Saturday, July 31, 2010

30 Journals 30 Days

Being passionate about art journaling, I have been reading the “30 Journals 30 Days” series that Connie over at DirtyFootprints-Studio has been doing for the entire month of July. She’s covered many of my favorite art journalers and, as an added bonus, for the 31st day of July, all art journal junkies such as myself were invited to take part in this wonderful series…so here is my installment:

How long have you been Art Journaling?

I have kept a “diary” off and on for as long as I can remember but those consisted of only written word with the occasional doodle in the corner or along the edge. It wasn’t until 2008, while taking an online course with Suzy Blu, that I began to doodle in earnest and those doodles slowly turned into what my art journals consist of today.

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How has art journaling impacted, changed or enhanced your life?

I have suffered from depression and panic/anxiety disorder for over 20 years and have found that through my art journals I get so much relief from those horrid disorders. It is a private place (if I choose to keep it that way) that I can play, write what I want, experiment, say whatever is on my mind, empty my brain, go into a zen state that allows me to find some peace in the midst of the chaos that the world around me can be so full of…it is my place of solace. In addition to the health and creative benefits, both of which are huge to me, the art form has introduced me to some of the most awesome artists in the world. It is a common ground that I share with some of the very coolest and creative people around and that has opened doors of friendship and learning that I never would have found any other way.

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What are a few of your favorite Art Journaling materials to use?

I have so many supplies that I love to use such as: acrylic paints, gesso, Sharpie water-based paint markers, magazine clippings, copies of my own photos, stamps, Staz-On inks, rub-ons, gel medium, collage pauge glossy or matte, Prismacolor colored pencils, Sakura jelly roll pens, Caran d’Ache watercolor crayons, Sumi ink, Portfolio water soluble oil pastels, Pan Pastels, Uni-ball Signo UM-153 White pens, letters and words cut from magazines, scrapbook papers and old text pages from books. Whew! That list could go on and on forever but I’d say those are my very favorites.

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Who are some of your favorite Art Journalers?

There are so many Art Journalists that I absolutely adore but my favorites would have to be, in no particular order:

Mary Ann Moss
Traci Bautista
Samantha Kira Harding
Teesha Moore
Ingrid Dijkers
Pam Carriker
Violette
Vivian Bonder
Dina Wakely

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What kind words of encouragement would you give to an Art Journal newbie?

Don’t worry about what the pages you create will turn out like, just go for it…smear your paint, play with your lettering, let yourself just relax and enjoy the process. Watch Youtube.com videos for ideas on different techniques but don’t worry yourself with trying to be perfect or recreate something you’ve seen…make the techniques your own. Make friends in the art journaling community and ask questions (we are some of the friendliest artists you’ll come across.) You will find your voice if you just keep at it…just keep playing and let it come and it will.

Live Well 

Where can we find you…give us some link LOVE???

My Blog, Craft Therapy
My Flickr
Twitter
Formations (my Art Journaling Tumblr)
My Etsy

Visualize

Short Bio:

Although I am originally from Hope, Arkansas (home of Fmr. President Bill Clinton, and yes, I do knoIMG_0462w him), I now live in Northwest Alabama, about 2 hours southeast of Memphis, Tennessee. I am a wife to the love of my life, mother to my two grown daughters, Nana to my precious grandboy, Noah, and step-mom to my autistic teenage son, Chad. I adore my family, even when they are my biggest stressors. I just celebrated my 45th birthday but I don’t feel like I’m 45 (except physically); I still feel like a kid inside.

Art is a huge part of my life and there is seldom that a day goes by that I am not creative in some way, often within the pages of my art journals. I paint, collage, draw, doodle, sew, make jewelry, revamp thrift store finds, and do some creative writing and am learning bookbinding. I love the creative process and hope to continue learning, experimenting and creating for the rest of my life.

I am currently working on my first Art Journaling workshop to be offered online as well as an Art Journaling eZine to be offered monthly beginning in the early fall.

My video (the only one I’ve done so far…but more are coming soon!):

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into me and my art journaling.

