Sunday, January 29, 2012

Studio Sunday

YEAH!!!  Studio Sunday!!!  Lots of time to play....Lots of ideas....and heat and sunlight LOL
In follow-up to yesterday's post, I printed a section of my design out on fabric and incorporated it into a journal art quilt.  It is not yet complete, but here is the WIP. 

So you can see just how easy it was to go from a paper cut to an interesting piece of fiber art. The manipulations are not advanced. This was done with Photoshop Elements 7, a scanner and a printer.I plan on adding some light stamping on the green section and some hand stitching and beading.  Right now I am going around whipstitching the edges with embroidery floss.  (I really need to get my serger threaded LOL).  

I am happy to say that I am currently working on my first on-line workshop!!!

Creating Personal Imagery

 I expect it to be launched sometime in March.  Stay tuned for all the details.

I was thinking this morning that it would be good if I provided a little more of my process around creating personal imagery using paper cut stencils.  Below are two examples of two paper cuts and different looks created using simple manipulations in Photoshop Elements. 

As you can see, depending how you layer, crop, resize your image, you can create a whole variety of images using just one.  The best thing about this process is knowing that each paper cut stencil is completely different from the others.  You couldn't possibly replicate one exactly by randomly cutting.  And, it is exciting to see what that final open image looks like!

Below is my most recent journal page using paper cut hearts and my Thermofax screens.  I've got another idea for using Thermofax screens for art journalling.  Stay tuned......

I hope your day is filled with lots of creative activities!

Margaret Applin-Happ

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Doodling and Paper Cutting for Design

It's Saturday and sunny in the studio!  That is always good for encouraging fun design play.  Remember a couple of posts ago when I was talking about the cool books by Kanako Yaguchi about paper cutting stencils?  Well, of course I had to get her second book, The Art of Decorative Paper Stencils 2 (Quarry Books) because I was inspired by her first book and, well, you know how that goes!  Find it here.

The thing that I really like about playing with paper-cut stencils is how it prompts more ideas for developing personal imagery.  The digital layout above started this way...

First, I took a piece of paper, folded it once and randomly started cutting leaf-like shapes into it so it looked like this.


When I opened it up, I had a new shape. 
From there, I traced a line around one edge of the image, extended the curvy lines, scanned that line into the computer (which could more easily be done if you have a Bamboo tablet to draw from, which I do but was too lazy to find) and that line was duplicated, flipped and joined to the other one.  So, in essence, you have a symetrical design.  The image was then filled in black, converted to a brush in PE7 and repeatedly stamped across my layout.

When I settled on my new image layout, I then stamped other brushes I created in white to create this distressed version with flowers, doodles, scratchy lines and other marks.  This entire layout was transformed to a brush and I used it between some layers on the final image above.

hmmmmm.....I'm thinking new Thermofax screen????

Monday, January 23, 2012

Quilting Arts TV Series 900

Guess what I got in the mail today??  The new QA TV 900 series!  Woohoooo!!!  I was so excited that I had to break open the package and watch my two episodes (902 and 908) at work!!  I tell ya, these TV production people are amazing at what they do!  It is very hard to watch yourself on video and since this was my very first time, I just keep thinking "silly girl, what the heck did you say that for?" LOL  I was super surprised when I opened the case and found that they had applied my cover image to all the CD's as well!  I consider myself so darn lucky to have been able to have the opportunity to film for Quilting Arts/Interweave.

I'm going to go jump into my PJs and bed and watch as many episodes as I can tonight to since they are all jam packed and loaded with fabulous artists and projects!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Catch Up

I think I am over my dry spell.  There is something to be said about a large chunk of uninterrupted time and the ability to focus solely on art.  Maybe this week I will fire up one of the sewing machines too!  Here are the finished journal pages plus a couple more to be filled in with my thoughts. 

Have a great week and have fun creating!!!  I will be diligently working on my first newsletter, a little later than I had planned on getting it out, to be sent out in January!  Stay tuned!

Studio Sunday

I am here!  And I am getting warmed up!  It feels good this morning, slowly delving into art play.  The sun is shining through the slider, my spaceheater is helping warm things up and color and pattern once again are inspiring me.  I'm just playing on paper right now creating a few journal pages.  Using my Thermofax screens, I am layering the patterns along with paint to see what I can come up with. 

They are not finished yet, but it has been a good use of time getting acclimated to my new studio space and placement of all my tools and supplies.  As I reach for things, I realize how the flow of the room set up is working or not working and I can re-position storage to work better for me.

