My day job finds me writing and talking more than ever before. That means I am exhausted by the end of the day and spend my weekends doing absolutely nothing. Sometimes, I don't even want to talk with anyone. It's a strange place for me to be in, but has been necessary to recover from the toll the stress has taken on my body.
Normally, I'm doing ten million things, barely sleeping and having a blast. But, I think it all finally caught up with me last year. So, rest I am. However, I had lots of fun last year, and took photos, but didn't write about it. So, I'm starting a series of Herstory (as in my personal art history from the last year or so). Last summer was filled with many art workshops and play days. I hope you enjoy. Even though they aren't happening right now, I find myself quite compelled to share and appreciate what I did and learned.
Needing to shift my focus away from daily life and into art and more light hearted things, one afternoon, Mom & I decided to play with paint. And after taking Michael DeMeng's class and learning about the layers and layers and layers of paint that go into a single piece, I felt a little more free to try things and make mistakes without that looming fear of waste hanging over my head.
We just slapped paint around on canvas paper. Good God that was fun. We later took these first slashes and used the "Barbara @ Joggles" method of painting on stencils. I'll post photos of those at a later date. Little different because we used Acrylics and she uses stamping stuff, but fun to try the techniques that she videos weekly.
You might also notice 2 other art projects in the photo below. The one on the left is a sketch of a faerie I made before I turned it into a paper cut (another item I'll be posting about later). The one in the center bottom -- the EYES! Those are original eye sketches that I turned into pins. More on those later too! Ah, how I do love creating art and playing with my art supplies!
It's alter time again!!
This month's full moon is known as the seed moon or pink moon. For some reason, I've been struck by the glory of a moon dressed all in pink. See it gets the name pink from the ground phlox that blooms this time of year. And this is one of my absolute favorite times of year to photograph. I love gardens in spring. I grew up playing among the azaleas, Andromeda, bluebells and daffodils.
Sweet Ruthie by Gwen Gyldenege
Clematis by Gwen Gyldenege
Coral Azalea by Gwen Gyldenege
I love the way the earth smells when she's laughing in flowers. Persephone does leave a glorious and fragrant wake as she returns from Hades. There is nothing like the delicious smell of blooming azaleas, Andromeda and clematis all mingling with rhododendron an the warmth of a sunny spring day or lingering upon every dew drop following a gentle spring rain.
The images you see before you are a several photographs I took in one of my favorite gardens. If you play in the garden, you'll find magic & faeries among the bright blossoms & rich evergreens or deep underneath the cascading blossoms of the Andromeda bush.
Purple Azalea by Gwen Gyldenege
What I find fascinating is how different the scents are from each of these flowers. The clematis really smell like chocolate. The andromeda like a heavy, syrupy honey, and the azaleas are sweet and bright, like a sibling to the summer trumpet vine or the springtime honeysuckle found enveloping every early spring night in Kansas City, Missouri as the days heat wanes and the earth sleeps. I would love to travel the world as spring comes alive in every place just to experience the scents. What would it be like to be right smack in the desert when all those cactai burst open? Or how about standing in a Moroccan garden among the roses? Or sipping your morning espresso beneath an arbor crafted of gardenia? It'd be quite a glorious hedge. What other amazing scents could you discover? If only to bottle these and wear them. I would definitely wear scents of Azalea, Andromeda, or Honeysuckle.
Andromeda by Gwen Gyldenege.
Tulip tree by Gwen Gyldenege
Andromeda by Gwen Gyldenege
Tulip Tree, Evergreens and Spring Sun by Gwen Gyldenege
Wow, glancing over this post, I love how colorful it is. And, I realized how truely me it is! I love it! Color is a wonderful thing. I lived in a land of grey once and now choose to live in technicolor how ever I possibly can.
Back to the moon. When I began sculpting, I didn't intend her for the Alter project. After last month, I decided I'd just play a little and if it worked out, great. If not, then I'd have a fun art piece and I would have taught myself to sculpt a face in paper clay. I've done quite a bit of sculpting with pottery clay, sculpey and fimo, but paper clay seemed too soft. With inspiration and courage found from classes with Michael DeMeng
, Clarissa Callisen
, Patricia Hedegaard
and the Halloween book by Mr. Glitterville
, I embarked upon the journey.
