Thursday, August 26, 2010

Creative Color Challenge Week IV - Sea Green...

Hello everyone! Thanks for all your kind words on my previous color challenge project. It was fun to make though I did not make another necklace yet due to a heat wave taking place this week. Luckily the color for this weeks Creative Color Challenge was a color to help keep me cool...

***   ***   ***

The Color:

The objective:
to create something using this color, plus black and white

The final product by yours truly:
a photography series and a 'flight of fancy'...

Tools of the Trade: sewing, knitting and crochet*

This weeks color was a REAL challenge - I own nothing with this color but I remembered that I did have some objects that once belonged to my grandmother that had the sea green color. I thought I could gather them together and photograph a vignette image of them....but things are not always as simple as they seem...

The first attempt at a vignette; I ditched the booklet in later images...

I am not a professional photographer by any means and  I've never taken formal classes but my mother studied photography as a hobby and she would often explain the process of it to me as she took classes to learn what she could - how to use lenses, black and white photography, lighting, framing the subject. She would often tell me that it was best to take as many shots of the subject as possible to find one really good one and I definitely understand what she meant...

 These images may look alike but there are subtle differences in lighting and the border surrounding the subject...and these images were taken within seconds of each other!

I went through over 35 shots taken on three different days, at different times of each day and continued to add other items as I remembered where they were...all the while racking my brain trying to figure out how to tie in these items to the theme of this weeks creative color challenge: "to the sea"...

I love the diagonal line - it's a strong visual and it's dynamic, but it wasn't working for this vignette at all...

...and this image was taken from a slight distance making a lop-sided border on the right and it appears to be "floating"...

Hmmm, how could I connect these objects to a 'sea-theme'? They are not from the sea in any way though they have the color of being from the sea. I began to think about the flotsam and jetsom that often washes ashore and began to photograph these items as though they could be specimens you find on the beach and I used one of my grandmothers old muffin tins to frame these objects, relics of a creative, handmade life lived...

 one of the better images with the double-pointed needles in a tidy row...but I like the simplicity of the first image I posted the best of all the images I shot with my camera...

I began to imagine that these were treasures washing ashore for me to claim as she relinquished them on her journey, crossing the River Styx and passing into the next world beyond. Treasures that would continue to connect us through space and time, remembrances of the creative legacy she bequeathed to me as she taught me sewing and knitting and learning to treasure the details of beautiful things...

Am I letting my imagination run away with me??!? ;)

"Treasures of a Creative Life Lived"

***   ***   ***

I really admire the skill in photography I see on blogs such as Simply Breakfast and my blogging buddies Chrissy at cul*ti*vate, Beth at Do What You Love and Gwynnie B Designs. Looking at these blogs is a great way to learn about styles of photography and the way others see the world...and Photography is a unique way to look at the world, through the 'lens' of a 2-dimensional medium of imagery in color or in black and white.

This color challenge has been a great project for the month and I'll be sad to see it come to an end. I do hope that Louise will consider making it an annual event - it's a great way to experiment with color and work with colors you don't usually use in your own personal palette, not to mention the amazing amount of creativity in the way everyone approaches each color for each week. Check them all out HERE. And you can see all my images for each weeks color challenge at my flickr page HERE.

Do you have treasures from the sea you cherish? Do you have treasures given to you by a valued family member or friend? What makes your treasures special to you? I'd love to hear your stories about them!

* - I'm not sure why my grandmother had a lighter since she never smoked but since I use a lighter to seal the ends of satin ribbon, I imagine she may have done the same and wanted a lovely lighter to use for the job - I certainly don't blame her for wanting lovely tools to work with =-)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Creative Color Challenge - Week Three...

Firstly, thank you all for your wonderful comments from my recent exciting news! I do hope you'll consider signing up to create artwork for the next book Patti Digh is writing - each  "assignment" I received was of great writing that is very inspiring...

But now it's time to reveal my project for Week Three of Louise Gale's Creative Color Challenge...

