Carole's Creativities

A place for sharing my 2006 art journals and related creative explorations.

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Location: Castleton, VA

I am a creative type living in the hills of rural Virginia. I'm trying to transform my geek career into an art career but the two keep joining forces in a seeming conspiracy to complicate my life. Or is it just part of the Big Plan? Hmmmmm. I wonder.

January 19, 2006

Playing with Knives

I adore hand carved stamps. Been wanting to get more focused (buahahaha, as if that was even possible!) and make a bunch to use in one of my zine tutorials, so I joined this Yahoo group called Artists of the Round Table. A group of us are going to be working in a structured way (with lesson plans and everything!) through Gloria Page's EXCELLENT book Art Stamping Workshop to develop our stamp carving skills. If I don't cut my finger off, I expect it should be a really worthwhile activity because I adore the look of hand-carved stamps. That image above was made with a stamp I carved from a 30-cent pink eraser in about 5 minutes, with no plan...just freehand. I love how it turned out...can't wait to dig in (please excuse the pun) to my more expensive soft blocks...the pink eraser carved fine but those soft blocks are like butter.

So far this year, I've stayed on track to my commitment to do some kind of art every day...much of it is for the zine and doesn't get reported here, but it's still art and I am enjoying the DailyDevotions365Days Yahoo group that keeps me focused on that commitment.

Been riding my exercise bike regularly, too...another commitment being upheld. Gosh, it's almost like I mean it. Now....if only I could figure out how to do art stuff during the boring 20 to 30 minutes that I am pedaling....hmmm....must ponder that one...

January 18, 2006

Fusion Stenciling...Trippy and Fantabulous

For the last couple of days, I've been working out the details and creating samples for a new technique which I'll share in the "What If?" section of upcoming Issue 4 of my zine Paperpourri...I call this technique Fusion Stenciling. It involves inkjet photo paper, water media, hand-cut stencils, and fast fingers. Results are trippy, slightly out of control, and always visually interesting. Does art get any better than that?!

Here are a few samples from the dozens I've made:

Are those alien dancers?

Is that a cosmic sunflower?

Is that a lakeside monolith at sunset?

Don't you LOVE the way there seem to be images half concealed in the color and how, the longer you stare, the more you see? Besides that, the colors are fantabulous. Scanning doesn't do them justice--in real life, they are pop-your-eyeballs-out vivid.

January 14, 2006

Getting the Word Out

Marketing for my zine and classes is much on my mind. When I came across Jeffrey Yamaguchi's delightful, smart, and funny Get the Word Out suggestions, I somehow got the idea to use them as the basis of a "Business Development Journal" type thing which I could use for inspiration and to store ideas, progress, etc...I had in mind a folio type thing that looked well used, messy, and overstuffed. I printed out JY's wisdom, made a list of his 30 suggestions, distressed that, then tore them all apart. Then I cut a 3 ring binder down to 2 ring size, punched holes in 31 half size kraft envies, and glued one step and its associated text to each envie and mounted them all in the binder. The 31st envie lives in the front of the binder and is for stuffing with ideas that don't have their own envies yet. I'm looking forward to feeding this journal! Thanks for the great inspiration, Mr. Yamaguchi. Some images:

The paragraph above is one Yamaguchi's suggestions for getting the word out about your project and it's worth repeating here: Get rid of your television. I can't believe how much time people waste passively staring at the idiot box--time they could be using to DO something instead of wishing tomorrow that they had done something today. Here's some food for thought on that topic. We'd probably all be better off with a Turn Off Your PC mentality, too. While computers and the Internet are a large part of how I get my work done and the word about it out there, the computer is a voracious and seductive time vampire.

Back to Yamaguchi...I am charmed and amused by his work. His book 52 Projectssounds intriguing; I'm about to order it from the Big A. His book Working for the Man is worth reading too for us corporate escapees or those still chained to The Man. Here are some stories from it. JY's blog is Bookmouth, also an interesting read.

Playing with Paint on 1/13/06

A local (60 miles from my house, but around here that IS not out of the realm of being "local") stamping store (Cami's Paperpie in Purcellville VA, probably one of the most beautiful stores I've ever seen) hosts an Artists' Circle on the second Friday of each month. A small group of us...usually no more than 10...get together to swap ATCs, share art we have created since our last meeting, and then one of us leads a mini workshop to share a technique or a project how-to. It is a wonderful, energizing, talented group! So that's where I spent my Friday the 13th.

