Friday, November 27, 2015

Painting Pottery

I have not blogged in several weeks but that does not mean I haven't been doing anything fun. One of my latest obsessions is painting pottery at an area "paint your own pottery" shop called Pot Spot.

The last time I was there I tried a technique called "sgraffito" for the first time. Sgraffito is a technique where you apply different color underglazes and then use tools to scratch away areas to create your design.

This square plate is my first attempt. I used several different tools to get a feel for some of the different marks you can come up with.

For my next piece I painted this oval platter and added a few more colors to the mix. The image on the left is before glazing and firing and the image on the right is the finished piece.

What a fun way to spend a few hours time. I can hardly wait to go back!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

according to plan... not so much!

My last couple projects have taken so much longer than planned and this week's flower project was no different.

I bought a pottery flower a few weeks ago and, of course, after getting it home I wished I'd bought a couple more so I thought I would make some with polymer clay. How hard could it be, I thought.

I started out forming all the little pieces. No problem, going great so far.

Next I baked them and that was all fine - still going great.

When they were cool I painted them with enamel paint - still going great.

I was excited, they were looking so fun. After letting the paint dry I popped them in the oven to set the paint. But when I pulled them out of the oven, half of them had lost all their color! Hmmm... 
(note to self - next time read instructions on the paint bottle)! 
I had to repaint them all and this time did not try to set the paint in the oven.

OK, now on the the finishing work. Of course that took way longer than expected also. I spent an entire day assembling them and floral taping the stems. 

My quick little project turned out to be a 3 day ordeal but they look kind of cool in my latest "paint your own pottery" vase.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

must have toys

Just over a year ago we became grandparents for the first time. Like all good grandparents, we bought a few toys to keep at our house.

And then we bought a few more toys, and a few more and pretty soon they were spilling over the basket. Of course I could have just bought a larger basket but where's the fun in that? Instead I found this great antique cabinet.

The only problem was I didn't like the paint color so I decided to give it a face lift. I was thinking mustard would be a nice color.

Normally a coat of paint would not be a big deal but this little project went on a little longer than planned.

I've been hearing so much about the wonders of chalk paint so I figured I would give it a try. We needed to stop at Menards for a few things so I got my paint there. I picked out a color as close to mustard as they carried in chalk paint.

I started painting about 9:00 last evening and after the first coat of yellow over the barn red it looked a mess. By the time I did a second coat I realized this was not a mustard color, it was more of a sunshine and lemon drop yellow and  there is no way I could have looked at it every day and liked it. 

Being too impatient t wait til morning, I called our local Walmart to make sure someone was working the midnight shift that could mix paint. They assured me there was so off I went in search of mustard latex. 

There was someone working that knew how to mix paint but something went wrong with the recipe apparently. When she finished shaking the can and opened it to check the color it was a pale butter shade. She said she would try again but first had to go help another customer with something. Again, being impatient I didn't want to wait for her to go help someone else so I went to the craft aisle and found a softer yellow premixed chalk paint and headed home.

Still not the mustard color I'd hoped for but workable. After 2 kinds of chalk paint, distress ink, Stazon ink, acrylic paint and wax I finally finished and I love it (and now have a great place for toys)!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Imagine Flowers

Today I took an online class by Sandrine Pelissier called Painting Flowers from Imagination

I wanted to share my first painting with you.

I can hardly wait for tomorrow to go back and try it again.

My thanks to Sandrine Pelissier for this class as well as all of her other videos and art tips that she so freely shares - you are appreciated.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Every New Beginning...

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end  -  Seneca

I've been playing along with a Facebook challenge group by Tracy Scott to create 100 faces. I started my faces in November of last year and finished my 100th face for the challenge this morning.

She looked a little melancholy to me, kind of sad that the challenge was over (yes, I know I sometimes read way too much into things). Anyway, I'm pretty sure the expression meant I was not done with faces yet. So... I am going to do Sharon Tomlinson's 100 face challenge as well.

