13, after a pretty lousy experience having breakfast at Denny's, we headed to a local attraction called the Calico Ghost Town.
 Nice place, very inexpensive to go through, but a bit run down and undermanned. We enjoyed our walk through a real mine shaft, even the cheesy taped tour guide, and got a real kick out of the Mystery Shack, where "water runs uphill!" :) We stayed the better part of the morning there, and spent more on postcards than we did on tours...I was particularly drawn to the artistry of this bottle house, built by the Knott's Berry Farm workers that renovated the place back in the 60's...

Back on the road, there isn't a whole lot to see heading east on I-40, with the exception of a short stretch of the famous Route 66, that loops south, and through the "town" of Amboy, CA. Very tiny place, but well known for it's iconic Roy's Motel Cafe, which actually has no kitchen, and does not even sell ice cream...
Of course we had to have a bottle of Route 66 Orange pop, and sat a bit in the shade of a conveniently placed tree...
 Then we were off again, through more desert with occasional glimpses of the Mother Road's glorious past...

We crossed the border into Nevada, and stopped for the night after turning slightly north, on Lake Mojave, at a campgrounds called Katherine Landing. Beautiful sunset, and hundreds of boats out in the marina. We are undecided about where to go next, or if it is time to stop for a couple of days. It is a lovely spot, but there are no hookups.
 Not far from here is another, more restored section of Route 66, from Kingman, AZ to Seligman, AZ and we are pretty sure we want to head that way...Until then Happy New Year and enjoy...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gadabout Artist Day: 11 Camping in an Orange Grove...

Very short post this morning, as yesterday was a rather uneventful straight drive south along I-5. We stayed the night at an incredibly crowded rest area. Rigs pulled in and out all night long, it was NOT a restful night. We got up early and really just drove. I have nothing against they state of California, but I have to say, we got a bit spoiled in Oregon, they are so well set up for campers and RV's. Such reasonable prices for full hook-ups, it seemed ridiculous not to make use of them. Here in California, the parks are few and far between, and when you do get there, they want $40-$50 just to stop your rig, no water, no sewer, no electricity...
That being said, we drove quite a ways yesterday, south to Bakersfield, then swinging east on 58. Not too far out of Bakersfield, we started seeing signs for the "Orange Grove RV Park". We had heard of this place from a cousin and decided to stop and check it out.
We first stopped next door at the California Fruit Depot for pistachios and olives, (Mr. How2 has a real passion for unusual olives.) They have a shop full of every kind of nut, candy and dried fruit you can imagine, and they encourage you to taste test your way through the store. The last time I was in California, I loved the pistachios done in different flavors, so I was happy to find them here, and bought a large bag.
  We then swung around and entered the RV park. Imagine an orange grove where they paved all the space between the rows of trees and added  parking pads among the trees...The price is a bit steep, $39 a night, but this includes everything, free WIFI, laundry, cable TV at each space, pool (though too cold to swim) and (best part of all) pick all the ripe oranges you want! That's right, just step out your door, gather fresh oranges for breakfast, and go ahead and load some up for the road...
 Here is "our" little tree, next to our Flair motorhome...
 I actually picked THESE oranges and am eating one as I write...
and here is the sun setting across the orchard...

I know, for some of you, this is no big deal, but I am from apple, cherry, and walnut country. Which is, BTW, still a wonderful thrill to go out and harvest when they are in season. But citrus fruit is kind of an exotic for me, and right off the tree?...wow!

We took care of laundry, fixed our cable connection, ( we haven't seen a show since we left), had long hot showers and cooked a nice meal. I think I was giggling at one point, it was such luxury!
  This morning, Mr. How2 is in his element, another RVer drove in later last night, in a Flair, same year, slightly different model, same age issues as we have with ours. So he has hauled his tools over and is helping with the repairs. That seems to be a big part of this lifestyle, always tinkering and tweaking because the multiple systems in these big rigs need so much maintenance...
 Later today, we are heading to the Calico Ghost Town, near Barstow, CA, to check out the sights. Until next time, enjoy...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gadabout Artist Days 7-10

