Thursday, December 31, 2009

New project for 2010

One of my favorite blogs that I follow is "Art du Jour" by Martha Lever. She blogs every single day, and most of the time she posts these beautiful journal pages that are a combination of collage, her own artwork, lettering, etc. SO . . . I have been inspired enough that I am going to TRY to create a journal page every day -- or at least 4-5 per week. My goal is not to blog about every one -- just to make sure I'm keeping the creative juices going every day.

So here is my first -- in preparation for the new year!

New Year's Blessings to Everyone!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Rumplestiltskin Project

After Christmas, our pastor asked me if I could find a way to connect the manger (Christ's birth) with the cross (Christ's death for us) by making tiny crosses out of manger straw. It turned out that the straw in the manger was too crumbly, so we decided to try to work with a huge bundle of wheat, which we spread out in our Christmas manger. I wish I had taken a picture of it -- we had white lights under the wheat/straw, and it looked very festive. Each person picked out four pieces of wheat and broke them apart and fastened them with a piece of yarn. The fastening was the hardest part, but if you've ever done "God's eye" weaving as a child, it's the same concept. We worked on them during our face2face worship time in the service, and it was a great activity.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Our church created this beautiful collage picture during our worship services in December. If you look closely at Jesus, you will see that the entire nativity scene is made out of advertising that we received for this Christmas season. There are four panels -- we worked on one at a time so no one really knew what the whole picture was going to look like. We just filled in the colos written in each section. On Christmas Eve we set up the whole picture and it literally looked like stained glass. So it is possible to see the real reason for Christmas in the midst of all the hype and merchandising.
Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Cards!

They are finally finished with three days before Christmas! Most people will be getting them afterward, but that is usually a better time to just enjoy them anyway.
I'm not sure I like the star I put on the inside. I wish I had taken the time to buy a star stamp to put there. But hopefully the whole thing expresses the joy we can have because Jesus was born in Bethlehem all those years ago!
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas card in process

I have been working on a Christmas card and so far this is what I have come up with. Lately I've been intrigued with illuminated letters, and trying to play around with decorating with my colored pencils. I'm pretty sure it needs some kind of frame around it to set it off, but I wanted to post it unfinished just to ponder what I think of it so far. I'm still trying not to be overly critical of what I create -- I know writers get writer's block. Do artists get artist block??? I'll answer my own question -- yes!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My "Creative Ego" took a bit of a hit a couple of weeks ago. I was at a calligraphy workshop with some incredibly creative people, and the more I looked at what they were doing, the more feeble my attempts looked. I really let it get to me, and have had a hard time trying to be creative for quite a while.
It's not that I don't know that you never can compare yourself with anyone else -- you'll either be depressed or terribly prideful!

So I finally decided to pull myself together and tackle a couple of projects. The one on the left is colored pencil -- I was out walking and saw the beautiful colors on this leaf and had to try to draw it. (I took the picture the next day, and my "model" was a bit dried out by then).

The other project is a hand-painted stool for Don's work room (Man Cave). He stole a couple of my kitchen stools, so I decided to make him his own so I could have seating in the kitchen again.

I have two potential lessons here. One is to never take another workshop, but I really don't want to do that. So the obvious one is to stop comparing and just PLAY! I have a calligraphied quote in my workroom that says: "Play is the taproot from which original art springs" by Stephen Nachmanovitch. So from now on, I plan to play!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Here's the garlic. Along with a great quote that I can't believe I found. My classmates loved it.

It was a couple of hours before class yesterday, and I had two drawings of the garlic, neither of which I really liked. So I texted a picture of each drawing to my youngest daughter, who is also very artistic. She texted me back and told me she liked the picture that you see to the left here, but she said, "add some dimension". So I found a nice color and began to add shading. I like it so much better now. Thanks, Karissa!

What a treasure an outside perspective can be. I think of friends in my life who have given me words of wisdom, and I am thankful as well.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Try, try again!

Wednesday night I went to class and went up for "critique time" with all my classmates, who had actually all done something that looked really good. (Thank goodness I didn't bring my little brown smudge to show!) I studied each one and listened carefully as everyone told about the process they had used. Then I came home and worked on this:

I'm not thrilled, but at least it looks botanical! Maybe I don't have to drop out afterall. :-)

This week, our assignment is to draw garlic -- white on white. This ought to be interesting . . .

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I'm now in the middle of the colored pencil class at the Arboretum. I absolutely LOVED the pencil class, and experimenting with portraying textures with graphite. But I am completely out of my league with colored pencil.

