Friday, November 18, 2005

TGIF or NOT.......

I'm meeting this Friday morning with mixed emotions; first Thankfully, for the opportunity to experience yet another day and regretfully, for on Monday, I'll be returning to work full-time! Oh the joys of life! The good news is the Thanksgiving holidays will be upon us, so it is possible we'll have a short work week. I'm not certain if we will be working on Friday or not..... so I'll need to play it by ear on that one. I do know it would be nice!

I'm spending my day cleaning house, doing laundry, etc. in preparation of my return to work. I'd love to be able to lightly clean next week and start once again on the studio re-organization. I'm still planning to set up a bookbinding area here in the house; this time maybe in the back portion of my kitchen so I'd have the breakfast bar area to work on. One positive to setting things up there is it is a permanent fixture; one I cannot move or loan out to someone, LOL! All other art supplies will be going back out to the studio forcing me to get out there more. I will keep a small art library inside to feed my creative muse.

We'll it is also payday so I'm off to finish my housework and go pick up my paycheck. I may just have to check out my fiances and see if I can purchase a few NEW supplies! {smiles} Lord, knows I live, breathe, and spiritually feed my soul thinking about creating it! LOL!

Every Now and Then.........

I find information worth repeating re: art supplies, tips, techniques, etc. Yesterday was one of those days. In a reply to someone re: resist techniques and the best inks and varieties of ways to create a resist, I provided some further information about understanding inks and different ink properties. It is a wonderful wealth of information, so much I've decided to share it here:

First, I think it is great that you've mentioned a variety of ways to create a resist technique. From Ranger's Clear Resist ink to using a wax crayon. Another not mentioned, is the clear embossed VersaMark ink nor the ironed on crumpled wax paper. {I apologize in advance for not researching the provided links before answering this post, so some information may be new while other info may be repeated.}

Anyways, Each can produce amazing and varied results worth experimenting with and knowing which produces the results one would desire in a piece of artwork. Obviously, the inks can require a stamped image while the crayon would offer the freedom of free-form expression, something I feel is important to note. Although, there is no reason some of the the pads themselves couldn’t be used DTP in creating different backgrounds. I may just have to experiment using each and create me few pages in my art workbook as this is definitely worth exploring further!

Creating the resist technique can create inks stain your hands or any surface they come in contact with depending upon the inks and artist supplies used so wearing an apron or an old shirt maybe required. Care to guess how I know?

The Masters, a product put out by General Pencil works well for clean up. There is a variety pack available that contains the wonderful Kiss Off, a bar of handsoap containing Kiss Off, and a cleaner for art brushes which I've also used to clean my Colorbox Stylus sponges after use. Using gloves may be desired or another option. I havent' tried the Liquid Hands or is it Liquid Gloves? Anyways, creating an excellent resist can become messy so I felt that is worth mentioning, LOL!

I’m not a resist expert by any means, however, here's a bit that I've discovered while experimenting, and I feel it is equally important to note that the use of glossy or matte cardstock will vary the appearance as well as the desired technique to create the actual resist itself.

Any dye inks that are water-based work well on glossy or matte cardstock. I love both Adirondacks and Vivid due to their wonderful color varieties. Pads or re-inkers work well and dry quickly. Load sponges with ink and work quickly with minimum pressure, the more pressure used in circular motion = the higher concentration of color. There is a huge variety of wonderful dye inks available on the market, so experimentation is key as each work well with a variety of results.

Chalk inks by Colorbox work well; due to their juicy pads. Also, being dye-based they require you to work quickly. Remember to heat set for permanence and increased intensity of color. Also to gently roll the re-inkers to mix the chalks without adding in air bubbles to the bottles or shake and allow to sit approx. 15 minutes prior to using.

Pigment inks - must be embossed or heat set on glossy cardstock. These work well for their fade-resistant properties and allow the artist to work slower due to their slow drying properties. Most pigment inks require heat setting anyways, but these are great on slick surfaces such as vellums and heat-resistant transparencies offering a variety of effects on each surface!

