Thursday, February 28, 2008

Yay for me!

Just a quick little celebratory post... i got a job today.

This is not an art related post but whatever. As some of you already know, but many do not, i am a substitute teacher. I was recently the chance for a .1 (meaning one morning a week) contract to be a core french teacher. I interviewed, and i got the job! I will continue subbing around the one morning a week. I realize that this is only a small contract, but i believe that small things lead to bigger things down the road. Besides, i am enjoying subbing right now. I don't want a full time contract now, but i want to keep my options open for later on down the road.

So, small celebration post! Woohoo :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More projects

Well, i went to studio sundays. That really was a let-down. As it turns out, the facilitator who told me about the program failed to mention that the 'general public' isn't allowed into the real studio area, just the entrance room. As well, the program is geared towards young children, complete with planned crafts, controlled activities and even storytime. So... totally not what i'm looking for.

Oh well, i've still been keeping busy with many different projects. I swear, it's probably better that i don't have that new thing to take on, as i at this moment have signed up for a journal swap due next weekend and owe 3 people ATC's. Wow.... things do pile up when you're having fun! I love it.

Previously, i talked about the Altered Journal Swap that i signed up for (link goes to the post). I have now been to Staples (FAR better than wal-mart for this hands down) and picked up the journal. I have decided to try to keep a cohesive theme for the journal. Each page and the covers will be collaged with newspaper strips. The covers will have additional details that i have not decided yet. Each inside page will have a block of iridescent ink painted onto the collage, and then on top of that i will put a packing tape transfer of one of their favorite bands cd art, and stamp lyrics from the cd onto the page. I have sent my partner a message, asking about favorite bands. I just hope they aren't all like 'i like 50 cent' or something like that. Not to bash the type of music (although i am most definately not a fan), it just really wouldn't fit with the theme i have going here. Even worse, i hope they aren't all like 'Oh, i don't listen to much music'. I'm sure they won't.... i hope hahaha. Music is such a major part of my life, the concept of someone not listening to music of some kind is completely foreign to me.

I will post pics of my journal progress as it is going along soon. I have already collaged the front and back with newspaper, and i have added papers to the insides of the covers. They are looking great :)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mackenzie Art Gallery

For a about a month, i have been informally searching for a way to feel a part of a local arts community. I am finding that the only way to really find out about these things is to talk to people. THere is no central place where you can go, or no central person, where you can just ask 'I want to be part of the local arts scene... where should i go? what should i do?'. However, if you casually ask around about these things, you slowly get little tidbits of what to do, where to go, who to talk to. I find this fascinating. You talk to one person, and they show you what they know, leading you down one path. Others lead you down another. I find there is actually quite a lot happening in my small city, but it is just all beneath the radar. If you aren't tapped into the arts scene, it's all kind of hidden to you. I wonder why that is?

I went to an ATC session at the Mackenzie Art Gallery today. The facilitator there from the gallery mentioned that he had a mat cutter available in the back, and when i went to use it i saw that they had full studios back there! I guess it makes sense, since they have all the artists there and such, but i had always pictured the making of this art as seperate... something created at home and then brought to the gallery. I bet there are many that are like that, but as i saw from the space there, that is not the case with all artists. I was amazed to see all the different materials they had there... my fingers just started to itch when i saw the big bucket of wax... "just take the wax and run" hahaha (i have recently been facinated by encaustic art). So i started talking with the facilitator, asking I could get in on this great space they had there. And he was all like 'Oh, we have Studio Sundays, where they are open to the public. Didn't you know?' Hunh. I definately didn't know. I love getting to know more and more about my city, and the things that hare happening 'below the radar' of the general public's knowledge.

THe trading yesterday was great. They had a small workshop about how to do packing tape transfers. Exciting, cheap, easy and it looks good. How could you go wrong with that?

As you were saying in your comment, Andre, i agree. I think it's time for me to start dabbling in larger art. I have been playing around in ATCs... i like them because they are small. It is a good way to experiment with different techniques, medias, methods and such without having a huge time commitment for each project. And I also love collecting the cards.... having little pieces art from all over the place. I find it rather exciting. However, i think it is time for me to start trying some bigger things out there too. Like actually using a canvas maybe? Making something bigger than 3.5 inches? I still want to continue making ATCs, for i do love them, but i want to branch out in other areas as well. Just don't know what direction to go yet. Maybe some time at 'Studio Sunday' will help me today? Just checking out what others are doing and such. Wish me luck :)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Finally posting again

My name is Dale, and i am a lazy blogger. It has been a week since my last blog post.

