Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Mixed Media Challenge: February

This month's challenge is "Sweet Inspirations." Since I love making mixed media cards, a Valentine's Day card was perfect for the challenge. The card started with a sketch of some cute little characters, an elephant and a giraffe. Next, I used Neocolor II water color crayons, stencils, torn papers, stamps, acrylic paints and Posca Pens to decorate the characters and create a background. I added the "Be Mine" on the balloon in Photoshop. It's one of the easier things I've learned to do in the program.

Sweet Inspirations February Challenge: Valentine's Day card

Mixed Media Monthly Challenge

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Life Book 2016: Roots and Ground, Wings and Light

Last year, I signed up to participate in Life Book classes. It was my third year to take part in the mixed media classes. While I absolutely love everything about LB, I was unable to get many of the lessons completed or interact online with others as much as I would have liked. Since I'm still catching up, I decided not to sign up for the 2017 classes, but instead focus on completing lessons from last year.

Over the last couple weeks, I finally finished Roots and Ground, Wings and Light taught by Tamara Laporte.  It was an excellent lesson and I enjoyed creating this piece. Some of the materials used in this lesson were stencils, Neocolor II water crayons, acrylic paints, gel pens, Posca pens, spackling compound (similar to modeling paste) and torn papers.

The completed project turned out nicely and I like all the bright colors. Neocolor II watercolor crayons are amazing.

Roots and Ground, Wings and Light (Life Book 2016)

Hopefully I will be posting more completed artwork soon. I'm also wrapping up the final week of the Graphic Design class at Coursera, as well as looking forward to the next Mixed Media Monthly challenge!

I added to this cute design using Canva. com 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Mixed Media Monthly Challenge- January

When I saw that this month's challenge was titled, "Put a Stencil on It," I was excited! In fact, I was so excited that I got started on this challenge and didn't even take photos of the process along the way. Oops. 

This project started with a random piece of wood I had available, 11.5 x 24. First, I layered the entire background with torn pieces of decorative papers adhered with matte gel. Once that layer was dry, I took it outside and lightly sprayed each stencil design onto the wood. I used Rust-oleum Painter's Touch in white, gloss key lime, satin magenta and satin lagoon. The colors are amazing and this spray paint is around $4 a can at Lowe's or Walmart. For the next layer, I used acrylic paints with the stencils to provide additional designs. The background of papers provided texture, but I wanted more, so I used spackling compound over several stencils. The texture is similar to molding paste and it's very inexpensive. The final touches included using Posca and gel pens to bring out more details. I love this piece and am excited to find a place to display it in my home.

Since this year is all about learning new things, I used my Cannon Rebel DSLR (older model) to photograph the artwork. There were some great tips on what settings to use at The University of Boulder, Colorado's Department of Art and Art History web page. While I didn't have a lighting kit, I followed directions for photographing artwork indoors and outdoors. I ended up with several different photos using various settings. While still trying to figure out Light Room, I imported my photo and basically played around with different modes of lighting, balance, hues, etc. I'm still working on learning the program, but am happy with this photograph. I'm looking forward with playing with another piece of finished artwork soon!

Mosaic Dreams Artwork: January Challenge

*I also uploaded a larger version to my Behance account. If you'd like to see it there with other pieces of work, its located in My Portfolio and on Behance. (Two additional new things I'm "playing" with in 2017!)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

2017: Learning New Things

Learning new things always takes awhile for me, it has always been that way, even back in school. I like to take my time with new technologies, programs, texts, etc. For awhile now, I've wanted to learn Photoshop, Illustrator, and different techniques in design. I've talked about it a lot, but never put any action behind my words. In November, I signed up for a year in the Creative Cloud, which includes Photoshop and Lightroom (details here). I've been learning new things about these programs over the last few weeks. Also, several weeks ago, I signed up for a Graphic Design course (totally FREE) at Coursera*. I've completed the first two weeks, and have started working on week three assignments.  While working on the first assignment, I downloaded a free trial of Illustrator (which I LOVE), but it is only good for seven days. :( After I learn PS and LR, I will definitely think about a subscription. I think 2017 is going to be the year to learn new technologies and programs and I'm excited about that.

I wanted to share what I've created so far using the new tools. I'm a rookie, so keep that in mind!

This badge was created using Illustrator. I followed the awesome prompts in the program.
It was fairly easy to create, but took me longer than the time suggested, which was ten minutes!

