Friday, January 31, 2014

Monkey Stole My Peanuts

When I lived in Japan I went to Bali, Indonesia for Christmas with several teacher friends.  On one of our excursions we went to a monkey forest.  One purchased peanuts to feed the monkeys that were wild and came right up to you.  Within seconds of purchasing peanuts a monkey jumped up, grabbed my t-shirt, and to my surprise made off with the whole bag of peanuts.  That ended the feeding of the monkeys!

I took some liberties with barns in this spread, a deserted temple represents a "monkey house."  In my imagination I am sure such places exist.  In fact, I think I remember such a place in a film Passage to India or perhaps Jewel in the Crown.

This piece turned out rather dark.  It was much lighter but I did not like the writing that I had added and decided to cover it up with paint.  The poor monkeys are thus pushed back further into the background than I had intended. I thought about covering up the whole spread and starting over, but it presents better in person than this uploaded version.

Monkey Stole My Peanuts

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Rooster Dream

I have another signature done and ready to mail off to Ingrid in Sweden in the morning.  Rooster Dream was especially difficult for me to complete.  As usual I worked myself into a corner and had to wait for a how to complete it solution to pass through my brain.  Once I thought of a shadow I was on my way.  This is what I love about art journaling. I just jump in and eventually a path is found to completion.

The reason this one took so long is because my background is extremely busy.  What does one put with busy?  All of the barns come from playing cards that I found in a garage sale free pile.  The one full card flips over to reveal a Queen of Hearts.

Can't you just image a hot day on the farm.  The rooster is guarding the hen house and sun stroke occurs. The rooster starts hallucinating and imagines a multitude of barns rotating around and around.

I also like doing something odd in some of my spreads.  The bird on the left has no shadow.

Rooster Dream

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Family Trees

In Juliana Coles online class, Book of the Night, we were tasked to honor our ancestors.  If we could chat with them we were to ask questions.  Although none of these gentlemen are actually ancestors (I don't have any photos to refer to), I have created a family tree using the great photos that you see.

There are many relatives that now are long dead that I would like to hold a conversation with.  One in particular, Uncle Cliff, my favorite great uncle, is a man who I have many questions for. Uncle Cliff drove a Studebaker, was married and divorced and lived on an orchard ranch in Wenatchee, Washington.  Cliff sold the ranch and moved into town with his partner, Frenchy. I remember the in-town home somewhat.  Cliff and Frenchy painted their dining room a shade of brown.  When they were painting the crown molding the paint started to run.  Liking the effect, they let the paint run completely around the room.  I have often wondered if Uncle Cliff was gay.  There is no one living that would be able to affirm this, not even my 95 year old mother who isn't remembering things all that well now.

The journal spread that I completed is called Family Trees.  The ghosts of men represent other male family members who might have known Cliff.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Escape from Hell!

This is another piece from Juliana Coles'  Book of the Night class.  Sometimes I fail to complete online classes. For some reason I am loving this one and am motivated to keep going. Loving might be too strong....I am moving forth with the thought provoking-ness of the class. Maybe that is because I am taking the class with a friend, Terry Garrett.  He has been putting forth some very exciting thought provoking pieces as well. If you have not seen his work, you should stop by for a visit..... http://whisperwoodartworks.blogspot.com/ .
This spread in entitled Escape From Hell!  As in Demeter and Persephone we all have our moments in Hell!  The portrait on the right side of the spread represents all those jumbled thoughts that continue to creep into my head especially when I would prefer them to be elsewhere. The unwanted thoughts are my Hell.   Why is it that there are memories that we have totally forgotten and we never think about again? Ones that are positive and fun to remember. And yet there are memories that tend to be ones we want to banish but they remain and come to the surface when we least want them.....like just before falling asleep!
So I say lets banish those unwanted thoughts.  Let them burn and be freed.  They can turn into butterflies and leave once and for all!  
The man on the left represents an unwanted thought that is creeping back.  Beware thought, you are going to burn.  I do not want you anymore!  The arrows represent the thoughts that are leaving my brain and hopefully will not return.

Escape from Hell!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Scar #2

Warning....heavy discussion follows.......In my Juliana Coles online class we were tasked to create a piece about a second scar for our Bride of Frankenstein chapter.  My scar has to do with bullying. Understanding the parameters of bullying was not something that I undertook until I was an adult. When being bullied one does not have concern for the bully.  The bullied just want to escape the living hell that the bully doles out.  I lived the life of the bullied when I was younger, especially in middle school and at times thought about death.  What a horrible position to be put in at such a young age!  Thankfully I did not act on that.

Our society has not until very recently been accepting of differences.  We seem to be getting better in some areas but we still have a long way to go.  Discrimination based on color, abilities, sexually, disabilities, age, and all the other differences that exist comes from lack of education.  Narrow mindedness is the root. One learns to be a bully through narrow viewpoints.

So when we were tasked with this scar project I thought of the It Gets Better Program.  Dan Savage and his partner started this program to help others who were experiencing the pain of being bullied because of their sexuality.  It is true, it does get better with age.  However, it took 63 years for it to get better for me. At age 63 and for the past 21 years my relationship was considered to be a second class one.  The American government did not recognize my relationship with my partner, husband, to be legitimate.  Finally this week our relationship was recognized.  My partner was given  permanent status in the United States.  It is unbelievable how a stamp of approval can change everything in a matter of seconds.

