Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Ash Breeze - Cover Art

My husband Steven gets The Ash Breeze in the mail. It is a journal of the Traditional Small Craft Association. My dad used to get this publication when he was alive and I believe that's how Steven first found out about this boating publication. They also receive a copy of this at Lucas Boatworks where Steven works. Imagine Steven's surprise when he picked up the latest issue and saw familiar boats on the cover . . . .

The cover painting looked like a scene from the Traditional Small Craft Association (TSCA) Festival races held locally in Cortez, FL! At first Steven recognized the boat on the right with the black sails. The boat in the foreground did not register with him immediately but he did notice a very familiar Cortez melonseed behind it to the left. The duck on the sail is a symbol that Dave Lucas always uses on the Cortez melonseed sailboats that come out of his shop, Lucas Boatworks. It was only after recognizing these other boats and confirming that the cover art was a painting from a photograph taken during one of the Cortez races, did Steven go back and look again at the boat in the foreground. He certainly was not expecting to discover the cover featured a gorgeous boat my father built. To top it off, it was Steven himself sailing my dad's melonseed - Wind Dancer! Steven called me at home and told me to go out to the mailbox and look for our copy of the Ash Breeze, then call him back after I had seen the cover. What a most wonderful surprise! Steven and my dad refinished this boat in March 2010. Steven entered it in the 2010 Traditional Small Craft Association race in Cortez, FL on April 17, 2010 where the photo for the cover art was taken unknowingly.
Steven with my dad's beautiful hand built boat at the end of the TSCA Festival race
around the islands on April 17, 2010. The water is obviously very shallow here.

Steven, me and my dad, the builder of the beautiful boat, wind dancer

Refinishing "Wind dancer" march 2010

There was an article about the cover art, inside the Ash Breeze called: Art and the Sea with Bob Semler. A website was listed for the artist who painted the cover and Steven and I both visited. Steven wrote an email to Bob too, shown below. Bob Semler replied to Steven's email and said, he thought some prints were being made and "Perhaps you can stop by and see the original when I get home" (he is traveling).

Hi, My name is Steve Deming and I’m interested in a print or two of your recent cover painting that appeared on the cover of The Ash Breeze magazine. I’m the sailor of the main subject melonseed in the foreground. Rather a pleasant surprise when I got my copy of Ash Breeze today! The boat was built by my late father-in-law Dale Andrews of Bradenton (and Connecticut). He died last October of liver cancer and my wife (his daughter) and I moved down here permanently to Bradenton in 2009 to be near by and help out wherever possible. Dale and I set up a small boat shop in Bradenton and he was able to work with me building and rebuilding small boats right up until he died. The 2010 Cortez Small Boat Festival (subject of your painting) was the last time he saw his melonseed being sailed. Thanks in advance, Steve Deming Bradenton, FL


"Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections.
~ St. Francis de Sales 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

NEW SWAP Announced! (Tropical Storm gone)

I have just announced my new Creative Swap and encourage you to take a look. It is going to be inducing a lot of creativity, I think! You must go read this post for all the details on our 3 for 3 Prayer Flag swap.
I really enjoyed making my first prayer flag. If you did not see my previous post about this, you might want to click on that link. To see a wealth of prayer flags, individually shown and also hung together beautifully, check out the flickr pool of photos on the prayer flag project group. Amazing!!
We have been dealing with Tropical Storm Debby since early last weekend, but today the sun is shining and the high winds have stopped, phew. We fared very well compared to those who lost power or have had flooding. I am very grateful we were affected in a fairly small way. Many are coping with the aftermath in a pretty difficult way, but for me the aftermath consists of picking up lots fallen branches and sticks in the back yard. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay has been re-opened after 3 days of being closed because of high winds (up to 62 mph). This is unheard of, the length of the time the bridge was closed! Our boat Chelsea, which hangs on davits at my mother's dock on the bayou was in danger of sinking at one point. The rain was coming down so hard and fast that Steven had to siphon the water out of her and raise the boat up higher on the davits. The top of the dock was under water for a bit, but mom's house is up and away from there and she was safe. The past 2 days I've found breaks in the rain to walk the neighborhood with Asia & Chloe. We were going a little stir-crazy, not wanting to drive anywhere and run into any flooded roads-plus it was often still raining hard. We saw that the Manatee River, very near where we live near looked okay, but there were lots of downed branches, leaves and fruit from the trees. I decided it was raining mangoes! 



