Sunday, June 30, 2013

Truly Wild Wildflowers at Our Place

For an assignment in my Wild Art Summer Wildflowers class, we took a ride around our place and snapped a few pics of some of God’s creations.


Crown Vetch



Queen Anne’s Lace



Red Clover









(Found this purple bloom alone on the ground, placed it on top of this nearby greenery to photograph. That may explain why the bloom and the foliage probably do not go together!)   ??



Queen Anne’s Lace



Heart-leaved Skullcap












Heart-leaved Skullcap


If anyone can help with my poor identification skills, please leave a comment!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Wild Art Summer Class: Watercolor Wildflowers

First Wildflower Wednesday wm

Oh, boy, my left-dominant brain is being stretched beyond recognition. So challenging for me! But if I didn’t want to try something new and outside the box for me, I shouldn’t take a class! Sketching is a challenge by itself, but adding watercolor is over the top for me…I do recognize that these are not “good,” but I’m so proud of myself for trying, that I’m posting this anyway!

Wild Art Summer Class: Porch Swing

porch swing wm

Learning a lot in my class, but need tons of practice!—Sketching, watercolor and a bit of acrylic…

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Art Journal Watercolor: This is the Day


this is the day auto fix in pxlr wm

Continuing to add sketches/watercolor to my Purpose Driven Life altered book.

The inspiration for this sketch came from my Art of Spring class (Melissa McCutcheon).

Linking to

Art Journal Every Day

Simon Says Stamp and Show Stripes Challenge

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Art Journal Watercolor: Why Worry

little dress wm

(click image to enlarge)

I am still enjoying some projects inspired by the Art of Spring class. I love this little dress, as it reminds me of the style when my daughter was a little girl.

I’m very new at art in general, and completely inexperienced with watercolor. So, this was really fun. I used my altered “Purpose Driven Life” book for the journal.

This has always been one of my favorite Scripture passages.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Siblings: “Agape” and “Phileo”

I remember hearing Daddy’s sermons about the different kinds of love. I remember his descriptions of  “agape” (unconditional love) and “phileo” (brotherly love).

Recently my sister and my brother and I endured together the loss of our mother, after her year-long battle with cancer. The three of us shared in Mother’s care and in the administration of her affairs. We each did our part. My siblings honored me with a very nice dinner and some very special gifts to thank me for my role, but truly, we all shared in what needed to be done.

06-17-2013 Siblings Dinner

Certificate from Janene and Keith w border

(Click to enlarge—must read the “good stuff)

Precious Moments Cardinal Fan from Janene and Keith w border

Monday, June 17, 2013

Art Journal: Creative Freedom

IMG_5419 art journal robenmarie style

Taking inspiration from an artist whom I admire, Roben- Marie Smith, in a recent class I enjoyed with her as teacher, I created this page, with tons and tons of layers, many of them not even visible in the final product. I started with a couple of spray inks through stencils, followed by a couple of applications of acrylic paint on a Gelli Plate. I also enjoyed my first attempt at an image transfer (an old dictionary page). Further layers include, but are not limited to, collage elements, stamps (love Roben Marie’s alphabet stamp), acrylic paints. I especially love my new Molotow pens (white and black). And, thanks to a “virtual” friend, I was able to add a “real” Australia postage stamp! It was a really fun page.

Linking to Simon Says Stamp and Show Kraft Challenge (my kraft piece is in the center—a torn piece of kraft parchment paper).

Thursday, June 13, 2013

So Many Journals, So Little Time

It’s not surprising that I have seven art journals in progress, since I have six writing journals in progress—and oh, yes, then there’s my Smash journal. And I should add that I scrapbook everything, so I complete 2-3 large scrapbooks each year.

