Getting started and going for a swap!

The first project of the year will be a swap! The Sketchbook Project sets up these mini-projects to sign up for during the year outside of their self-titled, main project. The one I signed up for is called ‘The Ampersand Project‘:

Being that “&” means “and,” we feel like it’s the perfect character to symbolize an exchange that connects you and another person. Make a simple image that interprets this unique piece of our letter-set and we’ll send you the work of another participant in exchange.

They provide you with a board to use that is 5×7. Everyone in the project gets the same board to keep it consistent (and probably so someone doesn’t mail in a 7 foot sculpture although that would be cool). I started laying down some of the paper foundation tonight. I am going to use telephone book (remember those?!) paper as the foundation for the ampersand, building up the layers and then cutting out the shape of the ampersand so that you can see a scene behind it. I knew the paper from phone books was thin but it’s really thin – this may take quite a few layers to build up some thickness but I think it will be better as it will dry/harden more uniformly.

ampersand project card

My initial thoughts are to build up the layers, then cut the ampersand out (very carefully). I will paint a scene on the board and when you lay the cut out ampersand on the board, you will be able to see the scene behind it. Another possibility is to have the ampersand paper be cut in half and somehow hinge open to completely reveal the scene which has formed in my mind as a beach with a shipwreck in the distance.


After the base layers are built up the top layer would be of green foliage so it would look like you were looking through shrubbery onto the scene. Some issues I can think of immediately are the hinging aspect and the toggle to open close. Could be too fragile but I really like the idea.


Very quick sketch (those are palm trees with coconuts in the background!). This layer would probably be painted onto the board.

We will know how it all turns out by early February as I have to postmark it by Feb 15th!

What are you working on this month?

Global Sketchbook Project Day

Today was the Sketchbook Project meet-up day at the Brooklyn Art Library. I almost didn’t go – it was such a perfect Sunday to do nothing. Just sunny enough, just breezy enough. Did I really want to go hang out with people I didn’t know, who might not even show? But I did go and I’m glad I went!

Initial Sketchings
For one thing, I got the first 3 layouts outlined for the 2013 Sketchbook Project. I wanted to do the sketchbook project last year but it didn’t happen. This gave me a good jump-start on the project. What will be interesting, of course, is to see how they actually end up from their little humble sketched beginnings.

Then I met a really great person who I intend to stay in touch with. She is here in New York for the summer for graphic design internship at Bon Appetit magazine (nice!). She was starting a new, personal sketchbook that would most likely document her time here and I made it into her book! I gave her my card to keep in touch and she gave me my own page as her first friend in New York. Sniffle. How could you not want to be in touch with someone who makes such a nice gesture?

On top of all that goodness, I bought a design book I had been wanting to read, There is Nothing Funny About Design, AND I came away with two small piece of collage that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Now THAT is a perfect Sunday!

Initial Sketchings
Initial Sketchings

Seeing Visions

all three vision boardsI am part of this really cool 8 week coaching intensive program, the Live Your Dream Challenge with Jenny Fenig, success coach to savvy women-on-a-mission, and our first assignment was to create vision boards – a way of seeing what your dream looks like to better help you achieve that dream. You can use magazine images, typography, anything you want really, that will convey what you’re wanting to happen. It’s fun making time to just sit and pull out pictures and words that you really like and focus on yourself!

I was reading Inc., a magazine for entrepreneurs, I found this quote:

“If you have any more than three priorities, you have no priorities.”
– Maggie Fox, CEO, Social Media Group

When I read it I thought that would be a great starting point for the vision board assignment. I’ll choose my three and then give each of the priorities its own board. It’s so easy to have all these goals lined up and be surrounded by to-do lists that are just over-whelming sometimes but what are the three most important things to me right now? What do I really need to focus on to get all those other lists done? It didn’t take long to choose my three areas – Business/Career, Self-Esteem, & Home.

