A quick recap to help establish the mood and setting for my life last week:
1) dog sick with "tummy" troubles (meaning: lots of walks so no accidents occur):
2) air conditioning on main floor of house not working for 3 of the hottest and most humid days of summer thus far;
3) kitchen sink detaches itself from concrete countertop (a case of beer held it in place);
4) electric circuit in basement (my art area) blows and cannot be reset;
5) did I mention it was incredibly hot and humid all week?
I am happy to say, in spite of these challenges, art was made, projects completed and we earned our afternoon trips to the pool, cold beer (me) and nightly ice cream reward (me & Cowgirl). And thankfully everything except the heat and humidity has been resolved!
One project that had been languishing for weeks was an altered story book which is a project from The Artistic Mother by Shona Cole (I am part of the online Group working through the projects together. To see other examples, or to join, go here.) I don't know why it took me so long to complete; I have made travel/memory books using altered kid's board books before and I love making these pieces.
i collected photographs, tickets, maps, stickers and postcards from our trip and then collaged the pieces into a board book. i wrote journal entries on the back of postcards to document our trip.
I buy cheap board books from the discount table at my local bookstore. (You could probably find cheaper ones in a used bookstore.) I first gesso all the pages and then go back over each page using a brayer to apply the acrylic paint. (The directions in The Artistic Mother have you mixing paint into the gesso for a lighter effect; I decided to stick with vibrant colors so I only did the cover in tinted gesso.)
The theme was to be a story about Cowgirl. Ever since she was a baby we have played the game "Where's Cowgirl?" It is peek a-boo except I had read that since "Bu" is a negative in Chinese, it might scare the child to keep saying Boo or "NO NO" to them. (Never mind Cowgirl knew Cantonese! She used to say BAH! and wag her finger at me which must have been the no she heard from her nannies.) When she was little, Cowgirl would simply hide herself under a towel (her security blanket) but now the game has morphed into a variation of hide and seek. Since this game so defines her, I settled upon the story "Where is She?" Each page asks the question "Where is Cowgirl? Is that Cowgirl?" and the facing page is one of the many characters she encompasses:
To put the book together, I wrote out the text and selected images using matt photographic paper to print on. (I simply created everything in a Word document, that way I could easily change the size of each photograph to fit the book.) For each page I picked a color based upon the images I was going to use and then I stamped in some details and colored the edges with water soluble oil crayon. Since Cowgirl wanted to take the book to school for Show and Tell, I decided to add a layer of Mod Podge over each page for extra protection and durability. I tried rubbing a wax candle over the surface of each page to hopefully cut down on the stickiness (a trick I learned from a fellow art journaler when using gel medium on pages).
I am pretty pleased with the final product and hope to make a couple of books with pictures from our weekend at Chinese Heritage Camp. At least, that project is on my "To Remember" list!
Since finishing my 365 project of self portraits at the end of June, I have been neglecting my camera. One morning I remembered to grab it before heading out the door on an early morning walk with Moose and guess what?
Yup, fog everywhere. I kept my camera with me even though I doubted I would see anything worth shooting. Thankfully, the Universe always has some magical tricks up her sleeve which I might have missed if I wasn't looking so intently for something to photograph:
In one tree alone I found 5 beautiful webs! (To see another one, check out Unravelling Together where my web had a fortuitous encounter with some oranges.)
And even when it is too hot to venture outside, I can stay in and play with some And amazing backgrounds/textures available for free when you sign up at Kim Klassen Cafe for her weekly offerings. This week I received "Simple Things" texture and look how beautiful it is paired with a busy bee (hmmm?):
and a pumpkin blossom (yes, that is Cowgirl's pumpkin plant!):
I've only just begun to explore the possibilities available by tweaking the effects and lighting and opacity features in PhotoShop. So much fun, I can't wait for Kim's Stay-cation in August. (Thank you Janice for sharing these goodies with all of us!)
Guess I have been busy! But there is so much fun to be had, it feels right to balance intense playful work with intense play. Cowgirl and I have two more paintings scheduled to make and I just bought more paints for week three of BIG.
How are you filling in your summer days? What memories are you busy making?