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Weeks 26-30

Week 26. Inner Warrior Princess with Andrea Gomoll. I’ve been a tad obsessed with creating a Klimt-inspired Pallas Athena since I took Tam’s Magical Mythical Makings class.  I’ve sketched a number of variations and tried again when this lesson came up. Klimt’s Athena was a bust portrait with her in a helmet. That’s a tad complicated for my skillset, so I propped her helmet on top of her head. I doubt Athena was a ginger. As you know, I have a thing for gingers, so mine is. Owls are often seen with her and she is the goddess of the arts, among other things. The text is ancient Greek and the very loose translation is “be fearless.” A little influence from Kelly Rae Robert’s Mantra class.  I had some trouble with the shading, but I think I could go back and tone it down by doing more work on the Neocolor/white acrylic technique that Tam teaches. I was trying to do this with Gelatos and Inktense pencils, but as mentioned in the previous Life Book lesson post, this paper is not good with wet media.

Week 27 was an artist interview. Week 28. Layers of You with Tam. Paint over collage. Rather than use a selfie, I used some Vogue magazines. At this point, of course, I’ve lost track of the number of Tam classes, I’ve taken, so I feel quite comfy running with the technique and doing the pages my way. I like to swim, so my inner me is a Naomi Watts mermaid. Obviously.

Week 29. Tiny Story telling with Danielle Donaldson. My hands have recently been pain-free, so I’m hesitant to spend a lot of my art time with fussy-cutting elements. In fact, I haven’t put this lil gal in my official journal. She is in my Moleskin watercolor journal. But, she’s so adorbs, I had to paint her and give her a little phrase and include her here.

Week 30 with Flora Bowley. I enjoyed Flora’s lesson last year, but I still struggle with the free-form, intuitive painting style.  Ideas come to me while I’m watching the video. I painted 2 pages and this is the one that came out. The other one is waiting to be finished. This one, Serene, was one of the ideas I had.  Of course, the idea of having a plan is contrary to Flora’s style, but it was an urge and I followed it. I’m grateful that Flora included a real-time bonus video – I watched it twice and will go back to this technique to try and wrap my art brain around it.   Perhaps that is what the other page is waiting for – unplanned inspriation.

After spending Saturday on Flora’s intuitive lesson, I needed to get back to familiar ground. I worked on Week 2 of Tam’s Fabulous Faces class, so you have those pages to look forward to.

In the meantime: fly, be free, my lovelies.

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Ello in the Sun


Hi my lovelies.

Today was my monthly massage with Sami, I’m extra spacey afterwards so I usually walk. It was a beautiful, if very warm day so I took my Canon Rebel with wide angle lens and Ellowyne.

This is the Canon entry level wide angle lens, which according to the reviews, is perfectly serviceable for it’s price, about $150.  I certainly have no complaints.

I meandered back home in about 1.5 hours. It’s a 25 minute walk if I take the least hilly, most direct route around 10th West. Sami works at the spa on Gilman.  When I go the long way home, I walk up Gilman (steep!) and along 7th West, which has a great viewpoint of Elliot Bay.  There happened to be a wedding party taking photos at the spot. I was tempted to pose Ello in front of the party. Not photo bomb them per se but I would have been conspicuous holding her up in front the group to get her in scale.  She wasn’t dressed for a wedding party, so we went on our way.

I did some photo manipulation in the GIMP: I smudged her shoulder joints and hair line to make them less obvious and dodged her eyes to get them a bit more depth.  It was an experiment to see if I could remove joint lines and make it look ok.  It was rather time-consuming, so I didn’t do as great a job as I could, but I’m pretty pleased with the results for the amount of time I spent on the tasks.

I took other non-Ello photos as well, so you may expect to see those in future posts.

Fly, be free, my pretties.

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Life Book Weeks 22-25

Hi my lovelies. I can hardly believe that July is nearly over. It’s time for another Life Book 2015 post. It’s been nearly 2 years since I started on this mixed media art journey. I find that I’m copying less and taking inspiration more from the lessons in 2015.  Here are the next 4 pages.

Week 22 with Jeanne Oliver.  It’s a paint over collage using a self-portrait.  This has never been my favorite style because I don’t feel photographs of me don’t capture me well.  So with these projects, I tend to create a new portrait or print a color copy of a previous work. For this lesson, I created a new face.  I made the first version in my other 9×12 Leuchterm 1917 journal.  I really liked Jeanne’s technique for making your own background paper and I made 2. I’m still getting a lot of use out of those pages. I had some trouble with this gal’s face, although I don’t now remember the specific trouble I was having.  This is the page from my ‘official’ 2015 class art journal, also a Leuchterm 1917 in 9×12 size.

