Solitude – Art Journal

“But your solitude will be a support and a home for you, even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances, and from it you will find all your paths.”   – Rainer Maria Rilke

For this art journal I’m using spraypaint, posca and liquitex markers, and Acrylic paint to make my colorful background and neighborhood scene. It was fun to go in and highlight different areas of the architecture with detail, and also knock some things back with solid areas of gray and black.

I also added some colorful touches to my quote to tie everything together.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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Artist in Residence – Interview with Mary Fan

Today I am sharing an interview I did with sci-fi author Mary Fan. This is an interview series I call Artist in Residence.

I heard this great quote recently: “On the bright side, I am no longer calling this shelter-in-place. I am now an artist-in-residence.” It got me thinking about how times of adversity and challenge are often what inspire action and creation for us artists.

I decided to seek out some peers whom I admire and ask them how they are using this time to be working artists. What has changed for them? Where are they finding room to create at home if they previously worked in an offsite studio, out-of-doors, or are now sharing a home studio with other working-from-home family members? What are they creating now – is it influenced by the current situation or on a similar path as before? Are they feeling called to action or struggling to create?

Everyone is responding differently to this crisis. Let’s learn how others are coping with their new status as Artists in Residence.

 

A little bit about this video:

This interview is with sci-fi author Mary Fan. Mary describes her genre and style of writing, how she got into writing science fiction for a young adult audience, and the hallmark themes that many of her books touch upon. She talks about the appeal of writing characters that are just coming of age, the book that inspired her to pursue writing in the first place, and how she fit this creative craft into a busy life that also included a 9-5 day job and numerous other hobbies. Mary also describes how her schedule has changed since the pandemic, the challenges of maintaining creative energy, and the effect that these difficult times may be having on what and how she is writing.

You can learn more about Mary on her website: https://www.maryfan.com
And be sure to follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/astralcolt/

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Stroll Through the Hood – May 2020

Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks – while we are still on lock down, I started on some nicer days to venture out very early in the morning on my bike and with a mask. Not the most pleasant task but it feels good to get some fresh air and exercise.

This warehouse has been abandoned for as long I as I live here- I am not sure what is going to happen here. It is an interesting building for sure.

This made me laugh – in the middle of marina at Liberty State park . Love the rust and the font.

So glad I caught a glimpse – even though at the end of the cherry blossom – so pretty.

There was a sense of grieve and joy upon seeing the so familiar scenery … for an hour I felt as if everything will be ok … we all need a little bit of social distanced escape once in a while

A paste up by Dylon Egon at the Jersey City Medical Center. It was weird to have no cars and no people around on those intersections that are usually bustling.

Definitely kept my distance from those very protective parents taking their cute kids out for a stroll.

At Lincoln Park – they reopened the parks and it has been such a nice way to get out. Walking in the city with people has not been fun- but the bike really gives a sense of freedom and normality and the possibility to get away from people.

These gorgeous daisies that open up in the morning and close in the evening make me very happy.

I painted these pots a while ago and finally put them up- a nice little colorful spread on the fence.

Kim gave me a bunch of Allium bulbs last fall as a gift and since I am such a sucker for those gorgeous flowers – I am super super excited to see them grow. This one is going up to my chest now.

Another early morning bike ride.

Went all the way to Hoboken and went through the usually totally crowded train station. No -one there – the waiting room is closed off and while there are still trains leaving there were maybe two people in the traing station waiting. The positive thing about this was that for the first time I was able to take some pictures without being elbowed out of the way.

It is an impressive and beautiful building.

Another view from Lincoln park – I think this factory used to be a paint factory but I am not sure. I think I might want to paint this one day.

Still baking bread …What a science LOL. I am not a big baker but something about tending to the dough and smelling fresh baked bread through the house gives a really nice and comforting feeling. Do you have a smell that makes you feel homey and feel comforted?

I hope you are all well – sending you Love!!! Until next month with hopefully more strolls through the hood.

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Artist in Residence – Interview with Rhian Swierat

Today I am sharing an interview I did with mixed media artist Rhian Swierat. This is an interview series I call Artist in Residence.

I heard this great quote on the web recently: “On the bright side, I am no longer calling this shelter-in-place. I am now an artist-in-residence.” It got me thinking about how times of adversity and challenge are often what inspire action and creation for us artists.

I decided to seek out some peers whom I admire and ask them how they are using this time to be working artists. What has changed for them? Where are they finding room to create at home if they previously worked in an offsite studio, out-of-doors, or are now sharing a home studio with other working-from-home family members? What are they creating now – is it influenced by the current situation or on a similar path as before? Are they feeling called to action or struggling to create?

Everyone is responding differently to this crisis. Let’s learn how others are coping with their new status as Artists in Residence.

