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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Cut & Create Paper Mosaics

This next book is about creating mosaic art with paper. I always try to be positive about books because a lot of work goes into research, writing and creating them. I was looking forward to this one because the cover is colourful and made me interested to see what more it offers.

As someone who reviews books occasionally, I have to be honest and give you my view of the book, and it is only my view. This is the first time I wasn’t that excited about a book once I received it and opened it up, but I will always try to find good and bad in each one to be objective.

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I am not a paper artist by any stretch, having only done a few small projects, but I’m always open to learning new things. When I open a book it has to grab me from the start or I just can’t go forward with it because I know I will struggle to get through it.

This book is more of a kit than a book. When you open it, there are two sides.

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One side contains the table of contents, one page of very short instructions, a page of tools and tips and then nine projects ranging from beginner to advanced, each project is over two pages. 

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This picture shows the number of pieces to cut from the papers, the pictures are on the left.

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The other side is a pocket that holds the templates, and papers to create the nine projects. The paper is good quality, the templates are clear, but I’m still confused. Look at that template. It would take me an entire weekend just to cut out the pieces and then hope I got it right. But now what.

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I really want to like this book but for me it’s a kit and for people who understand paper work, in this case mosaics. Even though there are three projects for beginners, it’s lacking in instructions that a beginner can easily follow along with. Anyone with more advanced skills in this type of art would probably have no problem creating these art pieces.

I think it would have been better if the author had taken one small project and shown step x step how to construct it. After that, the nine projects contained in here, would be much easier to do.

So my pro’s and con’s.

The pro’s - I like the way the kit is put together, the projects are nice, the paper is good quality and the templates are clear and printed well.

The con’s – there isn’t enough instruction for me personally to venture into trying to make these projects. Sadly it will be put on a shelf and wait until I find someone that works with paper and knows what to do with this.

Monday, June 19, 2017

drawing calm–a book review

Every now and then I receive books to review. Earlier this month I was sent four of them. This is the first one.

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The idea behind this book is to give you some exercises to do exactly as the cover states.  If you’re a creative person, you know there are times when you have a bit of a lag in your art OR on the flip side, you are so overwhelmed and have too many things you want to do. It happens to all of us and both situations can be very frustrating.

This book gives you exercises to do to help redirect your energy and bring you back to a calm place to recharge your creative batteries.

The first part of the book is called Warm-Up Exercises. Right from the start she made me think “hmm”, because she recommends “drawing your grocery list”. You’re going to draw with your pencils or whatever you use, pictures of things on your shopping list. Who would have thought.

The next chapter deals with “delight”. Delight in your work, draw, paint things that are delightful to your eye and that make you feel good. Throughout the chapters she guides you with suggestions on how to achieve the goals she lays out for you.

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Chapter 3 is about Quiet. I like peace and quiet when I work, so this chapter would be good for me. Quiet means different things to everyone who creates and this chapter and here the author encourages the reader to find that Quiet place that works for you, be it the medium you use, and create art that evokes stillness and quiet. I love this piece, and of course a blue theme again which is my go to colour. This piece is called Birch Tree by William Turner (1789 – 1862).

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There are nine chapters in this book. You will see a consistent theme throughout. Warmth is easy, it’s that warm and comfortable feeling that comes with certain art pieces through the palette. This chapter takes you through some exercise with the palette of warm colours.

Chapter 5 is about Harmony. Harmony being art that is complete. It’s art that has come together and has all the components that compliment each other. Ms. Evenson again takes the reader through an explanation of the chapter by showing how Harmony takes shape in whatever you use for your art, be it paper, paints, pencils or water colours.

The art below is called “A Small Cloud” by Arkhip Ivancvich Kuindzhi, a Russian painter from 1842-1910) The author refers to this painting as “simplicity of composition, with a palette that feels relaxing and quiet.”

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Chapter 6 is Calm, very simple to understand. The palettes that such as blue (again with my blue) is very calming. Have you ever looked at a painting that maybe makes you feel tense or just does nothing for you and then you see a painting in soft tones and simplistic images, how does that make you feel. That’s what this chapter goes through, she explains how art can come together to express that sense of calm through colour, order and content.

Chapter 7 discusses Light. There is beauty in light and dark. The author discusses how light, whether it be bright or dark or somewhere in between, can evoke a certain mood. This watercolour over pencil is “Woodland Scene, Paul Cezanne (1839-1906). It reminds me of a field wildflowers and that makes me happy.

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Chapter 8 is about Rhythm. I look at big tall birch trees in my neighbourhood on a windy day and I always think that they are laughing. They have delicate leaves that flutter in the wind as though enjoying something very funny amongst themselves. Art should be like that. It should have a rhythm to it and a lightness or a depth of light that is pleasing to your eye.

I listen to Spa channel music much of the time, it calms me and keeps me focused on what I’m doing and I have a diffuser and essential oils that envelope the room with whatever scents I want to enjoy, it’s amazing how much that can influence your art.

That’s what this chapter speaks to. How to bring your art together in a rhythmic way to create that calmness in your space. When your space becomes disorganized, does that confuse your mind. It does that to me. I generally will clean up after projects, put away what I’m not going to use again, then vacuum the room and wipe down my work table, then start again.

