From Winter to Spring in 3 Weeks

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It is the time of year in Central Texas where we look to come out of burrows into the garden.  The days are noticeable longer and the last of the leaves have dropped from the trees.  In my yard, the harbinger of spring is the Bradford Pear tree.  It seems to be budding out before it loses all of its leaves, but I know spring is here when the blossoms start to open.  Next are my bulbs.  Winter may still take a swipe or two at us, but the plants and birds know.  Spring has arrived.

My tree on February 1st, looking west.

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My tree on February 7th, same view.

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My tree on February 14th, same view.

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I have spent my creative free time working on several things, many of which involved printing with my #GelliPlate.  I’ve made a lot of cool backgrounds that I’ve scanned and am using in other pieces of art.  These were all made with TCW Stencils using Golden acrylics and Master’s Touch acrylics.

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One of the things I’ve used them for is my paper doll that I designed for the All Dolls Are Art Winter Swap.  My paper doll is a circus performer – I can only post a sneak peek now though as I don’t want to unveil her before the swap deadline at the end of the month.  If you would like to play – you can check out the guidelines on the ADAA blog or Facebook page.

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A second thing I used my prints for is my Valentine’s card for my mom.  I don’t generally celebrate Valentines, but I did send out a few cards this year and wanted to make my mom a card as she always makes me the nicest of cards.  This card has a gelli printed background, gelli printed scrapbook paper adhered to grungeboard for the heart (a Tim Holtz die) and Gelli printed deli paper for the intermediate layer.  The stamp is my hand-carved “Love” stamp.

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Last – I made a gift for my friend Annie – which I will show later in the week, after she’s received it!

And of course, I have my #StudioCats er kittens keeping me company.  They are so big that they really don’t qualify as kittens anymore, but they still have all the energy and wonder of kittens.

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Cookie – curled up in a basket below my printing table

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Calla giving Cookie a bath in my studio chair.

January Gray and Red

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Yesterday and today we had blue, blue skies, but that has so not been true of the rest of the month.  It is likely to end tomorrow evening, with a return to gray and gloomy.  I could not live in the Pacific Northwest, as I’ve found my energy levels are very much affected by the lack of sun.  But even in the gray days there has been some spots of color, the last of the leaves on my oak tree, the winter cardinal visiting my feeder. 

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I’ve been busy getting All Dolls Are Art faculty profiles written and scheduled on the ADAA blog.  It’s fun to see what people who teach and create for a living have to say about their process and inspiration, but it’s very tiring putting together all of the posts.  I’ve got three done so far and four more to go if I’m counting correctly.

I took a break from that this evening to play with the kittens.  They have a new favorite toy:  small, very bouncy, rubber balls.  I can get one started in the hall and they both take off after it, sliding across the wood floor to avoid running into the walls or door.  When they wear themselves out, Calla drops in and takes up a post in between the laptop and the printer where she entertains herself playing with the cursor on the screen.

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I didn’t do much creatively this weekend as I spent Saturday looking at venues with the Etsy Local ATX Artisans team leaders and then Sunday was spent cleaning the house.  But now that my floors are clean, and a blog post is done, I started a new spread in my art journal.

First I scribbled on the ungessoed pages with Caran D’ache Neocolor II crayons. 

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Then I applied gesso over the crayon.  While that dried, I was actually working on my blog posts. 

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The next step was digging through some of my collection of papers and I found several in the teal/turquoise/navy range that seemed to work with my right hand page color.  So, I tore, arranged, tore, rearranged and have pasted this arrangement down.  I’m letting the matt medium dry overnight before trying anything else!

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2015: A New Year, New Art

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2014 was the lost year.  Seriously, I can honestly tell you I don’t have a record of most of what I did outside of my day job.  To combat that this year, I’m leveraging an idea I’ve seen several other places, including Stampington’s Resolutions blog post, to create an “accomplishments” jar.  When I do something that is on my annual goals list, something big from my to do list, or something creatively fulfilling, I’m going to write it on a slip of paper (already have cut up a stack), date it and put it in my jar.  That way, at the end of the year, I will have a way to know WHAT I actually did this year.

One of my goals for this year, as it was for last year, is to post more.  I failed miserably at that last year, part of the “lost” items for last year, but am trying again this year.  I have a few things that I do remember from last year that I never shared.  The first Art-Xscape was a success.  I’m hopefully close to solid dates for the next one.  My beloved Marigold went across the rainbow bridge to wait for me.  The 4th All Dolls Are Art went in the books and the 5th is open for registration.  I went to Barcelona for work.  I adopted two rescue kittens.  I participated in the 2nd annual ATX Artisans Etsy Local market.  I opened a new Etsy shop!  So, I have a lot of catching up to do with you here.

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First, I’d like to introduce my new girls, not so little now, Calla (the calico) and Cookie (the Siamese).  They are sisters, and soon will be 7 months old.  They are sweet and funny and definitely brought a blast of sunshine into my life.  Calla is the innocently ornery fearless one.  Cookie is the vocal lover when she wants to be and is more timid than her sister.  They think I’m a softer, louder, more fragile cat tree. 

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Second, I’d like to introduce my new Etsy shop: AnLiNa Mixed Media by AnLiNa Designs.  I have put a lot of my new work there and will be transitioning my art dolls there are they expire on my first Etsy shop.  AnLiNa Designs will remain where I stock my hand-dyed velvet, rayon, cotton and trims.  I’ll be adding digital collage and paper packs in the future.  (speaking of the ornery fearless one, she’s in front of my screen trying to play with the cursor!).

