Portrait of Contentment

While there are often bumps along the road as we travel through life, there are also moments of perfect contentment, if we just pause a moment or two and let everything be still. When things get too busy and distracting, escaping to my studio is a one way I can tune things out and actually feel peace flood over me. Does this mean everything is perfect? Of course not, that is in fact rarely the case, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have perfect moments of contentment in the midst of ‘life’.
Portrait of Contentment1

 

‘Portrait of Contentment’

9″ x 12″ acrylic on museum quality wood panel

When I started painting this portrait things were kind of hectic, we were getting ready to leave for a week and still getting Christmas put away etc. I worked on it for a few brief time periods and left it unfinished until we came back from vacation. I went up to my studio to unwind and reflect and put on some Eagles tunes (a tribute to Glenn Frey who passed away during our trip) and was thinking to myself I’m so glad that we went to see the Eagles when we had the chance. How many times do we put things off until later and later never comes? It made me thankful and content, a real ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’ moment. Sure there are things I wished I’d done but there are a lot of things that I did do and I’m content that I reached and stretched outside my comfort zone to get where I am today.

 

Portrait of Contentment3

Detailed view of ‘Portrait of Contentment

I love how working with portraits allows you to see what you are feeling in your work. I hope you find time to create art today and feel the contentment that it brings.

This portrait is now listed on my SHOP page.

It’s Sew Wild!

I’ve had fun reading an advance copy of Alisa Burke’s new book , Sew Wild. It’s beautiful and full of great techniques for fabric and more!

Now, I have to be honest, I don’t sew. I CAN sew, I CHOOSE not to. I learned how to sew the ‘right’ way and well, that pretty much took all the fun out of it for me. I learned quickly that I’d rather paint so I left sewing behind although my machine is still part of my studio. I did do a stint of sewing on paper that was fun, and when I took my machine in for a cleaning I got reprimanded for it-lol!

Where I’m  going with all of this is that I was very pleased to see how many of Alisa’s techniques can be used even for us non-sewers! It’s chock full of cool things that can be used without ever touching a machine! (shhhhh, don’t tell Alisa;-)

I chose to start with a wood carving project. I’ve never carved on wood and it’s a lot different than lino blocks, but fun and the carvings are very unique looking.

I did some simple designs to go along with the face I carved. The carving blocks and even tools can be found at Michael’s. I even used my lino cutters and they worked fine.

Now, to get around sewing something I found a cute little ready to decorate muslin apron at Michael’s as well. There is a whole isle of ready to alter clothing etc.

Here’s the begining of my apron, with some carved blocks, and thermofax screens.

I’m not sure if I’m done yet but loving it so far! Can’t wait to try some other techniques from the book. Be sure to check it out HERE.

Stashing my Stash

I am finally down to one box left to unpack in my studio, but that will have to wait until after I finish things for a couple of deadlines coming up fast!

So this week, as I put things away, I kept asking myself, ‘How do I stash my stash’?  This is something we all deal with and whenever you move or reorganize your space you have to figure out what works best for you.

I decided that a trip to Target and Lowe’s was in order and I purchased some shelf units and plastic storage drawers. I need functional storage for my closet, not worried about ‘pretty’ and I need to be able to expand it as my time and wallet allow.

I received my first boxes of products from Matisse and I’m thrilled to finally have a huge closet space to store this type of thing in. I will add more shelves as needed to accommodate product.

Drawers will hold stamp sheets all neat and tidy

and I love these over the door shoe organizers. I keep all of my flyers, postcards etc in them.

Mailing supplies all grouped together will be handy. I used to keep them in a different room at our old house so I’m glad that I will be able to have everything I need in one space.

My stash of cute workshop aprons hangs at one end of the long closet.

Believe it or not, but one of my first workspaces was in a closet about 1/2 the size of this. I was thrilled when I converted that closet into my own private workspace. Work with what you have, carve out your little niche and don’t let not having a ‘studio’ keep you from creating. You can create no matter what your space is, even if it’s a spot at the kitchen table. I can say this because I have done it.

See, my one last box left to unpack! I hope the missing drawer in my shelf unit is in there-lol!

I have my stuff stashed and still have room to grow vertically in this storage space. I picked shelf units that can be added onto as needed and that are inexpensive. For now I’m good. My things are unpacked and I can work in my studio. I will add to and adjust things as needed down the road, but for now I love having a space to work in again~

PS. Checkout Interweaves Stash Buster Sale this week! Lots of cool things at this annual Post Labor Day Sale and there is even a flicker group you can upload your photos to making you eligible to win cool prizes!! Be sure to check it out!!

