. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sunday, October 27, 2013

show & share: see clearly

I made this assemblage for Bob for Christmas a couple years ago, and it hangs on a wall in our dining room in a spot where I can visit it every day. I treasure it dearly for both the emotions and the memories it evokes.

I gathered a few precious souvenirs of our 2007 trip to the UK (rocks, sea shells, a piece of driftwood, a bit of dried heather - all gathered on the coast of Ireland) and combined them with some vintage lace, buttons and trim, and a bit of Gaelic text I found on the internet. The vintage photo mat I scanned from one of Rebecca Sower's photo art pieces, whose mixed media art inspired this piece. BTW, I have been inspired by the work of this amazing artist for years. And it's not just her art, it's the way she truly lives her faith, honoring the Lord in everything she does.

I started with an 8x10 canvas I bought at Michael's. I distressed the wood a bit, then applied some Golden molding paste with a palette knife. Once it was dry I sanded it, then began adding layers of liquid acrylic paint - rubbing, scrubbing, sanding the surface until it looked like driftwood. I painted the canvas in the same way, leaning more toward the wonderful faded aqua tones I remembered from the little seaside town where I took the photo. I did a bit of editing in Photoshop Elements to give the photo a dreamy, misty feel.

I assembled everything within the wooden frame (this makes a nice shadow box) and enclosed it with a piece of glass. Then I wrapped some annealed wire around it all to hold it together. I did use some strong glue (hidden under the driftwood) to keep it from slipping.


This layout is from the scrapbook I made to commemorate our trip. Waterville - located on the west coast of Ireland - is the one place Bob continues to mention as the place he would like to return to...

The journaling is in Bob's own words:

I would have been content to spend
the entire 24 days here...
walking the shoreline
and counting the waves.


Share my button:
my art is life

Friday, October 25, 2013

veni spiritus sanctus

Come Holy Spirit
(Latin translation)

Sometimes I'm not quite sure what I will end up with when I start the creative process, but here's how I got there on this little bit of photo art:

1. For some unknown reason I've been quietly humming this old hymn for the past few days:

I don't know quite how or why it started. I figured that it must be some sort of inspiration, and I'd best see where it took me.

2. Then there's the handful of autumn leaves I collected impulsively the other morning on the way home from the gym. (I was feeling a bit sad, watching the brilliant colors slowly fade away a day at a time.) I wasn't sure just what I would do with them, but I brought them home anyway.

iPhone 5
photos SOOC
Pro Camera app

3. Add to that my current reading list:

4. And I've been wanting to get my hands on my 'big' camera, and just play around with it, so I assembled a simple little still life and shot a few versions. (Not to worry, Dr. J...I put the camera on a tripod, 'cause it's still too heavy for me to be lugging it around.)

Original photo SOOC
Canon EOS 6D
Canon EF 28-135mm lens
ISO 400 75mm f/5.0  0.3 sec.

5. And since I enjoy creative photo editing as much as photography, I jumped right into Lightroom and Photoshop. I also pulled out this wonderful book: Art Beyond the Lens, by Sarah Gardner, who has developed her own unique approach to the process.

Here's the same image, with a little play-by-play...

I've been playing around with this for three days now, and here is the second and final version. After some extensive editing/playing in Lightroom, I headed over to Photoshop, where:
  1. I applied Kim Klassen's kk_booklight (Overlay blend mode 64%) and de-saturated that layer a bit.
  2. I lightened and softened things up a bit with Kim's new kk_2110 (Soft Light blend mode 58%)
  3. Then two of Sarah Gardner's textures: BEYOND_stormrain (Soft Light blend mode 31%) and BONUS_Glaze1 (Multiply blend mode 38%).
  4. In the midst of all that is my text, in two layers (Color Burn blend mode 80%; then duplicated and changed to Multiply blend mode 47%). Font: Mutlu


Linking up with:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

show & share: pride & humility

a page from my art journal

always a good place
to experiment with assorted methods and media
and to think 'out loud'...

acrylic paint
paper collage
self-portrait photo
pen & ink
machine stitching


Share my button:
my art is life

Saturday, October 19, 2013

friday finds: albuquerque part 2

Last week I shared some images of Albuquerque that I had 'found' in my photo archives. I love this part of the country for its pre-historic culture as well. I have been fascinated, haunted and inspired by the archeological treasures of the American Southwest for years.

