Friday, June 2, 2017

King Edward Gets a Makeover....

Mixed Media Monthly Challenge

I'm not sure what happened to the month of May, but it started and was over before I knew it.  There have been many things keeping us on the go with little time for what is most enjoyable...creating in the art space. Finally, I slowed down to work on some of the challenges I had been thinking about all month.

There were two challenges at Canvas Corp Brands. One of the challenges for May was "Old is the New." A few years back, my mom had given me an old cigar box. I thought it was cool and that one day I could "do something" with it. I'm glad I still have the box as it was perfect for this challenge!

Old tobacco box...King Edward needs a makeover, right?
Often, I get caught up in creating and forget to pause for photos. That happened throughout this project! (One day I will get better at this!) The box has several layers.  The first layer included various torn papers adhered with matte gel. Next, was a light coating of gold/copper acrylic paints. Transparency was a goal, as I wanted some of the elements of the box to show through the paint. After the paint was dry, I wanted to add contrast to the gold and selected Golden's teal fluid acrylics.  The stencils that I had on hand weren't quite what I was looking for, so I opted for making my own. Using a hot glue gun, I drew various flowers, leaves and other shapes onto parchment paper. When they were dry, peeling them off was easy! (*If you make these, be sure to connect the glue in all places...think "one continuous stream of glue per shape.")

Using a hot glue gun to draw shapes for unique stencils.

A few of the designs that were created...I made about two sheets of various patterns and shapes. 

The stencils are fragile, so I carefully applied a coat of acrylic paint using a foam paint brush and stamped the designs various places on the box.

Here's a finished look at the bottom of the box. Stencils were used around the sides as well.

Using matte gel, I added the final touches to the box. This included embellishments such as ribbon, a button, flowers and found objects in nature (shell, twigs, leaf). 

The finished product, front view. 

Another view of the box.

Close up, top view of box. 
I'm submitting this project to the challenge "Old is New" and to Paint Party Friday. I'm also participating in the Monthly Mixed Media Blog Challenge, "A Year of Choices...Put a Stamp on It."


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Canvas Corp Brands April Challenge and PPF

There are so many fun challenges, weekly and monthly, that I have really enjoyed participating in over the last couple months. A new one I came across is Canvas Corps Brands Challenge. Their theme for this month is FEATHERS.

 I've also been trying to add posts for Paint Party Friday...even if I don't quite make it on Friday! ;P

The following project is for PPF and the CCBC:

Starting with a plain wood box, I added several layers which included: gesso, torn papers, stamping, washi tape, and acrylic paints. Each area of the box is a little different. Some areas have more paint coverage and others a bit less. Using a cute print of material and a piece of quilted material I hand stitched the two pieces together. (My mom would be so proud!) Next I added some hand stitches around the flowers using hot pink embroidery thread. The fabric piece was then adhered to the top of the lid with heavy matte gel.

The top of the box.
Keeping the inside of the box simple, I used sticker lettering (HOPE) and stamping to write the first line of the poem by Emily Dickinson, "Hope is the thing with feathers." The bottom of the box has another piece of the fabric with the quilted backing stitched together. This box will be my place for keeping found objects in nature...acorns, pine cones, feathers, flower petals, etc. When I need a little inspiration, I can peek inside and be inspired!

Inside the box.

The front of the box is decorated with a beaded key.

Front view with key embellishment.

This project was SO MUCH FUN. I love how the box turned out and am looking forward with filling it with my "nature finds."

In addition to the mood board at Canvas Corp Brands, my inspiration came from the poem by Emily Dickinson, "Hope."

Friday, April 28, 2017

Works in Progress

Several projects are in the works and none are quite complete. (I'm excellent at starting projects and taking awhile to finish them! lol.)

There are a few that are in that "ugly" stage and one or two that are looking great! I thought I would share my paintings/projects in progress and later update each one as it is completed.

The first photograph shows current projects. I am working on a large painting that has undergone many transformations. (Why didn't I photograph the transformation???!)  So far, I really like the direction it has taken in this stage. There are three projects on cold press paper using paints, NeoColor II water crayons, collage, and modeling paste. Two out of the three are birds. I'm not sure where I'm going with those two, but both are experiments using a few new materials, one being modeling paste. The box to the right of the photo is a memory/collectibles box. I've created a box  before using an old cigar box, the box below was purchased at a local craft store. I am super excited to work on it TODAY (a very rare day off)!

Projects in the Works: Large Painting in background, three smaller works on  cold press paper,
one collectibles/memories box for an April Challenge.

Close up of large painting.

Hope you each have an opportunity to create this weekend!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Paint Party Friday and Mixed Media Monthly Challenge

For the last couple years, my goal has been to eventually link up to Paint Party Friday. I am finally getting around to meeting that goal! I often struggle finding the time to work on projects, but have been thankful to have the last couple days to wrap up something I've been working on for my mom.  I'm not actually sure if I am done with this or if I'd like to tweak or add more flowers. (So please feel free to comment and let me know what you think...finished or add something else?)

In addition to linking to PPF, I'm sharing this on the Mixed Media Monthly Challenge for April. I'm obsessed with COLOR, especially vibrant colors, so I'm going to say my super power is color. I especially love the colors we see in nature. I'm hoping that I will complete and add another work to the challenge this month.

I love the colors and textures, but can't decide if this is actually complete or if it needs something else. 

Playing with my photograph in Aviary. 

Play along at Mixed Media Monthly Challenge!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mixed Media Monthly Challenge - March

The Mixed Media Monthly Challenge for March is....BUTTONS! There are many things that can be created with buttons, so this challenge sparked several ideas.

