Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Just a Little Oil for Your Lamp"

Today's lesson in my Design Class was about creating a photoshop brush.

Do you know Kate DiCamillo? She wrote some amazing Kids Literature, like Because of Winn-Dixie or The Tale of Despereaux? If you don't read Kids Literature, you might consider it. It's generally written by adults and the narratives can be quite absorbing, and quite delightful for the inner kid. But it's not her Kids Lit I wanted to let you know about. She has a really inspiring journal, with stories that are "oil for your lamp" which is an expression her Grandmother used. She would give Kate a gift of a little money and say “It’s not much, honey, just a little oil for your lamp.” Kate now uses the expression when she finds something beautiful, amazing, or moving.

In the month of July, Kate received oil for her lamp from the following things (just a few from her list):

***the poems of Hafiz (“Your heart and my heart/Are very, very old/Friends”)

***trampolines (big ones, bouncing on them with a five-year-old boy

***pesto (over pasta, consumed in the backyard of friends)

***the creek at dawn and the creek at dusk (always green and waiting, full of wonders)

***dragonflies (with complex patterns painted on their spines)

***the full moon rising (and then being lowered slowly, slowly, slowly)

***laughing with friends (whose hearts I have known, and who have known my heart, for a very, very long time).
And if I made a list about the oil I have received for my lamp, recently, the first thing I'd put on it would be discovering Kate's Journal. Then there's be "a girls' day out" with my good friend Brenda, with lunch at Jane's on the Commons and clambering through the best Junque Shoppe in Halifax to find old books and photographs. Many, many altered art possibilities! Thank you Brenda!

Another bit of oil for my lamp was from my friend Carol Greenlaw of NYC, who mentioned to me about a weekly photo contest on WNYC (The Brian Lehrer show) which has REALLY interesting photo shoots submitted by street photographers. AND you can find some great ideas and techniques here. I especially liked Joe Wigfall's technique of camera at chest level but actually all of these video interviews are pretty fascinating. You can get lost in the links here for a long, long time. Thank you Carol!!!

Cathy Malchiodi wrote an interesting blog entry on Writing as Therapy. is on the subject! Very moving. Oil for your lamp.

And finally do you want some book binding oil for your lamp? You can download a fantastically wonderfully inspiring pdf of Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord's Spirt Books here. Breathtakingly beautiful!!!

That is a little bit of oil for my lamp. What have you received lately that is oil for your lamp?

PS - Here's the trailer for the film version of The Tale of Despereaux (Kate DiCamillo's delightful book)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Altering my "Pretty Little Things"

Do you remember my Sally Jean class? Hint:
I really wanted a rustic look and happened upon my buddy Jen Worden's website. She had the greatest results using Michael DeMeng's "Uuzzhh"*. So I asked her if she thought that "Uuzzhh" was the way to go. I myself am slow to use acrylics. But her results were exactly what I was after and I couldn't argue. So I tried a q-tip with liver of sulfur with no result at all and then I mixed up some "Uuzzhh" and I'm delighted. Nice and rustic!

* Uuzzhh is Golden Acrylic paint!!! Michael DeMeng uses a wash of mars black and quinacridone gold! Easy Peasy!!! Uuzzhh is his short hand for "usual"! (I'm about to Uuzzhh up everything I own. Watch out cats, dogs, hubby!!!)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

New links and inspiration

The other day art therapists, Nick Zwaagstra, Mehdi Naimi, and Mehdi's wife Anita Roy stopped by our little village. What a delightful afternoon of tea and conversation. I now have some new delightful links to share with you, thanks to Nick, Mehdi, and Anita.

First Nick has a very nice article in the Canadian Art Industry Magazine "Brush Stroke" which you can download here. His article begins on page 25.

The video of Mehdi on this link is very much worth watching. He puts together an art kit for doing art therapy in disasters, a very delightful idea, filling an old suitcase with puppets and art supplies in a very delectable way! Thanks Medhi!

Are you interested in brain function and exercise? Visit Posit Science for some really interesting research and if you have some cash to spare, why not spend it on your brain?

Thinking about home schooling? Here's Anita's take on the subject. We talked a lot about unschooling and if you are interested in that, there are links and support here. Unschooling led to Diaper Free Babies, which made total sense to me, since my childhood in Taiwan was fairly diaperless, if I remember correctly. Want to read more on the subject, click here.

Thinking of traveling but the cost of B&B's got you down? Consider Couch Surfing! Easier on the wallet than most things!

And here are two of their favorite artists, really fabulous, so do visit them:
Amy Rubin
Ken Flett

And finally they introduced us (Edward and I) to poet, Shane Koyczan, a master of the spoken word and a delight to listen to and watch. Here's my favorite poem so far (warning, it may leave you breathless):

So thank you Nick, Mehdi, and Anita! We loved your visit!

