bliss list

I forgot to do this last week (it's not a habit yet), but following Liv's lead, here are my bliss items this week.  I love this exercise because it forces me to pay attention.  Pay attention to the small, every day, totally wonderful things that happen but usually go unnoticed.  This week I noticed these things that made me happy!  {ed: this was scheduled but for some reason blogger didn't publish it, so I'm overriding it and sending it out into the universe now}

1 - Last Sunday was in the low 70s, 16 degrees warmer than usual for that day....it's unheard of to be that warm in Seattle in April.  We loved it; sat out on the deck, bar-b-qued with friends, soaked up the sun. Heaven!

2 - Took the bull by the horns, bit the bullet, embraced the challenge, signed up for 21 Secrets.  I'm so excited to get started.  Did you know you get 21 individual classes complete with videos, PDFs, etc. for only $60 - that's only $3/lesson - a real steal!!

3 - I got my most recent Amazon order in the mail - a parallel pen to work on my lettering through Joanne's Artful Alphabets class, a lettering book Modern Calligraphy and Hand Lettering by Lisa Engelbrecht and the
book that says it's okay to be messy and artful, Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes by Keri Smith.
Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes

4 - I have the day off today and so will go have lunch with my hubby, always a favorite break in my day.  I might even wander over to the nearby garden center and see what they have that my garden can't do without.

5 - I just finished such an inspirational book filled with insightful thoughts for all creative types.  Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is ostensibly for aspiring writers, but I found page after page, quote after quote that is totally applicable to art as well.  As I browse the wealth of art/creative/crafting blogs, there are a few common issues that arise again and again:  how to find a lost resting muse, how to move an art piece forward, whether we're "good enough", etc.  She addresses all of these with encouragement but based in reality.  I highly recommend this book!


photo art friday

Yes, it's only Thursday, but Bonnie (Pixel Dust Photo Art) opens her links early, and I've got a couple things, so there you go.  She was going to take a hiatus from PAF through the summer, but thankfully has changed her mind!  I love the range of creativity that shows up from her participants.

This week I wasn't terribly inspired with "new" ideas, so just worked in my semi-comfort zone.....

First, a simple version of tulips with a rainy overlay and Bonnie's texture Grunge Surprise (didn't note the blending & opacities, sorry).

Then I got fancy (or weird) and layered in some more photos, did some erasing, added another texture, discarded lots of options and settled on this....

Original photos:

Drippy by Vintage Findings, flickr

Grunge Surprise by Bonnie at Pixel Dust Photo Art

FABrique by Bonnie.

Digital geniuses hang out at Bonnie's so be sure to check out the talented digi-art.


I found this inspirational video on Daily Footprint Studio and just had to share.  Almost every post shares a video of an unusual, creative, inspirational artist.  This is one site worth visiting and bookmarking.



Butterfly Effect has a theme that's hard to resist this week:  Flowers.  Who doesn't love to draw, photograph or write poetry about flowers?!  My little brain is going 100 mph trying to settle on ONE thing.....of course I have a million (well hundreds and hundreds anyway) photos of flowers - close up, far away, all seasons, with textures or words, plain.  That almost seems too easy, so off to the art room I took myself. Then.....

Jenn over at Just Add Water Silly has started a new weekly prompt - this week it's rainbow ...in whatever iteration or interpretation you want to explore.  So I made my flowers in a rainbow of colors....happy, bright, rainbow colors.

Starting with a watercolor loose painting, I added washi tape, tissue paper, handmade paper (not by me), oil pastels and watercolor pencils for detail.  I submit:  Summer Bouquet (feels a little presumptuous to name my efforts, but I need the practice :)

Handmade paper texture added on far right along with washi tape blooms.  Detail below.

 Decided to try some black oil pastel since I'd done other pieces and liked the contrast it offered.  Didn't like it here....too harsh, too random, too.....much.  What to do?

Add white details to balance and cover up some of the black.  I think it helped, but wish I would have left it alone.  May go back and add a little more floral detail, but I've messed experimented with it enough for now.

Be sure to join the creative fun at both Butterfly Effect and Artist's Playroom.


postcard swap

Inspiration Avenue is hosting a postcard swap as their weekly theme - you can sign up by 4/29 and you have a whole month to mail out 5 postcards.  You don't have to publish your address; just the 5 people sending to you will get your address.  If you'd like to receive some delicious handmade mail, be sure and register!

Click through here to read all the details.

texture tues: watercolor

Kim Klassen's popular Texture Tuesday has the theme "watercolor" using either her Let Go or Oh My texture this week.  I took the theme very literally and chose one of my watercolor paintings from last year to experiment with.

