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

 

paper-doll-spring
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?

Sadness reflected…

I dreamed about my friend, Meg, last night. This is the second time in 10 days that I have dreamed about her. Meg passed away in 2012 from breast cancer, and she was my buddy on our breast cancer survivor dragonboat team. In both of the dreams, Meg looked good, and was still going to die from breast cancer. Both times I awoke feeling sad, missing her.

I know these dreams are echoing the anxiety I feel about the dragonboat team starting a new season. I love my teammates, and sometimes I am so sad about how many fabulous women we have lost.

Now to be truthful, it has been times like this that I would be heading for the chocolate (and all the other carbs that boost serotonin).

But I can’t do that now.

I have chosen to severely limit sugar, gluten and dairy. Coping through carbs is not a really great long-term strategy, so I have to find another way. Since I am working Life Book 2015, I decided to see if I can work my grief through art.

So here are two pieces (thank you, Joanna Sharpe, for the techniques) I worked on today. Version one is using watercolors, and verson two is digitally colored.

sadness1

sadness-digital

Winter Paper Shrine

winter shrine

I found a triptych card template that can be used to make cards that double as shrines. Here is my offering for Winter. I used PhotoShop, a poem by Mary Oliver and some iridescent glitter, because everything looks better with glitter! The image that the card is sitting on is actually the image used on the back of the card.

The poem I used, Starlings in Winter, really summed up how I feel about winter. My favorite season!

Starlings in Winter
by Mary Oliver

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

 

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.”

deandra_bra_second

deandra_bra_words

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.

Art BRA Project Begins!

I thought I would post the first of my pictures for my art BRA that I am making for the Bratiste’s Traveling BRA Show. Since I am a mixed media artist, I decided to forgo anything resembling a real bra made out of cloth. My imagery that I am working with is the woman warrior…the amazon, the valkyrie. This was the archetype I used heavily while going through breast cancer treatment. I decided that I wanted to make a bustiere similar to a warrior’s piece of armor. I used plaster coated gauze (like what is used for casts) to wrap my model. My daughter was my model and i had to wrap her in plastic wrap first so that the plaster didn’t stick to her bra or her skin. This process turned out to be very messy!

bra_form1

bra_form2

bra_form3

After I cut the plaster off of my model and patched it back together…I covered it in matte medium and let it dry. Then I began the collaging process. I handpainted tissue paper with gesso, acrylic paint and inks and then let it dry. I tore strips of the paper and using more matte medium, began to cover the bust. I also covered the inside as well. I’m letting this dry before I go on to the next stage.

bra_form4

bra_collage1

I’ll put up more photos once I get the next stage done!

Where Does Inspiration Come From?

Inspiration is a funny thing. Where does it come from? How can we access it? I have to admit that I have taken inspiration for granted. My mind was always on alert, taken in data and churning out ideas. I got used to having a deep pool of inspiration from which to drawn from. All I had to do was reach out and there it was.

Then breast cancer, chemo and premature menopause happened…and the pool dried up. My brain didn’t work the same way that it used to. It took me a long time to realize that I still had the information in my brain, but my way of accessing it had to be changed. So I found new ways to work my brain and I thought I was back on track.

This week I got together with a friend to do some art. Normally before I begin collaging, I have some idea of what I want to do. But not this time. And that is when I realized that while I had figured how to work my brain, my easy access to inspiration was still gone. I haven’t done much art since cancer treatment. I had been waiting for inspiration and it just wasn’t there.

I’m sitting there staring at the finished collage and I am pleased. It was then that I discovered that I had been waiting for the old way in which I did creative projects. I was waiting for the thought, the idea and then I would begin work. It’s as if I am no longer sitting next to a deep pool, dipping my hand in for inspiration. I am now in the deep pool. I don’t have to do anything to access it…it’s just there. If I begin to work, something always comes out of it.

I am very relieved that my creativity isn’t gone. This week’s art project helped me to see that I don’t need to wait for inspiration in order to create.

gather-the-flow-collage2

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.