Feels like i'm at an AA meeting or something. BA maybe(bloggers annonymons)? hahaha

I have to admit, i briefly fell of the 'one creative thing every day' wagon. I missed three days of creative this week. And things got busy. As a result, the blog was briefly set aside. But i'm back now.

I have been keeping busy with a number of projects. In the temporary absence of an ATC website home base, i had looked around the net to see what else is out there. I admit, i was mostly fairly disappointed. There wasn't much that really called to me out there for trading websites. Until i found swap-bot.

Swap bot seems to be a website where you trade many different things. ATCs are part of it, but they have other stuff there too. That really interests me to branch out into other areas of altered art. I am especially interested in trying one of their 'matchbox swaps' but unfortunately, the floral one i really wanted to be in was for US only :(. Really... it can't be that expensive to send a tiny matchbox to canada from the US, is it? Oh well. Instead, i signed up for an Altered Journal swap. I uncoil a boughten journal, add some fun pages every 5 or 6 pages or so, add a cover and then mail it away. Someone will do the same for me :). I can't wait to get started. Just need to somehow find an A5 journal.... hahaha. Tried buying one at walmart today but realized that i don't know what size A5 is, and no one there did either.

Been keeping busy on another project. I thought for this one i could keep you posted with pics at each stage. My mother had a really neat mint tin in Carolina, and she gave it to me. I sanded down all the paint off the outside so it was scratched metal, and then proceeded to paint the lid iridescent purple. Here are some pics of how it is turning out so far. I wish i had taken pics of what it was like originally. Oh well, too late now.

My plan for this box is to create sort of like a shrine type thing inside. I have seen many 'shrines' in magazines and on the internet, and i find them facinating. However, i don't fully understand what entails a 'shrine'. It is an odd name for them, since i doubt these have any religious significance. I know mine won't. I was thinking more of a burlesque, can can dancer type theme. Don't know yet, but the lid is painted a vibran, sparkly purple so far. That or a snake sort of theme? I haven'd decided yet. I need to look more into this. Anyone know a good 'shrine' artist, where i can check things out and be inspired?

I have also been creating some ATC's. There is a new site for us created by some ex-mods from We're now at atcs for all. I am really pleased with the quality of much of the work being uploaded in the gallery there. I already set up a couple of trades.

A definite bummer about the couple days i took off from creating art is that my 'to trade' section of my ATC's is almost empty, and i have my monthly face-to-face swap that i am going to tomorrow! I feel bad going to the swap, and i only have 5 cards for trading. Here are two i just finished off tonight.

This one was inspired by an artist's work i met at the Artist Guild that i just joined. The only mixed media artist there seems to be quite friendly, and she showed me some of her previous work. Some of my favorites were the paper mache tree branches she had bumping out on a winter tree painting. I liked the idea so much i tried it for myself. If i remembered her name i would credit her for her idea, but i have a horrible memory for names so unfortunately she will have to here remain nameless.

I also finished this one tonight. Today i went out, and while at walmart searching for a journal, I found India Ink. I have always been fancinated by the idea of trying it out, and it was fair inexpensive so i bought it. This is my first experimentation with this medium. I do enjoy the shiny, smooth blackness that it leaves. I believe this is a medium i will definately need to further explore. The symbol is the chinese for 'fish'. The picture in the corner is cut out from an envelope i picked up at 'Grand Asia Market' when visiting my parents in Raleigh.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Good news and Bad news

So, i got some good news and some bad news today.... Good news first!

For the challenge i was participating in for Jen, i was supposed to create a red card and send it to a stranger. I created the atc shown last post, Red Dawn. Then i waited... my plan is to send it to the first person who comments on the post (this plan had a potential hitch when the challenge host was the first to comment... so i just changed the plan to the SECOND person)...and so..... CAT! It's you! You were the first non-host to comment on my card. Soon as i get the address, i will mail you the card. I think this is supposed to be a surprise who it goes to (as in they aren't expecting it) but it is hard to send it to a blog stranger without having their address first hahahha. Hopefully she doesn't just think i'm some kind of strange stalker or something hahahah.

