Archive for October, 2008

Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn’t start a conversation. – Kin Hubbard

What a wild, windy, rainy, dreary, crazy, snowy day! My favorite kind.

Here is one canvas, painted and ready to go.

I love how it looks. Most of it will be covered with paper though.

I’m not liking the other canvas so much. With the first canvas, I diluted the coffee, but I thought at the time it turned out a bit light. So with the second canvas I used straight coffee, which has turned out to be too dark. I can cover it with paint, but the lesson is learned and noted.

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I was a queen, and you took away my crown; a wife, and you killed my husband; a mother, and you deprived me of my children. My blood alone remains; take it, but do not make me suffer long. – Marie Antoinette

I was thinking yesterday and I had an idea for my future MA book (I think this is going to be the MA blog until I’m done my project). I mentioned Garlands in my previous post – this is a song by Tori Amos (quelle surprise). There are so many Tori songs that fit MA’s life very well, and I would love to use them in my book, sometime, in the far far future. A combination of two things I love.

Anyway, did you know that splattering coffee all over a canvas board can be quite fun? I started working on the first canvas (slightly smaller than 10″ by 8″), and I’m using Rachel Emilie Jackson’s coffee wash technique (as seen in Somerset Workshop Volume three) to give my canvas an antique look. See –

I love it! First I did a wash of slightly diluted coffee; I let that dry a bit and then added another layer of wash. I let that dry until dry to the touch, and then splattered more coffee on top. Neato.

Next comes paints – blue, gold, and cream. I hope I don’t mess it up.

Saturday I attempted to take some practice shots of a pair of earrings for my new Etsy shop. ‘Attempted’ is the key word – I very quickly realized that first I need to learn how to properly use our camera. There are so many features, functions, and settings. I want to take excellent pictures, so I guess I will just have to take the time to learn it.

I’ve been studying other shops on Etsy as well – checking out the photographs, reading the profiles and policies, reading descriptions of the items, just wanting to see what other people do, what I like, what I don’t like. Of course I usually get a bit sidetracked, because there are so many wonderful, beautiful, and amazing things that people have created and are selling. Some of the work is truly incredible.

I signed up for a holiday ATC swap on Artella. The ATC’s aren’t due until the very beginning of December, which will be here probably next week, seeing the rate at which time flies by these days.

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Marie Antonette, age 12, by Marten van Meytens the Younger

ok, I’m scrapping the idea for my Marie Antoinette project.

Now I know why everyone focuses on the glitz and the glamour – it’s easy.

My original idea, while noble in purpose, is way too complicated for the teeny tiny amount of time I have in which to complete it. That idea will be filed away for the book I plan to do sometime.

Thursday night while in the shower another idea came to me, a simpler idea, inspired by the work of Connie Govea Stuart.

Then last night while in the shower (I don’t know what it is about the shower) Garlands invited herself to the party. One of her lines is “I am not your possession.” And with that I finally knew what I was going to make.

Two canvases, one portraying MA as a young girl, goddess-like, and the other more serious, hinting at the various ways in which MA was treated as something less than human.

I plan on getting started tonight. I’m excited, because I bought some “artistic,” higher-quality acrylic paints to use, rather than my usual Folk Art.

Off to the studio!

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Entropy: a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder.

The first “lesson” in the Alphabetter Muse workshop is about asymmetry and chaos. Two things I’m not so good with.

I like things to be neat, tidy, properly put away in the correct place, no clutter, no mess.

Of course you would never guess that by the state of my studio.

My studio and work is in a state of perpetual mess and constant disorganization. I find myself spending an inordinate amount of time moving stuff, sorting through stuff, rearranging stuff, reorganizing stuff, putting stuff away, making notes of new stuff to do – it’s neverending.

And it drives. me. crazy! There’s always stuff. Everywhere! And of course I’m always buying yet more stuff.

I just want to be at the point where everything is perfect and orderly and in its proper place. But no matter how much I straighten, my studio is a mess again within days. I guess that state of perfection is simply unattainable. I’m starting to – very slowly – accept the fact that chaos is unavoidable. After all, it is the fate of everything in the universe.

I suppose the constant mess is merely a sign that I’m always working on something, which I am. The artist in me is too busy, too in the middle of creating, to take time to straighten up. Sometimes I think – if I just had a bigger space. But I know better. I’d just have a bigger mess.

I need to make friends with chaos. Maybe we can sit down together and have a couple glasses of some good shiraz.

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When I came home from work on Friday, I noticed a magazine sticking out of the mailbox. I thought nothing of it until I got closer and read the word “Artful”. Immediately I knew what it was, and what it meant. I grabbed it out of the mailbox (leaving the bills for my husband, of course) and hurried inside. I threw my stuff down, tore off the plastic wrapping, turned to the table of contents, and then to page 141 –

(bottom right corner)

oh. my. god. yay! My blog banner. In the latest edition of Artful Blogging! oh my god! yay! double yay! I can’t even say what it means to me – that people, and not just any people, but Stampington people, think that something I made is good. The Stampington family of magazines only showcase the most fabulous work by the best artists. Not that my banner is fabulous, but to be included in such a high-quality publication, and one that I look up to so much, means everything to me. Of course I think all the other banners shown are better than mine, but still. My banner is in Artful Blogging. yay!

