23 November 2011

19 November 2011

Watercolor Face #1

Watercolor Face #1 by literarytease
Watercolor Face #1, a photo by literarytease on Flickr.

I've been working in a new journal using watercolor paints. I uploaded some pictures to my flickr account. Here's one of my faves.

13 November 2011

Weekly Art Date: Sidebar Buttons

I would be super thrilled if you'd like to display my sidebar buttons for Weekly Art Date on your blog! Let me know if you do so I can come and visit! You should be able to copy and paste the code from right underneath the image. Let me know if you have any trouble, and I'll do my best to help.

Art Journal Class: Weekly Art Date Promo Video

Art Journal Class: Weekly Art Date

Woohoo! I'm just about ready to roll out my newest online art journal class:

Learn more at the Weekly Art Date blog.

You spend so much of your time taking care of everyone around you. Isn't it time that you took some time for yourself? With Weekly Art Date, you'll have a reason to just say no the next time somebody tries to stretch your resources just a little too thin... "I'm sorry, I can't, I have my Weekly Art Date that night." You can't say yes to everybody all the time, but you can say YES! to weekly inspiration, can't you? Maybe you can't squeeze in time every single day to work in your art journal, but most of us could schedule in some time each week to make the magic happen.

Join Crafty Moira in her studio each week for a little dose of TLC for artists. You're busy, don't we know it, so this course has no deadlines, no time limits, and, best of all, no unrealistic expectations of YOU! Do what you want whenever you can round up a few precious moments of me-time. The course and all the content will be available to you after the course ends (in other words, once you're in, you're in forever!) plus all of the content and videos created by me will be available for you to download to your computer to keep for as long as you'd like.

My Weekly Art Date will run in four parts throughout 2012:

Part One runs from January 1st - March 16th ($15)

Part Two runs from April 1 - June 8nd ($15)

Part Three runs from June 24th - August 31th ($15)

Part Four runs from September 16 - November 23th ($15)

Part Five runs from December 2nd - December 16th (Bonus Course: Free for all full-year students!)

Sign up for the full year for $45, a savings of $15 over paying for each part individually. That's like getting one full course for FREE, plus you get free access to Part Five! That's only $3.75, less than $1 a week, for a whole year of art inspiration!

Need more incentive?

All full-year students will be automatically entered to win in each of the 12 monthly Weekly Art Date giveaways. Prizes will include anything from art supplies to bonus downloads to original art by Moira. No need to remember to sign up by a certain date, and if you win, your prize will be automatically mailed out to you! How awesome is that?

(Don't worry: if you can't sign up for the whole year at once, you can still enter the giveaways! All full-year students will receive one automatic entry, but everyone will have a chance to enter. Full-year students can snag an extra entry by commenting.)

Also, all full-year students will receive a download link immediately upon signing up for my 2012 Creativity Prompt Calendar. You'll be able to print up this gorgeous full-color calendar full of 260 prompts (one for every week day) designed to keep you inspired all year. This bonus download will include a text-free version of the calendar that you can use to design your own calendars in years to come.

(All students will receive each month's daily prompt calendar on the first of the month.)

Already signed up for another paid course with me? Check inside the classroom for a special returning student discount!

If you'd like to sign up for Weekly Art Date Part One only, click the first PayPal button below:

If you'd like to sign up for Weekly Art Date for the full year, click the second PayPal button:

Please note that you do not have to have a PayPal account in order to sign up for the class. Also, please note the following terms and conditions:

Due to the digital nature of this product, no refunds will be issued after the start date of this class, unless you have never been granted access to the paid classroom at artjournaling.ning.com. (January 1st for full year access & each start date for the separate parts). That being said,  it's very important to me that you are happy with this class! I encourage you to contact me with any questions, problems, complaints so that I can do my best to resolve any issues for you. While I'm not exactly a technical expert, I'll do my best in that regard. If you need further explanation about a technique or a material, feel free to ask me by leaving a comment in that specific discussion area at the ning site, on this blog, or by email: moira dot richardson, via gmail.

07 November 2011

Art Journal: Traveling Journal

After signing up for Bonita Rose's Traveling Journal, I decided to start my own! The idea is that the journal travels from person to person, each adding their own page to the mix. When it comes home to me, I'll get to see all the lovely art created by my fellow artists. I'm excited about it! I'm about to mail out the journal to the first person on the list, so I want to share the cover of the journal with you:


I made the journal from Fabriano Artistico hot press watercolor paper. I made fringe on the spine like in my Journal Tutorial currently for sale on etsy. The fringe is silk ribbon yarn from Darn Good Yarns.

To make the cover, I coated the whole page with white gesso. When that was dry, I rubbed on color with Distress Ink pads in Tea Dye, Peeled Paint, and Broken China. I used a wet paintbrush to move the color around. When dry, I added more color using a stencil from The Crafter's Workshop and more Distress Ink. I cut the letters out of tissue paper, then covered the whole surface with a layer of gold tulle. This gives it a very cool texture. Next, I added some gold glitter flakes and bits of emerald Byzantia, both from Stewart Gill.