Brilliance Metallics will dry on its own if left overnight or can be heat set; Brilliance is another ink that works well on vellum, acetate, mica, and even shrink plastic.

Encore Metallics are best used on matte cardstocks; however, can be sprayed sealed and left to dry overnight on other surfaces such as glossy. Both metallic inks add a degree of texture and depth to the artwork and produce a sophisticated effect.

StazOn is a permanent solvent based ink, often mistaking overlooked for use in the resist technique. What a shame! Designed for porous and semi-porous surfaces, it is great for paper {all types}, glass, shrink plastic, acetate, dominoes, and polymer clays.

One variation of a resist {more of a reversed effect} is to stamp using StazON on matte cardstock and using the Opalites pads in the resist fashion over top. The newer Reflective Interference Ink adds a dazzling, gorgeous sparkle to your artwork - and this ink is amazing as it will provide a reflective quality over the StazOn stamped impressions!

Resist ink, Ranger's Clear Resist, is excellent as it will prevent any dye inks from changing the color of the paper beneath the resist. It is a very fast-drying ink that can be heat set to speed the process. I really need to experiment more using it with other varieties of inks.

Alcohol inks, made by Jaquard/USArtQuest in the Pinata inks, and Tim Holtz's line are solvent-based inks that are permanent and waterproof when dried. The blending solution or alcohol is needed to assist with diluting and the spreading properties. Studio II by Graphic Marker is yet another brand.

Resist techniques can also be achieved using various other mediums besides inks. Acrylic paints, Lumiere by Jaquard, various glazes, watercolor paints and watercolor crayons are excellent for collage work either on paper, illustration boards, and even, gesso-primed canvases.

Krylon’s Spray webbing and leafing pens, Craf-T metallic rub ons, and many mica products from Pearl Ex and Perfect Pearls produce additional enhancements to the resist technique.

Please feel free to add any addition comments or questions to this thread, it is by reading what other’s share that each of us learn. I've learned a lot of the information previously shared here from other stampers, many who inspired and provided me with the courage to explore deeper.

Also, as I've previously mentioned manufacturers are a wealth of information; be sure to visit their websites, contact them with any questions. You'd be amazed at their customer service, knowledge, and wllingness to help the consumer.

Reading has also enhanced my knowledge. There is a lot of information online, in print, and in magazines, technique books, and many art books. Some information is contained in some art supply catalogs.

With anything, there is no all-inclusive information out there, so I do keep an Art Journal. It is more of a 3 ring binder filled with information re: supplies and mediums, techniques I've discovered, templates, and experiments and examples of each. Creating it has been a wonderful source and inspiration to me.... it challenges me to explore and ask the age old question of "what if?"

I encouraged everyone to begin one as you create cards, artwork, ect., jot in what you know re: mediums, leave room for other information to be added, create a technique page using each medium, include instructions, and an example for re-creating it. Trust me, you will treasure this journal and it will help you grow as you are learning.

Don't be afraid to try new things. Don't fear the mistakes along the way --- make notes of what doesn't work, it is a part of the learning process. And even more important, don't be afraid to combine techniques within a piece of artwork, I've discovered some fabulous results along the way for it is by sharing that we all learn!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A reason to return home.........

As wonderful as it is to experience the excitement and adventure of going away, visiting with family, experiencing new sights and sounds, there truly is "no place quite like home". We arrived safe, sound, and plum worn out from our 1290 mile weekend excursion at 3:35 a.m. Sunday evening. Monday, we retrieved Chaos, my black labador puppy - who is now 3 months old, from boarding him at the vets. I cannot even begin to describe how seeing his whole entire body shake with love and happiness of seeing Don & I that day. Here is a photograph of Chaos taken shortly after we made the decision to add him to our family. He is approximately 7 weeks old in this photo and is as orniery as he is cute and cuddly! He's definately living up to his name!!!!

