Sunday, September 28, 2014

Romantic Journal Collage Page

I have been working feverishly this weekend to get ready for my debut as the Friday Blogger on the Artistcellar website. I can't show any sneak peaks of that, but I hope you will go to and read my blog, as well as all the other terrific artist who will be posting during the week.

As I was rummaging though my journal for inspiration, I saw this page. When I made it, about a month ago, I thought it was too "me" to post...too much what I always do, that I wasn't stretching myself.

Well, it IS very much in my comfort zone. I used a variety of soft colored papers and newsprint on the background and a giant floral--from the Graphics Fairy free online images--as the focal point. I used a variety of stamps, some with black ink and others with white printmaking paint, as well as a floral stencil.

Even though the page is very busy, it is soft and soothing with the muted colors and rounded shapes, and the little kitty and Japanese stamp are a surprise, as is the vintage typewriter on top of the flower. It is kind of a visual scavenger hunt to find the almost hidden elements.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Inspiration & Joy: Artistcellar, Quilters Take Manhattan & Amy Butler

A few days ago, I was asked to join the Artistcellar design team. Naturally I jumped at the chance to test the Artistcellar products, use them and blog about my experience and process weekly. I will be the new Friday blogger.

The good news is that there are pretty much no rules, so I can do what ever inspires me--art quilts, dolls, wall hangings, triptychs, journal pages or anything else I can think of. I just have to take photos of the process and write about it...which is something I do anyway.

To celebrate my recent birthday, I treated myself to today's Quilters Take Manhattan event at FIT. It was full of beauty, inspiration and really nice people. I met Jamie Fingal, and will be taking a class with her tomorrow at City Quilter. I also met Stephen Fraser, owner of Spoonflower, who was super nice. I have a line of fabric for sale there (under the name Edzellinni) so it was great to chat with him. I met Allie Aller, and got an autographed copy of her book Crazy Quilting.

The featured speaker was Amy Butler. She designs a gorgeous fabric line and was such a heartfelt, poignant speaker. Her presentation made me step back and realize that with the many things going on in my personal and business life,  I had slid away from the mind-body-spirit connection a bit and needed to clear my mind of clutter and negative thoughts, especially any worries about my new design project with Artistcellar.

I made this journal page a few weeks ago. It reminded me of Amy Butler's designs a little, with the rose, paisley and light airy feeling. It also made me think of Artistcellar since I used several stencils on top of the collaged base.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Journaling: Moods and Memories

Journaling brings out unexpected memories and feelings. It brings out different sides of me. Sometimes I surprise myself, especially when a page comes out better than I expected. Sometimes it is ugly and I make mistakes and I am learning to feel okay about it. Sometimes I use dark dreary colors and let out anger or fatigue.

Today, I surprised myself and let out my girly side. I used a little fashion figure, some pink, some lacy looking stamped teabag scraps and wrote with a pink marker. I have an aversion to cutsie artwork. Somehow it seems amateurish, makes me feel like the artist--especially if it is me--doesn't have much depth. (I love the tiny house images, by Debrina Pratt, and sold as collage sheets. I printed out minis of them when I was trying to get an idea of how to do a house-shaped ATC last winter.)

The other day I randomly chose some images and made a page after work. I used a drawing of a bicycle as the central image. Maybe it was that it was a crisp fall-ish day, but I remembered a moment in time right before I turned eight. A family friend asked what I would like for my birthday, so I said "a bike!" My parents told my I shouldn't have said that to "uncle Bob" but I couldn't understand why, after all, it WAS what I dreamed of.

So, on my birthday, there was a bright blue bike, compliments of "uncle Bob." I was thrilled. Rode it for years. Rode it to the playground, to the pool, the creek, to my friends' houses. When I went off to college in the fall of 1973, my mom rode it around the neighborhood to get exercise.

The bike also triggered a memory of my friend Susan's grandmother. When we went to visit her (back in my single days, many years ago) the seniors in her  community were riding around in giant tricycles with baskets, going to and from the market, or to and from exercise class. I thought it was a great way to grow old. So, I scribbled the memory on an piece of paper and clipped it to the page.

I recently had to endure my first deposition--it was nerve-wracking and intense. When I came home I made a journal from randomly chosen photos. I ended up subconsciously picking patterns and items for the home, and the page became about home being where you are, with the people you love, rather than being about a big home and possessions.

The central focus is a tiny house, which reminded me of a quilted "Madeline" toy house I bought for my daughter when she was little. It symbolizes the small apartment we now live in, which, although cramped, is a happy, comfortable home.

The page also became about what lasts over eternity, which I don't know--since I am still alive--but hope is love and feelings of kindness, generosity, and understanding.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Before and After: Fearless Journaling

I am loving my handmade journal that I constructed in Kelly Kilmer's class at the Ink Pad. It is about halfway filled, which makes me feel good that I have done so many pages, and bad that I will soon be running out of space in it. It is still a challenge to work through steps 2 and 3--incorporating stamps/stencils and then putting words on the page. I feel a little pretentious adding the words, which is crazy, since I am the editor of a quarterly hospital magazine, monthly newsletter, and many articles on heathcare and also on art. My degree is in art, not journalism, but have been working as a writer and editor for over 20 years, yet somehow I am uncomfortable when I am introduced as "our staff writer, Linda Wyatt." I am much more comfortable being "our layout designer and part of the media services staff, Linda Wyatt."

I feel like I am going to make a mess when I add stamps or stencils, but it is definitely a an exercise I need in trying to let go of perfection, and to overcome the fear of messing things up. Sometimes the results are ugly, sometimes good, sometimes surprising, but it is always therapeutic.

Here are some before and after pages that I did this weekend. On my way home from work last week, I picked up a small flyer announcing a walk for climate change that was being passed out at the Roosevelt Island subway entrance. The tagline says "when are hipsters and bankers in the same boat?" and shows the Statue of Liberty halfway underwater. I was inspired to use some Dina Wakely face stamps that seemed like hipsters, and added the words "climate change." I also added extra white ink since the faces didn't print as well as I had hoped, then added black marker to make the images pop more. My favorite retro stencil of a 60s flower seemed to fit the hipster culture. The aqua rectangle in the center wasn't working after I added the stamping, stenciling and words, so I ripped it off. I like the raggedy effect, it seems to be a happy mistake, and adds to the hipster image.

I really liked the base of the collage page below with the crackled face. It was from a card that was mailed to me by a fellow doll maker and mixed media artist, JoAnn Robinson. I embellished lightly using some subtle techniques--fine outline on the sun stencil, filled with light gray marker; white squares through an old-fashioned touch tone phone face cover and some dots with a white gel pen. The words were printed on clear Avery mailing labels, left over from my ABCs of life doll project. As I was making it, it made me wonder some age old questions: Are we alone in the universe? What's out there? Is there life after death? I added some words with white gel marker, particularly the word "hope" since I sure hope there is a bigger, more intelligent being running the universe, because the Earth is certainly in need of help.