Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Digital Play



Once again, I'm playing away in Photoshop Elements. I'm relying on the tools I have purchased from the digital scrapbookers. They are amazing!!! I mostly use the products at http://www.designerdigitals.com/ featuring Katie Pertiet's designs. My goal is to create some digital pieces to use in DJ's class. These 2 variations of the same background photo I have used a clipping mask by Katie called Stamped Blocks No. 13 over my own photos.


Here is another using a bunch of scrapbooking images by various artists on top of a black background with a white heart.




Can you tell I'm having a ton of fun with this??? I can't tear myself away from the computer!




Saturday, December 26, 2009

A little snow, a little rain, a lot of love.....



I'm feeling a little pink today.....OK, I feel a little pink every day! Once again, playing with my digital tools and photos wishing DJ's workshop started this weekend where I have some time to focus. I'm missing my guy and I'm sending him out this message......xoxoxoxo

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Play Time!!!

I should probably be thinking more about Christmas right now, but I'm not. The shopping is done, the presents are wrapped, I'm lounging in my jammies reading the newest issue of Somerset Studio and sipping my BIG cup of coffee. I'm missing my guy who has gone home for the holidays. Hopefully next year we will be together.

I'm sooooo excited to start DJ Pettitt's digital workshop so I started experimenting with what I know. I can't wait to use all of my personal photos to create amazing images in DJ's style. Her work is absolutely amazing to me. I am 99% sure that I will be registering for the Digital Graphic Design Certificate that I have been mulling over, but I know that I will be more sure the more I play "layout artist and designer" in my little home studio.

Warmest wishes to everyone for the holidays! Don't forget to take some time out for yourself to PLAY!!!!
xoxoxox



Thursday, December 17, 2009

Photoshop Class by DJ Pettitt


Hey! Check out DJ Pettitt's new on-line Photoshop workshop!!!! I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think a lot of cool stuff will come out of this workshop and I have what seems like a huge library of photos that gets bigger every day to use. I took a workshop with DJ at Art FiberFest in Seattle in 2000. DJ is sooooo creative and she is one of my favorite artists!!! Check out her workshop and I'm sure you won't be disappointed!!

xoxoxox

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wide Open Spaces

This weekend I got a big dose of Pennsylvania! My boyfriend and I made a "quick" trip to Freedom, PA. What was to be a total of 18 hours on the road turned into 25 due to bad weather. On our return trip, we lost count of just how many tractor trailers and cars went off the highway due to black ice. I don't know how my boyfriend did it but he made it through 15 hours of driving coming back.

There is so much to love about this place, his home. Big hills, mountains, big trees and really big sky. Of course, the beauty is now faded but there are still traces of lush green Mountain Laurel, fields saturated with growth, and remnants of grassy rolling hills. If you close your eyes for a moment, you can almost see everything blooming and the smells and sounds of this place in the spring.

What really struck me was the sense of family that I got from this place. The togetherness and solid foundations that are all around us but we don't always get to see. Of course, the dysfunction of life creeps into conversation with concern, but in this wide open space, there was strong desire to "do it right" and make it really mean something. Kind of like a return to the way life and family should be. You don't feel that up here, or maybe it's just me who doesn't feel it. How weird that another place makes you feel like the pieces of the puzzle are first connected and built from this place. Tradition feels strong here. Again, maybe it is just me who has never moved past my own childhood traditions, built a family of my own and created those pieces of the puzzle that fit together. Was it selfishness on my part or just knowing that it was never the right time or right place. I think I lost that purpose somewhere along the way or all the paths I've taken made it seem impossible.