So there was the good news, now for the.... bad.

:( :( :( :(

My favorite ATC trading website is potentially being shut down. By the end of this month, it is POSSIBLE that the site will be no more. This is a site of 5000+ artists that i check daily. It has everything i would want from a site: a gallery with generous space, a lively forum, talented and friendly artists, organized swaps, a variety of medias besides atcs, iTrader ratings.... it was just what i wanted. Damian (the administrator) has received a promotion and will no longer have time for this time-hog of a site. While i wish many congratulations to him on his promotion, it still saddens me to potentially lose my favorite website. *sigh*.

There is still hope! The site says that they are working on a solution not to lose the online community (a new site to join, a new administrator.... something). I looked around, and there were no pre-existing sites that had what i was looking for. There is a new one being made called ACTs for all that isn't finished yet... maybe it will be good? I sure hope so. *fingers crossed*. How about you guys out there in blog land? Do you know any good sites to trade your atc's? I don't like yahoo groups and don't understand flikr groups (yet!). Wish me luck :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Red Dawn

Another day, another monocromatic ATC!

Well, maybe not one EVERY day, but it does seem like i am churning out quite a few lately :) This one took me two days to finish (one for the background, one for the painting and collage). I have now done green, orange and red monocromatic ATC's, and have a blue one currently in the works (will show when it's done).

This one was inspired looking at the pictures you see that just seem to be so touchable. They have so much texture to some of them! I was looking through my copy of ARTFUL BLOGGING (which FINALLY arrived :):):) ) and i was simply inspired by one of Bridgette Guerzon Mills' paintings. The texture was so strong, and the colours beautifully layered. I used this painting as my original inspiration, and then went a different direction in many ways. I have always been inspired by Bridgette's work, and am a regular subscriber to her blog Contemplating the Moon. I was very excited to see her blog featured in Artful Blogging. You should totally go check her blog out.

So, on my ATC, I first tried creating dimension with gesso, but i found it wasn't enough. Maybe because I have too cheap quality, wal-mart gesso? hahah Is gesso supposed to make mini clumps on the picture??? I just don't know. To create more dimension, i glued down scraps of various papers of varying textures, and put even more gesso on top of them. Painted, glued down and created an impression of a grain elevator, stamped a title and voila! Another finished.

This card was created for Jen Worden's current weekly challenge (yes, this time i am going for the current one!). Card created.... now i need to fulfill the second part and give it to a complete stranger.... hmmm... this will be harder than i expected. While it is true that almost ALL my art goes to strangers, as i trade ATC's online, it is different sending my art to a non ATC collecter. I am somewhat nervous with this part :S

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ameba gathering

So, on the recommendation of a friend of mine Andre I went to a gathering of people here called the Amoeba group (the picture is us fooling around in Pac Mall in Toronto, with the funky asian statues.

So, i wasn't very sure what it was. I found the group on facebook (the ultimate group area it seems hahaha), and decided to check it out since Andre has reccomemnded them a couple months ago. I looked at the facebook list... a couple people i knew from jazz band various years were in it. They meet every sunday... and i saw this on saturday. Why not check it out?

So, while they were not an artist group as i thought they might be, there were many other interesting things discussed. I am still not sure exactly what they ARE, other than a group of friends that went to university together, but it seems they do neat things. A group of people, all with various talents and such to show and add to the collective (and no, they are not a cult hahaha). And they meet up for a retreat at Echo Valley once a year. Last year there was cooking, belly dancing, yoga and a variety of other things, along with general fun. Stay tuned for more details as i figure out exactly what this 'cult' like group (jj) exactly is. When i know, i'll let you know hahah.

I have also finished off 2 more atc's this weekend. Well, actually there are 5 but three are editions of the same orange atc.

The first one is a atc inspired by Jen Worden's weekly art challenge (click on the link to see the challenge. Unfortunately, as you will see from the post, I am almost a month late hahah. I saw her weekly challenge when it was fresh, but was currently busy with swaps i had already committed to. However, the ideas for what i could do for the challenge did not follow these practical lines, and kept perculating in my mind. So even though it is too late to submit for the challenge draw, i still wanted to do it since i had some cool ideas happening. I swear, if i had to list my favorite media... i would say newspaper collage. It just looks cool :) So, another monochromatic coloured piece finished! I swear, that is one of my 'things' lately.

