Thursday, October 11, 2012

Extreme Fabric Painting

I so love finding creative people who love to experiment as much as I do. Amanda and I work together and spent some time in the studio making this:
It is muslin fabric, medium and watercolor sprays. There were a lot of ooohhhs and aaaahhhhs. And a lot of giggling as we went through the process. The fabric was pinned to a piece of styrofoam so that we could pour and spray with abandon. The writing you see through the fabric is actually on the plastic coating of the styrofoam (insulation boards from the local hardware store are great for design walls and art experiments).

 The following photos give you a visual rundown of our efforts and can not begin to communicate the glee that comes with creative experimentation. The delighted young lady in the photos is Amanda, the other 'art experimenter' in this little adventure.  As always, click on the photos to see a larger view.

I will share the pictures of the finished fabric once it has dried. And of course any further experiments. Please leave your comments, we would love to know what you think.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Diabetes Art Day 2012

'Diabetes Overwhelm' is my contribution to Diabetes Art Day this year. Just looking at it is a bit overwhelming. Click on photo for larger, and readable, image.

I drew this at a time when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed with my blood sugar levels and nothing seemed to work at keeping them down. Using pencil, pen and marker I started playing with an 'over' and 'under' technique to express the variety of symptoms and emotions that I have and do experience as I manage this chronic illness. One thing I could see when I finished the drawing is that living with and managing diabetes is sometimes extremely stressful. And of course I tend to think that I am the only one enduring this struggle, but I know that is not true.

I welcome your comments. You can see the art that other people with diabetes have shared by visiting the Diabetes Art Day 2012 site.

Here are some links to some of my favorite DOC (diabetes online community) places to visit:

Diabetes Mine
Six Until Me
Texting My Pancreas
The Butter Compartment - the art therapist with diabetes who started D Art Day

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Playing with Texture #1

I love texture in all types of forms - visual or tactile; on fabric and other surfaces. 

Have you ever played with modeling paste or joint compound? Joint compound you can buy at home improvement stores thus paying a lower price than you would for molding paste (Golden) or modeling paste (Liquitex).

 I have played with/experimented with both of these mediums with great success on canvas.

This textured painting is one of my first ones playing with molding paste. I had it on hand one day at the studio and started out just trying out different textures with various materials around the studio. Here are some before and after pics of the piece before it was painted: (click on photos to see larger image)

     I used the end of a paintbrush to create the swirl that became the sun. Then painted with acrylics I had on hand and rubbed gold paint onto the piece once it was dry.

I dragged a hair pick through the paste to create what became the river. I did not plan the outcome, just kept trying various tools.

One of my favorite texture tools is punchinella, the stuff left over when sequins are created. It usually comes on a roll like a ribbon and can be used like a stencil to apply the paste through. The blue section I simply used a palette knife similar to the way you would create texture with frosting, with an up-and-down motion.

The little squares you see next to the tree branches was done by using a very open-weave fabric. Place the fabric on the canvas and push the paste through the squares, then pull away. It creates a very raised surface.  
I have more texture paintings/techniques to share. Let me know in the comments if you ever use this type of technique. I would love to see what you have done and will link back to your blog or website if you provide the link.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Playing with Clay

Working at an art studio gives me the chance to play around with a variety of mediums. One of my favorites is clay. I like the clay that is grey when unfired and turns white when fired.

One of my most recent works-in-progress is a kind of free-form bowl that I built from a slab of clay and textured with various items that were available to me that day.

I'm calling this my rose bowl, hee hee. I have been practicing making clay roses and get better each time I try. 

I love experimenting as often as I can. It keeps the creative juices and ideas flowing. Even though I am a novice, I know that experimenting and playing around with mediums will always lead to improvements and new ideas.

What mediums do you allow yourself to experiment with?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Diabetes Blog Week - One Great Thing


The Diabetes Blog Week entry for Tuesday, May 15th is/was One Great Thing. I debated skipping this entry because managing diabetes is often intense and most of the time I do not feel as if I have done anything right. I can tell you everything I have done wrong or could have done much better on any given day at any given time.Why does it seem harder to identify the good stuff that we do?

One great thing that I do and have done for years is check my fasting blood glucose every morning when I get up. It is one of the first things that I do every day. I have had my moments over the last 13 years but for many years now I get out of bed and head straight for the table where I keep my blood glucose meter and supplies. Knowing my blood sugar level first thing in the morning helps me know how I should start out my insulin doses for the day and what I should or should not eat.

Another great thing that I do is go to the doctor on a regular basis so I can have all of those wonderful regular tests that a person with diabetes needs to have. The most regular one is the hbA1c which gives a rating to blood sugar over a three month time period.

And another great thing, since I am on a roll here - hehe - is that I absorb a lot of information about diabetes, managing it, foods to eat, foods not to eat, side effects of Humalog and Levemir, about the way stress elevates blood sugar levels, the lows that can happen after exercise, about the ways that a hypoglycemic episode (low blood sugar episode) can be a surprise that one needs to be prepared for . . .and so on.

That's it for me. You can check out other posts about One Great Thing at the Diabetes Blog Week site.

Your comments are always welcome, I love hearing from you!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Diabetes Blog Week 2012 - Find a Friend

Diabetes Blog Week began this Monday, May 14th. To participate I only have to do a diabetes blog post every day for a week. I think I can do that but we'll see. I have had diabetes going on 14 years and in the last year I have begun to discover all of the diabetes bloggers that exist on the internet. The intent is to create connections amongst the DOC (diabetes online community). You don't have to have diabetes to benefit from this community. Many of us know others who live with the stress of managing diabetes.  