Well, it was a bit soft. But, I just kept playing and out came this magical moon face. Then, instead of keeping her just a full moon, I decided that I wanted her to represent both the full and the crescent moon. She could be waxing or waning, depending on which side you observe her. I gave her a long pointy nose and a very pointy up-tipped chin. I tried the pressed in eyes like shown in Glitterville, except with mine, I added them with flattened circles of of clay and created eye sockets, just in case I wanted to add a glass eye.
Then, after bone dry, I began painting. Thank God I'd been through Michael DeMeng's classes where I learned his layering techniques to achieve the most amazing painted surfaces. It was not easy to grasp how many layers go into a surface to achieve depth. And, might I add the patience one really needs to have. I do like the look, but often avoid it because I run out of patience. Well, fortunately, I happened to find an extra dosage bottle of art patience in my medicine cabinet. For this moon alone, I believe there are ~ 7 layers just for the main color. Then, there are many more layers in the eyes, lips, etc. The nice part about layers is if you don't like the look, paint over and start again. There are actually green, blue, purple, pink, and many other colors in there. The more I painted her, the more she felt like an Italian clown, part of the Pagliacci
or even a marionette. I think my style is beginning to emerge. How lovely!
I couldn't let the moon go up without a rich and colorful night sky behind her. While resting from a minor injury, I picked up my colored pencils. Had such great fun with them on the shrinky-dinks, but haven't found the look I want on paper. I really like a layered, depth, but didn't know how to create it. So, off I went in search of tutorials from the great world of bloggers. Not many, but I found one that showed putting red behind blue and blue behind red. Huh. It looked weird on it's own, but I figured it would be interesting to try in my favorite colors - pink and aqua.
I started playing with the colors at hand. I was tickled to see the rich sky colors I could create. Just like so many nights I've tried to photograph, but my camera just won't pick-up. Oh glory me, this is really exciting. Now, I have a way to create night skies. I've been dreaming of this. And, all because I sculpted this moon, and just played really, do I know a new way to make a magical scene. LUCKY ME!
It's alter art time again! Yep, moon is full. Tomorrow to be exact. And, as the Native American's called it, the Worm Moon.
Full Worm Moon
At the time of this spring Moon, the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of robins. This is also known as the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins. -- source: The Old Farmer's Almenac
Well, let's just say this month I tried to PLAN. That's right, I had really cool ideas. I was SO inspired. I've taken up rollerskating again and am fascinated by what people are doing on skates. I thought it was a lost art. But, people are dancing as fluidly on roller skates or more so, than with their feet on the ground. Blows my mind. And there's this amazing phenomenon where a whole group of people skate in a single file line really fast practically dancing. It's fascinating to watch and scary if you're skating too slow and they come racing through the crowd. So, you learn to stay toward the center and just watch.
How does that fit with my alter project this month? Well, I thought I'd be sketching skaters, doing some cool 3-D art. Spent hours looking at skaters, watching videos and out skating. But, I don't have enough time under my belt drawing bodies, observing the skating movements I want to convey, nor enough experience skating to intuitively know how those movements should feel or look. And queue melt down. The harder I tried, the more frustrated I got. I even went outside and had myself a good cry. You've got to let go of the emotions so you can get on with making the art! Ok, ok. I surrender. This is not what I should be making right now. Too early.
I went back inside and just started working on making the background or inner box with samples of water color paper I had messed around spritzing and daubing alcohol inks and dylusions sprays
. I knew I needed a background. Didn't know where I was going, what it would be. That was cathartic. I made something I knew would be needed and work. I even got to try my new perforator tool. Cool tool, that. Voila. A beginning. I made another, and tried to put the roller skaters back in and hit another wall. OK. yeah, got it. No skaters this time. I'm moving on universe. Message received.
Mom took me out to her studio (a place of wonder) and started pulling out all the bits and bobs, doo dads and whirly gigs she's collected and stored from the you-never-know-when-you-might-need-this pile. And my Parisian Dream began to take form. We found wheels, skulls, mini light bulbs, and so much more. There were a few stencils - an Eiffel tower, a hot air balloon, an old Model T, and a guy riding a 1910 big wheel tricycle. First, I tried to reduce them on the copy machine to check fit. Then drew a few Eiffel towers on shrinky-dink with colored pencils. FUN! The first was so fun I did another. Then, remembered how cool things look en masse and made 2 more. Each is a little different. Added a hot air balloon and shrank them all in the oven. Oh they became so wee! When they finally landed on the background, they ended up circling one another like going down the rabbit hole or the view from a kaleidoscope.
