Falling Leaves

Week 44:  Incorporate leaves onto your page in a creative way

This challenge had me baffled for about a week as I looked around my Florida neighborhood at all of the Palm Trees and GREEN leaves.  Don't get me wrong, it is beautiful and well what's not to love about Florida?  But sometimes I just want to feel the seasons change and go jump in a pile of leaves!

I looked around my studio and still no inspiration.  Then it occurred to me to create my own autumn leaves!  I whipped out my handy Speedball Linoleum Carving Set and some Linoleum and carved myself a little stamp.  This was a simple design and only took about 15 minutes to carve.

I created some background paper using some paint and stencils on a piece of graph paper from a Gold Fibre Computation Notebook then stamped my images using a Jet Black StazOn ink pad.

I love the result!  It's not quite the falling Autumn leaves I had in mind, but I love those happy little accidents - Serendipity!  And look at my book - there aren't many pages or challenges left . . . thank goodness we have The Documented Life Project 2015 coming up!  You can find out all about it on November 1st at Arttothe5th.com.  Looking forward to seeing your leaves this week!

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Sketchy

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Week 43:  Sketch what you see right now

There is a jar full of paintbrushes on pretty much every surface of my studio so that was the first thing I rested my eyes on for this challenge.  Instead of sketching on watercolor paper, I decided to use a piece of old book paper - I love the yellowing and some old book paper is a perfect substrate for watercolor.

I was excited to find this page with the butterflies and the word "Illustrations."  Couldn't be more perfect . . . I love those serendipitous moments!

I lightly sketched my jar and paintbrushes with a pencil.  Ordinarily I will sketch in pen, but I wanted to make sure I had proportions correct since I didn't want to mess up this text page!  Once I was satisfied, I put all the detail in with a black Pitt pen (XS tip).  I loosely filled in the brushes and jar with watercolors.  You can see I took some artistic liberties with the colors to make it more interesting.

Don't be afraid to dig in on this challenge - sketching can be daunting for some people, but as you can see, the lines on my sketch are very simple, a little wonky, and definitely not realistic.  You may surprise yourself with what you can do!  I can't wait to see!

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Starry Starry Night

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Week 42:  Stars

I love this cling stamp called "Star Script" by Dina Wakley - this week was a perfect opportunity to use it!

I cut some under paper to size and stamped two stars onto black paper using Brilliance Platinum Planet pigment ink by Tsukineko. I love the shimmery look on the stars!  I cut them out and adhered them to the paper.

I recently finished reading "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green at the suggestion of my twelve-year old niece.  It was lovely and sweet and sad and I'm a sucker for the whole "star-crossed lovers" thing!  One quote from the book stuck with me so I stamped it on my page.

Looking forward to seeing all of your starry pages this week!

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Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny

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Week 41:  Polka Dots

After last week's challenge, I was relieved to have an idea that popped into my head instantly!  I sketched a little clothesline and hung my teeny bikini out to dry!

Okay, I know you know where I'm going with this!  I added watercolor and lettering . . .

Now if I could only fit into that bikini, it would be a perfect day!  Can't wait to see your polka dots this week!

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My Little Hanko

In Japan, people do not sign their names, they use stamps, or seals called a Hanko.  Artists also use these special seals to sign their artwork.  I love to impress my Hanko onto my artwork - it is that special little finishing touch that is all mine.

My Hanko says, "Lorraine Bell Serendipity Studios." 

Hankos are always printed using red ink - the ink comes in a little tin and is like a thick paste.  Too cool!  There are so many different types and styles of Hanko but the gentleman I purchased it from assured me that this was an "artist's stamp."  I love my little Hanko!

If you are looking for a Hanko of your very own, I found mine at Azami Press HERE.

Comfort Zone

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Week 40:  Paint or color with three colors you never use

My first thought when I read this challenge was, "I don't want to do this"  But then, hey, it's not a challenge if it's easy, right?  And I do like a challenge!  I knew instantly what colors I would use.  For some reason, I rarely use purple!  I don't know why, I like purple, I just never seem to pick it up!  I also never use violet.  For the third color, I searched through my bin of acrylic paint and found the one that was the fullest.  Viridian Green.  Eck!  What a combination!  So here they are:

Looking at those three colors, I instantly though of irises.  Probably the toughest flower to paint.  I tried it.  It didn't work out too well, which is why you won't see a picture of it here!  No wonder I never use these three colors!  I pulled in some white to get some different hues and just decided to paint and see where it took me.

