In case you're just tuning in, I am pushing myself to read numerous books that I have collected over the last couple of years..I mean really READ them. I'm taking notes.. studying.. growing.
My second book this year is, "The End of Print", David Carson. This is the kind of book someone like me gets lost in... It is such a great read.. There are no tutorials... there are no "steps" to follow to create good graphic design. There is SUBSTANCE.
I think David Carson is a brilliant artist. Do I feel this connection because I grew up in San Diego? Because I hung out at the beach? I don't know.. but the constant flux of his work .. and the fact that you have to really LOOK at it to read it..if you want to read it.. makes me curious. The art makes me come in... it makes me linger and stick around. Every page is like this.
This book is not a usual topic around here.. So why did I read it? There are a lot of cues that you can take from graphic design to place in your art work. A lot of my art contains lettering and studying the placement of the lettering in this book is pretty rad. Photography? Indeed. Photography and art...digital journaling. Ideas. Growth. Expansion.
This book is a great read.
I scored the opportunity to pick up an issue of Raygun pretty inexpensively on ebay.. (Carson was the art director to this publication 1992-1995.) They don't make magazines like this anymore....it's an awesome treat.
I wrote down several Carson quotes from the book that hit home for me.. you'll see them listed periodically in my "On the Grid" series...
Thanks for coming in.
At the moment... read & take notes.
Great delight in using ball point pen and marker these days. My new art journal. Not much art...more journal. Suits me at this point. Recording notes. Making book reports and such.
I love making my Valentine's every year. I have been going back and forth in my head what I would make this year; Simple and classic won over the painted, collaged and layered ideas. I also chose to stay away from red and pink... what do you think?
I always use Fabriano cardstock for my base. Now....I know it's expensive.. BUT I am not making 40 of these to pass out. I am hand writing special notes to people I love.. about 7 or 8 of them total.. so I think its worth it. This paper is so beautiful and elegant... it would almost be impossible not to make a great card on it. (Hey....check out the Papyrus cards at Target.. 6, 7, 8 $9 a pop....this paper is worth it.)
Next thing I do is create the heart panel.. I need a panel because I don't want the raw stitches to show on the inside of the card. In the image above. I have smaller 4x3" panels that I will stitch on. I will alter attach these panels to the folded notes.
Since the folded notes have raw edges, I need to put raw edges on the paper I trimmed for the panel. (Because I cut it off while trimming.) Use your really great scissors...the ones you bought for sewing...and pretend you are giving a shave to someone in the barber shop.
Finally, I ran the cut panels through the sewing machine... free motion stitching these simple hearts. Fancy metallic thread makes the heart shimmery and pretty.. it is almost like vintage tinsel thread.. love it.
I attach the panels to the folded notes using this awesome double stick tape.
I toyed with layering mica over the hearts..but in the end, simplicity won.
No paid endorsements....all Julie. Are you making some cards this season? Let me know...I'd love to hear from you.
I want to paint..but I keep having to come to terms that at this stage in my life, there are lots of things going on every day that are not painting or photography, but I do my best to keep creativity alive. Take "Western Wear Day" for example... the school sprung this theme-day on us for next week. I don't have a stitch of anything western in the house..and the kids are not allowed to wear hats.....
I also know she would be miserable in a button down shirt and jeans..so I rigged up a San Diego Western ensemble.. White T Shirt, suede vest, jeans, bandana. Done.
I found a lot of cheap adult vests on ebay...but the kids vests were out of my price range. I picked up a yard of this fabric for $8...and when I passed neon ric-rac on the shelf, I had to grab that too... and the star was pinned to the board behind the cutting table...so I grabbed that too. I was out the door for about $11.
Since I am not a strong apparel sewer, I have been reading sewing blogs and something interesting stuck in my brain: I'm seeing favorite clothing items being traced onto new fabric and then slightly altered to make new pieces... seems pretty project runway...and something I could manage...so I grabbed my daughter's puffer vest and started tracing.
Pictured is the first and only mistake... tracing the vest this way did not yield a symmetrical garment. I folded the vest...and matched the fold with the fold in the fabric and got an even cut.
