Sunday, May 31, 2009

ATC Paper Dolls

A few weeks ago I presented a lesson on Artist Trading Card Paper Dolls to my journaling group. I had been making regular ATC's, and thinking about how I could do something different with them. I wondered if anyone had ever made them into paper dolls, and just as I wondered this, I turned the page in the magazine I was reading and...there they were. The idea is that they fold up into regulation ATC size. I developed my own version, made some prototypes, and shared the instructions and a template with my class. We had such fun! Here are the latest two I made: it's me (on the left) and my twin sister Ilene (on the right). NOTE: The article was by Sarah Whitmire, in the March/April 2009 issue of Somerset Studio. I highly recommend this issue of the magazine--it's all about paper dolls.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Layers of Creativity, Part II

Here's what I wrote about creativity for the April 2008 journal page shown in my last post:

"I'm creative when I develop a journal page, write a poem, or craft a piece of jewelry. But I've also been creative when I've figured out how to entertain a fussy baby; calm a husband in a rare bad mood; subtly offer a suggestion to a grown son; or completely restructure my life in retirement. I'm creative when my father asks me to help him with a financial or medical issue that's unfamiliar to me; when a sibling or close friend asks for my help in solving a problem; or when I plan what to make for dinner yet again, after 35 years of cooking dinners. I'm creative when I explain the meaning of an English word or grammar concept to the woman I tutor; and I was certainly creative in my job when the bosses would tell us to "just find a way" to do what they wanted, against all logic and reason.

"What I've realized is that creativity often refills itself, renews itself, replenishes itself. When I feel like I've exhausted all of my options and will never resolve a particular problem or complete a project, I usually find that there's still one more layer of creativity to be peeled back--and a solution to be revealed. Maya Angelou said it well: "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."

Layers of Creativity

The photo shown in my blog heading is the left side of a two-page journal spread I did for Artful Journaling class. This post shows a photo of the right side. The assignment was to trace our hand and use it in a page. We had also been discussing creative layering of materials for our pages. On the right-hand page, the two hands open to reveal a piece I wrote about layers of creativity. (I'll post this piece in my next posting.) The papers I used were watercolor, plain cardstock, and scrapbook paper embellished with stamping, bleaching, acrylic glazing, and other techniques.

Friday, May 29, 2009


I am discovering that blogging is addictive--even if there are only one or two people who know about your blog and could possibly be reading it. This made me think about my other creative addictions*, including:
  • buying art and craft supplies (there's always, always something new to try; Michael's coupons are readily available; and online shopping is soooo tempting);
  • learning new art techniques through magazines, books, or the Internet;
  • taking "real" art classes (so far this year: pen and ink drawing, calligraphy, right brain drawing, and portrait drawing); and online mixed media classes;
  • working on art late in the evening (which makes me too keyed up to fall asleep);
  • looking at other people's art blogs on the Internet (try doing a Google search for "mixed media blogs" and you'll spend hours enjoying the results);
  • my art journaling class (Artful Journaling with artist Carol Zika, through Howard County Recreation and Parks). This class combines creative writing with creative art in a warm and supportive environment. I've been taking it for about 3 years and will continue to take it as long as it exists;
  • discussing art journaling projects (and life in general) with art friends while we are in class, Mall-walking, browsing the Tuesday Morning discount store, or eating lunch;
  • keeping my own (sometimes daily) art journals and written journals up to date;
  • talking "art" with my twin sister Ilene, a gifted fiber and collage artist; and
  • planning my next travel journal (this summer we'll be going to New York; the Outer Banks of NC; Austin, Texas; and Boston in the fall).
*I am making no effort to "cure" myself of these addictions. They are essential to my physical and mental well-being, and don't (usually) interfere with getting the necessities of life accomplished.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Notes from a "child at heart"

As a child, I loved to draw and color, write stories, and make up elaborate games. I didn't wonder if what I was creating was "good" or not; I simply immersed myself in the process. Now, at a very interesting time of my life (post-career, post-childraising, post-eldercare), I'm trying to recapture some of that carefree childhood creativity. My inspiration is the joy and excitement shown in this photo of me as a child. She is my inspiration for the colorful art journals, travel journals, and writing that I now create; for the challenging art studies in which I'm now engaged; and for my renewed interest in others' creative art. I love the process of getting to know her again, and I hope you'll enjoy meeting her too.