I can't wait to see what everyone adds inside!

Want to sign up? Visit the journal here. On the left column, there's a link that says, "Join This Journal." Just click that, sign up for a free account, and then wait for the journal to arrive.

There are still 6 spots left! It's free to sign up; you just have to mail the journal to the next person on the list when you are finished. All of the pages from inside will be posted online (eventually) so you'll get to see the finished journal in its entirely.

04 November 2011

Giveaway Winners & another chance to win!

Waaaaay back in July, I did a giveaway for the PDF book binding tutorial that I was working on. Well... months and months later, I've finally finished the tutorial and am ready to send it out to the winners! (I know, you forgot all about it, right? Well... me, too, kinda!)

Without further ado, the winners are:

Jingle who said, "This is a fabulous book and I would be thrilled to both create one like and and help you edit your tutorial to bring it to the point you are looking for! What a great idea this is! If it is doable, I would love to create these as holiday gifts!"

Frau S who said, "I would love to try this tutorial. The book is gorgeous and totally different from any journal I've ever made."


Nae who said, "I admit it, I haven't made a journal in over a decade. I haven't because I don't really know/remember how to do it! I have all sorts of raw materials and would love the chance to win your tutorial - I KNOW it'll be very inspiring and I'm a great proofreader/attention to detail! Plus I like to make photos too so I would love to help out!"

I'll send out emails to the winners, as long as they left me their emails, but if you are a winner, please contact me for your free tutorial!

Didn't win but really want to tutorial? Give me a good reason to send you a copy and I'll choose another winner from the comments I receive. (If you are a member of Falling For You, you'll be getting a copy very soon!)

27 October 2011

Art Journal: Portraits Like Wow

Here are the second installment of paintings in the daily painting challenge that I'm doing with my Nick and Rose.

I decided that I wanted to draw a portrait for this piece. I had a canvas with the splotches of pink from the previous day's piece, so I just drew right on top of that. I used a photograph I found online as my reference. I found the quote on a film noir website and thought it was perfect.

Since I did a portrait and liked it, I decided to try another one:

She is so odd, but I absolutely love her! I felt so inspired by this piece that I drew a bunch more! I love how each portrait takes on her (or his) own personality. I start with reference photographs, but they soon take on their own life. The last two were drawn just from my head, no reference photo. I love even the ones that aren't that great! Which ones do you like?

25 October 2011

Art: Film Challenge

I can't remember for sure if I blogged about the challenge that Nick and I started last week. I challenged him to make a "bad" painting every day for a week. We chose Nature as our theme. The idea was quantity, not quality, though I have to say that we turned out 14 nice looking paintings between the two of us!  This week, our friend Rose is joining us, and the theme is Film.

Here are my first two pieces:

When I heard film was our theme, I knew I'd be exploring film noir. I used a quote I found on a noir fans website (a collection of favorites) and an image of Rita Hayworth, that I altered in Photoshop to look like a stencil. (Who knows: maybe I'll carve a stencil of the design for future projects?). I painted the background purple, let it dry, then painted quin. magenta fluid acrylic on top. While it was still wet, I covered the surface with saran wrap (also a "film") and let it dry. This gave me a cool texture. Made a packing tape transfer of the stencil image, wrote the quote using a Copic marker, and covered the whole surface with gel medium to affix the tape transfer. Finished by adding a layer of self-leveling gel (which is still wet, hence the smoky patch in the middle of the image.)  This is a 12x12 canvas, which is a new size for me, and I love it! Will be buying more in this size today.

Here's my first piece this week:

Also purple... hmm... maybe I'll stick with the same palette all week? We'll see...

23 October 2011

Helped Wanted: Baby Craft Ideas!

So... I'm not a baby person. I think babies are cute and all, I just don't wanna own one. So baby crafts = not my thang. Now that my sister has officially announced her pregnancy (you know, on Facebook), I can put it out there that I need suggestions for cute baby-themed gifts that I can make! Got babies? Great! I need your advice! My sister is due in April. I want to make something cool for the nursery (ideally that is cute and functional!) and I want to make something cute for the baby. We don't know the baby's sex yet, so preferably something gender neutral, at least for now.

If you have a project on your blog or know one from another blog that you think is super cute, please add it to this linky! It doesn't have to be a tutorial, just something to give me ideas! Or leave a comment below with your ideas.

22 October 2011

Random: My Art Gallery

In yesterday's discussion in my online class, Falling For You, I mentioned that my studio space was my art gallery. I thought I'd post some pictures of the walls in my studio ( / boyfriend's studio / living room) to show you!

Eventually, I'll post pictures of the whole studio to give you a tour, so consider today a sneak peak. This
is the wall right above my desk, which is to the right in the picture. On the far left in my font light that my cat, Smudge, likes to attack when I'm not looking. The white bins underneath the hanging light are where I have sorted my fabric into color families. I have lots of pretty fabric and am working on using it! 

