Thursday, January 31, 2008

Last Hours of the Last Day of the Month.

End of another month. Tomorrow I begin another book - One Day At A Time - through another month: February!
I also am taking a class starting tomorrow in bookmaking. I'll learn to sew together signatures of paper and bind them into books.
Now I can start making my own professional looking journals.
I'll be sure to post my work as I go along.
Happy February to everyone. Remember your valentine! And don't forget that spring is not far away. (check out the picture for fern fronds; but alas, the photo was taken in May) - femminismo

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What Have You Been Up To?

If you check out my photos you can tell what I've been up to. First we have horrible marks on the ceiling around the light fixture base - from the last light fixture. How long have we been staring at this? I'm afraid to count the years.
Second picture - Gone! Wonderful new sky blue ceiling. It's great. (The blue tape came off the walls. Never fear. We did not paint a dark blue stripe around the kitchen.)

Now we will work on the floor, then the cabinets and the counter tops. Choosing all the colors is scary. It's fun on a journal page, but not so much fun when you might have to repaint or live with horrible flecked laminate that looked good in the store.
Also, I want to thank Diane Havnen Smith who sent me this cute harlequin fellow. I have been missing him and now he's on my journal pages. Thank you!
I am sorry these photos are so gosh-awful big. I reduced them, but not enough apparently.
I am going to begin book making classes beginning February 1, this Friday, at The Accidental Bookmaker in Forest Grove (which is also Green Heron Book Arts). We will begin at the beginning, which is where I need to start. The class is every Friday for the entire month. I hope to show you what I accomplish as the month goes by.

Be good to each other out there. Leave me a comment if you're passing through. I would like to hear from you.
- femminismo

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Lots o' Hearts.

Sylvia stopped by tonight with the heart pins she made during the last Saturday night ArtHouse project. I didn't get a really good photo of them, but I hope this will do. I wanted you to see them. I love the kitty with the "map body" stretching out her paws. The one pin covered in a cookbook recipe is pretty nice, too. That makes a good background for lots of collaged images. The bride and groom in front of the trigonometry or calculus problems is pretty tongue in cheek!

And today I wrote a short story about my elementary school principal who will soon celebrate her 99th birthday. Yes, that's right. She survived teaching me (and lots of others) reading, writing and "story book problems," as they used to be called. I don't know what they're called now. Brain twisters?
Actually, next to me it was my dad who got the worst of the math homework, since he had to sit with me at the dining room table and wait until I stopped crying - so he could try and explain them for the hundredth time.
I don't know why math was so difficult, since, unlike so many other things in life, the answers to math problems never seem to change. Maybe that was the problem. Math is too logical. (Now, I know someone is going to tell me that math isn't logical and sometimes it does change. I just know it!)
Tomorrow night I am having Italian food for dinner and maybe dreams of Italy for dessert. - femminismo

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Package in the Mail!

My Valentine shopping for the Mister is done! The package from Ro Bruhn arrived today in the mail, all the way from Victoria, Australia. The earrings are lovely ... not too heavy and they have triple heart power. Thank you for the wonderful tag, too, Ro. I love it and will recycle the wrapping paper into my journal.
Did I mention the Mister's present is for me?

Today, thanks to my friend, Sylvia, I went to yoga. She invited me and I'm glad I went. I have needed the stretching, grounding and relaxation.
Dawn Sellers, one of the ArtHouse bunch, has a blog with pictures of the heart pins she made on Saturday. Scroll down her blog for a look-see. Sylvia will bring some to my house soon so I can take a photo of the ones she made.

As I sign off, I'd like to share one more photo of a friend, Fran Richards (right), who's realizing the longtime dream of having her own art space, right next to where I work in a cooperative artist space. The artists must be in their studio so many days a week and allow the public to come in and observe so many hours a week.
It's a great deal for everyone. Fran is working on pastels right now. Me, I plan on checking in so I can learn more about that particular medium. That's all for now. I hope you are creating something wonderful. - femminismo

Monday, January 21, 2008

Writing letters by hand.

Two recent articles in the newspaper inspired two things: a journal page and a letter. Handwritten letters are really very special and a treat to receive.
Where I grew up - a small town in the country with maybe 300 people - our postman was the most well received person in town, although first-of-the-month bills were probably not popular with our parents.
Whether it was a letter from an aunt or a pen pal, a birthday party invitation, the Whoopee Cushion we had saved our dimes and nickels to send away for, or that extra special love letter from that certain sailor in the U.S. Navy, the postman's small truck was listened for without our even realizing it.
So today I've jotted a short note to a friend who was written about in the newspaper, and I've addressed a 99th birthday card for my elementary school principal. I am not going to be unrealistic, but I hope I will at least send one letter, greeting card or postcard once a week for a year.
Maybe I'll even get some back. - femminismo

p.s. At right is a journal page with some of my paper towel "paper" and some good thoughts for us all.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Art House Weekend.

