Monday, January 1, 2018

Amid the chaos, be still

So back in March, while I was in Napa for work, I attended a Mixed Media class.  We experimented with creating lots of layers:  collage with papers, paint, stencils, stamps, mark-making, etc.  I didn't set out to create a finished piece.  Rather, I wanted to create background papers that I could use one day.  Our practice piece was created on posterboard.  Our "finished" piece was created on canvas.

For my cards this month, I think I was subconsciously inspired by the busy-ness of the holidays.  December is usually harried and stressful.  In the past, my swaps will go on hiatus for the holidays and resume in the New Year.  I was going to ask the card swap group if they wanted to skip December to focus on the holiday preparations.  I for one, came to the realization that I needed  to create cards this month.  With all of the mayhem around me, I longed to set aside quiet time to create my cards.  When I posed the option of taking a break to the group, they unanimously agreed that they too, wanted--no, needed--to create cards this month.  I was so happy to hear this.  

Each of us is really relishing the idea of creating our monthly mindfulness cards.  I shared with them that I can't recall a time that I was more inspired.  I look at our list of Mindfulness Prompts and swirls of ideas and images constantly pop into my head.  I have so many ideas for cards I want to create.  It is invigorating to feel this way.  I only wish I had more time to create.  As it is, work has been quite busy, and it really takes discipline to find the time to make my cards and to mail them out at the end of every month.  But what joy this monthly exercise brings!

So, back to this month's creation.  I took my "practice" background paper and immediately felt that it represented "chaos."  Amid the chaos, I wanted to find a place of stillness.  I illustrated this by suspending a cut out circle with the words "be still" by a piece of string.  The circle can flip from front (chaos) to back (be still).

P.S.  Since creating this card, I have run across two quotes that express a similar sentiment:  "Find calm in the cacophony" and "Out of clutter, find simplicity~John Wheeler."

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Something Blue...and Yellow

I attended my high school classmates' annual holiday gathering last weekend.  We always have a theme for our grab bag gift exchange.  This year's theme was Blue and/or Yellow.  Since I have been on an alcohol ink binge lately, I decided to create a sea creature series in Blue and Yellow and frame them as a set.

I can't begin to tell you how complicated the grab bag gift exchange is, but this version allows people to steal gifts that have been opened from previous recipients.  I was flattered that once my framed was opened, many people were hoping to end up with it.  Happily, our hostess for the evening is delighted to be the proud owner of my frame and I couldn't be more pleased that she already has a place in her home to display it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


As we work our way through the Mindfulness Prompts each month, I can't believe how many ideas I have!  As an added challenge, I am trying to use a different technique for each month's card.

For this month, I have been experimenting and playing with light modeling paste.  I love how it adds texture and dimension to a piece.  I decided to apply the paste through a stencil (so many choices!)  When I stumbled onto my bamboo stencil, that was it.  I initially associated the bamboo with "strength" and/or "flexibility."  I tried and tried to find the perfect quote to express these characteristics of the bamboo, but none of the quotes I found felt quite right.

When I found this quote about finding wisdom in emptiness, it really spoke to me.  Instead of focusing on the "strength" or "flexibility" of the bamboo, I looked to the hollow of the bamboo to  represent "wisdom." 

Sunday, October 29, 2017


My Mindfulness card for this month was created with alcohol inks (Pool and Citrus).  I was just playing with these colors and when I was done, I thought they resembled lily pads.  I made the 3-D flower out of vellum colored with Distress Stain (Picked Raspberry).  The center of the flower is also colored with Distress Stain (Squeezed Lemonade).  I added detail to the lily pads with a .005 Micron pen.  Finally, I stamped "beauty" with black StazOn.

Alcohol Ink Tags

I am really enjoying experimenting and playing with these alcohol inks on Yupo paper.  The colors are so intense.  I'm learning not be be afraid of making mistakes because you can "erase" the color with 91% rubbing alcohol.  The more I played with them, the more I liked the results!!  These are some tags I made for a group of art friends.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Creating Sea Creatures


My girlfriend, Pat, invited me to a "Fluid Art Workshop" the other night where we learned to draw sea creatures with alcohol inks on Yupo paper. The process was so fascinating--the colors are incredibly vivid and brilliant! Sooooo relaxing and very addicting!!
I can't wait to play and experiment more with these techniques!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Mindfulness Card Swap

After an extended hiatus, I am finally, slowly getting back to creating again and it feels great!  I am  easing my way back to making art on a regular basis by participating in a Mindfulness Card Swap with two other friends.  We brainstormed and came up with a list of twenty mindfulness prompts.  Each month we pick a prompt and create a 4 x 6 card inspired by that prompt.  We make three cards--one for each of the other players and one for ourselves.  In the end, we will have a set of twenty different mindfulness cards.  I am excited to see what our completed deck of cards will look like!  Here is my first card:

The background paper is a gelli print on rice paper.  I was playing with color combinations and liked this antique white with a metallic acrylic paint (DecoArt Luminous Gold).  My girlfriend described it as "butter and sugar."  I tore the gelli prints into 3 x 5 pieces and temporarily mounted them with a glue stick onto my watercolor paper substrate.  I used the scrap pieces of torn rice paper (you can still see some of the paint on the scraps) to stamp the word "breathe."   I adhered that to the background paper.  To finish, I free-motion stitched around the edges with silver thread.  It complemented the metallic flecks in the gelli printed rice paper and provided just a subtle touch of sparkle to complete my card.  Though I was feeling a bit rusty after all these months, I loved the way my cards turned out!!