Before The Ink Is Dry

April Theme
Color Safari (Exploring Inks and Paints)
April 25 - Week 17
Art Challenge:  Inks
Journal Prompt:  Before the ink is dry

This week we play with inks!  I chose to use spray inks for my challenge, in particular Dyan Reaveley's Dylusions inks by Ranger.  I love that they are water based so they continually blend and change when reconstituted.  The pigment is vibrant and rich!  I started by spraying my pages with a few colors I love.  Then I stood my book up and spritzed water all over the inks so I had nice blending and dripping.  While the ink was still wet, I used my finger to blend some white gesso into the ink to tone the pigment down a bit.  There are so many videos of Dyan using these inks in a million ways on the Ranger website and on her blog and YouTube - be sure to check them out!

I let my journal dry overnight because it was so wet from the inks and water.  You could also use a heat gun to speed up drying time.  I love using dip pens and ink for drawing and writing. For this page I used a sketching-sized nib - #102 Crow Quill and Higgins Magic Black Waterproof Ink.

I created a few sketches on my page and didn't worry about being precise - I just wanted a fun, loose drawing.

I learned a neat trick from the great Dyan Reaveley herself . . . use a Tim Holtz Water Brush and fill it with her Dylusion inks.  This way, you not only have a spray to use, but also a type of watercolor application.  Cool, right?

Photo Apr 24, 7 00 17 PM.jpg

I used the waterbrushes to paint my quill pen and ink jar.  I love how one color will change as you paint it over another.  The inks underneath change and you get unexpected, beautiful results!  I threw in a few white contrast marks with a fat Pitt Pen by Faber-Castell.

I used a poignant quote that I just love, "To say she is only a woman is to say a violin is a piece of wood with strings and Dante is mere ink printed on paper" - Bruce Crown.  Powerful stuff.  So here is my finished pages - I can't wait to see how you all interpret the prompt this week - And guess what, we have none other than the Fabulous Dyan Reaveley as our Featured Artist this week - be sure to stop by her blog and give her some love!  Happy Documenting!

For more information on this week's challenge you can find us here:
Instagram: #documentedlife #documentedlifeproject

Looking for previous challenges? click HERE

Visit our blogs: Sandi Keene, Roben-Marie Smith, Rae Missigman

Join us on The Art to the 5th™ Academy™ - a thriving "community" and classroom for "The Original" Documented Life Project™!  Find us on Instagram: #documentedlife

Art Fusion!

We are so excited and proud to announce the release of our premier red rubber stamp set from Art to the 5th . . . Art Fusion!


In this beautifully creative set, you will get 16 images designed to work together or alone.  These elements were carefully selected to enhance your own mixed-media art pieces!  Perfect for making cards, tags, painted canvas, mail art, backgrounds and more!.  For more inspiration and to see how the other Artists from Art to the 5th have used these designs, visit our blog HERE.

This set is an amazing value at just $30 (USD).  That is less than $2 per stamp! You can purchase your stamp set HERE.

Thanks for Supporting Us!

Let it Be

Chronicles From the Empty Nest

(re-post from August 26, 2012)

No matter how hard I tried to drag my feet to slow down that carousel of time (courtesy of Joni Mitchell), the day arrived.  The youngest started college. I put on a Brave Face but don't think I fooled anyone.  The day was a blur of schedules and lines and check-ins and unloading and unpacking.  I tried to savor the moments with him but with the rush and people and new friends, we didn't have 60 seconds alone together.  Three years earlier, I had the same experience with his sister and I had to chuckle to myself at how similar those two are.  They were about to jump out of their skin with excitement, but refrained a little to make me feel better.  I remember that feeling oh so well.  Freedom, independence, making my own rules {sigh}.

It was bittersweet but I did better than I thought, I guess because I feel I've raised two really happy kids.  They both have joy in their lives and who could ask for more?

My Heartbeats

My Heartbeats

Yes, this is a hotel room.  My son drew the short straw and ended up in the overflow housing at school which is actually a Howard Johnson's hotel.  I was really bummed and worried that he would be isolated and the year would be much more difficult being a mile away from campus.  That is until I found out that 600 students occupy 8 floors - two people to a room with queen size beds, private baths, twice weekly maid service, free cable and HBO and a shuttle that runs all day back and forth to campus just a short few blocks away - walking distance really.  Poor, poor son - can you see how upset he is in the picture???

In one hour, he had it decorated like this . . .

The friends started to arrive and before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye . . .


I had been quietly sobbing in the bathroom five minutes earlier!

The most painful part of the day was witnessing this:

And so it is done . . . He is Happy, everything is just as it should be . . . Let It Be.

A Lot on My Plate!

April Theme
Color Safari (Exploring Inks and Paints)
April 18 - Week 16
Art Challenge:  Gelli Plate
Journal Prompt:  A lot on my Plate

Gellin' Like A Felon!

