Friday, November 27, 2015

Artful Journeys - Week #48 Prompt "Hang A Wreath"

This week at Artful Journeys, we asked our members to "Hang a Wreath" in their art journals.  As usual, I wanted to be a bit different and was not thinking about "Christmas" just yet, with Thanksgiving just being barely over.  Fall is still in full swing here in north Texas, and it won't officially be winter for a while, so I didn't want to rush anything.

My initial idea was to create a 'kaleidoscope' of color, and I began by creating a wheel of fall colors with acrylics in red, orange and yellows, banded in a wheel.  I had these wonderful fall looking silk (or polyester?) leaves that I thought would be perfect. So I took out my trusty compass, drew a big circle and began to layer the leaves.  I had just enough to do a double row.  But after they were applied, the kaleidoscope really wasn't all that visible. 

Initially, I had hand lettered the quote, but must have had a brain phart right at the end, because the word "enough" was not spaced out right and looked totally stupid.  Out came the gesso, more paint, more dabbing and brushing, and lots of use of the heat gun.

I decided to pull out some new-to-me lettering stamps I bought recently and stamped out the quote on some bristol paper, cut to size and affixed with Helmar 450 Quick Dry Adhesive. This stuff is the bomb!  Really sticky, dries fast and clear and is the best general purpose adhesive I have ever used!

This spread didn't seem to need much else because to me, it was already starting to look kind of fussy with all those leaves, so I just added some doodly framing around the quote and called it good.

Below are a few other things I have been working on the last week or so. It was so nice of you to stop by for a look, and as always, if you'd care to leave me a comment on anything I've posted here, it would be greatly appreciated!

Vintage newspaper collage spread
Vintage newspaper advertising

Dylusions Spray Inks with acrylics and Stencil Girl Stencil

Dylusions spray inks and Stencil Girl stencil

Dylusions spray ink, blending tool, mop up inks and Stencil Girl stencil

Acrylics, Art doll by Annmarie Killam, stencil

Just trying to add more and make it into something!

Planner pages in the Hobonichi or "Fauxbonichi" style

Grumpy Cat "You'd be angry too if you had to wear this ugly-assed collar all day!"

4x6 index card - Repeating Word, Doodles

Artist Trading Card Swap - Crazy Birds

Impromptu Art Challenge

Thanks again for stopping by!  Remember, keep it artful!


Saturday, November 21, 2015

I Just HAD to do it......I'm FED UP!!

Today was a beautiful, sunny day in north Texas. The sky was blue. The birds were singing. The line at the post office was horribly long, but the clerk was nice and left me in a good mood with her pleasantries.  So I toodled on down the road to my favorite Starbucks for a "reward."  I had, after all, managed to get my errands done, made it to my nail appointment, was ready for dinner in a few hours and I am on Day #5 of my "no profanity" challenge with only a couple little slip ups during the week when on the phone with my bestie.  (Does that REALLY count?)

My reward?  A delicious Triple Venti Caramel Macchiato, with no foam (yuk--hate the foam thing).  And out the window it comes in a pretty RED CUP.  The clerk and I chatted briefly, made a reference to the hub-bub lately on Facebook about it and off I drove, happy as a clam.

----------spoiler alert!!!!!!!  We're going to talk about THE CUP.  If you are offended by paper products, read no further!  While I have NEVER in the past delved into the world of popular or unpopular opinion on any subject on social media, I feel this "situation" needs more words. Some of my words.  Maybe some snarky words. So be prepared :::::::::::::::::::::::::::

And you know what, as I was driving down the road, holding my hot, delicious coffee in my left hand, I looked over at driver stopped next to me at the light.  I got a "thumbs up."  I waved and drove off, quite happy with myself.  It sort of happened again as I was approaching the light at main street...this time a big smile, "pointing" towards my cup, and a big wave.  I'm thinking -- oh Lordy.  It's the cup.

So I looked at the now-infamous red cup.  Totally innocuous.  Paper. Red. Green logo.  Same old standard kraft sleeve with some snowflake effects. No offensive words.  Dang this coffee tastes good. 

I continued my 25 minute drive back to my town, enjoying myself, the day, singing to the radio, looking at the countryside around me.  I had polished off my delicious and expertly prepared cup of joe reward in no time and was wishing for another.

After arriving home, I sat the cup on my desk. I looked at it.  I wasn't offended by it.  Clearly the two people who attracted my attention on the road weren't offended by it. The hubs didn't even notice, but that didn't surprise me.  I tarted up the cup with a cute little Christmas tag sent to me by a sweet friend in some happy mail.  The cup still wasn't offended.  I surely wasn't offended.  Who is offended by a red cup?  I gave the cup a place of honor (at least temporarily) on top of a shelf on my desk so I could look at it, size it up. Determine WHAT was so offensive.

I called a friend of mine who is Muslim.  She does NOT celebrate the Christian holiday of Christmas. I texted her a picture of THE CUP, all tarted up. She wasn't offended, in fact, she liked it.  She was jokingly coveting what had been IN the cup.  I asked her if she had paid any attention to all the social media hub-bub.  She said she had not, saying, "It's just a cup."  I asked her if a plain red cup in any way offended her sensibilities or her right to practice her own religion. She said no.  I asked her if she thought Starbucks was being "too forward" by serving their drinks in a RED paper cup.  She said no. I asked her if the x-amount of Americans who DO celebrate CHRISTMAS offended her. She said no. Now mind you, people of the Muslim faith seem to be the most maligned group everywhere right now. I have no issues with anyone, of any faith, or their right to practice their beliefs, spirituality or allegiance to anyone.  I have friends of many faiths and beliefs. I value their opinions.   I asked my friend if she knew the religion or beliefs of anyone in ownership or subordinate roles at Starbucks.  She said no.  We talked about the fact that probably most of the people stirring up this madness on social media probably don't know anything about anyone at Starbucks either, from the glass ceiling on down. Just like we don't know.  Or care for that matter.  As long as they keep on making great coffee, I'm in.  My friend is in.  Our other coffee friends are in.   What they do to or with their cups doesn't affect us. Her, me, you, them, everyone.  IT'S A FREAKING CUP for goodness sakes!

