Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Morning Artwork

I've been working diligently on my submission to "The Butterfly Project" and since I'm finished it & it fits the theme for both Blue Monday and Inspire Me Monday, I thought I'd participate. I also thought showing the progression of the painting might be exciting too. I happen to have taken pictures of it a few times as I progressed, so this plan works out. The plan wouldn't come together so well if I didn't have those pics, huh. I guess I'd just have to pantomime. ;o) 
So, here we go... (click to enlarge)
1. Sketched out2. Inked filled 3. Watercolor added
...and here's the finished painting!

Title: "The Innocence"
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I couldn't be happier with the outcome. I'm also thrilled to be able to send a piece I'm proud of off to such a wonderful cause. I can't believe I get the honor of being a part of the display of 1.5 million butterflies, one for each child who perished in the Holocaust.

Also, please check out my new endeavor. In March (on one of the Saturdays) I will be launching a blog hop geared toward those of us who create art. If you consider yourself an artist at heart, please sign up your blog so I have some idea how many people are interested. Don't worry, I won't be tracking you down and dragging you back to participate if you decide later not to! Click here to read more about my "Artist's Play Room" and the start of the upcoming blog hop.

We'll talk soon, K? Oh, and if anyone out there has a secret stash of hazelnut coffee I'd be willing to do almost anything for a jar! (My town seems to be out of it city wide, huh... I'm having withdrawal symptoms. Thank God there's cake tomorrow. Happy Birthday MOM!! I Love You Muchly. :o)


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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Announcing: The Artist's Play Room

Before I make my big announcement, let me say I'm thrilled to be the newest Artist Member of Inspiration Avenue. I'm so happy that they picked me to become a new contributer to the team. Inspiration Ave. is a blog made up of about a dozen artists from several countries who get together online and inspire one another to create art. We all also have Etsy shops which we also endeavor to support & encourage. Since I'm now a member, I'll sometimes be posting information about the other artists and challenges we're hosting. 

Inspiration Avenue also wants to inspire you by inviting you to participate in the weekly challenges. The challenge theme for that week is announced every Monday. If you're participating that week, make sure you leave a link to your post in the comments section of Inspiration Avenue by NOON Sunday. We also request that you please add a link to the challenge and mention the theme that week within your post so we don't miss your submission. There are even prizes at the end of each month!

I thought I'd better participate in the first challenge (although members are ineligible for the prizes) since becoming a contributing member, lol. This week the challenge was "Letters of the Alphabet". I decided to do a sort of zentangle tile, combining Mr. Toast's "Pattern" challenge and IA's "Alphabet" challenge. Kind of a negative space kind of piece, let the tangles define the letters. Here it is. (Please click to enlarge)

Title: "I Know My ABC's"
My other announcement is that I will be starting an Artist's Blog Hop in March of this year. On Saturdays I'm hoping that all you artists come and show your wonderful art using the Mr. Linky that will be provided. If you'd like to sign up your blog now to say you'd like to participate, just go here. You will also find all the instructions etc. you'll need to know in just a few weeks, if you decide to participate. Remember, you don't have to be great, just enthusiastic. You don't even have to do the weekly challenge I'll be posting every Saturday, just post your best piece from that week, if you like. I want to encourage all those of you need encouragement and I love discovering & exploring other people's artwork. If you're going to participate, you can also add my APR button to your sidebar. I've provided it below, just copy the code in the box and paste it into any HTML Widget. I'd love for you to participate, so come on back in March and play in my Artist's PLAY ROOM!

artist's play room

(Just copy & paste into your blog post
or sidebar HTML/Javascript Gadget!)

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Well, that's it for now. It's way to late for me to be up, but I really wanted to participate in the "Alphabet" challenge so I had to finish this post and the one about APR. (I am so excited about both new things!) I have a lot of art I'm just finishing up and I'm crossing my fingers that Sunday (today, sheesh!) will be very productive... right after I get 7-8 hours of sleep! (I'll be visiting Weekend Bloggy Reading, when I get up!)


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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Are You Feeling Lucky, Punk? Well, Are Ya??!?

Yes, yes I am, actually. Thanks for asking. :o) I'm feeling totally lucky, but a little overwhelmed. In fact, my six words for "Six Word Saturday" are:
"I'm overwhelmed with art on my desk!"
What's worse, today I woke up but just couldn't keep my eyes open. I've napped the whole day away! Now I'm REALLY behind, lol. Hopefully I'll be productive this weekend. Maybe it'll be a Sweet Saturday and I'll magically catch up with everything I've been struggling with this week. Mom's birthday is Monday so that's something wonderful to move toward as the weekend moves along.

