Tag Archives: inspired by color

One more… Indigo-Orange postcard sketch

Since I forgot all about this indigo-orange card, and it was supposed to have been mailed out at the end of last month/beginning of this one, I’ll start off with this one instead of finishing up the other two. So… I was thinking “spooky” and found a vintage engraving of a toad pulling a pumpkin carriage. I resketched it, changing the image a bit, and sketched in a huge pumpkin instead of the toad. I imported it into Photoshop and changed the black to indigo… then I’ll print it out and transfer them onto an orange watercolor board base.

Wine Harvest postcard – prototype

Well, here it is… acrylic washes, leaves, squarish “squiggles” and dots masked out with frisket, universal wash over entire piece, frisket removed, leaves and squiggles outlined with leafing glue and gilding added.

I’ve finally decided that I’m not going to kill myself making these cards, and that quick and relatively easy doesn’t mean sub-standard.

Royal colors? Hmmm…

I had this idea, see… it was actually from an ad in a magazine for furniture. The outline of a sofa was watercolored in these subtle colors, and over the top someone had calligraphied, in the shape of the cushions, what the sofa represented for them. Deciding that I wasn’t going to completely plagiarize the whole concept, I drew my own version of the sofa, cut it into a stencil, and wrote my own poem:

SOFA couch
Holder of coins and crumbs
Place where
my HEART has been won and LOST,
stolen and BROKEN
Witness to Christmas Eves and
sleep overs ~ children rocked,
BABES nursed in its soft confines
NOT merely cushions
AND springs TO support
bone, sinew and SKIN
but a cradle for my SOUL

Not sure about the colors, though… royal… hmmm… I used my cat’s eye pigment ink pads to tamp on the colors and then wrote the text of the poem onto the sofa with a dip pen and Aladine inks. The background was painted with US ArtQuest’s Stargazers watercolor palette. Then I put little glitter dots all around the edge. Me and glitter… ha! I’m not sure I like the glitter… sooo not me. Still debating on this one… any comments?

The blues…

“Once in a Blue Moon”
Watercolor, gouache

I worked on my blue postcards this weekend and finished them up. These are all similar (though not exactly the same, since they’re all originals). They took considerably less time than I usually spend on these projects. I don’t know why I feel compelled to create little mini masterpieces each month… well, I do know… I’m neurotic, is all, when it comes to my artwork. I’m trying to finish up old stuff… mail out things that have been sitting here for eons, and have yet to be taken care of. It almost seems like I can’t move ON and take the next steps before I close out some of the old things that have been hanging around and being ignored.

I have to share this from Anahata Katkin’s blog (we share the same astrological sign), since it almost exactly sums up how I”ve been feeling lately:

For the astrology buffs out there, my official Saturn Return is in about a week. For the rest of you -and for me- that means I feel like a complete dork and I’m having a real time of it. I have the dreaded feeling that suddenly I’m going to get swallowed up by the grumpy old man that is hanging around in my head. I can be intense, yes. My friends and family would all easily enjoy a good jab at my stubbornness and shall we say over enthusiasm. But grumpy has not been one of my Brownie stripes until lately. It’s all comical since there is no apparent reason for discomfort in my life. Sailing along and some how missing ME. You know. The real me. (Do you have a real you that seems like a kid you accidently forgot at the pool and then suddenly remembered when you got to the grocery store!?) I have that sinking feeling that I better find the missing pieces before I begin this next chapter in my life. As I was saying the other day-everything in life feels up for renegotiation. (I know classic Saturn Return BS.) Here is what old Brezny says this week to help me with my vague attitude:
“It’s the Season of Burning, Churning Yearning. Here are three of the most important things I’ve ever told you about how to get what you need. (1) If you don’t precisely articulate your conscious desires, your unconscious patterns will come true instead. (2) If you want your conscious desires to trump your unconscious patterns, speak or write your conscious desires every day. (3) It’s better to have three huge, soaring, potent desires than 25 puny, scrabbling, half-assed desires.”

