Thursday, February 25, 2010

More Altered Photography...

More before and after samples from the Altered Photography class...

Naples pier, Florida

Sculpture park in Seattle, Washington

Fort Worden in Port Townsend, Washington

Hand altering photos gives bad photos a new life and can make already decent photos more interesting. You can make them colorful and silly or go with the look of your choice: classy, serious, ghostlike, beautiful, scary, thoughtful...


Monday, February 22, 2010

Altered Photography class

On Saturday, from noon to about 3, I had the pleasure of teaching an Altered Photography class at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center. Thirteen very cool ladies took the class and it seemed like they had some fun. Of course, most were from the Kalamazoo area but Lansing, Ann Arbor, Battle Creek and Chicago addresses were in the mix too. I'd like to say that my reputation is building but the Chicago and Ann Arbor gals were in town to visit with their moms. :)

As is typical, I got caught up in the activity and forgot to take pictures to show you. I do, however, have scans of the photos I altered in preparation for the class. All these photos have been hand altered (no digital playing here) using sandpaper, an awl, watercolors, pastels and/or markers. I don't think they are "done" yet, but it's a start...

Most everyone in the class played with their own photos and wound up with some very cool images: a beach scene is now in bright turquoise and pink with "1950" scratched into the background; an already beautiful close up of a flower now has a grid-like background that helped to highlight the flower even further; a playful dog in the back of a pickup truck is now painted an even more playful bright blue; a self-portrait was outlined and the background painted so that the figure became almost ghostlike; many vintage ladies (including Amelia Earhart) in brown got makeovers and became more colorful versions of themselves; and, even a moss covered phone booth from a Washington rain forest got to make a statement. Now that your interest has been piqued, I'm so sorry I don't have pictures of it all.

This class was full. In fact, we actually had to turn a couple people away. With this kind of interest I'll be offering this class again in the summer.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

One World One Heart Winner

Actually, there were lots and lots of winners. All of us that traveled about reading the many blogs of very creative people won because new friends were made, new techniques were learned, and new inspirations became possible with each click. Last year I frantically went to each blog entering to win a giveaway. Craziness! This year I was more deliberate, visiting many fewer blogs but staying longer at each. Much less craziness and much more enjoyable!

My random number generator (each kid picked a number between 1 and 277, I added them up and divided by 3) points me to Heidi at Create - Reach for Something More. Congratulations Heidi. I hope you like the frame.

To those that entered: thank you for your interest. To those that made a special comment: thank you very much for reading and scrolling through my blog. And to those that will stick with me for a while now: thank you very, very much and I look forward to getting to know you better.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Artist Spotlight - Kim de Broin Mailhot

What better weekend to introduce you to someone that is the author of a blog called the Queen of Hearts? On February 14, with thoughts of valentine's and love, I'd like to introduce you to someone that just oozes good thoughts and cool art.

Kim de Broin Mailhot is an upbeat, kind, and giving blogger. I'm quite confident that she is also an upbeat, kind and giving person (sadly, we've not met in person). She must have her bad days as we all do, but even then she offers words to inspire and lift up others. Her artwork is usually bright, colorful (gee, I wonder what attracted me to her work?) and fun. She also has quite a campaign going. No, she's not running for office. She anonymously leaves painted rocks about town to get others thinking. Her "Rock My World" rocks have been a real hit and are available for purchase so you can make your piece of the world a bit better too.

Kim and I "met" last year during the One World, One Heart blogging event and have corresponded since. I always read her blog and hope that, after reading her interview and enjoying her artwork, you'll check it out too.

Kim de Broin Mailhot,
Mixed Media Artist, Rock Fairy, Blogger

Where are you from? And, where do you live now?
I was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and lived there until 9 years ago when I moved to New Hampshire to marry my sweet hubby, David. I still go back to Montreal monthly and have a wonderful family and many great friends there.

What is your art education?
I am a self-taught artist. I have taken classes here and there in drawing and painting but I am really an explorer of a wide variety of art mediums. Experimenting and learning how to use many different tools and techniques is a big part of the creative process for me.

Have you always been an artist or are you “new” to it?
I have always enjoyed art but I think I became an artist in my 20’s when I realized how wonderful it felt to take time for myself and to be a creative being. I learned to express my feelings and thoughts through art. I have often described art as therapy with a paint brush (cheaper that the other kind too, but just as effective I think!).

What is your specialty? And, have you always worked in this medium?
I have dabbled in all kinds of different mediums, from paper mache to stained glass to jewelry making to painting. Right now, I work mostly with acrylic paints, india inks, and a lot of collage.

One constant since I started exploring my own artistic talent is working an art journal of some kind. My art journal has become a place where some of my best art work is created, but also some of my worst. My favorite thing about it is that it becomes a document that chronicles my experiments with art, but also my life and thoughts and feelings. It is kind of my way of leaving my story out there in the world.

What does your work space look like?
I am lucky enough to have a whole room dedicated to my studio space. It has a large bay window which brings in a lot of light and the window sill is filled with plants, many of which flower all year long. I also have two French doors that lead out to a big outdoor deck with I love in the summertime. I have a lot of storage space, with a large armoire and an old dresser with big wide drawers. I do my art play on an 10 ft kitchen counter top supported by two nightstands I purchased from Ikea years ago. The counter top is usually covered with all the supplies I pull out for collaging, stamping or painting. I tend to start off with a nice tidy work surface and end up in a very messy one by the end of a play time session. I used to moan and complain about it but I have come to realize that the cleaning, then messing things up, is all part of my creative process. It is how I work !