Back with Supply Saturday later this evening.

Peace & Love,
Barb

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Trying to Shake it Off

I don’t know how many of you, my faithful readers, deal with depression but I suspect that the number is somewhat high…those with a creative/artistic side tend to also have issues with depression. I don’t know why those two aspects of our lives or personalities seem to go hand in hand but I’ve had more than one psychiatrist tell me this very thing. *shrug*

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My point in asking is that I have been dealing with a huge funk. Not just a little “feeling down” but an all out, don’t wanna get out of bed, can’t find any point to my days, hurting all over and just feeling like I am letting everyone around me down, including myself. It’s all but impossible to find your creative mojo when you’re in the midst of feeling like every bit of life has been drained from you and you’re just hanging on by a thread.

That is exactly how I’ve been feeling lately. I try to hold my chin up and “fake it ‘til I make it” but even that’s not working this go ‘round. I enjoyed my little trip with the hubby for my birthday but the enjoyment was only momentary…once we were back home, real life came crashing down on me and the funk hit harder than ever.

I don’t like coming here and being a downer but this is life, MY life, and I feel certain there are some of you out there that share this awful malady with me so you can understand where I’m coming from, right?

I’m doing all I can to snap myself out of it…I take my meds (oh gawd, do I ever take meds), eat right, rest good but those things aren’t doing what they usually do to help me.

I just know I’ve got to find some peace…

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So I decided to try another path…Today I got up at 5:30am (like most every other day) but I had decided that barring some crazy electrical storm, I was mowing our very large yard (about 1 1/2 acres)…and by gosh, I did it! Not only did I mow but I trimmed about 1/3 of the hedges (and I WILL finish the rest of them tomorrow morning), gathered all the fallen limbs into a pile to be burned later this week, sprayed weed killer along the fence line, cut a path through the bamboo, washed out the garbage cans and even got the outside of the fence next to the highway mown, too. About 5-6 hours of yard work done today and I feel so very accomplished!

I don’t know if it has doing anything for my depression, I’ll have to wait and see, but I feel tired…that good kind of tired that tells you that you’ve been busy and you’ve worked your muscles out more than they’re used to being worked. I think I needed to push myself into having this kind of day today…

Now if I can just push myself into working in my art journal for a while this evening, that would be killer.

I hope your Wednesday has been a good one.

Peace & Love,
Barb

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Supply Saturday 1.6

I’m excited about the supplies on this weeks list because I’m not sure that everyone has heard of them and I love being the one to introduce y’all to something new that is really awesome!

Also, today is my birthday…or as I like to refer to it: the 6th Anniversary of my 39th Birthday. Yes, I will remain 39 forever and I’ll just be having anniversary celebrations from here on out. Truth of it is that I just don’t feel like I should be 45…seriously, how did that happen? Just the other day I was in my early 20’s and *whoosh*, here I am at 45. Talk about freaky, it just doesn’t seem possible…but I guess it is.

0061793000000-ST-01-Da-Vinci-EaselMy two daughters, son-in-law and the precious grandboy got me TWO easels for my birthday.  YES, two…a full size studio easel as well as a tabletop easel…I am so psyched! 

How can you not love getting gifts that are exactly what you  wanted? Also, youngest daughter took me to the bookstore (my other downfall next to the art supply store) and bought me Creative Wildfire by L.K.Ludwig as well as the new issues of Art Journaling and Somerset Studio. I couldn’t be happier and feel so loved and special. Tonight the hubby is whisking me away for some peace and quiet time just for the two of us…dinner out and staying somewhere away from home. He said he also has something else for me so who knows what that might be but it’s sure to be wonderful. He’s just that kind of guy.

YAY for birthdays…urm, I mean anniversaries. *grin*

Anyway, how about I quit all the yapping and get on with the reviews, right?