This post is being written over the entire Friday, so now I did actually get some of my work done. :o) I'm feeling ever so much better now. So, I completed a painting about opposites, a challenge from Fully Buttered Effect. I loved how it turned out! I'm just giddy with happiness, I'm getting better at seeing shadows and layers of color. It used to be such a struggle but it is something an artist has to train her eye to see. Mostly one just sees things three dimensionally. If you want to translate that to two dimensions, you have to analyze what makes it look three dimensional. See those shadows in all their glory, from the lightest hint to the darkest depth. Also, my mom is helping me understand "where the light comes from" which also helps see those shadows, even if they're hiding, lol. It's making such a difference in my paintings. (Click to Enlarge)

Title: "Apples & Oranges"
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My palette for Paint & Palette
Oh, by the way, here's why I'm feeling so lucky. :o)

Two very cool things. I signed up for the opportunity to win the of reviewing a few books over at Good Reads. Sooo many people sign up for that, like thousands for each book. Also, I am notoriously unlucky in giveaways etc. I never win ANYTHING. Now, I'm sure you've guessed... I WON. I get to read and review the newest book (not out in bookstores yet) by Lisa Gardner called "Catch Me". I'm so psyched to read and review this book. I love mysteries, 99% of the time, it's my genre.
The second really great thing that happened just this last week is my replacement iPod Nano came in the mail. As I'm sure some of you know (because you received an email from apple) they recalled the first generation Nano months ago. I dutifully sent mine in and was told that at some time a new first generation Nano would be sent to replace my "defective" one. Apparently, some of them have batteries that blow up or catch fire or something. Well, the replacement Nano finally arrived. I had told mom I would be donating it to her so she could get some speakers and download all her tunes off her iPad. Remember I got a new green 6th gen. Nano for Christmas. I thought the least I could do is set mom up with a tech savvy sound system for the apartment. Here's the very cool thing. When the Nano arrived it came with an apology letter, lamenting the fact that they had run out of 1st generation Nanos to send as replacements, so they hoped I wouldn't mind that they sent a NEW generation Nano instead. Mind? Did I MIND??!? Gee, no, not particularly. ;o)

So, now mom has a new 6th gen. silver Nano and I'm gonna buy her some cool new speakers that will keep it charged all while filling the room with tunes. I seem to be lucky this week. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket...  Hmmmm.

Gotta go, I think I have a toonie in my purse. (for my lovely bloggy American friends, a toonie is a coin worth two dollars. The name came about because the first dollar coin came out and had a loon on it, so we Canadians called it a loonie. Therefore when the two dollar coin came out... well you can see what happened, lol. Gotta love us Canadians, Eh?) I think I'll take a stroll to the corner store. ;o)


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Friday, January 27, 2012

Painting, Hopping, Pinning and Answering...

I'm hopping on over to Create With Joy to participate in Friendship Friday Blog Hop. The idea here is that Joy posts a question the week before and we, the hoppers who are participating that week answer in our Friday post. This week the question is:
What Inspired Your Blog Name?
When I first decided to blog about my new adventure in watercolors I found it a little daunting, to say the least. I tend to obsess over things when I get scared about doing it. So, there I was, mentally obsessing about both my first blog post and whether I'd even be good at watercolor painting. Now, I know this may sound self congratulatory but I tend to pick up a new craft/art medium easily. For instance, I taught myself how to make sugar paste flowers. To the right is the first Stargazer lily I did. Over the years, I'd gotten used to just being to pick up any craft without much effort. Then I tried watercolors. This was HARD. As I played with my new watercolors, (and even took a lesson or two from a famous artist in Victoria) I found myself feeling really panicky. "What if I wasn't good enough?" The dream I'd had since I was a little girl would die! I wouldn't be a professional artist. What would I do then? (Because all I REALLY wanted to do was paint, it was my heart's desire and had been for 35 years.)

So, when Shirley Schmidt (the artist who gave me the few lessons I clearly needed) came over and I lamented that I was wracked with worry, she said something I've committed to heart and used every time I feel even a little daunted by a new painting.
Paint Jenn, just PAINT!
When I went to paint the next day I felt those awful fears again. I felt overwhelmed with doubt with myself and my ability to learn how to do this. Then I thought, "Damn, it's just water, Jen. Just add water, silly!"... and my blog title was born. I knew that's what I had to remember, to paint without fear, just paint and add water, silly.

