Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Must Read

I love to Read. I love words almost as much as paint. I consider myself an illustrator really, not an Artist, even tho I call myself one. I can't draw or sketch a realistic Anything. But I feel compelled to create collages or ATC's or canvases that Illustrate what certain words mean to me. I need to illustrate the way words make me feel. Almost everything I do with paint and paper is a form of personal journalling. Words don't instill connection with us unless the subject is something we can relate to, capice??? For someone who loves words sometimes I have a hell of a time finding the right ones to express myself with!! But I think you get my meaning. I found one of the BEST books I have ever read yesterday and was up until 5 am finishing it. The author is Joe Coomer and the book is "One Vacant Chair". The book is about an Artist who paints nothing but chairs. Ironically I bought a painting from Kelcey Loomer of Sweet Mess featuring a chair not long ago. Take a gander at it, its on my left sidebar. She did a whole series inspired by "Rest". The book is also about family, life, death, and it is often hilarious. I always have those little post it note tabs onhand and highlight brilliant metaphors, hilarious sequences, or insightful passages while reading. When I am done reading the book, I copy down all the tabbed words into a special notebook for future inspiration. I treasure this notebook as much as the quilt my beloved grandmother made for me. Yeah, that much. I don't have a journal anymore in which I list things that are happening to me in real life. I have had so much freakin dissapointment and it is really depressing to see it written down. I used to absolutely NEED to write specifics down. I had to either purge it or Start Keying Cars. Now I avoid it at all costs. I prefer to mosey through this notebook and see what words struck me and can judge my mental state that way, without any of the messy details of reality. I used to think I would let my daughter read my journals when she was 30 or had her first baby or even after I die. NO FREAKIN WAY. In the not so distant future I am going to burn them or glue them to canvas and paint over them. Let her make her own mistakes without knowing the scarey thoughts that were in my head when I was her age, or become intimate with all my absolutely ridiculously stupid errors in judgement about life. By life, I mean Men. teehee. Anyway, this book has the most tabs EVER:

Shot of the cover:

I'm going to share one of my tabbed selections:

"Her stockings hadn't shrunk as much as her calves had. Her hose were so twisted from knee to ankle that it seemed she was screwed into her shoes."

How hilarious is that. Come on, you've seen old ladies with this same affliction, just never described to you this way!!! Priceless.

And Another :

"The point of a pencil in contact with any surface contained the known and unknown universe."

Ok that's all the teasers you get. Go read it. Book reports due next Thursday. teehee. I really would love to know what you think of this book.
This last photo is a gratuitous close up of my first ever Gel Manicure. I got it last Wed for a mere 25 bucks, and it hasn't chipped or gouged. I am in love. I usually mess up my nails on the way home from Kim's Nails. Gel dries Hard in less than 10 minutes. The only down side is I have to use gloves when I create. I have a feeling I'll get sick of the color before it chips. I'm hiding from the trick or treators. All the lights except for the studio are out. I brought up snacks and diet pepsi, my library books. I feel like I am camping. teehee. Hope you have a fun Halloween night. xoSusan

Friday, October 30, 2009

Charmed, I AM Sure!!!

A big thank you goes out to my blog peeps who so kindly shared their knowledge and/or commiserated with me about my Charm Debacle. Lorri from Artivity gave me THE most important Clue of all. One must seal Ones artwork with Gel Medium or Modge Podge, especially BOTH sides of those tiny little words before adding the DG3. Better than an Oprah Aha Moment. Kathy, (who is blogless, shame on her teehee) sick with the flu, with her sidekick Keanu Reeves, talked me down off the ledge and came up a good link and added THE most important Clue #2, Apply Thin Layers with 48 hours of drying time in between. I guess I should have started at Easter, to get these Christmas presents done....teehee. Jennlui seconded Lorri's Sealing Step and reiterated using Thin Layers. Terri commiserated so wonderfully and suggested Tacky Glue, Lorri suggested EZ Pour Resin and Roberta swears by jewelers grade Ice Resin. Roberta also said keep the room cool and stay away from using feathers in the Ice Resin. I can only imagine how she came to that conclusion. I think she raided her chicken coop on a cold winter's day......teehee. These products sound fabulous, but in the Spirit Of Cheapness and Using What I Have On Hand, I passed on these ideas, but will store them away for future reference. Katelyn said I should Stay Away from what she tried, Clear Nail Polish. Hey, it's equally good to hear about What NOT To do!!! Robin was her usual sweet self and said she even liked the yucky ones!! What a good friend!! (Robin have you had an eye exam lately? call me...teehee) I found this cool video on youtube by John W. Golden:

