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.

Growing a Garden and a Bit of Velvet

I’ve spent most of the last month and a half working in my yard.  Spring came with rain, thank goodness, and, in between showers, I’ve been working on my flower beds and my gardens.

I spent time today dyeing some velvet.  I got some great turquoise and a wonderful chocolate color, as well as some yellows.  I will have them posted in my shop tomorrow. 

For now, enjoy pictures from my garden and of Marley!

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Columbine

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Ornamental Kale

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Marley likes to sleep on his back.  Funny cat!

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Look at that sweet face!