You might think it would be wiser to focus on one or two journals at a time. You might be right. But for me, for now, this works, because each has a separate purpose, and I pick up the journal that fits my mood at the time. As far as art journals, for example, I have an Inspiration Journal (funny that I started one just for that, as almost every page I do, in every journal, has an inspiration theme), two or three journals specific to online classes I am taking, two journals that are altered books (one an antique), and one journal that contains my first art journal attempts and remains my practice journal.

I always begin a journal on the second or third page, and I leave the cover as is, for a while. Last weekend I decided to finish the front covers of a couple of my journals, while having my own private art retreat while hubby was on a golf trip. One is a small bound journal that I work in routinely, and the other is that original/still Practice Journal.

unfinished front canson bound



art journal cover ala Balzer wm

(using technique learned from Julie Balzer in a Sakura YouTube video, using Sakura Souffle Pens and Signo Uniball White—I’m not so great at this…my husband asked, “What is it?”)


unfinished front canson spiral



practice art journal cover wm


Monday, June 10, 2013

Canvas: Forever Moments-“Vintage” Twins


Inspired by Jeanne Oliver in the “Letting Go” online class, I will be creating some pieces using a lot of vintage ephemera. In this case, I used a 6x6 canvas to put together some vintage pieces, including an old photo of my mother (recently passed) and her twin sister. They were born in 1928, so this studio picture was probably made in 1929.

The sheet music is from my own collection. The book text is from a vintage William Hawthorne work (the same book that I am using for my Blessings Journal—the one with the feather on the cover). The button (almost hidden beneath the bow) was from a group I purchased on our Vintage Findings Adventure recently (very old “new” buttons).

side view forevermoment

Linking to:

Simon Says Stamp and Show Button Challenge

Friday, June 7, 2013

Art Journal: Celebrate with Color

celebrate with color art journal wm

Okay, I am now ready to admit it. I DO NOT LIKE spray inks. I’ve tried to like them, I really have. I have used them several times, in several different ways. I have watched tutorials, I have jumped on the bandwagon of “spray inks are awesome.” But I’m jumping off. (I do that, you know—I re-evaluate; I don’t just stick with something because I once decided to try it…) So, I say it: I hate spray inks, and I don’t intend to use them again (does anyone want to buy some used sprays—I have several).

Recently I bought a new little jar of jewelry cleaner from Wal Mart. As I was about to toss the old one, I noticed the little holder inside could work as a stencil. So, I brought out the spray inks (that was back before my final decision), opened up a blank journal page and sprayed. It did work (still didn’t like it). So, I was left with an art journal spread with some cool circle stencil sprays and lots of overspray (did I mention I do not like spray inks). While I CAN do beginnings of backgrounds and leave them for some time, I CANNOT leave them for a long time, because… I just can’t.

So, yesterday I opened to the jewelry-cleaner-jewelry-holder-spray-ink page and finished it. I am taking the 21 Secrets online class from Dirty Footprints Studio and was reminded by Cathy Bluteau that flowers cut from scrapbook paper and titles cut from magazines make great collage elements. (I did not do her project, I just borrowed some of her ideas.)

I added some old book text and music, washi tape, and doodled a bit. I stamped some with Archival Ink, swiped around the edges with my new Sharpie Mean Streak (love it!), and called it done.

I like the page just fine. I still don’t like spray inks. Any offers on my stash? LOL!

Linking to

Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge with “S” (stencils, spray ink, stamps, sink of spray inks)

Anything But a Card Challenge #20 (used a found object for stencil, completed a UFO)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My Antique Book “Blessings Journal”

I have really been enjoying the online class I am taking from Jeanne Oliver, “Letting Go {Creating Beauty from Ashes}.

One of the projects from the class involves making a journal from an old book. That is just the sort of combination that works for me: LOVE art journlaing + LOVE old books. (I am also working in an altered book I started with Junelle Jacobsen in “The Art of Spring,” but it is not an “old book—I have posted some of my work from that project and will do more in that one as well.)