My Brother, John & I

Even more majestic than the mountain views that Don & I took in was seeing my brother, John, after 10 long years. Not even the majestic mountain views compare to the love I felt that only one's family can bring into feeling.

This photograph was taken on the rear deck that John built on the rear of his home in Charlotte. Behind us and the lattice work is his hot tub surrounded by glass with mini-blinds hung for privacy while raising them provides additonal light.

The Great Smokey Mountains of Tennesee

This photograph was captured around 4 p.m. almost near the halfway point through the Great Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. It was taken from the western side looking east and some of the Southern Appalachian Mountains we'd previously travelled through can be viewed. I was entranced looking out over the floor of the gorge towards the splendor of the tree tops that graced the valley floor and continued onward up the sides of the mountains. Unfortunately, as hard as I tried to get Don to stop for the night so we could do some further exploring the following day and some sight-seeing in Gaitlinburg and Pigeon Forge areas, he insisted on continuing the drive home. The good news is even in the mountainous area with a small amount of rain experienced before reaching Cherokee, the rest of the journey towards our destination of home was a safe one. We made a promise to one another to one day return!

The Mountain Mist......

While traveling up on the ridges of the BRP and imminent weather heading towards us and nightfall descended, we rain into a misty rain. The scenic views were absolutely breath-taking! Seeing the fog as it formed in the valleys between the mountains further assisted to help define them and also make one further aware of the forces of Mother Nature.

Incoming storm from the west....

This picture shows some of the clouds as they headed to the east while we were heading west along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is one of my favorite pictures out of the 2 of 3 rolls I had developed last night. As you can see the mountains were still filled with color although I'm certain the storm and incoming rain removed even more remants of the glory of Autumn. There is such a sense of tranquility when surrounded by such beauty within God's country, hearing the birds chirping, rustling in the brush, and seeing the majestic artwork of God and his attention to all the little details. For some reason, this ridge held quite a spiritual spot within my heart.

The Journey continued.......

This pic was taken as we descended down the first mountain towards Mount Pisgah in the Southern Appalachian Mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville, NC heading west toward Cherokee and into the Great Smokey Mountains.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hometown Ghosts & Mysteries Mini Book Swap

I signed up for a Hometown Ghosts & Mysteries Mini Book Swap in the Byhand Yahoo Group. This is the finished piece of artwork that I created. The size is just a little larger than an ATC and is double-sided for binding. I used Ranger's Resist ink to stamp on glossy cardstock with a Hero Arts Old Antique Map Background stamp, then heat set to seal. Using a sponge I added in Vivid's Ultramarine and Turquoise inks prior to gluing in my image. Gold dots were added to all as an embellishment to resemble the twilight night sky as I believe bands of gypsies also used them to guide them on their journey's.

Catching up........

I'm hopeful to be adding more to my blog on the journey we took through throught the Blue Ridge Parkway towards Cherokee, onward through the Great Smokey Mountains, Gaitlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Knoxville, Louisville, KY and finally into Ohio. I look forward to the development of my pictures so that I can some of them along the way describing the sights and sounds we experienced. Although a short visit, we crammed quite a lot in along the way..... more to come, I promise.

Mount Pisgah along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Coming home.......

Don and I's journey begin setting out towards I-85 South to I-74 West, where we stopped by the North Carolina Arboretum - As we visited we became immersed in the botanical and cultural heritage of the Southern Appalachians. I promise some pictures soon as I get my film developed. We visited briefly, taking a tour of the gift shop and the Bonsia Exhibition before we decided it was time for our journey to continue.

Off of St. Rt. 19? we entered the Blue Ridge Parkway! for some of the most scenic views I've experienced in my life. I'm still trying to figure out which section of the BRP we actually travelled on, the Mile Markers, the mountains, the views.... notes quickly sketched on pieces of paper to be looked up online with provide me the opportunity to become more familiar with the area. The vista views were amazingly gorgeous, even after the peak of Autumn's colorful glory the previous week before our visit. On the beginning of our journey through the BRP, we were greeted with warmth and lots of sunshine, to partly cloudy skies, as we travelled towards Tennesee as a cold front with rain was heading our way. The weather provided us a wonderful variety of viewing pleasure, as the fog and mist rolled in over the mountains. Here is a picture of Mount Pisgah I discovered online that is so similar to those that I managed to capture and experience.

