Tuesday, May 27, 2008


As you already know if you visit my blog on a regular basis, the Paper Whimsy Art Group is among my very favorites as they always seem to tempt me with unusual projects that challenge me to stretch myself as an artist, to learn and grow. This weekend I finished my latest of their projects on which I worked for days and days and days. The participants are each creating a Mermaid In A Box, and we are to create a story to explain her form and the elements we used in her shadowbox.

My Mermaid is named Pasha, and I imagine her as the infant daughter of the Greek God of the Seas, Posiodon. I started with a 5 x 7 shadowbox which caught my eye because the glass is at the back of the frame instead of the front which is the usual form of shadowboxes. This gave me the option of suspending my mermaid in front of her glass protected background so that she moves and looks like she is swimming through the waves. I used one of my favorite Paper Whimsy images of an adorable little girl for Pasha's upper body. Her tail I fashioned from clay onto which I stamped a spiral pattern and then colored with Pearl Ex Powder. Her wild hair is felt curliques, and tucked under her arm is her tiny mermaid doll (a charm). Gold seashells and starfish lie below her on the ocean floor as she swims toward her father who has his magical trident in hand.

I fell in love with her during the creative process and will be a little sad to send her to her new Paper Whimsy owner, when the partners are announced. Of course, that sadness will be completely offset by the joy of receiving from another Paper Whimsy participant their Mermaid in a Box. The artists in the group are truly an amazingly talented group, so I have no doubt I will love the one I will receive.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

May's 8 x8 Tip In Pages

My partner for this month's tip in pages with the AlteredArts Group is Gina Wise, who is a dear and cherished art friend of mine, so, of course, creating her pages was a double pleasure for me. Her theme is Bible Stories or Verses, and I chose one of my favorite Old Testatment stories. . . Joseph and his coat of many colors.
Working on white cardstock, I stamped layers and layers in shades of brown, dark green and black to coordinate with nubby black paper and green toned images of Joseph's story. I created a multicolored coat from cardstock and impressed an Egyptian image into air dryed clay colored with PearlEx Powder.
Gina has received the pages and assures me she likes them, so I am a happy girl.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Springtime Gothic Arch in Fabric

Near the top of the list of reasons why I love being a member of the Paper Whimsey Artists Group is their unusually creative swap/mingle challenges. These prompt me to work in forms and with materials which I might not otherwise explore. That was cetainly true with the Fairy Slippers Project, which I recently featured here on the blog and which got me to use fabric and beads. I carried that a step further by completing another fabric challenge this week: a Springtime Gothic Arch and Charm. Guidelines were to use fabric as the background for a springtime theme and hand make a charm to attach to the arch. The fabric jumped right off the store shelf and into my arms because I loved the vivid, vivid colors and images on black. While I know that black is not a color usually associated with spring, it works for me because it represents the departure of the darkness of winter and the arrival of the vivid light of spring. My charm is a minature version of the clay love buds with which I've been having so much fun of late.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Fairy Slippers Project

The Paper Whimsy Group hosts so many fantastic projects, all of which challenge me to try new techniques and continue to grow as an artist. That has certainly been the case with their Fairy Slippers Project hosted by Carol Stocker. Because I'm not as comfortable working with fabric as I am with paper, sewing the tiny 3 inch long slippers pushed me a bit, but after a few bungled tries I managed to stitch my black velvet slippers successfully. I then added shiny red and gold beads, so close together that little of the velvet is left exposed. To say I was crosseyed for days from all that intricate beading is absolutely accurate.
The next stage of the project was to create a display box, etc. to house the little wonders. I worked with a wooden frame which I painted black and to which I attached a minature treasure chest I had created. I stamped and embossed in gold a ship's wheel and anchor, and hidden in my supply stash I found an old cabinet card of a young boy to which I added wings and a pirate's hat.
My slippers are for Moni the Pirate Fairy, a mischevious little guy who lives in the billowing sails of a pirate ship and has become fabulously wealthy from his share of the pirates' treasures.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Six Word Memoir

Can you tell your life story in 6 words? That is the challenge posed to me by the fabulous Carol Stocker, and quite a challenge it turned out to be. Carol had been challenged by the equally fabulous Theresa Martin, and this thought provoking little exercise is appearing on a number of the blogs which I visit frequently, so many in fact that I'm not able to pass the challenge on, as suggested, because all my blog buddies have already been challenged and have posted their six word life stories. After MUCH thought, here's mine.


