Dance of Life
What is this 'dance of life'? We step and hop, get down, skip, leap, gambol, and romp.
Where are we in this dance?
Some like to swing and spin. Others play at bossa nova. I've seen many strike a pose, posture, and stomp. Do they ever get what they want?
Many follow the same old tune. They walz, plie`, promonade, sashay. In times of frenzy, we jig, reel, quiver, convulse. Seeking to find release.
In times of glee, we samba, jitterbug, twist and shout, soft shoe, or fox trot.
At times, we use the dance to intimidate. I see a whirling tarantella, a prancing flamenco, bull-fighting bolero, a cassock daring, and a couple positioning in a bold, dynamic tango.
But the serious mechanic demonstrates precision by taking a moonwalk glissade, twisting their bellies, spinning on their heads or back-bending a limbo under a pole.
The Irish clog, the Polish polanaise, Chubby twisted, and the French kicked the can-can.
Let's not forget romance. That main purpose of dance to entice, entangle, move together, move apart. The romantic lambada, cha cha, waltz, booty dancing, swinging, bumping, and again the tango.
At parties the gang is all in to conga, catillian, minuet, twist, do-si-do, promenade and dixie chain.
This man, he makes excuses to dance. He dances to the rain, to the gods, to life, liberty, to birth, marriage, war, and death.
Where are you in this dance of life? Where do you choose to be?
There are wanna be's, watchers, sitting on the side lines waiting to be asked. There are show-offs looking to the lime-light, seeking fame. The leaders invite, gather, and start the ball. Encouragers give hope to the novice and compliment the learners. The professionals teach and emphasize skill and perfection. They are the graceful, lovers of precision, working 'til their feet bleed.
But isn't dance a thing to admire and experience and feel? Isn't dance beauty, grace, expression?
Listen to the rhythm of your song. Is it noise? Is there a beat? Sometimes our feet become tangled. I usually go left when others go right. It's awkward to follow the crowd though that's what our mind wants. It tells us fit in, stay in line, don't cross the line. But our soul may be singing its own song.
Maybe it's time to stomp, kick, or clomp. Or it may be time to sashay, skip, or swing.
How about we take time to twirl like a child whose spirit is free. Spin, spin, spin until dizzily we drop, recover and we dance some more. Anyone want to Lindy hop?
Here is a journal page I made about dance. Using Stencil Girl Products stencil "Dance of Life" for the figures and words. I may use it in the memory books for my mom.
- Stencils – Sjodin m217 “The dance of this life”, and borders
- various brands acrylic paints
- Gelli Arts gell plate
- Ranger distress crayons
- Carun Dache Crayons – neo color II water soluble
- Prismacolor water color pencils
- canson pastel paper – gold neutral
- Water and Wood Textures
Welcome to my blog. Here is where I discuss various projects I’ve been working on. I’ve been experimenting with different arts and crafts mediums for several years. Currently, I am working to improve my drawing and painting skills. I have posted some of my current works on my facebook page and instagram. I am always open to questions and comments.
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Hi all, and welcome to my blog. I’ve been practicing watercolor techniques and focusing on backgrounds and different textures in nature. In this project, I worked from a photograph I took of a heron bird that was fishing in a dock area. The backdrop to the bird was a bay with a pier that separated it from the ocean, a tip of the island, and a blue sky with pale purple clouds.
The first rendering I tried and which I wasn’t satisfied with, was quite a challenge. The sky came out well though. The first thing I did was lay down the wash of the sky and while it was damp, dropped in some violet for the clouds. Next I used a cotton ball to dab around the cloud edges to soften and blend into the sky. After masking out around many of the edges of the features that were next to the water, I laid a wash of ultramarine blue for the water. Then, I focused on the islant details adding a couple palm trees. Next, I worked down the page painting in the details of the pier, wood moorings, dock features and a boat. There were various wood tones and water marks to depict. Last I rendered the bird and worked on feather details and facial markings. Lastly, I went back to the water to try to add wave textures, highlights, shadows, ripples, on the water with browns, and Cerulean Blue. Well, the water came out blotchy and the shadows and reflections around the wooden posts came out messy.
On my second try, the wood beams and post textures and colors came out better. This time I used Ultramarine blue for the deep ocean, cerulean for the bay and foreground around the docks. Still the water area in the mid-ground came out blotchy and overworked and the reflections of the posts still looked messy. My artist husband suggested taking some of the focus off the pier and island as they detracted from the heron.
Here is the final painting. I’m not too happy with the sky and may, in the future, try again. This time, I removed the palm trees and blurred the pier and island to keep the focus more on the bird. The details of the wood posts jutting out of the water a more subtle but the contrasts between light/dark are more definitive.
