Category Archives: Journaling

A Summer Garden, a Birthday, Something Old, and Rust!

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I haven’t been working on art this month – mostly just playing in the “garden” and organizing things.  The “garden” has bloomed beautifully with summer coming so early to Portland this year.  I’m using quotes around the word “garden because I have only a deck and a lot of pots for my garden!

July 2013 004Here’s one of Mary of the Roses – she’s gotten a little faded this year and now both of her hands have broken, so she stands behind the roses, serene and beautiful.

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This girl had a birthday on the 3rd, my dancer daughter, Cait.

1002443_10201406342105175_627311788_nShe and her husband celebrated her birthday in Hawaii this year.  When Cait was born my mother found her so beautiful and perfect, she said, “Oh I wish I could have another baby.”  Which made us all laugh, but set me to thinking about her statement!

The following year remembering  what she had said I decided to make my mother a doll for her Christmas gift.  A life- sized baby doll, just like Cait.  I came across these old Instamatic photos recently and thought I would share them for a laugh!

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I had no idea what I was doing.  I just went out and bought some stuff called “Sculpy,” a new product that you could sculpt and bake in the oven or air dry and paint.  I don’t think it was meant for large projects, but more as a way to make small figurines, or jewelry parts. I had bigger ideas! I made the head and even though it wasn’t exactly solid, it weighed a ton.  I thought it might grow less heavy as it dried – but not so much.

scan0002The arms and legs were fairly easy, and I hollowed them out pretty well.  I was very disappointed as I recall, because I couldn’t achieve a porcelain looking finish with the acrylics I used to paint it with.  Also I couldn’t get the surface smooth enough – I didn’t know I could sand the stuff.  (no internet to research the answers back then)

scan0003Painting the face is when I really began to despair.  It really didn’t look too bad before I painted it.

scan0004Don’t laugh!!!  They say its the thought that counts, right? – and that’s what I kept telling myself, determined to finish the thing now.  I made it a stuffed body so it would feel cuddly (ha).  I can’t imagine what it would have weighed if I’d sculpted the whole thing! Of course my mother thought it was wonderful and carried the thing around all evening.  It weighed as much as a real baby, and the head was very floppy because it weighed so much and I couldn’t figure out a way to attach it so it didn’t flop!  But it was fun, and now a memory I always recall on Cait’s birthday.

Rust 003This is my new batch of rusty things I just got them yesterday from Etsy.  Yes.  I am rust deprived and have to resort to purchasing my rust!  I have two more packages coming – I can hardly wait!  The hammer to the left of the photo is the cutest little thing. Its a claw head hammer about 8 or 9 inches long.  The handle is wooden, and the head is metal, rusty, of course!

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Journeys,Unknown

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I have finally finished my little handmade recycled book.  I’ve called it “Journeys, Unknown.”  I used a cardboard box for most of the structure of this book.  I cut the box into smaller pieces and soaked those pieces in water and removed the brown paper layers and smoothed them out to dry.  Once dry, they were very nice flat heavy weight pieces of paper.  I saved them in a drawer for about a year, and then had an idea of how to use them!   I’ve used scraps of paper left over from other projects, found objects, leaves, twigs, stones, fabric, and broken crockery.

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This is the cover.  I made it from a piece of cardboard I cut from a box.  The little broken ceramic leaf was a small dish my daughter saved for me after one of her dogs swept it from a table and it broke.  She knew, as she said, that I would find a use for it!

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The back of the front cover.  A mushroom print I made on an old book page a few years ago one hot summer when I lived in Bend.  Another daughter and I went to the grocery and bought some large mushrooms and put them on pieces of paper, caps down, and left them for a few days.  This was the resulting print!  My computer is not processing the colors correctly, but you get the idea!

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Page 1 – I shared this previously.  A little carved rabbit, probably from some cuckoo clock I think.

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Page 2.

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Page 3 A.  A leaf I saved from my garden several summer’s ago.  I save them in a big book of Shakespeare.  This one was so thin, I tore it a little when I stuck it down.

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Page 3 B.  A couple of poplar leaves from Shakespeare.  Page 4.  A Gelatin print I did using a fossil saved from Fogarty Creek beach in Oregon.

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Page 5.  My favorite place.  The sea.  “…the sea whispers a cradlesong”

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Overlay leaf for page 6A.  I bought these years ago at some dollar store.  They were intended to us as a liner on plates for placing cheese upon.  They don’t glue down very well, and they don’t take printing on – so I glued the edges into a folded piece of brown paper and will sew them through the brown paper when I bind the book.

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Page 6 A.  A skeleton leaf my daughter sent me when I lived in Bend.  My daughters are always saving small things for me to use in my art.  The leaf is so delicate its like a fragment of lace.

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Pages 6 B Water over stones.

Page 7.  Recycled pieces of fabric, buttons and paper.  Darning is so beautiful to me in it’s utilitarian form , practical; but as art as well. “Darning our lives together with thread pilfered from our dreams…”

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Page 8.  Some scraps from leftover painted paper edges, torn into mountains, sky and foreground.

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Page 9.  Moths knocking against the screen on a summer night. “The moths have come calling, leaving their silver at the door.”

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Page 10 and page 11. “And the moth-hour went from the fields…” w b yeats.

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Page 12.  Seed pods and birds traveling on their unknown journeys.

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Another leaf overlay covers page 13.