Sunday Morning and the ride back home.....

Awakening at 7:30, provided all of us the opportunity to enjoy one another's company a little more as each of us made our preparations to head our separate ways. John and crew off to finish the fence and Don & I off to begin our journey towards home. The few days/nights spent visiting seemed so short and brief, however, I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat! It was great to see my brother after 10 years, to see Janelle all grown up with a promising future ahead of her. Although, we didn't get to see Jason, send him our love and promise to return one day.

We chatted about ways to stay in touch and my blog will provide them some opportunities to do just that. All of us are hopeful to be able to vacation with one another soon, possibly sometime this upcoming summer and fall. {Please know that Don'and I's door is always open!}. We're excited to have you visit and look forward to visiting with all of you once again; let's not make it quite so long next time!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Good Times, Good People

Visiting John's home and his now hometown of Charlotte, NC, provided Don & I opportunities we'd never experienced before. I cannot say enough about the "Southern Hospitality" we experienced while visiting there; even if our stay was only for a brief period of time.

We traveled uptown into Charlotte where experienced wonderful views of what appears a promising city. Unsure of our sense of direction and unknown, uncharted territories, we stopped into the Discovery Place for a few inquiries. There of all places, I met yet another "paper artist", a scrapbooker! A young oriental girl greeted us near the entry door on the third floor. Who besides a scrapbook creates graphic sketches in a sketchbook? Anyways, after talking with her, we were on our way to Concord Mills Mall with a map in hand of Charlotte along with directions to the Mall. Once there we discovered various opportunities to shop and explore. I purchased a new quarter sleeved T-shirt I simply couldn't resist and a few pieces of costume jewelry. It's been a long time since I've actually worn any that I simply needed to refresh my selections with some glitter and glitz. We visited a Nascar Speedway Store, looking for soverniers for my Nascar fanatic family and purchased a few gifts to be given at Christmas. Concords Mill Mall is huge! So, we only visited sections 5 - 7; trust me that = lots of walking and the Mall was packed with people.

Upon leaving the Mall and after refueling, we began our journey back to John's for an evening out. Wouldn't you know it, we can find our way in the dark but give us some daylight and sure enough we'd manage to get lost! LOL! Somewhere along the way we took a right turn vs. a left and ended up on the other side of Charlotte in unfamiliar territory. A quick stop at a BP station and a wonderful atttendant we were on our way once again; this time in the right direction.

Arriving at John's, we had some time to catch up with my brother, my neice, Janelle, a few of John's crew - Drew and Allie, Becky, and couple of the neighbors. John owns his own company in Charlotte - Carolina Deck and Fencing and is currently working through the week with another contractor through the week framing a new house. He's always desired to build a house, so this opportunity provided him with a chance to gain some experience doing so. We got a closer looked at John's handiwork as we explored out on the two tier layered deck on the rear of the house. The covered deck complete with skylights, lighting, ceiling fans, and a nice cozy hot tub surrounded by glass walls provided a perfect party atmosphere complete with big screen TV for watching the Nascar races and Carolina Panther's football games. A smaller series of steps leads to a lower level of the deck surrounding a 15 x 30 foot above ground pool adorned with another covered deck at the opposite end. A wood gate provides security to the pool area where a series of stairs lead you out into the yard where a wood arbor invited you to explore further.

Returning to the kitchen, we knocked back a few cold brews, looked at a scrapbook of John's handiwork and some of the jobs he'd completed. I got a kick out his neighbor's and friend's as they teased him re: his family. I seem to be the only one they've actually met out of the 7 of us, so there was a lot of bantering and gentle ribbing re: believing he'd created some instant ancestors. It was quite a hoot! Feeling the effects of the few beers I'd drunk on an empty stomach, John, Janelle, Don & I headed out for an awesome steak dinner at Chili's. After an enjoyable time we returned to John's where we all seemed to be fallin' out after the days activities.

