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Friday, October 28, 2016

What Did We Promise???

Those of us who are of a certain age (or older) 
may remember our childhood school days 
when the first order of business 
(once the classroom came to order) 
was standing, facing the flag, 
putting our hand over our heart,
and reciting the Pledge in unison.

As children we did not fully realize 
the import of those words, 
and I wonder if perhaps many today also 
do not know what those words truly mean:


to the flag

and to the REPUBLIC

for which it stands,

One nation





for ALL.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Late-Blooming Crocosmia

What color is this?!?!?!  Orange-red? Yellow-orange?  When the garden appeared to be finished blooming, this surprise showed up.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

One Last Look at Autumn's Splendor

The wind has been ripping the leaves off the trees.  Sunlight enhances the remaining foliage.  I couldn't resist one more attempt to capture the beauty around me.  How rich I am to have this view of the Master Artist's handiwork!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Complementary Color Post Cards

Again, I wandered into the art room for another purpose and some half-finished projects insisted on being completed.  Two are examples of "Opposing Colors."  Here they are:

Friday, October 14, 2016

Another Stroll Down Country Roads...

One might possibly conclude that our local foliage is almost at "Peak Color," with the majority of the trees no longer wearing green.  Eventually Autumn winds will whisk the leaves off like tossed confetti, and they will skitter across roads and sidewalks, swirl around in circles and cover lawns with their beauty.  (Those who have to rake them up might miss the "beauty" point...)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Various Collage Pieces on an Autumn Day...

While intending to file away mail art received over the past two weeks, my attention was drawn to some UFO's (un-finished objects/projects) on my work table.  Somehow I ended up with two post cards and quite a few Artists' Trading Cards.  It was a productive art session:


Artists' Trading Cards


Miscellaneous pieces

Friday, October 7, 2016

Glorious Autumn Day

My nature walk through another country cemetery gave ample opportunity to enjoy vivid blue skies and brilliant fall foliage.  I wish I could have lingered there for hours.  I should have brought a picnic lunch.  Next time...

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Tidbits - Part 1

15.  For a REALLY quick, easy inked background for post cards or artist's trading cards, take a Colorbox Catseye inkpad or two and scuff, pat, swipe it across the surface (and along the edges) of your piece. 


14.  After spreading a layer of acrylic paint over a surface, before it has fully dried, spray or spritz water in different areas, then blot gently with a textured paper towel.  Not only will you lift off some color  (leaving lighter spaces for rubber stamping, for example), you might leave a texture on the surface.  (You could try painting with one color, let it dry, paint over it with another color layer, then spritz the top/wet layer as above.


13.  I have found that I have more inspiration to create art when I go to the art room with the intention of cleaning, sorting, clearing the work table, etc.  Or, if I threaten myself with the necessity of throwing away the clippings and snippets and magazine pictures in piles here and there.  All of a sudden they become quite vocal about being made into collages.  That's when I get the most mail art pieces made in the art room.  Funny how that works.


12.  In abstract art and culture, the Japanese prefer using odd numbers to even numbers.  (Westerners prefer even numbers.)  This is based upon the Japanese connections between numbers and words and the meanings behind them, some of them very negative or foreboding. When I was constructing a fireflies wall quilt, a well-traveled artist urged me to include 3 or 5 fireflies instead of 4.    

11.   Cardboard collage:  to help adherence of clippings from food- and cosmetic-packaging (i.e. color codes, logo's, designs) made of thin cardboard, leave a slight margin while cutting around the image.  Then carefully pick apart the layers to leave a thinner piece which will hold glue better, trim, and apply to your project.   


10. When layering Deli wrap waxed paper (available at onto card stock base, use matte gel medium to adhere, and for the final coat.  (I use this paper for brayer wipe-off while Gelli Plate printing.)  Collaged strips of the same type of paper will seem to melt very smoothly into the bottom layer.  (Rubber stamped images can add detail if desired.) 


9.  Economy envelopes:  Paint or collage 8+1/2" x 11" sheets of card stock, let dry, fold in half.  Embellish with rubber stamped images, collage, etc.  When ready to mail out, tape three sides (or zig-zag stitch with sewing machine).


8.  Resists:  quickly block out portions of a painted Gelli Plate by arranging rubber bands, draped string, torn paper strips, etc. before pulling the image onto your sheet of paper.  Or try drizzling rubber cement over watercolor paper, allow to dry, then paint with different colors watercolor paint.  Let paint dry, peel off rubber cement.


7.  To make up a quantity of post card or ATC background papers, either paint (stencil, Gelli plate print, water color, etc.) or collage a full sheet of 8"+/2" x 11" card stock, then cut down to sizes desired.
Finish off with further collage, rubber stamped images, etc.


6.  When using paper punches on flimsy paper like magazine pages, or on sticky paper like label sheets or Magic Mesh, paper jams occur.  Slide a piece of card stock behind the image you want to punch out (circles, squares, etc.) and Voila!  no sticking or jamming of the punch. 