So here are six successful charms except for one thing. The holes I punched are too big. But that's ok. After all this hulabaloo I'm still using them. The next set I'm just going to use a nail and hammer and not the cropodile thing I own but have used twice. Had to have it tho, didn't I?? sigh. Anyway my bro and s-i-l are both into antiques and Victorian things and I think they will like these.

So I am moving forward with my charms. Hey, don't forget to email me your address, unless of course you don't want one of these charms that look like a Fourth Grader made them now, after all your awesome Advice and Encouragement. teehee. Seriously, Thank you, oh so much. xoSusan

Friday, October 23, 2009

Not So Charmed, I'm Sure

What a Debacle with a capital D. I'm starting to think Holidays. Yup, It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. In my mind, anyway. I thought I would get started on making Christmas Gifts for my friends and family. This year finances are tight and I have been hording supplies to make wine charms as gifts this year. Oh, uh, I let the cat out of the bag, but what the hell. These are not looking good enough to give to Anyone, let alone someone I like. teehee. Things started out well. I had the bottle caps on hand ready to go. I punched circles out of almost all of my Favorite Handmade papers to put in the caps. There is no more Favorite Paper left. sigh. I've never made charms before and thought, how hard can it be? I mean a third grader can do it right? WRONG. Maybe one in Honors classes.
Here is a closeup of some of my papers. I made some in my class with Fred B. Mullet and some with deli papers at home. Acrylics, twinkling H2o's, gold papers, glimmer mists, you name it, its on there. I used a little bit of the DG3 as glue with a brush to adhere the papers into the caps. Let that dry.
Had fun stamping the backs with Alcohol inks. So far so good, right? No premonitions of the disaster to come......
Had fun making little collages in them. I know this stamp is overused but I love it. Stamped on a transparency then punched out. German glass glitter courtesy of Robin. Thanks again, gal!!! This one is shown after adding the DG3 gel. Still feeling good. Cocky, in fact. They are so cute, easy, Cheap!! What great gifts. Until......
I just loved this one. I cut words from my old Wuthering Heights book. Added the transparency punch. Poured in the DG3 gel. An hour later, What the Hell?? The letters on the back of the word Escape are starting to show through!!! Crap!!! I let it keep drying hoping it would go away. I took both of theses charms to work to ask the girls their opinions. Dr. S could not tell that there was a face in the charm and could barely make out the word. There was also a fingerprint impressed into the surface. I think she did it. But won't admit it. teehee. Seriously, it looks like Shit. And the Secrets one??? Has scratches on the surface. 2 days later I stuck my fingernail in it to test it. Yup, it make a big indent. Now What In The Name Of All That Is Holy did I do Wrong??? I can't give these as gifts. People think I'm an Artist, these Charms Do Not REPRESENT!! HOLLA!! Can I get an AMEN on that!!

Here are 4 that are barely ok. They are still not hard, like 5 days later. This is not the simple slap it together thing I thought it was going to be. I guess I will have to paint the back of a tiny word cutting to obliterate the word on the back. But the paint will be over the letters, so the letters will still show thru, right? I'm so confused. I could print it out, by that's so much Work and not as Authentic dammit. I want to use an old book. Wah Wah.
Here are the 3 worst ones!! This is so embarrassing. The ink completely dissolved off the transparencies, and they were really cool shells, one was a dragonfly.

