Wednesday, December 22, 2010

my recent artistic endeavor ~ altered book

I was recently invited to take an altered book class with one of my friends. I had heard of this art form a while back and was interested in learning more. The class was held at a local stamp and paper shop. Our teacher has had years of fun and experience altering books. She had hardbound books ready for us to literally tear apart. I am an avid book reader and lover of fine books. It was not difficult for me to tear pages out of the pulp fiction sitting in front of me. The book was bound nicely but, the writer had much to be desired. The words were trash (the book I'm altering is titled Doctor Love; you get the idea)!

I had a wonderful time painting, inking, taping, tearing, and covering words and creating a completely different book.

I learned how to make a "peek-a-boo" window, a pop-up, and pockets.

We altered three pages in the class. Our instructor encouraged us to finish those three pages at home and to continue experimenting with our book. There are no rules in art!

 Using clip art, ink, acrylic paints, glue, torn pages from other books and stamps, I have enjoyed altering more pages.

Unfortunately, I am unable to download a lot of the altered pages I've completed but, you get the idea.
My friend Joy, and I hope to go to the second class in January. I think we'll learn how to make niches and drawers. Have you done altered books or collage before?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Have you heard of Maggie Taylor?

I, being an Alice in Wonderland fan, did an online search of the book and stumbled upon this amazing digital artist named Maggie Taylor. In my last blog post about her, I failed to include these images of her and some of her work. She graciously responded to an email I sent her. She wanted me to know that she has a fan site on Facebook too.
Do you like her work as much as I do?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Maggie Taylor's work

If you haven't already heard of Maggie Taylor, you are in for a treat. If you like photography, art, classic literature or altered art, you will like Maggie Taylor's work. She works with her photos and alters them in such a unique way. She uses Adobe Photoshop (which I have yet to master or even understand) and scanned objects and creates a final piece.

Her art evokes a dreamlike feeling. She says she creates what she would like to paint without using a lot of visible layers. Unlike collage art, she works at eliminating the layers.

I have the privilege of owning her version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I have poured over her photo-art time and time again and each time I notice a detail I had missed seeing before.
Her work is luxurious, tactile, familiar, ghostly and timeless. She is a talent rarely seen.
She lives in Florida with her husband, Jerry Uelsmann (an artist too).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Native American Indian Art Dolls and beadwork

What a wonderful surprise to find these Native American dolls and beaded shoes and handbags at the Museum in Grand Teton National Park.
I was enraptured by the details and colors.Most of these items were made for trade. What a treasure to find these in the majestic mountains of Wyoming. What inspired pieces. Notice the crosses and flowers and animals?

If you are ever in Grand Teton National Park, stop by the Museum near Jackson Lake. It is full of Native American baskets, pottery, a tepee, toys, tools, and of course these wonderful dolls and beaded bags and shoes.
Another reason to visit is our friend and author and Park Ranger Laine Thom. He has been at the Park for years and has become a family friend (even staying at our homes). He is a Native American with a mixture of tribal heritages (Shoshone, Goshiute and Paiute). He does a wonderful hour long nature walk and knows just about everything there is to know in the Museum and about Native American culture. If you want to know more about Laine you can find him here.
Of course, now I'd like to try my hand a bead work. Do any of you do bead work?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Present and absence

Once again, we have been given a wonderful present. I will be absent and without computer access for more than a week.
I will be with my Beloved and his parents, his older brother and his wife, our children and our Pup in Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone in Wyoming. We will have the proverbial road trip there and back. I look forward to sharing photos and our journey with you when we return. I have been blessed with the most wonderful parents-in-law. They are paying for us to have this family vacation with them (a year into unemployment, this would have been impossible for us). We want to create as many memories for our children with their grandparents as possible. Grandpa Tom turns 82 this year. Wyoming here we come!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

childhood summer

Do you remember those Summer days that seemed to last all year? I think our children are experiencing that. They have had a full Summer. Most days are spent waking up earlier than us (my Beloved and me), opening the cupboards and helping themselves to "breakfast", playing Wii games or Legos, waking us and the dog up and then having a second breakfast. Our Charlotte loves to "help" cook fried eggs, Grant and Benjamin are our bread boys and Elijah-Max loves leftovers, especially if it's white cheddar shell pasta. Then they are off and running. We live on 2 acres of woods and boggy conservation land. They have constructed their own little hobbit hollow on the edge of the woods using plywood and fallen branches. Max and Ben are the flag makers, Grant has the plans for whatever imaginary identities they will role play and Charlotte is usually cast as R2D2 or Hello Kitty (her choice). They are usually "starving" by 11 and come in asking for "elevenses". Fruit and hand held veggies are on the menu (sometimes Goldfish too). They bicker, argue, share, are selfish and considerate, kind-hearted and cruel. The days are long and the years are short. Pirates are real. Monsters are not. Sharks will leave you alone if you bonk them on the nose. Snakes can be picked up by their tails. Dogs like to kiss. Frogs live on lilly pads and in small swimming pools. Fireflies are magical and can be held in cupped hands or in jars with icepick holes in the lid. Sand makes a wonderful canvas for hearts, names and cat art.Sprinklers are fun to dance in. Family makes the best friends. Especially when the towel is big enough for three.
You can find coins near or in vending machines. Pizza on Friday nights and popcorn on Sunday nights is what everyone does. Dream spray helps you have sweet dreams at night. Tomorrow will be more of the same.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dog days of Summer

