Sunday, May 30, 2010

Art piece for church

It was Trinity Sunday today (in the Lutheran tradition at least) and I knew we were going to have stations for each person of the Trinity at church this morning.  I was reading in Romans 8 earlier in the week, and read this familiar passage about the Holy Spirit.  After playing around with it for a few days, this is what I came up with yesterday and brought to church today.  It's on a piece of canvas that's 24 inches tall, so I was working large.  Our church welcomes artistic expressions, and it's great to be able to contribute every now and then.

Below is our "Father" station.  No art work -- we (on the Art Team) were talking about how a burning bush would be appropriate, but settled for a bible opened to a Psalm about God's greatness.  We can't have fire (not even candles :-( ) in our worship space, since we meet in a movie theater and the owner is strict about that.  (Notice the movie themed carpet in the pic below!)  BTW, our church web site is if you want to check it out.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Garden News

I had to take a picture of my "Cheddar Pink" dianthus blossoms.  I sketched them in my journal last night, but forgot to take a picture of my sketch.  Can you see the two little curled parts (stamen??).  These are just the most delicate beautiful little blossoms.  Since I've been nature journaling about the plants and animals in my yard, I've seen things that I've missed for years.  Sitting in my yard with my journal can be a worship experience when I stop to realize how incredible God's handiwork is!
And the big news in the backyard is that the baby robins have hatched!  I got so excited when I heard them, that I tried standing in my chair to get a good picture of them.  But mamma (pictured above) had a few choice words for me!  And her babies must have gotten the message 'cuz they hunkered down in the nest, and I didn't get a picture.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Great Class

This week-end I was able to attend an exciting workshop on using images with our lettering to create interesting works of art.  Our instructor was Annie Cicale, and if you can take a workshop with her, do!  Yesterday we all worked on apples -- doing studies with various media and then choosing a quote to add to one of our drawings.  You can see from the above picture that we did a lot of drawings of those apples! My finished piece is just below all the apples.  You can see it on the right, displayed with the work of some of the other artists in the class.  Several of us chose the same quote to work on.  One of the best parts about workshops like this is seeing all the different approaches we all used -- we had a classful of creative and bold artists.

On the left is what I created the second day.  We each brought something to draw, and a quote about it.  This is a poem by Shel Silverstein.  I'm going to include a copy of this in my backyard journal.  I had the cutest little potted sunflower as my object, and it made me smile just to have it on my desk.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nature Journal Page

This is a two page spread from my back-yard nature journal.  Pretend the two pages are connected, instead of separate -- and one day I'll figure out posting pics in Blogger!  This is in my handmade coptic journal, and the paper I used isn't thick enough to put a lot of writing on each side.  So I tried to do some collage on the left page.  I think it detracts from the right side, which is really the artistic part.  It's a work in progress!  And, since I am too, that's OK. :-) 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Final Arboretum Class

Our last class at the Arboretum was yesterday, and most of us were able to be there.  Here we are showing off our books.  I'm in the front, next to one of our teachers, the one who did such an excellent job of teaching us how to put our journals together.  We all agreed that we were going to miss that class!

And the picture at left (and I still can't figure out how to rotate them, or why in the world Blogger decides to rotate them in the first place when it imports some of my pictures!  AACK!) are some pieces done by one of the gifted artists in my class.  (In the blue sweater in the picture above.)  She was able to take everything that we did and go a step beyond with it to make it even more beautiful.  It's so inspiring being with such talented artists and kindred spirits.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Coptic Journal

Here's the journal I made at my class at the Arboretum.  I decided it would be where I record all the new things happening in our backyard.  And some in the front yard -- but the focus is definitely in the back.  (I also have a journal about my vegetable gardening this year -- but that's much smaller, more artsy and less informational.

Here's my title page.  I want to find a poem or quote about backyards to put on the opposite page.

And here's my latest entry.  Between putting in plants and trying to create this journal, it's pretty much a full time job.  But a very fun and rewarding one so far.  Now if everything I bought will just stay alive . . .

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Art Prints With Jello!

I'm taking a class at the Arboretum on nature journaling.  Last week I finished sewing a coptic journal, which I will show in the near future.  I had always heard of coptic journals, but never knew how to make one.  Now I love my new journal -- and I'm going to keep track of all the wonderful (and not so wonderful) things that grow (or not!) in my yard this year.

This week in our class, we found leaves and flowers to bring into our classroom.  We had prepared "jello plates" for printing (instructions can be found in the wonderful book Mixed Media Nature Journals by L.K. Ludwig.)  It's basically making "Knox Blox" with all water instead of fruit juice, and pouring the hot liquid onto a cookie sheet to make a smooth surface.  I can tell you from experience that trying to transfer a cookie sheet full of liquid into the fridge can make a huge, sticky mess on the floor.  (Hint -- you can leave the gelatin on the countertop to set for a few hours, and then put it in the fridge to firm up -- MUCH easier!)
Anyway, you can brayer acrylic or watercolor paint onto the surface of the gelatin, gently press your flowers on, and then make prints.  The first print will come through with the flowers appearing as negatives on the color.  Then you can pull the flowers off the gelatin and use them to print onto another piece of paper (the third picture above).  Then you can create another print from the paint that has been left on the gelatin from the flowers/leaves you just pulled off.  The first two prints above are from that final process.  I think I'll make another gelatin plate tonight and play with some of my backyard leaves tomorrow.

Happy Mothers Day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A little Better

Thanks to Barbie for my encouraging comments yesterday.  As long as this won't turn into a permanent mudhole, I can live with it.  And I added some more dirt and mulch.  But if you step on the mulch, you'll sink about 6 inches.

I was at the Arboretum this afternoon and took some pictures of wildflowers.  Enjoy!

Above is a Trillium -- named because of the three leaves that grow out from beneath the flower.  The color of those flowers is stunning -- especially when you see a group of them in the bright green springime foliage.

And this is a close-up of one of the blossoms on a horse chestnut tree.  It looks like a party decoration!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Rain Garden -- oh dear!

This is part of what has been taking up hours and hours of my time lately -- and I can't believe how awful it looks!  Last week I attended a workshop about using native prairie plants in our yards here in Illinois to create sustainable gardens.  I got really excited about the possibilities, and a little too zealous!  Since we have a spot in our yard where the ground stays really spongy and it's hard to mow, the speaker talked about creating a "rain garden" with native wet-loving plants to create a natural habitat for butterflies and other critters.  So I worked and worked to rip out the grass (our soil is clay, so it wasn't easy).  Then last night, just before it got too dark to see, I got all the plants in, and it looked pretty good. 

Well, I planted a rain garden, and God sent rain!  And it's supposed to rain all week-end. I'm sure the neighbors, with their nicely manicured lawns are wondering what is going on in our yard . . .

Maybe next week I'll spend more time in my studio trying to create beauty!  My purple thumb is showing its true colors.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Garden Journal!

Life is a bit crazy lately.  Every day I've had meetings, appointments, classes or something going on -- all good stuff, but the head-ache I woke up with this morning is reminding me that it's time to slow down.  Last night, dinner was late because I had been working in the garden, and then tried to get this journal page finished.  So I took a couple of quick shots of these pages and then managed to get dinner on! 
Time to slow down!  But for now I gotta run . . .