***   ***   ***

The color:

The objective:
to create something using this color, plus black and white

The final product by yours truly:
a 'mixed-media' necklace...

Necklace of glass, jade and silver beads, silver wire, vintage button and ribbon tape...

It was a good way to cool down after the heat of the red I worked with last week! This week, I knew I'd be making a necklace since I have many glass beads given to me by a friend, though turquoise is not a color I wear very often. I actually like to mix shades of blue together from dark to light - I think shades of blue in one garment looks nice...hmmmm, maybe I will try that in another necklace??!?

I was happy to see that the 'twist' Louise added to this weeks challenge included using 'metals' since I would be using silver wire to create this project!

The beginning elements of the necklace and a quick sketch when inspiration struck...

I began to play with the turquoise colored beads I had and thought I'd add a few white beads that came from a old necklace my mother had in a jewelry box for years. As we've been going through my grandparents home we came across some necklaces and one of them had the exact same white beads as my mothers old necklace. It seems the white beads are actually "white jade" and they tend to be heavier than the glass beads I was working with for this project...

When I began with the centerpiece, I realized I wanted to add some ribbon tape to it. I have quite a bit of rayon 'hem tape' in many colors and I had about three shades of turquoise - of the three shades, I used the palest color...

Lots of ribbon hem tape, beads and some silk thread from my grandmother's sewing supplies...

Unfortunately for me, this week was pretty hot in my apartment so it was hard to get started...and then there was all that excitement about my published work!! ;) However, last night I buckled down and had another thought to use some turquoise silk thread that belonged to my grandmother and is now in my sewing supplies. It was a darker shade than the ribbon and I thought it would be a great contrast to sew bits of ribbon together as connectors to the wire wrapped bead sections...

It may be hard to see the silk thread sewn on the hem tape but you can click on the image for a bigger view...

I made the bead sections first and then cut and sewed the ribbon connectors, or "jump rings" as they would be called if they were made of silver! I found a vintage button of a pale turquoise and some vintage white braid tape from my grandmother's supplies to use as a closure...and now we have a necklace of calm, cool turquoise...

  The final product*...

This is a really fun challenge to participate in! I've tried to create something different with each color for each week to shake things up and that has been a lot of fun too. It's also great to see the amount of creativity as everyone approaches the color in their own unique way. Check out the amazing creativity HERE!

I love the final results of my project though it's not a necklace I think I will wear...but if I make a version of this necklace in PINK I would wear it everyday!! Hmmm, I think I know what I'll be doing this weekend! ;)

***   ***   ***

What will you be doing to keep cool this weekend? Hanging out poolside or staying inside with A/C and creativity?? I'd love to hear about it =-)

* - I may use this necklace for a private auction on this blog to generate funding for my trip to next years Artful Journey Retreat so stay tuned!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm a published artist!

It finally arrived in my mailbox yesterday: my copy of "Four Word Self Help" by Patti Digh including artwork by yours truly!

my drawing in Patti Digh's new book, "Four Word Self Help"

Sadly my dear boyfriend had left for Chicago in the morning to visit his dear old dad so he could not be with me as I opened my package (though I had him on the phone while I opened it!) nor could he take any pictures of me with the book, which explains why some of them are not the best quality...but I am SO excited!!

OMG! I'm a published artist!!

The four word phrase my art is now paired with: "Let Kids Dress Themselves"

I don't think I mentioned that my drawing was being used for another four word phrase instead of the original one I was assigned (Let yourself be beloved) and I find it rather amusing to have been given the phrase "Let Kids Dress Themselves" - let me explain...

Back when I was studying Fashion Design and Pattern Drafting I had made a series of drawings of children in clothing, some of  it 'costumey' by the standards of the day since many children seemed to be wearing smaller versions of grown up outfits. One of my instructors and a few classmates suggested I should consider designing children's clothing! But I'm not sure little girls want to be in frilly dresses all day and I'm not sure little boys would be happy in "short pants"...but they do look so cute in such outfits!