 

A little bit about this video:

This interview is with mixed media artist Rhian Swierat who works with embroidery, paint, paper, and explorations into memory. She talks about her process: from gathering impressions from places to translating those feelings and textures in a tactile way through stitching and pattern elements. She discusses her material choices, her embrace of accidents, and how the direction of a piece may change as she’s working on it. In response to the pandemic, Rhian talks about adapting to a more fluid schedule, the importance of doing something creative each day, and some of the bittersweet emotions that creating her artwork brings out. She shows some of her latest pieces, describes how working big has been beneficial, and talks about some of the parallels between her artmaking and her job as a graphic designer.

You can learn more about Rhian on her instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/rhianswierat/
And on her website: https://www.rhianswierat.com

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We Shall Overcome – New Painting

Another painting with the gorgeous mural in my neighborhood “We Shall Overcome”

I added some texture to this one by adding heavy buddy paint through my Signal Stencil – some added actual texture.

Painting a motif on different substrates has been a lot of fun – I love to explore different backgrounds and changing things up.

We shall Overcome is available in my store and looking for a new loving home.

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Best of Creative JumpStart Vol. 1 – Online Workshop Bundle

I’m happy to announce today that Best of Creative JumpStart Vol. 1 is now on sale! This is a bundle of mixed media lessons by some of our amazing CJS artist teachers from Creative JumpStart 2014 and 2015.

For just $9.99 you will receive access to download links for 11 inspiring Creative JumpStart lessons from 2014 and 2015. Here are the teachers and lessons in this bundle:

  • Anna Dabrowska (Finnabair) – CJS2014 Teaspoon assemblage
  • Catherine Scanlon – CJS2014 Monoprinted art journal
  • Pam Carriker – CJS2014 Stenciling techniques
  • Diana Trout – CJS2015 Painted landscape
  • Jimmy Leslie – CJS2015 Mixed media collage techniques
  • Marsha Valk – CJS2015 Painted cardboard panels
  • Natalya Khorover (Aikens) – CJS2015 Dryer sheet photo canvas
  • Jodi Ohl – CJS2015 Mixed media panel
  • Ronda Palazzari – CJS2015 Art journal cover
  • Joe Rotella – CJS2015 Acrylic skin decor
  • Julie Fei-Fan Balzer – CJS2015 Hand cut stencils

Sign up HERE today for a nice bundle of technique and project lessons from the Creative JumpStart archive!

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Rise & Shine – Nicole Watson

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a colorful suite of cards and a video from Nicole Watson. Check out her process below using my new Mini Motifs and Triangle Love stamp sets and this month’s theme: Rise & Shine – Sometimes it is inspiring to think of each new day as an opportunity to do something good – to shine. Create something that will encourage others to do the same and let’s all bring a little more light into this world!


If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent some extra time during these stay at home days browsing Instagram and admiring all the creativity that is flowing from so many artists. Maybe, much like me, that creativity just isn’t flowing for you. It’s ok! You’re not alone!

Honestly, I struggled a bit with the theme this month. Sometimes it’s hard to shine and encourage others when you are feeling a bit blah yourself. Last month I shared that I’ve been focusing my time outside and in our garden planting flowers. This has brought me so much joy! The simplicity of planting flowers, caring for them, and watching them flourish has helped me cope with staying home (except for my trips to explore local nurseries and for groceries!).

I’ve noticed I’m not alone in the need to DO something creative and with one’s hands! While some are creating art, others are baking or gardening and yet others are returning to pen pals and sending snail mail. I wanted to send some mail to brighten some days this last week and realized my blank card stash was getting low… and that’s when this project came together!

Watch my video:

Here’s how:

Grab some hot press watercolor paper and stamp on it with Nat’s Mini Motifs and Triangle Love stamps using black archival ink. Have fun! 

I enjoyed this process of creative stamping, all wonky, not perfect. Archival ink is important as it will not bleed or run with the watercolor in the next step. 

And, hot press paper is smoother for stamping. You can use cold press, but your stamped images will not turn out as clear (Note: I pre-cut my watercolor paper into card fronts (4.25×5.5) and will trim them down again to mount on the cards.)

Let the ink thoroughly dry and then watercolor. Again, have fun! The only thing to keep in mind while you are water coloring is how colors blend. I stayed with palettes of warm colors or cool colors and then also a couple full rainbow palettes. Add some splatters and lots of puddles of color around the stamped images. 

Let your fronts dry completely. Once they are dry, if there are areas that didn’t turn out dark enough or exactly how you’d like, go ahead and add some more color and splatters. And, of course, let dry.

The next step is personal preference. I like to spray my watercolor cards with a clear matte varnish to protect them in case they become wet or damp in the mail. Be sure you follow the instructions on your spray.

