Monday, April 30, 2012

Artspark's MAY DAY tutorial blog tour

Welcome to Artspark's 2012 May Day tutorial blog tour!
Each of the artists has put together a wonderful little sets of instructions for you to follow.
Spark your creativity!

April 30 - Tracie Lynn Huskamp

May 1 - Traci Bunkers
Gelatin Plate Printing on Fabric

May 2 - Lisa Engelbrecht

May 4 - Melanie Testa
A Thimble Purse Pattern

May 5 - Lyric Kinard

May 6 - Jill Berry
The Layers of my Heart

Friday, April 27, 2012

New Head Shot

The last time I flew out to a guild to teach, the first words out of my hostess' mouth were "your hair is  LOT longer than your picture." Poor thing couldn't find me in the airport. I suppose that means it's time to update my head shot with the new longer hair.

Whadya think?
I set up the camera on a tripod and took about a million self-timer shots.
This one turned out fine although it doesn't show off my white streaks as much as I'd like.
I call them my "natural highlights."

Or I could use one of these - but hubby thinks they have some sort of fish eye thing going one because I was holding the camera too close.
 I like the funky background better - but looking at it now - the focus is bad.
I will not whine about hating my hair here. Or that it took 30 minutes just to get it to look like this. With my spunky short "do" it used to take less than 30 seconds to make it look great. You can read about why I'm not cutting my hair here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Opening your sketchbook: overcoming obstacles

It's difficult to find time to open my sketchbook and draw - that's nothing new so I really have no excuse. There are two things that help me overcome obstacles to drawing in my sketchbook.

1 - Have a sketchbook with me at all times. 
 This tiny little 3x4 book fits in my preferred little hanging pocket of a purse.

This is my every day working toolkit - sketchbook and pens/pencils.
The slipcover (tutorial here) leaves pockets inside the cover that allow me to carry my 3x5 index cards as well as postcards of my artwork. I give out postcards rather than business cards - they tend to end up on a wall or refrigerator rather than stuffed away in a wallet. 

When I want to really immerse myself in what I'm seeing I take time to not only sketch, but to paint. Sometimes I'll pull out a larger watercolor sketchbook, but often just carry along a couple of postcard sized pieces of watercolor paper.

2 - Stop thinking it has to be GOOD!
Start thinking of art-making as PLAY rather than WORK.

Over at the Sketchbook Challenge we're having a LOT of fun with the theme of OPEN.
Pop over there for a minute and check it out.

Here are some of the ways I've been playing with OPEN in my sketchbook.
Open the book while waiting for an appointment. Just play around with a pen, or with shape, or with filling in the dark spaces.

Play with leaving space open, with different textures and patterns and lines.

Play with positive and negative space. Play with how much or how little you need to draw in order to define an image. 


What are some of the obstacles that keep you from your sketchbook?
Are they self imposed?
What can you do to overcome them!?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Freeform Screenprinting

screen print by Sally Westcott
I thought I'd share some of the wonderful work by previous on-line students of
There is still time to sign up for the next session
four lessons, one opening each week
beginning in two weeks - May 4th
There are extra weeks with no lessons - giving you plenty of time to work.

screen print by Susan Price
Look HERE for an outline of the class

screen print by Maggi Birchenough
 You can register HERE at 

screen print by Susan Price

Friday, April 20, 2012

Creative Wisdom/Faces on Friday: doing the work

I've been thinking about my favorite subject again. Why is it that people are afraid of drawing? I say this almost every time I open my mouth in a lecture or class. We have to give ourselves permission to be imperfect. We have to give ourselves time to learn. I think it's crazy that we assume we are not an artist if we can't automatically draw the first time we pick up a pencil. We don't expect a food lover to be a Chef until after they've trained. We don't call someone an author without them first having learned to read and write and compose.

Here I am an artist- and I have to admit that I'm sometimes guilty of it myself. I sketched all the time but was afraid to draw a face because - well - it's HARD! I finally stopped whining about it and decided to 

The goal was to draw a face a day for a year. I'm not so good at consistency when it comes to things like daily tasks - there is is too much "life" going on at my house. But I did fill the box. And I'm still doing it. I used 3x5 cards instead of sketchbook because they are not "precious." They are kind of junk paper. You can't ruin something if it's already junk right? 

Guess what - it's paying off.  

The time and effort and the work, workwork.  It's paying off.
More than once in the past few weeks I've held up a sketch to show a member of my family and they immediately knew who it was. That's huge progress here. :-)

Mind you - it's by no means effortless. I still have a long way to go but it's such a fun journey to be on. What pleasure to open the box and see how far I've come.