Saturday was an art-full day. First I helped with a reception for a photographer at the nonprofit gallery where I volunteer. Things turned out well and I started to decorate a window in front for Valentines Day.
At 6 p.m. I went with Sylvia Miller (who will have her own blog one day) to ArtHouse, a group of women who meet to make art at Bodacious Beads. Sylvia taught a class in collage. She had bunches of heart pins for us to convert via collage into whatever our own hearts desired.
It was lots of fun, with laughter and talk, talk, talk.
There are other women there with blogs and I'd like to connect us all. One of the women was the person who got me going to the gatherings, JoAnn Boatwright. E-mail her and tell her to get back blogging!
Also, my 500th visitor logged on and the visitor was from my very own town via Verizon.net. Out of all the people who've stumbled across this blog - from London, to Capetown, to New York, the 500th person was a "homey." Now on to the 1,000th!
Enjoy the heart pins. I'm going to wear one tomorrow when I ... sigh ... go to work. Nighty, night - femminismo

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Friends With Fine Talent.

Today I worked and then went to the monthly meeting for the art association where I volunteer. On my way out of the building, after the meeting, I hit it lucky and met up with an artist friend, Diana Lubarsky, in the pottery studio. She is so very talented. I first met her here in this same pottery studio, we started talking and I found out she did Holocaust art. A somber subject, but from the picture here of her new work in progress - the shofar blower - you can see the caliber of her work: very fine. Diana has been devoting hundreds of hours to making sure the man's body proportions are perfect, his arms are muscled, his ears are lifelike. Here is something about the shofar blower from the Jewish Outreach Institute. The shofar is an animal horn we blow like a trumpet. It is usually a ram's horn, but a shofar can be made from the horn of any kosher animal except a cow. Today the use of a long and beautiful antelope horn is popular. Unlike a trumpet, the shofar has no mouthpiece. It is difficult to blow. Shofar blowers spend many hours practicing before Rosh Hashana.

The shofar blower should be someone who is admired in the community, a person who is well liked and does good deeds. The shofar blower is called the ba'al tekiah. Another person stands next to the ba'al tekiah and calls out the notes.
Now we both know more about the figure Diana is sculpting. She is holding the horn in her hands and perhaps you can see it better when the picture is enlarged. Enjoy her Web site images. She has some very touching, very engaging work.
I have been busy. I hop
e you have been, too - doing rewarding, creative work that keeps you happy, healthy and sane. - with a smile, femminismo

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Greetings to Number 500!

Will you be Visitor No. 500? Thanks to Sitemeter I can tell where visitors are from (usually) and how many people view my blogspot every day. (No worries; I do not get your e-mail addresses or know any more about you than where you are from and when you visited.)
I appreciate all your visits and hope you find something useful or fun to read or view when you click on femminismo's blog.
I see people from my own state of Oregon and from other states I have lived in: South Carolina, Virginia, Florida. Places I have driven through: North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas (where my grandparents were from), Oklahoma (where my father was born) ... so many places with so many memories. I've never been to New York, but maybe someday.
Above is a November art journal page.
I have ordered Valentine earrings from Ro Bruhn in Australia and can hardly wait to get them. My connection with her has been very rewarding, and I've loved to get comments from visitors.
Five hundred visitors isn't much in "blogworld" but I'm getting there slowly but surely.
And it's not so much the number of people who see what I have to say or "show." It's the creation of art and the journal keeping online that is rewarding for me. As long as the Internet exists, perhaps floating in space somewhere in years to come - even if I'm gone - these memories of times past will be present for my great-grandchidlren.
femminismo - live long and prosper

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ever Since ...

Ever since Judy Wise helped me mend a small ripped section of a journal page with a tiny bit of paper towel soaked in paint and matte gel medium, I have wanted to try this.
Tonight, after cleaning up after dinner (I've cooked two meals this week; don't I feel housewifey?), I decided to make some paper tow
el "paper" for my art journal.
I took a paper towel square - one you can keep a big square or tear in half for two small ones, since they're perforated that way - and I dampened them good and then squeezed them out pretty well. I laid these on a thin plastic mat I usually chop vegetables on.
I squeezed acrylic paint on the towels - white, gold, ochre - and added globs of matte gel medium. I folded the towels over, one on top of the other and used my brayer to blend the colors between the sheets.
Then I opened them, checked the color and added a little purple and red. Closed them and blended the paint with the brayer, and opened them again and sprinkled luminiere powder and glitter.
Next I tore the sheets in half on the perforation and laid them on waxed paper. I let them rest for a minute while I tried to find a handy electrical outlet in my 1960s kitchen (good lu
ck!) for the hair dryer, which I set on low. I gently dried the paper towels for just about three minutes, mainly on the corners.
On the drier corners I pinched with slightly damp fingers and eventually the paper towel began to stick to my fingers and pull apart so I could gently peel it into two layers. I pulled the one layer off and put it in my journal. The rest went on pieces of waxed paper. (Don't leave them there too long.) Now I have four pieces of "paper."
With the matte gel medium added the glitter will stick and the paper will be fairly durable. I can paint over it again with more gel medium and stamp it, wr
ite on it and basically have the best time!
Here's my page (below, left) before sticking down the damp paper towel and here it is after (below, right). It may not look extraordinary right now, but just you wait!
Sorry my photos are so large
. And, I just want you to know, my purse and I were happily reunited (see yesterday's blog entry) and I have the use of my camera again! Life is good. - femminismo