5.  Post cards and ATC's can be stored neatly in plastic page protectors (source:  eBay and maybe Amazon or office supply stores) which fit into 3-ring binders.  


4.  Protect ink on art or labels printed with an inkjet printer by rubbing clear candle wax (or canning wax) over the images once they have dried.  This may help ink from running during damp weather.


3.  Make your own labels/stickers by importing clip-art or your own photo's, printing on full-sheet white or clear label sheets.


2.  Small snippet clean-up from work surfaces is easy with a loop of duct tape, clear packaging tape or leftover sticker paper scraps wrapped around your hand.  The lint brush may also work.  Or you could drag out the vacuum cleaner...


1.  To enlarge text on your computer screen, press the "control" button and the plus sign button at the same time.  Repeat as necessary.   To minimize, press the "control" button and the minus sign button at the same time.  This may not work in every program.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

My Art Journey

It is easier to say "I am a dabbler," than to say "I am an Artist."  So I'll type it with small letters:  I am an artist.  I experiment and create using various media, materials and techniques, and it brings joy into my life.
I live near the Canada border, Niagara Falls, two of the Great Lakes, and Buffalo, NYS in farm country where Amish buggies are a common sight. Retired from the optical field (licensed optician) and a short stint handling mail at the USPS, I share living space with some fish and chips and a very supportive spouse who finished off a large loft for me to use as a studio. (He gets half of the room, but it's too bright and pleasant to be called a man-cave...)

I've dabbled in arts and crafts for many decades, wishing I could have had formal art training.  One basic pottery course, a folk-painting course and a subsequent pottery workshop were my humble beginnings.

Here is a summary of my "art journey":

- wrote stories and poetry
- sketched mushrooms and wheat grass in art class

- enjoyed candle-making, decoupage, macrame, filling shadow boxes
- sewed clothes and other projects
- continued writing poetry
- hand-formed clay (Pottery 101)

- founded Rainbow Rubberworks, an ART rubber stamp manufacturing and mail order company (Was introduced to decorated mail.)
-learned oil paint marbleizing
-took another pottery class and got to use the wheel (once)

- began making bed quilts and quilted clothing
- took a tole-type folk art painting class
- did graduated fabric sun-dyeing in Mason jars (fun!)
- made honey soap in bee-shaped molds
- tried flower pounding on fabric, also cyano printing (sunlight and resist designs)
- enjoyed photographing nature
- baked coffee- and rust-distressed papers achieving a vintage effect- crispy, fragrant!
- found vintage photo's online (Adopt An Ancestor) and wrote stories about them

- participated in two online fabric PC exchange groups, swapping internationally (Also made/swapped fabric Dotee dolls w/bead tails, fabric ATC's and bookmarks)
- taught beginner quilt-making courses through Cornell Cooperative Extension (made a magic quiet stick for loquacious students, never dared use it)

- took several online Landscape Quilts courses; realized I wanted to make up my own abstract and landscape quilt designs
- discovered printing on stabilized fabrics (even organza) using thermal web or freezer paper, running it through the computer printer (never ruined a printer- phew!)

- experimented with Tyvek; did thread-painting on netting, used adhesive thermal web-applique in wall quilts
- worked on short stories, self-published book of poems, began writing NM inspirational novel
- made/printed out my own stickers and labels
- compiled notes from a 1,100 hike (1980) along the Appalachian Trail, had book printed and bound
- made one-of-a-kind ART books and small accordion-fold poetry books

2010 to present -
- collected fossils; gathered, tumbled and polished large quantities of quartz river pebbles from AL
- made stone/glass/shell jewelry
- continued nature and structural photography
- made scrapbook papers cards, decorated matchboxes
- started several ART journals
- decoupaged on stretched canvas

- discovered MMSA and have been learning new techniques, concentrating on paper arts, experimenting with media, and making new friends ever since.

Important Aspects Of My Life:
my faith
my family
my friendships
observing and enjoying nature
expressing my creativity in many varied ways

participating in the online MMSA mail art group


Why do I "make art?"  First, it brings me JOY.  Also, it's a compulsion, a form of recreation- and it gives me something to share besides words.  I amass paper piles and collect magazine snippets for collage work, but also enjoy working with acrylics on the Gelli Plate and experimenting with watercolors.  I've only experienced an "artist's high" once, and that was while brushing acrylic paint on a long strip of packing paper.  The flood of peace and feeling of well-being were a surprise!

I am looking forward to continued involvement with the MMSA art community, doing what I can to keep it active, vibrant and engaging for many years to come.

"To the hesitant:  You may fear that you are not "as talented" as other artists whose work you admire.  That may or may not be true.  It's really quite subjective.  But you have a different set of eyes.  So, see things your way.  Interpret what you see.  Create.  Share your one-of-a-kind art with the world.  Be.  Live.  Celebrate!"
hhc - 2014