Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Day 22 - Old

Todays stroll challenge word is: Old. Most of the buildings in my neighbourhood are from the 1920's or more more recent, so finding something "old" that appealed to me was a bit of a challenge. What I found was an engraved stone on the face of an old building that was originally built as a Kresge's. I remember these stores from when I was a child - mostly for their lunch counter, and ice cream soda's… Do you remember those? It was a special treat to be taken for one! The Kresge's in my 'hood was opened in June 1926, and I found a picture of the opening poster online, which I've incorporated into the journal page. Hummm, now I have a hankering for an ice cream soda (I probably haven't had one since I was about 10!)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Day 21 - Loud

I saw this sign on the side of a mobile Fireworks store that was stopped in the parking lot of the local plaza, and thought it was a pretty good way of illustrating the stroll prompt word for today: Loud. I love the loud bright colours and simple boldness of this sign, and decided it would be a cool journal page! My lettering, I don't love and may someday work on a bit more, or not. I used a few layers of paint on my page, and gel pens, stamps, a mask, and Sharpies. I've decided I don't have a lot of patience between layers waiting for the paint to dry… good thing I've got never ending gardening to do while I wait.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Day 20 - Progress

Todays prompt word for our stroll challenge is Progress. Property values in Toronto are really high and seem to be continuing to rise. I bought my home in 1991, as a Power of Sale, which meant that the bank was trying to get rid of it at a fairly decent cost, probably because they had had to foreclose on someone. It needed a lot of superficial maintenance but has proven to be a wonderful, sturdy, well built home. At the time I was quaking in my boots wondering how I would manage the mortgage and taxes and upkeep on my sole middle income salary, but with a bit of scrimping, (and a border for a while), I managed to eventually pay off the mortgage and keep my sanity without too much trouble. But now….every house in my neighbourhood sells within a couple of days, and almost always over asking, at what I consider astronomical prices. Bungalows (like mine) get torn down and monster homes built in their place. Gardens and green space are disappearing. We sit outside a lot on the porch and watch the world go by, or work in the garden, or in the winter, shovel, but we rarely see any of our neighbours out - everyone seems to stay inside. Companies are hired to maintain the lawns or plow, or they are left unkempt. Is this progress? It's good for me I guess - certainly the value of my home is way more than I ever imagined. (And I'm lucky right now to have good neighbours who probably won't move in the near future). But I worry about the "youngsters" coming into the market and buying homes that are surely putting them into financial stress… and what would (will) happen if the interest rates increase? I often wonder why people want to buy a home if they aren't interested in keeping a garden or maintaining their yards and buildings. I also watch as some of these new homes are being built and see a lot of poor craftsmanship (especially in new condo developments), and wonder what will happen in 10-20 years when these places start falling apart. Progress? I'd rather see affordable housing and a change in direction to smaller homes with more yards and green space. (Is my age showing???)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Day 19 - Tiny

Todays prompt word for our stroll is: tiny. I didn't go for a stroll today - my husband and I went for a drive, about 2 hours from home to an afternoon workshop at Muskoka Birds of Prey. We got to handle, feed, and fly, and play with about 8 different birds - owls, falcons, and hawks. It was an awesome day! My picture is of 1-2 day old quail; so very tiny - each would probably fit on a teaspoon, with room to spare. The sad part is they are being raised as food for both the birds of prey, and people. I had to resist being squeamish many times today. For my journal, I've kept it simple - a simple drawing/painting of a quail feather.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Day 18 - Contrast

Wow, I am so loving these challenges! Each day we are given a prompt and then we go for a stroll in our neighbourhood and take a picture related to the prompt. I've started noticing so much more as I go for my walks! And I'm taking this a bit further and am challenging myself to do a journal page (or more often than not) at least a background, each day. Today I saw an awesome painting on the side of a building that contrasted colours and black/white in a number of different ways. When it came time to work on my journal I decided I wanted take the idea colour on black and white, and use my Color Crush paints, Golden Interference Paints, and Micaceous Iron Oxide. They all have a shimmer, and when painted on black, really come alive, in unexpected ways. I wish this photo could show you the wow factor better!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Day 17 - Text

Much nicer out today so I took an early morning stroll looking for examples of text - the prompt word for today. I found a few interesting signs, but this one on a new diner, struck me most as a good potential for a journal page. I did the journal page in an iridescent dark blue, then added something called Color Shift (Red). To my surprise the Color Shift turned a very iridescent blue in the thinest layer - it's awesome in person! (I have a few other Color Shift colours and will try them on black tomorrow; prior to today I've only used them on light colours). My name I brushed on with white, and wished I had practiced to see if I could get a better broken stroke… something to strive for.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Day 16 - Reflection

The prompt word for todays Stroll Challenge is Reflection. I took the photo yesterday afternoon when I heard we were expecting lots of rain, and a grey day, all day. I'm glad I did because I'm not about to go outside - it's miserable out! So this morning when I looked back at my photo, I was filled with self doubt, self criticism etc., and decided to take my journal page in new direction playing with the word "reflection". The photo is my reflection in a car window, taking the photo. The journal page has turned my self criticism into a reflection of body acceptance. The quote I found and transferred into a metal tape, reads "WARNING: Reflections in this mirror may be distorted by socially constructed ideas of beauty". The background started with a metallic grey and from there, I used paint and stamps.