And I am off and running - meet #1.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

just face it

I spent a day at the pottery painting shop last week and I received the anxiously awaited email over the weekend that my project was ready. I could hardly wait to go pick it up this morning.


It's one vase, I'm just showing all sides. 

Having so much fun with this new obsession; we are going back this weekend!

What are you doing today?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Everything Happens for a Reason

If I ever thought much about my motto for life it would probably be that everything happens for a reason; we may not always understand the reason right away (or ever) but there is a reason.

I just got home from having lunch with my brother and sister in law, Arvid and Shirley. While we were waiting for our meals, Shirley handed me a pretty gift bag. She said she saw this and thought of me. As I opened the bag she told me the story behind the gift.

Shirley and I have thrift shopped together quite a bit and she knows I am always drawn to hands. She is also and avid garage sale shopper, so when she went to a garage sale of a woman (Kathy) and saw these hands she bought them for me.

Have you ever met one of those people who, for one reason or another, almost feel like they have a more direct line to God? Well, for me, Kathy is one of those people. She has touched my life in many ways over the years and each time I've always felt a spiritual closeness with her.

A few years ago Kathy worked at the assisted living facility where our mother spent the last months of her life. When Mom passed away it was during a shift that Kathy was working and it has always been a comfort to us knowing that Kathy was taking good care of Mom as she passed.

So when Shirley went to Kathy's garage sale and saw these hands she bought them for me as a reminder that Mom was being lovingly cared for by Kathy's hands as she left this earth. 

When Kathy put those hands on her garage sale she probably didn't put a whole lot of thought into it. But when Shirley bought them and now gave them to me it all came full circle. 

Everything happens for a reason.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Make Your Mark(er)

A few people have asked for a tutorial about how I've been doing faces with markers so I've done a short step by step in pictures.

I started with a 4 x 6" index card which I had already covered with assorted acrylic paint.

These are the supplies I used.

Step 1. Lightly draw the face.

Step 2. Use a white Sharpie paint pen to highlight a few areas (forehead, nose, cheeks, eyes, chin, throat, lip, neck). Next use 3 Permapaque markers (I used brown, orange, peach) and color a small area in the hollow of each cheek. Blend with a white Permapaque marker. You can add more color as desired. If your white marker picks up too much of the color on the nib, just scribble on a blank paper until it is clean.

Step 3. Similarly to the face, color areas of the neck with the same 3 colors using the darkest color for the most shading. Once again blend the colors with the white marker.

Step 4. Use dark blue and light blue markers for the eyes and begin shading with a charcoal pencil.

Step 5. Use the charcoal pencil to outline face, neck, lips, eyes, hairline. Do a little shading and contouring with charcoal pencil and use a cotton swab or your finger to blend.

Step 6. Finish the background. Use a black Permapaque marker on the bottom section and before it dries wipe it with a tissue. Use a white Sharpie paint pen for the top section. Put down a few drops or scribbles of paint and spread with your finger. For the midsection draw a strip of orange and then blend with the yellow marker. Outline and add details as desired with a black gel pen. Edge the entire piece with black ink (I used Stazon). Enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Excuse my absence

Gosh, it's been such a long time since I've blogged anything I debated over even posting today. Obviously the "yeas" beat the "nays" and here I am....

In the Spring I worked on a big (big for me anyway) sewing project that sort of took the wind out of my sails for a bit. I guess I was so excited about it that when it was finished after several weeks it was sort of like the let down after Christmas or much-anticipated birthday, I went sort of blah for a bit.

To the rescue, Tammy Garcia of Daisy Yellow fame once again hosted her Index Card a Day (ICAD) challenge; that kept me occupied during June and July.

I won't post all of the 61 cards, just a few from the pile. If you have never played along with this challenge I would strongly encourage you to play next year. All it takes is an index card and whatever medium you like to use. 

