Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009


(Rexy and her best friend, Cece)

Such a lovely post today from my friend Brenda Lynn, it really made me think.  I've been in such a place of scarcity lately that I can hardly recognize anything else.  Her questions are my questions, "How are we going to pay the mortgage?  What about Christmas?  Gosh, I wish I had that!"

It's so silly to think that way, really.  Obviously, you don't want to ignore problems - but it's not necessary to live inside them.  If I just look at the past I can see that things generally tend to work themselves out - or we make them work - and that all the worrying I did before those problems were worked out was pointless.  I have so much in life to be thankful for and it's a shame that I sometimes can't see past life's little problems to see the things that really matter to me.  My beautiful, funny, sweet girl; my brilliant, funny, silly husband; my generous, loving family; my amazing community; my soul sustaining art - these are the things that make my life worth living, the things deserving of my focus.

For these things I am grateful and give my heartfelt thanks.

How fun is this app?

I saw it on Joanne Archer's blog and just had to do it!  You have to register before you can save the image, but basic membership is free.  And you can upload their apps directly to Flickr if you want.  I could waste a lot of time with this site...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Art, mixed media, collage, encaustic, digital, painting from the Melange street team on Etsy

The fabulous Glenda from Two Cool Texans and Glenda Bailey Art has once again compiled a fabulous video of work from our inimitable team. Thanks, Glenda!


Awesome video about Art!

Thanks to Bren at http://manicmenagerie.etsy.com and http://manicmenagerie.blogspot.com for pointing it out!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Big News!!!

My dear friend, Pam Carriker, (that I have mentioned many a time here) has written her first book and gotten a book deal!  Yahoo!  And as if I weren't thrilled enough with that news, she asked me to contribute to it!  I about fell over from excitement!  Followed immediately by a panic attack, of course.  :-D   Thankfully, she's given me a specific assignment and a deadline, otherwise I would swim in indecision right up until the last minute.

You can read about the book's journey on Pam's newest blog:  Art at the Speed of Life.  If you follow Pam and her other blog already, then you know this book is going to be great!  Hurray, Pam!!!

Week 5 video from the Melange Team

Thanks to the fabulous Glenda, another great collection of artwork from our fantastic Melange team!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Illustration Friday

Words Fall Like Snow

(available on Etsy)

Illustration Friday, this week's topic is "Frozen."  Look here to peruse the art of all the other participating artists.

You know when you're angry and your words come out so coldly, that even your body feels frozen?  That's what I was thinking when I made this.  I almost feel like I can't control the coldness sometimes.

Hmm...this is a cheery post!

Week 3 of the Melange Team's Video Debuts!

Another great video of selections from our Etsy street team The Melange Team. (I just realized that I somehow missed posting week 2 here!) Our fearless, peerless leader Glenda of Two Cool Texans is the wonderful producer and editor of these videos - Thanks, Glenda!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Herb and Dorothy, an Art Love Story

Watched this tonight on PBS. Simply amazing. A postal worker and a librarian amassed the world's largest collection of modern art. I was moved to tears at the end. Their love of art is so pure.

The film's page on PBS/ Independent Lens is here.  The Netflix page is here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dear So and So

(available on Etsy here)

If you want to participate in Dear So and So Friday, here's a link to a bunch more people doing the same.  I decided to participate so as to be able to vent my inner snarky-ness occasionally.  Otherwise I get it all over some poor, unsuspecting soul...

Dear So and So...

Dear Earthlink,

I just want you to know I have not forgotten about the lost SIX+ hours I logged listening to your hold music while you determined that you couldn't help me with your equipment and service.  As promised, I consistently tell people what terrible, terrible service you provide and advise everyone I know to stay as far away from your company as possible.  We have had no outages at all since we left your negligent service behind.

Happy without you,


Dear LaVerne,

You are the best neighbor we have!  Please don't move to Texas!  I know you have that new grandbaby, and that's certainly a draw, but won't you miss our weed infested yard and DH's lovely "vintage" cars rotting in the driveway???

(Plus, what if a crazy person buys your house? - or someone who likes manicured lawns?)

We'll miss you,


Dear Driver Who Was In Front Of Me Yesterday,

This is the state of Washington.  Read your Washington State Driver's Manual.  We allow free right turns on red lights in this state.  Just stop, look, see that there are absolutely no cars coming, then turn.  It's not rocket science.

Recovering from Road Irritation,


Hmmmmmmmmm.  Not very snarky.  I should do this when I'm in a worse mood...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Melange Team Challenge; Wee Witches - and an interview!

