Sunday, January 21, 2007

Original postcard

I'm still under the weather! Have been for days and just when I started to feel better I got the notion to lay more brick down in the courtyard area between the house and the casita/guest room where mom mostly resides! When will I learn to wear a mask while doing yardwork, especially while working in the dirt?!?! The dust stirred up allergies and flu-like symptoms to the point that all I want to do is to crawl into bed and sleep. Darn fibromyalgia!

I can't be sick! I need to have my wits about me (what's with "notion" and "wits-about-me?" How odd that those phrases lept into my foggy-brain!) this week for the long drive to Rancho Mirage on Tuesday for another Thyroid scan that Stacy's new doctor seems to think is necessary. The last scan was a 3-part one that took two days to do. A lot of driving back and forth, so I has happy to learn that this 2-part one can be done in two hours. Stacy will have a shot and then we can go up the street to lunch at The River Mall and return two hours later.

Next weekend my youngest grandson, Matthew, turns one! How can that be?! Where in the heck did last year go?! Stacy and I will drive to Redondo Beach on Sat. and come home Sunday evening. My aunt and uncle swear they'll keep an eye on mom. I'm counting on their promise! I'm not looking forward to the 2+ hour drive though, but it will be great to have a change of scenery and perhaps a glimpse or two of the ocean!

It's difficult to tell, but the red stamp on the postcard (above) is the same bird image used for the focal point. Thank heavens for PSE! I can play for hours on the computer creating OOAK pieces! I'm not fond of abbreviated words or phrases, but sometimes a fabulous one comes along. "One-of-a-kind" is one of those cases when an acronym is even better than the original phrase. It's sublime to create Oh a k's! How can one not feel Okay while creating? I truly believe that Art Heals! It's during the pauses from creating that FM takes a strangle-hold on me.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Is it real ephemera?

Is it real ephemera?

Nope, it's not real in the sense that it's old or found. Those pesky checks keep arriving in the mail, you know the kind that credit card companies would love us to use! I ripped my name and account number off of a couple of them and went to town with paint and instant coffee. The backside, on the bottom, turned out better than the front. I love recycling junk!

Being that I've been a bit under-the-weather lately I've spent a lot of time reading blogs and it seems that there are quite a few creative types in the world who are examining their need to purchase the latest techniques book along with it all of the necessary supplies. Perhaps you've noticed how some of the same techniques make the rounds every few months and then die down only to be fueled by someone's interest a few months later. Why not take one technique and own it in a way that no one else can. Read: Scroll down to "Let's try this again" Jan. 16th post. If you've put yourself out into the world by offering techniques or workshops then you understand where Nina is coming from. I've had ideas "borrowed" over the years and it nearly destroyed any further sharing with the art community. It's not easy coming up with an original take on something especially with all the yahoo groups, blogs and web sites springing up daily. But by thoroughly exploring a technique that excites you perhaps you can create a look that says "you." How often do you see a piece of artwork and know who created it before you even see the artist's name? Suggestion: Use techniques not to emulate someone but to expand your own creative vision.

How does one go about finding a technique to explore? In no particular order:
1. Go through your art supplies looking for clues.
2. Make a list of the supplies.
3. Colors and ephemera will provide some clues.
4. If you have more paper than fabric or vice-versa that will obviously be the area that speaks to you.
5. Play with a few techniques you've put off exploring, you know the ones you've marked in books and/or magazines. But first cull through them to find the similarities of which there will be quite a few. Combine ideas and start playing.
6. Keep notes in a blank journal. Scan or photograph your techniques-in-progress so that you can follow your progression. (I've posted lots of scans over the years that show my progression, check out the EV files)
7. Make a list of supplies needed for the techniques you want to explore and if you don't have them "look" for alternative supplies. This is how you can "own" the technique. tip: I don't have even one glaze type of paint in my huge collection of paints, but I do have lots of cheap acrylic paint and a jar of glaze medium meaningthat I have all of the glazes I might ever need. Mix the glaze with acrylic paint to the consistency that suits your needs.
8. Don't be shy about posting your experiments. We can all learn from them and put our own take on them. Creative coaches will tell you"take what you can use and leave the rest behind."
9. Cease feeling left out of the loop if you don't try the latest technique making the rounds; a creative path isn't about the next high it's about your own journey.

Creativity, as has been said, consists largely of rearranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know. Hence, to think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted.
George Kneller

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Original postcard

This postcard came together fairly easily by using portions of envelopes that have arrived in the mail. (yep, I save them!)
"To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk."
Thomas Edison

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Rather than make a card for a special friend's birthday I created a small collage. These colors keep appearing on my palette . . . see below.