I started out the ICAD challenge using a variety of paints, markers, stamps, etc on my cards. Toward the middle of the challege I got in the habit of working on my cards in the evening while watching TV. I have a little basket with a bag of markers and a tin of pens, pencils and such that I can carry around the house with me. In the marker bag are several Permopaque markers that I had really not spent a lot of time using until now. While doing my ICADs I finally started using these markers and my Sharpie paint pens and got hooked. 


I ended up with a great system. I would get several cards prepped with gesso and acrylic paint or a little paper collage and keep them in my basket so in the evening I could just grab a card and finish it.
Here is a group of cards that I prepped one day.

Here are the same cards after finishing them.


The challenge is over for this year but I am still playing on index cards and am still hooked on the Permopaque markers by Sakura. 

I am currently in between projects and I never like that feeling of not having a purpose. I will be searching about for a new challenge and hopefully I will be a better blogger too (possibly)... 

Until next time...

Friday, June 19, 2015

Black & White Challenge accepted...

Stampington issued a "black & white" challenge and I accepted. My submission made it to the upcoming July/August issue of Somerset Studio.

This little dog did not make the cut, but several of his friends did. 

Pick up your copy July 1st at your favorite craft store, Barnes & Noble or online at

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Stampington Blog Post

Woot, Woot! I am excited to be the guest artist on the Stampington blog this week.

At the time they asked me to come up a project to share I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of Spring so I had flowers on the brain. Just when I thought Spring had finally arrived here in Minnesota, we had a frost warning last night! Not sure what's up with that but I have my flowers anyway, just on my wall instead of in my flower bed.

See the blog post and project instructions here.

Sending out a big thank you to Sarah at Stampington for inviting me to share a blog post with your readers. I am very honored and grateful for this opportunity <3 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Happy Couple on the Sea

One of the monthly challenges that I like to play along with is at Art Journal Journey and the challenge for this month is The Sea. Another challenge I like to join is Mix-It Monthly  and the challenge there this month is A Happy Couple.

I decided to combine the two challenges so while working on this page I was thinking about a happy couple on the sea. My first thought was a happy couple on a cruise ship, but I had no interest in trying to draw a cruise ship. Next I thought about a happy couple of Sea Gulls - much better!

After I had the Sea Gull couple out on the sea waves it still felt like something was missing. I got thinking about our nephew and his beautiful fiance getting married tomorrow - perfect - I turned the Sea Gulls into a bride and groom.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

This Mother's Day weekend I am channeling the talents of my mother who passed away 3 years ago and, luckily, it seems to be working out. This is my journal page for week 19 of Documented Life Project and the May challenge for Mixed Media Monthly.

The challenge for the Documented Life Project is stitching. I am not good at sewing. I have very little patience to sew a nice straight seam and the first time the thread knots up or tears I am usually ready to toss the whole project. My mother, however was a wonderful seamstress which is why I never had to learn to be better at it.

I used my mom's sewing machine (which I'm certain made all the difference) and stitched up a few May flowers (which is the Mixed Media Monthly challenge).

For the center panel I used a piece of muslin which I painted with a coat of gesso. I stitched the flowers with a sewing machine and then used acrylic paint to give them a little color. I tore a strip of batik fabric (no, not batikked by me) and glued that on the side of the page. I made a few circles with 2 colors of acrylic paint and then splattered acrylic paint in a few places.

On a further note, a little something that would make my mom smile. I remember when I would try to sew something she would always check the backside as well saying the back should be as neat as the front. So you can imagine - I was really proud of the back of this one.

Look Mom - no knots!

Hug a Mom this weekend.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Week 18 of the Documented Life Project

The Documented Life Project theme for the month of May is Touchy Feely (Texture) and the challenge for this week is Fabric. I'm not good at sewing but tacky glue works just about as good as a sewing machine with fabric so this was fun.

The background started out with rubber stamping with acrylic paint. Next I used Adirondack color wash spray and Dylusions spray through the diamonds stencil which turned out darker than I'd wanted so I followed that up with a coat of gesso and then dabbed some butterscotch acrylic paint around with a paper towel.

