Thursday, February 28, 2013

workshops, classes and more!

We keep our commercial presence to one monthly post so that we can share other opportunities to take workshops, purchase art or enjoy other offerings from all of us. Check out our workshops and  books. Thank you for being a part of the Sketchbook Challenge! It's an honor to share this journey with you.
Textured Silk Flower Vase Workshop with Sue Bleiweiss  at Ink About It in Westford MA on April 26 and 27,2013:
In this class we’ll transform silk fabric into a richly colored textured surface that we’ll use to create a vase filled with beautiful flowers. Although we’re working with fabric we won’t be using a sewing machine for this project. In this two part class we’ll spend the first class together creating the textured surface and painting it. Then once it’s allowed to dry overnight we’ll spend the second class creating the vase and flowers. No experience working with silk fabric required –just a sense of fun and adventure!  All the registration details for this class are here on the Ink About It website.  Registration is limited to 12 students so call Ink About It at 978-392-0321 to secure your spot!

Sketching and Watercolor: Journal Style by Jane LaFazio
Jane LaFazio

Lesley Riley

Sketchbook page by Jane LaFazio

Join Jane LaFazio and I at the Red Thread Retreat.  Just 3 spots left at this exclusive 4 day Blue Mountain Nature Journal sketching retreat in western Maryland, May 16-19, 2013. Details HERE.

Jane Davies
Join Jane Davies and others at Art and Soul in Kansas City, April 3 - 6.  Check out my post on the retreat here. In addition to my day and evening workshops I will be offering a free one-hour session on The Art of the Postcard on Thursday evening 5 - 6 between classes.

Judy Coates Perez

I'd like to tell you about several multi day surface design classes I’m teaching this year in some very special places.

June 7-9 Summer Quilt Camp, 2 day, Acrylic Ink Adventure, La Grange, TX

June 30- July 2 Idyllwild Arts 3 day, Acrylic Inks Textile Adventure, Idyllwild, CA

October 4-19  Quilt n’ Cruise Adventure to Hawaii Painting and Surface Design Exploration, 16 day cruise with 6 full days of classes 

Carol Sloan

April 24, 2013
"Birds of a Feather"
Art & Soul Retreat
Virginia Beach, VA

TBA Class
Artistic Artifacts
Alexandria, VA

August 21-27, 2013
Build a Book of Italian Memories
Sulmona, Italy @ Abruzzo School of Creative Art

Kick off Your Heels Call for Art Shoes:  A fundraiser to raise money for donation to the  The Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, California.

Important dates to remember:
December 1, 2012: Call for art shoes issued February 15, 2013: online registration opens March 15, 2013: submission deadline

Shoe criteria: Start with a pair of purchased shoes.  Shoes must be womens size 6 and above with at least a 3" heel.  They should be a pump style shoe.  No boots, sneakers or sandals please.  

You can alter your shoes in any way you like but you may not cut the heel off to create a flat shoe.  Cut, drill, manipulate, string beads, draw, cover, paint, collage etc. the surface of your shoes.  Your only  personal  artistic style and/or the skies the limit.  The artwork cannot exceed 4" beyond the shoes.  The high heels don't have to be wearable, but more like art pieces that stand on a table and they must be able to stand on their own without props.  

All of your embellishments must be firmly attached to the shoes so that nothing will fall off when they are shipped to their buyer.   Visit the Kick off Your Heels blog here for more information.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

sweet new markers

Sue B here...  I have a weakness for colored pencils and markers so whenever I go to the craft store I always browse those aisles.  The last time I was in the store I came across a set of AquaMarkers that I had not seen before.  The colors made me think of this months "sweet" theme and so I couldn't resist bringing some home.

I have to say, these markers are definitely pretty sweet and juicy!  The colors are very rich and when you brush them with water...

which you can see in the second column they behave like watercolor paint even once they have dried on the paper.  I had some scraps of watercolor paper on my sketching desk so I played around a bit drawing some simple flowers with them:

and then I turned them into some sweet little note cards:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sweeet Colors Again

Jane Davies here.  With another attempt at sweet colors.  You can see my first attempt here.  This time I'm trying not to get into the realm of hot colors, as in hot pink, but to stay on the sweet side.

Yesterday I launched a project I'm calling 4"x4"x400 in which I am challenging myself to make 400 pieces of 4"x4" art.  And this isn't just cutting up rejects into pieces that measure 4"x4".  I do start with 8"x8" sheets, develop them part way, then cut them into 4"x4" and try to resolve each piece individually.  It is all about working in series, and I invite you to come along for the ride.

In that spirit, I made some 4"x4" art in sweet colors.  Here are two of the 8"x8"sheets:

See?  I managed to stick to real Easter candy, nursery, baby shower colors!  This is tough for me because I usually favor bright colors and neutrals, not pastels. 

