Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Say PFFFFT to Dogma

I know just seeing that title my parents are thinking - "see? This is why you were always in D-Hall."

The ACTUAL reason I was always in D-Hall is there are a lot of people in the world with sticks up their butts about one thing or another and I ran across them more often than I would have liked.

You should not associate with, for example, people who believe that there are circumstances in which laughing should not be allowed.

I'm not talking about sermons or funerals or golf courses. I mean grumptastic people who don't want to hear laughter at school or work. People who are annoyed by anyone else's mirth really have something wrong with them.

99% of my D-hall sentences were handed down for the terrible crime of laughter.

The other 1% were assorted misdemeanors like writing hall passes for myself (only during SUPREMELY boring classes, during which I might have ended up screaming and writhing on the floor - I was just being considerate of others) and really taking my French class to heart by calling another student who was being a little pill a French epithet. Had I epithetted in English I could totally understand getting in trouble - but I was really putting my soul into my work there! So wrong.

And maybe all that was the genesis of my rebellious, artist personality.

I really think there's no place for rules in art. No "hold your pen this way" or "you can't use this with that" or any other sacred cows. Just because an artist makes something up, doesn't mean that that becomes the only acceptable way to create art. Think about how ridiculous that would be in literature. What if the ONLY way we were allowed to create verbal art was in sonnet form? Or in numbered verses? It's just silly.

If you want to make something, make it for you. Make it however you want to make it. Don't worry about how other people make it. Don't worry about what it's called, or how you pronounce it, or if you used the "right" stuff. The "right" stuff is in your colorful little soul, not on a store shelf or in an instruction manual.

As a matter of fact, with the exception of power tools, I recommend that the FIRST thing you should do with any art product is immediately throw the instructions into the garbage without reading them. Touch the stuff with your fingers - scribble it on things - do whatever the heck you want to in the way of experimentation. The "right" way will reveal itself to you if you just play.

Also, don't equate a botched experiment with failure. Where in the world would we be if science worked like that? Lots of people set their chemistry labs on fire (cough +Bob Blakley cough) before they figured out what the heck they were supposed to be doing.

I like to build in chances for mistakes by preparing four or five of everything before I start working with a new technique - stamp four images, prep four surfaces, etc. When there's only one of something on your desk, it feels sort of sacred and you're terrified to screw it up. I have finally realized that this is why a lot of art classes are stressful for me. With just one piece, I feel pressure to get it perfect. With my home method, I always get at least three more chances at the trash - more if it's more involved - and I don't feel the pressure to get it right the first time. Or even the second time. It's a simple psychological trick and it works.

I taught about dogma at my last retreat because I think it's important to the joy of creating to be dogma-free. (Notice it's not called catma - just sayin'.)

Dogma is a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system's paradigm, or the ideology itself.

Dogma can creep into everything if you let it. Don't let it. To artistic dogma, I say...

So, that brings me to today's very traditional, conservative Christmas card.



I actually bring you - Joseph and his technicolor nativity!!

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Yes, I am still using this Newborn King set. I cut four pieces of watercolor paper yesterday to play and clear embossed the image. #3 and #4 were yesterday's card and this one.

#3 was ALMOST awesome, but resides in the trash from a rookie mistake.

This one has a mistake I ended up liking on it. I had taped the edges because I like that white border when I watercolor. However, someone who will remain nameless loves to spirit off my favorite orange artist's tape, which actually WORKS, and I ended up using 3M masking tape, which is great for masking, not so much for keeping watercolor away. So the watercolor bled under the tape. At first I thought I'd cut it off but then I decided I liked it so I kept it.

I love how the crazy colors make it festive and joyful. Thematic happiness.

I will probably get D-Hall for this card. And you know what? I don't care. The funnest people are in D-Hall.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Newborn King

So you know how you buy a stamp and it's like the BEST STAMP IN THE WORLD and you can't wait to play with it? And then three months go by and you haven't touched it?

Well that happened to me with today's card.

I LOVE the Newborn King set. I LOVE it. I love how it's so modern and yet so funky, so 70s and doodly. It's so me.

And yet, many squirrels intervened and kept me from playing with it. Until today, when I had a World Cardmaking Day webinar. Yes, +Andrea Withers - I was paying attention :).

Webinars are a fabulous time to color. You can listen and make something pretty at the same time.

So I brought out the ice cube tray that has some dried Brusho in it from a previous session, an aquapainter, and my Peerless watercolor binder. Why did I mix watercolor types? Oh - well that's because I forgot to grab yellow Brusho from my watercolor drawer which is 15 feet away from my desk, and my Peerless notebook was 6 inches from me.

Yes, I'm that lazy.

I just used three colors - violet, aqua and yellow - I love this combo. I wanted the colors to be modern, bright and non-traditional.

I debated with myself about adding glitter, but in the end I felt like I needed to let the image shine by itself.

So here's what I did.

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I love it in its sweet, tiny modernity. I love the zentangly trees.

Too fun. And easy to do during a webinar.

Don't you love that bright glow from the manger? I think the colors are just happy, like Christmas.