It started over four decades ago, on a family vacation to Mesa Verde National Park...more on that in a future post. For now it is enough to enjoy the rock art I found here five years ago.

Even though it was still fairly early in the morning I could feel the heat of the sun as I hiked the  Rinconada Canyon Trail. There were only a few other visitors, so I pretty much had the place to myself. This is definitely not the place to be dragging disinterested family members...did I mention how hot it was?

Several years ago I bought a wonderful book, A Field Guide to Rock Art Symbols of the Greater Southwest. It is probably one of the most-used reference books in my Art History library. I have this book too... Imagine how excited I was to see up close and in person so many of the 'famous' petroglyphs I had studied for years in those books. Like visiting the VanGogh museum when I was in Amsterdam. Well, almost.

Deer, snakes, badgers, birds, stars, moons and suns abound, as well as some amazing anthropomorphic and zoomorphic characters. Part of the appeal is its enigmatic quality: we think we have some idea what these images are all about...but maybe not. Was is merely 'prehistoric graffiti'...or something more significant?

I incorporated petroglyphic imagery in my stitchery for many years, like this little 'quilt' I made in 1997. The primitive quality of petroglyphs suited the style of British appliqué artist Janet Bolton. I have coveted her talent for years.

Hale-Bopp Comet

I'm continuing my exploration of the Print module in Lightroom, as well as the image enhancing features, which in this case really clarified the petroglyphs and unified the tones of the various rocks.
And because I can't resist experimenting with Photoshop, I wanted to see what a light touch of texture would do for the layouts. It's not readily apparent in these 'busy' images, but it did add a bit of slightly grungy punch. I used Kim's kk_promenade (Multiply 60%) and her scratchedmagic 2 (Screen 35%)


Linking up with

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

friday finds: albuquerque part 1

Any traveling I've been doing lately has been of the 'arm-chair' variety. You know what I mean: rummaging around my old photo files and re-living past adventures. After all, why bother to capture travel memories with my camera if I never re-visit them later? So...here is a selection from my archives.

June, 2008
A weekend jaunt to Albuquerque, New Mexico, with my husband and his friend Matt. Actually I tagged along on one of their pistol match weekends, anxious to re-visit a favorite destination.

I dropped off the guys at the pistol range early in the morning and headed back towards town...just me and my Canon Rebel XT. I had already mapped out a few excursions. This group of photos must have been from Sunday morning, because I remember attending mass here:

San Felipe de Neri Church

For more than 300 years, San Felipe de Neri Parish has been the spiritual heart of Albuquerque, New Mexico. That heart is still beating strong, offering liturgical, pastoral, and educational services to parishioners and visitors. The present church building, constructed in 1793, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Our community worships in this "crown Jewel" of New Mexico each day and invites visitors to join us, especially in the celebration of the Mass.

I arrived just in time for their weekly Spanish mass. No worries: the Roman Catholic service is the same the world over, so I was able to follow along pretty well. It was really a lovely experience.


After mass I just wandered around Old Town, the quaint, historical - and yes, touristy - part of Albuquerque. The streets were pretty quiet, being Sunday morning, and that was fine for my photographic purposes. Besides, I'm not much of a crowd-lover anyway.