Those words encapsulate "why" I think we're all here on planet earth and "what" we are supposed to be doing throughout our lives. The words also reflect my greatest joy.

I chose the spiral as my visual representation of the words as that ancient form symbolizes to me the unending cycle of learning and self growth.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Love Pods

One of my favorite things as a child was playing with clay. If no clay was available, mud worked pretty well. Evidently whatever hooked me on that creative medium years ago is still alive and well because I've had great fun working with Sculpty recently. I'm creating Love Pods, minature faces enfolded in the petals of a flower pod. I love the feel of the Sculpty in my hands, being able to shape and fashion it, applying pearly powders, popping it in the toaster oven and, viola, a cute little pod is born.

Monday, April 7, 2008

White Quilties and White Bradford Pear Trees

Joy! Joy! Springtime has FINALLY returned to the Bluegrass State. Outside my art room window the row of Bradford Pear tress which line the road up the hill to my home are in full and glorious bloom. Oh my goodness! A beautiful sight for tired by winter eyes.

The trees remind me of the fabric art pieces I created for Lenna Andrews' White Quilties Swap. If you're interested you can check out all the entries at www.creativeswaps.blogspot.com. Fabric in not a medium in which I frequently work, but these quilties were great fun to create, and I thoroughly enjoyed the process.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Alteredartswap Tip In Journal

High on my list of favorite art activities in 2008 is the Tip In Journal Project in one of my very favorite goups, alteredartswap.

In February I created a spread for Judy Evitt's "White Rabbit," Jefferson Airplane's version of Alice in Wonderland. GREAT fun!! For the background I chose alcohol inks on glossy photo paper to achieve a "psychedelic" look. I added to that the funkiest, wildest images I could find. The results, as we said in the 60's, are "cool, man," in my opinion. These pages definitely allowed me to stretch my creativity and achieve a look quite different from my usual. That's one of the greatest values to me of swaps and mingles; they spur us to try new ideas and gain varied perspectives

My March pages are for Tamara Comerford and took me in a completely different direction than Judy's. Tamara and her husband have recently purchased their first home, and her chosen theme is "Home Sweet Home" in shades of red. I experimented with and discarded half a dozen ideas before my muse finally whispered "Quilts." Being a born and raised Kentuckian and having spent many years in the Appalachian Mountain region of the state, I have long had great appreciation and affection for the works of art created by the women of the region through their quiltmaking. I chose the Log Cabin pattern for Tamara's spread and pieced together a minature fabric square to center one page. For the other page I found a poem which compares the warmth and comfort of a quilt with those qualities in families.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Don't send that Ransom!!!

I've been away from this blog for a full month. Shame on me! No, I wasn't kidnapped, just inordinately busy and to tell you the truth, pretty much forgot about my blog. I'm back and it's catch up time.

February was full of interesting projects that kept me hopping. Pictured above are the cards I made for a Vintage Card/Postcard Swap being hosted by Lenna Andrews. Lenna's swaps are always cream of the crop experiences, so I put tons of time into the creation of my vintage pop up cards. Lots of cutting, trimming, positioning. I'm hoping the swap participants who receive these will be pleased.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

HAPPY Little Girl

I loved making and playing with paper dolls when I was a little girl and had a huge collection that never failed to hold my interest and give me and my friends hours of fun. That probably explains why I am having so much fun participating in a yahoo group which has its sole focus the making and swapping of paper art dolls. The women in this group are amazing, let me tell you, and create flat out georgous works of art in doll form. There are two themed swaps each month. One features dolls which are ATC size, and this has posed an interesting challenge for me as I was not accustomed to creating dolls that small. January's theme was "Wings," which proved to be great fun. I created "Ms. Muse-ic" and "Linda Leaf" and mailed them out this week to their intended recipient. The second January theme was "Snowmen/Women/Children" which gave me the perfect opportunity to work with micro mini beads, one of my new favorite art supplies, to create a sparkly body edged in sequins. She has also gone into the mail, and my hope is all three dolls will find loving homes and bring joy to their new owners. There's no doubt that creating dolls hooks into my inner child and brings a welcome touch of youth and fun into my "adult" world.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Romance Fan

Today I've been surrounded by romance. . . no, I haven't fallen in love with anyone. The romance came from the project I've been working on since early morning. The Paper Whimsey Yahoo Group is creating Romance Fans in honor of the upcoming holiday. Participants could choose one of six themes and create six fan blades in keeping with the theme. We will then send one of our blades to the other four members of our group and receive a fan blade from each of them. By Valentines Day we will each have received four blades which we can combine with the blades we created, and each of us will have a scrumptous Romance Fan. I am privileged to be grouped with Carol, Gina, Anne and Joan, and our theme is Love In Bloom using pastel springtime colors and images. Joan really set the bar high with her blade, which she posted to the group yesterday, and inspired me to plunge in and make mine today.

