Life Book 2014 – Week 5

This weeks lesson was taught by Marieke Blokland. It was about exaggerated faces and cute sweet treat doodles.

Here is the teacher’s page.

Marieke Blokland Journal Page

After learning how to draw more realistic looking faces this was hard to do at first. But after seeing her techniques of taking simple shapes and putting them all together to make this silly face, I was hooked! Time to PLAY!

So here is my page.

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I posted this to our Facebook group page and Marieke commented and said

She’s lovely! The page has an 80’s feel over it, love that.”

It wasn’t intentional, but I love the 80’s so I’m happy with that look. I got a lot more great comments from people. It’s so nice to have such amazing support from everyone, especially when you feel insecure about what you produced. It’s such a loving and uplifting group of people that I am so grateful for.

Now back to the piece… I purposely put her arms behind her back. I didn’t know how to paint the hands so sticking them behind her back got me out of it. I’m pretending that she’s hiding more candy back there!

When I created the dress I had Audrey Hepburn in mind. I love Audrey Hepburn’s look and a dress like that would be simple to recreate in paper. I used ribbon for the belt and this cute little buckle came from a friend who was getting rid of a bunch of scrap booking stuff that she wasn’t using. SCORE! I love free stuff!

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The lesson was about doodling the sweet treats, but after we made the head and cut it out to put on our background, I thought, “Why not do this for the treats too?” So that’s exactly what I did. It did take a lot more time to make all these, but it was fun and relaxing. I had my Project Runway DVD going on the tv (my husband bought me 7 Seasons for Christmas) so it was a pleasant afternoon.

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Well, another week’s lesson completed. I just can’t say enough how much I LOVE this course! The teachers and lessons are so creative and it’s so nice to have something to look forward to every week.

Til next time…

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Life Book 2014 – Week 4

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’ve been participating in an art course called Life Book. This is the result of my lesson this week.

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The teacher, Kelly Hoernig, asked us to pick three of our favorite things for our journal page. So I chose some type, polka dots and butterflies. I also included my word for the year “Joy” and my color for the year, Pink. We were supposed to use materials we had laying around.

The pink graphic flowers are from a huge poster I got from a Print Expo. Being at the expo and seeing all the free printouts and papers… I wanted to go nuts and shove them all in my free Epson bag. But I restrained myself, I was after all representing our business Stephen Edward Graphics.

The polka dots were made from a stencil and some heavy gesso. The butterflies and the word Joy came from some stamps I received just last week. My husband knows how much I love Donna Downey’s work and bought me a gift certificate for Christmas for her online shop. So I loaded up on a bunch if her stamps. I have to say, they are really nice quality and LARGE! I love that!

The “amusement” type came from some Tim Holtz tissue paper. I really wanted a dictionary or thesaurus page with the word Joy, but I didn’t have one. But amusement is close enough. I am determined to get out if the house this week and go to our local bargain shop, Bargains Galore, and find some old books. I really love the way type looks in the background of a piece.

The tag is just a normal tag that I got from Staples. I painted it, stamped it and drew some white flowers on it. I also cut up some white cardstock to mimic a tag and stuck it underneath. I just wanted the tag to pop off the background some more. It was blending in too much.

Lastly, I added some glass beads to the tag strings. The strings were so plain laying there. I couldn’t just leave them. I found a box of glass beads laying on the shelf. Cheap ones, kinda wonky. I think they were my daughters. They were the perfect addition. I didn’t even realize it until just now that I was representing glass in this piece about things I love. Wow! I am constantly surprised at all the “happy accidents” that occur like that.

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I posted it to our group’s Facebook page. I was a little nervous because it was very different than the teachers example. She had really muted colors and although I did try it the way I just couldn’t live with it. I’m a little too funky/crazy for that. Well, anyway… I got a lot of beautiful comments from the other members. And over 100 people “liked” it!

We are our own worse critic. Other people don’t see our mistakes. They only see the beauty. I need to try to be more like that towards myself.