I hope I get to see Freedom in the spring, summer and fall because I know it will be beautiful in bloom. So much to explore....so much to make you feel good! I am at the end of my 2 classes this week....WooHooooo!! I need to play with my art supplies and get back to where I was 7 weeks ago. And most importantly, I've got some serious time to spend with the most important man in my life xoxoxo

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall's Bounty


I can't believe it has been a whole month since my last post! So much has changed in my life over the past month and a half! The only regret I have is that I didn't try harder to get outside to take pictures of the beauty surrounding me. The highways here are some of the best for foliage and my daily commute has been endlessly sprinkled with shades of cinnamon, amber, golden yellow, apricots, deep red and a huge range of greens. Soon we will be seeing the skeletal remains of these beautiful trees in stark contrast to sunny and sometimes gray skies.


I remember when the fall used to bring with it feelings of regret and loss regardless of its abundant beauty. My experiences this fall overshadow all of the negative feelings associated with this time of year. It has clearly been a season of renewal, change, enlightenment and bliss.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Apple picking

I love peaceful Sunday mornings. The sun is shining bright through the blinds of my bedroom window pushing me out of my coccoon where I'm all wrapped up listening to the crows make a ruckus through the open window. The air is really cool and starting to get crisp in the mornings; a good sign autumn is on its way.

Today the family will be apple picking - a perfect day for it! Dad's band will play and my nieces and nephews will dance around in front of the stage. I really appreciate these times and try to capture every smile and every experience they encounter along the way. JH is coming with us subjecting himself to all the craziness. LOL This amazing person came into my life only 9 days ago, but strangely enough, it feels like we've been together for a few months at least. I feel like a teenager all over again lost in all my feelings and the butterflies in my stomach when he calls or sends me a text message. I love how all those favorite songs make even more sense or take on a whole new meaning specific to someone new. Still, in all the excitement there is a level of maturity in this connection that I haven't felt before but that is refreshing, comforting and welcomed. I've always believed that I wouldn't find "that person" until I was in my 40's because of so much of my own soul searching, figuring out what I wanted out of life and what defined me as a woman. I think it is true that you don't really know yourself until these years. You look back at life, your experiences, your mistakes, your achievements, your passions and, like a short film, you can see who you are and how you got here and everything that molded you into the person you currently are; you know what you want, what you will accept and what you won't. It's a wild ride but a very necessary one. Yet, in all the preparedness of the years spent getting to this place, I can't help but feel unprepared, blindsided, stepping on certain rocks on the beach that will keep me from falling into the water. Fate, destiny, a higher power or just plain coincidence brought us here. Where we go from here, no one knows. I will take one day at a time, savor each moment, and treasure each memory and know that even if it doesn't go the distance, the ride was so worth it. xo

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday night inspiration

I haven't been too creative this weekend due to the general drama and the passing of my little man with his golden eyes and Batman-like ears (lol). It's time to pull out all the pictures and put them together in a collection of memories from happier days.


I am loving the Adirondak Color Washes by Ranger. I was totally inspired by two artists, Roben-Marie Smith and Dina Wakley, who use these color washes in beautiful ways in their artwork. I've been inspired by color and pattern and the funky versatility of these washes. I've only experimented with them on paper so far but I plan to move on to fabric shortly. I'm challenging myself to leave a lot of white space in my little creations but, as you can see, it's not working out very well. I'll just have to keep playing until I run out! It's so easy to get carried away with a wet brush after spraying. I'm working harder at layering and I feel like that is improving at least.

Have a great week and stay INSPIRED!!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saying goodbye to an old friend

The closest I will ever get to being a "mom" was the 7 years I spent living with this amazing dog, Dylan. Dylan is a Pit Bull which is a challenge for anyone who wants to make this kind of dog a part of their family....but he was. My ex-boyfriend had adopted him when he was approximately 6 months old and boy was he adorable! Dylan grew into a 65 lb lap dog. He was never vicious towards people and most everyone loved him. What is amazing to me is that during his entire life, his schedule never changed. Morning and night, we were all devoted to his needs and to this day, that has never changed. The one time he had to stay with friends because of a wedding in Montreal that we had to attend, he was so emotionally upset that he didn't eat for 3 days. We never went anywhere without him again. Dylan has always been so flexible to the life changes of his Dad. Dylan adapted to wherever we were or he was, new apartments, new areas and two trips across country to Arizona and back. As long as his Dad was there, life was good. I think back to how many life decisions were made to accommodate Dylan and personal sacrifices that were made to ensure he was safe and happy. But isn't that what it's all about. This beautiful doggy soul who unconditionally loved both of us and who could never live without his Dad, his soulmate, his world.