We finally made it into California, and I am finally stopped long enough to hook up my smart phone and log in for this post. We spent a very quiet Christmas Eve at Sunset Beach Campgrounds near Coos Bay, OR.  This beach is located close to Shore Acres State Park. Through the month of December, Shore Acres has a beautiful holiday light display in it's  formal gardens. We started hearing about them long before we got to our campsite, so after we hooked everything up, and after searching for and finding a couple more letterboxes, we headed on up the trail. It ended up being about a 3 miles hike, we could have driven the RV, but it is so hard to know in advance if there is decent parking and turn around for something that big, so we walked. If you want to know more about this amazing place, go to ; http://www.shoreacres.net/
It was dark afterwards, and we still needed to hike back down the trail. I was sneaky though, and brought a flashlight along, so even though Mr. How2 hates using one, it kinda saved our backsides, so score one Sally! :) We had a simple Christmas dinner of chicken and mashed potatoes, and turned in early. The next morning we got up and hunted for another couple letterboxes, then set out to find cell coverage so I could call our children and family for Christmas. The tiny town of Bandon was perfect for that, then on our way again.

 We had spotted a campground on the map called Cape Blanco, so we headed that way. A beautiful place, so we stopped very early and spent the better part of the day walking on the beach. We did not get in to see the lighthouse, because it was closed for the holiday, but the beach was lovely, and we hiked at least 4 miles.

That night I worked on the background of yet another canvas, and started the wrap up on my previous small ones. In the morning we headed out again, realizing that this was very likely our last day to enjoy the ocean. After this, we will be turning inland and trying to make better time towards Arizona. We drove across the California border, and stopped in Crescent City, CA for new maps, and tourist info, and headed south towards the redwood forest. Most of yesterday was driving, though we did stop for a quick peek at the BIG TREE! A gigantic specimen indeed!
We stayed that night in a rest area, it was getting too dark to push on and we were both tired. I finished up on a the new canvas, and did final detail on the others.



We woke this morning before daylight, and headed south towards the turn off for Highway 20, east towards Sacramento, CA. We really put the hammer down, and didn't stop for much of anything until we got to I-5. We did see two different herd of elk though...

Now we are stopped for a bit at a rest stop, just north of Sacramento, taking a break after a seven hour stint. Mr. How2 is tired, but we don't really want to stop at 3:00 in the afternoon, and don't want to drive into the city. I am hoping to meet and have coffee with one of my fellow fliers sometime tomorrow, but I am waiting to hear back from her. So perhaps we will head to Folsom Lake, they have campsites there, or look for a KOA in the area. Until next time, enjoy...














Friday, December 23, 2011

Gadabout Artist: Day 6

We awoke this morning and found ourselves in one of the most beautiful campgrounds we had been in so far. Tillicum Beach Campground may not be very big, but it is lovely, with the campsites set up for maximum view. I sat inside sipping my coffee and enjoyed watching the waves roll in...
I still don't know why people complain about the coast weather, it has been sunshine and mild days the whole time we have been here. :) We got a very late start after spending a leisurely morning exploring, and decided to do a little letterboxing along the way. If you have never heard of this fun activity, you really should check out this site; http://www.atlasquest.com/

Here is the official blurb;
Letterboxing is an intriguing pastime combining artistic ability with "treasure-hunts" in parks, forests, and cities around the world. Participants seek out hidden letterboxes by cracking codes and following clues. The prize: an image from a miniature piece of art known as a rubber stamp—usually a unique, hand-carved creation.
Letterboxers stamp their discoveries in a personal journal, then use their own rubber stamp, called a signature stamp, to stamp into the letterbox's logbook.