Our sixth fan blades will also be assembled into a fan and sent to a moderator of the Paper Whimsey Group for a charity auction. Definitely the kind of project that is rewarding on multiple levels: the pleasure of creating the blades, the fun of interacting with the other artists in our group, and the satisfaction of knowing that a fan to which we contributed will benefit a charity. That's love on a lot of levels.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What a Gift!!!!!

Leaving my cozy warm home on a bitterly cold winter's day is not something I do without an extremely good reason. Today I had just such a reason, and I am happy, happy, happy that I ventured out. The motivation came in an email I received on Friday from a delightful woman, Pam, whom I had the great good fortune to work with at the National Cancer Institute's Mid South Cancer Information Center in the years prior to my retirement in 2005. Pam wrote to say that she and Toni, another loved member of that CIS staff, wanted to drive over to my neck of the woods and have lunch with me. Given that the three of us have not seen each other in well over a year, I'd have gone even had it been snowing bloody blue blazes.

We met at Applebee's, and the other patrons probably thought we were long lost sisters from all the hugging we did right there in front of God and everybody. Being with them again, catching up on the events of our lives, just being together brought home to me forcefully how blessed I am by their friendship. You know the kind of bond where you haven't been in contact with the other person in a long time, but there is no sense of estrangement when you meet again, rather just an instant picking up where you left off? That's how it was to see Pam and Toni again. Pure magic!

As if being with them again was not enough joy, they brought me one of the most meaninful gifts I have received in a long, long time. It's a crocheted prayer shawl which they took turns working on. Done in my favorite color, purple, it is super soft and snuggly. Not only am I heart warmed that they worked together to create it for me in my favorite hues, the pattern they used touches me deeply too because it's a pattern built on threes and represents the Trinity. They asked that each time I snuggle under its warmth that I remember I am enfolded in their love for me. That led to tears on my part, let me tell you!!

So here I sit, once again back in the welcome warmth of my home, with the purple shawl warming me from toes to neck, being supremely grateful that my life is blessed by Pam and Toni and their precious gift. I am truly one lucky old woman!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Vintage Cards

Last night I dreamed the details of a series of cards I am committed to make for Lenna Andrew's "An Alpha Stamps Tallulah Vintage Card/Postcard Swap," so I've had a grand time today bringing those dream images into my waking world. Because I tremendously admire Lenna's art (www.creativelenna.com), I feel privileged to participate in swaps she hosts and lucky to have grabbed a spot in this one since full enrollment happened very quickly.

The swap requires use of images from the Tallulah Collage Sheets sold by Alpha Stamps (www.alphastamps.com). All swap participants will receive a gift collage sheet from Alpha Stamps for participating, and one lucky participant will be awarded a special first prize for the most creative card or postcard. How's that for motivation?!

My first card is finished. Four to go.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Gothic Arch Project - January Pages

I have noticed more and more groups using the Gothic Arch format for swaps lately, and now that I've worked with it for the first time I can understand why. The shape is intriguing and lends itself well to a creative process. The alteredartswap yahoo group is using the arch as the format for a year long mingle. As with the group's 8 x 8 Tip In Journal, which I described in a previous post, 12 artists chose their own theme and are paired monthly with a partner for whom they create an arch illustrating their partner's chosen theme. By year's end each participant will have 12 themed Gothic Arches, which we can bind into a book or display in whatever way we like.

My partner is Debbie, and her theme is Shirley Temple Movies. Such fun! My first challenge for this project was to narrow down my choices from Shirley's many movies. Given that I am a life-long Kentucky resident, I thought about working with "Seabiscuit," which recounts the story of an "underdog" horse who rises to fame, but genius definitely was not burning on that one, so I then considered "The Little Rebel." After all, I'm a big rebel, although not necessarily in the movie's connatation of the word, but my muse felt no inspiration for that one either.

Then it hit me. "Heidi." As a child I pestered my mom near to death with my frequent pleas to read Heidi to me again and again as my bedtime story, and when I mastered reading for myself, I nearly wore out our copy of the tale. To me there was something magically alluring about the title character, something so pure and loyal about her. I was also fascinated by descriptions of the alpine goat farm where she lived so happily with her beloved grandfather. That imaginary scenic beauty informed my dreams for years.