Once they are dry (again!), trim your cardstock bases and liners for your cards. Then, if you want a border around your artwork, trim your art a bit (to 4×5.25). Even though I knew I’d be trimming them when I started, I like to allow this option so I can trim off a funny area or help center the design if I didn’t stamp it quite right.  Then, fold your cards and stick the liners inside and your art on the front.

Final step? Mail them! These bright, cheery cards are perfect to shine, encourage someone, and do something good.

I did not want to stop painting these card fronts. Had I not run out of watercolor paper, I would have made many more. (Note to self, order more watercolor paper!) I cannot wait to send these in the mail, and I’d love to send out a couple to YOU as well. Find me on Instagram, and look for the post about this tutorial to see how to receive one in the mail. I can’t wait to see what you create with Nat’s stamps and watercolor.


Thank you Nicole! Love the brilliant colors here and super appealing color combinations. What a treat to see.

Give it a try: you can find all my Rubber Stamps in my Online Shop and here are some of the other supplies Nicole used:

Feel inspired? Working on something yourself that you’d like to share?  I love to see how you interpret our monthly themes. Email me how you used my stencils and stamps with the theme and email me an image – I would love to share your projects in my next  “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Nicole, those are gorgeous cards! I especially like the crisp, clear stamp image that you got on the paper, and the cheery colors you chose.

    Reply

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Artist in Residence – Interview with Elena Zazanis

Today I am sharing an interview I did with writer, actor, and creative Elena Zazanis. This is an interview series I call Artist in Residence.

I heard this great quote recently: “On the bright side, I am no longer calling this shelter-in-place. I am now an artist-in-residence.” It got me thinking about how times of adversity and challenge are often what inspire action and creation for us artists.

I decided to seek out some peers whom I admire and ask them how they are using this time to be working artists. What has changed for them? Where are they finding room to create at home if they previously worked in an offsite studio, out-of-doors, or are now sharing a home studio with other working-from-home family members? What are they creating now – is it influenced by the current situation or on a similar path as before? Are they feeling called to action or struggling to create?

Everyone is responding differently to this crisis. Let’s learn how others are coping with their new status as Artists in Residence.

 

A little bit about this video:

This interview is with my dear friend Elena Zazanis. Elena is a true renaissance woman: a singer, actor, producer, writer, director, a wonderful cook, and much, much more. She has recently organized a roundtable group of creatives that I participate in and in this interview she talks about her motivations for getting this group together and the benefits of communing this way. She also discusses her daily life before the pandemic as an actress at a local law school where she helped students role play different legal scenarios, rehearsal with her music group, auditions, and meetings with collaborators. She describes how the current situation is effecting her routines and her apprehensions about getting back to it once restrictions are lifted, an exciting new script she is writing and her new focus on personal projects, and her techniques for warming up her creativity.

You can follow Elena here on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elenazazanis/
… And watch a trailer for her short film here: https://www.rgbshort.com/clip
…Elena’s musical group Cabaret Sauvignon can be found here: https://www.cabsavjc.com
…And here is a link to her website: https://www.gemprodsllc.com

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Artist in Residence – Interview with Sara Stadtmiller and Gary Mellon

Today I am sharing an interview I did with photographer Sara Stadtmiller and artist Gary Mellon. This is an interview series I call Artist in Residence.

I heard this great quote recently: “On the bright side, I am no longer calling this shelter-in-place. I am now an artist-in-residence.” It got me thinking about how times of adversity and challenge are often what inspire action and creation for us artists.

I decided to seek out some peers whom I admire and ask them how they are using this time to be working artists. What has changed for them? Where are they finding room to create at home if they previously worked in an offsite studio, out-of-doors, or are now sharing a home studio with other working-from-home family members? What are they creating now – is it influenced by the current situation or on a similar path as before? Are they feeling called to action or struggling to create?

Everyone is responding differently to this crisis. Let’s learn how others are coping with their new status as Artists in Residence.

 

A little bit about this video:

This interview is with my friends Sara and Gary. Sara is a photographer and Gary is an artist in several mediums and it was such a treat to get to talk to both of these inspiring individuals! Sara talks about her business expanding into a new space, the variety of work she does, and the challenges of juggling work and family life during the pandemic. Gary talks about the variety of artistic roles he’s played, his motivation and drive to create, and the benefits of creating for others. They also discuss their latest project – a “quarantine gallery” group art show that they’ve organized in the windows of Sara’s new studio space, bringing beauty and something positive to the neighborhood and to their own lives too. Finally the duo talks about applying creativity to other aspects of their lives to make all kinds of things work.

You can find the gallery show here: http://www.srsphotographer.com/outside-looking-in-a-quarantine-gallery/

Sara’s website is: http://www.srsphotographer.com

And be sure to follow Sara on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/sarastadtmiller/
and Gary on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/gamellon/

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