Out of eight 4"x4" pieces, so far I have four finished, or sort of finished:

I find it a challenge to work this small, but doing "Teeny Tiny Art" is my rebound from "Big Fat Art", which I've also been doing recently.  I hope you'll look at my 4x4x400 post; there is a video tutorial there and a free pdf download on Working In Series.  Have fun!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Stevia Stamps

Good morning! It's Deborah. As I was thinking of "sweet," I thought it might be interesting to explore various "sweet" plants. My art often involves botanical shapes and images and I am always looking for new motifs to incorporate into my work.

I searched Google images with various tags and found three pictures that were quite inspiring. You see them printed out here. At the top is a stevia plant. That's the plant used as a natural alternative to sugar. In the middle is the core of an agave plant which will be boiled down to make agave nectar. At the bottom is a sweet pea blossom. All very inspiring, don't you think?
I decided to focus on the stevia leaves and create a rubber stamp. Above you can see my tiny pattern and the stamp I created by cutting out a piece of sticky-back fun foam and sticking it to a square of plexi glass.

Here's my first page. The very first impression on the left was too close to the spiral and didn't quite fit. With the rest of the page I "inked up" the stamp just once and then did repeat stamps fading to the top.

The thing that really drew me to the stevia image was the potential for this type of repeated image, like a Mexican tile. I especially love the negative space between the stamps.
Here is the same idea with the stem facing in rather than out. This is my favorite, I believe.

Next I wondered if I could do more than four impressions with radial symmetry. I ripped out a page from the sketch book and folded it into eighths. You can also see my spouncer sponge sitting on my paint palette (Styrofoam meat tray). I used acrylic paint and dabbed off quite a bit so the spouncer wasn't too juicy as I dabbed the paint onto the stamp.

Too mushy. It might have worked better if I used two colors and alternated. The most interesting bit here is the wonky flower shape in the middle, don't you think?
(Sorry for the shadows. My studio is in the basement with less-than-desirable lighting.)

Then I continued exploring how the shape could be nestled together in various ways.
I love this as a potential border motif.

I added some swirly, viney, blossomy doodles the one of my sketchbook pages.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

An Inspired Gathering

Leslie here.  I'm part of a little side-project of the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild.  A portion of the membership is participating in a monthly gathering to explore the lessons in a book by Jean Wells, "Inspired Art Quilting".  Many of the exercises relate to drawing and sketching, so I thought it might be worth sharing here.
here is a link to more information

During our first meeting we discussed sketchbooks.  Everyone brought one or two sketchbooks and we passed them around so we could peek into them.  Jean Wells discusses some of the ways she uses a sketchbook and encourages the reader to develop this habit.  
As part of the fun, each of us selected a piece of paper in a bag with a word written on it.  The idea was to do some writing about the word, then create a drawing based on the word.  It was fun to see what everyone created.  This group plans to meet monthly, a chapter and set of exercises per month, and develop a finished textile construction that will encompass some of the skills that will be worked on throughout the experience.  Here are a few pics from our meeting.
We were fortunate to meet in a private room of a local restaurant, 
where one of our members is the manager!

Guess whose spot this is?!  Why am I alway so messy?
Besides all this, I brought my travel set of gouache paints.

Here are the sketchbooks after completion of our drawings!

I wonder how many of you are in a sketching or design group?  Are you thinking about forming one, or have you been in a drawing group in the past?  I would be interested to know about it!  Please leave a comment and tell me what you are doing!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Penny Candy

I love it when the Universe presents you with just the thing you need at just the right time. I'm always on the lookout for that kind of serendipity. Right after Desiree announced this month's theme, I saw a commercial for a local CANDY STORE - the old fashioned kind of penny candy store - just up the road a bit from me.

When I arrived I realized it was a dual candy store - candy for the young and young at heart on the right and a liquor store (candy for grownups) - on the left.

To say my experience was like a kid in a candy store doesn't quite describe the situation. I was an artist in a color store! I filled my bag with colors, sizes, shapes and graphics and anything that looked interesting and out of the ordinary - like a Squirrel Nut Zipper.

I was excited to find my childhood favorites, Necco Wafers. I used to buy them at school lunch, put them in my uniform pocket and slip them in my mouth all afternoon when the nuns weren't looking. (Sad to say they no longer taste quite as exciting as I remembered.)

Necco Wafers - Detail with actual wrapper collaged on

Originally I was going to work in a grid, so I prepped my page with some neon pink acrylic paint, toned down with a wash of gesso, using my brush handle to mark the grid. I played around in the upper right corner with a corner of one of my new Cathedral Series stencils from artistcellar. Can't wait to explore that more. Then I decided against the grid and did a layout of the candy on my page and roughly traced around each piece for placement - a nice way to rough something in. 