Slowly but Surely

Things are falling into place (falling? Well, being placed there with careful attention-lol) I’m loving this little niche in the room for my desk work. It’s not my favorite part of the ‘Full Time Artist’ thing, so I try to make my surroundings as enjoyable and none distracting as I can. If I try to work in arms reach of paint and other art supplies I get sucked into the more fun aspects of creating! I love how the sheer drapes section this area off a bit without closing it in too much.

That pile of work sitting there followed me over from my old studio and needs attention fast, so I’m pushing to get my studio in order asap.

At day’s end the desk is a bit more tidy and what you can’t see is that behind the panel on the right is my kind of ugly but functional file cabinet with that pile of ‘needs to be done soon’ work from my desk, organized by priority. I like that I don’t have to look at it right when I walk into my studio, but it’s easy to see what needs to be done when I sit at my desk. Those of you who work as full-time artists know that at least half of your time is spent working on things other than actual art. It’s important to make that time as enjoyable as possible and to set yourself up for successful use of that time. Seeing a desk full of work does not make me want to go and sit there, but having one task on the desk and the rest out of sight but in easy reach from an uncluttered desk makes it a bit easier.

I have found that for me, neutral calming colors and uncluttered work areas work best. I’ve done the colorful walls, stuff everywhere kind of workspace and have come to prefer a cleaner, less cluttered, light filled space. Bottom line is to pay attention to what works for you. How do you feel in your space? Do you want to go into it, or do you want to shut the door on it and find your art supplies migrating to other areas? Listen to your inner voice and create a space that invites you in.

New DVD Giveaway!

I’m so excited-my new DVD from Interweave came in today’s mail! In fact they sent me a few extras, so I’m going to give one away here!

What do you have to do to enter? Just leave a comment about what you like about art journaling on this post and in one week, on July 27th (my birthday gift to you:-) I’ll use a random number generator to select one of the posts. Please be sure to leave a website or email addy so I can contact the winner!

Oh, and if the posts go over 100 I’ll give away 2 DVD’s!

Here’s a sneak peek~

Counting Down the Days To Cortona

March 31-April 7, 2012 CORTONA ITALY

This is one of those ‘trip of a lifetime’ events that requires some advance planning. It’s in the back of my mind as I work through the tasks of today, sitting there like a prize at the end of the race! I’ve never been to Italy and going there to create art with a small group of artists is exciting beyond words!

 

All-inclusive* workshop includes:
Escorted Group Travel
Florence to Cortona March 31, 2012****

Five days of instruction
Seven nights accommodations
in historic Cortona** (Private room & bath)

Local Etruscan Museum & Museo Diocesano
All meals***
(Italian breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Daily wine tasting opportunities
Day trip to Florence
Tuscan cooking class & dinner
Vist to local outdoor market
A farewell wine tasting dinner


**Included with “Hotel” plans only. See details.
***Included with “Group Meal Plan” only. See details.
****Specific departure time only; to be announced

*All-inclusive plans only.
Air travel and ground transportation to/from Cortona is not included
and is the responsibility of each participant
.

Liquid Sketching with Pam Carriker


Derivan Liquid Pencils are a relatively new medium that takes sketching to a whole new place! With different tints in both permanent and rewettable formulas, they offer a wide range of creativity and allow you to ‘sketch’ without picking up a pencil! I’ve been working with the creators of Liquid Pencil and am excited to have a line of new products coming out that make this new medium especially user friendly to Art Journalers. If you love the look of sketching but are unsure of your drawing skills, this class will give you exactly what you need to begin sketching in a journal made with hot press watercolor paper. For the more advanced student the sky’s the limit when you add this to what you already do and I will show you the many different techniques possible with this innovative product! I will be bringing my very own Portrait Sketch Stamps to use in class as well so there is nothing to fear if you don’t have much experience with portraits-you can literally stamp a sketch! As we gather memorabilia from our day trips, we will add them to the covers of our journals to finish off an artistic keepsake that will bring back the once in a lifetime memories of our time in Italy.

Supplies

Paint brushes-watercolor type

Watercolor brush with a refillable water reservoir

Small set (field type for outside/travel type use) of watercolor paints

Bone folder tool ( for scoring and burnishing)

All other supplies will be supplied by the instructor

Saturday – Arrival in Cortona

-7:00p Welcome to Cortona wine and chocolate tasting at La Saletta.

-8:00p Evening dinner in Cortona at La Locanda nel Loggiato

Sunday – Cortona

-9:00a-12:00p Morning Session

Class kits will be handed out including a signed copy of my book, ‘Art at the Speed of Life’

We will spend the morning session constructing our sketch journals using a binding method from my book, with a twist-we’ll add a pocket or two to the book for the memorabilia we’ll no doubt pick up on our outings. I will introduce my line of Sketch Ink from Derivan Liquid Pencil and we will begin to explore its properties and the tools we will use to apply it. No pencils here! Derivan Liquid Pencil is actual graphite in a paint-like form. My line of Sketch Ink products provides a user-friendly way to apply this medium in a more liquid form. Using both Permanent and re-wettable formulas, we will smudge, erase, lift off, burnish it and more.