PanPastel Artist Painting Pastels – I have always loved the soft 21934-1109-3ww-l color that pastels impart to artwork but every time I had tried using them, they got everywhere but never stayed where they were supposed to be. That was before I found PanPastels! Each PanPastels still impart that soft color that pastel colors are known for but these are made using a different type of binder so once they are down, they don’t easily come off. The fun thing is that they can be removed with a regular eraser if you change your mind about color or placement or if you want to put a sharp edge to your work. They are highly pigmented with gorgeous colors and very low dust, too. They are available in 80 colors and, according to the PanPastel site, each pan contains 9ml (0.30 fl oz) of color - 40%* more than the average pastel stick, and yielding approx. 4 times more coverage. I love that they come in stacking, screw-together pans which protects them against breaking/crushing. I also love how working with them (they come with sponge like tools and you can buy other sponge tipped “brushes”, too) is like painting but they are even more workable than paint (and certainly more than regular pastels). Additionally, they are completely compatible with most other kinds of media, plus is that they mixable and easily removable. On a scale of 1-10, I give these great PanPastels a 10…I can find no pitfall to these wonderful pastels, they are just awesome! (Yes, the initial cost is a bit high but because they go so very far, they will last far longer than regular “cheap” pastels so they are actually more cost effective in the long run.)

Scotch® Permanent Glue Sticks – I’ve tried tons of glue sticks and adhesives in my art work…the high priced ones, the cheap ones and mmm600824s_2_1 everything in between but through all of them, I’ve yet to come across one that works any better than the Scotch Permanent Glue Sticks. They grab on fast, create a super strong bond, easy to work with, inexpensive, easy to find and they’re safe for children. They are great for papers, photos and fabric. These great little glue sticks are acid-free so they are safe for all your artwork and scrapbooking and will last for years and years. They’re photo safe and non-toxic so you can’t go wrong in choosing to use them. You can easily find these babies in a two pack for under $3.00 so that makes them super budget friendly (and who doesn’t love that?) On a scale of 1 to 10, I give the Scotch® Permanent Glue Sticks a solid 10!  When it’s time to grab some new adhesive for your artwork, go for the Scotch brand…you won’t be sorry and neither will your budget.

I hope you have found something this week that you haven’t tried before or maybe a little money saver for your billfold, something we can all use these days. If you’ve missed any of the past Supply Saturday posts, be sure to check the link at the top (right below my header) for the supplies I’ve reviewed in the past…and thanks so much for your tips and ideas on products to review. Keep ‘em coming.

Now, it’s time for me to get ready to pack for our little getaway so y’all take care and I’ll be back with you in a couple of days.

Peace & Love,
Barb

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My First Video

I finally found some great video editing software so that I could edit and compress videos to upload them to Youtube and share them here. (I’m using VideoSpin by Pinnacle and it’s not only fabulous, it’s free!)

Anyway, this is my very first one so the quality isn’t great (y’all be kind, okay?) but I will work on it so the next ones will be much better.

So, here goes….

I hope y’all like it and you’ll take the time to drop a note on youtube or leave comment here on my blog. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks and y’all have a great rest of the week! And don’t forget about Supply Saturday…some great supplies on tap for review this week.

Peace & Love,
Barb

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Supply Saturday 1.5

With the limited budget around here these days, I’ve not been buying any new supplies but I do have this huge stockpile of things I’ve bought in the past, lots of which I’ve never used until I began this little adventure on Saturdays.

I’m finding things in my stash of supplies that I didn’t even remember buying…isn’t that crazy?

StazOn Ink Pads - I love using stamps in my journals and art work stazon-pads but so often you’ll stamp something and then when you go to layer some acrylics over the stamped image, it just smears or fades. Not with StazOn Inks! Once you’ve stamped your image or used the pad to distress your journal pages or art pieces, it’s not coming off. I can’t imagine using any other ink pads ever again, StazOn is just the best there is, period! I will admit that they are a little expensive but if you want your artwork to last, you can’t afford not to use these great inks…and truth be known, their price is comparable to any other ink pads out there anyway. You can also purchase the refill bottles at a good price so you don’t have to keep purchasing the pads. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give StazOn Ink Pads a solid 10.

