small art from big paintings

For the past three years I have been exchanging art with a group of talented women through a private yahoo group. This year, we've been exchanging 4x4's. Many in the group will take these 4x4's and make a "chunky" book. I'm not sure what I'll do with these wonderful small works of art but for now they are out in my studio in a basket, where I add to them as they come in. I simply enjoy looking through them. Such inspiration! The idea of our exchange is to create on someone's chosen theme and have someone create for you on your theme every month. I needed to make 2 of these small 4x4 inch works, one for March for Heather Robinson and one for April for Karen Owen. I started creating by taking 2 of my painting exercises I did in the abstract art class I'm taking and used my x-acto knife to cut out 2 small 4"x4" sections.



That was actually quite fun to do! To pick and chose a part I liked.


The green one is for Karen who gave us the theme "artist's choice" but let us know she liked birds and nature, among other things! I concentrated on those two.


I must admit, I kept it pretty simple as I liked the background and did not want to cover it up too much. I thought Karen would like a touch of gold so I chose that for the leaves and edged the 4x4 with a metallic marker. I also splatter a few dots of gold and stamped a saying . . .. 

Wander where there is no path


Heather had a theme of Fantasy Garden, doesn't that sound delicious! 
For her, I decided I wanted to do packing tape transfers of flower images. I thought this would keep with her theme but let the painted background show through a bit . . . 

To do packing tape transfers place clear packing tape over the front of your chosen magazine or catalog images (thin paper like that is best). Overlap tape if necessary. Burnish the tape to the paper well and drop into a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes or so. Gently rub the paper off the BACK of your tape/paper sandwich until all the paper has been removed and just the image remains attached to the tape! 



I added watercolor crayons around the edges, then wet to activate.


I finished heather's 4x4 with rubber stamping and an appropriate quote.






This is the end of my commitment to this group and even though I so enjoyed creating for and receiving from them, I will not be continuing with the next session. I feel I need a break from some of my regular scheduled exchanges in order to give myself time to explore some more personal art. I am not sure what direction I am going in yet, but as my husband Steven says, he can tell I am restless . . . searching . . . and I think he is correct. I tend to think perhaps in some way, it has something to do with my father's passing last October. I also think taking classes with Bill Buchman has excited me and open my eyes to other kinds of art I can do. I have a desire to do more painting and collage in perhaps a larger scale than I usually work - I'd like to explore this idea . . . . so, we'll see! 

Thanks very much for stopping by! lenna 


sea washed sea birds

{ art journal august 24-26 }

I just had to do something with the photos I took the other day . . . 

On Tuesday I was going by Coquina beach after an appointment. I always have my camera with me these days and although I never go to the beach to sit in the sun anymore like I did when I was 20, I do like to wade my feet in the cool water and take photographs. So that is exactly what I did! Coquina beach has many beautiful birds. Here is one of my favorite photos of the afternoon, below-click for more details.


There are more to see -click here if you'd like to go to the beach in Florida  with me for a few minutes . . .  ; ^ ) I decided later to remember that afternoon in my art journal and I thought image transfers of a couple of these photos would be fun. Instead of doing the transfers directly in my journal, I did them on separate pieces of paper to insert in my journal. I used ink jet transparency prints of my photos and gel medium (I like the Golden brand) to transfer my photos to paper. I found instructions on the art-e-zine site that may be helpful to you if you'd like to try a transfer yourself.

peeling the transparency back, revealing my transfer

my two image transfers


The transfer on the right, above: I peeled it off the paper it was on and so it is just the gel medium with the image on it. It is the same image as the favorite photo above, but I did not "flip" it so it is reversed now in my book. Sometimes I flip my photos first, but I did not think it mattered this time.

Daler Rowney FW acrylic inks -it comes with a dropper top.

The pages were misted with water first . . .
so everything is running, like I wanted it to.


More water, more running of ink . . . I wanted a "seawashed" look.


I add kosher salt on top to add texture and patterns. When the ink dries, I brush it off.