Woo-hoo! Time to figure out my three huge, soaring, potent desires rather than 25 puny, scrabbing, half-assed ones! [Hmmm… wonder if dinner with Keanu would count as a former or a latter desire… hmmm…]

And finally… I’ve been a grumpy butt lately (though not always unjustifiably)… just having one of those LAST STRAW moments… SO if I’ve offended you in some way, or hurt your feelings, I ask for your forgiveness and request your indulgence… and if it was something you said… I’ll forgive you and seeing that my memory is like a colander, there is a pretty good chance that I’ll forget about it too.

Mellow and yellow…

I’ve finally finished my yellow postcards. A month late, but they’re done. Now it’s time to move on to the blues, which I’ve already started on, but haven’t finished.

(Click to see enlarged view in separate window)

My favorite card is the last one; the one that looks like a tattooed nude. It started off as a chair, but it’s shape was asking for some transmorphification. Most of these are a combination of many media: watercolor, collage, pigment inks and embossing power, markers, and transparencies.

I ended up using the hooded raincoat girl more than the other one… and the raincoat ended up looking more cloak-like but it fit into the mandala concept well. I flip them over and then address them randomly, so I hope whoever gets each one will be happy with what they get.

Yellow postcards and raincoats…

I’ve been working on my (June) yellow postcards… they were supposed to go out around the 1st of July but as usual, I balked and I’m still working on them. I’d collaged and painted a sheet of watercolor paper and cut it up. I’m at the next (and hopefully final) step of adding some final elements to most of them. Some of them seemed to need more than a little touch up, and I thought I’d draw some raincoat clad people and apply them to the tops of the collaged backgrounds (hence the sketch, above, of the raincoat girl). Will post more this weekend, by which time I hope to have completed the cards.

Fridays and fuzzy bunny slippers

At last, the weekend has arrived. I thought it was Friday on Thursday, which made for the last two work days of this week seem much l o n g e r than I’d hoped, but Friday finally came along and I was armed with my iPod to help assist me with my lagging concentration. I feel like a crow these days… anything shiny (no… it doesn’t even take that) creates an “oh, look! shiny object!” syndrome and distracts me from whatever I’m doing. Let’s just say I’ve been having trouble concentrating on the work at hand. The office has become a fairly noisy place these days, what with a couple of louder co-workers and, sitting right next to a very popular boardroom (people heading to these meetings think they’re in a hotel lobby or something, not at a workplace that requires concentration – of all things!). Or I could blame my lackadaisic attitude on the draw of the sun to the great outdoors, but alas…

So, yesterday afternoon one of the facility folks bought up a round of office chairs for folks to try out and lined them up in front of my desk, which is not a cubicle… I am out in the open, so people may not only walk up to me and ask for directions to the boardroom (which a big brass shiny sign on the wall behind me indicates is right there) or inquire as to where the bathrooms are (which they passed on the left as they came out of the elevators and up the hall), but they may also observe me picking my nose or eating my lunch… in any case, these chairs were lined up for the good folk of our department to test drive so that they could select one that best fits them. I found the whole exercise particularly amusing because this activity was met with such great enthusiasm, and of course being excited, everyone was loudly discussing the pros, cons and otherwise of the proferred selection, and the comfort levels of their derrieres. It was so funny that I thought (out loud to one of the gals: this is funny, I should take pictures!) and was encouraged to do so… so out came my camera and I shot the first photo…

…then the second…

…after which I got such a whithering look from one of the girls that my feelings got hurt and I put away the camera. I tell ya, if arrows could be shot, I’d be a riddled, bloody mess, pinned up to the nearest cubicle wall (yes, some people do get cubicles)…

In any case, I decided at that point to shove my earpieces into my ears and max out the volume of my iPod (while what I really wanted to say was: well, aren’t we being bitchy… can’t you see this is just some harmless fun… I’m documenting a “bonding” moment within our department, and considering that most everybody is always bitching about something or someone, this would certainly be something to commemorate, yes?). I also thought that I just might pull the photo of the offending person into Photoshop and draw on some BIG and FUZZY bunny slippers, but being afflicted with the “I’m a crow… look! shiny object!” syndrome, I’ve lost interest in the whole thing…

I awoke this morning with the urge to run… don’t know what that’s about, but it happens sometimes and I usually ignore it until it passes, but I decided to haul my fat ass out of bed this morning and suit up for the gym instead, shoved the iPod earpieces into my ear and took off. Besides… the birds were freakin’ “cheep”-ing non-stop (in wasn’t “chirp”-ing, which is rather pleasant… this is the pissed off “cheep!”…) and after uncovering them, checking to make sure they had food and water (which I’d refilled late yesterday afternoon anyway), and laying back down, the cheeping continued so I figured I might as well get up.