(Available on Etsy)

This week's Melange Team challenge is "Wee Witches."  I decided to do a collage on a small 5 x 5 canvas.  I thought I'd include some instructions this time.

I painted the canvas first with black gesso, then I loosely  painted some strokes across the top 1/2  with Navy acrylic paint.  Then I took a template I made with a circle punch and used it as a stencil.  I used a make-up sponge to lightly fill in the circle with light yellow paint and then a small brush to lightly stroke some moonlight onto the sky.

For the house, I used ink to distress some paper and printed my wee witches onto transparency.  They didn't show up enough against all the printing on the white paper, so I stamped a design on some orange paper (I thought some kind of design was necessary to confirm that they were transparent) and glued the transparency to that.  I thought the rectangle shape would suggest a door.

I made my wee witches' hats out of scrapbook paper that had a black and white photograph on it.  Obviously this is from a large swath of black.  I like it, rather than black paper, because it wasn't as flat and dark as black paper.  To suggest roundness, I used a white charcoal pencil and then smudged walnut ink over it.

I wrote a little mini poem in honor of the subject, printed it out and started distressing it with ranger inks.  It immediately smeared all over the place!  Humph!  So I printed it out again (This time multiple times - just in case!)...and smeared it 2 more times - no matter how careful I was.  I do this all the time, using this exact same printer!  Someone suggested it might be the paper I'm using, and I am using a different paper than usual.  Anyway, I ended up taking some matte spray finish and spraying the 2 remaining printouts, letting them dry for 2 hours (!) and then distressing them  It worked out fine.  Geez! What a process.  Of course it wasn't over.  When I scanned it, it washed out the words so they looked pure white when they are actually quite distressed.  So I tried to use photoshop to make them closer to reality - but I think I got a little carried away!  Oh, well.  Sometimes you just have to call it done.

Check out the comments section on the Melange Team Challenge post  to see other responses to the challenge.  There are some great entries!

And on the exciting news front; see my interview with Jodi Ohl on Saturday's post!  (Perhaps I should have said Jodi Ohl's interview with me?  See for yourself and let me know...)   I'm very honored to be featured.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Baby's First Love Note

How cute is that???  Of course, my DH spent an hour with them on the playground and came to the conclusion - in total seriousness - that the boy in question is "a perv" and needs to be watched closely.  The boy is 5 years old.  Oh, Daddy...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

But Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?

      So, a couple of months ago we were invited to a wedding.  Adam, the son of my DH's oldest friend was getting married in another friend's backyard.  Michelle's backyard, to be exact.Now, I don't know about you, but I've been to many backyard weddings.  Some rented tables and chairs, maybe a decorated arch, a lot of tulle, and some pastel and/or white flowers.  Maybe red roses if there was enough money in the budget.  Backyards are generally large, communicating a them on that scale is difficult and costly.  Most backyard weddings all end up looking the same.                                                                                                   
Not this one!  This was a miracle of decor, I tell you.  Michelle, with lots of help from another friend, Tammy, hunted down every last piece of anything with a picture of a cherry on it!  I didn't even get pictures of everything there was to see. 
There were little, hand-painted, cherry-decorated birdhouses (like the one above) hanging from all the trees - dozens of treehouses!  There were more birdhouses hanging from the fenceposts and in other strategic spots throughout the yard.  
There were prints of cherry paintings hanging from the fence (see below).  There were cherry printed bowls, teapots, pitchers, cups, platters, aprons, ribbons, tableclosths, and napkins.  There were tiny, little pieces of cherry printed fabric peeking out of miniature picnic baskets.                                                                       

There were little tableaux set up throughout the yard.  On the side of the house, in one small alcove was a little shelf with  a cherry printed tea set, red and white gingham fabric, and black, cherry printed fabric accessorized with glass domes, decorative iron birds, cherry printed basketry and red and white polka-dotted ribbon.  (telephoto at right and below, as well as a view of the whole tableau).         
In the breezeway between the house and the garage - always a very cutely decorated spot, the wrought iron and crystal chandelier is always there - was a buffet table filled with cherry printed serving dishes.  The fence was decorated with an adorable, vintage apron, some vintage cherry prints, and other super-cute decorations (some of which are also always there).  One one wall of this area is a fabulous, hand made, rustic buffet cabinet made by Adam's dad a few years ago.   In it, there were cherry printed cannisters, napkins, candlesticks, bowls...okay, you get the idea.  There's a picture of it below.                                
One of my favorite things was a little area she had set up behind the garden shed - which, btw, I should have take a picture of as well because it looks like a little girl's playhouse instead of a garden shed.  Absolutely adorable! Anyway, behind it she had set up an area for the photographer to
take pictures of the wedding guests.  There was a little white bench with a couple of cherry-printed pillows on it.  Above that, on the wall of the shed, she hung a framed, vintage advertising poster that said, "We tend to Seek Happiness."  Of course there was more to the saying, being that it was an advertisement for cherries, but that was the best part.  You can see it there on the right.  How sweet is that set-up?  I got a picture of Rexy just as she as jumping off the bench.

