Wednesday, February 29, 2012

LE Sketchbook: Goodbye Routine

bags by the door
calls the cab
wait near the door
furtive glances out the window
the car is here
kiss goodbye
door closes
we're at the window to wave goodbye

The goodbye routine of double-checking, watching and waves. Also the storm before the calm as there's always a commotion before the final departure. Watercolour and ink.

See the rest of my Limited Edition Sketchbook pages.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Mail Art Monday: Postcards and Paper

Mail art packages arrived this week from two very generous artist. A gorgeous vintage nautical postcard and handmade watercolour paper made me extra happy on my birthday week.

Carol Whitley wrapped her amazing package with a beach scene on one side and a sailing ship on the other. Inside, I found another tropic clipping and several pages of a photocopied vintage bee story with a simple and beautiful illustration. There were also many wonderful bits of paper including flower patterns, a music sheet and what I think is some handmade paper. There were several postcards including an art card and two ship postcards. The silver one is an antique. It looks as though it was mailed (there's a 1 cent, cancelled stamp on the back) but there isn't a written message. A dragonfly artist's trading card was included. I can't recall if I ever mentioned my special connection to dragonflies. My wedding ceremony was outdoors and during the vows a very large dragonfly perched on my arm for a few seconds. I've since learned that they are a symbol of good luck.

Carol has a new blog up and running featuring her '3' project. She might be accepting more participants, if you're interested.

Slightly off topic but also somewhat related... It looks as though the large tree we moved is going to live! There are buds forming all over the branches. I'm really looking forward to the bee swarm this spring!

Jill Griffin decorated her package with a washi tape Union Jack!! After carefully opening it, I found a wealth of beauty. A Japanese woodcut print, an original chicken illustration, several landscape photos of her area, paper letters, space-themed postage stamps, an art postcard and several bits of doily printed paper. She also included several sheets handmade watercolour paper. I'm eager to try them out on several of the upcoming projects I have lined up.

A flurry of mail art replies this week turned my studio into a disaster. I'm beginning to feel weighed down by the amount of stuff in my studio and so a solid sort and recycle is in order. The stacks of magazines and books I never use need to be repurposed or tossed and the items that inspire me need a proper place on the wall rather than tucked away in a corner. Are you thinking of or doing a clear out of your creative space?


Monday, February 20, 2012

Mail Art Monday: Sailing Ships and Sailor-Moon

Anna Jane Searle spoiled me with a surprise package, perfectly contained inside a handmade map envelope. Inside, there was a ship image with gold foil, a Victorian decoupage set, book pages, all sorts of neat bits of paper ephemera, stamps, stickers, and a set of her handmade buttons. Anna just opened a new shop for her handmade buttons. Take a peek!

Jessica Gowling also surprised me with a Sailor Moon Valentine. In college I was often called Jeannine Saylor-Moon. Actually, it was usually uttered "Jeannine Saylor-MOOOOOOOOON!!!" and it was perhaps after a few too many beverages.

... J

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Busy Hands, Decorated Wrists

At the end of a trying day I really only feel like wrapping myself up in my fuzzy robe and watching a movie. Unfortunately (or fortunately), there is a nagging feeling in the back of my brain that tells me I need to DO something other than be a lump on the couch. I have eased the nags by taking out my embroidery floss and making friendship bracelets. I recently found a helpful tutorial with tips on Purl Bee with a few different patterns I haven't tried yet.

It helps to read the comments in tutorials because someone left a wonderful tip about using a cardboard sheet with slits in the bottom to keep the floss in order.

Without the cardboard with slits, my floss was becoming a large tangled knot at then end. Pretty to look at but quite frustrating.

Turns out I had been making my knots far to tight and the bracelets were curling up into a tight ball. I tried again and it worked much better.

I have a large collection of floss and a couple of girls that love to dress up, so my hands will be kept busy and their wrists will be colourfully decorated for months to come.

Do you make friendship bracelets? Do you have pictures of what you've made or links to good tutorials you've discovered? Please share them in the comments!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Card

My oldest child is four and attends preschool. This is the first year she needs a stack of personalized Valentine's Day cards. In the past she's coloured sheets and cards for us but this is the first occasion that cards are being distributed outside our family circle.

I may have become a little extra excited and designed them without much of my, erm, client's input. Luckily, my client is pretty easy-going and thought they looked 'neat'. While Sydney would have been delighted with pink on pink with a side of pink, I opted for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Grey. She cooperated for the mini photoshoot and smiled while looking directly into the camera, which is a rarity lately. I picked a few fun fonts, added a zig zag texture and away we go!

I made envelopes for the card with a heart-shaped cork stamp, red ink and sheets of blank paper. I cut out envelopes and together we signed her name, picked some fun stickers and sealed the envelopes.

Next year we'll get my little bean to help a bit more in the process. Hopefully we'll continue our working relationship for many cards and years to come. Hehe.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Mail Art Monday: Royals and Originals

Two wonderful and generous packages arrived this week. Each one was as lovely and unique as the sender.

