Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
I've been busy since school started, but managed to complete this 40 page art journal for a Swapbot swap. I started with an 11" X 15" pad of 140 lb water color paper. I cut this into fourths and painted with a mixture of teal and dark green to get the perfect shade of teal. Next, I splattered the pages with brown acrylic and used a piece of bubble pack to paint the ivory "dots". Boarder papers are mostly Basic Gray and the people, flowers, butterflies, fish and sea shells are printed from creative commons on Flickr, free collage pages on Flickr and Dover samples and CD's. I've always printed collage pieces on card stock but accidentally printed several pages on copy paper. With color ink being expensive, I decided to try to use these pages. I LOVE the way these thinner pages glue down. I use tiny, very sharp scissors to cut the images out, "cropping" parts I don't want to use. Then I use a good quality glue stick (UHU usually) and completely cover the back of the cut-outs (lay the pieces on an old magazine page - when it's completely sticky, turn the page to a clean fresh place to glue). The copy weight paper almost melts into the background and you can hardly tell where the pieces are overlapped. Next I printed the sassy sayings out in MS Word using my favorite font and cut most of them with decorative edge scissors. When the glue has dried, I begin the ink work. I use lots of different type pens (paint pens, professional grade poster markers, different sizes of Faber Castell PITT artist pens in black and sepia). This is my first attempt to bind with the Zutter binder and it turned out okay. I got a couple of the rings a little out of circular, but the pages still turn, so I'm happy.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I finally got some of my student's journal pages saved to my computer. I was surprised at how talented some of my kids were! I can't wait to try this with my new class this fall. We tied poetry into our art journals. Jaysley's poem is a diamante about her grandmother and mother.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Hope everyone likes the new look. My son is launching a design company to help those who are computer illiterate (like me), or just to busy, to jazz up their blogs, web sites, etc. so I received a "make-over"! I'll post more info on his company soon. He is a 28 year-old who has to work from home due to degenerative disc disease and arthritis, so if you know anyone who might be interested in a make-over, have them check out my blog for more info!
I have a million art journal ideas buzzing around in my head and can't seem to get to any of them! I've joined a group that meets once-a-month to swap ATC's, along with joining too many swaps at atcsforall.com and swap-bot.com. I just keep seeing too many interesting swaps and can't help myself! Today's post are the 4 ATCs for the "Wake up and smell the coffee" swap at act's for all. I'm working on Button Fairy's, a 2 color/5 technique chunky page challenge, and Marie Antoinette chunky swap. Pictures to come!
Friday, June 18, 2010
School's out, my classroom is packed and I'm finally free to create!!!!! (Except for the days when the grand kids come to visit :) - the 8-year-old loves to make art journal pages, so he & I play in glue & paint!)More journal pages to come soon along with more collage sheets. I've also got some great pics of the pages my 4th graders made to share, so more to come soon!
Monday, May 31, 2010
Wheeewwww! School is almost over - just 6 more days. I don't know who is more excited - the kids or me! We've been working on art journals in our class. Here's a picture of some of the kids. I'll post some of their pages soon. I have some very talented artists in my class!
I've been working on lots of chunky pages for swaps, but have managed to finish 2 journal pages. I'm really enjoying the Zetti style pages. I've just got to figure out a good way to organize all the magazine pieces I'm cutting out! When I figure it out, I'll be sure to post. I'm not the most organized person in the world (alright - I wasn't born with the organization gene at all), but I can't work in complete chaos. I hate spending time digging through the piles on the dining table to find that perfect piece that I just saw a minute ago. I have cleaned the dining table, it's Memorial Day and the kids & grand kids are coming over, so I figured unless I wanted toddler bbq finger prints all over my pages I'd better put things up. So things are a little organized, but I know I need to find a better way. Any one out there with a good solution for sorting and storing all the strips I've cut for boarders, thumb shaped pieces, triangles, and so on? I've got the heads, bodies, arms, legs and accessories all organized in sandwich bags, but all the rest is in a pile in a box. I'll have to give this some thought.