So maybe I see a little sky????

A few upward strokes for some grass and stems - then some purple, violet and white dots for my flowers.  I added a few puffy white clouds floating by.

So there is my experiment in 3 seldom used colors . . . I think it might be a while before I pull them out again . . . LOL!

Have a great week - I can't wait to see which colors you all use!

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COOL TOOLS - Spinning Palette

Isn't this the coolest???  I found this awesome spinning palette a few years ago and my heart actually started racing when I first saw it on Gina Armfield Rossi's blog. I keep many watercolor palettes - but this one . . . oh my!  Finally a palette with all of my favorite watercolors that could sit on the table in my studio!

The best part of this palette is that it SPINS!  The palette sits on a base with ball-bearings so it glides easily with just a touch!  I squirted my watercolors into the wells then labeled each one.  You could also just drop half pans into the wells so you can change them easily.  I created a swatch on watercolor paper to keep handy while I work.  The mixing tray in the middle pops out for cleaning, plus there are two extras!  This is a dream tool, if you ask me!

These palettes are sold in several sizes - mine holds 85 colors!  You can find them here at Robax Engineering. Disclaimer:  I don't receiving anything from Robax for recommending this product . . . just spreading the love!

Splatters & Drips

Week 39:  Use Splatters & Drips

I love this challenge!  I am always trying to "make pictures" out of backgrounds and messes I've made on underpaper so I rolled up my sleeves and got busy!

I started randomly dropping watercolor in warm colors onto my paper . . . . you can see how much water I used!  I instantly saw flowers so I added some greens and deeper tones to see what emerged.

Love!  I leaned it against my palette to let it drip a bit.  I know what you're thinking . . . "WHAT IS THAT AWESOME PALETTE SHE IS USING!"  You can read all about it on my "COOL TOOLS" blog post next Tuesday!

After my paints were dry, I began to look for shapes among the drips and splatters.  I saw this little rosebud, so I sketched it roughly with my mechanical pencil.  I moved through the whole page, identifying petals and leaves.  I moved quickly and tried not to over think it.

Once I was satisfied with my bouquet, I dropped in a few little dark colors for contrast and a tiny bit of shading with my pencil.  This made the flowers pop out.  Then I splattered some paint onto the page.  I really loved how it turned out!

I cannot wait to see the creative pages you all come up with this week!

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New Teaching Date on The Calendar

I am super excited to announce that I will be teaching 3 classes at Everything Scrapbook & Stamps on Saturday & Sunday, October 18th & 19th, 2014!

Everything Scrapbook & Stamps (ESS) is located in Lake Worth, Florida.  This will be my first time teaching there and I can't wait to meet Michelle and her wonderful customers and spend the weekend in West Palm Beach!  I have plenty of fun things in store and I hope to see you there!  Call  (561) 432-5201 for more information or check out their website HERE.

LITTLE BOOK • BIG IDEAS CLASS

LITTLE BOOK • BIG IDEAS CLASS

MIXED MEDIA MELANGE JOURNAL

MIXED MEDIA MELANGE JOURNAL

TOTE-ALLY ARTSY TOTE

TOTE-ALLY ARTSY TOTE

And The Winner Is . . .

The Winner for the Charity Wings Mixed Media Kit is:

SALLY MILLER!  Thank you to everyone who commented and also hopped over to the Charity Wings blog to take a look.  Elena does such amazing work - I hope you will keep her organization in mind when contemplating artful charities!

Getting Cocky

Week 38:  Draw, paint, doodle, sketch or incorporate a real feather onto your page

Ugh!  I really didn't want to do this challenge - I'm just not a feather person!  Besides, they're kinda hard to draw - at least for me!  But a challenge is a challenge and how do we grow as artists if we don't try?  I scoured Pinterest looking for inspiration and found a stamped face with a Peacock feather!  Well, I knew I could draw a face, so the feather shouldn't be too difficult, right?