Nick hung all of my paintings (some of which have hand-made frames... they all will eventually) for me. I didn't worry too much about the order, other than alternating framed with not framed, because I basically just needed them out of the way so I could make more paintings! I should photograph and list these for sales, but I haven't gotten around to doing that just yet. The empty space in the line up is from the painting that I sold. (Hurray!) I have about 7 more paintings ready to be hung, so some of the empty space will be filled in soon.

In the corner is a vintage oval photograph that I trash picked. It was probably tossed because a part of the frame was broken off, but I just think it's the coolest thing ever. She is kinda creepy, but definitely my crafty muse. 

The group of four paintings here are the four seasons doll paintings that I created in Doll Dreams. I think Summer (top left) is the best of the bunch. On the right right is my signed Rasputina poster. (Yay!) The painting in the lower left is part of a creepy nature series that I've been working on this week. I'll post pictures of the completed series soon.

This is the main "gallery" wall. Nick has a collection of black & white images, some are photographs, some are his etchings work, and the text piece was a gift from my friend Jen. I decided that I wanted to have a spot in the room where all the pieces would be grouped together. There are still a few spaces in the area so I'll have to make some b&w art (maybe for this week's "bad" painting challenge since our theme is film?)

To the right and below is Nick's studio space. 

The colorful pieces are several paintings by me and three framed prints of my art journal pages. I'll eventually have another row of three above the six that are already there. Below the prints on the mantle are four more canvases, a piano sculpture by Nick's uncle Roger, and some miscellaneous stuff. I'll post better pictures with the next installment.

15 October 2011

Recipe: Hot & Sour Eggplant

It's been a while since I've shared a recipe here, so I thought that today I would share my current favorite dinner recipe: Hot & Sour Eggplant. This stuff is AWESOME! If I get a hankering for Chinese food, I make this recipe at home. It tastes as good as anything I can order out and it's so very easy to prepare!  With the exception of the eggplant, all of the ingredients are things that I have as staples all the time, so no difficult shopping lists either. Plus, it's vegan, how about that?

Tastes better than it looks!
Hot and Sour Eggplant

You will need:
6 long Chinese eggplants or 1 -  2 regular eggplants*
2 cups sliced bell peppers (any color) -- approximately 2 - 3 fresh or use frozen Melange A Trois from Trader Joes
1 large onion, cut in half then sliced
4 cloves garlic (optional, but delish!)
(Note: You could also use only eggplants, leaving out the peppers and onions. I like to add them in for variety, plus it tastes great!)

* I have made this with both and haven't noticed any difference in taste. I said 1-2 because it really depends on the size of the eggplants that you have available. If it's a huge eggplant, one should be fine. Smaller ones might warrant two.

For the sauce:
6 T. soy sauce (or tamari)
4 T. rice vinegar (any vinegar will do)
4 T. sugar
4 t. cornstarch
2 t. olive oil (sub vegetable oil as needed)
1 T. Wild Thymes Thai Chili Roasted Garlic dipping sauce (to taste! like it hotter? add more! I prefer slightly milder)

Almost time to buy a new jar!
About the Thai Chili sauce: I love this stuff! When I order takeout Nim Chow from my favorite Thai place (Apsara!), I add a little of this to the peanut dipping sauce for zing. Wow! The original recipe that mine is based on called for green chile pepper and chili oil. (My version uses 4 times the sauce, so alter accordingly.) You can buy the sauce online or look for it at a specialty-type grocery store near you. I bought mine at the East Side Market Place in Providence.


Cube eggplant (no need to peel) and sprinkle heartily with salt (about 2 T.) Cover with cold water and soak for 30 minutes. Rinse very well and lay out on paper towels to drain. The salt removes some of the bitterness that eggplant can have. I don't recommend skipping this step!

Heat 4 T. vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook until softened. Add the garlic (minced) and cook for an additional minute before adding the eggplant. Cook until the eggplant is softened, about 10 minutes.

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.

When the eggplant is softened, stir the sauce into the skillet. Stir until the eggplant is evenly coated with sauce and the mixture has thickened, about a minute. Serve immediately.

When serving this, I usually serve it over oven-baked brown rice, which if you start it right before chopping and soaking the eggplant, will be ready at close to the same time as the eggplant mixture. Last night, I used a mixture of leftover brown rice and microwaved quinoa. Delicious!

13 October 2011

Falling For You: Challenge #3

Post your entry for the third challenge: Everyone's The Same here!

11 October 2011

Art Journal: Free Webinar with Quinn McDonald

I just got an email from CreateMixedMedia about an upcoming FREE webinar with Quinn McDonald, author of Raw Art Journaling called "So You Say You Can't Draw." I haven't seen the book yet, but I've read a lot of positive feedback about it online. The best thing is that if you register for the webinar, you'll get a free recording of it. That's great for me because I won't be able to "attend" the whole thing live due to work. Space is limited to the first 1000 people, so I suspect this will fill up fast!