I have the same problem at school. I would post a picture of my desk, but I'm too embarrassed. I've just discovered a new book by Debbie Diller called "Spaces and Places". It's about organizing your classroom so at the end of the year it only takes 1 day to pack everything up so the cleaning crew can wax the floors. It usually takes me 2 weeks. I have too much junk. Debbie suggests working on one area at a time & purging. It's working well at school because I have so many duplicate copies, out-dated stuff, and stuff from when I taught kindergarten years ago. Purging actually feels good! At first I was very reluctant to throw stuff away, so I put extra copies in a box for my students to take home this summer. Believe it or not, so 4th graders still like to play "school" during the summer. I'm also giving a lot of the kindergarten stuff to my daughter who is an assistant director of a preschool. Other stuff has been sent to recycle and some actually ended up in the trash. My father lived through the depression and was a certified hoarder, so it's been hard not to follow in his footsteps. The feeling of being able to find stuff in my classroom outweighs the fear that I am throwing something away that I might need. If I haven't used it in the last year (or 2 or 3 years!) then I really don't need it.
Now, if I can just apply this to my art area. The problem is that in art, everything is usable :) I know, I'm hopeless - hee hee. Seriously though, any solutions to storing all the little bits and pieces, please share.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The end of school is near & hopefully I'll have more time to make art!!! I have been making chunky pages for swaps on swapbot and atcsforall. Lots of fun - the 4" X 4" page size is quick to complete. The Mother's Day page is more my usual style, sort of vintage and pastel, but I'm really loving the bright colors, inks, paint and wild creatures I'm working with now. Here's some of the pages I've been doing.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Even though we had house guests for 9 days, I actually got some work done! I'm beginning to love this style art. I'm mulling over the idea of doing a journal using only one magazine with the idea being to use as much of it as possible. I got this idea as I was digging pieces of magazine pages out of the trash in my classroom as my students began their own art journals. I began showing them the many ways to use what they were viewing as "trash" and one of the kids made the comment that it looked like I was going to use all their trash!
Am I crazy? Probably - but the seed of an idea has been planted. Hummmm - definitely worth thinking over.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I've been trying out the Zetti style and created several pages for my journal. After spending hours at the computer and thumbing through magazines to find arms and legs for my art, I decided to stick them on a page & scan them in for others to use. The first arms I did (on the leg page) I cut out completely. On my second attempt, I left them together with a bit of background. I used my paint pen to cover that area (to save ink when printing). Now I can actually find a pair when I want them! I cut out the parts and store them in plastic baggies, so they're ready to go when I want to sit down & create something.
My disclaimer: I collected these pictures from Flickr Creative Commons, magazines and Public Domain pictures as far as I know. If you see something that is copyrighted, please email me so I can remove it. I'm not selling these pages, they are free for you to use in your art, but PLEASE don't sell the images as part of a collage sheet or on CD. I don't own the rights to these pictures and am only using them under Creative Commons. I'd love to see what you create with them. Please email me!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
With spring break over and me back with my 4th graders, I've finally got the time to post the lovely tree page. This is the water color picture I did so poorly and went back and rescued it with some acrylic paint, markers and leaves stamped on various green papers. I added a quote from e.e. cummings I picked up at the Quote Garden web site. I thought it turned out rather nice. I didn't do so bad on the second water color forest, so that page will complete the spread with the tree as-is. I can't wait to finish the rest of the pages and bind the whole thing into a book so I can start writing!
Just one and a half weeks until my kiddos start art journals. Our big stakes test here in Arkansas is the week of April 12. After that, we are going to relax and have some fun! Our reading focus for the 4th quarter of school is poetry, so I'm going to incorporate it into our art journals. I'll post some of the kids work here. Every year I'm amazed at the art these guys turn out.