Til next time…

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Life Book 2014 – Week 3

I have to admit that I didn’t really like this lesson, but as Tamara said, that’s to be expected. Some lessons and teachers you really connect with and some you do not. Although, I did like the teacher (Carla Sonheim) personally and I thought her lesson was really well done. The video was very professional, clearly taught and she has a nice voice. I just don’t like such free form drawing. My perfectionism strikes again! But I did learn some valuable things.

We worked on index cards so we could feel free and not pressured by working on really nice paper. Yes! Objective achieved! I will remember that in the future when I’m worried about doing something “for real”. I’ll test it out first on an index card.

We did a drawing of flowers in a vase without lifting up the pen. One line.

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Not great, but recognizable. I’ve never tried that before.

We did a flower drawing by using 2 pieces of scrap paper. You put the scraps down first and then add to them with your pen. I cheated a bit by picking a circle I already cut out for a flower painting I was doing.

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I love swirls! They were kind of my signature when I was working with glass. I either added swirls with glass paint for my kiln fired glass or I made wire swirls that I soldered onto my stained glass pieces.

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As you can see… I LOVE swirls!

Back to the lesson, we did this thing where we took paint and globed it on the index card. After it dried we were supposed to figure out what it looked like and complete the drawing with our pen.

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There are many more attempts at this, but this is the best one out of all the bad drawings I did. I didn’t love this exercise, but I can see how this could open someone up who might be stuck artisically. So, I’ll tuck this one away and come back to it again when I need it.

We also had to draw a zebra with our eyes closed. Yikes! Not cute. Believe it or not… this is my best looking one.

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My favorite of all the exercises was this one.

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We had to cut up a paragraph and make three poems out of the words. This is my favorite one. I added the doodles myself last night. Not too bad considering the limited words to work with.

I keep hitting on type again and again as I explore this mixed media thing. In college, one of my favorite projects was taking a hundred year old book and trying to recreate one of its pages on the computer. Sifting through hundreds of fonts to try to find the closest match might be someone else’s nightmare, but I was in LOVE! It was a challenge. And I love challenges!

Once you found the right font, you realize the spacing was completely off, in between the lines of type and even in between the letters themselves. I’ll say it again, it was a challenge, but when everything was done I felt such a deep satisfaction that I was able to do it. And maybe that was my perfectionism rearing up again, but perfectionism can be a good thing when it comes to projects like that. I just love type and as I’ve been working in the mixed media world I find that letters and type are some of my favorite things to add. Either subtly in the background or a phrase that is front and center.

So this poem exercise was a lot of fun for me. Although, I do not fancy myself a poet. It was just a fun and relaxing way to spend 20 minutes.

Okay… I have to post this picture even though I don’t want to.

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I don’t think it particularly pretty, but I learned something. While trying to figure out how to incorporate the blue scrap I stumbled upon this flower shape. The large center and the criss crosses are cute! And I had fun doing them. So maybe these lessons weren’t so bad after all? I learned some new things and I did have fun.

The last thing we had to do was make a pocket page for our Life Book. A great place to keep your test index cards. It was an easy exercise and you really can see the layers of paint and gesso in person which gives it some depth that I don’t think you can see here on the blog.

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As you can see I didn’t do the scrap paper thing like the lesson. I actually cut the pieces to make the flower shape, but I did steal the flower shape from the last index card I shared. I think it’s cute.

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So after starting this post with “I didn’t really like this lesson”, I realize now how much fun I had and all that I learned. Not everything we do needs to result in an amazing work of art for the masses. Isn’t that what Life Book is all about anyway? A book all about you. Just for you and nobody else.

I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect and to produce amazing things. But why? Who cares? Have fun, be joyful, learn new things and love what you do! Not for the masses, but for You!

Til next time…

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Ripped Pants = Art Storage

I have an Art Room in my new house, but when I want to do art and spend time with my family I drag some of my stuff out to the living room. But now my pencils and erasers are all over the place. {Lightbulb} I need a pencil bag!

My husband recently ripped the crotch out of his jeans. So instead of tossing them or having my husband convince people they are cool new air conditioned jeans, I decided to make something out of them.

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Cute little bubbles courtesy of my Repix app.

Originally I was just going to use the back pocket. Cut it out, instant sleeve to hold pencils. But then I saw how big the front pocket was and decided to use that as well. Then I realized I was going to have to sew them together. Ugh!