Here are more details:

Date: Thursday, October 20, 2011
Starting Time: 1:00 P.M. Eastern Time
Price: FREE!

About the Webinar:
Is your inner gremlin holding you back, telling you you're not an artist, can't draw, shouldn't waste your time art journaling?
In this FREE online event, experienced mixed media artist and certified creativity coach Quinn McDonald will show you how to overcome your own self-doubts and start journaling like you mean it!
Quinn will demonstrate several techniques featured in her book, Raw Art Journaling, to spark your visual creativity, and through a highly visual PowerPoint presentation, you'll learn that it isn't all about the drawing.
During this webinar, you'll learn:
• What Raw Art Journaling is, how it differs from other art journaling and why it's right for you.
• Techniques for working with emotion, playing with words and using personal imagery and mark making in your journaling in place of "traditional" drawing.
• How others have made meaning in their lives and art by following Quinn's advice and working with her techniques.
The PowerPoint presentation wraps up with a Q&A session during which you'll have a chance to ask Quinn questions.
Everyone who registers for this event will receive:
• A FREE recording of the webinar.
• An opportunity to order Quinn's book, Raw Art Journaling (and other goodies!), through ShopMixedMedia.com at a special discount! (Discount will be given to you at the end of the session.)

10 October 2011

Art In Progress: Art Quilt, Part Two

I finished my art quilt... yay!

She is already hanging on my studio wall, and I'm already thinking about the next one... I don't think I mentioned in my last post, but the girl is one of my drawings that I scanned and printed on fabric. The text is my own hand-writing turned into a font and printed on fabric. Cool, right?

I decided to glam her up with a bunch of purple sequins. I did a tiny knot for each one to hold it in place. It was time consuming but so so worth it! I also added a lovely orange button in the center of her flower. Even though I think she's done, if I found some lovely metallic thread, I might have to embellish her eyes. Maybe on the next girl...

Another button and some rick rack! I don't know if there's a certain way you are supposed to sew rick rack, but I just do a tiny stitch at the top and button of each wave. It works for me!

This was such a fun project! I'll definitely be making more of these! I thought I wasn't into quilts... but I was wrong! Still, I don't see me ever making one much bigger than this one (at 8 x 10 inches).

09 October 2011

Art in Progress: Art Quilt!

Here's what I'm working on today:

I decided to step back from my owl painting until I decide what's next. (I have an idea in mind, but I'm still contemplating.) I need to be recording videos for Falling For You and updating my schedule. (Originally, I had a solid schedule for the first four weeks and left the rest fairly flexible. I've come up with new prompts and techniques, so I have to figure out where they will fit in. I think a planning trip to Panera tomorrow is in order!)

I also need to be prepping class supplies for my Bling Bling classes this week. We are making chunky fabric bangles, and I've decided that the best way for us to do the project is for me to precut all of the student fabric choices into the required strips before the class. I was going to have the students cut their own strips but a) I only have one pair of fabric scissors & b) I am kind of fanatical about my fabric scissors not being used to cut pipe cleaners, the other component of our project. Cutting the strips should be pretty fast using a rotary cutter, but I'm procrastinating.

Yes, I consider making an art quilt procrastinating.

I am almost always making something. I'm either working in my art journal, sketching, painting, or organizing my workspace. I make jewelry samples for my classes, research new projects, and buy crafty supplies. The only time I'm not making something is if I'm really not feeling well or late in the evenings when I'm vegging out watching tv. More often than not I'm journaling while I'm watching tv or simultaneously reading a crafty magazine, like ReadyMade or Cloth Paper Scissors. So, yeah, I procrastinate by doing something other than what I'm supposed to be doing.

I've been wanting to make art quilts for a while now. I love that it's sort of like a tactile journal page. I figured that I could apply similar techniques only using fabric. The problem? All of my fabric was stored in boxes on top of my kitchen cabinets (hey, it's a small apartment, gotta make use of the space we've got!). Also, I have no available space for sewing. So I've been thinking about organizing the area for months... and finally got around to it last week.

I bought translucent bins from Ikea and colored coded all of my fabric. I LOVE this idea and can't believe I've never done it before! I have 7 bins of fabric: pinks, reds, black&white, golds/yellows/browns, greens, blues, and random prints that don't fit anywhere else. I set up an extension cord on my huge craft table for my sewing machine and today I finally got to make my art quilt.

I'm really not good at sewing. I don't care about even stitches and straight lines.  Truth be told, I have a love/hate relationship with my sewing machines, leaning mostly to the hate side. I am constantly breaking needles, snapping threads and swearing at my machine. Surprising, I had no issues whatsoever with today's project! I didn't break any needles, I only had to rethread the needle once, and I didn't swear even once. Woah!