Our assignment this week was to use colors other than black and brown to reproduce the textures on the seed pod in the picture. It's a very cool looking pod, and my camera doesn't even do it justice. But that funky little thing in the back that I drew is my feeble attempt to recreate at least some of the texture of it. I have class tonight. I can't wait to see how the other students did. (I'm not sharing this at the class!) I'm glad I can do other art stuff, because colored pencil is not my thing!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


It can be very frustrating to have a week (or longer) where everything you do just doesn't turn out the way you want it to. But if you persevere, eventually you are rewarded.
This piece was a long time in the making. The word "hope" was done as a cut paper piece a couple of weeks ago. The paper behind is some "paste paper" that I did several years ago. And it took me a long time to find a quote that conveyed hope and also fit in the space.
It's a good thing that it all finally came together, because I'm submitting it for an art show at our library, and the submission deadline is three days from now! Perhaps both perseverance and a deadline are necessary for a project to come together.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Playing with Walnut Ink

It's been several weeks since I took Julie Wildman's workshop on working with walnut ink. It was great fun to play with this new medium, but I wasn't sure what to do with it. This is the first project that came out that -- at least that I am willing to share here!
I love the quote because I often feel chaos inside -- the path isn't always clear, and I am journeying with others whose chaotic lives often intersect with mine. It's good to know that out of confusion, hope can be born; out of lostness, a sense of community. God provides dancing stars in our times of chaos and distress.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A serendipitous moment

I love this little guy! Doesn't he just look like a drunk staggering out of the bar after a wild time? He has had such a great time with all that pollen! This was a huge surprise -- I was trying to get a nice picture of this gorgeous flower, and this bee entered the scene. After stuffing his little pollen sacs as full as they could get, he made his exit, and I managed to get the picture! (I hope his wife doesn't find out. ;-) )

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More botanical drawings

This was a fun piece to do because it incorporated pencil work with carbon dust. In order to make the apples so dark and shiny, I had to use a nail file on a carbon pencil to get some dust, then apply the dust to the apples with a small brush.
This class has taught me to really look at things in a new way -- to see texture, shadow and contrast. I can't wait until my next class, when I get to begin using colored pencils!

Monday, August 10, 2009


It's been about 3 weeks since my computer had a "fatal error" and Don took it to work to let the experts try to revive it. I'm on Don's computer, which is fine, but we haven't tried to download pictures onto this computer yet. And thanks to my wonderful, techy husband (yes Don, that's you!) all my pictures from my computer are safely backed up! I created some more pencil botanical drawings at my Arboretum class, and hopefully I can post some soon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another drawing assignment

Have you ever really studied a pine cone? We had to for our latest art class assignment. It seems that every pine cone in the realm of nature grows in a spiral shape. It can even be mathematically plotted, using the Fibonacci sequence. I'm not big on math, but I love the fact that something as random looking as a pine cone is that carefully created. And anyone who draws a pine cone has to know that, or they will draw the spines sticking out at all the wrong angles and it won't look at all like a pine cone!
More evidence of our amazing Creator!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

After the Rain

We have had a lot of rain in Chicago lately. While I would rather have sunshine, I did manage to enjoy the after-effects of the rain a couple of days ago. These are from our front yard. The Queen-Anne's Lace is a volunteer (weed) that is pretty even when it grows where I don't want it to. I have never taken the time to observe the Yucca up close, but it has a lot of beautiful detail.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Drawing Class -- Assignment One

I am taking a drawing course at the Morton Arboretum -- pencil drawing. Our first assignment was to do a line drawing of a pansy -- no hatching or shading allowed. This is what I brought. I do think, were it not for the lettering I added, that this pansy looks a little lame. But hey, I just started! Next week we have to sketch a pinecone! Keep posted to see what that one looks like!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Snowflakes in July

I had a rich time of worship this morning, reading a book called Snowflakes. Each page is a hugely magnified picture of an actual snowflake, and each one is magnificent! I can't believe God is so infinitely creative with such tiny things that last only a brief time. How much more does he care for every detail of our lives. I am savoring every page of this tiny book, and I don't even like snow! Find a copy at your library and be blown away! (the photographer is Kenneth Libbrecht)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Calligraphy - bulletin cover

I finally have a decent picture of the bulletin cover that I designed. I wanted to keep it in black and white for simplicity's sake. And I resorted to using a clip art of a sheaf of wheat just because nothing I could draw seemed any better.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

front yard flowers

Besides doing lettering, I also love photography. Here's some flowers I found in my front yard this morning. The blue one is something new and exotic I just planted. The daisies grow in my yard like weeds, but at least they are cheerful!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I don't always get myself motivated to "do" art, so I love it when friends ask me to design things for them. A good friend of mine and former pastor has asked me to design a bulletin cover for his commissioning service at his new church. The theme is from Matthew 9, where Jesus says the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. I worked on it for awhile this afternoon and I think it's going to look good. I'll post pictures in a day or two.

I'm also working on a new business card for myself that will have the url for this blog. Again, I'll post pictures when I get something that I like!

My latest piece is one I did as a going-away gift for the same pastor I mentioned above. It's based on the hymn "My Hope is Built". I used a technique I just learned using a walnut ink wash.