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Did You Ever Do This?

I guess I'm speaking to women here, since men travel so lightly: Did you ever leave your purse somewhere ... somewhere, like in a locked building? A building you don't have a key for? A building you can't get into until the next day?
I just went to take a photo of my most recent art journal page and I couldn't find my purse. After a two minute search I suddenly (in my mind) saw my purse as my hand dumped it into an unfamiliar drawer. An unfamiliar drawer in my new desk at work. The purse officially moved to a new location today and it's still there.
My mind raced as I thought about all its familiar contents: drivers license (I broke the law driving home!), money, credit cards, address book, cell phone and my digital camera (my old pal with our love/hate relationship). It's a small purse so it doesn't hold much else, but that's a lot.
Without the camera I can't show you what I just did, but I guess I can share the anguish I feel at my reliance on technology. If anyone's calling my cell phone right now, it's ringing in an empty office.
I was so glad to get out of that office this afternoon and now I wish I'd slowed down a little bit and counted my "carry-out items." There was a little voice talking to me as I walked out, but I didn't pay attention. Shame on me; not listening.
And it's odd the attachment I feel to these items. They don't make up the sum of me, but replacing them would not be fun.
Maybe posting an old photo, something I already have, would be fun ... something to remind me of a page I did when I first started this art journaling. I always expect to be able to do everything right now, really well. But there's so much to learn about paint, brushes - all the different mediums. I expect too much of myself, as usual. Maybe it's just as well I can't show you the page I just did, since I'm not too happy with it. The older photo, of the word "next" is something I really liked. I'm beginning not to miss my purse so much. (Although the janitor better not be making calls on my phone!)

xo Take good care of yourselves and love one another. - femminismo

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Dedicated to Ro.

If you haven't heard of her, you simply must go check out Ro Bruhn's art. Her stamped journal/altered book pages have led me to new painting heights with vibrant color mixes and patterns.
And her encouragement to carve my own stamps has got me up until past 10 p.m. (again!) even though I swore I'd get to bed early tonight.
It's not Ro's fault, however. It's addictive and has kept me from snacking on chips and from biting my nails ... for a while.
I carved two stamps tonight: one is a flower inspired by a similar stamp on Ro's pages, and the other is "the woman" - as the Mister calls her - that I keep drawing over and over again. Ro says she finds carving her own stamps is "very rewarding." I'll go even further. It makes me feel Powerful. Watch out, world!
Sleepily, femminismo.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Alert! Alert! Great blogspot!

The new year is officially off to a great start.
My newest altered book (a 1941 tome on tap dancing) has a brand new stamp in it thanks to (ta dah!) MelStampz blogspot. (My carving, incidentally, is on top of a printed page from Mel's Web site. Her site has instructions for carving your own. That's her carved bird in the yellowish wood and her own stamps on the paper.)
With encouragement (little was needed, actually, since I've been wanting to do another carved stamp of my own) from MelStampz, I followed along with the directions at the blogspot.
I love crows and ravens; dark birds of intelligence and mystery. My fingertips are now very, very turquoise.
The book on tap dancing (the first page has the "New Year's resolutions" newspaper headline) is now almost entirely painted and ready to become something entirely different.
A brayer - with wax paper for a palette to mix the paint - is now my favorite way of adding color much, much faster.
I want to add many more layers of paint, stamps, etc. and give the pages more depth. This book, which was printed in 1941, does not have very good paper, but I'm hoping all the acrylic paint and matte gel medium will help preserve it and give it a little more substance.
It's probably a big mistake to choose a book so old and fragile, but I just wasn't enough ahead of the game to sew a book together out of more durable paper. I've fallen far enough behind as it is.
Hope you like the stamp. It's carved from Staedtler "Mastercarve," which cuts "like butter." Very, very easy to cut and I can even make a stamp on the other side if I get brave and ambitious.
Good night, and goodbye to the first day of the new year. - femminismo