Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Inspired! Weekend at Donna Downey Studios!!

Inspiring does not even begin to describe my weekend!! I will try to be brief but I am still on a bit of a high from spending 4 days in the presence of the amazingly talented Donna Downey. Her studio is the happiest place on earth!! (Yeah I know...screw Disney :) Donna wins hands down!)  Not only is she talented she is humble and funny and her enthusiasm is contagious!! She also knows how to pamper and cater to her students.

We were showered with gifts (clearly these are not mine since my name is not Katie but I was so excited I forgot to take a pic before I dove in and made a mess of mine)! The canvas roll is filled with brushes, pens, pencils, graphite paper and a palette knife and under the white note is a Moleskine journal. There is also a Faber Castell tool kit. The large flat canvas is the cover of the journal we worked in and bound over the weekend. Both the canvas roll and journal cover were hand made and embroidered by Donna!

This was our ride to dinner on Saturday night...and yes, that gentleman is waiting to open the door just for me! Really, everyone else was inside already.

Here Donna is explaining that the red cabinets on the wall, the white drawers under them and all the shelves in the corner house supplies that we are welcome to use whenever we please! Just about every art supply you can imagine just on the other side of the room...like I said...Happiest place on earth!!

I got to play with lots of grounds and surface preps I had never used...black, grey and clear gesso, glass bead gel, fiber paste, molding paste, pumice gel, pouring medium, absorbent ground, acrylic ground for pastels, tar gel and opaque white flakes.

We learned how to layer, blend and shade with acrylic paint, do image transfers and carve our own rubber stamps.  I got to play with lots of new mediums: water soluble oil pastels, gouache paints, water soluble graphite pencils and Montana paint pens...these are the kinds of paint pens graffiti artists use.

With all of that truly the best part of the weekend was being surrounded by other talented, charming and encouraging artists! I learned as much from the women around me as I did from Donna. There were only 18 of us in class so we really got to share bits of ourselves as well as our art and become friends.  I've connected with many of them on Facebook and traded emails or phone numbers with others. The personal connections are priceless to me!

Here is the one page I actually completed over the weekend...

Acrylic paint, India ink, Pitt Big Brush Pen, Uniball Signo Pen

Here are a few of my favorites that are still in progress...


Acrylic paint applied with a palette knife.

Acrylic paint...finger painting!

I traced the main details of the image on the right for a starting point. I wish I had left her fingers out! Mediums: acrylic paint and water soluble oil pastel.

Acrylic paint applied from palette pad in a circular motion, finished with finger painting.

Glass Bead Gel applied through Potholes stencil (Donna Downey) color is gouache paint.
Image transfer on the inside cover of my journal coated with tar gel.

Thanks for stopping by! I'm grateful for all comments and I'd love to hear from you if you have the chance! Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Common Miracles (1)

This is supposed to be centered...arrrr.

Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. 
It actually takes guts. 
Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, 
we enter the warrior’s world.”
-Pema Chodron

I have recently connected with a fellow blogger Chel Micheline. She is a fantastic and inspiring artist who not only shares her art but bits and pieces of herself and her family. Her writing is eloquent and thought provoking. Once a week she posts Common Miracles (her own study and perceptions of gratitude) and has inspired me to do the same. Here is the link to her very first post and here is her most recent, the 100th!

Our background with gratitude is quite a bit different but her current views resonate with me on a daily basis which why I have opted to join her in the Common Miracles Project. (I hope I can keep up weekly as she does!)

I have always been a "glass half full"..."find the silver lining"..."it could be worse" kind of girl but after the birth of our first son, Sam I suffered from post-partum depression. I did not seek help because I did not realize I had it until 3 years later when I was pregnant with our second son, Andrew. Thankfully those happy pregnancy hormones cured my depression. Somehow, I managed to literally fight tooth and nail from the moment Andrew was born and avoid a second bout. Unfortunately, after the birth of our third son, Bennett I was not so lucky. I was depressed and it was more than just post-partum. I knew it but I could not muster any energy to fight it or seek help.  I was ashamed and I hid it. From everyone, not even my husband realized how bad it was which of course just made it worse. I was plummeting and fast. I can even say I know where rock bottom is. I don't know what the turning point was, if it was something I read or heard but I was able to consciously make the decision that my children and my husband deserved better. They deserved a healthy mom and wife who took care of herself so that she could take care of them. I made an appointment with my doctor who prescribed medication and therapy. 

Fast forward to today...I am under the care of a wonderful doctor with a diagnosis of chemical imbalance and anxiety disorder. They aren't going away but most of the time I am my old self. I still experience the ups and downs and range of emotions that everyone else experiences but because of the anxiety I am susceptible to sinking lower than the average person when something "negative" arises or a bad day comes along. The most common tool I use to avoid sinking to low or to rise back up is focusing on the good in my life even the smallest things. 

So what's good right now?