This is the third year for Diabetes Blog Week and my first time as a participant. Started by Karen Graffeo of the blog Bitter-Sweet Diabetes, the first topic is Find a Friend. I have discovered that it really helps me to be able to talk to and read about what other people with diabetes go through and how they deal with managing this chronic illness.

One of the first blogs I stumbled upon was The Butter Compartment by Lee Ann Thill who is also an art therapist. I was intrigued by her blog title and discovered that this is where she keeps her insulin. I keep my 85% dark chocolate in my butter compartment and keep my insulin pens on the shelf just underneath. Lee Ann also puts on Diabetes Art Day which will take place on September 24th this year. I have already begun thinking of the artwork that I want to post for that day. She also organizes the World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange which takes place in November of each year.

I stumbled on the Texting My Pancreas blog last year and I love her pragmatic, real-life way of blogging. I have discovered from reading the blogs of people with Type 1 Diabetes that they have some of the same issues that Type 2's have in terms of unexpected highs and lows.

If you know of any Diabetes blogs I should check out, let me know in the comments.

Tomorrow's post, Tuesday, May 15th - One Great Thing

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Clay Class

Clay. There is something so soothing about holding clay in your hands. It is cool, calming and fun to manipulate.

These wonderful forms were shaped by a class of beginners at the studio.

I so love working in a creative environment every day.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blind Painting

Art Detour was held recently in downtown Phoenix. Art Detour is an annual, self-guided tour of artist spaces, art spaces and other art venues and is organized by Artlink Phoenix .

At Warehouse 1005, one of the many Art Awakenings art studios around Arizona, I painted this while blindfolded. I had a palette of paint colors, an 8" x 8" canvas secured on an easel, and a few brushes. Since I am left handed, I used my right hand as a way to register the location of the canvas so I would not be 'painting the air'. As I picked up the first brush and tried to remember the colors on the plate, 'tree' came to mind so that is what I went for. Then some grass and some birds.

There was a band playing music just outside the studio doors. So I listened to the music and let myself paint. It is an awesome experience to paint while blindfolded. No judgments, no inner critic chatter, no worrying about others, no corrections to make - just painting. I highly recommend the experience.

People came through all day and created their own blind paintings. All of the paintings will be included in a community exhibition on May 4th through May 18th at Warehouse 1005 in downtown Phoenix.

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's All in How You See It - A Spontaneous Painting

I did this painting with modeling paste, a palette knife, a sponge, a piece of grid fabric and a piece of sequin waste. I wanted to create something just for peaceful meditation that comes from just letting a piece emerge. My only goal was to let it have some texture, which it does.

I first mixed purple with the modeling paste and applied it with the palette knife. Then I mixed up some red with the modeling paste and applied that. Then it came to me to try applying the green with a sponge, just across the peaks left by the modeling paste. I painted onto the grid and then pressed the painted side of the grid down into the paste. I used a sponge to paint through the holes in the sequin waste. It was a creative adventure. Fun.

Painting, well creating things, is very meditative for me. The actions, the process are a joyful zone for many of us. Especially when I am free of worrying what others might think. When I am free from the nattering of my inner 'what were you thinking?' critic. When I am perfectly alright with painting over it and doing something else once I am finished.

What is it like for you? When you are on the inside of creating something?

When I was taking pictures of it, I realized that depending on which way I turned the piece, I saw different things.

This one makes me think 'The Red Sea'.
Red Sea

This way I see 'Stormy Weather' with lightening and turbulent winds.
Stormy Weather

These two make me think of trees.
 So kind of like life, it seems to be about how you choose to see things. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Marbling with Shaving Cream

Explore. Play. Create. Be adventurous. Discover. Have fun.

Marbling with shaving cream is delightful! My artistic and creative friend Quinn McDonald had never tried this so we did some yesterday on paper. I love sharing techniques with others. Especially when they are as adventurous and willing to explore as Quinn.

Here are photos of some of the steps we took:

Shaving cream on plastic. Hair pick to the left
Dropping inks onto shaving cream.
Inks moved with hair pick.
Hair pick used to move inks. 

Pull #1
I forgot to take photos of laying the paper on top of the shaving cream once your colors are moved the way you like them. Just make sure your paper makes full contact with the colors on the cream before lifting it and scraping off the excess shaving cream. 
Pull #2

Pull #3

Pull #1

Another first pull.
Pull #2 or #3
Marbling with shaving cream is a fun and easy activity that can be done by adults, children, seniors, or for class room activities.

You can do it almost anywhere.

All you need is
  • a flat surface
  • a cover to protect your flat surface (i.e. foil, foil pan, a cut open garbage bag, wax paper)
  • shaving cream (not gel)
  • ink or paints - Permanent inks like Dr. Ph. Matin's, acrylic inks, Adirondack inks by Ranger, acrylic paints, fabric paints almost anything will work, just try it.
  • a tool for moving paint across the surface (i.e. hair pick, wide tooth comb, wooden skewers)
  • Paper - you can experiment with copy/printer paper, watercolor paper, drawing paper, etc.
  • a scraper or squeegee for scraping the extra shaving cream off of your papers to reveal the design. 


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