Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hold Onto Your Inspirations

As 2012 comes to a close, I have one last art prompt for you: hold onto your inspirations. It has been a very inspiring year for me blogging with you and I have made many connections through my art. Earlier this year  I started an inspiration wall full of favorite quotes, pieces of art (mostly art cards and small prints) and even some old favorite sketches of mine. Whatever inspires you- hold onto it. Put it someplace where you can see everyday.

I hope you've found some inspiration this year following along with some of my art prompts. To recap, here is my list of weekly art prompts. I'd love to see your version of these art prompts, so please email me and share some of your inspiration.
I look forward to the year 2013, and sharing my monthly art themes with you.
Ang’s 52 art prompts for 2012
 1. Take 5 was just the kick in the ass I needed: why art prompts are my new resolution: grab the first 5 things you see at your art table and create a piece of art from it.
2. Viewfinders: use a viewfinder to isolate a pattern or texture to paint.
3. An artswap paint-in: swap studio time with a fellow artist and draw inspiration from their art supplies and materials.
4. When life throws a girl some curves: why I love painting curvy women: look at pictures on the Internet for inspiration. I love the blog “Curvy is the New Black”.
5. One more thing: A lesson in knowing when to quit: take an “unfinished” piece of art (or piece you are unhappy with) and try doing just one more thing to it.
6. A Color Junkie Gets Clean: work using only black and white.
7. One medium, 7 techniques: pick an art medium and see how many different ways you can use it.
8. Angela goes 3-D!: work the opposite of what you normally would. For example, if you are a 2-D artist, try a 3-D piece.
9. Painting with yarn and roving: an art prompt: try painting with a medium you don’t usually use.
10. A red poem doodle: pick a color and some inspiring words to include into your next art piece.
11. Carve a little stamp: carve a stamp and make some artist trading cards from the printed images.
12. Patchwork prompt: sew strips of fabric together and then create an art piece from them
13. Teeny Tiny Collage: use tiny scraps of paper and maps to create a small collage.
14. Spend 5 minutes at your worktable: don’t work, just sit. Use this as a prompt just to get to your art table. Relax and let the inspiration wash over you.
15. Silhouettes of the ones you love: create an art piece from a silhouette or profile of yourself or some one else.
16. Chinese ink, a garage sale and a you-tube video: use a never before used art supply.
17. Wabi-Sabi: try a new art technique.
18. Join an art group: join an art group either online (Deviant or in your community.
19. Art Journaling: decorate the front of a journal and use it for art journaling.
20. One White Crow: create a piece of art that you can send to someone as a surprise.
21. Take your inspiration where you can get it: use a favourite novel to inspire your next art piece.
22. Borrow someone else’s process for the day: research another artists’ process and try it out for yourself.
23. Monsters by Mason: create doodles and then use them to inspire a piece of artwork.
24. What’s in your basement? : look in old junk shops, your basement or junk drawers for stuff that can be used as inclusions in your art.
25. 16 blocks done 8 ways: experiment on small blocks of wood, known as “brownies”.
26. White marbled brownies: start with a dark background and build up white layers to create an image.
27. Poppies: my studio icon: create art using an icon that represents something about your life.
28. Polar Passion: use newspaper words that create a response in you and create an art piece using those words.
29. Maintenance: draw or paint the view from your window.
30. Time Management: see what you can get accomplished in a set amount of time, be it 5 minutes or 5 hours. You decide, then set your timer.
31. Barn Cat: create an art piece using two complimentary colors.
32. Urban Textures: do some rubbings around the house and incorporate them into an art piece.
33.Re-claimed Lumber: let a hot “designer” element inspire an art piece.
34. Drawing With your non-dominant hand: to add looseness to your work.
35. Create a postcard #1: and send it to someone as mail art.
36. Create a postcard #2: use pictures and quotes from antique books to create a mailable piece of art.
37. Altered Puzzles: use and old jigsaw puzzle as your next canvas.
38. Subtractive Method of Painting: try a new painting technique.
39. Haida Tux: use an art style from a different culture.
40. My Life as a Three Ring Circus: create embellishments or inclusions based on a theme that you can use in later art pieces.
41. A-Ha Moments: clean your art studio and use any art inclusions are supplies you forgot you had.
42. Visit Local fine art and craft shows: try gift giving on a local level by supporting local artisans during holiday seasons.
43. Circus Freaks: break some art rules by using an art medium in a novel way.
44. Random Acts of Christmas Kindness: count down the 25 days of Christmas by giving away small pieces of your artwork.
45. The student Life: help support a young artist by mentoring them.
46. Sending Some Canadian Snow your way: make a set of decorative ornaments and mail them to someone special.
47. Hand make your Christmas cards this year: and invite friends over to join you.
48. Throw a wacky bookmark party: invite friends to make wacky bookmarks at a party and then trade.
49. Cute-as-a-button button books: make something fun out of buttons.
50. Inspiration Boards: create inspiration boards from favourite images and quotes.
51. Jury into local art shows: if you haven’t already done this, get brave and jury into an art show or enter an art competition.
52. Altered books: cut, collage or paint on the pages of an old hard cover book to create a new book.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cute As A Button-Button Books

For me, there has always been something whimsical about buttons. When my boys were younger and my house was over run with stuffies, I was constantly replacing their eyes with buttons. Sometimes I did this because a dog had chewed the eyes off, but other times because I preferred the home made look of button eyes. When I knit my "Java Monster" coffee cup cozies, I search for the perfect pairing of button eyes. I have a huge collection of buttons that I use for felted bags and "stupid sock creatures". Today I have been making adorable little button books out of some of my favorite collected buttons.