Prismacolor Double-ended Art Markers – Because I love everything prisma_markers48 I’ve ever bought that is made by Prismacolor, I thought I would love their double-ended markers…but I don’t. Although their color palette is beautiful, they just don’t have the staying power of other markers I have, namely Copic. I am a huge fan of the Prismacolor colored pencils and feel certain there is not another pencil out there that has their intesity of color…but their markers? I’ve had bad luck with smearing when I use them in my journals and collages, not to mention that I’ve see them fade over time…neither of these being something I can overlook. I want my markers to put down lasting pigment and, unfortunately, the Prismacolors just don’t do it. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give the Prismacolor Double-Ended Art Markers a 5…the color palette is fabulous but the price is high and the staying power low. (My suggestion for a great marker that won’t let you down is Copic brand…those babies last and last!)

There you have this weeks Supply Saturday. I hope these reviews give you all an idea of what supplies are worth spending your hard earned money on and which ones you might want to pass on by.

Want to know about a particular supply? Leave me a comment and I will gladly do a review of it in coming weeks.

Peace & Love,
Barb

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Outlets and Ideas?

Just a little journaling I recently completed. IMG_0372I love my art journal…it is my constant friend and my outlet…we all need an outlet, right? I have so many page backgrounds done and ready for artwork and journaling…none of that blank-page-fear to get over when I have beautiful painted pages just waiting on me. Ahhh…

Another outlet I’ve found is www.750words.com. I’ve tried doing morning pages as described in “The Artists Way” but writing longhand is very hard on my hand since the rheumatoid arthritis started (yea, that’s a whole new …besides, it takes me 45 minutes to write three pages longhand and I just don’t have that much time in the mornings. Typing on the laptop is so much easier on my hand plus I can knock out 750 words (which, by the way, is the equivalent of three pages longhand) in 15 minutes if I have no distractions.

Yeah, I am loving it.  It is really freeing up some of the space in my overloaded brain and that is helping me tremendously.

If you’ve ever wanted to do morning pages or if you are like me and your brain is way too full and you need a place that’s totally and completely private to dump some of the chitter-chatter that is rattling around up there, 750 Words is THE place to do it. Give it a try and I would bet that after 2 or 3 days of writing there, you’ll be hooked like I am.

Anyway, this is my last full week at work. I am having to quit working because of my health…and that scares me. I went for a year without working (2007-2008) but I never thought that it was permanent. This time it probably is for good. My health just isn’t what it should be for me to work day in and day out.

I know that I’m very lucky that I have a husband that loves and supports me, emotionally, financially and wants to see me be as healthy as possible. I feel so fortunate because I know that there are many out there that don’t have that kind of support.

Just letting you all know that I will be around much more in the coming weeks and months than I have been in the past since I will be home, taking care of myself and doing lots of art, not to mention taking care of home and family. I think that is a huge plus to the situation…being able to focus my time on my art and taking care of our home and those I love.

I also know that losing my income will be tough  on us until/if I can get my disability. That is the part that is scary. Not only have we cut our bills each month by $600 by ridding ourselves of some unneeded expenses but I have a plan to help generate income…Ebay, Etsy, my artwork, giving some classes online and locally, and baking some goodies for local restaurants that need pies/cakes for desserts. Every little bit counts, right?

If you have any other ideas of ways for me to earn cash, drop me a note or leave a comment. I’d love to have your input. You know what they say…two (hundred) heads are better than one. LOL

So, that’s what’s going on with me. Just a little update into life in my neck of the woods. I hope all is going well with each of you.

Oh, don’t forget to leave a comment with your ideas…and thanks!