I wasted really good words too. Is the secret doing like 10 really thin layers? What a pain in the A Double Scribble. Seriously, I thought you poured it in, popped the bubbles with a pin, let them dry to harden and then laughed all the way thru the Christmas holidays without the Gift Monkey on your back.
I am completely obsessed with making this work. If ANYONE has any advice or has made these before or used DG3 before Please Advise. My goal besides making wine charms for my family, was to make charms to send to all my beloved blog friends. I owe you guys for visiting, commenting, supporting, inspiring, advising and well, the list goes on and on. So Robin, PaulaBeth, Kim, Terri, Jean, Marsha, Gaby, Dee, Lorri, Leslie, Mary, Hollie, Sherry, Chris, Joy, Lori, Lesley, Marianne, Kathy, Katelen, Cathy, Roberta, Diva, Diane, and anyone else who I am so sorry I forgot to name, cuz the DG3 has rotted my brain, Help me out here and show me how It's Really Done!!! And by the way if I haven't traded with you before, I won't have your address. So please email me privately, not in the comments, with your address, so I can send you a Humble Gift of Gratitude this Holiday Season. If these damn things don't work out, I'll come up with something else, I promise!! Is Anyone Else thinking Holidays yet??Hey, don't shoot the Messenger!! teehee. xoSusan

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Modern Medieval

I have tons and tons of Medieval images, ideas and inspiration roaming around in my studio and my head. I had to put my sarcastic spin on a new subject. Along the way I had an amazing discovery. The wrapping paper I purchased (and never used, sigh) for the workshop has a shiny surface. So I says to myself, Self, why don't you see what happens when you put alcohol ink on it. It looks Incredible, that's what happens!!!! Now, for all of you out there that already know this, just chuckle to yourselves and don't pee on my parade. teehee. This pic is a before and after of the same paper. I am loving it!!

This first ATC is "Blind Date". I used the above paper in all of these, and a medieval tile stamp from The Stampsmith. The face is from Artchix.

"Escape Clause".

"Verbal Abuse". Tissue collage sheet from Blackberry Designs.

"No More Bad Hair Days". All Medieval clip art is
Dover, and Karen's Whimsey. All ATC's have baseball card substrate.

Gonna go eat dinner. I have a strange craving for Grog and Roasted Pig....xoSusan

Medieval Manuscript Workshop

Last weekend I spent Sunday in NYC. I was lucky enough to attend Lynne Perrella's Medieval Manuscript Workshop sponsored by The Ink Pad. The workshop was held at the Westbeth Community Center.

The workshop space was wonderful. Plenty of space, we each got our own table. I love that. Of course even tho our supplies were spread out, we all brought so much junk that most of us ended up working in a tiny workspace, just like home!!! huh? what? oh, that was just me???
After a warm welcome from Lynne and The Ink Pad Staff, we perused a small sampling of Lynne's papers, a large selection of both Asian and Medieval collage sheets and some workshop essentials while we waited a half hour for the stragglers to arrive. I can't really complain about their tardiness, I left home extra early and the train broke down and I had to switch trains. Terrifying for a first timer. I just followed a lady with a cool poncho that I knew was going to the city!!! I was irritated that we weren't getting started at first, but pulled my head out of my ass and thought, ok, what if I had gotten lost?? One day it's inevitable that I will be the late one. Lynne was very gracious about it. I have been to workshops in which this is not the case. Nuff said. When we did dive in, we started with large sheets of "construction" paper. This is the type of construction paper hot, burly men lay down on your carpeting so they don't track their sexy boots across and dirty, ok, I'm back. Had a delightful visual there. What was your guy wearing? Mine didn't have a shirt on. Egads....Gesso, right, we painted a layer of gesso on and marked into it with all kinds of stamps, stencils, cardboard, layed cheesecloth down, anything and everything was being used!!

Here is mine completely covered.

Gratuitous close up One:

Gratuitous close up Two:

We hung the papers in the windows to dry:

After this we sat in a "dialogue circle" and 20 Artists with 20 varied and interesting stories talked for the next hour and 15 minutes. I was last. I am wonderful one on one or in small groups, but HATE talking in front of 20 silent people looking at me. My least favorite part of the day. Seriously, I just wanted to paint!!! I know a lot of people really like this type of activity, and I respect that, I am just not one of them. That's ok. It's all a learning experience and basking in Lynne's brilliance for the whole day made up for it. Are you thinking that if I participate in this type of activity enough I will get comfortable with it and may even enjoy it someday? WRONG. Never Gonna Happen. It's ok, I've lived long enough to make peace with most of my shortcomings. Not the size of my ass, though. teehee.

