Monday, December 31, 2012

Quietly Creating

As I say goodbye to 2012 and wait eagerly for 2013 to commence, I am doing what I enjoy most--quietly creating. I think it's a fitting way to end one year and begin another.

I've been drinking a lot of tea, and saving the bags for future projects.

I deconstructed a number of books written in languages I cannot read, and dyed them in the kitchen using foodstuff. These were done with beets.

And these with blackberries.

I made a little tea cup and saucer to hold tiny books made from tea bags and altered book pages. These pages were dyed with onion skins.

I used the scraps left over from the tea cup and saucer to start a paper art quilt. I just love the beautiful shades of yellow made from the onion skins.

This is what I've been quietly creating as I contemplate all the wonder, joy, adventure, and creativity that I hope 2013 will bring our way. Thank you for coming along on my art adventures and for your comments, enthusiasm, and inspiration throughout the year.

Happy New Year my friends!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Slowest Sketcher in the Midwest

That's me. My second watercolor Moleskine is finally complete. It was started in September 2010 and is a bit of a hodge podge that includes pages for sketchcrawls, Illustration Friday, List It Tuesday, and a few quotes and random pages of notes.

We started a small sketching group at work, and we try to meet at lunchtime once a week to sketch together and share other art interests.

I rarely (make that ever!) complete a sketch during one lunch hour. I will often spread it out over several sittings--sketching in pencil first, then inking the sketch, then adding color, and finally adding text. Quite often, the last three steps are not even done on site.

Sometimes, many, many months elapse between the steps.

Sometimes longer. This sketch took about a year to go from a pencil sketch to an inked one. I did go back to the statue to ink it on site. It was interesting to note the subtle differences in how I "saw" the statue the second time.

On this day I tried really hard to choose a subject that I thought I could complete in one sitting. It didn't happen. I still had to finish it at home.

There are even a few sketches in the book that I've deemed "abandoned." I'm pretty sure they will forever remain unfinished. That's OK. It will remind me to be grateful for the many moments I was able to capture and hold forever between the pages of my sketchbook.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rusty. Crusty. Lovely.


I find myself completely intrigued by the eco-dyeing that I’ve been reading about in the blogosphere. I really like the subtle colors and patterns that can be made by dying cloth with natural materials like flowers and leaves. I also like the idea of wrapping up bundles of cloth and then experiencing the thrill of unwrapping them to see what appears. Since we are heading into winter in my part of the world, I will most likely wait until spring to give this technique a try. But in the meantime, I decided to try my hand at rust dyeing instead. From what I can tell, the process is somewhat similar.

Here’s what you do to make marks on fabric with rust: wrap up some rusty objects in cloth, tie tightly with string, spray generously with vinegar, cover in plastic wrap, wait, unwrap, and marvel at what happens. I have fabric. I have rusty stuff. I have vinegar. The most elusive element is the patience needed to wait for something to happen.

And when it does—it’s pretty exciting! Downright thrilling, actually. Beautiful rusty marks appear in glorious shades of, well, rust.

I feel exceptionally proud of this little scrap of muslin that I rusted. I think it’s quite beautiful. But I also realize that the beauty is a result of a chemical reaction that had very little to do with me. Oh sure, I picked out the rusty bits and wrapped them up just so in the cloth. Yes, I sprayed the cloth with my vinegar, tied, and wrapped it again with plastic. I patiently waited an unbearable amount of time to open it up and take a peek. (About three days) I guess I contributed a little bit to the random loveliness that was created. Or maybe I’m just proud of the fact that I tried something new and it turned out better than I imagined it would.

I’m not sure yet what I’ll do with this little masterpiece, or the ones I’ve made since this one. Most likely, I’ll use it as part of a slow cloth. That’s another art form I’ve been admiring out there in Blogland. I have fabric. I have thread. I could use a little practice in the patience department…

Monday, November 19, 2012

Show Me Some Love

You know it's going to be a good day when even an icy windshield shows you some love! Thank you, Mr. Frost for leaving this little gift on my car this morning. That's the way I like to start my week. I hope yours is off to a good start, wherever you are.

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Wabi-Sabi Radiator

When inclement weather moves my lunch time walk indoors, I like to utilize an out-of-the-way stairway in the three-story building where I work. My routine goes something like this: 44 steps down, turn around, 44 steps up, lap around the atrium, 44 steps down, turn around, 44 steps up, lap around the atrium. You get the idea. I do as many repetitions as time allows. If it sounds kind of monotonous, it is. 

Except for my little wabi-sabi radiator. Situated between the 44 steps down and the 44 steps up, is an ordinary steam radiator with a corroded valve in the most extraordinary shades of turquoise. Since turquoise is my favorite color, seeing that little blue-green burst of color in an otherwise drab and dingy stairwell while trudging (I mean sprinting) up and down the stairs makes my heart happy. It’s true. That little radiator makes me smile. It greets me on every journey up and down the stairs and reminds me that beauty can be found in unexpected places.

As I mentioned in the last post, I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. In the book, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designer, Poets and Philosophers, author Leonard Koren describes the ancient Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi in this way:

“Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.
It is a beauty of things modest and humble.
It is a beauty of things unconventional.”