Monday, March 22, 2010
I've been taking a journal class on-line and have gotten caught up making pages instead of working on journal entries! The 2 pages were made on sheets of 140 lb. water color paper. I used a mixture of 1/3 school glue, 1/3 matte gel and 1/3 water mixed well to glue the pieces down. Collage pieces are junk mail! I never knew that junk mail could be so cute inside. Lots of the enveloped have security lining and each seems to be a little different. Use lots of the adhesive mixture. Cover the whole page first with a good coat, then start laying pieces down randomly, overlapping edges. Do this quickly without much thought. This part is a lot of fun and very relaxing. A perfect art project for weekday evenings when you're just too tired to do anything that requires a lot of thought! As you lay the pieces down, apply another coat of adhesive over the top of each piece. I'm using a 1" chip brush to do this. Once you've used a brush in this mixture, don't use it in paint again. Even though you clean up with soap and water, the brush is never quite the same again. The hard part is waiting for your pages to dry. I let mine dry overnight before painting them. I choose an inexpensive craft acrylic paint and mixed it with a lot of gloss medium (you can find both in the art section of Hobby Lobby). Both products are kind of pricy, but they go a long way, so it's a good investment. The gloss medium says it keeps the acrylic paint wet longer to allow for blending, but I'm using it as a glaze over the top of the papers. I brushed a thin, almost watercolor looking coat over the whole page. You can immediately wipe some off with a paper towel if you get it heavier than you want. I wanted a translucent effect that toned the papers down, but that didn't completely cover them up. After letting this dry (about an hour) I went back and added the peach color in the same way. My third coat was a little more paint and I just worked around the edge to make a boarder. I'll go back and add some vintage collage images around the edge and do my journal entry in the middle eventually, but right now I want to complete all my pages and bind the journal before I do much writing. I did do a page with a whimsical tree and have written a quote on that page, but for the most part the writing will come later. I'll add the tree tomorrow, so stay tuned for the next entry!
Sunday, February 28, 2010
I've finally had time to do more to my journal. I'm taking an on-line workshop on journal making and our first assignment was to decorate our journal cover. What a great way to "kill two birds with one stone" as my dad would have said. The workshop was offered through Art Trader Magazine (a free, on-line publication: www.arttradermag.com). They offer some great classes and the magazine is full of eye candy! So, I haven't done any more entries, BUT I did get a beautiful cover done! I'm also posting several of the "process" pictures on my flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/annstanley59/
Monday, February 1, 2010
The next exercise to discovering my authentic self was to create a collage of physical activities that make me feel "joyous". I'm not sure I've ever experienced any physical activity that made me feel joyous (except when it was over - unless sex counts as a physical activity), but I'm trying to be open and receptive to all kinds of possibilities, so I played along. What kind of physical activity could I endure long enough to help the thin person inside me peek out? As I flipped through magazines I did find four activities that I've enjoyed in the past (not sure if they made me feel "joyous").
#1 - Swimming - I used to enjoy swimming and I know that it is good exercise, but I'm a self-taught swimmer and don't feel very confidant. We live close to a lake, but I prefer a pool where I can see the bottom. I seldom get out over my head (could this be a metaphor for my life?). There is a gym in town that caters to the 50+ set. Unfortunately, I now qualify for membership. The advantages - everyone there is old, wrinkled & probably as overweight as I am, so I could actually wear a swimsuit. The disadvantages - town is 25 miles away. Advantage - I work in town and have to drive in every week day anyway. Disadvantage - after spending 7 hours with 4th graders I'm not sure I have the energy. Hummmm - at least this is something to give some consideration to. I know I'll never be a size 4, but I would like to be smaller than a size 24. I know from experience that eating right isn't enough, I know I have to exercise if I want to see any real shrinkage of my rotund self. And after hubby suffering a massive heart attack and spending almost a year in the hospital, I'm more motivated to do something that will be good for my heart.
#2 - Dancing - I used to love to put on my favorite music and boogieing around my bedroom when I was a teen. (I know - boogie sort of dates me). While my collage features Fred Astaire and Antonio Banderas (impossible dance partners)I would like to get back into dancing. Despite my weight, I am pretty graceful and when I used to do step aerobics, the instructor thought I'd had training as a dancer. I think I'd like to learn to salsa. The music has a great beat and I could really move to it (reminds me of American Bandstand - "Dick, I'd give that song a seven"). Another real possibility.
