Saturday, June 27, 2015

Leftovers are Fun

These little book marks about 1.5" x 5" are a fun combination of all the things I love…Gelli printed papers, Tulip Slick paints (dimensional), and Zentangle.  I simply let the "slick" paints make the strings for the tangles.  Making sure to leave lots of paper to show. Love the newest tangle "Ta-Da". 

These make great little signed pieces of art to slip into a package or a card.  So don't throw paper trimmings away!!!

Zentangle and Wonderful Weather

Well, trying to keep up with the tangle a day calendar…
Am enjoying trying out some new tangles like "Frost Flower" which I think is "swell".  Love that word.

We are having two perfect north woods day in a row.  Even though we are not getting to 80 either day…it is upper 70s and no wind and lots of sunshine.  THAT is so much better.  Whew.  Maybe I can stop the weather whining for a few days?

Greg and I went out to garage sales ALL morning on Friday and came home with a ton of stuff.  Some of which was actually on our list.  Hahaha.  Lots of wonderful "finds".  Laugh…we usually stop for lunch somewhere or pack a lunch but lo and behold we stopped our local bank to cash a few checks and they were having "beach party" day.  At the bank???  Yup.  A full blown pot luck for their customers!  Meatballs, sandwiches, salads, desserts, lemonade and tables set up in the lobby.  Only in the north woods would you have lunch at the bank.  For free.  How we chuckled.

And that worked slick cause we had a fish fry planned that night with friends and didn't want a big lunch!  So we didn't get home until almost 4 pm!  Met lots of fun and interesting people too.  

Today is dawning sunny and the lake is like glass.  
Humming birds at the feeders.
Wild daisies blooming.
Not a complaint here!  
I'm preparing for the week of company ahead.  Folks arrive tomorrow afternoon and we'll have folks for a week.  It'll be so fun.
Less art work this week…but maybe I'll get the grandkids to do an artsy afternoon and post some of their work.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Gelli Print Journal

I thought I'd tidy this journal up a little…I've been keeping it for years.  No chronological order but it is just stickers, tickets, stubs, or programs from events we've attended, movies we saw, or trips.  Not everything, of course, but ones we though especially different and interesting.  The pages are back to back Gelli prints on copy paper and the cover is just a file folder that I Gelli printed.  

I did "sew" the thing together today just so I can show it off at my art groups in July without too much embarrassment.  It's just very "relaxed".  But it is a fun record to look through.  And gives another idea of how to use the Gelli prints in a creative way! 

I still have a lot of room to add things.
You'll note in the first photo the Blue Canvas Band ticket we attended at Dillman's Resort last Sunday night.  Totally fun.

Frost Flowers tangle is a hit

With all the rain here in the north woods of Wisconsin, there is NO excuse for not keeping up with my tangle-a-day calendar!  

The new tangle "Frost Flower" is interesting and fun.  I put it in my "mac n cheese" tangle book…it is easy and I love the little sparkles in it.  It has the look and feel of a "real" Zentangle as it is simple and has lot of variations.

I think beginners would enjoy it.  I wonder how it would look on a renaissance tile?  I am sure it would be dynamic on a black tile!  

Our en plein air group has now cancelled out 4 Thursdays in a row up here.  Will the rain never end?  Our big storm last Monday night brought a lightning strike 500 feet from our cabin hitting a tree and exploding it!  The lightning exited from the base of the tree exploding the root exposed above the ground.  The sound was deafening and scared the whole neighborhood! 

Living in a forest, one wonders how the electricity gets attracted to one object over another.  Seems like all the trees are about the same height.  No damage to any homes or people so that was good.  The midwest had a lot of damage in Illinois!  Scary.  

When the sun DOES shine we all run outside immediately and jump up and down!  With the 4th of July ahead we are so praying for some good  weather.  I'll have 10 guests that weekend!  PLEEZE!  They all want to boat, swim and fish.  

Thank heavens for my cozy studio on these dark dark days!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Merit Award

Greg and I were finally able to get over to Howard Young to see the Art in the Garden Exhibit this afternoon.  What a wonderful display.  Much enjoyed.  

