Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Week 4 Homework–ATC Cards

Sometimes I feel a little guilty about what I am called upon to do for homework this semester.  This week was no different.  I HAD to create a series of 14 ATC cards.  (Roll eyes)

We had to demonstrate some Principles and Elements of Design.  And do you know those 14 cards just were enough to spell out GRAPHIC ARTS 110.  The only problem is, this was Graphic Arts 131!  Oh, well, my basic idea was sound.

graphics atc

arts 110 atc

Now a few minutes of down time (i.e. a little World of Warcraft) and onto next weeks lessons.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Cat is Out of the Bag

Every artist and craftster will tell you there are certain tricks to the trade.  One of the hardest things is to pick out colors for any project you might be working on.  This can be especially tricky for fiber artist working on ‘scrap’ projects.  The problem with using up your leftovers, is often you don’t know what color to select next.

So I am here to spill the beans on how true artists pick the next color in their project………



First, you put your work down somewhere, like the top of a desk or table, thinking no one will bother it there.  Then you take one cat.

P1230004  Who knows you were not referring to her about staying out of stuff.  After all, she’s a ‘MUSE’.

And before long, with a little sorting and figuring…..

P1230010  You have the next color you need to use on your project……if you are quick enough.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Being Brave–Latest Homework Assignment

First off, let me say….I HATE HAVING MY PICTURE TAKEN!

My main objection I feel, is that I have memories from past life's.  Therefore, when I look at myself in the mirror or in a picture, I am always shocked by what I see.  That is not how I see myself.  The shock as gotten bigger as I have gotten older.  I don’t think I should be aging, but somehow I have gotten body parts from my grandmother and father.  I am sure a shrink would find years of therapy in these revelations.

So anyway, my latest homework assignment was to draw a self-portrait.  You might have gone ahead and told me to run naked down the road, because I would have probably done that before drawing myself.  But we had the freedom to do it in any medium.  After I thought of how I wanted to do it, I was looking at the self-portraits submitted by my classmates.  Nice pencil or charcoal drawings, mostly from a picture of themselves.  Everyone is pretty in my class!

And then there is me!


Yep, this is as good as it gets!  Actually I think it’s better than reality.  I am going for the Picasso or Frida Kahlo look here.

I took a 16 X 20 canvas and covered with torn book pages.  On top of that, with a black Sharpie, I wrote out all the things I am….mother, employee, artist, writer, nurse, cook, etc.  Then I covered it with a thin layer of white gesso.

And with Savvy’s box of acrylics I committed artistic suicide!  After I finished, I glued the frames from an old pair of glasses I had laying around (with only 1 lens in it – don’t ask why I still had it).  Actually, I think the glasses make a statement.  I have been wearing them since I was 2, so lots of glasses over the years.

But here I am in all my glory.  I think I’m going to go run naked down the road now.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I am loving this semester at school.  My graphic arts classes are all so interrelated that what I learn in one class applies to another.  In one class in particular, Illustration, we are getting some hands on art.  Last week’s assignment was to take a set of words and make a paper mache  sculpture to illustrate those words.  The words I selected were – Under the sea, fat, tranquil, mischief, sorry.  The first thing that came to mind was Ariel, in The Little Mermaid.

So I started out making a mermaid.  A fat mermaid.

P1140006  So I started out with foil and masking tape.  She is laying on the foil I covered with alcohol inks to become her scales later on.  Then I covered her in muck.

P1150014 And I put her in the oven to dry.  Along with some masks I made from molds I had on hand.  The faces are all very serene and was going to use the mask to portray ‘tranquil’.


  I made several different faces and sizes because I wasn’t sure which one I would need.  So she baked all day long.  Unfortunately, since it was cool outside, it was taking the paper mache a while to dry.







So she dried.  I then painted her top half with acrylic paints, mixing to a semi-flesh color. P1150002

The bottom half I cut the foil into strips and scalloped one side and adhered with double sided tape on her tail.  I cut strips of yarn and used some strips of paper that came in a package box for her hair.  That went on with a glue gun and I only burned myself one time! 

For the mischief I had her poking a shell with a stick. 