I've been thinking about creating my own mixed media journal for awhile now, so that's what I did! I love the idea of recycling and repurposing items, so my project started with a used file folder. The folder was trimmed to 11.5 x 7.5. Using acrylic paints, a roller, mark making tools and stencils I created a background for the journal. I actually made three background pieces before choosing one for the journal. (This step is fun, so I got carried away!) The background pictured below is one of the three... I forgot to take a picture of the one I selected to use prior to the second step.

This background is one of the three that I created for making a journal. 

After the paint was dry, I used a sewing machine and stitched a border of red thread along the edges of the folder. Folding it almost in half, leaving a flap of about 1.5 inches, the watercolor pages were added to the inside. The pages were secured by stitching down the center of the folder.  

The folded version of the journal with stitched edges, added papers and a 1.5 inch flap.
Adding the butterfly stickers, button, and ribbon were the final steps to completing the cover. 
After looking at numerous buttons, I decided on a simplistic design for the closure. The fiber ribbon wraps around the journal and the button to keep the journal closed. In addition, I added a small round closure of velcro on the inside of the cover. 

The completed journal cover. 

The inside of the journal is a work in progress. For some of the pages, I added decorative paper over the top of the watercolor paper. I may end up adding quotes or other things on these pages. Other pages will be used for mixed media creations.

The first page upon opening the journal. Decorative paper was used on the first page. 

There are endless possibilities of things that can be created inside the pages of the journal. I'm excited about starting some of those items and sharing them along the way. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Mesa-Phoenix Half Marathon

Last weekend a several of us traveled to Phoenix, AZ to run the Mesa-Phx Marathon. When I had originally signed up, my plan was to run the full marathon. However, due to an injury and a few setbacks, I changed my registration from full to half in January. Since Roger's training had gone very well, his plan was to complete the marathon with a PR.

We left for Phoenix on Thursday morning with another couple, who barely made the flight (whew)! Since we had a day and a half before our runs, we were able to explore Phoenix and do a few fun things.

After arriving, we drove up to South Mountain Park.  It was a beautiful drive with a scenic overview at the top. (Our friend had rented a convertible Mustang. It was very cool, but also quite tiny in the back seat area, so we drove our own rental.) Along the way, there were many hiking trails, but since our marathon was just a day away, we wanted to save some energy for our legs.

South Mountain Park
On Friday, we spent the afternoon taking a boat ride on the Dolly Steamboat.  Once again, the car ride there was filled with amazing scenery. We really enjoyed the 1.5 hour, six mile cruise. Along the way we saw a bald eagle hovering around its nest. The weather for the ride was perfect. It was a relaxing and peaceful way to spend the afternoon before the race!

View from the Dolly Steamboat

After our ride we headed back to the hotel to get our race things ready for the next day. We had hoped to go to sleep as early as possible, as our alarms were set to 2:30am (ugh!!!) This race is one that you must catch the bus to the half/full start locations by 4:30am, so we had to be ready early! Blake, Roger and I left the hotel at 3:30am and arrived in plenty of time to meet up with other friends and catch the bus by 4:30am. The full and the half both started at 6:30am, but from different locations. I was glad that we didn't feel rushed and were able to do a warm up mile and a half along with warm up drills before the race. The start was unique as both locations received a brief fireworks show before gun time! 

The weather for the race could not have been more perfect. Temps were in the mid to upper forties (perfect running weather) with very light winds. The morning was absolutely beautiful and everyone had amazing races. Roger, Blake, and David all ran personal best times and I came within a minute of a personal best for myself. My half marathon time was the best that I have run in five years. 

My second best half marathon finish at 1:41:47.
*Free pics provided by the marathon event!

After finishing my half, I was able to find Mindy and then Blake. The three of us were able to watch several friends finish their marathon. The most exciting was watching Roger blaze past us to complete his marathon with a personal best of 2:55!! (This time is fourteen minutes faster than his previous record. wow.) I'm so proud of him and the hard work that he put in training for this event. Congrats to everyone who attended the event and finished their runs. :) 

Roger...just past the finish line. 

Roger ran so well that he placed first in his age group and received an additional medal (it was HUGE). Before the awards actually started, many of us took turns taking pics on the award stand. 

While waiting on the awards ceremony, we took this pic for fun.  Thanks to Muscle Milk for making such tall stands! Ha! It was tough for Roger's post marathon legs to make it up that high. 

We enjoyed hanging out and visiting while waiting for the awards. While it had warmed up, it was still chilly for just sitting around. I was thankful for my post run warm clothes! After getting cleaned 
up and taking a short nap, we all headed to dinner in Scottsdale. We enjoyed tacos, chips, and some way hot salsa at the Salty SeƱorita. We even went for some treats afterwards at the Sugar Bowl.

Eating outdoors is awesome! Roger, Blake and Mindy at our "reserved" table. We didn't reserve it, so we made some good jokes about the sign. haha. 
Before we headed home on Sunday, we had to check out the amazing pool at our hotel. While we didn't want to get everything totally wet, we soaked our legs in the hot tub and then in the pool. It was  fantastic and refreshing! I have to add that our hotel, Grand Canyon Hotel, was one of the best that we've stayed in for a visit to Phoenix. It is run by the Grand Canyon University and students who are working on their degree in the field of management and hospitality work here for real life experiences. We would stay there again!

Last stop before heading home...the hotel pool. 

Warming up by the fire pit. There were two of these by the pool. 

Overall, this was a great trip! We enjoyed spending time with friends, seeing some beautiful scenery and running on an amazing course. Everyone is already talking about going back next year. 

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.