Yesterday, I went in search of a large drapery rod for the slider in the studio and found it and this great little book as well!  You know I'm always looking for ways to create personal imagery and this book on how to cut some simple paper stencils is a great resource!  The cutting patterns are shown and ways of folding the paper.  I think this might be a great RE-starting place for me to come up with some more designs that I can manipulate digitally.  Check it out!!!  The Art of Decorative Paper Stencils by Kanako Yaguchi.

Well look at that!  She has a second book as well.  The Art of Decorative Paper Stencils 2.  Really, take a look at the Amazon links to see inside both books.  Below is an easy stencil I just cut and sprayed with Adirondack Color Wash spray.  I see LOTS of potential with these!!!

I hope everyone is spending some part of today being creative!  Thanks for standing by while I get back on track!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Welcome to my new studio!

I'm back, in body but not quite in mind.  A week after the move and the boxes are mostly gone, things are mostly in a place, and the worktable is up and open and ready for lots of creative production.  As I look around me, I wonder how I had most of this squished into a room that was maybe 12 x 12 feet.  So who wouldn't feel like their creativity could explode in all directions as the environment and space exploded to accommodate all that room for new ideas?  I have learned more about myself every day through this transition.  Some of those things include:
  • the size of your space doesn't necessarily change the amount of creative ideas that flow
  • my studio is, and always will be, an organized mess
  • large periods of separation from my artistic self are detrimental to my creativity
  • all I really need in life is a bed and my studio
  • an abundance of light is key to my artistic development
  • space heaters, fingerless gloves and clogs are absolutely necessary studio tools
  • I feel like I have taken many steps backwards as an artist and I am totally unconnected from my path
I try to stay as positive as possible when I am sharing and posting on my blog and because of this, I have not been able to post this past week.  I feel like I am sitting in a cloud of negativity and wherever I go, it follows.  I know that once I feel re-connected to my art and my soul blooms again, that negativity will dissipate. For now, I have to slowly weave the threads of that connection back together.

Enough with the philosophy!  Let me tell you about my lost clogs LOL  A few months ago, I purchased my first pair of Dansko clogs from the Walking Store.  The became a part of my body because they were so dam comfortable, I wore them to work and everywhere else (I have always worn heels and nylons to work )!  Well, I packed everything for the move and I remember packing them, as well as my socks, and wouldn't you know I can't find my clogs or socks anywhere!  So finally, after wearing nylons and heels again at work for a few days, I gave up and dropped another $125 on a new pair and had to buy new socks too!  My first pair were flat black so I purchased a different style this time, in case the other plain ones show up eventually.  These have a cool embossed texture all over which you can see here.  My lower back pain has significantly minimized since I have been wearing them so I swear by their support!

 In desperately looking for my clogs, I came across a couple of boxes with art dolls in them.  Some I made and some I purchased and I hope to pull them all out and display them at some point.  This one I wanted to show you because I thought how fabulous this design and marketing idea was.  Tricia of Art Propensity had been making these art dolls a number of years ago.  She had some amazing dolls in Art Doll Quarterly at one point.  These dolls she had designed as a set of jewelry.  The head is a pin that is sitting on a wire neck, the bracelet is around the doll's waist and the earings hang from the doll's hands.  The base is a box that opens for other jewelry storage.  How creative is that??!!??  So I have this doll sitting just behind my computer to inspire me.  This next pic is of my new fingerless gloves that I have on in my studio and probably will until June when it finally warms up down here.  The store these came from is called Little Missmatched and it is adorable!  Tons of mis-matched socks and things for kids (or petite adults) LOL!

Here are shots of the studio with most stuff put away.  I pinned up a lot of pieces to my design boards to see if I could put myself back on track and I'm looking at it often hoping that something grabs my attention.

I pulled out the watercolors last night for a while.

The tunes are cranking as music is such a necessity to me.

I had been collecting jars and at some point plan on putting beads, buttons and ribbons in them for a functional display.

My space heater is going on high, my gloves and clogs are on and I'm ready.  Unfortunately today will be a little crazy and I won't have much studio time until tomorrow.  Promise to post!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Gaining Ground

Well, it was and still is quite a move!  Honestly, I don't know how I managed to pack up my world and clearly I'm still having problems unpacking it.  I've worked myself to death and now I'm sick.  My body has been screaming at me to slow down and I didn't listen.  I plan to be in my studio creating by next weekend so stay tuned.  I need to go lay down and rest and hopefully brainstorm over a few ideas.  Here are a few pics of my new studio space at the moment.  Ughhhh

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fast, Slow and all Speeds In Between and New Studio

Here we are, sinking deeper in to January.  As I sit here with my second cup of coffee, in my studio, I'm thinking about events this past week that have altered or re-directed my life as I know it.  The thing that stands out the most for me right now is the pace of my life.  It's funny how the times you want to move faster, move too slow and the times you want to slow, speed up.  Kind of like Fridays at work where you just want to get through the day so your weekend will begin, or when a plan of action requires immediate response and there isn't enough time to slow down and think it all through. 