Today, I have to say goodbye to this beautiful animal that was a significant part of my life for so many years who I always considered to be my child. It won't be easy, it won't be without regrets, but it will be all about Dylan and his comfort, peace and all of the love that has surrounded him for 12+ years.

Goodbye Dylan, my little man, may Heaven be as good to you as your Dad has always been.
xoxoxoxoxo

Monday, August 31, 2009

My Inspiration


I just realized that I have been using the new CED theme "inspiration" for September and we aren't even there yet. Ok, tomorrow, close enough! There are so many things that inspire me but one of the biggest is nature. I love looking at a flower up close and carefully digesting subtle color changes, every vein of every overlapping petal and the amazing textures of them all. I tried to create a simple journal page (on a piece of cardboard) using only a few colors and highlighting one of my flower screen images.
"nature captures my attention as fast as a million spores releasing from a dandelion bloom"

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bautista Style and CED "Inspiration"

Back in 2005, I traveled to Seattle for my first time to attend the ArtFiberFest retreat hosted by Teesha Moore. I took workshops with DJ Pettit and Traci Bautista and the third workshop escapes me at the moment. I am a huge fan of both these artists as they are huge source of inspiration for me. I continue to watch for their upcoming workshops hoping that there will be one I can attend here on the east coast.


During my workshop with Traci, I made the most adorable journal book that was put together using dyed papertowels, stamped cardstock and various other special papers including some of Traci's artwork that had been copied for us. I have yet to finish the spine of the journal but I look at it frequently so that I won't forget how it was put together and I love all the fun colors and uneven pages in it.


Yesterday, I couldn't help but want to play with black and white collage images, most that I have created myself. It's very important to me to be able to develop my own images to use in my artwork and Photoshop Elements has helped me do a lot of this. I took the black and white collages and stamped, painted, and added lots of color then pumped up the saturation in PSE. I plan to make some more of Traci's adorable journals to give as gifts and these will be the covers. Here is a pic of the journal made in Traci's class and two of the collages I worked on yesterday.


Unfortunately there won't be much play time today as housekeeping responsibilities and the beginning chapters of International Management will fill most of my day. (I really can't wait to be done with those classes.)

Hope your day is inspirational!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Closing the weekend...


It's Sunday night, still humid and rain showers start and stop while the crickets chirp non-stop; summer nights. I know as soon as the 3rd or 4th snow hits the ground , I will be wishing for more of this heat. (The first few snow falls are exciting and romantic but the rest give way to the bleak, gray days of winter.)


I can honestly say I had a productive weekend. I started with screenprinting my weeds and wildflowers, attended a Virtual Art Picnic (great job Leah!) and finished by laying out my screenprinted images in a format for an art quilt. I am really excited about the potential for this project and the off-shoot of various other projects using the same format. I'm trying my hardest to keep my eyes open to prevent Monday from arriving, but I know it won't be too long now before I crawl under my clean sheets and succumb to the sandman.


Here's a peek at my screenprinting endeavor. Lots of great images to work with!!!

Margaret




Saturday, August 22, 2009

Virtual Art Picnic

What a fantastic experience!!!! I highly recommend the Virtual Art Picnic for everyone. Leah was a fabulous moderator and she led us through her essential elements to consider for the VAP and led us through a short meditation before we started creating. The plan was to work fast and intuitively, not think so much about what the finished product should look like. Just PLAY!!! So I did!!! I wanted to focus on the color pink. I started by grabbing a couple of faces from magazine clippings and b/w flower images, which seem to be consistent in my artwork, and layered with paint, paper and stamps. This is the better of the two that I worked on together.

