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Liberate Your Art 2016
Author Archives: Natasha
Hard to believe a year has slipped by since my last post! A lot has happened in a year, but I am still in the same place and still doing henna and still liberating my art!
This was a fun piece to make — and it also stretched my limits! I had the vision of California poppies.
I had visited the Carlsbad Flower Fields a few years ago and just loved a patch of California poppies. I used to have a small patch in my own front yard, near the trash cans which bloomed in mid-spring with a burst of color. However, my “helpful” next-door neighbor was killing his weeds and decided to kill mine, too. He was so proud of how he helped me out. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he decimated my wildflower patch…
So in the void of my own poppy patch, I decided to paint one.
The background is made from layers of sheet music (from an old choral folder I found and was going to recycle), and bits of Japanese text from a local neighborhood paper. (I love that San Diego has such diversity). There are also some Tim Holtz butterflies and bees under the greenery. I made the flowers with painted handmade paper. The absorbent texture of the soft paper really soaked up the watercolor paint! Once I figured out where to put the flowers, I added the fronds in a silvery-green. But that didn’t show up very well, so I added an extra layer of dark green paint — I like the dimensionality of the 2 layers of color. Then I added the little blue flowers. And it still needed something. The inspiration for a bee arrived; I painted it in watercolors and felt-pen and glued it on. At last, I had my poppy sanctuary to share.
I mailed my cards off to Kat Sloma’s Liberate Your Art swap a few weeks ago, and soon cards will start arriving. I can’t wait to see where my cards landed and which ones end up here!
If you would like one of my postcards, just let me know and I’ll put one in the mail for you!
The 6th annual Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap (aka LYA) has come to an end… with 175 artists, 12 countries and 1050 pieces of postcard art!
This is the card I sent out:
Here are all the cards I received during the swap:
Then I got the final card from Kat Sloma, the organizer of the the LYA…
The Side Swaps:
Each year brings the opportunity to swap with folks who printed extra cards and enjoy side-swapping.
The first came from Sonya Versluys from just up the road in northern Southern California:
Next came a cheerful flower from Sheila Delgado who is my neighbor in the mountains — just an hour or so away.
The third card came from Janice Darby, also a SoCal neighbor.
Check out the amazing video Kat made of all the cards! So inspiring!
This was definitely a labor of love for Kat Sloma who coordinated, labelled, stamped and mailed all the cards and then made the celebration video. It was also a labor of love and leap of faith for each of the 175 artists who sent their creations out into the world, and made the world brighter for it…
Liberate Your Art 2016 Postcard Swap Blog Hop 15-17 April
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Postcards from the Liberate Your Art swap are starting to arrive. The first one is from Mark Wilson from Oregon. He describes the pieces on the card as “Temples of Not Yet Discovered Spiritual Traditions.”
The second card came from Glom2 who loves “to do collages because I can’t draw or paint…” Her etsy shop is LoLaiLo.
The third card arrived today from Vicki aka Hula-la in New York (state not city). She sent wishes for love, peace and joy in abundance!
Waiting with anticipation for the next three cards in the swap to arrive! I’ll keep you posted!
A friend saw my Word of the Year painting and asked me to make a journal with that design.
It had never occured to me to put mixed media paintings on small leather journals. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I did NOT want to print out a copy of the painting and glue it over the journal’s beautiful leather cover. I would have to create something inspired by the design, but entirely new and painted directly on the notebook’s cover.
Since the painting features some stenciled elements as well as drawn detail, I decided to try that with the notebook. I used multi-surface craft paint since it is so durable. I carry my decorated journal in my purse and the craft paint has never chipped, flaked or budged. And the jewels that were attached with the craft paint have also stayed on. That stuff is tenacious!
I made smaller versions of the 5-petal flower stencil and used a similar golden color. Since the notebook is about half the size of the painting, I could not use the original stencils — the balance would have been off. So I used a flower border stencil that I found at Michael’s. I added in some jewels and also used henna techniques with the paint in a henna cone for textural variety.
I am really happy with how this project turned out and am eager for the next challenge!
The postcards arrived a couple days ahead of schedule from Moo… and they are now on their way to Kat’s studio for the March 12 Swap Day.
Of course I had to make a special envelope for them. Over the years, people have really upped the ante of envelope embellishment. And I’m not going to be the one to send mine in a plain, vanilla envelope!
Now to wait for the cards to arrive!
It’s that time of year again! Time for the Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap as organized by the amazing and wonderful Kat Sloma of Katseyestudio. This is my *5th* year of participating! Wow! Hard to believe!
This year I am still dreaming of Hawaii… although we have no plans to visit in 2016, we did visit twice last year. And I had some lovely experiences with the ukulele… which has become a happy hobby.
There is a little mneumonic ditty that my teacher taught me to help remember the tuning of the ukulele.
It makes no sense. The notes do not correspond to the words. Every Good Boy Does Fine makes sense in that Every stands for E and Good stands for G, etc. But My is a “G” and dog is an “E”… ridiculous! And yet…. I can sing My Dog Has Fleas and I am in tune and can tune my ukulele with good relative pitch using this “song”.
So, this phrase is dancing in my head. AND I started taking an online course with Miriam Schulman called Painting with Words. And I decided to play around with this phrase.
And today I finished the mixed media piece, My Dog Has Fleas.
I painted the flowers and the dog separately, then cut them out. The music was scanned and glued on. Even though I sprayed everything with acrylic, the matte medium that I used to glue things on with smeared things a bit. I retouched the flowers and tried to sharpen the music notes and I had to add in the jumping fleas to cover smudge marks. The font is based on a free font I found on the internet called Tiki Tropic.
