Sunday, May 24, 2015

Just Be

At a recent Ink Pad-sponsored Julie Fei-Fan Balzer art class, some of the attendees were talking about an online course they were taking. I don't have time for online classes since I work full time, but one of the aspects of the class that struck me was that you choose one word each year as your special word.

That got me thinking about what word, of all the endless possibilities in the English language, I would choose. After a day or two of mulling it over, I chose the word BE.

Simple, right? Two letters, one syllable, no real hidden meaning or nuances. But as an introvert, a Virgo perfectionist, a wife and mother and career woman who squeezes art in whenever there is a free 10 minute window, BE means more than it appears to.

Be still. Be comfortable with yourself. Stop competing, judging, going, moving, striving. Get comfortable in your own skin. Stop beating yourself up and measuring achievements and failures.

I happened to pick up a couple new art/craft/mixed media items at the Balzer workshop--a stamp of a crazy little girl and some of Julie's new woodcut stamps.

Here's how this page came together:
1-the background is a digital collage that I did from a photo of my Rumi Valentine page. I flipped and repeated the background image, using Quark and Photoshop, and printed it out on ordinary paper.
2-the center section is made of recycled tea bags that were overprinted with stamps using a white stamp pad
3-I stamped the little girl on deli paper, then cut it out carefully, and used a glue stick to adhere it to the page
4-I put a strip of commercial beige paper with vintage handwriting on it
5-I cut out a rectangle of a Balzer woodcut stamp and placed it below the girl. At first I was going to have her standing on it, but then I decided that she would be more magical if she floated above it
6-I added words with my Dina Wakley empowerment words, which came with some face stamps I purchased about a year ago. I also added words with mini alphabet stamps

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Throat Chakra Journal Page

When a new box of art supplies I recently ordered arrived, the first thing I wanted to use were the new Artistcellar chakra stencils. They still have the little ATC-sized chakras stencils too, but some of the fine detail is hard to get (if you are a messy, loose-handed artist like me!)

Well, I am a little rusty on my symbolism, and pulled out the first one that caught my eye, a pretty triangle/heart combination. After I looked up what it symbolized I should not have been surprised--it is the throat chakra symbol.

For at least the past 20 years, that has been the chakra that I needed to work on. Why? Panic disorder overwhelmed me back in about 1992 and I got to the point where I couldn't even speak. I had agoraphobia also. I suffered from frequent sore throats, and even had a barium x-ray to see what was wrong.

 Finding my voice, using my voice, getting over the fear of speaking, and even being able to actually speak took a long time and a lot of work.

Although I had a problem using my voice, I did express myself through art and writing, and also began to study reiki as part of my healing process. So, 20 years later the throat chakra is still the one that calls to me from a pile of stencils.

I used a painted deli paper background on the journal page...something that I learned about (and love) from taking a recent Julie Fei-Fan Balzer class. I chose to use one of my painted papers that had a lot of turquoise; blue is the color of the throat chakra. I used an ordinary pen to trace the shape, then filled in with lime green marker and lime silk acrylic paint. Why lime? Well, I love it, but also, it is the color of the heart chakra.

After the chakra design was done, it seemed that the page needed more, so I added some words that felt appropriate using little alphabet stamps and Dina Wakely empowerment words, applied with a black archival ink stamp pad. Last, I added little dots of turquoise lumiere paint. I always seem to put dots in my journal pages...why, I don't know. They probably symbolize something, so if you know, leave me a comment please.

For the extroverts of the world, this the reason I repeated the word "brave" many times: it takes an enormous amount of energy and focus and bravery to beat panic disorder, and to learn to speak up without stuttering, stumbling, opening your mouth and having no sound come out, or worse--crying.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Morgan Silks Journal Page

My friend Susan Morgan Hoth makes fabulous, hand painted, one of a kind silk scarves. A few months ago I treated myself to two...and they are gorgeous.

They came wrapped in tissue, with a little card that had a miniature printout of the design. I saved the cards in my art box, of course.

I used one of them in a recent journal page. It was the perfect centerpiece on a pastel page made from collaged painted deli paper, painted newsprint, vintage flowers, vintage newsprint and printmaking scraps.

On the white border around Sue's paper print of the design I put some words in very pale pink: "listen to that little voice inside your head whispering the truth whispering the way" The words were inspired by the GooGoo Dolls song, Truth is a Whisper. I liked the pale pink for the words because it is so soft and subtle, like a whisper.

Here's me in my office chair, wearing the fabulous scarf as a luck charm on the day I had to do a PowerPoint presentation in front of a room full of department heads, doctors, head nurses and other bigwigs. Since I am pretty much an introvert who would prefer to sit in the corner, undisturbed, and paint, draw, design or write, I definitely needed the lucky scarf to boost my confidence. I did make it through the PowerPoint without tripping, drooling, saying ummm errr hmmm too much, so it was a success, I guess. But I would much rather be behind the computer designing and writing the PowerPoint than presenting it.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Journal Therapy

After a very intense week at work, and a really, really long and good sleep, some time to just putter in my art journal was most needed today.

I randomly chose some scraps from leftover projects: splatter painted paper from a (paper traders yahoo group) PaperTraders ATC house project, some of my own textile designs (scanned and laser printed, then over printed with stamps and white printmaking paint), printed teabags and painted deli paper from a Julie Fei-Fan Balzer class.

I used a glue stick and matte medium to adhere the various papers around the edges. Next I chose a big colorful ad from a Corcoran real estate booklet as a center spread in my journal--a luxury apartment that bears absolutely no resemblance to my apartment at all. I glued it on with a heavy matte medium to make sure the heavy Corcoran ad stuck.

Next steps: some green accent stripes, a green splatter newsprint circle, and a tea bag, printed with a geometric Balzer stamp and a white stamp pad.

Final step: I used a new Artistcellar stencil to put some flower shapes on the page. They were randomly placed and I applied white printmaking paint using both a small makeup sponge and my finger. I was tempted to write on it, but sometimes colors and shapes are enough, so I quilt while I was ahead. Well, I also couldn't find the pen I wanted, or just the right word stamps and stencils so I decided to leave the page wordless...well, not exactly wordless since there are words in the Corcoran ad and in the newsprint, but wordless in that I didn't add any meaningful, heartfelt words to the page.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Painting on Newsprint and Jane Davenport Face Stencils

The latest challenge from the Paper Traders Yahoo group that I belong to is to use newsprint as a background, then add paint or other elements. These pieces are unfinished, and will be 5x7 when I trim then down.
After using matte medium to adhere sections of the New York Sunday Times and strips of painted deli paper to recycled cardboard, I traced my artistcellar Jane Davenport face stencils with a black sharpie onto the newsprint. Next, I added Dina Wakley white gesso in the face and randomly in the background.
After it was dry, I added stars with my Jill K. Berry stencils using pastel brush-tipped markers.  It needed a little more oomph, so I added my newly acquired Julie Fei-Fan Balzer stamps using a black ink pad. A little extra color was added here and there with markers, pale Tim Holtz distress stain and a lime silk acrylic glaze. 
Two of these will be traded with Paper Traders, one will become a thank you card for a friend who got me tickets to see Eric Clapton at Madison Square Garden this weekend (!!!!) and one I will keep. Now I just have to decide who gets which one.
If you think this design looks familiar, you're right. I used the Jane Davenport stencil for one of my Artiscellar Friday posts last fall, and liked it so much it became my facebook photo.