It was a great experience discussing the experience with the others on the line from OH, FL, VA, UK, MA and MN. It was a great small group and fun to listen to the experiences of each person and how their time breaking away from the group for an hour was spent playing and being creative.

Thanks Leah, great time, great experience and I plan on spreading the word!!

Margaret

Transitions....

I can't help but look ahead to the fall. I am an autumn kind of person always feeling really connected to the change of seasons from summer to fall. Refreshing, renewing are just a couple of words I associate to this time of year. There was a point in time where fall left me really depressed. I think a few significant events had occurred in the fall season and even though I would look forward to the change, I was burdened with old ghosts and couldn't fully embrace what I loved about the season.

More so than any other season do I feel the opportunity to start again new in the fall. In one way, it is time to regroup. Time to wrap up and summarize like some fiscal year-end. But along with looking back comes a strong sense of looking forward and beginning anew. Today, I find myself wishing for these feelings of transition to begin. I know I won't feel the change until the leaves begin turning and the mornings become cool and crisp, but I will be here patiently waiting for it. Until then, I have to remind myself to live each day and find something beautiful in it. Today, I start with the Virtual Art Picnic, led by an amazing artist, woman and creator, Leah Piken Kolidas. I'm hoping to get a jump start on my autumn transition through letting go and playing with a group of other creative people. Check out Leah's website here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Penobscot River - Castine, Maine

Remember the sense of wonder as we discovered beauty in the simple things. I can't explain exactly how it felt, but this weekend was an amazing journey of exploration, self-discovery, bonding and nurturing. This truly is a special place to be, to learn and to grow. The Penobscot River is the longest river in Maine named by American Indians meaning "waters of decending ledge". It is this river that has captivated my family for years. We grew up here summer after summer and I consider myself sort of a half-time resident. There is nothing more beautiful than this place. It will stay in our hearts forever. This weekend we got to share it with my niece and nephew who have never been there.



They loved it! They opened their eyes, explored the beach, tried new exciting things, hung out with their cousins and played, swam and played more! This place does that to you. As a child, I remember singing songs I made up down at the beach when I was alone. I saw one of my nieces doing that same thing and it brought me back. It brought me back to the millions of memories I have about this place, it's beauty and all it has to offer; the seagull that would eat out of my grandmother's hand when she called him, the crab apple tree which was the location of many crab apple fights, the rolling lawns where we played croquet with all of our cousins, the big rock that I never climbed because I was too scared, and the big rusty boat.



New bonds were formed, endless hours of sight seeing ending in icecream on the dock in Castine where the boat owned by the Maine Maritime Academy, the State of Maine, is docked. They were drawn in by it all. Engrossed in digging for clams and finding flat rocks to paint. Jumping off rocks into the salty water. Watching the sun set across the river until everything turned black only lit by the millions of stars in the clear sky. They are under the spell cast upon all of us who know and love this special place. They too can feel the excitement, wonder and peace pervading their bodies and drawing them in. They had a taste of what we know and experienced year after year, summer after summer and they will want to return as many times as they can to get their fill. And we will bring them here to this special place so they too can feel the magic.










Saturday, August 8, 2009

Weekend time....


It is absolutely beautiful up here in the northeast today....all sun, light breezes...perfect summer day. This weekend promises lots of creativity. I was up playing with PSE until midnight last night so I can tell I'm off to a great start!

There is only so much time left before I have to finish up my last classes for school. I'm charged up to get it done but really hate the lack of creative time I will have because of it.