Well, 4 tries later, I finally did a feather I was happy with!  Unfortunately, I didn't  take pictures of my process!  Sorry about that!  But here she is, my lady looking regal with her peacock feather hair!

Have a great week everyone - I am really looking forward to seeing your feathers!


For more information on this week's challenge you can find us here:

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Have You Met Elena?

Today I want to introduce you to my good friend, Elena Lai Etcheverry who is the founder of Charity Wings, an amazing non-profit organization that spreads the gift of art to those who need it.  She is usually seen sporting a gorgeous set of wings which proves she is really an angel deep down!  She has set up a 6000 sf Arts & Crafts Center in the San Diego area, but her deeds reach much farther than that.  She works tirelessly to join efforts with so many charitable organizations to help fund-raise through arting events.  I met Elena at a Brave Girls' Camp in 2010 and was instantly drawn to her energy and creativity. 

She has faced some obstacles and brick walls in her fundraising efforts, yet she keeps on moving . . .In her own words, "The mission of the Charity Wings Art & Craft Center is to be an inspiring place for people of all ages to Gather, Give Back and Create; as well as to partner with other charities to give free classes to those who can benefit from the Hope, Happiness, and Healing that art can provide!"  Need I say more?

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In an effort to help out Elena and the Charity Wings Organization, I am offering a Mixed-Media Art Kit designed specifically for Charity Wings in my Etsy Shop.  100% of the proceeds go to Charity Wings!  The kit is packed full of beautiful artsy things like a wooden angel wing book, Westcott scissors, an exclusive Suzi Blu stamp, gorgeous papers and glimmering, glittery goodness - just to name a few!  I hope you will consider purchasing a kit to help Elena out.  You can find the kits HERE.

One of the events Elena hosts each year is a fabulous weekend-long art retreat, called Seaside Soiree that will help support her art center.  You can read all about it HERE.  Instructors for this year's event are the fabulous Jamie Dougherty, Ruth Rae, Kristen Robinson and special guests Jen Cushman and Jennifer Priest.  There are still a few spots left if you can make it!

So happy to introduce you to my friend, Elena.  Once you meet her, you too will have a friend for life!

Never Forget . . .

This will always be a sad day for Americans (and not just for us in the USA).  There are no words that haven't already been spoken but I feel it is important that every year, we pause to remember those who we lost on this tragic day and to be grateful for the freedoms we have in our country. We witnessed an unthinkable darkness that changed our world as we knew it.

I took these pictures at the 9/11 Memorial last month.  There is no need to narrate, they speak for themselves.  I could have taken thousands of photos.  The memorial is hauntingly beautiful and a fitting tribute to all of the victims, first responders and loved ones left behind.  In the loud and busy city of New York, there was a respectful silence on this site.  I occasionally heard a muffled sob of a friend or family member but the world seemed to quiet around me - just as it did that day.  Take time to pause today and remember.  Pray.  Love.  Forgive.  God Bless America.

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Christmas Kits in the Etsy Shoppe!

Just wanted to drop a line to say there are some super cute Christmas Kits I've put together in my Etsy Shop.  It's never too early . . . just sayin'!

This kit is filled with over 50 items, including 12 full 12" sheets of patterned paper from one of my favorite collection ever . . . Tinsel & Twig by The Girls' Paperie!  Stop by the shop to take a peak!

COOL TOOLS - The Rinse Well

I freely admit it . . . I am a sucker for gadgets, especially when they are art related!  I recently added this little beauty to my studio...The Rinse Well by Masterson.  At first I was a little afraid it probably worked better in theory than in practicality, but I was wrong.  I just love it!

When I'm working with watercolors, I get frustrated when I have to constantly break my concentration to get up and get clean water (which is often!)  The Rinse Well is so easy to use -  you simply fill the bottle with water and turn it upside down into the holder at the top of the reservoir.  Water trickles into the little "pool" on top and that's what you use to paint with and to keep your brush washed out.  When your water in the pool gets dirty, all you have to do is push a button and the dirty water drains into a reservoir below and the clean water comes out into the little pool. There are also little grooves for scrubbing and holders for your paintbrushes.