Argh… I am so out of shape. To emphasize the point, what will be two weeks prior to this Monday, I decided to reorganize the patent files in our file room… some of the shelves laid empty while others were shoved so tight with files that you could barely pull a sucker off of there, so I decided to shuffle the files around. I started around 8:30am and worked straight through ’til about 2:50pm… that’s a lot of bending, scooping, turning the shelving units, pushing the large stack of files onto the next open shelf. It was quite a workout and by the end of the day I was wrecked. In fact, I was hurting through Friday, by which time I could manage to mount and descend the stairs to our apartment building without wincing. I thankfully felt better by the weekend, which is a good thing, considering we spent it in Mammoth.

In any case, I wanted to ride on the coat-tails, so to speak, of having “broken” in my muscles somewhat, but realize now that I’ll be hurting all over again. OH well… especially my biceps, which I can feel the lactic acid congregating in as I type (even with the stretching I did after each machine). I’ve decided to start going every other day and just do the circuit training thing, with 10-15 minutes of cardio. I’m glad that I still remember how to use and adjust the machines, and the proper form for each exercise. I have this “tire” in my middle that I’ve been carrying around for years now… while it serves as a really good floatation device, it also is a great precursor to heart disease, and since my mom keeled over of a massive heart attack (and I already have a congenital heart defect), I figure I’d better get my shit together. I want to be around for long enough to see my grandchild(ren) and actually have them remember me. One of my great sadnesses is that neither my husband or my child ever got to meet my father…

I started working on my “yellow” postcard piece last night and it looks like this so far…

I really like the color and the images I’ve collaged down, but I’m at a stalemate about what else to do to the thing. Time to go stare at it some more…

News of my world… feeling the yellow

I’ve started working on the next batch of postcards, peripherally, anyway. I’ve been going through these huge piles of magazines that I have, gleaning images for my image stash, and throughout that process have been putting aside the “yellows” that I’ve found so far. Of my three huge magazine stacks, I now only have about a six inch stack left, so I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve been saving these books for years to go through and harvest images from, and it’s always been one of the projects I’ve pushed off to the back burner for lack of time as other issues were always burning more brightly.

I’ve finally (and hopefully sustainably) regained my health (well, I still have 60lbs to lose, but that doesn’t count… :P) and my energy levels have improved. I’m feeling creative… yaay! I have lots of plans… today I’m going to the office supply store and picking up a “daytimer” refill and will attempt organization. I am notably inept at it these days. I used to be really great about it until somewhere into the middle of my marriage, when I just chucked the whole concept out the window. My husband creates a sort of chaotic void (resists order like I’ve never in my life witnessed heretofore). I can’t really explain it in any other way. I used to really resent him for it but now see it as an opportunity for change for myself; not get sucked into the black hole but learn to use it and work with it… be flexible with my schedule instead of a) rigid (I was doing that for a while after my son was born and I returned to work. I’d spend inordinate amounts of time traveling to and from my workplace, slogged through my work day and then got home and had to go all of the domestic stuff too… AND have creative time… at the time I’d pretty much dropped most of my art and was slowly getting back into it via scrapbooking and rubberstamping). My attempts to recruit him for assistance failed, and so I was stewing with resentment, and then dropped the ball because it got too heavy for me to carry alone. Lots of things disintegrated over time… including our marriage… which led to a nine month split in 2002/2003 and an enforced reunion (because I’d lost my job and Gabriel and I were in need of a place to live… it was his one bedroom apartment or the street).

I was at yet another turning point in my life… our separation had been difficult for me… I wasn’t the one to call for it and was saddened and dismayed that our nine year investment into each others’ lives (not to mention having another co-created life amidst us) had come to this… failure. I looked upon it as a failure, as a loss of an investment of time. That’s how I used to look at all of my (previous) relationships.

I learned to surrender… I’d been so busy trying to “man-handle” the flow of life… it’s until you let go, flow with it and trust that you will end up where you need to be that it finally takes you to the next place you need to be heading. Trust… surrender… those are the two things I learned… regardless of what situation… good or bad… I needed to learn that.