Add caption
My general method was: I chose an ugly fabric to be my base fabric. I layered bits and pieces of fabric until I liked the look. I pinned everything in place, stitched around the edges, then went in with more stitches to make sure everything was tacked down (I left the side of the green fabric on the left undone because I loved the frayed look of the fabric as is.). I then cut a piece of batting and a random piece of fabric (the pink batik) for the backing. I sewed this randomly together. 

My original plan was to bind the edges using black, but I rolled over the backing fabric and decided I liked how it looked. So I trimmed off the extra base fabric, rolled the edges, pinned into place and stitched the edging. Next I'm going to add buttons and whatever else catches my fancy. I'll post the finished piece here when it's done.

Painting in Progress: Owl, Day Three

Here's where my painting stands right now:

Is it finished? I'm not sure. I might give his eyes some more paint and add more feather detailing... but he might be done. Nick thought I should add a tree in the background, but I'm kinda liking the simple look, especially since there is a lot of detail in the background, it's just subtle. (It doesn't exactly look subtle in this photo, but that's because I had to use the flash to take the picture. The white that shows up with the flash is much more subdued.)

What do you think?

08 October 2011

Painting in Progress: Owl, Day Two

Today I added some burnt umber mixed with glazing medium and two drops of quin. magenta to add darker feathers and to work on the owl's eyes. He's not finished yet, but here's where the painting stands right now:

Next step will be working on the eyes a little bit more and adding white feathers and highlights.

07 October 2011

Painting in Progress: Owl

I've been inspired to paint lately. I finished working through my first box of 20 canvases and am currently working on box number two. I have, let me count, 20 of my paintings currently hanging on my studio walls (it will be one less very soon, as I've sold one of them! Yay!). I also have several paintings in various stages and one finished piece that I haven't hung yet. Woo!

Today I've been working on an owl painting. Why an owl? Well, let me give you my very scientific reasoning: I googled "what should I paint on my canvas" and in the first result link that I clicked, the answer was, you guessed it, an owl. So there ya go. Google inspiration.

Since I have a massive supply of yellow ochre heavy body paint, I decided to use it for my background color. I started with a huge canvas that I trash picked last month. It had a half-finished pastel and graphite image of a long skinny guy walking under a moonlight sky. It was interesting and I should have taken a photograph, but, oh well. I just covered the whole thing with yellow ochre and let it dry.

Next, I sketched in the basic outline of what I thought an owl would look like and painted in the shape with titan buff soft-body paint. Now to work on the background.

In addition to a large quantity of yellow (baby poop) ochre, I have a bunch of ancient modeling paste. I figured I'd put it to good use by pulling out one of my trusty templates from The Crafter's Workshop and my palette knife. I added large circles with modeling paste, as seen here:

(Oh, and the red up in the corner was a test run of Quin. Red fluid acrylic that I just dripped onto the canvas, let it run a bit, then laid it flat to dry overnight.)

Next, I wanted smaller circles, which I forgot to photograph, so I altered my large stencil with painter's tape to make a smaller circle and added those with more modeling paste. Brilliant! I was thrilled with how well this worked!

Once the modeling paste was completely dry, I mixed up a blend of yellow ochre, iridescent medium, glazing medium, and water. I mixed this up in a used prescription pill bottle which worked amazing well! I just shook it up and get to work painting over the whole background. I love that the background now had this monochromatic awesome texture thing going on, but it was still a little too, well, yellow ochre for my taste.

To correct this, I used another pill bottle and shook up a watery gesso mixture, which I painted over the whole background, including the red drips as seen in the earlier picture. Much better!

Now it was time to start the owl, and I have to say, I'm happy with the way it's coming along. I used: white, burnt sienna, and quin. magenta paint for my color palette. I originally painted the eyes white, but decided a few minutes ago that quin. nickel yellow was the way to go. They are crazy bright, but I'll decide how I feel about them in the morning. I still have to add the black part anyway.

The next thing I'm going to do is use a darker brown, burnt umber mixed with burnt sienna, most likely, to add more definition, but my light is bad now, so I'm calling it quits for the evening.

Here's where he stands right now:

02 October 2011

Random: My Dream Home

Nick and I have been saving up for a house, but we're not looking into a traditional home at all. I've been fascinated with the idea of tiny houses for a long time. Each apartment that I live in seems to get smaller and smaller, like I am slowly downsizing enough to live in a tiny house. I'm still aways away from being able to do it, especially since it won't be just me as the original plan entailed, but me and Nick. (Which is way better, really!).

My mom has an acre of land in Pennsylvania. Before my dad passed away, I'd discussed the idea of me building a tiny house at the back of the property, and he'd agreed to the idea. The land has been unused and unloved for at least 15 years. It's overgrown, wild with vines and all sorts of native plants, and it's the most beautiful place in the world. There's a giant patch of blackberries, wild strawberries and wild onions all over the place, a type of cherry tree, among other things. What used to be a yard and a garden is now a baby forest in the middle of rural suburbia.