#3 - Walking - Many of my coworkers walk around the building after work. Our P.E. teacher measured it and it only takes five rounds to equal one mile. I tried walking with one teacher for a while. I enjoyed our conversations, but she was in better shape than me and could easily out-walk me. I'd end up huffing & puffing! This is a possibility, but doesn't have the appeal that swimming or dancing hold. I suppose I could get a small CD player & find something interesting to listen to. Music would be okay, but a friend introduced me to the Janet Evanovich "Stephanie Plum" mysteries and I find them laugh-out-loud funny. Walking would be palatable if I listened to some of those stories. Okay, okay - walking might be a choice as well.
#4 - Gardening - I love to garden and since we finished building our log house two years ago, I've started building some raised flower beds from the native stone. There is SO much stone on our property and most of it is only a few inches under the topsoil, so in order to be able to plant bulbs, I have to build raised beds and haul in planting soil. Our local garden center sells a square yard of soil that is 1/3 top soil, 1/3 sand and 1/3 mulch. This just fits in my small Toyota Tundra pickup bed and will fill a 3' wide X 8' long X 18" tall flower bed. Last year my son-in-law helped me by building a bed from left over logs and decorated it with steel wagon wheels. I ordered about 100 bulbs from Breck's when they had a big sale and last spring we were treated to the most beautiful tulips, crocus and some funky little yellow flowers that were freebies. The biggest problem is that I don't work hard enough to raise my heart rate. I guess it's still good for me because I stretch (darn those weeds!) and get lots of fresh air and some sun. So I will definitely continue my gardening, but I'm not relying on it to get me in shape.
So, what have I learned about my authentic self? I do have healthy activities that I enjoy doing and have access to them, so getting in better shape is doable. I need to schedule time for me. The hardest thing about this is learning not to feel guilty because I'm making time for me. I have to come to truly believe that I am important as well.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
I've flipped through magazines, catalogs and the net to find images that embody style to me. At first I was a little perplexed. This is supposed to give me insight into my authentic style, but I was making choices that seem to be at opposite ends of the scale. On one hand, I was choosing tailored suits (think Channel) and on the other were flowing dresses in hot pink with funky jewelry and bags.
I sorted them and made two spreads, one I've come to think of as my business self and the other my home/weekend self.
Do I look like any of these models - sure - plus about a hundred pounds. Do I have anything in my closet that looks like this? Well, I have one lovely suit in the same bright blue I've chosen for several dresses (which was another surprise - didn't realize I was so fond of blue). I also have a couple of flowing dresses with the bright colors I was drawn to.
Thinking back, I realize that I've had many different styles over my five decades. As a teenager in the 70's I wore funky platform shoes, jeans with the seams ripped and triangles of bright fabric sewn in to make them bell-bottoms, tee shirts sporting the logo of every college campus I'd been to for high school activities and a denim jacket covered with patches of every kind and description.
My 20's were characterized by comfortable jeans, sneakers and comfortable, loose fitting shirts. Easy to pull on, especially after my two children were born (and baby fat lingered). By by late 20's and early 30's I had become a quilter and textile artist. My then first grade son was constantly worried about what mom might show up at school in. I loved overall dresses I'd made from my dad's worn out overalls with feed sacks stitched to the bottom to form the skirt. These were generally embellished with buttons, beads and fabric paint. The preferred footwear was a pair of hot pink high top tennis shoes embellished with rhinestones and paint. (Wouldn't you have HATED having me as a mom?????) Then I began teaching embellished clothing classes that featured my "signature" jumper. I used a pillow top print with matching fabric to construct a jumper with the pillow picture on the front and included a pieced or patchwork band around the bottom of the skirt. By this time I had graduated college and began my teaching career (yeah - I was a late bloomer), so my jumpers took on kindergarten themes and were now accompanied by white leather tennis shoes (washable) with ankle socks that matched the jumper and tee shirt I wore under it.
Fast forward to my 40's. The look was now elastic waist pants with turtle necks under cute vests. Mostly the vests were purchased and sported holiday designs, but when I had the time I still did come patchwork and created a few one-of-a-kind designs. Sensible black lace-up walking shoes finished the ensemble.