I finished my sketches of the candies with a plain old #2 pencil and added color with my Caran d'Ache water soluble pencils. (Love those babies!) I get a bit carried away when it comes to color, especially my new favorite neon colors. When the watercolor pencils weren't enough, I used markers.

I was quite tempted to eat the lollipops but after the disappointment of the Necco wafers I figured the memory was better than the empty calories.

I never was a fan of Bit-O-Honey so no temptation there.

I thought I had purchased some of those candy dots on paper but I didn't, so I pulled out my Scribbles 3-D Fabric paint and added a few of my own to the page. Not as tasty perhaps, but just as fun.

What's your favorite childhood candy memory?

PS. Penny candy isn't a penny anymore.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Not TOO Sweet

Kristin here. I'm not really that sweet. My color palette isn't sweet, and my subject matter doesn't tend that way either. Not too long ago, I was challenged with a Sweet theme for the international art quilt challenge group Twelve by Twelve. My first foray was Bittersweet.

But I LOVE chocolate, so that's where I went for this month's Sketchbook Challenge theme!
Sweet Roses

"No really, I have to eat this chocolate -- it's for ART!"

I started by smoothing foil wrappers and adhering them to my page with matte medium. A grid is always a good place to start when you're not sure what direction you're going to go.

Inspired by the roses my husband gave me for Valentine's day, I made verrrrrrrrry loose gestural drawings of the buds on tracing paper. I painted white gesso on the back of the drawing, defining the background area, and then used matte medium again to adhere the whole thing on top of the foil background. There wasn't as much contrast between the white background and the flowers as I would have liked (more transparent trace or washi paper would have worked better). No worries, I was going to add pattern anyway.

It's important to blend elements when making a collage like this so that it doesn't look like you just glued a bunch of stuff on a page. My go-to techniques are a limited color palette (red, black, silver and pink in this case), and doodle-like patterning. I added leaves for their clean, graphic contrast to the loose flowers. In most cases, I work with the rule of three until the composition looks finished and balanced in some way.

I encourage you to find a wrapper or other ephemera, adhere it to a page, and through layering, see where it takes you. It might be a sweet surprise.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Will you be my valentine?

Hello my lovies!  Kari McKnight Holbrook popping by with some non-caloric valentine sweets!  I do love love love my sketchbooks and journals.  They are a place for me to spend quality time with someone I often neglect.

I keep these little sketch books really just for me, that's why all the quotes!  I practice here- lately I've been sketching alot of women, and I reuse sketches and rework sketches I've done elsewhere- transferring them over, trying to make them different. 

But as much as I love the sketches, I also love the words.  I am constantly writing down cool things I've heard in a movie, or on the news, or that I've seen in a book, or heard in a class.  I've filled notebooks with quotes I've gathered.  The last year or so, I've been making these little sketchbooks, and filling with quotes on a single topic or theme.  I find it really satisfying.  And sometimes, I don't even care if the sketch matches the words.  Sometimes it does. 

I work on several wet journals at a time, painting them with busy backgrounds, then knocking them back a bit to leave resting places to write and draw.  Get them to the dry point, and then, anywhere I go, all I need is a pencil, eraser, Pitt Artist Pens and a Signo Uniball White gel pen.

But what I REALLY love is that I can fill an entire journal in just a few days, even at 15 minutes a day!   Have you been sweet to yourself this month?  If you want to see more pages, pop over to see the rest on my blog:)  Or go out and treat yourself to some chocolate and a romantic dinner!  If you had been keeping romantic quotes in a journal, you could be reading them to your love over a candlelight bubble

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sweet Colors

Jane Davies here.  I tend to use mostly bright colors and neutrals, and so I thought I'd take this month's theme - Sweets -  as an opportunity to explore "sweet" colors.  What are sweet colors?  PINK!  Of course.  Soft, baby colors - light powder blue, pale green, pastel yellow.  This is my first attempt, and I would not say it was terribly successful.  I ended up with more "hot" pink than sweet pink. However, I did manage to get HEARTS - yes, hearts - into the final pieces, and for me that counts as sweet.

I began by creating two 8"x12" pieces in mostly pinks, with a little light green in there, and (I can't paint without it) quinacradone gold. 

Then I cut each one into four pieces, each 4"x6".  These are to be postcards (takes the pressure off of making "Art").  After that I did something to each one to make it unique.  I did not want these to look like I had just cut up a larger piece and called it good.  I added a heart theme to each of them, this being the valentine season.  This was a stretch for me too, as I rarely use heart icons in my work.

Click here for a video tutorial on this way of making postcards.