Peace & Love,
Barb

Saturday, July 10, 2010

(Super) Supply Saturday 1.4

Since I’ve missed a couple of weeks of doing Supply Saturday due to being gone, I decided to make up a little for those missed ones by doing a Super Supply Saturday today! Lots of goodies to be reviewed today so let’s get at it…

Fabriano Artistico 140# Hot Press Watercolor Paper – I told y’all back when I was making my quilted fabric covered journal that I was going to review this heavenly paper so here it is! I would never have found this luscious paper  had it not been for my utter love of Teesha Moore and her journaling process and this is the paper that she uses and loves, so I tried it. I have to agree with Teesha, this paper really is fabulous!! It has a feel that I can only describe as being the silk of papers, smooth to the touch and just fabulous to work on. I’ve used every type of medium on it and it takes a real beating and it stands up wonderfully. It’s substantial and thick but no so thick that you can’t work with it, takes water media without pilling like other papers can do, doesn’t tear when used in bookbinding, is uniform and smooth which makes working on it heavenly. I guess my main downfall would be the cost factor (we all know I’m the cheapest of cheap)…this paper is very expensive, comparatively speaking. I seldom spend big bucks on art supplies (mainly cause I don’t have big bucks but still…) but this is one supply that I will spend money on, it’s worth it to me to have a great base to do my art journaling on. If you’re a cheapo like me, check out the great sales that Dick Blick or Jerry’s Artarama runs and grab some that way…that’s what I did and it has been well worth it. So my rating for Fabriano Artistico is a rating of 9 out of 10 (cost being the ONLY downfall of this great paper for me.)

Reynolds Freezer Paper – I know that you’re  probably looking at those three words and wondering “What in the hell is she thinking?” when I list freezer paper as an art supply but seriously, this is one of my all time favorite art supplies. I love that a household supply that is so readily available (in the US, at least) can be used for such an awesome amount of things in the studio. I love to make t-shirts and other stenciled fabric items and nothing beats Reynolds Freezer Paper for making leak proof, iron-on stencils. If you don’t have access to a silk screen machine (is it a machine?), this is the most awesome way to go! (For more info on how-to, check out my tutorial on using it to create your own stencils HERE.) No studio should be without a roll so I give Reynolds Freezer Paper a 9 out of 10 (only because of how time consuming cutting the stencils can be.)

Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Watercolor CrayonsThis is another of those wonderful art supplies that, in my opinion, no art journalist or mixed media artist’s studio should be without. I’d bet that the very first art supply we all used when we were little was crayons but these babies definitely ain’t your kindergarten crayons. I love the fact that they can be used as wet or dry media, they are soft enough to blend and smudge easily with your fingertips, they have such vibrant colors and they can be easily used as a water medium. When I art journal, there are times I need a good smudgy bit of color here and there and my Neocolor II’s are always my choice supply to grab (and my cheapo Portfolio Water-soluble Pastels, too)…if you haven’t used them, try ‘em. I guarantee you’ll be hooked. I love to trace around images with a similar color to the image, then smudge it with my fingertips to give that image depth and character. If I don’t like it, I can grab a wet paintbrush and it becomes a watercolor that I can paint into the background. How can you not love that? Yep, one awesome supply for any artist. I give Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Watercolor Crayons a 9 out of 10 with price, once again, being my one reservation…but sometimes you really do get what you pay for, and these babies are well worth the money, in my opinion.

Koi Fillable Watercolor Brushes – As much as I love the idea of having a portable source of water to use with my watercolors (or my Neocolor II’s), these brushes that are touted by so many as being great, aren’t great to me. First, the price is exorbitant for their quality. The best price I’ve found them for is $6.00 each but I paid $7.50 for mine 6+ months ago and I’m thankful I only bought the one. The flow of water from the Koi brush is inconsistent, no matter how you try to be consistent with your pressure…meaning you get floods of water one time and you’re dry brushing the next with the same amount of pressure. The idea is ingenious, I will give Koi that much, it’s the follow through in production that fails the test for me. I give the Koi Fillable Watercolor Brushes a 3 out of 10. (If you’re looking for something more affordable that does the trick, try the Aqua-Flo Watercolor Brushes ,-that’s clickable, btw; they come in a set of 3 for less than $4.00 and their flow is great!)

Well, there you have it…a Super Supply Saturday! Lots of supplies reviewed and maybe it’s given you some insight into some supplies you have wondered about. Please, leave your suggestions for supplies to review in the coming weeks…I promise I’m going to be more consistent with my Supply Saturday posts from now on.