That's me and my blog title. I am totally happy with it, it's me. I did my Etsy site in the same name and also my Twitter feed is similar (Just Add Water, Silly is too many letters, so I use AddWaterSilly, you can follow me by clicking the link in my sidebar.)

I figured it was fun, a little irreverent and memorable, much like me. I have a saying about myself which goes: "I'm not mysterious, just complicated." Yup, that's me. :o)

I've done a little pinning with Pinterest lately. This has inspired me to do a piece about iris's. I just love the thin flutteryness of the petals. I can't show you the piece, as it's a surprise gift for a birthday girl. Suffice it to say I'm working diligently and I can show it in the next few weeks. You'll just have to wait.

Source: via Tracy on Pinterest
Much love and hazelnut coffee to you all. (Oh, and chocolate cupcakes... there's one with my name on it in the freezer!)

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Workdesk Wendnesday, Crocheting Around

So, here's an actual craft project, created by ME! I found a great picture on the web of a pretty headband, but with no corresponding pattern. I decided I would figure out how it was done. I mean, I'm a pretty good figure-out-er ;o) and generally smart person, this couldn't be that hard. It took some fiddling, mostly me cursing and pulling stitches out over and over. But, I finally figured the pattern out and NOW, I've written down what I did so you, my bloggy readers, can do it too!! This will take some of your own...

Ok, here we go with my (humble) instruction on how to make a lovely loopy do-it-yourself headband.
    This is NOT me wearing the headband.
    This is the pic I found on the web.
    Click to enlarge.
  1. I used light(3), fingering weight wool and a 4 crochet hook. I ended up making 16 connected loops but I have a larger head, smaller heads will probably only need 15. Happy crocheting. Oh, I'm not a professional crocheter or pattern maker, in fact, this is the first pattern I've ever made all by my self. I've tweaked some patterns but this is the first I figured out myself. Cool!
  2. Normally, this project would be for the beginner crocheter, but because you may have to fiddle to get the pattern to do what you want, I would recommend being an intermediate crocheter, or a REALLY confident beginner, lol.
  3. ch5 loosely, slip stitch in first ch to make loop. chain 3. (this counts as first double crochet.) Double crochet 10 more times in loop. This creates HALF of the circle. 
  4. (You do half of the circle all the way to the end then come back down, completing each circle to finish off where you started.)
  5. *For next circle, chain 5, connect with a slip stitch to chain 1 to form second loop. chain two tightly and slip stitch into 8th double crochet of the previous half round. This counts as one double crochet. If you are having trouble at any time, just think that the total of each circle should LOOK like it has 20 double crochets, in actuality, there are 18 double crochets, one chain two and one other double crochet looking post. I hope that's not too confusing. (when you do the chain 5 loop to put your double crochets on, it creates a crochet bit that reads like a double crochet so I count it as one to make the circle balanced on both sides). So, back to the project...
  6. Now you turn your project. I'm left handed and am unsure if this will be a problem for you, but I ended up having to turn the wrong way to get the wool on the correct side to continue crocheting. Just fiddle with it until you get so you can do a double crochet in the chain you just created.
  7. Oh, by the way, all the first chains in the loops will be all on one side so when you get to the length you want you crochet down the other side to finish off where you started)
  8. So, to continue, turn your work and double crochet 9 times in the loop.* Then repeat from * in B until you have the length you want. (Measure around your head where you want your headband to go, if you're using the actual crochet project to measure, remember to pull it tight because if you don't it will be too loose when you finish it.
  9. When you reach your total desired length, just continue double crocheting in that loop nine more times to create the first completed circle. Slip stitch into top of the 10th double crochet of the previous loop to form your first completed loop. 
  10. *Double crochet in loop 9 times and slip stitch in top of 10th double crochet of previous loop* Repeat from* until you have come to the end loop and your headband loops are filled. Slip stitch into top of original ch3. Now bring last loop and first loop together.
  11. To finish your headband project, slip stitch into the top of the 9th double crochet and then the 10th double crochet of the opposite end of your headband to strengthen and thicken connection. FInish off and hide ends of project in the rounds. Done, one headband!
  12. I hope you have fun and no trouble following my instructions. I put in as much detail as I could to make it as visual as possible. Fiddle around, you'll get it!
So there you go. Happy crocheting!

Ooh, guess what? I just made "Pre-Birthday trial run" CUPCAKESIt's my mom's birthday next week on January 30th. Since I'm NCGS (non-celiac gluten sensitive), we needed to find a cake mix that was gluten free. Low and behold, Betty Crocker makes two different kinds! Chocolate and yellow cake. Yummm! We're "testing" the chocolate tonight. Heehee! I haven't had dessert for like 6 months, dieting. I'm having a damn cupcake tonight and I'm gonna COVET it!