My family has enjoyed this pastime since 2005, when I first read about it in a magazine, and we have some very nice logbooks full of our adventures. We each carry our own, hand-carved stamps, and use them to identify ourselves in various logbooks. Here is my personal journal, the last two boxes I found, and my signature turtle stamp with SR inside...
You can see, I take notes, as this will be my keepsake in days to come, and I like to remember what the experience was like. When we found the Mermaids wave, we went in at almost high tide, and our feet got soaked! I had to jump up on a slippery rock and cling to a stump until the wave swept back out again...If you like to travel, and you like a good treasure hunt, try letterboxing, I bet you'll be hooked like me!
We stopped at a few places, got skunked on a couple letterboxes, (they do disappear sometimes) and ended up going into the Sea Lion Cave, near Florence, OR. What an experience, very worth the entry fee, a truly amazing site. This is a natural cave, and these lovelies have been sheltering there for hundreds of years. Humans have set up an elevator and viewing deck, so we can go down into the cave and watch them as they go about their business. Over two hundred sea lions were taking their rest in the cave at the time, and they all had lots to roar about! Watch the small group as they swim in and try to climb up onto the rocks before the waves wash them back out again...

video
After the Sea Lion Caves, we visited the Umpqua Lighthouse, talked to the hard working and very knowledgeable lady on duty there, and found my third and final letterbox of the day. We headed down to The Mill Casino, in North Bend, and are hooked up and stuffed to the gills with their seafood buffet! I was more than ready for a hot shower, ample electricity and uncomplicated WIFI. We are trying to decide if we should stay an extra night, since tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I don't like that I will be away from my family, but it seems a little sad to spend it at a casino... 
Happy Holidays to you and yours, enjoy... 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gadabout Artist: Days 4-5

Sorry I couldn't post last night, we camped at a park that had no cell coverage. The one we are at tonight has it, but it is a bit spotty, so I better make this short and sweet.
 We did a lot of walking yesterday, mostly up and down. As in up and down the beach, up and down cliffs, and up and down stairs! We walked all over Cape Lookout beach in the morning, mostly enjoying the waves and sunshine, but also beach-combing for treasures. I didn't find any glass, and only mussels shells, so I really didn't find anything to add to my collection. As we drove south, we came to Lincoln City, and the sign that caught my eye was Jennifer L. Sears Glass Art Studio. We pulled in and found that their specialty was the chance for the average person to make their own blown glass float. I did not take the chance to do it myself, as anything you make must cool down slowly in a kiln for 18 hours, and we did not want to wait. But we stayed to watch a young girl make one, and it was pretty amazing...


After the glass studio, we headed further south towards the town of Depoe Bay, where whale watching is the huge thing. We stayed around at the Whale Watching Center, but didn't spot any, though this is apparently the right time of year for it.
  Further south, we came to the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and Lighthouse...no, I did not make up the name, they are very pleased about the area and named it that themselves. :) It really was beautiful, and though the walk was very long, and up hill on the way back, it was worth it. There is a tidal pool area, and a lovely pod of sea lions lay basking in the rare sun. Such a treat. We went up inside the lighthouse, all the way to the top, legs wobbling and stomach twisting the whole time. The view was phenomenal, but that might only be the lightheadedness talking.




  After the tour of the lighthouse, we headed back up north a short way, and settled into Beverly Beach State Park for the evening. As I mentioned before, no cell coverage, so we got to sleep early, after working on a few small canvases. We are finding it a bit difficult to see all the things we want to see, as the sun goes down so early. We have to start looking for a campsite half way through the day, or risk searching in the dark. This is a very bad way to find a campsite, trust me, we tried it and it is very stressful!

When we woke this morning, we headed out to the beach again, but still got skunked on the beach-combing. A short drive into Newport, and we ended up on the Bayfront District, lots of cute shops, attractions and fresh seafood. We saw the Undersea Garden, wandered the shops, and had a crab dinner at Mo's, a popular local spot.

  Then there was another very long hike back up to the RV, and a quick hop over to the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. Yeah, they used that name a lot here. A very nicely kept museum, staffed by volunteers that love their jobs, and love to chat! We headed across the Yaquina Bay Bridge, and around the loop to the Hatfield Marine Science Visitor Center, where I got to play in the artificial tidal pools, and learned a ton about star fish, sea anemones and sea urchins.