Then 50 struck. Somewhere along the way I'd lost my sense of style. Throwing on the same old elastic waist pants and a tee shirt sporting our school logo had become easy and until recently I was okay with that. Where did I lose myself? I'm going to find the authentic me under the navy blue and gray school shirts, the same boring clothes day in and day out.
I certainly can't throw out my wardrobe and start over (not practical and couldn't afford it) but I'm thinking of some changes I can begin to slowly make. The short, boxy Channel jackets would make my heavy, short frame look a little taller. I've been sewing my own clothes since I was 12 and began designing my own patterns at 14, so I think it's time to drag the machine out and begin to think about a few key pieces that I could slowly add to begin a transformation, at least at work. I look dumpy in skirts with blouses tucked in (WAY too much tummy), but I could pair the jacket with a simple dress (like the blue princess style). I tend to wear my skirts too long - almost dragging the ground - mostly because I'm so short and I've been too lazy to hem them up. Looking at the pictures I've collected I'm thinking I need to stop my dresses just above my knees. My grandmother always told me to keep my knees covered because I had ugly knees (age 12 or so). Really great for my self esteem, right? Well, I've been looking at other women my age, and my knees don't look any better or worse than theirs, so look out granny - I'm going to show my knees!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I'm so excited - I've started my first entry. After school started again in January, I felt like I was burning the candle at both ends and getting nowhere fast. We are constantly analyzing data and changing our teaching in an attempt to meet all the needs of all the kids. What this really means is that we are constantly chasing our tails trying to stay caught up - never mind getting ahead. It was pretty depressing to work so many extra hours (no extra pay - teachers are under contract and on salary). I'd come home, eat a bite & fall into bed. Finally last night I decided I was going to get a page done in my journal even if I had to stay up til midnight (which I did).
I'm using a school composition book, 7" X 9 1/2", the kind that is saddle stitched in the middle. Because the pages are very thin, I've glued 2 pages together to make a heavier area to work on. I used a photo safe glue stick from Hobby Lobby and did several pages. I closed the book and weighted it down for a couple of days.
Next, I tried some painting on the pages to make a 2 page, double spread. The first spread I used regular kids watercolor paint pans. They looked okay, but the paints are so cheap that painting the 2 pages used all of the 3 colors I was using. So back to the drawing board. I have a lot of acrylic paints in the small plastic squeeze bottles (like Apple Barrel brand), so I tried watering some of them down on a paper plate and applying them with a 1/2" wide brush. This looked okay, but the colors didn't blend the way I wanted them to. I tried a couple of 2 page spreads and got a lot of really dark colors. I was wanting a pastel, swirly, blend of colors for my backgrounds. So I tried another 2 page spread using pastel paints that had been thinned with water. I applied one color at a time and let them dry in between colors. This was closer to what I was looking for.
Last night I flipped to the last pages I'd painted and started pulling some scrap paper from my stash. The paint is light peach and watery blue. I found a scrap of darker peach that had flowers punched from it. I though it would make a good boarder, so I tore the piece down to size to fit on my page. I love the way the paint shows through the flower cut-outs. I inked the edge with Jim Holtz Distress Ink in antique linen, then glued it with glue stick and let it dry for a couple of minutes. I used my Zig Scroll & Brush pen in Fawn to write over the whole thing. This entry was my gratitude page, just some of the things I'm grateful for. Doing the page helped my clear my head and I slept well for the first time in weeks - no nightmares about school or lying awake thinking about all that I need to get done.
I don't know that I'm finished with the page. I may go back and doodle some. I don't draw realistic pictures well, but I love to doodle and have discovered that I'm not half bad at it. Already the book is beginning to swell and won't stay closed, so today I plan to decorate the cover and put a closure on it. I love ephemera (papers & other junk that was meant to be used once and thrown away like ticket stubs, post cards, advertising logos, etc.) and I know that some of my collection will be working its way into my pages. That's going to add bulk, so I'll just plan for that in my closure.