POW!!!!!!   Right.  IT IS JUST A CUP!! A paper cup, in a bright red color, with white trim, and a green and white logo.   There's no slogan.  Yes, perhaps it could be considered "secular" or "Christmas-y" I suppose.  But it is still just a vessel for holding my hot, delicious coffee.  Is anyone holding Macy's or Hobby Lobby or a bazillion and one other retailers hostage for putting up Christmas / holiday decorations and Christmas trees in JULY?  No.  Is someone making a fuss anywhere that people of all religions the world over are celebrating their special days, when and how they celebrate them?  No. (well maybe).  But my point is..... this is a cup. A plain,  ordinary, everyday paper cup that happens to be red... just prior to the impending holiday of Christmas, widely accepted and practiced in the United States and elsewhere in the world.

I don't care if Starbucks decides to put my coffee in a pink, purple and polka-dotted cup, whether it has leopard prints, rainbow colors, tribal patterns, feathers or whatever symbol some group claims as their own.  It's a FREAKING RED CUP.  Do these "naysayers" ever buy RED SOLO cups to put their other beverages into?  Are they boycotting BLUE cups? 

I love my Starbucks.  The ones close to me. The ones far away from me. The ones in Seattle and all over everywhere -- as long as they are making great coffee, giving me good service, I will still be their customer.  And most of you will be too.

Stop the madness. Get over it. It's a RED cup.  Put some art on it.  It won't be offended.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Artful Journeys - Week #46 "Empty The Pantry"

This week at Artful Journeys we asked everyone to get creative with a bag, box or label from something in their pantry, using it in a creative way in their journals.

Naturally, I picked something associated with coffee.  There are 18 loose K-cups laying on my kitchen counter right now. Seems as though I have either used or pitched out every coffee box I thought I had...I have recently been purging and re-organizing my art space and it's not like I won't get more.  <grin>

In my honest opinion, I think that mixed media artists are some of the best people at reusing, recycling, upcycling and turning trash into treasure. I took this opportunity to do some of the same for this prompt, using some of the mountains of great stuff I have saved and have been sent by my generous art friends.  I started with the Eight O'Clock Coffee box of k-cups and began mulling over what I wanted to do while cutting the box apart.  I then cut up a really nice cardboard envelope that I received in the mail containing some stencils I ordered, prepped the backside with gesso and paint, rolled on with my soft foam brayer, using 3 colors of craft acrylic: Violet Pansy, Lavender and Diva Pink.  The gesso left bits of white showing through and I loved it!  It was messy, but in an orderly sort of way.  I cut it to 9x"x12" to fit into my Artful Journeys mixed media journal.

 Many of you know that I can add layers and layers of paint with no problems whatsoever. What I wrestle with the most is adding bits of paper and ephemera.  The concept of "JAM" -- just add more -- really doesn't work with my high sense of order and my compulsion to make everything in my life and art world the same...orderly! But I'm really working on that specific compulsion with my art.  I love, LOVE the grunge or JAM styles, but have trouble "just adding more."  So I dug out my paper ephemera container and started pulling things that spoke to me as to color, texture, re-useability.  I used a reprint of art given to me and made by Annmarie Killam, a bit of leftover painted paper received in happy mail, the inside of a Starbucks coffee sleeve, a scrap of a punch cut, some monopoly pieces and started arranging and playing.  Using my Signo Uniball 207 pen, I made some random marks on the background.  More playing around with placement of my "bits"; I fussy cut out the dolly image from Annmarie's artwork (thank you, Annmarie!) 

I decided the coffee box was too garish, so I applied some gesso with my hands and zapped it dry with the heat gun.  I am impatient, too!  When dry, I then outlined some of the letters with my Signo Uniball pen. Loved how the white gesso changed the whole look of that piece of box.

Now, time for glue and final placement.  I have recently discovered Tombow Multi Mono Liquid Glue (found it on sale at Wal Mart of all places) and this stuff is truly amazing.  It has a pen tip and a wide tip and is super-duper sticky and is quite versatile.  The packaging says you can adhere and then remove if you apply and let it dry thoroughly before attaching to something. For use as a permanent fixative, just apply and adhere to your base while wet. I'm going to test this "removeability" feature on some unmounted stamps and see how that works with my acrylic blocks.  The glue dries clear and is acid free and photo safe.  And the best part?  A little bit goes a long, long way!
So I got all my bits and pieces glued down and zapped again with the heat gun...the impatience thing again! 

I pulled out my Caran D'Ache NeoColor II water soluble crayons and used the turquoise, blue and back to add highlights to some of the bits and just smudged them with my fingers and some more outlining and doodly bits with the Signo Uniball pen.

One last bit of fiddling and I pronounced it finished.  This was a lot of fun, and for me, this was a good challenge, making art that was a little less orderly and "neat" and a whole lot of "just adding more.  I hope you like what I created!

Wishing each of you a wonderful week.  We know many are already beginning their Thanksgiving holiday preparations ... big cooking takes time!  But as always, make some time in each day to keep it artful!

Hugs and great art,