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Page 13 and page 14 A.

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Page 14 B.

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Page 14 C .

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Page 15.  A copy of an old sketch I did and printed onto a piece of bright green vellum.

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Page 16.  These small journeys we travel without knowing where they may lead us; these journeys that connect us to one another, and to the greater mystery of nature.

Small Things of Wonder

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Moths bumping against the screen on a summer night.  Seeking the light from indoors.  What does it look like to them?  Is it a bright star they are mysteriously drawn to?Moment in Time 002

I’ve been working on another handmade book – a smaller project than the last one.  Was thinking about the little moments in-between the spaces of our lives. The small transitory and easily forgotten things we see in a blink and file away to be remembered or forgotten, but none-the-less, recorded by our brains.

This book is made mostly of recycled materials.  I used recycled paper from cardboard boxes that I soaked in water until I could strip the paper from the corrugated box sides.  Its a really nice heavy brown paper, that takes a lot of water and rubbing and sewing into without buckling or tearing.  I’ve had these small pieces saved in a box for the longest time – but I knew I would find a way to use them eventually!

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Found objects , leaves, stones, twigs, old pieces of darning…whatever seems right at the moment.  I’m sewing the pages together and binding it with cardboard backing.  For the backgrounds I’m using mostly watercolors and oil pastels – my two favorite mediums.  I’ve only completed a few pages which I’m sharing with you today.  I drew the moths on some scrap papers leftover from the last project.  I bought the bunny at a flea market – I think its from an old cuckoo clock.  He has a nice little red bead for an eye.

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The mountains were made from the paint over edges when I made paste papers.  They were the papers laying on the work surface to protect the surface from the paint.  I’d torn a piece from the edge and folded it down so it was the white torn side against the paste paper over brushing and I thought it looked like mountains.  I glued it over the scraps of over brushing, and painted it in blue, purple, and gray. I think it does look like mountains in the background, and strata in the foreground. I outlined the torn edges a little so they would show up more.

I’ve still got more to do – more to color  and layer over the brown base.

Journal Play

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Now that I’ve finished the artist’s book project – I’ve been cleaning up my studio room, and playing with paint and some fire in my daily art journal (which is rarely daily!)  I have a sheet of heavy paper that has strings running through it, and after I finished this profile sketch I decided to cut some holes in a strip of the paper, but the holes were too uniform so I lit a candle and held the hole over the flame for a second to burn the edges – I think it was just what I wanted to happen.  Before I did the sketch I had pasted down a bunch of leftover “aged” paper from the book project.  I love the brown color.  That little face upper left was a paint blob that I had to draw in.

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This was the same background, but I painted indigo blue watercolor over it.  I used the cutout circles from the strip I burned.  I don’t know what kind of paper it is, but I’ve had it forever and now I wish I had more of it, but I’ve no idea what its called.  If anyone knows, please let me know.  Its a natural color, heavy wt, but soft, and there are vertical and horizontal threads running through it.  It burns pretty quickly too!

These pages are 8.5 x 6 inches.  Handmade watercolor paper, about 200 lb.  Made in India.  Its very bumpy so it isn’t very good for drawing, but its very nice for watercolor and gouache.  Paint puddles and runs creating interesting patterns.  I used oil pastel, pencil and some brown and some blue watercolor for the sketches.

Messy Studio and Imaginary Flowers

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New page for the artists book “The Orphan Train”

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My studio is a big mess while I work on this project artist book, The Orphan Trains.  I’m going to share what a big mess I make when creating – I think because it really does bother me that I can’t maintain some kind of order when I’m creating!  I wonder if I had a separate studio that wasn’t an extra bedroom down the hall from my bedroom, would I be less constricted about mess making.  I think I probably would!

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My work table under seige.  The heavy iron/steel thing sitting on the red plaid paper is something I found at an estate sale – it weighs about ten pounds and makes a perfect paper weight to smooth paper or hold until glue sets!  I’ve no idea what it was originally intended for, but I use it all the time for weighting down glued pages.

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A close up of the paper I’ve been aging for this project.  I’ve squirted lemon juice on regular text weight copier paper and baked it in the oven til it reaches the desired aged-ness.

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The Dorothy Parker book has nothing to do with this project!

Now for something more fun than messy work tables!  Make believe flowers!

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I am ready for spring! Dreaming of planting my summer pots and creating my garden, I started to doodle some imaginary flowers that are unlikely to be found in any botanists catalog, or garden wish book.  Once I finish the  artist book project – I’ll begin to seriously do some gardening!

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A strange little kitty – not saying ‘hello’ either – maybe a naughty kitty.  I had to redo her eyes with a piece of paper pasted over the old ones.  They just looked too naughty! ( journal pages)

Winter, Sky, Trees, Moss –

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“Winter, Sky, Trees, Moss”   7×5 inches 8 pages.  Watercolor, collage, graphite, textile, paste paper.

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In Portland, winter can be mostly gray, and doesn’t change much from day to day.  It was supposed to be dry today with a predicted weak sun, but when I woke up this morning I could hear the rain on the street as cars went rolling down the road.  So another gray day.  But standing outside later, I saw such beauty in the drape of bare tree branches, and gray sky, and here and there the brightest little green tufts of moss, clinging to rocks, and the concrete stairs leading up to the street.  I love those little tufts of tenacity; clinging patiently through the dry times, coming carefully back to brilliant color in the rain of winter.

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