All you need are two buttons and a sheet of paper. Start by tracing around the button 8 times in a row. Cut the paper circles out, leaving them attached like you would for paper doll chains.
Illustrate your paper chain of circles. Glue buttons on the covers.
My completed button books make me smile!
This week, try making something fun with buttons!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Throw a Wacky Bookmark Party

I belong to an amazing book club. Sure, the books we read are usually pretty great. But it's really the company I'm talking about here. I can't wait to sit down with this group of women every month and talk about life, kids, philosophy and of course... books. Last month one of my book club friends suggested we throw a wacky book mark exchange party! Another friend offered to host and voila... a party was in motion. Here's one of 4 wacky book marks I made for the occasion.

The front.
The back.
Here are some book marks I created by cutting an old canvas painting into strips.
What a beautiful selection of hand made book marks. It was so hard to choose. I ended up taking home the needle felted bookmark with fun circles on it!
Oreo getting in on the action.
Mmmmmmm. It was ALL good!
If you'd like to make a bookmark for your art prompt this week, here's some easy steps to create one like mine, with felted pom poms.
First, draw your picture onto a blank bookmark. Next, use iron-on fusible web from the sewing store to attach your book mark to a fabric backing. Trim out the bookmark and punch a hole in the top. You can take your bookmark to an office supply store to have it laminated like I did. This will make your book mark durable.
Now, for the pom poms! Use a small amount of roving. Wrap the roving into a loose ball.

Dip the loose ball of roving into a pan of hot soapy water. Start rolling the ball in your soapy hands. The roving will compact into a tight, hard felted ball after a few minutes.

Thread yarn through the dry ball and add to your bookmark.
Now, make more and throw a party!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Sending Some Canadian Snow Your Way

What a great day I had today, hanging out in my pyjamas next to a roaring fire with a dear friend, crafting little snowmen.

These little guys are being given to my favorite grocery store cashier.

I LOVE snowmen! Building snowmen is the first thing my kids and I do when it snows. Sewing these little snowmen got me reminiscing about the very cold and snow laden Cariboo winters I grew up in and all the snowmen I built with my brother. My brother and his wife now live in South Carolina. I wonder if he misses snowmen. Just in case he does, I'm sending him a box of Canadian snow (snowman ornaments that is). I made these little snowmen with my youngest son, Mason.

This week, create a set of ornaments that remind you of someone and send them off. You just might make someone's day! Here's hoping my brother and wife could use a little Canadian snow this time of year.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Student Life

About 7 years ago I asked an 11 year old girl named Zoe to draw a dragon for me. I didn't know her very well yet. We were both shy. But when I shyly explained that I would like her to draw a dragon for a homeschooling project I was working on, she shyly accepted. I was blown away by her drawing. I still have that dragon by the way! Several years later I again asked her to share her art with me. I proudly purchased a pen and ink self portrait, as well as asked Zoe to hang some of her art in my studio. Patrons of the Stinking Fish Studio Tour were delighted by Zoe's whimsical, thoughtful and sophisticated style of drawing.

Today, Zoe's work hangs in various private collections as well as in an upcoming gallery show entitled "Small Treasures" at the Coast Collective. I encourage you to come by the gallery this Saturday from 2-4pm and meet Zoe. Zoe has two pieces in this wonderful show of small works.
needle felting
"Liquorice Cat"
acrylic on canvas
Here's what Zoe has to say about herself:
Zoë Larsen is a self-taught artist who has a passion for creating art
full of colour. She is inspired by many things such as music,
literature, dreams, nature, people and animals. Zoë loves to learn
new techniques and get her hands dirty in the process!
Zoë has explored a variety of mediums with local artists…
Encaustics and mixed media painting with Angela Menzies,
Pottery with Vincent Fe,
Soapstone carving with Kate Woods and
Glass bead making with Nicole Valentine-Rimmer.
Zoë has enjoyed having her art in the Stinking Fish Studio Tour as
a junior artist in 2010.
Zoë lives on a hillside farm in Sooke BC with her family and many
If you need to take away an art prompt this week, it would be this:
support a student in any way you can. Buy their art, offer them an
art lesson, give them wall space in your studio or visit them at
gallery openings. You won't regret it! You just might meet your
new favorite artist.  Artists, especially the young, are brave
people who put their hearts and souls out there for you to enjoy.
If you live on Vancouver Island, come out to see this show.
And good luck to my talented dear friend Zoe this weekend!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness

This time of year, I'm usually up to my neck in painting, knitting and sewing projects for my family Christmas presents. I'm always amazed at how grateful my family is for this. But not this year. This year my teenage boys have discovered electronics and have thrown over handknit socks for video games. Can't say I blame them. We had a good run. But admittedly, I did panic. How could I instill in my boys the true meaning of Christmas by buying them video games? I tentatively approached them with the idea of making 24 gift ideas, and then randomly giving them away. They loved it! An hour of brainstorming later, we had a list of 24 ideas. So this year, my family and I are counting down the 25 days of Christmas with Random Acts of Christmas Kindness.

Hand drawn book marks to leave at our local library.

New copies of my favorite books to leave on coffee shop tables.
Fresh made cookies to donate to local care homes. This delicious plate of cookies landed on my doorstep recently (thanks mom!)
 Just this morning I was reading on facebook about a lovely friend of mine who just baked 2 dozen cookies and trudged them across the street in the snow for the construction crew across the street! That's the spirit!
So rather than give you a specific art prompt this week, I'm going to ask you to hand make some random acts of Christmas kindness this upcoming holiday season.
 Honor your librarians, teachers, care workers and the homeless.
Kindness in giving creates love.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Circus Freaks

So last week I was blogging about my life as a three ring circus when our little dog Echo made one of her famous breaks for it out the front door. Some days, I can't even blame her. Who wouldn't want to throw out the rules and make a break for freedom; to run away to the circus. Or in Echo's case, to run away from the circus. This week, I wanted to break some rules for our art prompt. I decided to use clay on a 2-D board. A sculpture that would hang like a picture. So go for it. What art rules can you break to create an unexpected piece of art?

"You'll Never Catch Me, You Circus Freaks!"

Saturday, November 3, 2012

visit local fine art and craft shows

Yesterday my mom and I spent the day together visiting local art galleries, gift shows and collective art centres. What a day! Interspersed with hot cups of tea and home baked goodies, touring local artisan craft shows is an art prompt worthy of the gift giving season almost upon us.

Some of my small paintings and prints from $50 up
The Stinking Fish Studio Tour group of artists has just the thing to get you started. The Metchosin Art Gallery is currently showing our impressive array of fine art for sale: from paintings, quilting and printmaking to woodworking, metal working, stone sculpture, jewelry and pottery. Head upstairs for a cup of tea, fresh baked cookies and even more fine art and crafts perfect for gift giving. I hate to say the "C" word already, but there is no denying that "Christmas" really is just around the corner!
More of my felted hand knits and art cards.
Bonnie Coulter's paintings and art cards.
Pottery and hand made specialty soaps by Ann Semple.
Print maker and poet Chiarina Loggia's beautiful prints and hand made booklets.
Warm up with one of Jaquetta Nisbet's woolly hats.
Stone carver Lesley Foreman offers beautiful art cards of her work.
This weekend, get out into your neighborhood and enjoy the many arts and crafts sales available to you. And if you live in my neck of the woods, swing by the Metchosin Art Gallery during the month of November. One of a kind gifts can be yours for the giving.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Well, almost wordless. Just a reminder to keep your pets inside and safe this Halloween.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A-Ha Moments

So I had an a-ha moment earlier this week. A few times a year I completely de-clutter, organize and clean my art studio. That's your art prompt this week by the way. It's a good one, because you just never know what you're going to unearth when you get organizing. I stumbled across a box of old hand made Christmas cards. A-ha! I had forgotten I had these tucked away, because I hadn't done a Christmas season art show in awhile.

"Mr. Claus Is Out For The Night"
This November, look for my Christmas art cards! If you are lucky enough to already have a completely organized studio, then try this instead: invite a group of friends over to make Christmas cards. A dear friend of mine did this every year, complete with a pot of mulled hot apple cider. Every one brought papers, paints, stamps and stickers to share. It was so much fun!
So now that I've had my a-ha moment for the week, and I'm burnt out, don't mind me as I make like Mrs. Claus and head for the nearest candle lit bubble bath.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Life Is A Three Ring Circus

All moms juggle and jump through hoops; we juggle our time and jump through project hoops like caffeine addled clowns. I'm a home-schooling mom, an artist, a gardener, an avid reader, a movie buff and lately... a dog trainer. And why not? Quite frankly hanging with dogs is cheap therapy. My life is a balancing act and, on crazy days, a three ring circus. And I can usually count on my circus dog to see me though.

"Circus Dog"
8" x 8"
This project started last week when I was thinking of a new art prompt: create a collection of embellishments to use in future projects. I decided to alter a collection of old dog tags.

I'd love to hear what your collection of embellishments are! I look forward to using these dog tags in future projects.