Another on of my favorite things was that apron on the side of the fence.  How cute is that?  With the light shining through it like that, it felt like you were walking into an old movie.
Those birdhouses hanging from the trees were just fantastic, too.  When you walked under the trees, it was so cool to look up
 and see them swaying in the (barely discernible) breeze (did I mention that it was 96 degrees that day? Hairdo and makeup just melted away...).

Out front she had some statuary wearing this hat with the dingle balls on it and I don't know if

you can see them, but there are little cherry charms hanging between each dingle ball.  Who thinks of these things???  Michelle.  (Yes, that's me in the hat.  I cut off the whole bottom half of my face!  Oh, well.  Rexy looks much cuter in it anyway, there's one pic below)
To the right here (hopefully, when I publish this everything will be formatted the way it is here in the "compose" mode - I don't know about you, but I often have problems with blogger just randomly changing my spacing and formatting.  Sigh.  One of those bugs I hope they fix some day.) is a picture of the "dance floor."  she has a little tinted, cement patio outside the garden shed/playhouse that was utilized
 as a dance floor.  There are pillows on the ground and on the benches - all with a cherry print.  The fence is decorated, as I mentioned above.
So tell me, how cute is all this??? I didn't even show all the tables set up with their cherry printed tablecloths, the lawn furniture with their cherry printed pillows, and everything else that I've forgotten to mention.  And, I would like to add, it wasn't too much.  Everything was tempered with enough white and touches of black to keep it from being overwhelming.  But it's a big yard, so you do need a lot of things to get your point across.   When you walked up the garden path and turned the corner, there was no doubt what the theme was, but it was charming and pretty across the board (or should I say "across the lawn?").  It was so charming and pretty that I just had to share it with you.  And, hands up from everyone who thinks Michelle should be doing something professional in this arena!

I'll leave you with a picture of my beautiful girl having fun with the hat.

(Seems like I should have had her in red and white gingham doesn't it?  The was no dress to be found like that, plus she picked this one herself.)

Hmmmm.  Too much space here at the end.  Off topic, I want to ask, how many of you have participated in the Melange Team's weekly challenge?  Why not start today?  The challenge for the week starting Wednesday, September 16th, is "Wee Witches."

Just make something using the theme "Wee Witches" and then post about it on your blog or Flickr page.  Then,  in the comments section of the challenge post (won't be up until Wednesday, I'm jumping the gun a little here), post a comment including a hot link to your blog post.  There are usually directions for including a hot link (i.e. a clickable link - not a copy and paste situation, it just makes it easier on everybody).  If not, here are directions.  (That site also has some mighty cute, free blog backgrounds - just FYI)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Painting Class

So, many times since I've started this blog I've talked about my painting class.  They actually, both the blog and the class, started at about the same time, I think.  I had been taking painting classes at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle since late 2000, or maybe early 2001 - and then had taken a break to have a baby in 2004.  By then I was completely in love with painting.  I still am.  Put a big canvas in front of me, some music on the stereo, and I can completely lose track of time, forget my coffee, forget lunch, forget everything.  It's not until I stop that I realize I'm thirsty, hungry, and my back and feet are aching!

After being a stay at home mom with only one car in the household for 2 years, I was going stir crazy.  I was on the computer one night perusing craigslist and for the first time noticed the "community" section. I saw that they had an "artists" section and decided to check it out.  Inside it was a bunch of posts, much like the "for sale" section that I was used to, but these were all art related posts.  "Art opening tonight at..." and "Looking for artists to start a salon night..." That type of thing.  One caught my eye, it was someone looking for oil painting students for a class in her studio.  On a whim - without even consulting the DH - I responded that I was interested.

What a stroke of luck that was!  The painter was Gini Lawson, and I have never had a better painting teacher.  She's a born teacher on top of being a truly brilliant artist.  She has an extremely discerning eye and is articulate enough to be able to explain what she sees with intelligence and humor.  That's her in the blue shirt, on the couch, in the first pic.  All these photos were taken in her studio during classtimes.  Behind the book is Rachel, and sitting on the coffee table is LuAnne.  The painting in the background is, obviously, one of Gini's.