I start journaling and making swirls with my pen and I add 
some white super sparkle Lumiere paint!


I added shells and sand with tacky glue . . . 


 * To see more photos of this journal spread in a large size, go here! 


: ^ ) it made me happy to do this . . .






Art journal May 9 -simple!

A very simple journal page for may 9th. I took a photo printed on brochure paper of Steven and I and transfered it directly to a blank journal page. The photo is from our recent weekend at Cedar Key we just returned from -you can see the photo for real in the post below this one. Here in my journal, the photo image is reversed because I did not flip it when printing it. This is a gel medium transfer and it worked well. After I did the transfer, while the gel medium was still wet, I painted azure blue Dye-Na-Flow paint with a foam brush around the rest of the blank page spread. Then I sprayed Turquoise Perfect Pearls mist all around. I like the iridescent sheen of these mists and how everything reacted with the drying gel medium.

It is not finished, but that's okay! I only played around for 15 or 20 minutes and it felt good. More tomorrow! I hope you all are doing well and keeping your hand in creativity. I have also caught up with my daily blipfoto journal entries - phew! It is fun to go away, but work to come back ; ^  )



sketchbook 05: birds of a feather



sketchbook05-1, originally uploaded by creativelenna.
This is a close up, cropped section of one spread of pages I just completed in my sketchbook -part of the sketchbook project 2011. I have been busy with other things the past few days and was itching to work in here again. I ended up completing 2 spreads! If you click on the scan above it will bring you to my flickr account where you can see more of this page and others. I have even set up an album just for the sketchbook project. The other spread I completed today is below. I turned the moleskin sideways to feature more of the map:


I was inspired by this map of Florida that my friend Cindy McMath in BC, Canada had kindly sent to me with her swap pieces not too long ago. I had saved it in easy view of my eyes so I would not forget about it. When I wanted to do a spread in my sketchbook, it was the perfect background. Thank you, Cindy!! I started out with doing gel medium transfers right on top of the map but I did not really like how they came out -not clear enough. To save these transfers I printed the images I used out on a transparency another time and layered them on top of the gel medium transfer. There! Another creative recovery! The image of our dogs and Bradenton are both straight transparencies. The ones of Steven and I, the truck and the GPS are transfers layered with transparencies! phew. It was good creative fun working in this sketchbook. I had no idea I was going to be journaling as I have never kept an art journal before. Some people would probably think that doing this is a little crazy as I am sending this stetchbook off never to be seen again! (It will be cataloged into The Brooklyn Art Library system) But it seems right for me to do this so I am letting it FLY!!! Check out my page on the art house co-op page, organizer and sponsor of the sketchbook project. You'll find some other artists there who are participating too! 

ferns & leaves

ferns & leaves, originally uploaded by creativelenna.

Often when I walk with the dogs on the trails near our home I bring my camera and take a few photographs of things I see that I like; designs in nature. One of these photos became the base for a mixed media collage (as an image transfer) that I will enter into a juried show, tomorrow! When I took the photo you see in this post, I thought I might add it to the collage . . . but I ended up not doing that. As soon as we finish framing the collage I am calling "enchanted grotto" I will take a picture and upload it here. We've got the mat covered with fabric and the canvas attached. Tonight we will attach everything in place and add the wire (Thank you, steven!). In the meantime, enjoy the peacefulness of spring *slowly * returning to the Northeast through this photo.

Journal Quilt #14


April-9.07, originally uploaded by creativelenna.


-Printed on fabric with my inkjet printer & attached to the back of this 6" x 6" quiltie is the following journal entry:

April 9th, 2007 * Journal Quilt Number 14 *
Today, after dinner on Monday night I remembered I needed to do my journal quilt, tonight! Usually I keep this project in mind and think about what I might do the week before, but not this week! So, I went into my studio to see what I could come up with on the spur of the moment. I had worked a lot on a mixed media collage last week, and so I thought I’d use some elements of that piece on the journal quilt. Recently, when dropping samples off at
Sew Inspired Quilt Shop where I will teach two classes soon, I bought a small amount of interesting “computer” print fabric. I thought that would be fun to work with, since my art and the computer go hand in hand these days. I kind of have a love-hate relationship with the computer and so it’s appropriate that fabric serves as the background for this quiltie.