I do wish I'd known about this phrase - I would have LOVED to make my girl into a 'paper doll' with lots of clothes designed by me, which I've actually been thinking of for quite some time. It would be fun to make some paper-dolls and paper-doll clothes! Maybe I'll make some anyway...

 I guess I should frame the original drawing now...

I took the book to bed with me to read over every bit and it is a wonderful book. Filled with thoughtful and thought-provoking stories that are the hallmark of Patti Digh's writing style for each section and filled with amazing artwork by artists from around the world. And of course, there is a section for you to write in your own four word phrases as they occur to you reading through this book.

One of my favorite phrases is "Surprise them with presence", which is in the chapter titled "Community" - maybe because it makes me think I want to surprise my friends with PRESENTS! Which is only natural since many of my friends have been surprising me with presents lately...

 Thank you Kat!! I've been keeping this one with me as a reminder...

 Thank you Gwynnie! I'll be filling my story book soon...

 Thank you Lauren for sending the extra goodies with my order - the 'music magnet' was a special treat!

Goodies in the mail are so wonderful when you least expect it =-) 

***   ***   ***

I posted that Patti Digh has put out another "call for artists" on her blog and some of you are signing on for the challenge - HOORAY! If you haven't seen Patti Digh's blog I do hope you'll make time to check it out and maybe even check the link from my previous post to sign up to make art for her next book. You won't regret it!

Now I REALLY can't wait to see the next book: "Creative is a Verb" and see what my artwork looks like in that book!!

Will you be the next one to sign on to make artwork for Patti Digh?? I sure hope so!

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Patti Digh, Calling All Artists"....

I thought I'd share this post from Patti Digh's soulful blog, 37Days, where she has put out a "call for artists" for another book she is writing due for publication in April 2011. I do hope you'll join in and submit some of your work for one of her excellent will not regret it! Needless to say, I've put myself on the list again...

Now, if only my copy of the new book would just show up in my mail box so I can see my artwork in a REAL LIVE PUBLISHED BOOK!!

sheesh... ;)

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Creative Color Challenge Project - Week Two...

The Color:

The Objective:
to create something using this color plus black and white

The Final Product by Yours Truly:
is a dress design...

"Raging Red Dress" designed by me...
(feel free to click on the image for a better view - my camera was not at it's best taking these images)

I never thought I'd be a woman who loved to wear red...

When I was a young girl, pink was my primary color of choice, though I would often draw flowers in pink with red accents. Those two colors looked well together to me =-)

As I grew older, I moved toward Rose since it seemed to be a more sophisticated shade of pink. I also grew to love Burgundy - deep rich shades of Burgundy and Wine*. I wanted to wrap myself in those colors but trying to locate clothing of those deep rich colors was not always easy so when I would find Crimson**, I would often settle for that since it was close to Burgundy and Wine, but leaning toward Red more than Purple...

I should have seen this would be a slippery slope!! ;)

I have quite a bit of 'red' in my closet now and a few red handbags in my collection. Most of the red I'm surrounded in is deep red, not fire-engine red, though I have the coloring to pull that shade off. I don't wear a lot of red when I wear it so I don't have a red dress...though I would love to own this dress I designed!

Here is the inspiration piece:

I saw this huge bloom while out on a walk during a bad day at the office. It was the deep shades of red I love and the pointed petals got my brain going while walking off my 'bad mood'...I began to dream of a red dress with black contrasting details and sharp points at the neckline and at the hem.

I also thought of the line from "Breakfast at Tiffany's" with Audrey Hepburn. I never quite understood how she could mix-up the color of red with "feeling blue", but I always loved the concept of "the raging reds" - it summed up my mood while out on that walk!

Here is the final result, in detail:
I came up with the 'tag line' for my dress when I thought about what had inspired it: a BAD mood ;)

The colors I used from my color pencil collection - I was lucky to have a pencil called "raspberry"!

