Brand New Website

I have created a brand new website for my art, Angela’s Art Room! I used Wix to build it and let me tell you… building a website is a lot easier these days. I remember creating every box, form, button, link, etc. It was a TON of work back in the day. I remember having to teach myself a little code to get Paypal buttons and a guestbook on my site. Wow! What a difference a few years can make. I made this new website in about a week and that’s with taking care of a house and working full time.

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The new website also has a great blogging tool so come over and check out my new blog! I’ll be blogging over there from this point on. I hope you guys love the new website as much as I do!

Thanks,

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Life Book 2014 Wrap Up

Ok, ok, ok. I know that I said I would write a blog post about my Life Book lessons every week. But life got in the way and I only made it about half way through with the blog posts. My husband and I run a vinyl decal/banner business called Stephen Edward Graphics.
Our business really took off and we’ve been scrambling to just keep up with all the orders. So I didn’t have time to write the blog posts, but I did continue to do the lessons. At the very end of the course we are supposed to take all the pages we made during the year and bind them into a book. A Life Book. And that’s exactly what I did. We were given several ways to do it, but ultimately I decided to go with a binding method I saw on YouTube by Sea Lemon.

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I bought some book board at an art store, I cut it to size with a razor blade and decorated the covers. My color for the year was pink so I decided that would be a good color to use. I also added some chipboard letters for a dimensional look. To make my pages sturdier I glued them to scrapbook paper. Actually, I began gluing them with gel medium, but that made my pages wrinkle a bit. Tamara said something about using a double sided tape if that happened, but my double sided craft tape doesn’t hold very well. ***Lightbulb*** I run a sign business! I have super strong double sided tape we use for finishing banners! I grabbed some and began taping. What a difference! The pages looked great with no wrinkles. The only issue is that you better place your pages right the first time because they are not coming back off again! Any wonkiness I had I just used my trimmer to square up.

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Now on to the stitching… I picked up the binding stuff I needed from the same art store I purchased the book board. Needles, waxed thread and an awl. I followed the video and used three holes at the bottom and three at the top. I made the holes using the awl. That took quite awhile. In the YouTube video she said something about estimating the thread by pulling it out the width for as many pages as you have. I wasn’t sure if she was talking about for each hole or what?!?? I took my tiny little spool of waxed thread and proceeded to pull out the width of about 40 pages. But after I got to 20 it seemed excessive. So I stopped there and counted to 20 again for each hole. But I ran out of thread when I finished counting for the third hole. Now what? Well, I really wanted to get started and I needed thread and needles for 6 holes. So I cut the 3 lengths of thread in half. Now I have enough! I thought, if I run out I can always tie more on once my order from Etsy gets here. And I was ready to go. I immediately realized that I needed 6 curved needles to do this process. The straight ones did not work well. It was hard to get the thread back out and around. So I messaged my sister and asked her to pick up some curved needles for me and bring them to the house since she was working with me the next day. Luckily, Joann’s had some packs of just curved needles (found the the upholstery section). Yay!

Once, I had the curved needles I was finally ready to go! I followed the instructions from the video. At first it was a bit awkward, but I eventually got into a rhythm. I do recommend using the waxed thread. I would have had such a knotted mess if not for the waxed thread. It took hours, but I finally completed my Life Book! And I had a bunch of thread left over for each hole. So maybe next time I will string out as many pages as I have and then cut the thread into equal sections depending on how many holes I have. Not sure if that will be right, but it’s all a learning experience so I guess I’ll just have to try it to see.

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Here is my first Life Book! I made a flip through video of my 2014 Life Book, my very first movie with the help of iMovie and my iPad Mini. The very first face (well… it’s actually a faceless face) is not a Life Book lesson. Just something I did when I first started painting. I was too scared to actually paint the face back then. What a difference one lesson can make. I hope you enjoy the video!

 

I can’t believe I did all those pages! I had just started painting in October 2013 and Life Book started in January of 2014. But from the very first lesson I was making things that just blew me away. I’m not trying to toot my own horn. It’s just that I never thought I could paint. I thought it was a talent you were born with and I knew I didn’t have it. So when I was able to paint a face for the first lesson, I just couldn’t believe it. I spent a long time just admiring her. I felt such JOY (My word for the year. Very fitting, don’t you think?) with the realization that I really could paint. I wish I had known this sooner, I would have started painting a long time ago. But I’m here now and having so much fun.

I just started my lessons for Life Book 2015 and I can already see an improvement in my skills. I can’t wait to share my journey with you. I’m so excited to see what this year brings!

Til next time…

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Life Book 2014 – Week 19

This weeks lesson was about honoring your inner world by Danielle Daniel. Try saying that name three times fast! Lol!

I struggled with this one a bit. Letting go and freely painting just isn’t my thing. But I hope that the more I do it, it will become easier for me.