Luckily, I am a child of change.  I love it.  I think that is why I am constantly bouncing from one thing to another in my art - changing things up, mixing and experimenting until I come up with something new and then begin changing everything all over again.  This can be both good and bad as new ideas appear through this process, but sometimes I don't give those new ideas time to develop before jumping on to the next.

This week I needed some serious downtime and I took the opportunity to take an on-line class called Doodle Art With Me by Cathy Bluteau offered at Creative Workshops.  I love her doodle art work that I first discovered in one of the issues of Art Journalling.  Check out her blog (linked to her name here) so you can check out her work.  It's totally fun and freeing and colorful!  It just plain makes me happy!

Here is my first WIP from last night.  I still need to add dimension to this, and shadows and highlights.  Don't be surprised if I start another instead. LOL  Cathy uses Copic markers and I don't have any so I used my watercolors. 

This week will move at a very fast pace as I will be moving somewhat unexpectedly.  My husband, his son and I will move to a house a few towns away from where we currently are.  At the end of next weekend, I expect I will be situated in my NEW STUDIO with lots of new space to fill with working surfaces and blank walls to adorn and a lot more breathing space!!!  I can't wait to get there, re-group, and slow down.  In the meantime, there is so much that has to change including my e-mail address and mailing address on absolutely everything!!!!  If you need to get in touch with me for any reason, use my Gmail account address: I will also post it on the top of my blog as well.

So needless to say, you might not hear from me for a week until I get everything set up.  I will be back tomorrow for Studio Sunday so see you then!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Studio Time

Well, yesterday went well and I made some progress on ideas.  I'm still working on my birds but I did screen print and begin a should bag that isn't quite finished.  The background started as green and white and then I layered background designs and my flower and botanical screens on top.  It's ok, not great, but we'll see where today takes us!

Here is a shot of the botanical layering:

I plan on trying this out on paper and painting around all of the flower images kind of in the style of Flora Bowley.  I like how what is left is just the flower images themselves and the layers of texture within them. 
This new tile Thermofax screen is fabulous!  You can line up the prints and create a beautiful overall pattern.  

I left this design highly detailed and you can see the really thin lines in the print.  It's one of my favorite designs.

And lastly, I had added some French knots to the centers of the flowers here.  I painted the flowers with a layer of Lumiere Pink Halo Gold (my most favorite color) and you can see the sheen in the picture.  I want to finish this collage off but I am still developing my ideas on this one.

Have a creative day and I will check back later!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Studio Sunday 2012

Welcome 2012!  I still can't believe we are here!  I was thinking yesterday of how I had to work on January 1st, 2000 due to the Y2K scare and to think that was 12 years ago already!  It is really hard to believe just how fast our lives move and even more important is our need to connect with family, friends, and ourselves each day.  In 2012, I resolve to:
  • show my love more to my family and friends
  • keep the peace in relationships and let go of regrets
  • create more harmony and balance in my life
  • practice good health
Do you have any resolutions?  I would love to hear them!!

BIRDS are on my brain right now.  Literally!  And as I am writing this post, the sun is shining brightly through my studio window and every once in a while a bird will land on the tree just outside and begin chirping.  And I stop...and just listen...because this is one of the things in nature that amazes me.  These little bodies of life and energy that symbolize simplicity, freedom and peace to me, that fly all around us all the time yet are so easily ignored. 

So today in the studio, I will be playing with images of birds.  I have a Thermofax screen with a variety of bird images on it and I printed some yesterday to get some ideas going.  Before going to bed last night, I painted a large piece of cotton fabric with gesso and the green paint above and I am going to screen-print all over it and see what I can make from it.  It might be another shoulder bag or something else, we will see!  I was tied up yesterday so didn't get much done but today and tomorrow are all mine!!!!

I expect I will have more to show tonight and tomorrow so stay tuned!  If you haven't seen my post from yesterday, don't forget about the FREE SHIPPING coupon for all orders in my Etsy shop!  There are brand new screens in the shop and I'm sure you will find something you like!  You can find the coupon code on yesterdays post!

Today, as you recover from last night's celebration, think about what 2012 means to you and how you want to live out this new year!