Creating more time...

Here's my first design lesson, creating these little flower elements from a png file. Then I created my own png file of the silhouette and then added the paisley layer with Clipping Mask function. The tiny brightly colored leaves are a photoshop brush. Fun, eh?

Then I turned all the flowers, leaves, and silhouette into a layer and viola!
I'm having fun creating time for creating!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Create time...

I'm beginning to think that creating time for creative work is life giving, regenerative, and lovely. Just back from a class on soldering with Sally Jean and now I've signed up for a class on digital design from ScrapArtist because if I pay for a class I will create time to do the work. Can't help myself. So I sign up for classes and create time.

Sally Jean was wonderful and you can read all about it on Kim's blog. What a blast. Now promise not to laugh, here's what I created:First attempt with solder and flux. Note to self: practice, practice, practice...

The second one has an interesting effect with beveled glass, causing a double nose and lips. I wonder if it were less centered, it might be less disturbing...
Also the quality of the photographic image of the tintypes is really astonishing if you ignore the beveled glass, scratches, and paint.

This image was created with a scanned old cabinet card, layers, brushes, and watch face element added.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Favorite Jen Lemen Wisdom So Far

Photoshop collage by Lani

Here are two of my favorite Jen Lemen postings. Just delightful.
What Catherine Taught Me or Other Thoughts on Living Bug-Free is under the category of Soul Repair Garage. What a wonderful category but the story behind it is moving, wonderful, inspiring, simple, and deep. Do read it if you have a chance. Here's an excerpt:
I’m learning now, as I began to learn way back then, that simply noticing this phenomenon is sometimes the most powerful thing you can do to get things going in a better direction. That the encouragement of friends can never hurt and that simple things–like hot cups of coffee or gingerbread cookies in bed–are acts of gentleness and kindness that can revive your confidence and remind you that what you know deep down is reliable after all.

And one more!
The Happiness of Now is on the Shuttersisters website. (Which you could do no harm to yourself by exploring, truly!) It is, as it says, about the happiness of now and more. It's short and well worth reading. Here's an excerpt:
She would not have to go anywhere else to find it ever again. It could not be contained in a person or a place or an experience or a moment. It would remain right here, right now, in her very own soul, the place where she had been reborn, the place where she could rest and wait for the very next breath to take her into the happiness of now, her truest, kindest home.

Enjoy your day now and share a little happiness. Visit the Soul Repair Garage before you really need to, that too will do no harm.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Unseen Life - the work of Jen Lemen

unseen life
Originally uploaded by jenlemen
I have just gotten lost for a couple of hours in the world of Jen Lemen. Do you know her contributions to Shutter Sisters? That's where I started. So many directions from there. I visited Jen's blog, remembering my own long lost "Peace Corps return and reintegration into North American Culture" life so many years ago. From Jen's blog I visited Sigur Ros's wild Icelandic imagery and music. Here's just one sample, there are more on youtube.

Thank you SO much Jen, for this lovely heartening adventure! I am blown away! It feels like flying. (Watch the video to the end! Wow!)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

More fun Through the Viewfinder

Our wild orchids and iris are blooming, and the fog lifted so I went out with my TtV rig and took some bug's eye view of the beauty all around. (Can you find Edward's sneaker?)

While uploading those images, I thought why not play a little, so I added TtV layers to the lovely downloadables from Digital Collage Sheets and Jackie Garbarino's new downloadable (of Altered Pages)
Altered wild orchid.



And here's a wild iris!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Art & Soul coming to Nova Scotia! Read on...

So guess who all is coming to Nova Scotia!!??!!

Art and Soul is coming in August of 2009.
Here's what Glenny has to say:

I Half of the fun of Art & Soul for me is planning future events. Everything from researching locations to watching the jury evaluate class proposals is quite fulfilling.

I am happy to announce that we will have a small retreat in Nova Scotia! The date will be Aug 10-14, 2009 and will feature only 3 instructors: Lesley Riley, LK Ludwig and Judy Wilkenfeld. They will each teach two 2/day classes. Our proposed schedule is to have classes Monday & Tuesday then Thursday & Friday, with Wednesday off as a day to explore the area. The retreat will include: classes of your selection, six nights lodging, six breakfasts, 5 lunches and 2 dinners. Transportation to Nova Scotia is not included. We will be staying at the Old Orchard Inn which is in the Annapolis Valley region and the Bay of Fundy.

Registration and all information will be on-line Aug 15, 2008. Size will be limited to 60 attendees – I hope you can join us on this wonderful adventure!

Here's what Lani has to say: I'm psyched!!!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Collage by Lani

"Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking" -John Maynard Keynes

If you had to list 5 or more wild words with an illustration that assaulted the thoughts of the unthinking element(s) within yourself, which words and visuals would you choose?