Life Book 2014 – Week 20

I am waaaaaaayyyyyyyyy behind on my blog posts about Life Book 2014. And I’ll admit that I’m a little behind with completing my lessons as well.

Week 20 was taught by Serena Bridgeman. She’s a wonderful teacher, but I do have to say that I didn’t really connect with the Buddha image. I also had a hard time with painting over the spray ink background. It kept reactivating and it made it very hard to paint the face over it.

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We were supposed to paint the face like it was in shadow. The head lit from behind. But after struggling with the spray ink background I gave up going that far. But I’m still pretty pleased with the outcome.

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I did enjoy painting the lotus flower. We did it on another piece of paper and then cut it out and glued it to the front of this one.

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Well, it’s all finished. I did enjoy making the background, but not so much the Buddha. You know what is really great about Life Book? That even if you don’t connect with a lesson or a teacher you still learn something. It’s good to be pushed out of your comfort zone from time to time.

Til next time…

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Life Book 2014 – Week 17

Week 17’s lesson was taught by Tascha Parkinson. We were to think about what we were grateful for and use that in our piece. But first we started with drawing a girl.

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We were to draw the head twice the size of the body. Mission accomplished, but my first attempt was too big to put on my background. Plus, this girl just looked off. So I tried again. This time I made her too small. Third times the charm I guess!

We also had to use watercolors to paint her. Yikes! I’ve never used them before so this was brand new to me. I tried a practice run on my second drawing. Everything was going well except when I got to the mouth. The face was still wet so when I did the mouth it bled all over. It looked like a child after they’ve eaten a cherry Popsicle. It ran all over her chin. Glad I practiced first. But I learned some things; let things dry before painting adjoining areas, keep paper towels near by to suck up excess watercolor and try to loosen up. Watercolors are supposed to be a bit organic looking.

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Now on to the background. We used a dry brush technique and just blended the colors that way. Then I took some Hot Pink paint, watered it down and flicked it onto the page. Background complete!

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Now I just had to put it all together.

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In the center, I wrote all the different things I’m grateful for. All are pretty self explanatory except one. Windows… I am NOT referring to the PC operating system! I am an Apple Girl all the way. My first Apple computer was the Apple IIC. I’ve been a loyal consumer since the 80’s. And I love my Mac! I am referring to actual windows. Like in your house. I’m actually working on a blogpost about… I guess… me. It started as something else, but I just couldn’t stop writing so now it’s kind of my life’s story. Well, just the last 10 years or so. But that blog post will explain why I am so grateful for windows. And why I was obsessed with them when we were looking for our new house.

Back to the project… I had a lot of fun learning how to paint with watercolors. And the dry brush technique I will definitely use again. I also liked the look of cutting the girl and flowers out and leaving a bit of white space around them. It makes them look cartoony, which is fun!

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Til next time…

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Life Book 2014 – Week 15

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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!

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Can’t wait for Tamara’s next lesson!

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 10

This week the lesson was about paint over collage. I almost threw this piece in the trash. I really don’t even want to blog about it. But I made a commitment and I’m going to follow through.

First we started with collage. We were also supposed to pick out a picture of a woman’s face from a magazine. I don’t subscribe to any magazines. So it was slim pickin’s around the house. But eventually I found a girl from a toilet paper ad. The picture was a little too small, but I didn’t have anything else.

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I don’t have any progress photos because, like I said, I felt like throwing this thing out the whole time. The hair was the biggest issue for me. I just don’t understand how to paint hair. If they ever offer a class on it… I’m going to be the first person to sign up!

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I am grateful for this lesson despite the less than thrilling outcome. This lesson taught me that you can take a bunch of things that don’t really go together and make them look cohesive with a little gesso, oil pastels and a brayer.

I think I would have really enjoyed the lesson if I had started with a larger face. So I’m planning on doing it again with a different picture. I had a ton of fun with the collage and I look forward to playing with that again.

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We were supposed to write about our positive connections in our life in a sort of poem like way. Tamara was really great about explaining how to do that, but when it came time to do that part the words just came out of me without even thinking. But I will definitely keep Tamara’s instructions in my mind and use them next time I’m doing something like this.

All in all… I learned some great lessons that I can apply in future projects.

Til next time…

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Life Book 2014 – Week 9 – Part Two (sort of)

Since this was an artist interview week we didn’t have an official lesson. Tamara did give us a journal prompt of 50’s or Retro and I intended on doing something with that theme, but it wasn’t looking how I wanted it to look. So I started painting intuitively, like our lesson from last week.

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It may not be a masterpiece, but it was fun. In fact, all these lessons have been fun. This art is just for me. No pressure (except the pressure I put on myself to try new things) to make these art pieces into something I need to sell. And I’m learning new techniques and styles that I can add to my art toolbox.

During this “break” week I also organized my Art Room a bit. Check out my neat and clean closet!

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I picked up these glass jars from Goodwill for a buck a piece! Doesn’t it make my ribbon look yummy?

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And when I was out last weekend at Michaels I picked up a couple more 4-drawer units for under my table. Now it looks more like a desk and they are extremely useful. Nice deep drawers for holding my paint, ink sprays and other things I like to keep close by while I’m creating.

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My Art Room is really coming together! I just need to finish the trim and add one more countertop and I should be done. I’ll take some more pictures once I get that far and do a blog post about it.

Til next time…

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Life Book 2014 – Week 8

This was both a fun and tough lesson for me. Alena Hennessy provided a fun lesson and a beautiful meditation to go along with it. I thoroughly enjoyed the meditation and even did it twice. She has the perfect voice for it. We also wrote a letter to either the universe, ourselves or our higher power. I, of course, wrote to my Heavenly Father and a bit to myself. The letter was about our intentions for the year. We were to use conscience language practices like; I am calling in, This is what I wish, It is so, I long for this, Let it be so.

I really enjoyed this exercise. Just writing, not caring how it sounded. Using positive terms and ways of expressing what I wanted. Writing it only for me and no one else. It was a bit freeing.

Then we got to the lesson… Alena was free and expressive with her piece. It was all about creating art intuitively. I can really appreciate the freedom of this piece.

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We were also supposed to paint or represent our soul in some way. That was the part that was tough for me. Without getting too deep into it, I’ve been struggling with some things recently. My soul isn’t this beautiful, free thing at the moment. I really wanted to follow her example, but by painting intuitively my piece went into a completely different direction.

This might get a little deep in a moment, but just let me assure you that I am not one of those artists you see with a single splat of paint on a canvas and their explanation is 9 paragraphs long. They spent more time on the explanation than they did on the painting. That kind of stuff annoys me. Don’t get me wrong. I love modern art (for the most part), but I think the painting deserves more creation time than the explanation.

Anyway… So here’s my explanation.

Bits of my soul are caged. The talk… the noise can be overwhelming. But the light is starting to come in. The darkness is receding. The flowers are beginning to bloom again. I will overcome. I AM STRONG!

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Creating art can be very therapeutic. And Life Book really adds to that concept. I love the idea of creating art for myself. That its a visual representation of my journey this year. It doesn’t need to be pretty. Or something that is worthy to be hung on a wall. I love that it’s just for me!

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Til next time…

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