Original painting:

I added the posterize PSE filter then added Kim's Let Go texture at pin light blending mode, 65% opacity.

Exploring further, I tried duplicating my image and adding sumi to the posterize, same KK texture.

It made the scene so much more stormy feeling, don't you think?  Below I changed only the filter to overlay and look at the dramatic difference in feeling!
This is why the whole field of digital art is so engrossing!  Each click brings an entirely different viewpoint to the same original image and there are SO many possibilities.

One more....original painting:

I was practicing my mountain profile edges.... Then I added Kim's Oh My texture, soft light 75%.

Then I added some PSE filters - ink outlines and water paper to see if it would give a more painterly effect.

So there's my filter and texture play for today..... Be sure to visit Kim's to see all the talented digital artists.


restrained journal

Remember a couple of weeks ago I introduced you to my 'restraint journal' (inspired by Hanna at iHanna).  I love the quick results, the collage composition practice, the ability to use up fragments from my desk and most of all, a place to keep the random pieces of inspiration I find.  I spent a couple of happy hours this morning adding to the journal.

 Usually I try to have some cohesion between the two pages, but sometimes it's more apparent and intentional than others.

Sometimes the inspiration piece is too big (my journal is 5x7) so I have a few folded or layered pages.

Sometimes the inspiration is a color combo or a bloom (what doodles or shapes can I take from this ranunculus?

I love a striking and unusual flower arrangement that reminds me of my days as a florist. This one is yummy.
Have you tried a similar type of journal yet?  One that is simple in layout and no fancy or involved painted or embellished backgrounds?  It's freeing - try it.


artful alphas

After taking Joanne Sharpe's first Lettering Love class (open forever so I can go back and review the videos whenever...), I signed up for her second class as well - Artful Alphabets.  We'll be learning 25 alphas over 5 weeks....I'm moving a little slowly - I think she's on alpha 10 and I'm only on 5, but I like that I can proceed at my own pace - the videos will always be there.

She starts off very basic (won't bother showing you those) then starts building and encouraging us to show some flair.

The cursive alpha is one that seems to have given others trouble, but since I still use most of the cursive letters in my writing, it wasn't too tough.  The hard part is to connect them all and not lift the pen.  Hmmm

Take our print alpha and fatten one segment, then add doodles - she shows 4 but encourages us to experiment....Here are my trials.

Take your own print and thicken it up.  Then I tried some phrases.

Still need work, but fun so far.....  (I'm sure you can join Joanne's class at any time - she makes each alpha easy with a video and PDF).

I'm sharing this with Artists in Blogland Saturday roundup and also Creative Every Day.  This week I worked on my lettering, on my photography (IA words prompt), my ALAW project using Zentangles, and shared progress in my altered book.  A fun week!


inspiration ave: words

Words.  My fave.  I love reading; I love quotes; I love inspirational snippets (poetry, not so much).  Look what I've made using words, photography, paint, whatever.....   Be sure to visit Inspiration Avenue to see other interpretations of this theme (in honor of poetry month).

Sometimes the words are more subtle ("share" is collaged and painted over, there is French text on the wings)

Taken yesterday at the Washington tulip fields.  (more of these to come)

But, here are my favorite words - bound in book after book, all for anyone's reading pleasure and enrichment.  I was cleaning my bookshelves so had them stacked on the floor so I could dust ... man oh man books collect a lot of dust.  I read everything from mysteries to family sagas to popular novels (The Hunger Games, The Help) or what's showing up on a "Best of" list, or books about other cultures or .... I do tend to read mostly fiction though I've been known to pick up a 'teaching' or 'enlightening' book now and then.  Do you have one I need to add to my list?

By the way, I'm tracking all my reading for this year on my Reading List tab at the top of the page so you can see what I'm reading at any given time.

I love words.



I have a couple of things to share:

Jo Murray shared that an Australian, Joel Lambeth is hosting a collection of collages again this year and is seeking participants.  He'll choose 12 participants from the submissions who will then each get sent the same packet of materials from which to make their collages.  You can see 2011's results here.  It's ONLY cut and paste collage, so if that's your medium, be sure to check out the project here.  Deadline is June 30.

Then, Karen at IamRushmore is hosting a postcard swap via Flutterbye.  That's a new site I just discovered that's just filled with free tutorials and lots of general art info that is definitely worth a visit.  If you've been pining to join a postcard swap, here's your opportunity.  Join the Art Swap group and watch for notifications.

Finally, I came across this video of a watercolorist painting a face in quick time.  OMG, can I just say, amazing!    Wish I had 1/10th of the talent.

Maybe this video of real time calligraphy is more your style.

Hope you enjoy....