Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Happy Heart (art journaling, tutorial link and RAK thanks)

Recently, I received a wonderful RAK from Andria of the Drawing Near blog. She sent me a wonderful little mini-book stuffed with ephemera. You can read her tutorial for how to make one at this link. It provided the perfect elements for a happy mixed media art journal page about how happy I was to have my son Henry home for a few days for his mid-term break. I hope you enjoy the page and get a chance to go visit Andria's blog - it's a good one!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

On my block this week (art journaling)

I'm continuing to play with a type of art journaling where I draw and paint groups of simple subjects, each of which represents one of the things on my mind at that moment. Recently, I've done a clothesline, a plant with many leaves, and a swarm of butterflies. For my page today, I drew a variety of buildings each of which represents all the things on my "to do" list and called the page "On my block this week." I really like this type of art journaling and will surely create many more clotheslines, plants and neighborhoods. I'm also trying to come up with other groupings that might work - simple objects that I can sketch, paint and decorate. I'm thinking of a flag pole or line of bunting and a group of postcards in my mailbox. But I'm looking for more ideas. Got any to suggest?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Peek Inside My Art Journal

"I would rather. . . "
Just a simple art journal page today describing the choices I want to make.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Photo Pairs: Diagonal Lighting (Be Still 52)

Circle of Life
Waiting for a Light
This week's assignment in Kim Klassen's Be Still 52 still life photography class was to experiment with diagonal lighting. I'm not sure I ever understood the lesson exactly because as I moved around, the light was no longer coming in on a diagonal (and the lesson encouraged us to move around). The lesson also involved photographing a spoon, but I got reflections in the spoon which I found distracting. So I moved on to other objects.
But, at the end of the shoot and my post-editing session, I ended up with these two photographs which I like a lot. Plus, I'm really excited to take more shots with Henry's baby rattle (which I discovered in the silver drawer when I was looking for a spoon). So, it's all good!
I'm sharing these as part of Helena's photo pairs meme. I'll let you title the connection.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Art Journaling on a Large Scale

"Throw me to the wolves"
One of my art journals is an old road atlas. It is BIG, and it has taken me a while to figure out how to best create on this larger scale. For this page, I used a really large image and one of my favorite affirmations.
Advice at 50
And for this page, I followed the underlying grid of the atlas to create different cells full of advice to myself at 50. It has been fun to create art journal pages on different scales.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Art Journaling: Finding my Groove

"Our Time Together"
"My Garden of Life"
Most of the way through my month-long exploration of art journaling and what it means to me, I think I have hit my stride and found my style. . . well, actually, two styles. 
I love mixed media collage style art journaling for the way it allows me to play with my supplies and work out my feelings (like in the top page, which I made shortly after hearing that Paul had received good news on his most recent cancer check-up). 
I also really like pages where I make simple drawings that can be used as the backdrop for lists about things percolating in my head (like the second page where each leaf details one of the ingredients to success in my life).
There's still one area I want to explore: faces. I really appreciated everyone's feedback to my post with some initial thoughts about art journaling. My main take away from reading those is that I want my art journals to be fun and not hard work. When I look at pages where I try to incorporate more involved drawing in my art journals, they seem tortured and I realize they were not very fun to create (even if I did feel some accomplishment in their completion). I'm still on the fence about faces. I really want to draw faces in my art journals, and I want to get to the point where they are fun and easy. I feel like I can get there, but I still need practice which might be more work than fun. So, I will delve into faces a bit more between now and the end of the month. But I will also be creating pages in these two styles which feel really right to me just now.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

2012: Scrapbooking a Tough Year

Let's be honest. My 2012 sucked. Even before Paul was diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma while we were half way around the world, our daughter Clara had decided it would be the year she would test her independence and our limits. So, there were fewer happy family photos from the start of the year. Off we went to Ireland, and I did take a bunch of photos of our trip there. Then it was off to Barcelona and one of the worst days of my life (sitting on the curb in the ambulance bay, crying because I had just put my two teenagers on an international flight alone, hoping they would make it home, and praying because Paul was starting chemotherapy upstairs with doctors who didn't speak the same language I did). Sigh. I did wander about Barcelona a bit, taking photos to pass the time in-between visiting hours at the hospital. Three weeks later we flew home. Photographs from the rest of the year were few and far between; somehow I just couldn't take many photos of my poor bald, eyebrow-less husband. 
So, from a scrapbooking perspective, at the end of 2012, I had photos for about a dozen layouts for a family album, a bunch of travel photos of Ireland, and some photos from Barcelona which were rife with memories of a very, very tough time in my life.  The photos sat for quite a while. In 2013, I did make a nice photo book of our Ireland photos (you can read about it here). And recently, I made a photo book of the Barcelona photos (8x8 soft cover from Shutterfly) and completed 12 layouts with my 2012 photos.
On the whole, I got through the journaling by keeping it very neutral and objective. The cover page reads "In the summer of 2012, we planned a week long trip to Barcelona, Spain after I taught a summer class in Dublin, Ireland. Our plans changed quickly when Paul got sick and was hospitalized. The children went home early. I still captured some of the sights of this amazing city."  I have two pages of photos of the Plaza Espana; one with the kids and one with just scenery. On the first I journaled, "The kids enjoyed Barcelona before they left. They enjoyed eating outside; shopping; sleeping and eating late; and the warm air." On the second page, I wrote "After Paul went into the hospital and the kids left, I rented a room at a hotel just off the Plaza Espana. The room was very small but relatively inexpensive with a great location." Most other entries don't mention the unusual circumstances of the trip.
In the scrapbook, the only mention I make of Paul's illness is in the Christmas layout where I say how happy we were that he was home instead of in the hospital for the holiday.
I'm glad that year is behind us. I'm glad that scrapbooking task is behind me. 
And I'm really glad to report that Paul's cancer has now been in remission for two years! He finished chemotherapy about a year ago, and the Doctor still does a "Pet Scan" every six months or so. He had one this week, and it turned out all clear. I'm not sure they will ever say he is cured or stop doing semi-annual checks, but for now, I will wallow in this good news. 
And keep taking photographs.
Because 2015 is a much happier year to scrap.