Red Geraniums

July Theme
July 18
Art Challenge: Photographs & Memories
Journal Prompt:  "All that I have to remember you"-Jim Croce

This week could be a hard one for many of you depending on how you interpret the challenge. I know it was for me.  This challenge is all about remembering . . . hopefully we all have many happy memories and fewer sad ones. Just know that as you dig through your photographs, that I am thinking of you and I believe our loved ones before us are thinking of us!

It took me all week to bring myself to do this.  I've spoken many times on my blog about my grandmother.  She was - - well, she was everything.  This week, I chose to memorialize her and something she loved - red geraniums.  Not just any red, they had to be a certain shade - but for as long as I can remember, she had pots of red geraniums on her porch.  To this day, I have one beside my kitchen sink and think of her every day when I see it.

So for this challenge - I took some photos of her and her flowers and copied them on regular photocopy paper on my inkjet printer.

I used a chip brush and some Titan Buff paint and roughly plastered some on the page - you will understand why I did this as you read further.

Not only did I want to use my own photographs, I also wanted to incorporate some ephemera - after all, that is the theme for July! Thumbing through some catalogs, I found some images that really fit with my page. In reality, these are pictures of stone sculptures for gardens, but to me, they looked like statues you would see in a cemetery. I knew I wanted to use them but I wanted them to have a worn, almost ghostly look . . .

Years ago, I learned a very cool technique to transfer photos using clear packing tape.  This idea has been around forever and I can't remember exactly where I found it - but you can simply google "packing tape photo transfer" and you will get dozens of videos and blog posts about it.

I laid a strip of tape over several pictures in the catalog and burnished them with a bone folder.  Then I cut them out of the magazine. DON'T cover both sides of the picture - only the front!

I dropped the photographs in a tin of water and let them sit about 5 minutes. The water soaks through the paper on the back of the pictures and the tape protects the image on the front.

Take the picture out of the water and turn it over and begin to rub the paper with your finger, it will come right off - if not, soak it a little longer.

When you're finished, you will have a transparent image of the original picture - pretty cool, huh?

What I like even more is that you can use the FRONT of the picture for a clear image, OR you can turn it over for a more worn, aged look . . . yummy.

Back to my photocopied pictures, I sprayed them lightly with fixative and then I arranged all of the elements on the page and adhered them with matte medium.  Now you will find out why I painted the base Titan Buff . . . I used my finger to rub the edges of the pictures with the Titan Buff paint so they blended on the page - this removes sharp edges.  Genius.

With my dark-leaded Blackwing pencil, I scribbled around the edges of the composition, drew some lines, and did my journaling.

My grandmother and I shared a favorite poem about Red Geraniums, so I chose to put that poem here.  In the picture, you see her, and her porch that now has empty chairs.  And there I am in the bottom right . . . wishing she were still here because I have so much I want to tell her . . .


Life did not bring me silken gowns,
Nor jewels for my hair,
Nor signs of gabled foreign towns
In distant countries fair,

But I can glimpse, beyond my pane, a green and friendly hill,
And red geraniums aflame upon my window sill.

The brambled cares of everyday,
The tiny humdrum things,
May bind my feet when they would stray,
But still my heart has wings

While red geraniums are bloomed against my window glass,
And low above my green-sweet hill the gypsy wind-clouds pass.

And if my dreamings ne'er come true,
The brightest and the best,
But leave me lone my journey through,
I'll set my heart at rest,

And thank God for home-sweet things, a green and friendly hill,
And red geraniums aflame upon my window sill.

by Martha Haskell Clark

I'm hoping this journal page will bring you peace and healing and the memories will be sweet. Looking forward to sharing your memories with you!  Our featured artist this week is the talented Lynn Whipple!  You can read all about her HERE.  xoxo

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