For this “old book” project, I delved into my treasured stack of antique books that I got from a couple of family members, now deceased. My sweet mother-in-law (d 2012) loved old books also and had saved some/retrieved some from her old elementary school (no longer in existence—Centennial School in central Missouri). As I prepared to do this project, I was torn between wanting to “immortalize” one of the old books by journaling in it, but at the same time not wanting to do anything to them. I discovered that there were two copies of one of my favorites, a collection of Nathaniel Hawthorne works. One of them had my mother-in-law’s name written in the front (her handwriting), and the other was one she had retrieved but had no personal meaning. So I opted to work in the one without her signature. I have this nagging feeling that the book may have been valuable as it was. Oh, well, too late now.

Title page w border and wm

copyright and content page w border and wm

Prepped with some clear gesso, water color paint, and then some white gesso, but I will not do much to this page, as I want to always be able to read everything here. Enlarged portions from the left side here:

authorized publishers w border and wm

(Note: my book DOES have the authorization of Houghton Mifflin Company.)

copyright w border and wm

Wow! Copyright 1879—by “Lathrop, Rose Hawthorne, 1851–1926, American nun, philanthropist, and writer; youngest daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne.”

front of blessings feather journal w border and wm

My altered cover, using a page of text from the book that I tore into the general shape of a feather and then painted.

open the eyes blessings journal pg w border and wm

I used several NeoColor II watercolor crayons for the background (over clear gesso). The spread was completed using an image from Graphics Fairy and represents my first attempt at writing with India ink and a calligraphy pen. I used the blank pages in the book that came before the title page, so there is no text on these pages.

grace like rain blessings journal page w border and wm

Love this new song (“Grace Like Rain”) we have been singing at our church, and it always brings a vision to my mind, something like this one! Not very experienced yet with water colors, but I think I like them!

And so, I will continue to work in this book, my “Blessings Journal” and will likely post pictures along the way.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Art Journal: For My Good

for my good journal page

(click image to enlarge)

Of all the media, I love acrylics the best. I just laid down several colors that fit my mood, then stippled some white paint on a few blocks and then stamped (with Archival Ink) or colored, using like colors. I covered it all with gel medium, as I wanted to have a glossy look (also, for my mood—I think glossy looks cheerful). I went around the edges with my new Sharpie Mean Streak, which I LOVE! I dipped the top of a Dixie cup in some white paint to make a few white circles.

I should just let you believe I sketched and painted the pretty tulips. But, truth to tell, I printed the graphic from Graphics Fairy, onto tracing paper (in inkjet printer), cut out around it, and adhered with Gel Medium. I love how the flowers blended with the colors to fit my mood.

Oh, want to tell about my name, Mrs. Russell Ashley Ford, that appears beneath the verse. When I heard an art teacher recently mention the use of “calling cards” as ephemera in mixed media, I remembered: When my husband was in The Basic School (officer training), USMC, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in 1968, my “training” while there with him was in becoming a proper “officer’s wife.” I was required to have “calling cards” printed. I was not asked what I wanted them to say—it was “standard issue.” So, yesterday I dug out the calling cards (I don’t recall ever using a single one as an actual calling card—you were to have them in case you visited a superior officer’s home, and their “butler” would extend a tray onto which you would place your calling card. I’m serious).

So, now I have found a good use—I’ll use them in my mixed media, sometimes trimmed down, like here, and sometimes as the entire calling card (not to be confused with modern-day business cards, by the way).

Yes, HE does work everything together for my good. I do want to remember that! That was the verse that came to mind while I was playing on this page.

Linking to:

Simon Says Stamp and Show

Anything But a Card Challenge #20

Simon Says Stamp Challenge Anything Goes

Art Journal Every Day

Monday, June 3, 2013

Adventure in Vintage Findings

Because I love, love “old” things, the use of vintage ephemera in art (journals, canvas, birch boards, tags) is so much fun for me.

