Playing with Alcohol Ink

There is just something magical about playing with alcohol ink. The way the colors slide into each other, forming new colors and creating abstract shapes. I find myself mesmerized by the process. I wish I could adequately convey just how much I love this medium!

In preparation for my upcoming class, Exploring Alcohol Ink (http://www.demicaro.com/Events.html) I decided to document my most recent experiment. Here’s how it went…I started with drops of color.x

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I then used the palette knife to swirl colors together.

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I used the tip of the palette knife to make lines.

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I added more color and used a Q-tip to make a flower. I’m not loving the flower on the left so I add some blending solution to it to make it go dreamy.

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I dislike enough that I cover over the left flower and go in a different direction.

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Now to add some yellow and pink. Hmmm…definitely broke up the blue tones I had so much of.

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I add more colors, tilting the paper to make them run. I’m looking for some lines/colors to catch my interest.

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I’ve drawn more lines. And the ink starts to impinge on the right flower. It might need to go.

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Now with the flowers gone, I am going in a new direction. It needs red.

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I add Pearl to the upper left purple to see what happens.

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I decide to use a stamp and the Snow Cap ink to add a little design. And this is the finished piece! I tried to make flowers, but in the end, I just love abstract. I went where the colors wanted to go. I’m pretty happy with it!

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Paper Dolls – Spring

I have been so inspired in my new studio! I have my books, my pens, my papers, my paint…it’s a bonanza of arty goodness! Pam and I have been discussing all the different art techniques and classes we want to offer. I can’t wait to share more with all of you once we start finalizing things.

One of the projects that I have been contemplating involves paper dolls. I don’t know exactly why, but I have always had a fascination with paper dolls. There is something about making mini people and dressing them. I have made dolls in the past, so obviously there is something appealing about personal arts and crafts.

A couple of days ago two thoughts came to mind, paper dolls and seasons. Could I make a seasonal paper doll that I would like? Here are my 2 experiments for Spring!

Paper doll Spring2
Paper and glue paper doll – Spring

 

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Digital paper doll – Spring

The first paper doll was made with paper, glue and ephemera. The second paper doll is digital. There are many resources online for paper dolls and I had quite the fun time online looking my choices.

Which do you like better? Any interest in making your own seasonal paper doll?

WORD for the Year!

word-wordle

Every year for the last 8 years I have chosen a WORD for the year. This WORD is an intention and focus for me…kind of like New Year’s goals, except without goals! (Thank you, Kathleen Verigin, for getting me started with this process.)

Here’s my process…

I spend December reviewing my year (and that year’s WORD). How did the WORD show up during the year? And it’s not just the WORD, but also the opposite of the WORD…the full spectrum of the intention that I look at. It is always a surprise to see the different ways my WORD has manifested itself.

Also in December, I start generating a list of potential WORDS for the upcoming year. I think about what the upcoming year might bring, and what intentions I might have. The WORD is a positive intention (for example, if I was concerned about Debt, I would consider WORDS like Abundance, Success, Asset). Then comes the fun part! I research the WORDS starting with the definition. I also look at the origin (etymology) of the WORD and then synonyms and antonyms.

Once I have settled on a WORD, I am ready for Kathryn King’s SoulCollage class on January 1st. I love getting a visual of the intention that SoulCollage provides. Definitions, meanings, and then images all create a more cohesive picture of what the WORD really is, and how it might appear in the upcoming year.

My previous Blog post has a list of 180 words and their synonyms to jumpstart a list of possible WORDS. And here are the two websites I regularly use for more digging!

http://www.thesaurus.com/

http://www.etymonline.com/

 

Another Art Bra for the Bratiste’s Traveling Bra Show

After I spent a lot of time and money (I just love craft supplies!) on my first art bra, I thought I was done. I was happy with how my first effort turned out, and one art bra should be enough, right?

Wrong…apparently art bras are like chocolate chip cookies…you can’t stop at just one.

