Friday, January 31, 2014

Haiku My Heart: Farewell January Friday

A break in the cold,
an art gallery visit;
Friday delights abound.

Visiting with the
masters, those who left behind
art for the future.

More Haiku My Heart can be found at recuerda_mi_corazon.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Great Upheaval

I'm off to the Art Gallery of Ontario tomorrow night to see their latest exhibit. Here's the description from their website:  "The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910-1918 showcases the dynamism, creativity, and innovation of art produced in Europe in the years leading up to and during the First World War. Featuring paintings from the collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum by artists such as Constantin Brancusi, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Vasily Kandinsky, Fernand Leger, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Piet Mondrian and Pablo Picasso, among others, the exhibition chronologically traces the achievements of these tumultuous years as artists experimented with new ways to create art while launching such movements as expressionism, futurism and cubism." 

I'm familiar with a number of the names of the artists they mention but not all, and I'm certainly no expert on their art.  Looking forward to seeing the exhibit and learning more about them!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

They Call It Puppy Love

I don't drink beer and I don't watch football, so for most part, I don't pay much attention to the Superbowl.  However, I do enjoy the Budweiser commercials they make every year with the Clydesdale horses to show during the big game.

Last year's version still makes me grab a tissue every time I see it!

But now that I've seen this year's entry, I'm thinking it's going to be my favourite.  Check it out!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Playing With Inks

I've been wanting to try acrylic inks for a while now, and most especially since a few weeks ago, when I watched my first video on Juliette Crane's online course called "Serendipity", where she uses them to great effect.  I had told myself I didn't need any more art supplies and for a while, that was enough to keep me from buying them.  But today, I ignored that restrictive voice and headed to the store to pick some up.

There are 30 colours available in the Liquitex ink! line, I picked up these 6 to start with: Naphthol Crimson, Phthalocyanine Green (where do they get these names?!), Carbon Black, Yellow Oxide, Titanium White and Deep Violet, plus one FW brand by Daler Rowney, the Burnt Umber shade.  I didn't get a blue and already I'm wishing I had.  Although the Phthalocyanine Green looks very blue in the photo of the bottles below, it really isn't, as you can see from the colour on the pages. I think a turquoise shade would be a good addition to my collection, don't you?

Of course, I wasn't the only one excited about my new purchases.  My trusty studio assistants had to check them out immediately.
Photobomb by Matisse
Suzie takes a sniff
When it was my turn again, I sprayed water on some watercolour paper and used the droppers on the bottles to add each of the colours to the pages.
The entire process was closely supervised.
All of the inks came out quite liquidy except the white, which was much thicker (I hadn't shaken the bottle enough the first time around).  I pressed the two pages together and got shapes that look a bit like pieces of coral, which I quite liked.
What I am most excited about is the fact that these inks are, according to the brochure, permanent once dry.  As much as I love the Dylusions sprays, it bothers me that they are not permanent.  If I add water or any sort of wet medium (a fixative, a clear gesso, gel medium) to something I've made using a Dylusions spray, even if it's a month or two years from now, the colour will reactivate. That's not usually something I want to happen but I don't always remember that fact until it's too late.  With these inks, it shouldn't be a problem.  Now, if only they came with a spray top!

The final results:

Looking forward to more experiments with these inks!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Morning

What do you mean, it's Monday morning, time to get out of bed and go to work???

It's minus how many degrees outside with the windchill?

Just five more minutes, okay?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Transforming Sunday

Since my word for 2014 is "transformation", I thought it only fitting to spend some time today doing exactly that.

That cleared off art table I posted a picture of yesterday was an easy transformation. What I didn't show you was that most of the stuff that was on the table simply got moved to the kitchen counters. Temporarily, of course! Today's project was to clear the stuff off the counters and if possible, find a home for most of it.  I am pleased to report that this task was about 90% accomplished, just a few more bits and pieces to sort out before I can call it done.