I painted her face and then added my fabric pieces. The dress started out with muslin that I stamped with acrylic paint and then I added bits of lace, ribbon and a clothing label from my stash. For her wings I took inspiration from a feather I had done on the opposing journal page. I used a bit of the same muslin that I had stamped with acrylic paint and cut the shape of feathers which also tied in with the quote I wanted to use "feathers appear when angels are near".

I added a few spring flowers because it's that time of year and finished with a little pan pastel shading and some flecks of black ink.

Thank you once again ladies from Art to the 5th for all of your work in the Documented Life Project - you are appreciated!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Before the Ink is Dry

I am sneaking in just under the wire with this week's Documented Life Project. The challenge for the week is "Before the Ink is Dry".

I had a very different idea when I started out with this one but it was not to be.

In the beginning I drizzled acrylic ink onto newsprint paper but I got way too carried away. So, while the ink was still wet I inverted the newsprint paper onto a printed background page leftover from last week's play with the gelli plate This is what I ended up using for my background.

Next I used another leftover piece of gelli paper and cut out the shape of a feather. I didn't like the way the feather looked directly on the background so I added a page from a dictionary as a layer in between.

In keeping with the theme I tried to ink up the dictionary page with distress inks in blue and yellow. Pretty much all I did was make a mess so before that ink was dry I hit it again with a Stazon ink (there is a reason I do not make a good rubber stamper). I am not sure why I did not just grab a new dictionary page but I used this slopped up one. 

After the dictionary page I glued the feather down and then the quote. Finally I added a bit of outlining and detailing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day and a Bit of News

I've been having a great time with this year's 21 Secrets. I will share my take on several of the classes starting with the Juliette Crane class. Juliette's class was about painting a whimsical owl as well as giving tips and techniques for other whimsical animal characters.

My niece, Sarah, works on a pig farm and loves all of her little oinkers so I painted this postcard and sent it to her for Earth Day

.After the pig I came up with a cow, a chicken and a sheep (sounds like the start of a bad joke). These pictures make both pieces seem the same size however they are not. The pig postcard is 4 x 6 " and the journal is just oveer 8 x 11". 

Anyway, as you can see I have not painted a whimsical owl yet but I will at some point. I liked Juliette's teaching style very much and I really enjoyed this class. I look forward to many more whimsical animals to come.

In addition to having fun playing 21 Secrets this week I also had a fun mail day. Yesterday I received my copy of the May/June Somerset Studio and am happy to say I am included in this issue.

Pick up your copy when they hit the store shelves May 1st.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New Month - New Monthly Challenges

April has rolled around and with it are new monthly challenges to play with.

The Play With challenge at Community Thrive this month is brown paper bag. This worked out perfect for me because I had a brown paper bag from World Market that I'd been saving for a journal page because it had this great elephant on it - perfect!

For the background I used torn pieces from 3 different weight brown paper bags. The quote is hard to read but it is a Native American proverb that I found on line. It says "we will forever be known by the tracks we leave behind us". I added the quote because the challenge at Art Journal Journey this month is favorite poems & quotes.

The next journal page is also a dual purpose page. First of all the challenge for this week at Documented Life Project is watercolors. I am not good with watercolor. Part of the problem is that I have no idea what I am doing with them and usually end up with a muddy-colored mess but I played along anyway.

I am using a Diane Reavely journal and the page I wanted to use already had a lot of acrylic paint spread around. I covered the acrylic with a few coats of Golden absorbent ground and let it dry before starting the watercolors.

The challenge for Mixed Media Monthly is April Showers (thus the rain and the bird in the puddle). 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

21 Secrets has begun

What a welcome email I received a few days ago announcing the 2015 21 Secrets class had begun. I had to dig right in.

I started with Nathalie Kalbach's class, The Story Within a Story. I used a magazine image for my person but I don't have good markers for coloring so I just used acrylics for a paint over instead.

The quote is by rumi and a good reminder to keep a positive attitude. I am using this as my entry for the Art Journal Journey challenge this month which is  to use a favorite poem or quote.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

and the winner is...