While each piece (background, shrinky-dinks, etc) was made independantely and I had no intention of creating "Oz", I discovered that the balloon & a spot on the background paper worked out to be just that. So, I let myself be inspired by Disney's Oz
and I let the balloon act as though it were The Great & Powerful Oz floating his way way to Paris by night. All while a French bulldog barks at the crazy multiplying Eiffel towers.
I'm SO happy. But if you'd asked me when I started if this is what I'd have ended up with - I'd have told you entirely different. Not at all what I planned or imagined, but better. Reminds me of phrases in many of Summer McStravick's flowdreams
Valentines! Oh how I love the cheerful red, pink, and white colors brought out for making Valentines. So sweet. So uplifting after the dull, grey days of January. I'm not a snow bunny; you won't find me skiing or playing in the powder. So I find January to be a bit of a bore after the throws of Yule and Christmas.
But speaking of Snow and Bunnies... I made one for the alter project
this moon, the Snow Moon
. We are marking our transitions through the project not in months, but rather in moons. It's a refreshing change to the calendar and I feel like I'm getting more into the rhythms of the earth and planets. Why, if the tides can change with the pull of the moon, then why not try and see how the waxing and waning of the moon affects the creation of art (or lack there of depending on the phase).
Back to the bunny... I made this sweet little guy a little while back and just didn't know what to do with him. I even made his back flat so he could rest in a shadow box. That much forethought I had. But the assemblage? no. He actually sat in a box with some other really fun sculptures for, oh say, 5 months. And then, when I saw I was creating for Beth's box, a vision of him popped into my head. I tried fitting him in the box and voila! Magically he fit!! So, I went off to my local indie craft store in search of papers. I was thrilled to find a lovely valentine paper that went so well with the glimmer of the sparkle polymer I used to make bunny.
Then, my next bit of inspiration came from the "Love Me". My parents are kind and thoughtful people. One day when we were out on an antique treasure hunting adventure, they gave me a box with 3 chocolate frogs. Well, the frogs were delicious. Then as I was getting ready to toss the box, I saw the words "Love Me" and wondered if they'd fit. How cute and appropriate would it be for a bunny to profess or even accidentally pose in front of a sign that said "Love Me"? It's like all bunnies say, "I'm cute and cuddly. Love me!" So, in the sign went. I used temporary tape and gazed on it for a week or so before I secured it permenantely.
Lastly, the itsy, bitsy washi tape flags. I love miniature things. Always have. I had and made doll houses in every corner of the house, much to my mother's chagrin some days. :) To make these 1/8" - 1/4" wide flags I used the width of the washi tape itself as half the height of the flag. Then to ensure I had a tiny enough width to allow for lots of flags over a mere 3", I cut strips that were ~ 1/8" or so by 1/2" (width of washi tape). The result? A magical, miniature, banner of flags fit for even a Lego guy
to hold! Yay! I love the whole thing, just like the words say, "Love Me".
Please visit Peg Gyldenege's blog to see the other artists amazing creations: http://wildhairstudio.blogspot.com
I love all the seasons. I love the transitions. While I do find winter difficult sometimes and mourn the loss of the sun and lush growth, I think having them gone reminds me to appreciate them that much more when they return. So today, I inspire you with a Tulip Tree also known as a Magnolia. This is one of my favorites to watch bloom, along with the cherry blossoms. The colors are cheerful, innocent, and sweet. I took this photo last spring with my iPhone and used some fun app to enhance the blue colors. I wish you dogwood blossoms and wagging puppy tails. Happy Spring!
I was invited to participate in the Little Alters project with a group of amazing artists. It's a project where you create a little piece of art for each person based on what inspires you. We each have a typeset style drawer with funny little compartments where each mini alter will be created. The intent behind alters is that often in our lives we collect objects and gather them together on table tops, nooks, and crannies. Why not create more art and alters at the same time? "Cool!" I thought. I can do that. "And what fun to be part of such an eclectic group!"