I listed the fabrics I would use since I didn't have any proper swatches to attach to this design...

"Raging Red Dress" to be worn with killer heeled boots for maximum attitude! ;)

So there you have it! The "Raging Red Dress" designed by yours truly...and if you'd like to see what the rest of the participants are up to, check out the Flickr group here - they are all VERY creative!

Do you have a color you associate with some of your moods? Do you have a color you like to look at but not wear? Are there color names you find funny? I always thought "puce" was the funniest name for a color and I thought it was in the green family - I guess I got it mixed up with "chartreuse"! Hmmm, there could be a poem in there somewhere... =-)

FYI - the rest of my week improved, especially when I got my confirmation for my place in Nina Bagley's class at the Artful Journey Retreat! YAY!!

***   ***   ***

* - these are very Scorpio colors!
** - I mean the darker shade of crimson - OU Crimson

Thursday, August 12, 2010

While I'm Waiting...

I'm now waiting for my confirmation from Artful Journey that I have gotten my space to learn from Nina Bagley or Albie Smith. As last year, I'm slightly torn between instructors - they are both amazing, but I know that I really must take at least one class with Nina if she was going to teach at Artful Journey again and I'm so glad she is...

While I'm waiting I thought I'd share a few thoughts about this retreat...

One of the great things about Artful Journey for me is that it is not far from home - it may be a bit of a drive but it's a drive that can be done within 6 hours (no speeding this time, I promise!!). When I would read about other blogging artists and the retreats they were attending, I was longing for the opportunity to do the same but so many retreats take place far from my home and are just too cost prohibitive for me and my meager salary...I am SO grateful that this amazing retreat is within my means!

Now, many people will tell you that attending an art retreat is life changing. I have to argue that it is the ACT OF COMMITTING that is the most powerful thing you can do for yourself. The act of committing your time and energy (and finances!) to attending an event where you will be surrounded by like minded people, people like yourself is truly transformational...

  • when you COMMIT to immersing yourself in an activity that brings so much joy into your life, it is transformational and courageous
  • immersing yourself in such an environment really forces you to see yourself as an Artist...because you are one and you will get that feedback every day, all day
  • when you have taken such a monumental step, all other steps begin to look like a cakewalk...sometimes!
my girlie during the retreat class...

I can say from experience that making that commitment was the first step toward all the other events that have occurred in my life because after I registered for the retreat last year:

  • I wrote my first blog post
  • I received the first "call for art" from Patti Digh and made art that was accepted (twice)
  • I was invited to participate in the Ventura art exhibit and made art that was accepted
  • I opened my etsy shop
  • I've received an invitation to create art for a worthy fund-raising event

Mind you, some of these happenings were in the wings since I had laid groundwork for some of them, such as signing up on Patti Digh's blog to be one of the contributing artists months before signing on to the retreat and the same goes for my blog since I had opened the account months before actually posting. But after making the commitment to myself to participate in an event where I was allowing myself (yes, giving myself PERMISSION) to fully immerse in the activity of CREATING for THREE WHOLE DAYS - that seemed to be the catalyst I needed to allow myself to do all the other things that followed: blog, submit artwork, open my online in that way attending Artful Retreat has been life-changing. And it has been life changing because of the many amazing women I met at the retreat, that are now part of my artistic community, as well as the many bloggers who are an important part of my artistic community...

my girlie now completed...

When I returned from the retreat the first person I wanted to speak to about it was my dear Wise Woman. At the time, I didn't really feel that it was a HUGE life-changing experience, but as she pointed out in her wonderfully wise way: "It may not seem like a life altering thing now, but you will begin to see those life altering effects over time..."

and she was right.

I'm looking forward to seeing more of the transformation as I await my confirmation for the next round of Artful Journey...

***   ***   ***

What will you commit to today to take you one step forward in your life as an Artist?? To get you going, here's my step for today:

I'm going to work on my creative color challenge for this week to submit by tomorrow!

