Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The car is in the garage!

I am celebrating Chris' amazing feat: he cleaned the garage, and we are now able to park the car inside!

Thank you, Chris!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Remembering second grade

Ross came home with the usual avalanche of school papers this June. Writing projects, science projects, math workbooks, spelling workbooks, artwork, etc., etc., etc. The teachers also take digital photos of various activities during the year, and print them out for you on regular printer paper. Some of them are cute photos, but I've been at a loss as to what to do with them.

Yesterday I decided to collage with some of this stuff.

I painted the background and some of the papers with Dye-Na-Flow paints, and just glued it together. (The very top "scrap" is from our church newsletter, and the rest is school stuff.) I didn't want to get too fussy with it. The colors simply help unify the page, so that the viewer can enjoy Ross' work and photos, and not spend a lot of time looking at what I added.

Here's a close-up of the center photo, which I think is a good shot of Ross.

Ross liked the idea of me using his stuff in a collage, so I think I'll be doing more. Heck, he may even want to make a collage himself.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I love Saturday morning!

The best Saturday mornings for me have no plans, no immediate agenda. I can get up, make coffee, look out the kitchen window at our backyard, and savor the moment of decision: what am I going to make this morning?

Today the sun was bright and the temperature cool, and I decided to have a quick bowl of cheerios with blueberries (one of my favorites), and then go draw a rose in our yard. Our rosebushes don't get a ton of sunshine, so they bloom a little later than others in the neighborhood. But oh, they are starting to show their glory now!

I chose a half-opened bud, because the fully-opened roses seemed so complicated!

When it came time to add colored pencil, I was disappointed in my selection of reds. There's a little bit of magenta in the rose, but I didn't have a pencil that even came close to magenta. I decided to work with what I had, paying close attention to the darker spots on the rose petals. The greens seemed a little closer to what I wanted. I'm no expert on color pencils, but I tried to add color in layers.

At the end, I held up my sketch next to the rose and thought, "Okay! Pretty good!" I've said for years that "I can't draw," but with time and attention, I can. Danny Gregory's books have been a big help and a blessing for me.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Finished collage

I started this collage thinking that it'd be a quickie, and that I'd be pasting it into my large journal in a couple of days. Well, I've worked on it in little bits of time, and ten days later, it's finally done.

The base is watercolor paper, covered with torn papers and then watercolor paint. The fabric hearts on the right are cut from a scrap of upholstery fabric and over-painted with watery blue paint. The lace is painted the same way. The sideways hearts on the left are stamped on. I carved a quick stamp out of foam (thanks to directions from Cloth Paper Scissors) and mixed up some super heavy gel medium with a gold Pearl-Ex powder. The stamping left interesting textures on the paper. The words are both written with marker and stamped on with paint: "We are connected always by love". I stitched some embroidery thread around the hearts, stitched on beads, and punched holes in the background to wind some metallic gold ribbon around the edges.

I did get into the "connections" aspect of this piece. Chris' grandmother used to wind her embroidery floss around whatever scrap paper she had around. Recently, I used up some of her floss, and found it was wound around an old church bulletin and a school newsletter. Too cool to waste, so I added the pieces to the collage. Then, I cut up a pair of Ross' old underwear (yes, you read that right!) on which to write the focal words. And finally, I used some of Chris' grandmother's old metal seed beads. So, you might say that this collage is connecting the generations of our family.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Journal mania

I've been getting more and more interested in working in my journals lately. I'm now keeping 3 different journals! One is quite large, where I do a lot of early morning drawings, plus quite a bit of writing and brainstorming and notetaking. I drew the mallow that's blooming in our backyard yesterday morning. It was quite chilly, but it was great to concentrate only on the plant for a few minutes. I've been starting to add some color to my black ink drawings; this one has colored pencil. (The colors aren't quite right, but that's okay with me.)

A smaller journal is by the bed. I've mostly drawn in it so far, but I suspect it'll be a good place to jot down those last-minute musings before I fall asleep.

I bought the third journal at Artfest, a local outdoor art show. The Library Ladies, as they call themselves, are 2 retired library workers from Montana. They salvage outdated books, cut off the bindings, then incorporate the covers and some of the pages into a spiralbound, blank journal. I bought the Junior Science Book of Trees.

It's going to be my primary outdoor journal -- with lots of tree drawings, I hope. Below is a photo of a drawing I did while waiting for Ross to get out of school. (The paper is actually white -- I took the photo on the wrong camera setting, I think.)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A week in the life ...

I'm trying to remain faithful to my promise to blog at least once a week, but this has been one of those weeks where there doesn't seem to be a lot to write about.

Chris saw his surgeon yesterday. He had the stitches removed, and got a prescription for physical therapy. He's not supposed to do any strengthening for 4 to 6 weeks, but he can go get help with stretching if he feels up to it. So, he's going to see a physical therapist for the first time Tuesday. He's had some bad muscle knots in his upper shoulder, and he hopes the p.t. can help him loosen things up.

Ross was part of a music program for the first and second graders last night. The theme was "The Alphabet Jungle," and it was pretty cute. They sang songs like "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," performed a small version of "Where the Wild Things Are," and each class recited some poetry that they'd memorized. We tried to take pictures, but the gym has lousy lighting and all we got were blurs.

I've been working on a mixed media collage. I've been doing more collaging and drawing these days -- I've got 2 journals going, and am thinking about starting a third! Most mornings I get up early and draw or do something else artsy before Ross gets up. A lot of days, I can hardly wait to get to work (or should I say play?). This collage is fairly experimental for me, so I am trying to not get caught up in great expectations, and to simply go with the flow. Easier said than done, but I am getting better at it. I'll post a photo when it's complete.