Thank you so much to everyone that took part in the first Community Thrive Blog Hop and thank you for all of the kind comments that were left.

The postcard giveaway winner is comment #5 - Giggles

Please email me your mailing information and I will get your postcard out ASAP.

Thanks again,


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Community Thrive Blog Hop & Giveaway

Mystele Kirkeeng and Heather Santos have created a wonderful, supportive art community called Community Thrive  At Community Thrive you can do everything from play along with the monthly challenges and swaps, take online classes, drool over galleries full of member art and more.

I am excited and honored to be included in the first ever Community Thrive blog hop.

For my part in the blog hop I chose to play with this month's One Word challenge. The One Word challenge for this month is "peace". I created a journal page with this in mind.

I made a short video of the page in progress, however I must apologize in advance. I have never done a video while I've been painting so I didn't really have the camera at a great angle and I ended up with a lot of pictures of my hand so it's been highly edited. However you can still get the gist of my process and the order in which I did things as well as the supplies I used.

When thinking about what I wanted to do for this page relating to the word "peace" I kept coming back to the hip flower child girls of the 1970's so I went with it. The foam stamp that you see in the video was the same shape as the flowers covering most of  my high school notebooks. In keeping with the 70's idea; along with pencil marks over the gesso layer are some common 70's slang words (i.e., groovy, LUV, peace, far out). And the roll of flowers sewing notions came from a local thrift shop and had to have come right out of the 70's as well.

Since the video is not that great I also made a "peace" postcard which I documented with pictures.

 Using a 4 x 6" piece of watercolor paper spread a coat of gesso and let dry. Choose 2 or 3 colors of acrylic paint. Dab a few drops of the first color paint randomly around the paper and spread around with a plastic key card. Repeat with the remaining paint colors. You can add more gesso as well. Keep adding and spreading until you are happy with the overall look.

Next I used white and green acrylic paint with some old glue stick covers and stamped circles randomly around the paper.

When the paint was dry I sketched the figure of a girl and covered her with a coat of gesso.

For this step I painted the girl with acrylic paints.

The final steps (and my current favorite part) are the details. I did the outlining with charcoal pencil and gel pen. I used pan pastel for a little color on her cheeks. I used gel pen for the streaks in her hair. The outlines of the circles and her peace sign necklace were done with a gel pen. And, finally, I edged the entire thing with black Stazon ink.

I will be sending this to someone leaving a comment on this blog hop post. So if you are interested in a chance to receive my peace child postcard make sure and leave some kind of comment. I will draw a name on April 1st.

Thank you so much for stopping by my portion of the Community Thrive blog hop. Thank you to Heather and Mystele for inviting me to participate.

Make sure to stop by the other artists listed below that are sharing their work as part of this blog hop also.

Lorraine Rigby - Lorraine's Art n Crafts
Louise Kirby - River-Girl-Art

Hope to see you at Community Thrive!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

More March challenges

The Documented Life challenge for this week is use at least 5 layers and Piarom's Mix-It-Monthly March challenge is angels/saints.  I've done one of each, an angel and a saint.

As for the layers, I lost track somewhere along the line. I will just list them here as best I can.

1. Assorted dictionary and book text pages collaged with gel medium.
2. Brayered a layer of gesso.
3. Assorted stencils with spray colors.
4. More gesso.
5. White and cream acrylic paints with plastic card.
6. French script stamp with Stazon ink stamped randomly around page.
7. Paper scraps and pattern tissue applied with gel medium in the area of their clothing.
8. Painted the angel and the saint.
9. Modeling paste through a stencil on the saint side and then pan pastel over the top of the paste when dry which was NOT a good idea so then I had to dab white acryic paint over the pan pastel.
10. On the angel side I added pan pastel circles with punchinella and a butterfly postage stamp, a few rub ons and did some outlining and detailing with a gel pen.

You can join either of these challenges through the links above.

Thanks for looking.