Art-Xscape 2014

I’ve been a busy beaver the last two weeks, getting started with trades for Art-Xscape 2014, which is coming up April 4-6, 2014.  I’ve been playing with altering an Altoid Tin.


Plus I’ve interviewed Lynne Perrella, Pamela Hastings, Lisa Renner, Cathy Taylor, and Stephanie Rubiano for the Art-Xscape blog, all of whom are teaching at Art-Xscape.

Here’s a preview of some of their classes, all of which still have openings!







Each of these were posted to the Art-Xscape Facebook page.  If you would like to see updates on the event, like our page and visit often!

Art Outdoors: An Adventure in Graffiti

Austin has a ton of outdoor art; murals, sculpture, and graffiti.  I have started a project to document outdoor art in Austin and the surrounding areas this year.  Expect a post a month, possibly more, as I find time to wander around with my camera and document what I find! 


I was turned on to the Hope Outdoor Art Gallery by a friend on Facebook.  I knew, based on the photos of her daughter at this hidden Austin gem, that I had to visit with my camera.  In between the Ice Storm of 2014 (20 something degrees, a little bit of moisture and 500+ car accidents later, you get a title with capitals) Friday morning and the next cold front tomorrow, Austin has been blessed with a temperature of 77 degrees F.  Yes, we suffer from weather whiplash here in the winter.  So, I grabbed my camera and headed out to Castle Hill.


Due west of the Capitol and within sight of the UT belltower and downtown is the Hope Outdoor Gallery.  I’ve driven past this landmark 100’s of times in my time in Austin and have NEVER seen it.  This is part of the reason for my Art Outdoors project, to open my eyes to the art that I’ve missed spotting in my wanders around town.


It was a beautiful day and there were a lot of folks out seeing the sights.  There were a few with spray paint adding to the decoration on the walls.  Welcome to Austin!








If you get a chance to go, Hope Outdoor Art Gallery is between 10th and 12th and west of Lamar.  Look right and you will wonder how you missed it!

Art-Xscape–Breaking the Boundaries

As I announced in June of last year, I’ve launched a new venture – a mixed media art retreat called Art-Xscape.  The event is the first weekend in April and we have so much fun planned!  I’ve got faculty interviews going up over on the Art-Xscape blog.  If you are looking to broaden your artistic horizons – consider joining us!  We have classes available with Pamela Huntington, Kathy Kromer, Jo Pearson, Lynne Perrella, Lisa Renner, Stephanie Rubiano, Val Studer and Cathy Taylor.  Our classes run the gamut of media and techniques:  fabric books, paper and painted books, figures, collage, painting, assemblage, encaustics, alcohol inks and monoprints.  All of our classes are 1-day, so you can mix and match to your heart’s desire!  Visit the Art-Xscape page to find out more!


This is a new class from Lynne Perrella!

Art Journaling with Kids

I have a tradition with my nephews and my niece.  It started with my oldest nephew when my niece was born.  We’ve done it every year but one since then!

We play in my art journal together.  The tradition starts with tracing hands; my hand, my nephew’s hand the first year, when my niece was born, in 2008.  He scribbled, I scribbled.  It was fun.


We missed the next year.  In 2010, we added my niece’s hand to the collection, so now there were 3.  My niece joined in the scribbling.  My nephew practiced his letters.  We played with water color crayons and Nijii water brushes.




In 2011, 3 more hands.  My niece scribbled.  My nephew drew very small pictures with great concentration.  I colored on his page drew flowers on his monster.  My niece wanted to play with the water colors again.  Circles and color.



In 2012, we welcomed a new baby to the family and I added his hand to my growing collection, along with his older brother and sister.  Both the older two wanted to play with the water color crayons and water brushes.  My nephew drew small tight shapes on his page.  My niece drew Easter Eggs shapes.  I bought both of them art supplies for Christmas!