Week 23 starts the month of June, I believe, which was focused on the boys.  This is a Tam lesson.

I really should write these posts closer to when I create the pages, but we were in the middle of SIFF, and I started a new job in April, so my brain is working overtime these days. Anywho, while watching Tams’ videos, I had the urge to make a Buddha-inspired page.  I am particularly please with this page and like using a floral design in place of wings, you can expect to see more of that element.

Week 24 was with Juliette Crane.I have been quite happy with the male faces I’ve turned out.  We had 1 lesson with a male figure last year, but it was a rather complex piece and I never got back to males as I’d hoped. This was also the week of the ATC swap, but as we were in the middle of SIFF, I didn’t participate.

Week 25 was with Lynzee Lynx.  A couple weeks after this lesson, I signed up for Kelly Rae Robert’s Hello Soul Hello Mixed Media self-study class and was pleasantly surprised that Lynzee took part in the class, representing the students. But, that is work for another post. I have stencil paper on hand but chose my designs rather poorly and had quite a lot of trouble with them. The cutting stencils part is pretty labor-intensive. However, since taking my new job, computer work is considerably less. Nearly 2 years post-surgery, my hands finally are pain-free so I feel I could explore making more of my own stencils.

You can expect more posts about the output from Kelly Rae’s class. I think I have 3 or 4 pieces in progress, but 1 or 2 completed paintings. Having continued painting more freely since Kelly Rae’s class, I would call it the next turning point in my artistic journey. I am also planning a journal flip video.

In the meantime, fly, be free, my pretties!

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4th of July 2015

It’s been a while since I posted photographs using my beloved Canon Rebel.  Armed with a new wide angle lens, Mr. Thompson and I spent the evening of the 4th of July with our friends Pat & Lisa and a part of other charming folks. It was a lovely, if muggy, evening with good people, good food, and blowing stuff up.

I brought my Rebel and Mood Hoops Lotus LED hoop.  I set my Canon Rebel on a tripod, set it to Night Shooting, and continuous shooting. Here are 2 of my favorite photos of the evening. These photos are minimally processed: cropped and a watermark added, in Gimp.

This is Lisa and her sparkler and friends, including Allie, Mary Katherine and the gal whose name escapes me at this moment, so I’m gonna say…Gretchen, but I’m pretty sure that’s wrong. Sorry, nice lady. This photo used my wide angle lens.


And me with my Mood Hoops Lotus LED hoop, helped out with Mary Katherine and her sparkler. This photo used the standard Canon lens.


I have several more photos from this weekend, so you can expect a few more posts on night photos.

Fly, be free, my lovelies.

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I have been a fan of Kelly Rae Roberts’ mixed media art for a while. Last week, in honor of her 40th birthday, she offered her Instagram followers a special price for her self-study course, “Hello Soul, Hello Mixed Media.”

Naturally, I couldn’t pass that up.

This is a rather long post because I share the class project, a class review, and a minimum supply list.

I spent the past 2 weekends working through the lessons.  Once again, I’m so grateful for Effy Wild’s Ultimate Class Notebook and I have completely adopted her method of watching the videos first and taking notes before diving in.

This class really pushed my boundaries because it requires you to really let go and play and at the very end, bring the piece together.

Joining Kelly Rae for this course is Lynzee Lynx. For a bit of synchronicity, Lynzee taught a Life Book lesson on making your own stencils and I really enjoyed her lesson. Lynzee was playing the role of a class student.  This is not her particular style so she was way out of her comfort zone and a stroke of genius for Kelly Rae to include Lynzee in this class.

One of the things I’ve struggled with is incorporating words into my art.  Part 1 of the class is about digging deep and developing your mantras.  Part 2 is a ton of techniques for backgrounds.  I had a bit of an art orgy and made a bunch of canvases. My friend Marva gave me a bunch of canvases when she moved recently, and I used most of them to make this pretty mess on my studio floor:

a plethora of canvases

The background-making stage is a lot of fun: alternating different acrylic paint techniques and collage.  This method is totally in my style because it’s all about filling the space with mixed media goodness.  The pulling it all together stage of Lesson 3 was a bit tougher.  Even though this project was in my area of art-making, it was a challenge to stay loose and in the moment.  Also, I am drawn to dark colors, so I had to lighten areas up quite a bit to create contrast.