The last chapter of this book is about Maintaining the Calm. In this chapter there are references to how to stay focused and calm and a few more exercises to achieve that. For anyone who struggles to find that peace and quiet in their head in order to create, this is a great little book to accomplish that. Someone once told me they went to a secluded cabin with no amenities and it was there that she realized how much noise was in her head. She said having that experience helped her so much. If you create and struggle to find ways to get out of a slump, this would be a nice book for that.

There are exercises using a variety of mediums and she takes you step by step throughout to help you find that calm place you need to be in to find and be that artist you are, that maybe you didn’t realize you were. ;o) Enjoy. I will have more reviews coming up shortly.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Flower Fairies

This is the other class I signed up for on Adele’s site. It appealed to me because I’m making fairy ornaments for sale from September to December and these will compliment the shabby Rose ornaments very nicely.

Here are the four girls I made, all standing nice and tall in a row, but a back view first.  Starting with the orange/yellow theme, I used the floral sprays and leaves that are recommended in class. From there I moved to a combination of leaves, floral sprays, shabby roses and some velvet leaves, as in the two blue/purple/green tones. The last fairy on the left is made with shabby rose, silk flowers and velvet leaves.

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In the front view, you can see three of them are wearing little crowns and there is a little beading on the bodice and at the bottom, and they have earrings. The fairy on the left deliberately only has one earring. ;o)

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In the next picture you can see them  a little closer in the upper body and a little bit better view of the embellishments.

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On the bases, I covered the blocks and stems with handmade papers. I think creative people have a stash of every conceivable form of art supplies, am I right.

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To finish up, here are the close ups of their faces. The hair for all of them is different colours and blends of colours, in wool rovings. It’s so soft, you can twist and shape it and do pretty much whatever you like with it, to create the hair styles.

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Hansel and Gretel

I finished this class with Angela Jarecki a few days ago. I don’t take that  many classes anymore, but this was just too cute to pass up. I enjoyed making these dolls and am hoping in the fall they will find new homes.

Here they are together and then some pictures to show what I did a little differently. Of course. For the most part I did things like the lessons, except one big change. I confessed to Angela that I changed the head pattern, I used a different one all together.

Basically I just didn’t like the shape of the one in the lesson. The head I used is also designed with a chin gusset but it just came together so much easier. This is the only major change I made, others used the head pattern that came with the class.

Angela’s dolls are free standing, but since I had these wood stumps and because they are Hansel and Gretel who lived in a small cottage in the woods, these bases seemed just perfect.

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I have a stash of needle point wool and it’s doubtful that the printed canvases I have, will ever get stitched, but the wool made perfect hair. I mixed colours for both dolls so they would have some highlights throughout, like our own hair.

For their scarves… Hansel has a piece of previously dyed cheesecloth, which just happened to be the perfect compliment for the colour in his clothing, and it’s wrapped around for interest as is Gretel’s. Her scarf is from a repurposed silk scarf and I left some of the fringe on it.

The clothing is a mix of cotton prints, tapestry fabric for the hats, repurposed work socks for Hansel, stretch knit for Gretel’s stockings and felt. The shoes are made with faux suede. Hansel’s pants are corduroy with flannel used for sleeves, cowl and trim on the cuffs. There is beading on her vest and satchel and on his hat.

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In the next picture, you can see that Hansel has found some sweet blackberries, while Gretel has discovered a blueberry bush. Hansel also carries a flashlight for those walks in the forest which can be very spooky. 

And that’s all. I hope you like these two. The class was on Adele’s site, it’s finished now, but maybe it’ll be back in the fall. Enjoy  ;o)

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Nina the Pocket Angel

Nina is adapted from a pattern by Jill Maas. She will be flying off to the UK very shortly. She’s going to live with a friend who really needs this little angel to watch over her, don’t we all like the idea of having a guardian angel. ;o)

Nina is mostly made like the pattern, but with a few changes, of course. I added some beading around the front of the vest and pulled the bottom of her vest together with a few crystals. Her vest and oversized pockets are made with felt. Inside one of the pockets is the verse that came with the pattern and is attached to the back of a vintage ATC with roses on it.  (Can’t see that part, it’s already tucked into the pocket and she’s wrapped up and getting ready to fly away)

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The pockets and neck are trimmed with some tatted lace and just a simple band of grosgrain ribbon around the bottom. I needle felted her hair in place and gave her an up do, lots of hair that’s a bit unruly and a touch of burgundy and smokey blue to co ordinate with the fabric colours.

I love the fabric print. Whimsical trees, with stars. The background is a marbled green with the burgundy and blue tones throughout. A head band of crystals completes the look of the hair, and finally leafy wings made from repurposed flower/leaf sprays.

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Her vest is a faux vest, it only covers the front, so the wings can be attached right to the body. I used my go to glue that dries like concrete to fix them in place, then added these little flower embellishments over top to really hold those wings in place. She has a long way to go after all.

And that’s it for today. I’m including some little surprizes in the package, so I can’t say here what they are. But I think she’ll like them. Enjoy.. ;o)

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