Friday, April 30, 2010

The Blue Door Re-Opened

"Unlock" series (1 of 6)
I used the "Blue Door" Artist Card as a background for a series of 6 cards with the "Key" theme for a swap on the Yahoo ATC Anonymous group. I cut up and collaged a photo of brushes, used part of RedLine stamp "Unlock Your Creativity". A little bit of embossing, key charm from K & Company, hammered brad (I love hammering brads). I like that this card has that same story book quality that the Blue Door card does.
To me the way to "unlock your creativity" is to get out your brushes (or what have you) and keep on working (actually playing) through all the phases of the creative process. Briefly those stages are (I'm making up the stage names as I'm going along): Re-charging, Bolt From the Blue, Imagining the Possibilities, Making a Plan, Gathering Supplies, Making a Start, Honeymoon, Hitting Obstacles, Persistance, Breakthrough, Big Finish (or little, medium or indifferent finish), Possible Post-project Depression (avoided or lessened by overlapping projects), Re-charging, Bolt From the Blue, Imagining the Possibilities, Making a Plan, Gathering Supplies, Making a Start, Honeymoon, Hitting Obstacles, Persistance, Breakthrough, Big Finish, Post-partum Depression, Re-charging...
My favorite parts: well, of course, the Bolt From the Blue, then the happy accidents that happen all along the way, and, oh, I like looking at what I made, and showing my friends. The creative journey's path is cobbled with happy accidents. I am so grateful. The unexpected problems/solutions--they tickle.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Perfect Harmony


The card called "Notes" started out as part of the Harmony card. I like it as an abstract piece. I cropped the original in Picassa to make it.

"Perfect Harmony"
This is the final version of the Harmony card. I ended up liking the Dymo words on it after all, in the shortened form, and with the hammered brads. See previous post for the original version. My friend Lisa, who makes wonderful ATC, was laughing at me (and with me) today. I kept on changing this card (somewhat minutely) and posting a new "final" version. I'm glad I went through this process even though a few people said they liked it the original way. Guess its like painting a room almost the right shade and knowing that it will bug you until you repaint it, either today or in a few years. It's finally done because it doesn't bug me anymore and I like looking at it. It just makes me happy. Funny to call something "perfect" when it looks all scribbley and scratchy. But to me it's "just right".

Harmony 2

Harmony 2
This is my "Let Me Live In Harmony" card in its updated form. I really like the brads and that the word phrase is translucent because it was printed on vellum. The script is a little bit too sweet but better than the Dymo label. I hammered the brads (makes them more interesting)
using the Tim Holtz texture hammer (what will they think of next).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Live in Harmony

"Live in Harmony"

I found a nice picture of a castle in the Sunday paper and made a transfer of it with soft gel matte medium (Golden). I placed this on a piece of scrapbook paper from a scrapbook pad from K & Company (Life's Journey). The paper had a handwritten musical notations on it. Since the acrylic transfer "skin" is semi transparent the notes ghosted through. I emphasized them with Glossy Accents (Ranger) and then inked them with a permanent marker. I added a bit of color with the Derwent Intense Watercolor Pencils and added a caption with a Dymo labeler. I not totally sure about the Dymo script. May change that. The notes call for more of a calligraphy text. Put a music score and a castle together and it can only be "Live in Harmony". I like that the notes flow through the house and that the windows are lit and the door is open. I like that the music comes into the foreground.

Blue Door

This is another card I made today. It is a hand drawing of a blue door. I was working on cards with a "key" theme but decided to first draw a few doors. The blue door was drawn with Derwent Intense Watercolor Pencils and a gold pen (Sanford). I also did a new version of the the art card "Open". Also with the "key" theme.

Open 2

The actual card has a background that is less mauve and more the color of leather. This card is very similar to the first Open card but has had a lot more Glossy Accents (Ranger) added. I really like that this product stays where you draw it on and dries crystal clear.