Mr. How2 got to stop at the Rogue Brewery, and sampled a couple of their more bizarrely named ales, and then it was dark, and time to find our site for the night. A few miles down the road, and a few missed opportunities to stop, we found the Tillicum Beach Campground. A dry camp, as in no hookups, but we were starting to feel a little too pampered the last couple nights, so...
  Until tomorrow, enjoy...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gadabout Artist: Day 3

We had a somewhat restless night at the truck stop. There was a lot of traffic, and the truckers parked next to us got up at midnight, and, I kid you not, pulled out at 1am! He didn't make a lot of noise, but we were sleeping pretty light, just trying to adjust to life in the RV, and every little sound woke us up.
 I spent part of the evening working on these little pieces, the larger one, a 5" x 7" already had the gears and the Davinci sketch, I just wasn't sure which way I wanted to go with it. As I was working on the other, little cards, I realized I was unhappy with the canvas because it was so dark. So I added the same bright papers, and much more pleased with the piece. I am not done with any of these, but I am close.


Today, after leaving The Dalles, and driving along I-84 we ended up going into Portland. This was not the plan. We should have stayed on I-84 until we hit I-205, then around the south of Portland, and up I-405 to the exit towards the coast. But I had set the gps for "shortest" route earlier in our trip, and forgot to change it back. So "Jack", (that's what we call our gps, as in, "shut up, Jack!") led us astray...The shortest route, was NOT the easiest route, and we ended up driving through downtown Portland! Help! It was very bad! It would have been tough in a car, but in a 26' RV? A very bad idea...Mr. How2 was pretty stressed out. It was such a relief to clear all the traffic and start climbing up into the green forest again. We headed straight for the coastline, and into Tillamook, in time to have a little lunch and tour the Cheese Factory. Yum! We dropped by Debbie D's for cured meats. Very good, small batch smoked meats, and a perfect compliment to the variety of cheeses we bought at the factory. Can you guess what we had for dinner? :)
 We then headed west on highway 6 towards the actual coastline, and we got our first view of the ocean this trip. It is beautiful!

 Now, I am a flat-lander, born and raised in Minnesota, so the thrill of seeing the ocean never ceases for me. Mr. How2 grew up over here, so he is a little less awed than I...which is a good thing, since he was driving and these are narrow, twisty roads indeed...
We are parked now for the night, at Cape Lookout Campgrounds, and I can still hear the roar of the ocean, even tucked up here near the RV hookups. I cannot wait to explore it more in daylight, we only had a brief time on the beach before darkness fell, about 4:30, for crying out load...
As for the hook ups, this is kinda nice. This is the first time we have been at an official campground, and the cost of a dry camp was $15 and one with water, sewer and electricity was only $5 more, so we went for it. So we have hot showers, lots of lights and all the power we need for my computer and printer. . Nice to do it this way now and again, feels more like home. I almost wish we brought a movie to watch, it would be like date night! Here are a couple more pics...

I can't wait to use these new images in my art, I wonder what I will come up with? Enjoy...

*Thing I miss: A bathroom that I can turn around in. The one in our little RV is just big enough to sit down in and have my knees touch the wall...

*Things I love: The sound of the surf as I lie cozy in our bed...


Monday, December 19, 2011

Gadabout Artist: Days 1-2...

We left on our first RV trip yesterday, at noon. Yep, that's right, it took us most of the day just to finish the last minute stuff, and say goodbye to the family. We only made it as far as Wenatchee, WA, and since it was getting dark, we decided to stop for the night in the parking lot of Walmart. Not a very auspicious ending to our first day out, but very convenient for all the little things we needed to finish turning our little RV into our new home. I must say there is a very friendly group of people working at the Wenatchee Walmart, they were just super, and didn't need to be, nice huh? We turned in early, and woke to a few more delays. There was a fine freezing drizzle, and our wiper blades decided to stop wiping... So we waited for the auto parts store to open, had some breakfast, and I worked on this little 4"x4" canvas;

My goal on this trip will be to do one small canvas a day, and post it here for you to see, and to finally spend sometime remembering how to crochet, and make myself a shawl. I didn't get very far on the shawl, still trying different patterns, but I will show my progress as I go.
 Here is Mr. How2, driving;
The rest of the day was gloomy and overcast, and atone point, and solid pea soup fog. We climbed up and over Satus Pass, into the clear evening sky, then dropped down into it again. Until we passed Goldendale, WA and cleared the Oregon border, things were getting pretty dicey. Visibility was nearly zero. Then we broke down under the fog, and headed west along I-84, and it was clear sailing all the way to The Dalles, OR. We are stopped now for the night at a truck stop, and will continue west in the morning. At this point we have pretty much decided to head south along the coast, Hwy 101, and avoid as many passes as we can. Looks like the coast is supposed to be clear weather for the next week, we will see...