-1:00p Lunch

-3:00-6:00p Afternoon Session

Now that everyone has had a chance to play with the Sketch Ink, we will begin our first journal pages, discussing our views on what Art Journaling means to us and how we each find ways or hope to find ways, to incorporate it into our daily lives. This will become the foundation for our pages as we layer various fluid media.

-7:30p Wine tasting

-8:00p Evening dinner

Monday – Cortona

-9:00-12:00p Morning Session

Time to venture outside for inspiration! Taking our journals, Sketching Ink and Brushes, we will begin quick sketching without pencils as we capture the sights and sounds around us.

-1:00p Lunch

-3:00-6:00p Afternoon Session

The afternoon will be spent in the studio or on the grounds, completing our quick sketches and turning them into journal pages.

-7:30p Wine tasting Il Pozzo

-8:00p Evening dinner

Tuesday – Florence

-Day trip to Florence with lunch provided

As we journey to Florence, we will gather memorabilia along the way, stowing it into the pockets in our journals. Quick Liquid Sketches will capture the beauty around us.

-7:30p Wine tasting

-8:00p Evening dinner

Wednesday – Cortona

-9:00-12:00p Morning Session

Time to find a quiet spot to turn yesterdays sketches into journal pages filled with words, color, and texture.

-1:00 Lunch

-3:00-5:30p Afternoon Session

We will now gesso the front and back cover of our journals turning them into leather like covers and then add our memorabilia in true mixed media collage form to create amazing covers for our journals.

-6:00p Tuscan cooking class & dinner

Thursday – Cortona
-Morning visit to outdoor market in Camucia
Fruit, vegetables, people, there will be no end of inspiration and a Quick Liquid Sketch can capture the moment so we can return to it later.

-1:00 Lunch

-3:00-6:00p Afternoon Session

Depending on how many pages you’ve already completed, it may be time to create a second journal. We will stroll outside and find lovely spots to capture the beauty around us and enjoy returning to the moments captured from the mornings outing.

-7:30p Wine Tasting

-8:00p Evening dinner

Friday – Cortona

-9:00-12:00p Morning Session

Adding portraits to our journals will be the finishing touch. I will provide a number of ways to accomplish this that will suite the varied degrees of experience. Even if you’ve never drawn a face before, I’ll show you how to use my Portrait Sketch Stamps to create a one of a kind face. These were designed to work with the Sketch Ink and you will be amazed at how you can personalize the stamped image to make it truly your own.

-1:00p Lunch TBA

-3:00-6:00p Afternoon Session

Now is the time to share our journals within our small group. We are all friends now, having shared this once in a lifetime experience and as we talk about our art, finish up our pages, exchange email addresses and take pictures, we will know we’ve bonded in a special way through our journals and our art.

-7:30p Farewell Wine Tasting Dinner

Saturday – Departure

-Morning Check-out and departure from Cortona.

To find out more or to save your space click HERE

If you are interested in being put on a mailing list for updates about this Art Retreat Experience send an email to pcarrikersart@yahoo.com

Carving Time

Summer is speeding by and right smack dab in the middle of it I get sick. This happens to many of us and puts a damper on the outside activities. With my creativity at a low ebb along with my energy, I picked up my carving tool and some Jack Richeson Easy Carve Lino and used some of the designs I’ve been creating for stencil products. This is one of the ways I like to reuse artwork, by making art tools from it.

Focusing on the positive and negative space and the lack of color to distract, forces you to simplify and make every line count. The art becomes a sort of puzzle that you carefully put together to create impact. Less is more when carving stamps. There are no shades of grey, just black and white. Positive and negative.

Summer is a busy time, but it is still possible to carve time for art out of each day. Try something new like carving stamps, it only takes one tool, you can do it outside, and the stamps can be used for future projects.

Carving Tips

Use a sharp blade

Start with simple designs and work up to more intricate ones

Never cut towards yourself! Carve away from your hand holding the Lino

Use a bench hook/inking plate to carve safely http://www.dickblick.com/products/speedball-bench-hookinking-plate/

Cut a groove with V shaped tip around all of the design out lines and the carve away lino to that groove. This will help prevent cutting into the design lines.

Take your time and enjoy the process. This is something that takes time, it’s not a fast process but you can come back to it and spend a few moments on it throughout the day.

Ink your lino cut with a stamp pad to see areas that still need carving (see last two images)

I show some carving tips on my newly released DVD from Interweave Press, you can see a preview and order it HERE