Just so it's clear, I am still working on art, not just scarfing down cupcakes and crocheting headbands, lol. Here's a picture of my Workdesk, Wednesday... (I'm a little overwhelmed with projects.)

Ooh, I gotta go make my hazelnut coffee!! It's going to be a good, good night. :o)
Here's wishing you a cupcakey week ahead.
We'll talk soon, just don't interrupt my cupcake eating. ;o)

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Turquoise Lovin' On Creative Tuesdays

Title: "Blue Without You"
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Back of Bookmark
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Close-up of Heart
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For Mr. Toast's "Patterns" challenge. I'll be back on Friday with stuff!

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Blue Monday

Nope, I'm not unhappy. I'm just sharing my newest piece or art that happens to be blue. I'm also linking to Blue Mondays and Inspire me Mondays. You'll find many lovely artists there showing their latest work.

So, the question is, what inspires me lately? I have a great answer for that. My inspiration has given me more energy than I've had for 10 years. I'm finding that I actually have to force myself to go to bed because I'd work and create into the wee hours of the morning. Also, I've never been a morning person but I find I wake up at 8:00am  promptly every morning. What a wonderful buoy to my spirit this has given me. I happier than I've probably ever been in my 41 years. Here's my inspirational muse.
I know, gluten free Celiac Disease Awareness seems to be a strange thing that's inspiring me lately. But since I found out I was gluten sensitive and totally revamped my diet, I feel so much better I'm jumping for JOY! Before discovering my inability to digest gluten, therefore setting up an allergic reaction, I was sleeping 18 hours a day, in pain constantly, looked like death warmed over and found myself catching every illness I came in contact with. I've been on a gluten free diet for about 6 months, it will take almost a total year for my body to heal from the decades of damage done because of the gluten. But, after 6 months I feel like a new person! It can only get better from here. My life will finally begin again.

I'm über busy this week, here's my To Do List:
  1. Draw out Butterfly Project piece.
  2. Draw out Ellen's project.
  3. Make font for Ellen's project.
  4. Paint Opposites project for "The Fully Buttered Effect"
  5. Read "Catch Me" mystery by Lisa Gardner (sent to me for review)
  6. Do review and blog post about "Catch Me before the book comes out in two weeks.
  7. Write post about new amazing artist I came across.
  8. Crochet fingerless gloves & matching headband.
  9. Finish Macro flower painting that's on my desk at the moment, waiting patiently.
  10. Dr. appointment on Thursday morning & next Monday afternoon. Two different doctors, sigh.
  11. Find another way to cancel magazine subscription because (fricken!) 1-800 number doesn't work in Canada, apparently. (Jen rolls eyes heavenward)
  12. Go to both "The Hive" and "Blogaholic" to participate or they'll think I died.
  13. EXERCISE (I'm losing weight and I'm gonna look like a wrinkle dog if I don't tighten up "stuff")
  14. Clean up the damn house! 
  15. Shower at midnight, when I actually have a minute to breathe!
  16. Remember to eat, LOL.
  17. Actually get back to my friend Ellen. Sigh... guilt.
  18. OH, also, make mom's birthday cake for next Monday, grocery shop for birthday dinner & wrap her present... (don't read this one, Mom)
Did you notice that #1 is crossed out? Yay, I have ONE finished... here's what I got from #1. (click to enlarge)

Title: "Corn Flower Visitor"
The corn flowers will be fuchsia pink and the swallow-tailed butterfly is blue, black, red and cream. The background will be a mixture of mossy green watercolors. The butterfly will be the most intricate part, but probably the most fun too. I want to try to get him "correct" so I did a lot of counting of sections and black lines, lol. It's surprising how symmetrical a butterfly's wings are. This always makes me think of how cool genetics is.

I loved learning about genetics in University. Even high school was illuminating on the topic. Have you learned about genetics? It's truly cool. Like how two brown eyed parents can have a blue eyed child but the reverse isn't true, blue eyed parents can't produce a brown eyed child. I always found that so cool, learning about alleles and the chi square rule... but I'm meandering here, and probably boring you.

Ok, I have to stop wasting time (although I'm totally enjoying it!) and go conquer my daunting list. How's your Life List this week? Breezy or daunting? 

