Friday, November 16, 2012

Thankfulness in Color!

The weekend of November 1, 2012 through November 3, 2012 will be cherished forever:  this was the weekend I decided to give of my time, expenses, and expertise to volunteer as a Teaching Assistant at Creating Keepsakes University in Stamford, CT.  It was held just days after a freak Hurricane hit the East Coast, and though the storm caused no harm to my home, it sure did a lot of damage to many folks in NJ and NY.  On Thursday morning, as I left my house for the 3-4 hour drive to my teaching gig, I passed numerous long lines of cars, trying to get gas at every rest stop from Elizabeth, NJ all the way up to the NY state border.  It didn't even occur to me that I might not be able to get gas for myself upon my return trip.  (I am happy to report that I ultimately made the entire trip on one tank of gas!)

There are numerous different things that I gathered from that weekend, many of which include expressions of thanksgiving!!!  I will save that for a later blog because right now, I want to focus on one direct outcome from that weekend:

On the heels of that Teaching Assistant gig with Creating Keepsakes, I decided to keep the creative juices flowing the following weekend, by inviting my BFF to come "art" with me.  What began as a "come-over-for-a-couple-of-hours-of-arting" day, quickly turned into a 12-hour crafting marathon!  I’m used to this kind of mad-crafting event, but Robin is not, so I thank God that she pushed through and managed to finish her canvas that very day. I wanted her to walk away with a finished work of art and she did!

We each started with a blank canvas, a 12X12 flat board.  I like those for experimenting on techniques and just having some creative fun.  I have yet to find the best way to display them when all is set and done, but that’s also a topic for another day…..maybe! 
This was only the second time that I presented the topic of “mixed media” to Robin, so she graciously accepted my invitation, with only a small amount of trepidation.  The first time, a few months ago, she created a canvas piece that she just didn't like at all and she dreaded the thought of being frustrated in that way again!  Now, please know that she is an outstanding scrapbooker!  In fact, she is the one that introduced me to the creative possibilities of memory keeping.  But her style is very different from mine.  I classify her as a as classic scrapbooker, who enjoys her layouts presented in a formal, simple, clean and symmetrical format.  She favors the pastel pallet, and her stories always convey a crisp, concise message on every page.  

My style has emerged over the years into shabby chic, incorporating many sorts of media (acrylics, modeling paste, gelatos, big brush pens, watercolors, inks, stains, canvas, burlap, twine, stencils and masks, and of course, assorted papers—just to name a few).  So mixed media art is a natural venue for me.  I find that I now apply mixed media principles to all my scrapbooking, card making, and home décor. 

For our marathon crafting day, I gave a blank canvas to Robin, along with the assignment to “make something pretty.”   Blank canvases can be daunting, even for the most experienced artist!  So I find it useful to always start with a sketch.  Here’s the sketch I came up with for Robin.  It was quickly drawn on a scratch piece of paper in about 30 seconds. 

I envisioned a very elegant piece for her, with the use of doilies and light pastels paints and inks and a variety of vintage-themed embellishments.  Much to her delight, this mixed media arting extravaganza turned out exactly that way for Robin.  Here is her masterpiece:

At the start of the marathon, I had visions of a whimsical piece for myself, in warm colors, that would have stars and a Shine theme.  But the more I started playing with my art mediums, I quickly discovered that Robin's sketch was exactly what I wanted to create also!  My style is much more informal, and my color pallet is bold colors, so I knew that even though we would both be creating art using the same sketch, both pieces would turn out very different!

I began my project by taking Robin's old canvas and covering it with white embossed paper.  I love the texture that the paper adds to the flat canvas, especially since I placed it on top of previously textured canvas.  
You can see here the painted canvas in the process of being covered. 

And here is my newly covered canvas, all white!  This is usually unheard of, in my world!  But I wanted to start with a white background to showcase the conversion to bright color that I knew would happen! 

And happen, it did!!!

I began by adding some acrylic paints to the background in yellows and orange.  I also added splashes of blue and green gelatos and made some of the colors run, by squirting water on them.  Gelatos are so fun to play with!  I feel like a little kid, coloring with my set of crayons!  

The rest of the day was spent adding doilies in various paper patterns, bird cage die cuts out of burlap, bird out of canvas, and paper flowers using various dies.  My life's  motto is Shine Your Light (taken from Matthew 5:16 - shine your light before men, that they may see your good works and praise your Father in heaven) and so I placed that on the label at the top.  

I outlined the letters using my Faber Castell pitt pen.

Since I have so much to be thankful for, I had to include a Teresa Collins journaling tag that reads "Live with Gratitude."  I do . . . . every single day!   

One last photo to show a close up of some of my hand made flowers and the beautiful lace that I placed around my paper doily.  I also added a hand made pocket with a tag.  The fibers at the top of the tag are made using twined that I tinted with brown Distress Stain.  

Interestingly, the white doily is made out of a coffee filter that I embossed and then cut out using a Fiskars round doily punch.  I love that thing!  

Robin and I made our paper doilies by cutting a 6 inch circle out of patterned paper, and then putting the circle in the Fiskars punch--it makes 4 inch and 6 inch doilies--my favorite sizes!

This was a very fun day for me, filled with lots of episodes of "happy hands" and lots of chit chatting about life and such with my BFF!  I look forward to the next time we get to spend the day arting!  

Thanks for joining me today and I hope you also let Your Light Shine in all you do today! 


  1. Hi there. Just wanted to say tour tutorials are great. Love both of your canvases here.

    1. Thank you so much Maria. You just made my day!!!

  2. what a beautiful project..lovely!!!!!!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words!!! You gave me a huge smile and helped to brighten my day!!!