I'd love to hear about your commitment to your art - please share! Your stories are so inspiring =-)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Artful Journey or Bust!

OMG...I just know I won't be able to sleep tonight. At 9:00am tomorrow morning registration opens for the Artful Journey Retreat for February 2011 and I'm determined to be there!!

I am taking the day off to insure I can register when the form is up and running on the website...

It was such an amazing experience and I met so many amazing women and artists...did I mention how AMAZING it was?!??

You can see what was created at this retreat in my last post of my entire retreat experience - beautiful work by beautiful women =-)

I'm itching to learn some jewelry techniques from Nina Bagley, who, strangely enough, I would never have known about if it wasn't for the fact that you must have a second choice instructor at the time of registration! This year, I am prepared with a second choice instructor - Albie Smith, paper maker and book artist extraordinaire...

Money has been tight this year after taking a pay-cut that has caught up to me, but I'm determined to get to the retreat next year - wish me luck!!

The Giveaway Winner!

Hello everyone! Today is the day I announce the winner of the giveaway to celebrate my 'blogiversary'* and I thought I'd attempt to document the process of choosing the winner... is the list of contestants...

...all ready to be placed in a pretty pink bowl...

...after mixing them around a bit, I pull out a name...

...and the winner is...

And here is the accomplishment she listed:

"My biggest achievement this year has been moving out of the full time 9-5 working environment into a more fluid one including a part time position and some consultancy. I've always admired people who took the plunge and could make a living doing the things they love - but it was always so scary to think about giving up the stability of a full time job! Well, I finally did it and it is excellent."

(may I just say I LOVE this accomplishment??!?! and I'm hoping to follow in those footsteps!)

There you have it! Congratulations to Stitchybritt! Please contact me with your mailing address and remember these are the "Tools of the Trade" groups you can choose from:

sewing - collage - knitting

To all the contestants, you are ALL winners for the accomplishments that you have achieved so far and the plans you are working on for this year! I've said it before and I'll say it again - your achievements are truly inspiring to me! And I hope to hear more about them from you in the future =-)

As for myself, I'm absolutely planning more giveaways during Blogtoberfest, hosted by the "Hostess with the Mostest" Tinniegirl, which will begin in October...I hope you'll join in the fun!

Meanwhile, it's time for me to begin work on my next Creative Color Challenge for this weeks color - I hope you'll stop in to peek at what I've managed to accomplish ;)

* - this is also my 150th post! woo hoo! 

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Creative Color Challenge this week...

The Color:
Sunflower Yellow

The Objective:
to create a piece of art using the color assigned plus black and white

The Final Product by yours truly:
an 'art' book...

Let me begin by saying that this week's color challenge was not a total surprise given that I had mentioned to Louise upon signing up that yellow is not a color I work with often, or wear for that matter! I think I own only ONE yellow tank top for summer...

But that is the point of the color challenge - to work with colors you don't consider, to challenge yourself to see that color and figure out how you CAN work with it. And I can say that working with Sunflower Yellow was a great deal of fun. Of course, of all the yellows, sunflower is one of my favorite shades...I just don't work with it!! =-\

I knew I'd be making an 'art book' of sorts for this project and I've already been starting to play with a new idea in a tentative way so this was a great opportunity to work with it in a bigger way: paint chip pages!

I'm sure this is probably not such a new idea but if it is - you heard it here first!! ;)

I also knew that I would want to photograph the color where I could find it (remembering that I could also use black and white) so I could print out the images and use them as collage paper. Before I knew it, I was seeing shades of yellow are just a few samples of the images I took around my work neighborhood where yellow abounds:

A yellow truck with a yellow hard hat - double score!!
some lovely yellow blooms on a tree...
a "patchwork" of some images I photographed* - can you believe that amazing yellow cab??!?!
top row: yellow cab - underneath a covered bus stop - fence shadow on sidewalk with traces of yellow paint
middle row: yellow house with yellow garden hose - high voltage sign - double yellow line on the street
bottom row: yellow bumpy ramp covering** - yellow parking pole with graffiti - yellow bumpy with shadows and sidewalk