I WILL return with a Macro flower to post about soon (even if it kills me, damnit!) He sits forlornly on my work desk, waiting for me to love him again and stroke color over his petals. Sounds kind of sensual, doesn't it. I guess I need a boyfriend. ;o)

We'll talk soon. (I can bribe you with chocolate cupcakes from my freezer, if that' necessary.)
Much Love my bloggy friends,

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Is There A Theme Going On Here?

No, there isn't, it's a total coincidence, I promise. I am NOT obsessed with butterflies. It just so happens that the next few projects will have those lovely etherial creatures in prominence. I'm working on one new project that is larger than I usually work. So, I decided I'd kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. I decided to do a mock up of the idea I've been mulling over for days and since I wanted to participate in a new art bloghop I discovered, I thought I'd do my trial run as a postcard. It was kismet when I discovered that I had the paper already precut! I then discovered that the new theme was dragons so I did this zentangle instead.

Title: "Dragon Breath"
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...So, back to my two projects. Here's a picture of the mock up for the piece I'm doing that will, in it's final size, be 17x11 inches.

Title: "Butterfly Rising"
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The finished project will be turquoise, majenta, green and two shades of blue (for the sky). I can't wait to see the final product. After the art is sent to where it's going I'll post it here for all of you to see. :o) My other project is also, coincidentally, a butterfly. I've decided to do another butterfly specifically for The Butterfly Project (click the link to go to my post that explains the Project fully). I just wanted to put some serious effort into it and think of the meaning as I created it. Also, the piece can be up to 8"x10" and the bookmark I was going to send is so small comparatively. I'll probably still do a butterfly on a flower, and it actually may be a corn flower again, I guess I want this piece to be made especially for the exhibit at the Holocaust Museum in Huston, not just a bookmark I made for someone to purchase. Does that make sense? I hope so.

Well, it's like 3 in the freaking morning here and I gotta go to bed. For serious. It's so weird to have this kind of energy, all because of the creation process. Strange.
Nighty Night my bloggy friends,

(No coffee offered tonight, it'll keep me up and YOU should already be in bed! Shoo!)

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Bookmarks...

I finally got these laminated so they can go up on my Etsy store, and since I've been busy crocheting, cleaning house, making "The Butterfly Project" button and learning how to add Pinterest to my posts (in LOVE with Pinterest), I've had no time to finish the two pieces of art I have on the go now. They sit on my lonely desk in my art room. They call to me as I sit, guiltily doing other things instead of painting.

Title: "Face The Sun"
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Title: "Sunset"
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Title: "King Me"
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Title: "Cubbies"
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I therefore thought I'd at least post some sweet content to keep you all happy. I especially love the orange flower. It turned out beautifully. (I'm visiting Pinning & SingingSweet SaturdaysSerenity Now Saturday & Palette & Paint Thursday, on the left, I posted my palette for the flower and another piece not posted today). I also love the back of the double sided bookmarks. I inked up the backs, defining the abstract watercolor painting and I think it really improved it. Adding ink to the back of these small pieces is helping to buoy my confidence to add pen & ink to some of the abstracts I've done in the past. One in particular could really use it. I just looked at it one day and saw an amazing pink rose in the middle with myriad leaves surrounding it. Let me go see if I can find it...

Title: "Abstract Rose"Matted Painting
So, do you see a rose (side view) surrounded with different kinds of leaves in the abstract painting? I'm getting more confident to try to define the rose I see. I'd love to hear your opinion.

Finally, I'm attaching my "Butterfly Project" button from my sidebar, so if you want to add it to a blog post you can feel free to grab it. Just right click and choose "copy link". Then when you are doing your post just click the "insert image" in the toolbar and add it as a URL. I'm so hoping that more people hear about this wonderful tribute to the children who died in the Holocaust. If you want more information, I posted about The Butterfly Project in this post.

I'm now on Pinterest, if you'd like to follow my pins, just click on the follow me on Pinterest button to the right of this post. You can also pin any painting/image on my site just by clicking the "Pin It" button situated at the end of each post. Clicking the button will bring up all the images on my site, you just choose what you want to pin! Have at it, people. I'll see you on Pinterest! It's addictive.

I will be back with both a painting and probably the crochet project I've been working on (headbands & fingerless gloves). I'll even post the instructions if they're free to the public. Cool.

One more thing, I'm playing along with "Six Word Saturday" at Show My Face, where you describe your life right now in 6 words... (my entry's a little tongue-in-cheek, hehehe)
I'm Too Busy For Words!
One last thing, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! to my most favorite male person on this whole planet. I can't believe you're 18. Wow. I'm so proud to know such a stellar human being as you. Much love from me.

We'll talk soon,
I just made a hazelnut coffee... Mmmm. :o)

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