Make the most of your time today!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Maine....where life is perfect

It's almost that time again......
to revisit childhood through every smell, sound, feeling, touch and taste
to take long peaceful walks along a special beach on a foggy morning



to fall asleep listening to the fog horn across the water
to watch lightning and hear the thunder from distant summer storms

to smell the delicate mix of salty air, grassy fields and fresh lobster
to hear the heron, ducks, seagulls and seals as they go about their busy days


to see the beautiful sunsets across the water

to just be a part of this place forever ingrained in our hearts

Thanks for a lifetime of memories
Nannie and Fadder xoxoxox

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fields of Envy

I can't tell you how good it was to get up this morning, make some coffee and sit down at my worktable and paint. What a difference there is in how free I feel right now and how I felt a month ago. Surrounded by peace and calmness, I can focus and think and let myself be guided by the moment. A combination of feelings are wrapped up in this simple display but I love how easy it came to me. I think I might even start to get up extra early on the weekdays to begin like this. I know it will be harder to tear myself away from it to go to work but what a way to start the day! Maybe I will get myself into journal mode afterall.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Design Wall

All in a day's work. Ok, I'm good to go now. My design boards are up and everything is off my worktable. Ready....set....GO!!!

Sunday in the summer...



We are finally having some real summer weather here in the northeast. It's sunny and hot and I am hiding inside in the a/c still in my jammies. I've been trying to organize my new studio space and today I will be finishing my design boards so that I can hang up pieces as I work on them instead of spreading them all over my work surface.

My goal within the next month is to come up with a fiber art project/article that Interweave will want to scoop up! There is no excuse now. I have the space and can focus so before other grown-up responsibilities take over, I'm going to get something done. I've got lots of ideas, just need to bring them to fruition.

Here are a few pics from my new studio. I'm actually trying to hang up some of my finished pieces and will post more pics when the design wall is complete. Happy Sunday!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Off and running.....

I'm having lots of fun now that I've got a little bit going. Once it came to me, I just kept going. Not sure where these collages will end up, but I'm having fun thinking about it! I really like the rust colors on the left but the hot pinks and purples of the silks are fun too! I think I'll go in for some hand embroidery and beading and see where it takes me.




Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Studio, New Screens

I'm settled into my new apartment and once again have a room dedicated completely to my art stuff. I finally have that freedom and personal space to work on new ideas and spread my things out without having to clean up for dinner. Yesterday, my friend Claire and I went to www.friendsfabricart.com in Lowell so I could make some long awaited thermofax screens for some new ideas I have and then we had a fabulous lunch and christened the new art room. It definitely needs some improvement for 2 people to work together in this space, but for now, I couldn't be happier with it.

Here are examples of a couple of my new screens applied to fabric. I'm loving this t-shirt!!! Time to get busy......



Sunday, June 28, 2009

Goodbye June

I can't believe that June has passed so quickly. There are so many birthdays and events to get through but I've made it. Today was a total "me" day just playing with my PE7 that I just installed and playing some of my favorite tunes. I've been concentrating so hard on the layers and brushes that it's already after lunch and I haven't even had breakfast.

The next week will be relaxing through the 4th of July and then I will begin packing everything I own for my move on July 11th. A daunting project at that. I just keep thinking of how wonderful it will be to have my studio space again. My creativity has definitely been surpressed and I can't wait to break out!

I have a wonderful idea but it's still developing......using my photos of flowers in stitch. I'll just keep the idea brewing until I can really jump in mid July. Till then, I'll just keep making new brushes to use in PE and designing new thermofax screens for use in my new studio space.

"It is the month of June, the month of leaves and roses, when pleasant sights salute the eyes and pleasant scents the noses."
Nathaniel Parker Willis

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday


Playing with a little digital tonight. You can tell I'm still not a pro! I've been going through my flower photos to make some into thermofax screens. I'm really hooked on nature and the simple beauty found there. Of course, I wasn't as productive as I hoped to be this weekend. My art quilt friend, Amy Ropple, gave me a beautiful journal for my birthday and I gessoed a few pages that I intended on working on but didn't get to for more than one reason. I need some serious privacy to work on those.

It's going to be raining again all week up here in the northeast. I'm close to giving up on summer. There have been more rainy days than sunny ones and even though I can play inside, it definitely elevates the mood when the sun is shining.