I stopped at this humble little chapel and was drawn to its cool, mysterious darkness. Not spooky-mysterious, but sacred and welcoming, with its makeshift candles and hand-written prayer intentions placed before a little shrine to Our Blessed Mother.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel 

Patio Escondido Mall in Old Town, Albuquerque was once home to the Sagrada, a sacred arts school founded by Dominican Sister Giotto Moots in 1969. Sister Giotto, a Graduate and Dean of Villa Schifanoia in Florence Italy, received permission to open the self-sustaining program with a mission of nurturing artists in the growth and development of their creative expression. Doing this in New Mexico was of particular interest to Sister Giotto due to the spirit of the Native American and Hispanic cultural influences that are present here. She believed those influences were congruent with those of the artist. Within the campus was Joseph's Table, an income producing, student-staffed dining hall, an Art Gallery which displayed the work of the students, two story residential studios, accommodating up to 12 students at a time, and the chapel, Capilla de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Within the Chapel, a shrine is built in her honor. While Catholic in concept, the Sagrada was intended to welcome all non-Catholic and non-Christian artists as long as their interests were in keeping with that of the school.
Today, the Chapel is a sacred public place in Albuquerque's Old Town providing comfort to those seeking a sanctuary for quiet prayer and meditation. It is available for personal use for weddings, baptisms, renewal ceremonies, memorial services, and other special events. All are welcome.

A little clarification here: Catholics do not worship Mary, but we do revere her as the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. And just as you might ask someone to pray for a loved one, we ask the same of Mary, who intercedes on our behalf.

Also, I'm pretty sure that they weren't hosting weddings or special events here five years ago.


The Colors of Old Town Albuquerque

There's a distinctive Southwest flavor here in New Mexico, with a strong local folk art tradition evident in vivid colors and primitive designs. It's a unique combination of Native American and Spanish Colonial design...sometimes coming off as quirky kitsch, sometimes eclectic elegance.

I spent the rest of the morning just wandering around, soaking up the wonderfully unique culture and atmosphere of the American Southwest. Souvenir shops don't really hold any appeal for me, but I did enjoy browsing through a few antique shops, where I found a rusty little old-fashioned iron for my knick knack shelf.


This was yet another chance for me to explore photo layouts in Lightroom's Print module. I referred to every one of Kim's tutorials to help me, as well as Scott Kelby's book...and then - this is key - I just played around with it for awhile. Every time I do this I learn a little bit more.

I wanted to see what some subtle texture treatment would do to this collection, without obliterating the wonderful colors and lighting characteristic of the American Southwest. All it took was one layer of kk_petra (Multiply blend mode 100% - surprisingly!).

Inspired by and
Linking up with


Sunday, October 13, 2013

show & share: bessie & bill

Have you ever been captivated by an old snapshot?
Well I have...a few times.
Like this one of
Bob's maternal grandparents:

a page from our 'ancestors' scrapbook

I can't wait to get my hands dirty again
with paint and paper and ink and glue...


Share my button:
my art is life

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

there is a season

for Dad

Aldo G. Notarianni
January 10, 1925 - October 8, 2011

This started as an iPhone photo that I captured while on my walk yesterday morning. I liked how the old, dried up leaves mingled with the still-vibrant greenery along the path, kinda like the mingling of old and new, elderly and youthful. Each needing the other: to remember from whence it came...and to realize the fulfillment of its destiny.

I admit I felt a little disloyal to the whole iPhoneography concept, but I've been wanting to play around in Lightroom and Photoshop, and Kim's Beyond Beyond Autumn Processing post was sorely tempting me.

I quickly got over the guilt and imported the photo into Lightroom, where I rotated and cropped, spot-healed and edited following Kim's tutorial. I love the coppery tones! Then I opened it in Photoshop, where I added some textures and text.

I used Kim's new DayPair texture duo (kk_wake Multiply 41% and kk_day Overlay 22%). Eventually I added Patti Brown's Rainbow Sun Flare overlay to lighten/soften the rough texture of the concrete path so that I wouldn't have to go too 'heavy' with the text font (Garamond Regular).

Linking up with

Monday, October 7, 2013

show & share: 'young cindy' printer tray

Printer trays have been around for years; they lend themselves quite nicely to creative ideas for storage or display, or in this case, altered art. You can find them at antique stores, on eBay, and lately I've seen something similar made by 7 Gypsies. A few years ago I saw one in Ali Edwards' book, Life Artist. I've made a couple more of these, which I will share another time. This is the first one I made, back in 2010.