We broke for lunch and I saw so much beautiful and varied wrought iron. Only got one pic though. I was on a mission for food!! There was a grocery store and a Chinese food restaurant within 2 blocks. The location was really very convenient.
After lunch we got our creative juices flowing with an interesting exercise. We were instructed to cut silhouettes from an object in the above painting. I choose the dog/sheep thing. You can see my pathetic piece on the page.
We then taped them to the wall and made an interesting collage. A wonderful exercise for "thinking outside the box". Many times during the day, Lynne's teachings triggered "out of the box" thinking for me, a creative area in which I truly need to grow. I am so grateful to her for that. She was so encouraging and appreciative of everyone's work.
After the exercise, we added paint to our manuscripts. I used up the last of my Stewart Gill yellow paint. It was the perfect color for the day! I added some cheap copper metallic paint both with brush and brayer.
Next we added papers of all kinds. There was such an amazing and unique array of papers used by each artist. I used my handmade papers, tissues, napkins and collage sheets. Do you see where the 2 castle images mirror each other? Wonderful composition right? That was a perfect example of Lynne's personal guidance. She looked over what I had laying on the paper and said, what if you.......and boy was she right. Everything changed, the dynamics of the piece and what was going on in my brain!! Priceless!! The below picture shows how my piece looked at the end of the workshop.
Next we added black and white toner images. Lynne did a demonstration with Portfolio oil crayons, making stencils out of index cards, adding some paint here and there, and it was amazing to see her take something with a good start and make it Incredible!!

Here is Lynne cutting and folding our paintings into the manuscript/book format .
Armed with inspiration and new knowledge I started working on my manuscript when I got home. Above is the front page. How cool is that corset x-ray?? I'm proud of that idea. OUT of the BOX, dammit!!
View of the front page with some of the back page showing.
Second page. Oops, forgot to crop it. My bad.
Third page.
Some of the second page and all of the third page.
Fourth page. Lynne loved how the Maiden has her back to Men in Armour. Oh, I mean Armor. teehee.
Fifth page. Not finished.

Some of both Fourth and Fifth.
Last page. Not finished.

If you look close you can see where Lynne made the cut to make the manuscript fold into a book.

Here are the mechanics of the folding. I have lots of finishing touches to add. I'm also going to gesso and stamp the back side of the manuscript. I should probably make my bed too. teehee. I can't recommend Lynne and her Workshops, the staff of The Ink Pad, and the venue location, Westbeth Community Center, enough. I had a major growth experience just traveling to the workshop. Once there, I was inspired, taught to think outside the box by an amazingly generous and Talented Artist, and forced to get out of my comfort zone in a variety of ways. I wish I had a money tree in my backyard. Maybe I'll find one and be able to attend Lynne's workshop in Connecticut in 2010.......Now, Go Get Medieval. teehee. xoSusan

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mail Glorious Mail

Check out this Most Excellent Trade from Joy:

Joy's ATC's are a mix of Sarcastic and Sweet, Hilarious and Serious, each one a wonderful peak inside her Head!! When we did our trade I had the hardest darn time trying to decide which one I covet most. I just couldn't resist "Weekends Did The Damage". Visit Joy at her blog aptly named "Joy To The Blog". I'll be in her Posse any day. xoSusan

Angel Images

First and Foremost, a BIG Thank You to everyone who has commented about my First Ever Journal Page. I am honored you visit and take the time to comment. Thank you!! The Muse is still kicking hard with no time to indulge her until Friday. Can't wait!! Marsha, I will pay attention to your astute "grass is always greener" comment and try to be grateful for the opportunities that I Do Have or at the very least, stop whining!! teehee.There is pressure Everywhere, no matter what choices we make. It must be very Bittersweet to have Art as your full time "job". I can so relate to needing that feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. If the muse isn't kicking, there is no shame in seeing that pile of laundry dwindle down to nothing, and to check out the gunk that ends in the vacuum cleaner bag!! Keepin it Real, Marsha!!

Also thanks to Michelle Ward for commenting!! She is one Incredible Artist and I am honored that she stopped by to view my entry in her #34 Come Over To The Dark Side Crusade.
My new blog visitor, Hollie, asked about the Angel Image I used in an earlier ATC. These were originally purchased from a company called Queen of Tarts. I think. It was a long time ago. Because I can't find the company, sadly I think it is No More, I feel that it's ok for me to share these images. If anyone out there has information to the contrary please let me know and I will take the images down.

Also, Hello to Deanna and Georgia from Sunday's Lynne Perrella workshop. Georgia was kind enough to make our group aware that The Rubin Museum of Art in NYC is exhibiting Carl Jung's Red Book for the first time. You can find some excellent images here. Wonderful article here, titled "The Holy Grail of The Subconcious". Just reading about Carl Jung makes me all too aware of how little I do know....but I can See that my house is a mess and my kid needs to eat so I'll bid you a Concious Adieu....xoSusan

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Passwords To Hell Complete

This is sooooo finished. I came home from Lynne Perrella's workshop inspired and exhausted. I also came home Super Resentful. Of having to Waste Time: working for a living, doing the dishes, cooking, driving, Everything that does not allow me to do Art Uninterrupted. That would be a good blog name wouldn't it?? Art Uninterrupted. I'll have to check it out and see if a blog exists by that name. If not......The bidding starts Here!!! teehee. Anyway, back on topic. I will be blogging about my workshop experience this weekend. I just don't have the energy now. Sunday began at 5am and ended at 9pm. Had to work yesterday 9-730 and today till 3. Took a long winter's nap, and now I need to create. So here is my First Ever Journal Page finished. I stayed up WAY too late last night finishing it. The muse was inspired by my workshop experience. I had an interesting (I think anyway) thought about whether I should spell shoulda, woulda, coulda correctly. I think when you see them spelled accurately, your mind does not allow you to interpret the words as Names. I wanted the words to look like names yet have the dual meaning and make the viewer feel the emotion caused by those words. I have a Real ISSUE with thinking outside the box. And when I had this epiphany (probably minor for you, Big for me) I was really excited. I attribute this to my participation in Lynne's workshop. She is definitely NOT BOXED IN, and I was fortunate enough to get one on one instruction/inspiration from her. Off to the studio, because, After All, Art is the only thing that keeps Self Pity and Regret at Bay. xoSusan
P.S. I Participated with Michelle Wards GPP Street Team Crusade #34, Come Over To The Dark Side with this page. What Fun!! Thanks Kim from the Queen of Arts for the Heads Up!!!

Creature ATC

In the spirit of Halloween, here is a creature some of you may recognize, teehee.
Creature From The Man Lagoon ATC:
Watercolor paper painted with acrylics, cabinet card, crappy apollo7039/purell transfer, portfolio water soluble oil pastels. What I thought was a Crappy transfer works perfectly for this spooky theme. I love the way his eye peeks out. Hope you all have your Creatures Well Trained. teehee. xoSusan

Friday, October 9, 2009

Self-Pity and Regret

Ok, Here they are in all their Awfulness, the Two Words that are my Personal Passwords to Hell.
This is Nowhere near done. Lots of layers of paint here, magazine arms and words, pencil highlights. When I get depressed it's because of these 2 Evil Feelings. I start overthinking and shoulding on myself. Seriously, if I knew then what I know now, things would be so freakin different. But isn't it weird that we struggle with seeing clearly In The Now. So 5 years years from now when I get depressed I'll wish I was doing Now different, right? Who knows, it's mostly a crapshoot. I have brief windows of clarity due to acquired wisdom. Sometimes I even think before I speak. Gee. I hope I don't regret sharing my deep dark secrets someday, teehee.......xoSusan

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Another Journal Page

This one is called Passwords To Hell. Yeah, I know it doesn't show yet, but I have a plan. Here is what I have so far:

This page has a gesso background in which I've stamped with my Judikin's Gustave Klimt Bolio. God, I love that thing. Drybrushed acrylics over it. Stay tuned for the next step. I know you're dying to know what my Personal Passwords to Hell are. Wait for it.........xoSusan