Charlotte, NC Skyline

Slowing down & Enjoying Life.......

This past week has flown by in yet another never-ending whirlwind of activity. Rising early.... as in really early, like 4:30 a.m. {and no, the sun isn't up yet; if I'm lucky, I may get to see a few of the early morning rays as they appear in the eastern sky right before clocking into work at 7 a.m.} to returning home to watch the sun gently settling into the western sky slightly before the darkness ascends into the moonlight.

My job has been keeping me busy, although the hustle and bustle of its hectic pace provided me a few days of pure pleasure this past weekend! You see, my co-workers do such a great job, that first the glue line ran out of boxes to glue; therefore, freeing them up to join us in the re-packaging of all those Budweiser bottles some of us enjoy on occasion. Having those few extra hands, compounded with the excitement of the opportunity to do something different for a change of pace, we ran completely out of boxes to repack into. This provided all of us with a 38 hr. work week and the opportunity to enjoy a bit of Friday's sunshine and look forward to a wonderful weekend.

While at work on Friday, only in bodily form, my restless spirit and wandering mind truly got to missing some time for me. Knowing that Don wouldn't be working this weekend either, I believe I surprised the be-jesus out of him when I arrived home at 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon. Our conversation went something close to this....

Me: "Honey, I'm home!"
Don: "What are doing home so early?"
Me: "We ran out of boxes to repack into. And I was thinking.... {at this point, Don lovingly rolls his eyes} what do you think about visiting the Smokey Mountains?"
Don: "When?"
Me: {hesitantly hopeful} "Hmmm, how about 5 o'clock? If we packed up now we could be on the road by 5 - 5:30 p.m."
Don: "Let's do it!"

I quickly got online to check motel/hotel availability in the Pigeon Forge/Gaitlinburg, TN area, only to be just as quickly reminded re: a Gift Show Convention in Gaitlinburg. Ok, onto PLAN B!
An even quicker telephone call to my brother John in Charlotte, NC to inquire regarding his activities/plans for the weekend to which he replied he'd be working building a fence this weekend but we were more than welcome to "Come On Down!" which just as quickly churned my thoughts into how I could still yet manage to make it to the Smokey Mountains. We'd simply visit with my brother for a few days and nights and on the return trip home we'd travel back through them!

Rushing around frantically, making mental notes of all we'd need to pack, things that needed our immediate attention, and figuring out what in the world to do with Chaos....... somehow we managed to work it all out in time to be on the road at 5:30 p.m.! {Damn, I'm good! wink.}

Our adventure began by dropping Chaos off at the Vet's office for boarding until Monday; filling up the gas tank, picking up my left behind cell phone from Michelle's; and grabbing a road atlas from my Mon's and Dad's.... and we were on our way!

Down State Route 23S to I-270 E towards Wheeling, WV to connect to I-77 Southbound. Driving through the mountains in West Virginia in the dark wasn't the greatest part of the trip, however, the excitement and adrenaline rush was just what my wanderlust soul desired and provided just the right amount of curiosity of what awaited around the next bend along the highway.

First West Virginia, Virginia, then North Carolina....... we arrived at my brother's at 2:35 a.m. on Saturday morning! I cannot even begin to explain just how laying my eyes upon his for the first time in over ten years felt... anxious exhilaration, I guess is the best way to describe it; as my heart was filled with love that only comes from one's sense of family can bring. We chatted for a bit, inquiring about how various family member's were and what they were doing, often both of us asking and talking at once, LOL! About an hour later and some of the excitement wore off, we headed off to bed, looking forward to the adventures of the next day and some time to re-connect. Besides, that John had a fence to build! and promised to take us out for dinner upon his return home.