"Man's mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimension."
Oliver Wendall Holmes

Yesterday afternoon I had just scanned something I'm working on for a collection of personal ephemera when things erupted once again! Stacy has Petite Mall seizures nearly on a daily basis but there are signs that when I see them I know we're in for a Grand Mall and that happened yesterday. We ended up spending 7 hours in the ER before the doctor was satisfied that everything had been done to prevent another one or even worse the possibility of bleeding out if she injured herself internally! Her potassium levels were low so she was on a two-hour drip to bring that up followed by an hour drip of Dilantin because her levels were low due to the dialysis treatment she'd had earlier but it was the Vitamin K level that really threw me. We'd received news the day before that her vitamin D levels are extremely low and that most likely if she fell she'd break something again, but just knowing that not only might a bone break but she might bleed out to the extent that she might not survive . . . It wasn't a good couple of days!
We were just leaving the ER when the doctor stopped us to say that he'd prefer that Stacy had a CT scan and a shot of vitamin K before we went home. I certainly couldn't disagree with him so she got back into the award winning hospital gown and had the CT done. We didn't get home until midnight making for a lost day of energy today. The ephemera scanning didn't get done today, but I'm hopeful that tomorrow will be better.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Voodoo's cousin

"Do not fail to draw something every day, for no matter how little it is, it will be well worth while, and it will do you a world of good." Cennino Cennini, 1370-1440
The same thing could be said about photography. Photograph a little something everyday.

A storm is brewing today; I heard that the Banning Pass on Hwy 10 has been dusted with snow. It's cold enough which is a huge contrast from 82 on Monday down to 54 today. On my way home this morning I stopped to photograph the Voodoo Palm Tree with the cloud backdrop and realized that I hadn't photographed its cousin yet. Perhaps I was waiting for the perfect lighting or backdrop.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Collecting postmarks could be addictive! There are four postmarks on the altered piece on the right, two of which are new. The white Norwalk postmark is dated Dec. 1965. When I was packing for the "Move-of-the-century" I discovered a forgotten dusty Whitman's Sampler box full of postage stamps, first editions and a few postmarks. I didn't have much of a stamp collection as a kid but I'm glad that I kept them! Who knew that I'd have an interest in creating postcards, certainly not I.

The altered piece started out life as a photograph I took of a wood crate. I've used sections of the photographs in numerous pieces and probably will continue to do so. The postmarks were scanned on my fabulous new Epson 4490 scanner! And then turned into PSE brushes. I love brushes! I've started saving brushes in folders in Documents and opening them individually when I want to use one rather than going through the frustration of trying to locate them in the PSE brush palette. Simply 0pen an image and then define it as a brush. Course I've "enhanced" the images before saving them to use as brushes. I've been altering/changing images since my days of doing darkroom work when I used mostly black-and-white film.

A dangerous place to visit is Postcard offers is especially if you enjoy altering postcards. I made a few small purchases today.

If you enjoy listening to interviews with artists:

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Rancho M.

We had an epic windstorm yesterday! The dust swirling across open land gave the scenery an "aged" look much like the photo to the left. We could certainly use some rain to clean things up!

Rancho M. is directly across the road from where I took some photos of the voodoo palm tree below. This is sort of how I envisioned the desert to look like until our arrival here 3 months ago. There are more planned gated communities than old homesteads so I figure that if I don't get busy and photograph the few I've seen they'll be gone soon.

I've been re-scanning cabinet cards that I'd purchased last year at the Antique Mall in Monterey (boy do I miss visiting that place!) and discovered that quite a number of them were missing. Three weeks later they've turned up. So much for organization! When I was unpacking and putting things away in the drawers in my new desk an entire folder of photos ended up with the stencils and cardstock. Good thing I needed some cardstock today. It was as if I'd lost family photos when I couldn't locate them. Six months after the computer crashed I'm still re-scanning things.

Postcards are proving to be an interesting challenge. They look simple, when in fact they take more planning than I seem to have patience for today. Maybe I should heed Einstein's advice: Things should be as simple as possible, but not simpler. Perhaps I should simplify my approach.


Monday, January 01, 2007

Greetings 2007!

Perhaps the "dry spell" is over!? Since Aug. 14 I haven't been able to create or think about art and that was beginning to send me into fits of despair! Without time to create I become cranky and depressed! Thankfully, I was able to photograph both my old and new surroundings! Cameras have been my salvation since I was 7 years-old when I received my first Kodak camera. I can't imagine life without a camera.

My youngest daughter received a new camera for Christmas and for the first time in years I felt a pang of jealousy! She's never studied photography and will never use all the features on the camera. Then I began thinking about how my little digital Nikon has become an extension of my way of seeing and the jealousy disappeared.

Just before midnight I put some finishing touches on the mixed media piece I've been struggling with for the past few weeks. Or, at least I "thought" I had put on the finishing touches! Today I'm not so sure. Perhaps I need to live with it for awhile before deciding if it's truly finished. The piece was created with the "A2Z" theme in mind.

I've started a new art journal after a 4 month hiatus! I usually glue a 6x9 inch envelope onto a page for each month to store loose ephemera in. At the end of every month my oldest daughter receives a statement from the Ins. Co. about her prescriptions and it fortuitously comes in a 6x9 white envelope. Recycling at its best!

My move from the Monterey Peninsula to the Coachella Valley (ocean to desert) caused not only a dry spell of my personal work but also for the yahoo group I founded three years ago this month. But perhaps the dry spell was needed in order to generate a new approach to my work. In this case I'm leaning towards working on 4x6 inch surfaces that just happen to be a postcard size. It's said that collecting postcards is the third largest hobby; very apropos for ExpressionVillage's third year! Various techniques will be explored that can be used to create not only postcards but larger pieces as well.

My favorite collection of postcard art is Lenore Tawney's book, "Signs on the Wind."