So here is “Mermess”……


Monday, January 16, 2012

Last Day of Vacation

After having almost a month off on vacation, I can now understand why my grandparents took their vacation in one chunk in the summer.  I enjoyed the holidays without worrying about doing things around work.  Then I had plenty of time afterwards with the start of school to get all organized and ease into the classes.  I have rearranged and organized rooms.  But unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.

So this is the sunrise on my last day of vacation.

last vc day 2 It is cold this morning and after getting up several mornings to take pictures, still forgot my gloves.  But the mist was skimming the water.  I was standing on the apron of the dam in order to take a picture straight across lake.

And this awaits me today.

P1150014 My paper mache mermaid in the making.  This is my project today.  Want to get her finished before going back to work as she is due on Wednesday.  So going to fix some breakfast and then work on my mermaid and enjoy my last day of vacation…..until March.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fragrant (Fantastic) Pears

If you are an Eddy Izzard fan, you will remember in one of his shows he did a bit on pears.  Basically, it was about how one minute the pear is too hard to eat.  You could use it for a hammer.  Turn you back and they are mush.  And tasteless.  Not really any good flavor.  Growing on on basically Bosc-type pears it is a theory I can hold with.  One of my favorite ‘salads’ mom would do would be to take canned pears, lay a couple of halves on a Bibb lettuce leave and put some grated cheddar cheese on it.  That, and making pear honey or pear preserves are about the only way I like pears and they aren’t either hard or mushy.

Last year, Savvy and I were at Grand Asia market in town.  She has a close friend whose grandmother is from Japan and taught Savvy about some Asia foods (particularly candy), and we stop in occasionally.  We found these pears and she wanted ‘fruit’ , so we picked up a couple to try.  Went we got home she sliced it up (braces won’t allow her to bite).  I managed to get 1 small sliver out of the deal.  They were so, so good.  Crispy, without being hard.  And tasty.  Unbelievably yummy.

So yesterday I was out running errands (i.e. paying bills) and stopped by Grand Asia market.  I had dual duty.  First, I wanted to get some salmon.  They have a fish market which is unbelievable to our Western eyes.  Tanks with fish swimming around in it.  They had a bin with live blue shell crabs you could pick out the exact ones you wanted.  When you get your fish, they will put it in a plastic bag and if you need it, they will fix a little bag of ice to go in there to keep it cold until you get home.  How cool is that!  Secondly, and really more importantly, I wanted to check and see if they have Kit Kat bars.  Not the Kit Kats we have here in the States, but rather the flavored Kit Kat bars you can get in Japan.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have them.

But it is “Fragrant Pear” season!

P1130083  They wrap each little pear in tissue paper and a protective sleeve.  Just the right size for a snack.  So sweet and crisp, but not hard.  Flavorful.  So Tuesday went I go back to work, on my way home I will have to make a detour by Grand Asia and pick up some more.  Hopefully, the fragrant pear season will last for another month when Savvy comes back so she can have some too.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Savvy as a PS Experiment

Practicing with Photoshop and some tutorials I found so that I can expand my abilities with using it.  So, fortunately or unfortunately, Savvy and Texter have become victims of my practice.  I have tried to be kind in what I ‘do’ to them.

This is a watercolor technique using this photo of Savvy.

1905-06-05 1  So I cropped the picture and started from there.  Between inverting colors, adding masks, some cloning, this is the final result.

savvy watercolor  The tutorial I was working from had text on the image, but I didn’t like the look of adding any text to it.  I beginning to figure this out and feel more comfortable with it.  More experiments to come!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Photoshop–Glass Orb

In one of my classes we had to suggest a Photoshop Tutorial site for our classmates.  I selected this site, because of the number of tutorials listed.  I then decided I wanted to give one a try since I was suggesting it, and went to this tutorial on creating a glass orb.  I thought I would give it a try on one of my background pieces.  I got about halfway through and got stuck.  But I wanted to make a glass ball!


off I go to YouTube for help.  There I found a ton of tutorials and used one created by Digital Goulash.  And by following his clear instructions, I created this…….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  I even remember to put my shadow on the opposite side of where the sun was coming up.  I can’t wait to run through more of these tutorials, because they are giving me the chance to do with Photoshop what I wanted to do all along….play with my pictures.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

New Technique and Homework Redone

I was going through YouTube for something else and came across a technique I wanted to explore a little further.  I must say I can get lost in watching YouTube.  I started out looking for one thing, and if I am not careful, I am on something else entirely.  Or have about 3 hours worth of videos to watch.

ink trees  The purple and green is ink.  The black leaves is Sharpie.  I am going to utilize this technique on my postcards in the swap coming up.  I already have the background laid and the cards cut out of a larger piece of foam core into 5 X 7 postcards.  Light, but sturdy.