Yay! I've been looking forward to this challenge because I love, love, love MY GELLI ARTS™ gel printing plate!  Seriously, I have one in every size and it s a 'must have' tool in my studio.  If I were stranded on a desert island and I could have only one thing, it would be a Gelli™ plate!  Well, not really, because I wouldn't have any paint but you know what I mean!

Using a brayer, acrylic paint, stencils and my Gelli™ plate, I created pages and pages of monoprints.  Talk about FUN! I'm not going to go into a tutorial about how to use these plates, but if you go to the Gelli Arts™ website, they have plenty of short videos on all the amazing things you can create with this product.  I always keep stacks of these prints on hand because they are great for incorporating into other art or standing on their own.  Aren't they gorgeous?  And guess what?  No two are alike - I love that!  These were all printed on regular copy paper - cheap and plentiful!

So thinking about the prompt, "a lot on my plate," I decided to draw a still life where I could use all of these juicy colored monoprints. I created a basic sketch for composition directly onto the pages of my journal. First in pencil, then over again in waterproof ink.

Next, I used a neon pink paint for my table to make the monoprint papers stand out.  Then, working from back to front, I cut out bits from my monoprints and adhered them to my page using gel medium.  It was like creating a mosaic on paper!  The pictures below show the progression.  I was careful to put darker and lighter shades in the appropriate places to show value.

Once all the pieces were glued down, I used a Distress Marker to draw in shadows.  I wet the marker slightly to smear the ink and created a nice effect.  These markers are pretty amazing too.  Thank you Tim Holtz.

To finish off, I glued in a few lighter pieces to add dimension and sketched only the important lines with a prismacolor pencil, like on the banana.  I really love how this turned out!

I'm looking forward to seeing all of your interpretations on the challenge and I know you will enjoy our Featured Artist this week . . . the amazingly creative and talented Mary Beth Shaw!  You can view her interpretation of this challenge HERE.  Please stop by her website to share some love!

I've listed the products I used below, but for the Monoprinting, I also used a wide selection of StencilGirl Stencils, Mary Beth Shaw's stencil company.  They have some amazing stencils and a huge collection.  And a surprise this week . . . Rae Missigman has designed some beautiful stamps for StencilGirl available starting TODAY!

For more information on this week's challenge you can find us here:
Instagram: #documentedlife #documentedlifeproject

Looking for previous challenges? click HERE

Visit our blogs: Sandi Keene, Roben-Marie Smith, Rae Missigman

Join us on The Art to the 5th™ Academy™ - a thriving "community" and classroom for "The Original" Documented Life Project™!  Find us on Instagram: #documentedlife

Reach Out to A Friend

Acts of Random Kindness - Day One

Repost from April, 2010

I have a friend who has been battling breast cancer for the past year.  But before I get into that, let me explain what a wonderful person she is . . . creative, artistic, warm and loving.  I met her through some classes she was teaching and she treated me as a friend from the moment we met.  She included me in many of the things she was doing and made certain that she introduced me to everyone she knew and always made me feel welcome. Through her, I have gained many more friends and I  had great admiration for her before cancer--I have even more now!  When she was first diagnosed, I happened to be standing there with her when she hung up the phone after confirmation from her doctor.  What an impact that news had on me.  I saw the fear and trepidation in her eyes and she hugged me so tightly as if her embrace would help to take some of the burden off of her and somehow transfer it to me.  How I wish that could have been true. To make matters worse, her husband is a civilian contractor stationed in Afghanistan so she was destined to make this journey alone.  Fortunately, she is loved by so many and as women do, they circled the wagons around their dear friend to help her through the ordeal of biopsies, x-rays, scans and chemo.  As her treatment progressed, I found myself busy with my own life and sometimes weeks would go by without my ever picking up the phone to see how she was doing.  Some friend I was.  It was very easy in the beginning to rally around to cheer or help her, but eventually people tend to forget about others and get caught up in their own universe.  The more time I let slip by, the guiltier I felt about not calling to check on her and I would push the thoughts to the back of my mind until even more weeks and months went by.

I made up my mind this morning that my friend was too important to me and it didn't matter how much time had passed . . . I wanted to see her and do something nice for her.  After all, what if I were alone and dealing with such a scary issue? Wouldn't I want others to reach out to me?  Would I be mad or bothered if long periods of time went by without hearing from my friends?  Of course not.  I would be so grateful to hear from them and would probably long for their companionship.

So today, my act of random kindness was reaching out to a friend in need.  It was so good to hear her voice and I could tell she was happy to hear from me.  We caught up with each other on the phone and made a firm date to get together next week.  Guess what?  I think the call was more therapeutic for me than it was for her.  A friend once told me that a truly kind person is one who not only thinks of something nice to do, but also takes the steps to act upon it.

Take a moment today and reach out to someone you haven't seen or talked to in a while.  If God places them in your thoughts and in your heart like He did for me, maybe it is His way of telling you that you are needed to do His work.

And as for my friends' prognosis . . . she is finished chemotherapy and begins radiation soon.  So far, all scans are clean and her doctors are hopeful that she will have a full recovery!  God is good!

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
― Mother Teresa