I HATE sewing! I really do. I’ve avoided it all my life. My mother is an amazing quilter and loves to sew, but she didn’t pass those traits on to me. Or maybe I just didn’t want to do it because Moms are lame and who wants to do what their Mom does… Not really. But that’s what my kids think about learning stained glass from me. I think that’s how it usually goes with mothers and children. Although my daughter does love to sew. So maybe it just skips a generation? Hopefully my grandkids will love to come over to Grandma’s house and break/melt some glass with me. I LOVE Glass! And unlike fabric, it maintains it’s shape… unless it’s dropped! So I find it easier to work with.

Well, I busted out the old sewing machine and tried to sew the two pieces together. I did fairly well at first. I remembered to put the good sides to the inside. So that was a small victory, but it’s still difficult to sew jean material. Or at least it was for me. As I got to the bottom something went wrong with the thread and the stitches got all bunched up on the backside. Belle to the rescue! My lovely daughter came over and rethreaded the machine for me and even made another bobbin for me. Instead of feeling bad about the fact that my 13 year old knows more than me, I am thankful for her sewing talent. Thank you Belle!

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Well, here’s the final result!

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Pretty good for someone who can’t sew.

Til next time…

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Life Book 2014 – Week 2

This week for my Life Book class we had a bonus lesson. A bonus lesson is a smaller lesson or other activity like an artist interview, ect. So this was a fairly simple exercise, but I had fun with it. I worked on my piece along with the instructor. I’m happy with how it turned out. We had to come up with what we wanted more of in 2014 or what we were going to be the best at. Well, I knew I wanted to include my word for the year, “Joy”, but I wanted to include it in a funny way. I brainstormed a bit a came up with Joy Wrangler. I like the idea of wrangling up some Joy! If I wasn’t following a lesson I would have included way more bright colors and maybe a denim theme as a nod to Wrangler Jeans.

So I followed the lesson to the “T” and this is what I came up with. I did add some extra things to the bottom of the piece. It just seemed to plain otherwise.

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After posting my piece to the Facebook group I noticed that some of the other people did completely their own thing. I mean their piece didn’t look a thing like what was instructed. At first I felt a little bad because mine was so plain, but that was what the teacher instructed and I am a bit of a rule follower. Well, not completely… I have a bit of a split personality. I like to follow rules and get annoyed when others don’t, but I also question authority quite a bit and don’t like to be told what to do. See what I mean? Split personality. Another example is… I’m very creative and love coming up with new designs. Like for our decal business, stained glass suncatchers or mixed media painting/art journaling. My art room is a shambles and when I had my glass studio at the last house it was a wreck! I totally fit that artist, messy, all over the place profile. But then I have this other side of me that loves to organize. Staples or the storage section of any store is my favorite place to be. I recently went to Ikea to get cabinets, shelves, storage, ect. for my new Art Room and I was in heaven! I went slightly overboard. Okay it was more than slightly. Anyway, I also love keeping up with the business end of our decal business, Stephen Edward Graphics. I answer all the convos that come in, I learned everything I could about SEO and I’m constantly reading about marketing. So you see I really am a split personality. I even took one of those online tests that was supposed to show you what type of person you were… mine came in at 51% creative and 49% business (?). Okay, to tell you the truth I can’t remember what they called the other half. I just remember thinking that I could not believe that the test showed exactly what I thought about myself. So I’m a bit of an oddball, but life would be pretty boring if I wasn’t.

Back to the lesson now… So after seeing the completely unique interpretations of the lesson by my fellow Life Bookers I decided something. I’m going to do the lessons as instructed. I want to make sure I learn all the techniques given to us. But after the lesson is over and my piece is finished, I think I may go back to those lessons and do them again in my own way. I might wait until the end of the year to do them or maybe I’ll do them right away. I guess I’ll have to play it by ear for that part. It might be interesting to compare the two pieces especially if a lot of time has passed. No matter what, I’m having a lot of fun and isn’t that what counts?