*Things I miss; my kitten snuggling up with me at night.

*Things I love; the fact that as soon as we stop, we are home, no looking for a restaurant or hotel.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Travel Time...

   I have been away from my computer for a little while, and may be off and on for the next month as well because we are traveling! Yep, that's right, Mr. How2 convinced me, and this morning we are leaving for the Oregon coast and all points south. We plan to eventually experience all that is Quartzsite, AZ after hearing tales of it's grandness for years.
I have been reluctant to take this trip, I anticipate all hell breaking loose here on the home front as soon as we clear the border. But an incredibly wise and wonderful flier said to me, "Hey, think about it, all the time in the world to paint, and no housework! Bring your STUFF, Sally" Now, I may not be wise, but I know wisdom when I hear it! Thanks, Janet, this trip is because of you...hear more of her wisdom at...
   This week has been a frantic mess, trying to organize and pack and take care of bills in preparation for this extended absence. I have never been away this long, and though I know that thousands of people snowbird yearly, I am new to it, therefore, a steep learning curve. I am dealing with the task of setting up remote bill pay and finding a house sitter as well as making sure we have most of what we need for the trip. You know how it goes, "he" says, lets take a trip, and as far as "he" is concerned, we are ready to go...:) Which brings me to the question of supplies.
   You see, as far as I can tell, the kind of things we need for a normal trip, we can purchase along the way. Other than warm clothing for the beginning and shorts for the far south, kind of a no brainer...Food is plentiful, and you really don't want to pack too much with you, the RV isn't that big...No, the difficult part has been deciding what art supplies to bring...
I normally carry travel supplies in this vintage make up case. (No, Storm is not coming with us! I think she will be happier and safer here at home with a sitter.) There is enough room in it to carry all the basics, and a few extras. For a single class, or a long weekend, hey, no problem. But there is not nearly enough room for an extended trip. So I have had to sort, pick and choose which supplies I use the most, and which ones I can leave behind. For instance, I plan to work on my Artist Trading Cards. Nice, compact projects I can pull out and do, then pack away quickly, right? But, I usually cut the bases out of mat board, and for that I use my massive paper cutter.
I can't see dragging this with us, so hmm, how many cards should I cut and bring? A couple dozen seems doable. Then there are the surfaces for my submissions to Art-o-mat. I have sent off my samples, and, if I am accepted, I would like to work on my inventory while we are traveling, again, tiny enough to easily work whiles on the move. Well, there is a minimum of 50, so that means I had to cut 60 2" x 3" cards, in case I mess some up. These are now packed in the RV in a plastic storage container. Now we have the issue of glue, paper, ink pads, ephemera, text, pens, pencils, paint, brushes, etc...I also have my new shipment of small canvas boards, 4" x 4" and 5" x 7", so I have to bring some of those. Who knows what I might need! I had to stop somewhere, but every time I sit down, or heaven forbid, look at another blog by my beautiful fellow fliers, I think of yet another "thing" I cannot do my art without...
   Shhh, don't tell Mr. How2 this, but I think there are more art supplies tucked away and hidden around the RV than there is food...I am trying to calm myself by telling myself that there will be stores along the way. So now I am done, I have filled every little tote, nook and cranny with everything I can think of for a traveling artist. I just hope I actually get a chance to make use of most of it.
   Everything is packed, the house-sitter is arranged, and there is a loose travel plan in place. One last meeting to go over the household infrastructure, and a quick stop to see the family and we are off! I am dragging along, not only my computer, but also my printer, since so many of my graphics are in digital form. I have even signed up for an online class with Traci Bautista called "Doodles Unleashed" that begins January 1st.
You can sign up for the same free class here:  

 So hopefully internet access won't be too spotty. I will keep in touch along the way, and plan to take tons of photos and post my art as it is completed. If I forgot anything, it's too late now, I will just have to live without it. See you out there, and happy trails...

