Saturday, May 19, 2018

Two unusual experiments with ink

On Thursday, I took an art Journal class with artist Jacki Long.

Jacki introduces us to different techniques and we can try them out in the journal.

On that day, we tried a new technique I'd never seen before.

You dip a piece of twine or yarn into ink.

Then you lay it in an interesting way on the sketchbook page.

You close the book, pressing the pages together.

Carefully drag the string out.

When you open up the page again, it leaves behind an abstract shape.

The design is a little runny.

Repeating the process with the same string, without dipping it again in the ink, leaves behind a much more linear design.

I'm still new at it so I'm sure there is a way to do it.

Jacki had a link to a web page, but I forget where...

At home I am (still) putting things away after the home remodel.

I found this piece from a long gone typewriter.

I'd been saving it for something creative.

I put it on an old brush handle.

I rolled it in watery ink.

I rolled it on a page and also tried banging it on the page like a typewriter.

I wasn't impressed with the marks it left behind.

I noticed that it kind of embossed the paper, though, which gave me an idea.

I put a layer of acrylic paint all over a page that had already been painted.

Then I rolled the part over the damp paint.

This left a much more interesting mark...

Friday, May 18, 2018

Does time heal all wounds?

The jacaranda trees in my neighborhood are in full bloom:

The past few days have been super busy.

Thursday I went to an art journal class given by artist Jacki Long.

I didn't take any pictures, but I will soon.

It was a productive day.

Jacki took great pictures of everyone's work. You can see them at her blog here:

After work Thursday night I went to a viewing, and a funeral Friday, for Annette, a family friend.

We used to sing together in a choir along with my mom, maybe 20 years ago.

I had only just learned the night before, of her passing.

The service was held at a church, in the next neighborhood over.

They haven't even built a church yet, they use their recreation room:

This is what the interior looks like.

(This is not our funeral. The funeral was packed.)

The music was provided by the choir director of that old choir we were all in.

(I forgot to invite him to my moms funeral, in all the chaos... I still feel bad about it.)

Annette had moved to this church when it was built about 12 years ago.
I had not seen her since.

I felt tremendous guilt for not going to see her when she was ill.

The young pastor was friends with my brother in high school.

He would have been at my own mom's funeral but he was out of town.

I also have not seen him in many years...

I stopped by their church office before the service. I wanted to see how they ran things...

Recently I have been thinking of going to this church on Sundays.

Things are not the same at the old church (where I work) since Mom passed...

She left some huge shoes to fill.

The receptionist's family took Sunday School lessons from my Mom, and shared a memory about her.

Suddenly, the pastor came up with a high school yearbook, with my brother in it.

It was all too much!

I cried  throughout the service.

Almost as much as Annette's immediate family!

I was a little embarrassed!

However, in the end it was a very powerful experience.

The church I work at is really huge, both in amount of people and the size of the building.

It can be overwhelming sometimes.

I felt a strong connection to the service in the other church's small hall.

It brought up a lot of emotions I didn't know I was repressing, since Mom's passing.

Or even older ones than that...

I'll be very happy to return there again very soon!

I don't like a lot of drama.

Lately I've been feeling like I'm in some kind of Jane Austen book!

Here's a picture of my garden that I was saving for the right kind of story.

This is the trellis I made last year, to go around my pond statue:

I made it with three $15 cheap garden stake - type trellis that I stained.

Back view, with the piece laying across the top:

(And Sam the Ham.)

Here it is today:

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

To journal or not to journal

I am taking a class on Thursdays at Catalyst art studio in Westminster.

Mixed Media Journals with artist Jacki Long.

We received a small sketchbook as part of the class.

When I have time, I try to paste and paint in it.

(I also have a larger sketchbook that I mostly write in, these days)

I've decorated the cover of the smaller sketchbook.

Today I got up early and worked in the sketchbook a little more.

Here are some pictures.

These blobs we did in class, became faces.

It took me awhile to figure out what to put on this background:

Jacki always recommends us to make a grid and fill it with images.

Making a grid is a good way to unblock creativity.

I like Jacki's class because she shows us many different techniques, but we are free to do anything.

At home I have a large collection of interesting paper and scraps that I really need to get rid of.

They are sitting in boxes in my patio because I refuse to allow them into my art studio room.

I am trying to throw out most of it and keep only the things that I can use to make art.

I was easily able to find something to make a page about that fascinating volcano in Hawaii:

Many of these pages, like this one, don't feel complete, yet.

It is hard to know when to stop adding things.

I am pretty rusty and have done hardly any scrapbooking or drawing all year.

The more I do, the better it gets:

I pasted together an advertisement and some random poetry and made it about my car:

Some of my pages are about interesting dreams.

I debated taking a nap before going to work, or visiting the mechanic..

The nap won, but I am really behind on my car repairs / catching up on car-club gossip.

I really need some motivation to finish the carpet project.

Also some advice on some parts that are hard to remove and I don't want to break them.

At work I got lucky.

There was a power outage, so the phones and internet were down for a whole hour!

This is the busiest time of year at the church office, so it was nice to get a reprieve.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

This week went by fast.

This week the Jacaranda trees on the street are blooming.

I only have pictures from late afternoon, where they look lavender in color.

They can also appear bright blue, but I haven't had time to take the right picture.

It's too bad that they don't smell as pretty as they look.

I have not done anything to the cars this week.

Green car is fun to drive because it is 30 lbs. lighter.

Red car is parked, because I'm annoyed with the squealing clutch noise.

I plan to visit Don soon, for some motivation to work on them again.

The church job is very busy this time of year with First Communions.

We have about 1,000 students every year.

As far as arts and crafts, I worked in the small sketchbook we got for Jacki's class.

Maybe I'll take pictures of the progress, tomorrow... (before the next class)

At home I also did a lot of sorting out, (instead of actual art.)

My drafting desk has a little rim that catches all the bits and beads.

 Every year I sweep it out and sort the dust from the usable beads.

I string the random beads instead of trying to put them back wherever they came from.

Here is what came out of it, this year.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Finishing the bathroom

Monday was my day off.

I finished the paint, touching up any areas that were needed.

I cleaned the floor several times, and started cleaning the mildew from the shower area.

It is still pretty gross! I need to break out the heavy duty cleaner.

I also have a grout touch-up paint, and will have to re-caulk the tub.

I wish I knew how to do ceramic tiles, or I'd re-do the back in a extravagant way!

There are a million amazing ceramic tiles at Home Depot.

But, it was hard enough doing the stick-on stuff, for the first time.

I laid out the tiles.

They have directional arrows, which I guess kept the pattern from getting too astray.

The tiles really aren't meant to match completely, but I tried anyway.

I spent at least an hour arranging the tiles in a way that didn't upset me.

Cutting the tiles took even longer.

I had to cut around the door jambs and around the toilet.

As the package suggested, I made stencils with paper.

This new kind of vinyl tile is thicker than the stuff I remember.

It didn't cut easily with a craft knife and ruler.

But it did fold along the score, and break in a straight line.

For the curves I was lucky, I had these aviation snips from my metal cutting experiments.

The craft knife worked really well to shave down the edges to make it fit.

I also had to re-caulk around the tub and toilet.

This is something I've seen on TV but never tried before.

In the end I got nervous and wiped most of it away!

Doing the floor took 6 or 8 hours, but it was fully engrossing. And painful.

My knees will be black and blue all summer.

But it will be worth it to have a bathroom I'm not ashamed to let guests use.

Dad helped by measuring and cutting the new base boards, today.

Now if I could only get my huge car carpet out of the patio, and clean up that mess, I might be able to have guests over...

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Painting Bathroom Again, and a Sunset

When we remodeled the house, we didn't have money to re-do the bathrooms.

Last year, I painted it a grayish teal, to match the ugly vinyl tile,

(it was probably meant to go in a kitchen. I think I picked out this tile when I was a kid.)

Here, I am pulling out the baseboard; you can see the floor:

It didn't cost much to buy new vinyl tile, but it took me a long time to make up my mind.

They only make about a dozen patterns at Home Depot, or Lowes, or anywhere.

I wanted something grayish, to hide the dirt. I dye my hair sometimes.

Also, if I got a white floor tile, it would bring out the mildew on the other things, like the tub.

I finally picked out a gray tile I liked, but now it didn't match the walls.

So this weekend on various days I painted the walls.

I did the corners yesterday.

I used a light grayish purple, like the color of my bedroom, but a shade lighter.

I did the ceiling.

Finishing took about 2 hours today.

It will dry a tiny bit darker.

You can see how this new wall color matches my new gray floor:

I have the day off tomorrow, so I will either do the floor, or play hooky and do something with the cars.

While the paint dried I visited some thrift stores, but didn't find anything interesting...

There was the right mixture of clouds and sun to make for a good sunset.

I went to the HB pier to walk.

It was cold and gray.

It didn't seem like it would be a colorful sunset, but it was interesting anyway.

There will be a volleyball competition soon, and the big tents and arena looked like a castle!

I walked toward the end of the pier.

The grayish purple clouds reminded me of my grayish purple color scheme at home.

It was very peaceful.

I think I have not been to the pier all year long.

Suddenly, the clouds lit up with color!

The wispy clouds lit up like the Aurora Borealis.

I could not have been happier!

The clouds faded.

The Palos Verdes peninsula in the distance reminded me of the volcano in Hawaii.

I have been following the volcano eruption with interest all week.

Also, on Netflix, I have been watching a show called "Terrace House."

It is like "The Real Life" but in Japanese.

The actors can be annoying, because they are so young, but it is also kinda cute.

Right now I am watching the season where they live in a house in Hawaii.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Mixed Media Journals with Jacki Long

I just turned over my calendar! Hooray! It's May!

Today I had some time to take one of artist Jacki Long's classes at Catalyst, in Westminster.

Catalyst is a space run by the Art Supply Warehouse, which is a combination of classroom and art gallery.

The Art Supply Warehouse provides the materials (a journal, paint, brushes) and Jacki gives us some ideas to make creative Journals.

Jacki has maintained her blog, every single day for over 2000 days!!!

She inspired me to try to start my own blog.

No matter how exciting my day was, it's hard to set aside time to blog!

I can update every couple days, but not every day.

The class was small, about 6 people.

We all knew Jacki and had taken at least one of her classes before.

We didn't need a lot of introduction.

Everyone got busy painting and pasting.

It was a good three hours of artistic therapy.

I didn't go around taking pictures of everyone else's work, but after I got home from work, I took some pictures of the things I did.

These are mostly just backgrounds, to add things to later.

I don't know why, but whenever I do one of these classes I always grab wild colors.

Jacki provided us with magazines to tear up, and fancy papers, and tissue.

I found a magazine called Birds and Blooms that has a lot of flowers and butterflies.

Here I pasted a garden plan, and put some tissue paper around it.

Jacki always recommends starting with a grid to get rid of "artists block"

Here is a grid (also under construction):

The picture of this grid came out blurry, but it's been a long day and I'm not going to re-shoot it:

I really like the Bob Ross brand black Gesso for a background, it wasn't gritty at all.

Jacki is really great at painting and collaging faces.

She has a lot of techniques to get started with making faces.

Here we started by spreading some dabs of paint that will become faces.

It isn't anything yet, but I can already see a grumpy face looking out at me.

We will be meeting again in 2 weeks.

The class was so inspiring, I'm sure I'll have half the sketchbook filled by then!