Jessica Gowling sealed her royal adorned envelope with washi tape and clear instructions NOT to tear open, but to gently peel the tape. Inside I found medical book pages, a bee pattern print, the most adorable hippo and giraffe family cards, map stickers, a hand-typed letter and some additional washi tape. As always, Jessica chose a pair of cool stamps from her epic collection.

A sweet collection of goodies

The envelope was actually a Charles & Diana fold-out sheet with a plethora of classic 80s style and imagery. Ah, the fuzzy portraits, puffed sleeves and awkward poses. The best discovery would have to be the blue polka-dot dress which included a large, matching hair bow of a lady in waiting (perhaps?) adjusting Diana's train. 

Royal Nostalgia Bonanza!

I recently met Barbara Wanhill and we agreed to exchange mail art. I feel a tad overwhelmed by the beautiful items and her insane generosity! Upon opening the envelope I found two gorgeous bee photos, several colourful insect stamps, a watercolour specimen and several sets of prints!

I audibly ooo'd at the bee photos

A set of seeds, stickers and tea were accompanied by a sheet from a sketchbook of a coffee cup I recognize from the area. A very sweet letter on Bee stationery was included and, I must say, teachers have the world's best handwriting! I feel inspired to poke around some of my old sketchbooks to see if there are any gems I'd like to send her way in return.

Original prints!

Barbara and I connected via Jessica so it's just perfect that I received a package from both of these wonderful ladies in the same week. I hope Jessica knows that she's brought a lot of happiness to so many people. Not only by our contact with the outgoing girl herself, but by making connections to so many other thoughtful and creative individuals.

... J

Friday, February 10, 2012

Washi Paper Paintings

This past winter I have really felt the cold and I find myself choosing to read or watch a movie in front of the fireplace in the evenings rather than working in my studio. My art time has then been limited to the coveted quiet/nap time in the afternoon. Working with natural light has helped both my mood and design but has meant that I have less art time each day. In my need to create and desire to accomplish something, I've been making very quick washi paper watercolour doodles.

I choose a palette of colours, pencil in a collection of swirls or an object and paint. The washi paper absorbs the watercolour and doesn't allow for much layering. The colours are surprisingly vibrant and it holds up to me adding ink once it's dry.

Round Legs


Anatomical Heart

I have found these quick paintings immensely satisfying and entirely fun. All too often I ponder and plan and I rarely just do and play.

Do you find more satisfaction in quick studies or large, planned projects?


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

LE Sketchbook: Time to Go

Time to go

With the backs packed and at the door, it's nearly time for him to get in the cab and head to the airport. Another week away after a weekend together.

A bit of the glue stick resist was used again with watercolour and ink. Circle punches of paper ephemera are glued in place.

... J

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mail Art Monday: Sunshine and Ducks

This past week has seen some lovely, mild weather with clear blue skies. Since we're all feeling so happy it was icing on the cake that one of my packages arrived in a friends mailbox while a bit of paper sunshine arrived in mine.

Jill Griffin received the first package in our burgeoning mail swap. The duck envelope was stuffed with a lily print, fern silhouette card, handmade as well as star and circle stickers, 'Jill' fuzzy stickers and a few bits of paper ephemera.

Rhya Tamasauskas hinted at a package called 'paper sunshine' coming my way. It arrived this week on a beautiful, warm sunny day. The wee envelope arrived in a small paper pocket. It's often hard to get a good idea of scale in photos so I took a picture with my chapstick. See? So wee and really wonderful!

I'm looking forward to another week of sunshine!


Thursday, February 2, 2012

LE Sketchbook Project: Suitcase and Wallet

Sometimes I ponder decisions for days and weeks and other times I make an immediate gut reaction. When Arthouse Coop advertised their newest sketchbook project I dove right in and signed up immediately. In fact, they had me at 'included in a series of art books...' and I'm not certain I read much past that point.

Every contributor to the Sketchbook Project Limited Edition Vol. 1 will be included in a series of art books documenting the project. Together, the series will provide insight into the imagination and process of each artist participating in the project. Bound by the Brooklyn Art Library Press and hand-finished in our Brooklyn workshop, the book series will be published in the fall of 2012. [source]

My sketchbook arrived before I was finished the last Arthouse project and so it sat on my bookshelf waiting patiently for its chance to be used. After working on Valeria's traveling journal and creating an image that spoke about the time my husband was often away, traveling for work, I realized it was a subject I was interested in exploring further for my Distance and Time theme.

Unlike my previous two sketchbooks, I wrote out my thoughts and ideas then jotted down notes for images on each spread. I'm several spreads into the book but many of the pages have a few more tweaks before I deem them to be officially complete. Here is a look at the first spread.

Suitcase and Wallet
A tightly packed suitcase and a wallet left by the front door on a travel day. A sure sign that departure is imminent.

I used an old glue stick as a watercolour resist to add a little texture. Watercolour, ink and marker with four small circles. A common thread throughout this sketchbook will be circles and swirls, representing my husband and myself as well as our relationship.

If you're interested in participating in the Limited Edition Sketchbook project, there are still a few hundred spots available. Let me know if you're participating!

... J
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