Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Work of A Friend

Today's blog post is a little different from anything I have ever done.  It is about a friend.

The friend is Melanie Testa an accomplised artist and quilter.  I was drawn to Melanie because like me she is a breast cancer survivor.  We met last year via internet while we were both going through treatment.

I initially saw her on the program "Quilting Arts" which I watch religiously on Saturdays at 3:30 pm Pacific time.  A few weeks later she was interviewed on the Voodoo Lounge Podcast by Rice Freeman-Zachery.  When I realized it was the same person, I sent her a comment on her blog indicating that I had seen her on Quilting Arts and wishing her well in her recovery.

Melanie responded and we have communicated occasionally since that time.

The book in the picture above, Dreaming through journal page:TRANSFORMING THE sketchbook TO art", was written during Melanie's time of treatment.  This fact touched me very deeply because I had made the decision that while I was undergoing  treatment, I would devote the time to art as a way to keep my mind on positive and creative things.  I made thank you cards for the many friends and family members who assisted me with meals, friendship and prayers.  I took an online art journalling class with my friend Regina Lord and found that through creativity, my healing was really spiritual.

I preordered Melanie's book in December and received it about a week ago.   I immediately read through the pages and fell in love.  In love with the ease of reading; with the conversational tone and with the easy to follow tutorials.  I fell in love with the warmth that exploded from each page and the strength of a person who truly exemplifies the phrase brought alive by Jenny Doh - "Art Saves".

On Thursday, April 26th, I took part in a Webinar presented by Melanie and she used her book as the guide for demonstration on colors, doing drawing exercises to loosen up your hands, the meaning and use of frisket, etc.  It was really interesting.

Why am I writing about this?  First because I felt led to do so, and second even though we have never met, I feel as if Melanie is a kindred spirit.  If you are interested in really learning the mechanics of art journalling, read this book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Until next time, find peace on the journey....pilgrim.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

ArtFest 2012.......A Retrospective The End

This picture represents a milestone.  I said a MILESTONE people.  I actually completed a bound book.  Not by punching holes and adding rings, not by stapling down the middle, but by HAND SEWING using and awl, tapestry needle and waxed linen.  Now, there is nothing wrong with the other methods I mentioned, don't get me wrong.

So, why is this so important?  Because it is my third class trying to do this.  I have been book binding chaallenged.  What was the difference you ask?  We spent six hours doing nothing but learning the technique and since I am a slow learner, that is what I needed.  In my other classes, we painted and prepared our pages and then learned the binding technique in the afternoon.  I am a very visual person and need to see you do it slllloooowwwlllly, so I can understand.

My last class on Saturday, March 31st, was "Get Your Sheet Together" and was taught by my good friend, Brenda Beene Shackleford.  She assured me that I would be able to complete a book.  I was very skeptical; but I had to support my friend who was teaching her first class.


The class worked together on book 1.  Brenda took us step by step through the process and Lo and behold, I completed the book.  Whoo Hoo.  But wait, it gets better.


Oh Yeah, that's right, you got it (can you see me doing the happy dance).  I completed a second book right after lunch.  This time we worked on our own and Brenda came around answering questions and offering advice.

I was having so much fun and pretty proud of myself too.

The first picture is of  BOOK NUMERO TRES
I felt Happy and validated.  I had done something I told myself I could not do.  Now, I want you to understand the key phrase here, "I told myself I could not do it."  So for the past two years, I have been a bumbling idiot trying to learn similar techniques for book binding and failing miserably because I TOLD MYSELF I COULD NOT DO IT.

Now to the good part.  I have been so busy since I returned from ArtFest that I have not had a chance to really work on anything since I got home.  First it was Holy Week and I was very involved in the liturgy at my church, St. Thomas More Community Catholic (shameless plug) in Henderson Nevada.  Then, I had to do my taxes (had to pay so no need in doing them any earlier), and I work from home so I was really busy.  Oh yeah, the good part:

Guess who made this book........ME a couple of years ago using Kente Cloth and a simple sewing technique.  What is the difference?  I was at home by myself, figuring things out looking at youtube instructions.

I was not allowing myself to be intimidated, thinking I was not good enough to be with the other talented artists around me.

Guess who painted and decorated this book......ME again.  This is a book with items of my trip to Paris.  I will show more of it in another post.  When did I make it?  Oh let's try 2004.  I have been taking classes, viewing youtube, reading books to teach me how to do something I already knew how to do and had forgotten all about it.