This last Christmas, I again brought my art-journal over.  My niece, on the phone, said “Auntie Amy, can we craft?”  “Yes, sweetie.”  “Are you bringing your journal?”  “Of course”.  The first day they were there, my niece and I sat at the Ikea kid’s table in my mother’s craft room with my journal and the water colors, this time a travel kit with pans of colors and the brushes.  I started tracing our hands.  My youngest nephew wandered in and wanted to play, so we traced his hand.  His mom, my SIL, came in, “Can I trace my hand?”  “of course!”. My oldest nephew came in – “You are going to trace my hand, right?”  “Of course!  It’s a tradition!”.  Oldest nephew’s hand was traced, and he wandered back out.  He’s at the age where video games are the ultimate in entertainment and is not as easily enticed to play in my journal.


My niece and I played in my journal almost every night they were visiting.  We drew, we doodled, we stamped.  My youngest nephew often joined us, but used the eraser as a toy car – chasing crayons off on the floor.  I did get him to scribble a bit, but it’s so hard to see, that I can’t photograph it.  I still haven’t convinced my brother to trace his hand yet.



I made a quilt for my mom in 2011 – from the hand-prints and scribbling in my journal.  She wants me to add the baby’s hands to it.  My sister-in-law wants a copy of the page from my journal.  Perhaps she will get a quilt as well.


A Little Experimentation, A Little Frustration

When I finally said goodbye to all the out-of-town guests from the holidays, I escaped to my sort of re-done studio with the new art supplies I acquired, somewhat inspired by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s tutorials and new book.  I have been collecting stencils and have even used some of them, but wanted to play!

I’m a paint person.  That means, when I get in my journal, I generally use paint, either acrylic or water color, and for the most part, the two have never mixed in my journal.  Speaking of my journal, after almost 6 years, my journal is ALMOST done!  I have less than a section left before I need to start in a new journal – which I HAVE NOT made yet – so I’ve been reluctant to fill up those remaining pages.  Instead, I pulled out what is likely to be a section in my next journal, and started playing in there.

I acquired two kinds of spray inks, without knowing anything about them.  I saw Julie using spray inks in one of her tutorials and on my next trip to one craft supply store, I picked up some Heidi Swap spray acrylics and later acquired Dylusions from a different craft supply store.  I used the Heidi Swap Mustard spray on a page I had previously wiped my brushes off on (acrylic paint) through a stencil – interesting in a cool way results!  I came back to it later, and noticed that the ink smudges a bit if you rub.  Hmm…  acrylic?  smudging?


I started another page with the Dylusions, trying to use a technique I saw in a tutorial video by the designer, Dyan, on the Ranger website.  That didn’t work so well, so I went back in with acrylic paint and gesso, collaged some stamped tissue on top and let it sit.  On the facing page, I tried a different technique from a different Dyan video, and left it alone.


Last night, I came back to that page, and decided that it was too pastel for me.  I went over it with a light coat of white gesso, thinking I would still get the design behind, but be able to create a fresh surface to work on.  Hmmmmnn.  Colored gesso?  The Dylusions were blending with the gesso.  Ooops.  I should have researched that better!  I went over the top with some acrylic through a stencil, then some more.  I sprayed some Dylusions on top and left everything to dry.  Came in this evening, wet my finger and, sure enough, the Dylusions ink runs, even after drying as you can see in the red puddle just above the Li in my watermark.


So – off to Google I went, to research fixing Dylusions.  I found a post on a blog, which looks like a great place to visit, with another technique I plan to try, possibly tomorrow!  As for the blog – if you want to read about art journalling, I am happy to recommend the blog I found and promptly bookmarked!  Aaron at Imperfect Impluses chronicles his art journalling adventures in well-narrated videos!  I plan to visit often!

By the way – The latest issues of the All Dolls Are Art Conference Newsletter and Art-Xscape Retreat Newsletter are now out – after an inadvertently long hiatus.  Please visit the websites and sign-up for the newsletters to keep up with the goings-on of both events!