This is a painting that I'm working on.  The little girl is my grandmother in front of her house.  That house is still there, about 45 miles from where I live now.  I'm painting it from a photograph that I printed from an old negative when I was in college.  Naturally, it's in black and white.  Translating that to color has been somewhat difficult, but I"m starting to get the hang of it.  If you're thinking to yourself, "Why does her grandmother have a goatee?"  It's because she does have a painted one!  Gini was showing me where I needed to contour and scale down her features.  I've been putting off working on that part because I'm going to have to repaint the entire face.  Sigh...

This photo was taken before the one above, I hadn't filled in the house yet.  All the paintings you see are Gini's.  If you could see them close up you would not believe how adept she is with light!  Wow!  Check out her blog and look at the blonds, it's amazing.  The little work set-up is Dan's.

The painting in the foreground, with the red-orange background, is mine from a past class.  I had left it there to dry and never got a chance to pick it up.  It's the best work I've ever done, but it is far from completed.  We worked from a model that time.  Below is a pic I took of it at home.  The weird halo effect is there because I had to reduce the size of the ginormous head I had given her!  A regular mistake of mine.  It could be good, but I don't know if I'll ever finish it.  I didn't take a picture of the model at the time.  I really should have.  Everything I do now would be making stuff up.  With this I kind of feel like being true to real life.

This is my friend Rachel.  Rachel, Dan and I have been in Gini's Saturday classes together since the beginning.    Rachel is as cute as can be, she sometimes wears sandals with heels to paint in.  Oh, to be that young again!  If you are on facebook, here is her finished painting.

The paintings along the back wall there are from Gini's Thursday class, she runs it Atelier style in that you can start or stop at any time and pay for whatever number of class hours you want.  (I hope I'm describing it correctly.)

This next picture is of Dan.  It's funny, the three of us have been in more than a couple classes together and we all have such different styles.  (The painting behind him is one of Gini's, I didn't get a picture of his for some reason.)  I know at a glance whose is whose.  
This is Gini passing out some sort of cool solvent or something and giving her excellent advice to Dan. (a small note: Luanne was gone the day I took the pictures of everyone working on their paintings, so there's only the one picture of her.  Sorry, LuAnne!))

This is Gini's work corner.  Look at all those brushes!  Ooh!  I'd feel rich with that many brushes, wouldn't you??? (there may be a better view of the brushes in the pic above)  This is the beginning of the painting she's talking about on her blog.  Look at that line-up of paint tubes on the second shelf - I'm in art heaven just looking at that corner.  (Can you tell that I have no studio?  Cramming myself into the corner of the dining room on a little, portable, gift wrapping table just doesn't compare to this spacious, light-filled room.)

I looooooooove taking painting classes from Gini.  It's so nice to be somewhere where all you have to do is focus on art.  We talk about art.  We look at pictures of other artists' work.  We make art.  There's no phone, no kids, no laundry, no demands on your time at all - except from your canvas.  It can be hard, and I by no means feel confident in what I do.  But when I leave there I feel rejuvenated - and more myself in every way.

*Please note, all works are wholly owned and copyrighted by the stated artists.  No reproducing, copying, or sharing of the images in any other format without the express permission of the artist is allowed.

Monday, August 31, 2009

I'm an Image Transfer Failure Again...


I know. I swore I was done with transfers. I have been a dismal failure every time I've tried it. Then along comes my sweet Melange Team on Etsy group. And the even sweeter Glenda Bailey and her August Transfer Challenge. Sigh. Okay. I'm trying it again. Many people have told me how simple the Purell (yes, the hand sanitizer! ) and transparency system is - so I decided to try that. Then I couldn't find the Purell that I specifically bought for this. Uh, oh. Well, no time to run to the store. I'll use this promotional bottle of hand sanitizer that I got at the Award & Trophy shop (We had to get prize ribbons for the vintage bike show). It can't be that different, right? Right? ...hello?

I love this image. I think I got it from Dover, but I'm not sure. It's in my Freebie File, most of those are Dover images. This is my second attempt of the day. I didn't start taking pictures until I'd already failed the first time. Don't worry. It pretty much looked like the 2nd and 3rd times.

First, I dripped the hand sanitizer onto the painting. Then I spread it around evenly with a credit card. Okay, it's my husband's CostCo card and I can't guarantee that it was all that even!

So I put the image down on top of it and rubbed - ahem, I mean burnished it for a bit. Hmmm, maybe too much. The edges are starting to look a little blurry.

Hm. Well, I'm not sure. It looks like something may be beginning to come off, doesn't it? Maybe I should just leave the transparency on there. Doesn't the image look nice in that circle? Okay, okay. I take a peek. Weird stringy pieces pull away from the canvas in a couple areas. The rest of it doesn't look like anything is happening. I throw some more sanitizer at it and burnish/rub it again.