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We all started with our own box (Box A), the biggest spot in the drawer, which is not a square, not a rectangle, but it's a square with a square cut out. Grrr... there goes the even, orderly, balance & structure. Getting started on a group exchange project is often the hardest because you feel it sets the tone for what everyone else has done, but Peg, our fearless leader, has encouraged us to not follow a theme, but rather just to create what inspires us.
Whee! Free reign. Oh, wait - that can be unnerving to people like me who have learned to work within a structure. Structure creates freedom to be creative. Ok... so I'm starting with no theme and very little structure. So, I gotta consider the box shape my "structure" rather than rules. This leads me to my inspiration for my box, Box A.
This year, upon opening a ripe pomelo, I discovered it's delicious floral scent, much like that of walking through an orange grove. Pleasantly surprised and captivated, I had to have more. I wanted to bottle it up and wear it every day. The pith is what holds the richest scent. The pomelo flesh, is also very tasty - like a cross between an orange and a grapefruit and delightfully pink.
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When cut in a cross section, the contrast between the bright green rind, the pithy white and the cheerful pink pulp of the flesh segments is so inspiring. I love how the pomelo segments aren't even in cross section. They remind me of flowers drawn by kids.
So inspired to bottle up this scent, I went out and bought mason jars and all different kinds of citrus to make lemoncello, floral waters (via vodka) and vinegar for cleaning (thank you pinterest
! click the pic above to get a recipe to make your own). So, now that my counters are stacked with mason jars and the multitude of citrus offerings, the inspiration to draw these wonderful fruits happened.
Well, it took a while before I was hit with inspiration. This box, being less than evenly balanced on all sides jarred me so much that I couldn't create. I made that worse by berating myself for not doing anything, then was concerned that my artists block would continue long beyond just this one box into every other box I attempted. Damn that cut out square! But, I put the whole project into a drawer while frustrated and took the day off. I let myself relax, enjoy, and napped. Then, the day after the full moon, I just sat down and started drawing all the citrus that I had brought into my life. I let it all hang out and anchor near the lower right corner. Let the fruit fall where it may! Lo and behold, it behaved! I was able to cut a square out and still maintain the integrity of the art I created. Whew!
My favorite part about this was discovering the cross sections of each fruit. When I look at it, my heart skips a beat over both the pretty pink & green pomelo flower cross section and how I really captured the pink ripening spot on a grapefruit. I think, "Wow, I did that.... I did!"
My dad taught me a lot about taking photos. I spent years envious of his traditional film SLR until we went to a camera show and I bought my own SLR. Not quite as fancy as his with macro and telephoto lenses, and it was likely 20-30 years old when I bought it, but I was thrilled to be able to take photos like dad. I felt so professional. I was taking a photography class at the time and learned the pinhole camera technique, how to develop my own black and white plus color prints, and hand coloring.
Fast forward a few years. We use our phones to take practically all our photos and blog from them. Some use digital point & shoots, others DSLR's. Each serves it's purpose. Now we have apps to edit and produce photos and rarely print a photo. I love having a camera with me all the time. I can capture amazing moments I've rarely been able to share. Because my dad is always forward thinking & willing to try new technology, I too am always exploring apps to improve my photos.
I received a wonderful gift from my Dad, a book on photo apps. Often I've looked at books on apps as dated as soon as they're published and pointless because of my inquisitive nature and experience testing software, most apps are so intuitive to me and easy to figure out. But, what this book has done is vett the thousands of apps allowing the cream to rise to the top, gives you creative challenges and showcases other photographers. I've gotten lost in it and also found a few apps I love.
Today, before buying Autostitch
, I took photos based on how I saw you could stitch them together with the app. Then after deciding I was sure I wanted to spend money on an app, I bought it and loaded the photos. Holy crap. I was amazed! So easy. So elegant. And now, I can share today's glorious sky with you in panoramic view. These took 6-11 photos each.
What can you do with dingleballs?!?!
Well, I'm cultivating a Pinterest board
just for you. It has a few great ideas for knitting & sewing patterns along with some crafty things like flowers and garland. Pop on over and check it out!