I eye-balled the arm holes and had my daughter try the vest on a few times each cut...
It's a quick costume... no hems... nothing fancy.. PERFECT for a school theme day and especially a vest. I sewed the ric arc along the bottom of the vest and eyeballed the cuts for the fringe. A little decorative stitching around the edges to make things a little more substantial.. all in all this took about an hour.
The best part? I know she loves if because she wouldn't take it off... Such a great feeling.
Yee haw :)
Special shout out to Yardage Town in Escondido...... I love you...I love your assortment. Don't ever change.
It's an interesting topic...no?
Blogs are dead.
Facebook is where it's at...
No...google+ is where you want to be......
I found this very interesting article on twitter this morning: (Video Embed)
I study my analytics a lot.. it's really the only thing I've got to look at..and coming from someone that analyzed business statistics for so many years, I feel like I need some concrete information to justify my blog performance...
My Facebook business page has some stuff I can look at with that regard..and I find myself frequently, yelling inside my head, "What is it that you people want from me?"
I put simple, quick information into Facebook almost every day to connect.. it's fast..fun... but I've been finding, that unless I pay-cash-money, my posts are not populating your brains. So...has Facebook recognized that since I have paid for placement (I run marketing ads once a month or so) in the past, I will always pay for placement?
It doesn't seem fair...and in fact, it seems like censorship... so what's a small business to do?
I like what this guy says about Twitter... and I like google+...but I don't use it as much as I should...
Has Facebook reached it's peak? It seems like there is room for everyone in a feed....just up to the reader to see how long they want to scroll....
Sometimes I get wild and crazy ideas...
Like the time last week when I decided that I wanted to cover the expansive windows in the 2nd grade classroom with home-made heart garlands...
Them there are some pretty big windows to fill....
As in we needed 30 garlands at five feet long each. Ooof. 600 hearts.. I'll take pictures of the install when they are up next week...
(Got the idea from the Impress Rubber Stamps Store Windows.....and that was that.)
You have stuff. It's on a shelf. Take a picture of it. Share it. Everybody's doing it.
Why? Because come on....Looking at stuff on shelves is fun. Looking at things all lined up and orderly excites my neat-freak side.. Behold my newly acquired thread collection.
Whoooo makes this stuff up? Insanely creative Michelle Ward..that's who. You remember the "GPP Street Team"? That was her...so many excellent online community building blog-events coming from that brain over there. And thankfully...they are not. the. same. old. stuff.
Dust off your shelf...post and visit all of the blogs. There is a Facebook page too.... I know it's easiest for me to comment from my mobile device onto Facebook...maybe I will see you there. Will I see you there? I hope to see you there. Really.
I told her, "Michelle...listen...I don't have many shelves...and everyone has seen my paint shelf..what can I possibly contribute?" Stuff she says... "You have stuff. Line it up." Snap. Done. I'm hoping to line stuff up every month...how about you?
You don't have a fancy camera? Who cares! READ this.
I took the screen off my window, and carefully drew chalk arrows on the sidewalk on the path leading to the back of my house. Order forms carefully hand-printed out.. Strands of embroidery floss thumbtacked to a bulletin board proudly displayed all of the colors that were available... It was 1982. (I think.)
For some reason, I was in the local mom and pop hardware store by my house looking at hardware with one of my parents. (Boring.) My eyes all but popped out of my head when tucked back in the back of that store, the owners wife had her own shop.... needle crafts... and rows and rows of embroidery floss. I think they were 16 cents each back then.. It was before Michaels (that I knew of anyway), before internet, before Amazon Prime (the horror) and way before I could drive.. BUT it was next to our local grocery store..and we visited THAT place at least 2 times a week. That meant I could run over, and get my fix of embroidery floss pretty easily.
I sold so many bracelets to the neighborhood kids...all custom orders too! Ahh..the good old days. I could do the 'X', Chevron, Heart.. A late edition to my skill-set was learning from someone at school how to make the four-sided chevron.. That quickly became my favorite.. because all the other kids were only making flat bracelets.