On these two, i have a bit of a dilema.... What is the ethical guidelines on using magazine pictures? That i find i am generally ok with. But what about magazine pictures using pieces of other people's art?... that could be iffy. I was simply so very moved by the art of Genevive Pfeiffer that i cut out a chunk of the painting for future inspiration. But then the chunck turned out to be the right size for making an atc.... and it just sort of happened that i turned it into an atc in a flurry of creative inspiration. They elements just seemed to fit together so perfectly.... but then when i looked at it after i was kinda iffy about using it like that. Is this wrong? I have been very careful to credit her on the back of both atcs and every time i post them... but still. Any thoughts on the matter?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Monocromatic colour themes

What is it about monocromatic colour themes that has me so facinated lately? I guess it's not just a 'lately' thing... even as a digiscraper i was often drawn to pages that were created with a single coloured theme.

Lately, it seems all the cards i'm making have a single colour theme. I was just recently in a 'all green' swap, which may have originally spurred this on, but even now when my swap cards are mailed and done, i am still creating monocromatic themes. I have 2 different projects in the works... an all blue one involving hearts and nails (yes, even the nails are blue. BLUE NAILS! Hardware stores can be so fun hahah).

My other card is a card that i am finally creating that has been bumping around in my mind for a couple weeks now. An awesome fellow blogger, Jen Worden. She does a weekly challenge with a cool draw prize every week. A couple weeks ago, she did a challenge where she asked us o make 'citrus' themed art. Well, i may not have done it then, but i have now almost finished atc's of collage-created orange slices. 6 different shades of juicy oranges in watercolours, some watercoloured-orange newspaper, some rinds painted with gold sparkle ink mixed with orange watercolour.... good to go! I'm just in the final gluing stages, i will post pics when i am done.

But what is this alure, this facination with monochromatic themes? All red, all blue, all pink, all white... doesn't matter to me, i love them all. They simply mesh so wonderfully together. I not only enjoy creating them, i especially enjoy looking at monocromatic art created by others. I wonder if there is some sort of scientific explanation of why these are just so aesthetically pleasing? And if someone is colourblind..... is everything therefor monochromatic, and is the effect thereby lost on them? Hahahaha.... who knows.

Anyways, enough musing theories of colour. Time to go snuggle into bed with my man Ray.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Wreath ATC's

Isn't it awesome how a walk around a craft store can be so very inspiring? I find my city rather lacking when it comes to craft stores. However, we do have a large Michael's, and they may be overpriced but they usually end up having the basics that i need. Maybe this lack of adequate craft stores is why i am a mixed media artist who uses odd materials from all over the place? That or maybe i just can't commit to anything hahaha.

Well tried out another new media for my atc's this week. Wreath making! I was out for a wander through my local Michael's, and i espied these totally awesome stick wreaths in the floral aisle. Unfortunately they were slightly too big for atc's (maybe 5 inches diameter?) They looked really neat... all naturalistic and such. I looked at them and thought 'i could do something like that'.

So i wandered through my local park and grabbed some dry twigs (not that hard to find in the dead of a prarie, snowy winter). Weaved together with wire, decorated with natural papers, twine and lace, with little paper roses... I am truly quite pleased with the result :)

Michael's may not be the best craft store there is out there, but it certainly has no lack of inspiration. I love wandering down every aisle of the store, never skipping a one. (Ok, i cheated and skipped the knitting aisles. You caught me.) And i secretly bring my camera with me and take pictures of the really inspirational things. Those 'I could totally do that myself' things that are so cool. My favorite two from that trip were the wreath and some awesomely coloured sea shells. I have a couple handfulls from trips to Mexico, so i totally tried it out. While mine did not turn out as cool as theirs did, it sure was fun to try :) Same with the wreath. If i was looking for a cleaner, more pro looking project, i'd just buy it. But that's totally not what i am looking for, and i think it kind of defeats the purpose of this completely. Really, if i had simply bought the wreath, and then glued two things to it and wired it to a card.... is that really art? Could i actually take credit for that? I think not. It would be like sticking a bunch of pre-done stickers on a card and calling it 'art'. Not in my books :)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

ATC's finished

So, I am finally caught up on all the trades i signed up for! I signed up for an ATC swap for green cards, and a swap for an 'ocean themed' card.