 It's genius!  Now I can paint for hours without getting up!  And when the water bottle is empty, I just empty and clean out the reservoir and start again with a fresh bottle of water!  I'm not being paid by Masterson to endorse this product, just wanted to share it with you!  You can get one of these little babies HERE, or at specialty art stores. 

White-Out

Week 37 - Use a White Pen Prominently on Your Page

This week I decided not to take the challenge literally.  Instead us using a white pen, I decided to sketch a white pen . . . in fact, several of the white pens & markers I use around the studio!

I sketched my treasured Bic Shake 'n Squeeze, My Sharpie MeanStreak, My Uniball Signo, My LAMY fountain pen, and my Sharpie Paint Marker.  I used Tombow Markers to lightly add watered-down color.  A few splatters of black and gray and TA-DAH!

The highlight of my week is to spend time in the DLP Facebook Group ooohing- and ahhhh-ing over all of your beautiful work!  Can't wait see what you create this week!


For more information on this week's challenge you can find us here:

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Good For The Soul


I am beyond honored to be part of the faculty for SOUL FOOD 2015!  If you haven't joined Community Thrive yet and checked out the amazing Soul Food classes, you are missing out on an incredibly inspiring group of artists who generously and "soulfully" share their gifts!

I am still pinching myself because I can hardly believe I will be joining this stellar group of artists.  I look forward next Spring to sharing with you all that nourishes my soul!  Come join us!


Here's a little bit about SOUL FOOD 2015

A brand new Soul Food class will run at Community Thrive, from February 1 through April 30, 2015.

You can expect:

3 Head Chefs: The amazingly talented Mystele Kirkeeng, Heather Santos and Jeanette House
17 Sous-Chefs (myself included)
2 video instruction mixed media lessons per week for 3 months
Each artist’s favourite comfort food cooking recipe
All downloadable videos
Classroom access through Dec 31, 2015
Access to a private Soul Food community group on Facebook
Registration will open on January 1, 2015, and you will need to be a member at Community Thrive in order to purchase and participate in Soul Food.

The community is free to join and you can register here. When your registration is approved, you’ll find the Soul Food purchase link here [from January 1, 2015].

In the meantime, there’s lots happening at Community Thrive to keep you playing: themed art challenges, free mini classes, and other online classes are all available now; and a new round of Mystele’s popular Gut Art class will open in October 2014.

Follow this link to meet the Soul Food class of 2015 Faculty and take a look at the amazing artists that have gathered just waiting to inspire you!

Visit Community Thrive and take a look!

 

 

Black & White

Week 36:  Black & White

photo credit:  Michael Bell

photo credit:  Michael Bell

My husband is slowly easing into retirement and he wanted a hobby so he picked up a camera and started messing around just for fun - but when he started showing me his photographs, I was amazed at how he looks at the world.  He's good.  Really good.

He shot this photo of me when I was sitting in a very boring admissions lecture at MIT with my nephew.  (No offense to anyone - I was just way out of my league so I zoned out!)  Instead of paying attention, I was doing what I normally do and pulled out my sketchbook to pass the time. Busted!  I had no idea he took the shot, but when he showed me this picture, he said, "this is how I see you.  Your hands have so much to say."  He told me he focused on my hands - the instruments I use to take care of everyone, the instruments I use to create, and to pray and to love and to hold on to what is dear to me. . . . deep sigh.

This is my husband:  (photo taken by my son, Christian).

So this week, simple and sweet, I used his photo as my inspiration!  He shot it with a monochromatic camera so it really is in black and white. 


I matted the photo with a tiny bit of black and used my stabilo aquarellable pencil and a water brush to draw random lines on the background.  I doodled some borders using black and white pens, then adhered some sticker letters on the page.  I treasure this picture - it's a gift to be able to see yourself through someone else's eyes.


I hope you enjoy the challenge, and as always, I cannot wait to see how you all interpret and create!


For more information on this week's challenge you can find us here:

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Visit our blogs: Sandi Keene, Roben-Marie Smith, Rae Missigman and Barbara Moore on Instagram