I chose “Trust Your Inner Voice” because I had to let go and trust the process to get this piece done. While watching the class video on bringing in the focal image, I thought of the Bear I made for Juliette Crane’s lesson, Week 13 in Life Book.  I traced the Bear and glued him down then re-painted him. In Native American lore, bears represent, among other things, bravery and your hidden strength, which was appropriate to the lesson.  The butterfly wings were part of the following joy and intuition.  A bear with wings just makes me happy. I’m pretty pleased with the finished piece, although looking now at the photo, I think the horizon has gotten lost and whatever I decide to do with it will probably be the contrast I feel is missing.

Review of the Class

As a teacher, Kelly Rae is terrific. You feel like she’s there with you, she has a friendly teaching style.She and Lynzee work well together.  Kelly Rae is the first teacher I’ve taken a class from who has no formal art training. This makes her teaching style accessible to beginners because she isn’t trained, she just loves to make art and it shows in her lessons and in her work. You see the art being made before your eyes, in (mostly) real time.

My complaints with the class are minor: 1) you can’t download the videos. I understand teachers do that as a measure of control over their content and I respect that; and 2) you have 6 months to access the lessons. I’ve been spoiled by teachers who offer a year or forever to access lessons. Limited access is the reason I soaked the class in over 2 weekends. I wanted to make sure I could watch, take notes, and get through the material at least once and still have time to re-watch any of the demos.

The price of this class is $247, and Kelly Rae offers a 2 payment installment plan.  That sounds like a lot of money, but there are so many lessons (50?), a ton of information, mixed media techniques, and pdf handouts. With the limited access, I suggest you watch the lessons and take notes before you start. At the very least, watch the demos and make a list of the techniques to refer back to later. The price is comparable to Jane Davenport classes. If you can only take one class this year, splurge on this one because it’s suitable for any level and you’ll have a painting to hang up at the end of class. If you’re more experienced, this class will shake things up, while letting you create in your style.

A beginner with minimal drawing or painting skills can succeed in this course.  If you can doodle, glue stuff down, and finger paint, you can rock this class. As for supplies, I think you could make a very successful first piece with a minimum investment in supplies. My minimum list is below.

If you’re interested in taking the class, you may sign up here:  Hello Soul, Hello Mantra. Of all the mixed media classes I’ve taken, I think this is one of the best class for a true beginner because you can make a beautiful piece without the ability to draw faces, figures or whimsical creatures.  Full disclosure: I am a Kelly Rae Roberts’ affiliate, so if you sign up by following the above link, I get a little something in return from Kelly Rae, which I’ll no doubt use for art supplies, so I appreciate your support!

Minimum Supply List

If you’re completely new to mixed media or you have non-acrylic paint supplies, here is my suggested minimum and least expensive supply list:  large (9″x12″ minimum, really, this style is easier and more fun on a big scale) canvas board, regular gel medium gloss (gloss is vital), 2 or 3 colors you are drawn to, black and white heavy body (tube) acrylics, small paint brushes for doodling and writing, collage paper, a spray bottle, tools you can find around the house.

The cheaptest paint option is to purchase is DecoArt Crafter’s Acrylic.If you have a bit more to spend on paint or you just want more paint, I suggest Amsterdam heavy body acrylics. The paint itself is nice and the price per tube is good. You can water down heavy body acrylics to achieve the wetter techniques in this class.

For colors, I suggest you include a mix of warm (yellow/red) and cool (blue/green) colors. This will give you more color flexibility.  If you’re drawn to neon (and who isn’t?), I suggest 1 neon because they tend to be less opaque than non-neon colors, which makes them good to layer but they get lost pretty easily as the layers increase.

You can make your own acrylic spray inks with whatever paint you have using 2 ounce spray bottles you can pick up in any drug store for less than a buck. You may download my pdf instructions for backgrounds and making spray inks – scroll to the bottom of this page for the link.

My next steps

I am excited to try more pieces using Kelly Rae’s techniques, incorporate words more routinely in my art.  I’m also curious to find out what would happen if I use different art supplies, substrates.  How will I have to adjust the techniques to use, for example, Neo Color II crayons? I’m very interested in making a piece in all water-based supplies. What would a page in this style look like in my art journal?

I want to find out and think Kelly Rae would grant me permission.

Trust your inner voice.