Here is my reference photo. The coloring is off because it is a photocopy print. I also had better prints for reference on the colors. I altered somewhat. I took out a large post and eliminated some of the boards at the bottom. I placed the seagull on a shorter post.
I think the bird detail and coloring are good and stand out. This time with the water, I first did a wash of Cerulean Blue then when the details were all finished, I added some texture with ultramarine blue with a sea sponge that I dabbed in the paint. Overall it was fun experimenting with the colors for the wood, the heron, and the water.
- Project Themes – visiting the past
“Nostalgia: A device that removes the ruts and potholes from memory lane.” — Doug Larson
I’m a little behind on my posting this month. Not only have I been focusing on the art journal classes I’ve been taking, but Mike (my husband) and I have been analyzing places where we would like to live now that we’ve retired. It is not an easy task as no place really meets all a person wants or needs nor fits their lifestyle.
We thought we’d narrowed it down to Maine. It seemed nearly ideal – ocean, mountains, woods, small towns, beautiful and plentiful lakes, great artist communities, and cool summers. We’d almost convinced ourselves we’d do okay in the cold winters. The other drawback was it’s quite far from Florida where our kids and grandkids live and the property taxes are high. We had planned a trip last May to find land or speak to realtors but then Lockdown happened. We canceled and planned to go this May. But you know how plans seem to get side-tracked? Mike got an email from a land developer in North Georgia. Well, we had also thought about living in the Blueridge/Smokey mountains. So, we booked an appointment to go to the land sale.
So, we saw the land 3.7 acres in the woods with a view of the mountains – a gated community that provides electric, water, roads, security, and a clubhouse. We hardly ever make a decision spontaneously, but we did this time, and bought the lot. So we’ve been quite busy planning this month.
Art Project Ideas – Where do they come from?
I do have a new project for which I am collecting new ideas. Think of your favorite things such as books you’ve read, a movie you saw, sports you’ve enjoyed. Maybe you have an interest in history, or favorite people you admire that you would like to illustrate. Some artists like to focus on social issues of the day. Other people want to capture the beauty of nature. Really the sky is the limit if you use your imagination and just have fun. Some projects may take a bit of research, planning, or preparations.
I have seen the movie “Out of Africa” which resonated with me. I guess it is because I’ve always dreamed of going there to see the wild animals and meet the native peoples. I also have always admired the pioneering spirit that the movie portrayed. Currently, I am reading the book by Karen Blixen for whom the movie was based on. The book is memoirs of her life on the coffee plantation she had in Africa in the early twentieth century. The movie follows the book closely. Her descriptions are rich and poetic inspiring me to make some mixed-media art pieces based on these writings.
Gel Plate Transfer with Photograph
Another project I am continuing to work on is the scrapbooks of my mother and father. Here is a journal page I made about my maternal grandmother.
This journal page was created for one of my Wanderlust classes but I intend to make another print like it for the scrapbook I will make about my Mom. I printed a black and white photo of my grandmother. We used two prints one as a reference under the gelli plate and another as the surface to receive the gel print. This was to have an Andy Worhall style. Place a cut out of the photograph image face down on gel plate using the other image underneath the gel plate as a guide. Next paint using one or several colors with a brush or brayer around the template for background. Transfer by pressing the journal page or substrate onto the gel plate and rub it, pull it off. The paint should transfer to the leaving a blank area where the cut out was placed. Clean plate if you want. Choose a highlight color. Again, using the tracing paper under the gel plate as a reference, paint that color onto the highlighted areas showing through, directly onto the gel plate. Using the cut out print of photograph, place the paper carefully over the gel plate lining up the paper so images line up. Gently press then pull off paper. The paint should transfer over to that cut-out image in the highlighted areas. Continue the same procedure with the mid-tones and the dark-tones always transferring to the same cutout image. I found it useful to clean the plate between each layer. I did the light pink first, then the yellow, next the orchid. When the paint dried I embellished a little on the sweater with white and orchid. Next glue the cut out image onto the background substrate. I used a marker to journal and added some writing with a white paint pen and I outlined the portrait in silver ink. Add splashes and sprinkles with paint. It took me a couple tries to get it right. Experiment with bright and bold color schemes.
Thanks to Kasia Avery producer of #wanderlust 2021, www.everything-art.com who also gives some of the weekly lessons and suggested tapping into memories, books, movies, music to inspire ongoing projects..
Suppliers: Gelli Arts – gel plates, Arteza acrylic paints, Arteza journal.