It is finally Spring here in Illinois...at least I think it is. I do live in a suburb of Chicago and we have a saying here "If you don't like the weather wait a bit, it'll change." So I'm not holding my breath that there isn't another snow storm out there for us but for right now it is raining any my grass is turning green! We are actually having a thunderstorm which I actually prefer to just rain!

I'm getting my hair colored and a pedicure next week for my trip to North Carolina!

Speaking of my trip... is only 8 days away. I am going to spend 4 days at Donna Downey's studio for her Inspired event. I have been waiting since last July for this...

I began my practice of yoga again this morning...I have missed it!

I have all of the boys registered for their summer camps and activities which will keep them occupied and reduce the amount of refereeing I have to do when school is out in 6 1/2 weeks!

I have recommitted to my physical health and started today with a chocolate banana protein shake. Yum!

Coffee is always good but I need to cut back...I like it sweet and creamy which is contradictory to my healthy eating plan but everything in moderation.  

I got my fancy tea pot out yesterday and made some white ginger pear which was delicious!

I sorted 3 months of photos for my Project Life album yesterday and am looking forward to working on it tonight. (If this thunder and lightning keep up soccer practices will be canceled and I'll have an extra 4 hours!)

Finally...music, color and spring ( I know I already mentioned spring, it's worth repeating!)

Thanks for stopping by! There's a quote out there that goes something like "Enjoy the little things for one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things." I'm honestly too lazy right now to look up the exact words or give credit where credit is due. Sorry :) Have a great day!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bouncing Around

I have a number of art journals in progress and I bounce around between them quite a bit. These are a few pages that are in progress and waiting for whatever comes next.

 This one is from a book I am altering. I used Dylusions Spray Ink and the images are stamped with black Staz On.

 This is from the same book. It is going to be a monochromatic page, I can tell you that much. Again, Dylusions Spray Ink. Acrylic craft paint in lavender and white. Purple acrylic paint through The Crafter's Workshop Screen stencil. Cat's Eye Fluid Chalk in Wisteria around the edge.

This is in my wire bound Cranson Mixed Media journal. The same one "I Am Brave" is in. This is Distress Stain in Victorian Velvet, Bundled Sage and Tumbled Glass.

This is my Moleskine Watercolor Journal. Gosh, I don't think I can tell you what's on here. There was a burgundy wash that I put on so as not to waste the paint. Then I actually did some writing on that page. Then I covered the writing with some lavender paint just to cover the writing and then took some of it off wih a baby wipe before it dried. Finally I had some teal paint left over from something else and smeared it in each corner with my finger. Hun, guess I could tell you what was on there...

This is also the Moleskine Watercolor Journal. I used a script background stamp with Staz On ink and turned it sideways so the lines of writing go up and down the page instead of across. Then I used Color Wonder Watercolor Crayons from Stampin' Up to add the color.

I have no idea what is next for any of these pages or when inspiration might strike but I do know this:

"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." - Pablo Picasso

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

February 2013 Canvas Create

I really LOVED doing this canvas...loved it so much I made a second one for my mother-in-law's birthday gift. I tamed that one down a bit to better match her tastes and style. Left the grass green and the sky blue. Oh, and no pink trees!

12x12 Canvas
Brown Craft paper
Golden Gel Medium
Book text
Asst PanPastels
Asst Faber Castell Soft Pastels
Sofft Sponge Tools
Krylon Workable Fixative
Krylon Matte Finish Spray

All of the supplies for the March canvas are sitting on my kitchen table...hope to get to that one before my April video shows up in my inbox!!

Thanks for stopping by! I'm grateful for all comments and I'd love to hear from you if you have the chance!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter Wishes...a couple days late

Better late than never, right? This is the tag that I made for the Easter Tag Swap hosted by Kirsten McCulloch. I did not want to post it until I was sure the recipient got it...I can not think of Easter without thinking of Peeps.

Book Text
Distress Inks: Mowed Grass, Squeezed Lemonade, Shaded Lilac, Picked Raspberries, Tumbled Glass
Distress Stickles: Rock Candy (to give them a sugar coated look that you can not see in the pic very well)
The Crafter's Workshop Circle Explosion Stencil
Mr. Huey's Spray Ink: Leaf Green
Liquitex Basics Quinacridone Magenta Acrylic Paint
Staz On Ink
Signo Uni Ball White Pen
Asst. Stamps, Ribbon and Twine

In case you were wondering I prefer bunnies to chicks and I like Peeps fresh, not stale and I hate the eyes. I pick them off before I eat one. Peep wars have become a tradition at our house every Easter morning after the egg hunt. Peeps face off in the microwave with a toothpick sword...

The first one to poke the other is the victor!

This is what happens when you have a house full of boys...

Here's hoping you all had a wonderful Easter! Many blessings to you all!

Thanks for visiting! I'm grateful for all comments and I'd love to hear from you if you have the chance!