Scar #2 is my way of dealing with bullying....be it from an individual, an institution, or a government.  It is my attempt to try to make sense out of the senseless.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Road to Orcas

Road to Orcas
Jill K. Berry tasked anyone who desired to create a map for 2014.  My map is about the journey in a red truck to Orcas Island, Washington in the San Juan Islands.  Over the years I have traveled to the island to visit my mother who still lives there at age 95.  The journey takes between three to five hours depending on ferry traffic.  I thought it would be fun to do a map about why it takes so long to make the trip but from a different perspective.  There are many fun places to stop along the way which might delay one's progress.

For instance, there is a restaurant in Everett that has terrific breakfasts.  The Totem has been a fixture since the 1950's or you might like to stop at the Village Restaurant in Marysville for a slice of pie.  This place has attracted travelers for many years as well and you won't be disappointed.  

Since I am always on the lookout for barns to photograph, I might take the road to Silvana or Conway or other turns in the Skagit Valley.  The largest pancakes I have ever seen are at the Country Cafe in Silvana. Great hamburgers can be found at the Conway Tavern or a stroll along the water might be in order in La Connor which is full of art galleries and eateries.   In April, one cannot pass through the area without a stop in the daffodil or tulip fields of the Skagit Valley.  A very special nursery, Christiansen's is a must for gardeners.  

In the winter, the snow geese can be found on Fir Island.  They must have plenty of grubs and worms in this fertile soil.  Whale watching might happen anywhere from Anacortes to Orcas and the scenic views of Mount Baker make many spots for a perfect picnic.  So you now see why it might just take much longer than five hours to reach beautiful Orcas Island which needs it own art journal map!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Red Truck

Red Truck
In Juliana Coles online class Book of the Night we were tasked to create a home for our "Bride of Frankenstein" that we created in an earlier lesson.  I found the greatest chateau that a friend uploaded to Facebook.  But I also found the best red truck that I just had to somehow use in this spread.  My truck is haunted but the driver does not know it yet.  Besides the truck I love the headlights.  It is a foggy night at the chateau and who knows what can happen in fog?!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Dos-a-dos journal

Over the past two weeks I have made three dos-a-dos or back-to-back journals like the ones below. My friend, Irene, sent me the one in the middle as a gift over the holidays and right away I knew that this was a journal for me.  I immediately set to work making it and then three more.  I mailed one to a friend in California as inspiration for her first journal.

Dos-a-dos Journal
If you are interested in making this journal I thought I would give you the steps as I photographed them during the construction process.

Here is what you need:

* three - 6 x 8 inch heavy cardboard....140# watercolor paper works but heavier is even better
* two -  24 x 8 inch 90# watercolor paper (140# will work)
* six -  6 x 8 inch 90# watercolor paper (140# will work)
* an awl or Japanese hole punch
* bookbinding thread
* bookbinding needle or equivalent
* three sheets of homemade paper or decorative paper for the covers 10 x 8 inches
* PVA or other good bookbinding glue.  I have used a good glue stick (Blick's brand)
* bone folder
* paper cutter

Just so you get an idea of how this is going to go together, here is a bird's eye during the construction process.
Bird's Eye of dos-a-dos during construction

Step 1:  Cut the two 24 x 8 inch paper and fold accordion style into fourths.

Step 2:  Cut the three pieces of cardboard 6 x 8 and cut designer or homemade paper 8 x 10.

Step 3: Cover the three pieces of cardboard with homemade or designer papers.  A good site to see how to do this step is:

Step 4:  Glue first accordion to one of the covers and glue the second cover to the back of the accordion.  After the gluing, you might like to place heavy books on top of the first part of the journal for a few minutes.

Step 5:  Glue the second accordion to to what will be the middle covered cardboard.  Finally glue the third covered cardboard to the back of the second accordion. Wipe off any extra or oozing glue and place books on top of the journal for awhile.

Step 6:  Now you are ready to fold each of the six  6 x 8 pieces of watercolor paper in half making sure that you have 3 x 8 inch folded paper when you fold each one.

Step 7:  Make a punch guide out of one of the folded papers.  You will want to punch the holes using your awl or Japanese hole punch in the fold at 2, 4, and 6 inches.  This punch guide is necessary so that all of your punches are the same for each of the six pieces of paper.  Punch holes in all six of the pieces of paper.

Step 8:  You will use one of the punched papers to guide you in punching the accordion folds six times, once in each valley.

Step 9:   Using the pamphlet stitch, sew in each of the 6 x 8 folded papers one per valley of your journal.  A good site for learning the pamphlet stitch is:  http://www.booklyn.org/education/ispamphlet.pdf  or  http://www.quietfiredesign.com/Galleries/Techniques/3HolePamphlet.htm .  The only difference in the directions for pamphlet stitching  at these sites and the one for the dos-a-dos is that  you will want to start sewing from the valley side of your journal each time.

Have fun!

Sunday, January 5, 2014


This spread is number, I can't remember which, in the barn series.  It has taken me quite awhile to finish this piece.  I tend to "paint" myself into a corner and then have to problem solve to get myself out of it.  In this case, I loved a paper towel that had coats of paint from various projects on it.  So I adhered the towel to the journal.  It sat and sat until this week when I thought about a circus theme.  I added circles of tissue paper and then I decollaged circus posters to the spread.  I found a photo of a barn that had circus posters plastered to it and then I found the clowns and the uni-cyclist.  Once they were glued down on the pages I quickly called it done.  Then last night I realized I had done the whole piece upside down in the signature. So I guess I can now called Topsy-Turvy Circus.