- Exploring art materials and mark making used in collage
“The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Jesus Christ – Book of John 14:26
I have been studying the Bible, English Standard Version, on the subject of the Holy Spirit. There are several references throughout the Bible. As I understand the ESV Biblical Doctrine Overview pages 2520-22, the Holy Spirit is an entity in itself, part of the Godhead (Trinity) sent by God as helper, comforter, teacher to humans as they work for God through Christ. The Holy Spirit also endows believers with gifts or skills they may use to do the work of God.
So my blog readers are probably saying to themselves Why is she telling me all this? Well, I believe I have the gift of encouragement, if that in fact is one of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit. I’m not sure, but I love to encourage people when they have doubts about their skills and I see they have potential. That is one reason I write this blog so that I can encourage others to try making arts and crafts. I do this by sharing my experiences including mistakes and solutions I encounter. Here are some of my methods.
As I do my collages, I constantly ask myself what am I trying to say with this piece? I search my mind for ideas and then try to communicate that using various materials. I usually like to start with a theme and tell a story, or create an impression. Recently, I’ve been keeping an art journal where I am trying out all the assignments of the #Wanderlust 2021 art classes. We are exploring materials and methods.
Sometimes fear of making a mess or unfamiliarity with products or tools can keep artists from starting or finishing projects. Creators often fear being judged. There are tools for getting past the creative block and fear of the blank page. I am learning some of them in my class. The last two assignments were a challenge for me because we are exploring materials and have been asked by our instructors to just have fun and concentrate on making marks and not focus on the content. I followed their encouragement and just picked some materials from my stash and started making random marks. Here is the first lesson on Serendipity I completed.
I started this one by randomly spraying diluted acrylic paint letting it flow, spread and drip to make random marks. Then, I painted random shapes with various size brushes using a tertiary palette of yellow-orange, green-yellow, red-violet, blue-green and violet. I noticed the blotches resembled flowers so I embellished them adding petals, leaves. I chose comforting images and words on torn papers I had in my stash. I pasted on a self-portrait photo outlining it in pen to make it stand out. I journaled a few thoughts on my mind. Lastly, I added splatter and spray and purpley eye-shadow powder to the flower centers. To create intrigue and cover some of the words, apply white gesso. Also white gesso will mute or dilute a color if you want. It also will cover up anything you want to hide or do-overs. Just be sure to let it dry thoroughly if you want to paint over it without mixing or diluting the new color application. This may take several coats drying each before applying a new coat. The second Serendipity assignment project is below.
I chose 5 materials to randomly fill my pages. The purpose was to make marks and pay attention to how the materials can interact to make something comprehensive. I started with a journal page that already had some painted shapes upon it. I chose a ballerina stencil to draw the girl, and then I stamped some little birds using different colored inks. I used another stencil to create a garden of flowers and some trees. I liked the image of a flying bird I found in a Tulia Coloring book & traced three of them onto the pages. I added texture from bubble wrap pressed on an inked stamp pad and applied to the page. Next, I painted the sky using swirls of diluted acrylic paints. Made ahead hearts stamped with a sentiment were pasted in place so they represented balloons carried by birds and girl. Positive sentiments are spouted by the girl who is jumping for joy through her garden wrapping up the unintended story. Here are a couple closeups of the two page spread.
Remember when you start you shouldn’t have a preconceived idea. Just start adding the elements. In this case, my intuition filled in the blanks and helped me place items ascetically and it turned into a scene. I added the hearts last and thought then they looked like balloons. Voila, I had a story.
- Acrylic Paint – various brands
- Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils
- Golden Medium Matt and Gesso
- Blick Studio Markers
- Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Crayons
- Torn paper collage with paint
“Remain open, flexible, curious” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr. Life’s Little Instruction Book
For the art class project this week for #wanderlust2021, the topic was to create a torn paper collage with paint. We could put paint down first and add torn paper to make the design, or paste down layers of torn paper and add paint to make it cohesive. This seemed a bit daunting to me at first, because I’m not one to just play with materials. I usually plan out what I want my piece to communicate before I start. I wanted to share how I went about making my piece. First here is a photo of the finished Collage.
The first step was to gesso both pages of my journal to prepare the paper. This keeps watercolor and paints from soaking into the back of the page. Preparing the surface also aids in the permanence of the art. While the gesso was drying, I selected some archival decorative paper and wrote some thoughts about doing this project, reflecting on my reluctance to start trying to understand the reasons and pushing myself to begin. The saffron colored marker I chose looked nice against the neutral paper. Next, I selected a page out of a book that had Japanese words on it. I glued that to the top extending it over both pages of the journal. The archival paper was torn into different sizes and shapes and glued into the journal. I selected gel printed papers from my stash in greens, blues, violets, and yellow. Many of the abstract shapes looked mountain-like and was the criteria I used to choose certain papers. I decided I wanted to emphasize cone-like shapes in the piece so chose the cathedrals because the towers were that shape. Also, the green magazine paper with gold writing went well with the colored paper swatches. Some little cone like plant shapes found in a coloring book, were cut out, colored yellow and green with water-soluble crayons.