Even though I have no experience whatsoever in building anything beyond frames for my paintings, and that's a new skill, my dad was a wood worker, which means that any tool I could need is likely gathering dust in the workshop. I've been feeling like Nick and I should be able to accomplish the project, with some help from friends, and this video convinces me that it's a definitely possibility! My idea is to build a tiny house, followed by a tiny art studio, both of which will be on wheels, like the house in the following video, which means when I can finally afford my own land, I can move the house as needed.

I know it sounds crazy to lots of people, but to me, it's perfectly logical and a natural extention of my lifestyle. I've moved around a lot since I turned 18. I've lived in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and, currently, Rhode Island. My longest stint was in Greensburg for 6 years, but that was about 2 years too many. I start to get antsy if I'm in one place for too long, I guess, but the thing is: I don't really like moving, even though I like being in new places. I am, however, open to changes and the whims of the universe, which is how I ended up as an art teacher in Rhode Island. Stranger things have happened... though I'd never have predicted this career path for me!

Having a house on wheels would be an ideal combination of both worlds: stability and the gypsy in me. For a while, I'd thought I'd satisfy this urge by buying an RV, but more and more, I'm looking at tiny houses. I'm nowhere near having enough money to start the project, but I might be able to start collecting materials next summer. I definitely plan on doing like this gal did: collecting from craigslist, curb alerts, and other free sources. I already have access to an old chicken coop!

27 September 2011

Art Journal: Wood Grain Background

I was experimenting in my art journal this morning and came up with a fabulous technique that I wanted to share. Luckily, I was filming myself working in my journal, so I caught it all on video. Hurray! When I signed into iMovie, I realized I had an updated version now. (We upgraded my hard drive and memory this week... yay!). I decided to play with the "trailers" feature and created this video. It's completely ridiculous and yet quite fabulous, if I say so. I hope you'll agree.

Everyone in my online art class, Falling For You, will be getting the full details with our prompt today, but this is seriously too awesome not to share. So consider this a "sneak peek" if you will of what Falling For You has to offer! This class is PACKED full of content and is well worth every penny of the $20 price. We have 9 weeks left, so there's still plenty of time for you to join in the fun. Plus: you'll have unlimited access to the course content, which includes downloadable videos, PDF files, collage sheets, and digital stamps.

Materials: Sharpie fine point pen in black, ruler, Distress Ink in Tea Dye and Vintage Photo, foam applicator for the ink, scrap paper to serve as a mask.

Method: Draw wood panels on the page using a ruler. Add wood grain details: it helps to look at some wood while you do this! Let the ink dry. Using scrap paper as a mask, color each panel with distress inks. Some I used one color, others I mixed. Add more layers for darker parts. Work from one side of the page to the other. Revel in your ultimate craftiness. Joy.

26 September 2011

Art Journal: Progress of a Page

When I came home from Nancy Rafi's Art Journal class yesterday, this is how my page looked:

Here's what happened next:

I liked it at this point, but it needed more:

I thought I'd messed it up after adding pan pastels and water-soluble oil pastels, because it got too dark. I started to erase the pan pastels, and decided to make these bubbles instead. But it still needed something...

Now the bubbles really "pop" - no pun intended! Also, I have a rule that once I date-stamp the page, it's done, no matter what. Other wise, I might just keep going in there and making changes forever!

24 September 2011

Falling For You: Weekly Challenge #2

Each week of Falling For You, we'll have an art challenge. Sometimes these will involve using specific materials or colors; others will involve some sort of prompt. All class members are invited to participate and post their creation for the prompt here. I will draw one winner the following week. (Giveaway is open to class members only, though I encourage anyone viewing to "like" their favorites!)

This week's challenge is the "Afterschool Special" challenge. Participants must use a childhood photograph and school supplies to create a page that explores schoolyard bullying.

19 September 2011

Art Video: Painting Start to Finish

I haven't really decided if I like this painting or not, but I think the process is cool! AudioSwap on YouTube isn't working, so I hope you'll forgive the music until I can get it changed!

17 September 2011

Falling For You: Weekly Challenge #1

Each week of Falling For You, we'll have an art challenge. Sometimes these will involve using specific materials or colors; others will involve some sort of prompt. All class members are invited to participate and post their creation for the prompt here. I will draw one winner the following week. (Giveaway is open to class members only, though I encourage anyone viewing to "like" their favorites!)

This week's challenge is the "Apple of My Eye" challenge. Participants must use an image of an apple in some way in their page as well as offer a story that explains (whether real or fake) the origin of the phrase "apple of my eye."

Class members: please post your challenge entry here by 11:59 PM EST on Friday, September 23. Don't forget to leave a comment after you post! I'll use the comments to choose our prize pack winner! I'll announce the winner on Saturday when I post the next week's challenge. Have fun!

14 September 2011

Giveaway Winner: Free Falling For You Class Spot

Wow! I had 45 entries in the giveaway to win a free spot in the Falling For You class. And, let me tell ya, your favorite art journal techniques are so varied and awesome! If you are ever lacking for inspiration, take a peek at the giveaway post comments and you'll find something to get ya going!

