Life Book 2014 – Week 15

This week was another lesson with the totally cool Tamara Laporte! Quirky Animals!

We started with taping 2 pieces of paper together. The largest paper I had was “Mixed Media” paper, which I sliced in half and then taped back together to make a fold out page. I wish I would have taken 2 sheets of watercolor paper and used them instead because the mixed media stuff started to ball up on me with all the painting. The background is made with a mix of watercolor crayons and spray inks.

This little lion is the beginning of the animal totem pole.

I’m in LOVE with this little guy! I love elephants and have collected them since I was little. So this was a lot of fun to paint.

A monkey with a heart of his shirt… Yes! I think so!

The bunny was fun to make. I love her ears! The last animal was supposed to be a cat, but I’m a dog person. So the cat was out and the bird was in. He looks very regal with his crown.

The entire piece took me several hours to complete, but was totally worth it! I really pushed myself to make all these guys. And adding the little embellishments to each one was so much fun!


Can’t wait for Tamara’s next lesson!

Til next time…



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!


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.


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


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!


Now it’s time to put it all together!


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.

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.


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…


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.


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.


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…


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


My favorite of all the exercises was this one.

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.

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.

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.


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…