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Last, I’ve been spending more time in my art journals lately.  Yes, that is journals, plural.  I’ve given up on just working in one.  I have one that I’m chronicalling my life and thoughts in and another that I’ve gelli printed in.  The third is my painting journal.  I’ve not gotten very far with it yet, but after spending lots of time online looking at art journalling videos, I broke it in this week.  Here are two spreads, not so well documented in stages as I took some of the in process photos on my cell phone and some with the camera.  This is definitely not my usual style, but I like it. 

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This is the second or third layer on the 2-page spread.  I started with Dylusions spray inks through stencils, then FW inks dripped and spread around the page.  Then a charcoal pencil and Caran Dache Neo Color 2 crayons.  Paint and more marks with black FW ink.  Matte medium over the crayons and to glue two news paper circles down.  More paint.

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This has lever layers of paint on top, white on both sides, an orange on the left outside the bird (which I didn’t like once I got it down, so more white).  Then I started stencilling, painting, drawing with FW ink and a skewer and just kept going.
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I think this is the finished spread, but I could change my mind still.

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“Be There” scanned in to my laptop.

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And “Flowers”, also scanned in.  Very subdued color palette, which is not my usual style, but I’m pretty happy with it.

A New Adventure: Art-Xscape, plus some gardening

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In the culmination of 6 months of work, I launched the Art-Xscape Retreat, a new mixed media retreat coming to ATX in 2014 this weekend.  There was a bit of a scramble at the end as my tech support on the web side of things (my dear brother) had to take shelter to avoid the second batch of tornados to accost the OKC area, just after closing on his new house!  All’s well that ends well, though.  He and the family are safe and sound, as is their new house, and the website made it up!  Please visit it and comment if you see anything of interest!  I’m pleased as punch with the line-up of classes and instructors! 

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We have been the beneficiaries of some of the wet stuff – to the tune of 5 inches at my house!  That has led to largess in my garden and flower beds.  I donated 5 tomatoes, darn it, to the local mocking bird this week before I got my bird netting up.  Hopefully, I won’t donate any more!  I’ve been harvesting green beans and cucumbers for a few weeks now, in addition to cherry tomatoes, but this week saw the first large tomatoes.  Marley has fallen way down on the job of patrolling the garden!  He’s been enjoying laying in the grass instead.

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I planted a bunch of dill in the hopes of having dill to go with the cucumbers for pickles.  Unfortunately for me, I’ve had swallowtail caterpillars chowing down.  I’m down to 3 out of the original 8 plants. 

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I managed to catch what I think is a baby dragon fly visiting my lemon tree.  He kept climbing up into the blossoms and curling his tail around them, but I got this shot where he’s extended out straight and his wings are just visible.

I had a visitor to the mist flower at the other end of the garden a couple of weeks ago, just as I was wrapping up in the back garden before heading out of town.

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He swung from the flower heads for quite a while.  I managed to get several really good shots before heading back inside the house.

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Happy June!

Spring Fever and Imagine!

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I fully planned to write this post last weekend, but I wore myself out, then got hold of some bad shrimp which resulted in food poisoning.  On top of that, work has been a time-consuming affair since I came back from San Fran.  But that’s enough excuses.

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Last Saturday, I dug in 5 more bags of compost into the low bed in front of my sewing room.  I say dug in, but the ground was soooo hard, there wasn’t much digging.  I planted more plants in the berm and the raised bed next to the driveway, some santolina in the berm, some daylillies and verbina in the raised bed. 

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I added Oxallis and Dianthas to the low bed and then I went back in and planted thyme to start creeping along the raised bed.  I built a walk way with some of the left over stone from my patio between the raised bed and the bird bath. 

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And last, but certainly not least, I hauled 1/2 a yard of mulch over the low bed and got the other 1/2 yard out of my Dad’s pickup.  I worked from 8:30 to 4pm on Saturday and completely wore myself out.  My front beds are almost done, though!

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The cats really enjoyed working in the yard with me.

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Prior to all of the yardwork over the weekend, I did my Imagine entry in Susanne’s Word’s Journal.  I wasn’t sure were I was going initially, but I really liked how it turned out.

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The two page spread doesn’t appear to be tied together, but I used the same colors in the Imagine page (right) that I used in the Excavation page (left).  I added a bunch more colors on the Imagine page though.  I used very different techniques between the two pages.

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I started with Excavation, applying a very thick layer of gesso to the page.  I stamped into it with a gothic calligraphy stamp, then stamped off on the Imagine page.  I wiped my gesso brush off on the Image page center. 

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Once the gesso was dry, I used a wash of Bone Black fluid acrylic over the texture on the Excavation page, which I then wiped off the raised parts.  I used successive layers of fluid acrylic in Permanent Violet, Quin Gold, Bright Copper, and a bit of Quin Burnt Orange.  I used some of these same colors in washes on the Imagine page.

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As I got color down on the Imagine page, I decided I wanted to use a stencil of dragon flies and butterflies spiraling up concentric circles in the center.  I needed a way to set it off, so I used very light washes of Naples Yellow, Quin Crimson, and Permanent Violet in the opening I’d left from stamping off.  I laid the stencil down and misted Pthalo Turquoise over the stencil.

Imagine_top I went back in with white to highlight the circles.  About this time, I figured out that I was creating a sunset and added clouds in Dioxazine Purple and Anthroquinone Blue, highlight with white.  I added a sun using Bright Copper, painted over with Quin Burnt Orange and Permanent Violet.  I used a white crayon to write Imagine and then wiped paint off so it showed.

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Next up is Debbie’s Journal and “Believe”.  I didn’t realize that I knew anyone in the RR besides Naomi, the organizer, but Debbie is my friend Debbie G from St. Louis!  She comes to All Dolls Are Art and silk screened my bags last year.  Her journal is lovely.  I’m going to get it photographed and will post on that later in the weekend.