I get bored waiting for something to happen and I pull off the transparency. Hmmm...Well, I got a bit of an image - a very faint bit. I decide to wipe it off and try again. Of course, that turns out to be my best result. Oh, well. I had hope!

I find some instructions on a (very funny) blog and decide to try putting the sanitizer directly on the image. I drip a few drops on and spread it around with my (ahem) credit card very gently so as not to smear the image.

It appears to dry almost instantly - or I didn't put enough on. So I do it again - and for good measure I put the leftover down on the canvas.

I set the image down and I leave it alone for a while (per the blog lady's instructions - she says you don't need to burnish much, if at all). Of course nothing happens. So I do a bit of a burnish/rub with my (ahem) credit card.

It's starts to look smeary again, so I stop. I try to set it aside and ignore it for a minute - but it doesn't go away! Sigh. Okay, I take a peek and again I have weird stringy stuff lifting off the canvas. I'm beginning to think that may be what happens when you use too much sanitizer. Again, the face looks okay - but very faint. It's possible I'm expecting too much of the transfer process. What do you think?

Oh, and it turns out that if you use enough hand sanitizer, it starts to take the paint off, too, when you're wiping it off.

Oh, well. I will run out tonight and buy Purell (again!) and see if I can't get something to work later. This was actually fun this time. I'm inspired to try again. Run over to the Melange blog and check out all the different methods - both on the blog posts (there are several) and in the comments section.

Friday, August 14, 2009

This is Amazing!

The Tale of How from Shy the Sun on Vimeo.

I couldn't believe the visuals on this! I had to go back a second time to listen to the words. Watch how the sea of paper cutouts undulates, that alone is incredible. I don't know how they did this.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I'm Having a Sale!!!

(Finding My Way Home, available in my Etsy store)

My Etsy street team of mixed media artists has gathered together to offer weekend deals from Friday August 7 through Sunday August 9 (midnight, Eastern time) and the participating shops will offer 15% off select or all items in their etsy shop! (not off the price of shipping)

My shop, Loudlife, will have everything 15% off and after check out through Pay Pal, I will refund the 15% back to buyers, through Pay Pal.

Here is a complete list of participating Melange members:



Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Street Fair report

(My Polka Dot House)

These are some of the new things I took to the street fair. The Mill Creek Street Fair, to be specific. Sigh... It was not that successful. So disappointing, I usually do well at that sort of thing. I worked, worked, worked like crazy to build up my inventory...and hardly sold any paintings or collages. Sigh. Sold lots of $3 cards, though.

(You Take the Cake!)

I just love those cake collages that people make, so I though I would try my hand at a mixed media cake. I loved how it turned out! I loved it so much, I made a little card out of it, too. This didn't sell at the street fair - but! I posted some pictures on Facebook and one of my Facebook friends messaged me and said she wanted to buy it! Hurray! And she was local, so no shipping - double hurray!
Remember this background? Well, I finally finished it. I was going to put a coat of wax over the letters on the bottom (you may have to click on the photo to see them well), but someone in the Melange group told us that putting straight wax over acrylic is not a good idea because it will peel off. So I nixed that idea and just left it as is. I like it this way, too. I think they look more like snowflakes.
Oh, I love the little stylized birds! This one is just 3x10 (approx). I had someone ask if I ever painted these bigger. I have tried a few times but I just haven't been satisfied with the results yet. I think I need to get a tub of Golden's paint to ensure an even, smooth coat of opaque color. I have to drive about 30 minutes away to get Golden's, all they carry around here is Liquitex. On top of that I have to break my moratorium on buying new supplies! At this point I'm drowning in supplies and have forbidden myself to get anymore! There is currently only a trail to get through the dining room/art workspace! Partly because my DH commandeered one of my tables to use for a bike build-off - so all those supplies are on the floor right now. It won't be much better once I get the table back if I don't reorganize, though. I got a ton of those plastic shoeboxes at the dollar store to organize my supplies and Rexy's toys. I'll let you know how that works out...

I'm still laughing about the exploits of Rexy and Daddy that happened last Thursday night while I was at the movies. It's a long story but it involved a flooded bathroom, a secrecy pact, and Rexy's claim that, "I can't tell you what happened. It's a secret and I'm practicing to be a spy." Later at bedtime I told a story about Goldilocks forgetting to turn off the water in the bathroom sink because she was so busy playing and Rexy looked at me in wonder and said, "That's exactly what happened in our bathroom!"