In any case… shortly after we got back together, we decided to stay together, at least tentatively. I’d gained a new sense of myself (which he honed in on and was impressed with the ‘change’… I’d been depressed for several years prior to the “collapse,” or maybe it was some of that combined with really low red blood cell count… I found out that I was anemic–borderline transfusible–and that explained a whole lot of things as far as that went…) and creatively was taking off in a new direction. I was doing lots of collaborative art dolls and journals and incorporating my own artwork into the mix, instead of using rubberstamps and such.

Just a few short weeks after we moved to our third floor apartment in Irvine (to be closer to his workplace… and mine too, as I began temping as a patent secretary again in the Newport area) he had a moto crash (shattered his tibial plateau, requiring reconstructive surgery–i.e., pins and a plate–and three months of “weightlessness”–i.e., using crutches to get around). Two weeks after that my mom–who lived in the ‘burbs of Montreal–had a massive heart attack and passed on (my dad had already gone that route in 1991 via lung cancer). What a year… what a doggone couple of years… but that was the last of it (at least for a while) and all of this changed me in so many ways.

Buddhists embrace the concept of “impermanence”… I don’t prescribe to any specific religion but I suppose the Buddhist philosophy may be closest to my understanding at this time (though I don’t practice any dharmapada)… I’ve run the gamut of various religions, simultaneously find them all equally fascinating and disturbing… and have come to the conclusion that I don’t have a need to follow a religion… I am who I am… I consider the universal energy flow around us and the earth my “parents”… I’ve been orphaned and adopted, even though I’ve only just recently come to realize it. Humans seem to feel the need to impose limitations upon themselves. I’m not sure whether that process yields negative or positive results. In a way it makes us “think outside the box” in order to overcome the restrictions, while at the same time it gives us the sense that we have finite powers, and limited in our capacity to do and change things, which narrows our perspective to the likes of looking at the universe through a straw.

+++ Sidebar: how did I get off on such a tangent?! +++

Anyway… so here I am, ready to embrace another new, and hopefully creative and productive phase of my life.

Back to my daytimer thought… I have several stories I am working on. One is possibly novel length (perhaps more of a compilation of short stories rather than one fluid story–not sure yet). The others are shorter: one is destined to be a children’s story, for a younger (but not really elementary) readership; the other a visual story: few words accompanied by printed plates. I plan to print them on the Gocco and hand-tint them with watercolor using a very simple and subtle palette, making a limited edition of 12 seven inch square hand-bound books.

The daytimer will serve as a way for me to carve out time for all of these, but still be able to maintain essential other things into my schedule: work… parenting and wife-ing duties… housekeeping and chef duties… exercise… personal/”me” time for reading, journaling, non-scheduled “arting”… like that.

And on that note, I’m off to make some breakfast…

Postcards cut & addressed…

Mondays are a bitch anyway, but let’s face it, some days just suck the big lemon. Sometimes it depends which side of the bed you get up on… other days it has a whole lot to do with sleep deprivation… and then again, some days, like today, it’s a combination of many things, including the aforementioned pair as well as “outside influences” (meaning other people’s behaviour, which you have absolutely no dominion over). So after suffering through the day, it was with great delight that I arrived home this afternoon to gaze upon this lovely package from Anahata Katkin. With the layers of tissue paper peeled away, the treasures revealed themselves: a set of Nepalese hand-carved heart milagro wooden stamps, a white Signo Uniball pen imported from Japan and Anahata’s Journaling the Journey Workshop Book.

My day just got a whole lot better! Time to go and play…

Pastel postcard production

I’ve started on the next batch of postcards and will mail both last month’s and this month’s out together shortly. Thought I’d share some photos of the process of their creation…

Started off with a watercolor background on some thick watercolor paper, and thinly cut strips of light colored papers, applied with my favorite collage medium, Perfect Paper Adhesive (matte)…

Then I sketched some ladies’ heads to go with the spray of flowers I cut out… all were scanned into Photoshop and manipulated and then printed out onto transparency…

Almost done now… the sheet of postcards is about ready for cutting up. Added some stenciling with acrylic paint, and chalk marker.