business vision boardBusiness/Career
This one is high on my list right now because I am currently working on a re-launch/re-branding of my business as an independent designer & consultant. I thought this board would be harder but once I saw the title ‘The Business of the Studio’ in Where Women Create (Spring 2012), it all fell into place. The office space, the charts of details and always leaving room for the self and growth both as a person and as a business-woman. The little green ‘Au’ boxes say Autonomy underneath. Judging by how many I included those little boxes, I’d say that’s a pretty important part of having my own business for me!

self esteem vision boardSelf-Esteem
This one actually proved to be the hardest. I originally started with ‘Health’ but couldn’t get the images quite right – I was choosing a lot of exercise images which is definitely something that is important to me – so I let it sit overnight. I realized this morning that it wasn’t physical health that needed focus but mental health. I am very upbeat and positive about the goals and dreams of other people but don’t really save any for myself. My inner dialogue is really quite rude and that’s quite enough of that thank you! I chose two of the exercise images to keep because exercise is a big part of my self-esteem and feeling good about myself – I danced for years so any extended periods of inactivity really drag me down. The serene background and the quotes are about finding inner peace through listening to yourself and finding what makes you happy.

home vision boardHome
I want one! A home, a house, a space to decorate, to entertain friends – I used to do this all the time when I lived in a bigger apartment and I really miss it. Also, a house would mean more room to create art. My little apartment is so cramped (and it looks like a hotel room – all it needs is the check-out sign on the door!) it’s hard to store all the bits and pieces needed to create the kind of art I really like much less have the space to do the art and display it or store it. This one will take awhile but it’s on my radar! In the meantime, I’m trying to clear as much clutter out of my apartment as possible so that I can do more to make it feel more inviting.

A Certain Shade of Lipstick

I was so excited when I received the most recent Anthropologie catalog. The cover was perfect for a poem I had been saving from a magazine that I didn’t want to get rid of but didn’t know what to do with, either.

Ink Outlines
The poem starts out “I like a certain shade of lipstick…” and goes on with references to war, cabaret and far away places covered in snow. I felt that the lighting in this catalog cover image conveyed that feeling of another time and place. And of course she is putting on that certain shade of lipstick!

I started out with a sponged layer of gray paint and then mixed red and black to deepen the tone. I really like the pops of red because it pulls in that distant war that is going on the background. When I first glued the image of the woman down, she didn’t stand out against the strong paint so using a black outline technique I read about recently, I outlined her and the mirror and even added some lines to the image itself to give it some movement.

close up of lantern
For the text, the paper was so new looking and even with the edges torn, it still stood out too much. I took a Prismacolor Marker in 10% Cool Grey and colored over the paper and then, with a Pigment Pen wrote over the typed letters to soften the it and make it feel like the woman in the image had written it herself. I ran the marker over the text again once I was done writing. Once the glue was on the paper, it thinned it out even more allowing some of the bumps from the paint underneath to texture the paper and with a few more dabs of paint, the paper blended in really well. I then used some of the thick, leftover paint to really add some depth under the lanterns.

Poem is ‘Instant Past’ by Elaine Equi, featured in the 2008 issue of Pool poetry magazine.

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Art Journal Week Four: All Because of Tea!

Did you know that January was National Hot Tea Month? I saw this in the window of the the grocery store so had to be true!

In racking my brain for an inspiration for this week’s art journal, I kept coming back to the tea. I do have a couple of other ideas that will show up in the next few weeks but this is the one that stuck for this week.

I had originally though of doing two facing scenes for two different types of tea drinkers – maybe old world vs. modern or Asian vs. English, something like that. And/Or to use actual tea bags – sans the tea – as the background but couldn’t quite get it to work.

In my quest for teapots and cups, I rediscovered a particular Anthropologie catalog. It had a kind of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme so one would assume there had to be something related to tea in there (hello mad hatter!) though not as much as I thought there would. They focused more on the fantastical elements of down the rabbit hole and the large and small element of  the story. All of the elements in the collage are from Anthropologie catalogs, though. I save them because they are always so arty and different from any other catalogs I get. The photographers and stylists have to love their jobs at least a little!

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