Til Next time…

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Life Book 2014 – Week 1

I am a proud member of Life Book 2014. I have never taken any art lessons before. Well, that’s not exactly true. I have watched a ton of YouTube videos about mixed media since I got interested in it last year. But I have never had a step by step instruction like Life Book offers.

It’s no secret, drawing/painting faces scare me. I remember doing drawings when I was little. I had all these great ideas of how I wanted it to look, but I could never get that to come out on the paper. I started painting/art journaling in October last year. One day I was determined to paint a face. After I got the head, hair and background done, I couldn’t bring myself to do the face. I didn’t want to screw up this lovely painting with my amateur attempts.

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I am still very proud of this painting. I love it! It speaks to where I was at that point in my artistic journey. But I’m excited about where I am now even after only 2 lessons. (A free lesson and the first lesson of Life Book 2014).

For our first lesson of Life Book 2014, we had a warm up exercise and a main lesson. I had fun with the warm up. Trying new things, learning a bit about color theory and learning to let go a bit. It’s not exactly what I would do next time (given the opportunity), but it was a lot of fun!

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We were supposed to “write” the words. You know… in cursive. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I have a love/hate affair with my handwriting. Sometimes it looks so good and then I screw it up right at the end. So for this lesson, I played it safe. Oh! I also played it safe with the next lesson too, but more on that in a bit.

So our main lesson was to paint our Inner Artist Guardian. This person was to protect us from self doubt, nasty self criticism and just help us on our artistic journey. To tell the truth, I’m not into all that new age type stuff. I’m not even sure that’s the category to put it in. But either way, I’m not into it. After doing the exercise I realized that it’s really nice to have a visual reference when the “critical monsters” show up.

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She’s peaceful and sweet looking, but she’s definitely not going to let the “critical monsters” take over.

Normally, I’m all about color! Bright colors! Funky colors! But this is what came out when I did the lesson and I’m proud of it. Tamara is a wonderful teacher. She’s great at instructing and also at encouraging. Which can be just as important.

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I never thought I could draw/paint a face this beautiful, but a lot if the credit goes to Tamara for showing me how. Although I did have some issues. Like the paper getting too wet and balling up on me. I need to learn to be happy with what I initially do and not try to rework it so much. *slaps hand

My word for the year is Joyful. This past year has been a tough one and I am determined to find Joy in the little things and take on a Joyful attitude in general for 2014. I believe an art course that helps you to focus on a positive word throughout the year is a good thing. Sometimes we get so busy with life we forget to stop and take a moment to enjoy what we have.

I’m really looking forward to what’s coming next. I am determined to keep up with all the lessons and post them here on my blog. I think it will be fun at the end of the year to see the progress I’ve made. I hope you have fun watching me progress as well. And if you are so inspired you can sign up for Life Book 2014 too. Even after it’s started you can still sign up and go through the lessons at your speed. Just to let you know… I am in no way affiliated with Life Book. I am just a happy artist that loves to share. Especially, a great find like this!

Til next time,

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My first “official” art class

When I started doing Stained Glass I wasn’t able to take any classes due to lack of funds and a busy home life with small children. So I bought books, read forums and experimented. I essentially taught myself. I never regretted this way of learning because through those experiments and a lot of failures I found a way of creating stained glass that was unique to me. I didn’t have someone to tell me that I couldn’t do it that way. Although in some cases that was true, but through my failures I stumbled upon new techniques that were all mine.

But now that I am embarking on this Mixed Media journey I am happy to have some help by taking some classes. I will still remember my lessons of try everything, experiment, don’t let anyone tell you “that’s not the way you do it”. But what’s great about Mixed Media is that no one will ever tell you that! It’s all one big experiment of doing what you feel and what makes you happy!

So I took my first class… A free one! What’s better than that?
Art, Heart & Healing – A Free Course For All

Here is what I accomplished with it! My first painted face. With eyes and everything! As you know, if you have read my other blog posts. I’m scared of doing faces, but for my first attempt I think I did pretty well.

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The girl that offered this free class, Tamara Laporte, from Willowing Arts is also the organizer for a year long art course called Life Book 2014. Tamara will be joined by 22 incredible art teachers for this course. My hubby is a sweetheart and bought me the course for my birthday. I can’t wait to get started!

Til next time…

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