Here is my "merit award" piece.  
Now I need to get my application for the Manito Arts Show in the mailbox by tomorrow.  

We made it through the midwest and northern WI storms of yesterday.  Lots of wind and driving rain and some lightening strikes that were "close to home".  But we were lucky and no damage and our power did not go out.  

Lots of folks south of us had a much rougher time.
Cleared off and was pleasant today…about 73 in town (about 68 here at the lake).  Tomorrow we will have rain again by afternoon.  Sigh.  We have not had one 80 degree day in June up here yet.  

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dedicated to those who have lost their way….

5.7 x 11"
Collage: hand painted papers, acrylic and ink

Continuing on my quest to do a series of "compositions"…this one is called "vertical or horizontal" (obvious I would guess!)

This one is dedicated to "those who have lost their way".  Labyrinths, you will remember, unlike mazes, provide a safe journey in and out and despite the trees you will find your way.  There you find solace and meditation.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Power of One: a Collage

"The Power of One"
12 x 12 on 300# Arches wc paper
Collage: paper, ink, acrylics

I am spending some time on a rainy Saturday afternoon exploring some of the different compositional ideas I learned in the Gerald Brommer workshop last April.  He calls this composition idea "opposing forces". 

I thought as I composed it, "if you can't move a mountain, move a grain of sand."  I think that is a song title.   

It is also a good time to experiment with using some of my Gelli prints to show to the class participants (in August).  See side bar for info on that.

We have had dark skies and lots of rain all day here in the north woods.  So disappointing for folks who only have weekends and also for folks who offer local events on the weekends.  The only good news is that shop owners in Minocqua always do better on rainy weekends!  Makes perfect sense.

Got the news today that I got an honorable mention at the Art in the Garden exhibit at Howard Young on Thursday night.  I was not able to be there, but am very excited about that.  I have not taken awards there before!  I'll post that painting soon.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Using Nature in Gelli Printing

Gelli prints
It's fun to use natural "stencils" when using Gelli print plates.  These are asparagus ferns, wild strawberry leaves and another leaf that is unidentified.  Also feathers are fun to use!  

Makes especially nice stationary, book covers, and cards.  

Lovely afternoon today in the north woods…spent our cocktail time down on the pier.  Greg got lost of projects done and I was in the studio or curled up with my book most of the day.  Obviously spent a little time in the studio too!  

These were done, by the way, on just plain copy paper.  They remind me a little of Cynthia's sun prints.  

Final Collage composition

"Wabi-Sabi Boro"
11 x 14

Close up of detail in Boro

So if you care to scroll down and find the first post on this collage you may be able to see the changes I made in it.  There has been some collage add and some "tweaks" in the center of interest including just a touch of orange-red spatter and some tiny gold beads.    

I always love a surprise at the center of interest when I am looking at non-objective paintings.  I am striving for that.  

The issue of the composition is what newbies like me struggle with.  When I took the Gerald Brommer workshop last April I was delighted to find that this was exactly what he wanted to teach me.  I kept all his handouts and my struggles toward that goal.  

I think I need to let this piece go now and start on another one.  Practice is what I need!  (Boro, you may remember) is a Japanese term for a patchwork quilt made of worn cloth.  Wabi-sabi is the elegance of imperfection.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Zentangle class in Minocqua on June 17

What a nice group this morning.
We wiled away a rainy morning making these beautiful Zentangle tiles together!  

This is the new meeting room at the Minocqua Chamber of Commerce.  

Happiness is starting 8 folks on their Zentangle journey.  

Only in the 60s in the north woods today…now at 3:30 the sun is "trying" to break out.  That would help.  The mosquitoes are getting bigger and bigger!

Today is hubby and my 25th wedding anniversary so we will be off this evening celebrating at a new restaurant (for us) in Boulder Junction.  Twenty five GREAT and HAPPY years.  Lucky us.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wabi-sabi and Boro

Collage with paper/acrylic
11 x 14

Wabi-Sabi and Boro…my first attempt to meet the challenge in this month's "Watercolor Magazine" to create a piece including the concept of Wabi-Sabi and of Boro (Japanese concepts).  

These are Gelli mono print papers along with gold paint and gold beads and gold ink.  Boro as I understand it refers to a kind of "oriental" quilt that was used when old worn out materials were patched together to be repurposed.  Wabi-sabi are more difficult to explain…but basically mean that unintentional marks and slight imperfections are to be honored.  

Some of the papers I used were oriental papers which I had not tried using before. They took to Gelli Plate immensely well.  

Monday, June 15, 2015

A quiet visitor in the woods...

Still can't get enough of Narwol.  
Like a big pile of whipped cream?
Squishy like clay?
It defies definition, right?
Anyway…it has the creative possibilities this tangle are endless which makes it a great tangle in my book.
And it is organic which makes it such a nice contrast to gridded tangles.

POURING rain on Monday morning.  Oh my.  
The lake surface looks like popcorn when it rains this hard.  I am wondering how that looks from a fish's point of view.  Must be amazing looking up!  

It's lightens up and then darkens and starts all over.
ARRRGH.  What are the odds we could have two sunny days in a row up here????

Last night while Greg and I were in our hobby rooms with picture windows facing the lake we had a visitor.  Just at dusk as the sun was setting behind the silhouetted trees, a young buck with 3" of new fuzzy horns stopped and stood 3 feet from our windows.  First he looked at Greg and then me and then Greg and then me.  No fear, just plain curiosity.  WHAT are these guys doing?  This went on for up 3-4 minutes.
He was just beautiful.  Then, thinking humans are nutty, he walked quietly away and disappeared into the now darkened forest. 

A magical moment.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Finishing up Apricots, Mangos and Cherries

Almost done….
Acrylic on Canvas Paper
Apricots, Mangos and Cherries

Our cool rainy-ish day cleared off around 4 and we got some bright warm sunshine down our pier/deck.

So after getting a little work done on this painting, AND playing with my Gelli plate doing some mono printing on oriental papers, I strolled on down and washed all the deck chairs that had some heavy duty mildew on them.  MUCH improved.  It also felt good to be in a T-shirt and sandals again!  Wow. Sure hope this is harbinger of weather to come!

I have my book club tomorrow afternoon and a few in town errands to run. Tuesday I will be getting everything ready for the Zentangle class in Minocqua on Wed morning.  I have 8 signed up which I think is a perfect group size.  Thursday we have a pot luck at church.  Sizing up to be a nice week ahead.  

Cabin Art

11 x 14 acrylic on Canvas Paper
"Apricots, Mangos, Cherries"
(in progress) 

9x 11 acrylic and ink sketch

Two very rainy days in a row which is a disappointment to my son who is up here in the north woods after driving 6 hours up from south of Chicago.

We did have one gorgeous day for him on Friday…got to 78 and was sunny most of the day.  THAT was perfect.  He and hubby got the pier/deck in and the canoe out of the boat house.  Things we cannot really do by ourselves anymore.  

Rick brought up a ton of beautiful fruit for snacks this weekend and I arranged them and took some photos on my iPad and then gridded it with my new app for that purpose and spend a nice rainy afternoon trying some new techniques in acrylic based on the workshop that I watched on the Strathmore free online lessons.  There will be a dark background above and a table cloth at the bottom (for this afternoon if the the dark wet weather continues.)
It is about 58 this morning (8 am).  

The crazy sketch that is shown second was done on that sunny day sitting down on the pier.  When I opened my sketchbook I noted that I had used several pages as "brayer wipe off" backgrounds for Gelli plate and so I just though I'd give that a try.  Kind of funky.  Probably would be more effective if the colors had been a bit more muted in the background.  

If you get "Watercolor Magazine"..the new one that just came out has a section called "Try This at Home".  I think the challenge this month is very cool.  I would like to try it.  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Zentangle calendar

The size of my photo looked strange today.
I wonder if something is up with the blog today?

Anyway I am enjoying working on Narwol again and I haven't used Sqaro for a long time…like that one also.

Cool and dark in the north woods today.  
We expect some rain tonight but are hoping that sunshine will return soon so we can work on our pier tomorrow. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Journal Prompt 24: Try a new and challenging tangle

5 x 8 journal page
Narwal is a tangle designed by Sam Taylor.
She has a video showing her style of doing it and Helen Williams has just shown a "freestyle" version on her blog.  I have a lot of practice ahead.
Sam's demo is here.
And Helen's demo is here.
I can't wait to get better at this one!

Coolish (65) in the north woods today with a mix of clouds and sun.  Hopefully it will soon be getting warmer and sunnier!  I keep hoping.

My son is coming for a long weekend and I'd like him to have some good fishing weather.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sketching on Tippecanoe Lake

Mushy Gush Lagoon with Water Lillies

Tippecanoe Lake: Sat June 6, Lac du Flambeau, WI

Hubby and I had a lovely afternoon out on the lake.
He caught two fish…a 9" Blue Gill and a 14" Large Mouth Bass.  I did some casting but no bites.  So I reverted to my sketch book.   The sun was warm on our heads and backs. The loons called.  The frogs scolded us when we drifted into the lily pad beds, and the dragon flies flitted about.  We packed a picnic lunch and let the quiet magic of the lake surround us.  Ahhhhh.  

My Tangle A Day reflects a nice relaxed "steam punk" tangle-combo using "Ing" and putting in some cast shadows just for fun.  I see that I double posted this calendar page…totally forgot I put it out yesterday!  Sigh.  Oh well.  It's a nice one to see twice!

Dark and rainy Sunday has now arrived and we are off to church and then brunch and some errands in town.
The lake is still and slate colored under the heavy cloud cover and everything hangs wet and still with slow drips of rain making ripples in the birdbath.  The coffee is hot and I am grateful to be in a lovely spot.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Gelli Printing on self stick labels

Okay…so the top photo is me gelli printing on Avery self-stick labels.  You can choose any size.  Gelli arts recommends round ones, but darn they are quite expensive.  So I chose large rectangles.  I think they are just as much fun and you get a lot more of them on a page.  More for your $ is good.  Nothing special about the way you do the printing…except you need to plan for smaller details so you are not left with large sections of paint with no design.  You will see that on the orange/red one I went back with some stamps and some mark-making to fill in some larger area.  When you peel them you get "mini-masterpieces" for stationary, envelopes, name tags, gift cards, place cards, or anyplace you want!

My Tangle A Day calendar for June 7 and 8 got sort of "steam punk" again.  I added some cast shadows just to jazz it up a little.  Fun.

Hubby and I are off to go fishing now.
It's "brisk" on the lake at 68 this morning but I will wear a wind breaker and hope the sun in warm out there!  It is free fishing weekend in WI…you can fish without a license!  Yippee.  We are out of state now so those licenses are expensive.  This will probably be "it" for me this season.  Wish me luck.  

(I'll take my sketch book in case no one is biting.)

Friday, June 5, 2015

"a song without end" Journal Prompt # 23

5 x 8 journal page

So the prompt this week was a "do-over".
Pick a prompt from the 22 weeks before and do something different with it.  

So I picked "What Do you Know for Sure?"
Gosh couldn't you just use that EVERY week?
But I like this poem that came in Garrison Keillor's daily blog this week so much that I wanted to save it.
It is hand written on my page but also I typed it and put it in the little envelope on the page as it's a lot easier to read that way.  

Here it is:
a song with no end
by Charles Bukowski

when Whitman wrote, "I sing the body electric"
I know what he
I know what he 

to be completely alive every moment
in spite of the inevitable.

we can't cheat death but we can make it 
work so hard
that when it does take 

it will have known a victory just as
perfect as

So there you are.  I like that the author speaks of the inevitable because in our western culture we often avoid mentioning that.  But many cultures are more in tune with that idea.  

The poem celebrates our brief lives here by wanting us to live so fully and so well that even death has to work hard to find us and take us home.  I find that a good reminder.  I covered the page with gesso and let that dry (as one blogger said that gesso is underwear for you journal page). 
Then I used a foam roller in gold paint to put on the stenciled pattern.  Something simple and in an elegant color.  Just gold and black and white.  No color needed here.  And because the author called his poem a "song", I picked sheet music for the little envelope I hand folded to hold it. 

I can hardly express all the thoughts that went through my head while I put this together and then quietly had my lunch looking out over the forest and lake here in WI.  The sun glinting down into the incredible green of early spring here…nuthatches and chickadees at the bird feeder.  But all that thinking is for another blog another day.

The calendars was fun…I found that I need a lot more concentration for Rio than I at first thought!  Whoa.
I ended up with flat acrylic magenta background as I love how well acrylic pops and also takes the shading. I used a jellyroll white pen for that also. Next to Rio, All Boxed Up is my next best favorite one.  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Gelli Plate Fun on a Rainy Day

Inexpensive canvas tote bag 

Folding Gelli Plate Book

It's important to note that the only real painting I did today was the canvas bag.  The other things I just put together in a little "kit" to demonstrate to folks who are (I hope) going to sign up for my Gelli plate workshop in August an idea of some of the things that "emerge" and what are some things to do with the lovely papers.  

The canvas bag is my first time to print on fabric and I just used regular acrylic paint as I did not have any fabric paint.  I think for a heavy canvas bag that regular paint is okay but I learned a lot in this first experiment.  One I learned you need a lot more paint on your Gelli plate that you would with paper!  Way more!  And you need to press much harder especially if you have to press through two pieces of fabric as I did!  

I did add some embellishments with slick 3D paint and with fabric markers.  

I did do both sides.  The other side is "okay" but nothing to write home about.  I may still be able to make it more interesting later.  If it does "get better" I will post it.  The other side was the first side I did.  Thus it is hidden. Hahaha.

The folding book idea came from another Gelli arts teacher and it is simply taking small 3.5 x 5 bits cut from your deli or other papers and glueing them with a glue stick.  You could do some embellishments with pens and stamps later.  It would be nice if everyone could take one home at the end of the workshop.  I did glue paper on both sides but if you didn't you would have the option of cutting the book apart to make greeting cards too.  All of these papers were from another day of printing.

The matted gelli prints were an idea I came up with this afternoon.  I picked up 4 nice little mats free from a friend who is moving and giving away her art cache.
As I was selecting papers for the folding book I saw the bag of mats and thought…hmmmm.  Why not show off some of my interesting prints in a new way.
What do you think?

The blue swirly one is slightly "enhanced" with some shading and some white charcoal pencil for the reflections and there is a little Zentangle added on the edges.  The top one is made with my favorite (at this time) stencil.  I love how the colors underneath show up in the circles.  Fun!!!

The third one down, Cynthia will recognize as a hot glue gun mask!  I need to make some more of those. 
They are so organic and fun.

All of these are reasonably small and easy to pack up and so I am doing a short presentation to the art group on June 10 (next week) in order to get some interest going.  The class will cost members only $15 which is a huge steal (I get paid a flat fee from the league).  BUT everyone has to buy their own Gelli plate, brayer and paint.  Still…most classes are quite a bit more and you always have to bring your own stuff!  

I laughed…in my first demo yesterday I showed my 3 x 5 Gelli plate just as a sample of what they look like and one gal (quite mystified of course) raised her hand and said "can you reuse the Gelli plate?"  I was dumb founded.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Making the tangles on this was totally fun.  It was done on copy paper and not tag board.  I am not comfortable putting anything through my inkjet here at the cabin except paper.  After I was done I did make the ink permanent by using my Gelli plate and gloss acrylic medium. More on that another time.
When dry I carefully cut it out.

Now who out there can tell me HOW you manage to glue the LAST triangle in place.  Everything goes fine until then!  Am I doing something wrong? I mean it's totally impossible as you cannot "press" anything together at that last point!  I did see that glueing half of it and letting it dry and then gluing the second half had it's merits.  But that did not solve the last triangle problem.  Help.

The idea of these 20 sided little guys is to demonstrate how you can have fun just tossing them up and letting the pattern you will use next appear on the top (like a die) and then no real planning involved.  I think this is nice for beginners.  

I put a small # on each triangle so there is a "key" with names of the tangles.  

Okay, it's "tea time" here and time for a cup of hot cider or some wine and then a few more things to get done before supper.  It stays light here now to almost 9 pm.  

New tangle: ALL Boxed Up

All Boxed Up/Zander  3.5" tile 

Cardboard Folder Opened: 9 x 12 Gelli Printed
I am definitely crazy for the new tangle "All Boxed Up" and it has several wonderful variations!  GREAT tangle.  Will become a "mac and cheese" tangle for me for sure.  

I am posting my latest "example" of one of the ways to use the Gelli print plate in preparation for teaching my class in August.  I recycled a folder (you know that you get from various vendors with pockets inside?).  I needed something to keep my art league newsletters and other printed art info in for this summer.  Voila.

This is a sample of a 3-layer masked print.  It is SO fast to do as the acrylic is so fast drying.  I did finish coat the painting with one coat of gloss acrylic varnish brushed on to seal it and give it a nice glossy finish. It also brightens up the colors.  Fun.

Weather is getting slightly warmer in the north woods of WI.  After hail and 3 nights of freeze/frost warnings we are now supposed to get to 70 and sunny today.  That is more like it.  Of course now we have 3 days of rain following that!  BUT at least temps are more in the normal range!   

Monday, June 1, 2015

Noodler's Ink

Contour Ink Drawing/wc sketch 5 x 8

One minute I am not around and then I post 3 times in a day.  Sigh.  Feast or famine, that is me.

Okay I finally received my Noodler's Ink and Lamy fountain pen.  Something that has been on my "I-sure-would-like-it" list for a long time.

Not exactly cheap. Either one of them.  
And I had to buy an ink refill adapter if I was going to use ink other than cartridges.  It's fun to be using a "fountain pen" again after all these years.  

I have been away from my contour sketching for a long time (and it shows).  You do lose the muscle tone for it and the eye for it if you don't do it regularly!  

I wanted to show Cynthia that I keep some of my odds and ends in an old dishwasher basket I picked up at a garage sale.  It does not work real well for brushes.  I was disappointed about that.  But for other odds and ends like the milkshake straws that I wind my hand-painted washi tape on, pens, toothbrushes, and etc.  That funny pointy tool with the wood handle I picked up in clock shop repair shop for 25 cents.  I thought it would be great for embossing things like styrofoam.  Yet to be tried.  

Incidentally…the sun is warming things up to a toasty 70 degrees here in the north woods this afternoon!  Despite the pounding hail from last Wed, the wild strawberries are making a come back and my impatiens flowers are rebounding.  Greg brought a tiny green inch worm in for lunch on his shoulder and he inches all around our lunch plates until a took him outside again.  So cute.  

Journal Prompt # 22

5 x 8 journal page

I was pretty much "on the road" when this prompt came out so it's not a very "artsy" one.  The prompt had to do with "home" concepts and somehow the TS Eliot quote seemed to fit with how I am feeling right now.  …"we'll arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." 

Catch Up

Gosh, it's been like 10 days since I have posted.  You must think I have fallen off the edge.  Instead I am unpacking like a crazy person and trying to get into my studio (photos to come) in the north woods.  Busy.  I did keep up with my Tangle A Day.  Boy, if you don't you get so far behind you find craziness!  The May 31 post by the way is connected to Carole's tangle (not for you to think I tangled that whole thing myself!)  

The north woods is amazingly cold for this time of year!  Sigh.
We have had HAIL and rain and freeze warning two nights this past week.  How's THAT for a start to the summer season in northern WI?  

But we are crossing our fingers that this will soon turn around.  Temps are supposed to get to 70 or even a little above later in the week and I am going to plant my hanging baskets today in hopes that his is actually true!  

My en plein air group is set to paint Thursday and of course now they say it will rain again on Thursday.  Sigh.

All in all, it has been a fairly smooth transition this year.  Our pump worked, the water heater is working, no leaks in the pipes and no trees fell on any buildings.  So we count our lucky stars!
The lake level is WAY WAY up this year.  We are excited.  It hasn't been this high in over 15 years!  Our little stoney beach has all but disappeared at the lake front!  It will make putting in the pier somewhat challenging.  I can hardly wait to get out in the canoe and explore how this has changed the configuration of the islands.  

I am prepping for the June 17th Zentangle class (see side bar) and hoping that class fills.  Lots of art on my schedule this year.
Will write more soon.