And…my digitally-altered book took third place in the Artella contest. The two books I mentioned previously that I said were amazing took first and second, and they absolutely deserved it. But my little book got third place, and I’m very happy with that. It’s wonderful to know that other people not only liked my work, but liked it enough to vote for it.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother to make anything. Am I wasting my time? What is the point? And then I’m so frustrated all the time now too, because of the lack of time I have in which to make anything! But then my banner is in Artful Blogging, and my digitally-altered book won third place in a contest, and I thank the universe and am very grateful, and take it as a sign that I am doing what I am supposed to do.

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Great artists are people who find the way to be themselves in their art. Any sort of pretension induces mediocrity in art and life alike. – Margot Fonteyn

We had my mom’s surprise 60th birthday party last Saturday. I think she really was surprised. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and all went well. My mom loved her necklace, which I will have to borrow so I can take a picture of it. She also loved the birthday crown I made, which was the project I mysteriously mentioned a bunch of times in previous posts. Here are a couple pictures from the party:

My Mom dancing with Lily.

Gwen wearing the birthday crown I made for my Mom.

Gwen and Lily, strutting across the dance floor, up to no good I’m sure.

And here are some pictures of the birthday crown. I used it as a means to celebrate my mom’s creativity and generous spirit.

I am going to write a tutorial on the crown. I have an idea for another one, which will give me the opportunity to perfect the technique and work out any glitches.

I took a few pictures of the gift box I made for the necklace. Of course I didn’t take any pictures of the necklace before I put it in the box.


So I finally got my Two Little Girls on All Hallows Eve back. It came just the other day. I haven’t seen it since April, so I’m very happy to have it back. I’m going to hang it in my studio. It’s a nice piece, but not extraordinary. Although considering the short amount of time in which I had to make it and my relative inexperience in the world of collage, I think it’s good. But no matter, like I said someday I’ll have something in Somerset Studio. Which leads me to….

…the special Marie Antoinette publication. I came up with an idea a couple nights ago while in the shower – a copy of a portrait of Marie Antoinette surrounded by a “frame” of inchies that tell her story through words and portraits of the important people in her life. There’s got to be lots of lace and sparkle, too, of course. But I really want to tell the whole story, and not focus on only the glitz and the glam. I’m going to start working on this right away. I only have a few weeks to get it done!

I also signed up for an ephemera swap at Artella. I don’t have a large collection of ephemera since I’ve only been collecting things for a short time, and I’m picky about the sorts of things I save. Some people will save anything – I only like the pretty things. I just hope the person who gets my baggie likes it. My baggie has to be in the mail by the 22nd.

And because I have so much time on my hands, I signed up for a self-paced course, also from Artella, entitled Alphabetter Muse Workshop. I get to meet a variety of new muses who will lead me on a journey of artistic and personal discovery. I thought it sounded fun and it was on sale and it gives me the opportunity to do some journaling, so hey, why not? I received the first lesson but I didn’t start it yet because I want to buy a pack of ivory cardstock to print the journal pages on, and a pack of nice pens for writing and doodling on the pages.

No wonder I always feel so creatively scattered. But I find it impossible to focus on only one thing. Maybe I should just embrace the chaos.

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I’ve been reading Beadwork August/September 2007 (I’m just a little behind on this magazine!). The master class article in this issue is by Marcia DeCoster.

She discusses her “concept of small component design” – creating beaded components which can then be sewn together in different ways to form pieces of jewelry. I love this idea – a single component would not take too long to make, and would be easier to experiment with. Marcia’s work is beautiful – delicate and lacy, and very textural.

One of my mom’s birthday gifts is finished – the one that is something I’ve never made before. I’m very pleased with how it turned out, all things considered. I was inspired by a certain book, but the item I made is my own design and I didn’t use any instructions from said book. Which in hindsight may not have been the best idea. It is far from perfect, and if I did it over again, I would do many things differently. But it’s pretty and sparkly, and in the end, isn’t that all that really matters? If the edges are a little crooked, throw some glitter glue on it! If the papers don’t quite meet in the middle, throw some glitter glue on it! No one will ever know the difference. I think many problems in life could be solved with a little glitter glue.

The digitally-altered book contest is now officially open for voting on Artella. Most of the entries are lovely. There are two in particular that I think are fabulous, in terms of artistic vision and creativity – Everything and Anything, and Notions. These two books are amazing! I’m going to vote for one of them, but I haven’t decided which one yet. I’ve never been the kind of person that could vote for herself, and quite frankly, these two books are better than mine anyway. But mine is pretty good, I think.

Thanks again to Erin for the title of this post – I’m not sure I got the words exactly right, but that was absolutely hilarious. Well put!

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