I also spent a quick half hour transforming this shelf in my linen closet from a jumbled mess:
to an organized space.  I have no idea how it became a jumbled mess in the first place, why I get in the habit of just opening the door and randomly throwing things in there in a haphazard fashion.  I do know that it has taken a good two years for the process to happen, since I took photos the last time I decluttered the linen closet.  It just feels so much better when it's tidy!
My third transformation of the day was to change the bird on this canvas I created in November 2012 when Nathalie Kalback came to teach at Bizzy B (she's coming back the first weekend of February, if you're interested in taking a class with her.  She's a great teacher and we always have a lot of fun when she's here).  The size of the bird on the branch had always bothered me, it always seemed too large for the tree and the picture as a whole.
When I found out that Donna Downey also made a similar bird stamp in a smaller size, I had to get one.  Of course, that was months ago.  Today, I finally got around to removing the old bird and replacing it with a new, smaller one.  I simply tore off the original bird and cut out a new shape from the same piece of painted paper, stuck it back on.  It just feels so much better to me with a smaller bird on that canvas, as well as the fact that it is looking to the left instead of the right now.
(The theme of the canvas, in case you were wondering, is to remind me to believe that even in the depths of winter, spring is coming.  I'm planning to stamp the words from the last verse of the Janis Joplin/Bette Midler song, "The Rose", around the edge of the canvas as the final step - "Just remember in the winter, Far beneath the bitter snows, Lies the seed that with the sun's love In the spring becomes the rose.")

Yes, it was a good day for transformation around here today!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Working on a Background

It has been a quiet Saturday.  Outside, it is bitterly cold with incredibly high winds. I had an appointment and an event on my calendar today but postponed one and decided not to attend the other, as the forecast was for blowing snow and the roads did not look all that great when it was time for me to decide whether or not to go.  So I stayed inside hibernating instead, which gave me a chance to clean off my art table in the kitchen and play with some of my art supplies.
I met a lovely woman and talented artist by the name of Jeanne Oliver when I was in Mexico in November, she was one of my classmates.  She has her own network featuring various online video classes which you can find here.  You can sign up for free and there are free videos available to watch or, if you are so inclined, you can purchase any of the classes that catch your interest.  I've signed up for a couple of courses already and I've also enjoyed two of the free videos currently available for viewing:  one called Creating Patterns and Textures and one called Mixed Media Vintage Girls.

I spent part of today watching each of these videos and starting my background.  Here's how it looked when I finished the first layer of collage:
After adding paint and texture (which Jeanne teaches in the Creating Patterns video), it looked like this:
Next I added a layer of light buttermilk coloured acrylic paint to blend everything together.
I haven't decided what I'll do next.  One of Jeanne's recommendations is to let your background sit overnight and come back to it the next day with fresh eyes.  I'd like to try painting one of the vintage girls on this background, we'll see how I feel about that idea tomorrow.  In the meantime, I just really enjoyed the process of making the background, even without knowing what it will be used for in the long run.  I'm looking forward to making more of them!  Many thanks for Jeanne for making these videos available for free, what a treat.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Haiku My Heart: Procrastination

Some days, I have no
energy to do anything,
I choose to not do.

I post these words slightly tongue-in-cheek, to accompany the picture that goes with them, but there is a seriousness behind them as well.  I find this bone-chilling cold we have been experiencing lately to be like a weight that lies on your soul, sapping your energy.  It makes me want to stay indoors and not venture out, safe and warm in the comfort of my cozy home.  This is also the gift of winter, the chance to slow down the pace of life, revel in the hibernation.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Cat's Nose Pad

I learned a couple of new things today.  First, that a cat's nose pad is called a nose pad.  Second, that "the nose pad of a cat is ridged in a pattern that is unique, just like the fingerprint of a human" (quote copied from here).

I read this surprising fact today on the page-a-day cat calendar that one of my work colleagues gave me for Christmas.  I had to come right home and check my furbabies to see if this is true.  Although I'm not entirely sure how one can be certain of this fact, it's like saying no two snowflakes are the same but really, how do you test these theories? We certainly can't stick an inkpad on a cat's nose and then press it on a piece of paper like we do when taking fingerprints.  Can we? No, probably not.  Okay, no, definitely not.  For now, I shall simply have to accept this statement as "probably true", subject to any future evidence to the contrary.

Nevertheless, upon closer inspection (I must admit, I hadn't really paid a whole lot of attention prior to today), I can certainly see the difference in each of the nosepads of my four, as these photos will attest.

Katrina and Matisse both have all black nosepads, each of which are shaped differently than the other's.
Suzie has a cute little pink nose with just a touch of black at the bottom.

Maggie, given her mottled colouring, has a nose pad to match.

I have always known cat's noses were the cutest things but now that I know they are unique, I shall have to pay more attention to them going forward!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Quotes by Emerson

I went looking for quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson today on Google, after seeing one on Facebook that I really liked.  Here are a few of the gems I found:

Inspiring Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Found here

Found here
Ralph Waldo Emerson quote by MirandaHatt
Found here
There are many more to be found on the Internet, if you are inclined to look.