Please describe your work.
Most of my work has bright, vibrant colors of acrylic paint with dark black India ink, and white paint pen pen work as well as many textures made from stencils, rubber stamps and paint techniques. Since I have discovered the rich blackness of India ink, it has made its way into almost everything I do. I also love the fact that I use my father’s old dip pen to get the ink on the page.

The majority of my work takes place in a journal and I like to keep that together as one document but I do make prints of my pieces, and also add them to cards. I also love making small more “sellable” pieces, such as magnets, jewelry, and fabric trinkets like my lavender stuffed birds.

Do you have any special art tips for others?
I guess my biggest art tip for others is to learn to tell that big, bad inner critic to buzz off! Don’t let that voice in your head that says “but I may make something ugly” or “what I make will never be any good” or even “I will look stupid if I really play like a child would” stop you from creating. The process of creating is inherent in all of us, in some form. If you are drawn to express yourself through art, just go for it! Give yourself the chance to just make art, even if it may be “ugly”. What is really important is the process, that you have taken time for yourself, to play with color, with a variety of mediums that feel good in your hands, and to let little bits of yourself out into the world. The end results are not really so important. It is not like you are performing brain surgery or something! Just learn to play and keep that mean inner critic away!

What inspires you?
My art play tends to be inspired by my desire to express myself, my thoughts and my emotions. As I said, it is kind of a therapy or a ritual practice that makes me feel whole. It has become so important to me, like exercise feels to the athlete, I guess. If I go a few days without creating something or doing a journal page, I actually get kind of an itchy feeling in my hands and in my imagination!

My pieces themselves tend to be inspired by interesting quotes I come across, by the work or writings of other artists or bloggers, or by the emotions I am feeling on a particular day. I also occasionally use art journal prompts to get me going in my play time, especially if I am feeling a little stuck and need to loosen up or to shoo that inner critic away.

When you’re not making art, what are you doing?
When I am not doing art, I may be walking with my dog Chica, leaving Rock My World rocks on my way. Or I may be spending time with my wonderful family or great friends, talking and sharing stories. Or I may be in Blogland, writing my blog or visiting my blog pals, in a community with so many wonderful, caring, talented people, that I am so proud and grateful to be a part of.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I would just like to thank people like Lorrie and so many other members of the art blogging community for all they do to support one another and to provide a real connection to other artists. Blogland offers us opportunity to reach out, to feel connected and to learn from and share with each other. It is something really special and I am grateful for it in my life.

How can you be contacted about your work?
I can be contacted on my blog at
My etsy shop:
Or via email at

Please visit her blog and Etsy site. While you're there, shout out a hello to her too. Happy Valentine's day everyone!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Handmade Paper Like No Other

Is it okay to say that I am totally in love my own work? Sounds pretty gutsy to me but I just said it anyway. But, believe me, I don't always love my work. In fact, now that I think of it, I frequently Like my work but seldom Love it. And, sometimes I Hate it. Guess I just opened up a giant self-defeating can of worms. For today then, I love my scraps! Maybe one day I'll love a whole, entire, wonderful piece.

These scraps of textured handmade paper were created with a variety of materials: artists' acrylic paints, latex house paint, spray paint, oil pastels, bitumen, mineral spirits, stencils and more. After scanning the scraps, I've played with them a bit in Photoshop too which gives them even more cool effects. The ones I'm showing you here are not digitally altered in anyway.

On this very white and snowy day, I wish you the opposite: a colorful day.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I'm Teaching at Sievers!

There is a magical place in the waters of Lake Michigan. Off the tip of Door County in northern Wisconsin, Washington Island is a beautiful, peaceful place. Sure, it is a summer vacation destination. But it's not for those that are looking for waterparks, the trendiest food-of-the-moment restaurant, or lots of people.

This little slice of heaven is where the Sievers School of Fiber Arts is located. The 3-season school draws teachers and students from all over the country, the world, in fact. I learned how to make paper at Sievers in August of 1995 from an amazing paper artist named Gisela Moyer. I've told anyone that will listen that this was a life-changing weekend for me. I've been back to Sievers twice since then and each experience was amazing. Well, here we are 15 years later and I'm going back as one of the ones that gets to sleep in the exalted instructor's cabin. :) Teaching at Sievers is truly a milestone event for me!

Main office and gift shop

Studio space and dormitory

The class list is quite extensive and includes weekend and week-long classes in weaving, papermaking, quilting, knitting, basketry, surface design and more. To learn more about the school, the classes, on-site and off-site housing, please go here. Registration just opened this week and you can do that on the website as well. For a look at what I'll be teaching, read on...

Paper Mosaics & Paste Painting (August 20-22) - Class Fee $ 210

This exciting new class will definitely put both sides of your artistic brain to use. First, using a playful intuitive approach, you’ll use paint, paste and a variety of texturing tools to decorate sheets of paper. The technique gives great first-time results, and, with some practice your sheets will have an amazing depth and detail. By the time you’re done working “wet,” you’ll have a large assortment of paste-painted sheets to use for paper mosaics in class, as well as lots of extras to take home for use in collages, books, journals, greetings cards or as frameable works of art. Mid-weekend, we’ll switch sides of the brain and start assembling paper mosaics. While paper mosaics can be made by carefully placing one piece of paper at a time, in this class you’ll learn the trick of making sheets of paper tiles so that you can work faster and with better control. Possible projects are picture frames, mirror frames and other home d├ęcor items, as well as artistic works on wood supports. Materials fee of approximately $45 for pigments, paste, paper, laminate film, support boards and related supplies. For all levels.

I hope you'll consider joining me for a weekend of creative play in an incredibly beautiful spot.


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