The second card you have already seen in a previous post. THe second card i just finished today. I am so frustrated with my scanner when it comes to the scanning of cards that involve 3D objects. This one has a shell on it. In the scanned picture, you can't even tell what it is, it's just a green fuzzy blob. THe whole card is rather fuzzy. However, when i take pictures they always turn out so grainy. THere really has to be a better way. Any suggestions out there? This is getting rather frustrating.

This was was for an ocean theme requested by a trader in return for a cute card of hers. I thought i'd crate a 'mother of pearl'-like finish using pearlescent medium and watercolours, on book text, for the shell. I also ripped up pieces of this for an ocean on the corner. Add a LOT of glue, some sandpaper, some cotton for ocean 'foam'... voila! A cute little crab, ready to be mailed away.

I went shopping yesterday. Realized just how much birthday money i still had left from grandparents, and decided to buy a couple of things for me :). I first spent 60$ at St. John's on a new mute for my trombone. I now own a 'practice mute'. It keeps the trombone sound from the bell MUCH quieter. Now maybe i'll actually be able to practice more at home, since the people who live upstairs from me will no longer be able to hear it, and poor Ray (my man) will be able to successfully block it out with headphones. Oh trombone... you are truly an underappreciated instrument hahaha.

I also went a TINY bit wild at Michael's . I have been reading everywhere that, for a collage artist gluing down 3-D objects, heavy gel medium is the way to go. Well, the only stuff here is at the Michael's, and it's 20$ for a rather small container. 20$ for just glue!!!! Oh well. The modge podge and rubber cement simply aren't cutting it, time to bring in the big guns hahaha. So I bought some heavy mat gel medium, more needles, some cool papers, some alphabet stickers and little mini mirrors perfect for 'inchie' atc's! (An 'inchie' is an atc that is exactly 1 inch by 1 inch). Well, time to get ready for movie night tonight. Off to be lazy, watch movies and eat pizza at a friend's place. Good times to be had. What a lazy day. Haven't even got dressed yet and it's already 6 pm hahaha. I love it :)

Friday, February 01, 2008


Just finished reading the January/February issue of cloth-paper-scissors. It was really pretty good. A couple of the projects held no interest whatsoever to me, but a couple of others i was absolutely stunned. I love seeing all the different projects here, and i find myself especially drawn to projects with bright colours and strong textures. Cloth paper scissors never disappoints me, there always seems to be an abundance of projects I look and say 'I've got to try that!'.

Here's one example that i really liked. The magazine did an article about Sue Pelletier's mixed media houses. Check this out!Here is her website

I just love the way she makes these houses. The painting style, the thick textures, the variety of elements... I LOVE IT! I find myself so inspired by these projects. I recently saw a swap on about collaged houses. Maybe i will join it, once i finish with this 'green' swap.

I also found myself HIGHLY inspired by the interview they did with Karen Mitchel. Here's a pic of her project they were showing off:

Here's the website the pic came from

I see her in her etsy shop that it's only 25 dollars for this fantastically gorgeous project! The only thing that worries me is it says that it is a 'reproduction print'. This means that the texture and such just won't be there. Too bad. I guess it would be more than 25$ if it was an original hahaha. Oh well.

After looking at her website, i realized that i already own a book by Karen Michel as well, The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery.
Here is her website

I do absolutely adore this book. It is where i learned about the bleach reaction on photos as i discussed in the previous post. I see that she does workshops. It would be so very amazing to go to one of her workshops. I'd love that. If only they weren't all so far away. Oh well. Maybe i'll save up and go on a road trip this summer? Only downside is that i'd be the only one interested... can't see any of my friends wanting to go to a art workshop. Hmmm..... Who knows?

Well, i think that's about it for today. I've been keeping up very well with my goal of doing something creative every day. It is much easier than i anticipated. Between the lessons i have on tuesday, jazz band practices on wednesdays and all my atc projects i find that it is easy to keep up here. Hope things continue to go as well as they have been!

In other news, i am starting a new atc requested by a trader. I am going to make an atc with a crab on a sandpaper base. More details and pictures to come as they are finished.