I’ve been thinking a lot about wabi-sabi lately and I think this radiator totally fits the bill. It’s humble, modest, and imperfect. There’s an entire colony of dust mites camped out there. The pipe leading to the valve is a hot mess of chipped paint and rust. Yet, I think it’s beautiful, and finding beauty in a corroded turquoise valve could very well be considered unconventional. Right? Once I recognized the wabi-sabiness of the radiator, I pulled out my phone and snapped a couple of pictures. You know, just in case I ever needed to remember that particular shade of turquoise. 

That was on Friday.

Today, I was shocked and horrified to discover that someone had come along and spray painted the valve on the radiator sometime during the weekend!!! With a single spritz of white paint from an aerosol can, some well-meaning maintenance worker had changed, and possibly destroyed, the subtle beauty of my little wabi-sabi radiator. Plus…it’s not even a good paint job! I’m not sure if that makes it better or worse. I only know that today I feel sad and disappointed. And I know that today I understand the meaning of wabi-sabi a little bit better. Today I understand the impermanent part. And I know—without a shadow of a doubt—that because it’s beauty was impermanent, that ordinary/extraordinary humble, modest, imperfect, little radiator really did embody the spirit of wabi-sabi for me. And now it’s gone.

I usually make notes whenever I’m reading a book to record the thoughts or ideas I might want to remember or refer to in the future. This is what I notated from the book mentioned above:

“Beauty is a dynamic event that occurs between you and something else. Beauty can spontaneously occur at any moment given the proper circumstances, context, or point of view. Beauty is thus an altered state of consciousness, an extraordinary moment of poetry and grace.”

I hope you find moments of poetry and grace in the world around you. And when you do, be sure to enjoy them for whatever time they last.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Buried in Books

Maybe it's the change in weather or the change of seasons, but lately I find myself buried in books. I love that I can go online and request books that are delivered right to my local library for pick up. This is just part of my current stash and it includes books about seaside cottages, collage, journaling, gardening, artists books, textiles, quilting, home decor, and flea markets--just to name a few. I'm a true non-fiction junkie. Sometimes I read them cover to cover, and sometimes I just look at the photos. I often renew the books I have over and over and over while picking up new ones several times a week.

This one by Austin Kleon is a real gem. You can check it out here. It's a quick read filled with a lot of inspiration and practical advice about getting busy and making stuff. Plus, it's filled with a lot of hand lettering and you just have to love that!

Since this post is about books, I thought I'd share a photo of Pilgrim which was on display at a library (of all places) during the month of October. Two glass cases were filled with altered books as part of the Octavofest celebration in my fair city. I managed to attend several events, as well as celebrate the book and paper arts in my own way--with my nose buried in a huge stack of books. Happy reading!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

List It Tuesday - I Am a Sucker for...

...all of the above!

But apparently not for adhering to schedules. Once again, here is my Tuesday list presented on Thursday. Hop on over to artsyville to view a plethora of fun and creative lists.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

List It Tuesday – 15 Minute Creativity

I often use my lunch hour at work to practice the topic of this week’s List It Tuesday challenge. It feels good to squeeze a little creativity into the day--wherever, or whenever possible. Today I was able to work on the list AND execute numbers 1 through 4 to create this little masterpiece.

Yes, I DO keep googley eyes in my desk drawer at work. You never know when you might need to entertain yourself.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


I’ve recently discovered the fine art of scribbling. 

It’s fun. It’s easy. It’s relaxing. It’s liberating. It fills up a page rather quickly.


Scribbling words makes a bold statement.

I love including my hands in a journal. Here I’ve used a layered scribbling technique.

If you haven’t scribbled for a while, you should give it a whirl. Be bold. Be free. Be scribbliscious.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

List It Tuesday - Things That Make Me Nostalgic

I'm so happy that Aimee at artsyville has brought back the fun and fabulous List It Tuesday. I had a blast posting my lists the first time around, and I'm delighted to be able to join in again. So what if it's already Thursday? Here's my list of things that make me nostalgic. Thanks Aimee for prompting this little trip down memory lane!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What a Nice Surprise

Look what showed up in my mailbox the other day. Published? What? I didn’t submit anything for publication. I was momentarily stunned and confused, but ultimately curious. 


I ripped into the plastic protector and quickly flipped through this newest issue of Art Journaling Magazine looking for something familiar. It wasn’t until I flipped through the second time that I found the page with my art on it.

The magazine reprinted a page from my Rejectamenta Journal that was featured in the very first issue of Art Journaling Magazine way back in 2009. Now there’s a blast from the past. It was actually because of that article that I started this Lost and Found blog. I wanted to have a web presence like all of the “cool artists” who had articles or artwork published in a magazine.

I guess it's good to take a look back once in a while and see where you started and just how far you've come. I think my lettering has come a long way since 2009. Thank you Art Journaling Magazine for a nice little surprise. Maybe it's time to submit something new and see what happens.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Making Art in the Sink

At our last get-together, Cathy showed us how to make a sink journal--a technique she learned at a recent drawing workshop.

The end result is a simple, fold-out journal with a pocket flap at the bottom for holding whatever your heart desires.

We used white paper, black sumi ink, a paintbrush, and a sink.

We painted designs on the paper, one side at a time, with the ink and a large brush.

I did spirals and circles on one side and scribbles on the other.

When the ink was semi-dry, the paper was held under running water and manipulated to allow the ink to run and spread.

Then the majority of ink was washed off and the paper hung to dry.

We seamed two pieces of paper together and folded up the bottom flap.

Then we folded it into a journal.

Simple, good clean fun!

Sinks aren't just for dishes anymore.