Monday, October 26, 2009

Another Mad Skill

Hey! Like my neato Halloweenie background? I got it from this fun lil' site called Blog-ology. My first experience with skins! It's such a freaky word that I have never used them before, but I stumbled on this by accident and learned how to change my background on my blog. Wheeeeee!

Boo Yah!

the front: bat cookie doughboy
the back: painted and stenciled

I made this silly postcard for my bud Chris at Prism Trail, because I knew she would love it, and cuz this box of bat cookies that I got at the store just cried out to me to upcycle it and send it out as mail. Isn't it silly cute? Sorry about the scribbled out address. I only have Microsoft Paint on this computer so I couldn't do a nice blur like they do to the perps on those Cops shows. But I still didn't want you stalking Chris. Okay, not YOU. But yeah, you, in the back. Chill out, will ya?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

More Pics from Stairway to Heaven workshop

Michelle 'n' Me
The assembled triptych

The fabled stairway

More of my pages

The first half of the first day we just painted blank pages, and I can't tell you how fun that was. Not just learning new paint techniques, but also spending several hours painting and doing nothing else. No interruptions. And no big choices. Because I had only picked about five colors of paint to bring with me, I stuck to that palette and didn't have to stop and make more decisions about it. That made it more fun, to have a limited palette. And to have Michelle telling us "Just paint! Don't think too hard about it. Just paint!" was great reinforcement. Part of the joy of this workshop was what Michelle described as "making an appointment with creativity." It sounds cheesy but it's really true. It's a big committment to set aside money and time for two whole days to make art. And it's a good feeling. I enjoyed my appointment so much that I'm sold on taking a workshop at least once a year to feed my creativity. I used to look at all the workshops out there and convince myself that I could do it all at home, but now I see first-hand the value of making that committment and getting away to do it.

Workspace as Art

Yes, I saved these papers.

Michelle Ward Workshop at Valley Ridge Art Studio

This is a picture of stuff I was making at the Stairway to Heaven workshop that Michelle Ward taught a few weeks ago at Valley Ridge Art Studio. I like the jumble of parts and the colors. The workshop as a whole was wonderful. Michelle is an experienced teacher and very smart about knowing what things to focus on getting DONE during the workshop in order for the student to feel accomplished. I didn't expect to have a finished product when I left, so I wasn't stressing about that, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much progress I made and how I could actually see the progress. We made a triptych book and Michelle made sure we assembled it before we left. I can still take it apart again and rearrange it if I want, but assembling it and seeing it all come together really made me feel good. I also learned a lot of techniques hands-on that it just wouldn't have worked to read about. For insance, I really didn't get how to do dry brush painting and now I get it and really like what I can do with it. She also had tips on how to make the most of your tools (using them in more than one way) and that was very helpful. She's very old school, so not into buying fancy newfangled products when you can do just as well with old supplies, and I like that. She's very approachable as well, and funny. So if you're ever considering taking a class from Michelle, I highly recommend her as an instructor and a fun artist to hang out with for two days.

Jack O' Lanterns

Last weekend we got a bunch of pumpkins at our local nursery, and then we carved two of them. They're molding now but here's when they were first carved. I did the dog face one and I was thrilled with how it turned out. I just looked at a picture online and decided I could do it, then drew it freehand and carved it. Amazing what you can do when you have a little confidence. I haven't carved pumpkins in years but made a point of it this year because I knew my daughter would enjoy it, and it was really fun.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Get Your Art in a Traveling Library!

The Sketchbook Project. Because I don't have enough projects. NOT! No, but this looks too fun to pass up. My buddy Chris at Prism Trail told me about it, and I love the idea of having a book I filled up with art traveling around the world on exhibition for people to see. Same reason I want to do Art-O-Mat, so I can have the satisfaction of knowing people all over the place are enjoying my art.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

And This, Too!

I'm also on a link list for the vendors in the Green Gifts Fair on November 21st, put on by Do It Green Minnesota. If you scroll down about halfway on the Fair page, you'll see a list of vendor links, and I'm on there: Alterior Motives and Suzala's Sparklies. Suz is my art buddy and we're doing both of these fairs together. Should be fun. I think the Green Fair will probably be more affordable, but then I could be wrong. We'll see. I think I'll probably get fun ideas for more stuff to make!

I about ran myself into the ground in May when I did my first art fair, and I'm not going to do that this time. I still have most of my product left from then, since I did crap in sales, so I've already got a lot. I just need to make a bit more to focus on the green thing for that fair, like use thrift store fabrics to make zippies and coasters. But I'm not going to neglect myself or Lily to get ready for these fairs, I've got to be able to enjoy them. I'm not in this to make money, anyhow, I'm in it to have fun. If I make money, it's a bonus. I have that luxury.

Thank God these fairs are both indoors. I may never do an outdoor one again, it was so awful. The first day was hurricane force winds. Ok, perhaps I exaggerate a tad, but they were 35 mph gusts, all day. And cold! It was literally painful. So I'm happy to be indoors with heat and light and no wind!

I also applied to be in the No Coast Craftorama but we didn't get in. I'm not crushed. I'm glad I applied, and I'll try again next year. It's a hard one to get into, and I just started doing this. No Coast is even listed in craft books now as a major craft show nationally. So I don't feel bad.

I'm in a Gallery!

Okay, it's a slide show, but still! I'm excited. See, isn't it cool (mine are the ones labeled Carrie Mercer)? It's for an art fair I'm going to be in on December 12th. They used the 3 photos that I sent of my work and I'm really excited to be in such talented company, the other stuff looks fab. I'll probably end up spending more money than I make. ha! Just kidding, honey (if hubby is reading this). So if you're in Minnesota, mark your calendars for the Women's Art Festival on December 12th!! Come see me!

Good News?

I just joined this swap on Swap-bot that I think is worth spreading the word about, because I think it's a really great idea. It's called "Good News from Newspapers" and it requires you to collect stories from your paper and/or other papers that are good news stories. You have several months to do it, and you put them in a journal and send it to your partner.

Obviously it would be nice to have a whole journal full of good news stories to read. I'm planning to make two journals so I can keep one. But what fascinates me is that I think it gets more complicated--What is good news? I mean, what would you look for? I'm looking in the local section. So far I've found a story about a humble man who lived frugally and left 3 million dollars to charity. And the other one is a dog story. Ok, that's easy, I mean, any dog story is going to be good news to me. But really, what are people going to look for? I see stories about politics and my eyes glaze over. I could care less. I mean, of course I care. But I don't find that happy reading. And the economy? Boring. But what if there was a story about a new grant for local artists? That would be good news to me but would anyone not living here give a rip? So it's tricky. But I think it's worth a shot, just to see what happens. I wish more people would join the swap, so far there's only 9.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Some Halloween Stuff

I love Halloween. My favorite holiday. It's hard to decide between Halloween and Christmas. Anyhoo, here's a couple Halloween-themed thingamajigs I've made in the last week. The top one is a robot exchange I did with my local artsters today at our monthly meeting. Mine is the bigger paper doll one, the sort of Pumpkin Scissorhands Robot. Then the bottom pic is of an ATC I made for a Halloween Zetti swap on Swap-bot. I made a few extra to trade. I call him Cranky Zetti Frankie.