Here is the one that inspired me:
Found here

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

No Activity Today

All was quiet on the construction site outside my window this morning.

I suspect it was because it is so bloody cold outside.  Minus 27C with the windchill.  There must be a threshold; when the temperature drops below it, they don't work.  It has to be minus 20 or less, because yesterday when it was "only" minus 18C, there they were, bright and early, moving dirt around.

I had noticed they didn't work the first week of January. I thought maybe it was because they had a 2 week break for the holidays. I suspect now it was because of the extreme cold we had that week as well.

They said on the radio yesterday that we are only a third of the way through winter so far.  I sure as heck don't envy these guys having to work outside all day for the next few months.

Monday, January 20, 2014

January Play Date

Got together with some friends at Bizzy B yesterday for a play date.  Every month or so, we get together for an afternoon to make art.  Everyone brings whatever project they're working on and we just hang out and craft together.  Sometimes we work on the same thing, like the day we all took our gelli plates for a test drive, and other days, like yesterday, we do our own thing.  Whatever we're doing, there's always lots of cat, laughter and creativity going on!

Dianne brought mason jars for us to decorate with Xmas trees.
Here's what her finished creation looked like, isn't it fabulous?.
Kelly started one too:
but she had a few other projects on the go as well.
The finished jars are awfully pretty, I'm looking forward to making one.  I just wasn't in a Christmas mood yesterday, so instead I worked on finishing the entries in my 2013 calendar, using the Graphics 45 monthly sheets called "Place in Time". Here's a peek at the non-yet-finished page for August:
Barb was decorating toilet rolls (if you're signed up for Nathalie Kalbach's Creative Jumpstart 2014 and you've watched Suze Weinberg's lesson from January 4th, you'll know exactly what this is about.  If you're not signed up, it's not too late to jump in!)
Laura was painting faces.
As always, a fun time was had by all!  Thank you, ladies!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Haiku My Heart: Tonka Trucks

Construction continues;
like giant Tonka trucks being moved
around a sandbox.

Each Friday, Haiku My Heart is hosted by recuerda_mi_corazon.  Click on the link to find more to enjoy!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Life Would Be Better...

Someone posted this picture on Facebook this morning and I just have to agree.

Although for me, this photo would be just a little more perfect if the apostrophe was gone, because the grammatical error is really bugging me, but still... :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Confetti Squares

Every time I make these squares (which is whenever I need something quick and easy to make, only 5 ingredients!), I get asked for the recipe so I thought I would share the details here.  I made them the other night for the potluck we had at Bizzy B and took the leftovers in to work the next day.  I got a lot of grief from people who are trying to watch their calorie intake after the annual holiday over-indulgence and yet, they were all just about gone before lunchtime!

So for those who were wondering, here is the even easier than pie recipe:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 package butterscotch chipits
1 cup coconut
3 cups small, coloured marshmallows (of course, you could use the plain white mini marshmallows but it makes for a rather dull looking dessert and the "fruit flavoured" coloured marshmallows add a little something extra to the taste)

Combine butter, peanut butter and butterscotch chips and melt together in a double boiler.
Let cool. (I just stick the whole pot in the fridge for about 10 minutes - long enough for it to cool but no so long that it starts to firm up!)
Add coconut and marshmallows and let set in the refrigerator in a 8 x 8 inch square pan.
When cool, cut into squares (I recommend smaller sized, a little goes a long way with these tasty treats!)
Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

More Transformations

Here are photos of the journal pages my fellow Journal Junkies members presented at last night's meeting, held at Bizzy B.  Of course, that was after we had consumed a very tasty selection of potluck goodies, in celebration of our first gathering of 2014.

Louise's colourful page was created to look like one of those images you get when you hold a kaleidoscope up to your eyes, which I thought was an absolutely brilliant interpretation of our theme. She transformed a magazine advertisement for deodorant, using diamond-shaped Dew Drop embellishments:

Diana transformed a pop can, basket wrap and some coffee cup sleeves in this journal page:

Kelly's page was based on the transformation she noticed in her eyesight when she stopped wearing her contacts and switched to glasses:

Marissa's theme was the four seasons, which she documented using the same stamped image each time.
Bette's journal page was created using our alternate theme for the month, "pie in the sky".  She used a poem by Arden Davidson with that title and created the images to go with it:

Laura was thinking along the same lines as I was, in that she wanted to transform two of her gelli pages. In her case, she added frames and made them into something beautiful enough to hang on her walls!
Another demonstration of awesome talent, ladies!