Some of you love using acrylic paints; others are fans of watercolor. Some like to draw, either with pencils or pens; others love finding the perfect collage image. Some of you love Inktense pencils and color wash sprays, but you all really love watercolor crayons. (Me, too!) A common theme was that everyone loves making backgrounds, particularly with credit cards and baby wipes. We are all, clearly, long lost siblings!!!

 I know everyone is waiting to find out who the winner is, and I am thrilled that you are all so excited about it! So, without further delay, I'm happy to announce that the winner of the free spot in the Falling For You class, per Random.org is:

Congratulations! I will be emailing you very soon letting you know that you've won and sending you an invite to the classroom. [edit - Actually, when I tried to email you, I realized that you aren't set up to receive emails through blogger. Here's a page about no-reply bloggers. Please email me for course details!]

Didn't win? Don't worry! Class starts tomorrow, and you have the rest of the day today to join the class at the discounted returning student rate of $15, which for an eleven week class is a steal! After today, the class will return to the regular price of $20, which is still an awesome price, if I do say so. For today only, I will honor the $15 returning student rate for ANYONE, so hop on that train right away!

So what's up for Falling For You?

Lots of awesomeness! We will be having weekly art challenges coupled with a giveaway. I'm excited about the challenges & can't wait to see what you do with them! We'll have prompts, inspirational image collections, technique videos, and a couple other cool weekly features. I have the first four weeks pretty solidly planned out, and will begin recording the first technique video today: Dirty Dozen -- 12 ways to use stencils in your pages. 

When I first got my stencils from the Crafter's Workshop, I had no idea what to do with them, so I just started experimenting. Some stuff worked well, others not so much. I came up with 12 different ways to use them for different looks and I'm going to share them all with you! Cool, right?

[And, actually, I think there will be 13 now, because Bernice left a comment about her favorite technique using water and water-soluble inks.... sweet! Thanks, Bernice! I tried out the technique last night and I love it!]

{Don't worry if you don't have stencils: I'm going to share some information on making your own stencils using things you likely already have around the house!}

Other techniques will be: creating awesome textured backgrounds with a few simple supplies, exploring pastels, & everything image transfers. (The others are still yet to be determined, but will definitely be fun!)

Some days we will have specific prompt assignments or challenges; other days will be all about creative play. We'll have one day per week that is a "catch up day", where I'll post a round-up of images & pages created by students that week.

Can't wait to see you there!

13 September 2011

Mixed Media Art: Be A Dreamer

Be A Dreamer

For this piece, I started with a background layer of masking tape, which I then painted over using two shades of blue craft paint & some Adirondack color wash in Wild Plum. After this layer was dry, I used clear gesso to "seal" the layer and give me tooth for further layers.

Next, I found an image in a catalog (TOAST) and added the iron-on butterflies in the corners. I glued the image with gel medium, outlined it in blue and purple oil pastels, which I blended with my finger.

Then, I traced the girl's face and hands with a black Sharpie pen (note to self: should have done this before the oil pastels because I think I ruined my pen... sad face!). Used a touch of a pink neocolor II on her lips and used 3 shades of purple neocolors to change her hair color.

Added a piece of vintage sheet music and wanted to iron another butterfly on top, but the iron wasn't hot enough & I'm impatient, so instead I used a Sharpie poster-paint marker to write the word "dreamer" and draw a little heart. I went around the edges with black pan pastel, which I just love.

Loved it at this point, but the bottom right corner was looking plain so I decided to find a quote to add to the space. It reads: "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." (Henry David Thoreau)

Since I was using my Uni-Ball Signo UM-153 white gel pen anyway, added some doodles and hearts, as well as some highlights on her face.

Finally, I used one of my new stencils from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's line with the Crafter's Workshop to add the white triangles around the figure. I used white pan pastels and an eraser to get rid of the bits that ended up on the girl.

I am loving this piece! (It it a painting? A mixed media canvas? I dunno what to call my work, but it makes me happy regardless!). I worked on it for at least three hours during crafty morning with my friend, but maybe longer! Still, I consider it time well spent!

{FYI --- We'll be learning the techniques I used to create the background of this piece in my new online art class: Falling For You. There's a giveaway going on right now until tomorrow morning if you'd like to try to win a spot! I promised two winners if we reached 50 entries & we're pretty close to reaching that!}

11 September 2011

Giveaway: Free Class Ends Wednesday 9AM

Only a few more days to enter the giveaway to win a free spot in my new online art class: 

Giveaway ends at (approximately) 9 AM Wednesday morning. 

I will select the winner using a random number generator and post the winner before noon on Wednesday. Just a reminder: Wednesday is also the last day to register for the class at the $15 discounted rate! So be sure to check back Wednesday to see if you've won! If you haven't, you'll still have the day to sign up and save $5. Class starts on Thursday!

Enter the giveaway now. (Note: Giveaway  now closed!)