Oh wait, I wonder if I should bring that basket of cancelled stamps...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A little stolen time in my studio...

The massive whirlwind that is the holiday season is in full rush around here, and even though I swore to sit this one out, it does tend to catch me up and toss me about, now and again. Short of holing up in a storm cellar, I just have to go along with it for now, and try not to instigate any additional breezes. All this to say, I have been away from my studio for a few days, and it is starting to show. I start to get antsy, and my hands get too clean. That probably explains this little project;

In a large bundle of mail, along with the ads, bills, and various generic greeting cards from local businesses, I got a decent sized magnet. You know the kind, the insurance guy, and plumber send a business card sized one every year. Well, this one was big, about 4" X 6" and was advertising a little boutique I went to last summer. It had a calendar on it, with numbers too tiny for me to read...I hated to waste it, to just throw it away, so I decided that, since I am a collage artist, and any surface is fair game, then hey! I need a new magnet for my fridge. The days of my children's art adorning my fridge are long gone, so I decided to make my own grown up version.
    I cut a piece of background scrapbook paper, and used Mod Podge and a brayer to smooth it down. I then added a strip of text from an old poetry book, I found thrown out at the thrift store because the spine was missing. Images were stamped randomly over all, using my StaZon ink pad, and then more embellishments and words. I coated everything with another layer of Mod Podge, then did a little detail drawing with a copper metallic Sharpie pen. It looks good in my kitchen, and reminds me to find my grace, during this frantic time of the year. Enjoy...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dreams and Wishes Artist Trading Cards...

Today I finished my four ATCs for the Flygirls ATC Group January Swap.

  Since we are getting ready to travel, I am trying to finish up some projects, and these were at the top of my list. They will soon be winging their way to the home of our gracious hostess, and then on to their new owners.
  
   If you have never participated in an ATC swap, I highly recommend it. It is a great way to connect with other artists, from all over the world, and see what they are creating. It is also such a wonderful thing to have a collection of these little works of art to look at and share. As an artist, they are a great way to try out new techniques, without making the commitment to a huge blank canvas. They are so small, and portable, they can be worked on any where, and when you don't have a lot of time. I keep a kit, ready to go when I travel, and am never without supplies when I am hit with inspiration. The Flygirl Group is a private group, consisting of 63 talented artists that met last summer while participating in Kelly Rae Roberts online Flying Lessons course.
  But if you are interested in joining an ATC swap, check out this site;
Enjoy...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Small projects...


   I have been working very small lately. For some reason the universe is throwing very strong hints my direction, and I am forever trying to turn them into something I can understand. Lately they have been about small. Small canvases, small art, small space. Mr. How2 and I are planning to travel this winter, this will be our first attempt at snow-birding. I am not sure how long it will last, but for now, I am trying to think small. I do not want to be away from my art for the duration of the trip, and I am the kind of person that needs a reason for doing things.        
   I am working on a set of ATCs for an online exchange with my Flygirls ATC Group. This is also turning into a learning experience for me, since I have been asked to teach a class about ATCs in the spring. So I am trying to document my process, so I can explain it to my students.
  I also recently rediscovered a interesting project on the internet called Art-o-mat; (go to this website to learn more about it);
a group that gathers small pieces of art from artists all over the world. They place the art in refurbished cigarette machines throughout the country, and make them available to the public for only $5 a piece. It looks like a fascinating program, and I am working on samples to send them now. If I am accepted, and I hope I am, they will ask me to make up 50- 2 1/8" x 3 1/4" pieces of art. Again, a great size to work on in the RV. I will keep you posted as on my progress, in the mean time, check out their website, and see if they have a machine near you...Enjoy!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Experiments with digital painting...