Now I have to go back and redo a homework assignment on “doodles”.  If I read the instructions better, it was to be a set of thumbnails of 25 different doodles, not one big piece.  Oh well, I want to watch “Labyrinth” again today after Savvy showed me a David Bowie look alike.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

One of the Benefits of Vacation

Normally, I am heading to work when the sun comes up.  My chance at seeing the sunrise is through the windows of my car.  So it has been very nice to greet the sunrise with a cup of coffee and planning out my day (or not planning out my day).
P1060073  So this is the sight that greeted me today as the sun rose and I walked down to the lake for some pictures.
P1060078  I can’t wait for the full moon in a couple of days.  I was out yesterday as the moon rose to snap some pictures.  My goal is to catch the heron that makes this his/her territory.  It seems there is a pair here.
P1060057  See him/her in the tree?  I would really like a camera with a lens where I could take some close-ups of wildlife.  But unfortunately, those are way, way down on my list of wants and needs.
P1060049  I need to get my birdwatchers manual out and find out exactly what kind of water fowl these are.  I can identify geese and mallards.
P1060084  So I’ll wait for another chance for a picture of the herons.  And the full moon.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Week 1 Homework in Illustration

One of my classes this semester is Illustration – as it pertains to Graphic Arts and Web Design.  After reading the syllabus, I am really excited because it reads more like an art class than a business class.  Huzzah!


GRD 131 wk 1 doodle  one of our first assignments is to ‘doodle’.  We had to fill a page with at least 25 different doodles.  Just about broke my heart, I can tell you.  Being forced to sit for a couple of hours, in front of the television, ‘doodling’.  May all my assignments be this fun.  Now if I can just figure out ‘stroke’ as it pertains to an illustration in Photoshop.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


I was raised in the Methodist church.  Mainly, I think, because (1) in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s this is what you did – go to church and (2) my mother was the church secretary.  Anyway, at one time in my life I was always at church.  But it never seemed a spiritual thing, it was strictly social.  And since then, after watching the church politics, I have been very disenchanted with ‘organized Protestant’ religions.

As I got older, my search of spiritual roots have waxed and waned.  Does the ‘waxing and waning’ give you a clue as to where my leaning are these days? 

Anyway, I took a World Religion class last semester and was intrigued by religions, like Islam, Buddhism and the Jewish religion, where religion was more than just 1 day a week.  How their religion played into their everyday life and it was more of a culture than a religion.  How things like your diet played into your religion.   So since then I have been interested in Buddhism – mainly because it seems so peaceful.

Now all of this was leading up to this….

PA210353  I am loving the purple Buddha.  He was part of a purple garden display at the North Carolina State Fair this year. 

And then tucked away in a corner was this Buddha.



Both Buddha’s want to make me sit down, take a deep breath and close my eyes and fall into myself and the moment.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Sewing I Want to Do

I need to get my sewing machine tuned up.  I have some sewing I want to do.  This is both for me and the girls for Spring/Summer.

m6504  I saw the cutest black and white kitty print for Savvy. 

And these look so comfortable for work and easy to make.  Really would like a serger to work with knits, but will use my machine.

M6514  I want the wide legged ones.  Who cares if my butt looks just as wide in them!

  And there are these pants.  I need to get away from jeans.

M6291  And a pair or two of shorts for the summer.

I have been looking for a pattern similar to this since last year and an Anthropologie catalog came out with a similar dress.  Their collar was beaded and cost almost $300.  I’m not going that fancy.

M6488  I feel I could dress this up or down for work and for home.

So, I have sewing plans.  This time it’s for me and maybe the girls.  But no heavy fabrics for Ren Faire costumes.  I do have one order for Savvy for her cosplay outfit, but that is a simple sundress and some arm and leg things.  Now come on machine and cooperate!