I decided, in my infinite wisdom, that we (my hubby and me) needed a getaway, and my “excuse” for a trip was to find some vintage things that I could use in my art. Now, this is different from “going antique-ing” in my mind, because we weren’t looking for “antiques” such as furniture or household items to refinish. We were searching for vintage books, music, postcards, etc.

Our stops included some shops in northern Illinois and in Clarksville, MO (where the flooding of the Mississippi River gave us more adventure than we had actually anticipated). We were in seven shops in all, and I was so tickled that we were actually able to find exactly some of the things I was looking for. Here are some pics of our adventure, including my “haul.”

First Starbucks stop on weekend adventure

First stop—always a Starbucks!

Carter's Cottage in Dekalb IL 2

Carter’s Cottage in Dekalb, IL

Mediiterraneo in Dekalb IL

Authentic Mediterranean food is one of our favorites! Mediterraneo in Dekalb.

Menu at Authentic Mediterranean restaurant in Dekalb

Decisions, decisions!

Mediterraneo-Orange Blossom Lemonade fantastic

The Orange Blossom Lemonade was to die for!

Gyro at Mediteraneo in Dekalb

Authentic Gyro, yum!

Halawa and Baklava

Hawala and Baklava

My Favorite Things

Another shop in Dekalb

flooding near Elsberry

Headed to Clarksville, MO—this can’t be good!

hwy 72 about 8 mi from Clarksville

Eight miles out from Clarksville, we realized we were going to have to be creative. But finding alternate routes around Missouri highways has never been too challenging for Russell!

flooding by MS River close to ElsberryBent Tree Shop in ClarksvilleDowntown Antiques in Clarksville-flooding

We had to walk around the sandbags to get to this one! It’s right down close to the river—too close, actually!

And here’s the haul:

The haulVintage Findings 6-2013 00001

Helen of the Old House is actually a 1st Edition, a novel by Harold Bell Wright, copyright 1921. He was most known for Shepherd of the Hills. I got it for $5. I will not be tearing it apart to use on collages!

Vintage Findings 6-2013 00002

Some of these pieces of music are too special to tear apart for collage art also! Package of 20 pieces of original sheet music: $5.00!!!!

Vintage Findings 6-2013 00003

I was especially glad to find some postcards with writing on them! I believe this packet of post cards was $4.00.

Vintage Findings 6-2013 00004Vintage Findings 6-2013 00005Vintage Findings 6-2013 00006Vintage Findings 6-2013 00007Vintage Findings 6-2013 00008

(inside the miniature Sears catalog)

Vintage Findings 6-2013 00009Vintage Findings 6-2013 00010

(inside the “pocket calculator”—love this little book, about the size of a #8 tag! Hmmmmmm)

Vintage Findings 6-2013 00011Vintage Findings 6-2013 00012Vintage Findings 6-2013 00013

This was an unexpected find! Mother’s Dessert Rose Franciscan Ware came to me, and I was thrilled to find this little piece, in perfect condition.

Vintage Findings 6-2013 00014

These buttons are “new” but very old—as is obvious by the pricing on them. I paid half the “list” price for them. Most of them were originally $1.10 to $2.00 per card. I also picked up a couple of vintage photos—I have tons of my own, but I will not be tearing apart or painting over any of my own. It always makes me sad to see old photos like this in an antique shop, though—someone’s family should have these photos!

Vintage Findings 6-2013 00015Vintage Findings 6-2013 00016Vintage Findings 6-2013 00017Vintage Findings 6-2013 00018

The two-book music library is something I will keep in my Music Room—these were published by Silver Burdett in 1914.

Vintage Findings 6-2013 00019

Vintage Findings 6-2013 00022

(inside the reading book—love the color pictures)

Vintage Findings 6-2013 00020

Vintage Findings 6-2013 00021

(inside the do-it-yourself book)

And, so, the weekend getaway was good for the soul—and for the crafting supply inventory as well!