Zentangle Challenge #317 - Photo tangles

It's been a while since I did the Diva challenge (, and I really want to get back into it. I've been concentrating on art journals, which often include tangling. This week, one of my journal prompts was similar to the Diva challenge - or at least my interpretation of it was. I used a photocopy of a picture of the muscles involved in doing a wrist stretch and tangled around it. So I'm "cheating" and using it for this challenge too since I just finished it today. I have some mild issues with carpal tunnel from my days working in libraries handling books, and it is aggravated by gardening too, so I'm trying to be more mindful and take time to stretch and take breaks.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge- Day 15 - Crack

The word for our Stroll Challenge today is Crack. I got lots of photo's of cracks - in paint, wood, and brick, but when I saw this crack and the yellow paint on the parking lot, I decided it would make a wonderful journal page background.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Day 14 - Pattern

Todays word is Pattern. I came across this piece of wood in a fence that had partially gotten wet and loved the way the wet made the grain pop. For my journal, I glued on some wood paper to my page and did a technique called Zentwinning (something I learned from another Zentangle teacher/artist). I used a micron pen, Zentangle Tangles, Inktense pencils, and my very favourite Derwent Graphitint pencils. Fun prompt.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Day 13 - Night

Todays stroll word is Night, which makes it difficult to photograph and post during the day…..Also, this is a long weekend in Canada, which means fireworks tonight. So I'm starting with my journal page, and will add a photo of fireworks later if we get out to see them. Journal page is covered with black gesso and Golden Interference Violet, and a stencil.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Day 12 - Trash

Day 12's prompt word for the Stroll Challenge is "Trash". It's a cold, achy,rainy day, and one of those days I want to just nap, drink tea, and, unusual for me, I don't feel like doing art. Just no motivation, and some days I have to give myself permission to do what "needed" to be done then just let it go. When I saw the prompt was trash, the first thing that came to my mind was something that drives me nuts - cigarette butts! I really, really hate that it seems to be acceptable to just toss them wherever! (I've never been a smoker, hate the smell and look of others smoking, and the smell on clothes and hair if I'm around smokers… plus, I personally think it is the ugliest habit anyone can have…) I think you get the point. I didn't have to go far to find a butt - right on the sidewalk in front of my house, by my beautiful phlox. I couldn't decide what to do with the journal page so just broadly followed the design and colours. I wanted to add further but there was no inspiration. So it will stay as it is, or someday I may go back to it.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Day 11 - Sign

Its sunny but quite cool today. Today's prompt word for our stroll in the 'hood is "Sign". I love these prompts because they really give me a focus to look for on my walks and I see things I've never noticed before. I've rarely looked closely at signs to see what interest they held. There are lots of signs - street signs, road signs, construction, advertising, lost animals…. This sign in front of a popular restaurant/pub nearby caught my attention. I love sitting outside in the patio here on a nice day but today was too cold, and it was too early for a glass of wine… though I was tempted to order a mimosa! My journal page was quick and simple today - it's a long weekend and there is oh so much to do (fun things, of course). I used black gesso, and a "new to me" resist (which was very cool and I'll be using it again), General pastel pencils, and some stickers.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Day 10 - Wildlife

The prompt word for todays Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge is Wildlife. The only photos I had a chance to try for today were birds in the distance, and that didn't speak to me. So, from a past collection, this is a hawk (or falcon? or some other bird of prey..) that perched in a tree in our neighbours yard, over a year ago. He was there for quite a while, and of course all the other birds disappeared. I've started a journal page with a photo transfer, which I think turned out quite well, and some acrylic paint. It's a page to add to at another time, but not tonight!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Day 9 - Plantlife

The prompt for todays stroll challenge is "Plantlife". I have a small but fabulous garden, and this year the tulips have been incredible. I didn't take photo's this year unfortunately because there are probably double what you see in this compilation photo from last years garden. I have these wonderful tall yellow tulips that change just a bit every day and end up quite orange. For my journal page, I played with acrylic paint and a sponge to create the background, then acrylic brush strokes and tombow markers for the tulips. The quote from Socrates is: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new"

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Day 8 - Ground

Todays prompt word for our stroll challenge is "Ground". I took several photo's on my walk, but purposefully walked to a place where I had seen this awesome driveway. I want one! It is better environmentally because rainwater soaks into the ground instead of all running into the sewer system. And, I think it looks great. (I would probably weed it, though the dandelions look pretty today, but that's just me….) For my journal I used acrylic paints and a stencil then went over some of the lines with a Fabriano pen and Tombow marker. I should have done a base coat in grey then topped it with some green, but I am rather happy with this - I think at some point it will make a cool background.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Day 7 - Sky