Our project was a background paper technique (thanks, Leiann!) that involved drenching paper towels with various colors of liquid watercolors and other water soluble media, then sandwiching the wet paper towel between other sheets of paper and brayering heavily. This resulted in the wet pigment transferring to the other layers in the sandwich, resulting in some really coooool papers. Sometimes, we placed stencils in the sandwich which affected how the pigments transferred to other layers during the favorite result is shown above. The stencil was a snowflake I free-hand cut from a square of card stock. Aren't those colors GORGEOUS? I'm thinking about framing this piece, I love it so much.

The technique we explored was inspired by a workshop given by Traci Bautista which one of our members had attended. Very cool technique though messy! But in my mind, MESSY equals CREATIVE equals FUN!

January 12, 2006

No Rules, Just Right

Whoever thought up that slogan is speaking my language. Funny, though, that I can't mentally connect the slogan with its product at the moment. Heck--for that matter, maybe I'm not even remembering the slogan correctly. But the sentiment is near and dear to my heart. I was reminded of that by a gal who emailed to thank me for posting explanations about how I was texturing ATCs with gel medium and other stuff (like I described in other posts here). She said I had "given her permission" to actually sit down and play with new products she had without feeling confined by the manufacturer's instructions. BRAVO! That made me so happy to hear that I inspired someone to explore and PLAY!

When it comes to new art products, I tend to read packaged instructions only as a last resort--if ever. With unfamiliar techniques, I skim the steps then jump in without a backward glance. Yeah....I risk making some mistakes, screwing up, wasting product. Big deal. The upside is that in figuring stuff out through experimentation, a new technique or application might reveal itself along the way. Ya never know.

Crayola Colors We'd Like to See: Poop Brown

Today, I re-shot the video for the doll tutorial in Paperpourri #4. This was AFTER I noticed that my tripod (which I had hanging from the ceiling to get the right angle) was about to fall apart and drop my expensive video camera crashing to the floor. Yikes. For once, I was able to avert disaster, this time with contact cement. Anyway, I'm glad I did the video over because a) it looks way better than the first effort and b) this doll is cuter than the one in the other video. Could have something to do with the earthy colors...I've always liked brown. Reminds of when I was in kindergarten. I had this poop-brown dress with a waistband embroidered with cute flowers. I LOVED that dress and wanted to wear it every day. I was forever arguing with my mom to let me wear it. Funny how it disappeared over the summer and I never saw it again. Took me about 5 years to realize that! Yeah, duh, I can be a little slow sometimes...

But anyway, here's the new I'm deep into the process of editing and narrating the video for this tutorial and that should keep me busy for a day or two.

January 11, 2006

Week 2: Mid-Week Art Update

Posting every day is probably not realistic if I want to get anything else done, so I'm aiming to do an update every few days but no less than weekly. The focus on art that my Daily Devotions commitment encourages is SO good! Plus, in some weird way, it's setting up a good vibe for also staying on task with my diet. At the end of this year, I can only hope not only that I've been more productive art wise, but that I'm also a leaner, fitter me!

January 8. We spent a goodly amount of time delivering a donkey we sold to his new owners and then just got busy with other stuff, so not much art happened today...but at bedtime, I did go through a stack of old Somerset Studio and other art mags, just filling my brain with "stuff." I figure if I go to sleep with some of these images and ideas swirling around in my head, they'll worm their way into my subconcious and morph into something usefully my own that can be reflected in my art.

January 9. I joined an ATC swap with the theme of Farm Animals. Since I'm still in love with this idea of pressing stamps into goop, that's what I did on my cards for this swap. This time, I mixed a little metallic gold paint with Golden's Gloss Gel Medium and scraped some onto card stock I had spritzed with water and then with Ranger Color Washes. Love those Color Washes lots. LOTS. Then I pressed a rooster stamp into the goop and let it dry. Finally, I stamped a couple of other stamps in StazOn Blazing Red. I just love how you can turn these cards in the light and the combo of metallic paint and textured image changes what you see as you do that. Here's the card I made:

The stamps I used on this ATC are from Qwikart Art Stamps.

January 10. Shot the video for the doll tutorial for Paperpourri #4...I've set up my video equipment a little differently now that I'm in a different studio space. I have the camera mounted overhead, so it shoots straight down onto the project as I work it. I'm not thrilled with this angle, so will probably re-shoot this project with the camera mounted above my left shoulder so that it's looking at the project at a bit of an angle downward. More natural perspective that way for viewers. Also, need to zoom in a little tighter on the project so people can see more detail while I work. Lots to remember and do while videotaping...even after 4 issues, I sometimes look at what I've produced and make retching sounds, it's so bad. At any rate, here's the doll I made on the first videotaping effort for this tutorial:

The doll's face is made with a cool stamp from Cardsnstamps, my Issue 4 sponsor. The arms are from a template I drew myself and which will be provided as an Art Goodie in Issue 4.