We have been blessed again by the generosity of family friends. We were able to stay in Chatham (Cape Cod) for four days last week. The little cottage is charming with new cedar siding, hard wood floors with years of salt and sea water sanding the wood in spots and comfortable rooms for us to sleep in at night. It rained in the evenings as we drifted off to sleep with sand in our hair. This week, news reports talk about sharks being sited off the beach we were on. I have a feeling they are attracted to the seals. The seals were prolific while we were there. We saw many at the Fishing Pier when the fishermen came in with their afternoon catch. We also saw them during low tide out on a sandbar. I grew up swimming in waters that held dolphins and sharks. They were the little dog fish sharks, angel sharks and some nurse sharks (in So. Cal). I knew to swim to shore and avoid them for a while. My beloved got to snorkel a lot. He told me of the wonderful underwater world he got to observe. Horseshoe crabs, spotted crabs, starfish, schools of baby eels and minnows, and the sounds he could hear from the surface. We stuffed ourselves with fresh seafood from the Chatham Pier Fish Market. My beloved tenderly cotton swabbed my sunburned back with apple cider vinegar (I'm at the point of peeling shoulders now). There is no TV but, we were able to watch DVDs so, a few evenings we watched Singing In The Rain and North by Northwest.  Cape Cod is busier in the Summer months than in Spring but, there is still a sleepy New England feel to the place. At times, we had the miles of beach to ourselves. As the tide went out, we found hundreds of sea snails in ornate, pink and purple and tan shells. Our children would giggle as the snails would squirt a stream of salt water out, as they retreated into their shells, while being held by little, gritty hands.Mom and Dad (Grandma Sonnie and Grandpa Tom) were with us and in spite of a newly broken rib, Mom did fairly well. I guess we all needed this respite. Mom and Dad enjoyed the get-away and kept chatting about how they could "live in a cottage like this". David needed the time under water and away from the reality of life in the unemployment lane. The children always love road trips and the beach (so do I).  And I enjoyed watching everyone else every lazy day. I also filled my pockets with shells and round, smooth, ancient rocks. Priceless.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Delicious Fruit Cobbler (aka: berry buckle)

This was a simple and delicious dessert. The children enjoyed it too, especially with whipped cream. It was gone within a couple of days and even enjoyed for breakfast.
Here's the recipe. It  served 8 people.
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar (plus more for sprinkling on top)
1/2 tsp. salt (I used sea salt)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
At least 4 cups of fresh berries. We had blueberries, strawberries, golden and red raspberries and blackberries.
Place butter in casserole dish and set in oven to melt at 350 degrees F. When butter has melted, remove dish from oven. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in bowl. Add milk; whisk to form a smooth batter. Pour batter into dish and then scatter the fruit over batter. Sprinkle top with more sugar. Bake until batter browns and the fruit bubbles (approx 50 to 60 minutes). We enjoyed this fruit cobbler with whipped cream. If we had vanilla ice cream, we would have devoured it with that too. Enjoy!

Monday, July 5, 2010

the bounty of summer berries

  • Recently, my beloved's parents arrived from the West Coast to spend some time with us and their grand-kids. A few towns over is a wonderful farm. Summer berry picking is a favorite for our family. In season are golden, red, and black raspberries. The farm also has cherry trees and a blueberry field.  We filled our hands and mouths with the sweetest cherries. The children had lips and finger tips stained with berry juice. The bounty was plentiful.Grandpa Tom and Grandma Sonnie were in their element with the children. Instructing them on the secrets of finding the perfect berries, how to pick them off the stem, how to avoid the little thorns on the blackberry bushes. The weather was perfect with N. C. Wyeth clouds in the sky, a slight breeze to dry our sun drenched skin, and the orchard graced with bronze beetles, berry stained children, and electronic bird songs in the blueberry patch (to frighten away the real birds from stealing our blueberries).I am in awe of the colors on a blueberry bush. In the same cluster, I see new berry greens, a blush of pale pink, periwinkle and then the sheen of the ripe blueberry so rich in it's purple hue.
Our trio enjoyed their outing to the orchard. Their bellies full of fruit and minds full of memories just as sweet. Now, we search for ways to eat up all the berries. We've had them in cereals, in yogurt, on whipped cream, and just by the handful. Any suggestions? I think I'll make waffles for breakfast.