Peace & Love,
Barb

Friday, July 2, 2010

Be Gentle with Me…and Each Other

Be kind

I have to be honest, when I get an email notifying me that I have new comments here on my blog, a huge smile comes to my face. I am no different than anyone else, I love to get validation and to know that y’all have been here reading and visiting. It really does thrill me and I see no shame in telling you that.

When I visit other blogs and leave comments, I always make sure that my words are full of support, kindness and come from a place of honesty but also of gentleness. I don’t remember ever commenting on anyone’s blog with a snide or snotty comment…my Momma told me “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” and I suppose I try to live by that, at least in blogland.

Well, not everyone seems to feel the way I do about commenting on each others blogs. Someone took the time to leave a comment on a very old post of mine and went about instructing me as to how what I made wasn’t craft worthy and went into a bit of a tirade about legalities and such. (The post is HERE if you care to read it…with the anonymous comment left intact, too.)

I don’t moderate comments except on entries that are older than a week (otherwise I might miss them) and I publish everything that is said to me, good or bad. You don’t have to like everything (or anything, for that matter) that I share here…but c’mon, if you’re going to comment, leave your name and don’t do it anonymously. If you believe in something, stand up for it and leave your name. I’m a big girl and I can take it, really.

Also, know that I am human and make mistakes…and I try to learn from them, too. I won’t take that post down because it was what I did at the time but if my anonymous commenter had taken the time to look around they would see that I have followed up that post with another one admitting my mistake and doing my best to correct it.

I guess I’m just feeling a bit touchy today but this just really got under my skin. Don’t people have anything better to do than search the internet for people to harass?

*sigh*

Okay, I’m done venting.  But if you feel the way I do and you like the little graphic at the top, grab it (right click and save) and post it on your blog…just a little reminder to be gentle with each other as we travel this journey called life.

Peace & Love,
Barb

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Digging Deeper

Some days I tend to focus on my family here, other days it is more about my art, and even others my health or the topic of du jour…I like jumping around like that; it’s how life really works, especially mine. LOL

Lately I have been doing lots of deep thinking, probing what is important to me and where I want to go with my life. WOW at the things that have crossed my mind in the past couple of weeks.  I promise that you’d all be shocked at the craziness that can often worm its way into my brain sometimes.

One topic I keep coming back to in these “thought sessions”  is the art of living well.  By that, I mean living the best life you can possibly muster and doing it with intention, kindness and grace…eyes wide open and allowing myself to be vulnerable. I think that it is only when we are truly vulnerable that we can really gain the most that life has to offer; we have to be willing to risk ourselves fully in order to reap the greatest benefits.

I have been making huge strides toward being brutally honest with myself about everything…making amends to those I have hurt in the past, doing better at being in the moment with myself and with those I love…I guess you could say I’m just trying to be the best me I can be.

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But who am I really? Is it sad that I am soon to be 45 (in 23 days, OMG) and I am still not sure who I really am? I mean, I know who I am but I have this deep seeded feeling of being incomplete; of not fulfilling my passions in life. *sigh*

(By the way, that’s the final page in my Moleskine so it’s time for me to start in my quilted fabric journal…YAY!)

Anyway, I am working on making some decisions about where I want to go and what I want to do…my health is a contributing factor in my thoughts, too. My art is huge in my thoughts and how I can share my art and my love of creating with others. Just so much to consider.

Another project I am working on right now is an art journaling ‘zine. I thought it would be a good time to do one as I ponder these thoughts so I can share some of my insights and ideas as it relates to art journaling, my true passion. I’ll let y’all know when I have it finished and hope you’ll all grab a copy.

Right now I think I’m going to go and do a journal flip-through video of my Moleskine to share with you, too…I’ve never done a video.

I’m off work until next Tuesday (thank you Independence Day holiday!) so I WILL be doing an expanded version of my Supply Saturday post this week to make up for my lack of one the past couple of weeks. Oh, and I’m wrapping packages and going to the post office tomorrow with goodies for all you winners in my giveaway…thanks for being wonderful and patient with me.

Peace & Love,
Barb

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