The next step was to arrange the green papers mixing and matching layering them over the two pages. I used the colors and patterns I thought resembled mountains. These would be used as the background and middle area of the scene. Then, I tore the cathedral picture in two and placed them in the foreground on either side of the picture. I was amazed how much the black designs in the green & yellow paper behind the right hand cathedral resembled the photographs of the cathedrals. The green magazine paper with the gold words “i am the walrus” (John Lennon ‘Beatles’ song title) were glued on next. Then, I pasted on the little trees, I had painted. The little foreground hills were made from an ochre scrap of an old painting cut into triangle shapes. These were glued next to the cathedrals anchoring the buildings to the ground.
To tie everything together, I used Gold acrylic ink and streamed it down the pages through all the elements. I used black ink and outlined the cathedrals for emphasis. I also added black blotches in the lower right corner to tie it in with the area adjacent. All throughout, dribbles and smears of white gesso added texture and further tied elements together. Splotches of purple and blue acrylic paints carried those colors onto both pages. Finally, red speckles were added to add dimension and direct the eye around the collage. Here are close up photos of each page.
The layers of paper and textures all add dimension and form to the collage. The black gel painted forms in the middle ground replicated the cathedral forms and the neutral papers work well as sky & hillside in the foreground. The gold ink, white gesso, and black marks make everything pop. (The glistening gold ink and red spray do not really show up well in this jpeg photo. Neither can you see the layered effect of the paper very well)
I am happy with this and am glad I wasn’t scared off from trying the project. It is amazing how little scraps of decorated paper and a few photos can turn into a creative piece of art. Why don’t you give it a try and let me know how it goes.
- Art goals for 2021
“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.–Charles Dickens
So on my last blog I mentioned I was taking a year-long series of art classes called #wanderlust2021adventurers. This is a series by #Everything-Art.com for which they have been doing for several years now. I just found out about it about four months ago. We will be keeping art journals with most of the techniques we try out. I’ve never done an art journal before, but have kept word journals many times for different purposes and circumstances. This journal will be to record art techniques and a place to play with the methods and themes. It may also include words. My goal is to use it to record thoughts, experiences with materials, and convey thoughts, vision, emotions and ideas using art medium.
The first assignment was to reflect on 2020. WOW! What a mixture of feelings to record. My first thought was – ‘Thank God I haven’t come down with Corona 19 virus’. This virus which practically closed down much of our social interactions for the year created loneliness, boredom, and at times depression. Along with contentious political news on a daily basis, the world often seemed like a hostile, lonely planet at times. Still, I fought to remain upbeat concentrating on art and writing and counting my blessings.
In the journal we started by scribbling on a blank page, just letting go making marks, writing feelings. Then we added pictures, text and color to add more about the subject 2020. We also used some composition to tie things together. Here is what I came up with. Composition-wise I probably should have placed the two pictures closer to the center of the page rather than on the edge, but I pasted them down before I remembered the rules of composition that Kasia gave us.
I loved this photo of the Beatles and thought of John Lenin’s song “Imagine” that an artist sang on New Year’s Eve celebration in New York this year. Many people used their imagination to help others and make the world a better place despite the virus. The other photo is about knowledge and it reminded me of all the scientists coalescing to find a vaccine for the virus. The colors were chosen to illustrate fear, anger, and in other cases calm and cheer at seeing light for the future. If I wanted, I could have moved the photos because in journaling you can always fix or change things to suit yourself. As the artist you can layer something over or paint out an area and place something over it. Even on a canvas you can change certain things, although, watercolor is less forgiving.
Our second project was to create a Gratitude Garden using paint or inks, crayons, magazine clippings, torn paper and also thoughts of gratitude. Our instructor for this project was Laly Mille. Her emphasis is inspiration and delving into our spiritual side. It was a delight to take her class. Here is my spiritual gratitude garden.
We first wrote down what we were thankful for, then did the art on top. Sometimes the words were incorporated into the design. It is all up to the journalist if they want the writing underneath or on top. I let some of mine show through. I suggest everyone try this for 2021. I gained insight for how much I have to be thankful. It changes my attitude and gives me a positive outlook. I hope you try some of these projects on your own.