Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I'm a couple days past my self-imposed deadline for posting at least every two weeks, so naturally, I have a couple things to talk about! Above you can see the latest card I made for my mom. Her birthday was at the end of January, and I very much enjoyed making this card. It started when a fabric scrap and 2 paper scraps found themselves lying near each other on my desk. The two paper scraps kind of looked like an L and an O. What better thing to think about on someone's birthday than love? And so a card was born. My mom is one of my hugest fans, and on a recent visit to her house, I noticed that she'd hung up "a selection" of cards I've made her in the past. It was really cool to revisit all the ideas I've had over the years and see how my art has developed. Thanks, Mom, for your support of me and my art. :)

I mentioned the birth of young Bronwyn in my last post and well, of course I had to make her a card. This is in the form of the postcards I posted in January, 5x7 inches, with a mix of paper, ribbon, fabric, a tag frame, and a few brads. I thought to myself, A few years down the line, what would I most like to see in my baby book if I was a little kid? Bright colors and lots of fun things to touch.

Finally, the time has come for the "6 Degrees of HLM International Card Swap!" Last year in February I organized this swap, and everyone had such fun that I decided it should be an annual thing. Above is a selection of the cards from last year, for your inspiration. (Click on the picture to get a closer view.) Here's how it works:

1. After I collect names of those who would like to participate, I will let all participants know a number of cards to make. I expect it to be between 5 and 15.

2. A deadline will be set for when the cards will need to be completed, for example around 4-6 weeks from now.

3. Then you make (if ten people participate, for example) 10 cards exactly the same (or with minor differences) by that deadline and send them all to me in the mail, with 10 envelopes. There are no limits to what you can do. Use fabric, paper, the computer, photos, buttons, beads, stitching, glitter, anything that inspires you. Just make sure that the finished card will fit inside an envelope that can be mailed in the post.

4. I do the logistics: sorting them so that each person gets one of each of the other people's cards, totaling the number of cards you sent in. Then I send them back to you in a bunch!

5. Cost would be small: however much you spend on making the set number of cards (if I use all brand new high quality paper bought from the scrapbook store, I total about $6-8 for 15 cards), plus cost of postage to and from Fort Collins. Your investment will yield as many cards as you make, all for you to use whenever you want to send someone you love a card.

If you would like to participate, please email me or post a comment below by next Monday, March 2.

If you know someone else who might love this, feel free to let them know! If they respond to me, we'll count them in. If our number of participants starts getting too high, I'll adjust the rules a little and keep you informed. (I know that making even 15 cards is a lot of work--any more isn't very fun!)

Thanks for visiting today and happy arting!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Self Portrait 3

The concept of a self portrait is interesting to me because on one hand, sometimes it could be viewed as egotistical, while on the other hand, the "self" is a great thing to experiment with in almost every way, especially artistically. How do I see myself and what are the various ways I can represent that in art? Perhaps because there are so many sides to me, it is easier to accept a portrait of me that is not an exact likeness, but still in some way it represents me. I struggle more with this when I'm trying to capture the image of something more static, like a pear or something. But so far, the three portraits I've posted here on my blog have been a joy to create.

This painting was very intentionally modeled after another artist's work. About a year ago I came across the art of Kelly Rae Roberts, and I loved it so much that I have a pin-up of one of her pieces in my "real job" office! Recently and to my surprise, I found that Amb has Kelly Rae's blog linked to her own and one day, a random click led me to discovering all that Kelly Rae has to offer. Please do visit her site for yourself by clicking here. I'm not alone in the fact that I like the way that Kelly Rae does faces, and I love her collaging and simple messages. So I decided to copy her style in this self portrait.

The process encompassed many thoughts and feelings. There are many layers in this piece, even if just paint on top of paint, which demanded that I be patient and let dry before continuing on. I wasn't sure it was going to turn out like I wanted it to for about the first hour, but as I added layer after layer, it became what I'd hoped for, and then even more! I noticed things in Kelly Rae's work that pushed me in my own. I saw things I never even thought about before and then tried it out, like eyelids, black vs. colored eyes, suggesting a nose without actually defining it, and not putting ears on the either side of my face. Shadowing in color in strategic places added so much depth to the piece. I am so grateful for Prismacolor pencils!! My dad gave me my first set when I was in 5th grade and I haven't been without them since.

The most fun part was having a face (that I was satisfied with) staring out at me from a totally white background, and finding a way to fill in that white space and embellish it to make it my own. Instead of painting a background or cutting the image out and gluing it onto something else, I cut out various papers I had in my stash to fit around the image. Through this I decided the piece would have uneven edges. I also liked that to fill all the space and just use scraps, I had to use five different papers. A little red fabric filled in gaps, and some embellishing final touches helped to pull the paper designs together. It was such a fun afternoon of art for me!

Here's to good health, experimenting with new styles, people who inspire, and to Bronwyn Francis, who was born on February 6th in California to my dear Jennifer and Greg. There's nothing like new life to make you feel happy and full of hope.