Can't sign up in time or finding out about this class late? 
No worries! 

Falling For You is a self-paced course, which means that you can log in when you want and take your time to finish. You might miss some of the weekly art challenge giveaways, but other than that, you'll be just fine starting anytime! Once you've signed up, you will have access to all of the course materials forever, which means you can take your sweet time!


09 September 2011

Tutorial: $5 Camera Stand for Videos

I have discovered that I really love watching people's art journaling videos, and so I wanted to start making some of my own. There's just something really cool and fascinating about watching a video of a piece of art from blank canvas to a finished state. The problem that I'd been having with making videos is getting the right angle for the shot. I couldn't quite figure out how to have the focus be on the artwork without having it at a weird angle for the viewer. Plus, I didn't want to have to work on it at a weird angle, cuz that would be awkward.

Nick has a giant tripod which I'd been using for my videos, which works well, but I really wanted to be able to focus more on the artwork and less on whether or not I had too much cleavage showing. To be honest, I don't want to be in my videos at all! Well, except for my hands... those clearly need to be involved because I have not yet mastered telekinetic art making.

I knew I needed to have some sort of overhead system, but I wasn't quite sure how to make it work.... until I saw a photo of a makeshift set up on Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's blog:

Photo copyright Julie Fei-Fan Balzer
I was going to rig up my own system, maybe without the bananas, but then I realized that I could very likely build a satisfactory setup using just a few things from the local hardware store. I found this tutorial which would definitely be way sturdier overall, but I didn't want to work with metal because it would be more expensive and more of a pain to try to drill, etc. It was a huge help to learn that a 1/4 inch bolt was what I'd need to screw my camera onto the stand, just I hadn't quite worked out how I was going to do that.

I did a quick sketch of what I thought would work and then Nick helped me figure out the measurements for the camera height and the width of the stand so that it would fit well on my desk. You could obviously customize this to meet your own needs. First, here's a picture of my stand:

My journal pages are 8 x 10, which means the spread is 10 x 16, just to give you a sense of scale. If you were using a smaller journal, you could get away with a smaller camera stand, I bet. If you need a larger area, you'll need a larger stand. In order to figure out the height, I turned my camera on and held it up over the journal until I got just the right view. [I added 1 extra inch, but if I were to make this again, I'd add an extra two or three, just to enable me to zoom in on a single page if I wanted.]

To build one just like mine, you will need:

1 - 1x2x8 pine board cut into the following lengths: 2x20inches, 2x10inches, 1x24inches + remainder scrap*
1 - 1/4 inch x 1.5 inch bolt (#63332) +
1 - 1/4 inch hex nut (#63301)
2 - 1/4 inch flat washers (#63306)

For these items, my grand total came for $4.21 for this project. (And I bought two extra washers.) If you don't already have 8 screws (1.5 inches or so), you'll need to get those, too. I am assuming you already have a power drill. If not, you might want to borrow one from a friend. You could do the screws by hand, but you will need to be able to drill a 1/4 inch hole in the frame for the bolt.

* I bought my board at Lowe's. They will cut your board for you. The signs always say that you get the first two cuts for free & additional cuts are 25 cents each, but no one has ever charged me extra, no matter how many cuts I've gotten. I do recommend going at a slower time of the day, if at all possible, so you won't have to wait in line.

+ Nick says not to buy galvanized because it's poison. Take your camera with you to test out the bolt to make sure it fits. I'm pretty sure all cameras are going to be pretty standard when it comes to tripod stands, but just in case.

The two 10 inch pieces will be the base of your stand. The two 20 inches pieces are the sides. You want to line up the base pieces so that you'll be screwing through the shorter one inch sides. Attach both bases to the sides using two screws on each then side aside.

Look on the base of your camera to see where the tripod attachment is located. Mine is about 1 inch to the left of the center. Find the center of the 24 inch board then adjust according to the tripod base. Doing this ensures that your camera, when attached, will be positioned in the center. (I.e. for my camera, I'll move the measurement 1 inch left before drilling.

Drill a 1/4 inch hole at the mark you made in the last step. You will drill the whole way through the 1-inch wide part (i.e. in the middle of the 2-inch wide part). Use the scrap piece of wood from the 1x2x8 to protect your work surface.

 Screw the bolt into the hole you just drilled. Add the two washers then tighten with the nut.

Take this piece and position it between the two sides you already created. Use two screws on each side to attach this longer piece at the top of the sides. (Note that it doesn't matter which way the bolt faces at this point.)

 Once your entire stand is screwed together, position it on your work surface so that the part of the bolt that you will be attaching your camera to faces away from you. Screw your camera into place and make any adjustments as needed.  I found that my camera would occasionally slide down, no matter how tight I screwed it in initially, so I use a big push pin to hold it up. My camera is very light weight and this works very well for me. If your camera is heavier, you may need to putter a bit to make the stand work for you.

Here's what my camera sees from its new position on the finished camera stand. Sweet, right?

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