I walked into my bedroom this afternoon when I got home from work and found Pete fixated in the windowsill. It took me a while to find what he was looking at, and he certainly wasn't getting out of my way for me to get a better view, but finally the little green lizard peeked his head around the corner of the outside window frame. Ah ha! And Pete was so fixated that I was able to go into the other room, get my camera, and come back and he still hadn't moved.
You certainly can't tell by reading this blog lately, but we have been busy around here! Sarah and I have been working in our Documented Life Project journals, and I've been prepping for the Springtime Tallahassee Arts Jubilee, which is this Saturday. I'm still struggling with finding a good spot to photograph my mixed media and jewelry work here in our house in Tallahassee, and with as much work travel as I have on the weekend, it's hard to find the time to squeeze it in! I need to take a few days off here to get some photo work done!
We were home in Jacksonville last week for Spring Break. Great week full of perfect weather. There were a few days when storms were forecast, but they came at night and didn't interrupt our days. Our favorite place to hike at home is the Theodore Roosevelt National Recreation Area, what we call the 100 Acre Wood, gifted to the National Park Service by Willie Brown III. We usually take the Willie Brown Trail and then the Timucuan Trail. Sarah's developing an interest in photography, so we were practicing "noticing" on our hike, and she's starting to develop a pretty good eye. At one point, I was down on the ground photographing light coming through a leaf, and Livvie said, "Mama, how do you spot that stuff?" Sarah responded, "You didn't see that purple leaf all glowing with light!?! How could you miss that!" Yep, she's noticing.
Sarah and I stayed on our usual trail while Benny and Liv took a little easier route since he was tiring quite a bit and our normal trail had the biggest climb in the park (and the highest elevation in Jacksonville). Sarah was on the hunt for the heart tree. We were so saddened to see that it had fallen completely over. But what I thought was so sweet was that the park rangers had taken the portion with the heart and lay it just so facing the trail for all to still find. There's no way that piece of log landed there on its own. Nice of them, don't you think?
For this last Artful Journey, I took a class with Leighanna Light. I love that Leighanna calls herself a "Thingmaker!" We created two "decks," one metal and one out of canvas and plaster. The individual pages are 6" tall by 3" wide. It's so hard to share this project in pictures. You really need to hold it!
The rabbit collage above is an example of the metal deck. And an example of an "oops!" that I fixed! Behind that rabbit was another collage that didn't work out very well because I used a cool owl napkin separated out into just the top ply, but I placed it over a darker background. Because the owl was white, he just faded into the dark background and you really couldn't see him. A classmate had this beautiful little bunny that she shared with me, and she fit perfectly over the owl and ultimately became the cover of the deck. The substrate is the metal, and then I added some old book paper, two different kinds of tissue paper, added in a little cheesecloth there on the left and finished it with the keyhole and some keys. I used keyholes throughout the whole deck.
I did another collage with the owl (above), making him stand out much more clearly by using a piece of very light cream book paper behind him, and he then became my other favorite in the metal deck.
Above is an example of the plaster on canvas. We started with canvas pieces and then added your basic Venetian plaster from Lowe's with a palette knife. Here I added the plaster to the canvas through a stencil and then added watered down acrylic paints for color and then topped it with a gold metallic Shiva paint stick borrowed from another classmate. I loved that paint stick and used it on quite a few pages! Must get some!
Above is another example of the plaster on canvas technique, also done with a stencil and palette knife. Leighanna's work is gorgeous and she used pretty earth tone colors in her examples, but if you've been following this blog for any length of time, you know I'm not a muted earth tone kind of girl. Give me glorious, riotous color!
Most of the metal pages contain little added doodads as embellishment. I used my trusty Crop-A-Dile to punch the holes and add the eyelets. I started adding the embellishments the last afternoon of the class but just got frustrated because I knew my jewelry tools and wire I had at home would make the job much easier, so I finally gave up and finished it all up at home.
I could share tons of pictures here with you, but it would probably be easier for you to just pop over to this Flickr set which contains tons of pictures of the whole project.
In closing, what can I say about this whole journey? I started my journey into mixed media by taking a huge leap and attending DJ Pettit's class at An Artful Journey in 2010. I had very little experience at the time and immediately felt like I was in way over my head. But through the help of DJ's encouragement and gentle guidance, I produced a crazy-color Kelly version of a DJ book that I'm still incredibly proud of to this day. That year followed classes with Albie Smith (twice!) that lit a fire for my love of bookmaking, and a class with Orly Avineri, who challenged me to give into the process and try things a little differently. Not sure I ever told Orly, and I realize I never shared it here, but one of the spreads from the journal I created in Orly's class was selected for publication in Dawn Sokol's book A World of Art Journal Pages. (I'm on page 214 and featured on the Table of Contents page.) So my last journey was with Leighanna, and such a delight she was. She was funny and free-spirited and gave us free reign to completely make it our own. "Sure! Try that!" was heard often! I wasn't sure what I'd do with this mess of metal and plaster cards when I brought them home, but I'm so happy I combined the two together and ended up with something I want to carry around with me and show everyone I see!
Thank you, Cindy Woods, for providing this vehicle for artistic growth for so many lucky women. I'm forever grateful to you for creating the avenue to my very first art retreat and now, six years later, constant paint and glue under my fingernails, happily. You can see posts from all my Artful Journeys with Cindy here.
Our little street in Tallahassee ends in a cul-de-sac, and we're lucky to be in that cul-de-sac. Since it's a fairly short street, my morning walk consists of walking up to the front of the neighborhood and back four to six times depending on how early I get up. I noticed this little angel on my walk one morning and then challenged my girls to find her. She's only about three inches tall, and she's tucked in at the base of a tree in one of our neighbor's yards. I just love that she's there, and I'm thankful to the neighbors who placed her there.
As for the pine cone below, this neighborhood is full of pine trees. There's a green space directly behind our house that the kids like to run around in and I always love the little baby pine cones. This one's about two inches tall.
I just returned from about ten days' worth of travel, five days of which were at An Artful Journey in California. Another wonderful experience! I almost didn't go as I was fearful to be that far away from home after Benny's heart attack, but he convinced me to go. This trip had been planned and paid for since last October! Now I'm trying to figure out how to photograph the mixed media deck I created there! I'm working on that to share with you here soon!