I know it seems crazy, and I have been laughing at myself for a couple of days.  So what did I get out of this very special time at ArtFest2012?  The privilege to BELIEVE IN ME and for that I will be eternally grateful.  Teesha and Tracy, thank you for offering a place where I could come and meet the likes of Orly Avineri, Brenda Shackleford, LK Ludwig (who was so very patient with me), Jill Berry, Lisa Bebi, Theo Ellsworth, and any other teacher I may forgotten.  Teachers who gently nurtured me and allowed me to "Create, Not produce" (I get it Orly).  Thank you for providing an opportunity to make so many friends that I cannot mention them here, but you all know who you are.  Most of all, thank you for allowing me to finally get the message.....BELIEVE IN ME.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

ArtFest.......A Retrospective Part 2

March 30, 2012

Today I attended the class "Postcards To The Edge"  conceived and taught by Orly Avineri.  This was the second year that I participated in a class taught by Orly and I was eager to participate.

The main premise of the class was to "Create....not produce".  Orly has a way of getting the student to dig deep and bring out elements of the creative spirit long hidden.

The method used for creating was interesting.  We used cereal boxes as our substrate and found objects as collage elements.  We painted, made images of our hands and spray paint as we designed cards using prompts given by Orly.

The picture below started out as my least favorite post card; however after working with it and using the Prompt, "This little Piggy...."

As we built layers on our card we made a template from craft foam of our hand.  With the instruction to get as much of your hand on the card as possible, I closed my fingers so that the hand would fit.  When I looked around the room, I was the only one who closed their hand.  The effect was that the molding paste rimmed the outer fame of my hand giving the image of a door instead of fingers.

I went up to Orly for another piece of foam so I could start over and she told me to try and use what I had, there are no accidents and it should be used.

Well, I painted and sprayed the image and it captured my heart because it looked like my hand was waiting to hold and help.  But back to this little Piggy.  When I heard the prompt, the following came to mind:

This little piggie (sic) went to surgery.
This little piggy had radiation...
This little piggy has spent time healing
This little piggy has hope.

I am going to frame this card, I love the colors and the meaning.....This trip to ArtFest is the first trip I have taken since completing treatment for Breast Cancer and so the entire retreat has special meaning for me.

This picture is of Friends I met at the first ArtFest I attended in 2010, Brenda, Karen, Jenny and Anita.  For the past three years we have talked in between retreats, shared emails, encouraged endeavors and planned.  When we get together at ArtFest, we share meals, classes and laughter.  Now that ArtFest has ended, we plan to get together once a year and create.

I could go on and on, but I will stop and save the rest for part 3.    Take care dear reader and remember to "Create....not produce."

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

ArtFest.....a Retrospective

Doesn't that title sound great???? that is what ArtFest can do to you.  Not sure how long it will take me to finish this post, but I am starting today 4-4-2012 with a really groovy title.

This was my third year attending ArtFest and the last because, it has ended.  No more ArtFests as we know it today.  Just writing this seems to unreal and it makes me realize how much I missed out on talking myself out of attending when I first discovered it about 10 years ago (more on that in another post. 

I think I am going to Chronicle a little something from each day.

Beginning with March 29, 2012:

I am calling this "Outside Bistro"
  Lisa Bebi's Vintage Village Colorbook class.  This class opened my eyes to impressionist painting.  This was definitely out of my comfort zone, but was a boat load of fun. We painted copied images, not using precise painting but by glopping paint in the image to give and impressionist appearance.  I am going to try this with some of my own photos. 

This was a good day.  I learned that I did not have to change my water every five minutes.  I learned to let go and just enjoy the process.  I learned that it sometimes takes a while for the painting to grow on you.  Anita Webster my good friend was my table mate and we just enjoyed the day.

This is my Favorite. I it is not finished,
but I love how the colors on the girls dresses pop out.
I do plan to finish this picture because I really like it.  I cannot wait to cut it down to size and coat it with medium and varnish.  I will definitely frame it.

I will be posting more pictures over the next few days; however before I end today the picture below

DSC00424.JPGThis is a copy of a trade that I made.  I painted rocks using house paint and matte medium.  I also wrote my word for the year, "Focus".  they were so much fun to make and I am going to make more.

Until next time.....remain on the journey