On the right hand side of the piece, top and bottom are elements from my collage I‘ve been working on
– some marbled paper and a piece of the image transfer I used. The black trim with the white stitching, the image of the woman (paper) the heart charm and the “sewn art” stamp on the green fabric are all from Alpha Stamps. The black half-circle across the piece is actually black millinery wire, also from Alpha Stamps. The rounds stamp is from CatsLife Press – all stamping done with VersaCraft Inks. The turquoise blue coloring on the fabric is dye-na-flow paint by Jacquard. I am glad I made myself create this.
: ) Lenna

enchanted grotto

The collage is finished! (click on the photo for a larger, more detailed picture) Steven and I will frame this -the frame is already ordered thanks to Steven! This collage will be entered into the Open Juried Show at the West Hartford Art League next week. Wish me Luck, that it gets accepted! If it doesn't get in, I will still have a lovely framed piece to hang in our home, so nothing is lost. My new art friend, Carla Kurt saw this collage today and she really liked it, so her reaction helps to give me confidence. She is the one who commented earlier in the metamorphosis saying it looked like it an enchanted grotto . . . and that is what I have decided to call it. I was able to see her latest painting in person as she brought it with her for me to see, and I was blown AWAY. Even though she states the size of it on her blog -- I was unprepared for how large this painting is and how full of feeling it is. Carla and I share an affinity for the same type of marbled paper (green & gold, orange & gold) and it is really interesting to see how we use this paper in different and similar ways.

I worked a lot on this piece today, adding to it and layering with papers quite a bit, wondering if I would know when to stop! This collage started with an image transfer of a photo of leaves, snow & ferns, directly onto a canvas board. I did the same transfer separately onto a piece of fabric, cut this up and used parts of it on this collage. I ripped LOTs of handmade & mulberry paper and applied it to the canvas with gel medium and I started and finished working on this piece by covering the canvas with Teal Dye-Na-Flow (paint) by Jacquard. There is a bit of rubber stamping in there and the spiral shapes come from a sheet of handmade paper, ripped out singly and applied with gel medium. There are gold skeleton leaves added with gel medium, and a few small rocks and pieces of shell added with E-6000 goop glue to give thepiece more texture. I also did nature printing using ferns and evergreens both on paper that was applied later and also directly on the canvas. Here is what this collage looked like 3 weeks ago when I first started:



And here are 2 close-ups of what it looks like now, left & right sides - click on the photos for more detail, and thank you for looking!

Collage continues . . .


I have added more to the collage on canvas I started a few weeks ago . . . Yesterday I focused on adding strips of ripped paper on top of the other papers, stamping and the image transfer of leaves, snow & ferns I had done previously (you can see how I started this collage in an earlier post). I have challenged myself to create this piece for another West Hartford Art League Juried Art Show. This show is not a member's show like the one in February that Steven and I had a collage and a collaborative painting in, but an 'Open Show'. I imagine it will be a little harder to get in, but I am still going to try. I like the challenge and I like having a goal to work on, whatever the outcome. It makes me create! I am thinking of calling this piece "enchanted grotto" after a comment Carla Kurt made here on my blog when I was just starting the piece. (thank you!) She will see this collage in person tomorrow and perhaps have more feedback for me. I don't think I am quite done with it yet . . . almost. There is still a week to go before entries are accepted and in the meantime I will finish it up. Steven says he will help me with a proper frame! : ) lenna

Journal Quilt #11

My latest Journal Quilt . . . .

My journal entry is printed directly on fabric for the back of this piece. You can click on the photo for a larger scan & more detail.


March 20th, 2007:

* Journal Quilt Number 11 *
I am a day late with this weeks’ journal quilt, but that’s okay - to tell you the truth, I simply forgot! But here is journal quilt #11 – it’s hard to believe I have created this many already.