How about you?
For those of you who followed along last year - have you seen the fruits of your efforts?
What is easier now that you've put in some time doing the WORK?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

SurfaceXplorations! A new emagazine from Interweave Press

I'm very happy to introduce you to a new e-magazine by the talented crew over at
Interweave Press
Surface Explorations is an all digital publication and can be downloaded to your desktop or to your iPad or other tablet. Even though I can do everything on my desktop that this publication is meant to do - I'm thinking an iPad might be in my near future. It's that COOL!!!

I don't think printed media is going away any time soon - there is nothing like holding a good book in your hand and turning a page and electronics and the beach don't mix. BUT - you can't click a link to go straight to a source or watch a video of the author actually showing you how to do what you just read about in a paper magazine. With this publication you can do that and more.

I'm very honored to be included in the inaugural issue of SurfaceXplorations with an article and video on Thermofax Screen Printing. I'll show you a little bit about discharge (and remind you why testing is important!) and just plain have some fun with paint.

Some of the other authors are giving you a little peak into their contributions to this fun new digital publication. Stop by each of their blogs to check it out.

Mon 4/16 Lindsey Murray
Wed 4/18 Jackie Lams
Thu 4/19 Lyric Kinard
Fri 4/20 April Sproule
Tues 4/24 Jane Davila

If you are interested in learning even more about screen printing, I have an on-line class called Freeform Screen Printing opening up on May 4th over at! We'll go even deeper into thermofax screens and learn a lot about regular screen printing too.

Scroll down a bit for another post about it or check out the class description here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Copyright Free Images: The Commons at Flickr

In an ongoing effort to help you find copyright free imagery, or imagery with "no known copyright restrictions" here is another source.

William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877)
Collection of National Media Museum
Photomicrograph of insect wings, as seen in a solar microscope.
We're happy for you to share this digital image within the spirit of The Commons. Certain restrictions on high quality reproductions of the original physical version of apply though; if you're unsure please visit the National Media Museum website.
For obtaining reproductions of selected images please go to the Science and Society Picture Library.

According to the site's description of the rights statements:
Participating institutions may have various reasons for determining that "no known copyright restrictions" exist, such as:
  1. The copyright is in the public domain because it has expired;
  2. The copyright was injected into the public domain for other reasons, such as failure to adhere to required formalities or conditions;
  3. The institution owns the copyright but is not interested in exercising control; or
  4. The institution has legal rights sufficient to authorize others to use the work without restrictions.

You might also like to explore: 
The Library of Congress
WikiMedia Commons

Friday, April 13, 2012

Copyright Free Images: Wikimedia Commons

Another favorite site of mine for finding copyright free imagery to use in my artwork is
It is a vast repository of imagery available for download under creative commons licenses. You can find very old illustrations, vintage photography, and contemporary photography. 

You can search through the site for all sorts of subjects.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

For Your Inspiration: From the Air

Furrows in the Sky by Lyric Kinard

Progressive Rhythm by Lyric Kinard

Glory in the Sky by Lyric Kinard

And also from underground.
Detroit Airport Tunnel - Lyric Kinard
My favorite color combination, even if it only lasted a few seconds. The colors change with the music every few seconds. I have to say that it's really great "rushing about from one place to the next" music... one one of my favorite airport experiences. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Teaching: Fun With the West Michigan Quilter's Guild

Step on in and take a peek at the wonderful day of playtime fun we had with the West Michigan Quilter's Guild in Grand Rapids. Surface Design Sampler Platter is a crazy class - six surface design techniques in six hours. It's a mix of kindergarten playtime with a little touch of insanity thrown in.
Printing with Thermofax Screens

The first "oooohs" and "aaaaahs" as students print with their own hand carved stamps for the first time.

Citra-Solv Photocopy Transfer
A tutorial can be found here
Getting creative - adding a decorative boarderstamping paint with the end of her knife around a photocopy transfer

Working out a design for a small art quilt - she's colored in her photocopy transfer with colored pencils.

Choosing a favorite design from which to make a sketchbook slipcover
A tutorial can be found here
And much fun was had by all!!! Paint, foil, photo transfer, stamp carving, stenciling - and finally - BEADS! 

All in one crazy class!

If you're thinking to yourself - I wish, I wish, I wish I could take this class....
All these methods are taught on my two DVD workshops.