We were told to randomly collage and paint in the background. This is as random as I get.

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Then we painted a girl in a meditative or praying position. I love that all the Life Book teachers have been really accepting of all belief systems. I was a little worried that as a Christian I would have a problem with all the “universe” talk and meditation. That I would feel uncomfortable or left out of some things because they clashed with my beliefs, but I have been pleasantly surprised on how accepting all the teachers have been. For example… one of the past lessons we were asked to write a letter to the universe, but the teacher also said that it could be a letter to God (which was who I chose to write my letter to). And I have really enjoyed the different meditations that have been included here and there with the course. I find them to be very relaxing and stress relieving.

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The teacher also included a quote by Emily Dickinson that I really liked. So I decided to include the same quote into my piece.

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Forever is composed of Nows

At one point, I stopped worrying about making it look like the teacher’s piece and just started to paint how I felt. I decided to be present and be in the now…

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Til next time..

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Life Book 2014 – Week 14

This weeks lesson was a bonus one with Dyan Reaveley! This lady is quirky, over the top and AMAZING! I love her! And her Dylusions Ink Sprays!

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First, we started with writing. Writing whatever we wanted just as long as it filled the whole page. Then we had to just roughly sketch an apple tree and some flowers. Very simple shapes. It was fun! It reminded me of drawing when I was a little girl.

Now comes the color… I sprayed the ink on my palette and used a paintbrush to paint the shapes. If you move quickly you can blend the colors together.

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Then cut out the shapes and leave a bit of the white space around them.

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The background was made by spraying inks and sandwiching 2 pieces of paper together. The colors really blended nicely with that technique. Then you can add design to the background with stencils!

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Now it’s time to put it all together!

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She had us add some text with a stamp to the edge of the background, but if I was going to do it again I would probably leave that part off. I also hand cut some grass for the bottom of the tree. This is also where I realized that my flowers were too big. So I made some more, just smaller.

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I added some finishing touches, like buttons on the trees and stems, leaves and gems for the flowers. Oh! And some clouds in the sky with gesso. I like how the gesso is a little see through which is perfect for a cloud.

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I’ll definitely be using some of these techniques in the future. I can’t wait for the full lesson with Dyan coming up later this year!

Til next time…

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Life Book 2014 – Week 12

This post is coming a little late. Okay… a lot late. It was a bit more challenging than I anticipated and I had to gather up more supplies than normal to complete this piece.

This lesson was taught by the very talented Anna Dabrowska – aka Finnabair. I came across her work several months ago and I immediately connected with it. So I was thrilled to learn that she was one of the Life Book teachers. Her work has such an amazing texture! And to be able to transform every day objects into something so beautiful is truly a gift!

Here is Finnabair’s example for her class.

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I was going to use the same layout, but opted instead for an off center one. I didn’t really have a picture of my face straight on like hers. Oh! And I decided to do the lesson on a canvas. That much texture can’t be contained in a book!

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As I was going through my photo album this picture just jumped out at me. It’s me at age 5 holding my “baby ellie” and feeding it a bottle. I loved that elephant! I drug it everywhere. In fact, I had a whole collection of stuffed animal elephants. But “baby ellie” was my favorite.

One year for Christmas I asked my Annie Ann (my aunt) to buy me a “papa ellie”. I needed a dad elephant for my collection. I already had a baby and mama. So my aunt went to the store and asked the clerk for a “papa ellie”, the guy had no idea what she was talking about of course. LOL! I’m not exactly sure how she figured it out, but eventually she realized that all I wanted was an elephant stuffed animal. Oops! Sorry about that Annie Ann!

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Okay… back to the lesson.
I started with background texture. Texture that was flat in nature that could be built upon. Then I went crazy adding everything short of the kitchen sink. I hope my husband won’t be too mad that I raided his toolbox. Shhh… don’t tell him.

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It was a little crazy looking at this point. I’ll admit I was a bit worried. But the next step was to gesso everything. Wow! What a difference that makes.

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I truly just wanted to stop at this point. I didn’t want to screw it up with the sprays, but I went ahead with the lesson anyway. I have to at least try. Do something new. If I don’t… then why did I pay to take the course? What am I learning?

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YIKES! That is awful! I immediately regretted my decision. I had limited colors of the sprays the teacher recommended. Hobby Lobby just had a few and I bought them all. But it just wasn’t the color combination I liked. So I gesso’d over the black and tried again with the gold and green sprays I bought and then I added some blue dylusions ink spray around the outside. A much better look. I used a bit of gesso on the top to highlight the high points and give it more dimension.

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It’s not exactly what I had envisioned, but I think it’s pretty good for my first try. I have to remind myself that my first try at something doesn’t need to be as good as someone who has been doing it for years. I remember Tamara saying (she might have been quoting someone) that we shouldn’t compare our beginning to someone else’s middle. That is so true!

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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