I printed out some of the images and used them in unique ways to back the paint chips. I also used some rubber stamps and rub-on doodles for embellishment and 'journaled' a few thoughts about yellow on some of the chips, then assembled it using one brad. I think you'll like the finished product:

the art book completed

the art book with open pages - front view

the art book with open pages - back view
Louise wrote about the energetic nature of yellow, as well as joy and optimism. I thought it was interesting to see how yellow is used in a different context in the world at large - primarily as a means of "caution/danger"...I did lean toward the "urban" images since they were so striking, but I did manage to incorporate a few fun, cute items as well.

I like to think the book is a mix of "street and sweet";)

This was a lot of fun and I'm glad I joined in. I'm looking forward to what the next color challenge will be and I'm having fun with paint chip pages!

Remember that I will be announcing the winner to my giveaway on Monday to stay tuned!

I hope you're having a creative weekend!

* - many thanks to my dear boyfriend for his help in turning these images into an image suitable for posting here! OX!
** - I have no idea what to call that yellow bumpy pad but it's placed in the path of the sidewalk ramps - suggestions anyone??

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Currency of Strength - The Exhibit Comes to a Close...

Hello and welcome to Day Three, the final day of "Currency of Strength" where you can view and read about the women I chose for my art-piece submitted to the exhibit "MARCH: Women and Strength" held in the city of Ventura in March 2010. If you missed the first two days, you can go back to read Day One and Day Two...

Today we will discuss the final two women of the currency...they may be last, but they are certainly NOT least!

Feel free to click on the images below to read the information on the bills...

The Women: Helen Keller & Nellie Bly

Helen Keller

Helen Keller made a very strong impression on me when I first read about her as young girl and she has stayed with me for her amazing accomplishments in spite of her disabilities. As with the bill I made for Wilma, Helen also proved to be difficult to create. I knew blue was a good color to use for her but I didn't realize why until I remembered that WATER was the first word she 'spoke' through sign language...after that, it was a bit easier to create the bill.

What struck me the most about Helen was the thought of being unable to see OR hear yet she accomplished so much in her lifetime - she wrote 12 books, several articles, was a suffragist, a pacifist, and considered in her day to be a radical socialist. Perhaps that is because she helped to found the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920? She also advocated for birth control, though she would not be allowed to marry or conceive children during her lifetime...

Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Jane Cochran)

I first heard about Nellie Bly when I put the question to my own dear Wise Woman: if you could have a "founding mother" on your currency, who would you like to see? Nellie Bly was a woman she told me of and when I looked into Nellie's history I saw a connection that many of us could relate to - due to her attempt to bring "72 Days Around the World" to life, we have what is now known as "stunt journalism".

Nellie Bly is the grandmother to us all really, for pioneering the concept of "Stunt Journalism" which we see today in the likes of Julie Powell, Gretchen Rubin and several others who conduct 'living experiments' in the public sphere to test out the concepts, theories or recipes of others many of which are now written about...on blogs!

Here are quotes from these women of strength and accomplishment for you to consider as you work toward your own goals and achievements:

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence."
Helen Keller

"Energy rightly applied can accomplish anything.
Nellie Bly

***   ***   ***

This concludes the "Currency of Strength" Virtual Exhibit - Thank you all for stopping by to see my first "virtual exhibit" and I hope you enjoyed viewing it as much as I enjoyed creating it!

Many thanks must go to my dear boyfriend who helped me with my original art submission and helped me with the jpegs for this virtual exhibit. And many thanks to the amazing women whose achievements and accomplishments we have celebrated here. Because of them (and so many others!), I am learning to see that behind every amazing woman is a VERY understanding and supportive boyfriend...or husband!

BTW: remember there is a giveaway happening this week - check it out here and leave a comment of your greatest achievement this year to win one of the prizes .  The list so far has been fantastic and inspiring!