This little art quilt is more personal in nature I think than any of my previous ones. Last year in September, my husband Steven lost his job of 14 years. Fortunately, he has gotten some work since then doing what he does as senior level computer tech – but there’s been no regular salary for these past few months. Last week was especially hard and frustrating for both of us with few prospects of a regular job after much searching and applying. Steven has even gone so far as thinking of starting his own computer business. This could be a great thing, but it would also be difficult while getting it off the ground.

For any of you who have ever been in a similar situation, you know how the stress of a job loss can affect your relationships with those you love. It is difficult to navigate your feelings and your spouse’s feelings through this difficult time. Steven had a bad day last week where he felt very frustrated about the whole situation and I shed some tears over this when he did not understand my point of view. It took some talking until we sorted it all out. Our love prevailed.

The hands are a scan of our hands we did a while ago for possible artwork. I took the scan, printed it mirror image on a transparency and then used gel medium to transfer it to fabric. I stamped various images with VersaCraft ink onto the fabric & the transparency . . . . And! . . . We heard yesterday that Steven got a job!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) Lenna

To see all of the journal quilts I have done so far, CLICK HERE!

Journal Quilt #9


Here is Journal Quilt #9!!
Click on the photo for more detail.

I wrote the following Journal entry, printed it on fabric and attached it to the back . . . .

March 6, 2007:

* Journal Quilt Number 9 *
I have to admit I am a day late with this mini journal quilt, oh my! I figure a day late is better than not at all. Yesterday was Steven’s birthday. When I got out of work I got busy making him a cake. I actually almost forgot my Monday night deadline!

The theme of this week’s journal quilt is ART! Last week Steven and I went to the West Hartford Art League to see our 2 pieces that made it into their Juried show . . . . I also met an online art friend, Carla Kurt, for the first time when we found out we lived near each other and we enjoyed sharing our art over coffee . . . . then I showed my art to my boss at the Flatbread Company and he bought one of my collages when I was not even asking! I think all this must be destiny??

What I did for this journal quilt was several gel medium image transfers from photos. The collage on the top right is the one I sold to Flatbread, on the bottom right is the collage I have in the ART League show, and bottom left is Steven with our collaborative piece that is in the show – enjoy!!!!!!

Journal Quilt #4

My fourth mini Journal Quilt - click on the photo for a larger picture. It is hard to believe I have created 4 of these already! It is not hard to do, and the weekly deadline I made for myself is what keeps me creating them. I always THINK about the journal quilts during the week, and then sometime on Monday the actual quilties come spilling out. I would like to start one earlier in the week sometimes, but maybe that is just not the way I work! The back of the quiltie has my journal entry printed on muslin; I attach my fabric to a piece of lightweight cardstock and then run it through my Epson printer. I write my entry in a MS Word document, and then print it directly onto the fabric. This week's entry is below.

January 29, 2007:
This is the fourth in a series of *mini* journal quilts that I am adding to my year long fabric journal project. This 6” x 6” quiltie reflects a visit we enjoyed recently with our friends Garth and Nora. Steven and I have known Garth since we were about 15 years old . . . . In fact, Garth is why and how Steven & I met each other in the first place, way back then! Garth and I went to the same summer camp and Steven and Garth went to High School together. We have known his wife Nora and been friends with her for almost just as long.
My mini journal quilt this week features gel medium transfers of photos from a walk we took when Garth & Nora came to visit this past weekend. The past few weeks I have been teaching gel medium transfers to my students in my Mini Art Quilt Book class and enjoying some of the results I have tried myself - image transfers can be very tricky. The two gel medium transfers on this small quiltie are the photos, ink jet printed with my Epson Stylus C88 onto transparency film and transferred to fabric with Golden Gel Medium. The transfers I have done from transparencies have been the ones I enjoyed the results of the most lately. It has been very cold here in CT – the transfer in the top left corner is a photo I took of some leaves frozen in the ice. Brrrrr! Stay warm, Lenna