In 2005 I had the great good fortune to take a two week cruise through the fjords of Norway, and my favorite experience of that voyage was a day trip high into the mountains to visit a goat farm, which is operated today just as it has been for hundreds of years. Fascinating! And everywhere I turned, I caught glimpses of Heidi's world. A long time dream came true for me that day. So to create my Heidi-Themed Gothic Arch, I chose some of my favorite snapshots from that memorable day and incorporated them with scans of posters from the movie. I mounted them on a trio of coordinated papers and outlined the entire arch with tiny, tiny, tiny beads (one of my new favorite art supplies).

The pages appeal to the happy child within me, and I'm hoping Debie will like what I've created for her.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Aunt Jennifer's Tigers Pages Are Finished

I can't remember when I have derived more pleasure from creating a piece of art than I have from these two pages for the alteredartswap group's 8 x 8 Tip In Mingle. If you have read my post from Thursday, you already know a bit of the history of why this poem is deeply meaningful for me. I will be getting them into the mail this week to their intended recipient (Sandee) with the hope they will bring her even half the joy that their creation brought to me.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Aunt Jennifer's Tigers

Once upon a time I was a miserably unhappy woman. Newly out of a stiffling marriage, with no valid employment skills, I had enrolled in college, three young children in tow, and was striving to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table, and passing grades to my name. Exhausting. Highly stressful. At the end of the first semester, I was given the amazing opportunity to attend a Writer's Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. A week all to myself, no children, no major responsibilities, just the chance to immerse myself in words. Glory!!! The resident poet at the conference was Adrienne Rich, and her words resonated deep within my spirit. She spoke to my need to have an independent life that I created for myself, where I would succeed or fail on my own merits. Today I can still close my eyes and see her sitting on the grass under a Live Oak Tree, Spanish Moss tendrils trailing in the breeze of a hot Georgia day, reading poem after poem to us and talking about her creative experience. I pulled up that mental image, and her poetry, often during my undergrad and master's programs, and always her words and that memory buoyed my hope and determination and helped me to keep on keeping on.

Thus, as I am beginning the creative process for a very special art project, it seemed natural and right to turn again to her words. The art piece on which I'm starting today is for a year long exchange, which I know is going to be one of the primary joys of 2008 for me. Facilitated by the AlteredArtSwap Yahoo Group, 12 artists, myself included, have each chosen a theme which has personal meaning to us. On the first day of the month, we are each assigned a partner for the month and are to create a two page spread interpreting our partner's theme. Sandee is my January partner, and her theme is "Favorite Poet." To which I reply, Adrienne Rich, of course. The difficulty was in narrowing it down to only one poem, and I've spent untold hours in the past week re-reading Rich and pondering which of her works I want to illustrate. Last night I went to bed still unsure which poem and how to create an appropriate art work. You guessed it, I dreamed the answer. . . Aunt Jennifer's Tigers. All morning I've been selecting and playing with images, and I'm about ready to put glue and stamps and embellishments to paper to visually represent the following words.

Aunt Jennifer's Tiger
Adrienne Rich

Aunt Jennifer's tigers prance across a screen
Bright topaz denizens of a world of green.
They do not fear the men beneath the tree;
They pace in chivalric certainty.

Aunt Jennifer's fingers fluttering through her wool
Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.
The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band
Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand.

When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie
Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.
The tigers in the panel that she made
Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Angels for Room to Read

My first art project in this bright new year was the creation of 24 paper angels to be included in a charity auction to benefit Room to Read. The auction is sponsored by the ArtForCures Yahoo Group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/artforcures) of which I am a member. We worked with an original template created by the talented group leader Ana Maria Seton. Each artist chose two monochromatic color schemes for her angels and let our creative imaginations do the rest.

My yellow and turquoise celestial creatures were a joy to create, and knowing that something I made will help fund reading opportunities throughout the world adds to the joy.

New trick for a really old dog

Born the year Pearl Harbor was bombed, I predate the computer by a number of years; thus, the thought of creating a blog is at once exhilarating and a tad frightening for this non-computer-savy gal. However, I've decided to take courage in hand and venture out into the exciting world of cyberspace communication. My life is enriched daily by reading the blogs of my artistic friends around the world, and I hope the words and art I post here will have meaning to those who visit this space.