Today's word prompt for the Artful Adventures Stroll is sky. It was a very blah day - grey sky for most of the day with few distinctive clouds. Late this afternoon it cleared up but the sky was a palish blue, with few clouds and certainly none of interest that I saw on my walk. So I flipped through my photo's and found one I had taken in 2013, right off my front porch. Very unusual clouds, and gorgeous light. My journal page was done with acrylics and Pan Pastels. It's finished for now, but I'm thinking that this is a page I might come back to some day and add more - at least a quote. But I'm happy with it for now.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Window

Todays prompt for our Neighbourhood Stroll is Window. I saw lots of very cool windows that I hadn't noticed on this particular walk before (and I walk it often), which just goes to show how much we miss when we aren't mindful. I took a photo of an awesome stained glass window - beautiful colours and design and the sun was shining beautifully on it. I would have loved to see what it was like from the inside. For my journal page I intended to keep it simple because it was a busy day for me, but here it is, very late for me and the page took longer than I thought, and maybe isn't finished. I'll look at it again in a couple of days. I used Pan Pastels, which are fairly new to me, and some Zentangle.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Day 5 - Shiny

Today's challenge was to capture the word "shiny". I didn't go far today because I had a busy day with friends at a workshop dyeing paper with Indigo ink. I found "shiny" in my own back yard where I have some small circular mirrors (called Dancing Mirrors) hanging to reflect the light as they spin in the wind. Beautiful all year round when they reflect on the snow, or on the grass and flowers. Even on some dull days they pick up light and reflect it around. I had saved one of the broken circle mirrors so I've added bits of it to the journal page painted with metallic silver, copper, and Color Shift Red - all shiny! I added a piece about the history of mirrors from an old book, and two quotes that found inspiring: "There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." (Edith Wharton); and, "You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul." (George Bernard Shaw)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge, Day 4 - Mailbox

Quick journal page and photo today for the prompt "Mailbox". I'm going to an Indigo dyeing workshop today, and have my brother visiting for the weekend so will probably not have time to work on a more detailed page. The photo is my mailbox with yesterdays "junk" mail. I can't believe how much trash I get every day… For this prompt I tore a piece from each bit in my mailbox and pasted it on a black gessoed page. For those of you familiar with Zentangle, I also added a Bijou (snail) since I have a concrete one on my porch.

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge: Day #3 - Fence

Day 3 of the Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge and the theme is "Fence". When I went for my walk today - focusing on fences, there were many observations. First of all, I was surprised at how few fences, particularly interesting ones, there are on this particular route in Toronto. Second, I was surprised at how many fences are built so you can't actually see anything of what's behind them. I grew up with white picket fences which are low and have spaces between the slats, so one can see over and through. There are an awful lot of fences built tightly and high and I was not happy that I couldn't see what was going on behind them. My third observation was that I never realized that I hadn't ever spent much time noticing fences. this cedar rail fence caught my eye because we used to have some at the old cottage - a bit of country in the city. My way of processing these inspirations is evolving, and right now I'm thinking I need to go for my walk, take photo's related to the prompt, then I want to try to do an art journal page each day, inspired by the prompt, and photo. The thing is, I want to loosen up and try to accomplish an inspired journal page, but use a minimum amount of time, concentrating on various media. I want to let go of self criticism and just follow my impulse and try to portray what I have captured from the camera, onto the page. I don't love this page, but I am happy with my experiment with torn paper. And it was fun.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - Day #2 - Transportation

My preferred way of getting around is to walk if I can. Every day I try to go for at least a 40 minute walk and often do much more. I like to look at houses and gardens, or the beach, or shops. I don't listen to music while I walk. I didn't take a photo today because I wanted to be inspired by my walk and go home to play with paint and stencils and "things", and add to the journal I started at the Color Crush workshop with Nathalie and Birgit. On this page I tried to capture the grey/blue feeling of the overcast sky and the cold Lake Ontario water. The usually beautiful beach is under a lot of water and much damage has been done. On my walk though, I did see some butterflies, birds, and interesting circular architecture. The feet are a very rough try at stamp carving (I wasn't walking in bare feet yet - it's still too cold)…

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge - #1 - Home

I'm doing a 30 day challenge called Artful Adventures. Day one is to take a photo and/or do some artwork inspired by the word "Home". This is a photo of an area I have set up each year in the back yard. My "Merlin" carved wood overlooks my frog's driftwood and rock garden. I'm going to add a second picture - my art journal picture resulting from this photo. I started a journal in a workshop with Nathalie and Birgit (Color Crush) and want to continue to fill the blank pages with this challenge.