Last summer I bookmarked a rad tutorial online showcasing all of the styles I remember and then some. Click here to take a trip with me down memory lane. Click here for the Four-Sided chevron video... and leave me a comment to let me know if you want to head to summer camp with me. I don't care what month it is....we can always have a little summer.
I just finished reading a fun book by Chip Kidd, "A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design".
Luckily for me and my short attention span, the book is written very simply, with large text and lots of interesting visuals used to illustrate the design concepts. The graphics that Kidd has chosen to be in this book hit the messages home..with lots to see and lots to learn.
Composition is a frequent topic I hear when teaching. Although you will not find a chapter entitled, "COMPOSITION" in this book, what you will find are a handful of elements that contribute to composition. Learn the chapters in the book, remember them, be better at composition. It's that easy.
I like this book for it's simplicity... I also like this book for it's completeness. At the end of the book are 10 design projects for you to work on.. talk about a swift kick...
Note: No relation to Chip Kidd, his publisher, etc.
In honor of my daughter's 8th birthday, I am having a sale on my newest online workshop, "Mixed Media Vacation" this weekend only! A GREAT deal at only $54.99, you'll explore some super fun, fast paced techniques sure to get you in the creative spirit!
CLICK HERE to learn more about my newest online mixed media workshop. Hope to see you there!
I'm thinking about what I will do to top last year's issue.....
I'm learning a lot of things about myself and sewing in general..
If you don't want to paint the room, and you can't buy new furniture as often as your fickle design tastes require, the next best thing to freshen up the situation is to add new pillows in your living room.
Amongst the barrage of house decor catalogues that come to the house, there is always a nice amount of glorious pillows to choose from. The problem for me is that the ones I like always seem to cost a lot of money. Since I never want to pay for glorious pillows, I am stuck shopping in the clearance aisle and seldom get what I really want...
I made the commitment to some new decorative fabric and my sewing machine for a couple of hours..and I am so glad I did. I switched out two of those green pillows and three of the embroidered pillows...all had seen better days. In order to make the switch, I purchased about $50 worth of zippers and fabric... That's $10/pillow. Not bad, eh?
I recycled the pillow forms from the old pillows.... but even so, I priced sale pillow forms and they were about $10-15/each..so I think I would still have come in under what I paid for these pillows on clearance..
Soo what have I learned? Let me tell you something...
I've learned that all sewing tutorials (much like online mixed media workshops, I guess) are not created equally. It takes a little time to weed through the bad photos (life is too short for bad photos...make it right) and bad explanations to find someone who is speaking your language. I used this tutorial here, and modified it to add my embroidery and pom pom fringe. I really only need to read through a tutorial for the zipper at this point...still tricky for my brain to speak zipper sometimes.
I've also learned that even though I can make a lot of stuff, I need to sit, and MEASURE and calculate the supply cost of making said object rather than jumping right in. These pillows made sense financially..
Finally, I've learned that things may take a little longer than I estimate...but it's worth it in the end.
Don't the blue pillows look better? I think the embroidery is chic... :)
I have big plans.. This year I am going to read all of the books I have been hoarding. These are BEAUTIFUL books...but right now I can only tell you that I am half way through one of them.. the others have been sitting. Some longer than others.. but THIS year.. penciled in amongst all of the other hijinks that may ensue... I will read. Study. These. Books.
There are so many online workshops to choose from...but if I were to pick one or two that I use in my everyday practices the MOST, Layer Love v2.0 would be at the top of my list. I took my original "Layer Love" workshop (now long retired) and Chris Cozen and I beefed it up...way up...using fantastic paint.. You can read about the workshop by clicking HERE.
The "8 Great Paintings" workshop is a monster class that really dives deep into my art practices. This workshop follows EIGHT paintings from start to finish...and I think has one of my best download handouts ever. You can read more about it and see the class samples HERE.
Happy New Year to you..... may this be the most creative yet!
So...thinking about getting back into the creative groove now that the holidays are winding down? We've got you covered! Click here for all mixed media online workshops.
No time limits..
High Quality, professionally edited video...
Instructors available daily!