Happiness is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.
  ~ Anonymous



Sunday, June 24, 2012

my first prayer flag

Prayer Flags. Have you ever made one? 
Traditional Tibetan prayer flags are usually squares or rectangles of brightly colored fabric, often woodblock printed. Buddhist prayers, mantras and symbols are displayed on them. These flags are hung in multiples on a line, and often in a distinct color sequence. It is believed that by meditating on the prayer, wish, or hope that is used while making the flag - and then by hanging it, the wind will carry the prayer far and wide and bless all the wind touches.

Recently, I became interested in the newer mixed-media/fiber/fabric version of the traditional prayer flag and did a search online . . . I discovered that the magazine Cloth Paper Scissors had done a cover story about Prayer Flags in their March/April 2012 issue-maybe you have this issue? I don't, but was still able to learn more about prayer flags via an online how-to article by Cate Prato on the CPS site. Read it too, by clicking on her name! 

After reading this I decided prayer flags would make a wonderful swap, so watch my creative swaps site for an announcement soon. For this swap, I am organizing a 3 for 3 swap (make 3, receive 3) so it won't be too many to make. Swaps will not be due until the middle of September - plenty of time for you to make your prayer flags. There will be a registration fee to join the swap that will include return postage and handling, documentation of your flags on creative swaps, plus a short lesson on how to make them, by me! My idea is that you'll make some flags to swap and also a few more for yourself, so you'll have a nice bunch to hang when the swap is complete and be inspired by other talented artists. What do you think?
Above, the back of my "balance" prayer flag

I am looking forward to this! 


Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people do that but the really great people make you feel that you too, can become great.
  ~ Mark Twain


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Friday, June 22, 2012

steven's art: handcrafted paddles

My husband Steven started making handcrafted, custom made paddles earlier this year. It was a natural thing actually. He was a white water kayak guy for many, many years and he still loves flat water paddling. He always tells me that the paddle is your connection to the water. When we moved here, he spent much time with my dad learning woodworking skills he never had before, so he was in perfect alignment for this. I believe his paddle making started with my friend Cheryl Wilson, who gave him the idea to make a paddle for stand up paddle boarding. Here is Steven with his first paddles on December 31st, 2011! The SUP paddle is hanging right next to him.
And here's me and cheryl with her finished SUP paddle on January 7, 2012
Since then Steven has been perfecting his skills . . . 
He has even gotten out his airbrush, tried various kinds of wood and techniques.
His paddles are purposely extremely lightweight, weighing only 20-25 ozs.
They are also very beautiful.
These paddles are practically dripless (no water on your lap when kayaking) because of the way Steven shapes the paddle blades; see below. He uses tools that were my dad's to make these including some tools dad made, keeping dad and all he taught us in our hearts and our spirits.


The blue specked paddle above is Cheryl's new kayak paddle!

I have just finished editing and producing a set of videos that show Steven's process of airbrushing a "night sky" star design. One day I went to Lucas Boatworks where Steven works on these and other boat related things and filmed him as he worked. I will embed this first video here. There are 3 videos total and you can find them here on my YouTube site if you so desire a peek into his art! I am obviously very proud of him. There was a lot of raw film that had to be edited and I had to learn how . . .  but I did not mind the work at all. xoxo



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Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.
  ~ Anais Nin


art journaling for me

I am really happy to be tuned in again to Art Journal Every Day with Julie Balzer. I feel at peace when I see I have created another spread. You can play along too and work in your journal every day if you like, even if it is just for 10 minutes. Or, you can do as I am now and embrace what Julie said earlier this year: "you don't actually have to art journal every day to be a part of Art Journal Every Day." - What a novel idea! It really freed me up. I seem to work in my art journal a couple of times a week and with Julie posting on Fridays about art journaling and giving us the opportunity to share our work, this gives me a deadline to meet. I am happy to say my personal art journal filled with positive affirmations is growing beautifully.
This spread started with an interesting magazine page I came across when searching for letters to use in a previous spread. I ripped it out and placed it on my desk and left it. When I came to work in my art journal again, I started by ripping around the edges of the picture so it would fit my journal page. Once it was attached to my journal, I spritzed it with water to distress it. 
I painted the opposing page with Halo blue-green Lumiere.
I brought some of the blue-green paint over to the other page with the magazine paper.
I added more water and rubbed the paint around and onto the magazine paper as well.