This second bra was inspired by a conversation I had at one of our Pink Phoenix parties. I was chatting with a couple of Pinks who have metastatic breast cancer. Their experience with recurrences led to a discussion of what kind of art bra might reflect their reality. I asked what kind of message they would want to share with the public, and one replied, “Please don’t kill me.” She was being a bit sarcastic, but I was really taken with the simplicity of the message. It’s what every cancer survivor wants…to not be killed by cancer.

So I created a bra of all words. The inside of the bra says “Please don’t kill me,” and “Please don’t kill my friends.” The outside is covered with words of hope…things I told myself to help me get through treatment and to combat the fear. I titled the bra, “When Words Are Not Enough.”

So when you hear a breast cancer speaking about gratitude, love, courage and how they have learned so much from their breast cancer experience (which is, in fact, all true)…just remember, on the inside, they are also saying “please don’t kill me.”

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Art Bra Project Finished!

I had such a fun time working on this project! I had to work in stages since drying was involved. This gave me time to contemplate and anticipate the next stage. I even stripped it down at one point and redid it. This was a very scary time as I was working with a glue gun and it was not easily undone and then redone!

So, after the layers of handpainted paper, I added three images of hawks (two on the front and one on the back) shell beads, wooden beads, and feathers. I also created a an amulet to hang down the front. The hawk images were in honor of the three hawks I saw on my way to the doctor’s office to get diagnosed with breast cancer. Seeing hawks is pretty common in Portland, but usually I see the birds circling high up in the sky. These three hawks were at the top of three separate trees (kind of like a Christmas tree angel) along the highway.

Part of the Art Bra guidelines was to submit the bra with a written explanation/story to accompany the bra. I based my bra on a poem I tried to write the year I was in treatment. I spent all year trying to finish this poem, and all I got was phrases and starts, but no cohesive piece. The phrase that I was really attached to was “this is where I wear my female power.” Thanks to the bra project, I was able to finish the poem and submit it with the bra.

So, here is the finished product…

 


I Wear My Female Power

by Deandra Ellerbe

I once wore my female power,
for all to see,
for all to admire.

Twin moon hung suspended in spandex and cotton;
Their gravitational pull brought many into their orbit.
These globes, full and shining bright,
knew their power,
and loved it.

I then lost my female power,
for all to see,
for all to pity.

The moons destroyed,
ground down,
pulverized;
they were reduced to dust and memory.

A scarred landscape was all that was left.
Empty,
Barren.
And I hated it.

I created my female power,
for all to see,
for all to fear.

A  breastplate of deceptive beauty,
Cups molded by steely resolve,
tempered by the fires of war.

I joined my sisters of pain and sacrifice,
battle maidens,
scar clan.

I have their power.
And I love it.

Why Collage?

I used to think that only people who could draw were “real” artists. There was something about figurative work that had that air of legitimacy. Or maybe I just elevated it because I couldn’t do it. I was lucky I could draw stick figures. So needless to say, I never really considered myself an artist. Then I discovered collage and mixed media.

It was love at first sight.

The mystery is a major part of the attraction. I like not knowing what I’m creating. I like the mess of collage, and I like the happy accidents. When done from an intuitive place, collage and mixed media is chaotic, messy and very deep.

I use layers of hand-painted tissue paper, images printed on rice paper, transparencies, modeling clay, ephemera…pretty much anything I find around the house or at the art store. I collect my supplies and then just start layering. Color is what draws me first, then images, then found objects. Working in this way helps me get around my own perfectionism. Since there is no “right” way, I can give myself the freedom to play and explore. It doesn’t always gel…but when it does, I can feel it. Somehow everything just goes together well…like a puzzle with all the pieces.

Once my piece is done, I can then look at it to see what my unconscious might be trying to communicate to me. I will often write about my art, allowing my left brain an opportunity to weigh in on the collage.

Collage for me is a practically perfect form of self-expression. The images speak to my unconscious, circumventing the linear left-brain that runs the show most of the time. After choosing the images and creating the collage, I then let my rational mind back to the forefront and do writing exercises about the collage…allowing the images to “speak” to me about their meaning.