I'm going to have to pay attention to the door, lock, and key theme. I know that, although I am an introvert, or I guess because I'm an introvert, I am working to push my limits in terms of opening my creative self up to others with this blog, teaching art and other subjects, and putting my art cards out there for others to see on facebook and elsewhere. Everyone has been so supportive. So the opening, however tentative and scary, continues. You open me by being willing to look and comment and share your own work. I open by responding and sharing more.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Jules Verne: More Steampunk Cards

I had determined to complete 4 (or more) steampunk cards in order to enter the Steampunk Inspirations Call for Art.
Plus I have been interested in exploring a style that I had completely overlooked (but appreciated, without understanding the distinct style) and that has been an inspiration to movie makers, writers, artists and illustrators for many years.  Since steampunk is, for the most part, a rather masculine style, I decided to make my first steampunk card a variation of my easter card (see Steampunk Spring).  I thought that that picture of a 12 year old in her Easter outfit would be a nice contrast to steampunk goggles and other images of adventure.

Next I decided to focus on the writers who brought steampunk to birth.  Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and others all came to mind. I started with Jules Verne.  I remember seeing the Disney Version of 20,000 Leagues Beneth the Sea when I was a child.

Jules Verne: "Voyages Extraordinaires" 1
This card has a background that is an acrylic skin made with matte soft gel medium (Golden) and a newspaper photo of the undercarriage of a machine.  You do this by painting on the medium, waiting for it to dry thoroughly, then spraying the back with water and rubbing off the paper.  You are left with a "skin" that has the ink from the image you chose.  I used the "fuzzy" side (the side you rub the paper off of), because it had more interesting texture; cut the skin to ATC size, then added a vintage picture of Jules Verne.  Butterfly and "Brilliant" from a K & Company embellishment pack.  Gear from a Tim Holtz gear embellishment pack.  Wire from Elite Better Beads.  The words Jules Verne and Voyages Extraordinaires are from a picture of a vintage book cover.  Texture and effects created with Ranger Glossy Accents, Crayola Glitter Glue, Stampendous Gold ink and Derwent Intense Watercolor Pencils

Jules Vernes with Steampunk Goggles
This card was made pretty much the same way.  Collage with vintage pictures, gear from a Tim Holtz gear embellishment pack. Wire from Elite Better Beads. Texture and effects created with Ranger Glossy Accents, Crayola Glitter Glue, Stampendous Gold ink and Derwent Intense Watercolor Pencils

Jules Verne: Voyages Extraordinaires" 2
Again, similar in "ingrediants" to the first image.  Collage with vintage picture of Jules Verne, printed on vellum paper. Background from a K & Company scrapbook paper pad "life's Journey".  Gear from a Tim Holtz gear embellishment pack. Wire from Elite Better Beads. The words Jules Verne and Voyages Extraordinaires are from a picture of a vintage book cover. Texture and effects created with Ranger Glossy Accents, Crayola Glitter Glue, Stampendous Gold ink and Derwent Intense Watercolor Pencils.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Steampunk Spring

Steampunk Spring
Collage with embossing (VersaMarker watermark pen and Stampendous embossing powder: Hematite and Detail Gold).  Derwent Intense Watercolor pencils. Lettering printed on vellum: gold Sanford Uniball gel pen . 

You know, I think she looks like a "tourist" dressed up in native costume.  She has given me the idea to do a time traveler series--with costume and background of various ancient cultures. That might be fun.  In the background of this card are: a Kraken, a flying ship.  In the midground: men in Victorian suits pointing.  In the foreground: our Steampunk adventurer and Spring flowers.

So "What is Steampunk"? you say.

Imagine that there was wonderous steam powered technology in the 1800's, now you are getting warm.  Think the Wild Wild West TV series (not so much the movie), Dr. Who, Sherlock Holmes.  So you want to have your computer outfitted with fine polished wood and brass as if it were a Victorian artifact?  That would be current day Steampunk. Say you want to dress up like a Victorian adventurer complete with time travel proof googles.  Yes, that's it.  Now throw in the works of a few literary geniuses, for example, H.G Wells and Jules Verne.  Stir in Walt Disney and other inventive movie makers,(2000 Leagues Under the Sea, Atlantis, The pirates of the Caribbean, and other movies with a science-fiction/steam powered technology/fantasy bent), and you would be "there".  Playful, nostalgic fantasy.  I'm putting together a few
H. G.Wells and Jules Verne cards.  I'll post them when they are done. For more crafty "Steampunkery" check out

Also check out a book in the process that is calling for Steampunk submissions:

Monday, April 19, 2010


I think I remember playing bingo as a child.  Someone had a game with that cool cage that mixes up the numbered balls.  I don't remember actually playing but I like that whole idea of being able to win a game just by waiting for all the numbers you need to be called. Just takes waiting and luck, no skill required. Means that fate could randomly make anyone (like me) queen for a day--just for entering the game. 

There are lots of potential metaphors that can be drawn.  Just like life you need to use what you get and hope you can have some luck and can fully utilize your "free" space and become a "winner".  I think that everyone has that "free" space and just like many religions indicate one has only to look to the "center" to find it.

Maybe I can imagine that the numbers are the special years, (or days of the year) that were/are auspicious in  life. Maybe it is just the idea of an innocent, low tech game that makes us nostagic for a simplier time.  Maybe its just a fun background to play with. There are an infinite number of BINGO markers you could use, (roses, bugs, diamonds...).  The numbers could mean anything that makes sense to you. A locker combination? Your lucky or unlucky numbers? The day of your birth or a loved one's death?  Something silly or nothing at all.

I got a vintage looking BINGO card in a K & Company emphemera pack
So far I've made 5 cards, here's my latest.  See what you think and if you can find some inspiration.


This is my latest Bingo card. Embossed BINGO (Marvy embossing markers and clear Stampendous embossing powder).  Martha Steward bird punch (fun to use both the positive and negative images) punched  out of a K & Company scrapbook paper pad (Life's Journey). The colored squares were fun--I used the sunday ad for stacks of towels, sheets, comforters by making transfers with matte soft gel medium (Golden).  You just paint the medium on the image, wait for it to dry, spray the back with water and rub off the paper.  Assembled by cutting out strips and squares and gluing on with the same matte medium.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Flames and Tears Revisited

Flames and Tears Revisited
Sometimes I am compelled to rework my cards even though I had dubbed them "complete".  I found that I feel better now that that tortured "face" I saw in the orginal has been soothed a bit through continued work and thought, and to some extent, the passage of time. Used for the update: additional cloud sticker, acrylic paint, Uniball metalic pen. 

Flames and Tears (original form)

Most people have "bad days" sometimes.  Here are some of the "reasons" I sometimes list: hormones, worries, a glimpse in a three-way mirror, irritations seemingly beyond my control, being tired, under the weather?  No matter--it is always amazing to me that all the facts of life from day to day don't change that much--but the same circumstance can seem like heaven or hell.  Makes me suspect that my attitude towards things (hopeful? despairing? choose one) makes the big difference.  Of course art making (here's a secret--doesn't matter how "good" the art is) gets my eye and hand, mind, spirit and heart to work together. 

As an art therapist I would say: "Creative Self Expression supports authenticity and self integration".  Probably one of the mom's of art therapy said something like this but it has become my own.  It means we have fun, get insight, partake in the creative process (more about that in another entry).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

ATC "Baggie Swap"

Participating in a "baggie swap". Each participant makes up 6 baggies of ATC "ingredients" and mails them to the swap host. You get back 5 assorted baggies and need to make 5 cards with the provided ingredients. Fun, and a challenge--not everyone gets inspired by the same things. I finished one tonight.

This is called "Library for Heidi". A picture of a bookshelf was provide plus photo corners, a small black shell charm (became the clock), picture frame hardware (became dangles), ribbon (become edges of bookcase), a paper tag that I never did figure out how to use and destroyed in the process of altering it (things happen).  I was asked to include the figure of a woman as well. I had a transfer image that I had made that was about the right size, that I cut out--she is the "ghost" at the right. I made her a bit more dimensional with Ranger Glossy Accents. The word "library" came from a scrap of found paper.

Flames and Tears

Pablo Picasso 'Head of a Bull' 1943

Isn't it weird that whenever there is an image that has a horizontal opening towards the bottom and a round object towards the top suddenly becomes a face? It seems that much of art (especially modern) is dependent upon the fact that our brains form gestalts (whole recognizable images) from visual cues. We know that Picasso's bicycle seat is a bull's head, for example. All this leading up to me talking about my latest card which, now that I look at it, is a face. My face, I would guess. Meant to be a card about a forest fire and rain (well, at least that's what it first was) it turned into "Flames and Tears".

Flames and Tears
My son stamped the house (Teesha Moore), I embossed it (VeraMark watermark pad, Stampendous "Detail Gold"), Then added cloud and raindrop stickers (Michael's brand, clearance), burnt details (courtesy of my son's magnifying glass), butterfly (from K & Company emblellishment pack), Crayola glitter glue in red and gold, Derwent Intense Watercolor Pencils and Tsukineko marker (Tangelo).

So what does it "mean"? I've been stressed lately--financial issues, worry about my health mixed in with feeling a little under the weather and concerned about earthquakes, volcanos and trying to make the best choices for today and the future. My subconscious is telling me that this reality I'm facing and creating may feel like "Flames and Tears" but insights (lightening) and transformation (butterfly) are a reality to be embraced as well.

Great to have my thirteen year old making cards and collaborating on cards with me! Here is his latest. I have a feeling that I, as "Mom", might be the "Editor". He has been asking me to stop interupting him (like he says I "always" do) and to give him more time to say what he is trying to say. Message received (embarrassed face).

"A Letter to the Editor"

He created the background with antiquing spray (Tsukinek, Walnut Ink), then layered words and images from K & Company. Hey, I see a face in this one too (smile). Patrick says: "It doesn't mean anything". I believe that the images we create, just like dreams, are messages from the subconscious and/or the superconscious, to our waking consciousness. All that is necessary is for the conscious mind to see them.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

ATC Art History Cards

Teaching Art History this term and have 6 game art students.  We are in week 5 of a 9 week term.  Last night we talked about Greek and Roman art and I had them use their book to draw inspiration from these so inspirational cultures. Told them to trace iconic images and draw what inspired them.  They were sort of resistant--if it doesn't look like it could be part of a video game they are not that jazzed--but, the thing is--everything around us has been influenced by Greece and Rome.  They all ended up with a nice drawing or two.  Next time I teach this course I'm having them make a card for each of the chapters we cover.  They can end up with 16- 20 inspiration cards in the process.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bonus Monster

What I made today: got some wonderful stamps from Teesha Moore at Zettiology (15 Houses) and got a bonus "monster" stamp. My son and I collaborated on three monster cards. He sprayed the background, burned the card with a magnifying glass and our cooperative Colorado Sunshine, and stamped the monster. I embossed and embellished.

April 15th addendum 12:03
Oh Man! I just got a call from my son's school saying that he had brought his magnifying glass to school and he and two other boys got in trouble for starting woodchips on fire on the playground. In school suspension. Yikes. This all started from a science class experiement but probably should not have bought him the magnifying glass so he could do his own (supervised, I thought) experiments. Liked the art application (see above) but will confiscate the magnifying glass for now, except for actually magnifying library items.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Signed up for the "2010 Project 365 ATC" at Naked Heart Art Studio

I just heard about a fun ATC project. "2010 Project 365 ATC is a quest to create 365 ATCs, one a day, for 365 days! Join the fun with your own creations or just follow along to see what happens!"
The chance to win the 21 donated ATC is great but even better (for me) is to be part of a group that has the desire and energy to make at least an ATC a day for a whole year! 4-13-2010 was day 100 but anyone can join at any time. Guess I've got 265 days to go before my ATC "year" is up. Cool! To get on board follow the link below."

Here are the ATC I made today:

Bird with a Long Tail
Blue acrylic (Golden), clouds with metalic watercolor (Yasutomo), bird cut from scrapbook paper altered with glitter, Glossy Accents (Ranger) and watercolor pencils (Derwent). Branch cut from chipboard, aged with Tsukinek antiquing solution.

"Poetic Thunderstorm at Sunset"

acrylic skin (soft gel matte) with 7gypsies letter rubbing and Iridescent Gold Deep acrylic paint (Golden). Raindrop stickers from Recollections (Michaels). Backing board is a piece of packing material from something stickers or something, maybe the lettering.