Rising a little later on Saturday morning, yes, 9:30 is later to me!; I enjoyed several cups of coffee as Don and I finally decided upon driving into uptown Charlotte, we made preparations for the start of our day. What we didn't realize was the truck seemed to have a mind all it's own and was starting without us! Can you imagine our surprise, as I'm making the last few touches on my personal appearance when I hear Don exclaim, "My truck is rolling downhill!" I'm was like "What?" Don repeats himself, "My truck is rolling downhill!" There is a steep decline which begins shortly before you reach John's house which descends approximately 8-10 feet in a span of a few shorter feet, and low and behold, our truck is rolling down the hill! Luckily, for us and John's neighbor's no one is parked on the street or any children playing in the approximate vicinity, `Ole Red is slipping a little out of gear at a slow idling pace. I ran out the door and Don threw me the keys to unlock the doors so I can hit the brake petal and in a hurry! The day's adventures had begun.....

Monday, November 07, 2005

Where I've been and what I've been up to...

I still reeling from the fact that it is November already! I'm sooo not ready for it. I want October back, {big sigh!} I feel I missed out on the cool, crisp mornings spent on the rear deck with a cup of hot coffee, watching the sun rise, meditating on the direction I desire for my life to go. I missed out on the warm autumn days I had so intented to use to capture the beauty of autumn on film, spent exploring and discovering the wonders of nature, and the even cooler than normal evenings spent roasting hotdogs and marshmellows over an open fire. I longed for those days to arrive and when they finally seemed to, somehow they managed to slip through my hands like sand in a never-ending hourglass, silently slipping away.

On Saturday, I deciding that if I can not go back and recapture them, I might as well enjoy the here and now. So, I spent most of my weekend with Don, catching up with one another and "jumping forward" by knocking out some of our Christmas shopping that will be so quickly upon us. We seem to have so little time together since I've been working. It's been a hastily said, "Good Morning!", a quick kiss, a tender moment of holding his hand on the way to pick up a co-worker for work, and in a quick dash, I'm off once again. Trying to make the most of the little time we have, I often rush home to whip up a home cooked meal {or enjoy the luxury of a quick bite taken through having a dinner out} before he leaves to go to work the store in the evenings. Most of our conversations seem to be over the important things such as what needs taken care of, bills to be paid, and making preparations for the next day's hectic pace, only to have him return from work while I'm preparing to head to bed. I miss the small talk, the late nights lounging in bed talking to one another about the unimportant parts of our lives, the gentle teasing and harassing over something stupid one of said or did during the day.

Chaos and I have been spending most of evenings at home, out romping through the falling leaves, or lounging in the house. He is so growing by leaps and bounds; getting ornerier everyday. Unfortunately, this past week I've been in so much pain with an aching right shoulder, it's everything I can do just to take the little guy out to potty. A trip to my chiropractor on Sat. a.m., confirmed I'd slightly dislocated the joint, explaining my hesitation to even click on the computer mouse to check my emails and what little groups I've been forced to now carve out a much smallerl chunk of time for.

As far as any personal goals, I believe I miss having time to be creative the most. I think of coming home and begin tackling the studio re-organization and/or of creating a new project or playing with a new technique, experimenting and exploring more with one medium or another while I am working throughout the day, only to arrive home and desiring nothing more than a warm soak in the tub and my pj's, LOL!

My art library is what has been keeping my well filled while I make sketches in my sketch book, jotting down thoughts and ideas, tips, and techniques on sheets of paper that seem to be my livelihood these days. My dreams of creating haven't lessened, however. I'm still awakened with the thoughts of creating.... often to the point of such vivid dreams that make you want to get up and out and into the studio! Well, at least until your brain kicks in and screams, "Are you nuts, do you realize what time it is? and just how soon it will be before the alarm clock pierces you with its time to rise warning?" And speaking of warnings, this girl is longing to simply go back to bed for at least one more hour of sleep and quiet snuggling beside her man, resting assuredly that somehow, someway the pieces of the puzzle will one day slip quietly all into place....... but knowing the only place she'll be slipping into is a hot bath tub of water before the mad rush of this Monday actually begins.