  I am always looking for a way to add more detail to my mixed media collage art. I recently discovered a program online that converts your digital photos to color sketches, oil pastel drawings or oil paintings with surprisingly beautiful results.
Here is a recent picture of the last of the moms in my garden...I imported it into the Fotosketcher program, (a free download online) and after a bit of trial and error, converted it to this...
I love the softening of the edges and the look of the brushstrokes. I think this will be a better element in the collage I am working on. Here is another, the line of poplar trees in my yard...
and the more painterly version...
   which I think will make a perfect background to another collage. The program has more trouble with portraits of people, you have to play with the settings a lot more. I am not sure why landscapes and objects convert so much better. Perhaps because trees and flowers can be suggested to the eye and you still see trees and flowers, where as people are more about recognizable features? 
   Part of me wonders if this is cheating, not hand drawing or painting these elements. But then perhaps not, after all, it is my own photograph, and my work in the program to convert it, and, in fact, I actually grew the trees and the mums! So how much more "mine" can it be? So I am thinking of a whole lot of wonderful pictures I have taken over the years, and how they can be revisited, and looked at in a new light. Go ahead, give it a try, you may be surprised at the result! Enjoy... 
The free Fotosketcher program can be downloaded here: 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Winter? Hmmm...

Now that I am in the habit of blogging almost every day, I have decided to keep at it by participating in Creative Every Day, at least for this last month of 2011. The theme for December is "winter". Lets see where this leads me as an artist...

      Well, I would be the first to admit, I am not a huge fan of winter. Too many years growing up in the frigid cold of Minnesota...so this will be more than just a creative challenge for me, lets see if I can find positive things about this season and clever ways to depict them. Here is my first, a sketch using a photo as a model and soft oil pastels...I plan to use this little sweetie in a collage, as soon as my replacement ink cartridge arrives and I can reprint her a little bit smaller. I ordered a set two weeks ago, and the color one arrived defective. The company was very gracious about the whole thing, and have sent out a new one. Enjoy...


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

AEDM Day 30: The End, and the Beginning...

      I have had an amazing time participating in Art Every Day Month! What a fantastic idea, to get a huge group of creative people into their studios and creating on a daily basis. The journey has been difficult, frustrating, exciting and challenging, I am sure I have only begun to see the far reaching effects this will have on my life as an artist. All I do know for sure right now is this;


I will get into my studio on a regular basis. Perhaps not daily, life just doesn't work that way, but often.
I will make the commitment to treat my art seriously, not just squeeze it in when it is convenient.
I will trust that I am right where I need to be.
I will start to show my work to other people, with the ultimate goal of gaining recognition as an artist. Validation!


Thank you all for this wonderful month and all your beautiful support! Keep flying, keep dreaming and, above all, keep creating! Enjoy...


I created this collage using Picasa 3, which is a free download, and very easy to learn. Thank you Deborah Velasquez, for the inspiration for this piece. You are right, it is hard to do, but once you learn it, you get it! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

AEDM Day 29: Experiments with Foam Stamp Making...

 I finally got a chance to go to the dollar store, and score some fun-foam shapes to try the new heat tool/rubber stamp technique that Rachel Payne so graciously shared with us last week. She posted about a tutorial by Tracy Bunkers;
and I have been wanting to try it every since... Thank you Rachel and Traci!
I found these cute little foam puzzles, which were the perfect size after trimming the nubs off. So here I tried them with a crochet doily...
a locket...
and some lace...
Here is a picture of the finished stamps, and the images they make...
I really like how they turned out, I can see a lot of uses in my art. The best part? Well there are two, actually, they are cheap, cheap, cheap to make, and when I messed one up, I just reheated it and the mistake disappeared! Now I am running around the house looking for other interesting things to copy. Give it a try, I think you will like it too. Enjoy...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Art Every Day Month Day 26: A work in progress...

 When I showed this drawing of my lady in a previous post, I was showing how you can reuse a piece of work in other projects. Well, this is the work I originally intended this sketch for. My plan has gone in a couple directions, so I have started two canvases, instead of just this one. My inspiration came around veterans day, when I was thinking and praying for all the wives, mothers, sweethearts and daughters, waiting for their soldiers to come home from war. This piece, as well as the other one I am working on, is in honor of all their love, self sufficiency and sacrifices. It is entitled, "She Waits" and incorporates vintage images from WW2 and newspaper articles from 1944, which we found under the siding of my daughters house this summer...Let's see which one comes out the closest to my vision. Enjoy...