In the Coursera Graphic Design course, the assignment was to take a normal household object and create images using a variety of techniques (watercolor, paint, stencils, stamps, clay, computer design, etc). After completion, ten of the images were submitted for a peer review. I selected a tea cup and had a lot of fun creating multiple designs.

Zentangle tea cup with Dylusions Ink Sprays
Tea cup created using a letter "t" stamp.

Doodle tea cup using Sharpie markers.
Other designs not pictured, included tea cups created with push pins, marker dotting, ribbon, foil, ink pads, Prisma color pencils, and scribbles. 

I feel like I've already learned a lot in this course. I love that Coursera offers some courses at no charge. It's a great place to learn!

I hope that whatever it is that you want to learn, that instead of just talking about it, you'll dive right in! It's hard at first, but a lot of fun along the way.

*Coursera offers many online courses, some for free and others that are fee based.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Monthly Mixed Media Challenge: December

December came and went in the blink of an eye! I started the Monthly Mixed Media Challenge and had plenty of time to complete it, but was side tracked so many days that I just put the finishing touches on this morning. While I know the challenge for last month is over, I still wanted to share it! The theme for the month was "Merry and Bright." I decided to depict that with a mixed media Christmas tree. There are quite a few similar ideas of this online, but the one I really liked was at Christy Tomlinson's site. She completed her tree as part of a kit and used a canvas. There's even a video showing the various steps on making your own. I loved the idea and used some of the techniques to create my own. Originally, I had planned on adding the phrase for this month's theme, but decided to leave wording off. Even though it is past the holidays, I plan on storing this and using it for decor next Christmas!

It looks so much better in person than via picture. I've played around with various settings, but still can't get it quite right.
I'll keep practicing though! (Notice the Stampotique flower stamp?)

It looks like January's theme is STENCILS! I"m excited to start working on that today. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Stampotique Stamps

The  Stampotique stamps have arrived! (Okay... actually they've been here a little while.) I keep looking at them and thinking about what I'd like to create next, but have lacked the time so far. School activities, birthdays, and holiday get togethers have filled the majority of my evenings and weekends. Secretly, I'm dreaming of a blizzard and days trapped at home! It is quite unlikely that will happen as our area rarely gets snow, but I can always dream, right?

Stamps from L-R are AngelKassa's Bloom,  and Tree
The Angel stamp was used in an earlier project for the Mixed Media Monthly Challenge, In a Dark, Dark Forest. 

Totally random and not related to this post at all....

I made the BEST no bake cookies last night. Not only are they super easy, but they are delicious. The recipe is for No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies from Angela Gliddon's blog, Oh She Glows. I would have shared some pictures, but the cookies weren't around long enough to photograph!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Holiday Hustle 5K/10K Run

The last week in November and first week in December have proven to be quite busy! While I was hoping to do a little art each day, that hasn't been a reality...even though I will still keep making the effort!

In the meantime, I've been working hard to add running mileage. Over the past couple months, I've been working on stretching, strengthening, balance, and all kinds of other things to overcome plantar fasciitis. In addition, I've run less and been biking and aqua jogging instead. It's taken a little time, but I've slowly added in mileage and feel like I'm more solidly on the road to recovery. (If you've had issues with PF, I've added some resources at the bottom of the page that might be helpful to you.)

This past Saturday was The Holiday Hustle 5K/10K run. It's a fantastic event that has something for the entire family. There's a 5K, 10K, and kids' dash, cool tech shirts, gift cards for age group winners, prize money for the super fast folks, and a pancake breakfast afterwards with awesome Christmas music! It's a well run event and definitely one of my favorites.

Saturday morning we woke up to a misty, cloudy day with very cool temperatures. It sounds miserable, but it was actually perfect running weather! Roger ran very well and set a new personal record, 17:54! This put him first in his age group. Way to go, Rog! Surprisingly, I also earned first in my age group, and we both went home with $20 gift cards from a local running store! (Time to go shopping!)

Running a new PR....17:54!

It was great seeing friends that were running the 10K!  
It feels amazing to be back to running more each week. I've really missed it. I'm looking forward to future races and upcoming half marathons! Let the training begin!

If you are struggling with plantar fasciitis, I've linked a few things that might be helpful. I've used a little of everything over the last several months. One thing that also was extremely beneficial was seeing a doctor that did soft tissue work on my foot. 

*******Stampotique Stamps have arrived and I will be making something with them soon!*******