Speaking of World Cardmaking Day - if you need me, I'll be busy gearing up for Hope You Can Cling To - a month long card drive for the breast cancer patients at MD Anderson. This is our fifth year, and our first year, we kicked the event off on WCMD - the perfect day to illustrate the power of a homemade card to create good in the world. I think we can all agree that the world needs more good. :)


Monday, September 8, 2014

Does Anyone Actually KNOW a Junker?

It's White Trash Week here in the old neighborhood.

White Trash Week is that lovely week when people are allowed to pile junk at the curb for bulk collection pickup. You get to drive down the street seeing people's old toilets, broken dressers, scrap lumber and everything else under the sun, and pretend for a week that you live in a neighborhood full of meth lab owners - but without all the fun of Walt & Jesse.

It's only half as disturbing as the parade of junkers that accompany it though.

These junkers prowl the streets in trailers that look like something out of White Trash Harry Potter.

Photo credit - Evil Vince

You can hear the junk towers creaking as they prowl by and you just pray they don't swerve to avoid a squirrel and unleash a torrent of washing machines and lawn chairs onto your car.

Here's what I don't understand - is junking a business? Can you make a living from picking up suitcases with busted zippers and broken particle board furniture? Does anyone actually KNOW anyone who junks for a living? And if so, what is the lifestyle and income potential? Do you have to get a special junk trailer insurance policy for when a toilet goes flying off your precarious rig and through the windshield of an ice cream truck? How much does a policy like that cost? How many tetanus shots must you get annually as a junker? Who BUYS the junk?

Is this the real secret of IKEA?

I have just so many questions, as I gaze out the window at a tumbleweed of chicken wire the size of a hay bale and a pile of used brooms.

I might have to hide inside all week and stamp. There are some things you just don't want to know about your neighbors.

I'm obsessed with the Four Feathers stamps & dies right now, speaking of stamping. I LOVE the bold graphic designs SO much in black & white. I actually haven't stamped them in anything BUT black yet - I just can't help myself!

I just took two of these little buggers and put them on one of my Gelli Prints I made last weekend. I just bought the teeny 3x5 plate and played with that. It takes a little getting used to after you're used to printing on a big plate, but it's really fun to have a print that doesn't have to be cut down to go on a card front.

I thought I'd pick one of my jumbly alphabet prints to go with my White Trash day questions. I love the way that images tend to look embossed after multiple prints, like the letters do here. 

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I also love how the red and yellow and black all play together nicely. For the shadow underneath, I used the negative of the die cut as a stencil and rubbed metallic black Pan Pastel through it and then offset the cut feathers a bit. You can't see the sparkle here but it's cool. The greeting is from Kinda Eclectic.

Like the ecosystem of junk.

We have junk.

Junkers want junk.

White Trash Week - where the junkyard comes to YOU.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cutthroat Stamp Room at #uniteexcite

Friday night I hosted the Austin #uniteexcite event for Stampin' Up! and it was a BLAST!

3 hours of fun, tips, prizes, swaps, displays and great people sharing their stamping awesomeness.

I also gave away 16 stamp sets to a group of 72 people so everyone's odds were darn good. Everyone also got the Everyday Occasions card kit.

When I got to the two Good Greetings sets to give away, I decided to be super evil, and make two people battle it out in a Cutthroat Stamp Room game show, based on Cutthroat Kitchen. We had a coin toss, and the winner of the toss got to decide which sabotage the other contestant got. Then, they had one minute to stamp a card, and the rules were - one image, one greeting and one embellishment. Each stamped item had to be in a different color. And the ink pads were Stampin' Spots. Heh.

Here's a video of what happened. Apparently Melissa, who won the coin toss and chose the foam hand, didn't realize she could ONLY use that hand. Had she, I think she MIGHT have picked the Spiderman boxing gloves. Muahahaha!

Then we had two judges come into the room and judge the cards from these two experienced demonstrators. They both had medical training so they asked the contestants if they'd had recent head injuries - heheh. You ready to see these masterpieces?? Feel free to CASE them!!!

BWAHAHA!! Good job ladies!!!

Oh my gosh it was so much fun. We also had a 3x4 technique swap and the beautiful samples are now in my Project Life 6x8 pocket pages and together in my PL album as a technique reference and I have 30+ technique classes ready to schedule! WINNING! Thanks to all the swappers - your swaps are AWESOME.

Speaking of techniques, I did a fun one for my class this morning by creating a fake shadow with a negative die cut. First, we stamped the image from Four Feathers and the greeting from Kinda Eclectic on the card base. Then we stamped the Dotty Angles image a few times to get a bokeh effect (examples here and here). Then we die cut the feather out of the card front, mounted a quarter sheet of Basic Black cardstock on the inside of the card so the black showed through the opening, and mounted the feather just a wee bit offset and up on dimensionals to give the illusion of a shadow. I LOVED this one. I designed it for this month's Challenge Chicks challenge to use feathers. Gee, I wonder why our Crazy Chicken Lady Jeanne picked that theme??? :) She seriously has the most adorable chickens on EARTH.

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Big thanks to all my awesome helpers at Unite & Excite and to my victims in Cutthroat Stamp Room. I hope we get to do another one of these events soon! Enjoy a few pics! :)

Thanks for a great night, friends!!!


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