To all the dads out there, change more diapers, play more games outside with your kids and give your wives lots of credit. Keep up the good job!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Life

I don't actually know what I want to write about today, I just know I need to write. I didn't have a chance to be creative this week. What I am finding out about myself is that I can't create with other people around me even my art friends. It must be necessary for me to explore freely in the solace of my own head, in my own space without being watched, talked to, distracted, etc. I think back to the times that I have been my most creative and I had a space to be completely alone, I was alone or I had been able to shut everyone out. July will bring change to my creative space and I think I will be able to focus more. I'm finding out a lot of things about myself lately. Some good, some bad. We aren't perfect and I believe that my intent and actions have been based on my compassion and generosity; however, that doesn't mean they were right. I think with my heart; not with my head. That's a dangerous thing for me since I can't see past my own shadow. I can't act so quickly. I have to give myself a chance to work through the unknowns so as not to make stupid decisions. At my age and thru all my past experiences, you would think I knew myself well enough to anticipate my own needs. Maybe that will come at age 50.

Anyway, feels good to get these thoughts out of my head. A little sunshine today will do everyone a lot of good. I'm going to think about the beautiful things today and how I can use them in my artwork.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Video Prompt 2




I took the time to cut a design out of freezer paper and tried using it a few different ways. The beginning image is a beautiful scroll like image but there was almost too much detail left and it was hard to work with. I will definitely be cutting this one out of stencil material because I can see using it on a lot of projects. First I tried using the Shiva Paintsticks with it and that wasn't fun because the freezer paper came away from the fabric too easily and I was afraid I was going to break the thin lines. Next I used it with a sponge and paint. Lastly I used my screen with it. The screen actually worked the best because I wasn't directly touching the paper. I'll be playing some more. I haven't drawn with my non-dominant hand. That is next!



Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rainy Week

There is nothing like the simple beauty of a flower to brighten a rainy day. Lots of rain this week in Boston and the only way to overcome the blues is to surround myself with images of blooming flowers. Lots of flowers!!!!

I'm loving the details of flowers I have taken pictures of up close. The sheerness of a delicate petal overlapping more petals and layering upwards until the color blurs together in a wall of pale purple and pink. I'm turing some of them into line drawings to use in fiber art. Of course, I'm not going to be able to hold myself back from making some screens of these. The ideas are there and I just need some time to empty them onto fabric and paper. And I'm not limiting myself to just flowers. There are an amazing amount of intricate leaves and weeds that tempt me with their structure and color transitions. Each little detail creates more and more inspiration. Hopefully I can take some of this inspiration and generate something that will surprise myself. Until then.....I'll just listen to the rain and look at my beautiful flowers.



Sunday, May 31, 2009

Chicken Run!

These adorable little guys are baby chickens that my sister and her family have adopted to save money on eggs?????? Actually, they are really cute (right now) and a few are very curious of the many hands in their cage. These 8 chicks could potentially lay an egg each day (provided none are roosters). My nieces and nephew will take good care of them. My brother-in-law has already built them a premier chicken coop where they will live once they are mature enough to be placed outside.

Tomorrow is June 1st. I can't believe we are already almost half way through the calendar year. Here in the northeast, the weekend has been beautiful but we are due more rain this week.

Waiting for Friday :)



Saturday, May 23, 2009

Finished!!

Yeah!!! 11:30 and I'm posting my finished art quilt using Melanie Testa's techniques from her new book, Inspired to Quilt. I can see many areas that I need to work to improve, but it's a good feeling to see the project through! I finished the quilt by whipstitching the edges in embroidery floss that matched the colors in the quilt. I like the technique, but it takes sooooo long. It's a much better finish than the standard and I like how it blends into the whole. Time for bed zzzzzz


Friday, May 22, 2009

Video Prompt - Inspired to Quilt

I have made some stamps and used them on some sample pieces to see how they look. I really like the bud one. What do you think?