Over the painted page, I placed a photo of my husband Steven looking out the window on the floating chapel we went on last week, and my chosen affirmation. Both were printed on a clear transparency sheet with my inkjet printer and attached with my xyron system. The "sail" and sailboat is a subscription card to Sail Magazine I picked up when walking the beach with Steven not too long ago. I made it into a tape transfer with packing tape on the front and soaking and removing the paper from the back. That is why you can see the green paint through the sails!
I added white netting over both pages, and there is also a bit of a map design paper napkin (one layer only) on the bottom of the left page. The green thing hanging down is a little compass Steven found on the beach that was attached to another page. I sprinked a bit of light blue stardust glitter on to tacky glue on the white netting (click for details).
Go here to read this week's ART Journal Every Day post and join us if you like!! 

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If you want to do something, do it!
  ~ Plautus




Thursday, June 21, 2012

carving a bracket stamp

I am taking an online course with Julie Balzer called Stamp Carving 101. I am really enjoying being her student and especially enjoying that I am taking the class at the same time as my friend Linda Kunsman. We are making tags for each other with all the stamps we carve and we'll send a nice fat package to one another when we finish the lessons -whoop!

Lesson 5 was carving a bracket stamp:
Using a pencil to transfer a ink jet printed design -
Adding more details with a permanent marker

Starting to carve away the excess . . 

more carving
cutting off some of the extra

test printing

more carving needed!

looking better! 

one tag for Linda, one for me!

this has been great fun and I still have a few lessons left!
You can join in anytime - Stamp Carving 101.
Here is Linda's bracket frame -check it out, it is wonderful. She is very talented.

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It's not the men in my life that count, it's the life in my men.
  ~ Mae West

(ha! these quotes are picked randomly, really!)




Wednesday, June 20, 2012

float and dance

Last Wednesday Steven and I joined my friends from Conscious Movement and Nia for a sunset cruise on America's only floating chapel. Below is a photo of my friend Cheryl Wilson in front of the chapel on Sarasota bay . . .
Cheryl is obviously very happy to have received the kayak paddle Steven created for her,
painted in pretty mermaid colors (the top one)

Yes, the chapel floats and we all boarded! 
This boat/ chapel cruises the beautiful Intra-coastal waterways between Sarasota and Anna Maria Island on the gulf coast of Florida where there are beautiful sunsets. We danced into the sunset on the only floating chapel in this Hemisphere -the other floating chapel is in Australia, wow!

I have created 3 very short videos from this event with the help of my husband Steven, who filmed 2 of them. 
You can find all three of them on my You Tube page: www.youtube.com/creativelenna.
My favorite is the 3 minute one titled: The Floating Chapel, dance and float!
My friend Frieda told me it had her dancing in her studio in Scotland! 
We are cruising into the sunset as "Shout! You make me want to shout!" is playing.
~ such fun. 

Thanks for tuning in . . . more art to come.

You never know what you can do till you try.
  ~ William Cobbett



Sunday, June 17, 2012

A well of love resides within me


I am really enjoying the positive affirmations my friend Joanna gave me. She created a fantastic project with them as part of the design team for Gauche Alchemy. She calls them Affirmation cards. Read all about them via that link!

I did not plan to use my personal art journal for affirmations when I started working in it but once I used the very first one: I appreciate all that I am and all that I have - well, I just kept wanting to use an affirmation on each spread. And so, I have. I will probably write some of my own affirmations in the future, but for now each time I work in my journal I pluck one from the list! This time instead of typing, stamping or writing by hand, I went on a hunt through an old magazine for just the right letters and words, like a "ransom" note . . .

This journal page started with soft pastels over receipts and photos
from our anniversary trip . . . click for details.
The receipts are from breakfast at Panera Bread in Vero Beach
and getting gas in Okeechobee, FL. The Welcome! is the front of a room key card holder.
 The Ocean Mist paper is the wrapper from the soap
in our Hotel room at Vero beach! I had to save it and then use it!!
I used a soft fluffy brush to smooth out the pastels.
I added various spray dyes & inks . . .


I decided to use the room key card holder. Notice the card sticking out of it?
The card is a leftover bit from another painting project of mine.


I am loving this, and it is mine all mine!
Sometime soon I will start my Sketchbook Project 2013.
It is due in January. I really enjoy participating and sending my journal off.
Not to be seen again by me, but by many others instead when it is on tour.
There is something special though, about creating this book for myself.

Thank you to Julie Fei-Fan Balzer for getting me to show up in my journal every week!
Art Journal Every Day
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
  ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

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