I found that it helps to unify everything if you start with a theme. Mine is about the many blessings of my childhood. I pondered it for a week or so, not knowing quite where to begin...then I just jumped in and started. I unearthed some old photos and started playing with them. Just looking through old photos stirred up memories, words, phrases, topics, etc. After awhile it got a little easier, as the doing of art begets further inspiration (not, contrary to popular belief, the other way around).

This hangs in my art studio. It makes me pause and smile every time I see it.

I'm going to let the images speak for themselves...

I had the best of intentions to get this post up yesterday as scheduled, but the InLinkz thing took a bit of doing the first time around.
This link-up will stay open until Saturday night, October 12th.

Next week should go more smoothly.

Share my button:
my art is life

Sunday, October 6, 2013

friday finds: techie stuff I've learned this week

This has been a week full of technological learning for me. Here's what I did:

1. Learned about Instagram and Hashtags  I've been meaning to explore just how all of this works, and this week's Friday Finds link-up finally motivated me. So here's my contribution to the 'collective energy' on Instagram for Kim's husband, John, along with my heartfelt prayers for them both.


2. Organized my Blog with Pages and Categories  First I organized/categorized in my mind four types of art that I do, and labeled all my posts accordingly. I have also re-designed my blog to better reflect its content and purpose. Just under the blog header you now see the following pages:  Home, About, Mixed Media, Photo Art, Family History, Art Journaling, and Show & Share. If you click on any of them you will see all posts with that label (more on Show & Share below).

3. Made a Blog Button (or Two)  Again, it's one of those things I've been wanting/meaning to do, and being off work for a few weeks, I finally have the time. And the patience. Which it took lots of. I tried Kim's html formula, from her awesome Behind the Scenes blogging class last year, but I just couldn't get it to work. It finally dawned on me that maybe it's a recent Blogger issue...so I googled my way to a solution: the "Grab My Button" Code Generator. Just like magic, in less than 10 minutes I had my button up on my blog! (it actually took two days of research, trial and error to finally get it right) Here it is, ready to share on your blog:

my art is life

4. Show & Share: My New Weekly Link-Up  Every week I will post something I've made recently - or in the past - be it Mixed Media, Photo Art, Family History, or Art Journaling... the kind of art I like to create. I invite you all to do the same on your blog or Flickr, and 'link up' so the rest of us can be inspired by your creativity. Over the years I have discovered that I'm not the only one with many and varied creative outlets...and I am greatly comforted by this revelation. I hope this will be a gathering place for all you eclectic artisans, where you can 'show & share' your art. Not to worry: critique is not necessarily a part of this...unless you mention in your post that you would like comments to that effect. Please do not feel limited by my categories; any creative pursuit of yours is welcome here...stitchery, knitting, weaving, painting, sculpture, gardening, decorating, cooking, baking, flower arranging, woodworking...you name it. This is the place to Show & Share your art with like-minded folks.

Just take a couple of pictures of it and tell us about it. Then link up your post with mine. At this point I am aiming to post on Sundays. I will leave the Link-up open for one week.

You can link up with this button, or simply hyper-link to your post:

my art is life

5. Some Very Helpful Sites for Bloggers: With all the googling I was doing for the pages and button code I unearthed several related topics. Is it any wonder why it takes me so long to get anything done?

Some sites are just run by one or two helpful, tech-savvy souls (I really like the personal touch):
http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2012/05/how-to-start-your-blog-with-a-bang.html (BTW I just discovered that Elsie and Emma are offering a blog e-course which looks too good to pass up)

Some are by and for 'professional' bloggers (I'm kinda laid back about all this, and I blog for fun, but I can still pick up some tips here)

Some sites are platform-specific (I use Blogger) which is good if you are learning just how your platform works:

Linking up with: