Monday, December 26, 2011

Soul Expression's 15 Day Art-Making Challenge

Happy New Year 2012!!!

We Dare You! to take on
Soul Expression's New Year
15-day Art-Making Challenge

What makes an artist an artist?
An artist makes art; they do it, they engage in the process of art-making.

What would help you get motivated to start making art in the new year? to be or become the artist you are in 2012?

How: Commit to create 15 pieces of art in the first 15 days of 2012. (Not necessary to make one piece every day; 15 pieces in 15 days!)

When: Art-Making Challenge is from January 1 to January 15, 2012. Exhibit, sale, reading, and ATC Swap is Saturday, January 28, 2012. Please register by December 31.

What: An individual piece of art; any medium, any size. Such as: Artist Trading Card (ATC), 16x20 Acrylic Abstract, 6x6 Collage, Haiku or Free-Verse Poem, Ceramic Tea Cup. . .

Who: You and all artists up to this challenge; the more the merrier! Pass this challenge along to others.

Participants will be able to share their experience and post pictures of their process on Soul Expression's Blog. More information will be provided after registration.

To register, provide name, your email and description of art you will most-likely be creating (i.e. size, medium) and $20 check to: Soul Expression, c/o donnalynn, PO Box 320433, Los Gatos, CA 95032. You can also email registration and pay fee at:

All artists who finish 15 pieces of art will be invited to display their work at an exhibition, swap, reading and sale (totally optional) at Chase Art Studio on Saturday, January 28, 2012. If you want any more clarification, please contact donnalynn chase at 408.674.5956 or email at

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Peace on Earth - ATC Series

Making art heals. Being in the process of creating is blissful. When being totally involved in art-making, time flies, hunger is ignored, the inner critic is silent, the heart is peaceful, and all ills seemed healed. Sigh. Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone made Artist Trading Cards (ATC) and healed themselves, as well as the world. 

 This holiday season, I made 60 ATCs to give away and trade. The series is called "Peace on Earth". The main figures are royalty-free electronic clip-art of Victorian-era holiday images from Dover's Christmas Illustrations. Each image was sized to fit on an ATC, changed to gray scale, and faded at an edge so not to appear too crisp. Then the images were printed on transparency film by a laser printer, trimmed, and pasted on assorted holiday designed ATC paper (sold by Soul Expression). The embellishment of the cards were mostly by rub-ons with some stickers, rubber stamping, and transparencies, and a few gel pen and jewel accents.

If only peace on earth was as easy as making a miniature piece of art. Sigh. May we all be happy, free from suffering, live in beauty, and have a joyful holiday season and new year.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Autumn Sweeties: November ATCs

It is still very much autumn to me after a mild summer; trees in my neighborhood are just beginning to turn colors. So I very much wanted to convey the season with my monthly-trading ATCs. As a student of the Japanese haiku poetry, I have come to understand the importance of  season words (kigo). An universal and timeless image associated with a season can strongly influence the response of a reader. For instance, how do you feel when you see a lone leaf fall from a tree? What thoughts arise when sitting on a patio wrapped in a shawl underneath the glow of paper lanterns? How do your senses react to a picture of pumpkin pie? I attempted to apply this concept to this month's cards . . .

For the background and backing of the ten ATCs, I chose Soul Expression's assorted package of autumn designs and solid colors. Then I took a rubber stamp made by ©Leavenworth of Japanese lanterns inked with copper pigment and stamped each card. The result was very subtle and the card needs to be tilted to the light to show the details of the stamp. After the ink dried, reproduced die cuts from Germany of vintage children were adhered with YES! paste (my favorite). Then little cute stickers from K&Companyand eksuccess/Jolees® were added to each card. Often I remove a layer of foam height from stickers; if the card cannot fit into a clear sleeve or envelope, it is too thick for me. I take what I want from prepackaged stickers, borders and ephemera; cutting and piecing different elements together instead of taking it directly as-is from the package.

The final touches before the solid backing was adhered, was the sponging of vintage photo Distress Ink around the edges of the card, after rounding the corners. To me, the cards communicate a feeling of nostalgia and changing of season through the simplicity of a few images with autumn colors. What are your thoughts, or rather, feelings? Would love to hear from you . . .

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day of the Dead ATC

Who better than Frida Kahlo to send greetings to all on the day of the dead?

This is the latest Artist Trading Card (ATC) series that I created in the spirit of Halloween, Segaki and the Day of the Dead. I made many to give away to my monthly trading group and friends during this time of year; when the veil is thinner between this world and spirits of the "other" world.

The background was created months ago when I was experimenting with Adirondack® Alcohol Inks on glossy white cardstock. I always keep stuff that I either play around with to get a feel for the materials or make during demonstrations for a workshop. NEVER throw anything away - it will probably be useful some day! Though this way of thinking could be the reason my studio is stuffed full of too many materials and papers...

Anyway - I cut the cardstock down to 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches (ATC size) and used Staz-On® Ink (solvent ink won't smear or wipe off on glossy paper) with the rubber stamp. This great stamp is from Stampa Fe Art Stamps in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I had the great pleasure of visiting them last year and came home with a suitcase full of rubber stamps (well - almost full)! A bright red gel pen was used on her lips and a white gel pen was used on the skeleton. Then Ranger's SticklesTM Glitter Glue was applied sparingly on the skeleton's hat. A little rub-on element was adhered to each ATC along with a great lace adhesive tape made by decollections. It just felt to me that Frida would have demanded some silk, lace or embroidery.

A trading card is never finished until you sign the back of your ATC with your contact info and date. I also always title my series and indicate the number of cards made. A Canson® Mi-Teines paper was used for the backside of all the cards.

There wasn't enough of the alcohol ink backgrounds for all 21 cards, so I used different paper with designs for many of them. They all turned out pretty good - or at least, everyone who received one thought they were pretty cool. And - they were so easy and fun to make!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Inspiration & Affirmation: the 50 - 50 Artist Show

You have got to go - go to the 50 - 50 Artist Show III in Pacifica before it closes October 2nd! The show features 68 artists who completed 50 pieces of small art work, in one medium, in 50 days. WOW! Each piece is 6 x 6 inches and mounted all together by 7 across and 7 down with the 50th piece on its side. WOW!

I went last Saturday with a good friend, totally unprepared to see the feast of artwork on the corridor's walls. Oil, photographs, acrylics, folded paper, encaustic, cloth, pen, watercolor, ink, colored pencils, enamel & more as abstracts, collages, realistic drawings - you name it! VERY inspiring and affirming - to see soooooo many different and unique ways for artists to express themselves. Each of them had their own vocabulary - from paintings of skirts to papers in foreign languages, from dog portraits to digital bright spots, from ceramic pieces to cartoon-style drawings . . .

The exhibit is at Sanchez Art Center and is open Friday through Sunday, 1:00 - 5:00 pm. Admission is free and the art is for sale, most of it right off the walls. More information and directions are at the Sanchez Art Center web site. Also on the site is a list of the artists who participated. If I remember correctly, I found out about this show through Janet Jones, an artist in the show, and wonderful collage artist who I admire. Janet's blog has additional information about this special annual exhibit.

Wow! Aside from being affirmed by witnessing so many different ways of expression, I was truly inspired by the small pieces of art. Intrigued to see how they interacted together and how they could stand alone. Inspired to continue with my small little endeavors of Artist Trading Cards (ATC) and SoulCollage®. Also inspired to start a series of 6 x 6 inch collages - practice for next year's show. Wouldn't that be cool to be in this juried exhibit in 2012?!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Latest Artist Trading Card (ATC) Series: Dare to...

Gosh. It is the last day of August, almost the last hour, and this is only my second post. Lucky for me tho' -- I have spent LOTS of time in the studio this summer month!

Every month I make a series of ATCs to mail to my mother, Jeanette, for a ATC swap. She got hooked making ATCs about the same time I did, in August 2009 (that is another good story/post). The thing about getting hooked is once you make so many cards, you have to do something with them. Hence, Jeanette started a monthly ATC swap via the mail. The way it currently works is: the participants each send six ATCs to her; she sorts them into seven bundles so the participants each get six cards from six different artists; and, then she mails them back to us. WHAT FUN! And - it gets us making new cards every month.

This month I created a series of nine ATCs entitled "Dare to. . . ". which featured an old photograph of a woman which I hand-tinted. Ahhh - it was so much fun! I went to an antique paper show in San Francisco earlier in the month and bought many old, sepia colored photographs of people for about $1 a piece. For this series, I chose nine different women's photo, scanned them, reduced them and printed them on my laser printer. Then I cut them out, chose a 7gypsies® background paper to paste them on, hand-tinted them with watercolor and Derwent Inktense pencils. Then I rounded the corners, mounted that piece onto a backing paper from Soul Expression's vast selection of precut ATC paper, and inked the edges with Tim Holtz's Distress Ink. I then typed on my old antique Underwood typewriter a word (which completes the phrase "I Dare . . .) on vellum paper & pasted the word onto the ATC. And, for the final touch, I used a gel metallic pen to accent some of the card images. Below are some of the cards.

I like how the words typed on the vellum appear faded and don't stand out too much; especially on some of the others. "Vintage Photo" is my favorite Distress Ink which I applied on the edges with cosmetic sponges that I buy at the local dollar store.

I tried not to get too carried away with using the metallic gel pens  (Sakura Gel Pens are my favorite).  I drew with watercolor pencils and by taking a slightly wet brush to the colors, I was able to get the color density I wanted. The quality laser paper which I printed on was very tolerant of wiping and getting wet (a few times).

This is probably the oldest photo I found. Gosh!isn't it great! 

Cutting small objects are tricky with either an exacto knife or small scissors. Yet I think more detailed cutting makes for a more interesting image.            

Derwent  Inktense pencils are like watercolor pencils - yet they are much brighter and when dry are no longer watersoluble. Notice how bright the yellow cloth is with an Inktense pencil.

ATCs are great fun
and great for experimenting with different materials to discover their unique qualities.
I dare you . . .