At the end of last year, I got a wild hair.. I decided that since I have never tried to enter any of my artwork into a show before, that I would go down to this gallery that I liked in Balboa Park (San Diego, CA) and enter a show. This particular gallery only accepts art by way of a juror... so the challenge was on. But here is where my self-torture comes in: I decided that I was not going to get into one show (which would have been a totally acceptable feat in my opinion)... I decided that I was going to get into EVERY show in a one year period. What the hell is the matter with me? I had nothing to lose the first time I went down there. You are only allowed to enter 2 paintings each show. One of them has to be 12x12" or under...and the other can be up to 8x8'. There is a different juror every show. My stomach hurts thinking about this... and it's over...
The painting at the top of this post is the first one I entered. I got in. Slight pressure ensued for getting into the next show.... I only had a "streak" of 1.
Pictured above is the 2nd painting that was juried in..second show. Another boost of confidence. I then decided that I would submit a different painting each submission...never the same painting twice. (Some artists submit their winning art into more than one show.) Now, while these two larger than 12x12" paintings were accepted, my one-foot paintings were not getting in. I was having trouble with the small size.
And then there was "The Score". This was a very emotional and personal piece that I made.. It's one of my largest paintings too. On this night, I actually stood back to observe the jury process... my first time. Of course, I had a stomach ache.. I am 3 months into my goal now... with two paintings behind me. Don't want to have to start from scratch again next year..the pressure was so much.
I remember watching the judge place the Juror's Choice award on this painting. I couldn't believe it...I was truly happy at that moment... thinking about how terrible it was to paint this piece. He also liked my small work, "Vintage Picnic", pictured below. I am on my way..
The regular show schedule took a break at this point to welcome the 52nd Annual International Exhibition. Talk about wanting to throw up. 1200 paintings were submitted into this show.. I entered three pieces, and "We Have Paris" got in. I was pretty beside myself.
I start to have a serious problem by this point.. I was making myself so nervous that I would break my streak, that I was painting and painting and painting over these paintings to get them just right. "Ocean Front" has a rusty lower portion that does not photograph well. In person, the Juror likes it and this one got in too. My smaller art is still struggling though.. maybe I am using all of my energy up on the larger pieces..
The July-August show brought some good news. A one-foot piece, "Prehistoric Afternoon" got into the show as well as my favorite painting, "Untitled Yellow" (shown below).
Untitled Yellow brought me my second Juror's Choice award. I am still honored and humbled when I am selected to be in a show...but to win? Honestly....it's a thrill and unexpected.
I had the pleasure of speaking with this Juror.. She is a professor at a college here and when asking me about my art education, she was surprised to find out that I do not really have formal art training. I have years of photography experience... but I didn't pick up acrylic paint until much later. That conversation made me really happy... I kept going.. SO many times I wanted to quit this self-imposed challenge I set on myself...
In September I submitted two paintings for consideration and landed both. The 24x24" painting "Fragments" (shown above, left) is a tribute to my brother.
Thankfully, the gallery welcomed a big photography exhibition following this show. Did I enter? NO! Are you crazy? The deal was to land paintings...not photographs.. maybe next year. ;)
Towards the end of this year I started to work on Yupo...a lot... developing the new online workshop, "Mixed Media Vacation". (Now maybe you see why I convinced myself I needed one!) This was the final show of the year.. Two paintings in. "Above" and another favorite of mine, "Borrego", pictured below.
I did it. A painting into every show this year. 12 originals in all. I am beat.
I don't know why I did that to myself... I do know that I am elated that I did it and stuck through the pressure for 12 months. It was really hard after I had a few entries under my belt.. and not knowing the juror or what their tastes would be was really difficult. I also exposed myself to a lot of paintings this year that I normally wouldn't have gone down to look at... artistic expansion for sure.
I also sold some paintings this year... that was a nice perk as well!
So this is how this works... I set a huge goal that makes me crazy...think I need a vacation... rest for a few hours and then find something else to throw myself in to. 2014 will be a new direction. I figure I have been-there-done-that with the gallery now... Now I will grow a section of my art brain that has been stalled...it's got cobwebs... and I know it's going to be a huge learning curve and push... and I'll tell you how I do next December.
Happy New Year, Everyone. Get out of your comfort zone and do something crazy. A little.
Merry Christmas from my family to yours!