Once you've used your kit, just about all of the yarns I sell will be perfect for making dingleballs. I'm spinning up some new colors for an update later this month to inspire your muse. :)
I fussed & fussed over this paper. Beth started it with a "Beach" theme. But that's not what it's becoming. And given the mountains (which I love) and the flowers (which I also love), it was not feeling very beach like. I couldn't come up with a thing all month & then some. I kept hearing, "The Atchison, Topeka, & The Santa Fe
" a train song, but in Harry Connick, Jr's
version on the album 25
. I cut trains out to collage onto the paper, I tried to place a train track, but no. They didn't feel right. So I sat in front of it with colored pencils and markers. What to do? What. To. DO?!
Colored Pencils. My medium.
Markers. Got em out. Didn't touch em.
Then I recalled many an inspired day watching Commander Mark
Remember him? Fun! Enthusiastic! Encouraging. Aliens, planets, secret hide-a-ways.
So I grabbed my pencil & swooped & looped like Commander Mark would do. I didn't think. Just let the pencil lead me. I always used to think he knew what he would draw before he did it. But now, I wonder if he didn't just trust his marker & let the marker take him where it wanted to go on the drawing. My swooping resulted in a river that wandered into a waterfall. Wow, I found a way to connect the mountains to the flowers!
Starting a river. There were mountains, flowers and a moon. The river had yet to run through it.
Adding base color
Giving the water movement.
Adding white, the faster flowing water. Starting the waterfall feel at the bottom front of the page.
Layers of blue hues & black/graphite to enhance corners & the swerving feel of a winding river.
The final effect. River to waterfall. Waterfall over Hawaiian flowers. Enhanced Moon.
I'm really happy with the results. I couldn't have planned this. I'm really glad I just let my pencils go to work. I feel like I achieved a good sense of 3-d with just a flat piece of paper. That in and of itself is an accomplishment in my book. Yay me! (remember to congratulate yourself after a job well done. You'll then encourage yourself to improve!)
This year, I returned to sculpting in polymer clay. As a kid, I spent many, many hours sculpting. Then, about 6 years ago I picked up some clay to make some fairies for one box in "The Take-Out Box Project", an art challenge I was part of with 16 other artists, and haven't played with it again until this year.
In my elementary years I created a lot of art. Sculpting was just one of the many mediums I was blessed to play in (thank's mom
!). I made wee figurines and stuff for my dolls and toys. I loved dolls. But, I think I loved making things for them more. I used to make vingnettes all over the house (and get yelled at to clean them up - sorry Mom
, creative muse and all!). I collected blocks, dolls, and then I figured out how to make doll furniture out of paper with origami techniques. A doll or faerie home always seemed better when made in a fresh corner. Still makes me giggle. I made food, plates, and cups. I sculpted heads. It was great fun, then I didn't know where else to go with it.
Dragon sculpted by Gwen Gyldenege. Norman says, "Hi! My name is Norman Rockswell. Wanna play 'melt the glass ball'? Cause I just figured out I can burp fire when I drink sparkling mountain lake water."
Fast forward to 2012. I had the great fortune to take classes from Patricia Hedegaard
. She taught us how to make goblins and dragons. The flood gates just opened up and sculpting what ever I wanted became so much easier. I learned about fingers, toes, bodies, horns, and more. Above is a picture of my little dragon. Isn't he cute-a-full!?
Now when I pick up the clay, I just allowed myself to play. I find my greatest success comes when I don't try to create a vision or think long and hard on what I want the clay to become. Rather, I pick up the clay and start with a shape and let the clay tell me what it wants to be. I just fall in to my creative trance state (natural people, natural) and allow my hands to work. Think of it like walking meditation.
That's how Bald Mermaid was born. I started with a head and no eyes. Then, I decided to make a torso. The hands - oh gosh, they ended up being as big as her hips. Guess we all need to be a little handy. Lastly, I just created a simple tale. I decided that clamshells would be funny for a "bra". And who had the best cartooned clamshells that are easy to sculpt? The Flinstones
. They're not an exact of clam bucks, but they're my idea of funny clam shells.
Bald Mermaid by Gwen Gyldenege
I didn't add any hair. In fact, it took me a while to settle on eyes. She's still a work in progress, but I'm not sure I'll add hair. There are many women who don't have hair by choice and not. Why not support a unique standard of beauty. For, how many bald mermaids really exist? At least 1 in my wonderland! Ya like her?