Why collage? Because it’s a perfect blend of left and right brain activities, and the only training needed is the ability to get out of my own way.

Can You Remember Your Passwords?

I’m one of those “bad” people who has trouble remembering my passwords for all of the different websites and groups I belong to. By having only a few passwords, which are easier to remember, I am also compromising the personal data stored on these different sites. I have heard this lecture numerous times from my computer-techie husband…but truthfully, the idea of having to remember dozens of different passwords just stresses me out!

And then I found this book, Upgrade Your Life by Gina Trapani. She presented this great idea where a person chooses a base password and then adds part of the site name to create a unique password.

Let me give you a basic example…

You pick a base password like BEAR5 (maybe bears are your favorite animal and 5 is your favorite number). Then you sign up for a Google account…your unique password for Google would then be BEAR5GOO. Then you sign up for a Yahoo! account and that unique password is BEAR5YAH.

This way, you only have to remember BEAR5…but each different site that requires a password would have a unique password.

With a system like this, you wouldn’t need to write down your passwords, and yet your accounts would be more secure. Just keep in mind, don’t use your most public information for your passwords (name, birthdate, names of your spouse and children, etc.). But there are still plenty of other base passwords that are special to you but aren’t really known to the wider world.

This idea has really intrigued me and I’m going to do it…change all of my passwords. Then I’m going to take down all of the sticky notes containing sensitive information that I have hidden around the house. My hubby will be so proud!

I’ll report back on how it goes…

Converting Pixels to Inches…How to print a great picture

Do you wonder what size an image or picture will print at? And whether it will be crisp enough? Here’s a tip on figuring all of this out…

You take the pixels and divide by the DPI (dots per inch) to get the size in inches. So if you have an image that is 600 pixels by 300 pixels, you divide 600 by 300 to get 2, and you divide 300 by 300 and get 1. This will give an image that is 2 inches by 1 inch.

You may be asking why 300 DPI? If you are posting an image to the web, you can use 72 DPI because clarity is not as important, and it’s much harder for someone to copy your image (because they won’t want 72 DPI). An image printed at 300 DPI is considered to be standard for most print jobs. For professional photos, you would consider printing at an even higher DPI.

Just remember…the higher the DPI, the bigger the file.

So, one more example. You have opened a photo from your digital camera in your imaging processing program. You want to resize it and print it as a 5×7. Multiply 5 inches by 300 DPI to get 1500 pixels. Multiple 7 inches by 300 DPI to get 2100 pixels. You then resize your photo to 1500 by 2100 at 300 DPI in order to print a 5×7 photo.

Candle Making

It’s Monday…which means it’s time to stir the creative juices! It’s the beginning of February and the days are beginning to get longer…Spring is coming! This is the time of year that I love making candles…a welcoming back of the light, if you will. So yesterday I spent the afternoon with a wonderful group of women making candles. Now to be perfectly honest, it’s more like decorating candles than actually making candles, but the meaning still holds true.

We got clear glass pillar candles (known as 7-day or novena candles), tissue paper and water-thinned glue. This is a messy project (yippee!), but the results are magical. Layering the torn pieces of tissue paper with lots of glue, the candle goes from blank canvas into art. And even better, you don’t really know what you have until the candle dries and you light it. That’s when the light shines through the transparent layers and you can really see what you have created. It’s a very alchemical process!

If you want to try this technique yourself, then here are a few tips.
1. Tear the tissue paper into no bigger than 2×2 inch pieces.
2. Use dark colors first.
3. More than 3 layers of paper on any one spot will affect the candle’s ability to shine through.
4. Uses lots of the glue mixture. Paint on a layer of glue, add paper and paint on more glue…the paper should be completely wet!
5. Once you are done, smooth the papers down with a finger. Remove air bubbles and make sure the edges of all the papers have been smoothed down.
6. Add a sprinkle of glitter if you want! I love glitter and will look for any excuse to use it.
7. Let dry overnight.
8. And remember…don’t put paper on the inside of the candle holder.

Here’ one of the candles I made yesterday…

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