I uploaded the image to Moo and should have my finished cards back in a few weeks! So excited!
If you want one, I ordered 40 — way more than I will need for the swap, so let me know and I’ll put one in the mail for you!
RAW Artists is an organization that promotes young, indie talent in fashion, design, makeup, music, graphic design, photography, and fine art. They are loud and proud and a lot of fun. For some reason, one of the RAW talent seekers found my website and thought my skills would be an excellent addition to the line-up of January show. I’m not particularly young… and I’m not particuluarly new (been at this since 1998)… but he thought I was cool enough, so I was in. Turns out I wasn’t the only non-spring chicken in the group. So I felt right at home.
The event was a one-evening extravaganza — part art show, part music gig, part dance performance, part runway show.
It’s a new year, a clean slate and a fresh start. 2015 was a very tough year and I felt as if I were in an emotional fog for most of it. I was in shock and numb from the back-to-back losses of both my mother and a good friend. And I did my best to do what needed to be done… and I got things accomplished, but I had no passion, goals or dreams.
It is 2016. The fog has cleared and I am back.
This year I decided to focus on a word, and let my goals flow from that. The word that came to mind was: Bloom.
There are many definitions for the word bloom according to Webster’s online dictionary:
1a:flowerb: the flowering state <the roses in bloom>c: a period of flowering <the spring bloom>d: a rapid and excessive growth of a plankton population (as of algae or dinoflagellates) — compare red tide
2a: a state or time of beauty, freshness, and vigor b: a state or time of high development or achievement <a career in full bloom>
3: a surface coating or appearance: as a: a delicate powdery coating on some fruits and leaves b: a rosy appearance of the cheeks; broadly: an outward evidence of freshness or healthy vigor c: a cloudiness on a film of varnish or lacquer d: a grayish discoloration on chocolate e: glare caused by an object reflecting too much light into a television camera
I chose to focus on 1a and b, 2 a and b and 3 b. Bloom as a flowering state, a time of freshness and vigor, high achievement and an outward evidence of freshness or healthy vigor.
These work well with: bringing my health back to a bloom through daily walks, weight workouts and cleaner eating: bringing my business to a state of achievement by increasing my social media presence, adding products to my offerings, and continuing to refine my booth and books: blooming creatively by taking classes and reading books: blooming financially and encouraging a period of flowering between the cats (there are 3 and they do not like each other).
Have you made resolutions for the new year? Do you choose a word for the year? How do you work on goals?
I love going to conferences… all the collective creative energy of fellow artists, the new ideas, the new products….
This year I went back to the Henna Intensive & Retreat. It had been a long summer of working every day and dealing with fussy, cranky and greedy customers… I NEEDED a break!
The retreat part is because of the location — 6000 ft about sea level, in a spartan boy scout camp, with no cellphone and spotty wifi in the dining hall. There was a spring-fed pool, which was very cold. And an on-site massage therapist with hands of gold. We all stayed in communal cabins and ate together in a central dining hall. The food was good, plentiful and fairly healthy.
I shared a cabin with 3 other women. We all had bunkbeds and all chose the lower bunks. Thankfully, our cabin had a bathroom so we didn’t have to trek in the cold and dark at 3am…
The camp was built on a mountain — and it still is a mountain with steep rises between cabins. Even after 3 days, I still got winded walking up to the dining hall.
Each day we had 3 sessions of classes — some 2 hours and some 1 hour each.
I took classes on design building, Saharan traditional henna, jagua, facepainting and photography. The teachers were excellent and all the handouts came on a cd, so I can print as I want.
I also taught a class. On glitter tattoos.
And there was much spontaneous henna practice….
On Saturday there was a talent show. There were lots of bellydancers, one balloon artist and 3 singers. I sang a Hawaiian song with my ukulele. It was a really fun evening.
The jagua class was particularly interesting. Melissa Addams, our instructor, brought in fresh jagua fruit from Brazil. The fruit starts out white when cut, but then the flesh turns blue as it oxidizes. It also stains the skin a deep blue-black, and when mixed with henna produces a mahoghany color.
We learned a bit about jagua’s cultural context among the Kayapo people, a bit about the plant and where the gel comes from, and then application techniques. I am definitely adding jagua to my line-up of services!
Alas, all good things must come to an end. On Monday, we all packed up and returned to civilization.
But I still have the quiet of the mountains inside, and am brimming with new ideas and new enthusiasm. I can’t wait to get back to work!
It’s been kind of a tough month — busy building my stand at Seaport Village and updating my materials, busy trying to navigate through paperwork and organizing things so I can settle my mother’s estate next month, still slowed down by grief.
But getting postcards every week were bright spots — even if I couldn’t get myself together enough to blog or post on facebook about them…
The first one to arrive was from Chandra T. Mountain of chandralynn.wordpress.com
Next to grace my mailbox was a lovely scene from France by Ma’ (manuelles.canalblog.com)
Then a strawberry arrived just in time for Easter breakfast! (from jpeeksphotography.com)
Then came some lovely shells by Cathy Hubmann:
Then I got a card from a friend I met a few years ago through LYA:
Sheila Delgado (www.sheiladelgado.com) shared a lovely few quotes with her card:
“One eye sees, the other feels” Paul Klee
“Imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.” Brenda Ueland
Next came a romantic couple from Sherry Galey (sherrygaley.com)with the quote:
“To love yourself as you are is a miracle, and to seek yourself is to have found yourself, for now. And now is all we have, and love is who we are.” Anne Lamott
And finally, the card from Kat Sloma signalled the end of the the swap.
Looking forward to next year’s fun!